The Vancouver Island Peace Society was founded in order to challenge the Federal Government in court on the legality of nuclear warships in Canadian waters.
With the assistance of lawyer Robert Moore-Stewart, the VIP Society prosecuted a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. We challenged that the Federal Government failed to obey its own environmental assessment laws when Cabinet approved the transit and porting of foreign nuclear warships in Canadian waters and ports. The VIP Society sought to have the courts overturn the Cabinet Orders, force a public review, and to disallow nuclear ship visits until the review was complete.
The judgement of the Federal Court was made over a year later - an unusually long period of time, indicating that both sides had strong cases worthy of detailed analysis. On appeal, before the Federal Court of Appeal, the judges took just a few hours. In fact, they barely allowed our lawyer to present our case. The three judge's decision to uphold the initial judgement was made over lunch hour the first day of deliberations! And our lawyer was not allowed to carry on with our arguments. The Supreme Court of Canada responded that they would not hear an appeal, giving no reasons for their decision (as is usual).
While the court challenge failed, the battle for public opinion was won hands-down. In addition to significant amounts of favourable local, provincial and national media coverage, an unprecedented unanimity of political opinion was found for a full, public environmental review, including:
As well, the VIP Society was able to present hundreds of pages of court-accepted affidavits. These documents detail the risks of nuclear ship visits, our inability to respond to a disaster, the unacceptable costs of an accident, and the near unanimous support for a full, public environmental review. As well, they detailed the large majority of public opinion opposed to nuclear ship visits - a majority that is far larger than the percentage of votes that ever elects a federal government.
The VIP Society is proud to now make available to the world court of public opinion, the valuable documentation that was assembled to support this court case. If you are interested in exploring some of the fascinating material we uncovered, click here.
Editors for the Peace, Earth & Justice News
These Lists provide several hundred readers with news and information on peace, environment and justice issues, with Victoria to international content. Volunteer Editors read incoming emails and recommend which articles should be re-distributed.
Nuclear Ship Warning Signs Campaign
This campaign monitors the comings and goings of nuclear ships in Victoria, and activates a phone tree whenever a nuclear ship is in port. Those on the phone tree put up "Warning: Nuclear Ship Now In Port" signs in their window, lawn or car, whenever a nuclear ship is in port. Downtown businesses, as well as homes, are part of this campaign. To get a sign and join the phone tree, call (250) 642-5120 or send an email.
Web Site Developers
Volunteers with some background in HTML documents are needed to add more material to this web site. Areas to be expanded include graphics, nuclear ship lawsuit affidavits, a section on the conversion of military facilities and jobs to peaceful applications, and an archive of the Peace, Earth & Justice News.
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