Media Release

30 January 2003

”Nothing concerns any people more, including the people of Vancouver, than the prospect of war.”


--Councillor Jim Green in response to the question of whether municipal governments should be concerned about the federal government engaging in war against Iraq. 


January 30, 2003: 4:45 pm - Vancouver became the first Canadian city to oppose war against Iraq.   

Vancouver City Council voted unanimously today to oppose Canada’s involvement in any military action against Iraq unless that military action is authorized by:

·         a legally valid resolution of the UN Security Council and

·         Canadian laws, and

·         Parliament has debated Canada’s involvement


“Vancouver City Council has voted to uphold international law –cities across Canada have a responsibility to follow suit.”

--Gail Davidson,  Lawyers Against the War

During a lengthy meeting council heard from speakers representing a wide range of concerned Vancouver residents.

Speaking on behalf of the resolution were Gail Davidson - co-chair of Lawyers against the War, David Morgan - National President of Veterans against Nuclear Arms, Bill Saunders - President of the Vancouver and District Labour Council, Connie Fogal - Defence of Canadian Liberty Committee, Irene MacInnisnnes of the Campaign to End Sanctions against the People of Iraq, Dr. Edward H. Shaffer - economist, Betty Griffith - Secretary of End the Arms Race, Reverend Bob Korth – Chairman of the Justice and Peace Committee of Christ Church Cathedral and others.

Contact: Gail Davidson                                                        David Morgan

Tel:     604 738-0338                                                                Tel: 604 985-7147

Email:                                                            Email:


Resolution attached:

WHEREAS, the UN General Assembly in Resolution A/RES/39/159 demands
that all "states take no actions aimed at military intervention and
occupation, forcible change in or undermining of the socio-political system
of states, destabilization and overthrow of their governments and, in
particular, initiate no military action to that end under any pretext
whatsoever and cease forthwith any such action already in progress";

AND WHEREAS, unilateral, preemptive military action by the United States
without a legally valid United Nations Security Council resolution would
violate Articles 2 and 51 of the United Nations Charter and international
customary law;

AND WHEREAS, such action would thus constitute the supreme international
crime according to the principles laid down by the Nuremberg Tribunal;

AND WHEREAS, the Security Council is bound to act in accordance with the
Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter to maintain international peace
and can authorize the use of limited force only when:
    * there exists a proven threat to international peace and security, and;
    * all peaceful means have failed to contain the identified threat, and;
    * use of force is necessary, proportionate to the threat and is in the
common interest.

AND WHEREAS, Canada's National Defence Act, R.S. 1985, C. N-5 stipulates
that Canada may engage in military action in the event that Canada or a NATO
ally is attacked or pursuant to an action taken under the UN Charter;

AND WHEREAS, according to UNICEF and other international relief agencies,
non-military sanctions against Iraq have resulted in the deaths of hundreds
of thousands of children due to inadequate food, water and medicine;

AND WHEREAS, a further war in Iraq would result in extensive death, injury
and suffering to the Iraqi people;

AND WHEREAS, the United Nations declared this decade, 2000-2010 as the
International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the
Children of the World" (UN Declaration 53/25, November 10, 1998), urging all
people and all levels of government to seek non-violent approaches to
conflict resolution and wider education about international law and
alternatives to war;

AND WHEREAS, many cities in North America have passed resolutions expressing
opposition to use of military force to compel a regime change in Iraq,
including Washington, DC, Seattle, Washington, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Santa Cruz, California, Ithaca, New York, Santa Fe, New Mexico, New Haven,
Connecticut, Oakland, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A. THAT Vancouver City Council
         (a) Hereby express our opposition to a threatened United States'
pre-emptive military action against Iraq that is not explicitly authorized
by a legally valid United Nations Security Council resolution; and
        (b) Hereby urge the Federal Government of Canada to take all
diplomatic measures to urge the United States to adhere to the requirements
of the UN Charter and to work with and through the United Nations to obtain
peaceful compliance by Iraq with United Nations Security Council Resolution
#1441 concerning the disarmament of Iraq of nuclear,
chemical and biological weapons; and
        (c) Hereby call on all governments, especially the Government of
Canada, to:
            * comply with the United Nations Charter, and;
            * reject a military approach to solving conflicts between
states, and;
            * seek to eliminate the root causes of conflict and find
solutions by peaceful means for the common good of all;    and

FURTHER THAT the City of Vancouver is opposed to Canada's involvement in any
military action against Iraq unless the military action is authorized by a
legally valid resolution of the United Nations Security Council and by
Canadian laws; and

FURTHER THAT this motion be forwarded to every member of Parliament for
Vancouver, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Union of British
Columbia Municipalities and Cities for Peace.

B. THAT the City of Vancouver endorse the February 15, 2003 Peace March.

C. THAT the City of Vancouver establish forthwith, and once again, the Peace
and Justice Committee and staff provide a report back to Council on how to
establish this Committee.

Diane M. Clairmont, Meeting Coordinator
City Clerk's Office
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC   V5Y 1V4
Phone:   (604) 871-6371
Fax:     (604) 873-7419