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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in General News

Shirley Douglas Calls for the Banning of Nuclear Weapons

(Toronto) Actress Shirley Douglas, a long-time advocate of the Canadian universal health care system, will call on the Harper government to take a leading role in the world-wide movement to abolish nuclear weapons. She will be the featured speaker at the August 6 Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration at Toronto City Hall, beginning at 6:45 pm.

“Why does our Prime Minister not care about one of the most important issues of the day and fail to contribute to ending nuclear proliferation?” Douglas asked. “As a health-care advocate, I know there are no medical remedies once a nuclear weapon has been used. Our only safety from these barbaric weapons is to outlaw them.”

Ms Douglas is inviting the public to attend the August 6 commemoration in Toronto and in other cities. A participant in Ban the Bomb marches in England in the 1950s, Ms Douglas founded the Canadian chapter of Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament during the height of the Cold War in 1983. She has joined over 600 fellow Members of the Order of Canada who have appealed to the federal government to take a leading role in international negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear armaments.

In 2010, all 23 member churches of the Canadian Council of Churches petitioned Prime Minister Harper “to personally endorse a vision of the world without nuclear weapons by publicly and prominently recommitting Canada to the energetic pursuit of the early elimination of all nuclear weapons.”

In 2011, the Canadian and International Red Cross concluded that it was “difficult to envisage how any use of nuclear weapons could be compatible with the rules of international human law.” The Red Cross societies emphasized “the incalculable human suffering that can be expected to result from any use of nuclear weapons, the lack of any adequate humanitarian response capacity and the absolute imperative to prevent such use.”

The recent Oslo Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, held in March, also determined that no response plan could effectively be put in place to respond to the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons. The Conference concluded that the effects of a nuclear weapons detonation will not be confined by national borders but will affect people regionally and globally.

In addition to Shirley Douglas’ featured speech at the August 6 Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration, there will be readings of the Toronto and Hiroshima Peace Declarations, prayers by Ted Schmidt and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, and performances by the Yakudo Drummers, singer Tabby Johnson, flautist Ron Korb, a Regent Park School of Music soloist, and the Raging Grannies. A lantern ceremony in the City Hall reflecting pool will conclude the commemoration which is organized by the Hiroshima Day Coalition.

Inside Toronto City Hall, an exhibition of photographs and paintings by Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bomb survivors will be open to the public August 6-9. Sponsors and supporters of the commemoration include the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Physicians for Global Survival, the Toronto National Association of Japanese Canadians, Science for Peace, Toronto Article 9, the Toronto Area Interfaith Council, and Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament.

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For further information, please contact John Bennett at the Sierra Club Canada, 613-241 4611, Cell 613-291-6888; http://www.sierraclub.ca/

The Hiroshima Day Coalition contact is Anton Wagner, 416-863 1209, awagner@yorku.ca   http://www.hiroshimadaycoalition.ca/
http://www.hiroshimadaycoalition.ca/photoexhibit.html

John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
#412 – 1 rue Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON  K1N 7B7
613 291 6888
Executive.Director@sierraclub.ca
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