By the end of 1945, over 140,000 people had perished in the nuclear strike against Hiroshima, which Thurlow witnessed as a thirteen-year old. Another 70,000 died in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
Thurlow jointly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in 2017. Thirty-eight countries have ratified the UN Ban Treaty. But it needs twelve more nations to ratify for the treaty to become international law. Canada could break the ratification logjam stopping the Treaty from coming into force.
In her brief to Prime Minister Trudeau, Mrs. Thurlow pointed to the Mackenzie King government takeover of Eldorado Gold Mines Limited in 1942 costing $4,900,000 ($75,500,000 in 2020) and the company’s nationalization by the government in January of 1944. Eldorado’s refinery in Port Hope, Ontario, refined all the uranium ore from Canada and the Belgian Congo used by the Manhattan Project to produce the first nuclear weapons for the American Army.
At the direction of C.D. Howe, King’s Minister of Munitions and Supply, the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company in Trail, B.C. also signed contracts with the Manhattan Project in November of 1942 to produce heavy water for nuclear reactors to produce plutonium.
In August of 1943, Mackenzie King hosted President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Quebec City where they signed the Quebec Agreement to jointly develop the atom bomb.
C.D. Howe represented Canada on a Combined Policy Committee that co-ordinated the joint research by the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada on creating atomic weapons. Mackenzie King affirmed in his diary that the Quebec Agreement “made Canada also a party to the development.”
The National Research Council of Canada was heavily involved in the Manhattan Project and in the research by British scientists to develop the atom bomb. In April of 1944, King’s Cabinet War Committee approved an expenditure of up to $4,000,000 capital [$59,825,000 in 2020] and $750,000 [$11,217,000 in 2020] in operating expenses for the National Research Council to design and operate nuclear reactors in Montreal and at Chalk River, Ontario, whose discoveries about the production of plutonium would be shared with the U.K. and the Manhattan Project.
The federal government has accepted liability for the “historic” low level radioactive uranium wastes of Crown Corporation Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. in Port Hope, Ontario. It is paying for a $1.28 billion clean-up of 1.65 million cubic metres of radioactive waste there and in nearby Port Granby through Natural Resources Canada and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. The process is licensed by Canada’s regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The federal government is only cleaning up what it decides from testing is “historic” waste from Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. dumped in Port Hope until 1988 when the Crown Corporation was privatized as Cameco Corporation, the world’s second largest uranium producer. The federal government has rejected any liability for the cancers and other illnesses resulting from the uranium contamination in both Port Radium and Port Hope.
Setsuko Thurlow obtained a master’s degree in social work from the University of Toronto in 1960 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University in 2019. She has organized commemorations of the atomic bombings in Toronto since 1975 when David Crombie was Mayor.
A letter from Nanaimo Mayor and Council
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
608-63 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON KIP SAG
Re: Invitation To Join An International Appeal To Promote Nuclear Disarmament
At the Regular Council meeting of 03-FEB-2020, the City of Nanaimo Council received the
correspondence from The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons dated 09-JAN-2020, regarding the request to join the international “Cities Appeal”.
The City of Nanaimo Mayor Krog and Council unanimously passed the following motion:
“That Council endorse the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities
which states: Our city is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons
pose to communities throughout the world.
We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this Threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment. Therefore, we warmly welcome the adoption of the treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by the United Nations in 2017, and we call upon our national Government to join it. ”
The Canadian Network to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (CNANW) was established in 1996 by representatives of national organizations that share the conviction that nuclear weapons are immoral and should be abolished. We believe that Canada should lead in working for their early abolition.
Thank you to dgSolidarity who took the videos. Excellent job!
Here is a link to some more of the videos taken for the Peace Rally.