The Green Party will be marking Disarmament Week, beginning October 24 on the anniversary of the 1945 founding of the United Nations,
“This very important week of observance was originally established in 1978 during a special session of the General Assembly,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, “At that time, nations were invited to speak about the dangers presented by the perilous and expensive arms race – and why it should be stopped. Such awareness is needed more than ever.”
The world spends $1.7 trillion on the military – a 50-percent increase since 2001. During these tough economic times, this is a heartbreaking misallocation of funds. Imagine what we could do if we directed even 25 percent of that money toward desperately needed social programmes around the globe, saving countless lives. We could also make a real difference in our efforts to prevent and diminish the impact of climate change.
Nationally, Canada, once a respected peacemaker and peacekeeper, is now heading in the opposite direction. The Harper Conservatives ended special funding relating to landmine control, as well as eliminating the position of Landmines Ambassador. Canada’s senior coordinator for mine action resigned over the Conservatives’ ratification conditions which weakened the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
During the UN arms-trade treaty negotiations this summer, the Canadian delegation advocated that the treaty apply only to some types of firearms ownership and use while each signatory nation could determine how the treaty would apply to it. Such policies benefit the arms-trade industry and dramatically increase the challenges of arms control.
"If we want to foster real global security, given the severity of the economic, environmental, and social challenges before us, then we must renew John F. Kennedy's call for a ‘Peace Race’ instead of an Arms Race and genuinely re-balance political priorities and government spending," said Eric Walton, the Green Party’s International Affairs critic.
This week, the Green Party would like to renew its support for disarmament, combined with sincere international efforts to create a more peaceful, secure, and sustainable planet.