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Camp open at Nanoose Bay facility

Laurie MacBride — August 1984

NANOOSE BAY — “Nuclear-Free Canada Day” was the theme for the opening of the Nanoose Peace Camp on Sunday July I. The event was celebrated by about I hiny people with a balloon rekase, birthday cake, signaturegathering on a huge card bound for Ottawa and the erection of a large sign on the beach in front of the camp, overlooking the Nanoose Bay naval facility.

The opening address was given by Don Erickson of Saltspring Island, the originator and honourary chairperson of the nationwide Peace Petition Caravan Campaign (PPCC).

Erickson congratulated the group on the establishment of the Nanoose Bay Peace Camp, and expressed his hope that it w(>uld grow into a permanent camp. He noted that, while he was visiting eastern Canada and the Maritimes, peace activists had repeatedly expressed concern about Nanoose Bay and its role in undersea weapons testing and development.

Erickson recently returned from meetings in the east with officials of the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, Members of Parliament, and several leading Liberal policy-makers.

In all of these meetings, he said, he was met with an attitude of benevolent and patronizing concern about the arms race, but a total lack of interest in a policy, program, or even a single action to address the problem. In fact, he said, there seems to be even less support today than there was a year ago, among MPs, to deal with the issue of nuclear disarmament.

Calling for “a real change of policy, coupled with a program of action that begins the process of nuclear disarmament,” prickson urged continued support of the PPCc. He reported that about 200 peace groups from St. John’s to Port Alberni are actively involved in the petition drive, and that 60 to 70 percent of people approached are signing the petition. “Whether or not this campaign succeeds in its direct aim of pressuring politicians through the ballot-box to support an end to cruise testing, and the establishment of a Canadian nuclear weapon-free zone, the PPCC is helping to build a national network of peace activists – one that politicians will ignore only at their peril.”

The peace camp will remain open throughout the summer with the participation of peace activists from all over Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Special events are being planned for several occasions, and the public is welcome to drop by at any time for coffee, information and conversation. Anyone wishing to join the camp is welcome. For further information, phone the Vancouver Island Network for Disarmament at xxx-xxxx (Parksville) or xxx-xxxx (Nanaimo).