The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also known as the Genbaku Dome or the A-Bomb Dome is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo credit: Katy McCormick.
TORONTO — A Nanos public opinion poll released in April convincingly shows a large majority of Canadians want to ban nuclear weapons.
Eighty per cent of those polled by Nanos Research stated that the world should work to eliminate nuclear weapons, while just nine per cent thought it acceptable for countries to have nuclear arms for protection.
Seventy-four per cent of Canadians also support Canada signing and ratifying the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that became international law in January. The same percentage agreed that Canada should join the UN Treaty even if, as a member of NATO, it came under pressure from the United States not to do so. The UN Treaty prohibits ratifying countries from developing, testing, producing, possessing, stationing, transferring, and using or threatening the use of nuclear weapons. Canada boycotted negotiations for the treaty and has refused to ratify it.
The Nanos poll was commissioned by the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition in Toronto, the Simons Foundation Canada in Vancouver, and the Collectif Échec à la guerre in Montreal. Nanos conducted the hybrid random telephone and online survey of 1,007 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between March 27 to 30, 2021.
The poll followed an Appeal to Parliament to hold public hearings on nuclear weapons dangers that was endorsed by over 400 organizations and individuals. Published in Ottawa’s The Hill Times in January, the Appeal to Parliament was endorsed by the National Association of Japanese Canadians, the Greater Toronto Chapter NAJC, the Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba, Toronto Article 9, the Tao Sangha-Earth Caravan, and many Japanese Canadian individuals.
In the Nanos poll, 76 per cent of Canadians agreed that the House of Commons should have committee hearings and debate Canada’s position on nuclear disarmament. Eighty-five per cent of respondents stated that Canada would not be prepared to deal with the emergency if nuclear weapons were detonated somewhere in the world. Eighty-six per cent of Canadians agreed that no government, health system, or aid organization could respond to the devastation caused by nuclear weapons and therefore they should be eliminated.
The poll results show that Canadians are positively receptive to key solutions the disarmament movement has been advocating and that Canadians are action-oriented in responding to the nuclear threat. Seventy-one per cent of respondents agreed that they would withdraw money from any investment or financial institution if they learned it was investing funds in anything related to the development, manufacturing, or deployment of nuclear weapons.
Fifty per cent of Canadians indicated that they would be more likely to support a political party that advocated Canada signing and ratifying the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Ten per cent of respondents stated they would be less likely to support such a political party and 30 per cent said this would not impact their vote.
“This is profoundly gratifying to me that Canadian public awareness has been raised so significantly,” stated Setsuko Thurlow, a member of the Hiroshima Nagasaki Day Coalition. “I want to testify before a Parliamentary committee about what I witnessed as a Hiroshima survivor and to have our Members of Parliament debate what role Canada can play in the abolition of nuclear weapons.”
Thurlow co-accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in 2017.