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Branch News (December 2017)

Coffee and Discussion Groups are held at a coffee shop on the first Tuesday of each month at 10 am. Recent topics have included climate refugees, branch outreach and publicity, nationalism and federalism, and integration of immigrants.

As well, the Marie-Berthe Dion Issues Action Group (IAG) has recently written letters to the government on prohibiting weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, a proposal for eco-taxing jet fuel, and the Rohingya crisis.

In October, the branch, in conjunction with the Concordia University International Relations Society, co-hosted a presentation by Richard Bourhis, a professor in social psychology at University of Quebec at Montreal, on “Diversity, Integration, and ‘le vivre ensemble’. ”

The Branch’s annual luncheon will take place on Sunday, February 11th at 1pm at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and feature Elizabeth Patterson speaking on UNDRIP and Indigenous rights.

The Toronto Branch had a brainstorming session in July, which resulted in a list ranking the dangers to the survival of human civilization.

In October, the branch had a public meeting featuring Nic Baird speaking about his impressions of Russia and Sam Lanfranco about Rwanda. As well, Peter Venton reported on the contributions of WFMC members to the Annual Conference of the Canadian Peace Research Association last spring.

The branch hosted WFMC President Walter Dorn in November, reporting on his UN-sponsored peacekeeping activities in Asia and Africa.

The Toronto Branch Annual Members Meeting will be held in January 2018..

The Vancouver branch currently meets every six weeks in member’s homes for discussions, videos and/or presentations.

In September, the branch watched a video on corporate influence over social life and many areas of politics. A discussion followed on how WFM efforts could address this issue and how advocacy can engage public and private sectors.

Branch President Vivian Davidson has engaged in outreach to UN ambassadors on the topic of the 2014 WFMC resolution from the branch, regarding the Security Council and placing authority for international peace and security in the hands of the General Assembly. Vivian also visited New York in the spring and had meetings with WFMC President Walter Dorn and staff at the WFM-IGP secretariat.

In October, Victoria Branch hosted Joan Russow who spoke on the topic “Behind the scenes at the UN”, based on her experience as an NGO representative at the UN session in June that resulted in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

As well, Bill Pearce addressed the branch on the growing threat of cyber and nuclear weapons systems and the troublesome fact that most experts on the subject believe it is only a matter of time before cyberattacks penetrate nuclear weapons systems. Bill also gave a follow up to his last talk on Uniting for Peace resolutions at the UN General Assembly. Under this precedent the General Assembly can take action when the Security Council fails to fulfil its primary responsibility for international peace and security. Pearce discussed the possible application of Uniting for Peace to the Myanmar crisis with the Rohingya people.

In December, William S. Geimer gave a talk on “Is it Time for Canada to Terminate its Fealty to the US on Military Matters.” William Geimer is a veteran of the US 82nd Airborne, a Professor Emeritus at Washington and Lee University School of Law, local member of the BC bar and author of “Canada: The Case for Staying Out of other People’s Wars.”

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