Burys given peace award

By Trudi Gunia

SASKATOON — The Joanna Miller Peace Award 2014 was awarded to Dr. John and Betsy Bury of Saskatoon at a ceremony Sept. 19 at city hall.

The couple began campaigning for peace more than 60 years ago and have been longtime public health activists. After arriving from England in 1963, the Burys were involved with the Saskatoon Community Clinic where John was a physician. They have also been involved in a great many other causes such as the Red Cross anti-bullying campaign. They are regular participants in Saskatoon Peace Coalition meetings, which they sometimes host. As well, John is well-known for his thoughtful letters to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

The Burys were active in organizing marches protesting against cruise missile testing at Primrose Air Weapons Range in Saskatchewan. They are longtime members of VANA (Veterans Against Nuclear Arms.) Having experienced the war years, the couple say that they both realized that there has to be a peaceful approach to resolving conflicts.

They are still active on the critical environmental issues confronting humanity. A prime interest is education of youth, and the couple says they would like to see peace studies at all schools.

John has found time to create watercolour paintings of the surrounding locale and often the proceeds of his art sales go to worthwhile causes in the community. Betsy is a member of the group of women who call themselves the Raging Grannies, who have been a welcome addition at many events with their rousing performances. As Betsy says, “Rock the boat.”

Established in 2013, The Joanna Miller Peace Award was created to celebrate the late Joanna Miller’s many years of peace activism in the Saskatoon community, which had a much broader scope globally. She was president of UNICEF Canada and active in Project Ploughshares. She was special adviser on disarmament to the Canadian delegation of the United Nations. Throughout her lifetime, she took on many projects involving the pursuit of peace and justice.

The award is funded by the Joanna Miller family and City of Saskatoon’s Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Committee. It consists of a certificate, a cash award and the engraving of names on a permanent plaque which is on display in the new Saskatoon City Police headquarters.

Each year the recipient is chosen by a committee derived from the Saskatoon Peace Coalition and a number of co-sponsors.

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