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The Cold Lake walk

Robert Penner — May 1983

US. Ambassador Paul Robinson has predicted that testing of the cruise missile guidance system in Canada will begin within a year,

The Canadian government is acquiescing to this flagrant U.S. pressure, making it essential that the Canadian people continue to voice their opposition to the tests, This opposition has been expressed in demonstrations, referenda and public opinion polls accross the country.

Bob Penner of Toronto’s Cruise Missile Conversion Project tooA part in a particularly dramatic demonstration, and has sent the following account to The Peace Calendar.

The 13-day ‘Anti-Cruise Easter March’ from Cold Lake to Edmonton. Alherea, demonstrated strong local opposition to Cruise testing.

At a rate of 24 km (13 miles) a day, 13 people completed the entire 300 km route, joined by over 100 others who marched a part of the way. The original marchers included a 12 year old, a 25 year veteran of European and Canadian peace campaigns, and a woman who completed the march in a wheelchair when she was told that further marching could cause permanent damage to her legs.

Almost every passing motorist waved and honked their approval and support to the walkers. Town meetings were held at almost all of the overnight stops, and local residents expressed their support and admiration for the demonstrators’ commitment, Some of these town meetings resulted in the formation of committees to oppose the cruise testing. The march also generated national and international attention.

Media representatives joined the march, sometimes for hours, and filed consistently positive reports On the action. Support also came from across Canada and Europe. Petra Kelly and other members of Germany’s Greens party signed a letter in appreciation and acknowledgement of the importance of anti-cruise action at the source.

Among the speakers who addressed the concluding Easter rally at Edmonton City Hal were Doug Roche of the Progreasive Conservatives and Doug Anguish of the New Democrats.

Peace forces in Alberta have been strengthened by the Easter March, and it has given many a renewed enthusiasm for anti-nuclear work. Although organised primarily from Edmonton, the march brought together those from the Cold Lake peace camp. from Calgary and from other cities in joint statement of regional opposition to the testing of weapons of mass destruction. By demonstrating that war preparations are as unwanted in ‘Conservative’ Alberta as anywhere else in Canada, the participants have made an important contribution to the Canadian and world-wide movement against U.S. efforts to escalate the arms race.