In advance of the First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Mines Action Canada is pleased to release a new briefing paper outlining the links between the Treaty and other international agreements.
Complementarity beyond Disarmament and Non-Proliferation details the synergies between the TPNW and other international agreements on human rights, sustainable development and the environment.
This paper shows that joining and implementing the TPNW will help states meet their obligations under seven other international agreements. Download the paper here.
Mines Action Canada is pleased to release Overwhelmed: Nuclear Weapons and the Health Care System in Ottawa. This report based on the No Place to Hide report from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) examines the potential impact of a nuclear weapons detonation on the health care system in Canada's capital, Ottawa.
The title "Overwhelmed" is an accurate description of Ottawa's health care system in the face of a moderate sized (100kt) nuclear detonation. The report estimates that every doctor that survives the initial blast will be responsible for 72 injured patients and Ottawa would be left with 1,764 hospital beds, which would be woefully inadequate to accommodate over 200,000 injured people.
In advance of the First Meeting of States Parties of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Mines Action Canada and Project Ploughshares hosted a webinar for the Canadian public with Canadian and international experts. Thanks the support from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, this webinar asked "What's Next for Canada and the Nuclear Ban Treaty?"
The message was clear - Canada should be participating in the Meeting of States Parties as an observer.
You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
On August 6th, Program Manager, Erin Hunt, was the keynote speaker at the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition's online event to mark the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. You can read her remarks here or watch the event below.
A large majority of Canadians want the government to join the nuclear ban.
A new poll released by Nanos Research on 6 April 2021 shows strong support for the nuclear ban among the Canadian public with 74% of respondents expressing support for joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).
Commissioned by three civil society organizations, Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition, The Simons Foundation Canada and le Collectif Échec à la Guerre, the poll follows an Appeal to Parliament published in the Ottawa Hill Times on January 18 and 20 that was endorsed by over 400 individuals and organizations including Mines Action Canada. Ever since the Treaty’s Entry into Force, more and more voices are questioning the government’s position towards the TPNW. The poll results indicate that only 14% of respondents agreed with the current Government of Canada position towards the treaty.
Support for the nuclear ban treaty remained high even in the face of potential American pressure. The poll found that about 73% of Canadians agreed that Canada should join Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, "even if, as a member of NATO, it might come under pressure from the United States not to do so.” The Government of Canada has frequently (and incorrectly) said that Canada’s obligations under NATO and the alliance with the United States prevent the country from joining the TPNW. These poll results from Canada are similar to the results from a 2020 poll of six European NATO countries. It seems that Canadians, also, want the government to stand strong and make our own decisions on nuclear weapons.
Support for a ban is strong amongst all demographic groups with young Canadians, ages 18 to 34, having the highest level of support for the TPNW.
With young Canadians already facing the existential threat of climate change, it stands to reason that this demographic would also want to end the risk posed by nuclear weapons.
It is not only government policy towards nuclear weapons that Canadians are concerned about. Canadian financial institutions need to pay attention. The poll also found that 71% of respondents would withdraw money from any investment or financial institution that was investing funds in anything related to the development, manufacturing or deployment of nuclear weapons. The Don’t Bank on the Bomb report has found 16 Canadian financial institutions with investments in nuclear weapons producers. Financial institutions just like governments need to be responsive to public opinion. Canadians do not want to profit off a weapon of mass destruction.
Released days just after Montreal and White Rock, BC, became the 13th and 14th Canadian cities to join the ICAN City Appeal, this poll is clear evidence that momentum towards the ban treaty is growing in Canada.
If Canada’s 3 largest cities and ¾ of its citizens support The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it is time for the Government of Canada to take action. The Canadian government should:
- Study the TPNW in Parliament, it is a logical topic for the House of Commons and Senate Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs;
- Send a delegation to participate as an observer in the 1st Meeting of States Parties of the TPNW which must take place within the next year; and
- Support the positive obligations found in the TPWN with regards to victim assistance and environmental remediation through our international cooperation efforts.
These steps are necessary for Canada to begin to follow the direction of its people. For too long, Canadian policy towards nuclear weapons has been divorced from the will of the Canadian people. It is time for Canadian leaders to listen to their citizens and join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Enters into Force
(Ottawa, 22 January 2021) Today Canadians celebrate nuclear weapons finally being prohibited under international law. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), also referred to as the nuclear ban treaty, entered into force today; 90 days after Honduras became the 50th state to ratify the Treaty. The Treaty will become legally binding for the 51 countries which have so far ratified it, and represents a major step forward for nuclear disarmament.
Canada has not yet joined the nuclear ban so Canadians from coast to coast are calling on Parliament to consider joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
The TPNW is the first international treaty that comprehensively prohibits nuclear weapons. It includes absolute prohibitions on developing, testing, producing, stockpiling, stationing, transferring, using, and/or threatening the use of nuclear weapons. The Treaty also addresses, for the first time, the impact nuclear weapons activities have had on indigenous communities. Inspired by the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines, this Treaty also includes positive obligations such as the provision of assistance to communities affected by nuclear weapons use and testing around the world.
For the 51 countries now legally bound by the Treaty all these provisions came ‘into force’ today. As with other treaties, such as the Ottawa Treaty, more countries will become legally bound as they ratify the TPNW.
For governments which are yet to join the Treaty, like Canada, the power of the TPNW comes from the message it sends. Nuclear weapons are now prohibited. When weapons are prohibited, investment in their production declines, they become stigmatized and it becomes easier to eliminate them.
The TPNW is the result of decades of work by dedicated activists and diplomats around the world. The International Campaign Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) worked tirelessly for this treaty and was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.
“Despite the global pandemic of 2020, 17 states finished their internal legal work to ratify the Treaty giving the world a shining example of what committed action for a better world, diplomacy and multilateralism can accomplish.
For years the nuclear armed states repeated endlessly that prohibiting nuclear weapons was impossible. Today proves that when we focus on the humanitarian impact of weapons and work collectively it is possible to change the world. 75 years of activism has paid off. Nuclear weapons have always been immoral, now they are illegal.” said Erin Hunt, Program Manager, Mines Action Canada and a member of ICAN’s negotiating team on the TPNW.
Canadians have taken a leadership role in ICAN throughout this process including Japanese Canadian hibakusha or Hiroshima survivor, Setsuko Thurlow who was one of two people to accept the Nobel Prize on behalf of ICAN. A dozen Canadian municipalities have endorsed the TPNW through ICAN’s City Appeal while 27 Members of Parliament and 19 Senators have signed ICAN’s Parliamentary Pledge joining the over 1,000 Canadians who have signed a parliamentary petition in support of the TPNW. Despite the leadership of Canadians, Canada has been slow to join or launch substantial discussion in Parliament regarding the Treaty. Parliament can no longer put off the TPNW.
To celebrate the entry into force, a photo collage of residents in British Columbia and Washington State publicly stating their opposition to further transit of nuclear weapons through the Salish Sea (Juan de Fuca Strait, Georgia Strait and Puget Sound) will be published. Mines Action Canada will also be hosting an Instagram Live with youth activists from British Columbia and Washington State to discuss their nuclear disarmament work.
“Public opinion polls show the public unambiguously supportive of global nuclear disarmament. We know it can be done because Canada led on the international convention which banned antipersonnel landmines. That was one of Canada’s foreign policy initiatives which has had the most significant impact on reducing suffering caused by that weapon on every continent. Prohibition of a weapon comes before its elimination! Canada lost its opportunity to lead on banning Nuclear Weapons but the opportunity to strengthen this new international instrument is in our hands now. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons asks a question that Canada needs to answer: will Canada help end nuclear weapons or will Canada wait until nuclear weapons end us?” said Dr. Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan of Mines Action Canada.
To mark the entry into force of the TPNW, civil society organizations from across Canada have come together to call on Parliament to launch a study on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Canadians deserve a public debate about this groundbreaking treaty.
Negotiated in 2017, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons legally prohibits, under any circumstances, the development, production, testing, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. It also requires states party to the treaty to provide assistance to victims of the use and testing of nuclear weapons.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was negotiated and adopted by 122 nations in the United Nations General Assembly. It currently has 86 signatories and 51 ratifications. Canada boycotted the negotiations and remains outside the Treaty to this day. However, Canadian civil society, including Erin Hunt representing Mines Action Canada, played an important role in the negotiations.
Read our new document on myths and reality checks about the TPNW here: https://www.minesactioncanada.org/tpnwmythbusting
The photo collage of residents in British Columbia and Washington State is available at: https://www.minesactioncanada.org/salishsea_photoaction
Public opinion polling in six NATO countries shows widespread support for the TPWN: https://www.icanw.org/nato_poll_2021
A global list of Entry into Force activities can be found at: https://www.icanw.org/events.
The ground-breaking Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force on 22 January 2021. Canada remains outside the TPNW despite the risks nuclear weapons pose to Canadians. No country is equipped to respond to a nuclear detonation whether that detonation is intentional or accidental.
In the absence of a Parliamentary study of the TPNW, a number of myths about the TPNW have been circulating in Canada. These myths inhibit Canada’s ability to meet its stated goals as being a leader on nuclear disarmament and leave us behind as progress is being made towards a world without nuclear weapons.
These Canadian myths about the TPNW need a reality check.
The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) just reached the 50 ratifications needed for entry into force! On the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, Honduras ratified the treaty bringing about a historic milestone. In 90 days the TPNW will enter into force and become binding international law!
Mines Action Canada congratulates the 50 states and the dedicated campaigners of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on making history. Those 50 states are on the right side of history and we hope that Canada will soon join them.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has provisions to mitigate the harm caused by nuclear weapons use and testing that will start being implemented immediately making it a very useful new addition to international law. Canada should support that work in line with our commitment to the SDGs, a Feminist Foreign Policy and the rules based international order and the join the Treaty without delay.
Congratulations to all 50 states for leading the way to a world free of nuclear weapons, and to everybody who was ever involved in making this happen!
To mark the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6 2020, Mines Action Canada Program Manager, Erin Hunt, spoke at Ethics in Tech's event called "Ignominious Anniversary: Remembering Hiroshima and Imagining a World Without Autonomous Killer Robots, Nuclear Weapons and Blanket Surveillance." You can watch the whole event online at the Ethics in Tech website or on YouTube:
Read more for her full remarks.Read more
PeaceBoat, a Japan-based international NGO that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment, stopped in Halifax this week. On board were hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) who are travelling the world, sharing their experiences and calling on states to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as well as a replica of ICAN's Nobel Peace Prize.
Mines Action Canada was pleased to welcome our colleagues to Canada and our Program Manager, Erin Hunt, was on hand to meet the boat and help bring the message of peace and disarmament to Canadian decision makers. The Halifax Peace Afternoon brought three hibakusha together with representatives from civil society organizations in Halifax as well as parliamentarians.
Guests heard remarks from Akira Kawasaki of PeaceBoat, testimony from 2nd generation Hibakusha, Shinagawa Kaoru,a speech from Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Matt DeCourcey and remarks from our Erin Hunt where she called on Canada to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and highlighted what was needed to ban the bomb.
"I think it is especially poignant to be hearing from survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki here in Halifax. Halifax is the only city in North America and maybe the only other city in the world who can begin to understand what it is like to have your city destroyed by a single blast.
As Halifax learned in 1917, response, recovery and rebuilding after such destruction is difficult even without the radiation damage that Hiroshima and Nagasaki faced. The people of Halifax, Hiroshima and Nagasaki have all rebuilt their cities through courage, conviction and collective action.
Those three ingredients, courage, conviction and collective action also were crucial to the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and ICAN’s Nobel Peace Prize win."
You can read Erin's full remarks here.
CTV also visited PeaceBoat and met with the Hibakusha. You can see their full coverage here.