Cannon fires a dud at NPT RevCon

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's speech missed one of the fundamental purposes of the NPT Review Conference

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon's speech missed one of the fundamental purposes of the NPT Review Conference

“Canada has managed the extraordinary feat of presenting its opening statement to the NPT Review Conference without any substantive reference to ‘disarmament’ – one of the three foundational pillars of the Treaty,” reports arms control expert Ernie Regehr (“Canada’s opening statement at NPT: promoting nonproliferation while ignoring disarmament,” Disarming Conflict blog, 4 May 2010):

Actually, the statement by Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon did make one, and only one, mention of disarmament – a reference to the DPRK’s “complete disregard for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives.”

It is fair to describe Canada’s opening speech to the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as extraordinary in the sense of it being starkly out of the ordinary – out of sync with the focus and urgency with which other speeches of the opening day (May 3) spoke of disarmament and of the opportunities now before the international community.

For example, the European Union Statement began by pointing out that the NPT is “based on the three mutually reinforcing pillars of non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” Canada’s 10 paragraph speech devoted 3 paragraphs to pillar one (nonproliferation), one paragraph to pillar three (peaceful uses), and none to pillar two (disarmament). There was one paragraph on North Korea, two on Iran, one on universality (urging the three states outside of the Treaty – India, Israel, and Pakistan – to join the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon states, but linking that to the resolution of regional security issues). There was one paragraph on Canada’s important NPT institutional reform proposals, and a final paragraph noting that this is a time of challenge and opportunity. To Mr. Cannon’s credit he added a spoken phrase, not included in the written and distributed document, linking challenge and opportunity to “support of the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.”

But on the substance of disarmament there was nothing.

DFAIT photo

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