CNANW: CANADA CAN DO MORE AT THE NPT Review Conference

[version française ci-dessous en pièce jointe]
A version of this commentary also appeared in The Hill Times on July 27, 2022

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) entered into force in 1970 and is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of nuclear disarmament. It is supported by 191 states, but not four unofficial nuclear-armed countries: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan, nor South Sudan.

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) recognizes the positive steps Canada has made towards the aims of the NPT, but there is much more to do. There is global urgency now as a result of war in Ukraine, but also an opportunity to push forward our shared disarmament and non-proliferation objectives at the NPT Review Conference this August.

Canada did attend The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in June, but no officials attended the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) first meeting of states parties, even as observers, despite strong efforts from the Canadian disarmament community and several parliamentarians advocating for Canada to show up. 

Canada did attend the five ministerial meetings of the “Stockholm Initiative”, a diplomatic forum that proposes risk reduction measures and a “stepping stones approach” to nuclear disarmament, but the government chose not to be represented at the ministerial level, a gesture that would have increased Canada’s visibility.

At the Madrid NATO Summit in June, Canada failed to speak out against the NATO consensus that the military and political organization will “remain a nuclear alliance while nuclear weapons remain”, a mantra that logically makes nuclear weapons more permanent, not easier to eliminate in keeping with NATO’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Indeed, nuclear weapons will continue to be a global threat while NATO persists in being a nuclear-armed alliance. 

After two years of delay due to the COVID pandemic, the NPT review conference is being held in New York in August. Divisions have worsened between nuclear weapon possessing states and those allies supporting NATO nuclear deterrence policy on one hand, and states supporting the TPNW on the other. Given global obstacles and the heightened risks of expanded war, including nuclear war, as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Canada needs to demonstrate leadership at the Review Conference in these areas:

Encourage complementarity through respectful references to the TPNW, and by seeking to engage rather than alienate TPNW supporters in furtherance of NPT goals. Similarly, support civil society initiatives, such as Abolition 2000’s effort (Frameworks for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World) to broaden the options available towards abolition, whether it be a nuclear weapons convention; a framework of instruments; or the TPNW, bolstered by protocols or related instruments. 

Constructive language: Advocate for firm language denouncing threats, explicit or implicit, of nuclear weapon use. But avoid rhetoric that undermines diplomatic progress or possibilities for conflict resolution.

Call for renewed diplomatic efforts to deal urgently with the outstanding proliferation issues of North Korea and Iran.

Promote greater transparency through the common reporting formats that Canada has championed, and which can provide for fact-based judgments on the progress of NPT parties in meeting nonproliferation and disarmament obligations.

Support operationally significant nuclear risk reduction measures such as de-alerting deployed ICBMs and adopting a No First Use policy.  Advocate as well against increases in nuclear missile inventories, or any expansion of nuclear weapon use scenarios. Press also for multilateral and bilateral nuclear force reduction talks among the five nuclear weapon states in keeping with their existing NPT obligations.

CNANW encourages Canada to embrace these leadership opportunities that will also reflect the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians who support nuclear disarmament.

Steering Committee of the
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux (Co-Chairs)
Dr. Nancy Covington
Beverley Delong
Dr. Richard Denton
Dr. Jonathan Down
Cesar Jaramillo
Dr. Arnd Jurgensen
Dr. Erika Simpson

July 26, 2022

Petition to the Government of Canada: Attend, as an observer, the First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Pétition au gouvernement du Canada: Assister, en tant qu’observateur, à la première réunion des États parties au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires

[Note that a paper version of this petition has collected the requisite 25 signatures.]

[Notez qu’une version papier de cette pétition a recueilli les 25 signatures requises.]

We the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, profoundly concerned about the increasing risk to humanity posed by nuclear weapons and mindful of the leadership role Canada has historically played on arms control, call upon Canada to Join our allies, Germany and Norway, in attending the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW as an observer.

Nous, soussigné.e.s, citoyen.ne.s et résident.e.s du Canada, profondément préoccupé.e.s par le risque croissant que représentent les armes nucléaires pour l’humanité et conscient.e.s du rôle de leader que le Canada a historiquement joué en matière de contrôle des armements, appelons le Canada à se joindre à nos alliés, l’Allemagne et la Norvège, pour assister à la première réunion des États parties à la TIAN en tant qu’observateur.

CNANW Appeal to Members of Canada’s Parliament to Support Canada attending as Observer to the TPNW

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 together with prolonged conflict and heightened rhetoric have contributed to fears of a widening of this war, and even to detonation of nuclear weapons by intention, through escalation or by accident.

Add to this global challenge the US and Russian withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 2019, the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran, ongoing skirmishes between India and Pakistan, modernization of nuclear weapons by all nuclear weapon states, and the possibility of cyber-attacks leading to a nuclear weapon event.

One opportunity now arises through a show of support by Canada for movement in a safer direction and towards eliminating nuclear weapons from the battlefield entirely, as part of our country’s longstanding disarmament legacy.

The First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) approaches at the end of June. Several countries that have shown little interest in signing the TPNW are still considering registering their solidarity in support of the intent of the treaty’s goal of nuclear weapon abolition. This includes NATO allies Norway and Germany, and aspiring NATO members Sweden and Finland. Canada can join this group.

For these reasons, we ask all Members of Parliament to now support an all-party call on the Canadian government to attend the TPNW inaugural meeting of states parties – as an observer.

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
May 31, 2022

RCAAN: Appel aux membres du Parlement canadien pour soutenir la participation du Canada en tant qu’observateur à la TIAN

L’invasion de l’Ukraine par la Russie le 24 février ainsi que la prolongation du conflit et l’intensification de la rhétorique ont contribué à faire craindre un élargissement de cette guerre, voire une détonation d’armes nucléaires par intention, par escalade ou par accident.

À ce défi mondial s’ajoutent le retrait des États-Unis et de la Russie du traité sur les forces nucléaires à portée intermédiaire (FNI) en 2019, le retrait des États-Unis de l’accord nucléaire avec l’Iran, les escarmouches en cours entre l’Inde et le Pakistan, la modernisation des armes nucléaires par tous les États dotés d’armes nucléaires et la possibilité de cyberattaques menant à un événement impliquant des armes nucléaires.

Dans le cadre de l’héritage de longue date de notre pays en matière de désarmement, une occasion se présente aujourd’hui d’aller dans une direction plus sûre et d’éliminer complètement les armes nucléaires du champ de bataille.

La première réunion des États parties au Traité sur l’interdiction des armes nucléaires (TIAN) approche à la fin du mois de juin. Plusieurs pays qui ont manifesté peu d’intérêt pour la signature du TIAN envisagent encore d’enregistrer leur solidarité pour soutenir l’objectif du traité, à savoir l’abolition des armes nucléaires. Il s’agit notamment des alliés de l’OTAN, la Norvège et l’Allemagne, et des pays aspirant à devenir membres de l’OTAN, la Suède et la Finlande. Le Canada peut se joindre à ce groupe.

Pour ces raisons, nous demandons à tous les membres du Parlement de soutenir l’appel lancé par tous les partis au gouvernement canadien pour qu’il assiste à la réunion inaugurale des États parties au TIAN – en tant qu’observateur.

Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires
31 mai 2022

Putin Shows Why Possesion Must be Outlawed Now

by Douglas Roche

It’s no longer postponable. Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown, in a demented and terrifying way, why the possession of nuclear weapons must be outlawed now. Far from closing down the little that remains of nuclear disarmament agreements because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this seminal moment in the history of the 21st century must be seized.

The contradictions in Canada’s nuclear disarmament policies have got to be fixed. Sand castles won’t stop a tsunami. We and our NATO partners can no longer go on professing a desire for an end to nuclear weapons while supporting the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence, which leads to even more than the present 13,000 nuclear weapons…

To read on, see pdf below.

January 22: TPNW anniversary

Today, Saturday January 22, marks the first anniversary of the historic moment of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Over the last year, CNANW has requested that the government of Canada attend the First Meeting of the States Parties (FMSP) as observer. 

On this anniversary, CNANW acknowledges the efforts of organizations and individuals in working together to create a new platform for global dialogue towards the ultimate goal of the abolition of nuclear weapons. May it be successful!

Response of Office of the Prime Minister to CNANW Letter of October 28 re: Canada attending 1MSP to TPNW

From: Prime Minister | Premier Ministre <PM@pm.gc.ca>
Date: Wed., Nov. 3, 2021, 3:45 p.m.
Subject: Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre
To: robincol@gmail.com <robincol@gmail.com>
Cc: Anita Anand <DND_MND@forces.gc.ca>, Mélanie Joly <Melanie.Joly@international.gc.ca>

Dear Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux:

On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence of October 28, 2021, regarding the first Meeting of states parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Thank you for taking the time to write. Please be assured that your comments, offered on behalf of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, have been carefully reviewed.

I note that you have also addressed your correspondence to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence. While the Prime Minister appreciates being made aware of your letter, he will leave the matter you raise to be considered by the Ministers.

Once again, thank you for writing to the Prime Minister.

H. Clancy
Executive Correspondence Officer/
  Agente de correspondance
Executive Correspondence Services/
  Services de la correspondance de la haute direction

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

[Aussi, en français: https://www.cnanw.ca/category/documents-en-francais/]

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.

Statement by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. Press Conference on Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Ottawa, January 21, 2021

We are celebrating the entry into force tomorrow of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Why is this treaty necessary?

          Let us cast our eyes back fifty years to another treaty entry into force, this time the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The NPT was essentially a bargain: non–nuclear weapons states would forsake any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons in return for the nuclear weapons possessors to negotiate in good faith their elimination. 

Continue reading “Statement by Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C. Press Conference on Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Ottawa, January 21, 2021”

So many words, but so little action on nuclear disarmament

Earl Turcotte
Opinion Hil Times January 20, 20201

Who in their wildest dreams would have thought that the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, would feel compelled earlier this month to plead with the chairman of the Joint  Chiefs of  Staff to deny access by an increasingly unstable president to the nuclear launch codes, for fear that he might order a nuclear strike? As if this were even possible, since, under U.S. law, no one can counter such an order by the commander in chief.

Continue reading “So many words, but so little action on nuclear disarmament”

Jaramillo: Latin America and the Quest for Nuclear Abolition: From the Treaty of Tlatelolco to the Ban Treaty

photo credit: OPANAL

On February 14, 2014, as the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons came to an end, conference Chair Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo—then deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico—captured the sentiment in the room in the powerful last few words of his closing remarks: in global efforts toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, this conference marked a “point of no return.” His optimistic conclusion was met with a roar of applause.

Read further: here 

Turcotte: US trying to sabotage ban treaty

(text version below image version)

Earl Turcotte – Letter to The Hill TimeAs. Published in modified form on Nov. 2, 2020.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), negotiated in 2017 has been endorsed by 122 nations.  Since that time, 50 nations have signed and ratified the Treaty, triggering its entry into force in 90 days.

While most of the world will celebrate this historic event, almost 75 years to the day after the UN’s first-ever resolution that called for the elimination of atomic weapons, the United States of America is doing its level best to sabotage the Treaty.

In a now widely circulated ‘non-paper’ sent to countries that have joined the TPNW, the US registers its outrage and requests that they withdraw from the Treaty. Why? Among the long list of reasons cited by the Americans, because “Russia and the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are engaged in a nuclear arms buildup with the goal of military dominance that if left unimpeded, will result in a new nuclear arms race. Should they succeed, the result will be profoundly negative for the future of the democratic way of life… And let’s be frank: The TPNW will not stand in Russia’s or the PRC’s way in remaking the global order in their own cynical, autocratic image.”

Leave aside that China has approximately 300 nuclear weapons, compared to the US and Russia that have 6,000 each and that the US spends more on defence each year than the next 10 countries combined.   It is precisely this kind of ham-fisted rhetoric, combined with the US’ own actions in recent years, that render nuclear disarmament a global imperative.   

The United States itself triggered the new nuclear arms race when it announced that it would budget $1.5 Trillion dollars over the next 30 years to ‘modernize’ its nuclear arsenal. Donald Trump, in addition to increasing tension with adversaries and allies alike, has threatened “fire and fury” on North Korea, withdrawn from the nuclear deal with Iran and  the Intermediate-range Nuclear forces Treaty with Russia, stated his intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty and has not to date agreed to renew the critically important New START Treaty with Russia that will expire in February 2021 – despite repeated offers by Russia to extend the Treaty without preconditions.

While there is indeed cause for concern about an ascendant China and Mr. Putin’s clear longing for the glory days of the former USSR, it is lunacy to engage in this kind of brinkmanship. All hell could break loose – deliberately or accidentally – plunging the world into an existential crisis that could make a global pandemic feel like a day at the beach.

What to do? Looking (and praying) for change south of our border after November 3rd, Joe Biden has indicated that, if elected, he would try to scale back Trump’s buildup in nuclear weapons spending and would make the US less reliant upon the world’s deadliest weapons.  There could be an opportunity here, to engage a more rational and mature administration in the United States. Either way, the rest of the world has to make it clear to all nuclear armed states that enough is enough! We’ve got to get rid of these damned weapons before they get rid of us!

Earl Turcotte
Chair, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons