The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was established in 1996 by representatives of national organizations that share the conviction that nuclear weapons are immoral and should be abolished. Its member organizations include faith communities, professional groups, peace and women’s organizations. CNANW conducts seminars, consultations and meetings with the public, officials and politicians in Canada and abroad. The member organizations meet a couple of times a year in Ottawa. Metta Spencer and Rob Acheson serve as representatives of Science for Peace.
In May 2016 a lecture, organised by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, was given by Mr. Kim Won-soo, United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, on “Pursuing a world free of nuclear weapons: The Secretary-General’s Five Point Proposal on Nuclear Disarmament,” at the University of Ottawa. As well as the lecture, a highlight of the High Representative’s visit was a full official luncheon hosted by Stephane Dion to which several CNANW members were invited. It was a great opportunity to present our perspective to Foreign Affairs in a frank and open conversation.
On UN Disarmament Day, October 24th, 2016 a conference entitled “Building Momentum for Nuclear Disarmament” was held. Approximately 45 people attended including former diplomats, current and former officials from Foreign Affairs, academics and experts from within the NGO community. Officials from DND were invited but did not attend. Speakers provided their views on how to get NATO member states to adhere to the obligation to disarm set out in the NPT, how to encourage better relations with Russia to enable the process of disarmament to continue, what are the current diplomatic options before the international community, and actions that parliamentarians and those in civil society can take to encourage disarmament. It was an excellent program and some of the presentations (including one by Metta Spencer) are available at the CNANW website.
A Parliamentary Forum over breakfast was held by CNANW with Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (PNND) on October 25, 2016 to encourage new parliamentarians to become informed about, and join, PNND Canada. Dr. Hedy Fry’s office advertised it among all parliamentarians. Only two MPs participated in the meeting. Two former Ambassadors for Disarmament, Paul Meyer and Peggy Mason addressed the meeting. Paul spoke on recent progress on key resolutions before the First Committee and Peggy described her concerns with modernization of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, fearing this issue would arise for parliamentarians working in associations with European parliamentarians. Alyn Ware, Global Coordinator for PNND, provided (via skype) an update on PNND global activities.
Representatives of the CNANW member groups met later that same day to discuss next steps. A major point of discussion during the conference was Canada’s anticipated vote against the UN resolution to begin negotiations on a prohibition on nuclear weapons. Although the merits of a ban treaty are not agreed upon by all CNANW members, there was strong momentum for using it as the next step toward the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Ultimately Canada did vote against the resolution and CNANW has written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs stating that Canada should, as a good UN member state, participate in those negotiations to ensure Canada’s views are reflected in the outcome.
— _Notes respectfully submitted by Rob Acheson _
I have been quite active at the UN and on UN peace issues since the last AGM (22 June 2016). Here is a list of selected activities, publications and presentations (with highlights in bold added for ease of scanning).
Africa Defense Forum (AFRICOM publication); Canadian Who’s Who 2017CBC: “Canada: A People’s History”(remake); CBC Radio (The Current); China Daily; CJBK (London) Newstalk; CPAC; CTV News Channel on Canada’s Defence Policy Review; Financial Times; Globe and Mail, Global News (TV); iPolitics; McGill Tribune; National Post; Ottawa Citizen; RCI ; CJME/CKOM Newstalk (Saskatoon)
Examples: Canada’s pledge to provide UN peacekeepers (CBC The National, Power and Politics, and News Network), Radio Canada International (RCI Online and RCI interview) and private radio stations (CKNW and CJBK); Global Online, and CTV News Channel; Globe and Mail; Canadian Press (on deployments, En and Fr.