Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

Archive for November, 2018

A TIME FOR OUTRAGE

Posted by strattof on November 29, 2018

There is not enough room on this pamphlet to express all of our outrage. Since we have to be selective, we decided to focus this time on local issues, leaving provincial and national outrages for future pamphlets.

There isn’t even enough space in this pamphlet for all of the local outrages! Below are a mere four of them:

  1. Homelessness
  2. City of Regina’s refusal to pay a living wage
  3. No supermarket in North Central
  4. Closing Maple Leaf Swimming Pool

Please let us know what local issues fuel your outrage: makingpeace@sasktel.net

OUTRAGE #1: HOMELESSNESS

  • 286 people were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count. That’s 54 more people than were identified in 2015—a 23% increase.
  • These figures do not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing—groups that could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.

In the 2016 municipal election, Mayor Michael Fougere ran on a platform of ending homelessness. His preferred solution to Regina’s homelessness crisis is Housing First, a program that finds permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.

All Mayor Fougere has done so far is to bring a motion before City Council to develop a plan to end homelessness. There has already been an overabundance of such plans. This one is costing taxpayers $60,000 to pay consultants. Why wasn’t the money spent on housing homeless people?

Learn more about homelessness in Regina: TUESDAY DECEMBER 4, 7 pm: HOT TOPICS—A PANEL DISCUSSION OF HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA, CENTRAL LIBRARY, 2311 12TH AVENUE

The panel will feature people engaged in the struggle against homelessness in Regina. No one should be homeless in Regina!

OUTRAGE #2: REFUSAL TO PAY A LIVING WAGE

Last month, City Council voted 8 to 3 against adopting a Living Wage for municipal employees and contractors. The city administration had recommended against it, saying it would cost the city too much money. A Living Wage for Regina is $16 / hour.

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is $11.06 / hour. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983. In other words, minimum wage earners cannot afford Regina rents.

While a Living Wage would not solve Regina’s homelessness crisis, it would increase the income of some low-income people. It would also be good for the local economy.

There is something unseemly about people who make good money recommending or voting against a bit of an increase for those who make very little.

OUTRAGE #3: NO SUPERMARKET IN NORTH CENTRAL

Ever since the Superstore at Albert and Dewdney closed in 2000, North Central has been without a supermarket. Even worse, Super- store’s owner, Loblaws, put a condition of sale on the property: that a grocery store could not be built on it. This is outrageous!

North Central is a low-income, inner city neighbourhood of about 12,000 people. Many of the residents rely on buses, bikes, or their own two feet to get around. They have very limited access to affordable and nutritious food. To add insult to injury, the Food Bank is many kilometres away, on the 400 block Winnipeg Street.

North Central is a food desert. In the meantime, a two kilometer stretch along south Albert has five supermarkets: Co-op, Superstore, Save On Foods, Sobeys, and Safeway.

City Council can surely develop policies to address this outrage.

OUTRAGE #4: CLOSING MAPLE LEAF SWIMMING POOL

Closing Maple Leaf Pool is a proposal of Regina’s 2019 budget. Maple Leaf Pool is located in the Heritage area, which, like North Central, is a low-income, inner city neighbourhood.

The 2019 budget also proposes that Wascana Pool be rebuilt as a new “outdoor destination aquatic facility” at a total cost of $16.5 million. Wascana Pool, located in Wascana Park, is adjacent to several quite posh neighbourhoods.

According to the City website, Maple Leaf Pool is “beyond… repair.” All this means is beyond what the city is willing to pay to fix it. The City is, however, happy to increase the Regina Police Service budget by 20%—to $92.5 million.

Some City Councillors say that Heritage children can walk to Wascana Pool. It would be a 5K walk for some of those children. Why can’t they have a pool in their own neighbourhood?

The closure of Maple Leaf Pool will be discussed at the December 10 meeting of City Council, as part of the 2019 budget. Show your opposition to the pool closure by attending the meeting: 5:30 pm, City Hall. Better yet, make a presentation: www.regina.ca/ residents/council-committees/appear-before-council/

OUTRAGE IS NOT ENOUGH

Does it actually matter if we are outraged? Not really if we don’t do something about it. Even showing up at rallies is not enough.

What we also need to do is hold our elected officials accountable.

All of the issues listed on this pamphlet fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Regina. Pick two of these issues (or two of your own) and, the next time you have a spare minute, let Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor know you want them to do something to address those issues.

You might remind them a municipal election is coming up in 2020.

Mayor Michael Fougere       777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

Ward 1: Barbara Young        539-4081 or byoung@regina.ca

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins           789-2888 or bhawkins@regina.ca

Ward 3: Andrew Stevens      570-1402 or astevens@regina.ca

Ward 4: Lori Bresciani           570-1995 or lbrescia@regina.ca

Ward 5: John Findura            536-4250 or jfindura@regina.ca

Ward 6: Joel Murray              519-2232 or j.murray@regina.ca

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce           949-5025 or sbryce@regina.ca

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell        545-7300 or modonnell@regina.ca

Ward 9: Jason Mancinelli       519-0078 or jmancine@regina.ca

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel              537-9888 or jflegel@regina.ca

If you are not certain who your City Councillor is, go to www.regina.ca/residents/council-committees/meet-city-council/

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SPREAD PEACE NOT WEAPONS

Posted by strattof on November 22, 2018

Canadians like to think that Canada acts for peace in the world. The reality is quite different. War is big business and Canada is making a killing out of it.

  • Canada exports military equipment worth between $2 – 3 billion annually. (It is impossible to know the true value of Canadian arms exports because the Canadian arms trade lacks transparency.)
  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

While such arms sales generate huge profits, the weapons do not bring either peace or security. Instead, they bring violence, suffering, and death.

If Canada’s reputation as a country for peace is to be more than a myth, we will have to abandon our role as a major military exporter.

PEACE BEFORE PROFIT!

CANADA’S MILITARY EXPORTS

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia is Canada’s second-largest arms customer, buying about half a billion dollars in military goods annually. In 2014, the Harper government struck a $15 billion deal to sell weaponized military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. In 2016, the Trudeau government gave final approval to the deal.

WAR IN YEMEN

In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, with US backing, invaded Yemen, with the goal of installing a friendly government. The invasion has devastated Yemen. ●More than 10,000 Yeminis have already been killed in the fighting. ●According to the UN, as many as 13 million Yemenis are currently facing starvation.

Through the Trudeau government’s refusal to stop arms shipments to Saudi Arabia, Canada has become complicit in this humanitarian disaster.

ABYSMAL HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

In 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 men accused of terrorism offences. The Trudeau government condemned the executions.

Early this year, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted out a call for the release of imprisoned human rights activists. The Saudi response was to expel the Canadian ambassador, freeze bilateral trade, and instruct all Saudi students to leave Canada without delay.

In the meantime, Canada is maintaining business as usual with Saudi Arabia, even though there is credible evidence that Canadian-made armoured vehicles are being used to suppress protests in Saudi Arabia.

JAMAL KHASHOGGI

On October 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. A CIA investigation has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing. Still the Trudeau government seems set on keeping the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

UNITED STATES

The US is Canada’s largest arms customer, likely accounting for about 50% of military goods exports from Canada. In truth, we have no idea of the actual size of this arms trade as Canadian military exports to the US are exempted from licensing and reporting requirements.

According to former US President, Jimmy Carter, the US is “the most warlike country on earth.” Today the US maintains approximately 800 military bases in 80 countries. As of December 2017, the US is officially fighting wars in seven countries: Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Niger, Somalia, and Yemen.

NATO

NATO is a US-led military alliance of 29 countries. In 2017, NATO countries were Canada’s third-largest arms customers, accounting for $339,000,000 or 33% of sales.

  • NATO has armed forces around the globe.
  • NATO is responsible for escalating tensions with Russia. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been expanding eastward to Russia’s borders.
  • NATO insists on the right to employ nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis. Canada’s NATO membership is the reason why the Canadian government has not signed the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES

Canada must start spreading peace, not weapons. That would mean

  • Getting out of the arms industry
  • Getting out of NATO
  • Working for peace at the UN
  • Signing the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty

But what to do with the war industry? How about transforming all those weapons-making enterprises into renewable energy companies. Such a swords-into-ploughshares project seems particularly apt as war has a huge carbon footprint.

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

CONTACT POLITICAL LEADERS

Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada

  • To stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia
  • To stop selling arms altogether
  • To get out of NATO
  • To sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty
  • To start making diplomatic peacemaking a top priority
  • To invest at least some of the $ saved from not making war in renewable energy.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

Send the same message to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland: Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-5234

SIGN ONLINE PETITIONS CALLING ON CANADA TO STOP SELLING ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA

  • Amnesty International
  • Change.org
  • Leadnow.ca
  • SumOfUs
  • Petition e-1221

 

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NOVEMBER 11: REMEMBRANCE DAY

Posted by strattof on November 12, 2018

Sunday November 11 is Remembrance Day. This year’s Remembrance Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, fighting ceased in “the war to end all wars.”

World War I was supposed to be “the war to end all wars” because of the unprecedented scale of the slaughter—with tens of thousands falling in a single day to machine guns and poison gas.

Today war rages on:

  • Canada has been endlessly at war since 2001: first Afghanistan, then Libya, now Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia.
  • None of the students currently in our schools has ever known a time of world peace, their entire lives having been lived during active warfare.

When will we ever learn!

TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE!

CANADA MAKES WAR

ENDLESS WAR

Since 2001, Canada has been endlessly at war:

AFGHANISTAN      October 2001 – March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                       March 2011 – October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                        October 2014 – ongoing

SYRIA                       March 2015 – ongoing

UKRAINE                 September 2015 – ongoing

LATVIA                    June 2017 – ongoing

MORE WAR-MAKING

  • In 2017, Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • In 2017, Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • In 2017, Canada exported $1,031 billion worth of military equipment. This figure does not include the sale of military wares to the US, which accounts for well over half of Canada’s military exports.

MAKING A KILLING

War is big business. Many countries, including Canada, are making a killing out of this never-ending war-making.

  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

Who loses in war? Ordinary people everywhere.

TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE

Initially, November 11 was a day of sad remembrance and dedication to peace. Sadly, today it is a day to celebrate war and the military.

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you want Canada

  • To commit to peace.
  • To get out of Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia.
  • To stop selling arms.
  • To sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

WE WANT PEACE

Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their difference themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder. –Harry Patch, British veteran of World War I

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy?—Mahatma Gandhi 

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.—Albert Einstein 

You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb the world to peace.—Michael Franti 

May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace. It is always a defeat for humanity.—Pope Francis 

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. – Major General Smedley Butler 

Violence begets more violence, war begets further wars, more enemies and more suffering.—Ursula Franklin 

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

WHITE POPPIES, RED POPPIES, & RED BUTTONS

WHITE POPPIES

Some of us are wearing white poppies. The white poppy is a symbol of peace, of our hope for an end to all wars, and of our commitment to work for a world where conflicts are resolved without violence and with justice. 

RED POPPIES

Some of us are also wearing red poppies to honour Canada’s veterans. We are particularly concerned about the 40,000 Canadians who served in Afghanistan and the challenges they are facing.

RED BUTTONS

The red button is the work of the Mennonite Central Committee. It reads: “TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE.” War is not necessary or inevitable. Peaceful alternatives exist, as do non-violent means to resolve conflict between individuals and communities.

If you would like a white poppy or a red button, please ask one of us. We are happy to give you one of each, as long as our supplies last. 

PEACE STUDIES PETITION

Take action for peace and sign the petition calling on the provincial government to introduce Peace Studies into the K-12 curriculum. Shockingly, none of the students in our schools has ever known a time of world peace, their entire lives having been lived during active warfare.

True peace also requires addressing other forms of violence, including discrimination based on race, class, gender, religion, and disability.

We have copies of the petition with us.

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