Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that.
The second argument that I guess the Liberals are putting up is that our position has to be consistent with our NATO allies.
What about The Netherlands? That is one of our NATO allies. It is going to the conference. It is not cowed by Mr. Trump. It is not getting a phone call, saying, “Please don't do what other NATO allies are doing.” It is not afraid to show the leadership that Mr. Pearson and Mr. Axworthy showed. It is stepping up. Good for The Netherlands for showing that courage, because standing up for peace usually does require some element of courage.
Argument number three is that there is no point going ahead without all nuclear weapon states on board. That is my favourite.
The minister has suggested there is no point in negotiations unless we have all nuclear weapon states on board. That is ridiculous. Past international agreements, from landmines to conflict diamonds, to the International Criminal Court, were challenged as complex and not necessary, but again, there was leadership and others came along. As Canadians on the world stage, we were proud of the work that our representatives did in those contexts. Not this time, though, now we are embarrassed.
Argument number four of the top five is that there is no point, given the global security environment. Therefore, the only time we step up for peace is when we are singing Kumbaya all together. How silly is this argument? We know the world is challenged. There is Crimea, North Korea, Syria. It is as if somehow that is an excuse, given the current security environment, to not take a more bold approach to nuclear disarmament. That is never going to be the case. We are never going to make progress if we can say that.
The fifth and last argument is that a ban would be ineffective anyway.
How do we know? The landmines one was not. The landmines treaty was effective. We managed to make progress on a number of environmental fronts, from the Montreal ozone-depleting convention, to other areas. Nobody thought that would work, and it worked. That lack of courage, lack of boldness by our government, again, in the context of such great leaders in the past who I mentioned before, both of whom were Liberal, is shocking.
We could make progress. If it is true that nuclear weapons conventions would be ineffective, which is what people are saying, then why are weapon states opposed to them? There is a contradiction here. If it is ineffective, then why are they opposed? Why do they not say it is another paper UN exercise? Is there a logic gap? I certainly think there is.
In conclusion, John F. Kennedy, one of my heroes, said the following of similar challenges in a very different time, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
That is what our motion today calls on Canada to do: to return to the table, to participate in good faith, as, by the way, article VI of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which we signed, requires us to do. Let us do what we said we would do. Let us stand up on the world stage again. Let us not be cowed by what a president says or what seems to be correct at the moment. Let us show the leadership Canada used to be famous for.