In an article which first appeared in Wednesday’s Hill Times, former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament Doug Roche delivered a stinging rebuke to the Liberal government for its recent actions in the Geneva Conference on Disarmament. See Canada Turns Back on UN Nuclear Disarmament Plan (Douglas Roche, 24 August 2016).
The focus of his concern was the vote by Canada in the Geneva Open-ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament against nuclear disarmament negotiations. Writes former Ambassador Roche:
The government turned its back on an important nuclear disarmament initiative and sided with the nuclear weapons states that want to keep and modernize their nuclear arsenals for the rest of the 21st century.
Canadian Tariq Rauf, one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear disarmament and head of the Disarmament, Arms Control, and Non-proliferation Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, went even further, saying Trudeau “seems disengaged on nuclear arms control” and that the present government has “undermined” the nuclear disarmament work so valiantly championed by Pierre Trudeau.
This astounding action by Canada comes just as nuclear disarmament experts are gearing up for a conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, which will take place on 28-29 August.
In the words of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who will open the conference:
We hope to capitalize on the leadership Kazakhstan has been taking for a nuclear-weapon-free world. On August 29, 1991, I officially closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (also known as “The Polygon”), which had been the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons.
This conference will bring together parliamentarians and mayors from around the world, along with a selection of religious leaders, government officials, disarmament experts, policy analysts, civil society campaigners, and representatives of international and regional organisations (UN, OSCE, ICRC, etc.) to build political will and traction for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.
Among those in attendance will be Rideau Institute President and former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament Peggy Mason, who will make a presentation in Panel Session I: Security without nuclear weapons or war: “Manifesto of the World for the 21st Century”.
AND DON’T FORGET OUR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT PETITION, WHICH IS NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.
For those who have not yet signed it, please click here to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop undermining negotiations and, instead, begin to lead internationally on nuclear disarmament.