Hiroshima atomic survivor’s appeal goes unanswered
The office of Prime Minister Trudeau has not responded to an appeal from Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, calling on Canada to acknowledge its role in creating the atomic bomb that killed members of her family and 145,000 other residents of the Japanese City during the Second World War.
Her letter to the PM was delivered earlier this year, but remains unanswered, says Ms. Thurlow. “The letter was written in June, but I have yet to receive an acknowledgement from the government that my letter was received, let alone a proper response,” she told a webinar attended by over 300 people on Thursday evening, including several Members of Parliament.
She asked Prime Minister Trudeau to express regret for the pain and suffering caused by the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and for Canada to join the recently negotiated United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty.
“It is vitally important that Canadian citizens recognize Canada’s role in the development of nuclear weapons.”
“I reminded him of the uranium ore mined in the Northwest Territories by Eldorado, a Canadian government crown corporation. Eldorado, at its refinery in Port Hope Ontario, processed all of the ore from Canada and the Congo used in the Manhattan Project for the first atomic bombs,” she said
Japanese-Canadian Setsuko Thurlow was 13 years old in 1945 when the United States detonated an atomic bomb above her home of Hiroshima, Japan. Her life-long campaign to abolish nuclear weapons was honoured when she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Over 1400 PeaceQuest supporters and others affirmed Setsuko Thurlow’s recent appeal to the Prime Minister by sending their own letters of support to the Prime Minister’s office. The campaign is called “From Fear to Hope.”
PeaceQuest launched a new effort this month to encourage supporters to write to their local Members of Parliament, urging them to support nuclear disarmament and the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty.
Thursday’s webinar was organized by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Day Coalition, and was co-sponsored by PeaceQuest and many other national and international groups. In addition to Setsku Thurlow, Green MP Elizabeth May, NDP deputy foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson, and Bloc Québécois MP Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe participated.
As part of my work with the ICAN, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic massacres of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I wrote letters to 197 Heads of State urging them to ratify the [Nuclear] Ban Treaty.
Of course, this included letter to [Canadian Prime Minister] Trudeau. I reminded him of the uranium ore mined in the NWT by Eldorado, a Canadian-government crown corporation. Eldorado, at its refinery in Port Hope Ontario, processed all of the ore from Canada and the Congo used in the Manhattan Project for the first atomic bombs.
It is vitally important that Canadian citizens recognize Canada’s role in the development of nuclear weapons.
This history is not lost on Indigenous Canadians. In August of 1998, a delegation from the Dene to Hiroshima, expressed their apology for their role in the creation of the atomic bomb. These people consisted of the Dene hunters and trappers who were employed by Eldorado to carry sacks of uranium ore on their backs for transport to Eldorado’s refinery in Port Hope. Many Dene have themselves died of cancer as a result of the nuclear radiation, leaving Deline a village of widows.
- Watch the film Our Hiroshima by Anton Wagner on YouTube
Surely the Canadian government should make its own acknowledgement of Canada’s central contribution to the project that created the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
And especially today, during this time of great recognition of systemic racism. It is sickening to understand Prime Ministers MacKenzie King’s relief that is was the Japanese who suffered. After hearing that the uranium-type bomb had leveled Hiroshima, he wrote in his diary, “It is good that the use of the bomb should have been on the Japanese rather than the white races of Europe. “A disturbing statement, but nor surprising as Prime Minister MacKenzie King was the principle architect of Japanese-Canadian internment during the Second World War.
In my letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, I have requested he acknowledge Canada’s critical role int he creation of nuclear weapons, and express a statement of regret for the deaths and suffering they caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I also urged him to work toward the ratification of the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The letter was written in June, but I have yet to receive an acknowledgement from the government that my letter was received, let alone a proper response.