ATTENTION: NEWS EDITORS
Homes not Bombs
"Because Canada should build homes, not blow them up"
PO Box 73620, 509 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto, ON M6C 1C0
(416) 651-5800; firstname.lastname@example.org; Kitchener-Waterloo: (519) 584-7556, Guelph: (519) 836-2409; Hamilton: (905) 528-5925, 627-2696, email@example.com, Windsor: (519) 258-1555; Ottawa (613) 237-6278
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 9, 2001
Homes not Bombs Announces Plans to Hold Mothers Day Picnic on Grounds of the Kitchener Weapons Manufacturer
Diemaco, a Kitchener-based weapons manufacturer and division of Heroux-Devtek, seems to have been caught in a very public lie, according to research provided to Homes not Bombs (HNB) by the Ottawa-based Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.
The focus of numerous HNB protests and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience over the past eight months, Diemaco has repeatedly told peace activists and members of the press that its only market is the Canadian Armed Forces and select NATO countries. Yet a profile of Diemaco submitted to Industry Canada by Diemaco Director of Sales and Marketing Frank Johansen clearly shows that Diemaco has been deliberately misleading those who wish to shed light on the federally-funded facility, which has received over $250 million in Canadian tax dollars since 1980 to make a variety of killing instruments.
On a web page titled "Canadian Company Capabilities" on the Industry Canada website, Diemaco boasts of "export experience" in a wide variety of specific countries and regions with severe human rights violations, including Saudi Arabia, Papua, N.G., Asia or Far East countries, Middle East or Near East countries, Pacific Rim countries, Arabic countries, Australasia and the Persian Gulf. At a time when international agencies are calling for strict restrictions on small arms transfers, Diemaco, which considers itself "Canada's Centre of Excellence for Small Arms," is ever busy looking for new markets, and says it is "Actively Pursuing" markets in Greece, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Mediterranean Countries, Scandinavia, as well as over a dozen individual U.S. states.
In addition to concerns that the publicily-subsidized Diemaco seems to have misled the public about where its weapons end up, activists wonder how, exactly, Diemaco "products" which fire 800 rounds a minute might be used in such Pacific Rim countries as Colombia, China and Indonesia, which have some of the world's worst human rights records.
Meanwhile, Homes not Bombs, two of whose members were arrested at a nonviolent demonstration January 16 at the weaponsmaker, today announced plans to hold a Mothers Day Picnic and Cooperative Badminton Festival Sunday, May 13 on the site of the controversial maker of machine guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers, and other weapons of mass human destruction.
"On Mothers Day, we will try and hold a picnic and non-competitive badminton festival, to which all Diemaco employees are invited," says a HNB spokesperson. "When we tried to dialogue with Diemaco and conduct an inspection of the facility in January, they arrested two of our members and refused to meet with us. Well, if they won't let us in, perhaps they'll come out and join us on May 13 for a pleasant afternoon meal and light entertainment."
Mothers Day, originally a day declared for ending war and the preparation of war in 1870 by U.S. abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe, is a perfect day to reflect on one of Waterloo region's leading promoters of war. While many lucky families will have a special lunch or dinner with Mom, upwards of 2,000 individuals in Waterloo region who are homeless will wonder where their next meal and bed is coming from that day. Homes not Bombs believes the housing crisis in the region would not exist if the $250 million from Ottawa had gone not to make weapons at Diemaco but to build sustainable, affordable housing.
For more information, contact Homes not Bombs at (416) 651-5800 or the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade at (613) 231-3076 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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