Why we should be ter­ri­fied about arms pol­icy

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

The Ed­i­tor, The pro­posal that Glen­gar­ryPrescott-Rus­sell’s MP rep­re­sent Canada at the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence to Ne­go­ti­ate a Ban on Nu­clear Weapons has to be car­ried for­ward to the next and longest ses­sion from June 15 to July 7. It’s too late for the March 27 to 31 ses­sion.

When I again met with Gabriel Farmer, the young con­stituency as­sis­tant to our MP Francis Drouin at their Alexan­dria of­fice on March 21, he only could re­port some dis­cus­sion of the idea in their par­lia­men­tary of­fice in Ottawa. I had first met with Gabriel Farmer March 7.

Canada voted against the UN res­o­lu­tion in Oct. 2016 that set up the Ban Treaty Talks. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of 29 na­tions spoke at the first or­ga­ni­za­tional meet­ing on Fe­bru­ary 16. The Nether­lands was one of them even though in Oct. 2016 it ab­stained, the only NATO coun­try that didn’t vote against.

Canada’s vote against was “ut­terly out­ra­geous,” says Peggy Ma­son, Canada’s am­bas­sador for dis­ar­ma­ment from 1989 to 1994. “NATO mem­ber­ship doesn’t re­quire us to vote with the nu­clear states,” she says.

The Nether­lands ab­stained be­cause is was “fac­ing strong sup­port at home for a weapons ban” ac­cord­ing to a one and onethird page ar­ti­cle in the Fo­cus sec­tion of The Globe & Mail (G&M) on March 18.

By con­trast, in our G-P-R fed­eral rid­ing only one en­quiry on the nu­clear prob­lem, from Rock­land, came to our MP’s of­fice, says as­sis­tant Gabriel Farmer.

The G&M ar­ti­cle ti­tled, “The Cas­san­dras are warn­ing of nu­clear doom so why doesn’t Canada seem to care?” was com­mented on in three let­ters to the ed­i­tor in the March 21 and 22 edi­tions.

“Pierre Trudeau ded­i­cated the last years of his po­lit­i­cal life work­ing at the UN and around the world to find a way back from the nu­clear brink. His son should take up that man­tle,” writes Ni­co­las Tracy, an as­so­ciate of the Gregg Cen­tre for the study of War and So­ci­ety on March 22.

We of Glen­garry could point out to Justin Trudeau that the vot­ers of Glen­garry gave the then Lib­eral prime min­is­ter Wil­liam Lyon Macken­zie King, a ma­jor­ity here af­ter he had been de­feated in his for­mer seat ( see the “Scrapbook Cor­ner” of the March 1, The Glen­garry News).

In more re­cent his­tory Canada’s par­lia­ment in 2010 unan­i­mously passed a mo­tion to seek a way to ne­go­ti­ate an end to nu­clear weapons.

A for­mer U. S. Sec­re­tary of De­fence, Wil­liam Perry re­cently told Politico Mag­a­zine that, “To­day the dan­ger of some sort of nu­clear catas­tro­phe is greater than it was dur­ing the Cold War and most peo­ple are bliss­fully un­aware of the dan­ger.” Politico head­lined the ar­ti­cle, “Bill Perry is ter­ri­fied. Why aren’t you?”

His Wil­liam Perry Project is de­voted to teach­ing young peo­ple about the per­ils of nu­clear weapons. We should urge our rel­a­tively young MP to rep­re­sent Canada at the UN talks in June and July.

He would get sup­port from Dou­glas Roche, a for­mer MP and se­na­tor, Cana­dian am­bas­sador for dis­ar­ma­ment and chair of the UN Dis­ar­ma­ment Com­mit­tee; from Paul Meyer an­other for­mer Cana­dian am­bas­sador for Dis­ar­ma­ment; from his­toric fig­ures such as for­mer U.S. sec­re­taries of state Ge­orge Shultz and Henry Kissinger and for­mer head of the then-Soviet union Mikhail Gor­bachev.

If we public cit­i­zens can’t get our gov­ern­ments to halt the nu­clear arms race, we can at least go to our ra­dioac­tive deaths say­ing we tried. Let’s choose to cur­tail some of our other per­sonal and col­lec­tive ac­tiv­i­ties to make time to cam­paign for the dis­man­tling of all nu­clear ar­se­nals. Oth­er­wise ev­ery­thing else we’re do­ing will just end in ra­dioac­tive dust.

Planet Earth is still here but for how much longer? Ger­ard Daech­sel, Alexan­dria

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