Important Message from Shirley Douglas...

JULY 16, 2013

Dear Friends,

On a beautiful summer’s day – August 6th, 1945, I was at Carlyle Lake, Saskatchewan with my mother and father. I was eleven years old. We heard on the radio that a bomb like no others had been dropped on Hiroshima. The news dribbled in all day. “One bomb flattened the city…killed thousands of people, animals, all living things,” we were told by the voice on the radio. Aside from that, no one knew anything.

The story continued to unfold and 3 days later we learned another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. News reports described a city and people cloaked in white ash…survivors with their skin melted or burned away by radiation, begging to die. Others were vaporized. No one was there to offer survivors even a sip of water, let alone comfort; 90% of the nurses and doctors were dead and 43 hospitals were gone. Many of the survivors languished for days before succumbing.

We were witnessing the dawning of the Nuclear Age.

In September of 1945 the Red Cross said that atomic weapons should be abolished. Almost 70 years later, we are still trying to abolish nuclear weapons. We have made some progress but the reality is there have been over 2000 bombs tested -- in our atmosphere, under water and underground, and the madness continues.

Back in 2010, representatives of United Nations, NATO and the U.S. State Department descended on Ottawa to meet with the leaders of a number of nuclear disarmament organizations and like-minded civil society leaders.

As Douglas Roche wrote at the time:

“It was all designed to move the Canadian government to actively support US President Barack Obama’s commitment to a nuclear weapons-free world.”

Did it? No, unfortunately. The Harper government has been missing-in-action on nuclear weapons abolition.

President Obama represents a new opportunity to substantially reduce the 17,000+ nuclear weapons still in existence, but he needs the support of Canada and other allies.

The non-proliferation meeting in Ottawa ended with the following recommendation: “It is urgent that the prime minister and foreign minister find early and prominent opportunities to publicly address nuclear disarmament and reaffirm Canada’s commitment to a world without nuclear weapons.” It’s true today as it was in 2010.

Canada was once looked upon as a progressive country. No More.

I urge the Harper government to take a leading role in the world-wide movement to abolish nuclear weapons. Canada should sponsor an international conference to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention -- a verifiable treaty on the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.

The great majority of Canadians are in agreement.

Future generations are depending on us to act today.


Shirley Douglas, O.C.

Shirley Douglas, OC, Actress and Activist, was a participant in Ban the Bomb marches in England in the 1950s. At the height of the Cold War in 1983, Shirley founded the Canadian chapter of Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament. In 2003, Shirley was named an officer of the Order of Canada.

P.S. -- I hope you can join me at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration in Toronto on August 6th. Please consider making a small donation so we can continue the struggle for a nuclear weapons-free future.

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