Saanich council added new language to a 1983 policy that declares Saanich a nuclear-weapons free zone.

Saanich council added new language to a 1983 policy that declares Saanich a nuclear-weapons free zone.

Saanich amends anti-nuclear weapons policy

Saanich council passes motion to amend 1983 policy by a 4-3 vote

Saanich council passed what supporters call an improved version of a policy that declares Saanich a nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ).

The passed motion largely echoes a motion that Saanich council passed in 1983 but adds language around the financing and transit of nuclear weapons through Saanich.

Acting mayor Dean Murdock said the wording improves upon the original motion that Saanich passed in 1983. Saanich, he said, wants to contribute to the global conversation about the subject of global nuclear war, something that is increasing in risk. “This is indeed a reality,” he said. “I don’t know that Saanich’s declaration being a nuclear free zone carries much weight. For what it is worth — I’m sure President Trump is regularly checking our tweets as well — this council is supportive of nuclear disarmament.”

Couns. Colin Plant, Susan Brice and Fred Haynes joined Murdock in supporting the additional language, which Haynes had brought forward.

Haynes said it shows Saanich’s accountability in light of global developments and closes loopholes, which local anti-nuclear activists had identified.

“The wording makes the nuclear weapons free zone more clear,” he said.

Couns. Judy Brownoff, Vicki Sanders and Leif Wergeland opposed the motion.

Other members of council such as Wergeland questioned whether Saanich should weigh into this issue. “I’m not being flippant here, I look at all the letters of recommendations and letters of support that we put out in the last 40 years, if we were really to affirm each one of those, our news media would have stories until the next election,” he said.