Since its formation, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has made significant contributions to Canada's peace movement. As an Ottawa-based organization, supported by a network of individuals and groups across Canada, COAT made great headway in exposing and opposing many military export events held in the nation's capital.
Throughout the 1990's, COAT continued to organize major events, including anti-war rallies, marches, peace vigils and conferences in Ottawa. COAT has also coordinated campaigns against war/air shows, war toys and Canada's active participation, and hypocritical role, in various U.S-led wars. Much of our work has helped to challenge the dominant cultural mythology that Canada is a great force for peace in the world. Unfortunately, the reality of the Canadian government and corporate complicity in war and injustice does not correspond to the the mythology.
Much of COAT's early work was focused on public education regarding economic conversion. COAT's magazine, Press for Conversion!, originally dealt with various international efforts by NGOs, governments and businesses to promote the conversion of military industries, bases and other facilities to civilian alternatives. Attention was paid to promoting conversion programs which are socially useful and environmentally sound.
Over the last few years, COAT has continued focused more and more on it's magazine, Press for Conversion! However, since 1999, the magazine has broadened its focus to include many other aspects of cultural change besides the economic conversion of military infrastructure. Each issue of the magazine now focuses on a different anti-war theme. Therefore, the concept of conversion has itself been transformed to included many social, legal, psychological and economic factors essential to the move from a world based on war, greed, deception and violence, where "might is right," to a world based on peace, justice, truth, human rights and nonviolence.
Over the years, other COAT projects included: