On the Occasion of the 100th Birthday of Norah Jarbeau
May 6, 2009
Canadians for Peace and Socialism

On behalf of the members and supporters of Canadians for Peace and Socialism we join with Norah Jarbeauís family, a host of peace, community and progressive activists from Saskatchewan and Alberta and all across Canada and internationally, who on May 10th, her birthday, will stand and applaud in tribute to a dauntless and remarkable fighter for peace and socialism.
Norah Jarbeau continues to speak and act in support of the cause of peace, the working class, the farmers, the youth and the children of Canada and the world in the deep conviction that capitalism is the problem and socialism is the answer.
Norah Jarbeau knows from her experience in the struggle the problems confronting working women in urban and rural Canada and stands in solidarity and support in their struggle for full equality of economic and social and political rights.
Norah Jarbeau condemns racism upholds and promotes the just cause of the Aboriginal and First Nations peoples of Regina and Canada.
Norah Jarbeauís closest lifelong friends in the struggle besides her husband Francis, were Bill and Elsie Beeching and Cathy Fischer marching together for peace, petitioning, promoting unity in action for peace, and guided always by the anti-imperialist, internationalist standpoint of the Canadian Peace Congress and the World Peace Council. After the passing of Francis and Bill, both of whom died in 1990, Norah, Elsie and Cathy became even closer friends and for the last 20 years have continued in the endeavor to bring peace to the world.
Norah Jarbeau is a tireless mainstay of the Regina Peace Council. The tribute to Norah will be delivered Cathy Fischer and Dave Gehl of the Regina Peace Council at a celebration in her honour in Regina on May 17th.
Cathy Fischer, member of the editorial board of Focus on Socialism has written an outline of Norahís remarkable lifelong devotion to the cause of peace and socialism.
We salute and embrace you Norah. You have written many pages in the struggle for peace and socialism. You are an example to us all, a real Communist.
Don Currie, Chair
Canadians for Peace and Socialism

Norah Jarbeau
By Cathy Fischer
Born in 1909, Norah was the eldest child in a large farm family living at Saltcoats, Saskatchewan, then a community of 500 northeast of Regina. Her father, who had immigrated from England, was active in the nascent Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, forerunner of the New Democratic Party. Norah graduated as a registered nurse in 1932, and almost immediately got into community work, organizing and developing a municipal hospital in her home town. She then managed the hospital as the only full time paid staff, using volunteers from the community.
In 1947, a young widow with two children, she married Francis Jarbeau who introduced her to scientific socialism, and she found a guide to the future of peace and happiness for all working people to which she aspired. Francis was a station agent for the CPR, and they often moved in connection with his job, living in a number of small towns in Saskatchewan, where Norah continued to work as a nurse. She also joined the Communist Party and threw herself into the struggle for peace and socialism. Her activity was very much in the public eye and at all levels from local to national. In the fifties, when the Jarbeaus were living in the town of Mankota in southwest Saskatchewan, she ran for public school board. Then in 1958, when the effects of McCarthyism were still very strong Norah ran in the provincial election as a candidate for the Communist Party in Notekeu-Willow Bunch, the constituency in which Mankota was located. At the time the Liberals were promoting Liberal-Tory-Social Credit unity around the slogan of big businessís effort to defeat socialism. In response the Communist Party called for CCF-Communist-Labor-Farmer unity to win new policies of peace and disarmament, and trade and social programs. Their platform was for an end to the sale of Canadaís natural resources to U.S. monopolies, and disengagement from all military alliances or pacts. Norah tells of how, during the election, although her vote was small, Tim Buck had stopped in Mankota as part of a cross Canada tour and the whole town turned out to hear him.
The Jarbeaus moved to Edmonton in 1966, where Norah was employed as a nurse at the Alberta University Hospital. In 1974 Norah again ran as a candidate for the Communist Party, this time in the federal election. Again the platform emphasized an independent Canadian policy for peace, and public control of Canadaís natural resources.
Norah worked hard on the many campaigns of the Canadian Peace Congress, and the local peace council where she lived, organizing petitioning for signatures on the Ban the Bomb petition and the Stockholm Appeal, collecting hundreds of signatures herself, appearing on television and so on. Then there was the campaign against the war in Vietnam, against the war in Korea, against the neutron bomb and cruise missile, and always for world peace and nuclear disarmament. She was president of the Edmonton Peace Council from 1966 to 1974, and for a time, Alberta Vice-President of the Canadian Peace Congress. When she and Francis moved back to Saskatchewan in 1973, this time to Regina, Norah became president of the Saskatchewan Peace Council, a post she held until 1983, and in the early 1980's, she helped establish the Regina Coalition for Peace and Disarmament.
Norah also played an active role in several womenís organizations. While in Mankota she was active in the Co-op Womenís Guild and the Home and School Association. She helped promote the Saskatchewan Homemakers, which dealt with difficulties facing rural women. In Regina she was active in the Congress of Canadian Women and in the senior citizens group Senior Power, and in 1987 Norah travelled to the Soviet Union as their representative to attend the 10-day World Congress of Women in Moscow, sponsored by the Womenís International Democratic Federation. Other delegates from Saskatchewan included representatives of the Regina Peace Council and the Congress of Black Women of Canada, the National Farmersí Union, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians.
Along with her political activities, Norah found time to take on tasks in community life wherever she made her home. She helped raise money to build and maintain a curling rink in Mankota, she helped obtain a Senior Citizens complex in Eastend, and played a role in developing and promoting the North Central community society in Regina. In the latter she helped develop the constitution and served as treasurer, as well as on many of the organizationís sub-committees, such as the neighborhood improvement program for Albert Scott Community, and its health committee which organized and promoted the North Central Health Centre. As a result of Norahís many community efforts, she received a Woman of the Year award from the YWCA in 1983, and in 1994 she was named Woman of the Year for Community Service by the Y.M.C.A.
During the 1980's, both Elsie Beeching and Norah were active in the Regina Coalition for Peace and Disarmament, in the formation of which the Regina Peace Council played a leading role. At the time of Reaganís Star Wars, the Coalition organized some of the largest demonstrations for peace and disarmament seen in Regina. In 1999, after a short period of relative inactivity the Regina Peace Council was reactivated on the initiative of these two women, to protest NATOís bombing of Yugoslavia. On its 50th anniversary that year, NATO had announced a "new strategic concept" by which it proclaimed the right to interfere in the affairs of any country, and started out by bombing Yugoslavia as a prelude to taking over the country. Following the lead of the re-activated Peace Council, a coalition of peace forces was formed in Regina which organized a good number of activities protesting the bombing.