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.
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
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.
A new poll shows significant support by Canadians for nuclear disarmament and for the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. But, the Chair of Canadian Pugwash Group, Paul Meyer writes, Ottawa refuses to support the treaty. Why is there such a disconnect between government policy and public preference? Read on….
“To maintain strategic stability, we look forward to immediate action to extend the New START Treaty for 5 years. At the same time, we are concerned by the deterioration of the European security situation in recent years.” Read on.
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
In a world that seems
every week to be further jettisoning
international law on global security as ugly
national populism rises, is there any hope
for the elimination of nuclear weapons? Continue reading…Roche021920_ht
Dear Prime Minister:
Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, supported by more than 1,000 recipients of the Order of Canada, write once again to urge you and your Government to make nuclear arms control and disarmament a national priority. In this letter, we make specific suggestions, notably that Canada work diligently toward achieving an international consensus to save the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at its Review Conference in 2020….. [continue reading: CNWC Letter to Prime Minister.Jan22-2020]
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…
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.
The world today needs the promise of a future without fear of annihilation, and this promise is one step closer to becoming a reality with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in 2017 Join us and say no to nuclear weapons.
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
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.
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
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.
Please find enclosed a Statement setting out our recommendations for Canadian action with respect to the upcoming NATO Summit in Brussels. We would very much appreciate receiving your views on these proposals and hearing about your plan for making progress at the Summit. Kindly send your responses to this email and I will ensure their circulation among these (and other concerned) Canadian groups.
This Statement has been endorsed by the following Canadian groups:
Boundary Peace Initiative
B.C. Southern Interior Peace Coalition.
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Pugwash Group Project Ploughshares Science for Peace
Religions for Peace Canada
The Rideau Institute
World Federalist Movement – Canada
(Ottawa) The Canadian government should join a new international effort to construct a global legal ban on all nuclear weapons, concluded disarmament experts meeting in Ottawa.
“Canada should host a meeting of governments and civil society experts to prepare for negotiations for universal, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament as called for by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,” said former Senator Douglas Roche, Canada’s former UN Ambassador for Disarmament.
Five Canadian civil society organizations urged the Canadian government to act on motions already adopted by both the Senate and the House of Commons calling on the government “to deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative” for nuclear disarmament.
The expert seminar, held April 11th and 12th, was attended by diplomats from 20 embassies, parliamentarians, and government officials to consider the threat posed to Canadians and all global citizens by the 22,000 nuclear weapons still in existence.
Calling for negotiations to start on a legal ban on all nuclear weapons, Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament at the U.N., said use of any nuclear weapon would be “an egregious violation of the most fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law and the laws of war.”
Amb. Richard Butler, Middle Powers Initiative chairman, said Canada has a special role to play because it has the standing to stimulate informal discussions on the legal, technical and political requisites for a nuclear weapons free world that can set the stage for major international negotiations later on. He said the Middle Powers Organization would be prepared to work with Canada in going forward.
Diplomats from the UK, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria responded to H.R. Duarte. Nicolas Brühl, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland stated: “[Nuclear weapons] are fundamentally immoral because they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction in terms of human lives, material resources and consequences for the environment. They are illegal by their very nature with regard to international humanitarian law.”
Dr. John Burroughs of Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy noted the recent Vancouver Declaration that clarifies that both the use, and threat of use, of nuclear weapons breach international humanitarian law.
“A practical and single-focused process leading to a global legal ban on nuclear weapons provides the way to safely rid the world of all nuclear weapons in a secure manner.” said Beverley Delong of Lawyers for Social Responsibility. “And Canada has a unique opportunity to lead the way.”
This seminar was sponsored by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Canadian Pugwash, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, and World Federalist Movement – Canada.
– 30 –
The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament at (780) 466-8072 or cell (780) 984-8292
Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Research Fellow, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo
at phone 519-579-4735 or Mobile: 519-591-4421
The Canadian Network to Abolition Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) is very pleased to advise that the House of Commons passed a unanimous historic motion on December 7, 2010 that supports the Senate’s motion in June for Canada to engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention.
Thanks goes to the cooperative and hard work of a long list of people. The Senate motion was in response to a call by 537 members of the Order of Canada for Canada to support the Nuclear Weapons Convention. These 537 were organized by Murray Thomson O.C., the Hon. Doug Roche O.C., and Prof. Dr. John Polanyi C.C. Their appeal was supported by Senators Hugh Segal C.M., Nancy Ruth C.M., and Romeo Dallaire O.C.; Members of Parliament Bill Siksay (Canadian Coordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament), Libby Davies, and John Baird; Ernie Regehr O.C., and the 537 Order of Canada recipients who have spoken out for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
The text is in Hansard and available at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=hansard&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3&DocId=4859171&File=0 (search for “Nuclear”).
That the House of Commons:
(a) recognize the danger posed by the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology to peace and security;
(b) endorse the statement, signed by 500 members, officers and companions of the Order of Canada, underlining the importance of addressing the challenge of more intense nuclear proliferation and the progress of and opportunity for nuclear disarmament;
(c) endorse the 2008 five point plan for nuclear disarmament of Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and encourage the Government of Canada to engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention as proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General;
(d) support the initiatives for nuclear disarmament of President Obama of the United States of America;
(e) commend the decision of the Government of Canada to participate in the landmark Nuclear Security Summit and encourage the Government of Canada to deploy a major world-wide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament;
Que la Chambre des communes:
a) reconnaisse le risque que pose la prolifération des matières et de la technologie nucléaires pour la paix et la sécurité;
b) approuve la déclaration, signée par 500 membres, officiers et compagnons de l’Ordre du Canada, soulignant l’importance de s’attaquer au problème de la prolifération nucléaire dont l’intensité s’accroît, de suivre l’évolution du dossier du désarmement nucléaire et de tenir compte des possibilités dans ce domaine;
c) approuve les cinq initiatives sur le désarmement nucléaire proposées en 2008 par M. Ban Ki-Moon, secrétaire général des Nations Unies, et incite le gouvernement du Canada à entamer des négociations sur le désarmement nucléaire en vue de conclure une entente comme le propose le secrétaire général des Nations Unies;
d) appuie les initiatives du président des États- Unis, M. Obama, sur le désarmement nucléaire;
e) salue la décision du gouvernement du Canada de participer au sommet historique sur la sécurité nucléaire et l’incite à mettre en œuvre une importante initiative diplomatique canadienne à l’échelle mondiale en appui à la prévention de la prolifération nucléaire et à l’accroissement du taux de désarmement nucléaire.
The motions adopted in the Canadian Senate and House of Commons are part of a growing number of such resolutions in parliaments around the world (See Resolutions adopted or pending in national and regional parliaments supporting the NWC and/or the UN Secretary-General’s five-point plan on nuclear disarmament).
You can send letters at these addresses to:
Prime Minister, Stephen Harper: Harper.S@parl.gc.ca Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay: MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca Minister of Defence, Lawrence Cannon: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca Other MPs: http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=C Senators: http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/senmemb/senate/isenator.asp?Language=E
Ernie Regehr, More on NATO’s Strategic Concept: Forward steps amid lost opportunities A year ago a group of NGOs hosted an Ottawa experts seminar that, among other things, addressed the NATO Strategic Concept that was then under review. As you know, a new Strategic Concept has been approved, and while it certainly doesn’t make all the changes that are required, it does make a number of specific changes that we recommended a year ago.
Keynote Speaker: H.E. Ambassador Sergio de Queiroz Duarte, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament “Implementing the UN Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament” [here: pdf]
Chairpersons: The Hon. Douglas J. Roche O.C., Former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Research Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo
Ambassador Werner Brandstetter, Embassy of Austria [here: pdf]
Counsellor Julian Juarez, Embassy of Mexico [here: pdf]
Mr. Nicolas Brühl, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland [here: pdf]
Mr. Clive Wright, Head of Foreign Policy Team, British High Commission, Ottawa [here: pdf]
Acknowledgements: We express our sincere gratitude to the sponsors of this seminar: Canadian Network toAbolish Nuclear Weapons, Canadian Pugwash Group, Physicians for Global Survival,Project Ploughshares, and World Federalist Movement – Canada.
April 12: “Experts’ Seminar”
Agenda: [here: pdf] Theme: The Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference took note of the UNSecretary-General’s Five-Point Proposal for Nuclear Disarmament, which proposes, inter alia, “consideration of negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention or agreement on a framework of separate mutually reinforcing instruments backed by a strong system ofverification.”
This seminar is being held to develop a broadly shared understanding of the mainelements and requirements for a global convention to prohibit nuclear weapons; to buildCanadian capacity in the expert and disarmament advocacy community on key issues linkedto advancing the global movement toward a nuclear weapons convention; and to engage theGovernment of Canada to encourage early and concrete support for working toward aNuclear Weapons Convention.
Legal Aspects of a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Elements of a legal architecture for a nuclear weapons prohibition/framework of agreements.Implications of an International Humanitarian Law approach to progress on NWC
Chairperson: Dr. Erika Simpson, Department of Political Science, University of Western Ontario and Vice-Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group
Speakers : Dr. John Burroughs, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy [here: pdf] Dr. Michael Byers, Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law,Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia [here: pdf]
Verification and Compliance Aspects of a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Chairperson: Ms. Peggy Mason, former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and Advisory BoardChair, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, Carleton University
Speakers: Dr. Trevor Findlay, Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance [here: pptx (original)pdf] Mr. Jo Sletbak, Minister Counsellor/Deputy Head of Mission, Royal Norwegian Embassy [here: pdf]
Chairperson:Ms. Bev Delong, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Political and Security Requirements for a Nuclear Weapons Convention
How can security relationships be used as stepping stones toward a NWC?Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons through Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones, and Nuclear Doctrines
Chairperson: The Honourable Landon Pearson, O.C., member, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention
Speakers: Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Research Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies,Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo; Fellow, The Simons Foundation [here: pdf] Mr. Simon Rosenblum, World Federalist Movement – Canada [here: pdf]
Roundtable on the Role of Canada
Chairperson: Dr. Adele Buckley, Past Chair, Canadian Pugwash Group
Speakers: Mr. Paul Meyer, former Ambassador for Disarmament; Fellow in International Security,Centre for Dialogue, Simon Fraser University; Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation [here: pdf] The Honourable Douglas J. Roche, O.C., former Ambassador for Disarmament [here: pdf]
Organizing committee:The Honourable Douglas J. Roche, O.C.Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C.Dr. Dale Dewar, Executive Director, Physicians for Global SurvivalDr. Trevor Findlay, Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty ComplianceMr. Fergus Watt, Executive Director, World Federalists Movement – CanadaMr. Cesar Jaramillo, Program Associate, Project PloughsharesMs. Bev Tollefson Delong, Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
Advisors: Amb. (Ret.) Paul Meyer, Mr. Murray Thomson, O.C. and the late Dr. Michael WallaceAdministrative support: Project Ploughshares
Sponsors: Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Canadian Pugwash Group,Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, World Federalist Movement – Canada
Funders: Canadian Pugwash Group, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, Lawyersfor Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, Science for Peace,Sisters of Service of Canada, anonymous donor.