Saturday, April 20, 2024

The On to Ottawa 2024 'Peace Caravan'


Canada military arms trade peace caravan On to Ottawa activism organizing profiteering fascism

Another On to Ottawa trek is planned from May 12 to May 28 this year, initiated by Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the Canadian Voices of Women for Peace (CVOW). Ending in Ottawa, the trekkers will meet the crowd at CANSEC arms trade fair to oppose the arms trade and complete their mission by rallying at Parliament Hill. 

Multiple organizations and the Canada-Wide Peace and Justice Network are cooperating to lead this caravan.

On to Ottawa protests trekking from Vancouver to Ottawa is a people’s tradition established during WWI and repeated during the Great Depression. First, migrant farmers of Ontario walked to Ottawa with demands and, in 1919, other men did so for bread and jobs.  

Unemployment Relief Camps were created across Canada in 1932 by PM R. B. Bennett; there, men could get a bunk bed, medical care and basic food plus 20 cents a day, for doing physical labour 44 hours a week. Men complained of the camp conditions and exploitation. 

Following a fundraising picnic of 20,000 supporters, 1,000 workers walked off the job, jumped on box cars, stopping in Kamloops, Calgary and Edmonton, their numbers growing to 1,500.

Police truncheons stopped them on June 14, 1932. Bennett invited eight trek leaders to a meeting in Ottawa on June 22, but it failed. Back in Regina, the traveling protesters were blocked by the RCMP. A third demonstration of 2,000 people took place in Market Sq. on July 1, though only 300 trekkers remained. This time, the RCMP used guns, tear gas and charging horses.  (more...)

The On to Ottawa 2024 'Peace Caravan'

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