Ahead of Canadian election, political parties pledge support for nuclear disarmament

September 27, 2015

Canadians will go to the polls on 19 October to elect their country’s next parliament. What might a change of government mean for Canada’s approach to nuclear disarmament? ICAN’s friends at Mines Action Canada (MAC) have surveyed four of the main political parties to find out their views on several humanitarian disarmament issues, including nuclear weapons, and the results are in.

Specifically, the parties were asked whether – upon winning government – they would endorse the Humanitarian Pledge and sign on to international statements declaring the use of nuclear weapons unacceptable under all circumstances. The current Conservative government, which has been in power since 2006 with Stephen Harper as its leader, has resisted recent efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons.

“The results of the survey are very encouraging,” said MAC’s Erin Hunt. “The New Democratic Party and Green Party have said they would endorse the Humanitarian Pledge, and the Liberal Party responded that nuclear disarmament ‘is an act of necessity because of the humanitarian risks’ of nuclear weapons.” The Conservative Party has not yet responded to the survey. See the parties’ full answers and MAC’s analysis here.

“Canada’s Conservative government has been a reluctant participant in the Humanitarian Initiative, often siding with the nuclear-armed states and other ‘nuclear umbrella’ states,” Hunt said. “But the strong support for nuclear disarmament in these survey results makes a change in policy a possibility.” ICAN campaigners in Canada and around the world will be watching the Canadian election closely.


What the political parties have said

Liberal Party:

“The Liberal Party of Canada has always been a leader on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament … our party’s objective remains the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Our country has been a global leader in the fight to reduce the use of all armaments – from landmines to nuclear weapons – and we will continue our efforts to uphold that proud tradition.”

New Democratic Party:

“The NDP firmly believes that it is in the interest of Canada and the world that nuclear weapons are never used. We have challenged the current government repeatedly in the House of Commons on its failure to recognize the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. An NDP government would sign the Humanitarian Pledge. More broadly, the NDP believes it is time to pursue a global ban on the use of nuclear weapons By engaging Canadians on this issue and taking a strong stand on eliminating these obsolete, counterproductive and wasteful weapons, we can help build a safer world.”

Green Party:

“The Green Party will endorse the Humanitarian Pledge. We firmly stand with the international movement for humanitarian disarmament. It is unacceptable that Canada is not at the forefront of these efforts.”

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • hansblix

    “I am proud to support the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.”

    Hans Blix Weapons inspector

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate