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Ursula Martius Franklin fonds
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Quakers: Jerilynn Prior and the war tax

Subseries consists of records relating to two intertwining issues: the court case against Jerrilynn Prior (who refused to pay taxes that would fund the military) the more general issue facing conscientious objectors who must pay taxes for future wars.

The legal defence of Dr. Jerrilynn Prior was undertaken by Thomas Berger, with whom Dr. Franklin worked closely to establish the Quaker background to their conscientious objection to war and its implications on taxation during peacetime. According to Dr. Franklin, As well, and in parallel to the Jerrilynn Prior case, there were intense discussions within the Quaker community, the traditional peace churches and some lawyers and parliamentarians on the feasibility of redirecting the military portion of the income tax from conscientious objectors to designated peaceful purposes. Dr. Franklin was part of several delegations to members of the House of Commons on this issue.

Records include the legal documents by Berger, the judgments, and the responses. Records also include background material, papers and presentations, correspondence, press clippings, and parliamentary records relating to the issue of conscientious objection and efforts to introduce a Peace Bill, which would allow citizens to allocate their tax monies away from military purposes.

Voice of Women: General

Subseries consists of records relating to Dr. Franklin’s work with Voice of Women, founded in 1960 by a group of women concerned about the threat of nuclear war. Their first mass meeting was in July 1960 at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The group organized an International Peace Conference in 1962 – the first of its kind. Working alongside Muriel Duckworth, Kay Macpherson, and other leading women in the Canadian peace movement, Franklin brought her scientific experience and knowledge to bear on the work done by VOW.

Records primarily document the activities of VOW in Toronto and Ottawa, but also include coverage of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Regina, and Victoria.

General background records on VOW include the 1968 VOW constitution, reports, papers, newsletters, public education literature, news coverage, research, correspondence and general publications on the Canadian peace movement.

VOW submitted numerous briefs to the House of Commons and various federal commissions and committees on a wide range of issues, including military trade agreements, chemical and biological weapons, Star Wars, Canadian-American military cooperation, arms exports, disarmament, energy policy, and bilingualism and biculturalism. Records relating to these briefs, including background material, correspondence, drafts, and the final briefs, can be found in this subseries.

Other activities documented include election advocacy, public education events, peace conferences, meetings, exhibits, and organizational matters. There are also several files document VOW’s work with the Cluff Lake community, in their opposition to a proposed uranium mining development in Northern Saskatchewan in the late 1970s. Records include correspondence, testimonies, background information and news clippings.

There is also significant documentation of tension in the organization in 1962-1963 around the purpose and priorities of VOW. Records here include results from a controversial opinion poll questionnaire sent to members to gather their opinions, and significant correspondence.

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