Partial Summary of Science for Peace Activities During 2001

As no issues of the Bulletin were produced in 2001, we are publishing this summary of activities (which was circulated to members by mail) in the equivalent place on the SfP website.

Forum and Teach-In

On December 9th, Science for Peace held a Forum and Teach-In entitled “How Should Canada Respond to War and Terrorism” at the University of Toronto. The keynote speaker was Dr. John McMurtry who gave the paper entitled “Why Is There A War In Afghanistan?” Workshops dealt with:

  • The UN & International Legal Responsibilities,
  • Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Laws — Bills C36, C22, C35, C42, C11
  • Refugee & Human Rights — the Humanitarian Response
  • Mid-East Dynamics & Solutions

The highlight was the plenary session in which a panel consisting of Ursula Franklin, Michael Mandel and Aileen Carroll (MP; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs) was held. The transcripts of these talks and most of the workshops are available for reading or downloading from our web site http://scienceforpeace.ca. You can listen to the audio versions on the same page or order an audio CD for $5 from Science for Peace.

Global Cops Teach-In

Science for Peace helped plan and co-chaired the Forum and Teach-In entitled “Global Cops” in Ottawa on October 5. The event was meant to counter the planned meeting of NATO members in Ottawa on the same weekend. Despite the events of September 11 in the United States, the Teach-In continued and discussion concerning the likely military events to follow was central to the forum.

Science for Peace Delegation to the Minister of Defence

On April 23, 2001, Science for Peace arranged a visit with the Minister of Defence, Art Eggleton, in order to discuss Canada’s role in the National Missile Defense system being proposed by the United States Government. Science for Peace pointed out the technical infeasibility of such a system, the likelihood that its deployment would precipitate a new arms race, and the apparent use of such a system to further economic expansion of United States interests (i.e. the “hidden fist” of the market). The delegation consisted of Helmut Burkhardt, John Valleau, Phyllis Creighton, Carolyn Langdon and Paul Hamel. While it was cordially received, the Minister did not appear to comprehend the significance of the NMD system and curiously stated that the Canadian government had no position concerning involvement of Canada in the development and deployment of this new offensive weapons system. The recent abandonment of the ABM treaty (among others) by the U.S. and its apparent will to deploy the NMD system necessitate our continued focus on this issue.

Network Of Opposition to Starwars (NOOS)

As the United States proceeds to test and plan deployment of the NMD system, mounting pressure on Canada to fully participate (R & D is being carried out in this country on aspects of the NMD system!) in this scheme required a counter balance. Thus, members of Science for Peace initiated a meeting of individuals and groups to organize common strategies to resist further Canadian involvement in the NMD. The result was coalition of groups under the banner of the Network Of Opposition to Starwars (NOOS). A web site for this group was established [www.NOOS.ca, expired since 2003; final archived version available here — web ed.] and a variety of activities planned. Foremost among these were educational meetings in a number of communities in southern Ontario. John Valleau participated in many of these along with Matthew Behrens from Homes Not Bombs and Michelle Robideaux from the International Socialists. Since the fall, some of these activities have given way to other efforts. However, meetings to plan resistance against participation in all aspects of the NMD system are planned for the near future.

National September 11 Peace Coalition & Toronto Peace Action Coalition

In the wake of the events in the United States and the impending war “promised” by President George Bush The Second, Peter Coombes of End the Arms Race initiated a meeting of peace and labour groups from across the country. While a national network was being formed, Science for Peace joined with a number of other peace, labour and activist groups in Toronto to form a coalition whose principle goal was to Stop the War. Thus, the Toronto Peace Action Coalition, which brought together Muslim, Jewish, Christian, labour, and peace groups as well as various political tendencies, political parties and individuals, organized the Toronto portion of the National event proposed by the National Coalition. As part of this planning, a large effort was made to reach out to communities across the city. To this end, several Science for Peace members gave talks and acted as resource persons at local events around city. In Toronto, Mel Watkins spoke at a rally on October 21, Paul Hamel at a rally in front of the U.S. consulate in early October and both Mel and Carolyn Langdon at a vigil in Toronto on October 6. Paul Hamel also spoke to several different student groups at York University at various times during November as well as during an event organised by the Toronto East for Peace community group. These various events have raised the suggestion that Science for Peace should organize and maintain a Speakers Bureau to act as a readily accessible resource for community groups, schools, universities and faith-based organisations.

John Valleau Op-Ed in Globe and Mail

Fundamental to our success is gaining some profile in the public minds through mainstream media. Given the nature and narrow focus of most of these media, penetrating this important area of communication has been difficult. Significantly; John Valleau was given the opportunity to publish a lengthy Op-Ed article in the Globe and Mail concerning the lack of merit and, indeed, dangers inherent in the NMD system. This article appeared on April 23, 2001 and can be found on the Science for Peace web site. How more of such articles can be brought to the attention of the public remains a difficult task that requires thought and effort. Here, the input and efforts of Science for Peace members are strongly encouraged.

Proposal for De-Altering

With so many activities surrounding the war in Afghanistan and the NMD system, members of Science for Peace remain engaged in analyses of many other issues. Paramount in these activities are concerns and analysis of the posture of nuclear weapons states. To this end, Alan Phillips prepared and presented and important paper analysing the issue of De-Alerting nuclear weapons states. Alan’s paper will be available soon from the Science for Peace web site.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

While wars and conflicts rage around the world, the continuing and escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians gained the attention of many people. Science for Peace has a great number of members engaged in activities aimed at promoting dialogue and understanding between these groups in order to pave the way towards a just and peaceful future for all peoples in this region. Joe Vise, on behalf of Science for Peace, participated in the organization of a national tour by Palestinian psychologist Dr. Salim Shamwrameh and Jewish Israeli Dr. Jeff Halper. A further talk with Dr. Ruchama Marton and Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj was organized for May 26, these two also addressing the Science for Peace Board meeting on May 28. Science for Peace facilitated further discussion at our Forum and Teach-In on December 9th at which Kelly Gotlieb spoke along with Ali Mallah of the Canadian Arab Federation and Prof. Atif Kubursi from McMaster University.

Science for Peace – Pugwash Joint Forum

Yearly, Science for Peace and Pugwash hold a joint forum to discuss an important area mutual interest. In March, 2001, Science for Peace and the Canadian Pugwash Group presented in Toronto two successive and, successful events:
On Friday, March 16th, a Free Public Forum on Social Responsibility in Science and Technology was co-chaired by Science for Peace President Helmut Burkhardt and Senator Douglas Roche. Nancy Olivieri, Ursula Franklin, and Derek Paul were the keynote speakers. This event was a memorial to Eric Fawcett, Founding President of Science for Peace.

On Saturday, March 17th, a Joint Seminar on Canada, NATO and Nuclear Weapons was addressed by Ted Whiteside (Head, Centre for Weapons of Mass Destruction, NATO Headquarters, Bruxelles, Belgium), Sergei Plekhanov (Professor of Political Science, York University and Coordinator, Post-Communist Studies Program, Toronto), Nick Etheridge (Director, North American and Euro-Atlantic Security and Defence Relations, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa) Senator Douglas Roche (0.C., Chairman, Canadian Pugwash Group) and Ernie Regehr (Director, Project Ploughshares). Another joint Forum has been planned for March 23 on the topic “Security and Intervention”. Further details and preparatory materials are available from the Science for Peace web site.

Rapoport Birthday Event

In May and June, we joined in planning and conducting two events in celebration of the 90th birthday (May 22nd) of our Honorary President, Anatol Rapoport. A party at his house, gracefully executed by his family, was attended by a houseful from near and far. A letter of warm greetings was read from Elise Boulding, an old friend and former President of the International Peace Research Association. A Fest-Colloquium in his honour, nested in the World Order Conference at Ryerson University. This time the old friend whose beautiful letter was read out by Michael Wessells, Former President and Founder of the Division of Peace Psychology, American Psychology Association.

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ISSN 1925-170X (Print) | ISSN 1925-1718 (Online)