Amid the deluge of fundraising appeals that arrive via email and paper mail this time of year, the letter from the Canadian Peace Alliance stood out for me.
Under the "Canada First Defence Strategy," Harper plans to spend $480 billion on the military, open up eight new Canadian military bases, and showcase Canada's military in all aspects of Canadian life. Remember the citizenship guide that is now rife with references to the military but omits all referenc to Canada as a peaceful nation? (Short version here.) It's only gotten worse: citizenship ceremonies are now required to include a speaker from the military, telling new Canadians that military service is the highest form of citizenship. Thank [something] that wasn't in place when Allan and I became citizens. I don't know how I would have sat quietly through that.
Harper's military agenda can't be seen in a vacuum. While spending lavishly on fighter jets and new bases, this government is telling every other ministry to tighten their belts: the next federal budget will call for $11 billion in cuts to public services. The only increase in public spending? Prisons - although most of that will be dumped on the provinces - which will necessitate even more drastic cuts in social spending.
The Canadian Peace Alliance will work to oppose this in a far-reaching campaign: Peace & Prosperity NOT War & Austerity. They'll be reaching out to community groups across a broad spectrum of concerns - labour, social justice, environment, health, faith - to organize lobbying and street actions throughout the country, opposing the war and austerity Conservative agenda.
Here's what you can do:
1. Read and sign the Declaration: Peace & Prosperity NOT War & Austerity.
2. Share the online Declaration with your network.
3. Download the Declaration, print it, and bring it to your meeting or holiday party.
4. Order postcards for your contacts to read, sign and return to the Canadian Peace Alliance.
5. Donate to the Canadian Peace Alliance.
6. Write a letter to a newspaper opposing the Harper military agenda.
7. Download and print a window sign, and hang it in your window. Increase the visibility of peace.
8. Speak out at every opportunity.