There is good news in the international effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
In late October, a 50th country ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which means the treaty will go into effect in January.
Although binding only on those countries that join it, the TPNW stigmatizes and bans nuclear weapons.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed the TPNW as the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons.
Canada refuses to sign the TPNW, instead clinging to NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy as sacrosanct.
Yet an Open Letter released in September, signed by 53 former high officials of 20 NATO countries, expressed support for the TPNW and challenged NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy. The letter hailed the TPNW as the foundation for a more secure world, free from the nuclear weapons menace.
The TPNW is the result of a decade of work by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international NGO coalition that was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.
In 2018, ICAN launched the Cities Appeal, a commitment by cities around the world to show support for the TPNW and to call on their national governments to join it.
Salmon Arm was invited to join the appeal, but the motion was defeated by city council recently when three councillors argued it was “not the prerogative” of council to join this international appeal.
Yet a few years ago, council voted for Salmon Arm to join the World Conference of Mayors for Peace, the rationale being that since cities are the main targets of nuclear weapons, they have special responsibility to seek the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Perhaps a future city council will reverse this council’s negative vote.
Salmon Arm Ecumenical KAIROS Committee