Why we should be terrified about arms policy
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