Jan. 22, 2021 will be remembered as a global momentous occasion with our world entering a new era embracing peace and humanitarian law. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), an international treaty that provides a comprehensive prohibition of nuclear weapons, came into force as international law, making nuclear weapons illegal.
The treaty — the result of more than 75 years of work — prohibits the development, testing, producing, acquiring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. In 2017, 122 nations endorsed the treaty, voting in favour at the United Nations General Assembly. Of these, 51 signed and ratified it. Disappointingly, Canada boycotted the negotiations and to date has not joined the global movement to a nuclear-free world — a movement establishing nuclear-free zones around the world, as opposed to racing to the extermination of all life on earth.
The United Kingdom, United States, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia collectively possess some 14,000 nuclear weapons, posing an existential threat to civilization as we know it and to all future generations. A sustainable peaceful future can only be assured through redirecting militarism with its massive expenditures to meeting human needs and to achieving the UN Sustainability Goals.
There can be no better time than the present for all elected officials to pressure the government to promote the TPNW, sign and ratify it. There is no better time for Canada’s government to take a leadership role in promoting the global goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. And to come on board and become a signatory, as opposed to standing alongside with the minority of countries aligned with nuclear weapons states.