Welcome to

                                                                                  Peace Quest Cape Breton

          An informal citizens’ action group working to build a culture of peace in our community, country and world since 2002

CAMPAIGN NEWS

OCTOBER 2019

 

PEACE QUEST CAPE BRETON STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES SEVEN

 

Background Note

 

In recent months, Peace Quest Cape Breton has been seeking to raise the profile in our region of the ‘Kings Bay Plowshares Seven’ (https://www.peacequestcapebreton.ca/plow), seven veteran Catholic anti-nuclear activists facing decades in jail for non-violent acts of civil disobedience at a U.S. submarine base hosting the world’s deadliest weapons. As the activists go on trial in Georgia, with jury-selection starting on October 21, we are sending them and their supporters this message of Solidarity.

 

Peace Quest Cape Breton stands in solidarity with the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven, facing unfair trial and draconian punishment for non-violent acts of symbolic disarmament at the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia: “the site of the sin,” as the Seven rightly say. We applaud the courage and sacrifice of the Seven, as well as the eloquence and commitment of their many friends and supporters, gathering in witness, love, and protest, in and outside the Courthouse. As the acts of prophetic resistance ‘committed’ by the Seven make clear, it is Trident that needs to go on trial, charged with attempted omnicide: the planned and practised desecration of Creation.   

 

On Friday October 25 our group will launch a White Poppy Campaign to remember all victims – military and civilian – of all wars. The proceeds of the campaign will be donated to the KBP7 support fund.

 

For over 80 years, the White Poppy has symbolized the hopes of humanity for a world without war, and has been worn to send a simple message to those in power: ‘to remember is to disarm.’ In the atomic age, to disarm is to survive: and in an age of climate crisis, disarmament can also help us win – and fund – the fight against global warming.

DEMILITARIZE – DENUCLEARIZE – DECARBONIZE –

AND DECRIMINALIZE PEACEFUL PROTEST!

OCTOBER 2019

 

EMERGENCY RESPONDERS – AND NUCLEAR SLEEPWALKERS:

MIXED RESPONSE TO PEACE QUEST ELECTION QUESTIONNAIRE

 

At the start of the 2019 federal election campaign, Peace Quest Cape Breton asked all major party candidates (Conservative, Green, Liberal, NDP) in both Cape Breton Ridings five key questions on ‘Canada and Nuclear Weapons’:

 

1. Should Canada support the new United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty?

2. If elected, would you sign the international ‘Parliamentary Pledge’ to support the Treaty and        work for the abolition of nuclear weapons?

3. Do you believe NATO has the ‘right’ to possess nuclear weapons and use them first in any            conflict?

4. Is Canada doing enough to fulfill its legal obligation as a member of the nuclear Non-                    Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to create a nuclear-weapon-free world?

5. Given the capacity of nuclear weapons to cause catastrophic climate change, do you agree          nuclear disarmament is a priority for humanity on a par with tackling global warming?

 

We requested responses by Monday October 7, two weeks before polling day. As of Wednesday, October 16, only two candidates had replied: Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria) and Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria). Their responses are reproduced in full below: both expressed support for the Ban Treaty, said they would sign the Parliamentary Pledge, disagreed with NATO retaining nuclear weapons, and agreed nuclear weapons posed an unacceptable threat to the global environment.

 

At the Sydney-Victoria candidates’ debate on the climate crisis, held at Cape Breton University on October 7, the three candidates in attendance – Lois Foster, Jodi McDavid, and Jaime Battiste (Liberal) – were asked if, as part of its climate crisis strategy, Canada should sign the Ban Treaty. All three candidates answered in the affirmative. Battiste’s apparent support for Canada signing the Ban Treaty is newsworthy, as it puts him at odds with official party policy.

 

Peace Quest received no response from Sydney-Victoria Conservative candidate Eddie Orrell, who also failed to attend the Climate Crisis forum at CBU.

 

None of the major party candidates for Cape Breton-Canso – Alfie MacLeod (Conservative), Clive Doucet (Green), Mike Kelloway (Liberal), Laurie Suitor (NDP) – replied to the questionnaire, and Peace Quest members were unsuccessful in efforts to raise nuclear weapons issues at the candidates’ CBC debate at Glace Bay High on October 10.

 

At the Climate Strike Action in Sydney on September 27, Green Party candidate Clive Doucet told PQCB Campaign Coordinator Sean Howard that he fully supported the objective of a nuclear-weapon-free world.   

 

Reflecting on the Questionnaire initiative, Sean Howard commented: “Two responses out of eight reflects a dangerous indifference to – and ignorance of – issues of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament in the main parties (and mainstream media). On global warming, a Great Awakening: on the nuclear threat, the Sleepwalkers are nearing the cliff…”            

 

 

‘Canada and Nuclear Weapons’

Peace Quest Cape Breton Questionnaire Responses

 

     1. Do you believe the government of Canada should support or reject the new UN Treaty on             the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)?

Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria): I believe the government of Canada should support the prohibition of nuclear weapons. 

Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria): I believe that Canada should support the TPNW.

 

     2.  Since 2018, over 1,200 Parliamentarians from around the world, including 13 Canadian             Members of Parliament, have signed a ‘Parliamentary Pledge,’ issued by the International           Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), to “work for the signature and ratification

         [of the TPNW] by our countries, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a               global public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and             well-being of all peoples. If you were elected, would you sign the Pledge?

 

Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria): If elected I will sign the Parliamentary Pledge you have attached. 

 

Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria): Yes, if elected, I would sign the pledge. For your information, the NDPs have committed that: “Under a New Democrat government, Canada will be a force for peace. We will support nuclear disarmament, recommit to peacekeeping, and make sure that Canadian-made weapons are not fuelling conflict and human rights abuses abroad. We’ll also work towards a just and lasting two-state solution between Israel and Palestine that respects human rights and international law.” (A New Deal for People, 2019 see https://action.ndp.ca/page/-/2019/Q2/2019-06-19_Commitments-Doc_EN.pdf)

 

     3. Canada is a member of NATO, the world’s only nuclear-armed alliance. As a participant in           NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) it helps formulate Alliance war-plans, including the           first use of nuclear weapons. Do you agree that NATO needs nuclear weapons for its                    defence and security, and that it has the right to use them first if it chooses? Do you agree          other states or alliances are entitled to draw the same conclusion?

 

Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria): Green Party policy reports "All subsidies and supports to the nuclear industries will be withdrawn except for maintaining safety and decommissioning of facilities and associated wastes." Personally No, no nuclear should be used.

 

Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria): I don’t think any organization/country/state needs nuclear weapons. I can see how NATO can argue that at this point in time, it needs nuclear weapons for its defense and security. I do believe that if more countries signed the TPNW, it would be pressured to give them up, and that we can work towards a point where NATO does not feel it needs nuclear weapons. I do not agree with the justification of first use of nuclear weapons, for a variety of reasons. For one, yes, I can see that this notion creates an unfair structure if other alliances are not permitted to do the same, and that other alliances could argue that they should be allowed the same perimeters.

 

     4.  Canada is also a member of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which                      mandates “good faith” negotiations on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Do you think              Canada is doing enough to fulfill its obligation to work for a nuclear-weapon-free world?              If not, what further actions and policies would you like to see Canada pursue?   

Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria): We should get rid of nuclear water plants and replace them with hydroelectric, wind, solar, and geothermal /renewable sources of electricity. 

 

Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria): I feel that Canada could potentially do more in this regard as we are typically seem positively on the world stage and often seen as – and believe ourselves to be – peacekeepers. Probably, the largest message we could send at this time would be to sign the TPNW.

 

     5. In setting its famous ‘Doomsday Clock’ at two minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the                   Atomic Scientists draws attention to the two gravest threats to human survival and the               health of the planet: nuclear weapons and climate change. As the Bulletin argues, and                 recent scientific studies have confirmed in grim detail, even a ‘limited’ nuclear war could             cause catastrophic and irreversible climate change, threatening billions with famine,                   freezing temperatures, and displacement. Do you agree that nuclear disarmament is a                 priority for humanity on par with reducing greenhouse gas emissions?   

 

Lois Foster (Green, Sydney-Victoria): I believe nuclear disarmament is a priority for humanity and a grave threat as discussed in the bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 

 

Jodi McDavid (NDP, Sydney-Victoria): I do believe that climate change will likely result in conflict as people become environmental refugees, crops are impacted, and so on. I consider myself a realist. I don’t wish to paint a negative and dystopic future, however, there will be many severe challenges that humanity will face. Ideally, no, no one will have access to nuclear weapons at that time because not only would they create an incredible environmental impact if deployed, countries will also be in crisis which has historically been a time in which nuclear weapons are considered an option. I do agree that nuclear disarmament is a crucial priority and I would consider it a part of a viable environmental plan, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other strategies.

SEPTEMBER 2019

 

FEDERAL ELECTION 2019:

CANDIDATES’ QUESTIONNAIRE ON ‘CANADA AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS’

 

Peace Quest Cape Breton has contacted the major party candidates in both Cape Breton Federal Ridings to ask five urgent policy questions on ‘Canada and Nuclear Weapons.’

 

We have requested responses by Monday, October 7 – two weeks before polling day – to allow voters time to reflect on the positions taken and interest (or disinterest) shown.

 

We are today releasing the full Questionnaire and accompanying Briefing Note. PQCB members and supporters are invited to contact candidates in their riding to ask where they stand on Canada’s role and responsibility to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

 

The main party candidates are:

 

Cape Breton Sydney-Victoria – 

 

Conservative - Eddie Orrell

Green - Lois Foster

Liberal - Jaime Battiste

NDP - Jodi McDavid

 

Cape Breton-Canso

 

Conservative - Alfie MacLeod

Green - Clive Doucet

Liberal - Mike Kelloway

NDP - Laurie Suitor

CANADA AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS

 

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR FEDERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES,

CAPE BRETON CANSO & CAPE BRETON SYDNEY-VICTORIA

 

Background

 

In July 2017, 122 members of the United Nations General adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), popularly known as the Ban Treaty: a comprehensive prohibition of all nuclear weapons and related activities (developing, manufacturing, testing, etc.). The Treaty will enter into force after securing 50 ratifications: as of September 26, 79 states have signed and 31 states have ratified.

 

Opposition to the Treaty is limited to the nine nuclear-armed states (US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea); the 29 members of the world’s only nuclear-armed alliance, NATO; and America’s ‘nuclear umbrella allies’ in the Asia-Pacific (Japan, South Korea, Australia). For its part Canada followed a US instruction to NATO states to boycott the UN negotiations. The current government has ruled out signing the Treaty, claiming that nuclear weapons remain necessary for the defence and security of itself and its allies in the 21st century.

 

In 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with 531 partner organizations from 103 countries, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its leadership of efforts to ‘ban the Bomb,’ Survivors of the atomic bombings (hibakusha), as well as victims of  atomic testing on indigenous lands in North America, Europe, the Arctic and the Pacific, have played a prominent role in the ICAN movement, as has the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which in 2010 launched a ‘Humanitarian Initiative’ to highlight the intolerable impacts and costs of nuclear explosions.

 

In September 2017, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) unanimously called on Canada to sign the new Treaty. In December 2018, CBRM signed ICAN’s ‘Cities Appeal,’ again urging Canada to join, expressing deep concern “about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world,” and insisting “our residents have the right to live in a world free from this threat.” Since 2013, CBRM has been a member of Mayors for Peace (M4P), a global coalition of over 7,700 municipalities working to build a world free of nuclear weapons.

 

Note: Peace Quest Cape Breton, a non-partisan citizens’ group formed in 2001, is a member of the International Peace Bureau (IPB), a proud ICAN partner.

 

Questionnaire

 

1.    Do you believe the government of Canada should support or reject the new UN Treaty on             the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)?

 

2.    Since 2018, over 1,200 Parliamentarians from around the world, including 13 Canadian               Members of Parliament, have signed a ‘Parliamentary Pledge,’ issued by the International           Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), to “work for the signature and ratification [of         the TPNW] by our countries, as we consider the abolition of nuclear weapons to be a global         public good of the highest order and an essential step to promote the security and well-             being of all peoples." If you were elected, would you sign the Pledge?

 

3.   Canada is a member of NATO, the world’s only nuclear-armed alliance. As a participant in           NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group (NPG) it helps formulate Alliance war-plans, including                 the first use of nuclear weapons. Do you agree that NATO needs nuclear weapons for its             defence and security, and that it has the right to use them first if it chooses? Do you agree           other states or alliances are entitled to draw the same conclusion?

 

4.  Canada is also a member of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which                     mandates “good faith” negotiations on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Do you think               Canada is doing enough to fulfill its obligation to work for a nuclear-weapon-free world? If         not, what further actions and policies would you like to see Canada pursue?  

 

5.  In setting its famous ‘Doomsday Clock’ at two minutes to midnight, the Bulletin of the                   Atomic Scientists draws attention to the two gravest threats to human survival and the               health of the planet: nuclear weapons and climate change. As the Bulletin argues, and                 recent scientific studies have confirmed in grim detail, even a ‘limited’ nuclear war could             cause catastrophic and irreversible climate change, threatening billions with famine,                   freezing temperatures, and displacement. Do you agree that nuclear disarmament is a                 priority for humanity on par with reducing greenhouse gas emissions?   

OCTOBER 2019

 

PUNISHING THE PROPHETS:

PEACE QUEST CONDEMNS UNFAIR TRIAL AND UNJUST CONVICTION OF KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES SEVEN

 

Peace Quest Cape Breton condemns the unfair trial and unjust conviction of the Kings Pay Plowshares Seven, anti-nuclear pacifist activists found guilty on October 24 of three felonies and a misdemeanor for acts of ‘symbolic disarmament’ and ‘prophetic witness’ at the Trident nuclear submarine base in Kings Bay, Georgia. The Seven now face up to twenty years in prison: they will be sentenced in December or January.

 

Here are just some of the ‘crimes’ the Seven – Mark Colville (56), Clare Grady (60), Patrick O’Neill (62), Martha Hennessy (63), Fr. Steve Kelly (70), Liz McAlister (79) – ‘committed’ on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: placing crime tape across a nuclear warhead storage bunker; pouring bottles of their own blood on the ground; spray-painting slogans (‘Love one another, ‘May love disarm us all’); leaving a copy of Daniel Ellsberg’s The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (dedicated ‘To those who struggle for a human future’); and issuing a detailed indictment against Trident, “the world’s deadliest weapon.” The group’s Mission Statement concluded: “Nuclear weapons eviscerate the rule of law, enforce white supremacy, perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction, and ensure impunity for all manner of crimes against humanity. Dr. King said, ‘The ultimate logic of racism is genocide.’ We say, 'The ultimate logic of Trident is omnicide.'”

 

The trial, which took just four days, was unjust as crucial evidence and expert testimony, including from famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and prominent Catholic theologians, was disallowed. As Bill Quigley, the Seven’s attorney, said after the verdict, “the jury”  - which raced to its verdict in two hours – was “not allowed to hear” that the Trident submarines at the base “have 3,800 times as much destructive power as the weapons that were used on Hiroshima, enough power to destroy life on Earth as we know it.” “After two years of prayer and action and practice,” Quigley told supporters and media, “they came together and took action to go onto King’s Bay and preach the word of love, preach the word of life, preach the word of peace, and they are paying a huge price for that”.

 

Peace Quest Campaign Coordinator Sean Howard commented: “Because of the blinkers placed on the jury, they could not see that the federal laws the Seven admitted to breaking are lower and lesser than a body of international law identifying the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons as a crime against humanity – as well as the divine law calling them as Christians to defend the Creation.” “One day,” Peace Quest member Lee-Anne Broadhead warned, “we may all pay a huge price for failing to heed the words of the Seven or understand their non-violent resistance to the world’s most violent weapons. But they have inspired many people, including ourselves, to raise their case and argue their Cause: the Cause, no less, of Life on Earth.” 

 

Peace Quest will continue to stand in solidarity with the Seven and their supporters in the United States and around the world. One of the group, Father Kelly, has been incarcerated since the Action; though they others are at liberty pending sentencing, all were jailed for weeks after their arrest, and until a few weeks ago, three (Colville, Kelly, and McAlister) remained behind bars, with the other four ‘e-carcerated’ – wearing ankle-monitors – under strict conditions. None should serve a day in jail: all should be called as expert witnesses in defence of humanity against nuclear weapons, the real evil we need to place on trial.

 

Note

 

On October 25, Peace Quest launched its inaugural White Poppy campaign at a well-attended event at Cape Breton University: all proceeds will be donated the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven support fund (https://www.gofundme.com/f/xaajdf-kings-bay-plowshares-support-fund).

 

To request a white poppy, please contact Sean Howard at seanjameshoward@gmail.com