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  • June 21st, 2016

Call to Action by Five Former Canadian Disarmament Ambassadors

Nuclear Free NATO

In a Commentary in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Five former Canadian Ambassadors for Disarmament, Douglas Roche, Peggy Mason, Chris Westdal, Paul Meyer and Marius Grinius, under four different Prime Ministers, outline what Canada can do to help eliminate nuclear weapons.

How did the world move from the “downward” trend of nuclear weapons [in the 1990s] to an “upward” shift? … The question that preoccupies us, as former Canadian ambassadors for disarmament, is what can be done to get nuclear disarmament back on track and, particularly, what can the new Canadian government do to move the process forward?

To that end they throw their support behind a recent initiative of the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW). The network recently issued a “2016 CNANW Call to Action,” urging the Canadian government to sponsor a resolution this fall at the UN General Assembly “to negotiate a comprehensive, legally binding Convention that prohibits nuclear weapons and requires their verifiable elimination.”

A UN process now underway in Geneva is laying the groundwork for a new international treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. So if Canada acted, it would by no means be alone. A new humanitarian movement of countries deeply concerned about the catastrophic effects of the use of any one of the 15,800 nuclear weapons is growing. The stickler is NATO, which maintains, in its Strategic Concept, that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of security.

The new Canadian government, which clearly wants to advance the broad UN agenda, will have to decide if its allegiance to an outmoded NATO policy is stronger than its commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, whose members have made an “unequivocal undertaking” toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

For the full article on how Canada can expand its nuclear diplomacy to forge a path to a nuclear weapons-free world, click Disarmament ambassadors: Here’s how Canada can help eliminate nuclear weapons (Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 2016).

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