Toronto, Sep 26 (IANS) Canadians, from former ambassadors to academics to environmentalists, Thursday united in their call on the government to take effective action toward nuclear disarmament in efforts to mark the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Former Canadian ambassadors and professors in law and political science made the appeal in a joint statement, saying that of the 16,300 nuclear weapons currently existing, some 2,000 of these are on high alert -- capable of being fired in under 30 minutes, Xinhua reported.
Any nuclear weapon detonation could cause catastrophic damage to human civilization and imperil the environment, it added.
Noting some recent positive steps taken by the Canadian government, it called for further specific actions to realize the country's treaty obligations.
It said Canada should align itself with the majority of states which have endorsed the recent statement on international humanitarian law and nuclear weapons.
"The Government of Canada should propose the creation of a committee at the UN to start negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention," it added.
Also on the day, Canadian peace, faith and environmental groups called on the government to make public its willingness to commence negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention.
In a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the groups urged the government act responsibly and urgently on effective actions to confront the ever present and horrendous threat nuclear weapons poses to humanity and environment.