SfP Bulletin June 1999
Full text version of all articles from PDF edition is also available.
This has not been a good year for peace. It began with India and Pakistan testing the nuclear bomb, and ended with the war in Yugoslavia and India and Pakistan testing missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs. There was a moment of hope as the Canadian government showed a willingness to take an initiative on nuclear weapons use to NATO but there is now reason to fear that a progressive Canadian foreign policy is in tatters.
The testing of the bomb in the Indian sub continent put the issue of nuclear disarmament back on the political stage. The Science for Peace executive held a special meeting on 5 June to plan a response. Some members had already attended a meeting called by Project Ploughshares with invited speakers Professor Arthur Rubinov of the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, and Douglas (now Senator) Roche. I attended a special meeting of the Canadian Network for Abolition of Nuclear weapons as a representative of Science for Peace. I filed a Supplementary Brief with the Parliamentary Committee, updating the main brief presented earlier by then president Terry Gardner. We organized a roundtable in mid-September where representatives of various organizations were briefed by Douglas Roche on Canada’s role in the abolition of nuclear weapons.
November and December began a period of real hope. The Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, after hearings in response to a request by Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, issued a landmark report. It called for the nuclear weapons states to enter negotiations for the elimination of nuclear weapons and meanwhile to take their nuclear weapons off alert, but stopped short of a no-first-use commitment.
In a United Nations nuclear disarmament vote in November that called for a demonstrable commitment to abolition, the Canadian government did not vote negatively with the United States, France and Britain. On December 9 at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr. Axworthy, supported by the foreign ministers of Germany and Belgium, called for a rethinking of NATO’s nuclear strategy that would lead to nuclear disarmament. It looked as if Mr. Axworthy was shifting Canadian foreign policy in a direction long advocated by the peace movement.
On November 26 Science for Peace representatives participated in a day-long seminar on nuclear weapons in Ottawa called by CNANW and attended by representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense.
We assisted in arranging for Professor Stephen Clarkson of the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, to present a paper on what degree of autonomy Canada realistically had in pursuing an independent foreign policy vis-à-vis the United States. He argued that Canada did indeed have some real room to manoeuvre.
In late February we invited Professor Clarkson to speak with us along with Professor Joseph Jockel of St. Lawrence University in the United States. He is also a political scientist and a specialist in Canadian-American relations. He is not sympathetic to our views on nuclear weapons but he agreed with Clarkson’s conclusions about Canada’s room to manoeuvre and the manageable economic risks in doing that.
As part of the campaign in support of the abolition of nuclear weapons we brought writer and peace activist Jonathan Schell to Toronto for two days in March. His most recent publication is entitled The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now. He spoke at the St. Lawrence Forum, along with Joy Warner of the Voice of Women, arguing powerfully that the growing threat on nuclear proliferation could only be stopped by a crusade for the speedy and total abolition of all nuclear weapons.
The next day Jonathan, again along with Joy, led off a full day of workshops organized under the joint auspices of Science for Peace and Voice of Women on the themes around which the Hague Appeal for Peace 11-15 May was to be organized.
At the same time Terry Gardner represented Science for Peace at meetings in Ottawa with former U.S. Defence Secretary Robert McNamara and retired U.S. General Lee Butler. Transcripts and a video are available of the presentations of these former warriors, both now advocates of the abolition of nuclear weapons.
As the Government of Canada prepared the official response to the Report of the Parliamentary Committee we participated in two meetings on the 15 recommendations of the Committee. The first was of our own members. The second was held jointly with Canadian Pugwash, where we greatly benefited from an opening presentation by Ernie Regehr of Project Ploughshares. Following this meeting Doug Roche and I, with the help of rapporteur Walter Dorn, sent a detailed report to Ottawa on behalf of the two organizations.
In mid-April the Canadian Government released its official response to the Parliamentary Report. It endorsed the key thrust of the of the report, the call for the elimination, eventually, of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately on account of the war in Yugoslavia the review of nuclear weapons strategy that Canada was pushing to have begin at the April summit of NATO was put off until December.
At the same time, ignoring a recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee supported by Science for Peace and Canadian Pugwash, the Canadian Government said it will test-burn plutonium for U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads with the possibility of using it for fuel in Canadian power reactors.
And so to the war in the Balkans. Would that we lived in a world where those of us who want peace had nothing to do!
These terrible events, as well as being the saddest of stories in their own right, are further germane to those nuclear issues that we have been mostly preoccupied with in recent months. One of the points that Ernie Regehr made very strongly to us with respect to nuclear weapons is the radical disjuncture between this megatechnology that literally falls from the sky and the building and maintenance of peace on the ground. Is this not what we are witnessing too with respect to the bombing, albeit with non-nuclear weapons, by NATO? Doesn’t the talk of deterring Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo sound as vacuous and wrong headed and counter-productive as the notion of nuclear weapons as a deterrent? And if nuclear weapon proliferation is not stopped, mightn’t some Milosevic of the future have his own bomb? We devoted two hours of our last Board Meeting to a discussion of these events.
I must note other things our members have been doing, knowing that I will have missed something important: Eric Fawcett organized a seminar in Iraq in January, and he and Kelly Gotlieb organized a seminar on impacts of technologies; a number of members, notably John Valleau, have been active in People Against the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (PAMAI); Metta Spencer arranged a visit by Sergei Rogov, Director of the USA/Canada Institute in Moscow, and a meeting with Mohammed Filipovoc, a logician in Philosophy from Sarajevo; Derek Paul and Shirley Farlinger hosted some of our Board Meetings; Bob Baxter put out the Bulletin with help of Joe Vise; Chandler Davis headed the Nomination Committee; Anatole Rapaport, Hanna Newcombe, Alan Phillips, Phyllis Creighton and Eric Fawcett made their great wisdom available whenever they were asked.
I want to thank the other members of this year’s executive: Vice-President Joe Vise; Tom Davis who began as our secretary but had to step down for personal reasons; Patience~ Abah who joined our executive and took over as secretary; Treasurer Stephen Dankowich; and Terry Gardner, immediate Past President.
Finally, the day-to-day work of Science for Peace only gets done because Carolyn Langdon either does it herself or makes others of us do it.
As we think of the tragic events unfolding in the ‘ Balkans, we should remember that this is not the only part of the world where people are killing each other. A particularly sad instance of this is occurring in the horn of Africa, where Ethiopia and Eritrea are fighting intermittently over a small disputed area on their border. It is heart-breaking that two desperately poor countries, formerly on good terms with each other, should be squandering lives and resources over a useless patch of ground and, apparently, considerations of national pride. We can only hope that efforts by foreign governments and organizations to resolve the dispute will succeed quickly.
Please send your contributions to the next issue of the Bulletin to the Science for Peace office.
May the summer bring peace to the world and happiness to us all.
The NATO-Serbia war has already caused much dying and suffering and has created a very dangerous situation for the region and beyond.
Science for Peace urges:
- That there be an immediate stop to the violence by all three parties to the war, Serbia, NATO and the KLA; the killing and maiming must end
- That there be no naval blockade by any name; the escalation of the war must be stopped
- That Canada, in the name of humanitarianism, open its doors wide to Albanian Kosovars and Serb dissidents and deserters
- That Russia continue to play a key role in negotiations and in subsequent peacekeeping in Kosovo so as to lessen the risk of a new Cold War
- That the UN lead and direct in both of the above; it remains our only hope for global peace and order
- That Canada should cease all military participation in the war; what is presently being done is neither just nor productive
- That NATO states provide infrastructure adequate for reconstruction and reconciliation.
Speakers: Stephen Clarkson, Political Science, University of Toronto; Joseph Jockel, visiting professor in International Program at University of Toronto from St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY, USA
Date: February 25, 1999
Place: Croft Chapter House, University of Toronto
Stephen Clarkson: Canada is a willing partner in US hegemony, and is able to pursue any independent policy within the limits that this implies. US power may be classified within the categories: coercive, financial, cultural, and structural.
Coercive: while the USA clearly dominates Canada militarily (e.g. in 1962 when Diefenbaker refused to put Canadian military on alert during the Cuba missile crisis, the US high command by-passed him and went directly to the military), it is inconceivable that it could so in any but such an extreme crisis.
Financial: while the USA has used financial power in extreme cases (e.g. the overturning of the Allende government in Chile), again it is inconceivable that it could do so against Canada in normal times.
Cultural: this “soft power” is tremendously effective in propagating US values through Hollywood movies and advertising, but it would be ineffective in trying to implement US government policy.
Structural: the USA can manage access to its own markets to some degree, but is now severely constrained by FTA and NAFTA regulations, and by the structural changes these agreements have brought about. Thus Trudeau’s National Energy Program was defeated by trade retaliation, but today so much of the Canadian economy is within the US corporate structure that this would be impossible. If the USA tried to apply trade pressure, Canada could protest under NAFTA and/or appeal to US corporate interests.
In conclusion, Canada in the post-Cold War era can do what it wants, and Lloyd Axworthy has successfully challenged the USA in:
- Opposing the Helms-Burton act regarding trade with Cuba
- Establishing the Landmines Treaty despite US opposition,
- Establishing the World Criminal Court
But the problem is WITHIN Canada, e.g. the notorious posture of “co-operation and compliance” adopted by some sections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). In particular, the Canadian military define themselves in US terms, and need “toys for the boys” so that they can be accepted as paid-up members of the US-dominated NATO club.
Joseph Jockel: In brief, agrees with everything Stephen Clarkson says, though his own position on nuclear weapons is that of Paul Fussell, as described in an article in the New York Review of Books, entitled: “Thank God for the Atom Bomb.”
Negative linkage, i.e., punishing in one area for action in another is not in the pattern of USA-Canada relations, and trade sanctions are now explicitly forbidden by NAFTA and WTO. The exemption of culture from NAFTA is the exception that proves the rule, by permitting sanctions in this area.
In striking at Canada, the USA always hurts some of its own constituency, e.g,, the US building industry was hurt by sanctions against the Canadian lumber industry.
In the short-run the USA will not accept No-First-Use for NATO, and if necessary will resign in protest. Thus the USA does not take seriously efforts to adopt a NFU policy, and regards them as only aggravation. The same is true for any effort to persuade them to abandon strategic nuclear weapons.
The key to changing this in the long-run is through the US public; if they could be gradually persuaded, then like the frog that doesn’t notice the water is warming until it dies from the heat, the US government could be driven into changing its nuclear policy.
Joseph Jockel: Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) has NEVER been US nuclear policy; they have always sought ability to fight a nuclear war, euphemistically termed “extended nuclear deterrence.”
Stephen Clarkson: Opposition by the Canadian media to change in Canadian nuclear policy would be ineffective, since they have little influence on the Canadian public mind; e.g., cruise-missile testing was strongly opposed by the Canadian public despite media support.
Stephen Clarkson: Who runs Canadian foreign policy? The Prime Minister looks after the “big stuff” — G7 summit, APEC, etc. The Foreign Minister is left with “minor issues”—Landmines Treaty, WCC, etc.
The forum and conference was organized by a planning committee of Science for Peace, Voice of Women and the St. Lawrence Centre Forum. The conference was supported by the University College Lectures in Peace Series (UCLIPS).
Other organizations gave workshops, distributed literature or endorsed the conference; Peace Brigades International, Veterans Against Nuclear Arms, Development and Peace, St. Stephen’s Conflict Mediation Services, Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Student Christian Movement, University of Toronto, World Federalists, Project Ploughshares, International Campaign for the Innu & the Earth.
Jonathan Schell and Joy Warner spoke to a St. Lawrence Centre audience of 200 people on the evening of March 10, and approximately 70-80 attended the conference at The Ontario Institute for Studies on Education on March 11.
I. Nuclear Weapons Prohibition:
The Forum strongly supported reform of the United Nations and its member agencies.
- The policies and operational mandate of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) need to be reviewed. NATO must abandon immediately, its option of “first use” of nuclear weapons.
- Military flight training involving low level flights (e.g. NATO member country training over Innu lands in Canada) must cease. The work of the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) should be made better known.
- In the absence of leadership to work for nuclear disarmament by the nuclear states, non-nuclear countries such as Canada must play a decisive role in initiating negotiations to draw up a timetable for the total and speedy abolition of nuclear weapons. E.g. Middle Power Initiative, New Agenda Coalition.
- All nuclear forces should be taken off alert and de-coupled i.e. warheads removed from their delivery system.
- The militarization of space must stop.
- Sub-critical testing of nuclear arms should be opposed.
- All countries should strike a committee of their elected body to review their nuclear weapons policy taking into consideration various reports (Canberra Commission, Carnegie Report, World Court Opinion, public opinion polls). Should the recommendations be in favour of nuclear abolition as was the Report of the Canadian Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade,released in December 1998, then citizens and NGOs should push for their implementation.
- There should be more communication among disarmament and peace-seeking organizations within and between countries. In Canada we need to forge stronger ties with American peace activists.
- Efforts to mobilize world public opinion in support of abolition of nuclear weapons should continue.
II. Civilian Peace Service (CPS):
Governments should acknowledge and support NGO-led initiatives like the Civilian Peace Service.
- The indigenous knowledge of local NGOs in conflict-ridden zones should be recognized and the development of intervention strategies should include local people.
- The ability of a local population to secure the basic needs for their survival is an important precursor to lasting peace. Those assisting must acknowledge and help facilitate this goal.
- Ways should be sought to apply problem-solving skills used in our own families and communities to conflict situations in the larger world.
- The U.N. should be pressed to levy a global financial transaction tax (Tobin Tax) with proceeds to be used for humanitarian initiatives such as NGO led civilian peace service.
- More use should be made of the Internet as a means of sharing information and raising support for NGO activities.
- It is essential to appreciate and embrace our own communities, to avoid alienation from ourselves if we hope to effect constructive change in the wider world.
III Creating a Culture of Peace
- There is a need to change the prevailing culture of violence to a culture of peace. For this there is a need for Peace Promoters. We can encourage people to see that they are already Peace Promoters, and give them hope to continue, and find new and creative ways to promote peace like the Culture of Peace Workshop model developed by Voice of Women. Peace education should be an important part of educational curricula at all levels.
- The obstacles to the emergence of a culture of peace were identified as: the military-industrial complex, economic systems which bring about unequal distribution of resources, a mass media that promotes consumerism, competition and violence, patriarchal power structures (not many women in parliament), complacency.
- Some of the tools needed to be more effective peace promoters include a knowledge and understanding of the issues, the ability to influence others, accessibility to the media, money (with a caution that this should not be the primary focus), and more specifically the resources and infrastructure to train peace promoters.
IV. Poverty, Globalization and the Jubilee 2000 Campaign
- Debt relief and future lending must not be tied to the continued adherence to structural adjustment programmes. A clearer set of rules and mechanisms for international borrowing and lending must be established where borrowers and lenders share responsibility and liability. There must be an internationally agreed mechanism for monitoring debt relief and making sure the benefits reach the most needy. There is a role for the U.N. in this.
- The Jubilee Initiative for debt remission is part of a much broader campaign toward a fundamental re-ordering of our global economic system that will serve people’s needs.
- The wealthy northern countries should increase the proportion of foreign aid to the majority world and channel money and resources through people-to-people initiatives.
- Economic opportunities for women should be created,particularly in war-torn countries where the majority of the population is women.
- Individuals can withdraw support from banks and do their business with credit unions and other alternatives to banks.
- More attention needs to be paid to the banking system and the process of creating money. The person, private institution or government that creates money gets a windfall that should properly go solely to the people as a whole via their duly constituted government. Therefore governments need to take back the money creation function that they have over the years slowly given to the private banks. (in 1994 in the U.S. only 11% of money was created by the government.)
V Arms Trade: Problems and Recommendations
- Canada is supporting, subsidizing, and aiding producers of weapons who sell to human rights violators and countries in conflict.
- Recommendations: Fuller transparency of arms sales – especially Canadian sales to the United States is required.
- Arms sales to human rights abusers are in violation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and therefore we must keep this issue at the forefront. We need to push for accountability with end use as the criterion for deciding on the acceptability of arms exports. Furthermore, a security impact study is needed and we should look to civil society groups and human rights organizations to provide the leadership in making these assessments.
- Arms exports represent a small percentage of Canada’s GDP but certain regions are dependent on these exports. Despite this, Canada could convert without too much dislocation.
- Recommendations: Push the Canadian government to issue fewer export permits to encourage companies to shift to other markets, which they will do if pressured.
- Establish an international code of conduct to harmonize standards of all countries so no country can say “If we don’t sell to such a country, somebody else will.” To ensure compliance, an international monitoring regime is required.
- The general public must be provided with critical information about military spending and other arms issues.
- Recommendations: Identify and contact media people who exhibit some degree of independence and flexibility.
- Work more effectively with unions on issues of conversion.
- UN Registry of Arms: Canada and other countries need to do more to strengthen the Register, and more attention needs to be paid to small arms.
- Brokering Arms Sales. A few unpublicized Canadian companies purchase equipment in one country and turn around and sell it to others without any arms entering Canadian territory.
- Recommendation: The Canadian government has shown some concern about this and should push for an international agreement to better regulate and curb these types of sales.
- The arms trade involves strategic as well as economic interests.
- Recommendation: Traditional hard power diplomacy should be replaced by approaches that emphasize common security and lasting peace.
VI. UN Conferences
A. Recommendations concerning the operation of the UN:
- There are many egregious examples of solemnly adopted, and basic UN policies being flouted by member states.
- Recommendation: A nation’s signing-on to such UN agreements must not simply mean espousing its broad principles, but rather entail a commitment to enact specific legislation, on a specified timetable, to implement the agreement.
- Some transnational corporations are grossly exploiting workers, including children, and also degrading the environment, throughout the world; at the same time they are attempting, through the WTO, the IMF and other agencies, to impose a regime of international rules protecting their behaviour.
- Recommendation: The UN should consider establishing codes of social and environmental behaviour for corporations operating internationally, and establishing UN tribunals to monitor adherence to these codes, with appropriate sanction mechanisms.
- Some international interventions have turned out to have involved deplorable social or environmental consequences.
- Recommendation: The importance of not doing harm must be given greater weight in decisions on action; in general, where difficult decisions on UN action are involved, the ‘precautionary principle’ should prevail.
- The monitoring of UN human rights covenants and similar agreements remains quite inadequate, as was evident at the recent UNDHR Review hearings.
- Recommendation: The UN Human Rights Commission and similar UN agencies for monitoring UN agreements must be much better funded.
- Decisions at the UN are often taken in a way remote from the people.
- Recommendation: Better communications are needed between the UN governing bodies and its agencies, on one hand, and citizens and NG0s, on the other.
- The organisational structure of the UN serves to frustrate certain forms of action regarded as urgent by many of us.
- Recommendation: There should be underway active planning, within the UN and by NGO groups, and by both working together, towards reorganisation of the UN structures. Among the issues needing examination are:
- Should the Security Council have any permanent members?
- Is the veto a positive device?
- Is the UN General Assembly an appropriate institution? By giving equal weight to all nations regardless of size and political structure, it clearly fails some tests of democracy. Should the General Assembly be replaced, or joined, by a ‘Citizen’s Assembly’, elected worldwide on the basis of more nearly equal suffrage for all citizens?
B. Recommendations regarding more local activities tending to make better use of and to support, the UN:
- Citizens and NGOs should step up pressure on their governments to force accountability regarding their responsibilities under the UN and UN agreements; this should include financial commitments in support of such responsibilities.
- Steps are essential in many nations (including Canada) to reverse the monopolising of the media by a narrow range of political and social viewpoints; we should be studying how to encourage greater diversification.
- Governments should be pressured by citizens and NGOs to adopt and promulgate positions which support UN aims.
- NGOs should learn to make full use of UN review mechanisms (as was done so successfully with regard to Canada’s failures at the recent review of compliance with the Human Rights Covenants).
- NGOs should improve their ability to cooperate internationally, in order to address international issues more effectively.
- Certain citizen/NGO initiatives are thought to have great potential for influencing public opinion on issues of relevance to the UN; especially cited were: Consumer boycotts of goods produced under unacceptable labour conditions or with unacceptable environmental consequences.
- ‘People’s Courts’ to try governmental or corporate offenders.
The four guest speakers, all from the United States, included General (Retired) Lee Butler, former Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, with responsibility for all U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy strategic nuclear forces.
Having spoken the previous afternoon to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs (SCFAIT), they spoke midmorning, March 11, 1999, to a Round Table convened by the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development and the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Butler – compactly built, and looking like an overly-serious 35-year-old – shared with us details of the “three-decade journey” at the end of which he came fully to “appreciate the truth that now makes me seem so odd_ And that is: we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”
Later, General Butler lists steps he took “to begin to walk back the nuclear path, in the interest that others might never go down that path again.” Among them were the cutting of $40 billion worth of nuclear weapons programs, removal of bombers from alert status, closing bases, cutting 75% of the targets from the nuclear war plan, disestablishing the Strategic Air Command. He goes on to say:
As you can imagine, I went into retirement exactly five years ago with a sense of profound relief and gratitude. Relief that the most acute dangers of the Cold War were coming to a close, and gratitude that I had been given the opportunity to play some small role in eliminating those dangers. You can also imagine, then, my growing dismay, alarm and finally horror that “the creeping re-rationalization of nuclear weapons began”. The precious window of opportunity began to close, and now today United States nuclear policy is still very much that of 1984. That our forces with their hair-trigger postures are effectively the same as they have been since the height of the Cold War.
General Butler speaks of Russia as a nation in a perilous state, and continues:
NATO has been expanded up to its former borders, and Moscow has been put on notice that the United States is presumably prepared to abrogate the AMB treaty in the interest of deploying limited national ballistic missile defense. What a stunning outcome … This is an indictment. This is not a legacy worthy of the human race. This is not the world that I want to bequeath to my children and my grandchildren. It’s simply intolerable. This is above all a moral question.
one of my professional heroes – General Omar Bradley, who said on the occasion of his retirement, “We live in an age of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on the Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living.”
We have a priceless opportunity to elevate, to nudge higher, the bar of decent, civilized behaviour, to expand the rule of law, and to learn to live on this planet with mutual respect and dignity. This is an opportunity we must not lose. My concern was such that I could not sit in silent acquiescence to the current folly.
The full text is on the (old) Science for Peace website (www.math.yorku.ca/sfp/). The entire roundtable is on a do-not-copy videotape, from CPAC, as is the session of 10 March before SCFAIT.
At the Annual General Meeting on I May, elections to the Board, added to those members continuing in their second year of their term, produced the following list of the full Board:
- Patience Abah
- Eric Fawcett
- Margot Mandy
- Al Slavin
- Anne Adelson
- Myriam Fernandez
- Alex Michalos
- Jean Smith
- Janis Alton
- Terry Gardner
- Martin Muldoon
- Metta Spencer
- Bob Baxter
- Brydon Gombay
- Hanna Newcombe
- George Spiegelman
- Helmut Burkhardt
- Myron Gordon
- Peter Nicholls
- Gerhard Stroink
- Phyllis Creighton
- Franklyn Griffiths
- Alan Phillips
- Hershel Stroyman
- Ann Crosby
- Andrew Ignatieff
- Raj Ramanathapillai
- John Valleau
- Veronica Dahl
- Maureen Kapral
- Bill Robinson
- Jean-Guy Vaillancourt
- Stephen Dankowich
- Carolyn Langdon
- Robert Russell
- Joe Vise
- Chandler Davis
- Mark Leith
- Ian Russell
- Mel Watkins
- Tom Davis
- Lee Lorch
- Carol Sander
- Ross Wilcock PGS
- Walter Dorn
- Shawn Lovejoy
- Peter Shepherd
- Tanya Zakrison
- Cheshmak Farhoumand
On March 4, 1999 the following message was issued by Dr. Willem Siebrand, Acting Director General of the Steacie Institute at the National Research Council:
It is my sad duty to inform you that Canada and the world lost a great scientist: our former mentor and colleague Dr. Gerhard Herzberg passed away last night at the age of 94. Recognized as the world’s foremost spectroscopist, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1971, the most prominent of the numerous honours he received during his long career. Dr. Herzberg served NRC with great distinction, first as the Director of Physics, and afterwards as NRC’s Distinguished Scientist, a position in which he remained active until his retirement at the age of 90, after he and his Group had joined the Steacie Institute in 1994. Through his work and his personality he contributed immeasurably to the scientific reputation of NRC in Canada and in the international scientific community. He will be remembered not only as a scientist of exceptional insight and creativity, but also as the author of textbooks that set new standards of clarity and accuracy. He was a Leader in the best sense of the word, venerated by his coworkers and respected throughout the world. We mourn the passing of a man whose wisdom and integrity will be sorely missed and offer our warmest sympathy to his family.
Science for Peace had the honour of Gerhard Herzberg’s membership on its Advisory Council since its formation in 1994. He was a man of peace, devoted especially to the defence of human rights.
As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations could be made to The Herzberg Fund, University of Saskatchewan or the Loeb Research Institute.