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Southern Ontario conference discusses the state of the movement

Matthew Clark — December 1983

On November 10 and 11, representatives of six Southern Ontario disarmament coalitions and groups met in Kitchener-Waterloo to share their experiences and to discuss co-ordination of regional disarmament activities. The cities represented were Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph, London, Niagara and Toronto.

The conference began with a general discussion of the state of the movement in Southern Ontario. The representatives felt that, despite substantial successes, the organised peace movement is not fully meeting the needs of the broader movement for peace the many people who agree with the goals of the movement, but who do not belong to any peace group. There was also a general consensus that the peace movement must remain independent of any particular political party or alignment.

The participants generally supported the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone campaign, but they did not feel that it should become the single focus of the movement. Many participants felt that movement must address the issues of third world development and anti-intervention.

The conference discussed the possibility of a nationally co-ordinated letter writing campaign, so that our influence on particular political figures on specific issues could be sharpened.

Most of the groups represented have endorsed the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign. There was a general feeling that if this project is to succeed, the local groups must actively support it. More discussion is expected at the Toronto conference, December 10 and 11.

The participants felt that the conference was an important step towards co-ordinating regional disarmament actions. We decided to. keep in touch and to meet again in the late winter or early spring — an important time for working on the Peace Petition Caravan Campaign.