Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) Meeting
May 13 and 14, 2014
Representatives of 10 of the CNANW’s member groups met in Ottawa for a lively update on recent progress and a highly informed discussion on the proposals for legal options with respect to nuclear weapons.
Paul Dewar, M.P., recently elected Global Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), joined us to provide a briefing on recent work of that group. He had participated in the recent Annual Assembly of PNND in Washington in February 25-27, 2014. We are pleased to hear of the appointment of two new CoChairpersons of PNND Canada, Linda Duncan, M.P. (NDP) and Blaine Calkins, M.P. (Cons.) both Albertans. Mr. Dewar encouraged us to continue with education of the public and of MPs through direct meetings and especially fora such as the Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs and National Defence.
Good news was shared of an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) resolution from the March 20, 2014 meeting that involved representatives of 160 Parliaments. Blaine Calkins M.P. of Canada worked for this resolution called Toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments. One of the recommendations was that “parliaments urge their governments to start negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or on a package of agreements to help achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.” PNND are exploring through national conferences how to implement the resolution. Hedy Fry M.P. is working through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to support PNND initiatives.
The people of the Marshall Islands are suing all nine nuclear-armed states. Background on the case and information for the media is available from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation as linked on this quite incredible David and Goliath case. We need to determine if CNANW (or its individual member groups will endorse the action, and identify any other ways Canadians can support the action. There is a possibility that individual affirmations might be filed with the court. The court has yet to determine the process.
We received briefings on the recent NPT PrepCom meeting and the Nayarit, Mexico meeting on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
We are pleased to note that there are now over 750 Order of Canada members supporting Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
CNANW is aiming primarily to communicate to the public and the government our deep concern over the need for Nuclear Weapons Convention by organizing activities
1) for Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorations on Aug. 6 and 9th
2) then during the period September 21 (International Day for Peace) and September 26 (International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons). Project Ploughshares is willing to continue to upload worship resources for all faith groups at its website so that faith communities across Canada can have materials to use for either the International Day of Peace or the International Day for the Total Elimination for Nuclear Weapons. We hope to encourage observance of these days in all faith groups.
Thereafter we will focus on preparation for the NPT Review Conference in the spring of 2015 and the spring or fall federal election.
Our lengthiest discussion was on the Ban Treaty proposal. We had the benefit of highly informed input from three former Ambassadors for Disarmament and several other very senior experts with experience with treaty negotiations. The Ban Treaty proponents are calling for a legal instrument setting out a prohibition against use, possession (etc.) of nuclear weapons. But that instrument will not set out a process for verified elimination of nuclear weapons since this would require buy-in from nuclear-dependent states, which have made it clear that they consider it “premature”. The anticipated Nuclear Weapons Convention will call for both prohibitions and a process of verified elimination of nuclear weapons. A paper was circulated in advance setting out the implications of the Ban Treaty proposal for our work. Concern was expressed about the Ban Treaty being redundant, likely to divert scarce NGO time and resources, likely to cause confusion, and possibly disillusionment among the public. Others argued that the Ban Treaty proposal would not only engage the public and provide a tool for progress, but might support the longstanding pursuit of a NWC, which seems impossible to achieve in the current state of affairs.
The meeting accepted a proposal that 1) CNANW should take the position that the ban treaty could encourage progress toward a multilateral treaty with specific timelines for nuclear disarmament. 2) While individual CNANW member groups may choose to emphasize a Ban Treaty or the NWC, they are encouraged to be informed on implications of their options to practice “truth in advocacy” in public education and to clarify what process and results are being sought (thus, a ban with or without the elimination of nuclear weapons). 3) As a network, CNANW will continue to focus on a Nuclear Weapons Convention. 4) Activists are encouraged to call on all states to comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, recognizing that the prohibitions and safeguards it creates are restricting the spread of nuclear weapons.
Congratulations to Doug Roche on the launch of his new book Peacemakers: How People Around the World Are Building a World Free of War.
For more information on the work of CNANW, please contact Bev Delon at bevdelong [at] shaw.ca