Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 15 Nov 2017: Canada must take extreme care not to aid the nuclear states

Dear Prime Minister,

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) writes respectfully to urge you to reconsider your present opposition to the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on July 7, 2017. We have taken note of various statements by Governmental representatives and particularly the arguments advanced in the October 5 letter to CNWC from the Foreign Minister, the Hon. Chrystia Freeland.

We recognize this Treaty as a milestone on the long quest for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and thus take strong exception to your characterization of the Treaty as “useless.” We deeply regret your Government’s failure to recognize the validity and importance of the Treaty, agreed to by a majority of the world’s states, which creates a legally binding instrument to prohibit the possession and use of nuclear weapons – paralleling the treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons. The elimination of all nuclear weapons, and an end to the military doctrine of nuclear deterrence, is an objective that Canada has long shared with the international community, knowing that the use of even one of the 15,000 nuclear weapons still in existence would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The tenacity with which nuclear weapon states seek to retain and even “modernize” weapons whose use would be in direct violation of international humanitarian law, makes a mockery of the solemn commitments they made and legal obligations they assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Canada must take extreme care not to aid them in their abdication of responsibility.

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Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 8 May 2017: Canadian Leadership and Action on Nuclear Disarmament Urgently Needed

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the more than one hundred undersigned, all having been honoured by appointment to the Order of Canada, appeal to you and your Government to give urgent attention and leadership to re-energizing nuclear disarmament in the face of mounting nuclear dangers. Any such efforts will win the overwhelming support of Canadians.

The world has entered its most dangerous nuclear moment since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis As former US Defense Secretary William Perry has concluded, “The likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

North Korea’s violations of its Security Council obligations and its irresponsible nuclear attack threats are now matched by reckless counter-threats; the world’s disarmament machinery suffers from a severe loss of confidence; the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has failed to deliver on its promise of abolition: the arsenals of the major powers are being “modernized” instead of dismantled; NATO, including its non-nuclear weapons members, continues to embrace nuclear deterrence: the risk of deliberate nuclear weapons use is compounded by the growing dangers of miscalculation and accidental nuclear attack…. [Continue reading (pdf)]

Canada must join new negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons

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Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) calls on the Government of Canada to participate actively in the new nuclear disarmament negotiations at the United Nations starting March 27. These negotiations, supported by a majority of states of the world and open to all countries, aim to produce a treaty prohibiting all nuclear weapons.

The urgency of this action was highlighted January 26, 2017, when the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight – closer than the clock has been since 1953 when the Cold War heated up following U.S. and Russian detonations of thermonuclear bombs.

The new set of meetings at the U.N., the most significant nuclear disarmament move in twenty years, offers hope that all countries will recognize the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of any of the 15,000 nuclear weapons still in existence.

Canada must overcome its initial reluctance to support this new humanitarian effort. The government’s negative vote on the U.N. resolution mandating comprehensive negotiations was a denial of the country’s long track record of working constructively for nuclear disarmament.

CNWC rejects the government’s argument that such negotiations are “premature.” Rather, the major nuclear powers have undermined the Non-Proliferation Treaty by their refusal for almost 50 years to meet their legal obligation to negotiate in good faith the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Canada, which seeks to play a greater role in U.N. affairs, cannot be just an observer on an issue affecting the continuation of life on the planet. It has an obligation to engage seriously in the new effort to rid the world of weapons that threaten the existence of humanity. It must join actively in the new negotiations to find a legal path to prohibit all nuclear weapons.

The names of members of the CNWC who have endorsed this statement appear below.

Jan Andrews, CM Tom Axworthy, OC Christopher Barnes, CM Gerry Barr, CM Michel Bastarache, CC Monique Begin, OC Avie Bennett, CC Ed Broadbent, CC Robert Carsen, OC Elaine Carty, CM Jan Christilaw, CM Paul Copeland, CM Gisele Cote-Harper, OC Anne Crocker, CM David Cronenberg, CC
Sir John Daniel, OC Libby Davies, OC Natalie Davis, CC Shelagh Day, CM Thomas DeKoninck, CM Howard Dyck, CM Paterson Ferns, CM Nigel Fisher, OC Norman Foster, OC Robert Glossop, CM Clarence Guenter, CM Judith Hall, OC Margaret Hilson, OC Greg Hollingshead, CM Laurent Isabelle, CM
Dan Ish, OC Sven Johansson, CM Harold Kalant, CM Bruce Kidd, OC Bonnie Klein, OC Michael Klein, CM Joy Kogawa, CM Lucia Kowaluk, CM Marcel Kretz, CM James Kudelka, OC Eva Kushner, OC John Last, OC Dennis Lee, OC Barbara Sherwood Lollar, CC Janet Lunn, CM Margaret MacMillan, CC
Peter Martin, OC David Matas, OC Elizabeth May, OC Gordon McBean, OC Audrey McLaughlin, OC Jonathan Meakins, OC John Meisel, CC Ann Mortifee, CM Jock Murray, OC Alex Neve, OC Peter Newbery, OC John O’Donnell, CM Maureen O’Neil, OC James Orbinski, OC Landon Pearson, OC John Polanyi, CC
Kari Polanyi, CM Alfred Popp, CM Valerie Pringle, CM Ernie Regehr, OC Douglas Roche, OC Nancy Ruth, CM Jack Shapiro, CM Michael Shenstone, CM David Silcox, CM Ian Smillie, CM Gérard Snow, CM Veronica Tennant, CC Murray Thomson, OC Setsuko Thurlow, CM Jane Urquhart, OC Lois Wilson, CC

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a project of Canadian Pugwash Group, is a civil society  group representing nearly 950 members of the Order of Canada, who have asked the Canadian  government to undertake a major diplomatic initiative for nuclear disarmament.

Welcome – Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention

800 Order of Canada recipients endorse call for CNWC

As of 31 October 2017, 1002 members of the Order of Canada have joined an initiative led by John Polanyi, C.C., Douglas Roche, O.C., Murray Thomson, O.C. and Ernie Regehr, O.C., calling for international negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention — a verifiable treaty on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

Download a FREE copy of Minutes to Midnight: Why more than 800 Order of Canada recipients call for Nuclear Disarmament by Murray Thomson, O.C.

Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau of October 4, 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

The undersigned, members of the Steering Committee of Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, supported by 916 members of the Order of Canada, respectfully write to urge the Government of Canada to vote yes to the resolution, “Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations,” at the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in October…. [read more of Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau from CNWC]

Media release: International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

On the occasion of The United Nations’ First International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) draws attention to:

The 2010 Parliamentary Motions Motion passed unanimously by the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons [Motion Senate House bilingual revised December 2010]. These motions were developed and supported by the background efforts of CNWC.

CNWC operates under the umbrella of the Canadian Pugwash Group.


Media Release: Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention Urges Canadian Leadership In Abolishing Nuclear Weapons

EN: CNWC Media Release 25 Sep 2014]
FR: Communiqué du Rassemblement canadien pour une convention sur les armes nucléaire, le 25 sép 2014