Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

10 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR CANADA AND CANADIANS

Posted by strattof on January 4, 2012

To make the world a better place for all of us who dwell here

WHAT GOVERNMENTS CAN DO

#1    Stop the demolition of the 1755 Hamilton Street apartment block.

1755 Hamilton Street is a 46 unit, low-rent apartment block. It is set to be demolished early in 2012. In the context of Regina’s housing crisis, the demolition of such a building is unethical. ●Regina has the lowest rental vacancy rate in Canada. Currently it is 0.6%, which essentially means there is no rental accommodation available. ●There are already over 3,000 homeless people in Regina and that’s not counting those who are double-bunking or couch-surfing. ●Between 2006 and 2010, homeless shelter use in Regina rose by 44.5%.

On January 23, City Council will decide the fate of the 1755 Hamilton Street apartment block.  

#2    Bring our troops home from Afghanistan now.

Government and media reports give the impression that Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan is over. Facts: ●In November 2010, the Harper government extended Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan to 2014. At 10 years and counting, Afghanistan is already Canada’s longest war. About 1,000 Canadian troops continue to be deployed in Afghanistan. Their declared role is to train Afghan army and police.

According to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada’s Afghan trainers are on a non-combat mission and hence will be relatively safe. Facts: ●According to retired general Rick Hillier, “If you try to help train and develop the Afghan army…you are going to be in combat.” ●Kabul, where most Canadian troops are stationed, is not very safe.

#3    Stop building prisons.

Crime rates in Canada have been dropping since the 1990s. Why, then, has the federal government initiated “tough on crime” legislation–laws that will make more Canadians spend more time in prison? The average annual cost of incarcerating a single offender in a federal prison is $100,000. That figure does not include the estimated $9 billion it will cost to build new prisons for the growing prison population. If even half of that money was invested in education and affordable housing, all Canadians would benefit enormously.

#4    Provide proper funding for First Nations education.

For First Nations, education is a Treaty right. Under Treaty 4, which covers most of southern Saskatchewan, First Nations were promised a school on each reserve. Instead, the government implemented the genocidal residential school system. Today, children who attend schools on reserves receive 30% less funding than other Canadian children. Funding per student at First Nations University is also less than at other universities.

#5    Set serious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and develop a plan for meeting them.

On the 2011 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks 57th out of 60. We are one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world. Tar sands development is our fastest growing source of emissions. To protect the tar sands from being adversely effected by climate change policy, Canada engaged in obstructionist tactics at the recent climate change conference in Durban, South Africa. These tactics led to Canada being dishonoured with the Fossil of the Year award–for the fifth year running. They also help to keep the world on the path to catastrophic global warming.

WHAT YOU AND I CAN DO

#6    We can contact Mayor Pat Fiacco and our City Councillors and let them know we want them to prevent the demolition of the 1755 Hamilton Street apartment block. 

#7    We can USE LESS STUFF. In other words, we can resist massacring the earth through thoughtless and pointless consumerism.

#8    We can speak out against injustice, be it social, political, economic, or environmental.

#9    We can work for peace in small ways everyday: at home, in the neighbourhood, in the city, the province, the country, and the world.

#10 We can join with others in Canada and around the world–in organizations, political parties, and citizens’ movements–to work towards peace and justice.

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