June 10: Richard Sanders and the Canadian arms bazaar; Lynda Monik and Windsor’s College Ave Community Centre

Click on image for more info on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here: 

We talked with Richard Sanders of the Ottawa based group, Coalition Against The Arms Trade (COAT) and listeners may remember we talked with Mr Sanders not long ago about his organization. We picked up with him again to learn more about Canada’s role in the arms trade business and the recent arms bazaar just concluded in Ottawa. In the second half hour we talked to Lynda Monik, CEO of the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, and the possibility of the health centre moving into the College Avenue Community Centre building. At present, the College Ave centre is in danger of being closed as part of the city’s search for operating funds for a proposed aquatic facility just behind the Art Gallery of Windsor.

College Ave. Community Centre

We last talked to Mr Sanders on March 5th about his organization: Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade. Recently, he and a group of protestors let Canada’s military establishment know that their activities are being watched and attempted to make the dealers accountable for the sale of weapons around the world. Their actions took place at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa during CANSEC 2011, billed by the organization as “Canada’s Largest Defense and Security trade show According to the website of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT), “CANSEC is organised by a government-funded lobby group called the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI).” This association now “boasts 860 Canadian member companies.” On the association’s website they boast that their members “… are essential contributors to Canada’s national defence and security and generate over 10 billion dollars to the Canadian economy every year.”

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May speaking at CANSEC 2011

COAT maintains that “[t]he deadly products made by CANSEC exhibitors include small arms, ammunition, battle vehicles, rockets, missiles, and high-tech electronic components that are exported to the US and then embedded in dozens of the world’s deadliest weapons.” Are Canadians really interested in war profiteering? Is there not another way to add $10 billion to our economy?

Something we should all be concerned about after the G20 police riot in Toronto is that “CANSEC exhibitors … also sell “crowd control” and surveillance technologies that are wielded by extremely violent, repressive “state security” agencies in various undemocratic regimes around the world.” I suggest that Canadians, already at risk of indiscriminate use of TASERs, and police violence, should loudly condemn these weapons bazaars and continue to urge all levels of government to ban them.

Click on Image for Raging Grannies of Ottawa and CAN SEX not CANSEC

SNAG Principles:

“According to the Nuremberg Principals, which arose from the Nazi war crimes trials, it is illegal to be involved in the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances. By facilitating the sale of weapons systems to belligerent nations that are well known to be engaged in such wars, CANSEC is aiding and abetting international crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity.”


In the Second Half Hour:

College Ave. Community Centre

Photo: City of Windsor

The city has embarked on a plan to build an aquatic centre on vacant land behind the Art Gallery of Windsor. The city and the province have pledged the money needed to build the facility, and to make a business case for the operating expenses city administrators have produced a report for council to consider at a special council meeting Monday, June 13th. In the report, there are recommendations that affect three key facilities in the city: the closure of the pool at Windsor Water World, the closure of the 60,000 sq. ft. main branch of the public library and moving it to a new 20,000 sq.ft. space in the new aquatic centre, and the closure of the College Ave. Community Centre. On Tuesday, June 7th the mayor announced that preliminary talks were underway with the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre to move into the College Ave. centre, seemingly in an effort to diffuse concern over the closure of the centre as recommended by city administrators.

In the middle are residents of the west end wondering what is going to happen to a centre that is a key feature of a part of Windsor that cannot afford to lose any more neighbourhood anchors.

Lynda Monik is the CEO of the Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, and has been a Registered Nurse with over 30 years of health care experience. The WECHC is south western Ontario’s largest Community Health Centre. She spoke of the very preliminary nature of complex talks regarding the possible move of her organization into the College Ave. Community Centre. It is not at all clear if the existing programs and city staff will remain. (See page 5 of the recommendation the link will take you to.):

Music Featured this week:

Click on image for more on this local band

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