Report on November 29, 2022 Special Meeting of CNANW
In a recent statement, NATO’s Secretary General, a former social-democratic Norwegian Prime Minster, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance will continue to support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”. He added: “We will not back down.” Prominent columnists have challenged the very idea that a ceasefire in the Ukraine crisis is possible or have even suggested that it might lengthen the war on Russian President Putin’s terms. Some press for a “fight to victory” by Kyiv, given recent gains on the battlefield. Sometimes the nuclear weapons threat is seen as blackmail, a bluff, or a risk worth ignoring.
How then can Canada constructively contribute to peace?
Panelists at the CNANW discussion in late November were asked to consider opportunities for reducing the nuclear weapon threat, and prospects for peace. All acknowledged the dire situation in Ukraine following the illegal Russian invasion.
Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. Comments to CNANW, November 29, 2022 in Ottawa
Is peace possible in today’s world? Suppose, by some twist of fate, a sudden ceasefire in the Ukraine war occurred without either Ukraine or Russia being declared a winner; and Russia’s threat to use nuclear weapons stopped; and Canada actually used its diplomatic machinery to become active in helping both Ukraine and Russia to live with the geopolitical contours agreed at the negotiating table. Would the world then be at peace? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
“Nuclear weapons and the existential threat they pose to humanity have assumed a new and disturbing saliency in the last few months. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, accompanied as it is by persistent nuclear “sabre-rattling” and the blatant use of these weapons as instruments of intimidation and coercion has rudely reminded global society that huge arsenals of these weapons of mass destruction remain. But it could be worse.”
Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, CNANW Co-chairpersons
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis started because two superpowers, each capable of global annihilation but mis-judging the security expectations of their rivals, called the other’s bluff and moved us all close to nuclear war.
When Soviet Premier Khrushchev and US President Kennedy faced off over Cuba’s decision to host Soviet nuclear missiles, the world was only 17 years’ distance from the mass slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians. Atomic destruction was still palpable, and fear was widespread. Today, we are more than 75 years removed, and it isn’t clear how many people appreciate the severity of our emergency.
The Cuba crisis ended because sober heads were allowed room to discuss the peaceful route away from Doomsday, with some of that sobriety being in the conflict-resolution efforts of UN Secretary-General U Thant. Behind-the-scenes deals were engineered. (The US agreed to quietly remove their missiles from Turkey and the USSR theirs from Cuba). The resulting collaboration would benefit both sides, and humankind.
The crisis was so severe and tensions so high that far-reaching efforts were made afterwards to reduce risks even further. Over the next dozen years alone, an array of eight nuclear weapon-related treaties were agreed. Among them was the establishment in 1963 of a direct hot line between Washington and Moscow to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war by mistake or misinterpretation. This was followed by a Limited Test Ban Treaty (late 1963); the cornerstone Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) which is today signed by 191 countries; and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (in 1972). Other treaties would follow.
Today in Europe, 60 years after the Cuba crisis, there is a hot war between Russia and Ukraine but also a proxy war that risks enlargement and escalation. In 1962, while a single American U-2 pilot died during an aerial reconnaissance mission over Cuba, there were not thousands killed nor cities destroyed, nor occupied regions annexed.
We also know more today about the likely impact of even a small nuclear exchange. According to modelled calculations, a relatively small nuclear weapon exchange could cause dramatic global cooling and result in a “nuclear famine” that would ravage the earth.
Eventually there will have to be peace in Ukraine. Until then, we must focus also on preventing this war from “going nuclear” wherein millions might be endangered in the fallout (and worse.)
It may seem unlikely in this moment that elimination of all nuclear weapons can be put back on the front policy burner. Threatened use of “tactical” nuclear weapons is ubiquitous in the daily news. Yet, Canada can have a role in the de-escalation of tensions and in the replacement security thinking and diplomacy that urgently need to be put into place. 60 years ago, we saw the quelling of an earth-threatening crisis then lead quickly to major arms control and disarmament opportunities. This is our urgent task now, too. Canada, get ready to help.
“We are not bereft of key ideas and high-level persons to find creative ways to end the present carnage in Ukraine. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended because John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev took a risk with crisis diplomacy. Can Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin take a similar risk for peace? Canada should push diplomacy, not arms, to end the Ukraine war.“
EDMONTON— The possibility of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war has led to comparisons with the Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago this month, in which, for 13 days, humanity stood on the brink of World War III.
The crisis passed because U.S. president John F. Kennedy and Soviet Union president Nikita Khrushchev engaged in crisis diplomacy and negotiated a solution to the problem of the Soviets installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. But negotiations today to end the Ukraine war seem farthest from the minds of the Western leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin, let alone Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. For Canada’s part, the word “negotiations” does not escape the lips of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly. The G7, which includes Canada, has just signed on for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine.
I am undoubtedly speaking against a headwind when I call for Canada to support the creation of an international commission, composed of eminent figures, to reach beyond the clamour and hubris engaged in by both the West and Russia to deal with the practical realities of the Ukraine war. The essential reality is to stop the war before it escalates into World War III.
The history of the Cuban Missile Crisis should be a guide. Here is what happened in the momentous days, Oct. 16-29, 1962.
The Cuban crisis arose when the U.S. discovered—on the basis of aerial surveillance photos—that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba.
Kennedy imposed a naval quarantine around Cuba to stop Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles for further installation. But for some of the president’s advisers, that was not enough: they wanted a full-scale invasion or bombing of Cuba. Kennedy feared such action would launch World War III with both Moscow and Washington using nuclear weapons against each other.
Tensions throughout the world ran sky-high in what was quickly recognized as the greatest atomic bomb threat since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On the eighth day of the crisis, UN Secretary-General U Thant sent an urgent message to Khrushchev and Kennedy, appealing for a moratorium to halt further military action. Suddenly, Kennedy saw a way for the Soviets to stop their shipments without looking like they had capitulated to the U.S. He responded to U Thant and asked him to send a second message to Khrushchev, stating that if the Soviets would hold up shipments, the U.S. “would be glad to get into conversations about how the situation could be adjusted.”
U Thant picked up the signal and sent a second message to both leaders, asking Khrushchev to instruct Soviet vessels to stay away from the quarantine area, and asking Kennedy to instruct U.S. vessels to avoid direct confrontation with Soviet ships. To both leaders, he stated: “This would permit discussions of the modalities of a possible agreement which could settle the problem peacefully.”
The crisis ended a few days later when Khrushchev agreed to verifiably remove his missiles from Cuba in return for a U.S. non-invasion pledge. There was also a deal, kept secret at the time, in which Kennedy agreed to de-commission aging U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey six months later.
When it was over, the U.S. and Soviet governments sent a letter to U Thant expressing, in diplomatic understatement, “appreciation for your efforts in assisting our governments to avert the serious threat to peace, which recently arose in the Caribbean area.” Kennedy added his own note of praise: “U Thant has put the world deeply in his debt.” Publicly, the Americans took the credit for ending the crisis. U Thant, never a showman, returned to his duties.
Should the 1962 lesson of “crisis diplomacy” be applied today? The answer is yes. And the need is urgent. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war.
Some argue that a comparison of the Ukraine war to the Cuban Missile Crisis is invalid because it’s too late: Russia has already invaded Ukraine causing horrendous suffering; Ukraine has counter-attacked and Russia has responded with more shelling and deaths. The militarists argue that Russia must be defeated; vengeance must be obtained. This mantra has closed the minds of the West to negotiations. But if the war continues— with or without nuclear weapons—it will soon be NATO vs. Russia, and that will indeed become World War III.
Putin’s military doctrine has always been “escalate to de-escalate.” I think he is actually getting ready to negotiate because he now realizes that NATO, the growing military alliance which he saw as a threat to Russian imperialism, is more strongly determined than ever to stop him.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has called for a high-level “commission for dialogue and peace,” led by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Pope Francis, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
We are not bereft of key ideas and high-level persons to find creative ways to end the present carnage. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended because Kennedy and Khrushchev took a risk with crisis diplomacy. Can Biden and Putin take a similar risk for peace? Canada should push diplomacy, not arms, to end the Ukraine war.
The Russian-Ukraine crisis may pose a greater risk of nuclear use than the Cuban missile crisis 60 years ago this month. According to the Ukrainian president’s head office, Andriy Yermak the country’s intelligence agencies believe there is a “very high” risk that Russia might use tactical nuclear weapons. Experts caution that Moscow’s leader is “desperate,” and like a cornered rat, President Vladimir Putin may use nuclear weapons to force the enemy to back down, a part of Russian military doctrine known as escalate to de-escalate.
Last month, Putin’s thinly veiled nuclear threat as he ordered a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists stated that Russia would “use all the means at our disposal” to defend its territory. But the White House’s warnings have been stark, and U.S. President Joe Biden made it clear at the UN General Assembly that Russia’s threats would be opposed. More recently, he warned the world could face “Armageddon,” assessing the nuclear risk at its highest in 60 years. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an interview on the sidelines of the assembly, confirmed that the United States sent warnings to Russia to steer clear of nuclear war. Former CIA director and retired four-star army general David Petreus explicitly warned the U.S. and its allies would destroy Russia’s troops and equipment in Ukraine—as well as sink its Black Sea fleet—if the Russian president uses nuclear weapons.
War is folly and assuredly Putin’s inner circle must be questioning the ill-fated decision to attack Kiev to topple Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government. Putin’s attempt to liberate the Donbas region by sheer force, not persuasion, and sham legislation purporting to formally annex four Ukrainian regions—Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia—cannot obscure the reality that Russia’s military does not yet control the war-torn territory and Russia’s reign would be tenuous for generations to come.
Ukrainian troops are retaking more territory in regions illegally annexed by Russia and making breakthroughs in the east and south, recapturing villages and liberating settlements. However, Russian forces struck targets far from the front line last week, purportedly using self-destructing, Iran-supplied drones to hit the city of Bila Tserkva, south of Kiev. The entire Crimean peninsula, annexed in 2014, is also under constant threat due to Ukraine’s sinking of the Russian warship Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet. Russian submarines might not be able to safely harbor there and might have to be redeployed to the Arctic and Baltic Sea.
Winter is coming so Russia’s chokehold on European gas, superior tank manoeuvres on snow, and increased mobilization effort foretell a conventional advantage. However, Ukraine will receive even more sophisticated weapons, in part because the horror of discovering mass graves and tortured Ukrainian bodies lessens the United States’ reluctance to ratchet up the conflict by filling Ukraine’s war chest with billions of dollars of military aid.
Forebodingly, Putin’s speeches are replete with references to the neo-Nazis and the neo-Nazi coup-appointed regime in Ukraine. The leader’s preoccupation with defending the motherland from “Western pseudo-values” may signal a return in his mind to the Siege of Leningrad, where he was born and over a million died. How to defy and reassure a paranoid, violent man who holds all the levers of power and is neither subject to democracy nor beholden to others in his inner cabal?
History is replete with evidence that men fear knives borne by men within the inner circle who stab the strongest in the back. As Thomas Hobbes warns, “the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest by secret machination or confederacy.” The account of the Last Supper in the King James Bible highlights Jesus’s disciple Judas’s betrayal of him. Former U.S. president Donald Trump was betrayed by close aides, from Steve Bannon to his daughter Ivanka. There are legions of legendary stories of betrayal because, in their pursuit of power, leaders cast aside sycophants who become marginalized, secret enemies.
Irrational, vengeful followers may fully support decisions by autocratic men, like Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, or Trump to use nuclear weapons. But the nuclear taboo has become much stronger since the Cuban missile crisis because so much more is known about the effects of nuclear winter, even from the use of 50 tactical nuclear weapons, merely 0.3 per cent of the world’s arsenal. Russian doctrine allows local commanders to use tactical nuclear weapons to stave off defeat, or loss of Russian territory. But if Russia crosses the line, Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser to the White House disclosed the United States will respond decisively.
China’s Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi are preaching caution to Putin directly, not mincing their words. At the same time, opposition is growing in Russian cities and remote villages in far-flung regions to mobilizing untrained men to become more cannon fodder. Putin’s recent claim that the United States created a precedent for the use of nuclear weapons with its bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 seemed to imply that if the West continues to support Kyiv and send weapons to Ukraine, he could resort to the nuclear option.
As each day passes, the nuclear threats Putin has made, veiled in self-pity and grandiosity, make the threat of an above-ground demonstration shot of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine’s east more credible. Putin’s aggressive threats lower the threshold for nuclear use and increase the risk of nuclear conflict and global catastrophe. The likelihood of nuclear use today may be more—or less—than it was back in late February, but unlikely events happen all the time. Nuclear threats are bluffs—until the catastrophic day they are not.
Nevertheless, the norm of non-use can act as a powerful restraint on leaders, just as it did in 1962 during the executive committee’s decision-making process in the United States. Once the Cuban missile crisis ended, significant steps that led to nuclear disarmament were taken, including the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. If this crisis ends safely, frightened world leaders will need to strongly promote stability, peace, and security.
Erika Simpson is a professor of international politics at Western University, the president of the Canadian Peace Research Association, and the co-author of How to De-escalate Dangerous Nuclear Weapons and Force Deployments in Europe.
Brief comments at the NPT side panels (by Robin Collins, Co-chair, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) August 9, 2022 by Zoom
“Don’t let your reticence with one approach for the sake of alliance solidarity be the excuse of convenience that you use to justify not proceeding with another.“
A colleague in Canada recently asked us to imagine that day when “You wake up to the news that the last remaining warhead has been dismantled. The era of nuclear weapons is over.”
We know he wasn’t being overly optimistic, because he then offered a list of many of the hard cases and sticky problems that obstruct us: the nuclear sharing policies of NATO; North Korea; Iran; the nuclear weapons states outside the NPT, and all those NPT obligations and expectations that to a large extent are unfulfilled or are openly violated.
He was urging us to be realists and to consider the complementarity of options.
The point is that the specific vehicle must defer to the desire and commitment by states to accomplish the abolition. What will inspire the political will to end the existential threat hanging over us all? What are the unnecessary obstacles?
As nuclear weapon abolitionists we can make the project of abolition and the replacement security framework coherent and as palatable as possible so that when the road is cleared, or clearer, things can as easily as possible fall into place. Which package, or options picked, is far less important. What counts is that the goal is pursued in earnest.
As Jackie Cabasso, one of our Abolition 2000 working group members said earlier at the NPT as an NGO representative — considering the ignoring of NPT commitments from 1995, 2000 and 2010, it’s time to refocus our attention on the nuclear-armed states. A time-bound target for abolition is overdue. Jackie said: we “call on the nuclear-armed and nuclear sharing states to commit to a timeframe of no later than 2030 for the adoption of a framework, package of agreements or comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, and no later than 2045 for full implementation”.
The Nuclear Weapon Convention Reset paper that our Abolition 2000 working group constructed, has this approach, which is to highlight the three primary options that are under consideration: Then it is up to the official and unofficial Nuclear Weapon States, NATO members and NATO umbrella states to proceed.
Canada, my country, has no nuclear weapons although was involved in the nuclear bomb project from the early days, and is a member of NATO, along with three nuclear-armed states, five others with nuclear-sharing arrangements[i] and seven others that participate in Support of Nuclear Operations With Conventional Air Tactics (known as SNOWCAT).[ii]
We are fully aware of the pressures on NATO members towards their being compliant and in solidarity with other NATO members, to go along with the prevailing winds – and therefore also the reluctance to push back or be that nuclear nag (once again). This is still the case, particularly in the most delicate of moments, by which I mean the current context of the Russian illegal invasion of Ukraine: the sabre-rattling rhetoric, the references to actual use of nuclear weapons. Not to mention the daily killing and dying. But just as the New START talks need to continue, now more than ever, so is this a good time for states to speed up, not slow down, progress on abolition.
We are here pragmatically advocating for nuclear weapon states and NATO members to consider the options for disarmament that you can stomach. If not the TPNW with protocols, then a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of instruments. Don’t let your reticence with one approach for the sake of alliance solidarity be the excuse of convenience that you use to justify not proceeding with another.
Some leader or leaders need to step up within NATO to break the silence and expose the illusory consensus, and begin the renewal of the abolition project, because, as the UN Secretary-General said, “Luck is no strategy!”
Our “Nuclear Weapons Convention Reset: Frameworks for a nuclear-weapon-free world” message, therefore, highlights this complementarity of three possibilities towards a time-bound abolition target, for de-escalation of the unhelpful rhetoric, for urgent risk reduction measures, and ultimately for a sustainable peace and common security wherein nuclear threats and nuclear weapons no longer exist.
Thank you for your time.
[i] Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey
[ii] Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Poland and Romania
[version française ci-dessous en pièce jointe] A version of this commentary also appeared in The Hill Times on July 27, 2022
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) entered into force in 1970 and is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of nuclear disarmament. It is supported by 191 states, but not four unofficial nuclear-armed countries: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan, nor South Sudan.
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) recognizes the positive steps Canada has made towards the aims of the NPT, but there is much more to do. There is global urgency now as a result of war in Ukraine, but also an opportunity to push forward our shared disarmament and non-proliferation objectives at the NPT Review Conference this August.
Canada did attend The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in June, but no officials attended the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) first meeting of states parties, even as observers, despite strong efforts from the Canadian disarmament community and several parliamentarians advocating for Canada to show up.
Canada did attend the five ministerial meetings of the “Stockholm Initiative”, a diplomatic forum that proposes risk reduction measures and a “stepping stones approach” to nuclear disarmament, but the government chose not to be represented at the ministerial level, a gesture that would have increased Canada’s visibility.
At the Madrid NATO Summit in June, Canada failed to speak out against the NATO consensus that the military and political organization will “remain a nuclear alliance while nuclear weapons remain”, a mantra that logically makes nuclear weapons more permanent, not easier to eliminate in keeping with NATO’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Indeed, nuclear weapons will continue to be a global threat while NATO persists in being a nuclear-armed alliance.
After two years of delay due to the COVID pandemic, the NPT review conference is being held in New York in August. Divisions have worsened between nuclear weapon possessing states and those allies supporting NATO nuclear deterrence policy on one hand, and states supporting the TPNW on the other. Given global obstacles and the heightened risks of expanded war, including nuclear war, as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Canada needs to demonstrate leadership at the Review Conference in these areas:
Encouragecomplementarity through respectful references to the TPNW, and by seeking to engage rather than alienate TPNW supporters in furtherance of NPT goals. Similarly, support civil society initiatives, such as Abolition 2000’s effort (Frameworks for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World) to broaden the options available towards abolition, whether it be a nuclear weapons convention; a framework of instruments; or the TPNW, bolstered by protocols or related instruments. Constructive language: Advocate for firm language denouncing threats, explicit or implicit, of nuclear weapon use. But avoid rhetoric that undermines diplomatic progress or possibilities for conflict resolution.
Call for renewed diplomatic efforts to deal urgently with the outstanding proliferation issues of North Korea and Iran.
Promote greater transparency through the common reporting formats that Canada has championed, and which can provide for fact-based judgments on the progress of NPT parties in meeting nonproliferation and disarmament obligations.
Support operationally significant nuclear riskreduction measures such as de-alerting deployed ICBMs and adopting a No First Use policy. Advocate as well against increases in nuclear missile inventories, or any expansion of nuclear weapon use scenarios. Press also for multilateral and bilateral nuclear force reduction talks among the five nuclear weapon states in keeping with their existing NPT obligations.
CNANW encourages Canada to embrace these leadership opportunities that will also reflect the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians who support nuclear disarmament.
Steering Committee of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux (Co-Chairs) Dr. Nancy Covington Beverley Delong Dr. Richard Denton Dr. Jonathan Down Cesar Jaramillo Dr. Arnd Jurgensen Dr. Erika Simpson
Insecurity is spreading. Another hot war in the Ukraine, a climate emergency, another Cold War and nuclear arms race, another long war just announced, 100 million people displaced by conflict and climate change, vast inequality and precarious conditions everywhere. Our new global neighbourhood looks rough and risky.
Whatever happened to security, “the state of being free from danger or threat”?
Pétition au gouvernement du Canada: Assister, en tant qu’observateur, à la première réunion des États parties au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires
[Note that a paper version of this petition has collected the requisite 25 signatures.]
[Notez qu’une version papier de cette pétition a recueilli les 25 signatures requises.]
We the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, profoundly concerned about the increasing risk to humanity posed by nuclear weapons and mindful of the leadership role Canada has historically played on arms control, call upon Canada to Join our allies, Germany and Norway, in attending the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW as an observer.
Nous, soussigné.e.s, citoyen.ne.s et résident.e.s du Canada, profondément préoccupé.e.s par le risque croissant que représentent les armes nucléaires pour l’humanité et conscient.e.s du rôle de leader que le Canada a historiquement joué en matière de contrôle des armements, appelons le Canada à se joindre à nos alliés, l’Allemagne et la Norvège, pour assister à la première réunion des États parties à la TIAN en tant qu’observateur.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 together with prolonged conflict and heightened rhetoric have contributed to fears of a widening of this war, and even to detonation of nuclear weapons by intention, through escalation or by accident.
Add to this global challenge the US and Russian withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 2019, the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, ongoing skirmishes between India and Pakistan, modernization of nuclear weapons by all nuclear weapon states, and the possibility of cyber-attacks leading to a nuclear weapon event.
One opportunity now arises through a show of support by Canada for movement in a safer direction and towards eliminating nuclear weapons from the battlefield entirely, as part of our country’s longstanding disarmament legacy.
The First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) approaches at the end of June. Several countries that have shown little interest in signing the TPNW are still considering registering their solidarity in support of the intent of the treaty’s goal of nuclear weapon abolition. This includes NATO allies Norway and Germany, and aspiring NATO members Sweden and Finland. Canada can join this group.
For these reasons, we ask all Members of Parliament to now support an all-party call on the Canadian government to attend the TPNW inaugural meeting of states parties – as an observer.
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons May 31, 2022
RCAAN: Appel aux membres du Parlement canadien pour soutenir la participation du Canada en tant qu’observateur à la TIAN
L’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie le 24 février ainsi que la prolongation du conflit et l’intensification de la rhétorique ont contribué à faire craindre un élargissement de cette guerre, voire une détonation d’armes nucléaires par intention, par escalade ou par accident.
À ce défi mondial s’ajoutent le retrait des États-Unis et de la Russie du traité sur les forces nucléaires à portée intermédiaire (FNI) en 2019, le retrait des États-Unis de l’accord nucléaire avec l’Iran, les escarmouches en cours entre l’Inde et le Pakistan, la modernisation des armes nucléaires par tous les États dotés d’armes nucléaires et la possibilité de cyberattaques menant à un événement impliquant des armes nucléaires.
Dans le cadre de l’héritage de longue date de notre pays en matière de désarmement, une occasion se présente aujourd’hui d’aller dans une direction plus sûre et d’éliminer complètement les armes nucléaires du champ de bataille.
La première réunion des États parties au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires (TIAN) approche à la fin du mois de juin. Plusieurs pays qui ont manifesté peu d’intérêt pour la signature du TIAN envisagent encore d’enregistrer leur solidarité pour soutenir l’objectif du traité, à savoir l’abolition des armes nucléaires. Il s’agit notamment des alliés de l’OTAN, la Norvège et l’Allemagne, et des pays aspirant à devenir membres de l’OTAN, la Suède et la Finlande. Le Canada peut se joindre à ce groupe.
Pour ces raisons, nous demandons à tous les membres du Parlement de soutenir l’appel lancé par tous les partis au gouvernement canadien pour qu’il assiste à la réunion inaugurale des États parties au TIAN – en tant qu’observateur.
Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires 31 mai 2022
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons statement on Ukraine and nuclear weapon threats METTRE FIN À TOUTES LES MENACES D’ARMES NUCLÉAIRES, en français ci-dessous
CNANW condemns the raised readiness level of the Russian Federation’s strategic nuclear forces to what was described as a “special regime of combat duty.” This followed Russian President Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and was a clear warning to NATO not to intervene in the war. Heightened rhetoric by Putin also included a threat that any interference by other states in Ukraine would result in consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history.”
Belarus, Russia’s ally in the conflict, has stated that it will abandon its status as a non-nuclear weapon state and will now consider hosting Russian nuclear missiles.
While the United States indicated it was not responding in-kind and therefore not raising the alert status of its own nuclear arsenal, NATO made clear that any Russian aggression beyond Ukraine into the territory of an alliance member would provoke an immediate response. The risk of escalation to a regional war, including nuclear war, is real and concerning.
Unfortunately, in late March, US President Biden stepped away from his own previously stated support for a sole purpose (no first use) policy for the American nuclear arsenal. Instead, its “fundamental” role will be to deter nuclear attacks. This ambiguity leaves open options to use nuclear weapons for wider purposes.
President Putin’s statement is the first public threat of threatened nuclear weapon use during an ongoing military conflict in recent memory. The rise in global risk is unacceptable. The grave humanitarian consequences of even a small nuclear exchange provide no legal, ethical or militarily useful justification for the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons.
Therefore, CNANW calls on the Canadian government to make crystal clear Canada’s long-held opposition to nuclear weapons threats or use, and to contribute to the reduction of rhetoric that could lead to escalation of the current conflict in Ukraine.
April 28, 2022
METTRE FIN À TOUTES LES MENACES D’ARMES NUCLÉAIRES Déclaration du Réseau Canadien pour l’Abolition des Armes Nucléaires sur l’Ukraine et les menaces liées aux armes nucléaires
Le RCAAN condamne l’augmentation du niveau de préparation des forces nucléaires stratégiques de la Fédération de Russie à ce qui a été décrit comme un “régime spécial de service de combat”. Cette décision fait suite à l’invasion illégale de l’Ukraine par le président russe Poutine et constitue un avertissement clair à l’OTAN de ne pas intervenir dans cette guerre. Poutine a également menacé, dans sa rhétorique, que toute ingérence d’autres États en Ukraine aurait des conséquences “telles que vous n’en avez jamais vues dans toute votre histoire”.
Le Belarus, allié de la Russie dans le conflit, a déclaré qu’il abandonnerait son statut d’État non doté d’armes nucléaires et envisagerait désormais d’accueillir des missiles nucléaires russes.
Si les États-Unis ont indiqué qu’ils ne répondaient pas en nature et ne relevaient donc pas le niveau d’alerte de leur propre arsenal nucléaire, l’OTAN a clairement indiqué que toute agression russe au-delà de l’Ukraine sur le territoire d’un membre de l’alliance provoquerait une réponse immédiate. Le risque d’escalade vers une guerre régionale, y compris une guerre nucléaire, est réel et préoccupant.
Malheureusement, à la fin du mois de mars, le président américain Biden s’est éloigné de son soutien, précédemment déclaré, à une politique de l’arsenal nucléaire américain à but unique (pas de première utilisation). Au lieu de cela, son rôle “fondamental” sera de dissuader les attaques nucléaires. Cette ambiguïté laisse ouverte la possibilité d’utiliser les armes nucléaires à des fins plus larges.
De mémoire récente, la déclaration du président Poutine est la première menace publique d’utilisation d’une arme nucléaire pendant un conflit militaire. L’augmentation du risque mondial est inacceptable. Les graves conséquences humanitaires d’un échange nucléaire, même minime, ne fournissent aucune justification légale, éthique ou militairement utile pour l’utilisation ou la menace d’utilisation d’armes nucléaires.
Par conséquent, le RCAAN demande au gouvernement canadien d’exprimer clairement l’opposition de longue date du Canada aux menaces ou à l’utilisation d’armes nucléaires, et de contribuer à la réduction de la rhétorique qui pourrait mener à une escalade du conflit actuel en Ukraine.
Our Common Agenda is a blueprint for dealing with the enormous risks facing humanity today ranging from the prolonged pandemic and climate deterioration to a renewed nuclear arms race and the new move into cyber warfare…
It’s no longer postponable. Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown, in a demented and terrifying way, why the possession of nuclear weapons must be outlawed now. Far from closing down the little that remains of nuclear disarmament agreements because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this seminal moment in the history of the 21st century must be seized.
The contradictions in Canada’s nuclear disarmament policies have got to be fixed. Sand castles won’t stop a tsunami. We and our NATO partners can no longer go on professing a desire for an end to nuclear weapons while supporting the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence, which leads to even more than the present 13,000 nuclear weapons…
Les Canadien.ne.s demandent à l’OTAN de Réduire les Risques Nucléaires
In June 2022, NATO will conclude a review of its principal “Strategic Concept” policy. Backed by strong science-based information, we urge the Canadian Government to lessen the risk of nuclear weapon use, and emphasize diplomacy in resolving conflicts.
En juin 2022, l’OTAN conclura la révision de sa politique principale relative au “concept stratégique”. Sur la base d’informations scientifiques solides, nous demandons instamment au gouvernement canadien de réduire le risque d’utilisation de l’arme nucléaire et de privilégier la diplomatie pour résoudre les conflits.
Tribute on behalf of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Hommage à Alexa McDonough O.C. au nom duRéseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
Alexa McDonough, shown with Hon. Douglas Roche O.C.
ci-dessous en français
Alexa was known within our peace and disarmament community as a persistent advocate for peaceful solutions to international conflicts and, more particularly, as a champion for nuclear disarmament. CNANW benefited from her thoughtful participation in several of our expert seminars.
Alexa encouraged and respected our views, believed they should be addressed constructively in Parliament, and collaborated with us in actions pressing for nuclear disarmament.
At the international level, Alexa served as one of the inaugural Co-Presidents of the Parliamentary Network for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament (PNND) that then included over 500 parliamentarians in 70 states. Among other actions, Alexa presented to the United Nations the Global Appeal of Mayors and Parliamentarians for a Nuclear Weapon Free World. This initiative received endorsements from 150 Mayors and 250 legislators from 29 countries. Their shared objective was “to protect the security of citizens living within our jurisdictions and to protect our localities for future generations.” No matter the target or user, the statement continued, “no one would escape the calamitous consequences of a nuclear attack. [It] would cause unimaginable devastation requiring massive aid, global effects from nuclear fall-out and a rise in refugees seeking to escape the most contaminated regions.”
After retiring from her role as Co-President of PNND, Alexa continued to meet with the group’s members in Canada and encouraged them to write letters congratulating US legislators on negotiating with Russia, and for efforts to reduce the role of nuclear weapons within the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review.
In Canada, Alexa pressed for peace policies through the New Democratic Party, and she regular raised questions on disarmament in the House of Commons. While leader of the NDP in 2003 she created a Peace Team of party members, and organized a briefing session to build their expertise. In 2004, she created an NDP Peace Advocate position and also served in that role.
Alexa assisted in the Canadian launch on Parliament HIll of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a group that later received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its advocacy of a nuclear weapons prohibition treaty.
In her Halifax home riding, she shared ideas with many peace groups and participated in vigils and Hiroshima Day events.
Alexa was an active member of Canadian Pugwash Group and moderated two public fora at their conferences. Over the years she maintained cordial connections with officials at Thinkers Lodge and the Town of Pugwash. After years of persistent lobbying, with Alexa’s help, the community was successful in its effort to have the Mayor of Halifax join Mayors for Peace.
Upon retirement from politics, as interim President of Mount Saint Vincent University, she chaired the international conference “Being the Change: Building a Culture of Peace”. In 2013, the University rebranded one of its institutes in her honour as the “Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice.”
The Honourable Doug Roche O.C. offered these words:
“I would like to join with you and our colleagues in paying heartfelt tribute to Alexa McDonough. She had a rare combination of qualities in a political leader: she was principled, committed, compassionate and a very nice person all rolled into one. Her leadership in the nuclear disarmament movement was a shining star that guided others. Pugwash had no greater friend. Now she and her close friend Macha McKay are both gone. We are certainly poorer for that, but the light Alexa has left and the love in my heart for her will never fade.
Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator of PNND: “Alexa was a warm, caring, humble, dedicated, super-smart woman who touched peoples hearts, minds and souls everywhere. Canada and the world are better places for the blessing of Alexa’s presence and her life.”
Libby Davies (MP 1997 – 2015): “Alexa was a staunch and passionate advocate for peace and disarmament. She led many initiatives to strengthen the voice and work of parliamentarians both in Canada and globally, for nuclear disarmament and non proliferation. Her dedication to this issue was so important in encouraging public awareness to demand that Canada undertake its responsibilities in the international community. Alexa is a wonderful example of the need to continue our struggle for peace and ending the threat of nuclear weapons.”
Prof. Walter Dorn, Canadian Forces College: “ [Alexa] was an inspiring person and a great leader with a very common touch: popular, highly likable, positive and good natured, plus super devoted to the causes of social justice and world peace.“
Dr. Nancy Covington, Voice of Women for Peace: “I join with others in admiration of Alexa’s inspiring spirit and shining example of what a public servant can be. Living in her Halifax riding I witnessed first hand the deep admiration she was given by diverse groups of people. Whether this respect came from the military people who formed a large part of her voting base or from folks of the local peace community, she became their friend, a mentor to many and indeed was almost revered. With her passion for social justice issues, belief that with privilege comes responsibility, social worker training and seemingly boundless energy, she accomplished a lot. Alexa, we miss you.”
Sister Mary-Ellen Francoeur of Religions for Peace: “While the invitation was to speak of her experience of peace, she used the time to speak of her, and the NDP stance, on nuclear weapons. She spoke very powerfully. As always, she also was very gracious and warm. It was such a gift to be with a politician in leadership who was so committed to nuclear weapon abolition.”
Prof. Andy Knight, University of Alberta: “What a wonderful woman and one of the few a genuine politicians at both provincial and federal level. Alexa, in her unassuming way, left a legacy that is formidable.”
Dr David Harries, Past Chairperson, Canadian Pugwash Group: “Alexa and I did not know each other well. But, for me, she was one of the finest Canadians I ever met. The one face-to-face conversation we had – at Thinkers Lodge, I think, she surprised me by knowing of my military background, and saying (with no provocation from me) that it was “very important” for the military to be fully engaged in peace work. She is the only person who ever said that to me.”
Bev Delong, Past Chairperson of Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons: “Alexa made us feel very welcome on Parliament Hill, that we had a right, and indeed a duty, to engage with parliamentarians in our work for nuclear abolition. It was a privilege to receive her invitation to brief the Peace Team. And at our CNANW meetings, we welcomed Alexa’s intelligent understanding of the world of politics.”
Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute: “There is much to think about as we remember her outsized contribution to Canadian public life and women’s place therein. But in the end, it is her warmth, her kindness, her energy and her unfailing wit and humour that I remember the most.”
CNANW offers its sincere thanks to Alexa and hopes that her legacy in peace, disarmament and abolition of nuclear weapons will be honourably carried forward by other courageous Canadian parliamentarians.
Hommage à Alexa McDonough O.C. au nom du Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
Alexa était connue au sein de notre communauté de paix et de désarmement comme une avocate tenace des solutions pacifiques aux conflits internationaux et, plus particulièrement, comme une championne du désarmement nucléaire. Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires (le Réseau) a bénéficié de sa participation réfléchie à plusieurs de nos séminaires d’experts.
Alexa a encouragé et respecté nos points de vue, a estimé qu’ils devaient être abordés de manière constructive au Parlement et a collaboré avec nous dans des actions de pression en faveur du désarmement nucléaire.
Au niveau international, Alexa a été l’une des premières coprésidentes du Réseau des parlementaires pour la non-prolifération et le désarmement nucléaire (« PNND »), qui comptait alors plus de 500 parlementaires dans 70 États. Entre autres actions, Alexa a présenté aux Nations unies l’Appel mondial des maires et des parlementaires pour un monde sans armes nucléaires. Cette initiative a reçu l’aval de 150 maires et 250 législateurs de 29 pays. Leur objectif commun était de “protéger la sécurité des citoyens vivant dans nos juridictions et de protéger nos localités pour les générations futures.” Quelle que soit la cible ou l’utilisateur, poursuit la déclaration, “personne n’échapperait aux conséquences calamiteuses d’une attaque nucléaire. Elle provoquerait une dévastation inimaginable nécessitant une aide massive, des effets mondiaux des retombées nucléaires et une augmentation du nombre de réfugiés cherchant à fuir les régions les plus contaminées.”
Après s’être retirée de son rôle de coprésidente du PNND, Alexa a continué à rencontrer les membres du groupe au Canada et les a encouragés à écrire des lettres félicitant les législateurs américains pour les négociations avec la Russie et pour les efforts visant à réduire le rôle des armes nucléaires dans le cadre de l’examen de la posture nucléaire des États-Unis (US Nuclear Posture Review).
Au Canada, Alexa a fait pression pour des politiques de paix par le biais du Nouveau Parti démocratique, et elle a régulièrement soulevé des questions sur le désarmement à la Chambre des communes. Lorsqu’elle était chef du NPD en 2003, elle a créé une équipe de la paix composée de membres du parti et a organisé une séance d’information pour renforcer leur expertise. En 2004, elle a créé un poste de défenseur de la paix au sein du NPD et a également occupé cette fonction.
Alexa a participé au lancement canadien, sur la colline du Parlement, de la Campagne internationale pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires (ICAN), un groupe qui a reçu le prix Nobel de la paix 2017 pour son plaidoyer en faveur d’un traité d’interdiction des armes nucléaires.
Dans sa circonscription d’Halifax, elle a échangé avec de nombreux groupes pacifistes et a participé à des veillées et à des manifestations à l’occasion du Jour d’Hiroshima.
Alexa était un membre actif du groupe canadien Pugwash et a animé deux forums publics lors de leurs conférences. Au fil des ans, elle a entretenu des relations cordiales avec les responsables de la maison Thinkers Lodge et de la ville de Pugwash. Après des années de lobbying persistant, la communauté a réussi à faire en sorte que le maire d’Halifax se joigne à Maires pour la Paix grâce en partie à l’aide d’Alexa.
Après s’être retirée de la vie politique et en tant que présidente par intérim de l’université Mount Saint Vincent, elle a guidé la conférence internationale « Être le Changement : Construire une culture de paix » (“Being the Change : Building a Culture of Peace”.) En 2013, l’Université a rebaptisé l’un de ses instituts en son honneur : ” Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice “.
L’honorable Doug Roche, O.C., a prononcé, « j’aimerais me joindre à vous et à nos collègues pour rendre un hommage sincère à Alexa McDonough. Elle possédait une combinaison rare de qualités chez un leader politique : elle avait des principes, était engagée et compatissante en plus d’ëtre une personne très sympathique, le tout réuni en une seule personne. Son leadership dans le mouvement pour le désarmement nucléaire a été une étoile brillante qui a en guidé plusieurs. Pugwash n’avait pas de meilleur ami. Aujourd’hui, elle et son amie intime Macha McKay ont toutes deux disparues. Deux grandes pertes, mais la lumière qu’Alexa a laissée et l’amour que j’ai pour elle dans mon cœur ne s’éteindront jamais. »
Alyn Ware, coordinateur mondiale du PNND a partagé, « Alexa était une femme chaleureuse, attentionnée, humble, dévouée et super intelligente qui a touché les cœurs, les esprits et les âmes des gens partout dans le monde. Le Canada et le monde sont de meilleurs endroits grâce à la bénédiction de la présence d’Alexa et de sa vie. »
Libby Davies (députée de 1997 à 2015) a souligné qu’« Alexa était une défenseuse de la paix et du désarmement ardente et passionnée. Elle a mené de nombreuses initiatives pour renforcer la voix et le travail des parlementaires, tant au Canada qu’à l’échelle mondiale, en faveur du désarmement nucléaire et de la non-prolifération. Son dévouement à cette cause a joué un rôle déterminant dans la sensibilisation du public, qui a exigé que le Canada assume ses responsabilités au sein de la communauté internationale. Alexa est un merveilleux exemple de la nécessité de poursuivre notre lutte pour la paix et l’élimination de la menace des armes nucléaires. »
Le professeur Walter Dorn du Collège des Forces canadiennes a écrit, « Alexa était une personne inspirante et un grand leader avec une touche très commune : populaire, très sympathique, positive et de bonne nature, et super dévouée aux causes de la justice sociale et de la paix mondiale. »
Dr Nancy Covington, Voix des femmes pour la paix a déclaré, « je me joins aux autres personnes qui admirent l’esprit stimulant d’Alexa et son exemple brillant de ce que peut être un fonctionnaire. Vivant dans sa circonscription d’Halifax, j’ai pu constater de visu la profonde admiration que lui portaient divers groupes de personnes. Que ce respect vienne des militaires, qui constituaient une grande partie de sa base électorale, ou des gens de la communauté pacifiste locale, elle est devenue leur amie, un mentor pour beaucoup et en effet était presque vénérée. Avec sa passion pour les questions de justice sociale, sa conviction que les privilèges impliquent des responsabilités, sa formation de travailleuse sociale et son énergie apparemment illimitée, elle a accompli beaucoup. Alexa, tu nous manques. »
Sœur Mary-Ellen Francoeur de Religions pour la Paix souligne que « pendant une invitation pour parler de son expérience de la paix, elle a utilisé le temps pour discuter de sa position et de celle du NPD sur les armes nucléaires. Elle s’est exprimée avec beaucoup de force. Comme toujours, elle était aussi très gracieuse et chaleureuse. C’était un tel cadeau que d’être en présence d’une politicienne à la tête d’un parti si engagée envers l’abolition des armes nucléaires. »
Andy Knight, Université de l’Alberta a déclaré, « quelle femme merveilleuse et l’une des rares politiciennes authentiques, tant au niveau provincial que fédéral. Alexa, à sa manière discrète, a laissé un héritage qui est formidable. »
Dr David Harries, ancien président du Groupe canadien Pugwash a souligné, « Alexa et moi ne nous connaissions pas bien. Mais, pour moi, elle était l’une des meilleures canadiennes que j’ai rencontrées. Lors de la seule conversation en tête-à-tête que nous avons eue – à Thinkers Lodge, je crois – elle m’a surpris en connaissant mes antécédents militaires et en disant (sans aucune provocation de ma part) qu’il était “très important” que les militaires soient pleinement engagés dans le travail pour la paix. C’est la seule personne à m’avoir adressé ainsi. »
Bev Delong, ancienne présidente du Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires, a formulé qu’« Alexa nous a fait sentir que nous étions les bienvenus à la cité parlementaire, que nous avions le droit, et même le devoir, de nous engager avec les parlementaires dans notre travail pour l’abolition nucléaire. Ce fut un privilège de recevoir son invitation à informer l’Équipe de la paix. Et lors de nos réunions du Réseau, nous avons apprécié la compréhension intelligente qu’Alexa avait du monde de la politique. »
Peggy Mason, Présidente de l’Institut Rideau a souligné, « il y a beaucoup à examiner alors que nous nous souvenons de sa contribution hors du commun à la vie publique canadienne et à la place des femmes dans celle-ci. Mais en fin de compte, c’est sa chaleur, sa gentillesse, son énergie, son esprit infaillible et son humour dont je me souviens le plus. »
Le Réseau adresse ses sincères remerciements à Alexa et espère que son héritage en matière de paix, de désarmement et d’abolition des armes nucléaires sera honorablement repris par d’autres parlementaires canadiens courageux.
Today, Saturday January 22, marks the first anniversary of the historic moment of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Over the last year, CNANW has requested that the government of Canada attend the First Meeting of the States Parties (FMSP) as observer.
On this anniversary, CNANW acknowledges the efforts of organizations and individuals in working together to create a new platform for global dialogue towards the ultimate goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons. May it be successful!