Business Matters

Report of National Executive (summary)

(The following will be a regular feature of the Bulletin in which highlights of the activities of the Board meeting and of the Executive will be reported. In this, the first report, the events at the AGM will be described.)

The Science for Peace AGM was held May 2 on the UBC campus. West coast members were joined by Eric Fawcett from Toronto.

In the review of the last year, there was unanimous agreement that the efforts of Walter Dorn, John Dove and Franklyn Griffiths deserved special notice. Many people contributed to the success of the Arctic and CBWW conferences and these events were the high points of the organization this year.

The key item of business, was the election of the new Board of Directors. The list submitted by the nominating committee was approved unanimously.

Difficulties involved with the moving of the National office were discussed from many points of view. The primary problems have been infrequency in production of the Bulletin and lack of maintaining membership lists. Mechanisms to solve these problems are in place. One such mechanism which was passed at the AGM establishes that prior to moving the National Office an executive elect be set at the new venue so that they can be integrated into their new offices.

Science for Peace gained a chapter this year centered at McMaster University: the Hamilton area Chapter. We welcome them. In addition, the AGM voted to explore an arrangement for joint membership in Science for Peace and the Canadian Peace Research Association: we will keep members informed as this develops.

The issue of a National Office for Science for Peace was discussed at the AGM — for several days, actually! A group in Toronto has begun to search for permanent housing at U of T and for money for staff. The question of whether the office should be in Ottawa was raised without resolution.

At the Board meeting which followed the AGM, Tony Arrott, George Spiegelman and Jim Foulks were reelected to their executive positions. Derek Paul was elected to the position of membership secretary which was created as an executive position and Eric Fawcett was elected as a member at large of the executive. Special thanks to Derek for his heroic work on membership was given.

In recognition of his service George Ignatieff was re-elected as Honorary President of Science for Peace.

Several projects were formally approved for sponsorship by the Board, these were: the conference on Ethical Choice at Guelph and the project to examine a Comprehensive Integrated Disarmament Process as directed by Dr. A. Simoni.

The Board also endorsed a proposal to empower the executive to create policy committees for Science for Peace. Such committees would research and propose national policy on specific issues. These policies would, upon approval of the Board, become official policy of the organization. Members wishing to submit ideas for issues, should contact G. Spiegelman.

There was considerable discussion about the details of the financing of Science for Peace. One proposal which was passed and might well be adopted by local chapters was to have the accounts for Science for Peace be placed in banking institutions with ethical investment funds.

After four and a half hours of lively and intense discussion, the meeting adjourned.

Report of BC Chapter

The recent activities of the B.C. Chapter of Science for Peace have focussed on the fact that since 1985 over 30 nuclear-capable U.S. warships have paid visits to Vancouver Harbour. It is U.S. navy policy neither to confirm nor to deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard their ships, but standard armament aboard these ships includes AS-ROC anti-submarine missiles, Terrier anti-ship missile, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs. Members of the B.C. Chapter have lobbied vigorously to end these visits. Our efforts were rewarded in March when the Vancouver City Council passed a resolution requesting that the Federal Government adhere to Canada’s declared policy of not permitting nuclear weapons on Canadian territory. As of this writing, Council has received no official reply.

The issue of warship visits has become still more timely as the result of two recent developments. One is that a number of such visits is planned to coincide with the Vancouver Sea Festival this July. This event sees tens of thousands of families flock to the harbour. Considering the increasing frequency of serious accidents on board U.S. warships, combined with recent revelations that past accidents have posed a much greater danger of nuclear contamination than had been believed, the issue of safety is urgent. The second development is the revelation that the U.S. Navy is planning a major exercise for the fall. Named PacEx89, it will practice sinking Soviet ballistic missile submarines in their Sea of Okhotsk bastion and attacking Soviet naval bases on the Kamchatka Peninsula. In the past, such exercises have caused the Soviets to place some of their forces on war alert. By allowing U.S. warships to enter our ports only a month before, we give our tacit approval to this act of folly. It may be even worse: in 1983 and 1986 Canadian ships joined similar exercises. We have not been able to determine whether they will join PacEx89.

The Vancouver Branch urges all members of Science for Peace to lobby the Government and their Member of Parliament to protest the visits of nuclear-capable warships to Canadian ports, and to urge the Government to dissociate itself from aggressive naval exercises which might threaten improving superpower relations.

Report from Toronto Chapter

The past year has been a busy one for the Toronto Chapter. In addition to our normal activities, we have assumed some additional responsibilities associated with the move of the National Executive to Vancouver. The Chapter executive has met 11 times during the year and three Newsletter have been issued to our members. Two items have dominated our discussions: the status of the National office with the National Executive now in Vancouver; how to revitalize the Chapter through new activities, through greater participation by the members, etc.

The Chapter continues to carry out its usual activities but new initiatives have met with little success. On the positive side we can report the following:

  • a workshop was organized for the Summit Citizen’s Conference;
  • the Science for Peace Lecture Series was reorganized and re-named as the Forum on Peace and Justice and continues to flourish;
  • a small number of our members were heavily involved in the organization of the successful Workshop on Chemical and Biological Weapons;
  • letters were sent to the Prime Minister, with copies to selected federal and provincial politicians as well as the press, over the signatures of the founding president of Science for Peace and the chapter chair concerning both tritium sales and cruise missile testing.

On the negative side we can mention:

  • attempts to form discussion groups for members met with little response and had to be abandoned;
  • a Media committee set up to monitor news events and to promote the use of the media by Science for Peace was not able to function effectively (members too busy) and was dissolved;
  • a membership campaign, discussed since last summer, has not yet been initiated.

The Toronto Chapter has accepted the responsibility to monitor the activities of the National office and to see that the office would continue to function as normally as possible. It is apparent that Science for Peace has grown to a size that it cannot be run effectively on a volunteer basis. A permanent office with full-time help is required. The realization of this goal as soon as possible is of high priority for both the National organization and for this Chapter.

Jim King, President Toronto Chapter

Report of the Nominating Committee

The nominating committee pursued its task with the help of e-mail and occasionally the telephone. We sought advice from our local colleagues and from representatives of Science for Peace chapters in other geographical areas. Of the 50 Directors on the Board, 20 were finishing their terms this year and Derek Paul has resigned. Those who had been active were asked if they would stand again: some were willing and able to, others could not for good reasons. It is a good exercise to introduce new people on to the Board, and we attempted to do this, seeing our mission to be to increase

  1. the fraction of women,
  2. the fraction of Francophones, and
  3. the representation from geographical areas other than Ontario and B.C.

Accordingly, we nominate for election to the Board of Directors

  • Donald Betts
  • Phyllis Creighton
  • Chandler Davis
  • Eric Fawcett
  • Helga Guderley
  • George Ignatieff
  • Angelo Mingarelli
  • Joanna Miller
  • Robert Russell
  • Luis Sobrino
  • George Spiegelman
  • Michael Steinitz
  • Gerhard Stroink
  • Israel Unger
  • John Valleau
  • Alan Weatherley
  • Robena Weatherley
  • Francis Weil
  • Janet Wood

We have managed to increase the number of women by one, which brings the number up to ten — still far short of a desirable 50% representation. We asked several of our female colleagues to stand, but they declined, not for lack of interest, but because they were committed to many other initiatives and causes. Women are a potent political force, long neglected, but now very significant, and consequently there is much competition in their recruitment. We note that the participation by women in Science for Peace is rather poor and possibly reflects their perception that the organization is dominated by physical scientists and therefore male dominated. An arguable solution to attract more women would be to broaden the base of the organization to include more non-faculty and non-scientists. The Francophone numbers and the representation from other Provinces have been modestly increased. We recommend to future Nominating Committees that they continue their efforts in all these regards.

We propose that the following ex-directors be elected to the Advisory Council:

  • Christian Bay
  • Gian Brenciaglia
  • Myriam Fernandez
  • Derek Paul

We also propose that the present Executive be re-elected, i.e.

President: Anthony Arrott
Vice President: George Spiegelman
Secretary: Vera Webb
Treasurer: James Foulks
We respectfully submit this report.

John Dove
Brian Turrell (Chairman)
Janet Wood