The 2000 convention of the Canadian Peace Alliance
The CPA Convention 2000 took place in St. Catharines. The local hosts were the Peace and Disarmament Committee of CAW Local 199 and the event was held at their union hall. The convention began on Friday, October 20 and continued through Sunday, October 22. In all, approximately forty people attended part or all of the convention on the 21st and 22nd, with as many as two dozen more at the Friday night panel.
The convention officially began with a panel of presenters on the theme Globalise Peace! on Friday evening, focusing on the ties between globalization and militarization.
The evening began with welcomes from a representative of the office of St. Catharines Mayor Tim Rigby, Councilwoman Jane Hughes of the Regional Municipality of Niagara, and local MPP Peter Cormos. Jean-Claude Parrot, Executive VP of the CLC, opened up the discussion and Carole Phillips of the International Programme of the CAW followed. Then three speakers further addressed aspects of the theme John Mayer, a retired professor from Brock University, Patricia Diaz of the Latin American Coalition Against Racism and Carolyn Bassett, Acting Coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance. Some of the main findings of the Peoples Commission report were presented to the audience as was the need to raise these issues during the upcoming federal election.
Saturday morning began with 2 workshops. Stella LeJohn led a workshop on the World March of Women and invited us all to reflect on what we brought to the event and what we would take away from it. Judith Berlyn conducted a workshop that described practical lobbying skills for peace and social justice activists.
After a brief coffee break, the next set of workshops began. Carolyn Bassett led a workshop on the Peoples Commission report that looked specifically at how we might use some of the materials in advance of its release to develop questions for the election. Hans Sinn and Carl Stieren facilitated a workshop that explained the formation of a Global Nonviolent Peace Force, an international initiative that builds on the work of such organizations as Peace Brigades International. Erica Zarate from Peace Brigades International also spoke. Ray Cunnington conducted a workshop titled What is a Culture of Peace, which emphasized the opportunity provided by the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World.
After the second set of workshops we went to the peace pole ceremony. At the ceremony, Jose Compta and Aiko Ito explained the purpose of the peace pole and placed a temporary pole in front of the CAW Hall as we all called for peace to replace armed conflict throughout the world.
Following the ceremony, convention participants were invited to take a boxed lunch and board CAW 199s bus for a tour of the region. The tour began along the Welland Canal where participants learned briefly about the canals former centrality to Canadas trade before reaching Niagara Falls. There was an opportunity to see the falls and other features of the area, including the proliferation of hotels and the planned locale for the new casino. Then the tour continued along the Niagara Parkway, which skirts the Niagara River, pausing to look at the hydroelectric generation plant and the Butterfly Conservatory before quickly passing through Niagara on the Lake. On the way back, there was a quick detour to historic Port Dalhousie.
The final workshops started at about 4:00 pm. In the workshop on sanctions, Dave Thomas spoke about the impact of the US embargo on the people of Cuba. Amira Elias spoke about the humanitarian consequences of the sanctions on the people of Iraq. The other workshop, led by Eryl Court, suggested that the peace movement in general, and the Canadian Peace Alliance in particular, needs to focus on networking more effectively.
At 5:30, the business of the convention began. Sunday also was devoted to convention business. After the convention resolutions were finalized, the new CPA Steering Committee met for the first time at 5:00 pm on Sunday.
Campaign resolutions were adopted on the following topics:
- resolution of solidarity with Cuba
- sanctions against Iraq
- protecting the Canadian dollar
- arms trade
- NATO and corporate globalisation
- Canadian involvement in the US National Missile Defence (NMD) program
- equality of peoples in Canada
- the use of depleted uranium in armaments
- 'child soldiers' in Canada
- children and war
- military action by Canadian armed forces outside Canada
- formation of a global nonviolent peace force
- nuclear weapons abolition
- the importation of plutonium (MOX) fuel by Canada
- military exports to the US
- militarism in Colombia
- a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
To see the complete text of the resolutions click here.