Berkeley 2002 Resolution Sweeps Through Canada
by : Leuren Moret
Saturday May 28, 2005 - 16:27
CITIZENS FORCE CANADIAN REJECTION OF BUSH’S NMD CAUSES CRISIS IN CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
By Leuren Moret
Community Environmental Advisory Commission*
Berkeley is the only city in the United States with its own Foreign Policy
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin survived a razor-thin vote of confidence on May 17, 2005, when the House of Commons voted 152-152 on a confidence vote which put his minority government in peril (1). It survived by a single vote when the Parliament speaker gave the minority government its one-vote victory. “It is the first time in Canadian history that a speaker has broken a tie on a confidence vote”(1). Martin said after the vote: “The margin of tonight’s vote is very narrow - indeed that is an understatement.” (1)
A few months earlier, Canadian citizens opposed to a secret National Missile Defense (NMD) agreement between Prime Minister Paul Martin and President George Bush, forced Martin to reverse the agreement contributing to a crisis in his minority government. After the Berkeley City Council had passed a resolution in 2002, “ENDORSING THE SPACE PRESERVATION ACT AND COMPANION SPACE PRESERVATION TREATY TO PERMANENTLY BAN THE WEAPONIZATION OF SPACE” (2), the historic resolution swept through cities in Canada and helped gather thousands of signatures opposing Canada joining NMD. When citizens appeared in the Canadian Parliament with piles of paper covered with thousands of signatures, Martin was forced to reverse his secret agreement with Bush and the Canadian government rejected NMD.
For several years I had wanted to personally thank the Mayor of Bowen Island, the first municipality in the world to adopt the Berkeley resolution. In the summer of 2002, with the help of Vancouver lawyer Alfred Webre Jr., we created the space preservation resolution (2), which was introduced by Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring, and passed by the Berkeley City Council on September 10, 2002. The resolution was inspired when I read the language of the bill and the “definitions” of weapons intended for space as described in HR 2977 (3), the “Space Preservation Act of 2001”, introduced by Congressman Dennis Kucinich:
SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS. - Inflicting death or injury on, or damaging or destroying, a person (or the biological life, bodily health, mental health, or physical and economic well-being of a person)- - directing a source of energy (including molecular or atomic energy, subatomic particle beams, electromagnetic radiation, plasma, or extremely low frequency (ELF) or ultra low frequency (ULF) energy radiation) against that object [individual or targeted populations]; - through the use of land-based, sea-based, or space-based systems using radiation, electromagnetic, psychotronic, sonic, laser, or other energies directed at individual persons or targeted populations for the purpose of information war, mood management, or mind control of such persons or populations; (3)
When I seemed incredulous that these weapons were even possible to develop, Kucinich, a member of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, assured me that these weapons exist and “those people who control them are deadly serious and intend to use them if we don’t stop the weaponization of space...”. That was the moment when I decided to do something about stopping it. I had no idea what to do and it seemed overwhelming but the idea of a resolution seemed like a good first step.
Just a month ago, in early April I was traveling by bus to Vancouver to meet with Lisa Barrett, the Mayor of Bowen Island. Sitting on the bus from Seattle and reading a pile of Canadian newspapers, I was alarmed to learn that right on the heels of the NMD fiasco, Martin’s Liberal Party government was embroiled in a corruption scandal. The opposition insisted he no longer had enough support to govern, which threatened a government crisis (1). I was unaware of the impact the Berkeley resolution had on the Canadian decision to reject NMD, and how it tied into the minority government crisis. But a few days later during my visit to Bowen Island, I discovered just what role the Berkeley resolution had played in Canadian Foreign Policy.
On Sunday, April 10, 2005, Alfred Webre Jr., his vibrant wife Geri, and I traveled by ferry from Vancouver to meet and thank Bowen Island Mayor Lisa Barrett. The ferry trip was beautiful through the mists of the inland passage and deep fjords of British Columbia (BC), and I was especially excited to finally meet Mayor Barrett. Bowen Island is a town much like Berkeley, with an interesting mixture of writers, artists, musicians, lots of bicycles, and a progressive flavor to the political landscape. We met in an art gallery where a local artist was having an exhibit, and together we nibbled on the artist’s homemade gingerbread cookies while mingling with citizens and artists. I even talked physics with another city council member.
A tall slim blonde and young mother, Mayor Barrett was very pleased to hear that Berkeley had adopted the Kyoto Protocol (4). She pointed out that even though the Canadian government had already signed on, it was still necessary that locally, towns like Bowan Island must also make efforts to meet the standards. She firmly stated it is even more important for cities like Berkeley to act when the US government refuses to be a signator to the Kyoto protocol. It was energizing and exciting to know that, even though we are on different sides of the border, citizens of Canada and the United States can work together, and that our collective impact leads to positive change. We can learn from each other by implementing and sharing our ideas on issues such as energy choices, divesting pension funds from weapons manufacturers, stopping the US Navy from shooting depleted uranium weaponry in US and Canadian coastal waters, and sharing information about the spider web relationships between US and Canadian corporations. She told us that the US Navy is shooting depleted uranium weapons into the waters around Nanaimo, poisoning their fisheries just as they did around Seattle and in California. Lockheed Martin Marietta has bought a controlling interest in the ferry systems of BC, privatizing an essential public transportation system - and raising the cost of the services.
The very next day, during an interview Afred and I had on CO-OP radio CFRO 102.7 FM (5) in Vancouver with Gail Davidson, co-founder of Lawyers Against War (6), we discussed the extent of Canadian government pension fund investments in US weapons manufacturers and the Carlyle Group (the Bushes, Bin Ladens etc.). Gail exposed BC pension fund (British Columbia Investment Management Corp. - BCIMC) and local Vancouver city pension fund investments and involvement in US corporations and weapons manufacturers. This interview helped Vancouver listeners focus on the issue, which quickly became a push for pension fund weapons divestment as part of their main election this month, driven by the labor unions. As of March 31, 2004, investments were estimated to be $4.6 billion in 251 companies that provide goods and services to the US Department of Defense or are otherwise involved in military production (7). Missiles (17 kinds), bombs (16 types), and bullets (300-500 million per year by SNC-Lavalin alone) are produced for the US Armed Forces by Canadian corporations (7).
Vancouver antiwar activists said in an April 26 letter (7) to NDP leader Carole James “What this means is that every nurse, physiotherapist, floor cleaner, and pharmacist in every hospital in the B.C. health care system, every kindergarten teacher, college instructor and university professor, every city worker, garbage collector, computer programmer, firefighter, ferry worker, B.C. transit driver, ICBC employee, B.C. Hydro worker - in fact, virtually every municipal and provincial public sector employee - is involuntarily supporting the US invasion and occupation, because of decisions taken behind closed doors by the BCIMC.”
US war crimes and the use of illegal weapons such as depleted uranium (8) was also a top concern. Gail described how she had filed a lawsuit against Bush in a Vancouver court (6). This action discouraged and impacted his visit to Canada, and he did not visit the Canadian Parliament nor make any public appearances except in a small town in eastern Canada - for a photo op with the media. She was a party to a second lawsuit filed in Germany charging Rumsfeld with war crimes, preventing Rumsfeld from visiting Europe in February 2005 with Bush and Rice (6).
This trip to Canada made me realize that the need for citizen oversight and participation in local government is greater than ever before. Many things that we see happening locally such as election fraud are actually broader trends, the result of global corporatization and militarization. The vast looting of pension funds began about 8 years ago and will continue until we stop it. Enron was just the beginning and CalPERS, the California state government workers pension fund, is in the crosshairs now for privatization and looting. The extent of pension fund investment in the US military industrial complex is shocking. We are actually unknowingly supporting and benefiting from wars we oppose. Divesting from weapons of death takes the profit out of war. Subtle implementation of police state policies - such as RFID tags in the Berkeley library - must be stopped. There are many things that can be done locally and through “cross fertilization” of ideas across borders. We are the only ones who can make this happen... and it can start with something as simple as a Berkeley resolution, Canadian paper ballots, and a determined citizen lawyer.
1. “Canada’s Minority Government Survives Vote” by B. Duff-Brown, AP, May 19, 2005.
2. “The Berkeley Space Resolution Story” by Leuren Moret , Institute for Cooperation in Space, September 26, 2002.
3. HR 2977 (2001)
5. CO-OP Radio CFRO 102.7 FM:
6. “Are Bush and co. war criminals? Some lawyers claim the US is guilty of crimes against humanity” by C. Smith, Georgia Straight, April 7-14, 2005.
7. “Carr Raps War Stocks” by C. Smith, Georgia Straight, May 12-18, 2005.
8. “What is depleted uranium?” by L. Smith and N. Diebenow, Lone Star Iconoclast, May 11, 2005.
“A scientific perspective: Interview with Leuren Moret”
“A military perspective: Interview with Major D. Rokke PhD”
“A survivor’s perspective: Interview with Melissa Sterry”
* (for identification purposes)
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