Three ways Canada can break from the nuclear status-quo
Where was global nuclear disarmament in Canada’s recent election? Two of Canada’s leading disarmament experts lament it amounted to a “non-issue” in the Canadian political landscape.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, write Paul Meyer and Cesar Jaramillo in the influential Hill Times this week.
“With credentials as a bridge builder in international disputes, Canada is well positioned to tackle some of the challenges faced by the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Key among them: the chasm that has opened up among the 191 states, party to the cornerstone Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), that has pitted supporters of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) against its opponents who defend the status quo.”
Canada, a defender of that status quo, still refuses to sign the TPNW “Nuclear Ban Treaty” and is siding with the United States and other NATO countries.
Meyer and Jaramillo put forward three potential routes for Canada to return to its traditional role as a bridge builder in international disputes.
- First, Canada should help heal the rift between TPNW supporters and opponents by attending, as an observer, the first meeting of TPNW states parties (currently 55) slated to be held in Vienna March 22-24, 2022.
- Second, Canada should advocate for a “No First Use” declaration on the part of nuclear weapon states.
- Third, Canada should elevate its involvement in the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, a grouping of 16 non-nuclear weapon states launched by the Swedish foreign minister in June 2019.
“A contribution along the lines of those suggested above would be a good place for the next Canadian government to start,” conclude Meyer and Jaramillo.
Paul Meyer is adjunct professor of international studies at Simon Fraser University and chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group. Cesar Jaramillo is executive director of Project Ploughshares.
Read “Nuclear disarmament must be a priority for the next Canadian government” published in the Hill Times on September 16, 2021 (worth a subscription!)