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  • July 31st, 2017

Pugwash 60th Anniversary Conference

In front of Thinkers' Lodge
From 23-26 July in Halifax and Pugwash, Nova Scotia, in celebration of Canada’s 150th and the 60th anniversary of the Pugwash Conference, the Canadian Pugwash Group hosted the “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security Conference“.

Key focus areas included nuclear disarmament, multilateral peace operations, Outer Space and Cyber SecurityASATs and Space Weapons, the consequences of climate change for global security, and the Government of Canada’s recent defence and international assistance policy reviews. Click here for the full conference programme.

“The faulty doctrine of nuclear deterrence must be replaced with a sincere desire to build a global security architecture without nuclear weapons. This is a struggle of titanic proportions. But so was the struggle to end slavery, colonialism and apartheid.” (Hon. Douglas Roche)

A major theme of the conference was the implications for Canadian policy of the United Nation’s recent adoption of a landmark Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

“Canada’s opposition to the nuclear weapons ban treaty has degraded its reputation on disarmament, at home and abroad.” (Cesar Jaramillo, Project Ploughshares)

Another highlight was Cape Breton University Professor Sean Howard’s brilliant and sobering rumination on the pressing need for a “joined-up thinking” in Canadian policy around the unifying theme of disarmament.

“So the question isn’t really can international and cooperative security be combined, but why they haven’t been. And the answer is war.” (Sean Howard)

“And war profiteers.” (Peggy Mason)

The conference’s working groups produced a number of important recommendations, including the key policy steps needed to enable Canada to sign and ratify the new treaty.

“Noting the historic adoption July 7, 2017 at the United Nations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which prohibits, inter alia, the development, testing, production, manufacturing and possession of nuclear weapons; using or threatening to use nuclear weapons; assisting, encouraging or inducing in any way, anyone to engage in any prohibited activity,

Noting that Canada endorses the current NATO doctrine of nuclear deterrence,

Deploring that the Government of Canada has so far taken a position opposing the new Treaty,

Calls on the Government of Canada to:

1. Sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons with an accompanying statement that Canada will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty, with a view to Canada ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible.”  (Excerpt from CPG Nuclear Disarmament resolution)

Another recommendation calls for a high-level government-civil society Roundtable to explore the development of a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to sustainable peace and common security.

“Such a focus by Canada would start to give real meaning to the fine words by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in her statement to Parliament on June 6th, 2017.” (Peggy Mason)

Speakers, attendees, and the organizations they represent can now take the many lessons learned from the 2017 CPG Conference and apply them to their work in furthering Canada’s contributions to global peace and security.

Photo credit: Canadian Pugwash Group

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