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  • June 2nd, 2016

New Liberal Party policy on nuclear disarmament

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Due in large measure to the tireless efforts of Judith (Judy) Berlyn, long-time peace activist and member of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada, an extremely progressive resolution calling for Canada to take a leadership role in advancing global efforts toward nuclear disarmament was adopted at the recent federal Liberal policy convention in Winnipeg.

The Resolution, entitled Canada and a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, reads as follows:

WHEREAS there are still at least 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, whose very existence constitutes an unprecedented threat to the continuation of life on Earth as we know it;WHEREAS nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction not yet banned by international agreement;

WHEREAS as a member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)(1970), Canada has an international treaty obligation “to pursue negotiations” for the total elimination of nuclear weapons (NPT, Article VI);

WHEREAS the International Court of Justice ruled on July 8, 1996: i) that this NPT commitment is a legal obligation under international law, and ii) that it is generally illegal to use nuclear weapons, or even threaten to use them;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to:

  • comply more fully both with its international treaty obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and with the International Court of Justice ruling of July 8, 1996, by playing a pro-active role in achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world;
  • emulate the Ottawa Process (which led to the banning of land mines) by convening an international conference to commence negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would ban nuclear weapons — akin to the Biological Weapons Convention (1975) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (1997).

To date the Trudeau government has simply been parroting the same stale positions on nuclear disarmament mouthed by the former Harper regime.  Let us fervently hope that the clear wishes of the Liberal Party rank and file, not to mention of Canadians more generally, for a new approach by our new government will soon be acted upon.

Photo credit: ICAN

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