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Queen's Park Peace Camp

Lynn Harrison — June 1983

On Friday May 20th at noon a peace camp officially opened at Queen’s Park in Toronto A press conference was held where the campers delivered a prepared statement protesting the testing of the cruise missile in Canada and its deployment around the world.

The camp was originally established south of the Legislature Buildings. But, once the first tent was erected, officials of the Government Protective Service emerged and told the campers to remove the tent. MPP Richard Johnston attempted to obtain permission for the camp, but the request was denied. The now tentless camp remains in the south end of the park.

It is expected that officials will periodically force the campers to leave. The campers will return each time while permit applications are under consideration.

The camp was set up in solidarity with other peace camps in Cold Lake. Alberta, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and Greenham Common in England.

Organizers Roberta Spence in Toronto and Abie Weitfeld from the Ottawa peace camp feet that the camps will provide an opportunity to educate the public and to express widespread opposition to cruise testing. They also hope to encourage politicians to oppose cruise testing on their constituents’ behalf, and they express their support for MPP Richard Johnston’s resolution to declare Ontario a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone.

The Camp will continue until it generates political response, possibly for the duration of the summer. There is no specific peace organisation affiliated with the event; Spence describes it as “people with people against the cruise.”

The peace camp is a meeting ground for members of existing peace groups and all individuals who want to prevent the testing and deployment of the cruise. Spence says it is a chance for education in peace issues, discussion, music, reading, and helping out: leafletting, stamping envelopes, and so on. She urges everyone to come to Queen’s Park and be a part of the peace camp, and to join together with other Canadians against the cruise.