VOW Resolutions 50th Anniversary Conference and Meeting
November 12-14, 2010 Toronto
1)White Poppy Resolution
Be it resolved that:
VOW applaud the individual VOW members, including Muriel Duckworth and Marya Nyland, who over the years have been wearing a white poppy on Remembrance Day for its symbolism of categorical rejection of war;
VOW initiate a peace-making dialogue with the Canadian Legion locally and at the most senior levels to address the seeming conflict that has developed between them and the people associated with the white poppy, listening to their concerns about trademark infringement, sharing the history of the white poppy campaign, and the common links to John McRae’s poem, and working toward an understanding in which the white poppy (as a symbol of peace and the repudiation of war as a option in conflict resolution) and the red poppy (as a symbol of remembrance for the sacrifices made in war) can share a common path, toward the end of warfare.
That the members (perhaps called the White Poppy committee) who undertake this initiative report back to the board and the VOW membership on their efforts, with an action plan for Remembrance Day, 2011, and defining the ongoing role of VOW and the white poppy in these November 11th Events.
Moved by: Heather Menzies
Seconded by: Diane McIntyre
2)Resolution: The Delegitimization of War
Whereas: military wars have directly or indirectly caused unconscionable suffering and/or death for millions of men, women, and other species; and
Whereas: military emissions form an unnecessary part of the world’s CO2 count, by adding to its rise, which threatens to eliminate one sixth of its human population, and up to three quarters of its ecosystems,
Be It Resolved that: The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace renews its call for the immediate delegitimization of all violent conflict and international war, by urging the federal government of Canada to support the goals of the UN Charter by embedding this policy in all of its practices, and furthermore, to urge all nation states to adopt these same policies and practices as soon as possible.
Moved by: Barbara Falby Seconded by: Elizabeth Raymer
3)VOW Resolution Calling for a Royal Commission on Representative Democracy
Whereas democratic dialogue within Parliament is being replaced by the management of public perception often following secret negotiations which profoundly impact the lives of Canadians; And
Whereas more and more policy making is being concentrated into the office of the prime minister from which decisions such as extending Canada’s role in Afghanistan emerge by-passing Parliament; And
Whereas debilitating cutbacks to public broadcasting in the presence of private broadcasting biased toward corporate culture produce a discourse in which unemployment and indebtedness are represented as individual responsibilities and personal failings, not social conditions created by public policy, which they are.
Be it resolved that the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace call for a Royal Commission on Representative Democracy in Canada to shed light on the shutting down of democratic dialogue and the current constitutional process for adopting and ratifying international agreements and to outline a structure for representative democracy which embodies both the majority and minority views of Canadian citizens.
Moved by: Brigid Grant Seconded by: Anna Snyder
4) VOW Resolution on Military Spending
Whereas militarization is a cause of trafficking and violence against women;
Whereas, the Department of National Defence budget has doubled from $10 billion in 2004 to over $20 billion in 2010;
Whereas, the federal government plans to spend $490 billion on National Defence over the next 20 years as stated in the Canada First Defence Strategy;
Whereas the federal government spent approximately $22 billion on the combat mission in Afghanistan;
Whereas public safety preparedness budget is $10 billion;
Whereas the Government of Canada plans to buy 65 fighter jets for at least $16 billion;
Whereas there are more pressing social and environmental needs as outlined in the Voice of Women’s 50th Anniversary Statement including but not limited to reduce and eventually eliminate poverty, and re-direct to affordable housing, climate change, child care, education and healthcare; and
Be it resolved that the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls upon the federal government to re- direct the National Defence military spending to fund social and environmental needs particularly in this time of deep economic recession. Therefore, we resolve to make the re-direction of military spending and military economic conversion a priority for VOW.
Moved by: Brigid Grant Seconded by: Tamara Lorincz
5) Resolution on Sisters in Spirit
Whereas, it is our understanding that the Conservative government opposes the use of the name Sisters in Spirit and any work on a groundbreaking database on murdered and missing Aboriginal women cases, and this is impacting any future funding the Native Women’s Association of Canada expects to receive for new projects on the issue.
And whereas, Status of Women Canada officials said the rules for the funding’s source program prevented the use of government money for research and policy work and have asked that funding proposals not include the name Sisters in Spirit or any plans to use the money for the database.
We are outraged by this marginalization of the experience and needs of indigenous women.
Be it resolved that VOW direct the board to take steps to express our support for the Native Women’s Action of Canada’s right to the use of the term ‘Sisters in Spirit’ and in support of access to the necessary funding needed for this very important program.
Moved by: Lyn Adamson
Seconded by: Diane MacIntyre
6)Resolution on Peace History Legacy Project
As Canada’s longest serving women’s group working for peace, this 50th anniversary year of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW ) is deserving of the launch of an undertaking to highlight its long history. To date, there is only a partial academic record – two Ph.D’s on its early years – and a wealth of archival material deposited regularly in the National Archives of Canada. As a permanent contribution to peace education and the important leadership role of non-governmental organizations within it, we propose to highlight the history of our prominent Canadian women’s organization. A book, published by the Feminist History Society, will be the tangible product.
A coordinating team of academics, historians and VOW members will be a statement to determine the content, engage, writers and solicit funds. At a recent Canadian national conference focused on women’s history , a call was made to indicate interest in participating in such a team. The response was immediate and positive. Among our own membership there are already many offers of assistance – Christine Ball, Marie Hammond Callaghan, Linda Fitzgibbon, Rose Fine-Meyer, Janis Alton.
Therefore, be it resolved that to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, we immediately initiate a legacy project to set down the highlights of the history of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.
Moved by: Janis Alton Seconded by: Rose Fine-Meyer
8) Climate Change Resolution
Whereas the Canadian government has received both the fossil and the colossal fossil award for obstructing the negotiating process at UNFCCC and Conference of the Parties on the UNFCCC.
Whereas the Canadian government ‘s policy on climate change violates international principles and norms
Whereas the Canadian government does not represent the concern, of the majority of Canadians, about the urgency of addressing climate change,
Whereas the Bolivian government organized a peoples conference, on climate change, in Cochabamba,
Whereas this conference, which was attended by 35,000 climate justice activists and indigenous peoples and some government officials,
Whereas among many provisions of the Peoples Agreement related to militarism, and to the moral imperative to keep the rise in temperature below 1 degree and for the parts per million of greenhouse gases to 300 parts per million
Be it resolved that VOW join other groups in lobbying the Canadian Government to adopt the Peoples Agreement as Canadian policy to be advanced at the Conference in Cancun
Be it resolved that if the Canadian government fails to adopt the Agreement then VOW will join other groups in calling to prevent the Prime Minister and Canadian government officials from attending the conference in Cancun.
Moved by: Joan Russow Seconded by: Barbara Falby
9) Resolution on Skill Building for Peace
PURPOSE: Proposal to VOW 50th Anniversary Conference AGM planting seeds for our next 50 years of growing cycles which will nurture and energize implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 around Canada by forming a VOW Committee to catalyze local skill-building in peace-building to support women’s, especially young women’s, participation AND leadership in sustainability and peace-building.
Draft plans to include:
1. Exploring potential partnerships (and document these explorations) with existing initiatives:
• Roots of Empathy program by Mary Gordon fostering empathy, emotional literacy and bully prevention, preschool through high school,
• Public Health,
• Peace Education Programs in educational institutions, religious groups, unions and workplaces,
• UN Associations and Model UN programs in high schools and post-secondary institutions,
• Nonviolent Peaceforce-Canada, and
• Other Environmental, Human Rights, Women’s and Peace Groups.
2. Organizing a network of Mentors, local and travelling, VOW (and other women who have made their voices heard for peace) as speakers, presenters, consultants, artists, publicists, fund-raisers,organizers and facilitators, and help link Mentors with local needs by publicizing them through the VOW newsletter and website and other means.
3. Disseminate stories and films, etc., of the above efforts through the VOW newsletter and website, encouraging circles of interaction and networks of sharing learning from these actions in the wider world.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT VOW set up a committee for developing this program and that we seek funding to support these activities and to create a legacy through them.
Moved by: Madelyn MacKay
Seconded by: Lyn Adamson
10) VOW Resolution Opposition to Police Violence and Police State
Whereas state-sanctioned police violence is, for the purposes of this resolution, defined as civil, political, labour and human rights violations committed by police with impunity.
Whereas the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace opposes war and militarism;
Whereas police commit state-sanctioned acts of violence routinely and systemically on the poor, racialized, Aboriginal, Inuit, Metis, transgender, nonviolent protestors, sex workers, queer and disabled sisters and brothers;
Be it resolved that the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace opposes police violence and calls for an end to the silencing of survivors of this violence.
Be it resolved that VOW condemns the political, civil, labour and human rights violations committed against prisoners and detainees.
Moved by: Maria Kasstan
Seconded by: Dyan Bottcher
11) Resolution Public Inquiry for G20 summit
Be it resolved, that VOW joined the call for a public inquiry into policing of the nonviolent protests at the G20.
Moved by: Lyn Adamson
Seconded by: Jaikaran
12) Resolution on Climate Change and Military Emissions
In 2007. At the UN VOW worked with the UN NGO peace caucus and the anti-militarism caucus calling upon the IPCC to examine the contribution of militarism to greenhouse gas emissions and they presented the declaration to Dr. Pachauii, chair of the IPCC;
Whereas, national figures for CO2 emissions omit military emissions; and
Whereas military emissions must be included in national emissions totals for accuracy;
Therefore be it resolved that this meeting urge government of Canada’s permanent representative to the UN demand the UN Security Council to amend the UN Framework Climate Convention on Climate Change by mandating reporting of all military emissions.
Moved by: Barbara Falby Seconded by: Tamara Lorincz
Canadian voice of women for peace
Resolutions of general meeting, april 26, 2009
1. White Poppy Campaign
Moved by: Heather Menzies. Seconded by: Jan Slakov (proxy). Adopted. With questions and concerns about working with and respecting existing ongoing initiatives around the white poppy.
l British war widows, with the backing of the Women’s Cooperative Guild, inaugurated the first White Poppy Campaign in 1933 in response to the loss of husbands and other family members in the bloodbath of World War I;
l the white poppy symbolized their belief that fighting and killing are counterproductive to resolving conflict and promoting peace;
l the nature of war today is actively poisoning and destroying the capacity for peace, equilibrium and non-violent conflict resolution within society;
l And, there is a need for individuals, communities, nations and governments to increase their commitment to the goals of the UN International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Voice of Women for Peace take the lead in renewing the White Poppy Campaign in Canada;
Be it further resolved that the Voice of Women for Peace endeavour to link the White Poppy to the date September 21st and efforts to make this an annual Peace Day much as November 11th is honoured as Remembrance Day;
And be it further resolved that the Voice of Women for Peace work with other organizations that have taken initiatives around an annual Peace Day, and liaise with peace groups, Veterans, and other organizations such as the Canadian Legion with a view to promoting mutual support and respect.
2. Abolishing Nuclear Weapons
Moved by: Phyllis Creighton seconded by Brigid Grant. Adopted.
- The founding vision of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace is a world without war — a just world at peace;
- There are still at least 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world (equal to 200,000 Hiroshima bombs);
- Nuclear arsenals consume huge sums while the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (such as ending poverty, educating girl children, and securing the health and well-being of women and children) remain badly underfunded;
- At least 2000 US/Russian missiles are on high alert, ready to be launched deliberately or accidentally, doubtless some targeted on Canadian cities;
- Nuclear Weapons States, and in particular NATO (France, the UK, the US), have first-strike nuclear policies and plan to modernize their arsenals with new weapons and delivery systems as well as to retain them indefinitely;
- Nuclear weapons, as indiscriminate, are intrinsically immoral, capable of creating a fiery hell on Earth, as they did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945;
- Nuclear arsenals risk human extinction: we are setting up “Genesis in reverse,” Jonathan Schell warns;
- The abolition of nuclear weapons is the irreducible requirement for human survival and we must fast track securing it;
- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and its Canadian affiliate, Physicians for Global Survival (PGS), are engaged in an International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with a petition on line (www.icanw.org);
- Mayors for Peace, with 2,422 member cities in 131 countries and regions has a plan of action to achieve the MfP 2020 Vision – abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020 – by cities and mayors promoting a Nagasaki-Hiroshima protocol complementary to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Therefore be it resolved that the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and its members commit themselves again to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons by increasing public awareness and demand for abolition; and pressing the Government of Canada, mayors of our cities, as well as the United Nations and other countries as opportunities arise, to take the required initiatives, in particular the organization of an international conference to achieve a ban by treaty that will establish a nuclear-weapons-free world for our grandchildren.
3. De-legitimization of War
Moved for Re-affirmation*: by Janis Alton seconded by Janet Eaton (proxy). Adopted.
* Originally adopted by the membership in 2004 during VOW GM.
VOW calls both for the de-legitimization of inter-state war and for the Canadian government to embed this into its policy infrastructure and practices, and lobby organizations like the UN to support this policy.
The burden of the resort to war is now borne by all of humanity; the inability of the international community to accomplish nuclear disarmament; the rise of the doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence; the threat of imperial ambitions; the escalating disregard of the rule of international law; the contradiction between state sanctioned resort to war as a way of solving international disputes and the universality of human rights; the appalling gap between monies devoted to military “security” and other sectors devoted to non-military human security and, the historically unprecedented human and environmental costs of war which raged in the last century and sadly, continues. All of these matters, and more, starkly condemn war as grossly immoral, perverse and risking omnicide. Canadian Voice of Women for Peace demand that war like slavery, colonialism and apartheid, be consigned to the scrap heap of history by its de-legitimization, domestically and internationally.
Be it Resolved that Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls for:
- 1. the government of Canada to take the necessary steps to embed this policy into national infrastructure and practice as soon as possible within this Decade of a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World ( 2000-2010);
- 2. the government of Canada to seek changes within the international system, including the United Nations system, to fully support this policy.
Be it further resolved that because the survival of the human species is in question, VOW should work hard for the total de-legitimization of inter-state war (Ann Gertler)
4. Banning the exploration for, mining of and export of Canadian uranium
Written by Donna Smythe. Redrafted by Alexa McDonough. Adopted.
Be it resolved that Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls upon provincial governments to legislate an immediate ban on both the exploration for and mining of uranium; and further calls upon the federal government to legislate a ban on the export of Canadian uranium, and to institute a fair and just transition for workers affected by the ban.
5. CANSEC War Fair Resolution from Ottawa
Moved by Margaret Tyson seconded by Diane McIntyre. Adopted.
l the City of Ottawa (the “City”) has a 1989 By- Law forbidding weapons shows on city property (the “By-Law”);
l the City management and the mayor, in spite of the 20 year old By-Law, have given permission for a Cansec War Fair at the City-owned Lansdowne Park on May 27 – 28, 2009;
Be it resolved that The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, in concert with many Ottawa residents, recommends that the City adhere to the By-Law forbidding weapons shows on City property.
6A. Emergency Resolution About Nuclear Reactors in Ontario
Moved by Shirley Farlinger seconded by Lynn Adamson. Adopted.
l the government of Ontario has declared its intention to build two more nuclear reactors in Ontario;
l the decision to sign a contract with a nuclear power company is said to be made on or before June, 2009;
l the estimated cost is $26 billion, probably a low estimate of the actual cost and will undermine funding for green energy;
l the nuclear industry is allowed capital cost overruns that are [going to be ]passed on to the public as electricity consumers or tax-payers;
l Ontario’s wind power potential is more than 10 times greater than Ontario’s total electricity consumption;
l the development of alternative and green energy programs can be put in place long before the nuclear plants could be operational;
l the fate of the CANDU industry rests on the contracts to be signed soon and this success will lead to CANDU nuclear power plant exports to other countries undermining their alternative energy development;
l the health effects of nuclear reactors have never been properly recognized even as cancer rates continue to rise;
l women, children and fetuses have been most adversely affected by the whole uranium nuclear power system and women have shown the least approval for such development;
Therefore be it resolved that the Ontario government enact a Nuclear Cost Accountability Act to prevent the cost overruns being passed on to ratepayers and taxpayers;
And be it further resolved that the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace urge the government of Ontario not to proceed with any refurbishment of existing reactors and any new nuclear power plant contracts and construction;
And be it further resolved that energy efficiency and conservation be in the forefront of electricity policy as well as safe, and environmentally sound and sustainable renewable energy.
6B Canada – a nuclear-free zone
Moved by Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg seconded by Lyn Adamson. Resolution adopted.
Be it resolved that Canada be declared a nuclear free zone and that Canada not build any new nuclear reactors anywhere in Canada or export to other countries.
7. Medical Isotopes and Uranium
Moved by Nancy Covington Seconded by Barbara Birkett. Adopted.
l medical isotopes in Canada are produced in an aging facility at Chalk River, a facility which has been plagued by leaks, the firing of the Head of the Regulatory Agency and is due for shut-down in 2011, with a possible extension to 2016;
l the company MDS Nordicon, which manufactures medical isotopes and uses weapons-grade uranium (Highly Enriched Uranium “HEU”) as its source material;
l HEU is the type of uranium that people are concerned about, as it can be diverted into bombs;
l Canada’s reactor is reaching its age limit, and Canada will be forced to figure out whether it wants to build another reactor or explore other means of producing medical isotopes as well as looking at alternatives;
l a new method from Triumf laboratories avoids the problems inherent in current medical isotope production methods [in] by using an electron accelerator instead of a nuclear re[a]ctor (Triumf’s Thomas Ruth’s article in “Nature”, Vol 457/29 January 2009.
Therefore be it resolved that
- 1. any new isotope facility, if a nuclear reactor, must use Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) as the source material rather than HEU, as is currently the case;
- 3. that health care professionals [use] non-ionizing and non-reactor based ionizing radiation imaging technologies; and also explore the feasibility of avoiding ionizing radiation altogether, or utilizing non-reactor isotopes.
8. RESOLUTION ON GAZA AND ISRAEL-PALESTINE
Moved and seconded by Anet Hendrickson, Hannah Hadikein and Lynn Adamson. Adopted.
l historically VOW has always worked for peaceful resolution of conflicts;
l VOW has always worked for adherence to international laws and conventions,
We therefore call on the international community to fulfill their obligations to ensure that international laws and conventions are implemented in Israel and Palestine;
l VOW has promoted direct links with people suffering under military occupation;
l VOW has endorsed UN resolution 1325, and resolution 1820 to protect women in conflict situations;
l in the recent assault on Gaza, civilians, women and children were targeted, and civilian and UN infrastructure were targeted, causing the deaths of over 430 children and enormous suffering for civilians in Gaza;
l the UNRWA and international relief agencies state that there is a stranglehold on relief efforts in the post-war period, and whereas this siege is having devastating effects on the people of Gaza,
l the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel has called for the siege of Gaza to be lifted.
l the Gaza crisis has its roots in the occupation of Palestine and the violence that surrounds the conflict on all sides.
Therefore be it resolved that VOW:
1 Call for an immediate end to the siege in Gaza;
2 Support the international campaign to send aid and peacebuilding delegations to Gaza
3 Encourage VOW members to participate in delegations to Palestine and Israel in support of victims and peacebuilding
4 Call for an end to the occupation of Gaza and West Bank
5 Call for an end to violence and for pursuit of mutual security from all sides
6 Support collaborative initiatives with Israeli peace groups
7 Acknowledge and support grassroot level organizations, civil society organizations and individuals that are working hard towards peace and harmony to end the conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian communities
9. NS VOW Resolution passed at Spring Meeting March 29, 2009
Moved and seconded by NS VOW. Adopted.
Whereas a not for profit organization needs to have documented governance processes and structure in place to enable the functioning of board and staff
Therefore be it resolved that the National Board in conjunction with its membership, develop, adopt and implement the following:
A code of conduct for individual board members and staff;
Guidelines for ethical behaviour;
A conflict of interest policy;
An oath of confidentiality for board members and staff;
A feminist, non-hierarchical process for resolving differences within all levels of the organization;
Guidelines for vetting groups wishing to affiliate wit VOW or use VOW accreditation
And be it further resolved that grassroots activities have historically been the basis for success of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and that the autonomy of Chapters as described in article 16 of the By-Laws be affirmed and maintained.
10. Resolution from Members of Wolfville and Valley Voices of Women for Peace, Earth & Justice combined with ON VOW
Moved and seconded by Peggy Hope-Simpson, Macha MacKay, Gertrude Bishop, Carol Harris, Emily Levy Purdy. Adopted.
l Groups of women localized throughout the provinces and territories may have individual and localized interests within the VOW mandate
l Travelling long distances to capital cities is a stress on the local, national and world environment
l Localized groups may have valid reasons to apply for money to further localized aims within the mandate of National VOW
l Provincial Chapters membership appear to be on the decline
l Local groups form important bonds and opportunities for women
Therefore, be it resolved that the incoming VOW Board of April 2009 make it a priority to review current practices with respect to the collection and distribution of membership fees and the formation of new local chapters or groups.