CNANW Call September 2017

INDIVIDUALS supporting Canada signing a Treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons can petition Prime Minister Trudeau [here]. For ORGANIZATIONAL endorsements of the Call, contact Bev Delong. To see the list of groups that have signed: [here].


Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons CALL ON CANADA TO SIGN The Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
[CALL] [FAQ] [ad in the Hill Times]
List of signatories to this call [here]

On July 7, 2017, 122 nations, in an historic action, voted at the U.N. to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty prohibits the use, threat of use, development, testing, production, manufacturing and possession of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear weapons have been unconditionally stigmatized as standing outside international humanitarian law. Governments and civil society have together recognized the “catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences” of the use of any nuclear weapon.

When 50 states have ratified it, the Treaty will enter into force and all the States Parties will be committed to “measures for the verified, time-bound and irreversible elimination of nuclear-weapon programmes.” The U.N. High Representative for Disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, hailed the Treaty as “a beacon of hope for all those who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of a nuclear weapon-free world.”

But the nuclear weapon states oppose the treaty, claiming it is “premature” and will undermine existing legal instruments for disarmament. This opposition is groundless; actually the new Treaty will shore up the beleaguered Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the nuclear weapon states have defied for nearly fifty years by refusing to meet their legal obligation to pursue good faith comprehensive negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons.
The existing NATO nuclear policies, holding that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security, are another obstacle for NATO states to sign the Treaty. Canada must now decide if NATO nuclear policies will be given a higher priority than the country’s longstanding “unequivocal undertaking” to negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

We call on the Government of Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to state that Canada will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty, with a view to Canada ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible.

We also call on Canada to re-energize its commitment to nuclear disarmament, specifically by enlarging its work internationally on nuclear disarmament verification and leading efforts to initiate negotiations for a Fissile Material Treaty in the U.N. General Assembly in 2018.

Energizing Action By Canada, September 2017

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW)

Energizing Action by Canada to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Monday, September 25, 2017
Cartier Hotel, Ottawa

Welcome, and time of remembrance: Bev Delong, Chairperson, CNANW

Keynote address:

Chairperson: Debbie Grisdale, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

Ambassador Elayne Whyte-Gómez, Costa Rica, President, Conference negotiating the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
Presentation: here

Forward Steps in Nuclear Disarmament:

Chairperson: Douglas Roche O.C.

“Diplomatic Reflections at this Historic Moment”,
Mr. Michael Hurley, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland to Canada

“Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty: Transparency and Risk Reduction”,
Mr. Tariq Rauf, Head – Verification and Security Policy Coordination, Office reporting to the Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2002-2011; Alternate Head of IAEA NPT Delegation.

Luncheon Keynote:

Moderator: Dr. Adele Buckley, Canadian Pugwash Group

Alyn Ware: “2018 UN High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament”
Presentation: here

Canadian Government Views on next steps to Nuclear Disarmament:

Chairperson: Peggy Mason, Rideau Institute

Mr. Martin Larose, Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Global Affairs Canada

Ms. Cori Anderson, Deputy Director of Strategic Analysis, Department of National Defence: here

1st Discussant: Mr. Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor, Simon Fraser University; Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation; former Ambassador for Disarmament

Presentation: here

Building Momentum for Nuclear Disarmament Conference Oct 24 2016

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW)
Building Momentum for Nuclear Disarmament

October 24, 2016, Cartier Place Suite Hotel, Ottawa

Conference Report (long version, English)
Conference Report (short version, English)
Rapport de la conférence en français

Panel: Canada:  Between NATO and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

Chairperson: Dr. Nancy Covington, Physicians for Global Survival and VOW.

Mr. Marius Grinius, former Ambassador for Disarmament [Presentation here]

Representative, Department of National Defence (invited)

Prof. Erika Simpson, Dept. of Political Science, University of Western Ontario [Presentation here]

Panel: Partnering with Russia for Nuclear Disarmament

Chairperson – Mr. Earl Turcotte, Group of 78

Dr. Metta Spencer, President, Science for Peace [Presentation here]

Dr. Joan DeBardeleben, Chancellor’s Professor, Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa [Presentation here soon]

Prof. Sergei Plekhanov, Dept. of Political Science, York University

Panel: Nuclear Disarmament:  Diplomatic Options

Chairperson:  Ms. Janis Alton, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Mr. Bernhard Faustenhammer, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Austria.

Ms. Heidi Hulan, Director General, International Security Policy, Global Affairs Canada,

Prof. Paul Meyer, former Ambassador for Disarmament, Adjunct Professor, School for International Studies at Simon Fraser University and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation. [Presentation here]

Panel: The Crisis with Nuclear Weapons:  Parliamentary & Civil Society Responses

Chairperson:  Ms. Maddie Webb, Canadian Federation of University Women

Mr. Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator, Parliamentarians for Nuclear NonProliferation and Disarmament (PNND)d (by skype)

Mr. Paul Dewar, Member, Global Council, PNND; former Canadian Member of Parliament. [Presentation here]

Ms. Peggy Mason, President, The Rideau Institute; former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament [Presentation here soon]

Mr. Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director, Project Ploughshares.

CNANW Endorsers

The following organizations have endorsed the goal of the CNANW
We believe that the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons are abhorrent and morally wrong. We call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world.

African Community of Calgary
Alberta Greens
Alberta Teachers’ Association
Alberta Wilderness Association
Anglican Church of Canada, Eco-Justice Committee
Anglican Diocese of Calgary
Anglican Diocese of Calgary, Peace and Justice Committee
Association of United Ukrainian Canadians
Bahá’i Community of Canada
Bethel Lutheran Church, Ryley AB
Bridgewater Town Council, NS
Calgary and District Labour Council
Calgary and District Labour Council, Women’s Committee
Calgary Board of Education
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
Cambodia War Amputees Rehabilitation Society
Canada Tibet Committee, Calgary
Canadian Action for Indonesia and East Timor – Calgary Branch
Canadian Auto Workers
Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
Canadian Federation of Students
Canadian Federation of University Women
Canadian Friends Service Committee
Canadian Islamic Congress
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Canadian Public Health Association
Canadian Rockies Alpine Group (CRAG)
Canadian Teachers’ Federation / Fédèration Canadienne des Enseignantes et des Enseignants
Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Christ Trinity Lutheran Church
Centre for Positive Living, Calgary
Club Red
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade
Conscience Canada Inc.
Denman Island Peace Group
Dynacan Oil Corporation
East Timor Alert Network – Calgary Branch
Educating for Peace, Ottawa
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Synod of Alberta and the Northwest Territories
The Finnish Organization of Canada
First Pilgrim United Church, Outreach Committee, Hamilton
First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa
Four Worlds Center for Development Learning
Franciscans of Western Canada
Friends of the Oldman River
Grace Lutheran Church
Gandhi Society of Calgary
Group of 78
Halifax Regional Municipal Council
Highwood Lutheran Church
Hiroshima Day Coalition
Holden Lutheran Church
Holy Spirit Catholic Women’s League (Saskatoon)
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church
Interchurch Uranium Committee Educational Cooperative
La Comite de Solidarite Tiers-Monde
Lakefield, Village of (ON)
Lethbridge Network for PeaceLunenberg County
Medical Aid for Palestine
Mennonite Central Committee (Canada)
Mount Zion Lutheran Church (Edmonton)
Nanoose Conversion Campaign
Nuclear Awareness Project
Older Women’s Network (Toronto)
Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Organizations
Outreach Sunnybrook United Church
Pacific Campaign for Disarmament and Security
Parkdale United Church, Faith and Justice Committee
Parkdale United Church, United Church Women, Unit #1
Peace/Ploughshares Group, First Unitarian Congregation (Toronto)
Peace Research, The Canadian Journal of Peace Studies, Editorial Board
People’s Voice Press Club
Peterborough, City of (ON)
Peterborough, County of (ON)
Physicians for Global Survival (Calgary)
Presbyterian Church in Canada – 124th General Assembly
Programme de développement Cambodge-Canada/Canada Cambodia Development Program
Project Peacemakers Winnipeg
Project Ploughshares Calgary
Project Ploughshares Edmonton
Project Ploughshares Fredericton
Project Ploughshares Hamilton
Project Ploughshares Kawartha
Project Ploughshares Saskatoon
Project Ploughshares St. Thomas
Raging Grannies Toronto
Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Calgary Monthly Meeting
Results / Resultats Canada
Riverview United Church, Church in the World Division
Robert McClure United Church Women, Calgary
Rotary Club – Calgary North
Saskatoon, City of
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
Saskatoon Seniors for Peace
Save the Children (Canada)
Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus
SPHERE (Society for Protection of Healthy Environment and Rejuvenation of Earth)
St. Matthew’s United Church Board
St. Matthew’s United Church Women
Tibetan Community of Alberta
Tollefson Engineering Enterprises Limited
Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (Doukhobors)
Unitarian Church, Social Justice Committee, Calgary
Unitarian Church, Social Action Coordinating Committee, Saskatoon
United Church of Canada, 36th General Council (1997)
United Church of Canada, Division of Church in Society for AB and NT
United Church of Canada, Saskatchewan Conference
United Nations Association in Canada – National Capital Region Branch
United Nations Association in Canada – Kootenay Region
University of Calgary Eco Club
Veterans Against Nuclear Arms (VANA) Edmonton
VANA Montreal
VANA New Brunswick
VANA Nova Scotia
VANA Ottawa
VANA Saskatoon
VANA Toronto
VANA Winnipeg
VANA Vancouver
VANA Victoria
Victoria Council of Women
Westmount Initiative for Peace
Women in Action, Students’ Assoc’n. Mount Royal College, Calgary
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – BC
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Ottawa Branch
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Toronto Branch
World Conference on Religion & Peace (Canada)
World Conference on Religion & Peace (Ottawa)
World Federalists of Canada – Montreal
World Without Wars and Violence
YMCA Calgary
Youth Action for Peace

updated November 22, 2019

Letter To Hon Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs

[ français ici ]

December 17, 2015 Letter to Honourable Stéphane Dion from Bev Delong, CNANW Chair

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear  Weapons

140 Westmount Road North  Waterloo, ON   N2L 3G6 Phone: (403) 282-8260  FAX (403) 289-4272 Email:
December 17, 2015
The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P. Minister of Foreign Affairs Global Affairs Canada 125 Sussex Drive  Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
Dear Minister Dion,
Re: Recommendations to the Government of Canada on meaningful steps toward the abolition of nuclear weapons
Greetings from the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW). We are a coalition of civil society organizations from across the country working to advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and move toward a world without nuclear weapons―a goal the Government of Canada has publicly and consistently supported. We welcome you to the critical portfolio you now lead and assure you of our willingness to collaborate constructively toward a foreign policy that, driven by principle and guided by evidence, best meets the interests of Canadians and the international community.
Seven decades after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 45 years after the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and over a quarter century after the end of the Cold War, nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons continue to threaten the very survival of humanity and our ecosystem. The only foolproof way to ensure that nuclear weapons are not used by accident, miscalculation or design is through their complete and verified elimination.
On 30 November 2015 CNANW hosted an experts’ seminar entitled “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” focused on political and diplomatic opportunities for Canada to engage constructively and exhibit determined global leadership in the pursuit of a world free of nuclear weapons. The discussions addressed a broad range of legal, political, security, and verification questions―all founded on the recognition that Canada is uniquely positioned to effect a positive and substantive impact on the push for nuclear abolition.
Our network is calling for a fundamental shift in the security doctrines of some members of the international community—away from security arrangements that rely on nuclear deterrence, and in line with fundamental precepts of sustainable common security. The value of deterrence is far outweighed by the risk posed by any use of nuclear weapons and the catastrophic humanitarian consequences this would entail. The humanitarian imperative for nuclear disarmament should be the catalyst to launch a comprehensive process leading to the enactment of a legal framework for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
We welcome the support from the Liberal Party of Canada for the 2010 unanimous Parliamentary motion calling for a major Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of nuclear disarmament, and recall the pertinent questions you have personally raised in the House of Commons on this issue. We also note with gratitude the work being done by the Government of Canada on transparency and verification practices through its engagement in the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.
Taking into account the deliberations at our recent seminar, the Organizing Committee for the CNANW Nov. 30th Expert Seminar would like to bring to your attention the following recommendations. We call on the Government of Canada to:
1. Endorse the Humanitarian Pledge championed by the Government of Austria as a means of focusing international attention on the catastrophic humanitarian effects anticipated from any use of nuclear weapons, and energizing the global push for nuclear abolition.
2. Host a “Framework Forum” Meeting in the spring of 2016, organized in coordination with the Middle Powers Initiative, to enable focused preparation for the Open Ended Working Group established by the UN General Assembly to “substantively address concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that will need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.”
3. Build political and diplomatic support for resolutions at the 2016 UN General Assembly calling for: a) the creation of a further Open-Ended Working Group with an actual mandate to negotiate a legal instrument to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons, and b) the establishment of a subsidiary body to negotiate a ban on fissile materials for use in nuclear weapons.
4. Speak out against the modernization of nuclear weapons by existing Nuclear Weapons States.
5. Advocate within the NATO Alliance Council for the formulations of security policies that embrace sustainable, common security principles and do not rely on nuclear deterrence. As a key measure, Canada should urge for adherence to policy of no foreign basing of nuclear weapons.
6. Reinstate the past practice of hosting a Government-Civil Society Consultation on Arms Control and Nuclear Disarmament to enable a constructive, two-way open dialogue of pertinent issues. To this end we hereby request a meeting between you, Minister Dion, and a small delegation of CNANW representatives.
Above all, we call on the Government of Canada to work urgently with other nations to conclude a Nuclear Weapons Convention which will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world. We firmly believe it is in the best interest of every nation to move decisively toward the shared goal of nuclear abolition, and are convinced that Canada can and should play a leading role to this effect.
Thank you for your attention and actions in regard to these issues. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss them further with you at your earliest convenience.
Sincerely yours,

Beverley J. T. Delong Chairperson Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
c.c.:  The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada The Honourable Rona Ambrose, MP, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada Rhéal Fortin, Acting Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Annex 1
Members of the Organizing Committee for the Nov. 30th, 2015 Expert Seminar on “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World”:
The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., former Ambassador for Disarmament, Chairperson Emeritus,  Middle Powers Initiative Former Ambassador for Disarmament, Mr. Paul Meyer, Adjunct Professor, School for  International Studies, Simon Fraser University and Senior Fellow, The Simons Foundation, Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Executive, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, co- founder, Project Ploughshares Ms. Debbie Grisdale, Member, Steering Committee, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear  Weapons Mr. Robin Collins, Board Member, World Federalist Movement – Canada Bev Delong, Chairperson, Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons


Advisers:  The Hon. Douglas Roche O.C.,  Chairperson Emeritus, Middle Powers Initiative;  Ms. Peggy Mason, and Mr. Paul Meyer, all three, former Ambassadors for Disarmament,  and Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C.

Member groups:  Les Artistes pour la paix, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, Canadian Federation of University Women, Canadian Peace Alliance / L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canadian Pugwash Group, Canadian Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence, The Group of 78, Physicians for Global Survival, Science for Peace, United Nations Association – Canada, World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP international link), World Federalist Movement – Canada.

Lettre à l’Honorable Stéphane Dion


Réseau canadien pour labolition des armes nucléaires

140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON   N2L 3G6
Tél.: (403) 282-8260  Copie : (403) 289-4272
Courriel :

Le 10 décembre 2015

L’honorable Stéphane Dion, C.P., député
Ministre des Affaires étrangères, Commerce et Développement Canada
125 promenade Sussex

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2

Monsieur le ministre,

Objet : Recommandations au gouvernement du Canada en vue de progrès significatifs vers labolition des armements nucléaires.

Le Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires (RCAAN) tient d’abord à vous féliciter. Nous sommes une coalition d’organisations de la société civile de partout au pays qui travaillons à faire avancer la cause du désarmement nucléaire et à progresser vers un monde sans armement nucléaire — un objectif que le gouvernement du Canada a soutenu ouvertement et sans interruption. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue dans vos nouvelles responsabilités critiques et affirmons notre désir de collaborer de manière constructive à une politique étrangère qui, fondée sur des principes et guidée par des faits démontrés, serve au mieux les intérêts des Canadiens et de la communauté internationale,

Soixante-dix ans après la destruction d’Hiroshima et de Nagasaki, 45 ans après l’entrée en vigueur du traité de non-prolifération nucléaire et un quart de siècle après la fin de la guerre froide, près de 16 000 armes nucléaires continuent de menacer la survie même de l’humanité et de notre écosystème. La seule manière infaillible de nous assurer que les armements nucléaires ne seront pas utilisés par accident, par erreur de jugement ou à dessein est de viser leur élimination complète et vérifiable.

Le 30 novembre 2015, le RCAAN a accueilli un séminaire d’experts intitulé « Définir la trajectoire du Canada dans un monde libre d’armes nucléaires », particulièrement intéressé aux opportunités politiques et diplomatiques qui permettraient au Canada de s’engager constructivement et de démontrer un leadership mondial dans la recherche d’un monde libre d’armements nucléaires. Les discussions ont porté sur un large éventail de questions juridiques, politiques, de sécurité et de vérification — à partir du constat que le Canada occupe une place unique pour jouer un rôle positif substantiel dans l’effort vers l’abolition des armes nucléaires.

Notre réseau appelle à une réorientation fondamentale des doctrines de sécurité de certains membres de la communauté internationale — qui nous éloignerait des dispositifs sécuritaires fondés sur la dissuasion nucléaire et retrouverait le lien avec les préceptes fondamentaux d’une sécurité partagée durable. Le déséquilibre est immense entre la valeur de la dissuasion et les risques posés par une quelconque utilisation des armes nucléaires et les conséquences humanitaires catastrophiques qui y sont associées. L’impératif humanitaire du désarmement nucléaire devrait constituer le catalyseur d’un processus intégrateur menant à la promulgation d’un cadre juridique pour l’interdiction et l’élimination des armes nucléaires.

Nous reconnaissons l’appui du parti Libéral du Canada à la motion unanime du Parlement de 2010 appelant à déployer une importante initiative diplomatique canadienne en faveur du désarmement nucléaire, et nous souvenons des questions pertinentes que vous avez personnellement soulevées à la Chambre des Communes à cette occasion. Nous sommes également reconnaissants pour le travail accompli par le gouvernement du Canada relativement aux pratiques de transparence et de vérification au travers de son engagement dans le Partenariat international pour la vérification du désarmement nucléaire.

En prenant en compte les délibérations de notre récent séminaire, le Comité organisateur du séminaire d’experts du 30 novembre du RCAAN aimerait porter à votre attention les recommandations suivantes. Nous demandons au gouvernement canadien de :

1.  Endosser l’Engagement humanitaire mis de l’avant par le gouvernement de l’Autriche comme moyen pour attirer l’attention internationale sur les conséquences humanitaires catastrophiques associées à toute utilisation d’armement nucléaire, et pour énergiser la mobilisation mondiale pour l’abolition de ces armements.

2. Accueillir une assemblée « Forum cadre » au printemps 2016, organisée en coordination avec l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires, pour permettre une préparation ciblée du groupe de travail à composition non limitée établi par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies pour « étudier de manière substantielle des mesures, des dispositions et des normes juridiques concrètes, qui devront être promulguées pour atteindre et maintenir un monde sans armements nucléaires.»

3. Bâtir un appui politique et diplomatique pour des résolutions à présenter dans le cadre de l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU de 2016 appelant à : a)  la création d’un nouveau groupe de travail à composition non limitée avec un mandat effectif de négocier un appareillage juridique visant à interdire et éliminer les armes nucléaires, et b) l’établissement d’un organisme subsidiaire visant à négocier une interdiction des matériaux fissiles destinés à l’armement nucléaire.

4. Prendre officiellement position contre la modernisation des armements nucléaires par les puissances nucléaires existantes.

5.  Faire des représentations au sein du conseil de l’OTAN pour la formulation de politiques de sécurité qui intègrent des principes communs et durables de sécurité et ne reposent pas sur la dissuasion nucléaire. Comme mesure clé, le Canada devrait faire pression en faveur de l’adhésion à une politique restreignant le déploiement d’armes nucléaires hors des territoires des puissances nucléaires.

6.  Remettre en vigueur la pratique passée de tenir des consultations entre le gouvernement et la société civile sur la non-prolifération et le désarmement nucléaire pour favoriser un dialogue constructif et ouvert sur des enjeux pertinents. À cette fin, nous demandons par la présente une rencontre entre vous, Monsieur le Ministre, et une petite délégation de représentants du RCAAN.

Par-dessus tout, nous appelons le gouvernement du Canada à collaborer de manière urgente avec les autres nations pour conclure une Convention sur les armes nucléaires qui établira un calendrier contraignant pour l’abolition de toutes les armes nucléaires dans le monde. Nous croyons fermement qu’il est dans le meilleur intérêt de toutes les nations de franchir des étapes décisives en vue de l’objectif partagé de l’abolition nucléaire, et sommes convaincus que le Canada peut et doit jouer un rôle prépondérant à cet égard.

Merci de votre attention et de la considération que vous accorderez à nos recommandations. Nous accueillerons avec plaisir l’occasion d’en discuter avec vous dès que vous en aurez la disponibilité.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Ministre, nos sincères salutations,

Beverley J. T. Delong
Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires

c.c.:      Le très honorable Justin Trudeau, premier ministre du Canada

L’honorable Rona Ambrose, députée, chef intérimaire de l’opposition officielle

L’honorable Thomas Mulcair, député, chef du nouveau parti démocratique du Canada

Elizabeth May, députée, chef du parti vert du Canada

Rhéal Fortin, chef intérimaire du Bloc Québécois

Annexe 1

Membres du Comité organisateur du Séminaire d’experts du 30 novembre 2015

« Définir la trajectoire du Canada dans un monde libre d’armes nucléaires »

L’hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., ancien ambassadeur pour le désarmement, président émérite, l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires

Paul Meyer, ancien ambassadeur pour le désarmement, professeur auxiliaire, École des études internationales, Université Simon Fraser, et agrégé supérieur, la Fondation Simons

M. Ernie Regehr, O.C., directeur, Rassemblement canadien pour une convention sur les armes nucléaires et cofondateur, Projet Ploughshares

Ms. Debbie Grisdale, membre, comité directeur, Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires

M. Robin Collins, membre du Conseil, Mouvement fédéraliste mondial – Canada

Bev Delong, présidente, Réseau canadien pour l’abolition des armes nucléaires

Conseillers : L’hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., président émérite, l’Initiative des puissances intermédiaires; Ms. Peggy Mason, et M. Paul Meyer, tous trois anciens ambassadeurs pour le désarmement, et M. Ernie Regehr, O.C.

Organisations membres : Les Artistes pour la paix, le Regroupement pour la surveillance du nucléaire, la Fédération canadienne des femmes diplômées universitaires, Canadian Peace Alliance / L’Alliance canadienne pour la paix, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Canadian Pugwash Group, Centre de Ressources sur la Non-Violence, le Groupe des 78,  Médecins pour la survie mondiale, Project Ploughshares, Science for Peace, l’Association pour les Nations-Unies – Canada, Conférence mondiale des religions pour la paix, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Canada, Mouvement fédéraliste mondial – Canada

Letter: Dion to Delong

A10918-2015 In reply to your correspondence of December 17, 2015
Letter of Honourable Stéphane Dion to Bev Delong.

Feb. 11, 2016

Ms. Beverley J. T. Delong
Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Dear Ms. Delong:

Thank you for your correspondence of December 17, 2015, outlining the six primary recommendations arising from the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ (CNANW) Expert Seminar “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons Free World” that took place in November 2015.

As you know, Canada remains committed to promoting international peace and security by working to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to encourage eventual nuclear weapons disarmament. Canada’s policy is rooted in its support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which remains the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. We are convinced that the establishment of a nuclear weapons convention without engaging the states that possess nuclear weapons will not bring us more quickly toward “global zero.” Instead, we are continuing to focus Canada’s efforts on practical, pragmatic work to bring us closer to a world free of nuclear weapons. In this regard, Canada is working diligently to strengthen the international non-proliferation and disarmament regime through our leadership on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) and our engagement in the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification.

I considered carefully your first recommendation for Canada to endorse the Humanitarian Pledge. Canada recognizes the grave humanitarian consequences of a nuclear detonation; they are clear and beyond dispute. Accordingly, Canada has engaged actively and constructively in the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (HINW) dialogue, including through our participation in the three HINW conferences held to date in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna. It is our firm belief that these concerns should be a force that unites the international community and reinforces a common and unshakeable commitment to eliminate nuclear weapons. However, realistic progress toward nuclear disarmament can only be achieved if both strategic security and humanitarian principles are given due consideration, which the Humanitarian Pledge unfortunately does not recognize. Furthermore, attempts by some to steer the HINW discourse toward the immediate negotiation of a nuclear weapons ban or convention are unhelpful, because they also do not recognize that the political and security context is intimately linked to prospects for achieving progress on disarmament. Canada appreciates that this divergence of perspectives means that it will be all the more important to try to reframe this dialogue with some new language and fresh thinking. Canada will remain committed to continuing and contributing to the HINW dialogue as it relates to nuclear disarmament by working to ensure that the political and security context is taken into account and that the dialogue remains inclusive and constructive.

You have also recommended that Canada host a “Framework Forum” meeting to prepare for the upcoming Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to “substantively address concrete effective legal measures, legal provisions and norms that will need to be concluded to attain and maintain a world without nuclear weapons.” I am pleased to report that departmental officials will shortly be in contact with representatives from the Middle Powers Initiative to discuss options for such a meeting to occur in Geneva this spring. The CNANW will be kept abreast of all developments in relation to this meeting.

Your third recommendation is for Canada to begin building support for specific action on disarmament and the FMCT at the 2016 UN General Assembly. We are always looking for concrete and practical ways to advance nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament efforts in the UN General Assembly. In 2012, Canada led a successful resolution creating the Group of Governmental Experts to examine aspects of treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, which surpassed expectations by producing a robust consensus report on the topic in April 2015. We subsequently introduced another FMCT resolution in the fall of 2015 that garnered the support of 179 countries. We are currently focussed on building on this momentum to initiate FMCT negotiations this year. Once the outcomes of these efforts, and of the upcoming OEWG, become clear, we will be better placed to determine the best course of action at the UN General Assembly in 2016.

As a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Canada contributes to peace and stability in the international security environment, while creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the NPT. Canada was an active participant in the development of the NATO Strategic Concept in 2010, as well as the Defence and Deterrence Posture Review in 2012. In the current international security context, we continue to believe that these documents effectively balance our long‑term policy objectives of nuclear disarmament with our collective defence responsibilities as a NATO member. In response to your fourth and fifth recommendations relating to advocacy within NATO and with nuclear‑weapon states (NWS), I can assure you that Canada continues to work actively with allies and partners in NATO, the UN, the G7, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Nuclear Security Summit, and the Conference on Disarmament to ensure that all NATO and NWS fulfil their NPT obligations, and that our allies continue to pursue nuclear disarmament in a way that enhances our collective security.

Regarding your sixth recommendation, constructive dialogue with civil society is not only a component of the mandate letter I received from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but also a personal priority. As such, Global Affairs Canada is currently exploring ways to better engage with civil society, as well as other stakeholders in our community, in an open and transparent way. As part of this process, we will consider your recommendation for renewing the Government consultation with civil society on arms control and nuclear disarmament.

Thank you for your continued interest in these important issues.


The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs

CNANW Seminar “Defining Steps for Canada in a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” Nov 2015

The reality of a new Government in Canada provides a new opportunity for CNANW to make an impact on the development of Canada’s nuclear weapons policies. Building on the unanimous motion of Parliament adopted in 2010 to support the UN Secretary General’s Five Point Plan for Nuclear Disarmament and take a major diplomatic initiative to advance nuclear disarmament objectives, the Seminar explored Canadian action concerning the Humanitarian Pledge and development of effective legal measures for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Ottawa, November 30, 2015

Letter from Seminar to Government of Canada: English; français
Seminar Report: Linked here

Keynote Speakers:

Tarja Cronberg and Tariq Rauf

Seminar Program: linked here

Keynote Address by Tarja Cronberg: “Creating the Framework for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” (linked here)

Keynote Luncheon Address by Dr. Tariq Rauf:  “Challenges for Canada’s Nuclear Weapons Policies” (linked here)

Panel: “The Moral Compass and the Humanitarian Pledge”
Mr. Bernhard Faustenhammer: “Progress on, and Plans for Pursuing the Humanitarian Pledge”
Prof. Paul Meyer: “After the Humanitarian Pledge, What?” (linked here)

Panel: “Securing a Nuclear Weapons-Free World: Creating and retaining the replacement regime”
Biographies of panelists (linked here)
Dr. H. Peter Langille: “Sustainable Common Security” (linked here)
Dr. Walter Dorn: “Peacekeeping”
Prof. Peter Jones: “Track Two Diplomacy”

Panel: “Political and Legal Steps: New Initiatives for Canada”
Hon. Douglas Roche: “Political and Legal Steps: New Initiatives for Canada” (linked here)
Heidi Hulan
Cesar Jaramillo
Earl Turcotte: (linked here)


What is the problem with nuclear weapons?

What would happen if a modern nuclear weapon was exploded?

What would be the health effects?

What is a nuclear warhead? What is fissile material?

How many nuclear weapons are there in the world?

Have these weapons ever been used?

How many nuclear test explosions have there been?

Has the use of nuclear weapons ever been threatened?

Have there been accidents with nuclear weapons?

In what ways does Canada support nuclear war-fighting?

Are nuclear weapons a good way to “keep the peace”?

Do these weapons outrage you? You aren’t alone.

How can we build security without nuclear weapons?

What are the climatic effects of a nuclear war?

If a nuclear weapon is tested, will we know?


Donation by Mail or Fax

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Thank you for your support.


(Weblinks are arranged alphabetically)

Canadian Peace and Research Groups:
Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace
Canadian Peace Alliance
Canadian Peace Research and Education Association
Canadian Pugwash Group
Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade
End the Arms Race
The Markland Group deals with state compliance with international treaties
No Nukes!
Peace Brigades International – Canada
Physicians for Global Survival
Project Ploughshares (National Office)
Science for Peace
United Nations Association in Canada
Vancouver Island Peace Society – Nuclear Warships Litigation
Victoria Peace Centre

International Peace and Peace Research Groups:
Abolition 2000
The Acronym Institute (UK)
Back from the Brink
British American Security Information Council
Disarmament and Security Centre
Federation of American Scientists
International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA)
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICANW)
International Committee of the Red Cross
International Network of Engineers and Scientists against Proliferation
International Peace Bureau
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
The Middle Powers Initiative
NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) Committee on Disarmament
(Monitoring disarmament progress at the UN.)
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament
Reaching Critical Will
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Union of Concerned Scientists

International Institutions:
The African Union
The Arctic Council
The Commonwealth
La Francophonie
Organization of American States
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
UN & International Law
United Nations
United Nations News

Missile Control Technology Regime:
Arms Control Association site
FAS site
MCTR chronology (pdf file)
SIPRI site
United States government site

Nuclear Posture Review:
Carnegie Endowment report
Disarmament Diplomacy article
IPPNW report: How the NPR Repudiates the NPT
Physicians for Social Responsibility article
Ploughshares Letter to the Prime Minister, march 2002
Western States Legal Foundation article

Peace Publications:
Most of our supporting groups publish regular newsletters – so we encourage you to join a group and get their information. CNANW members.
Arms Control Today is the Magaizine of the Arms Control Association (USA).
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a well-respected American publication covering nuclear weapons issues, other weapons of mass destruction and international affairs.
Disarmament Diplomacy is the the journal of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy since 1997.
Peace Magazine is an important national publication providing a discussion of current issues on war and peace.
Ploughshares Monitor is the magazine of Project Ploughshares, a national peace education and research group operated out of a head office in Waterloo, Ontario. The Ploughshares Monitor is published quarterly and contains excellent academic, educational and activist information. For further information, email:

Poll of Canadian public opinion on nuclear weapons (1998)
May 2002 Global Poll Shows World Perceived As More Dangerous Place

Treaty Sites:
Federation of American Scientists arms control agreements site
Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament
Treaty texts
UN treaty site

Verification Sites:
Cooperative Monitoring center run out of Sandia
Dismantling the Bomb and Managing the Nuclear Materials
UNIDIR ongoing projects: Handbook on Verification and Compliance,
Tactical Nuclear Weapons Project, Fissile Materials, Missiles and Missile Defences,
Expert Group on Missiles
VERTIC promotes effective and efficient verification as a means of ensuring confidence in the implementation of international agreements.

Weapon site maps/Mapping the effects of nuclear bombs:
Blast mapper 
Historical map of military fissile material and nuclear weapons programs
Nuclear radiation effects (Joint U.S.-Japan site)
Nuclear weapon effects
Snapshot of what a nuclear attack on Russia would do
Study on deaths at a nuclear weapon production facility
US Active NW sites

Other Sources:
“Battle for the Planet”, Report of the Third Global Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates
Canada, NATO and Nuclear Weapons, by Senator Douglas Roche, O.C.
Canadian Department of National Defence (DND)
Find Your Member of Parliament
Genie in the Bottle video
Guidelines for Circulating Petitions
MPI Consultation Report: “Priorities for Preserving the NPT”
Priorities for Preserving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the New Strategic Context


International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons – September 26
In recognition of this first ever “International Day” we have organized letters to the Prime Minister calling for Canada to engage in negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention. The Letter on Legal Issues is endorsed by four former Ambassadors of Disarmament and Professors of Law and Political Science. The second Letter is endorsed by 21 Canadian civil society groups.

Letter on Legal Issues, September 25, 2014: [.doc english] [.doc français]

Letter to the Prime Minister: Negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Convention,
September 26, 2014
[.doc english][.doc francais]

Progress Towards Nuclear Disarmament? [.doc]
Summary of CNANW Meeting, May 2014



How many nuclear weapons are there in the world?

Globally there are now  approximately 17,300 nuclear warheads.
(Upated as of early 2013)

Russia 8,500
United States 7,700
France 300
China 250
United Kingdom 225
Israel 80
Pakistan 100-120
India 90-110
North Korea <10

Estimated Total:  17,300

This total is from the Federation of American Scientists source:

(FAS data is from the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,
and the nuclear appendix in the SIPRI Yearbook.)

This is a decrease from the global high of 70,000 nuclear warheads in 1986.

For updates or comparisons, go to:

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Center for Defense Information (Washington)

SIPRI Media Release of 16 June 2014:
Nuclear Forces reduced, while modernization continues, says SIPRI

(Note that where there are discrepancies about numbers, you may wish to check the above sources and compare.)

To view the world Proliferation Status and Warheads (2007) map (a list of countries Possessing Ballistic Missiles, and how many) go to The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace site here 

For a graphic idea of the number of nuclear weapons currently in the US arsenal, have a look at the “ball bearing demonstration”:



CNANW Meeting, May 2014

Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) Meeting
May 13 and 14, 2014

Representatives of 10 of the CNANW’s member groups met in Ottawa for a lively update on recent progress and a highly informed discussion on the proposals for legal options with respect to nuclear weapons.

Paul Dewar, M.P., recently elected Global Co-President of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), joined us to provide a briefing on recent work of that group.  He had participated in the recent Annual Assembly of PNND in Washington in February 25-27, 2014.  We are pleased to hear of the appointment of two new CoChairpersons of PNND Canada, Linda Duncan, M.P. (NDP) and Blaine Calkins, M.P. (Cons.) both Albertans. Mr. Dewar encouraged us to continue with education of the public and of MPs through direct meetings and especially fora such as the Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs and National Defence.

Good news was shared of an Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) resolution from the March 20, 2014 meeting that involved representatives of 160 Parliaments. Blaine Calkins M.P. of Canada worked for this resolution called Toward a Nuclear Weapon Free World: The Contribution of Parliaments. One of the recommendations was that “parliaments urge their governments to start negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention or on a package of agreements to help achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world.” PNND are exploring through national conferences how to implement the resolution.  Hedy Fry M.P. is working through the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to support PNND initiatives.

The people of the Marshall Islands are suing all nine nuclear-armed states.  Background on the case and information for the media is available from Nuclear Age Peace Foundation as linked on this quite incredible David and Goliath case. We need to determine if CNANW (or its individual member groups will endorse the action, and identify any other ways Canadians can support the action.  There is a possibility that individual affirmations might be filed with the court.  The court has yet to determine the process.

We received briefings on the recent NPT PrepCom meeting and the Nayarit, Mexico meeting on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.

We are pleased to note that there are now over 750 Order of Canada members supporting Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention.

CNANW is aiming primarily to communicate to the public and the government our deep concern over the need for Nuclear Weapons Convention by organizing activities

1) for Hiroshima/Nagasaki commemorations on Aug. 6 and 9th
2) then during the period  September 21 (International Day for Peace) and September 26 (International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons).  Project Ploughshares is willing to continue to upload worship resources for all faith groups at its website so that faith communities across Canada can have materials to use for either the International Day of Peace or the International Day for the Total Elimination for Nuclear Weapons. We hope to encourage observance of these days in all faith groups.

Thereafter we will focus on preparation for the NPT Review Conference in the spring of 2015 and the spring or fall federal election.

Our lengthiest discussion was on the Ban Treaty proposal. We had the benefit of highly informed input from three former Ambassadors for Disarmament and several other very senior experts with experience with treaty negotiations.  The Ban Treaty proponents are calling for a legal instrument setting out a prohibition against use, possession (etc.) of nuclear weapons.  But that instrument will not set out a process for verified elimination of nuclear weapons since this would require buy-in from nuclear-dependent states, which have made it clear that they consider it “premature”.  The anticipated Nuclear Weapons Convention will call for both prohibitions and a process of verified elimination of nuclear weapons.  A paper was circulated in advance setting out the implications of the Ban Treaty proposal for our work. Concern was expressed about the Ban Treaty being redundant, likely to divert scarce NGO time and resources, likely to cause confusion, and possibly disillusionment among the public.  Others argued that the Ban Treaty proposal would not only engage the public and provide a tool for progress, but might support the longstanding pursuit of a NWC, which seems impossible to achieve in the current state of affairs.

The meeting accepted a proposal that 1) CNANW should take the position that the ban treaty could encourage progress toward a multilateral treaty with specific timelines for nuclear disarmament.  2) While individual CNANW member groups may choose to emphasize a Ban Treaty or the NWC, they are encouraged to be informed on implications of their options to practice “truth in advocacy” in public education and to clarify what process and results are being sought (thus, a ban with or without the elimination of nuclear weapons).  3) As a network, CNANW will continue to focus on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.  4)  Activists are encouraged to call on all states to comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, recognizing that the prohibitions and safeguards it creates are restricting the spread of nuclear weapons.

Congratulations to Doug Roche on the launch of his new book Peacemakers: How People Around the World Are Building a World Free of War.

For more information on the work of CNANW, please contact Bev Delon  at bevdelong [at]


These are PowerPoint format files:

  1. Abolition Primer
  2. Requirements for abolition
  3. Good News (Momentum)
  4. Disarmament presentation (.ppt or .key)
  5. Weapon-useable fissile material, by Annette Schaper (zipped file)
  6. Nuclear Weapons 101 (zipped file)
  7. Nuclear Weapons Basics, Level 2 (zipped file)
  8. UN Disarmament Presentation: Peace and Security Through Disarmament

“A presentation highlighting a broad range of multilateral disarmament issues and the initiatives undertaken by the international community. The presentation also includes a timeline of arms regulation treaties and a map of agreed nuclear-weapons free zones.  The imbalance of global expenditures on military compare to a host of world social and environmental problems were also shown. The first presentation provides a general view of disarmament while the second presentation provides a more in-depth introduction to disarmament.”

Have nuclear weapons ever been used?

Have nuclear weapons ever been used?

• In Hiroshima, Japan: deaths as of December 1945: 140,000 deaths
deaths calculated as of August 1996: 197,045 deaths

• In Nagasaki, Japan: deaths as of December, 1945: 74,000 deaths
• In addition, 2,045 nuclear tests have resulted both in deaths and illness for people living in the test area and in serious environmental damage.

• In the US alone, there are estimates of 49,000 deaths from radioactive fallout following nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site during the 1950s and 60s. 

• On the 2013 anniversary of the International Day against Nuclear Testing, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Ukraine,
Mr. Erlan Idrissov, published a comment in Foreign Policy Journal on Aug. 28, 2013 stating:

Kazakhstan initiated the UN resolution that led to the international
community marking August 29 as the day to reflect on nuclear
disarmament issues. The resolution commemorates the closure of the
Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August, 1991. Kazakhstan was
the first country in the world to close a nuclear test site on its
territory. Nearly 500 nuclear explosions took place at Semipalatinsk,
causing untold damage to the environment and the to the health of over
1.5 million people. The power of these explosions was equal to 2,500
atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. The radiation polluted an area
roughly the size of today’s Germany.


Douglas Roche: UN Meeting Offers Chance for Disarmament Progress

This op-ed originally appeared in Embassy magazine, September 11, 2013

UN Meeting Offers Chance for Disarmament Progress

EMBASSY, Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An unprecedented high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament will be held at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26.

For the first time in the 68-year history of the UN, heads of government or at least foreign ministers will devote their attention to “the complete elimination of nuclear weapons” as “essential to remove the danger of nuclear war.”

Though the UN resolution setting up the meeting was adopted nearly unanimously, the United States, United Kingdom and France abstained (Russia and China voted yes). Given this lack of enthusiasm by the three Western nuclear powers, what is this special meeting likely to achieve?

With world attention riveted on Syria, nuclear disarmament does not rate high in polls of public concerns. But as Syria showed with the actual use of chemical weapons, public outrage will skyrocket if an aggressor ever launches a nuclear device of some sort. Every informed observer knows that the only guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is the complete elimination of all 17,000 of such weapons still remaining.

While the international spotlight has been on Iran’s nuclear program and North Korea’s testing of nuclear weapons, the heart of the nuclear weapons problem remains the intransigence of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the same five original members of the nuclear weapons club, who each possess a veto and who could not agree on Syria.

Even though calls for nuclear disarmament escalated through the years, the nuclear weapons states have consistently dodged any real efforts for nuclear disarmament. This year alone, they boycotted a Norway government conference attended by 127 states on the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of the use of nuclear weapons, and ignored three special inter-government meetings in Geneva called to do preparatory work for negotiating the end of nuclear weapons.

The US and Russia have engaged in bilateral rounds of reductions, but the trumpeting of lower numbers has masked their continued modernization of warheads, delivery systems and infrastructure. The 2013 Yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute states that the nuclear weapons powers, which continue to deploy new nuclear weapons and delivery systems, “appear determined to retain their nuclear arsenals indefinitely.”

A double standard has deeply conflicted NATO, which continues to claim that the possession of nuclear weapons provides the “supreme guarantee” of the security of its 26 member states. At one and the same time, the NATO states reaffirm their commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty goal of nuclear disarmament and their NATO dependence on nuclear weapons.

The policies are incoherent. The US, UK and France drive NATO and have made it the world’s biggest nuclear-armed alliance. The continued deployment of US tactical nuclear bombs on the soil of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey, though resisted by growing numbers of people in those countries, is a standing provocation to Russia, which is consequently disinclined to lower its own huge numbers of tactical nuclear weapons. Russia is unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons while it is virtually surrounded by an expanding NATO.

US-Russia bilateral negotiations for deeper cuts are stalled over such issues as the US’s proposed missile defence system in Europe, the militarization of space, and the US intention to militarily dominate air, land, sea, space and cyberwarfare. Nuclear disarmament is inevitably caught up in geopolitical tensions. US President Barack Obama, who in 2009 convened the first Security Council meeting devoted to the issue, has tried to move nuclear disarmament forward, but received little support from his allies.

Maybe the nuclear powers won’t do much at the extraordinary meeting on Sept. 26, but this is definitely an opportunity for non-nuclear weapons states to make their views heard. They should demand that the long-awaited Middle East conference on removing all weapons of mass destruction from the region take place. Had this preventive diplomacy action been taken in a timely manner, the Syrian crisis might never have erupted.

In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon suggested that the international community start work on a nuclear weapons convention or a framework of instruments to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world. This work would amount to a global legal ban on all nuclear weapons.

This brings us to Canada’s role at the Sept. 26 meeting. In 2010, both the Senate and the House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion calling on the government of Canada to support Ban Ki-moon’s proposals and to launch “a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament.”

This Parliamentary action was spurred by a campaign by members of the Order of Canada, now numbering 700, who signed an appeal for the government to act on building a global ban on nuclear weapons. Many parliamentarians and Order of Canada members have united in calling on Canada to host a meeting in Ottawa of like-minded states to push this work forward. The Middle Powers Initiative, a civil society organization working with middle power states on this issue, convened such a meeting in Berlin earlier this year.

Canada has an opportunity on Sept. 26 to make an important contribution to the verified elimination of nuclear weapons, before the world experiences another crisis over weapons of mass destruction. It should be remembered that Foreign Minister John Baird was, at the time, the government house leader who pushed through Parliament the unanimous motion calling for action.

Former Senator Douglas Roche, author of How We Stopped Loving the Bomb, is working on a new book on world peace issues, to be published in early 2014.


A legal obligation to ban nuclear weapons

a. Global citizens need a promise from the Nuclear Weapon States to eliminate the nuclear weapons they possess.

DONE! This promise was originally given in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the “NPT”). Under the NPT, all States Parties have agreed as follows:

Article VI: Each of the parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

This promise was confirmed in May 2000 at the Review Conference on the NPT. All 187 States Parties to the NPT agreed on 13 practical steps for the implementation of Article VI of the NPT. Step 6 reads as follows:
6. An unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-wean States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all States parties are committed under Article VI.

b. Global citizens had to make clear that nuclear weapons are illegal.

In response to a citizens’ action called The World Court Project, the UN General Assembly called upon the International Court of Justice (the “ICJ” or “World Court”) to render an advisory opinion on the legality of the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. The , The ICJ advised on July 8, 1996 that:

“…the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law”.

The Court stated it could not reach “…a definitive conclusion as to the legality or illegality of the use of nuclear weapons by a State in an extreme circumstance of self-defence, in which its very survival would be at stake”.

But the Court said that any use of any weapons is bound by the rules of international humanitarian law. These rules require that the use of any weapon:

  • • must be proportional to the initial attack,
  • • must be necessary for effective self-defence,
  • • must not be directed at civilians or civilian objects,
  • • must be used in a manner that makes it possible to discriminate between military targets and civilian non-targets,
  • • must not cause unnecessary or aggravated suffering to combatants,
  • • must not affect States that are not parties to the conflict, and
  • • must not cause severe, widespread, or long-term damage to the environment.

    This is just a partial list of the rules established by the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions which govern the use of weapons during war.

    Thus the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons has, for all practical purposes, been declared illegal by the Court. We ignore that law at the peril of all humanity.

    c. Global citizens had to make clear that negotiations on a ban are to begin and be concluded.

    DONE! The International Court of Justice in its July 8, 1996 Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons examined Art. VI of the NPT and concluded:

    “Unanimously, 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 control.”

    Thus all states are obligated to start and conclude negotiations for nuclear disarmament.

    The Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice:

Canada, IHL and Nuclear Weapons, a Brief History: here

d. The development of international humanitarian law has made even stronger the call for a global legal ban on nuclear weapons.

In 2010, the Swiss and Austrian governments funded work by the Monterey Institute on the implications of international humanitarian law on nuclear weapons. They have published Delegitimizing Nuclear Weapons: Examining the Validity of Nuclear Deterrence.

2011, a meeting of international lawyers concluded with the publication of the Vancouver Declaration: Law’s Imperative for the Urgent Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World which notes that recent progress in the development of international humanitarian law makes even more imperative work on a global ban on nuclear weapons. That Declaration in part said:

The ICJ’s declaration that nuclear weapons are subject to international humanitarian law was affirmed by the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. In its Final Document approved by all participating states, including the nuclear-weapon states, the Conference “expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and reaffirms the need for all states at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.”

It is unconscionable that nuclear-weapon states acknowledge their obligation to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons but at the same time refuse to commence and then “bring to a conclusion,” as the ICJ unanimously mandated, “negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.”

In statements made during the 2010 NPT Review Conference, one hundred and thirty countries called for a convention prohibiting and eliminating nuclear weapons globally. And the Conference collectively affirmed in its Final Document “that all states need to make special efforts to establish the necessary framework to achieve and maintain a world without nuclear weapons,” and noted the “five-point proposal for nuclear disarmament of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, 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 of verification.”

An “absolute evil,” as the President of the ICJ called nuclear weapons, requires an absolute prohibition.


Brief history of International Humanitarian Law, Nuclear Weapons, and the Canadian Government

At the 2010 Review Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the delegates agreed on text considered somewhat progressive that read as follows:

“v. The Conference expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian  consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and reaffirms the need for all States at all times to comply with applicable international law, including international humanitarian law.”

Information on the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) rules can be found at the International Committee of the Red Cross website and are summarized in Appendix A.

In February, 2011, the Vancouver Declaration was developed with the input of a conference in Vancouver, Canada, organized by The Simons Foundation and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. Signed by eminent experts in international law and diplomacy, the Vancouver Declaration affirms that nuclear weapons are incompatible with international humanitarian law, the law stating what is universally prohibited in warfare. The declaration observes that with their uncontrollable blast, heat, and radiation effects, nuclear weapons are indeed weapons of mass destruction that by their nature cannot comply with fundamental rules forbidding the infliction of indiscriminate and disproportionate harm. ….[T]he declaration concludes by calling on states to commence and conclude negotiations on the global prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons as mandated by the legal obligation unanimously proclaimed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1996. An annex to the declaration specifying  the applicable law states: “It cannot be lawful to continue indefinitely to possess weapons which are unlawful to use or threaten to use, are already banned for most states, and are subject to an obligation of elimination.” (Excerpted from Media Release from the conference.)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Council of Delegates Resolution 1 of 2011 regarding nuclear weapons:

In 2011, the ICRC Council of Delegates passed an historic Resolution 1 calling for action on nuclear weapons. The Council’s resolution:

“1. emphasizes the incalculable human suffering that can be expected to result from any use of nuclear weapons, the lack of any adequate humanitarian response capacity and the absolute imperative to prevent such use;

  1. finds it difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international humanitarian law, in particular the rules of distinction, precaution and proportionality;
  2. appeals to all States:
    • to ensure that nuclear weapons are never again used, regardless of their views on the legality of such weapons,
    • -to pursue in good faith and conclude with urgency and determination negotiations to prohibit the use of and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement, based on existing commitments and international obligations,…”

Norway then decided to hold a conference in 2013 on the Impact of Humanitarian Law on Nucleqr Weapons. Many states, including Canada, attended. We have not as yet been provided with a copy of Canada’s statement at that meeting.

In the ICRC news release published just prior to the Oslo conference, they commented:

“The sheer number of people likely to be in need of help would be enormous. The challenges involved in bringing relief to survivors in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion would be immense,” said ICRC President Peter Maurer. “To name only a few, humanitarian agencies would need to organize the triage, treatment and possible decontamination of very large numbers of injured victims, many of them severely burned, and their transfer out of affected areas. There would also be significant concerns about the safety of those providing assistance and the risk associated with their exposure to ionizing radiation.”

These points were raised in a study of the ICRC’s capacity, and that of other agencies, to assist victims of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical weapons. The study concluded that it is highly unlikely that the massive investments required to expand the capability to provide effective relief would ever be made and, if they nevertheless were made, they would likely remain inadequate. This finding should not, however, discourage efforts to meet the challenges and to be in a position to provide as much assistance as possible.

The  ICRC’s Information Note is a major statement on absence of assistance should such a disaster occur.

Online you can find the Chairperson’s summary of the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (conference), Oslo, 4 – 5 March 2013 wherein these “key points can be discerned”:

  • It is unlikely that any state or international body could address the immediate humanitarian emergency caused by a nuclear weapon detonation in an adequate manner and provide sufficient assistance to those affected. Moreover, it might not be possible to establish such capacities, even if it were attempted.
  • The historical experience from the use and testing of nuclear weapons has demonstrated their devastating immediate and long-term effects. While political circumstances have changed, the destructive potential of nuclear weapons remains.
  • The effects of a nuclear weapon detonation, irrespective of cause, will not be constrained by national borders, and will affect states and people in significant ways, regionally as well as globally.

South Africa has been working since the Oslo Conference to build consensus on a summary statement on IHL and Nuclear weapons. Their statement was read April 24, 2013 in the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting in Geneva. Eighty countries supported the statement but not Canada. However discouraging this might be, it is important to note that Canada did comment on IHL and nuclear weapons in two other statements.

As a member of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative, Canada’s views were part of a statement by that group presented by the Netherlands in this speech which included these comments:

“The members of the NPDI participated in the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Weapons that took place in Oslo, Norway on March 4th and 5th 2013. The NPDI remains deeply the risk for humanity represented by the possibility that nuclear weapons could be used and by catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from their use. The discussions at the Conference illustrated once more the devastating immediate and long-term humanitarian weapon detonation. We welcome the offer of Mexico to convene a follow-up conference on this issue.”

And then again at the NPT  on April 25th, Amb. Golberg’s statement on behalf of Canada during the Cluster One debates included these comments:

“Canada shares the concern expressed in South Africa’s earlier statement about the humanitarian consequences that would result from the use of nuclear weapons. Canada welcomed the March 2013 conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held Oslo, as an opportunity for valuable fact-based discussions on these consequences and on humanitarian preparedness for a nuclear weapons detonation. We welcome the offer of Mexico to convene a follow-up conference on this issue.”

Bev Delong
June 11,  2013

Appendix A.

Nuclear Weapons and Compliance with International Humanitarian Law and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Charles J. Moxley Jr.,* John Burroughs,** and Jonathan Granoff



  1. Summary of the Main Rules of International Humanitarian Law

Applicable to Nuclear Weapons

The following is a summary of key rules of IHL applicable to nuclear and other weapons.

            The rule of distinction/discrimination prohibits the use of a weapon that cannot discriminate in its effects between military targets and noncombatant persons and objects. It is unlawful to

use weapons whose effects are incapable of being controlled and therefore cannot be directed against a military target. If the state cannot maintain such control over the weapon, it cannot ensure that such use will comply with the rule of discrimination and may not lawfully use the weapon.

The rule of proportionality prohibits the use of a weapon whose potential collateral effects upon noncombatant persons or objects would likely be disproportionate to the value of the

military advantage anticipated by the attack. The rule of proportionality requires that a state using a weapon be able to control the effects of the weapon. If the state cannot control such effects, it cannot ensure that the collateral effects of the attack will be proportional to the anticipated military advantage.

The rule of necessity provides that a state may only use such a level of force as is necessary to achieve the military objective of the particular strike. Any additional level of force is unlawful.

            The corollary rule of controllability provides that a state may not use a weapon if its effects cannot be controlled because, in such circumstances, it would be unable to believe that the particular use of the weapon would comply with the rules of distinction, proportionality, or necessity.

International law on reprisals provides, at a minimum, that a state may not engage in even limited violations of the law of armed conflict in response to an adversary’s violation of such law,

unless such acts of reprisal would meet requirements of necessity and proportionality and be solely intended to compel the adversary to adhere to the law of armed conflict. The reprisal must be necessary to achieve that purpose and proportionate to the violation against which it is directed. These requirements of necessity and proportionality for a lawful reprisal are analogous to the requirements of necessity and proportionality (discussed immediately below) for the lawful exercise of the right of self-defense.

A state’s right of self-defense is subject to requirements of necessity and proportionality under customary international law and the Charter of the United Nations. A state’s use of force in

the exercise of self-defense is also subject to the requirements of IHL, including the requirements of distinction, proportionality and necessity, and the corollary requirement of controllability.

            International law as to individual and command liability provides that military, government, and even private industrial personnel are subject to criminal conviction for violation of the

law of armed conflict if they knowingly or recklessly participate in or have supervisory responsibility over violators of the law of armed conflict. Such potential criminal liability of commanders extends not only to what the commanders knew but also to what they “should have known” concerning the violation of law.