LETTER: Nuclear-free zones worked for Kiwis

Tom Fletcher should know better than to denigrate the power of grassroots democracy

Re: Oil protest a slippery slope for cities (B.C. Views, Oct. 7).

Tom Fletcher took a snide swipe at local politicians and municipal councils that declared their jurisdictions to be nuclear weapons-free zones. “Did they really think we’re that stupid?” he asks.

Fletcher should know better than to denigrate the power of grassroots democracy and nowhere is it more powerful than at the local level. This was unquestionably demonstrated in New Zealand where, in the early 1980s, a dictatorial conservative prime minister named Rob Muldoon ignored the overwhelming public opinion that New Zealand should not host nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed foreign warships.

Ignoring the ever-louder public protest, Muldoon continued to invite U.S. warships to visit New Zealand harbours and used his majority National government to run rough-shod over the will of the people.

Kiwis turned to their local governments to give effect to their anti-nuclear principles. Municipality after municipality voted to become nuclear free and they posted signs on their municipal boundaries.

Labour Party leader David Lange was no fool. He read the writing on the signs and promised that if his party became the government, he would ban all nuclear-equipped warships from New Zealand waters.

In 1984 Labour swept into power in a landslide and followed through on Lange’s promise. New Zealand is a small peaceful country in the South Pacific but Kiwis stood up against the superpower bully tactics of Ronald Reagan and the U.S. military.

New Zealand took a beating economically but stood by its principle of opposing Cold War super-power nuclear alliances. To this day New Zealand proudly remains nuclear-free and an example to the world. The strategy may have been less successful in B.C. but there is nothing stupid about the effort nor the intent of the passionate British Columbians who tried.

Chris Conway, Invermere

 

 

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read