Nuclear Weapons Working Group

Science for Peace began as a group of scientists who worried about the danger of nuclear war. Today, a working group still continues to function, educating the public and decision-makers about the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear warfare, and promoting nuclear disarmament.

The Nuclear Weapons working group usually meets about once a month in a private home and members share information with each other by email. We welcome concerned citizens who are not members of Science for Peace.


Current activities

Minutes of the 19 September 2016 working group meeting

Present: Rob Acheson (chair); Metta Spencer (hostess); Barbara Birkett; Michael Rosenberg; Mike Nevin (minutes); Liz Gilarowski; Doug Alton; Janis Alton; Helen Kirkby; Adele Buckley; Mona Marcobelli; Phyllis Creighton;
Regrets: Eryl Court

Proposed Agenda: Minutes from the special meeting of August 29th; Update on CNANW conference call; Update on letter writing campaign to have Canada support negotiations for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons; strategies for maintaining pressure on gov’t.; Ideas for Sept 26th – the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; The Bloor Hot Docs showing of the documentary Command and Control; Stanford University online course with William Perry commencing October 4th;

  • Barbara read out the show times for the documentary Command and Control at the Bloor Hot Docs. How many showings can we cover with literature?
  • Note the memorial meeting for the life of Ursula Franklin Sept 21st.
  • Mike read a summary of the minutes of August 29th.
    There was a note from Bev Delong that Cabinet will be deciding next week on its attitude toward the OEWG report and recommendations.
  • Earl said he had heard that there were >2,400 letters to the PM in support of a Ban.
  • Phyllis reported on her correspondence with her MP, his pro-nuclear robo-response and her response in turn.
  • Rob gave a report on the CNANW conference call and read out Doug Roche’s email (to be shared with members, mpn). Canada must vote Yes for negotiations for a Ban. Would Canada abstaining on this vote be a triumph as opposed to its hitherto NO vote? But a NO vote in a subsequent stage might rule Canada out of Ban Treaty negotiations. Could Canada have a late conversion experience as the process unfolds at the UN?
  • Metta described Murray Thompson’s efforts to enlist Order of Canada honorees to write the PM in favour of a Ban Treaty. Will Canada’s existing No vote energize opposition to nuclear weapons. We need our own dbase of these names.
  • See letter on Senate stationery from Senator Nancy Ruth to the PM urging Canada to support a Ban Treaty. Point out to our PM that calls for a Ban Treaty are not partisan but cut across party lines. Note Liberal Party policy toward nukes.
  • Some politicians believe mistakenly that NATO membership implies support for whatever NATO’s nuclear policies might be. But many NATO members already reject nuclear weapons possession for themselves. Does the NATO Charter oblige total agreement with US nuclear policies? Check NATO Charter wording. God asks us to be faithful not successful.
  • Rob described his Twitter wars. Evidently one can add comments to pro-nuclear Tweets which need correction or comment before retweeting.
  • Analysis of our beleaguered Foreign Minister and possibility of bringing him to an improved position. Note: importance of address in recipient’s first language. Mona volunteered her bilingual fluency.
  • Note the on-line course: Living at the Nuclear Brink led by Dr William Perry and beginning October 4th.
  • Note the conference in NYC: Humanitarian Disarmament Forum
  • There is a 6-part video with Noam Chomsky from 2006.
  • Bev will draft 2 different letters in response to Canada’s vote on the OEWG report: one for Yes and one for No. This will be delivered to the PM.
  • We need to play come-from-behind catch-up ball in case we do not win the October OEWG report vote. Maybe Canada will have been induced to change its position by the early 2017 treaty-building period.
  • Plan to phone the PM’s office on Sept 26th and our MPs as well then.
  • Need to have our (less-than-active) Mayors for Peace write the PM.

Next meeting Sunday October 30th 4 PM at Metta’s (155 Marlee Avenue, Toronto, main floor party room)

See also

The report of the Nuclear Weapons Working group to the 2016 Science for Peace AGM can be found here

Science for Peace has organized lecture series at University College in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 academic winter term on the theme of “Public Health in a Nuclear Age” (also the name of an undergraduate course for which SfP is responsible; see below). Videos of most of the lectures in these series are available on the SfP YouTube channel.

The Public Health in a Nuclear Age undergraduate course continues to be taught by Science for Peace president Metta Spencer.