Opposition parties support UN Nuclear Ban Treaty
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The Canadian government may be unable to ignore the United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty any longer if opposition parties decide to press the governing Liberals to join the treaty.
Three of the four opposition parties within Ottawa’s minority Parliament; the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Bloc Quebecois, and the Green Party, all pledged to support Canada signing and joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (or, the Nuclear Ban Treaty) in their respective Hiroshima and Nagasaki Day 75th anniversary statements.
For the Liberal Party, the Nuclear Ban Treaty was conspicuously absent from the statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Minister, reflecting the government’s ongoing opposition to the deal which was successfully negotiated at the UN in 2017. The Official Opposition Conservative Party did not release a statement.
The United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty is gaining momentum as more countries sign and ratify the first nuclear treaty in a generation. Three more countries joined the treaty on August 6, 2020: Ireland, Nigeria and the pacific island state of Niue.
- Read more from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)
As of today, the number of ratifications now stands at 44, with 83 signatories, edging closer to the 50 national governments required to sign and ratify the treaty for it to become official, or “to enter into force” using the United Nations’ terms.
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Political Party Positions on Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Weapons Abolition August 2020
Contributed by Anton Wagner
The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day Coalition (HNDC) sent letters to all the party leaders and to the Liberal Minister of Foreign Affairs and opposition Foreign Affairs Critics in Parliament asking them to send their party’s policy positions on nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons abolition.
The following is the answers we received:
François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Canada’s nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy is anchored in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons…Since its entry into force, Canada’s commitment to the NPT has been unwavering…The 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will serve as a stark reminder of the importance of eliminating nuclear weapons from the planet. Canada remains committed to constructively advancing the nuclear disarmament process and salutes the tireless efforts of activists — including Setsuko Thurlow — for their work in drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons.”François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs (Liberal Party)
Jack Harris, the NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
“The New Democratic Party supports the call for nuclear disarmament and believes that Canada should be a strong voice and force for global peace and security. We once again urge the Government of Canada to sign onto the Treaty on the Prohibition on Nuclear Weapons…With global insecurity on the rise, it is more important than ever that Canada actively support international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament. Today, on the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while we honour and remember the victims, we also celebrate anti-nuclear weapons campaigners like Setsuko Thurlow and urge Canada to sign onto the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”Jack Harris, the NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
Les députés du caucus du Bloc Québécois
“It is imperative that Canada be proactive on the issue of eliminating nuclear weapons, starting with ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Canada must also seek to convince other states to renounce nuclear weapons and to destroy their stocks in a safe manner. The two major nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, must lead by example by extending the New START agreement, which will end in February 2021 if nothing is done. The Bloc Québécois also wants Canada to take the management of its nuclear waste seriously and that Canada not participate in any way in any project that could lead to a nuclear arms race.
“On this 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must do everything in our power to ensure that this never happens again. The Bloc Québécois will continue to fight for a more secure world, free from the threat of nuclear weapons.”Bloc Québécois
Translation to English by Les Artistes pour la Paix
Elizabeth May, Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party of Canada
“Canada’s refusal in 2017 to sign on to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was deeply disappointing…How can we purport to be a country of peacekeepers when we refuse to stand with the international community in calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons? …Canada is not innocent in the tragedy that occurred in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we must never forget the role our country played in that cataclysmic loss of life. I will continue to push the government to sign and ratify the UN Ban Treaty. Thank you for the work that you do.”Elizabeth May, Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party of Canada