That Covid-19 has created a new global reality is clear. If there is any positive aspect to this unfolding situation, it could be a deeper appreciation for the fact that the well-being of people throughout the world is inextricably linked. The COVID crisis might also serve as a cautionary tale, helping us to avoid other threats to humanity. Read the pdf
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was established in 1996 by representatives of national organizations that share the conviction that nuclear weapons are immoral and should be abolished. We believe that Canada should lead in working for their early abolition. CNANW’s nineteen member organizations include faith communities, professional groups, peace and women’s organizations — all of whom work in various ways for nuclear abolition. We endorse the following statement:
“We believe that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are abhorrent and morally wrong. We call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.”
CNANW and its members do work to educate the public, and conduct seminars, consultations and meetings with the public, officials and politicians in Canada and abroad. All this work is with the purpose of advancing the cause of nuclear disarmament and moving the world toward abolition of nuclear weapons.
- Les Artistes pour la paix
- Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
- Canadian Disarmament Information Service
(publishers of Peace Magazine)
- Canadian Federation of University Women
- Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
- Canadian Pugwash Group
- Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence
- Group of 78
- Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada (IPPNWC)
- Project Ploughshares
- Religions for Peace Canada
- Rideau Institute
- Science for Peace
- United Nations Association in Canada /
Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies
- Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canada section)
- World Federalist Movement – Canada /
Mouvement Federaliste Mondial – Canada
L’Honorable Chrystia Freeland
Département des Affaires Globales
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
25 octobre 2018
Chère madame la ministre,
Nous vous adressons respectueusement cette lettre qui a pour objet de vous inciter fortement, ainsi que le gouvernement du Canada, à vous objecter publiquement de façon persistante au récent plan de l’Administration Trump de se retirer du Traité USA-Russie concernant les forces nucléaires de portée intermédiaire (INF) et à lancer un appel à maintenir et à revitaliser le contrôle international sur les armes nucléaires et leur prolifération en vue d’un désarmement.
Si nous sommes parfaitement au courant des accusations de Washington envers les violations russes du Traité, nous observons, comme l’a fait un rapport récent de recherches du Congrès américain, que la Russie a de son côté identifié trois programmes militaires américains en cours ou en planification en violation du Traité. La façon de résoudre de telles accusations n’est certes pas en abandonnant des traités d’importance historique, gagnés de haute lutte, tels que l’INF. Nous prions donc le Gouvernement du Canada de se joindre à ses alliés européens pour insister que les États-Unis et la Russie aplanissent leurs différents à une table de négociation en respectant les clauses de désarmement du Traité de non-prolifération. Selon les termes employés par le Ministre des Affaires étrangères de l’Allemagne Heiko Maas, il y va de notre responsabilité collective de ne ménager aucun effort afin de ramener Washington et Moscou à cette table.
La menace d’abrogation du Traité INF repousse le monde vers un danger de basculer. Tous les pays possédant des armes nucléaires étant déjà embarqués dans des programmes coûteux et déstabilisants de “modernisation”, nous craignons que si l’Administration Trump abandonne ce Traité sans une forte réaction négative de la part d’alliés tel que le Canada, il pourrait aussi abandonner le Traité New Start (dont l’expiration sera en février 2021, à moins que les États-Unis et la Russie le prolongent). Cette éventualité mettrait un terme à toute restriction formelle sur les programmes d’armes nucléaires et enclencherait une impensable accélération périlleuse des courses à l’arme nucléaire déjà en cours. Nous vous implorons, ainsi que le gouvernement du Canada, d’agir de toute urgence et avec persistance pour revenir à la pénible mais prudente et incessante tâche diplomatique en vue du contrôle des armes nucléaires et de leur désarmement.
Murray Thomson, OC
David Silcox, CM
Douglas Roche, OC
Ernie Regehr, OC
Président du comité directeur du CNWC
Cc: Le Très Honorable Justin Trudeau, Premier ministre
L’Honorable Andrew Scheer, chef de l’Opposition et du Parti Conservateur
Jagmeet Singh, chef du Nouveau Parti Démocratique
Elizabeth May, cheffe du Parti Vert
L’Honorable Peter Harder, représentant le gouvernement au Sénat
Membres du Comité Permanent de la Chambre des Communes pour les Affaires étrangères et le Développement international
October 25, 2018
The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Global Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Dear Minister Freeland,
We write to strongly urge you and your Government to publicly and persistently object to the Trump Administration’s plan to withdraw from the US-Russian Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and to call for maintaining and revitalizing the international nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament regime.
We are well aware of US charges that Russia is in violation of the Treaty, and we also note, as has a recent US Congressional Research Report, that Russia has identified three current and planned US military programs that it charges are or will be in violation of the Treaty. The way to resolve these serious charges is not by abandoning hard won, and in the case of the INF, historically important Treaties. We thus urge the Government of Canada to join with its European allies to insist that the United States and Russia resolve their differences at the negotiating table and by honoring their disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. As the German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, has put it, it is our collective responsibility to leave “no stone unturned in the effort to bring Washington and Moscow back to the table…”
The threatened abrogation of the INF Treaty pushes the world toward a dangerous tipping point. All states with nuclear weapons are already embarked on expensive and destabilizing “modernization” programs. We fear that if the Trump Administration proceeds with abandoning this Treaty without major push back from allies like Canada, it will also abandon the New START Treaty (which will expire in February 2021 if the US and Russia do not extend it). That would end all formal restraints on nuclear weapons programs and would lead to an unthinkably perilous acceleration of the nuclear arms races that are already underway.
We implore you and the Government of Canada to act with urgency and persistence and to stand for a return to the careful, painstaking, and unrelenting diplomacy of nuclear arms control and disarmament.
Murray Thomson, OC
David Silcox, CM
Douglas Roche, OC
Ernie Regehr, OC
Chair, CNWC Steering Committee
Cc: The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister
The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Conservative Party
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party
Rhéal Fortin, Interim Leader of the Bloc Québécoisbr>
The Hon. Peter Harder, the Government’s representative in the Senate
Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
Workshop presented by Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) and Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC)
Jessica West, Project Ploughshares: October 2018
The workshop “Canadian Leadership for Nuclear Disarmament” jointly hosted by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) and Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) brought together civil society and academic experts with Canadian government representatives to dissect the current nuclear weapons context and identify opportunities for civil society engagement and Canadian government leadership on disarmament and non-proliferation.
Key points from the discussion emphasize the coalescence of crisis and opportunity:
- We face a global nuclear crisis that threatens to undo years of progress on non-proliferation and disarmament and risks nuclear escalation and confrontation;
- NATO’s nuclear posture is an affront to disarmament and contributes to this crisis;
- Current Government of Canada positions on NATO and the Treaty on the Prevention of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) are complicit in this crisis;
- Canada has previously played a positive role in advancing peace and disarmament internationally;
- Canada’s emphasis on a feminist foreign policy and desire for greater international prominence including a seat at the UN Security Council provide an opportunity to encourage renewed leadership;
- There is a desire from both civil society and Parliamentarians for Canada to resume a leadership position on nuclear disarmament, not least within NATO;
- Better relations with Russia are critical for progress on both non-proliferation and disarmament;
- Practical options are available to initiate change in NATO’s nuclear posture and reduce tensions with Russia;
- Civil society is critical for both maintaining pressure on governments and as a source of guidance and knowledge;
- To raise the public profile of nuclear abolition, current civil society efforts must reach more broadly to engage new movements and issues with which we share common interests in peace, survival, and an alternative future.
The current moment is urgent. The new nuclear arms race, involving “modernization” in all arsenals and new nuclear use doctrines, risk a nuclear confrontation as well as long-term damage to disarmament efforts. At the same time, shifting international power structures create new opportunities for leadership toward a world without nuclear weapons.
Part I: A Nuclear Inflection Point
The keynote address by Joe Cirincioni – President of the Ploughshares Fund in the United States – titled “Nuclear Insecurity in the Age of Trump and Putin” outlined the current crisis that defines the contemporary strategic context in which nuclear weapons are situated.
The parameters of this crisis are threefold:
- Danger on the Korean peninsula
- Growing confrontation between the United States and Iran
- Renewed nuclear arms race among nuclear weapons states
While the security situation on the Korean peninsula has shifted toward unprecedented diplomacy and seems to be giving way to a new security dynamic, Cirincioni stressed that it is not clear if this progress will continue in the absence of robust political encouragement and support. In contrast, the relationship between Iran and the United States continues to deteriorate. The US Administration’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities and prevent its pursuit of nuclear weapons includes sanctions on firms and allies who engage in legal business practices with the regime. Moreover, the demands being made of Iran are described as an unconditional surrender. Not only are diplomatic paths to peace being closed, but there is a strong potential for direct confrontation through mutual presence and competing interests on the ground in Syria, which could unintentionally escalate.
The ability to contain these two non-proliferation crises is compromised by a crisis of disarmament among nuclear weapons states. Nuclear capabilities and delivery systems are being modernized and military doctrines revised in such a way that their use is slipping from an unthinkable, strategic deterrent to a useable, tactical weapon of limited warfare. This is dangerous. Not only does it risk catastrophic escalation, but the basic compromise that facilitated non-proliferation – the promise of disarmament – faces a death knell. The steady path of nuclear reductions over the past three decades has halted and been replaced with re-armament. Cirincioni describes this as an inflection point: once it gets going, it will be very difficult to turn back.
This sentiment is echoed by Ambassador Paul Meyer from The Simons Foundation, who equated the contemporary arms race between the world’s nuclear superpowers to the strategic standoff of the 1970s and ’80s. Emphasizing previous Canadian leadership under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Meyer described his “strategy of suffocation,” which proposed to cut off the oxygen feeding nuclear armament by banning warhead testing, ending test flights of warhead delivery vehicles, prohibiting further fissile materials production, and cutting spending on nuclear weapons. The earlier Prime Minister Trudeau was willing to expend political capital to challenge dominant security dynamics in pursuit of peace through reasoned policy alternatives.
Calling on Canada to move from “inertia to initiative,” Meyer offered the following recommendations:
- Voice concern that a new nuclear arms race is emerging and that it brings unacceptable risks for the international community;
- Reject the excuse that arms control and disarmament cannot progress because we have a difficult international environment with which to contend;
- Call for a prompt return to a US-Russia strategic dialogue and preservation of existing arms control and disarmament agreements;
- Acknowledge that the NPT is under threat, including from wide-spread weapons modernization programs, and recognize that the multilateral disarmament foreseen by this treaty requires concrete expression;
- Pursue leadership on a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) by seeking to obtain UN General Assembly authorization for a multilateral negotiation of such a treaty;
- Resist efforts to extend earthly conflict into outer space by once again advocating the nonweaponisation of this domain;
- Embrace a recommitment to multilateral disarmament diplomacy and re-invest in the resources required to support this.
Discussion emphasized opportunities and constraints for non-US leadership on nuclear disarmament, particularly by allies within NATO. Noting current tensions within the Alliance and ebbing American leadership, there is a sensed opportunity for members to break with the Alliance on nuclear issues, particularly if encouraged to do so. Similarly, the current crisis in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) process presents an opportunity for other countries to step forward and lead on this issue. The success of the Nuclear Ban Treaty speaks to this opening. Canada’s bid for a UN Security Council seat is noted as a chance to exert influence.
Part II: NATO’S “supreme guarantee”
Focused on the role of NATO in the elimination of nuclear weapons, the second panel sought to elucidate the constraints that it imposes on disarmament and its role in the current nuclear crisis while identifying opportunities for Canada to advance disarmament from within the Alliance. All speakers emphasized the critical need for re-engagement with Russia.
Ernie Regehr, with The Simons Foundation and the Centre for Peace Advancement, pointed out that NATO does not itself have nuclear weapons and that NATO’s status as a nuclear weapons alliance is based on the willingness of individual Alliance members with nuclear weapons (or those with US nuclear weapons on their soil by virtue of nuclear sharing) to make their capabilities available for collective operations. In this context NATO’s Strategic Concept communicates the circumstances under which use of nuclear weapons might be considered. The Brussels Summit Declaration issued after the meeting of the North Atlantic Council 11-12 July 2018 included a fulsome defence of nuclear weapons as the “supreme guarantee of the security of allies.” Further, there is growing allusion to the potential for nuclear weapons use in a variety of situations including in response to conventional attack and in a preemptive first strike, which must be understood in the context of weapons modernization programs and entrenching nuclear sharing within Europe
The idea that nuclear weapons of unlimited destructive capacity could be the foundation of security is, quite simply, offensive, particularly as the Alliance also continues to claim that it seeks to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.
Regehr offered the following recommendations to move once again toward détente with Russia as a means of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national and alliance defence policies:
- Adopt realistic language to limit the roleof nuclear weapons and highlight the commitment to a world without nuclear weapons, replacing language that characterizes weapons of massive destructive capacity as a supreme guarantee of security;
- Commit to no first use of nuclear weapons;
- Repatriate all B61 bombs to the US;
- Refrain from acquiring dual capable aircraft by non-nuclear weapons states;
- Pursue missile defence cooperation with Russia;
- Reinvest in NATO-Russia dialogue and diplomatic engagement
Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute and former Ambassador for Disarmament, presented the recommendations of the all-party, unanimous report submitted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence in June 2018 regarding Canada and NATO. Recommendation 21 included a welcome call for the government to “…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.” Emphasizing the urgency of this issue, the report called attention to several of the points raised by disarmament experts including the renewed risk of nuclear proliferation, potential deployment of tactical nuclear weapons, and changes in nuclear doctrines to lower the threshold of use. The report is a welcome sign of political consensus, and a testament to the influence of civil society, on a specific policy option that could contribute to gradual nuclear disarmament.
Ms. Mason further underscored key themes emerging from the day’s discussion, such as global dissatisfaction with stagnant disarmament trends, and the contrast between previous Canadian leadership and contemporary inaction, including boycotting of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Tom Sauer from the University of Antwerp in Belgium addressed the divergence of European civil society perspectives from the actions of NATO member states with regards to the TPNW. On the one hand, opinion polls show that most Europeans are against the presence of nuclear weapons in Europe and favour signing the Treaty. However, the issue is not adequately discussed or debated at a public level. Secrecy and lack of transparency on behalf of NATO make it difficult for both journalists and activists to engage the issue, and this limits the impact of peace movements.
Within NATO, it is clear that members are reluctant to lead efforts to change the Alliance’s nuclear posture, or to deviate from one another in other disarmament fora.
And yet leadership and change are possible. For example, the Netherlands is the only NATO member to have participated in the TPNW process, which itself was not anticipated just a few years ago. And while the Treaty may not eliminate nuclear weapons quickly, it is essential for stigmatizing their use – particularly in the current crisis – and stimulating new debate within civil society.
Discussion re-iterated the need for engagement on nuclear disarmament, diplomatically within NATO and with Russia, as well as by civil society and journalists. The Artic was raised as an example of how a security community can be created around shared interests.
Part III: Political Disengagement
Limited participation on the parliamentary panel “Canadian Leadership on Nuclear Disarmament” illustrated the current political climate of disengagement with nuclear disarmament. All major Canadian political parties were invited to present their positions. The NDP’s Agricultural Critic, the Hon. Alistair MacGregor, (substituting for the Party Foreign Policy spokesperson who was travelling) was the only person to participate directly. Noting that his party has long opposed nuclear weapons, he asserted that it was a strong proponent of Recommendation 21 within the Standing Committee’s report. MacGregor further questioned how Canada can be “back” while simultaneously failing to participate in the most important disarmament negotiations in years, and pointed to a shift in stance by the Liberal party from its time in opposition.
The Hon. Doug Roche read a statement provided by the current Government of Canada in response to a petition filed on behalf of constituents regarding the TPNW. It emphasized the government’s actions to advance disarmament and its commitment to a pragmatic pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons that takes into account the current security environment. In this environment, the government does not believe that the Treaty will be effective in achieving nuclear disarmament and does not intend to sign the treaty. Instead, its diplomatic efforts are to focus on inclusive measures that unite nuclear and non-nuclear armed states in common goals, specifically the pursuit of a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
A statement submitted by Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, congratulated Setsuko Thurlow on her Nobel recognition for her contributions to the TPNW and the work of the CNANW, referring to the current situation as an “apocalyptic age.”
Discussion reiterated the importance of civil society expertise and advocacy, which Parliamentarians rely on for research and guidance. It was also noted that civil society should urge Parliamentarians to join the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Network (PNND).
Part IV: The Way Forward
Mr. Cirincione addressed the final session on “Next Steps for Nuclear Abolition,” outlining the approach of the Ploughshares Fund to, first prevent the worst from happening, and then to build the world that we would like to see. This approach involves engaging politicians now to help them develop policies prior to future elections, finding ways to support positive goals set by the current Administration – including peace with North Korea – and supporting the next generation of civil society leadership on non-proliferation and disarmament. Calling ICAN “a flare that goes up in the night,” he cautioned that the current disarmament effort will not be able to rely on a mass anti-nuclear movement for change, but instead must build ties between nuclear disarmament and other mass movements of today. For example, cross-cutting feminist and environmental movements likewise question existing power dynamics and strive for an alternative future.
The remainder of the session was used to reflect on the learnings of the day and to share ideas for future work.
Returning to Recommendation 21 of the report by the Standing Committee on National Defence regarding NATO and the elimination of nuclear weapons, several speakers emphasized writing to the government prior to the release of its official response, both to express support and to raise questions about how disarmament processes might be raised within various bodies of the Alliance. It was noted that this might be a fruitful avenue for Canadian leadership in the context of its bid for a seat at the UN Security Council.
Conversation also explored options for engaging Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) in steps toward disarmament. It was noted that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution on fissile materials negotiation in 2016 was supported by 159 states, including three yes votes from NWS and two abstentions. In this context, the Government of Canada continues to prioritize efforts to bring NWS around the table and to create space for dialogue on the issue of a FMCT. Others urged the UNGA First Committee meetings and the NPT Review Conference as opportunities for leadership. The importance of continued Canadian support for the JCPOA was emphasized.
From a civil society perspective, the re-institution of the annual civil society consultation on arms control and disarmament by Global Affairs Canada is viewed as a positive step. The opportunity for additional civil society engagement with the government through its feminist foreign policy and the newly created position of Ambassador for Women, Peace, and Security was noted with cautious optimism, so that the core value of peace within feminism is emphasized. Work to this effect is currently being done by the Canadian Women, Peace and Security Network.
Overall, there is a recognition of a David v. Goliath moment. Disarmament advocates are outgunned (no pun intended) and underfunded. Within civil society, we need to raise funds and raise our voices, build new relationships, and foster creativity in our efforts to advance a world free of nuclear weapons. The need is urgent.
The above report is also available as PDF (6 pp): “Canadian Leadership on Nuclear Disarmament” Seminar
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was established in 1996 by representatives of national organizations that share the conviction that nuclear weapons are immoral and should be abolished. We believe that Canada should lead in working for their early abolition.
Read more …
CNANW Conference Participants September 25, 2017, Ottawa
Get in touch by email
You can contact the Canadian Network Against Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) by email at: email@example.com.
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To subscribe to the full version of “abolition”, send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org with subscribe abolition as the content of your message.
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- Les Artistes pour la paix
- Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
- Canadian Federation of University Women
- Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
- Canadian Pugwash Group
- Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence
- Group of 78
- Physicians for Global Survival
- Project Ploughshares
- Religions for Peace Canada
- Rideau Institute
- Science for Peace
- United Nations Association in Canada /Association canadienne pour les Nations Unies
- Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canada section)
- World Federalist Movement – Canada / Mouvement Federaliste Mondial – Canada
- Veterans Against Nuclear Arms (VANA): There is a VANA Memorial posted on the Toronto Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day website that gives an extensive history and video and archival links explaining the founding, aims and work of the organization
ORGANIZATIONS that have signed The CNANW CALL to sign the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty
(updated March 21, 2018)
The African Community Association of Calgary
The Anglican Church of Canada
Les Artistes pour la Paix
Atomic Photographer’s Guild
Brandon/Westman Chapter, Council of Canadians
Canada Peace Alliance/L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix
Canadian Association for Physicians for the Environment
Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Friends Service Committee
Canadian Peace Initiative
Canadian Pugwash Group
Canadian Unitarian Council
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Chilliwack, BC, Council of Canadians
Citizens in Action Montreal
Climate Justice Saskatoon
Committee for Future Generations
Comox Valley Council of Canadians
Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area
Congregation of Our Lady of Sion
Council of Canadians
County Sustainability Group
Cowichan Valley Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Denman Island Peace Group
Development and Peace
Edmonton Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Fédération des femmes du Québec Greenspiration
First United Church, Salmon Arm, BC
Group of 78
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative
Inverness County, N.S., Council of Canadians
Kent County NB Chapter, Council of Canadians
Knox United Church, Calgary
National Council of Women of Canada
London, ON Chapter, Council of Canadians
Mission and Social Justice Committee, St. Basil’s Catholic Parish, Ottawa
Montreal Chapter, Council of Canadians
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Pax Christi Montreal
Pax Christi Toronto
Peace Quest Cape Breton
PEI Chapter, Council of Canadians
People For Peace (London, ON)
Peterborough and Kawarthas Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Physicians for Global Survival
Ploughshares Calgary Society
Powell River Chapter, Council of Canadians
Project Ploughshares Saskatoon
Quill Plains (Wynyard), SK, Council of Canadians
Religions for Peace Canada
new Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
The Rideau Institute
Saskatoon Chapter, Council of Canadians
Saskatoon Parklands Eco-left Collective
Saskatoon Peace Coalition
Science for Peace
Sierra Club of Ontario
Sisters of Charity – Halifax
Sisters of Service of Canada
Social Environmental Alliance (Victoria)
Soka Gakkai International Association of Canada
South Niagara, ON Chapter, Council of Canadians
South Shore, NS Chapter, Council of Canadians
St. Andrews United Church, Calgary
St. David’s United Church, Calgary
The United Church of Canada
Ursuline Sisters of Bruno
Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network
Veterans Against Nuclear Arms – Saskatoon
Victoria-Council of Canadians
Westmount Initiative for Peace/Initiative de Westmount pour la paix
Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Canadian Section
World Federalist Movement – Canada
Have there been accidents with nuclear weapons?
Yes, records from the US Air Force, Navy and Department of Energy disclose roughly one serious nuclear weapons accident every year. The Navy alone reports 563 “incidents” between 1965 and 1983.
Here are some commentaries about accidents and near misses:
Too Close for Comfort: Cases of Near Nuclear Use and Options for Policy
A Chatham House Report
Patricia Lewis, Heather Williams, Benoit Pelopias and Sasan Aghlani
The many, many times the world has come close to doomsday, by Steve Meacham
Nuclear Weapon Accidents, by Michael Krepon, 15 APRIL 2014
The Center for Defense of Information reports 62 serious nuclear weapons accidents since 1945. ( “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Accidents”,
by Jaya Tiwari and Cleve J. Gray at http://www.cdi.org/Issues/NukeAccidents/accidents.htm)
See also “Selected Accidents Involving Nuclear Weapons,1950-1993,” Greenpeace, http://www.greenpeace.org.
On July 27, 2001, the UK Ministry of Defense for the first time admitted some details of seven politically sensitive accidents involving British nuclear weapons. In 1992, an inquiry by Ronald Oxburgh, the then MoD chief scientific adviser, found that since 1960 there have been around 20 mishaps. (Source: The Guardian, 27 July 2001)
We do not have a similar accounting from other nuclear weapons states.
20 Mishaps That Might Have Started Accidental Nuclear War
by Alan F. Phillips, M.D.
Ever since the two adversaries in the Cold War, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., realized that their nuclear arsenals were sufficient to do disastrous damage to both countries at short notice, the leaders and the military commanders have thought about the possibility of a nuclear war starting without their intention or as a result of a false alarm. Increasingly elaborate accessories have been incorporated in nuclear weapons and their delivery systems to minimize the risk of unauthorized or accidental launch or detonation. A most innovative action was the establishment of the “hot line” between Washington and Moscow in 1963 to reduce the risk of misunderstanding between the supreme commanders.
Despite all precautions, the possibility of an inadvertent war due to an unpredicted sequence of events remained as a deadly threat to both countries and to the world. That is the reason I am prepared to spend the rest of my life working for abolition of nuclear weapons.
One way a war could start is a false alarm via one of the warning systems, followed by an increased level of nuclear forces readiness while the validity of the information was being checked. This action would be detected by the other side, and they would take appropriate action; detection of the response would tend to confirm the original false alarm; and so on to disaster. A similar sequence could result from an accidental nuclear explosion anywhere. The risk of such a sequence developing would be increased if it happened during a period of increased international tension.
On the American side many “false alarms” and significant accidents have been listed, ranging from trivial to very serious, during the Cold War. Probably many remain unknown to the public and the research community because of individuals’ desire to avoid blame and to maintain the good reputation of their unit or command. No doubt there have been as many mishaps on the Soviet Side.
Working with any new system, false alarms are more likely. The rising moon was misinterpreted as a missile attack during the early days of long-range radar. A fire at a broken gas pipeline was believed to be enemy jamming by laser of a satellite’s infrared sensor when those sensors were first deployed.
The risks are illustrated by the following selections of mishaps. If the people involved had exercised less caution, or if some unfortunate coincidental event had occurred, escalation to nuclear war can easily be imagined. Details of some of the events differ in different sources: where there have been disagreements, I have chosen to quote those from the carefully researched book, “The Limits of Safety” by Scott D. Sagan. Sagan gives references to original sources in all instances.
These examples represent only a fraction of the false alarms that have been reported on the American side. Many probably remain unreported, or are hidden in records that remain classified. There are likely to have been as many on the Soviet Side which are even more difficult to access.
1956, Nov.5: Suez Crisis coincidence.
British and French Forces were attacking Egypt at the Suez Canal. The Soviet Government had suggested to the U.S. that they combine forces to stop this by a joint military action, and had warned the British and French governments that (non-nuclear) rocket attacks on London and Paris were being considered. That night NORAD HQ received messages that:
(i) unidentified aircraft were flying over Turkey and the Turkish air force was on alert
(ii) 100 Soviet MIG-15’s were flying over Syria
(iii) a British Canberra bomber had been shot down over Syria
(iv) the Soviet fleet was moving through the Dardanelles.
It is reported that in the U.S.A. General Goodpaster himself was concerned that these events might trigger the NATO operations plan for nuclear strikes against the U.S.S.R.
The four reports were all shown afterwards to have innocent explanations. They were due, respectively, to:
(i) a flight of swans
(ii) a routine air force escort (much smaller than the number reported) for the president of Syria, who was returning from a visit to Moscow
(iii) the Canberra bomber was forced down by mechanical problems
(iv) the Soviet fleet was engaged in scheduled routine exercises.
1961, Nov.24: BMEWS communication failure.
On the night of 24 November 1961, all communication links went dead between SAC HQ and NORAD. The communication loss cut off SAC HQ from the three Ballistic Missile Early Warning Sites (BMEWS) at Thule (Greenland,) Clear (Alaska,) and Fylingdales (England,). There were two possible explanations facing SAC HQ: either enemy action, or the coincidental failure of all the communication systems, which had redundant and ostensibly independent routes, including commercial telephone circuits. All SAC bases in the United States were therefore alerted, and B-52 bomber crews started their engines, with instructions not to to take off without further orders. Radio communication was established with an orbiting B-52 on airborne alert, near Thule. It contacted the BMEWS stations by radio and could report that no attack had taken place.
The reason for the “coincidental” failure was the redundant routes for telephone and telegraph between NORAD and SAC HQ all ran through one relay station in Colorado. At that relay station a motor had overheated and caused interruption of all the lines.
[NOTE: Long after I wrote this, a reader informed me that he was a technician at Plattsburgh Air Force Base at the time. The order reached that Base as an “Alpha” alert, the highest level, at which nuclear-armed bombers were to fly direct to their targets and bomb, without waiting at the fail-safe point for further orders. Before any bomber could take off the correction arrived making it a third-level “Cocoa” alert, at which the bombers stayed on the runway with engines running and waited for further orders. If even one bomber had taken off, it might have been very difficult to recall it or stop it.]
THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS LASTED FOR THE TWO WEEKS 14-28 OCTOBER 1962. MANY DANGEROUS EVENTS TOOK PLACE IN RELATION TO THE CRISIS, SOME OF THEM BECAUSE OF CHANGES MADE TO ENHANCE MILITARY READINESS. ELEVEN HAVE BEEN SELECTED:
1962, Aug.23: B-52 Navigation Error.
SAC Chrome Dome airborne alert route included a leg from the northern tip of Ellesmere Island, SW across the Arctic Ocean to Barter Island, Alaska. On 23 August 1962, a B-52 nuclear armed bomber crew made a navigational error and flew a course 20 degrees too far towards the north. They approached within 300 miles of Soviet airspace near Wrangel island, where there was believed to be an interceptor base with aircraft having an operational radius of 400 miles.
Because of the risk of repetition of such an error, in this northern area where other checks on navigation are difficult to obtain, it was decided to fly a less provocative route in the future. However, the necessary orders had not been given by the time of the Cuban missile crisis in October, so throughout that crisis the same northern route was being flown 24 hours a day.
Aug.-Oct.1962: U2 flights into Soviet airspace.
U2 high altitude reconnaissance flights from Alaska occasionally strayed unintentionally into Soviet airspace. One such episode occurred in August 1962. During the Cuban missile crisis on October of 1962, the U2 pilots were ordered not to fly within 100 miles of Soviet airspace.
On the night of 26 October, for a reason irrelevant to the crisis, a U2 pilot was ordered to fly a new route, over the north pole, where positional checks on navigation were by sextant only. That night the aurora prevented good sextant readings and the plane strayed over the Chukotski Peninsula. Soviet MIG interceptors took off with orders to shoot down the U2. The pilot contacted his U.S. command post and was ordered to fly due east towards Alaska. He ran out of fuel while still over Siberia. In response to his S.O.S., U.S. F102-A fighters were launched to escort him on his glide to Alaska, with orders to prevent the MIG’s from entering U.S. airspace. The U.S. interceptor aircraft were armed with nuclear missiles. These could have been used by any one of the F102-A pilots at his own discretion.
1962, Oct.24: Russian satellite explodes.
On 24 October a Soviet satellite entered its own parking orbit, and shortly afterward exploded. Sir Bernard Lovell, director of the Jodrell Bank observatory wrote in 1968: “the explosion of a Russian spacecraft in orbit during the Cuban missile crisis… led the U.S. to believe that the USSR was launching a massive ICBM attack.” The NORAD Command Post logs of the dates in question remain classified, possibly to conceal reaction to the event. Its occurrence is recorded, and U.S. space tracking stations were informed on 31 October of debris resulting from the breakup of “62 BETA IOTA.”
1962, Oct.25: Duluth intruder.
At around midnight on 25 October, a guard at the Duluth Sector Direction Center saw a figure climbing the security fence. He shot at it, and activated the “sabotage alarm”. This automatically set off sabotage alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, Wisconsin, the alarm was wrongly wired, and the Klaxon sounded which ordered nuclear armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The pilots knew there would be no practice alert drills while DEFCON 3 was in force, and they believed World War III had started.
Immediate communication with Duluth showed there was an error. By this time aircraft were starting down the runway. A car raced from command centre and successfully signalled the aircraft to stop.
The original intruder was a bear.
1962, Oct.26: ICBM Test Launch.
At Vandenburg Air Force Base, California, there was a program of routine ICBM test flights. When DEFCON 3 was ordered all the ICBM’s were fitted with nuclear warheads except one Titan missile that was scheduled for a test launch later that week. That one was launched for its test, without further orders from Washington, at 4 a.m. on the 26th.
It must be assumed that Russian observers were monitoring U.S. missile activities as closely as U.S. observers were monitoring Russian and Cuban activities. They would have known of the general changeover to nuclear warheads, but not that this was only a test launch.
1962, Oct.26: Unannounced Titan missile launch.
During the Cuba crisis, some radar warning stations that were under construction and near completion were brought into full operation as fast as possible. The planned overlap of coverage was thus not always available.
A normal test launch of a Titan-II ICBM took place in the afternoon of 26 October, from Florida towards the South Pacific. It caused temporary concern at Moorestown Radar site until its course could be plotted and showed no predicted impact within the United States. It was not until after this event that the potential for a serious false alarm was realized, and orders were given that radar warning sites must be notified in advance of test launches, and the countdown be relayed to them.
1962, Oct.26: Malmstrom Air Force Base.
When DEFCON 2 was declared on 24 October, solid-fuel Minuteman-1 missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base were being prepared for full deployment. The work was accelerated to ready the missiles for operation, without waiting for the normal handover procedures and safety checks. When one silo and the first missile were ready on 26 October no armed guards were available to cover transport from the normal separate storage, so the launch enabling equipment and codes were all placed in the silo. It was thus physically possible for a single operator to launch a fully armed missile at a SIOP target.
During the remaining period of the Crisis the several missiles at Malmstrom were repeatedly put on and off alert as errors and defects were found and corrected. Fortunately no combination of errors caused or threatened an unauthorized launch, but in the extreme tension of the period the danger can be well imagined.
October 1962: NATO Readiness.
It is recorded that early in the crisis, in order to avoid provocation of the U.S.S.R., British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and NATO Supreme Commander General Lauris Norstad agreed not to put NATO on alert. When the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered DEFCON 3, Norstad was authorized to use his discretion in complying, and Norstad did not order a NATO alert. However, several NATO subordinate commanders did order alerts to DEFCON 3 or equivalent levels of readiness at bases in West Germany, Italy, Turkey, and United Kingdom. This seems to have been largely due to the action of General Truman Landon, CINC U.S. Air Forces Europe, who had on his own initiative started alert procedures on 17 October in anticipation of a serious crisis over Cuba.
October 1962: British Alerts.
When the U.S. SAC went to DEFCON 2, on 24 October, the British Bomber Command was carrying out an unrelated readiness exercise. On 26 October, Air Marshall Cross, CINC of Bomber Command, decided to prolong the exercise because of the Cuba crisis, and later increased the alert status of British nuclear forces, so that they could launch in 15 minutes.
It seems likely that Soviet intelligence would perceive these moves as part of a coordinated plan in preparation for immediate war. They could not be expected to know that neither the British Minister of Defence nor Prime Minister Macmillan had authorized them.
It is disturbing to note how little was learned from these errors in Europe. McGeorge Bundy wrote in “Danger and Survival” (New York: Random House 1988), “the risk [of nuclear war] was small, given the prudence and unchallenged final control of the two leaders.”
1962, Oct.28: Moorestown false alarm.
Just before 9 a.m. on 28 October the Moorestown, New Jersey, radar operators informed the national command post that a nuclear attack was under way. A test tape simulating a missile launch from Cuba was being run, and simultaneously a satellite came over the horizon. Operators became confused and reported by voice line to NORAD HQ that impact was expected 18 miles west of Tampa at 9:02 a.m. The whole of NORAD was alerted, but before irrevocable action had been taken it was reported that no detonation had taken place at the predicted time, and Moorestown operators reported the reason for the false alarm.
During the incident overlapping radars that should have been available to confirm or disagree, were not in operation. The radar post had not received routine information of satellite passage because the facility carrying out that task had been given other work for the duration of the crisis.
1962, Oct.28: False warning due to satellite sighting.
At 5:26 p.m. on 28 October, the Laredo radar warning site had just become operational. Operators misidentified a satellite in orbit as two possible missiles over Georgia and reported by voice line to NORAD HQ. NORAD was unable to identify that the warning came from the new station at Laredo and believed it to be from Moorestown, and therefore more reliable. Moorestown failed to intervene and contradict the false warning. By the time the CINC, NORAD had been informed, no impact had been reported and the warning was “given low credence.”
END OF CUBA CRISIS EVENTS
1962, Nov.2: The Penkovsky False Warning.
In the fall of 1962, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky was working in Russia as a double agent for the CIA He had been given a code by which to warn the CIA if he was convinced that a Soviet attack on the United States was imminent. He was to call twice, one minute apart, and only blow into the receiver. Further information was then to be left at a “dead drop” in Moscow.
The pre-arranged code message was received by the CIA on 2 November 1962.
It was not known at the CIA that Penkovsky had been arrested on 22 October. Penkovsky knew he was going to be executed. It is not known whether he had told the KGB the meaning of the code signal or only how it would be given, nor is it known exactly why or with what authorization the KGB staff used it. When another CIA agent checked the dead drop he was arrested.
1965, November: Power failure and faulty bomb alarms.
Special bomb alarms were installed near military facilities and near cities in the U.S.A., so that the locations of nuclear bursts would be transmitted before the expected communication failure. The alarm circuits were set up to display a red signal at command posts the instant that the flash of a nuclear detonation reached the sensor, and before the blast could put it out of action. Normally the display would show a green signal, and yellow if the sensor was not operating or was out of communication for any other reason.
During the commercial power failure in the NE United States in November 1965, displays from all the bomb alarms for the area should have shown yellow. In fact, two of them from different cities showed red because of circuit errors. The effect was consistent with the power failure being due to nuclear weapons explosions, and the Command Center of the Office of Emergency Planning went on full alert. Apparently the military did not.
1968, Jan.21: B-52 crash near Thule.
Communication between NORAD HQ and the BMEWS station at Thule had 3 elements:
1. Direct radio communication.
2. A “bomb alarm” as described above.
3. Radio Communication relayed by a b-52 bomber on airborne alert.
On 21 January 1968, a fire broke out in the B-52 bomber on airborne alert near Thule. The pilot prepared for an emergency landing at the base. However the situation deteriorated rapidly, and the crew had to bale out. There had been no time to communicate with SAC HQ, and the pilotless plane flew over the Thule base before crashing on the ice 7 miles miles offshore. Its fuel, and the high explosive component of its nuclear weapons exploded, but there was no nuclear detonation.
At that time, the “one point safe” condition of the nuclear weapons could not be guaranteed, and it is believed that a nuclear explosion could have resulted from accidental detonation of the high explosive trigger. Had there been a nuclear detonation even at 7 miles distant, and certainly if one happened nearer the base, all three communication methods would have given an indication consistent with a successful nuclear attack on both the base and the B-52 bomber. The bomb alarm would have shown red, and the other two communication paths would have gone dead. It would hardly have been anticipated that the combination could have been caused by accident, particularly as the map of the routes for B-52 airborne flights approved by the President showed no flight near to Thule. The route had been apparently changed without informing the White House.
1973, Oct.24-25: False alarm during Middle East crisis.
On 24 October 1973, when the U.N. sponsored cease fire intended to end the Arab-Israeli war was in force, further fighting started between Egyptian and Israeli troops in the Sinai desert. U.S. intelligence reports and other sources suggested that the U.S.S.R. was planning to intervene to protect the Egyptians. President Nixon was in the throes of the Watergate episode and not available for a conference, so Kissinger and other U.S. officials ordered DEFCON 3. The consequent movements of aircraft and troops were of course observed by Soviet intelligence. The purpose of the alert was not to prepare for war, but to warn the U.S.S.R. not to intervene in the Sinai. However, if the following accident had not been promptly corrected then the Soviet command might have made a more dangerous interpretation.
On 25 October, while DEFCON 3 was in force, mechanics were repairing one of the Klaxons at Kinchole Air Force Base, Michigan, and accidentally activated the whole base alarm system. B-52 crews rushed to their aircraft and started the engines. The duty officer recognized the alarm was false and recalled the crews before any took off.
1979, Nov.9: Computer Exercise Tape.
At 8:50 a.m. on 9 November 1979, duty officers at 4 command centres (NORAD HQ, SAC Command Post, The Pentagon National Military Command Center, and the Alternate National Military Command Center) all saw on their displays a pattern showing a large number of Soviet Missiles in a full scale attack on the U.S.A. During the next 6 minutes emergency preparations for retaliation were made. A number of Air Force planes were launched, including the President’s National Emergency Airborne Command Post, though without the President! The President had not been informed, perhaps because he could not be found.
With commendable speed, NORAD was able to contact PAVE PAWS early warning radar and learn that no missiles had been reported. Also, the sensors on the satellites were functioning that day and had detected no missiles. In only 6 minutes the threat assessment conference was terminated.
The reason for the false alarm was an exercise tape running on the computer system. U.S. Senator Charles Percy happened to be in NORAD HQ at the time and is reported to have said there was absolute panic. A question was asked in Congress. The General Accounting Office conducted an investigation, and an off-site testing facility was constructed so that test tapes did not in the future have to be run on a system that could be in military operation.
1980, June 3-6: Faulty Computer Chip
The Warning displays at the Command Centers mentioned in the last episode included windows that normally showed
0000 ICBMs detected 0000 SLBMs detected
At 2:25 a.m. on 3 June 1980, these displays started showing various numbers of missiles detected, represented by 2’s in place of one or more 0’s. Preparations for retaliation were instituted, including nuclear bomber crews staring their engines, launch of Pacific Command’s Airborne Command Post, and readying of Minutemen missiles for launch. It was not difficult to assess that this was a false alarm because the numbers displayed were not rational.
While the cause of that false alarm was still being investigated 3 days later, the same thing happened and again preparations were made for retaliation. The cause was a single faulty chip that was failing in a random fashion. The basic design of the system was faulty, allowing this single failure to cause a deceptive display at several command posts.
1995, Jan.25: Norwegian Rocket Incident
This incident is included to illustrate that even now, when the Cold War has been over for years, errors can still cause concern.
On 25 January 1995, the Russian early warning radars detected an unexpected rocket launch near Spitzbergen. The estimated flight time to Moscow was 8 minutes. The Russian President, the Defence Minister and the Chief of Staff were informed. The early warning and the command and control centre switched to combat mode. Within 5 minutes, the computers determined that the missile’s impact would be outside the Russian borders.
The rocket was carrying instruments for scientific measurements. On 16 January Norway had notified 35 countries including Russia that the launch was planned. Information had apparently reached the Russian Defence Ministry, but failed to reach the on-duty personnel of the early warning system.
(See article in Scientific American, November 1997, by Bruce G. Blair, Harold A. Feiveson and Frank N. von Hippel.)
The extreme boredom and isolation of missile launch crews on duty must contribute to occasional bizarre behaviour. An example is reported by Lloyd J.Dumas in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists vol.36, #9, p.15(1980) quoting Air Force Magazine of 17 Nov.71. As a practical joke, a silo crew recorded a launch message and played it when their relief came on duty. The new crew heard with consternation what appeared to be a valid launch message. They would not of course have been able to effect an actual launch under normal conditions, without proper confirmation from outside the silo.
Launch on Warning
There are still thousands of nuclear weapons deployed. At the time of writing (December 2001) Russia and the U.S.A. still have the policy of “Launch on Warning”: that is to say, they plan to launch a salvo of nuclear-armed rockets if the warning systems show that a missile attack appears to be on the way. The retaliatory salvo would be launched before any of the incoming missiles arrived, so it could be launched as a result of a false warning. Thus a nuclear war could start for no military or political reason whatever.
Comment and Note On Probability
The probability of actual progression to nuclear war on any one of the occasions listed may have been small, due to planned “fail-safe” features in the warning and launch systems, and to responsible action by those in the chain of command when the failsafe features had failed. However, the accumulation of small probabilities of disaster from a long sequence of risks add up to serious danger.
There is no way of telling what the actual level of risk was in these mishaps but if the chance of disaster in every one of the 20 incidents had been only 1 in 100, it is mathematical fact that the chance of surviving all 20 would have been 82%, i.e. about the same as the chance of surviving a single pull of the trigger at Russian roulette played with a 6 shooter. With a similar series of mishaps on the Soviet side: another pull of the trigger. If the risk in some of the events had been as high as 1 in 10, then the chance of surviving just seven such events would have been less than 50:50.
BMEWS: Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site
CIA: Central Intelligence Agency
CINC: Commander in Chief
DEFCON: Defence Readiness Condition (DEFCON 5 is the peacetime state; DEFCON 1 is a maximum war readiness).
ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (land based)
KGB: Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopaznosti (Soviet Secret Police and Intelligence)
NORAD: North American Aerospace Defence Command
PAVE PAWS: Precision Acquisition of Vehicle Entry Phased-Array Warning System
SAC: Strategic Air Command
SIOP: Single Integrated Operational Plan
SLBM: Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile
Britten, Stewart: The Invisible Event, (London: Menard Press, 1983).
Calder, Nigel: Nuclear Nightmares, (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1979)
Peace Research Reviews, vol. ix: 4, 5 (1984); vol. x: 3, 4 (1986) (Dundas, ON.: Peace Research Institute, Dundas).
Sagan, Scott D.: The Limits of Safety, (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, (1993).
Alan F. Phillips M.D. 11 January, 1997; Revised January, 2002
Move the Nuclear Weapons Money booklet published by Internaitonal Peace Bureau (IPB), Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), and World Futures Council (WFC)
Brochure on Nuclear Divestment written by Hallgeir Langeland, Member of the Norwegian Parliament Keith Locke, Member of the New Zealand Parliament.
Don’t Bank on the Bomb – a Dutch group offering resources on nuclear divestment. See their 2016 Report published by PAX, The Netherlands, with research by Profundo in The Netherlands.
Powerpoint Presentation by Kerry Duncan McCarney introducing key resources available on divestment.
Powerpoint presentation on Activist Investing by Devan Legare, CFP, CPA, CMA of Manulife Securities in Calgary describing investor activism, what are the different types of activism and the impacts on corporate policies.
Handout explaining divestment concept and offering a graphic of the top 10 nuclear-weapons producing companies; call on people to review their investments.
What can YOU do to help abolish nuclear weapons?
Here are some steps you can take to support the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:
- Spread the word. Talk about the need to abolish nuclear weapons with your family and friends, in your neighbourhood, faith group or workplace. Share the documents from our website with your contacts.
- Divest from companies producing nuclear weapons. See our divestment page of resources: here.
- Educate yourself on the basic facts. Spend time on this website or any of the many other good resource sites.
Here are a few others you can look through:
- Inform the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament of your concern (no postage necessary). Ask them to support the goal of the CNANW. To find your Member of Parliament, go to the parliamentary website. Sample letter here. Hand your MP a background briefing document (rtf format; pdf format).
- Inform the House of Commons of your concern: Circulate a petition urging support for the abolition of nuclear weapons by all states, and ask your M.P. to present it to Parliament. (A sample petition is available on this website.)
- Individuals are invited to join one or more of our member groups.
- Community organizations, faith groups and unions are invited to endorse the goals of the CNANW.
- Make a donation to organizations that are working to abolish nuclear weapons.
- Make a donation to support the CNANW.
Email us for details at: cnanw [at] web.ca
INDIVIDUALS supporting Canada signing a Treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons can petition Prime Minister Trudeau [here]. For ORGANIZATIONAL endorsements of the Call, contact Bev Delong. To see the list of groups that have signed: [here].
APPEL AU CANADA À SIGNER LE TRAITÉ D’INTERDICTION DES ARMES NUCLÉAIRES: [ICI] [QF]
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons CALL ON CANADA TO SIGN The Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
[CALL] [FAQ] [ad in the Hill Times]
List of signatories to this call [here]
On July 7, 2017, 122 nations, in an historic action, voted at the U.N. to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty prohibits the use, threat of use, development, testing, production, manufacturing and possession of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have been unconditionally stigmatized as standing outside international humanitarian law. Governments and civil society have together recognized the “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences” of the use of any nuclear weapon.
When 50 states have ratified it, the Treaty will enter into force and all the States Parties will be committed to “measures for the verified, time-bound and irreversible elimination of nuclear-weapon programmes.” The U.N. High Representative for Disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, hailed the Treaty as “a beacon of hope for all those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of a nuclear weapon-free world.”
But the nuclear weapon states oppose the treaty, claiming it is “premature” and will undermine existing legal instruments for disarmament. This opposition is groundless; actually the new Treaty will shore up the beleaguered Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the nuclear weapon states have defied for nearly fifty years by refusing to meet their legal obligation to pursue good faith comprehensive negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The existing NATO nuclear policies, holding that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security, are another obstacle for NATO states to sign the Treaty. Canada must now decide if NATO nuclear policies will be given a higher priority than the country’s longstanding “unequivocal undertaking” to negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
We call on the Government of Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to state that Canada will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty, with a view to Canada ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible.
We also call on Canada to re-energize its commitment to nuclear disarmament, specifically by enlarging its work internationally on nuclear disarmament verification and leading efforts to initiate negotiations for a Fissile Material Treaty in the U.N. General Assembly in 2018.
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW)
Energizing Action by Canada to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Monday, September 25, 2017
Cartier Hotel, Ottawa
Welcome, and time of remembrance: Bev Delong, Chairperson, CNANW
Chairperson: Debbie Grisdale, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Ambassador Elayne Whyte-Gómez, Costa Rica, President, Conference negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Forward Steps in Nuclear Disarmament:
Chairperson: Douglas Roche O.C.
“Diplomatic Reflections at this Historic Moment”,
Mr. Michael Hurley, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland to Canada
“Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty: Transparency and Risk Reduction”,
Mr. Tariq Rauf, Head – Verification and Security Policy Coordination, Office reporting to the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2002-2011; Alternate Head of IAEA NPT Delegation.
Moderator: Dr. Adele Buckley, Canadian Pugwash Group
Alyn Ware: “2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament”
Canadian Government Views on next steps to Nuclear Disarmament:
Chairperson: Peggy Mason, Rideau Institute
Mr. Martin Larose, Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Global Affairs Canada
Ms. Cori Anderson, Deputy Director of Strategic Analysis, Department of National Defence: here
1st Discussant: Mr. Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University; Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation; former Ambassador for Disarmament
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW)
Building Momentum for Nuclear Disarmament
October 24, 2016, Cartier Place Suite Hotel, Ottawa
Panel: Canada: Between NATO and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
Chairperson: Dr. Nancy Covington, Physicians for Global Survival and VOW.
Mr. Marius Grinius, former Ambassador for Disarmament [Presentation here]
Representative, Department of National Defence (invited)
Prof. Erika Simpson, Dept. of Political Science, University of Western Ontario [Presentation here]
Panel: Partnering with Russia for Nuclear Disarmament
Chairperson – Mr. Earl Turcotte, Group of 78
Dr. Metta Spencer, President, Science for Peace [Presentation here]
Dr. Joan DeBardeleben, Chancellor’s Professor, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa [Presentation here soon]
Prof. Sergei Plekhanov, Dept. of Political Science, York University
Panel: Nuclear Disarmament: Diplomatic Options
Chairperson: Ms. Janis Alton, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Mr. Bernhard Faustenhammer, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Austria.
Ms. Heidi Hulan, Director General, International Security Policy, Global Affairs Canada,
Prof. Paul Meyer, former Ambassador for Disarmament, Adjunct Professor, School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation. [Presentation here]
Panel: The Crisis with Nuclear Weapons: Parliamentary & Civil Society Responses
Chairperson: Ms. Maddie Webb, Canadian Federation of University Women
Mr. Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator, Parliamentarians for Nuclear NonProliferation and Disarmament (PNND)d (by skype)
Mr. Paul Dewar, Member, Global Council, PNND; former Canadian Member of Parliament. [Presentation here]
Ms. Peggy Mason, President, The Rideau Institute; former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament [Presentation here soon]
Mr. Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares.
The following organizations have endorsed the goal of the CNANW
We believe that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are abhorrent and morally wrong. We call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.
African Community of Calgary
Alberta Teachers’ Association
Alberta Wilderness Association
Anglican Church of Canada, Eco-Justice Committee
Anglican Diocese of Calgary
Anglican Diocese of Calgary, Peace and Justice Committee
Association of United Ukrainian Canadians
Bahá’i Community of Canada
Bethel Lutheran Church, Ryley AB
Bridgewater Town Council, NS
Calgary and District Labour Council
Calgary and District Labour Council, Women’s Committee
Calgary Board of Education
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
Cambodia War Amputees Rehabilitation Society
Canada Tibet Committee, Calgary
Canadian Action for Indonesia and East Timor – Calgary Branch
Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Friends Service Committee
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Canadian Public Health Association
Canadian Rockies Alpine Group (CRAG)
Canadian Teachers’ Federation / Fédèration Canadienne des Enseignantes et des Enseignants
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Christ Trinity Lutheran Church
Centre for Positive Living, Calgary
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade
Conscience Canada Inc.
Denman Island Peace Group
Dynacan Oil Corporation
East Timor Alert Network – Calgary Branch
Educating for Peace, Ottawa
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Synod of Alberta and the Northwest Territories
The Finnish Organization of Canada
First Pilgrim United Church, Outreach Committee, Hamilton
First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
Four Worlds Center for Development Learning
Franciscans of Western Canada
Friends of the Oldman River
Grace Lutheran Church
Gandhi Society of Calgary
Group of 78
Halifax Regional Municipal Council
Highwood Lutheran Church
Hiroshima Day Coalition
Holden Lutheran Church
Holy Spirit Catholic Women’s League (Saskatoon)
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church
Interchurch Uranium Committee Educational Cooperative
La Comite de Solidarite Tiers-Monde
Lakefield, Village of (ON)
Lethbridge Network for PeaceLunenberg County
Medical Aid for Palestine
Mennonite Central Committee (Canada)
Mount Zion Lutheran Church (Edmonton)
Nanoose Conversion Campaign
Nuclear Awareness Project
Older Women’s Network (Toronto)
Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations
Outreach Sunnybrook United Church
Pacific Campaign for Disarmament and Security
Parkdale United Church, Faith and Justice Committee
Parkdale United Church, United Church Women, Unit #1
Peace/Ploughshares Group, First Unitarian Congregation (Toronto)
Peace Research, The Canadian Journal of Peace Studies, Editorial Board
People’s Voice Press Club
Peterborough, City of (ON)
Peterborough, County of (ON)
Physicians for Global Survival (Calgary)
Presbyterian Church in Canada – 124th General Assembly
Programme de développement Cambodge-Canada/Canada Cambodia Development Program
Project Peacemakers Winnipeg
Project Ploughshares Calgary
Project Ploughshares Edmonton
Project Ploughshares Fredericton
Project Ploughshares Hamilton
Project Ploughshares Kawartha
Project Ploughshares Saskatoon
Project Ploughshares St. Thomas
Raging Grannies Toronto
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Calgary Monthly Meeting
Results / Resultats Canada
Riverview United Church, Church in the World Division
Robert McClure United Church Women, Calgary
Rotary Club – Calgary North
Saskatoon, City of
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
Saskatoon Seniors for Peace
Save the Children (Canada)
Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus
SPHERE (Society for Protection of Healthy Environment and Rejuvenation of Earth)
St. Matthew’s United Church Board
St. Matthew’s United Church Women
Tibetan Community of Alberta
Tollefson Engineering Enterprises Limited
Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (Doukhobors)
Unitarian Church, Social Justice Committee, Calgary
Unitarian Church, Social Action Coordinating Committee, Saskatoon
United Church of Canada, 36th General Council (1997)
United Church of Canada, Division of Church in Society for AB and NT
United Church of Canada, Saskatchewan Conference
United Nations Association in Canada – National Capital Region Branch
United Nations Association in Canada – Kootenay Region
University of Calgary Eco Club
Veterans Against Nuclear Arms (VANA) Edmonton
VANA New Brunswick
VANA Nova Scotia
Victoria Council of Women
Westmount Initiative for Peace
Women in Action, Students’ Assoc’n. Mount Royal College, Calgary
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – BC
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Ottawa Branch
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Toronto Branch
World Conference on Religion & Peace (Canada)
World Conference on Religion & Peace (Ottawa)
World Federalists of Canada – Montreal
World Without Wars and Violence
Youth Action for Peace
updated November 22, 2019
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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: email@example.com
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.
Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G6
Tél.: (403) 282-8260 Copie : (403) 289-4272
Courriel : firstname.lastname@example.org
Le 10 décembre 2015
L’honorable Stéphane Dion, C.P., député
Ministre des Affaires étrangères, Commerce et Développement Canada
125 promenade Sussex
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Monsieur le ministre,
Objet : Recommandations au gouvernement du Canada en vue de progrès significatifs vers l’abolition des armements nucléaires.
Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires (RCAAN) tient d’abord à vous féliciter. Nous sommes une coalition d’organisations de la société civile de partout au pays qui travaillons à faire avancer la cause du désarmement nucléaire et à progresser vers un monde sans armement nucléaire — un objectif que le gouvernement du Canada a soutenu ouvertement et sans interruption. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans vos nouvelles responsabilités critiques et affirmons notre désir de collaborer de manière constructive à une politique étrangère qui, fondée sur des principes et guidée par des faits démontrés, serve au mieux les intérêts des Canadiens et de la communauté internationale,
Soixante-dix ans après la destruction d’Hiroshima et de Nagasaki, 45 ans après l’entrée en vigueur du traité de non-prolifération nucléaire et un quart de siècle après la fin de la guerre froide, près de 16 000 armes nucléaires continuent de menacer la survie même de l’humanité et de notre écosystème. La seule manière infaillible de nous assurer que les armements nucléaires ne seront pas utilisés par accident, par erreur de jugement ou à dessein est de viser leur élimination complète et vérifiable.
Le 30 novembre 2015, le RCAAN a accueilli un séminaire d’experts intitulé « Définir la trajectoire du Canada dans un monde libre d’armes nucléaires », particulièrement intéressé aux opportunités politiques et diplomatiques qui permettraient au Canada de s’engager constructivement et de démontrer un leadership mondial dans la recherche d’un monde libre d’armements nucléaires. Les discussions ont porté sur un large éventail de questions juridiques, politiques, de sécurité et de vérification — à partir du constat que le Canada occupe une place unique pour jouer un rôle positif substantiel dans l’effort vers l’abolition des armes nucléaires.
Notre réseau appelle à une réorientation fondamentale des doctrines de sécurité de certains membres de la communauté internationale — qui nous éloignerait des dispositifs sécuritaires fondés sur la dissuasion nucléaire et retrouverait le lien avec les préceptes fondamentaux d’une sécurité partagée durable. Le déséquilibre est immense entre la valeur de la dissuasion et les risques posés par une quelconque utilisation des armes nucléaires et les conséquences humanitaires catastrophiques qui y sont associées. L’impératif humanitaire du désarmement nucléaire devrait constituer le catalyseur d’un processus intégrateur menant à la promulgation d’un cadre juridique pour l’interdiction et l’élimination des armes nucléaires.
Nous reconnaissons l’appui du parti Libéral du Canada à la motion unanime du Parlement de 2010 appelant à déployer une importante initiative diplomatique canadienne en faveur du désarmement nucléaire, et nous souvenons des questions pertinentes que vous avez personnellement soulevées à la Chambre des Communes à cette occasion. Nous sommes également reconnaissants pour le travail accompli par le gouvernement du Canada relativement aux pratiques de transparence et de vérification au travers de son engagement dans le Partenariat international pour la vérification du désarmement nucléaire.
En prenant en compte les délibérations de notre récent séminaire, le Comité organisateur du séminaire d’experts du 30 novembre du RCAAN aimerait porter à votre attention les recommandations suivantes. Nous demandons au gouvernement canadien de :
1. Endosser l’Engagement humanitaire mis de l’avant par le gouvernement de l’Autriche comme moyen pour attirer l’attention internationale sur les conséquences humanitaires catastrophiques associées à toute utilisation d’armement nucléaire, et pour énergiser la mobilisation mondiale pour l’abolition de ces armements.
2. Accueillir une assemblée « Forum cadre » au printemps 2016, organisée en coordination avec l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires, pour permettre une préparation ciblée du groupe de travail à composition non limitée établi par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies pour « étudier de manière substantielle des mesures, des dispositions et des normes juridiques concrètes, qui devront être promulguées pour atteindre et maintenir un monde sans armements nucléaires.»
3. Bâtir un appui politique et diplomatique pour des résolutions à présenter dans le cadre de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU de 2016 appelant à : a) la création d’un nouveau groupe de travail à composition non limitée avec un mandat effectif de négocier un appareillage juridique visant à interdire et éliminer les armes nucléaires, et b) l’établissement d’un organisme subsidiaire visant à négocier une interdiction des matériaux fissiles destinés à l’armement nucléaire.
4. Prendre officiellement position contre la modernisation des armements nucléaires par les puissances nucléaires existantes.
5. Faire des représentations au sein du conseil de l’OTAN pour la formulation de politiques de sécurité qui intègrent des principes communs et durables de sécurité et ne reposent pas sur la dissuasion nucléaire. Comme mesure clé, le Canada devrait faire pression en faveur de l’adhésion à une politique restreignant le déploiement d’armes nucléaires hors des territoires des puissances nucléaires.
6. Remettre en vigueur la pratique passée de tenir des consultations entre le gouvernement et la société civile sur la non-prolifération et le désarmement nucléaire pour favoriser un dialogue constructif et ouvert sur des enjeux pertinents. À cette fin, nous demandons par la présente une rencontre entre vous, Monsieur le Ministre, et une petite délégation de représentants du RCAAN.
Par-dessus tout, nous appelons le gouvernement du Canada à collaborer de manière urgente avec les autres nations pour conclure une Convention sur les armes nucléaires qui établira un calendrier contraignant pour l’abolition de toutes les armes nucléaires dans le monde. Nous croyons fermement qu’il est dans le meilleur intérêt de toutes les nations de franchir des étapes décisives en vue de l’objectif partagé de l’abolition nucléaire, et sommes convaincus que le Canada peut et doit jouer un rôle prépondérant à cet égard.
Merci de votre attention et de la considération que vous accorderez à nos recommandations. Nous accueillerons avec plaisir l’occasion d’en discuter avec vous dès que vous en aurez la disponibilité.
Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Ministre, nos sincères salutations,
Beverley J. T. Delong
Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
c.c.: Le très honorable Justin Trudeau, premier ministre du Canada
L’honorable Rona Ambrose, députée, chef intérimaire de l’opposition officielle
L’honorable Thomas Mulcair, député, chef du nouveau parti démocratique du Canada
Elizabeth May, députée, chef du parti vert du Canada
Rhéal Fortin, chef intérimaire du Bloc Québécois
Membres du Comité organisateur du Séminaire d’experts du 30 novembre 2015
« Définir la trajectoire du Canada dans un monde libre d’armes nucléaires »
L’hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., ancien ambassadeur pour le désarmement, président émérite, l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires
Paul Meyer, ancien ambassadeur pour le désarmement, professeur auxiliaire, École des études internationales, Université Simon Fraser, et agrégé supérieur, la Fondation Simons
M. Ernie Regehr, O.C., directeur, Rassemblement canadien pour une convention sur les armes nucléaires et cofondateur, Projet Ploughshares
Ms. Debbie Grisdale, membre, comité directeur, Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
M. Robin Collins, membre du Conseil, Mouvement fédéraliste mondial – Canada
Bev Delong, présidente, Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
Conseillers : L’hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., président émérite, l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires; Ms. Peggy Mason, et M. Paul Meyer, tous trois anciens ambassadeurs pour le désarmement, et M. Ernie Regehr, O.C.
Organisations membres : Les Artistes pour la paix, le Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire, la Fédération canadienne des femmes diplômées universitaires, Canadian Peace Alliance / L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canadian Pugwash Group, Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence, le Groupe des 78, Médecins pour la survie mondiale, Project Ploughshares, Science for Peace, l’Association pour les Nations-Unies – Canada, Conférence mondiale des religions pour la paix, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Canada, Mouvement fédéraliste mondial – Canada
A10918-2015 In reply to your correspondence of December 17, 2015
Letter of Honourable Stéphane Dion to Bev Delong.
Feb. 11, 2016
Ms. Beverley J. T. Delong
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Dear Ms. Delong:
Thank you for your correspondence of December 17, 2015, outlining the six primary recommendations arising from the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ (CNANW) Expert Seminar “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons Free World” that took place in November 2015.
As you know, Canada remains committed to promoting international peace and security by working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to encourage eventual nuclear weapons disarmament. Canada’s policy is rooted in its support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. We are convinced that the establishment of a nuclear weapons convention without engaging the states that possess nuclear weapons will not bring us more quickly toward “global zero.” Instead, we are continuing to focus Canada’s efforts on practical, pragmatic work to bring us closer to a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, Canada is working diligently to strengthen the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime through our leadership on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and our engagement in the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
I considered carefully your first recommendation for Canada to endorse the Humanitarian Pledge. Canada recognizes the grave humanitarian consequences of a nuclear detonation; they are clear and beyond dispute. Accordingly, Canada has engaged actively and constructively in the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (HINW) dialogue, including through our participation in the three HINW conferences held to date in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna. It is our firm belief that these concerns should be a force that unites the international community and reinforces a common and unshakeable commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons. However, realistic progress toward nuclear disarmament can only be achieved if both strategic security and humanitarian principles are given due consideration, which the Humanitarian Pledge unfortunately does not recognize. Furthermore, attempts by some to steer the HINW discourse toward the immediate negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban or convention are unhelpful, because they also do not recognize that the political and security context is intimately linked to prospects for achieving progress on disarmament. Canada appreciates that this divergence of perspectives means that it will be all the more important to try to reframe this dialogue with some new language and fresh thinking. Canada will remain committed to continuing and contributing to the HINW dialogue as it relates to nuclear disarmament by working to ensure that the political and security context is taken into account and that the dialogue remains inclusive and constructive.
You have also recommended that Canada host a “Framework Forum” meeting to prepare for the upcoming Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) established by the United Nations (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.” I am pleased to report that departmental officials will shortly be in contact with representatives from the Middle Powers Initiative to discuss options for such a meeting to occur in Geneva this spring. The CNANW will be kept abreast of all developments in relation to this meeting.
Your third recommendation is for Canada to begin building support for specific action on disarmament and the FMCT at the 2016 UN General Assembly. We are always looking for concrete and practical ways to advance nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in the UN General Assembly. In 2012, Canada led a successful resolution creating the Group of Governmental Experts to examine aspects of treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, which surpassed expectations by producing a robust consensus report on the topic in April 2015. We subsequently introduced another FMCT resolution in the fall of 2015 that garnered the support of 179 countries. We are currently focussed on building on this momentum to initiate FMCT negotiations this year. Once the outcomes of these efforts, and of the upcoming OEWG, become clear, we will be better placed to determine the best course of action at the UN General Assembly in 2016.
As a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Canada contributes to peace and stability in the international security environment, while creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the NPT. Canada was an active participant in the development of the NATO Strategic Concept in 2010, as well as the Defence and Deterrence Posture Review in 2012. In the current international security context, we continue to believe that these documents effectively balance our long‑term policy objectives of nuclear disarmament with our collective defence responsibilities as a NATO member. In response to your fourth and fifth recommendations relating to advocacy within NATO and with nuclear‑weapon states (NWS), I can assure you that Canada continues to work actively with allies and partners in NATO, the UN, the G7, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Nuclear Security Summit, and the Conference on Disarmament to ensure that all NATO and NWS fulfil their NPT obligations, and that our allies continue to pursue nuclear disarmament in a way that enhances our collective security.
Regarding your sixth recommendation, constructive dialogue with civil society is not only a component of the mandate letter I received from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but also a personal priority. As such, Global Affairs Canada is currently exploring ways to better engage with civil society, as well as other stakeholders in our community, in an open and transparent way. As part of this process, we will consider your recommendation for renewing the Government consultation with civil society on arms control and nuclear disarmament.
Thank you for your continued interest in these important issues.
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The reality of a new Government in Canada provides a new opportunity for CNANW to make an impact on the development of Canada’s nuclear weapons policies. Building on the unanimous motion of Parliament adopted in 2010 to support the UN Secretary General’s Five Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament and take a major diplomatic initiative to advance nuclear disarmament objectives, the Seminar explored Canadian action concerning the Humanitarian Pledge and development of effective legal measures for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
Ottawa, November 30, 2015
Tarja Cronberg and Tariq Rauf
Seminar Program: linked here
Keynote Address by Tarja Cronberg: “Creating the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” (linked here)
Keynote Luncheon Address by Dr. Tariq Rauf: “Challenges for Canada’s Nuclear Weapons Policies” (linked here)
Panel: “The Moral Compass and the Humanitarian Pledge”
Mr. Bernhard Faustenhammer: “Progress on, and Plans for Pursuing the Humanitarian Pledge”
Prof. Paul Meyer: “After the Humanitarian Pledge, What?” (linked here)
Panel: “Securing a Nuclear Weapons-Free World: Creating and retaining the replacement regime”
Biographies of panelists (linked here)
Dr. H. Peter Langille: “Sustainable Common Security” (linked here)
Dr. Walter Dorn: “Peacekeeping”
Prof. Peter Jones: “Track Two Diplomacy”
Panel: “Political and Legal Steps: New Initiatives for Canada”
Hon. Douglas Roche: “Political and Legal Steps: New Initiatives for Canada” (linked here)
Earl Turcotte: (linked here)