CALGARY, August 7, 2018 – The Canadian government should press U.S. president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin to hold a summit on nuclear weapons reductions, former senator Douglas Roche told a Calgary rally commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “Nuclear disarmament is in a state of severe crisis, and the leaders of the two most powerful nuclear states have a duty to humanity to resume dialogue and negotiations for nuclear arms control and disarmament,” he said.

As an honorary citizen of Hiroshima, Roche spoke to the Floating Lantern Peace Ceremony convened by the Calgary Ploughshares Society. He called on the Canadian government to reach out to both the U.S. and Russia to overcome their hostilities and re-energize the pursuit of nuclear disarmament to find common ground. “Canada must speak up in the name of humanity and join many non-nuclear weapons states in demanding an end to nuclear threats,” he said.

Also, the Canadian government should seize the moment opened up by the parliamentary committee on National Defence, which urged the government “to take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Roche said that now is the time for Canada to sign the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and state that Canada will, through dialogue and changes to its own policies and practices, persist in its efforts to bring NATO into conformity with the Treaty. He urged civil society to call their Members of Parliament and express deep concern at the government’s refusal to sign the Prohibition Treaty.

The Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., is a former Canadian senator and Member of Parliament from Edmonton. He was Canada’s ambassador for disarmament to the United Nations and is founder and chairman emeritus of the Middle Powers Initiative, an international network of eight 2 international non-governmental organizations specializing in nuclear disarmament issues. In 2010, the City of Hiroshima named him an Honorary Citizen for his extensive nuclear disarmament work and particularly for founding the Middle Powers Initiative.

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