Mobilization Against War and Occupation
Campaigns Articles & Analysis Materials Media Reports Contact Links & Endorsers Home

Event Reports

October 14, 2008 - Picket Action
on Federal Election Day
Canada/NATO Out of Afghanistan NOW!

Organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO)


October 14 MAWO Picket Action Report

“Hey, Next Prime Minister of Canada: We Demand Canada Out of Afghanistan Now!” rang through the streets of Vancouver on Federal Election Day in Canada. Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) organized a picket action at the Canadian Forces Recruitment Centre that saw over 30 people come out to protest the ongoing war and occupation in Afghanistan. Since none of the major political parties, the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and Greens, have called for the unconditional withdrawal of Canadians troops from Afghanistan, the anti-war movement needs to be that voice for peace.

MAWO co-chair Janine Solanki MC’d the picket and welcomed everyone. Janine introduced MAWO executive committee member Kira Koshelanyk who read MAWO’s anti-war statement on election day.

After Kira spoke Lisa Barrett, co-ordinator for the local Code-Pink Women for Peace and a city councillor for Bowen Island came up. Lisa condemned the ongoing war, and called for an independent public inquiry into Canada’s war in Afghanistan.

Lisa’s speech energized the crowd who were then led into a loud series of chants. “Harper Dion Layton May… End the Afghan War Today!” This was followed by Indigenous Rights and Action project organizer Kerri Goodwin, an Oji-Cree activist. Kerri spoke against the war in Afghanistan and connected it to Canada’s war against indigenous people here in Canada.

Picketers went back onto the streets for another round of chants before the next speaker. Janine then welcomed up Payvand Pejvack, an organizer with the Iranian Community Against War. Then Tamara Hansen, the co-chair of the Canadian Network on Cuba and the coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba, spoke against Canada’s increasingly imperialist foreign policy.

With the importance of this day, Janine called on the anti-war picketers to go and be loud and picket one more time! This kept the energy high as Nita Palmer, MAWO Executive Committee member, called on people in Canada to continue to organize and mobilize against Canada’s war drive.

Kira Koshelanyk rounded up the picket speaking of the necessity of continued protest against the war on Afghanistan no matter what happens on federal election day. This important action on this important day came to a close with picketers vowing to continue to protest until the war in Afghanistan is over.


October 14 MAWO Statement

Vancouver, BC

Tuesday, October 14th 2008

Hey, Next Prime Minister of Canada:

Protest Against the War Drive and for Peace in Afghanistan on the Day of the Federal Election
Tuesday October 14 - Federal Election Day
Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Centre
(1070 West Georgia St)


~Lisa Barrett – Municipal Councillor of Bowen Island and former Mayor of Bowen Island, Local Coordinator of Code Pink Women for Peace
~Kira Koshelanyk - Executive Member of MAWO


On the day of the federal election in Canada, Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) is organizing a city-wide protest rally against the government of Canada's war drive in Afghanistan. This protest will take place in front of the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center (1070 West Georgia St). This action is also demanding that the five major political parties take a stance on withdrawing Canadian troops UNCONDITIONALLY and immediately from Afghanistan.

Just last week, a senior commander of the British military, Brig. Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith, stated that an absolute military victory in Afghanistan is impossible. His statement was closely followed by similar remarks from the UN envoy to Kabul. This admission confirms what we have been saying for the last four years about the deterioration of life in Afghanistan and the opposition of the Canadian people to the war and occupation of Afghanistan. We have collected almost 15,000 signatures calling for troops out of Afghanistan in the Lower Mainland alone. As well, all new evidence exposed by various civilian and military authorities inside and outside of Afghanistan clearly proves previous findings by NGOs and human rights groups, as well as reports by soldiers themselves. This war and occupation has not meant progress for the people of Afghanistan, but destruction and a downward spiral of military occupation for the material interests and exploitation of resources by Canada, the US and NATO members.

On a day when millions of people across Canada will be going to the polls, this picket action will call attention to the absence of a major plan to end the war in Afghanistan. We do not want a war government, which we believe will be the result of this federal election. However, we believe further that people should vote and elect an antiwar government regardless of the results of the election. Don't vote strategically, vote for humanity, for an antiwar government or for any party/parties that could get close to that. We want a government which will address the issue of the occupation of Afghanistan and represent the 56% of people in Canada who disapprove of Canada's war in Afghanistan (CBC), by pulling troops out NOW. Already 10.5 billion taxpayer dollars have been spent on Canada's war in Afghanistan, and the total spending is projected to be $22 billion by 2011. Why is this money going towards this war drive and its killing machine, while education, the condition of women and children, unemployment, homelessness, unresolved Aboriginal issues and healthcare all and all are deteriorating in Canada?

After seven years of occupation, what has come of the initial promises the government of Canada made of improving the lives of Afghan people? What security has Canada provided for people in Afghanistan?
Where is the so-called liberation of women?
Where are the schools for children?
What democracy has the government of Canada provided for Afghan people?

The questions above are just a few of hundreds of questions that people of Afghanistan and the majority of working and poor people in Canada are asking. On August 22, another air strike killed 90 civilians in Azizabad, Afghanistan – 60 of them children and 15 women. How can the government of Canada claim that troops are in Afghanistan defending women and children when Canada/US/NATO are bombing Afghan women and children, turning these great, innocent people into pieces?

We do not want another government that will continue this brutality and crime of war against Afghan people. On the day of the federal election, Mobilization Against War and Occupation is calling on all peace-loving people to join us to say to the next Prime Minister of Canada that we are demanding Canada Out of Afghanistan NOW! Join us for this picket action on October 14, Federal Election Day.