CNANW Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: Canada can join Norway and attend first TPNW meeting

Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly
Minister of Defence Anita Anand

October 28, 2021

Canada can join Norway and attend first TPNW meeting

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Madame Foreign Minister and Madame Defence Minister,

This month the Government of Norway announced that it will attend the first Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (1MSP-TPNW) in Vienna (22-24 March 2022) as an Observer. This is welcome news and an indication that, within NATO, States in support of the abolition of nuclear weapons can work together towards that goal whether or not they are signatories to the TPNW. This commitment to dialogue is a particularly important signal to Canada’s new government in the lead up to the Tenth Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in January 2022.

A recent Nanos poll indicates that 80% of Canadians support nuclear weapons elimination; 74% believe Canada should join the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even if there is pressure from the United States to stay clear. 

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) encourages Canada to also commit, as Norway has done, to attending the TPNW States parties meeting as an Observer. Our government can make an early and clear statement to this effect and encourage other NATO members to also attend. CNANW supports Canada acceding to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons or to a new comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention that will achieve the same stated goal: the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

Canada is able to sign and ratify the TPNW while a member of NATO as long as our government disassociates Canada from NATO’s existing nuclear deterrence doctrine. As recommended unanimously by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence in its 2018 report, Canada can take “a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of “creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

As members of the Stockholm Initiative, Canada and Norway are also well placed to work together within NATO to develop a cohort of alliance members engaged in challenging nuclear deterrence policy, during the alliance’s current review of its “Strategic Concept” slated to be adopted at the next NATO Summit in June 2022.

The new government in Canada has a fresh opportunity to work with like-minded States and middle powers, such as Norway and others, and to revitalize our traditional disarmament credentials. The nuclear weapons threat demands measurable progress on nuclear non-proliferation and arms control, and towards the elimination of nuclear weapons. CNANW expects to see early concrete action in this direction from our government, in keeping with the wishes of most Canadians, and we stand ready to assist in achieving this common objective.

Sincerely,

Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, Co-Chairpersons
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires

and the following member organizations:
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility – Gordon Edwards, President
Canadian Disarmament Information Service  – Metta Spencer, Chairperson
Canadian Peace Research Association – Erika Simpson, President
Canadian Pugwash Group – Cesar Jaramillo, Chair
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace – Nancy Covington and Lyn Adamson
Friends for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention – Richard Denton
The Group of 78 – Roy Culpeper, Chair
Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition, Mary-Ellen Francoeur
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada – Jonathan Down, President
Project Ploughshares – Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director
Religions for Peace Canada – Pascale Frémond, President
Rideau Institute – Peggy Mason, President
Science for Peace – Arnd Jurgensen
World Federalist Movement–Canada – Alexandre MacIsaac, Executive Director

Additional Signatories: organizations and individuals

Response to CNANW Letter by Office of The Prime Minister: here