Students against missile defense

SAMD campaigned from 2003 to 2005 to oppose Canada’s involvement in the U.S. Missile Defence program.

In 2005, after widespread opposition throughout Canada that included street demonstrations, letter writing campaigns, lobbying of federal politicians, and community forums, the Prime Minister at the time, Liberal leader Paul Martin, declared that Canada would not be involved in the US BMD program.

Many peace activists claimed this as a victory, and public and media attention to the issue died down. But as the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade has documented, Canada is involved, through the use of Canadian tax dollars to subsidize the development of technology sold to the US for space militarization. Canada also hosts US-led “war game” simulations that include weapons in space.

Interested in restarting SAMD, or starting a new working group focusing on peace and militarism? We want to hear your ideas!

Past SAMD campaign materials (2003-2005)

The SAMD campaign materials are included below as an example of some ways to raise public awareness about space militarization. As many of the facts have changed since 2005 (e.g., Paul Martin is no longer Prime Minister), these tools would need to be updated for a revitalized “no to missile defence” campaign. For up-to-date information check out the website of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.


Past SAMD events

  • Dec 4, 2004: Doug Roche speaking tour
    SAMD worked with the Council of Canadians to host a presentation by Senator Doug Roche, speaking about his recent book The Human Right to Peace. The event included workshops on missile defence with VIPIRG’s Stacy Chappel.
  • Dec 2, 2004: Citizen’s inquiry – Missile defence and Canada-U.S. relations
    SAMD hosted one of a 10-city series of citizen inquiries organized by the Council of Canadians, Crossing The Line: A Citizen’s Inquiry on Canada-US Relations. The series aimed to raise awareness and collect community perspectives on the corporate lobby’s push for the Canadian government to become more aligned with the US in terms of culture, immigration, defence, environmental standards, trade, and health care. The Citizen’s Inquiry in Victoria focused on missile defence, the militarization of space, NORAD, and the war in Iraq. The hearings included expert speakers and presentations by community groups and individuals.
  • Nov 25, 2004: Demonstration
    With Students Against War, the Council of Canadians, and other Victoria peace and justice groups, SAMD rallied outside MP David Anderson’s office to call on him and other MPs to vote against joining the US missile defence program. Students Against War presented Anderson with a petition signed by 2,000 people.
  • Oct 4, 2004: Missile Defence – Back to the Cold War?
    SAMD hosted a presentation by Michael Byers, Academic Director, Lieu Institute for Global Issues, UBC and frequent contributor to the London Review of Books and the Globe and Mail. Byers has been writing and campaigning against missile defence since June 2000.
  • Jun 21, 2004: All-candidates forum on Canadian peace and security
    Just over 80 people braved the summer heat to hear from federal election candidates on peace and security issues at a forum organized by VIPIRG and the Council of Canadians.
  • Report from Forum 
  • Jun 12, 2004: Demonstration – National wake up call on missile defence
    VIPIRG joined with groups across the country in demonstrations to keep Canada out of the US missile defence program. Peace activists set off alarm clocks outside of Conservative Campaign headquarters, listened to speakers, and then walked to David Anderson’s Liberal campaign office.
  • May 11, 2004: Launch of Democratic Deficit Tour
    SAMD helped launch a cross-Canada tour of satirists with by strapping a giant replica missile, covered in signatures protesting missile defence, to the top of the tour car to be delivered to Martin in Ottawa.

Related materials

The Victoria Peace Coalition successfully lobbied Victoria BC city council to pass a motion opposing missile defence. Their materials are included below as PDF files.

Want to get city council support for a motion?

  1. Prepare the motion (look at other motions city council has passed, such as the one linked above, to get an idea of how motions to council are usually worded). If you’re not sure about the wording, you can ask VIPIRG staff for help. It’s helpful to get feedback on a draft by community groups to make sure you’ve addressed the key points and also to encourage community support for your motion.
  2. Contact any councillor you think might be supportive and ask them to move the motion at a meeting. If they say no, ask another councillor. Once you find a supportive councillor, ask their help in getting you the issue on the agenda and to keep you posted of the dates for the meeting. Ask them for advice on how to win the motion. They often know which colleagues will be friendly to the idea, and how best convince others.
  3. Contact other groups who will support your motion at least a week before the meeting to invite them to attend and speak to the motion or be present in support of the motion.
  4. Prepare your group to speak to the motion and to any media who may be present. The easiest way to do this is to prepare a statement from your organization to read at the meeting and delegate one member to read it. Bring extra copies for councillors and members of the media.
  5. Prepare relevant handouts for councillors to provide them with background information (like the Space Preservation Treaty handout above).
  6. Attend the meeting with as many group members as possible to support the motion.

Written by PInk Sheep Media 

Working GroupsVIPIRG ADMIN