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Resolution fails: Ontario _not_ NWFZ

Marjorie Elston — December 1983

There was hissing in the public galleries when the Tories stood up to vote against the NWFZ resolution by 63 to 38. A coalition of the NDP caucus plus 16 Liberals failed to defeat the power of the Big Blue Machine, and the premier was absent for both the debate and vote on the resolution.

The main speaker to the resolution, Richard Allen, NDP MPP for Hamilton West, said the Ontario government should set a leadership example for other provinces and states, especially after so many municipalities in Canada had endorsed nuclear-free zones for their own communities.

“We must remember that the peace movement is bilateral, not multilateral,” Alien said, using as evidence the twelve arms limitation treaties signed in the past thirty years, none of which have been broken.

“The resolution must be passed as a step to saving our children, grandchildren and ourselves,” said John Sweeney, Liberal MPP for Kitchener- Wilmot.

Richard Johnston, NDP MPP for Scarborough West, who had originally presented the resolution, was nearly in tears as he spoke. Johnston thanked all the people who had supported his resolution and said we must not be maudlin.

Johnston pointed to the recent breakdown in peace talks, where the Soviets walked out, and he stressed the necessity of NWFZ as protection from these breakdowns.

Conservative MPPs spoke of the need for more nuclear weapons and used Hitler’s Germany and “red scare” theories to back up their arguments.

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