Canadian accepting Nobel for nuclear disarmament group urges PM to do more
A Canadian woman who survived the 1945 atomic bomb attack in Hiroshima and devoted the rest of her life to nuclear disarmament will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
Setsuko Thurlow, 85, was 13 when the U.S. bombed Hiroshima, incinerating her hometown and killing 140,000 people, including her friends and family.
She later married a Canadian and, in 1955, moved to Toronto, where she made it her life’s mission to crusade for worldwide disarmament.
“When you experience something like that, you just make the vow to those people to make sure that their death was not in vain,” Thurlow told CTV Toronto. “The memories are burned into my retinas.”
Thurlow worked closely with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, or ICAN, which was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for helping broker a United Nations treaty that outlaws nuclear weapons.
But Canada -- along with the U.S. and most NATO partners -- wasn’t one of the 122 countries to sign onto the deal. In fact, Canada didn’t even participate in the negotiations.
Thurlow is now directly appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and says Canada should do more to eliminate global stockpiles of nuclear weapons.
“Surely as a human being, as a parent, as a leader of the nation, he must have a human response to make,” she said.
Trudeau responded on Friday by saying that Canada is supporting another proposal, the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would prohibit production of two main ingredients in nuclear weapons: plutonium and highly-enriched uranium. Terms of the agreement have not yet been defined.
“Canada is taking a leadership role on the nuclear fissile material cutoff treaty, which is going to show significant progress in moving towards concretely a nuclear-free world,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Saint Bruno-de-Montarville, Que.
Thurlow said she hopes that, by accepting the award on behalf ICAN in December, she’ll send a strong message.
“I want the people to wake up to the reality,” she said.
With a report from CTV's Peter Akman and files from CTV Toronto