April 9th was a Pan-Canadian day of action against war. It was called by the Canadian Peace Alliance and the Collectif Echec a la guerre. In Ottawa, In Canada's capital, it was organized by the Ottawa Peace Assembly which is a city wide coalition of students, labour, faith, and community groups opposed to Canada's complicity in the so-called 'war on terrorism'.
The video publicizing this event simply asked 'Have you had enough?'
- Enough of attacks on free speech
- Enough war and militarism
- Enough corporate tax cuts
- Enough climate sabotage
- Enough fighter jets
- Enough poverty
- Enough impunity
- Enough Harper
- Enough lies.
Around 100 people turned out at the Human Rights Monument, where several people spoke out on the theme. The group weaved its way through town to the Market Area, handing out leaflets, singing songs of peace, with musical accompaniment of two drummers. Among the most vociferous speaker was Clayton Thomas-Iler, a native representing the Indigenous Environmental Network. He said:
'War is the ultimate terrorism....We need to stop military intervention and make war in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya an election issue.'
For me the most important human right is the right not to kill or be killed. After all the shameful slaughter of human beings over the centuries, the time has long come when we as homo sapiens need to turn a new direction in our lives. How about adopting a killing free world by means open to infinite human creativity, such as proposed by the new Center for Global Nonkilling? For Canada, the setting up of a Canadian Department of Peace, at the cabinet level, would be a good step in this direction.
With the Canadian federal election called for May 2nd, as concerned citizens, we all have a responsbility to ask our political candidates to respond to each of the issues raised by activists on the weekend. These issues are important for the health and survival of our society and the world community.
In a real democracy there is a place for honest discussion and the open sharing of information on programs that affect the quality of our lives. Every man, woman and children of any age deserves to be treated as a genuine and equal human being. Certainly we have a right to good health, education, housing, the opportunity to work for a decent-living wage, as well as clean environment.
Away with deadly fighter planes. Away with meddling in the affairs of other sovereign countries. Reduce the military industrial complex to a trickle. In 2009, the world spent more than $1.5 trillion on the military, with the United States responsible for over half of all the expenditures. Canada is the 13th highest spender in the world after more than a decade of yearly increases, and many more years of increases are planned. It's time to reduce military spending, and use the public resources to fund human needs. Let's get our own house in order and become an example of a fresh vision for a world without wars.
Let's get our political candidates to think and act on real human needs. If they refuse to do so, vote them out of office. Once elected, they must promise not to be adversaries, but to work cooperatively across the political spectrum to get things done. That is our way in making Parliament work as it should.