Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade
541 McLeod Street
Connexions Directory of Groups & Websites 2016
Contact: Richard Sanders, Coordinator
Purpose: COAT is a national network of individuals and organizations in Canada that began in late 1988 to organize opposition to ARMX '89, which was the country's largest weapons bazaar. COAT has continued to expose and oppose Canada's role in the international arms trade, particularly where there is trade to governments which are engaged in war or which violate human rights.
Since its formation, the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) has made significant contributions to Canada's peace movement. As an Ottawa-based organization, supported by a network of individuals and groups across Canada, COAT made great headway in exposing and opposing many military export events held in the nation's capital.
Throughout the 1990's, COAT continued to organize major events, including anti-war rallies, marches, peace vigils and conferences in Ottawa. COAT has also coordinated campaigns against war/air shows, war toys and Canada's active participation, and hypocritical role, in various U.S-led wars. Much of our work has helped to challenge the dominant cultural mythology that Canada is a great force for peace in the world. Unfortunately, the reality of the Canadian government and corporate complicity in war and injustice does not correspond to the the mythology.
Much of COAT's early work was focused on public education regarding economic conversion. COAT's magazine, Press for Conversion!, originally dealt with various international efforts by NGOs, governments and businesses to promote the conversion of military industries, bases and other facilities to civilian alternatives. Attention was paid to promoting conversion programs which are socially useful and environmentally sound.
Over the last few years, COAT has continued focused more and more on its magazine, Press for Conversion! Since 1999, the magazine has broadened its focus to include many other aspects of cultural change besides the economic conversion of military infrastructure. Each issue of the magazine now focuses on a different anti-war theme. Therefore, the concept of conversion has itself been transformed to included many social, legal, psychological and economic factors essential to the move from a world based on war, greed, deception and violence, where "might is right," to a world based on peace, justice, truth, human rights and nonviolence.
Over the years, other COAT projects included:
* Organizing major conferences on human rights, conversion and weapons trade-related issues.
* Non-Violent Play: Organizing opposition to war toys and violent games, and promoting cooperative children's activities.
* Opposing Military Trade Events: Researching, writing, organizing opposition to military export events in Ottawa.
* Peace Links: Soliciting letters from NGOs in countries where Canada exports military equipment and distributing them in Canada.
* Nuclear Weapons Conversion: Researching Canadian nuclear weapons-related contracts and encouraging conversion.
Activities/Services: Education, Library, Lobby, Research, Speakers
Budget: Less than $25,000
Geographic Scope: National