Council will debate Saanich as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) at next meeting, July 24.

UPDATED: Saanich’s no-nuke status on next agenda

A councillor wants Saanich to re-affirm its status as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ).

Coun. Fred Haynes said in a notice of motion filed Monday night that it would be “appropriate and meaningful” for Saanich to re-affirms its status, whose origins date back to 1983 when council declared Saanich a NWFZ following a request from Project Ploughshares, a Canadian non-governmental organization formed in 1976.

“I believe our [council] will see value in [re-affirming] the NWFZ status of Saanich,” said Haynes.

Haynes’ notice will come up for debate at its next meeting Aug. 14 after council earlier this month heard and received a presentation from members of the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network. Formed about a year ago, the group represents a broad coalition of regional organizations. The group works nationally under the umbrella of the Canadian Network for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.

“One of the major roles that [NWFZs] have is fostering public awareness and education,” said Dr. Jonathan Down. “And the humanitarian consequences of just a small nuclear war between two countries using only a hundred of the thousands of nuclear weapons available would be so catastrophic, it is estimated that over two billion people would die from the immediate explosions and long-term effects of a nuclear famine.”

Saanich is among 166 NWFZs across Canada. This status dates back to the final years of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, when council passed a motion on June 6, 1983 that declared Saanich “a nuclear weapons free zone and that the production, testing, storage, transportation, processing disposal or use of nuclear weapons or their components not to be undertaken in Saanich.” Three members of council at the time opposed the request, according to the minutes of June 6, 1983.

Council heard the re-affirmation request several weeks after 122 members of the United Nations signed a global treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The treaty this a is “game-changer” that de-legitimizes nuclear weapons and strengthens humanitarian international law, said Down. However all states that own nuclear weapons and many others that either host or receive protection from nuclear weapons boycotted negotiations, including Canada, he said.

“As result of pressure from the United States, Canada boycotted these negotiations and it is now perceived as being on the wrong side of history,” said Down, adding that Canada previously led the way in nuclear disarmament.

Saanich can help ensure the treaty’s effectiveness by first re-affirming its NWFZ status, then encouraging other municipalities to declare themselves NWFZs, he said. Saanich can also help by joining Mayors for Peace and marking the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9).

Mayor Richard Atwell said council does not make decisions following presentation. “We receive information, but I very much like to have a conversation as soon as possible with my council colleagues about the best way to move forward based on what you have presented us.”

Council heard the presentation almost 72 years to the day after the first successful test of a nuclear weapon in New Mexico on July 16, 1945 (Operation Trinity) during the final days of the Second World War and growing tensions between nuclear powers, including the United States, and North Korea, which has repeatedly tested nuclear weapons and various delivery devices in contravention of several international agreements.

These developments, coupled with the effects of climate change and the election of U.S. President Donald J. Trump in November 2016, have recently led the editors of the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” to advance the so-called Doomsday Clock to two-and-a-half minutes before midnight, the second-closest in its history and the closest since 1953.

Manhattan Project scientists founded the academic journal in 1947 and invented the Doomsday Clock as a concept to measure the health and safety of the planet with midnight marking the end of the world.

Just Posted

Bike dragged several blocks after hit and run

Wheel-less bike dragged underneath van along Dallas Rd. after cyclist hit

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Millstream Road closed to traffic at Bear Mountain Parkway

Downed hydro pole blocking both lanes at Industrial Way

Man arrested at gunpoint outside Vic High

Police were called after he allegedly threatened a teacher with a knife

Skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Central Saanich emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

Charges follow collisions between pickup and police vehicles in Nanaimo

Majore Jackson, 32, and Andrew John Bellwood, 47, from Nanaimo, face numerous charges

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

Most Read