filed on July 19, 1999, at the
~ Nanoose Expropriation Hearings ~
compiled by Dr. Gordon Edwards
[ NEWS STORIES AND TESTIMONY
ON THE NANOOSE BAY EXPROPRIATION ]
[ DO U.S. SUBMARINES VISIT NANOOSE
WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON BOARD? ]
[ CONSEQUENCES OF ACCIDENTS ON
NUCLEAR VESSELS IN CANADIAN PORTS ]
Preamble : Canada's Constitutional Obligations
Background: [written in 1999]
EXHIBIT 1 : Canada's NPT Treaty Obligations
EXHIBIT 2 : Canada's Obligations under International Law
EXHIBIT 3 : A House of Commons Perspective
EXHIBIT 4 : An American Military Leader's Perspective
EXHIBIT 5 : An International Governmental Perspective
EXHIBIT 6 : A "Bomb-Maker's" Perspective
EXHIBIT 7 : A College Student's Perspective
EXHIBIT 8 : A Global Political Leaders' Perspective
EXHIBIT 9 : A Global Military Leaders' Perspective
EXHIBIT 10: The Canberra Commission
For 35 years, Ottawa and BC have allowed torpedo testing near Nanoose Bay in the Georgia Strait. Most of the torpedos are American, and some of the US vessels that visit the site [ outlined in burgundy below ] are nuclear powered and nuclear weapons capable.
Last year, the BC government decided not to renew the lease. The Chrétien cabinet, furious, decided to expropriate the test range; a hostile take-over.
Polls show that most Canadians (over 90 percent) want to see nuclear weapons abolished; they are against keeping the Nanoose range open, because they see it as part of the nuclear weapons infrastructure of the USA.
IS THE EXPROPRIATION LEGAL?
The proposed expropriation of the seabed beneath the torpedo testing range at Nanoose appears to be disallowed by the highest law of the land ~ that is, the Constitution of Canada.
Article 117 guarantees that all Provinces are entitled to retain all their lands except in precisely prescribed circumstances:
Canada's Constitutional Obligations
The several provinces shall retain all their respective Public Property not otherwise disposed of in this Act, subject to the Rights of Canada to assume any Lands or Public Property required for Fortifications or for the Defense of the Country.
Constitution Act, Article 117
The Torpedo Test Range at Nanoose Bay is certainly not a ''Fortification''. And it is impossible to believe that it is needed for the ''Defense of the Country''. There hasn't been a torpedo fired in anger by Canadian Forces, or against a Canadian vessel, since 1945. This being so, it appears that the proposed expropriation may not be in conformity with the laws of Canada.
[Many thanks to Dr. Marguerite Ritchie, Q.C., President of the Human Rights Institute of Canada, for explaining the significance of Article 117.]
CCNR EXHIBIT 1:
TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION
The proposed expropriation is also contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of Canada's obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The expropriation is intended to allow American warships, including nuclear-powered submarines, to continue to use the Nanoose torpedo testing range. These warships are an integral part of the US nuclear weapons infrastructure. As a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Canada is legally obliged to work toward the total elimination of such weapons -- not to facilitate their indefinite continuation.
Canada's NPT Treaty Obligations
The States concluding this Treaty....
Desiring to further the easing of international tension and the strengthening of trust between States, in order to facilitate the cessation of the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, the liquidation of their existing stockpiles, and the elimination from national arsenals of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery, pursuant to a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control....
[ from the preamble to the Treaty ]
Have agreed as follows:
Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.
[ Article VI of the Treaty ]
Nothing in this Treaty affects the right of any group of States to conclude regional treaties in order to assure the total absence of nuclear weapons in their respective territories.
[ Article VII of the Treaty ]
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1970
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 1
The Province of British Columbia has declared itself a nuclear-weapons-free zone. The US Government will not confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons aboard nuclear capable vessels. The planned expropriation would render BC's self-determination as a NWFZ meaningless. While this action is not contrary to the letter of the NPT (because BC is not a ''group of States'' or even a ''State''), it is certainly against the spirit of the NPT.
CCNR EXHIBIT 2:
ADVISORY OPINION ON THE LEGALITY OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The International Court of Justice has concluded that nuclear weapons, like bacteriological and chemical weapons, are in fact illegal -- they are contrary to existing rules of international law, including ''the principles and rules of humanitarian law''.
BY THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Even if warships visit Nanoose without having nuclear weapons on board at the time, they are undoubtedly part of the American nuclear war-fighting machinery. Canada should not be an accomplice in illegal activities by helping to maintain a military infrastructure which is, by its very nature, contrary to international humanitarian law.
The link with nuclear weapons exists on many levels -- direct, and indirect. For example, the fuel for nuclear-powered vessels is made of weapons-grade uranium (93 percent uranium-235), which by definition would not be available to a non-nuclear-weapons State. Moreover, when a nuclear-powered warship is refuelled, the used fuel still contains such a high concentration of the explosive isotope (U-235) that it has routinely been recycled into the US bomb program (to fuel the production reactors that create plutonium and tritium, the primary and secondary nuclear explosives in the world's nuclear arsenals). This is not happening at present, only because the US military production reactors have been shut down for environmental reasons.
Canada's Obligations under International Law
... the threat or use of nuclear weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, and in particular the principles and rules of humanitarian law....
There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control.
International Court of Justice,
Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Nuclear Weapons, 1996
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 2
CCNR EXHIBIT 3:
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON
In December 1998, the SCFAIT Committee (Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade) unanimously recommended that the Government of Canada ''work consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons''.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Expropriating provincial land in order to allow the continued testing of nuclear vessels seems clearly inconsistent with this recommendation.
A House of Commons Perspective
December 1998 Report of an all-party Committee
Canada and the Nuclear Challenge:
Reducing the Political Value
of Nuclear Weapons
for the Twenty-First Century
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 Committee recommends that the Government of Canada intensify its efforts ... to advance the process of nuclear disarmament. 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....
House of Commons Standing Committee on
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 1998
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 3
Far from encouraging public input, the Government of Canada -- by expropriating the Nanoose torpedo testing range without any meaningful democratic processis -- is denying Canadians the opportunity to debate ''the exorbitant humanitarian, environmental and economic costs of nuclear weapons as well as their impact on international peace and security''. This is surely an abuse of the expropriation power.
It is difficult to imagine how the security of Canada or the USA would be jeopardized if the torpedo testing range were unavailable for a year or two, or even indefinitely, to allow for a more democratic political process to take place. There is no urgent need for this expropriation. On the other hand, there is an urgent need to get rid of nuclear weapons.
CCNR EXHIBIT 4:
LETTER TO SCFAIT BY GENERAL LEE BUTLER (USAF, RET.)
INCORPORATED AS APPENDIX A OF THE SCFAIT REPORT
An American Military Leader's Perspective
~ General Lee Butler, USAF (Retired) ~
Letter to the House of Commons Committee
... it is truly a sad commentary on the human condition that we are incapable of letting go the most bizarre and terrifying security construct ever conceived by the mind of man....
on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, July 1998
Indeed, the most difficult truth I had to confront in my own reassessment of nuclear weapons was that for most of my career I had failed to grasp the moral context of these hideously destructive devices. It came crashing home the day I assumed responsibility for the US nuclear war plan and confronted the consequences of targetting over 10,000 nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union....
As you examine the vital question of how Canada, this extraordinary nation of diverse peoples and great friend of the United States, should align itself on the continuing role of nuclear weapons, I encourage you to ponder deeply the opportunity and the stakes at hand. My country is badly in need of a new moral compass on this issue....
We have learned to live with a weapon that numbs our consciences and diminishes our humanity. We need to hear voices of reason, urging us to a higher standard of rectitude and global leadership.
We await your call.
Appendix A, "Canada and the Nuclear Challenge",
Report of the House of Commons SCFAIT, 1998
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 4
CCNR EXHIBIT 5:
STATEMENT AGAINST NUCLEAR WEAPONS BY
FOREIGN MINISTERS OF EIGHT COUNTRIES
An International Governmental Perspective:
The "New Agenda" Coalition
... We fully share the conclusion expressed by the commissioners of the Canberra Commission in their Statement that:
''The proposition that nuclear weapons can be retained in perpetuity and never used -- accidentally or by decision -- defies credibility. The only complete defence is the elimination of nuclear weapons and assurance that they will never be produced again.''
We recall that the General Assembly of the United Nations already in January 1946 -- in its very first resolution -- unanimously called for a commission to make proposals for
''the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction.''
While we can rejoice at the achievements of the international community in concluding total and global prohibitions on chemical and biological weapons by the Conventions of 1972 and 1993, we equally deplore the fact that countless resolutions and initiatives which have been guided by similar objectives in respect of nuclear weapons in the past half century remain unfulfilled....
The international community must not enter the third millennium with the prospect that the maintenance of these weapons will be considered legitimate for the indefinite future, when the present juncture provides a unique opportunity to eradicate and prohibit them for all time.
Joint Declaration by the
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of
Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand,
Slovenia, South Africa and Sweden, 1998
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 5
CCNR EXHIBIT 6:
''THE PEACEFUL ATOM GOES TO WAR''
~ TRANSCRIPT FROM GRANADA TV ~
A "Bomb-Maker's" Perspective
The arms race is symbolic of a perverted world where the possession of nuclear weapons is taken as a sign that a country is important and should be listened to. Instead I believe we must create an international atmosphere where the possession of nuclear weapons is a cause for embarrassment and shame, rather than for power or prestige.
Unless those that have nuclear weapons show some evidence of restraint and all work together to establish a climate in which nuclear weapons are not assigned military or political value, we may see mushroom clouds over Tel Aviv and Cairo, and lingering radiation casualties throughout the Middle East.
But no one knows how to limit a nuclear conflict. It could escalate out of control to Europe. These horrors, multiplied many times over, could equally well be visited on Washington and New York, London and Belfast, Paris and Marseilles, and Moscow and Leningrad.
Herbert Scoville, Former Head of
Scientific Intelligence, US Central Intelligence Agency,
speaking on Granada Public Television, March 1976
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 6
''The Peaceful Atom Goes to War''
CCNR EXHIBIT 7:
A COLLEGE STUDENT'S PERSPECTIVE ON THE ARMS RACE
A College Student's Perspective
''We prepare for war like precocious giants and
It is difficult to accept the fact that a species which has existed for thousands of centuries, can all of a sudden, within the period of a few decades, find itself on the brink of extinction. It is perhaps fitting that we draw an analogy between ourselves, the Homo Sapiens, and the dinosaurs -- to use the popular expression, ''more armour than brains''....
we prepare for peace like retarded pygmies.''
... We now face the critical point in human history, where as a whole, we must decide whether or not we carry on as a species. We have sought (with nuclear weapons) the ability to destroy this planet; we must now seek the ability to preserve it, and the life which exists upon it. We can no longer hide in our individual hovels and pretend that this problem does not affect us -- no man, woman or child in the world can escape this responsibility....
''We have heard the rationale offered by the superpowers. We know who speaks for the nations. But who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for earth? ... If we are not committed to our survival, who will be?''
''A Student Perspective on the Arms Race''
Louis J. O'Neill, Vanier College Student 1984
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 7
CCNR EXHIBIT 8:
STATEMENT ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
BY INTERNATIONAL CIVIL LEADERS
Global Political Leaders' Perspective
The end of the Cold War has wrought a profound transformation of the international political and security arena....
Most importantly, the long sought prospect of a world free of the apocalyptic threat of nuclear weapons is suddenly within reach. This is an extraordinary moment in the course of human affairs, a near miraculous opportunity to realize that noble goal.
But, it is also perishable: the spectre of nuclear proliferation cannot be indefinitely contained. The urgent attention and best efforts of scholars and statesmen must be brought to bear.
Leaders of the nuclear weapons states ... must keep the promise of nuclear disarmament enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970.... They must do so by commencing the systematic and progressive reduction and marginalization of nuclear weapons, and by declaring unambiguously that their goal is ultimate abolition.
Statement on Nuclear Weapons by
International Civilian Leaders, 1998
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 8
CCNR EXHIBIT 9:
STATEMENT ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS
BY GLOBAL MILITARY LEADERS
Global Military Leaders' Perspective
We, military professionals, who have devoted our lives to the national security of our countries and our peoples, are convinced that the continuing existence of nuclear weapons in the armories of nuclear powers, and the ever present threat of acquisition of these weapons by others, constitute a peril to global peace and security and to the safety and survival of the people we are dedicated to protect....
We know that nuclear weapons, though never used since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, represent a clear and present danger to the very existence of humanity.
There was an immense risk of a superpower holocaust during the Cold War. At least once, civilization was on the very brink of catastrophic tragedy. That threat has now receded, but not forever -- unless nuclear weapons are eliminated....
The creation of nuclear-free zones in different parts of the world, confidence-building and transparency measures in the general field of defense, strict implementation of all treaties in the area of disarmament and arms control, and mutual assistance in the process of disarmament are also important in helping to bring about a nuclear-free world....
We have been presented with a challenge of the highest possible historic importance: the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free world. The end of the Cold War makes it possible.
The dangers of proliferation, terrorism, and new nuclear arms race render it necessary. We must not fail to seize our opportunity. There is no alternative.
Statement by Generals and Admirals of the World
Against Nuclear Weapons, 1996
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 9
CCNR EXHIBIT 10:
THE CANBERRA COMMISSION
ON THE ELIMINATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The Canberra Commission
On the Elimination
Of Nuclear Weapons
The destructiveness of nuclear weapons is immense. Any use would be catastrophic.
Established as an independent commission
by the then Australian Government in November 1995
to propose practical steps towards a nuclear weapons free world.
Nuclear weapons pose an intolerable threat to all humanity and its habitat, yet tens of thousands remain in arsenals built up at an extraordinary time of deep antagonism. That time has passed, yet assertions of their utility continue.
These facts are obvious but their implications have been blurred. There is no doubt that, if the peoples of the world were more fully aware of the inherent danger of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use, they would reject them, and not permit their continued possession or acquisition on their behalf by their governments, even for an alleged need for self-defence.
Nuclear weapons are held by a handful of states which insist that these weapons provide unique security benefits, and yet reserve uniquely to themselves the right to own them. This situation is highly discriminatory and thus unstable; it cannot be sustained. The possession of nuclear weapons by any state is a constant stimulus to other states to acquire them....
For these reasons, a central reality is that nuclear weapons diminish the security of all states. Indeed, states which possess them become themselves targets of nuclear weapons.
The opportunity now exists, perhaps without precedent or recurrence, to make a new and clear choice to enable the world to conduct its affairs without nuclear weapons and in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The members of the Canberra Commission call upon the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China to give the lead by committing themselves, unequivocally, to the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Canberra Commission, Summary Statement, 1995
FILED AS EDWARDS: EXHIBIT 10
[ CCNR DIRECTORY ]