Homes not Bombs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 8, 2000
Weapons Manufacturer Diemaco Friday, Nov. 10
Walk to Diemaco leaves corner of Wilson and Fairway
(in front of Toys 'R Us) just after 11 am
Members of the provincial organization Homes not Bombs will hold a vigil of remembrance in front of Canada's leading small arms manufacturer, Diemaco (located at 1036 Wilson Ave.), Friday morning, Nov. 10. After meeting at 11 am at the corner of Wilson and Fairway (in front of Toys 'R Us), they will proceed down Wilson and set up at the entrance of Diemaco to protest the hundreds of millions of tax dollars that have gone into building weapons at that site.
The vigil is intended to remember victims of war and victims of a war economy (in this instance, the homeless who have died on the streets of Canada because 600% more is spent on war than on affordable housing). Also remembered will be those veterans who have died or are suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.
Homes not Bombs, which believes the current high levels of military spending in Canada ($11.2 billion) should instead be allocated to construction of affordable housing to end the national disaster of homelessness, believes the Waterloo region is a perfect example of Ottawa's misplaced spending priorities.
Demonstrators point out that upwards of 2,000 people annually experience homelessness in the Waterloo region (numbers cited in the United Way-funded "Understanding Homelessness" report of 1999), that food bank use continues to skyrocket in the area, and that over 10,700 individuals are on waiting lists for affordable housing.
"We invite the region to consider what life would be like here if the $250 million spent to build weapons of war by Diemaco had instead gone to housing, to daycares, to youth centres, women's shelters and anti-violence programs, and other community building ventures," says a Homes not Bombs spokesperson. "Indeed, a report of the Caledon Institute of Social policy shows that in a region whose population is just over 400,000, 55,250 people work and survive below the poverty line.
"But where have those millions gone? To build weapons, whose only purpose is murder."
Diemaco proudly sells its machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, and other weapons to NATO, the Canadian Dept. of War, and Australia and New Zealand, among others.
The International Committee of the Red Cross points out there are well in excess of 500 million "small arms" in circulation, and has condemned their production and use. In a recent report, the ICRC concluded: "As international arms transfers, particularly of small arms, have become easier the promotion of respect for international humanitarian law has become vastly more difficult.
"The result is appalling levels of wanton violence and a stream of horrific images which threaten to immunize the public and decision-makers to ongoing violations of humanitarian law.
"The current pattern of transfers of small arms, light weapons and related ammunition, because it is largely outside of international control, should be a matter of urgent humanitarian concern. While the primary responsibility for compliance with international humanitarian law falls upon users of weapons, States and enterprises engaged in production and export bear a degree of political, moral and, in some cases, legal responsibility to the international community for the use made of their weapons and ammunition."
Demonstrators will also announce on November 10 their intention to engage in nonviolent direct action at Diemaco on Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2001. On that day, individuals trained in nonviolence will attempt to enter the arms factory to inspect it for possible violations of international and Canadian law.
For more information, call (519) 576-8355 or any of the numbers listed on page 1 of this release.
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