By Lexi Olifirowich, Steinbach Online,
The SRSS Peace and Justice Committee discussed the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and asked Steinbach City Council to join Mayors for Peace at Tuesday evening’s Strategic Priorities Committee (SPC) meeting.
Mayors for Peace is a multinational organization working to achieve long term world peace through mobilizing support for the complete eradication of nuclear weapons.
ICAN is a global civil society coalition committed to upholding and fully implementing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), which was adopted by the UN on July 7, 2017.
SRSS student Emery Roy says all national governments are invited to sign the treaty and 68 parties have already signed.
“The federal government has unfortunately not signed the TPNW, but cities and towns can show their support for the TPNW by endorsing ICAN.”
According to ICAN, 74 percent of Canadians support joining the TPNW.
“And I believe as a democracy, we should be listening to the people.”
As of April 1st, 2023, Mayors for Peace has 8,247 member cities across 166 countries and regions on every continent.
Mayors for Peace encourages its members to host peace promoting events, participate in peace related events, and invite mayors of neighbouring cities to join Mayors for Peace to expand the organization’s reach and impact.
SRSS student Anton Ador says signing Mayors for Peace promotes the goals of contributing to the achievement of long-term world peace by raising awareness of the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
“As well as striving to solve vital problems, such as starvation, poverty, the plight of refugees, human rights violations, and environmental degradation.”
SRSS student Kristine Bolisay says that by supporting both ICAN and Mayors for Peace, “we can be a few steps closer to abolishing nuclear weapons.”
Bolisay says arms races can escalate and deescalate, and with the Russia-Ukraine war, the threats of nuclear weapons have heightened more than ever.
“Unfortunately, the USA pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, and Russia has pulled out of the New START Treaty and is planned to station nuclear weapons in Belarus.”
The estimated global nuclear warhead inventories from 2022 show that the United States has around 5,428 nuclear weapons, and Russia has 5,977.
One of the students claimed that 5 nuclear weapons could wipe out a population of 20 million, “and around 100 nuclear weapons could wipe out the whole world. Meaning the US alone has the power to wipe out the world 50 times over.”
Roy notes some effects of radiation.
“Nervous system dysfunction, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and the destruction of the body’s ability to produce new blood cells resulting in uncontrollable bleeding and life-threatening infections,” she says. “And of course, we want to emphasize that birth defects and infertility will be the legacy for generations upon generations.”
19 cities in Canada have endorsed ICAN Cities Appeal, some of which include Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg.
“We believe Steinbach should be next.”
Roy notes that Winnipeg recently signed on to ICAN thanks to the efforts of Rooj Ali and Avinashpall Singh.
“Two former high school students whom we’ve had contact with and have guided us to get us here today.”
Steinbach City Council will discuss this further at a later date and make their decision.
Bolisay notes the cost to join Mayors for Peace is only $20 annually.
“A small price to contribute to eradicating nuclear weapons.”