LETTER: Canada dragging its heels on nuclear ban

"Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on alert, ready to be fired at a moment’s notice, intentionally or even accidentally."

“Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the most unspeakable crimes in history.” — Noam Chomsky

On Aug. 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later another bomb on Nagasaki. More than 100,000 people were killed instantly, and later from horrible burns and radiation sickness. Death, destruction and human suffering were the legacies.

Seventy years later, nuclear weapons remain a constant threat. Thousands of nuclear weapons remain on alert, ready to be fired at a moment’s notice, intentionally or even accidentally.

Most nations, including Canada, signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970, agreeing to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to work towards eliminating them. Since then, the number of nations with nuclear weapons has nearly doubled, and there is still no timetable to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The answer seems clear: there must be a global ban on the development, possession, testing and use of nuclear weapons, with specific provisions for the actual elimination of nuclear weapons and a timetable for implementation. Unfortunately, Canada is dragging its heels on this issue and remains committed to first strike and pre-emptive doctrines.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is a global campaign coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to pressure and persuade their governments to initiate and support a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The campaign calls on state and society to acknowledge that any use of nuclear weapons would cause catastrophic humanitarian and environmental harm; acknowledge that there is a universal humanitarian imperative to ban nuclear weapons; acknowledge that nuclear armed states such as Canada have an obligation to eliminate their nuclear weapons completely; and take immediate action to support a multilateral process for a treaty banning these weapons. Prominent individuals such as Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have lent their support to this campaign.

Finally, I would like to quote Isaiah 2:4: “And  they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

KAIROS is an ecumenical organization working for peace, environmental justice and human rights in Canada and the world.

Sandra Hartline

KAIROS Representative

Kootenay Subregion

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