Bagnell wants ban on Arctic nukes

Larry Bagnell is calling for the Canadian Arctic to be declared a nuclear-free zone.

Larry Bagnell is calling for the Canadian Arctic to be declared a nuclear-free zone.

The Yukon MP says he introduced a private members bill to that effect on Tuesday. It would ban the transfer of nuclear weapons, and the burial of nuclear waste, in the Canadian Arctic.

The Antarctic was declared a nuclear-free zone by the United Nations in 1959, at the height of the Cold War.

“I see no reason why the Arctic, which makes up part of the Canadian North, shouldn’t have a similar designation,” Bagnell said in a release.

While neither the shipment of nuclear weapons nor the dumping of nuclear waste are known to be problems in the Canadian Arctic, Bagnell said these scenarios may become more likely as the Arctic warms.

“As sea lanes open up and shipping traffic increases, the Arctic becomes more vulnerable to all sorts of dangers.”

Both Bob Rae, the Liberals’ foreign affairs critic, and Dominic LeBlanc, their national defence critic, threw their support behind the proposal.