City Council Refuses to Pass Resolution Against War on Iraq

By Ed Corrigan, Councillor, Ward 7

Published in Beesan May 2003

On Monday, March 17, 2003 at London City Council refused to consider a resolution in support of Canada's opposition to an attack on Iraq without the approval of the UN Security Council. Board of Control noted and filed a letter requesting a resolution to be passed against a war on Iraq and Council refused my request to vote against the filing of the request which in effect buried it. However, no organized effort was made by community groups to urge City Council to adopt a resolution against the war on Iraq.

Previously I had sent a copy of an article to all members of City Council noting that Regina City Council took a stand against the war. Board of Control received a request from Anna Edit, a UWO student, to pass a resolution against the war but noted and filed the request effectively ignoring it. The letter to Board of Control requesting that a Motion against the war was well intentioned but not part of a proper political campaign which stood much of a chance of being accepted. Council had to defeat the recommendation of Board of Control in order to bring forward a resolution which I had prepared and stated I was going to present to Council. I had prepared a Motion to be seconded by Ward 6 Councillor David Winninger but because Council voted 13 to 6 in favour of filing the request there was no opportunity to present a Motion to oppose an attack on Iraq without UN Security Council approval. I had previously approached Councillors Sandy Levin and David Winninger that if they were prepared to move a motion I would second it. There are good reasons for me not to move a motion due to my extensive past involvement with Middle East issues. However, nobody on Council was prepared to move a Motion so at the last minute I prepared one for Monday, March 17, 2003 meeting.

Only six councillors voted against the Board of Control recommendation to note and file the request for a Motion against a war on Iraq. Those who voted to oppose filing and ignoring the request were Councillors David Winninger, Harold Usher, Ab Chahbar, Joni Baechler, Susan Eagle and myself Ed Corrigan. The Councillors who voted in favour of ignoring the request were Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, Deputy Mayor Russ Montieth, Controllers Bud Pohill, Gord Hume, Joe Swan, Councillors Sandy Levin, Rob Alder, Bernie MacDonald, Fred Tranquilli, Roger Caranci, Bill Armstrong, Cheryl Miller and Gary Williams.

Most of Council was opposed to discussing this issue. However, it must be noted that there was virtually no campaign from the Arab and Muslim community and virtually none from the peace activists community targeting City Council. Unfortunately there was no community support on for this issue and only two emails in favour of passing a resolution and no virtually campaign to get London City Council to take a position against the war. It that sense there is little surprise in the majority of the members of City Council were not interested in expressing any concern or opposition to an attack on Iraq.

In fairness, however, some Councillors, such as Sandy Levin, who are generally supportive of the peace movement and social justice issues do not think that City Council is the appropriate place to pass resolutions on International issues like Iraq. However, over 150 Cities across North America including Vancouver, New York City and Washington have passed resolutions opposing an attack on Iraq without the prior approval of the UN Security Council. This was an opportunity missed for London to officially voice its opposition to an attack on Iraq without the approval of the United Nations Security Council. People who are interested in this issue should remember who voted against ignoring this issue and remember the names of those who refused to deal with the war against on the people of Iraq.