White Rock council has joined cities across Canada in calling for the federal government to sign a UN treaty banning nuclear weapons.
A delegation from Dr. Huguette Hayden and former MLA candidate Niovi Patsicakis, president of Global Peace Alliance B.C., to the March 29 regular meeting asked that council members add their voice to the call, part of an international ‘Mayors for Peace’ appeal.
By unanimous vote, council endorsed a motion from Coun. Anthony Manning that White Rock send a letter to Ottawa backing the ban.
In an earlier letter to council, Hayden had pointed out that the treaty, adopted in the UN by a 122-1 vote on July 7, 2017, is the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons with the ultimate goal being their total elimination.
Since being opened for signature on Sept. 20, 2017, she said — following years of campaigning by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) — 86 countries have signed, and it has been ratified by 54 of those, while hundreds of cities around the world have spoken out in support of the treaty.
But while it entered into force on Jan. 22 of this year, Hayden said, Canada has yet to sign or ratify this treaty, “meaning our country is not against the retention and potential use of nuclear weapons.”
“We need to get our government to know that the status quo of supporting nuclear weapons is unconscionable,” Hayden told council during the presentation.
“There are only 26 states worldwide that have not signed,” she said. “Nine of them have nuclear weapons, five are hosting nuclear weapons.”
She added that 130 nations are in favour of the ban “despite tremendous pressure from the previous U.S. government.”
“How could we support the ban of chemical weapons, biological weapons and land mines, and not support the ban on nuclear weapons?” Hayden said.
Cities across Canada have already participated in the appeal, and, in B.C., Vancouver, Victoria, West Vancouver, Squamish, and Langley are among cities supporting the ban, she said.
Patsicakis said the same appeal will be presented to the City of Surrey.
“Our vision is a world of lasting peace, trusting on the power of reason, justice, democracy, economic equity and environmental integrity,” she said.