There is a growing consensus expressed by world leaders on the urgent need for ridding the world of nuclear weapons. A Nuclear Weapons Convention is widely recognized as the best negotiating process yet devised to bring about total nuclear disarmament. Leaders have supported the public campaign for zero nuclear weapons led by the Global Zero movement. Explore these links to other organizations pursuing goals of total nuclear disarmament.

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Experts urge Canadian leadership to ban nuclear weapons

(Ottawa) The Canadian government should join a new international effort to construct a global legal ban on all nuclear weapons, concluded disarmament experts meeting in Ottawa.

“Canada should host a meeting of governments and civil society experts to prepare for negotiations for universal, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament as called for by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,” said former Senator Douglas Roche, Canada’s former UN Ambassador for Disarmament.

Five Canadian civil society organizations urged the Canadian government to act on motions already adopted by both the Senate and the House of Commons calling on the government “to deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative” for nuclear disarmament.

The expert seminar, held April 11th and 12th, was attended by diplomats from 20 embassies, parliamentarians, and government officials to consider the threat posed to Canadians and all global citizens by the 22,000 nuclear weapons still in existence.

Calling for negotiations to start on a legal ban on all nuclear weapons, Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament at the U.N., said use of any nuclear weapon would be “an egregious violation of the most fundamental tenets of international humanitarian law and the laws of war.”

Amb. Richard Butler, Middle Powers Initiative chairman, said Canada has a special role to play because it has the standing to stimulate informal discussions on the legal, technical and political requisites for a nuclear weapons free world that can set the stage for major international negotiations later on. He said the Middle Powers Organization would be prepared to work with Canada in going forward.

Diplomats from the UK, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria responded to H.R. Duarte. Nicolas Brühl, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland stated: “[Nuclear weapons] are fundamentally immoral because they cause massive and indiscriminate destruction in terms of human lives, material resources and consequences for the environment. They are illegal by their very nature with regard to international humanitarian law.”

Dr. John Burroughs of Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy noted the recent Vancouver Declaration that clarifies that both the use, and threat of use, of nuclear weapons breach international humanitarian law.

“A practical and single-focused process leading to a global legal ban on nuclear weapons provides the way to safely rid the world of all nuclear weapons in a secure manner.” said Beverley Delong of Lawyers for Social Responsibility. “And Canada has a unique opportunity to lead the way.”

This seminar was sponsored by the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Canadian Pugwash, Physicians for Global Survival, Project Ploughshares, and World Federalist Movement – Canada.

Expert Seminar: Toward a Nuclear Weapons Convention: A Role for Canada” April 11, 12, 2011.



The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament at (780) 466-8072 or cell (780) 984-8292

Mr. Ernie Regehr, O.C., Research Fellow, Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo at phone 519-579-4735 or Mobile: 519-591-4421

Appeals by Interested Parties

Many contributors over the years have provided insights into the prevention and resolution of armed conflict, including nuclear abolition and nuclear and conventional disarmament.

Advisory Panel

  • Carolyn Acker, CM, RN, MA, DSchc. Toronto, ON Founder, Pathways to Education Canada
  • Bruce Aikenhead, OC, B.Sc, AFCASI, P.Eng. Salmon Arm, BC Architect & Space Engineer
  • Christopher Barnes, CM, PhD, DSc, FRSC, P Geo. Victoria, BC Earth Scientist
  • Gerald Barr, CM. Ottawa, ON   CEO, Directors Guild of Canada; former President, CCIC
  • Michel Bastarache, CC, LL.L, LL.B, DES. Ottawa, ON former Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Tony Belcourt, OC, LLD. Ottawa, ON Advocate for Metis rights
  • Paul Copeland, CM. Toronto, ON Human Rights Lawyer
  • Gisèle Côté-Harper, OC. Québec, QC Lawyer. Board Chair, Rights & Democracy
  • Nigel Fisher, OC, O.Ont, MSC, MA, LLD. Salt Spring Island, BC Humanitarian, former head of UN Mission in Haiti
  • Margaret Hilson, OC, MES, RN. Vancouver, BC former Head, International Program, CPHA
  • Daniel Ish, OC.  Saskatoon, SK Former Chief Adjudicator, Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat
  • Pierre Jeanniot, OC, CQ, B.Sc, LL.D Montreal, QC, President Emeritus of Air Canada & CEO,IATA
  • Bruce Kidd, OC, Ph.D. Toronto, ON Former Olympic Athlete; Dean of Physical Edn, U of Toronto
  • Patrick Lane, OC. North Saanich, BC Award-winning Canadian Poet
  • Margaret MacMillan, OC, D.Phil, LL.D, FRSL Oxford, UK Historian, Author
  • Elizabeth May, OC, LL.B. Ottawa, ON Leader of Green Party of Canada; was Exec. Dir., Sierra Club
  • Audrey McLaughlin, PC, OC., MSW, LL.D. Whitehorse, YT Was Leader of NDP
  • Alex Neve, OC. Ottawa, ON Lawyer & Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada
  • Landon Pearson, OC. Ottawa, ON Author on Children’s Rights; Former Senator
  • Nancy Ruth, CM, MA, LL.D. Toronto, ON Senator and Philanthropist
  • Jennifer Simons, CM. Vancouver, BC Founder & President, The Simons Foundation
  • Gérard Snow, CM., L.Ph., LL.B; trad.a. Moncton, NB Lawyer & Jurilinguist
  • Setsuko Thurlow, CM, MSW. Toronto, ON Founder, Japanese Family Services
  • Jean Vanier, CC., BOC, D.Ph. Paris, France Theologian; founder of L’Arche
  • Lois Wilson, CC, O.Ont, M.Div, LLD. Toronto, ON President, Cdn. & World Councils of Churches


Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention is a project of the Canadian Pugwash Group.

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There is a growing consensus expressed by world leaders on the urgent need for ridding the world of nuclear weapons, well expressed by the Global Zero movement. A Nuclear Weapons Convention is widely recognized as the best negotiating process yet devised to bring about nuclear disarmament. In a recent speech to the UN General Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that “All parties to the Non Proliferation Treaty could consider negotiating a nuclear weapons convention, backed by a strong verification system, as has long been proposed at the United Nations.” However, the vision of the elimination of all nuclear weapons, put forward by President Obama and many others today, requires the political will of governments for it to be achieved.

Accordingly, we call on all member States of the United Nations – including Canada – to endorse, and begin negotiations for, a Nuclear Weapons Convention as proposed by the UN Secretary-General in his five-point plan for nuclear disarmament.


Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) seeks to inform and educate Canadians on the increasing danger of nuclear proliferation and nuclear war. We support and endorse the UN Secretary-General’s five point plan for nuclear disarmament, including the endorsement of a nuclear weapons convention. We seek to engender political will by educational means, resulting in the adoption of a nuclear weapons convention as a component of Canadian foreign policy. We are non-partisan, open to all members of the Order of Canada, and are focused on this single issue.

Growing Support: There is a growing consensus expressed by world leaders on the urgent need for ridding the world of nuclear weapons, well expressed by the Global Zero movement. A Nuclear Weapons Convention is widely recognized as the best negotiating process yet devised to bring about nuclear disarmament.

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