NDP wants hearings on nuclear disarmament at FA committee
Peace groups step-up effort for Parliamentary debate
The NDP’s Jack Harris MP is putting his Foreign Affairs committee colleagues on notice: Parliament needs to hear from Canadians about the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty.
The Member of Parliament from St. John’s East, who serves as the NDP’s Foreign Affairs critic, has submitted a notice of motion that could pave the way for hearings on nuclear disarmament, including the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, officially called the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Peace groups, including PeaceQuest, are gathering strength to push for a stronger debate in Parliament. This week I was in touch with Jack Harris’ office about the important date of January 22, 2021 when the TPNW will “enter into force” for all of the nations that have signed and joined the treaty.
Joining the treaty is a two-step process for countries, and when Honduras became the 50th “state party” in October, the countdown to January 22 was started for the treaty’s provisions to become binding on those countries that have joined the nuclear ban.
Today, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) reported that the TPNW has been signed by 86 countries and 51 have acceded to the treaty.
“In addition, several states that haven't yet signed the treaty have informed us that they intend to become states parties soon,” wrote ICAN campaigner Tim Wright in an email to campaigners. “We're hoping to secure further signatures and ratifications on or before 22 January (the date of entry into force).”
Here in Canada, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Greens have all supported Canada signing and joining the TPNW.
In October, the NDP’s Jack Harris and Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) wrote to Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne:
“Our constituents call on Canada to demonstrate leadership by fulfilling its obligations towards nuclear non-proliferation and working to save the U.N. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In support of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Nobel Peace Laureate 2017, and Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, we urge you, the Prime Minister, and your fellow Ministers to give renewed and urgent attention to nuclear non-proliferation.”
A motion to hold hearings at the Foreign Affairs committee would need the support of the governing Liberals, or all of the opposition parties should the Liberals decide to oppose the motion.