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President's corner

Greetings of the Season — for Peace among Nations and the Betterment of the Human Condition

Report to the Board Dec. 9, 1986

A lead article in the Toronto Star a week ago stated: “Canadians appear poised for a debate on nuclear weapons and their country’s involvement in their use and development.”

The Star cited the resolutions passed by the Liberal Party convention opposing cruise missile testing and approving making Canada a nuclear weapons free zone. Your executive sent a telegram to Joe Clark urging that consideration be given the suspension of cruise missile testing as a response to the decision of the Reagan administration to be no longer bound by the restraints of SALT II. No reply has been received, but Clark, in commenting on the Liberal Party resolution in the House of Commons, made it clear that the present Canadian government will continue cruise missile testing.

The Star editorial also pointed to the resolution of the Ontario Legislature declaring Ontario a nuclear weapons free zone and to the extraordinary True North Strong and Free? Conference in Edmonton. This conference likewise passed resolutions against cruise missile testing as well as urging consideration be given our alliance commitments and to the Canadian government’s limited endorsement of the Star Wars program through private enterprise. At this conference I received a standing ovation when I came out for leaving NORAD or putting it under proper civilian control and insisting that the political implications of Canadians’ involvement in nuclear strategy be more fully and openly examined so that there should be no incineration without representation.

I repeated the same arguments at a private consultation called by Defence Minister Perrin Beatty. I did not derive an impression from the consultations that his White Paper on Defence, which is supposed to be ready this spring, would reflect any “new thinking” on security.

Following consultation with Paul LeBlond and several of our associate research directors, I wrote to Mel Hurtig in Edmonton about the possibility of having a joint conference with the Council for Canadians next year. I received an enthusiastic reply followed up by a telephone call this morning from Edmonton confirming that the Council was definitely interested in a conference on the Arctic next Fall with Science for Peace and Lawyers for Social Responsibility. The Council wants to think about a conference that would include participation by Arctic rim countries to be held in Yellowknife.

Among the new members of the CIIPS board is SfP member Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, head of the department of sociology at the University of Montreal. Prof. Vaillancourt was a founding member of the Quebec Chapter of Science for Peace.

— George Ignatieff

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