The organizer of a demonstration protesting Queen's University's connection with militarism promises not to disrupt the Golden Gaels' football game today on Military Family Appreciation Day at Richardson Stadium.
"We will not try to disrupt anything at all," Geoff Smith, a retired Queen's University professor, said yesterday.
"We support military families and we support the military, but we do not support war and this war (in Afghanistan) in particular.
"The Canadian military and Queen's University have nothing in common."
Smith began organizing the rally Thursday night when he learned that today would be the team's third annual Military Family Appreciation Day.
Smith, a staunch supporter of Queen's athletics, will be inside the stadium, at the south end of the alumni section.
"It might be me with a sign, but probably a few people will come out of the woodwork," he said. "We'd be delighted to see people join us."
Smith let Leslie Dal Cin, the university's director of athletics and recreation, know about the demonstration Thursday night.
She sent him an e-mail warning him not to cause trouble.
"I do feel it is important to let you know that any activity that impedes our ability to deliver the event in accordance with league standards, either on the field of play ... or within gated entrances, will not be permitted," she wrote.
"We're just going to stand there with signs," said Smith, who spent 37 years at Queen's teaching U. S. history, health studies and sports sociology. "We're not aiming to rile people, we just want to make people think about the costs and righteousness, or lack thereof, of this war."People may scorn us, they may yell at us, but I'm used to that."
Military Family Appreciation Day will feature a ceremonial kickoff involving CFB Kingston Base Commander Rick Fawcett, who will arrive on the field in a Bison Armoured Vehicle.
"I made a point last year to Leslie Dal Cin that it was in poor taste to have tanks on the field," said Smith.
"The kids went crazy. It was like a Santa Claus parade in the middle of September," Smith said.
Fans attending the game -- the Gaels will host the McMaster Marauders at 1 p. m. -- are encouraged to wear red to support the troops.
"The soldiers and the military families deserve our support," said Smith, "but we don't approve of the political leadership that led Canada into Afghanistan.
"This is a critique of the larger picture. It's not a critique of the soldiers and their families. Canada is the cat's paw for the U. S. (Prime Minister) Harper is doing whatever (U. S. President) Obama wants him to do."
Last weekend two more Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb blast southwest of Kandahar City. Since 2002, 129 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have died in Afghanistan.This article appeared in the Whig-Standard September 12, 2009.