Text Only | Disarmament Diplomacy | Disarmament Documentation | ACRONYM Reports
Back to the Acronym home page
British Policy
South Asia
About Acronym

Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 36, April 1999

Canadian Government Response to Nuclear Weapons Report

'Government response to the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Canada's Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Policy,' submitted by the Governmment on 19 April 1999

Editor's note: see Disarmament Diplomacy No. 33 for extracts from the report. The full text report is available on the Canadian Parliament website http://www.parl.gc.ca/InfoComDoc/FAIT/Studies/Reports/faitpro07-e.htm

"The following pages contain the Government's response to each recommendation of the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) entitled Canada and the Nuclear Challenge: Reducing the Political Value of Nuclear Weapons for the Twenty-First Century. The report was tabled in the House of Commons on 10 December, 1998. ...

[Recommendation] 1.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada adopt the following fundamental principle to guide its nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament policy, within an overarching framework encompassing all aspects - political, military, and commercial - of Canada's international relations: That Canada work consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons in order to contribute to the goal of their progressive reduction and eventual elimination.

The Government endorses this recommendation. Canada's security is promoted through supporting an appropriate balance between Canada's nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives and Canadian security requirements.

The objective of successive Canadian Governments has been and remains the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. In order to ensure the indefinite extension of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1995, the five nuclear-weapon States (NWS) agreed, in the adoption of the Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament, to 'the determined pursuit by the nuclear-weapon States of systematic and progressive efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally with the ultimate objective of eliminating those weapons... ' The Government will continue to press for negotiated reductions that bring the international community closer to this objective. ...

The Government will continue to promote the NPT, along with new and strengthened instruments that enhance the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and to invigorate efforts to rollback nuclear proliferation where it has occurred. In this context, Canada will continue to stress the necessity to devalue the political significance of these weapons.

Canada will also continue to resist any movement to validate nuclear weapons as acceptable currency in international politics.

[Recommendation] 2.

In order to implement this fundamental principle, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada issue a policy statement which explains the links between Canada's nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament policy and all other aspects of its international relations.

The Government has tabled a comprehensive policy statement that will guide Canada's renewed approach to the 'nuclear challenge'. ...

In addition, it must also establish a process to achieve a basis for ongoing consensus by keeping the Canadian public and parliamentarians informed of developments in this area, in particular by means of:

  • Annual preparatory meetings - held, for example, under the auspices of the Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development - of the type held with non-governmental organizations and representatives of civil society before the annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission;
The Government agrees to hold an annual meeting with non-governmental organizations and will consider how best to implement this consultative process.

The Government is committed to involving Canadians in discussions with respect to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues. Non-governmental organizations, individual Canadians, experts and academics have been and will continue to be encouraged to provide their contributions to an ongoing open dialogue. ..

  • An annual public appearance before this Committee by the Ambassador to the United Nations for Disarmament Affairs;
The Government agrees to keep close contact with Parliament. Should the Committee so wish, this will include an annual appearance by Canada's Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  • Strengthened coordination between the departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and National Defence, in the first instance by the inclusion of a representative from National Defence on Canadian delegations to multilateral nuclear non-proliferation fora.
The Government of Canada will continue to speak with a single voice on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, wherever they are discussed. ...

[Recommendation] 3.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada intensify its efforts, in cooperation with States such as its NATO allies and the members of the New Agenda Coalition [Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden], to advance the process of nuclear disarmament.

The Government agrees with the Committee's recommendation. NATO takes seriously its distinctive role in promoting a broader, more comprehensive and more verifiable international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The importance and value of the Alliance as a forum and centre for coordinating practical work on future non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament should not be underestimated. ...

Practical steps the Alliance might take to ensure it plays a positive role in advancing disarmament objectives could include better coordination of threat reduction efforts among Allies; more coordinated efforts on the part of Alliance member States in disarmament fora, with a view to giving greater content to our shared obligations under Article VI of the NPT; identification and promotion of new confidence-building measures such as improved exchange of missile launch warning information and consideration of steps that might lead to negotiations to reduce further sub-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, including Russian stockpiles west of the Urals. Canada has also proposed that the Alliance revise the 1989 NATO Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament. ...

Canada will continue to engage the members of the New Agenda Coalition in pursuing shared nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation objectives and will encourage all States to reaffirm their commitments to the NPT-based nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime in the face of pressing and potent challenges.

To this end, it must encourage public input and inform the public on the exorbitant humanitarian, environmental and economic costs of nuclear weapons as well as their impact on international peace and security.

The Government is committed to involving Canadians in discussions with respect to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues. Since instability in a global strategic environment affects all Canadians, the Government of Canada is and will remain concerned when governments ignore both the norms established by the non-proliferation regime and the basic human needs of their own citizens, expending scarce energy and resources in pursuit of weapons that destabilize entire regions and have profoundly negative effects on international security. The pursuit of national security must not be achieved at the expense of either international stability or human security. ...

In addition, the Government must encourage the nuclear-weapon States (NWS) to demonstrate their unequivocal commitment to enter into and conclude negotiations leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons. Drawing on the lessons of the Ottawa Process, it should also examine innovative means to advance the process of nuclear disarmament.

Canada's objective remains the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. ... While remaining sensitive to security concerns, the Government of Canada will continue to press for negotiated reductions which bring the international community closer to this objective.

The Government recognizes and accepts the potential, as well as the limits, of multilateral efforts to reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons over the short and medium term. It is in this context that Canada encourages the NWS to meet their responsibilities and deliver on their commitments. For the foreseeable future, it will be up to the NWS to negotiate among themselves the reduction of their nuclear arsenals. At the same time, Canadians and all members of the international community continue to have a deep and abiding stake in the process. ...

The Government of Canada recognizes that further nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures will not be achieved without substantial financial investment not only by the NWS but also by the international community as a whole. The dismantling and destruction of warheads and the disposition of fissile material from weapons must be supported by financial and other assistance from those States in a position to contribute.

[Recommendation] 4.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada explore additional means of both providing more information to Canadians on civilian uses of nuclear technology, and receiving more public input into government policy in this area.

... There are well-established and readily accessible sources of information on Canada's nuclear program. ... The Government welcomes public input on the peaceful applications of nuclear energy and encourages the public to visit the nuclear websites created by relevant government departments. Recommendations on how to improve effectiveness of existing public outreach programs would be also welcome.

Canada's Access to Information Act also provides the right to Canadians to obtain information from the federal government departments subject to certain exclusions relating to commercial, national security and other interests. ...

[Recommendation] 5.

In the interest of increased nuclear safety and stability, and as a means to advance toward the broader goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada endorse the concept of de-alerting all nuclear forces, subject to reciprocity and verification - including the arsenals of the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the three nuclear-weapons-capable States - and encourage their governments to pursue this option.

The Government supports the concept of de-alerting and other measures which contribute to the safety and security of nuclear arsenals and the stability of USA-Russian strategic nuclear relations. Verifiable de-alerting measures, undertaken in a reciprocal fashion, can increase both safety and stability. The Government also supports de-mating (separating warheads and/or guidance systems from their delivery vehicles) which provides even a larger measure of safety and stability. Together, de-alerting and de-mating could help reduce the 'use or lose' pressure on nuclear forces, increase the margin of safety against unauthorized or accidental use of nuclear weapons by all NWS and avoid the danger that ballistic missiles might be launched on the basis of false warnings. Canada calls on both Russia and the USA to negotiate to de-alert and de-mate their nuclear arsenals to the maximum extent possible. ...

The nuclear forces attributed to NATO consist of dual (nuclear/conventional) capable aircraft and a very small number of nuclear gravity weapons remaining in Europe. NATO has reduced the size of its nuclear forces and the level of readiness of its aircraft significantly over the past decade. These forces are essentially de-alerted.

[Recommendation] 6.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada take all possible action to encourage the United States and Russia to continue the START process.

... Both bilaterally and in multilateral forums such as the UN and the Conference on Disarmament, Canada continues to urge Russia to ratify START II. Canada urges both Russia and the USA to proceed rapidly to agree to further deeper cuts through START III. Canada also supports the broadening of the bilateral START process to include other NWS.

In particular, Canada should encourage Russia to ratify START II, should provide concrete support towards achieving this objective, and should encourage like-minded States to work with Russia to ensure increased political and economic stability in that country.

As indicated in the response to the previous recommendation, Canada is encouraging Russia to ratify START II. This issue was a prominent feature of the Minister of Foreign Affairs' November 1998 visit to Moscow, and of the latest round of the Canada-Russia Strategic Stability Talks, held at officials' level in Moscow in December 1998.

Ratification of START II has domestic political and budgetary ramifications in Russia, which Canada believes can best be alleviated by constructive dialogue in the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council and within the G8, and by placing the Russian economy on a secure macro-economic footing and addressing necessary structural reforms. ...

[Canada] welcomes the initiative proposed by President Clinton in January for increased international partnership with Russia and the other Newly Independent States to address their arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament obligations. Canada will contribute.

Beyond this, Canada should urge both parties to pursue progressive and reciprocal reforms to their respective nuclear postures.

The Government notes that the analysis of the strategic needs assessments of the USA and Russia does not support a need even for the numbers of nuclear warheads specified by START II, as was clearly recognized by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in their March 1997 agreed Joint Statement on the Parameters on Further Reduction in Nuclear Forces. In this regard, Canada welcomes the Joint Statement, issued at the Helsinki Summit, in 1997, calling for the creation of a separate forum in the START III framework to discuss reduction measures related to tactical nuclear weapon systems.

Canada will continue to encourage Russia and the USA to negotiate confidence-building and transparency measures for tactical weapons such as a freeze on deployment, storage of all such weapons well away from and out of the control of operational units, basic data exchanges, verified dismantlement of excess systems and other incremental measures.

[Recommendation] 7.

Given its potential contribution to nuclear safety and stability, and the need to act promptly to address the possible implications of the millennium bug, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada explore further with the United States and Russia the feasibility of establishing a NORAD 'hotline' to supplement and strengthen Russia's missile early warning system.

Canada welcomed the agreement announced at the September 1998 USA-Russia Summit in Moscow to establish a joint USA-Russia Missile Early Warning Centre and to set up an international system to provide notification of intended missile launches. Canadian officials have encouraged the USA to share information with Russia and to multilateralise this initiative.

An international system for launch notification is one of the subjects the Government would wish to see addressed by an Ad Hoc Committee on Outer Space that Canada has proposed be set up in the Conference on Disarmament.

The Government agrees that one vehicle for a multilateral early warning system might be NORAD. As NORAD is a formal agreement between Canada and the United States, however, any such role would have to be effectively discussed and accepted by the parties before such a suggestion was pursued with Russia.

With respect to possible Y2K nuclear problems, the USA and Russia are holding bilateral talks aimed at excluding any possible computer-related difficulties. ...

Canada should also strongly support the idea of broadening such a mechanism to include other nuclear-weapons-capable States.

The Government considers that all States can benefit from an international system for launch notification and other security and confidence-building measures. ...

[Recommendation] 8.

The Committee recommends that the Government reject the idea of burning MOX fuel in Canada because this option is totally unfeasible, but that it continue to work with other governments to address the problem of surplus fissile material.

The Government does not endorse this recommendation. The SCFAIT report calls for Canada to 'work consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons in order to contribute to the goal of their progressive reduction and eventual elimination'. As the CANDU MOX option is viewed internationally as a feasible option and could make a valuable contribution to the disposition of weapons plutonium, thereby promoting continued dismantling of nuclear weapons, the Canadian Government's agreement in principle to consider a CANDU MOX option reflects a responsible Canadian position to meet the goals stated by the SCFAIT report.

The Government does not consider there are sufficient grounds to justify abandoning the possibility of using MOX fuel in Canadian reactors as a means to reduce proliferation risks from weapons plutonium being declared surplus to defence needs in the USA and Russia. ... The technical feasibility of both the fabrication of CANDU fuel bundles made from a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, approximately 3% weapons plutonium oxide mixed with depleted uranium oxide, and of their use in Canadian reactors has been studied jointly by Canadian, American and Russian experts. There are no technical, health or safety problems foreseen with this concept, based on the extensive domestic and international expertise with the technologies involved and the 20 years of Western European practical experience with MOX fuel using reactor grade plutonium, produced by reprocessing spent fuel from civilian reactors.

The Government agrees that Canada should continue to work with other governments to address the problem of surplus fissile material. In fact, Canada has encouraged a strong multilateral approach to determine the most expeditious and economic arrangements to deal with this issue. It is anticipated that the USA and Russia, along with the G7 and other countries, will establish in the near future an integrated program to expedite early resolution of this matter.

A Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that would put an end for all time to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons is another important international objective that Canada supports as a means of preventing further accumulation of fissile material while steps are taken to address the issue of excess fissile material in current stockpiles.

[Recommendation] 9.

In view of their responsibilities as nuclear-weapon States under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and as Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada encourage the United Kingdom, France and China to:

  • Increase transparency about their nuclear stockpiles, fissile material and doctrine;
The Government of Canada welcomes recent decisions by both the UK and France to reduce warhead numbers and types and the number of deployment locations, to increase transparency and adopt unilateral moratoria on the production of fissile material for weapons purposes. Canada urges China to follow suit and, in particular, to declare a fissile material moratorium.
  • Support the call of Canada and other States for the substantive discussion of nuclear disarmament issues at the Conference on Disarmament;
The Government continues to urge all NWS to support Canada's proposal that the CD establish an Ad Hoc Committee for the substantive discussion of nuclear disarmament issues. Nuclear disarmament is a primary and priority preoccupation of the entire global community, not only a few of its members. ...

More directly, the CD could and should be used to identify and explore issues which could be negotiated multilaterally at an appropriate point. The CD has negotiated such issues in the past, for example, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty...and the recently-launched [FMCT]...negotiations. Other issues appropriate for negotiation in the CD may well emerge in the future.

  • And explore with the United States and Russia means of preparing to enter nuclear disarmament reductions at the earliest possible moment.
The Government of Canada considers that a political commitment now by China, France and the UK to join an expanded START process would be a singular responsible action. ...

[Recommendation] 10.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue to support all international efforts to address the underlying regional security issues in South Asia and the Middle East. Working with like-minded States, it should take a more proactive role in stressing the regional and global security benefits of immediately increasing communication and co-operation between States in those regions as a means of building trust.

In both regions - but particularly in South Asia given the recent nuclear tests - Canada should also stress: the freezing of nuclear weapon programs; adhering to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and participating in the negotiation of the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and; joining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States.

The Government of Canada condemned the nuclear weapons tests conducted in May 1998 by India and Pakistan. We remain deeply worried about their implications for international security and for the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 1172 adopted unanimously on June 6, 1998, the Government of Canada holds that Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons programs must be rolled back and that the two States must sign and ratify the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States. ...

Canada calls upon India and Pakistan to take concrete steps to meet the benchmarks established by UNSCR 1172 and endorsed by the international community. They are, inter alia to freeze their nuclear weapons programs; adhere to the CTBT; participate in the negotiation of an FMCT and agree to a moratorium on the production of fissile material; refrain from missile tests; institute and enforce sound export control with respect to sensitive technology and materials; and sign and ratify the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon States. ... Reductions by the NWS of both their nuclear weapons inventories and the political value of nuclear weapons will also be key to halting nuclear weapons proliferation in South Asia and discouraging it from happening elsewhere. ...

In the Middle East, Canada also continues to support international efforts to address underlying regional security issues. Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq carried out chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, and acquired missiles to deliver them. Following the war, Canada has supported the activities of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), charged with eliminating the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, since its establishment in 1991. ... In violation of binding UN Security Council resolutions, the Government of Iraq repeatedly withdrew its cooperation from UNSCOM inspectors, leading to the military action initiated in December by the USA and UK.

To break the deadlock in the UN Security Council following the bombing, Canada brokered an agreement which established three panels to assess the situation in Iraq from the perspectives of disarmament, of humanitarian assistance and of prisoners of war and reparations. ...

While Israel maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, it is widely assumed to have developed a significant nuclear weapons capability. The Government of Canada is convinced that this program is not in the long-term interests of Israel, of regional stability and of global security. We call upon Israel to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon State. ...

[Recommendation] 11.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada work to strengthen international efforts to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and missile systems and to ensure adequate funding for verification purposes.

... In the chemical weapons domain, Canada continues to encourage broad adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), as the best means of addressing the threat posed by chemical weapons. While adherence to the Convention is very widespread (there are currently 121 States Parties), problem areas remain. Of greatest concern is the Middle East, where Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq have not become States Parties. ...

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) entered into force in 1975 and has been ratified by 138 States. Unlike the CWC, the BTWC does not yet include verification provisions. Attempts have been made to address this shortcoming through politically-binding confidence-building measures submitted annually to the United Nations and since 1994, through the on-going negotiation of a Compliance Protocol to supplement the Convention.

Canada is playing an active role in the ongoing negotiations of a Compliance Protocol, including working with States from north and south. The Protocol will provide verification and compliance mechanisms to reduce the threat posed by covert biological weapons programs, without imposing an unacceptable burden on industry. Facilities engaged in defence against biological weapons, and those that could be used to produce biological weapons, should be declared. There must be provisions for challenge investigations, which would take place when there is serious concern that the Convention has been violated. These investigations should be complemented by a system of visits aimed at building confidence that the provisions of the Protocol are being complied with. Ways should be found to ensure that technology transfers, in keeping with Convention obligations, are promoted. Finally, an organisation staffed by professionals should be established to implement the provisions of the Protocol.

States Parties participating in the negotiations hope to complete their work before a Review Conference scheduled for 2001. The Government will move quickly to establish the appropriate legislative and organisational framework to put any new Protocol into force.

In addition to strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention through the negotiation of a Verification Protocol and continuing to support the operation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Government should also examine methods of increasing the effectiveness of the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime, as well as cooperation in intelligence and law enforcement to prevent terrorist acquisition of such weapons.

There are now 29 participants in the Australia Group; Canada has been an active participant since its creation. The Government firmly believes that it is incumbent on responsible States, and indeed an obligation under the CWC and the BTWC, to ensure that no assistance is given, knowingly or accidentally, to weapons programs. ... The Government has favoured wider Australia Group participation, as more and more States develop the necessary export controls and agree to the principles of chemical and biological disarmament.

The Government has been driving efforts in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) aimed at making it more effective. Indigenous capabilities in countries of concern are growing and not all major suppliers of missile technologies are now a part of the MTCR. Furthermore, advances in technology mean that specialty equipment is not always required; off-the-shelf equipment will often serve. Finally, dramatically improved communications means that technologies move around the world at the click of a mouse. Recognising this changed context, the Government has been pushing the MTCR to play a more proactive role to address the causes for proliferation as well as to broaden acceptance of the norm against the development of new missile systems.

[Recommendation] 12.

The Committee recommends that the Government, having strengthened the international safeguards regime by signing its new Model Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency, use all means at its disposal to convince other States to do likewise.

Canada concluded and signed a Protocol Additional to its nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 24 September, 1998. It is anticipated that the Protocol will come into force in the summer of 1999.

Canada has repeatedly called upon all other member States of the IAEA to conclude a Protocol Additional to their respective bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement(s) with the IAEA. ...

Before entering into a future Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with any other State, the Government should, at a minimum, require that State to adopt the new Model Protocol.

All Canada's nuclear partners, including non-nuclear-weapon States and NWS, are required to conclude a binding bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) which includes among other things, a commitment that Canadian nuclear exports will be used only for peaceful, non-explosive end-uses. ...

[Recommendation] 13.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada meet annually with the other parties to all Nuclear Cooperation Agreements to review the application of such Agreements, and table a report on the results of such meetings in Parliament.

Bilateral nuclear consultations, to review the implementation of bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreements (NCAs) and to discuss bilateral and multilateral nuclear policy issues of mutual interest, are held regularly with those nuclear partners with which Canada has significant nuclear cooperation. ...

[Recommendation] 14.

The Committee recommends that the Canadian Government intensify its efforts, in cooperation with like-minded States, such as our NATO allies, to advance the global disarmament and security agenda:

The Government agrees that Canada intensify its efforts to advance the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime and promote international security in its broadest dimension. ... As an active member of NATO and a net contributor to overall Alliance security, as a friend and neighbour of the United States and its partner in NORAD and as a country that has a broad interest in (and ability to contribute to) building international peace and security, Canada balances its Alliance obligations with its disarmament and non-proliferation goals.

Canada should reaffirm its support for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the centrepiece of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and should reject any attempt to revise the Treaty to acknowledge India and Pakistan as 'nuclear-weapon States' under it.

The Government has repeatedly and consistently reaffirmed that the NPT is the central instrument through which Canada works to achieve the objectives of nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. ...

In a statement before SCFAIT following India's nuclear tests in May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed the Government's policy to forcefully and responsibly advocate a nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the NPT and its associated instruments. He also voiced Canada's vigorous opposition to any move (de jure or de facto) to legitimize any new nuclear-weapon State.

It should also continue to strive to ensure that the nuclear-weapon States honour their commitments to a strengthened review process for the NPT, which will lead to an updated statement of Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament at the 2000 Review Conference.

The Government is firmly committed to the fullest possible implementation of the NPT and is promoting this objective vigorously as the 2000 NPT Review Conference approaches. Canada considers that at the heart of the NPT Review Process is the principle of permanence with accountability; all States are obliged to demonstrate that they are implementing the commitments set out in the NPT.

In this regard, Canada is striving to ensure that the entire Review Process (i.e. the five-yearly Review Conference and their inter-sessional periods) is used to address substantive issues as well as procedural ones. While preserving the decision-making steps for the Review Conference themselves, such an approach would reinforce the political accountability that is critical to the vitality and viability of the NPT Process. The Government of Canada regards the 2000 Review Conference as being of major importance in terms of achieving success. A new Statement of Principles and Objectives to complement those adopted in 1995 would set new benchmarks against which future progress will be measured. ...

Canada should complete the process of ratifying the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty as quickly as possible and urge all other States to do likewise.

Canada ratified the [CTBT]...on 18 December, 1998. Bilaterally and in appropriate multilateral settings such as the CD in Geneva and the UNGA in New York, the Government urges all States who have not yet done so to sign and ratify the CTBT as soon as possible.

Should India and Pakistan refuse to accept the Treaty unconditionally, Canada should nevertheless encourage the international community to ensure the Treaty's legal entry into force.

... Due to a stringent entry into force provision, stipulating that the Treaty cannot enter into force until ratified by all of the 44 countries with nuclear reactors named in an annex, negotiators accepted a Canadian proposal for the convening of annual conferences, should the CTBT not enter into force three years after its opening for signature (Article XIV.2 of the Treaty) in 1996.

The first such 'Article XIV Conference' is anticipated for the fall of 1999. The purpose of this conference would be to examine the extent to which the requirement for entry into force had been met and to consider and decide by consensus what measures consistent with international law might be undertaken to accelerate the ratification process. Canada has provided CTBT signatory States with two working papers intended to stimulate discussion. ...

Canada should play a strong role at the Conference on Disarmament in the forthcoming negotiations for a broad Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty which will serve both non-proliferation and disarmament objectives.

... In the FMCT negotiations, Canada will work to ensure that the CD deals in a non-discriminatory way both with nuclear disarmament and arms control objectives, as regards the five NWS, and equally with nuclear non-proliferation objectives, as regards those States which have remained outside the NPT regime. Those two dimensions - nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, with the clear distinction between them - are and must remain at the heart of the international nuclear security blueprint. Furthermore, a Treaty that puts an end for all time to the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons must be matched by parallel undertakings from the NWS to establish effective mechanisms to reduce and eventually eliminate stockpiles of fissile material. ...

Canada should support the establishment of a nuclear arms register to cover both weapons and fissile material as proposed by Germany in 1993.

The Government supports further transparency measures by the nuclear-weapons States that will promote reductions and the elimination of nuclear weapons. An effective FMCT and parallel undertakings by the NWS to address stockpiles of fissile material for nuclear weapons purposes will be important practical steps towards this objective.

Canada should support the call for the conclusion of a nuclear weapons disarmament convention.

The Government considers it premature to enter into negotiations on a nuclear weapons disarmament convention. ... While it is clear that, for the foreseeable future, it will be up to the NWS to negotiate among themselves the reduction of their nuclear arsenals, Canadians and all members of the international community continue to have a deep and abiding stake in the process.

Canada expects the NWS to engage actively on this issue and to make further progress to reduce and to eliminate nuclear weapons. ...

[Recommendation] 15.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada argue forcefully within NATO that the present re-examination and update as necessary of the Alliance Strategic Concept should include its nuclear component.

The Government agrees. Current NATO nuclear policy is set out in the 1991 Strategic Concept. The Concept, drafted in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, was positive and progressive for its time, but the profound transformation of the security environment in the intervening years led to a decision at the 1997 Madrid Summit to re-examine it. The updated version is expected to be released at the Alliance's 50th Anniversary Summit in Washington, DC in April.

Canada argued that for the revision to be credible, it must deal with an examination of the characteristics of NATO nuclear forces. Developments with respect to various arms control and disarmament arrangements have enhanced overall Alliance security. Circumstances are much changed since 1991. For example, the Alliance has reduced by more than eighty percent its sub-strategic nuclear forces, eliminated all nuclear artillery and short-range ground-launched missiles and reiterated that it has no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new Alliance members. As well, remaining Alliance nuclear forces operate at significantly reduced levels of readiness. In addition, the CFE [Conventional Forces in Europe] Treaty has reduced the levels and relative balance of conventional forces in Europe. NATO has sufficient conventional forces to withstand any conventional challenge by any imaginable single or combined adversary. Other developments, including the establishment by NATO of cooperative security bodies such as the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the inauguration of a new partnership with Russia and other States, as well as the new roles adopted by NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in conflict prevention, crisis management and peace support operations, have significantly improved NATO's ability to prevent conflict and manage crises through political means.

As a result, NATO is better placed to defuse crises through diplomatic or other means or, should it be necessary, to mount a successful conventional defence. Consequently, the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by the Alliance are now extremely remote and ever more difficult to envisage. ...

Canada has proposed that the Alliance agree at the Washington Summit that NATO review its nuclear policy and its relationship to proliferation, arms control and disarmament developments. This review and complementary activities by the Alliance would send an important signal to would-be proliferators that both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are issues the Alliance takes seriously. Taking into account that NATO works on the basis of consensus, Canada will continue to urge NATO partners to consider the impact on potential nuclear proliferators when considering the characterization of the purpose of NATO nuclear forces."

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade website, http://www.dfat-maeci.gc.ca/nucchallenge/menu-e.htm

© 1999 The Acronym Institute.

Return to top of page

Return to List of Contents

Return to Acronym Main Page