Canadian ICAN campaigner hopes her country will regain its place as a disarmament leader

October 31, 2013

Passionate about politics, feminism and poetry, Kathleen Walsh is an active ICAN campaigner in Ottawa, Canada. She works for ICAN partner organization the Rideau Institute, a non-profit that conducts research, analysis and commentary on public policy. Kathleen’s involvement with ICAN began when she worked on the Rideau Institute’s Ceasefire.ca abolition projects.

“I was motivated by the breadth and reach of ICAN’s activities. I realized ICAN had great presence and got involved with their campaign work,” Kathleen said. She is currently working on Ceasefire.ca’s annual campaign “Louder than the Bomb”, which is promoting the ICAN Global Parliamentary Appeal for a Nuclear Weapons Ban.

This has met with resounding success. More than 100 Canadian MPs have endorsed the appeal, making Canada a world leader. Kathleen said: “Canada can have a great role to play in a nuclear-weapon-free world.  We have deep roots as a peaceful nation; Canada has traditionally been known for its ability to broker peace. I’m hopeful that we will see a return to this tradition soon, and that Canada will take the lead on negotiations to eradicate nuclear weapons.”

“However, we do face a lot of challenges,” she said. “Getting people passionately involved in nuclear disarmament is a lot of work since Canada is not a nuclear-armed nation. It’s encouraging to know that Canadians are out there, aware of the issue, and ready to take action. But many more people need to be educated and engaged, especially the youth. I know the potential is there, and that Canadians care deeply about the issue.”

As for life outside work, well, it’s hard to fully detach an activist life from personal life. “Because your activist life is built on your personal beliefs and convictions, it’s often hard to separate things. But I switch off, relax and de-stress with fiction, tea and yoga. Nothing undoes stress like getting lost in a book or enjoying a great yoga practice.”

By Dipa Rao

Photo: Kathleen Walsh with colleague Steven Staples in Edinburgh in April 2013.



  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • 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 Former 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

  • dalailama

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

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate