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Ontario conference discusses future

Matthew Clark — August 1984

LONDON – The Third Southern Ontario Peace Conference was held in London, Ontario, on Saturday July 21, with seventeen delegates in attendance, representing peace and disarmament organizations from London, Guelph, Kitchener- Waterloo, Orangeville and Toronto. The agenda included both an assessment of the PPCC and discussions of future plans.

All the delegates agreed that the PPCC has gone welI so far.

The different groups reported a wide variety of organizational techniques – London and Kitchener-Waterloo both opened their campaigns with festivals; Guelph established a store-front office; Windsor has organized neighbourhood meetings with films and discussions. Some groups have emphasized door-to-door canvassing, either singly or in groups, others have concentrated on gathering signatures in public areas, such as main streets, festivals and shopping malls.

The Guelph organization is planning ‘to return to all those houses where people signed the petition, in order to drop off a leaflet announcing the results of the petition drive, and asking if signers would like to be put on a mailing list for more information about disarmament issues, events, and organizations.

Most groups reported that canvassing will diminish during the election period; in some locations, activity wilI shift to the Election riorities Project. After the election, canvassing wilI resume until the Caravan begins. All five regions are planning to hold local rallies on October 20.

The single greatest problem reported was a lack of communication about the Campaign both between the national office and local organizations and also among the various local groups. At the same time, delegates noted that the networking which now exists, whatever its problems, is better than ever before.

Everyone agreed that a general campaign such as the PPCC has great advantages, both politicalIy and organizationalIy. In the course of a long discussion, the delegates generally favoured a new national campaign and also the creation of regional and national umbrella organizations; the campaign and the umbrella organizations were felt to be intimately interconnected.

The delegates were able to suggest about a dozen issues and several strategies for such a future campaign. They felt that the proper body to decide among these ideas (and perhaps others) would be a large Provincial conference, with perhaps I 00 delegates representing as widely as possible the variety of Ontario peace and disarmament organizations. Such a conference would also continue the networking process which has begun around the PPCC.

A committee was struck to circulate a call for such a Provincial conference, to be held the weekend of November 17-18; the location is still to be determined, but it will probably be in either Guelph or KitchenerWaterloo. The delegates also agreed to urge other regions to hold such conferences, in order to lay the foundation for a second National conference, to be held perhaps early in 1985.

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