VOW in Ottawa – a Personal Reflection
Sandy Greenberg, VOW Board of Directors and Nova Scotia VOW Steering Committee
GETTING TO NUCLEAR ZERO: BUILDING COMMON SECURITY FOR A POST-MAD WORLD. “MAD” refers to “Mutually Assured Destruction”, which is a highly flawed theory which posits that having countries possess nuclear weapons deters their use. Being at the conference made me feel that VOW is not alone in our unwavering quest for freedom from the threat of nuclear weapons. I learned a huge amount about the many individuals and organizations, both between and within nations, both governmental and non-governmental, that have been researching, writing, networking, lobbying, educating, and cooperating in order to transform our world into one free of the threat of nuclear catastrophe. We were all there to promote our common humanity, which was suggested as an even better expression than common security.
VOW also had our own activities. The VOW AGM as well as the Public Panel , “Advancing Non-Violence Policy and Practice” on Sept. 24 were well organized and inspiring. We also watched “A Bold Peace” about Costa Rica’s abolition of their military, which we plan to screen across for country. After our events, several of us also got an update on Bill C-59 – the replacement for the C-51, the security bill that was passed under the Harper government, from Tim McSorley from the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG).
On September 25, several other VOW members attended the AGM of the VOW-affiliated group, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW), which I am told was an excellent meeting.
On September 26, we had the opportunity to visit several MPs to express three main peace priorities: urging Canada to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, expressing our concern about the increase in Canada’s military spending and reliance on “hard power”, and informing MPs that the current exemption of overseas military greenhouse gas emissions from accounting and reporting does not adequately protect the world’s population from catastrophic climate change.
It was also personally a privilege to accompany our Co-Chair, Janis Alton, to speak about women’s efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula during our visit with Ali Ehsassi, the MP from Willowdale, which has the largest Korean population of any riding in Canada. Janis is part of a women’s peace initiative that has visited both North and South Korea.