CNWC — Canada and the Stockholm Initiative

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention welcomes Canada’s participation in the 16-nation Stockholm Initiative (SI). The initiative’s recommendations, in the form of a series of “stepping stones,” have the important virtue of being well-established, practical, and doable – and all the measures advanced are still urgently needed actions to pull our planet back from the precipice of nuclear catastrophe. To be sure, much more is required, but the SI affords Canada an important opportunity, as part of its multilateral engagement with like-minded states, to elevate attention to nuclear arms control and disarmament internationally, and to pursue it as a clear national priority.

Read further:

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

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

October 28, 2021

Canada can join Norway and attend first TPNW meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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

Additional Signatories: organizations and individuals

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

RCAAN Lettre: TIAN – Le Canada peut se joindre à la Norvège et assister à la première réunion

28 octobre 2021
TIAN – Le Canada peut se joindre à la Norvège et assister à la première réunion

Cher Monsieur le Premier Ministre Trudeau, Madame la Ministre des Affaires étrangères et Madame la Ministre de la Défense,

Ce mois-ci, le gouvernement norvégien a annoncé qu’il participerait à la première réunion des États parties au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires (1REP- TIAN) à Vienne (22-24 mars 2022) en tant qu’observateur. C’est une bonne nouvelle et une indication qu’au sein de l’OTAN, les États en faveur de l’abolition des armes nucléaires peuvent travailler ensemble vers cet objectif, qu’ils soient ou non signataires du TPNW. Cet engagement au dialogue est un signal particulièrement important pour le nouveau gouvernement du Canada dans la perspective de la dixième Conférence d’examen du Traité sur la non-prolifération des armes nucléaires (TNP) en janvier 2022.

Un récent sondage Nanos indique que 80 % des Canadiens appuient l’élimination des armes nucléaires; 74 % croient que le Canada devrait adhérer au nouveau Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires, même s’il y a des pressions de la part des États-Unis pour rester à l’écart.

Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires (RCAAN) encourage le Canada à s’engager également, comme la Norvège l’a fait, à assister à la réunion des États parties au TIAN en tant qu’observateur. Notre gouvernement peut faire une déclaration rapide et claire à cet effet et encourager d’autres membres de l’OTAN à y participer également. Le RCAAN appuie l’adhésion du Canada au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires ou à une nouvelle convention globale sur les armes nucléaires qui atteindra le même objectif déclaré : l’élimination totale des armes nucléaires.

Le Canada est en mesure de signer et de ratifier le TIAN alors qu’il est membre de l’OTAN, à condition que notre gouvernement dissocie le Canada de la doctrine de dissuasion nucléaire existante de l’OTAN. Comme l’a recommandé à l’unanimité le Comité permanent de la défense nationale de la Chambre des communes dans son rapport de 2018, le Canada peut assumer « un rôle de chef de file au sein de l’OTAN en commençant le travail nécessaire pour atteindre l’objectif de l’OTAN de « créer les conditions d’un monde exempt d’armes nucléaires ». »

En tant que membres de l’Initiative de Stockholm, le Canada et la Norvège sont également bien placés pour travailler ensemble au sein de l’OTAN afin de former une cohorte de membres de l’Alliance engagés dans la remise en cause de la politique de dissuasion nucléaire, lors de l’examen actuel par l’Alliance de son « concept stratégique » qui doit être adopté au prochain sommet de l’OTAN en juin 2022.

Le nouveau gouvernement du Canada a une nouvelle occasion de travailler avec des États et des puissances moyennes animés des mêmes idées, comme la Norvège et d’autres, et de revitaliser nos références traditionnelles en matière de désarmement. La menace des armes nucléaires exige des progrès mesurables en matière de non-prolifération et de contrôle des armements nucléaires vers l’élimination des armes nucléaires. Le RCAAN s’attend à ce que notre gouvernement prenne rapidement des mesures concrètes dans cette direction, conformément aux souhaits de la plupart des Canadien.ne.s, et nous sommes prêts à aider à atteindre cet objectif commun.

Nous vous prions d’accepter, l’expression de nos sentiments distingués,

Robin Collins et Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, coprésidents RCAAN

Ainsi que les organisations membres suivantes,
Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire – Gordon Edwards, Président
Canadian Disarmament Information Service  – Metta Spencer, Président
Association Canadienne de Recherche Pour la Paix– Erika Simpson, Président
Les Conférences Pugwash Canada – Cesar Jaramillo, Président
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace – Nancy Covington and Lyn Adamson
Friends for Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention – Richard Denton
Le Groupe des 78 – Roy Culpeper, Chair
The Group of 78 – Roy Culpeper, Chair
Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition, Mary-Ellen Francoeur
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada – Jonathan Down, Président
Project Ploughshares – Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director
Religions for Peace Canada – Pascale Frémond, Président
Institut Rideau – Peggy Mason, Président
Science for Peace – Arnd Jurgensen
Le Mouvement fédéraliste mondial – Canada – Alexandre MacIsaac, Executive Director

Signataires supplémentaires

CNANW 2021 ELECTION CALL

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Dear Friends and Colleagues, 

The 2021 federal election is an opportunity to reinforce our Network’s call on leaders of political parties. 

Canadians care deeply about nuclear disarmament and want Canada to step up this country’s engagement on this critically important issue.

To this end, we invite organizations and individuals across Canada, to undertake the following:

1. In debates, or while meeting candidates at your front door, point out that:
80% of Canadians support nuclear weapon elimination. 74% believe Canada should join the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, even if there is pressure from the United States to stay clear. 

And ask them: Do you support Canada playing a stronger international leadership role on nuclear disarmament? What will you and your party do to support this effort? 

2. In correspondence, please remind candidates of these calls that CNANW has issued:

The Canadian government should act upon the motion adopted unanimously in the House of Commons and the Senate in 2010 which requested that the Government of Canada engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention and deploy a major world-wide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of “preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament.”    

The Government of Canada should:

1. Welcome the Entry Into Force of the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), accede to this Treaty at the earliest possible date and actively promote its universalization;

2. Participate as an observer at the inaugural meeting of the new TPNW, expected to be in early 2022.

3. Canada should participate at the ministerial level in the meeting of the Stockholm Initiative of 16 states, and in its emphasis on strengthening the Treaty on Non-Proliferation on Nuclear Weapons.

4. Allow a full Parliamentary debate on Canada’s role in advancing nuclear disarmament;

5. Conduct formal hearings in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to enable Canadian citizens with extensive knowledge and expertise to advise on ways that Canada can more effectively facilitate nuclear disarmament;

6. Make clear that nuclear disarmament shall be among the highest priorities for Canada. Then, work closely with the UN Secretary General and his officials, like-minded nations and civil society to achieve the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons;

7. Disassociate Canada from NATO’s nuclear security doctrine and take a leadership role within NATO to begin the work necessary for achieving NATO’s own goal of “creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons”, as recommended unanimously by the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defense in 2018;  

8. Press all nuclear-armed states to 1) commit to a ‘no first use’ nuclear weapons policy and remove all nuclear weapons from ‘high-alert’ status, 2) cease the modernization and expansion of nuclear arsenals and decommission and destroy nuclear weapons within their possession or control as soon as possible; and 3) engage in dialogue for effective treaties and the creation of additional Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones; 4) promote a new security framework based upon the principle of sustainable common security.    

We invite all Canadians across the country to raise their concerns about the urgency of nuclear disarmament at every opportunity, and to engage all candidates throughout the election campaign in pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons. 


Sincerely,

Dr. Sylvie Lemieux and Robin Collins
Co-Chairs, CNANW

Why do we Still Have Nuclear Weapons?

by Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, Co-chairpersons, CNANW

A recent Nanos poll found 80% across-the-board support for nuclear weapon elimination. A strong 74% majority believe Canada should join the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (“the ban treaty” or TPNW), even if there is pressure from the United States to stay clear. Those results are no surprise. Similar enthusiasm is found in older polls, and in Canadian municipalities where Councils have supported “nuclear-weapons-free zones” for many years

In an International Committee of the Red Cross 2019 global survey, millennials (those born between 1980 and 1994) in the 16 countries polled, overwhelmingly (82%) oppose the use of all weapons of mass destruction – be they nuclear, biological, or chemical – in any circumstance.

And yet, almost half “believe nuclear weapons are an effective instrument of deterrence.”

How can this be?

There lingers a belief that possessing a nuclear arsenal may protect you from enemies. There is also a lack of political leadership countering this dangerous illusion.

For example, just recently the United Kingdom announced they would increase their Trident submarine nuclear warhead limit. There are also plans to “modernize” the arsenals of most nuclear-armed states, including Russia, the USA and China. Some militaries see these weapons as war-fighting options, or as an appropriate response to an overwhelming conventional weapon attack.

And the Canadian government has snubbed the new ban treaty. Rob Oliphant, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the ban is “inconsistent with Canada’s collective defence obligations” as a member of NATO. Within the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, however, we point to NATO’s own policy in support of “eventual” nuclear weapons abolition. And Canada has options: Either sign the treaty while pushing back against alliance nuclear deterrence policy; or work harder for a nuclear weapons convention, as Canada did before. Get back in the game.

Canadian disarmament practice hasn’t always been so hesitant – over decades, leadership was shown on antipersonnel landmines, but also nuclear weapons policy. A resolution was supported by all members of the House of Commons and Senate as recently as 2010. It called on the government to “engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention” and to “deploy a major world-wide Canadian diplomatic initiative” towards that end.  Despite the all-party mandate, the last ten years saw little initiative by Canada.

There is, however, a new effort — that includes Canada — known as the Stockholm Initiative. Sixteen states are engaged, including ban supporters New Zealand, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, but also NATO members Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain, as well as two non-NATO nuclear umbrella states (South Korea and Japan). Will this be a fresh start?

“The initiative is positive in principle, but it is too soon to tell whether it will have any meaningful impact,” says Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director of CNANW member group Project Ploughshares. “Efforts to reframe, rename and relaunch a series of steps or stones or blocks are also not new.” Canada should participate, and at the ministerial level, if this is to be a serious contribution.

Canada can also at minimum sit in as observer to the inaugural meeting of States Parties (likely in January 2022) of the new TPNW to show solidarity with the goals of its 122+ supporting or signatory states. This is also being considered by Germany.

A new global campaign for No First Use (NFU) of nuclear weapons has been established and encouraged the US and Russian leaders Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin at their bilateral meeting in Geneva to engage in talks to reduce nuclear risks. US President Biden is on record as questioning “first use” of nuclear weapons for the US. At the NATO summit of leaders this month, Canada had a chance to promote NFU for the alliance as a game-changing safer policy, but also as an early step towards nuclear weapon elimination.

This opens up the urgently needed discussion of alternatives to nuclear deterrence, a shift to sustainable common security for all peoples, and protection of the global environment. Canada needs to be there.

Canadian Nuclear Weapon Abolitionists Call on U.K. to Reconsider Warhead Increase

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) joins with other disarmament organizations critical of the nuclear weapons policy shift of the government of the United Kingdom.



CNANW Statement March 25, 2021

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) joins with other disarmament organizations critical of the nuclear weapons policy shift of the government of the United Kingdom. The British defence and foreign policy review, “Global Britain in a Competitive Age”, would increase the number of nuclear weapons in the U.K. arsenal. It would also extend the declared purposes of nuclear deterrence to a wider range of perceived threats. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cautioned that “there are already too many nuclear warheads in the world, not too few.” He added: “The past has shown that if one side has more nuclear weapons, the other side will try to catch up. And that is the disastrous arms race we have been in for decades.”

We urge the government of British Prime Minister Johnson to reverse these regressive and provocative steps as they are in violation of treaty obligations. They carry the inherent risk of re-fueling both a nuclear and conventional arms race.

Instead of reducing to a maximum of 180 nuclear warheads from the current 195, as previously promised, the new plan moves in the opposite direction by increasing the Trident-purposed arsenal to a new cap of 260 warheads. In contrast to limiting the scope of nuclear deterrence and moving towards full elimination as required by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the UK’s declared policy is being extended to “emerging technologies” and to a wider range of weapons of mass destruction.

Three former Canadian U.N. Disarmament Ambassadors quickly reacted to the U.K. policy shift.

The Honourable Douglas Roche O.C. stated that:

On February 26, 2020, the United Kingdom joined a unanimous statement by the U.N. Security Council calling on all states parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to cooperate in nuclear disarmament measures. What happened to suddenly move the U.K. government to increase its nuclear arsenal by 40 percent?  This appears to be the U.K. response to the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. So much for the humanitarian movement against nuclear weapons! Power politics rears its ugly head once more. This unconscionable act, which drives ahead the nuclear arms race, jeopardizes the success of the NPT Review Conference later this year. Canada must join Germany in criticizing the U.K.’s reckless act.

Peggy Mason, who heads the Rideau Institute, further said that:

The new UK defence policy reduces transparency in that country’s operational stockpile and deployed warheads. It also expands the circumstances in which it would use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT, beyond weapons of mass destruction, to include threats from unspecified “emerging technologies” of “comparable impact”.   It is hard to see these extraordinarily destabilizing actions as anything other than a desperately diminished post-Brexit Britain struggling to maintain some semblance of global prestige.

And Paul Meyer, who is also the Chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group, notes that:

At the last NPT Review Conference in 2015, the UK delivered a statement committing to limit operationally deployed warheads on its ballistic missile submarines to no more than 120 and to reduce its overall nuclear warhead stockpile to no more than 180 by the mid-2020s. The announced change in UK nuclear policy represents a betrayal of that pledge and sends the worst of all possible signals to the NPT community in the lead up to its August Review Conference. In 2015 the UK promised “to strive to build conditions for a world without nuclear weapons”. Doesn’t Prime Minister Johnson’s Government realize that increasing nuclear arsenals is not one of the ways to get to that goal?

CNANW joins many others in challenging the rationale of the UK’s decision. Whatever the political reasons for the redirection of official United Kingdom defence policy, CNANW sees the proposal as an affront to the entry into force of the two-month-old Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and as a challenge to this year’s planned Review Conference deliberations for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

We call on the Canadian government to clearly state its disappointment to its NATO ally, to urge caution and press Prime Minister Johnson to reverse the implementation of a policy that would lead to a more dangerous world with a greater likelihood of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In these days of pandemics and other global stresses, the world requires sober and thoughtful vision, with leadership that pulls us together for shared mutual security and risk reduction goals. We need to avoid — not increase — global risks from dangerous, and regressive policy changes.

Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux
CNANW Co-Chairpersons

cnanw@web.net  www.cnanw.ca

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.

Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux Succeed Earl Turcotte as Co-Chairs of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW).

Mr. Robin Collins, an active supporter of nuclear disarmament and global governance for more than 30 years, and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux, a retired Lieutenant-Colonel army engineer and public service executive, will jointly Co-Chair the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, effective March 19, 2021.

Continue reading “Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux Succeed Earl Turcotte as Co-Chairs of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW).”

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

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

Lettre: dangers des armes nucléaires

“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.”

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

Steven Staples: MISSILE DEFENCE AND CANADA’S PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

Steven Staples: MISSILE DEFENCE AND CANADA’S PURSUIT OF NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT
A presentation to the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Consultations with Civil Society on Issues Related to International Security, Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems.

By Steven Staples
Polaris Institute

February 25, 2004

First, let me begin by saying thank you to my colleagues who have asked me to make a presentation on behalf of civil society regarding this very important issue of Canada’s participation in the American missile defence system.

With so much expertise and experience in the room today, I won’t pretend to be able to cover all of the concerns of citizens, so I’m counting on my colleagues to contribute generously to the subsequent discussion. . .

Two summers ago my family and I took a vacation along the Acadian coast of New Brunswick. It is a beautiful part of Canada and not very far from my home town of Fredericton. We went for the beaches and the wonderful culture there, but I have to admit to indulging in a little “nuclear tourism.”

We took a little detour to the town of Chatham, the site of an old Canadian Air Force base that has since been closed and handed over to local industries. But during the Cold War there were lots of rumours about Chatham — rumours about the U.S. soldiers that were stationed there, and about the Canadian Voodoo jet fighters that were on constant alert, hooked into the continental NORAD system.

As kids growing up in Fredericton we always wondered what was going on up there in Chatham, just about an hour or so’s drive down the back roads?

Thanks to research done recently by John Clearwater and others, today we know: Chatham was one of the few places in Canada where the government had permitted the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons.

In this case, they were nuclear-armed Genie missiles that could be loaded onto the Canadian fighter jets and fired against Russian bombers coming in over the Arctic. The nuclear weapons were kept there for years until the last of the missiles were taken out of Canada in the early 1980s.

I was reminded of this little-known chapter of our history during that astonishing interview with David Pratt on CTV last weekend. When Craig Oliver raised the issue of Bomarc nuclear missiles in Canada, the defence minister said, “Well, you know, Craig, we’ve been in the missile defence business for some time in terms of the north warning system.”

In essence, he was arguing that our history with NORAD and the nuclear weapons that were placed in Canada has made us part of a missile defence system for decades — so whatxs the big deal?

And I think this explains why whenever the discussion of missile defence comes up, there is a sense of déjà vu in the minds of everyday Canadians: “Haven’t we gone through this before? This is Star Wars, right? From the Cold War. Oh yeah, Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union and all that evil empire stuff. Glad that’s over. . .”

Well, maybe not.

This headline from Monday’s Globe and Mail brought it all back: “Canada may host U.S. missiles.”

I think that headlines like this, and missile defence in general, are tapping into a growing unease about where this government is taking us.

It was no coincidence that the exchange of letters between Defence Minister David Pratt and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld occurred a few days before Paul Martin’s big breakfast meeting in Monterrey, Mexico.

Of course, everyone wants to have good relations with the neighbours, but how far is Paul Martin willing to go to get that invitation to the White House?

So I went to Monterrey, and even sat in on the Prime Minister’s first press briefing following his breakfast with Bush. Surprisingly, no mention of missile defence came up. Just Iraq contracts, Maher Arar, and possible movement on trade problems such as beef and lumber.

A reporter told me later that in a subsequent press briefing he had asked the Prime Minister what he offered the U.S. president in return for these concessions, and Paul Martin replied: nothing.

Now, as an advocate for disarmament I have been frequently called naïve — but I don’t think I’m that naïve. . .

A week later a Canadian Press story emerged to the effect that during the meeting in Mexico, Paul Martin proposed to reviewing Canada’s foreign policy to make it more complementary to that of the U.S.

Further, the story said that Paul Martin himself had a private meeting with U.S. Ambassador Cellucci last April. Only days later he announced he supported Canada’s participation in the U.S. missile defence program, along with increased military spending and improved security co-operation generally.

Since taking power Paul Martin has not failed to deliver on many of these promises. He has put an improved Canada-U.S. relationship and even a close personal relationship with George W. Bush at the top of his agenda.

The government has been reworked to include a new public safety department that mirrors the United States Department of Homeland Security. All capital spending has been frozen except for new military helicopters and tanks. And Martin appointed the most hawkish of the Liberal caucus, and a supporter of the Iraq invasion, as his minister of national defence.

Most revealing, it is apparently David Pratt who is leading the negotiations on Canada’s joining the national missile defence program — not the department of foreign affairs, where these discussions should rightfully be taking place.

These changes really fly in the face of popular opinion. There is no widespread demand for this in the Canadian public. Maclean’s Magazine’s annual year-end survey found that only one in ten Canadians felt that the Prime Minister’s top priority should be “having a closer relationship with the United States.” Further, three out of every four agreed that “It is important for Canada to set its own course and we were right to stay out of the war, even if it has annoyed our closest trade partner and may have cost Canadian jobs.”

So where is the pressure coming from in Canada for this new-found enthusiasm in the government to build up the military and join the U.S. missile defence shield?

Anyone who reads the business pages these days will know that a very active business lobby has sprung up in the last few years to push the government towards greater market integration with the United States.

According to the C.D. Howe Institute and other corporate think tanks, NAFTA has run out of steam. Many of the old players who were involved in the free trade debates are back, pushing what Thomas d’Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives calls “the second chapter of that transforming initiative.”

Only this time there is a difference — economic integration with the United States is linked with military and security integration. In the Bush administration security trumps trade, so the proposals from the business lobby today call explicitly for a beefed-up and more aggressive Canadian military, including Canadian participation in the American missile defence program. Even the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has come out in support of joining missile defence.

If you go deeper into their proposals, you find there is more than just missile defence. In fact, business groups are arguing that we need to rethink our foreign and defence policy to fit that of the United States. They are being bolstered by the most extreme voices in the Canadian defence lobby — some of whom are now arguing that years of Canada’s work on multilateral arms control initiatives have been a waste of time. Others are questioning Canada’s traditional peacekeeping role and preparing the ground for the government to drop its opposition to the weaponization of space.

The result, in my opinion, is a serious crisis for the future of Canada’s foreign and defence policies — and our very role in the world.

Those voices that urge the government to embrace the national security policies of the United States are in fact urging that we turn our back on decades of support for nuclear disarmament.

In the final assessment, missile defence is an admission of failure. It accepts that nuclear breakout is now a fact, and as Donald Rumsfeld has pointed out, the United States has to “manage” the spread of nuclear weapons if it wants to maintain its own nuclear arsenals and superior strategic position in the world.

This strategy requires missile defences at home that will allow aggressive, counter-proliferation and pre-emptive wars abroad. We heard this very clearly from one of our presenters yesterday . . .

And we have to ask ourselves: Is this the best that Canada can do? Is this the best answer that all of these brilliant people in this foreign affairs building can come up with? I don’t believe it.

Canadians are proud of our tradition as a peacekeeper, as a diplomat, as a middle power that seeks novel solutions to seemingly intractable situations. If we look around we can see it every day.

Look at the soldiers in Afghanistan who know it’s dangerous to patrol in those open Iltis jeeps but who accept the risk because they want to have personal contact with local people.

See the everyday Canadian activists who have taken verification into their own hands, formed citizen weapons inspection teams, and confronted nuclear bases in the United States and other NATO members demanding that they live up to Article VI of the NPT.

And look at the Liberal members of Parliament who don’t even support their own party’s involvement in these missile defence talks.

One of our presenters yesterday asked an important question: If we are not working for zero nuclear weapons, what are we working for?

Personally, I believe that the abolition of nuclear weapons is still possible. I’m not ready to give up that easily.

I told you about the airbase in Chatham, and the nuclear weapons that were kept there. That base has been sold off to local business and is now open to the public. So we took a look around and we found the concrete bunkers that once stored the dozens of nuclear bombs were secretly held at the base.

Can you guess what those bunkers are used for today? They’re gardening sheds.

Canada should not join the United States in its missile defence system. Instead, we need to recommit ourselves to the task of nuclear disarmament.

The number of opportunities, while sometimes difficult to see, has in fact never been greater. The Cold War is over! Let’s leave these weapons and missile schemes to history.

Let’s not sit here in North America and hide behind an American missile shield.

Instead, let’s take Canadians’ new-found confidence and internationalism and engage the world to show that there are other, better answers.

Thank you.

______________
Steven Staples Director,
Project on the Corporate-Security State
Polaris Institute
312 Cooper Street Ottawa, Ontario
K2P 0G7 CANADA
t. 613 237-1717 x107 c. 613 290-2695 f. 613 237-3359 e. steven_staples@on.aibn.com www.polarisinstitute.org

Church Resolution – National Missile Defence

Church Resolution – National Missile Defence
Resolution – National Missile Defence

Whereas we believe that we are stewards of the creation and that Canada must therefore comply with its legal obligation to negotiate an agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons as such weapons threaten all of creation;

Whereas we believe that international security will be enhanced best through political and economic cooperation, reassurance and nuclear arms reductions rather than by threats;

Whereas the Missile Defence program of the US plans to intercept incoming missiles at a cost likely exceeding $100 billion (US), with the cost for Canadian participation remaining unknown;

Whereas the interceptors can be easily overcome by the use of decoys, chaff or other inexpensive methods or, alternatively, that states may simply use other methods of delivering weapons such as ships or trucks;

Whereas the interception of missiles would result in radioactive materials falling to earth and the creation of debris in space which would hinder both use of satellites and future space travel;

Whereas all states are obligated by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (“NPT”) to engage in a process of disarmament;

Whereas planning the use of interceptors will encourage other states to increase their nuclear arsenals to overcome the interceptors, thus encouraging the spread of nucler weapons in breach of the NPT;

Whereas the Outer Space Treaty states that “Outer Space…shall be free for exploration and use by all States” and that “Outer Space…is not subject to national appropriation …by means of use or occupation..”

Whereas the long term plan (“Vision 2020″) for the US Space Command anticipates the US developing an “ability..to deny others the use of space” and “global surveillance with the potential for a space-based global precision strike capability” with space becoming another “medium of warfare” in breach of the Outer Space Treaty;

It is hereby resolved by _____________________ that the Government of Canada should be strongly encouraged to:
1. Strongly oppose the American proposal for Missile Defence and object to the US Space Command’s proposed “Vision for 2020″;
2. Study options for a multilateral system for monitoring missile launches;
3. Call for the negotiation of a ban on military missile flight launches;
4. Call for the negotiation of a ban on all weapons in space; and
5. Proceed urgently to support the negotiation of an international agreement for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.