Canadian diplomacy urgently needed for nuclear disarmament


The destructive power of nuclear weapons cannot be contained in space or time. They have the potential to destroy all civilisation and the entire ecosystem of the planet. (International Court of Justice, 1996)

In the days before the 71st anniversary of the horrific Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings, on August 6th and 9th respectively, we must reflect on how we can move away from the nuclear brink.

15,350 nuclear weapons remain in the arsenals of nine states, approximately 1,800 of which are on “high alert” status and can be launched within minutes.

Worse still, the United States has committed to a massive, one trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization programme, with the other nuclear weapons states following suit to one degree or another. The latest to commit to a hugely costly modernization programme is the United Kingdom. For an impassioned argument on the illegality of the use of nuclear weapons, published on the eve of the UK parliamentary vote, see: Using Trident would be illegal, so let’s phase it out, by Geoffrey Robertson (The Guardian, 15 July 2016).

Alarming new risks include an attempted coup in Turkey involving the very military base where American tactical nuclear weapons are stored. See: The H-Bombs in Turkey by Eric Schlosser (The New Yorker, 17 July 2016).

Warns William J. Perry, former American secretary of defence, in his new book My Journey at the Nuclear Brink (Stanford Security Studies, 2016):

Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War … and most people are blissfully unaware of this danger.

In light of these alarming developments, which put the very future of the planet at risk, the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and 44 sponsoring civil society organizations, including the Rideau Institute, have issued a Call to Action to the Government of Canada to play a greater leadership role in the abolition of nuclear weapons.

We urge vigorous diplomatic action and civil society engagement towards the negotiation of a comprehensive, legally binding convention that prohibits nuclear weapons and requires their verifiable elimination.

Click here for the full text of the Call to Action and the list of sponsoring organizations.

Also be on the lookout for an email on August 5th directing you to a new petition urging the Prime Minister of Canada to lead on international nuclear disarmament efforts.


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8 Responses to “Canadian diplomacy urgently needed for nuclear disarmament”

  1. Barbara BambigerAugust 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    Thanks once again to Demetrios. I hope he/she is an old person with many savvy grandchildren following close behind!

    Why are we (Canadians) so stubbornly unwilling to take an honest look at how the USA perpetuates (far more than any other country) this insane nuclear arms race? Of course it makes no difference if Trump or Clinton becomes president. The power structure will remain the same, & they will do as the oligarchy dictates, just as Obama, the Bushes, the other Clinton, & many more have done.

    Meaningful change towards peace will never happen as long as the Western world remains in denial & insists on portraying the USA as a humane, peace-loving, & sane nation, a necessary & valued ally.

  2. Debbie AideJuly 28, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    Haven’t we had enough yet. Get rid of the nuclear weapons! We rely on our Government to keep us safe.

    • Canada JoeJuly 29, 2016 at 1:45 am #

      And who do you think owns and operates those weapons?

  3. demetriosJuly 28, 2016 at 7:38 pm #

    Presently, the worst offender of this most dangerous game of nuclear one-upmanship is by far the USA. It matters little who becomes president this November. Both candidates are beholden to a system that intends to ramp up the nuclear issue in order to claim “full spectrum dominance” and includes all types of weapons.

    By doing this, and acting covertly and aggressively, it is forcing other states to also increase their stockpiles with the most lethal and expensive weaponry, in order to not become recognized as weak and ineffectual. This is a serious problem.

    The Canadian government needs to step in to the arena of international disarmament. We must set an example and show strong initiative to achieve compliance.

  4. Gary WilkinsonJuly 28, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

    The fifties and sixties was a worrying time for us young people as the threat of nuclear war was ever present. I new people in Pr. Geo. BC who built a bomb shelter a lot of good it would have done them. As the talk of more nuclear rises again and with the threat of Trump for pres I feel sorry for my grandchildern,that they may have to go threw this or worse an actual happening.
    Gary Wilkinson

  5. Peter MalyJuly 28, 2016 at 11:54 am #

    There are enough nuclear weapons to destroy this planet what, 100 times over? This should be a no brainer for anyone with half a brain. We don’t want or need another Hiroshima or Nagasaki, EVER!!

  6. SpectatorJuly 28, 2016 at 11:10 am #

    If only the UN did not have the ‘veto’, and if only UN was truly democratic, and if only UN is allowed to be independent, humane and for the ‘world’, one could have common-sense discussions and work towards the betterment of the World and Nature. It is truly sad that our political bodies and financial empires still insist on staying in their nightmarish adolescence and “As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods; They kill us for their sport. (King Lear, 4.1.41-42)”


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