Canada’s Nuclear Policy Shift

I suspect I’m not the only one who missed this.  Certainly, the mainstream media haven’t picked it up. Or, they choose to ignore it.

But The Hill Times Embassy Magazine reported a couple of weeks ago that, in fact, Canada’s nuclear policy has shifted.

In January 2002, Canada’s policy called for “the complete elimination of nuclear weapons…through steadily advocating national, bilateral and multilateral steps,” Mr. Byers points out in his new book, Intent for a Nation: What is Canada For?

But recently, the same foreign affairs website has been amended to say that Canada’s nuclear weapons policy is now “consistent with our membership in NATO and NORAD, and in a manner sensitive to the broader international security context.” As Mr. Byers rightly points out, this clause strips Canada’s policy of any real meaning.

PMS Harper really is acting as though he has a majority, isn’t he? We need to be asking why the policy was changed and why we weren’t involved in the discussion of it.  Of course, it’s likely because PMS has no backbone when it comes to the lobby of the military-industrial complex and his American Idol, Gee Dubya.

with thanks to those feministas at BnR


3 thoughts on “Canada’s Nuclear Policy Shift

  1. Such policies “have” to match – or come close to matching on paper – the “consensus policies” of NATO and NORAD. It’s sort of a membership requirement. Harper’s only real option would have been to pull out of those treaties.

  2. NATO recognizes that Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) member states must abide by their obligations.

    “The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, establishes international legally binding norms on arms control and disarmament for its near universal membership. All NATO members belong to the NPT, and official NATO documents refer to the obligations its member have under the NPT. No NPT agreements however mention NATO by name.”

    However, NATO’s policies are heavily influenced by the US. NATO has willfully turned a blind eye to US’ failure to meet its NPT obligations and commitments.

    From a report prepared by Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D. and Nicole Deller, J.D.
    (October 2003) for the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research:

    “If the United States refuses to withdraw its nuclear weapons from non-nuclear NATO states, they might consider the model of New Zealand and adopt domestic legislation to make their countries into nuclear free zones. Further, a withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from European territory and an end to nuclear sharing in NATO would relieve the NATO allies of the United States of legal responsibility for U.S. nuclear policy or U.S. nuclear tests, and put them in a much better position to save the NPT should the U.S. decide to test a nuclear weapon. An adoption of such a policy by the NATO allies of the United States along with steps to try to preserve a permanent end to testing may be the most important single step that they could take to prevent the NPT from collapsing.

    The NPT is already under great stress on several fronts due to (i) the failure of the nuclear weapon states, led by the United States, to fulfill their NPT obligations, (ii) the continued failure to make any progress on a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East in the context of persistent severe violence in Israel/Palestine, (iii) the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, which mentions several non-nuclear states as potential nuclear weapon targets, (iv) the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, which has announced its withdrawal from the NPT, and possibly Iran, a non-nuclear party to the NPT, (v) the failure of the nuclear weapons states to provide unequivocal and verifiable negative security assurances, and (vi) increasing pressures in some non-nuclear states to develop nuclear weapons in light of the above. The U.S.-British war on Iraq has added to these stresses.

    In the face of these stresses, the NATO allies of the United States, whose partnership is based on a multilateral treaty, should be committed to the international rule of law, the system in which states agree to a set of restraints in exchange for increased security and protection of rights. The laws that make up this system are in urgent need of strengthening and improved compliance. The question posed by this report is whether the non-nuclear members of NATO are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the spirit of two key treaties, the NPT and the CTBT, and whether they can act to restrain other more powerful actors from their refusal to adhere to this system. NATO’s policy of continued reliance on nuclear weapons and the U.S. maintenance of an active option of testing have created a situation in which the global disarmament obligations of NATO states are on a collision course with continued membership in NATO.”

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