Communique #19 – Community Life
National Chairperson of Community Life Marie Rackley, February 5, 2021
Dear League sisters,
At the 99th annual national convention held in 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Resolution 2019.02 Canadian Support for the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was presented by Ontario Provincial Council.
The resolution’s brief explains the devastation caused by two atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan in 1945, resulting in dire injury with long-lasting effects. The brief further states that the United Nations adopted the first-ever Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW] in 2017. Seventy countries had signed, and of these, 25 had ratified the treaty. Once 50 nations signed and ratified the treaty, nuclear weapons would become illegal.
The Holy See has consistently called for the abolition of these instruments of destruction. The Canadian Council of Churches, which includes the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has urged the federal government to support the TPNW.
At the time of the resolution, Canada had not signed the treaty. The League resolved to urge the federal government to join the nations that had signed. An article, “It’s a landmark day for nuclear disarmament, but an awkward one for the federal government” from CBC News released the following information on January 22, 2021.
Today is an extraordinary day for humanity. Yet it is an awkward moment for Canada.
At midnight the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force. For the 51 countries that have already ratified it, developing and possessing nuclear weapons is now illegal. The treaty requires ratifying nations to, “never under any circumstances… develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”
Beyond making weapons that have always been immoral now also illegal for nations that have joined the treaty, it requires signatories to promote nuclear abolition. Similar to the landmine and cluster-bomb treaties, the TPNW seeks to stigmatize the stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons in the hopes of changing the behaviour of all nations, including non-signatories.
The pressure is not only directed at the state level. It is also aimed at companies, universities and other institutions that enable nuclear weapons development, research and production.
Yet despite stating that it is committed to nuclear disarmament, Canada’s federal government has refused to sign the TPNW.
For the full article, visit cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-tpnw-treaty-canada-1.5882158.
There continues to be unrest today—Canadians must express their desire for bringing peace to the world. I ask you to encourage your diocesan counterparts to urge members to act on resolution 2019.02 by writing to their member of parliament expressing concern that Canada has yet to sign the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Love and prayers,
National Chairperson of Community Life