END ALL NUCLEAR WEAPON THREATS

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons statement
on Ukraine and nuclear weapon threats
METTRE FIN À TOUTES LES MENACES D’ARMES NUCLÉAIRES,
en français ci-dessous

CNANW condemns the raised readiness level of the Russian Federation’s strategic nuclear forces to what was described as a “special regime of combat duty.” This followed Russian President Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and was a clear warning to NATO not to intervene in the war. Heightened rhetoric by Putin also included a threat that any interference by other states in Ukraine would result in consequences “such as you have never seen in your entire history.”

Belarus, Russia’s ally in the conflict, has stated that it will abandon its status as a non-nuclear weapon state and will now consider hosting Russian nuclear missiles. 

While the United States indicated it was not responding in-kind and therefore not raising the alert status of its own nuclear arsenal, NATO made clear that any Russian aggression beyond Ukraine into the territory of an alliance member would provoke an immediate response. The risk of escalation to a regional war, including nuclear war, is real and concerning. 

Unfortunately, in late March, US President Biden stepped away from his own previously stated support for a sole purpose (no first use) policy for the American nuclear arsenal. Instead, its “fundamental” role will be to deter nuclear attacks. This ambiguity leaves open options to use nuclear weapons for wider purposes. 

President Putin’s statement is the first public threat of threatened nuclear weapon use during an ongoing military conflict in recent memory. The rise in global risk is unacceptable. The grave humanitarian consequences of even a small nuclear exchange provide no legal, ethical or militarily useful justification for the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons.

Therefore, CNANW calls on the Canadian government to make crystal clear Canada’s long-held opposition to nuclear weapons threats or use, and to contribute to the reduction of rhetoric that could lead to escalation of the current conflict in Ukraine. 

April 28, 2022

METTRE FIN À TOUTES LES MENACES D’ARMES NUCLÉAIRES
Déclaration du Réseau Canadien pour l’Abolition des Armes Nucléaires sur l’Ukraine et les menaces liées aux armes nucléaires

Le RCAAN condamne l’augmentation du niveau de préparation des forces nucléaires stratégiques de la Fédération de Russie à ce qui a été décrit comme un “régime spécial de service de combat”. Cette décision fait suite à l’invasion illégale de l’Ukraine par le président russe Poutine et constitue un avertissement clair à l’OTAN de ne pas intervenir dans cette guerre. Poutine a également menacé, dans sa rhétorique, que toute ingérence d’autres États en Ukraine aurait des conséquences “telles que vous n’en avez jamais vues dans toute votre histoire”.

Le Belarus, allié de la Russie dans le conflit, a déclaré qu’il abandonnerait son statut d’État non doté d’armes nucléaires et envisagerait désormais d’accueillir des missiles nucléaires russes.

Si les États-Unis ont indiqué qu’ils ne répondaient pas en nature et ne relevaient donc pas le niveau d’alerte de leur propre arsenal nucléaire, l’OTAN a clairement indiqué que toute agression russe au-delà de l’Ukraine sur le territoire d’un membre de l’alliance provoquerait une réponse immédiate. Le risque d’escalade vers une guerre régionale, y compris une guerre nucléaire, est réel et préoccupant.

Malheureusement, à la fin du mois de mars, le président américain Biden s’est éloigné de son soutien, précédemment déclaré, à une politique de l’arsenal nucléaire américain à but unique (pas de première utilisation). Au lieu de cela, son rôle “fondamental” sera de dissuader les attaques nucléaires. Cette ambiguïté laisse ouverte la possibilité d’utiliser les armes nucléaires à des fins plus larges.

De mémoire récente, la déclaration du président Poutine est la première menace publique d’utilisation d’une arme nucléaire pendant un conflit militaire. L’augmentation du risque mondial est inacceptable. Les graves conséquences humanitaires d’un échange nucléaire, même minime, ne fournissent aucune justification légale, éthique ou militairement utile pour l’utilisation ou la menace d’utilisation d’armes nucléaires.

Par conséquent, le RCAAN demande au gouvernement canadien d’exprimer clairement l’opposition de longue date du Canada aux menaces ou à l’utilisation d’armes nucléaires, et de contribuer à la réduction de la rhétorique qui pourrait mener à une escalade du conflit actuel en Ukraine.

28 avril 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.

Jordan Bishop

Ottawa peace activist Jordan Bishop

Jordan, who passed away in late October, was the Veterans Against Nuclear Arms representative to CNANW, while VANA was active. He was a long time peace advocate, well-known and a friend of many, particularly in the Ottawa area. “He was a lifelong advocate for peace, actively opposing military intervention from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, and working to end nuclear arms – in the peace and anti-nuclear movements in Cape Breton, and in Project Ploughshares and Veterans Against Nuclear Arms.”

As Ernie Regehr writes: “It was always a pleasure to have extended conversations with him – he obviously read very widely, had great knowledge of history, and was an innovative thinker. One always ended a chat with him better informed, and feeling the better for having spent time with him.”

Obituary in the Ottawa Citizen

Additional Signatories to CNANW Oct 28 Letter/Signataires supplémentaires de la lettre CNANW du 28 octobre

  • Letter in English
  • Lettre in French

    Additional Organizational Signatories/Organisation Signataires

    Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Anjali Helferty, Executive Director
    Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, Susan O’Donnell
    Concerned Citizens of Manitoba, Dave Taylor
    Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain – CSN, Dominique Daigneault, Président
    Council of Canadians (PEI Chapter), Nouhad Mourad
    The Island Peace Committee, (PEI) Tony Reddin
    National Council of Women of Canada, Patricia Leson, President
    Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, Nancy Covington
    Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Angela Bischoff
    Parkdale United Church, Calgary
    People for Peace, (London, Ontario), David Heap
    Ploughshares Calgary Society
    Pontiac Environment Protection, (Quebec) Deborah Powell, President
    Religions pour la Paix – Québec, Pascale Frémond
    The Saskatoon Peace Coalition, Michael Murphy, Chairperson
    Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ole Hendrickson

Individual Signatories/Signataires Individuels

Nadia Alexan, retired high school teacher, (Citizens in Action)
Jacques Boucher,  (Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire)
Ann Clow, Montague PEI
Chandler Davis, (Science for Peace)
Brydon Gombay
Patrick Groulx, retired
Paul Hanley, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Jo Hayward-Haines
John O’Brian, Professor Emeritus, UBC
Nessa Spurel

Commemorating the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bombings: 2021 Events in Canadian Cities

This year we commemorate the 76th anniversary of the use of atomic weapons over Japan. A 14-kiloton uranium bomb exploded at Hiroshima on August 6, and a 20-kiloton plutonium bomb on August 9 was dropped over Nagasaki. As many as 225,000 people, most of whom were civilians, died. 

Debates continue to this day over the impact of these bombings on the Japanese surrender that ended World War II. Not in doubt is that tens of thousands of Japanese civilians were intentionally targeted, and slaughtered or maimed by two small nuclear detonations.

In its 1996 Opinion, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined: “There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

That same year, in 1996, the first meeting of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was held. CNANW’s 17 member organizations include faith communities, professional groups, peace research and women’s organizations – all of which work in various ways toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Today, nearly 13,000 nuclear warheads still remain, more than 90% of them belong to Russia and the United States. Average explosive yields are many times the destructive capacity of the bombs dropped over Japan in 1945. 

Across the world, commemorative events are held to remind us of the terrible cost and ongoing dangers of nuclear arms races and the potential impact of even a limited nuclear missile exchange. Yet, the nine official and unofficial nuclear-armed states are intent on retaining, rebuilding and modernizing their warheads.

In Canada this week there are commemorative events in

Ottawa, Lantern Ceremony, Friday August 6, 7:30 PM (ET) 5th Avenue/Queen Elizabeth Driveway along the Rideau Canal.

Toronto, Hope for the Earth, August 6, 7:00 PM (ET)

Vancouver, Seaforth Peace Park Flame, August 6 from 6 to 7:30 PM.
(Cornwall and Burrard in Vancouver Centre)

Calgary, Peace Memorial Weekend, August 6-8 (Lantern Ceremony, Film Fest, Messages for Peace video)

Edmonton: Project Ploughshares’ annual commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a webinar on Saturday, August 7th at 1 p.m (MT), with Cesar Jaramillo (Executive Director of Project Ploughshares), Hon. Douglas Roche, Kirsten Mosey and Paula Kirman, president of Project Ploughshares Edmonton.

Halifax: Nova Scotia Voice of Women have organized a bell ringing at City Hall from 11AM to Noon on August 6.

Canadian premiere of The Vow from Hiroshima screening

We encourage all to participate and to contribute in ways that speed us towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

Hil Times op-ed link: https://www.hilltimes.com/2021/08/09/commemorating-the-hiroshima-nagasaki-bombings-and-a-call-for-nuclear-disarmament/310630

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.

CNANW endorses Cdn Pugwash Group submission to UN Human Rights Committee re nuclear deterrence

Regarding: Canada’s support for Nuclear Deterrence and the Right to Life
Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Submission by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW)

April 30, 2021
United Nations Human Rights Committee
Dear Human Rights Committee Members,

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) offers as our submission to the Periodic Review of Canada our endorsement of the statement submitted by Canadian Pugwash Group on April 27, 2021. Our statement follows, attached.

On behalf of CNANW,

Robin Collins and Dr. Sylvie Lemieux
(Co-Chairpersons of CNANW)

Note: This effort was initiated by Alyn Ware and Basel Peace Office, among others.

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).”

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”