Former MP and historian John English was the keynote speaker at a Night of A Thousand Dinners, hosted by The Rotary Club of Oshawa, on Nov. 13, in the Officers Mess of the Ontario Regiment, in Oshawa. Proceeds went to one of Rotary's projects, the Canadian Landmine Foundation.  Special thanks to Oshawa Rotarian Gordon Dowsley and his committee for making the night a huge success for all 5 Rotary Clubs represented. Here is what happened that evening......

Rotarians and guests from the Rotary Clubs of Oshawa, Oshawa-Parkwood, Bowmanville, Trenton, and Ajax attended the Night of A Thousands Dinners, this year, on Nov 13, hosted for the third consecutive year, by the Rotary Club of Oshawa, at the Officers Mess of the Ontario Regiment in Oshawa, with proceeds going to the Canadian Landmine Foundation. 

Rotarians and clubs have been involved with the eradication of Landmines since the passing of The Ottawa Treaty in 1997. The effort to establish an international treaty banning the use, sale and manufacture of landmines was led by then Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts and still serves as the Canadian Landmine Foundation’s Honourary Chair.

In 1999 the Canadian Landmine Foundation was formed with backing from the federal government’s $100 million Canadian Landmine Fund. Its task was to involve Canadians in mine action by raising awareness and funds for demining and victim assistance. Today the Foundation works to raise awareness at home and support mine action in Cambodia through partnerships with local organizations.

Jay Cannings, President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa, the master of ceremonies for the evening, welcomed Rotarians and guests, including Past President of Rotary International Wilf Wilkinson, Past District Governor Ted Morrison,  District Governor Ron Dick (of the Oshawa Rotary Club), President Lennis Trotter of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood , and former MP John English , the keynote speaker for the evening. 

Oshawa Rotary Club President Jay Cannings and guest speaker John English

District 7070 Public Image Chair and Past President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Dave Andrews introduced a video of the October 2016  conference in Toronto celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Ottawa Treaty.  Rotarians and clubs have been involved with the eradication of Landmines since the passing of The Ottawa Treaty in 1997. Rotarians have served on the Canadian Landmine Foundation’s Board of Directors since its creation, in 1999. Dr. John Frid, a Rotarian from Hamilton (Hamilton) was on the Foundation’s inaugural Board of Directors. Rotarians Herb Epp (Kitchener), and Chris Snyder (Toronto)—have served as the organization’s Chair, and Scott Fairweather (Toronto Forest Hill) was the Foundation’s President and CEO from 2003-2009. Our own Past District Governor Richard Clarke (7070) has been on the board as well. Chris Snyder, Gordon Dowsley (Oshawa), Bob Butterill (Toronto Sunrise), and former Rotarian John English (Waterloo), who is with us tonight, remain on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Our District Governor Nominee, Ron Dick has just accepted a seat on the Board. With the support of Sandy Boucher (Toronto) and Richard Clarke (Parkdale-High Park), Rotarians for Mine Action, once a Rotary Fellowship, became one of the inaugural Rotary Action Groups in 2005. 

Just 2 years ago, as part of Canada’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations, Past President of Rotary International, Wilf Wilkinson, who is with us here tonight, a director of the Canadian Landmine Foundation, challenged Rotarians to renew our commitment to eliminate these terrible weapons. 
Rotarians and Rotary Clubs have been two of the largest financial contributors to the Canadian Landmine Foundation. The funds went to projects that cleared mines and assisted survivors in places like Bosnia, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Cambodia.
At the height of the Night of 1000 Dinners campaign, over 90% of all Rotary Districts in Canada were holding N1KD events!
 
What is Night of A Thousand Dinners?
Night of a Thousand Dinners (N1KD) is an event, just like we are having here tonight, that helps to raise awareness of the global landmine crisis and to raise funds for mine action. They began as a global campaign in 2001 and the tradition continues, to this day, among Rotary Clubs in Canada. 
They are a wonderful opportunity for everyone to make a positive difference in the lives of those living in mine-affected communities, while at the same time, sharing a meal with our Rotary friends and guests. Instead of guests bringing wine, flowers, or dessert, they make a donation to the Canadian Landmine Foundation, just like we have done tonight.Every contribution, no matter how small, will affect change on a global scale. When a thousand Rotarians and guests come together, across Canada, have dinner and support the Canadian Landmine Foundation, it is called Night of A Thousand Dinners. Net proceeds from Night of a Thousand Dinners will be used to fund mine action programs in Cambodia which help rural Cambodians, who come across mines and explosive remnants of war, in their day-to-day lives.
 
In October 1996, a conference on the global landmine crisis was held in Ottawa, Canada. At the conference, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, a Rotarian (Winnipeg), challenged a delegation of 50 governments and 24 observers to bring about an international ban on landmines. The rest is history. 
The Ottawa Treaty or the Mine Ban Treaty, formally the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, bans completely all anti-personnel landmines (AP-mines) around the world. To date, there are 161 countries have signed the treaty. The video that we are going to see tonight took place in October 2016 in Toronto. The event was called: The Ottawa Process Twenty Years Later: The Landmine Treaty, Human Security, and Canada in the Twenty-First Century. Delegates, came together to re-affirm their commitment to the eradication of land mines in the world. It is the same video that we saw last year, but it really tells the story of the world coming together to start the demining process worldwide. Here it is….. https://vimeo.com/190510668   

 

After dinner, Lennis Trotter, President of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood,  introduced the keynote speaker , John English. OCFRSC (born January 26, 1945) is a Canadian academic and former politician. A native of Plattsville, Ontario, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967 from the University of Waterloo. He completed his A.M. (Master's) degree in 1968 and PhD in 1973 at Harvard University. He joined the University of Waterloo as a lecturer in history in 1972, becoming an assistant professor in 1974, an associate professor in 1978, and a professor in 1984. He received a D.Litt. (hon) from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1990. He served as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener between 1993 and 1997. Subsequently, he served as a special ambassador for landmines and as a special envoy for the election of Canada to the United Nations Security Council. He has also served as president of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review, chair of the board of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum, and was the executive director of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canada's largest think tank devoted exclusively to the study of international affairs. He was also the general editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. He is currently the founding director of The Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at the University of Toronto where he is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs. He was a distinguished visiting professor at the Canadian Forces College in 2010–11 and is now a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo. On June 30, 2016, John English was promoted to an Officer of the Order of Canada from member by Governor General David Johnston for "his contributions as a historian, author and administrator who has expanded our knowledge and understanding of Canada's rich political heritage.

 

John English, a Kitchener Rotarian,  talked to the Rotarians and guests about the events leading up to the signing of the Ottawa Treaty .  He considers the Ottawa treaty of 1997 to be one of the landmarks of our Canadian Government.

John talked about the crisis of the 1980's with new wars in Asiaand Africa and also in the former Yugoslavia / and Russia.He talked about the new mine: anti-personnel mine , the innocent mines  - namely the Butterfly, and new casualties of 25,000 to 28,000 per year.He told us about the major actors: The Red Cross, US Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Handicap International and NGO's. He noted that after the wars are over, the mines last forever. In 1995 there was a deadlock at the Conference on Disaramament , NATO, and the UN Security Council.In 1996. Lloyd Axworthy started the process , bringing 96 countries to Ottawa. In the fall of 1997 the tide turned under British PM Tony Blair and the interest of Princess Diana. The UN , under secretary general Kofi Annan, and countries in Africa, Latin America, and Britain came up with the necessary compromises, and the Treaty was signed, named the Ottawa Treaty, for short. Stockplies on mines were destroyed - 51 million to start. 32 countries now landmine free, and the exporting of landmines has stopped.Today 133 countries have signed the treaty, along with 161 parties. Only 33 have not signed.

Even among the non signators there is progress: the US complies with no exports or production; China supports the UN vote; Russia does not export; Italy was a large exporter, now none. Each year, more states are mine free , done by volunteers. 

John noted that the Ottawa Treaty is a Canadian triumph but we do not celebrate this great achievement. We forget even though mines are killing in Syria and Afghanistan. But some do not forget: the families and friends of those lost. in 2011, 32 people died daily. Now 12 per day die from landmines. 

In 1995, the UN General Secretary called for a complete ban on land mines. . Canada's real heros were Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1996) , Jane Stewart (National Liberal Caucus Chair and Bob Nixon's daughter) and Andre Oullet. 

  • In 1996, a global civil society movement to ban landmines was building around the world, led by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The ICBL and its founding coordinator, Jody Williams, jointly received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo.

  • In October 1996, with 50 states gathered in Ottawa to discuss a global ban, then Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced that in December of 1997 Canada would hold a treaty-signing conference for a total ban on landmines.

  • On December 3, 1997, 122 states signed Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction in Ottawa, Canada, today known as the Ottawa Convention or the Mine Ban Treaty.

  • The treaty now has 162 state parties, up from the original 122 signatories.

  • Mine action remains at the core of Canadian foreign policy and currently flows through two thematic priorities: bilateral assistance to mine-affected states as part of larger development support initiatives; and under its Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, which focuses on stabilizing conflict-affected states and putting in place the conditions for sustainable peace.

John English told the Rotarians that the fight is not over. Land mines do not go away when the war stops. People feel captive. We must eliminate the stockpiles of land mines around the world. This will take time and we must not give up.

He urged Rotarians to continue our support and to encourage our children and grandchildren to continue the fight. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

District 7070 Rotarians remain steadfast in their desire to end the use of land mines.

It's time for more District 7070 Rotary Clubs to raise funds through A Night of A Thousand Dinners.

Dr. John Frid, a Rotarian from Hamilton (Hamilton) was on the Foundation’s inaugural Board of Directors. Rotarians Herb Epp (Kitchener), and Chris Snyder (Toronto)—have served as the organization’s Chair, and Scott Fairweather (Toronto Forest Hill) was the Foundation’s President and CEO from 2003-2009. Past District Governors Rosemary Barker-Aaragon (5030) and Richard Clarke ( once a Rotarian in 7070) have been on the board as well.

Chris Snyder, Gordon Dowsley (Oshawa), Bob Butterill (Toronto Sunrise), and Rotarian John English (Kitchener) remain on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, as well as past Rotary International President Wilf Wilkinson (Trenton). District Governor Nominee Ron Dick (Oshawa) has just accepted a position on this Board.

Rotarian mine action got underway in 2002 with the creation of Rotarians for Mine Action, which became a Rotary Fellowship the next year at the Brisbane International Convention in 2003. As 5030 District Governor Rosemary Barker-Aaragon spearheaded the creation of Rotarians for Mine Action.

With the support of Sandy Boucher (Toronto) and PDG Richard Clarke (once a member of Parkdale-High Park now a Rotarian in British Columbia), Rotarians for Mine Action became one of the inaugural Rotary Action Groups in 2005. The new Rotary Action Group presented on the big stage at the Rotary International Convention in Chicago that year, followed by several breakout sessions.

Rotarians for Mine Action worked to increase Rotarians and Rotaractors awareness and knowledge of landmine issues. It also encouraged involvement in projects to:

  • Promote landmine risk education in countries afflicted with landmines and other unexploded ordinances,
  • Support the removal and decommissioning of landmines,
  • Provide survivor assistance to landmine victims and their families, and
  • Support the rebuilding of sustainable community development in landmine cleared communities.

Rotarians and Rotary Clubs have been two the largest financial contributors to the Canadian Landmine Foundation. 122 Clubs in 18 Districts coast to coast have contributed more than $260,000 to Canadian Landmine Foundation programs over the years. These funds went to projects that cleared mines and assisted survivors in places like Bosnia, Mozambique, Afghanistan and Cambodia. At the height of the Night of 1000 Dinners campaign, over 90% of all Rotary Districts in Canada were holding N1KD events!

The Foundation has also sponsored Rotary Sweat Equity teams going to Cambodia to help build schools like the Bakong Technical College in Siem Reap. Many students come from landmine survivor families. 

For more information on the Canadian Land Mine Foundation, be sure to see this  link

Please go to the Rotary Page on their website to see how your club can host a Night of A Thousand Dinners and why it is so important to eradicate land mines.

THE RESULT OF THE NIGHT OF A THOUSAND DINNERS IN OSHAWA ON NOVEMBER 13, 2019:

 

Gordon Dowsley, Rotary Club of Oshawa Chair of the Night of a Thousand Dinners thought you might like to see what has happened since Wednesday, November 13, 2019,  when we raised about $3000, enough to keep the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team in Cambodia, that we sponsor in the field, for another 10 days.  What have they done with our money?  This site gives pictures of what the boys do each day.  Take a look:  http://eodofcshd.org/.