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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Canada Must Sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

From the Freedom from War Coalition which has also initiated a parliamentary petition related to the issue sponsored by NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron

Freedom from War Coalition

The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a landmark global agreement that was adopted in New York on 7 July 2017.

Canada has not yet signed or ratified the TPNW. In fact Canada did not even participate in the negotiation of the TPNW at the United Nations in New York in 2017 and thus did not even vote on its adoption.

The mythology peddled to Canadians is that we are the good guys who want peace and democracy in every corner of the globe. And yet Canada even voted against the original UN General Assembly resolution which established the formal mandate for nations to develop “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. Whatever the wishes of the people of Canada, our leaders followed lockstep in adhering to the demands of the US. In a document sent to NATO members ahead of the vote, the United States “strongly encourage[d]” members, including Canada, to vote against the resolution, “not to merely abstain”. In addition, it declared, if the treaty negotiations do commence, allies and partners should “refrain from joining them.”

Can you imagine! What more evidence do we need that the people in charge have no interest in the wellbeing of our planet and every creature on it ?

It should interest our government – though of course it does not- that a public opinion poll conducted by Nanos Research in 2021 found 74 per cent of Canadians believe their government should join the TPNW, with just 14 per cent opposed. Furthermore, 73 per cent think that Canada should join even if, as a member of NATO, it might come under pressure from the United States not to do so. Several Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, have also urged the Canadian government to sign and ratify the TPNW.

We should be calling for all our elected people at all levels to demand this. What are they there for if not to protect us from the ghastly results of nuclear war?

Our business class are standing firm to continue manufacturing weapons and selling them willy nilly to anyone with a wallet. On behalf of the very wealthiest and the very nastiest, it is clear that our government is unwilling to do the right thing however modest that right thing is.

As long as we tolerate this demoralising situation… as long as we are prepared to have our ruling class syphon our resources towards the few who enrich themselves in the manufacture and distribution of all weapons, our expectations for well funded services and international solidarity will go unresolved.

As our unions fight for fair wages and working conditions, the workers they represent are sidelined by the endless demands of the war profiteers. Those in the Labour Movement are obliged to demand that our government set their priorities on funding public services over embroiling us in endless war.

The Freedom from War Coalition stands with all people in the world who demand our governments abolish nuclear weapons. Our safety and our needs speak volumes and we must press on to defend the interests of the many.


Eden Haythornthwaite of the Coalition has initiated a parliamentary petition related to this matter that has been sponsored by NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron.

It reads:

Petition to the House of Commons in Parliament assembled


  • It is 78 years since the first use of nuclear weapons demonstrated their awesome power, yet we remain today under constant threat of warfare that could result in devastation from which the world may never recover;

  • The Government of Canada has published statements saying “We are committed to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons”;

  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), to which Canada is a signatory, does not directly address complete elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons;

  • Canada as a member of the UN Conference on Disarmament and the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, has an obligation to promote internationally the elimination of nuclear weapons;

  • The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has been signed by 92 countries and ratified by 68, but not by Canada; and

  • As a non-nuclear state, Canada is in a best position to comply with the articles of the TPNW and to guide its allies and other nations toward a world free from nuclear weapons.

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to sign and commit to ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and to urge allies and other nations to follow suit.

You can sign the petition until January 5 at: Petition e-4557 - Petitions (


Roger Crowther or 250-510-9460

Eden Haythornthwaite or 250-709-7975



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