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December 17, 2015 Letter to Honourable Stéphane Dion from Bev Delong, CNANW Chair
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
140 Westmount Road North Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6 Phone: (403) 282-8260 FAX (403) 289-4272 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
December 17, 2015
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P. Minister of Foreign Affairs Global Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Dear Minister Dion,
Re: Recommendations to the Government of Canada on meaningful steps toward the abolition of nuclear weapons
Greetings from the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW). We are a coalition of civil society organizations from across the country working to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and move toward a world without nuclear weapons―a goal the Government of Canada has publicly and consistently supported. We welcome you to the critical portfolio you now lead and assure you of our willingness to collaborate constructively toward a foreign policy that, driven by principle and guided by evidence, best meets the interests of Canadians and the international community.
Seven decades after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 45 years after the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and over a quarter century after the end of the Cold War, nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons continue to threaten the very survival of humanity and our ecosystem. The only foolproof way to ensure that nuclear weapons are not used by accident, miscalculation or design is through their complete and verified elimination.
On 30 November 2015 CNANW hosted an experts’ seminar entitled “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” focused on political and diplomatic opportunities for Canada to engage constructively and exhibit determined global leadership in the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons. The discussions addressed a broad range of legal, political, security, and verification questions―all founded on the recognition that Canada is uniquely positioned to effect a positive and substantive impact on the push for nuclear abolition.
Our network is calling for a fundamental shift in the security doctrines of some members of the international community—away from security arrangements that rely on nuclear deterrence, and in line with fundamental precepts of sustainable common security. The value of deterrence is far outweighed by the risk posed by any use of nuclear weapons and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences this would entail. The humanitarian imperative for nuclear disarmament should be the catalyst to launch a comprehensive process leading to the enactment of a legal framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
We welcome the support from the Liberal Party of Canada for the 2010 unanimous Parliamentary motion calling for a major Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of nuclear disarmament, and recall the pertinent questions you have personally raised in the House of Commons on this issue. We also note with gratitude the work being done by the Government of Canada on transparency and verification practices through its engagement in the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
Taking into account the deliberations at our recent seminar, the Organizing Committee for the CNANW Nov. 30th Expert Seminar would like to bring to your attention the following recommendations. We call on the Government of Canada to:
1. Endorse the Humanitarian Pledge championed by the Government of Austria as a means of focusing international attention on the catastrophic humanitarian effects anticipated from any use of nuclear weapons, and energizing the global push for nuclear abolition.
2. Host a “Framework Forum” Meeting in the spring of 2016, organized in coordination with the Middle Powers Initiative, to enable focused preparation for the Open Ended Working Group established by the UN General Assembly to “substantively address concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that will need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”
3. Build political and diplomatic support for resolutions at the 2016 UN General Assembly calling for: a) the creation of a further Open-Ended Working Group with an actual mandate to negotiate a legal instrument to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, and b) the establishment of a subsidiary body to negotiate a ban on fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons.
4. Speak out against the modernization of nuclear weapons by existing Nuclear Weapons States.
5. Advocate within the NATO Alliance Council for the formulations of security policies that embrace sustainable, common security principles and do not rely on nuclear deterrence. As a key measure, Canada should urge for adherence to policy of no foreign basing of nuclear weapons.
6. Reinstate the past practice of hosting a Government-Civil Society Consultation on Arms Control and Nuclear Disarmament to enable a constructive, two-way open dialogue of pertinent issues. To this end we hereby request a meeting between you, Minister Dion, and a small delegation of CNANW representatives.
Above all, we call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a Nuclear Weapons Convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world. We firmly believe it is in the best interest of every nation to move decisively toward the shared goal of nuclear abolition, and are convinced that Canada can and should play a leading role to this effect.
Thank you for your attention and actions in regard to these issues. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss them further with you at your earliest convenience.
Beverley J. T. Delong Chairperson Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
c.c.: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada The Honourable Rona Ambrose, MP, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada Rhéal Fortin, Acting Leader of the Bloc Québécois
Members of the Organizing Committee for the Nov. 30th, 2015 Expert Seminar on “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World”:
The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., former Ambassador for Disarmament, Chairperson Emeritus, Middle Powers Initiative Former Ambassador for Disarmament, Mr. Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation, Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Executive, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, co- founder, Project Ploughshares Ms. Debbie Grisdale, Member, Steering Committee, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Mr. Robin Collins, Board Member, World Federalist Movement – Canada Bev Delong, Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Advisers: The Hon. Douglas Roche O.C., Chairperson Emeritus, Middle Powers Initiative; Ms. Peggy Mason, and Mr. Paul Meyer, all three, former Ambassadors for Disarmament, and Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C.
Member groups: Les Artistes pour la paix, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Canadian Federation of University Women, Canadian Peace Alliance / L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canadian Pugwash Group, Canadian Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence, The Group of 78, Physicians for Global Survival, Science for Peace, United Nations Association – Canada, World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP international link), World Federalist Movement – Canada.