March 4: Coalition Opposing the Arms Trade; International Women’s Day at UWindsor; & OPIRG Windsor Referendum

Listen to the entire program here:

Music featured on the program: Billy Bragg: Don’t Try this at Home


Rhea’s Obsession: Between Earth and Sky


In the first half hour of the program we talked to Richard Sanders, coordinator of Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), based in Ottawa. According to the organization’s website, “COAT is a national network of individuals and organizations in Canada that began in late 1988 to organize opposition to ARMX ’89, which was the country’s largest weapons bazaar. COAT’s first campaign led to Ottawa City Council’s 20-year ban on hosting arms bazaars on municipal property.

Since its formation, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has made significant contributions to Canada’s peace movement. As an Ottawa-based organization, supported by a network of individuals and groups across Canada, COAT made great headway in exposing and opposing many military export events held in the nation’s capital.

Over the years, other COAT projects included:

• Organizing major conferences on human rights, conversion and weapons trade-related issues.

• Non-Violent Play: Organizing opposition to war toys and violent games, and promoting cooperative children’s activities.

• Opposing Military Trade Events: Researching, writing, organizing opposition to military export events in Ottawa.

• Peace Links: Soliciting letters from NGOs in countries where Canada exports military equipment and distributing them in Canada.

• Nuclear Weapons Conversion: Researching Canadian nuclear weapons-related contracts and encouraging conversion.”


National shares of arms sales of the top 100 arms-producing companies in the world (excluding China)

Click image for more info: (Peace Pledge Union)

The organization produces the magazine Press for Conversion, with the results of research on Canada’s role in the weapons industry. We thought it timely to talk to Richard Sanders about COAT’s research into Canadian arms sales in the Middle East, a region in rebellion as the working class from Egypt to Libya are struggling to extricate themselves from dictatorships.

For Canadians it is not enough to say we support those fighting for justice – we also have to take a hard look at the Canadian arms industry and the role it plays in suppressing the legitimate rights of people fighting to be free.

Related story on the international arms trade is here.


Tuesday, March 8 marks the 100th International Women’s Day. Cassandra Thomas and Candy Spencer came in to the studio to talk about what’s up on campus on Tuesday. Events are co-sponsored by the Women Studies Student Association (WSSA) and The Womyn’s Centre at the University of Windsor.


A message on OPIRG Windsor’ Referendum

Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG-Windsor) is a student funded and operated campus organization. We are the only student funded organization on campus mandated to work on environmental and social justice issues. This is done through conducting public interest research, educating and raising awareness and taking action as directed by our volunteers.

OPIRG-Windsor was established by referendum in February of 1993 with a undergraduate student fee of $2.50 per semester but our fees have not increased since that time in spite of inflation over the last 17 years.

We wish to ensure that OPIRG can better maintain existing operations on campus and extend our services more extensively throughout the university and local communities.

Therefore we are requesting an increase of OPIRG-windsor fees by 50¢ per semester beginning in the academic year 2011/12 plus a cost of living allowance in subsequent years. Some examples of OPIRG’s work:

Windsor Animal Action Group (WAAG): works on a number of issues dealing with cruelty to animals and promoting vegetarianism.

Environmental Group: was instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Coalition” to help coordinate the activities of the different student groups. They worked with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition on the “International Day for Action against

Climate Change” and World Water Day. They are continuing their work with the Coalition on the “Sustainable Campus Project.” They were also instrumental in establishing the “University of Windsor Environmental Committee” made up of faculty, staff and student reps to serve as an

Advisory Committee to the University of Windsor

Social Justice Group: working on Fair Trade & Poverty Issues. (It was through the efforts of OPIRG’s Social Justice Group that the University of Windsor began offering fair trade coffee)

Anti-Racism Group: offers a “Diversity Training Workshop” free to all students twice a year as well offering it to all first year Psychology students (approximately one thousand students. They also offer a “Diversity Trainer Certificate Program” free to all members students.

Stuff Swap: organized a campaign to collect and distribute the items of left by students who are moving out, such as furniture, clothing and appliances, which are in reusable condition, and are usually simply left out for garbage collection and sent to the landfill. The project organized a swap meet and a collection of items from residence that were donated to the diabetes society and Computers for Kids.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgendered) Issues Group started Out on Campus and helped to establish an LGBT Safe Space.

Women’s Issues Group examined gender inequality and women’s health issues.

Pesticide Action Group:worked with the WEAC (Windsor

Environmental Advisory Committee a sub-committee of City Council) to try and eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides on school and city property.

South East Asia Group: worked in conjunction with the

East Timor Alert Network (ETAN) to lobby the Canadian government to stop selling arms to Indonesia, brought in speakers from East Timor, and participated in a successful boycott against Pepsi’s support of the dictatorship in Burma.

Radio Show (the Shake Up): every Friday at 4pm on CJAM 99.1 FM a talk radio show dealing with a variety of social justice and environmental issues

Solidarity on Campus: works to coordinate the activities of like minded progress groups on campus.

The OPIRG Exchange: Coffee House and Reading room at 372 California provide free fair trade coffee and tea and reading material, audio and visual media in a homey atmosphere.

We are running this referendum in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) who will receive half the new funds we raise in the first year.

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