Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, a group of more than 550 Order of Canada recipients, sponsored a forum on Monday, December 5, to examine next steps after last year’s unanimous Senate and House of Commons resolutions on nuclear disarmament. Elizabeth, one of the Order of Canada recipients who led this initiative, could not participate in the forum, as she is now attending the COP 17 climate change talks. It was my honour to represent her, and a big challenge for me – most people there were Order of Canada recipients, and the other three speakers were M.P.s.
The forum was in East Block. The guards there are friendly; if they aren’t too busy, they can sometimes be prevailed upon to open the door to Sir John A.’s office.
Here’s what I said at the forum.
Merci beaucoup – thank you all very much for welcoming me. It’s a great honour for me to be representing Elizabeth May, Canada’s first Green M.P., in this illustrious and important group.
You all know I’m here because Elizabeth is in Durban. And you know how proud she is to have been, from the beginning, part of the group of Order of Canada recipients who worked so hard for the unanimous motions we are talking about this evening.
The Green Party of Canada’s firm focus on nuclear arms control and disarmament comes from our 6 Green values. We share them with members of Green Parties around the world.
sagesse écologique et développement durable – ecological wisdom & sustainability
justice sociale et respect de la diversité – social justice & respect for diversity
démocratie participative et non-violence – participatory democracy & non-violence.
Elizabeth is the main author of our Green Party of Canada’s major policy document. It’s called Vision Green. It’s full of details on our policies for healthy children, clean air and water, efficient public transportation, electoral reform, and much more. It’s available on our website.
There’s a section called ‘Press for the elimination of all nuclear weapons’. That section begins by citing the expertise of the Hon. Douglas Roche, and some of the good company he is in. Our specific policies, in Vision Green and in our media releases (also available on our website), are congruent with the background brief circulated in preparation for this forum.
We see the principles and particulars of the brief as absolutely fundamental, absolutely essential for all our other policies, just as our other policies are crucial for achieving disarmament.
We believe fair treatment for all, and an end to poverty, are linked inextricably to – if I may say so at this season – peace on earth.
I have two specific messages.
Elizabeth, and all of us who work with her, are eager to help enable Canada to host preparatory meetings to generate political will for a nuclear weapons convention process.
And of course Elizabeth is keen to work with as many other Parliamentarians as possible to re-activate the Canadian section of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament.
You are all, I hope, fully aware of her constant willingness to cooperate on common goals. I heard her emphasize that just a few days ago, to the group in the ‘green room’ for the press theatre in Centre Block, right before the press conference on the bill to establish a Canadian Department of Peace, for which she was a seconder. In Parliamentary nuclear disarmament initiatives, she’s happy to play whatever role is desirable.
Thank you. Merci.