RSS Feed

1989 – Vancouver city police dragged four Greenpeace members out of the Beach Avenue offices of the Sea Festival to end a two-hour sit-in Wednesday protesting the arrival of a U.S. warship they said is nuclear-armed.

The Vancouver Sun
March 29, 1989
Page B7
N-arms foes rap U.S. ship’s visit

The federal government must alert the public to the presence of nuclear warships in Canadian waters and consult the public about nuclear missile testing, peace activists protesting the arrival of a U.S. warship in Vancouver harbor said Tuesday.

Waving banners saying “Vancouver a nuclear weapons free zone,” Greenpeace and Save our Seas members met the USS Hewitt, a destroyer with missile capability, as it entered Vancouver harbor.

About 30 protesters later marched in front of Associate Defence Minister Mary Collins’ downtown office and presented Collins’ assistant Pam Glass with documentation of the “frequent presence of nuclear weapons in Vancouver harbor,” activist Brian Salmi said.

The Vancouver Sun
July 13, 1989
Page B2 
 
Protest marks warship’s arrival

Vancouver city police dragged four Greenpeace members out of the Beach Avenue offices of the Sea Festival to end a two-hour sit-in Wednesday protesting the arrival of a U.S. warship they said is nuclear-armed.

While the four protesters were inside, another dozen were picketing outside the offices against the presence of the destroyer, the USS Henry B. Wilson.

Vancouver residents Brian Salmi, 26, Ruth McIntosh, 23, Oliver Irlam, 20, and Dennis Alvey, 24, were applauded and hugged by fellow protesters when police lugged them out of the building.

Said Alvey: “I did this because I don’t like the idea of nuclear weapons in Canada. This is one small step towards the goal of seeing them eliminated.”

Added Salmi: “My only regret is that we didn’t get the assurance that Vancouver would never again have these nuclear war ships here.”

Jean Anderson, chairman of the Sea Festival’s board of directors, refused to discuss the issue with reporters.

She released a brief statement that said that immediately following the conclusion of this year’s festival, the board would discuss whether to change its policy regarding “the matter of invitations to navy personnel as it related to the decision made earlier this year by city council.”

The city has not received a response to its formal request in April to Ottawa – which has jurisdiction over the Port of Vancouver – to declare the harbor a nuclear-free zone. The council resolution also called on individuals and organizations responsible for inviting vessels to port to respect the nuclear-free weapons status of the city.

The Vancouver Sun
October 13, 1989
Page A17 
Visit by aircraft carrier prompts short occupation

About 15 members of a group called Act for Disarmament occupied the West Vancouver office of Associate Defence Minister Mary Collins for about three hours Thursday to protest the presence in Vancouver of the USS Constellation.

The protesters want the aircraft carrier to leave Vancouver harbor and want all nuclear-powered vessels banned from the area. The group also wants public meetings to discuss the issue.

Organizer Brian Salmi said Collins, the member for Capilano-Howe Sound, was not in the West Vancouver office during the occupation

The Vancouver Sun
October 14, 1989
Page B16
Warship sparks spate of peace pleas
Scott Simpson

Peace protests broke out on several fronts Friday as a number of anti-nuclear weapons groups voiced their objections to the presence of a U.S. warship in EnglishBay.

In Vancouver harbor, a woman and two men were arrested by police as 12 civilian boats trailing Greenpeace banners circled the aircraft carrier USS Constellation.

A police spokesman said the three were arrested for mischief and charges were contemplated.

At the Vancouver trade and convention centre, a group calling itself ACT for Disarmament had a one-hour discussion with associate defence minister Mary Collins after briefly occupying the ministerial offices of the Capilano-Howe Sound MP the day before.

Also in Vancouver, a spokesman for the Canadian Peace Alliance Coalition said most Canadians want peace but often think they have little influence on government policies.

“The polls increasingly show that Canadians don’t want cruise missile testing, they don’t want Canada spending millions of dollars on the arms race,” CPAC spokesman Sheena Lambert told a news conference.

“They want peace, they don’t want Canada supporting the nuclear arms race, but often they feel powerless about what they can do to stop it.”

Peace activists meeting here also plan to discuss a proposed NATO base in GooseBay, Nfld.

“If it goes ahead, it will be the first NATO base in Canada, it will be exorbitantly expensive and it will be the largest military expansion in Canada since the DEW line went in in the 1950s,” said Lambert.

NATO is to decide on the GooseBay proposal at a meeting Nov. 29 in Brussels.

Members of ACT for Disarmament said they hoped to win agreement from Collins for public discussion of Canadian military plans and called for regular public meetings on the subject of nuclear weaponry.

Collins said she took seriously the group’s concerns but added it was unlikely the government would change its policy in the short term.

“Certainly the public concern for peace and disarmament is helpful and it has helped to create the pressure for the real things that are happening.

Group spokesman Brian Salmi said: “We know that the Canadian government is not going to order those weapons out of the port right now.

“What we wanted is a more open, honest dialogue between the government and the people, which is a function of democracy and it’s not being carried out by the government and by Mary Collins.”

%d bloggers like this: