150+ Canadians Day 72: Muriel Duckworth

Image: Commissioned by Oxfam for Muriel’s 100th birthday. 

Muriel Duckworth contributed to peace through her activism for peace and advocacy for housing, planning and social assistance. #Canada150

Muriel Duckworth’s religious beliefs (she was a practicing Quaker) were reflected in her pacifism and her work on behalf of peace organizations. She maintained that war with its systematic violence against women and children is a major obstacle to social justice.

She was a founding member of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women, a provincial branch of the Voice of Women (VOW). She served as the National President of VOW, now called the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, from 1967 to 1971. During her presidency, VOW protested vigorously against the U.S.-led War in Vietnam. It also condemned the Canadian government’s tacit support for the war and its policy of quietly encouraging the sale of Canadian-made weapons to the U.S. military. In 1969 and 1971, Duckworth helped organize two highly publicized visits to Canada by Vietnamese women directly affected by the war.

Duckworth was also active in community organizing, electoral politics and the advancement of women’s issues. In 1971, she helped establish the Movement for Citizens’ Voice and Action (MOVE), a coalition of community groups in Halifax, Nova Scotia working for a wide range of goals including improvements in education, housing, social assistance and municipal planning.

In her later years, Duckworth performed with the Halifax chapter of the Raging Grannies.

She memorably and succinctly proclaimed, “War is stupid.”

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