Canada's Largest Umbrella Peace Organization
The Canadian Peace Alliance is a coalition of groups working on peace issues with membership from coast to coast to coast. CPA membership ranges from fully-volunteer local groups with half-a-dozen members to large trade union federations and peace NGOs with several full-time staff.
The CPA offers direct services to members, services to all people concerned with peace issues (which members may want to use and support) and a national voice in key peace issues (most important to smaller or regionally-based members). Member groups give the CPA its dynamism, its political perspective (though individual member groups are not bound by CPA positions they certainly shape them) and its credibility.
The CPA helps peace groups across the country to communicate and sometimes to plan joint actions or campaigns. The CPA prepares 4 "clearinghouse" mailings per year to the membership, and member groups are invited to add materials to the mailing. (Normally, member groups should expect to provide enough copies of the material to the CPA office or to cover copying costs.) In addition, CPA runs a members-only listserve through which member groups can send information and notices, debate and so on. The listserve is "closed" (CPA signs people on) but not moderated (i.e. a subscriber can post directly and usually immediately without having posts checked first by the CPA office).
The CPA allows smaller and regionally based peace groups to participate in national organizations and coalitions that are restricted to larger organizations or would involve too much time and resources to participate in, and helps facilitate communication in both directions. Examples of this include the September 11 Peace Coalition (the CPA is a founding member), the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Solidarity Network (formerly Action Canada Network). As well, the CPA has some resources to send staff or delegates to Ottawa government consultations on peace-related issues and to make presentations to House of Commons committees.
Member groups provide CPA with its policy direction, set in the first instance through the policy resolutions of the biennial convention. Member groups are encouraged to send a delegate and/or submit a policy resolution and the resolutions are discussed, debated and adopted (or occasionally not) at the convention. The ongoing governance of the CPA also takes place through the efforts of member groups, as the CPA Steering Committee (board) is comprised of delegates from member groups, allocated according to 'caucus' such that there is representation from every part of the country. The regional caucuses determine who their delegates to the SC will be, which is decided at the convention (people who cannot attend can indicate their interest in advance). SC members have the opportunity to shape CPA campaigns on an ongoing basis but also to let their own group and other groups in their area know what the CPA is up to in between meetings. Member groups, especially (but certainly not exclusively) SC members also help shape the CPA's analysis of key peace issues, especially if they have specialized knowledge of an issue.
The CPA does take on 1 or 2 major campaign issues per year and the SC determines those priorities (based on the convention resolutions plus their own analysis of what should be prioritized). This past year 2000-2001, before September 11, 2001 the CPA was active in actions opposing Canada's proposed participation in the US Nuclear Missile Defence ("NMD") proposal and gathered more than 6,000 signatures across the country on a petition that has already been introduced to the House of Commons at least 8 times. A report based on a cross-Canada consultation on key security and foreign policy issues last year is due for imminent release though it is being scrutinized with some care in the post September 11 context.
Member groups are asked to pay an annual fee that is proportionate to their annual budgets. These fees help cover the direct and indirect costs of maintaining the cross-Canada coalition. According to CPA by-laws, no group will be refused membership specifically because they cannot pay fees, however, the group should explicitly request a fee waiver or reduction.
To learn more about the Canadian Peace Alliance, or to request a Membership Application Form and/or be listed online in the CPA Peace Directory, view the CPA web site at http://www.acp-cpa.ca or contact: