End Our World’s 72 Year Nuclear Misadventure
For Immediate release
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canadian Section) WILPF
On the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, peace activists across Canada are calling out the Canadian government for its recent boycott of the United Nations negotiations on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty was approved by non-nuclear nations on July 7 on a vote of 122-1 with one abstention.
“We feel like we are back in the Harper-era, behaving like an embarrassing dinosaur on the international stage,” the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canadian Section), said in a statement. The group went on to add, “Although Canada’s international record in pressing for nuclear disarmament has been weak at the UN and the Geneva Conference on Disarmament, which our international office actively monitors, Canada was the first nuclear-capable country to renounce nuclear weapons and has historically been an active participant in any such negotiations.”
Poll after poll, going back decades, shows that the vast majority of Canadians strongly oppose nuclear weapons. It is therefore baffling that the “Canada is Back” government of Justin Trudeau chose to abandon the rest of the world on an issue of such vital importance to Canadians and people around the world.
The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, set in motion not just an atomic chain reaction, but a chain reaction of consequences that continue to threaten our planet even without another nuclear detonation.
Nuclear waste from the Fukushima disaster, Hanford, WA, Chernobyl and a myriad of other nuclear accidents and spills, remain deadly and difficult to contain for centuries to come. Yet, we continue to do business-as-usual with nuclear-weapons and nuclear-power production, generating deadly nuclear by-products that we have no safe method to store.
The nuclear age has shed a spotlight on our species’ alarming lack of wisdom. Robert Oppenheimer, dubbed ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ for his role in developing the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, said, “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds,” and spent the remainder of his life warning of the dangers and trying to put the atomic genie back in the bottle. He could perhaps be excused for a scientific experiment of then unknown consequence. Today, we have no such excuse. We know from the recent Nuclear Famine Report by Physicians for Social Responsibility and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War that the humanitarian consequences of even a small, limited, regional nuclear war are far worse than previously imagined. We have left a trail of destruction from Hiroshima to Fukushima and beyond.
In the spirit of keeping the lessons of history alive the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson has issued two proclamations declaring Hiroshima Memorial Day for Aug. 6, 2017 and Nagasaki Memorial Day Aug. 9, 2017, “to remember the devastation of these Japanese cities in 1945, and to renew our commitment to remove the threat posed by nuclear weapons, here and everywhere.” We commend the City of Vancouver and call, for Canada to rejoin the international community, and put an end to the 72 year-long nuclear misadventure that threatens life on our planet if the use of the weapons doesn’t extinguish it first.
Contact: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Canadian Section)