Template:Wikify Template:Copyedit Joan Elizabeth Russow (Ottawa: November 1, 1938) is a Canadian peace activist and former national leader of the Green Party of Canada from 1997 to 2001.[1][2]

Russow's late partner was David Scott White (Winnipeg: January 20, 1947 – Victoria, B.C.: July 16, 2006) who was the former chair of the Green Party of British Columbia.[3] "White managed Russow's election campaign as leader of the federal Green party, and remained active in the party for the five years of Russow's leadership."[4]

The couple left the party in 2001, disillusioned by, among other factors, the German Green party's support of the NATO attack on Serbia. [5]Russow and White both joined the NDP in 2003 and White continued his work as an activist until his death, most recently researching and writing against Canada's military role in Afghanistan.[4]

Russow received her BA and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of British Columbia.[6] Russow received her Ph.D.[2] from the University of Victoria in Interdisciplinary studies.

Russow is a co-founder of the Ecological Rights Association and the Global Compliance Research Project.[2]

Legal ActivismEdit

Russow first gained attention in the "Lord's Prayer Case" which resulted in the banning of school prayer in public schools in British Columbia in 1989.[7]

In collaboration with the professors in the Law faculty of the University of Toronto, Russow was the litigant in the Charter challenge of the first-past-the-post electoral system in Canada.[8]

In September 2007, She also collaborated on a declaration related to climate change. This declaration called upon the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to calculate the contribution of militarism to green house gas emissions.[9]

In March 2008, at the annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Woman, she collaborated on a paper related to the delegitimization of war; this paper was officially sanctioned for distribution to state delegations at the UN. [10]

On August 4, 2008, in Victoria she served on a representative of Harper, 95 Articles of Condemnation of the Harper government. [11]

Political ActivityEdit

Russow joined the Green Party in 1993 and became leader in 1997.[2] Russow ran for a seat in the Canadian House of Commons in three federal elections; in Victoria in 1997 and 2000, and a federal by-election in Okanagan-Coquihalla in September, 2000.[2] She lost all three bids.

She left the Green Party in 2003 to join the New Democratic Party[12] and in 2005 she criticized the Green Party under Jim Harris for moving away from some of its original left-wing principles.[13]

Under the leadership of Russow, policies were developed which promoted social justice, human rights, and peace, as well as the more traditional concerns with environment.

In the 2001 Quebec City protest against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Russow was the first person incarcerated in a jail built specially for protesters, for taking a photograph of it from outside. Russow promoted the Green Party as a leader in the anti-globalization movement, in particular the anti-corporatist and pro-peace movement, but felt undermined when the German Greens supported the bombing of Belgrade. As other members of her party had supported military intervention, Russow's leadership was called into question. She stepped down as party leader in 2001 and left the party to join the New Democratic Party (NDP). Because the NDP's federal and provincial wings are integrated, this also entailed joining the New Democratic Party of British Columbia.

Another factor in her resignation may have been ongoing conflicts within the party provincially and municipally in her home city of Victoria, where she had switched allegiance from the Parker faction to the Adriane Carr faction. Her late conversion left her on unsure footing with the powerful new provincial leader and in public conflict with City Councilor Art Vanden Berg and other members of the Parker-affiliated team that had backed her leadership during the 1997 and 1998 leadership contests.

The conflicts left Russow isolated and alienated from most members of the party. Volunteer efforts were substantially absorbed in provincial campaigns between 2001 and 2003, and the federal party became dormant between elections, as was typical in the past. Chris Bradshaw served the party as interim leader from 2001 to February 2003.

International and Domestic Peace ActivismEdit

Russow developed a "common Security Index" which was submitted to the Senate Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act on October 17, 2005.To further Common security, the member states of the United Nations have incurred obligations through conventions, treaties and covenants, and made commitments through Conference Action plans, and created expectations through UN General Assembly resolutions, and declarations member states of the United Nations have incurred obligations, made commitments and created expectations

• to enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment, and ensure the right to development and social justice;

• to promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights including labour rights, civil and political rights, social and cultural rights- right to food, right to housing, right to safe drinking water and sewage, right to education and right to universally accessible not for profit health care system,

• to ensure the preservation and protection of the environment, the respect for the inherent worth of nature beyond human purpose, the reduction of the ecological footprint and move away from the current model of unsustainable and overconsumptive development.

• to achieve a state of peace, and disarmament; through reallocation of military expenses

• to create a global structure that respects the rule of law and the International Court of Justice;


Russow has been speaking out about the increased militarism in Canada. Her activism currently focuses on: (i) Increased military budget; (ii) increased belligerence in the military invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (iii) increased military exercises involving US nuclear powered vessels and nuclear arms capable vessels and aircraft and using live ammunition; (iv) increased military recruitment ads on television and bus shelters, in "Navy days" with booths, and in schools; (v) increased mining and production of uranium, including the contribution to US ad NATO weapon systems; (vii) increased military flights overhead and participation in community events and parades.[15]

In March 2007, Russow lobbied state delegations in the UN General Assembly to invoke Article 22 of the Charter of the United Nations to set up an international tribunal to try the Bush regime. On March 8, 2007, the petition, in the six official languages was submitted to the office of the President of the UN General Assembly.[16]

Notes Edit



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