Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 09 Nov 2018: Making Nuclear Crisis De-escalation and Persistent and Intensified Disarmament Diplomacy a National Priority

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November 9, 2018

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention write in the face of a deepening global nuclear crisis to urge you and your Government to make crisis de-escalation and persistent and intensified disarmament diplomacy a national priority.

The following draws your attention to four elements of this escalating nuclear threat and identifies ways in which Canada can help move the international community, including our allies in NATO, to a more effective pursuit of the collective goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We fear, along with the International Pugwash movement, that without urgent action, we will witness the “disintegration of the current arms control regime.” And we join Pugwash in warning that “decades of effort to build an architecture of restraint are unravelling because key lessons from the early Cold War years seem to have been forgotten.”

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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.

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]

Links

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.

Other links and articles

Note: These projects are not part of the Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention initiative. We cannot be responsible for controlling the availability, accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of the information on other websites. As well, the decision to include a specific link is not intended to be an endorsement of its content or of its owner.

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.

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Contacts:

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.

Letter from Bill Siksay MP

Siksay_to_Cannon_Jan_2011

Letter from Bill Siksay MP, head of Parliamentarians for Non-proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament in Canada to the Hon Lawrence Cannon regarding Government of Canada support for the motion of the House of Commons asking Canada to engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention.

Siksay_to_Cannon_Jan_2011