Statement from MP Jack Harris, the NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs
Today, on the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, New Democrats honour the victims, celebrate anti-nuclear weapons campaigners like Setsuko Thurlow, and urge the federal government to sign onto the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Nuclear weapons pose a significant threat to global peace and security and are an existential threat to humanity. New Democrats are listening to Canadians who want their country to be a force for global peace and understand that this must include signing onto the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Not so long ago, Canada played a role in global disarmament, however in recent years under both Conservative and Liberal governments that role has diminished.
In 2016, at the UN General Assembly, under the leadership of the Liberal government, Canada voted against starting negotiations for a new treaty to ban the development and possession of nuclear weapons and then, in 2017, Canada boycotted the negotiations. All the while, New Democrats were calling on the government to step up to table, to participate in the negotiations and to ratify the new treaty.
With global insecurity on the rise, it is more important than ever that the Canadian government actively support international efforts to promote nuclear disarmament.
Currently, the world has 14,000 nuclear weapons, and while it is important to prohibit the development of new nuclear weapons, we must deal with the weapons that already exist. Each one of these weapons has the ability to do incredible damage – to kill thousands of people and to have lasting consequences on the environment.
Canadians need more than empty words and platitudes from the Liberal government. They must show leadership on this important issue and actively work to promote peace at home and abroad.