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Why Hasn’t Canada Signed the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty?

Other countries have proven they want a world without nuclear arms. Why hasn’t Canada?

Canada has not joined 122 countries represented at the July 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination. It has also declined to sign the resulting UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which recently garnered its 50th state signatory.

Nuclear weapons constitute one of the most serious threats facing humanity. Nuclear explosions over cities could quickly kill tens of millions.

Detonation of just 1% of the 13,400 nuclear weapons in the world could disrupt the global climate and threaten billions with starvation. Canada’s 2017 defence policy ignores the threat nuclear weapons pose to human survival (North Korean nuclear weapons are mentioned once). Yet, our new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” makes two dozen references to Canada’s commitment to the nuclear-armed NATO alliance.

The Trudeau government asserts it cannot ratify the UN Ban Treaty because of Canada’s membership in NATO, which has a nuclear weapons first-strike policy.

The NDP, the Green Party, and the Bloc Québécois have all called on Canada to adopt the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Some Liberal and Conservative MPs, as well as thousands of Canadians, have also called on Canada to adopt the treaty.

As the UN Ban Treaty is about to become international law, this discussion on Canada’s nuclear weapons policy is more urgent than ever.

This event was organized by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute and the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Day Coalition.

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