Making Peace Vigil

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Archive for October, 2016

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Posted by strattof on October 6, 2016

Rather than giving peace a chance, Canada is engaging in a military first foreign policy.

  • Since 2003, Canada has been endlessly at war: Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq-Syria—Canada has been or is there making war.
  • Today, Canada is directy involved in two international wars—Iraq-Syria and Ukraine.
  • In July, the Canadian government committed to sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”
  • In August, Canada voted against a UN plan to ban nuclear weapons.
  • Canada continues to expand its role as an arms dealer, selling weapons all over the world, including to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States.
  • Now, the Canadian government is considering joining the US Ballistic Missile Defence system.

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”—John Lennon

DEATH & DESTRUCTION IN SYRIA

WAR & PEACE

  • On September 9, the US and Russia brokered a partial ceasefire in the multi-sided civil war in Syria.
  • On September 17, the US, which wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out at all cost, led air strikes on a Syrian government air base killing more than 60 Syrian government soldiers.
  • On September 22, Russia, Assad’s main ally, along with the Syrian air force, began dropping bombs on Aleppo, a main rebel stronghold in the civil war.
  • Russia and the US are blaming each other for the collapse of the ceasefire.
  • In the meantime, the suffering of the people of Aleppo is horrendous. 

MAKING WAR IN SYRIA: 5 FACTS

  1. The war in Syria is in its 5th year, creating the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. 
  2. Over 400,000 Syrians have been killed in the war.   
  3. 8 million Syrians have become refugees, the majority of them in neighbouring countries. 
  4. 5 million Syrians are internally displaced. 
  5. 80% of Syrians within Syria live in poverty. 70% are without access to adequate drinking water.   

MAKING PEACE IN SYRIA: 2 CONDITIONS

  • All of the major parties involved in the Syrian conflict must be brought to the peace table: the US, Russia, the Assad government, rebel factions, Daesh (ISIS), the Kurds.
  • We must all speak out against military interventions and help mobilize public opinion to lobby international decision-makers to work on diplomatic peacemaking.

War is not a natural calamity like a tempest or an earthquake; war is man-made and man can prevent it.”—James Endicott

ARMS DEALS

Canada is the world’s second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East and the 6th largest military exporter in the world.

Who benefits from war? Arms dealers. War is big business. Who loses? Ordinary citizens everywhere.

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicous….It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”—Major General Smedley Butler

BMD, A WEAPONS PROGRAM

The US Missile Defence system (BMD) is an anti-missile system that has been in development since the 1990s. Its stated goal is to defend against nuclear attack by “rogue” states.

It is currently located in a number of countries, including the US, the UK, Denmark, Greenland, and Romania. The US would like this system to be everywhere.

In 2005, the Liberal government of Paul Martin said “no” to joining BMD. The following were some of the reasons:

  • The viability of the program is unproven.
  • It would cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars.
  • The name “missile defence” is a misnomer, as the system is, in effect, a weapons development program and would lead to a new arms race.
  • It would not contribute to world peace or security.

These reasons still stand. The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau should also say “no” to joining BMD and start saying “yes” to working for peace. 

“The deployment of BMD will not bring us one step closer to collective security and peace agreements no matter how much money is spent on it.”—Ed Lehman

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

 PEACE IN SYRIA

  1. SIGN ONLINE PETITIONS
  • Google “Development and Peace Syria petition”
  • Google “Avaaz Protect Syrian Civilians Now”
  • Google “Avaaz Protect Aleppo’s Children Now”

 

  1. LET PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU KNOW you want Canada to stop making war in Syria and to start making diplomatic peace-making a top priority: trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253.

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE: YOU ARE INVITED

SATURDAY OCTOBER 8, 2 PM, RESEARCH & INNOVATION, ROOM 208, U OF R

A public discussion of why Canada should NOT join the US ballistic missile defence system, this event will feature three panelists: David Gehl (Regina Peace Council), Dr. Stephen Moore (Making Peace Vigil & Campion College English Department), and Dr. Bill Stahl (PeaceQuest Regina & Professor Emeritus of Luther College, University of Regina, Sociology Department).

A part of Keep Space for Peace Week—October 1 – 8—an international week of protest to stop the militarization of space, the event calls on us all to work for peace. Everyone is welcome.

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STOP ENERGY EAST

Posted by strattof on October 6, 2016

TransCanada Pipelines wants to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. Energy East, its proposed pipeline, cuts right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area. 

The metal structure in the above photograph marks the pipeline, which comes into Harbour Landing from the west and then turns south at the drainage ditch. It shows how close the pipeline is to people’s homes in Harbour Landing. The houses on James Hill Road, which runs about 25 metres behind from where the photo was taken, are even closer.

ENERGY EAST: 5 FACTS

  1. TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline will be 4,400 km long—the longest pipeline ever built in North America.
  2. It will carry 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta and Saskatchewan crude, mostly diluted bitumen, to a new deep sea port near St John New Brunswick.
  3. To save money, TransCanada plans to convert 3,000 km of an already existing natural gas pipeline, originally built in the 1970s, for the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba portions of the pipeline.
  4. The pipeline will cross 80 watersheds and cross or run near more than 3,000 waterways, putting the drinking water of over five million people at risk along its route.
  5. When the oil reaches New Brunswick, it will be loaded on to tankers and exported, mainly to Asia. 

TRANSCANADA’S POOR SAFETY RECORD

TransCanada claims its pipelines are safe. Its safety record tells a different story. In its initial year of operation, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline, constructed in 2010, had 12 spills, including one that dumped 79,493 litres of oil in North Dakota.

The Energy East pipeline plan is extra risky. The converted portion of the pipeline was constructed to carry natural gas, not tar sands oil which is much thicker and more acidic and corrosive and must be pumped at a higher pressure.

Should Energy East be approved, the question is not if, but when there will be pipeline leaks and spills.

This could happen in Regina

  • On March 29 2013, the citizens of Mayflower Arkansas woke to find their streets flooded with tar sands oil. An old Exxon pipeline had ruptured, spilling more than 1 million litres of tar sands oil in community neighbourhoods and waterways.
  • On July 20 2016, a Huskie Energy pipeline spilled 250,000 litres of tar sands oil into the North Saskatchewan River, contaminating the drinking water of three cities, North Battleford, Prince Albert, and Melfort.
  • Since 2006, over 8,000 oil pipeline spills have occurred in Saskatchewan.

AN ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD

The Energy East pipeline would expand Canadian tar sands production.

  • Tar sands production poisons the water, air, land, and people in surrounding First Nations communities.
  • Tar sands development is also the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada, thus driving dangerous climate change.
  • 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history.
  • Climate scientists warn that, if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must leave at least 80% of tar sands oil in the ground.

TAR SANDS MADNESS

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports Energy East.
  • Premier Brad Wall supports Energy East.
  • Regina Mayor Michael Fougere supports Energy East.

SAYING NO TO PIPELINES

  • Toronto City Council passed a resolution against the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline.
  • The Mayor of Montreal and the Montreal Metropolitan Community oppose Energy East.

EARTH PROTECTORS

Indigenous people have taken the lead in opposing pipelines. The original caretakers of this land, they are determined to protect it, and the entire planet, from environmental destruction.

Last week, 85 First Nations from Canada and the US signed a continent-wide accord against tar sands expansion, committing to a unified struggle against the construction of pipelines in their territories.

WE ALL MUST BE EARTH PROTECTORS

TAKE ACTION

  • Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you don’t want Energy East running through your community or province: trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Premier Brad Wall: bradwallmla@sasktel.net or 306-787-9433.
  • Tell Mayor Michael Fougere you want Regina to ban the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline: Mayor@regina.ca or 306-777-7339.
  • Make Energy East an issue in the municipal election. Ask candidates for mayor and city council where they stand on it.

Sign the Council of Canadians’ petition asking the Government of Canada to deny approval to the Energy East pipeline: https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=31200

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