CPG Conference, July 2017: Recommendations to the Government of Canada

The Canadian Pugwash Group (CPG) held a conference entitled “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security”, July 23-25 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conference commemorated the 150th anniversary of Confederation as well as the 60th anniversary of the international Pugwash movement. The focus of the conference was the current and future contribution Canada could make to global security and to countering existential threats to humanity.

The CPG Board of Directors has endorsed the following recommendations developed by the conference participants for consideration by the Government of Canada: 

  1. Canada should sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and state that it will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty, with a view to Canada’s ratification as soon as possible.
  2. Canada should revivify its work on nuclear disarmament by enlarging its contribution to the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification and by leading efforts to initiate negotiations for a Fissile Material Treaty in the UN General Assembly in 2018.
  3. Canada should demand that nuclear weapons states reduce risks by, inter alia, taking nuclear forces off high alert status, adopting no first-use policies and ensuring adequate security of existing nuclear weapons.
  4. Canada should convene a high-level roundtable, taking into account the submission by civil society to the Defence Policy Review entitled A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security and involving its contributing organizations to explore opportunities for developing a comprehensive, whole-ofgovernment approach to sustainable peace.
  5. Canada should commit meaningfully and substantially to a people-centric approach to multilateral peace operations. This will require a major reinvestment in standing capabilities, in line with the goals of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (1995-2013) and continued efforts by peacekeeping training centres in Africa.
  6. Canada should re-commit to the practical requirements of protecting civilians, including building on the Canadian Forces’ new doctrine on child soldiers and ensuring alignment between peace operations and the feminist international assistance policy.
  7. Canada should become a leading technology contributing country to support UN peace operations and demonstrate specific commitments to these operations in Africa and beyond as befits our role as host to the November UN ministerial meeting on peacekeeping.
  8. Canada should convene no later than 2018 the first ever meeting of States Parties to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
  9. Canada should convene in 2018 a multilateral meeting on the implementation of the consensus recommendations from the 2013 UN Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures in Outer Space.
  10. Canada should articulate a national space policy that would ensure the continued safe, secure and sustainable access to outer space.
  11. Canada should promote international arrangements to ensure the peaceful use of cyberspace.
  12. Canada should rebalance the federal budget by directing resources to programs which are effective in reducing climate change and thereby help to prevent security threats.
  13. Canada should include greenhouse gas emissions of overseas military operations in official accounting, seek to reduce such emissions and urge others to do the same.
  14. Canada should convene a conference of Arctic States, at the highest level, with the involvement of Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic to launch an ongoing security forum to consider practical measures to advance peaceful cooperation in the region.

The CPG Board of Directors convey the above recommendations with the conviction that Canadian leadership in advancing these critical issues for global security would represent an important and enduring way of commemorating the 150th anniversary of our Confederation. 

Yours respectfully,

David Harries, Chair

On behalf of the CPG Board of Directors*

*David Harries, Adele Buckley, Robin Collins, Bev Delong, Walter Dorn, Pierre Jasmin, Paul Meyer, Sergei Plekhanov, Shane Roberts, Erika Simpson, Metta Spencer