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How it's done in Saint John

Judith Meinert — August 1984

Project Ploughshares in Saint John, New Brunswick, has formed an Election Priorities Committee which started active planning in April of this year. The committee consists of ten or twelve people who have been meeting bi-weekly to outline a plan of action which would encompass as many ideas as possible.

Our committee received many ideas from a workshop sponsored by Ploughshares Saint John for the riding committees of NB and PEL Jamie Scott, from the CanaDian Council for International Cooperation, was the workshop leader, and he infused us with the sense of urgency and enthusiasm we needed.

As a result, we have come up with the following programme.

A – Public Education

  1. Letters to the editor were written by each member of the committee. One person was placed in charge of co-ordinating this effort, making. sure that the letters were clear, concise, positive and reasonable. (As it turned out, .the newspapers accepted all the letters we submitted for publication:)
  2. We arranged for peace and development fact sheets and requests for assistance to be inserted in the bulletins of the United, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Baptist Churches.
  3. We placed five or six small ads in newspapers, featuring “Did You Know?” facts. (For example, “Did you know that in 1983, 51 communities across Canada declared themselves nuclear weapon-free zones? Make Peace an Election Priority.”)
  4. PPCC and Election Priorities information handed out at nomination meetings for three major political parties.

B – Education of Candidates

  1. To distribute the EPP questionnaire to all candidates, and follow up on them.
  2. Attending all-candidates meeting. Each person in our Ploughshares group is asked to bring 10 people to a peace issues evening with all the candidates running in the Saint John riding. Hopefully 300 people will attend this meeting, which will include a moderator, question period, and equal time for all candidates. We hope all the local media will be represented.

C – Media blitz

  1. Dr. Ian Carr, Canadian president of Physicians for Social Responsibility was in Saint John and our local talk show host invited him to be a guest.
  2. Sending press releases concerning most of the above events to all local newspapers, as well as TV and radio stations. The Catholic diocese newspaper has also published two articles on our activities.
  3. Interview on local cable TV unit, including the showing of a film such as Gods of Metal or If You Love This Planet.

As you can see, our plans are quite extensive. With any luck, we should be able to accomplish most of our objectives.