Letter to Councilors of the Region of Ottawa-Carleton

August 2, 2000

Dear Councilor,

It has just come to our attention that the Region has granted $10,000 to assist in the organization of a mass spectacle at which modern weapons of mass destruction will once again be used to provide children's entertainment.  We hope that this was merely an oversight on the regions part.   

For four years, many individuals and organizations in the Ottawa-Carleton region that are concerned with issues related to peace, development, human rights and the environment, have been working together to oppose Ottawa's annual war show.  You may know this war show by the euphemistic title given to it by its organizers, i.e., the "National Capital Air Show."  We believe it is necessary to call this event by a name that accurately describes it.

If for some reason you doubt that this spectacle really IS a war show, I would suggest that you refer to the article provided below.  Or, decide for yourself.  Visit the official web site of the war show organizers ncas.ottawa.com and examine the list of aircraft that will be providing entertainment for children and adults at this year's event.  Better still, attend the war show this year and examine the war planes which are the so called "performers."  Then, decide for yourself whether an event to promote these war "performers" was a suitable cause for the OC region to support, especially during this the UN International Year for a Culture of Peace. Decide for yourself whether the region should be assisting in the organization of future events which glorify and romanticize war-fighting

Please note that almost every single airplane that will descend upon the OC region for this mass spectacle is a WAR plane. This is absolutely clear from the "performers" listed on the official war show web site.  These are not just historic or antiquated war planes of interest to airplane buffs.
These are among the most sophisticated, the most expensive and the most terrifying war planes ever built.  It is not an exaggeration to state that these are among the most deadly technological inventions ever created in the history of our planet.  Most of these weapons delivery systems are US war planes that are still being used in various wars around the world. Many of Ottawa's residents fled here from regions at war.  In their original homes, such war planes would be used to strike terror in the hearts of their fellow citizens.  That is one of the intended purposes of these weapons systems -- to terrify and destroy people's lives and the civilian infrastructure and environment upon which communities survive.  It is also worth noting that many of the war planes on display at the Ottawa war show were designed to carry NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

I am writing now to make several requests:

(1) Please do not donate any more money to support the Ottawa war show in the future.

(2) If the OC region's cheque for $10,000 has not yet been issued, please withhold it.

(3) The OC region is currently listed (along with numerous major military corporations), as a "partner" of the war show.  If it is too late to withdraw your financial support for the war show this year, you should at least ask the organizers to remove the OC region's name from:
   (a) the list of partners in their web site
   (b) all written materials and
   (c) signage at the event.

(4) Will the OC region become a partner with us in organizing a festival of peace at the gates of this year's war show?  We are asking people who support peace, human rights, development and environment by joining us in this festival to create a positive, non-violent, celebration of peace and
life.  This will provide a contrast to the celebration of the technology of death and destruction which is once again this year being flaunted as a source of family entertainment at the war show.  It seems appropriate that an amount equal to that given to the war show should be provided to those
who are promoting peaceful alternatives to war. 

Please consider that the war show is already sponsored by many of the world's largest and most successful war-related businesses.  These military producers profit from the production of war materials and from the misery of those who endure war and repressive regimes.  We on the other hand, as people promoting a culture of peace have a relatively difficult time financing our important work.  War is big business. Peace is not.  Many profitable corporations benefit from the use of war machines, such as the war planes which come to Ottawa every year.  War planes and other war
technology is often used to install and maintain the political power of dictators and repressive regimes.  These regimes create and preside over unjust economic systems which allow the exploitation of natural resources and people's labor. 

In addition to your dealing with the above requests, we would also like to have your answers to the following questions:

Why, during this the UN International Year for a "Culture of Peace," has the OC Region given $10,000 to this most blatant example of a mass spectacle promoting a culture of war, i.e., the Ottawa War Show (a.k.a. "the National Capital Air Show")?

How was this decision made? 

Was there a council vote on this? 

If so, who voted for it, who against, who abstained?

If there was no vote, please explain why.

Was this the first year that Regional government supported the Ottawa war show?

If not, for how many years has the region been giving money to the Ottawa war show and how much money was given during each year?

Is there any process by which the citizens and organizations of Ottawa can make representations to the Region to encourage them to support peace shows rather than war shows?  If so, please let us know how these representations can be made. In particular, are there committee meetings that can be
attended by the public?  If so, please inform us so that we may attend.

Is there funding available, during this UN International Year for a "Culture of Peace," to support our efforts to organize a "Festival of Peace" at the gates of the Ottawa War Show, or is money only available for those who are organizing the war show? 

Does the OC Regional government believe that these war planes are an appropriate source of entertainment, especially for children?

If so, why?

Is the technology designed for the fighting of nuclear war suitable for children's entertainment? Is it something that the OC region should be financing?

Does the OC regional government even realize that for the past 3 years, the Ottawa war show has included an international arms bazaar at which some of Canada's largest military producers have exhibited their wares to military attaches and air force generals from dozens of countries, including the US and almost all of the countries of the South and Central America? 

In light of the international court's decision regarding the illegality of nuclear weapons systems, is it not appropriate to ban their war planes designed to carry these weapons from visiting our region.

Please answer these questions as promptly and completely as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Richard Sanders
Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade