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NWFZ Up for November debate

Marjorie Elston — November 1983

If you want to support the private member’s resolution declaring Ontario a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone you should contact your MPP directly and request that he or she vote in favour of the resolution when it comes before the Ontario legislature in November. This is the advice of Richard Johnston, MPP for Scarborough West who introduced the resolution last April 19.

This type of “friendly” lobby, Johnston feels, is the best way to ensure that the issue will be treated in a non-partisan manner t and that MPPs from all three parties will support the principle that Ontario should .be a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.

Although he remains firmly committed to the resolution, Johnston will withdraw it on November I, and Richard Alien, MPP for Hamilton West, will re-introduce it on the same day. This procedure will enable the issue to be debated much sooner, since Alien’s allotted time in private member’s hour is scheduled much earlier than Johnston’s. (The scheduling of private member’s bills and resolutions is done by lottery, with MPPs drawing names out of a hat.)

Adoption of the resolution would have tremendous significance for the nuclear disarmament movement. However, a resolution cannot become law or legislation.

It is simply a principle which the MPP who submits it wishes the government to endorse.

Support for the resolution has snowballed since it was presented on April 19th, says Johnston. There are now about 380 people from across the province working to gather support for its adoption by distributing petitions. Johnston’s office also publishes a newsletter on the resolution.

“We should have about 20,000 signatures by the end of October,” Johnston says. Signatures have come from across Ontario, and Johnston plans to sort them by riding and to present them to the appropriate MPPs as part of his lobby.

Johnston is planning events in November to lead up to November 24th when the resolution will be debated. Tentative plans include speakers and the showing of two films, Dark Circle and If You Love This Planet, to the MPPs. Watch The Peace Calendar for information on further developments.