Update from the Vancouver/Burnaby Chapter Steering Committee

The Vancouver/Burnaby Steering Committee of the COC met recently to decide which of the many areas the Council works on we want to pursue in the coming months. Some of the really important issues require work at the National level to achieve any real progress. We have chosen to focus on issues where we believe there are concrete actions we can take at a local level which will make a difference.

Trade:  This is a prime example of an issue where most work needs to be done at other levels. However, we see the importance of helping Canadians to understand the implications of these so called Free Trade Agreements. To that end we plan to put together a leaflet relevant to all such agreements, suitable for the general public. We will include this leaflet on tables at our public events and distribute in other venues as the opportunity arises.

Health: This is a major focus for the Council and we are fortunate to have locally the BC Health Coalition which brings together stakeholders to work together on issues which support, defend and expand our public health system. Rather than duplicate efforts we plan to work with the BCHC in a supporting role. We liaise with the coalition through our representative on their steering committee. There may be opportunities for action around the Brian Day case in the coming months.

We would also like to work on the campaign for a National Pharmacare Program. Ideas include getting a short video prepared on the case for a National Pharmacare Program to be distributed as widely as possible, and distributing a simple pamphlet on the issue for the general public.

Climate Justice:  This is another broad topic which needs work at all levels, and there are many organizations tackling climate issues in many different ways. We feel that the campaign to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline should be our major focus right now. We want to look for ways to link with other organizations active on this issue e.g. Dogwood and BROKE and find ways to help support the NDP’s opposition to this pipeline.

Blue Communities: Some years ago Burnaby became a Blue Community but we gather may not have followed through with all the commitments made by Blue Community members. We wish to explore this and also work to get Vancouver city council to sign on as a Blue Community as well.

Militarism: We are increasingly concerned about the degree of militarization in Canada, with arms sales to Saudi Arabia and our Defence Minister’s talk of foreign threats. We would like to suggest to the National office that this is an issue for the COC to pursue. At the local level we could check with Ceasefire to see if there are any things we can do in BC to help further their goals. We may also wish to link with organizations like the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and the White Poppy group who share similar goals.

If you are interested in working with us on any of these proposals, please get in touch. You can reach Penny (Chapter contact) at 604 263 1005 or at tilbypeterson@telus.net

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