Toward a Culture of Peace

Murray Thomson of Ottawa, Ontario is one of Canada's leading peace activists who has always put his Quaker ideas into practice, over the years inspiring us to find alternative solutions to the issues of war and peace.

In August 16th, 2006 [8 pm], Murray delivered this year's Gardner Lecture to the Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, entitled 'Toward a Culture of Peace: Can We Afford to Pay the Price?'

In considering steps that Friends (Quakers) can help, one of the ways is to actively reach out to other communities of peace, starting with the Mennonites and the Doukhobors, then going to the major churches, seeking common or parallel positions with them on as many of the these proposals as possible

In a personal note to friends, Murray states:

     'The attached statements reflect the considered views of 140 participants in the annual meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, held at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, 12th-19th August/06.
     'It is now obvious to very many Canadians that military solutions do not work. An obvious conclusion, then, is to work towards reducing the DND budget, (not increasing it), and greatly increasing funding for sustainable development (including the environment), disarmament and for nonviolent alternatives to armed conflict.
     'This, of course, is what most of those who receive this email are doing!
                            — Murray Thomson

Murray Thomson. Photo by Koozma J. Tarasoff on July 29, 2006, at the home of peace activists Roy and Sylvia Sanders who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in Ottawa.

Murray S. Thomson is a member of the Ottawa Monthly Meeting. Mr. Thomson has spent much of his life in service to peace. He was one of the founders of Project Ploughshares in 1976, and then Peace Brigades International in 1981.
 30 August 2006
Press Release from the Religious Society of Friends: 

The Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has issued a  statement, “Toward a Culture of Peace” (attached) calling on the Canadian  government to change its policy and funding priorities.

The Quaker statement asks Canada to
  • redirect its vision and resources into an ecologically sustainable planet Earth;
  • actively participate in global efforts to “make poverty history” by increasing support for the Millennium Development Goals;
  • increase contributions to global health objectives for eliminating AIDS, malaria and the threats of new pandemics;
  • reverse the erosion of civil liberties and rebuild trust;
  • withdraw Canada’s support of NATO’s nuclear weapons policies,
  • end financial support to industries that produce the instruments of war.
“Military solutions simply do not work”, the Statement said, pointing specifically to the current theatres of war in Iraq and Israel- Palestine- Lebanon, and to the projected multi-billion dollar increase in Canada’s military budget. “It is time to turn away from a culture of war toward a culture of peace.” 

For further information contact:
Murray Thomson, O.C.


Communiqué de presse de la Société Religieuse des Amis (Quakers):                          30 aout 2006

Devant le projet d'une augmentation du budget militaire canadien de l'ordre de plusieurs milliards de dollars, l'Assemblée annuelle canadienne de la Société religieuse des Amis (Quakers) en appelle au gouvernement canadien à délaisser la culture de la guerre et à réorienter ses politiques et ses priorités budgétaires afin de
  • rediriger vision et ressources en faveur d'une planète écologiquement durable
  • participer activement aux efforts mondiaux pour éliminer la pauvreté en augmentant son appui aux Objectifs de développement du Millénaire
  • appuyer réellement les objectifs mondiaux pour éliminer le sida, la malaria et autres pandémies
  • enrayer l'érosion des libertés civiles et reconstruire la confiance
  • retirer le soutien du Canada aux politiques d'armement nucléaire de l'OTAN
  • mettre un terme à l'appui financier aux industries qui fabriquent des instruments de guerre
Selon la déclaration de l'Assemblée des Quakers, les solutions militaires sont vouées à l'échec, comme en font foi les guerres en Iraq et en Israël- Liban- Palestine. Il faut délaisser la culture de la guerre en faveur d'une culture de la paix. C'est ainsi que nous respecterons les efforts des Nations-Unies pour la Décennie de la non-violence au profit des enfants du monde.

Pour renseignements, contactez:
Gianne Broughton
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