Order of Canada members urge PM Trudeau to avert nuclear war
If you are growing more worried about the risk of nuclear war – you’re not alone. A public letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from 64 recipients of the Order of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to take immediate steps to reduce the threat of nuclear warfare.
The letter (see attachment) urges the major nuclear powers to promise to never use nuclear weapons first, and put strategic nuclear weapons on a “de-alert” status to lower the threshold of immediate dangers to humanity.
Entitled “Confronting the Nuclear Threat,” the letter, published on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, requests Prime Minister Trudeau “to publicly acknowledge the current nuclear crisis and call on all states with nuclear arms to honour the norm against nuclear weapons use that has been respected for the 77-years since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
Among the signers of the letter, organized by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC), are the former foreign minister, Lloyd Axworthy, Nobel laureates John Polanyi, Gordon McBean and Setsuko Thurlow, the historian Margaret MacMillan, the former Amnesty International director Alex Neve, the human rights leader David Matas, the authors Michael Ondaatje and Jane Urquhart, and the prima ballerina Veronica Tennant.
“The signers of this letter are among the most accomplished people in Canada,” said Ernie Regher, CNWC chairman. “The government should listen to their warning that President Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war confirms the nuclear threat to be real, imminent and existential.”
The letter acknowledges that no first use and de-alerting policies would not end the nuclear crisis, “but it would make the world safer.” The letter concludes: “It is vital to act now.”
February 21, 2023
Open Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Confronting the Nuclear Threat
A year later, the attack on Ukraine has confirmed the nuclear threat to be real, imminent, and existential.
Dear Prime Minister,
With the world challenged by climate disasters, pandemics, regional wars, growing numbers of refugees, food insecurity and more, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has driven the nuclear threat out of the political shadows, exposing yet another crisis that is real, imminent, and existential.
President Vladimir Putin’s direct and implied threats to use nuclear weapons have shocked and angered the world, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg calling the threats “dangerous and irresponsible.” President Joe Biden has warned that Armageddon would be the inevitable result once the nuclear threshold was crossed.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, UK, France, China) have declared that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” The G20 recently stated that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.” Two measures designed to help prevent the “inadmissible” from happening are no-first-use commitments and the de-alerting of strategic nuclear weapons.
Therefore, Prime Minister, we call on the Government of Canada to:
- Urge NATO and its three nuclear weapon state members (US, UK, and France) to commit never to be the first to launch a nuclear attack, and to work toward universalizing that commitment (which China and India have already made); and
- Encourage the United States and Russia to take all their strategic nuclear weapons off high alert (of the nine states with nuclear weapons, only the US and Russia maintain dangerous high-alert deployments).
We also urge you to publicly acknowledge the current nuclear crisis and call on all states with nuclear arms to honour the norm against nuclear weapons use that has been respected for the 77-years since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.