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Litton conversion sought by Christian activists

Eudora Pendergrast — April 1984

Christian Initiative for Peace (CIP) has been conducting a 24-hour vigil outside the management building at Litton Industries in Rexdale, Ontario. Litton manufactures the guidance system for the cruise missile, an undertaking which has been extensively subsidized by the Canadian government.

The vigil began after CIP requested a meeting with Mr Ron Keating, president of Litton Industries, to set a date for a joint meeting with parliamentarians, labour leaders and scientists to discuss proposals to convert Litton to peaceful production.

The request was made as part of an Ash Wednesday service, at which Right Rev. Dr. Clarke MacDonald, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, read a homily asking Litton to convert to peaceful projects.

“How beautiful it would be if instead of a guidance system for an instrument of death,” he said, “their considerable expertise, their wisdom and their insight, were put to creating, in this high tech age, electronic devices to enable the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the mute to speak, and the deprived to stand tall as daughters and sons of God.’”

Enclosed with the CIP letter to Mr. Keating was a copy of a proposal from the independent Soviet peace movement suggesting how industries in the East and West might begin to convert from military to socially useful production.

The Soviet proposal was obtained from the Committee to Establish Trust Between the United States and the USSR by a CIP delegation which travelled to Moscow in September. 1983.

On March 15 CIP received a letter from Mr. Keating, who had been out of the country at the time CIP made its request. Mr. Keating’s letter stated that he had no intention of meeting with any members of CIP or their associates.

Despite Mr. Keating’s refusal, CIP members have decided to continue their vigil until they see some change of heart on the part of Litton management or workers, the government or the community.

On Wednesday, March 21, CIP members and a number of supporters celebrated a service of blessing of their “Tent of Witness.”

CIP intends to contact Mr. Keating again with a response to his March 15th letter. Those participating in the CIP vigil welcome the support and participation of others.

For further information on the vigil, please contact Chris McDonnell (mornings) at xxx-xxxx, or Frank Showler (afternoons) at xxx-xxxx.