Article in the Globe & Mail and Commentary (below) by Gordon Edwards
PM relaxes accountability rules for China’s use of uranium
Campbell Clark & Shawn McCarthy, Globe & Mail, Feb. 10 2012
“Stephen Harper has chosen to override the qualms of the
government’s non-proliferation experts to permit a multibillion-
dollar business in exports of Saskatchewan uranium to China’s
nuclear industry. A deal the Prime Minister announced in China,
a protocol amending Canada’s nuclear co-operation agreement
with China to allow the export of uranium concentrate, seals far
closer ties with Beijing than ever seemed possible in
Mr. Harper’s early days in power.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall lobbied Mr. Harper personally
over the past year to reach the arrangement with Beijing. It means Saskatchewan’s Cameco Corp. can now use Canadian uranium in two contracts worth up to $3-billion.
“This means new investment in the province. I think it means
jobs,” Mr. Wall told CTV News .
But the deal with Beijing has raised concerns in Ottawa, because it includes less stringent accounting for how the uranium is used than Canada typically demands, sources said. When Australia made a similar deal with China in 2008 that included less accountability, it faced criticism from other uranium suppliers, including Canada.” (emphasis added)
Commentary by Gordon Edwards
“Canada may be seen as playing an important role in undermining
the precarious nuclear non-proliferation regime — one that has
been in danger of coming unravelled for decades because of the
hypocritical double standard that is at the heart of the regime.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) makes a sharp distinction between “Nuclear Weapons States” and “Non-Nuclear Weapons States”. The Treaty is frankly discriminatory and imposes different obligations on the two “types” of nations.
The “nuclear have-nots” are required to submit to international
inspections of all their nuclear facilities and must promise never to use nuclear technology or nuclear materials for weapons
purposes. These requirements do not apply to the official
“nuclear have” nations, designated as only five in number:
the USA, Russia, Britain, France, and China.
However, Article 6 of the NPT requires that Nuclear Weapons
States act in good faith to eliminate their nuclear arsenals as
soon as possible. This obligation has been upheld by the
World Court as a legal requirement that is binding on the
Nuclear Weapons States. Yet they continue to ignore it.
Any country that acquires nuclear weapons in the absence of or
in defiance of the NPT — Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, for example — are not supposed to exist. And they are not supposed to receive nuclear assistance, nuclear facilities, or nuclear materials from nations who have signed the NPT.
But Canada has resumed nuclear cooperation and trade with
India despite the fact that India developed nuclear weapons
using Canadian technology initially and has not signed the NPT.
And Canada is now willing to sell uranium to Nuclear Weapons
States like China without the strict accounting mechanisms
that would give some assurance that Canadian uranium is not
ending up in somebody’s nuclear weapons.
The message seems to be that business concerns are, for
the self-styled “Harper government”, far more important than
nuclear non-proliferation objectives. And so the only nations
held up to opprobrium for developing nuclear weapons
are those that Canada is not profiting from.
Such blatant hypocrisy can only serve to further detract from the entire house of cards that nuclear non-proliferation efforts rest upon. If Canada were determined to achieve a world without
nuclear weapons, she would refuse to sell uranium to any
nation that maintains a nuclear arsenal unless that nation
formally renounces nuclear weapons and works overtly for
the total elimination of such weapons of mass destruction.
For even if Canadian uranium is only used for civilian purposes,
it surely frees up other uranium so it that can be used in nuclear weapons — uranium that would otherwise have to be used
as fuel for nuclear reactors.
How can Canadians sit back and watch this without protesting?”