Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
May 18, 2009
Canada urged to press for end to nuclear weapons
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
OTTAWA — Representatives of three organizations called upon the Canadian government to endorse U.S. President Obama’s commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
“The complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only lasting solution to the grave dangers that threaten our world,” said Dr. Bruce Blair, co-coordinator of Global Zero at a May 12 news conference.
The Global Zero project involves 200 world leaders who want to use binding, verifiable agreements to eliminate all nuclear weapons within the next 20 to 25 years, he said.
Among the leaders are Canada’s former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
The leaders have “no illusions” about how difficult this task is, he said, but it is “feasible and urgent.”
Senator Douglas Roche, the former Canadian ambassador for disarmament, said he had joined 170 Order of Canada recipients in writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that Canada “resume its traditional forthright stance to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.”
“A new moment has arrived with Barack Obama,” he said, describing the president’s first 100 days as having “a tremendous impact on international affairs.”
Obama has said we can no longer live in a world where some states are allowed nuclear weapons and others are not, Roche said. “Those who have nuclear weapons have a responsibility to eliminate them finally from the face of the world.”
Dr. Michael Dworkind, president of Physicians for Global Survival Canada, described nuclear war as the “ultimate common epidemic” that can never be treated or cured, “but only prevented.”
Dworkind said public awareness of the horrific consequences of nuclear war needs to rise. “The younger generation doesn’t have a clue,” he said. “They are shocked to hear that such a high number exist on high levels of nuclear alert.”