Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for October, 2012

REGINA VOTES 2012

Posted by strattof on October 19, 2012

5 QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES

1. Do you think there should be a referendum on the stadium?

The total cost of the proposed new stadium, including loan interest and maintenance over a 30-year period, will be $675 million. This amount does not include cost overruns.

The main burden of paying for the stadium will fall on Regina taxpayers who will be dinged for at least $300 million. According to the City’s funding plan, this amount will come from an annual 0.45% increase in property taxes over a 10-year period.

Without consultation, the current City Council is substantially increasing property taxes, as well as taking on a sizable debt, to fund the stadium.

In 1977, the last time Regina taxpayers were asked to put a considerable amount of money into the stadium, there was a referendum.

2. What would you do to solve Regina’s affordable housing crisis?

Key Facts:

  • Regina’s rental vacancy rate is the lowest in Canada: 0.6%.  
  • In 2010, over 3,400 people used one or more of the city’s shelter services. Many others double-bunked, couch-surfed, or lived in overcrowded unhealthy conditions.
  • The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in Regina is $817.  A full-time minimum wage earner, making $1,649 a month, cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment in Regina. Nor can a security guard earning $2,031.43 a month. Affordable housing, as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is 30% or less of a household’s before-tax income.

Ask the current City Council to do something about Regina’s affordable housing crisis, and the response is always “Housing is not a municipal responsibility.” While City Council cannot solve all of Regina’s housing problems, there are, in fact, many things it can do. For example:

If City Council can spend $300 million worth of Regina taxpayers’ money on a new stadium, it can spend $300 million on affordable housing. How many affordable housing units can we get for one stadium? At a cost of $150,000 per unit, $300 million will get us 2,000 affordable housing units.

  • City Council can require developers to include a certain number of affordable housing units in their plans or to pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
  • To protect rental housing, City Council can pass a demolition bylaw prohibiting demolitions of low-rent apartment buildings until the supply and availability of rental housing returns to a healthy state.

NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN STADIUM PLAN

The new stadium is part of the Regina Revitalization Initiative. Both city and provincial officials will tell you this plan includes affordable housing. But it does not.

What the plan calls for is “up to 700 new affordable, market-rate housing units.” As everyone knows, the market-rate for housing in Regina is anything but affordable.

3. If elected, what will you do to ensure the Regina Public Library Board operates in an open and democratic manner?

The Library Board has big plans for Central Library. But it is refusing to be open about them. Indeed, there have been no public consultations since August 2009.

In the meantime, the Board has submitted an application to the P3 Canada fund. The intention seems to be to have Harvard Developments construct a large multi-use facility on the land where Central Library now stands and then lease back some of the space to the Library. The rest of the space would be allocated to private businesses, such as retailers, restaurants, and hotels.

Regina Public Libraries are public property, paid for and owned by the citizens of Regina. We must be involved in any changes that are to be made to our libraries.  

4. How would you improve Regina Public Transit?

●Are you aware that Saskatchewan has Canada’s highest per capita carbon emissions? ●Are you aware that, in 2011, there were 5,274 vehicle collisions in Regina, with more than 20% of them resulting in injuries? Public transit use is a way to address both of these problems.

To increase ridership, Regina Transit needs to lower fares, provide more frequent and earlier and later service, and offer holiday and full Sunday service. It cannot do so without more money from City Council.

5. Should the cosmetic use of pesticides be banned in Regina?

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides.” 

Over 150 Canadian municipalities have heeded this warning and banned pesticides. But not Regina. Here the pesticide lobby has more authority and influence than the Canadian Cancer Society.  

R E G I N A   V O T E S

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 24

  •  A vote cast in a civic election counts for more than one cast in a provincial or federal election.
  • Civic politics have a very direct impact on our daily lives, determining the kind of city we live in.

 P L E A S E   V O T E

Polls are open from 9 am – 8 pm

Advertisements

Posted in environment, justice | Leave a Comment »

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE

Posted by strattof on October 11, 2012

OCTOBER 6th – 13th 2012

A WORLD-WIDE WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST SPACE WEAPONS

50 years ago this fall, with the launch of Alouette I, Canada became only the third nation in the world to design and build an orbiting satellite. Five years later, in 1967, Canada and a host of other nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to restrict the placement of weapons in space, recognizing the common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.”

Since Alouette I, we have benefitted from some of those peaceful uses: satellites have helped us communicate, navigate, forecast the weather, and monitor the environment.

OUTER SPACE IS BECOMING EVER MORE HEAVILY MILITARIZED

Today many nations, including Canada, rely on satellites to carry out their military operations: communications, coordination, reconnaissance, surveillance, and weapons targeting all depend on space-based networks.

The US military refers to the 1991 Gulf War as “the first space war” because it marked the first major use of satellite-guided (GPS) bombs and other space-based military systems.

  • In the 1991 Gulf War, 7% of all aerial bombs were GPS-guided; by the time of the 2003 war in Iraq, it was over 90%.
  • In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, western-led forces continue to drop satellite-guided bombs and use satellite-guided drones to monitor and target insurgents.
  • Civilians, however, are often the victims: since 2004, the USA’s drone campaign has killed as many as 880 civilians, according to London’s Bureau for Investigative Journalism.
  • In August, the Ottawa Citizen reported that “senior Canadian defence leaders pitched the idea of spending up to $600 million for armed drones to take part in the Libyan war.”
  • The same report indicated that Canada’s defence department was interested in drones “that can be outfitted with missiles and other bombs. According to Department of National Defence documents the military intends to spend around $1 billion on the project.”

Spending a billion dollars on satellite-guided weapons is a far cry from “the use of outer space for peaceful purposes.”

SATELLITES: THE EYES, EARS, & BRAINS OF MODERN WARFARE

  • Satellites capture the images of targets (including individuals) that war makers wish to destroy.
  • Satellites pick up conversations and sounds that further identify targets, while GPS systems provide the gunsight that directs weapons to their destination.
  • Drones and other new age weapons bring us closer to removing humans from the decision making loop.

Canadians must oppose space militarization and a costly and dangerous new arms race in the heavens.

TAKE ACTION

  • Sign the petition to ban weaponized drones: http://bit.ly/OGIQ3T
  • Email your MP to say you want Canada to oppose the militarization of space:

   Ralph Goodale: goodale@sasktel.net

   Andrew Scheer: Scheer.A@parl.gc.ca

   Ray Boughen: ray.boughen@parl.gc.ca

   Tom Lukiwski: Lukiwski.T@parl.gc.ca

Posted in peace activism | Leave a Comment »

REMEMBERING MISSING AND MURDERED ABORIGINAL WOMEN

Posted by strattof on October 9, 2012

In the last 20 years, 582 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or been murdered in Canada. Aboriginal women are the most at-risk group for violence in Canada.

FACT SHEET

  • There are 582 recorded cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal girls and women in Canada.
  • Of these, 67% are murder cases. In other words, most of the women (393) were murdered.
  • The number of murdered Aboriginal women in Canada is disproportionately high. While Aboriginal women make up only 3% of Canada’s female population, they represent approximately 10% of all female homicides.
  • Young Aboriginal women are 5 times more likely than other women of the same age to die as a result of violence.
  • 60% of the women and girls were killed in an urban area, 27% in rural areas, and 13% on-reserve.
  • 16.5% of the women were killed by a stranger. Only 6% of non-Aboriginal women are killed by strangers. Aboriginal women are almost 3 times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Aboriginal women.
  • Only 53% of the cases involving murder have been solved, compared to 84% of all murder cases across the country.
  • 88% of missing and murdered Aboriginal women were mothers. More than 440 children have been impacted by the loss of their mother.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

“Long-standing patterns of marginalization, impoverishment and discrimination are critical factors putting Indigenous women in Canada at risk of violence and exploitation. These same factors have also denied many Indigenous women full protection of the police and justice system.

The Canadian government has condemned the violence and promised to take action. But efforts to date have fallen far short of the comprehensive, coordinated response needed to address such serious and pervasive human rights violations.”

SISTERS IN SPIRIT

All the figures in this leaflet are taken from the Community Resource Guide: What Can I Do to Help the Families of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls? This 2012 document was produced by Sisters In Spirit, a research initiative of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. The main objective of the Community Resource Guide is “to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Aboriginal women within Aboriginal and Canadian societies.”

TAKE ACTION

  • Read the Community Resource Guide and learn how you can raise awareness of the alarmingly high rates of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada and show your support for their families and communities. You can access the Community Resource Guide online by googling its title.
  • Learn more about the work of Sisters In Spirit by going to: http://www.nwac.ca/programs/sisters-spirit
  • Familiarize yourself with Amnesty International’s Stolen Sisters report: www.amnesty.ca/stolensisters/amr2000304.pdf
  • Contact your MP and urge him to lobby for an independent inquiry into the 582 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
  • Honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls by attending an annual October 4 vigil. 

Posted in justice | Leave a Comment »