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Dec. 9 Forum & Teach-in

On December 9, 2001, Science for Peace held a Forum and Teach-in entitled “How Should Canada Respond to Terrorism and War”. Over 250 people attended this all-day event. Many of the presentations were discussed throughout North America on the internet. Furthermore, the talk given by Prof. John McMurtry entitled “Why is therea War in Afghanistan?” produced commentaries in the Wall Street Journal in the U.S. and in the Globe and Mail. In the latter case, as we have come to expect from Canadian journalism,Margaret Wente attacked Dr. McMurtry personally, offering no evidence or argument to support her position.

Four excellent workshops followed Dr. McMurtry’s presentation, entitled: “The UN & International Legal Responsibilities”, “Civil Liberties and the Anti-Terrorism Bill (C36)”, “Refugee & Human Rights — the Humanitarian Response”, and “Mid-East Dynamics & Solutions”. All of these sessions were extremely dynamic and many resulted in declarations or resolutions which were sent to the Canadian Government.

In the plenary session, entitled “Canada’s Role: What Ought It To Be & Who Decides?”, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Aileen Carroll, Prof. Ursula Franklin and Prof. Michael Mandel discussed Canada’s response to the U.S-declared “War on Terrorism”. Here Aileen Carroll defended the government’s new legislation and participation in the war against Afghanistan. In response Dr. Mandel examined the illegality of this action and further addressed some of the root causes of this conflict. Finally, Ursula Franklin addressed the lack of any sort of democratic process in these recent decisions. I leave you with the conclusion of Dr. Ursula Franklin:

“So there is a range of individual responses that we, as Canadian citizens, can develop and strengthen. But there are no two ways about our collective responsibility. As a sovereign nation, Canada, even in the face of terrorism and war, can respond only by using means that are legal, peace-building, open, and reciprocal. “

I point out to Science for Peace members that the full transcriptsfor the December 9 forum are on the Science for Peace website.

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