January 23, 2003
The Honourable Bill Graham,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
House of Commons,
Dear Mr. Graham,
Re: Canada’s policies with respect to nuclear weapons
We are very grateful that Canada cast a favourable vote at the UN on the New Agenda Group resolution. We are aware that this is a result of your knowledge of, and principled leadership on this issue. This vote is consistent with Canada’s undertakings and statements at the NPT May 2002 Review Conference and within the Conference on Disarmament.
Please be advised that we have requested an explanation of vote from other NATO states.
We write now to express our deep concern with regards to recent nuclear weapons developments, and the current unravelling of the international legal infrastructure relating to nuclear disarmament and abolition. Recent events such as the setbacks with the CTBT, the ABM Treaty, the proposals with respect to missile defence and weaponization of space, the suggestion of use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states and the funding for developments of mini-nukes make us fear that we are moving more surely toward nuclear war than to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Rarely in recent years has our objective seemed more important, or the achievement of our goal more remote.
We request that Canada’s commitment to nuclear weapons abolition be specifically reaffirmed in the upcoming Foreign Policy Review.
We are particularly concerned with the failure of NATO governments to address, let alone reconcile the glaring contradiction between their “unequivocal undertaking” to abolish nuclear weapons under the NPT, and NATO’s policy that nuclear weapons remain essential for the foreseeable future. We are asking the Canadian government to make every effort to urgently resolve this contradiction in a manner that is wholly consistent with our obligations under the NPT and the undertakings related thereto.
Knowing the immense capacity of nuclear weapons to cause destruction, we are further proposing that this problem be addressed by the SCFAIT. More specifically, we propose that the Committee examine:
a) progress in implementing those recommendations accepted by the Government from the SCFAIT Report entitled “Canada and the Nuclear Challenge”, December 1998; and
b) Canadian progress, and progress within NATO, in implementing the “13 Practical Steps” agreed upon in the Final Agreement of the May 2000 NPT Review Conference.
Representatives of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons held meetings about this NATO-NPT contradiction with MPs Irwin Cotler, Stockwell Day and Bernard Patry on October 31st. Mr Day and Prof. Cotler were both supportive of our proposal that the SCFAIT address this NATO-NPT contradiction next year. Dr. Patry indicated that he would consider it.
Your consideration of this letter is most sincerely appreciated.
Bev Tollefson Delong
President, Lawyers for Social Responsibility and
Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
On behalf of the following members of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:
Jacques Boucher, Centre de ressources sur la non-violence
Bev Delong, President, Lawyers for Social Responsibility
Paul Klopstock, Les Artistes pour la paix
Michael Call, PeaceFund Canada
Dr. Hanna Newcombe, Director, Peace Research Institute Dundas
Debbie Grisdale, Executive Director, Physicians for Global Survival
Dr. Ernie Regehr, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares
Dr. John Valleau, Science for Peace
Nancy Gordon, National President, United Nations Association in Canada
David Morgan, National President, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms
Rev. Bern Barrett, President, World Conference on Religion and Peace
Fergus Watt, Executive Director, World Federalists of Canada
cc: to All SCFAIT members