Peggy Mason: Canada — From nuclear disarmament stalwart to nuclear weapons apologist

“To understand the extent of Canada’s retreat from staunch defender of meaningful steps towards increased nuclear restraint and eventual disarmament to the shocking role of U.S. nuclear weapons apologist, it is necessary to review the position of Canada in the context of the NPT and NATO.” (Peggy Mason is President of the Rideau Institute.)

Download pdf here: From nuclear disarmament stalwart to nuclear weapons apologist

Murray Thomson 1922-2019

Tribute by Ernie Regehr:  linked here

 Murray Thomson was our friend, colleague, and mentor. He had the good fortune to lead a very long, productive, and exemplary life, and some of us had the very good fortune of sharing elements of it with him. The following brief tribute acknowledges his central role in launching the initiative we know as Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention and celebrates his life of activism and optimism in the face of the challenges that he felt so deeply. The way in which we truly honor him is to continue to pursue the kind of world that he imagined and never stopped pursuing. Continue reading…

Tribute to Murray Thomson by Douglas Roche

Murray Thomson was relentless in his work for peace. He just never stopped. Even at 96, he was a force to be reckoned with. Only a few days before he died, he phoned to tell me he had some new ideas for nuclear disarmament, and why wasn’t I doing more to implement them?  He challenged me all the time, and I was a better person for it. Murray’s contribution to a more peaceful world and particularly to a world freed of nuclear weapons was outstanding. And that is too weak a word. There was nobody else like him. Although his life was filled with peacemaking activities (when he wasn’t playing tennis or chess), I believe his crowning achievement was the creation of Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, an organization composed of more than 1,000 recipients of the Order of Canada calling on Canada to take a worldwide initiative for nuclear disarmament. The peace movement has lost a hero and our only proper response is to redouble our efforts.

— Douglas Roche

FAITH GROUPS STATEMENTS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
World Council of Churches “Statement on the Way of Just Peace” , Nov. 8, 2013, adopted by the WCC 10th Assembly

May 15, 2012 – NATO Summit: nuclear weapons in Europe.
A public statement by the general secretaryof the World Council of Churches.

Public Statement in Support of the Multilateral Negotitiona of a Nuclear Weapons Ban in 2017, submitted to the 2016 UN General Assembly First Committee by Faith Communities Concerned about the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons, Oct. 12, 2016, New York.

Statement on the need for churches’ vigilance against nuclear proliferation, March 1, 2007
issued by the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches.

Statement on nuclear disarmament, NATO policy and the churches, January 2001, adopted by the Executive Committee.

Appeal on the occasion of the NATO Summit in Prague
14 November 2002, Letter to foreign ministers of the non-nuclear member states of NATO, 14 November 2002.

Religions for Peace
Media Release: Faith Communities Say End the Danger and Moral Tyranny of Nuclear Weapons, Vienna, Austria; 8 December 2014

Pax Christi International
An appeal to the Catholic church to recommit to the centrality of Gospel nonviolence

CANADIAN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES
Dec. 21, 2018 – Canadian Council of Churches (26 denominations) letter to Prime Minister Trudeau regarding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,

Oct. 6, 2017 – Canadian Council of Churches letter to The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Justice re Canada’s absence from multilateral process to ban nuclear weapons.

August 10, 2016 – Canadian Council of Churches letter to Minister Dion on Nuclear Disarmament and the Open-Ended Working Group.

April 24, 2015 – General Secretary on behalf of the Canadian Council of Churches to letter to The Honorable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs re 2015 NPT Review Conference.

April 10, 2014 – General Secretary on behalf of the Canadian Council of Churches letter to The Honorable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs re Nuclear Weapons

June 25, 2010 – Canadian Council of Churches letter to Prime Minister Harper regarding a World Without Nuclear Weapons

What do Pope Francis’ Statements on uclear Weapons mean for Ctholics in the military?
Sojourners article by Tobias Winright. Reviews statements by the Pope.

MILITARY STATEMENTS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

MILITARY STATEMENTS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

“US military leaders would reject illegal order for nuclear strike, senators told,” The Guardian, Nov. 14, 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/14/us-military-nuclear-weapons-strike-senate-trump
As senators raise concerns about ‘unstable’ Donald Trump’s decision-making, former commander says military is ‘not obligated to follow illegal orders’

Dec. 6, 2014 – Statement by US General (Ret) Lee Butler speaks for a ban on nuclear weapons
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBgF-2HK8H0

Statement by Generals and Admirals of the World Against Nuclear Weapons , December 5, 1996.

Address by General Lee Butler to Canadian Peaceworkers, March 11, 1999, Ottawa.
https://www.cnanw.ca/1999/03/11/voices/

General Lee Butler, Remarks to National Press Club, Dec. 5, 1996
https://nuclearweaponarchive.org/News/Butlpress.txt

Joint Statement on Reduction of Nuclear Weapons Arsenals: Declining Utility, Continuing Risks by Generals Lee Butler and Andrew J. Goodpaster, Dec. 4, 1996, National Press Club
http://prop1.org/2000/gengood.htm

Letter to Bill Graham M.P., Chair, Standing Committee on oreign Affairs and International Trade from Lee Butler, General, USAF, Ret., July 1998
http://www.ccnr.org/scfait_recs.html

CNWC letter to PM: Help Preserve the INF Treaty

From Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

Jan 24, 2019
Dear Prime Minister,
We write to urge, in the strongest terms, you and your government to publicly and prominently call on all the parties to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty to ensure that it is preserved.

De Rassemblement canadien pour une convention sur les armes nucléaires
Monsieur le Premier Ministre,
Nous vous envoyons cette lettre pour vous exhorter, ainsi que votre gouvernement, à inciter – publiquement et fermement – toutes les parties au Traité de limitation des armes nucléaires à moyenne portée (traité INF) à faire en sorte qu’il soit maintenu.

PDF here/ici: 2018-01-24-CNWCINF Letter to PM

Letter to Prime Minster Trudeau: Seeking Canadian action to lessen nuclear risk

January 31, 2017
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
RE: Canadian Emergency Response Plan

With the Presidency of Mr. Trump, we are urgently seeking your engagement in an emergency response plan to confront the possible use of nuclear weapons by President Trump. He has been quoted as saying “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them?” President Trump has joined the small group of “leaders” who claim the right to kill millions of people to protect their country’s interests. It is clear he is a man of little patience, no diplomatic expertise, no military or conflict resolutions skills. His control of “the button” places the global community in grave danger.

We call on you to use your considerable skill in inspiring communications and clear thinking to urgently lessen and eliminate the nuclear threat. We believe you have the capacity to ensure a more secure future for your family and our families, and indeed the global family.

More specifically, we would propose that you personally take these steps:

1. During your first meeting with President Trump, propose a Reykjavik-style bilateral summit between him and President Putin to discuss how they could further reduce nuclear arsenals and work together to pursue global nuclear disarmament.

2. Publicly commend President Xi’s proposal for nuclear disarmament, to press China for CTBT ratification and to actively explore with China ways to pursue nuclear disarmament on an urgent basis.

3. Seek cooperation with like-minded leaders of NATO member states to promote reduced Allied reliance on a nuclear deterrent and to make an active contribution to creating the conditions necessary for a “world without nuclear weapons”.

4. Direct Canadian diplomats to engage in upcoming negotiations on a legal instrument prohibiting nuclear weapons and in all other processes that will advance nuclear disarmament

5. Strongly support public advocacy on the increased threat of a nuclear weapons exchange and the need for urgent work toward nuclear disarmament.

We recognize the load on you has been heavy but want to assure you that should a nuclear exchange occur, a legacy of environmental agreements and pipelines will be irrelevant. There can be no greater 150th Birthday gift to Canada than one of increased security for Canadians and the global community.

Respectfully,
Bev Tollefson Delong
Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

This letter has been endorsed by the following groups:
Canadian Peace Initiative(CPI)
Canadian Pugwash Group
Physicians for Global Survival
Religions for Peace Canada
Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Nanaimo Chapter

Lettre au premier ministre: “pour vous presser de faire de la désescalade de crise”

Monsieur le premier ministre, Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires et le Rassemblement canadien pour une convention sur les armes nucléaires s’adressent à vous et à votre gouvernement, en cette crise nucléaire mondiale qui s’intensifie chaque jour, pour vous presser de faire de la désescalade de crise et d’une diplomatie persistante et intensifiée en matière de désarmement, une priorité nationale.

Lettre ici

Regehr and Roche on INF Treaty

Canada must be clear-eyed about nuclear disarmament
ERNIE REGEHR AND DOUGLAS ROCHE
Globe and Mail
JANUARY 20, 2019

Ernie Regehr is the chairman of Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a project of Canadian Pugwash, and the former executive director of Project Ploughshares. Douglas Roche was a senator from 1998 to 2004, and was the Canadian ambassador for disarmament.

The world is about to lose one of the most important nuclear disarmament agreements ever made – and distressingly, Canada is silent.

The 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, signed by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan and former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev, marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. It bans the possession, production and flight-testing of ground-launched missiles within the 500-to-5,500 kilometre range and bans launchers for such missiles. Also, it resulted in the elimination of 2,692 Soviet and U.S. missiles based in Europe, and it was key to building an innovative system of verification, data exchanges, and mutual consultations.

Now, U.S. President Donald Trump has said the United States intends to suspend its participation in early February, leading to its termination six months later. The United States says the Russians are cheating. Russia says the United States is stretching the treaty’s boundaries. The debate over who’s right is what verification procedures and diplomatic talks are all about.

The stakes are very high. Mr. Gorbachev, now in retirement, and George Shultz, who was Mr. Reagan’s secretary of state, have issued a dire warning that “abandoning the INF” would undermine strategic stability and be a step towards an immensely destructive war. Retired senator Sam Nunn and Barack Obama’s former energy secretary Ernest J. Moniz, two giants in the realm of U.S. arms control who now run the Nuclear Threat Initiative, have also warned of a “cascade of negative consequences” if the INF treaty is abandoned. Those risks include the unfettered deployment by Russia of intermediate missiles sparking a new arms race, serious division within NATO, and the undermining of efforts to rally the world to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The end of the INF also portends the collapse of the U.S.-Russia New START pact, which is due to expire in 2021 unless it is renewed. The United States has signalled it isn’t interested in renewing the one nuclear disarmament pillar left to hold a new outbreak of long-range missiles in check, and the nuclear-armed states are already modernizing their nuclear stocks.

Countries such as Canada must intervene and demand a diplomatic review of INF compliance procedures because we have a big stake in whether the world will lapse into a new nuclear arms race – and that could be where things are headed.

The importance and success of this treaty cannot be in doubt. The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, the international organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995, warns against “a world ungoverned by treaties constraining actions of states with nuclear weapons,” and concludes that “decades of effort to build an architecture of restraint are unravelling because key lessons from the early years of the Cold War seem to have been forgotten.”

In 2018, both the Group of Seven and NATO summits – two groups that include Canada as a member – declared that the preservation of the INF treaty is a key to Euro-Atlantic and international security. That’s a good start. But we are disappointed that the government of Canada has itself remained inexplicably silent in the face of the Trump administration’s threat to abandon the treaty.

This is not simply a European or U.S.-Russia matter. Canada definitely has a stake in averting the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of any nuclear weapon. As the great Canadian diplomat George Ignatieff once said, “No incineration without representation.”

This is not a time for quiet diplomacy. Canada has a voice and stature in the world. We must be heard by those who control our fate of whether we will live or die in a nuclear war. What the world should be witnessing is not the collapse of nuclear arms control treaties, but new agreements to provide for further reductions in deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons.

Silence is an abrogation of responsibility. We urge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to provide bold, public, and insistent leadership, because continued silence won’t do anything to stop the loudest and most tragic explosion.

CNANW and CNWC write to Prime Minister Trudeau about nuclear dangers

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention write in the face of a deepening global nuclear crisis to urge you and your Government to make crisis de-escalation and persistent and intensified disarmament diplomacy a national priority. The following draws your attention to four elements of this escalating nuclear threat and identifies ways in which Canada can help move the international community, including our allies in NATO, to a more effective pursuit of the collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons. ”

Final.Letter to Prime Minister.Eng.091118 (in English)

Final.Letter to Prime Minister.Fr.091118 (en français)

Roche: The Moral, Spiritual, Legal, Practical Response to Humanity’s Greatest Threat: Nuclear Weapons

The Moral, Spiritual, Legal, Practical Response to Humanity’s Greatest Threat: Nuclear Weapons
By Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C.
Address to Panel at Parliament of the World’s Religions
Toronto, November 5, 2018

An excerpt: Political action against nuclear weapons is indeed possible. But such action, on a global scale, requires the emergence of a global ethic based on the common good.  Let us not despair at the magnitude of this challenge. The very existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an expression of global conscience. So are the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Global Compact on Migration.  Political action against nuclear weapons is indeed possible. But such action, on a global scale, requires the emergence of a global ethic based on the common good.  Let us not despair at the magnitude of this challenge. The very existence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an expression of global conscience. So are the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Global Compact on Migration.   …To continue reading, speech is linked here:
20181107 Roche ParliamentWorldReligionsspeech

Traité INF: lettre à l’Honorable Chrystia Freeland

L’Honorable Chrystia Freeland
Département des Affaires Globales
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0G2

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.

Sincèrement,

Murray Thomson, OC
David Silcox, CM
Douglas Roche, OC
Ernie Regehr, OC
Président du comité directeur du CNWC
Cesar Jaramillo
Bev Delong
Adele Buckley

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