The Kootenay Region Branch of the United Nations Association in Canada (KRUNA) hosted a gathering to celebrate the International Day of Peace on Monday night at the CPR Railway Museum.
Alex Atamanenko, outgoing MP for the former BC Southern Interior riding, was one of the speakers at the event, and encouraged those in attendance to keep peace in mind when they head to the polls on Oct. 19.
He had particularly strong feelings about the fact that Canada has not yet signed the Arms Trade Treaty, regulating the international trade of conventional arms, put into force by the United Nations on Dec. 24, 2014.
“We had the Arms Trade Treaty, it entered into force in December 2014, but despited domestic and international calls to join this treaty, Canada has so far opted not to sign one of the most important arms control agreements of our time,” said Atamanenko. “I can’t believe that the country I grew up in is not leading the battle to be the first signatory to this…. So as we move on and we listen to the people, all of you folks here today, and we reflect on the cause of peace, lets make sure that we reflect and we don’t forget to go on October 19 and cast our ballot.”
Councillor Deborah McIntosh also attended, representing the City of Castlegar, and she also encouraged those in attendance to make peace an election issue.
“If you don’t follow politics or any of that, just remember that there are parties out there that are for peace and tranquility, and bringing people together,” she said. “So if you don’t think of anything else, think of that and cast your ballot that way, and make sure peace is an absolute[ly] important item in the way you vote.”
Other speakers during the evening also related the evening’s theme to the election, and those gathered sang songs of peace to celebrate the day.
The General Assembly of the United Nations declared Sept. 21 the International Day of Peace, and “a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples” in 2001. The UN invites all nations to participate in a cease fire during the Day of Peace.