Canada Heralds Nuclear Stand At UN, But Critics Call For Full Ban

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OTTAWA — Two recent votes at the United Nations show Canada's preferred path towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons — saying no to a push for full-scale nuclear disarmament in favour of a treaty to ban bomb-making material.

However, a coalition of Canadian anti-nuclear activists criticizes the government for not backing a broader effort to work towards an outright ban on nuclear weapons.

stephane dion
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion speaks in Saguenay Quebec on, Aug. 26, 2016. (Photo: Jacques Boissinot/CP)

The government favours the creation of the creation of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty as a more realistic approach.

Canada is a member of the NATO military alliance, which has a policy of supporting nuclear weapons as a deterrent.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion heralds the overwhelming adoption of Canadian-sponsored resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling for the creation of a fissile material treaty.

More than 170 countries favour the creation of such a treaty, which would rid the world of the key ingredients needed for nuclear weapons.

Dion lauds 'concrete progress'

Dion called the treaty "concrete progress on nuclear disarmament," as the vote approved the creation of a high-level group that would work on the elements of the pact.

However, the president of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute criticized Canada for its decision to vote against another UN resolution on Thursday that would have started a process towards negotiations for a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

"Canada's vote against this resolution puts this country, quite simply, on the wrong side of history," said Peggy Mason, the institute's president and a former Canadian disarmament ambassador to the UN. "Canada was one of only a handful of countries to vote no."

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