Public event: Canada's Contribution to Global Security, 23-26 July
Register now for “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security”, a three day public conference in Halifax, on the occasion of Canada’s 150th and Pugwash's 60th.
Register separately for a day trip to Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash Village on 26 July. While you are in the area, take in the Vern Theissen play Pugwash at Ships Company Theatre in Parrsboro. More information here.
http://ipolitics.ca/2017/03/30/is-a-world-without-nuclear-weapons-possible Thursday, March 30th, 2017
This week, the United Nations began negotiations to create “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” The goal, in other words, is to make the possession of nuclear weapons illegal.
These negotiations are the culmination of lengthy and energetic efforts by the international nuclear disarmament community, including in Canada, to rid the world of nuclear weapons once and for all. The belief is that making nuclear weapons illegal could contribute to their eventual demise. The negotiations are born of frustration — of a sense that nuclear states have done little to live up to their legal commitments to get rid of these weapons.
Artistes pour la Paix et Pugwash Canada (document de Pierre Jasmin) 2017-03-23
Peace, still a Canadian value?
Canada has gained respect throughout the world for choosing to work for the common good and real democracy, rather than follow the paths of militarism, colonialism and corporate domination. For example:
- The 1957 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Lester B. Pearson’s vision of the UN blue helmets;
- 1957, also: The first meeting of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs hosted in Nova Scotia by Canadian millionnaire Cyrus Eaton; Pugwash and Rotblat will receive the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts against global nuclear arms’ threat;
- 1961: Foundation by the Alcocks of the Canadian Peace Research Institute – CPRI;
- 1963: John Diefenbaker’s opposition to Canada’s acquisition of nuclear weapons;
Toronto Star article by John Polanyi, 20 March 2017
At the dawn of the nuclear age, its principal architect, Robert Oppenheimer, spoke of a stable standoff between nuclear powers. They would be held back from attacking one another by mutual fear, instead circling endlessly “like a pair of scorpions trapped in a bottle.”
Subsequently, political scientist Albert Wohlstetter pointed out that this stability would be lost if a situation arose in which advantage accrued to the first to attack. Then deterrence would at best be “a delicate balance of terror.”
Unknown to most, the balance is today at its most delicate. President Trump has inherited from previous administrations a balance of power tilted so far in favour of the U.S. that it might be advised at some awful moment of crisis to resort to a “first strike.”
Maintaining peace between the superpowers under these conditions will demand the highest level of skill and restraint from the two leaders. The auguries for this are not promising, since the delicacy of the balance has been hidden from public view.
Letter to editor of the Globe and Mail from Frank Sommers, 21 March 2017
Re The Cassandras Are Warning Of Nuclear Doom – So Why Doesn’t Canada Seem To Care? (March 18):
Elizabeth Renzetti’s review of the resurgent threat posed by nuclear weapons brings to mind physicians’ efforts to educate the public and political leaders about the catastrophic medical consequences a nuclear strike would present.
I quote from a 1982 City of Toronto pamphlet we helped to prepare: “A one-megaton (70 times the destructive power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) nuclear weapon detonated in the air above downtown Toronto during business hours would kill 750,000 people immediately and severely injure more than a million others; if detonated during the early evening, it would kill 624,000 residents and severely injure another 795,000. It would destroy 65- to 80 per cent of all the city’s hospital beds, along with blood banks, antibiotics, sterile supplies, diagnostic and life-support systems, operating theatres and emergency treatment centres. The blast would kill more than 5,000 physicians, leaving only one doctor for every 1,000 survivors – with only a little black bag for assistance.”
With our denser population, some 35 years later, these numbers would be higher. The devastating reality of nuclear arms calls on all of us, governments and citizens, to work to prevent their use.
Frank Sommers, MD, honorary and founding president, Canadian Physicians for Social Responsibility/Physicians for Global Survival