Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic February 15, 2011 - 6:34 pm

Yukon MP wants Arctic to be nuke-free zone

Would enjoy same status as Antarctica


Yukon MP Larry Bagnell introduced a private member’s bill Feb. 15 to establish a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Canadian Arctic.

Bill C- 629 would also prohibit the dumping or disposal of weapons grade nuclear material in the Canadian Arctic.

Bagnell, the Liberal critic for Arctic issues and northern development,  said the bill was a response to hearing suggestions that Canada declare such a policy.

“As sea lanes open up and shipping traffic increases, the Arctic becomes more vulnerable to all sorts of dangers,” he said in a release. “I believe Bill C- 629 will help eliminate a very dangerous threat - that of nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons waste material.”

In the same release, Bagnell notes that there are nuclear weapon free zones in the world already. The United Nations designated Antarctica that way in 1959, at the height of the Cold War.

Bill C-629 has the support of Bob Rae, Liberal foreign affairs critic and Dominic Leblanc, the Liberal defence critic, who said the bill “speaks volumes about Canada’s values in the North.”

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