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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 23, February 1998

Canada to Debate Nuclear Policy

On 3 February, the Canadian House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee began a series of hearings devoted to nuclear disarmament and the role of nuclear weapons. The hearings form a central part of a Parliamentary review of Canadian non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament (NACD) policies urged by Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy.

Committee Chair Bill Graham noted on 3 February: "This is very much a public forum. We'd like to hear from the Canadian public, and also the Americans and Russians." Graham added:

"Every country in the world says they are in favour of nuclear disarmament... What we as Canadians can do is find ways to further that process along."

The broad remit of the review, Graham told reporters, was to balance Canada's "legitimate interest in self-defense, tied to NATO and NORAD [the North American Air Defense Command jointly operated by Canada and the United States]

" with its "strategic interest in living in a nuclear-free world."

The foreign affairs spokesperson of the opposition Reform Party, Bob Mills, expressed scepticism about the orientation and merit of the review, observing (3 February):

"It's the terrorists and the rogue States we should be looking at... In reality, it's not the United States, Britain, France or Russia we need to worry about using nuclear weapons."

Reports: Canada opens nuclear policy debate, Associated Press, 3 February; Canada to examine nuclear weapons role, Reuters, 5 February.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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