Canadian Peace Alliance
l'Alliance canadienne pour la paix
Canada's largest umbrella peace group
For immediate release March 26, 1998
CANADIANS SUPPORT ABOLISHING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
OTTAWA - Canadians overwhelmingly support the abolition of nuclear weapons and believe the federal government should take the lead role in this initiative, says the findings of a national poll conducted by Angus Reid Group for the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA).
Ninety-three per cent of Canadians agree Canada should support the negotiation of an international agreement to outlaw nuclear weapons. And 92 per cent want the federal government to lead, just as it led the fight to ban anti-personnel landmines.
"Right now, the Foreign Affairs committee is reviewing Canadas nuclear disarmament policies and committee members are asking what public opinion is. Here you have it," says Tryna Booth, Coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance.
The poll also found that 75 per cent of Canadians believe the existence of more than 30,000 nuclear weapons poses a threat to world security rather than enhancing it.
"The end of the Cold War has not stilled the anxiety about these horrific weapons of mass destruction. The fact that the U.S. recently refused to rule out their use against Iraq has done nothing to put fears to rest," says Deb Powell, CPA Co-Chair. "The only way to ensure they will never be used is an international agreement that sets out a framework for their elimination."
Polls in Britain, the U.S. and Canada show the public strongly favours abolishing nuclear weapons. This is the goal of the international movement Abolition 2000, and its Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
In 1995, Canada pushed hard for the indefinite extension of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but this treaty is in danger of unraveling if there is not significant progress towards disarmament by nuclear weapon states. And in 1996, the UNs International Court of Justice ruled the use or threatened use of nuclear weapons violated international law.
"Our politicians can show respect for both international court rulings and their constituents by listening to the nine out of 10 Canadians who want their government to lead the way to a nuclear weapons-free world," says Powell.
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