June 24, 2022
“Stop the War, Stop NATO” rallies planned across Canada during Madrid Summit
(Toronto / Tkaronto) Rallies will be held against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from June 24 to June 30 across Canada. The “Stop the Weapons, Stop the War, Stop NATO” actions will coincide with the NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain. Rallies will be held in twelve cities in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec and are being organized by civil society groups under the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network.
Ken Stone of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War explains, “We are opposed to NATO because it is an aggressive, US-led, military alliance of 30 Euro-Atlantic countries that has launched deadly and destructive interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya. NATO has also provoked armed conflict with Russia and China. The military alliance has caused profound misery, a massive refugee crisis and a war in Ukraine.”
The Canadian rallies will be held in solidarity with protests against NATO that will take place across the United Kingdom on Saturday, June 25 and in Spain on Sunday, June 26. “There is growing public opposition to the transatlantic alliance. People know that NATO’s demand for increased military spending and new weapons systems are only enriching arms dealers and leading to an arms race,” argues Tamara Lorincz of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace.
At $1.1 trillion, NATO accounts for 60% of global military expenditures. Since 2015, Canadian military spending has increased by 70% to $33 billion as the Trudeau government tries to meet NATO’s 2% GDP target. Defence Minister Anand announced an additional $8 billion for the military in the federal budget. “Increased military spending prevents the federal government from adequately investing in public health care, education, housing and climate action and makes people more insecure,” adds Lorincz.
At the rallies, the Canadian peace groups will be calling on the Trudeau government to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, to support a diplomatic resolution to the war, and to withdraw from NATO. The Network believes that with neutrality outside of NATO, Canada could have an independent foreign policy based on common security, diplomacy and disarmament like Mexico and Ireland.
Some of the Canadian rallies will also be integrated into the Global Peace Wave, a non-stop 24-hour rolling rally live streaming around the world this weekend to promote “No to Militarization, Yes to Cooperation”. The Global Peace Wave is organized by the International Peace Bureau and World Beyond War among other organizations. Rachel Small, coordinator of World Beyond War Canada says, “International cooperation is needed to deal with the climate emergency and to end global poverty. It starts by dismantling military alliances like NATO.”
There will also be a free public webinar in French “Pourquoi continuer à dénoncer l’OTAN?” by Échec à la guerre on Wednesday, June 29 and a webinar in English entitled “NATO and Global Empire” on Thursday, June 30 hosted by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute.
For more information about the “Stop the Weapons, Stop the War, Stop NATO” rallies and webinars can be found here: https://peaceandjusticenetwork.ca/stopnato/ and the Global Peace Wave: https://act.worldbeyondwar.org/wave/
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