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Letter: Negotiations lacking in review of Nuclear Weapons Non-proliferation Treaty

Canada ‘complicit in the stockpiling and potential use of nuclear weapons’

On August 1, representatives of nations around the world began a month-long conference at the United Nations to review the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The NPT is the bedrock of the global effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Every five years, the treaty comes up for review. Twice postponed because of COVID-19, the 2020 Review Conference has now begun.

The NPT commits all nations to engage in “good faith” comprehensive negotiations towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.

But there have been no negotiations. Meanwhile, the number of countries with nuclear weapons has expanded to nine, and all are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. NATO has re-affirmed its Strategic Concept that nuclear weapons are the “supreme guarantee” of our security. The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe is a major factor in the war in Ukraine.

In 2017, some smaller nations, supported by civil society, negotiated the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Now ratified by 66 nations, the TPNW is a significant milestone because it stigmatizes and de-legitimizes the possession of nuclear weapons. But NATO opposes the TPNW, as do all the nuclear weapons nations.

Canada, as a NATO “nuclear umbrella” nation, is complicit in the stockpiling and potential use of nuclear weapons. Canada affirms NATO’s Strategic Concept and opposes the TPNW.

Citizens around the world want a world free from the threat of a nuclear weapons disaster. Saving the NPT is key to achieving this.

On the basis of a motion sponsored by KAIROS-Salmon Arm and adopted by City Council in 2020, Mayor Alan Harrison recently wrote to the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister urging Canada to make nuclear arms control and disarmament a national priority, and work towards achieving an international consensus at the current United Nations Review Conference that will save the NPT.

Anne Morris

Read more:Letter: Risk of nuclear weapons use grows with increasing arsenal

Read more: Letter: Canada unwilling to sign treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons
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