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August 6th is an important day in history that many people tend to forget.
Seventy-five years ago, in 1945, the first military use of nuclear weapons occurred when an atomic bomb was set off over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later on August 9th, another atomic weapon was exploded over Nagasaki. These terrible explosions were the only times that nuclear bombs have been used in warfare—so far.
Since then, many nuclear weapons have been created and stockpiled, primarily by the United States and Russia. Right now, there are reportedly 13,890 nuclear weapons in the world with the United States holding about 5,800 and Russia holding about 6,372. France, China, and the United Kingdom have most of the balance. Many of those weapons are old and have been stored, but are still around. Still, there are about 3,750 active warheads ready for action, generally owned by the US and Russia.
For years, various treaties and agreements between nations have prevented or at least slowed the creation and renewal of these weapons of mass destruction. Now, the leaders of the US and Russia are in the process of dismantling these agreements. The two nations have said they are planning to renew and expand their stocks of weapons.
The United Nations has proposed a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has been signed by 80 countries so far. Unfortunately, Canada is not one of them. When asked, Prime Minister Trudeau has said that we will not sign because we need the protection of the United States.
Peaceworks is a small local group that has actively worked for peace and social justice in this area for 18 years. In honor of the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we would like to ask that the citizens of this area think about the danger of nuclear war, the lives that have been lost and may be lost in the future, and possibilities for peace. We ask that people write to our Member of Parliament, Bruce Stanton, to encourage him to petition the government to sign the UN Treaty.