As people of faith who confess Jesus Christ, the risen one, let us seek the fullness of God’s Shalom with justice, freedom, and wholeness for all instead of a false peace that depends on terror.

On July 7, 2017, a majority in the international community adopted, against all odds, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the United Nations. For diplomatic delegations from more than 120 countries, it was a historic day. The history of the most devastating weapons of mass destruction ever conceived will now be divided into what came before, and what came after, this landmark treaty. This is important because the threat of nuclear-weapons use, by miscalculation or design, has reached a level not seen since the Cold War. This year, the Doomsday Clock maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which represents the threat of global nuclear war, was set at 2½ minutes to midnight—the second-closest to midnight since 1953.

While the UN Assembly resolution, which called for the nuclear ban treaty negotiations, was adopted by a wide majority of UN members, Canada instead aligned itself with nuclear-weapons states and worked to undermine efforts related to the nuclear ban treaty. It even boycotted the negotiations.

In May 2018, the United Nations will hold a High Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in New York in order to enhance progress toward the achievement of a nuclear weapons convention—a global treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.

You are invited to call on the Government of Canada to sign and ratify the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Take Action

  1. Sign the petition urging the federal government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  2. Share this action with your networks. Use the hashtags #NuclearDisarmament, #NuclearBan and #UCCan.

For more information, contact:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca

Background

The United Church of Canada has a long history of advocacy for nuclear disarmament. In 1982 it called “on the governments of the nations for an immediate end to the arms race, and to the production and deployment of nuclear weapons. We call instead for a serious commitment to a just social order with freedom and wholeness for all.”

Canadian civil society has not been silent on the issue.

In October 2017, the Canadian Council of Churches sent a letter to Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, which said in part:

We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of every nation to move decisively toward the shared goal of nuclear abolition and to consider the recently adopted nuclear ban treaty a necessary step toward that goal. We find it disconcerting that Canada’s position on nuclear disarmament aligns with that of states with nuclear weapons. We urge you to reconsider your current policy so that Canada can become an early signatory to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

And in November, Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a group of more than 1,000 recipients of the Order of Canada (including retired former United Church Moderator Senator Lois Wilson), sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which read in part:

We recognize this Treaty as a milestone on the long quest for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and thus take strong exception to your characterization of the Treaty as “useless.” We deeply regret your Government’s failure to recognize the validity and importance of the Treaty, agreed to by a majority of the world’s states, which creates a legally binding instrument to prohibit the possession and use of nuclear weapons – paralleling the treaties prohibiting chemical and biological weapons. The tenacity with which nuclear weapon states seek to retain and even “modernize” weapons whose use would be in direct violation of international humanitarian law, makes a mockery of the solemn commitments they made and legal obligations they assumed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Canada must take extreme care not to aid them in their abdication of responsibility.

In September, the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons issued the following statement:

Canada must now decide if NATO nuclear policies will be given a higher priority than the country’s longstanding “unequivocal undertaking” to negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons. We call on the Government of Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to state that Canada will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty, with a view to Canada ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible.

More information can be found on the Project Ploughshares website, as well as on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ site, the organization that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. CNANW and Unfold Zero also have comprehensive information on the subject.