Toronto Mayoral Race

2014: Responses from Toronto's mayoral candidates

The following letter was sent to Toronto mayoral candidates in June 2014.

This year will mark 69 years since the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, destroying the cities and claiming hundreds of thousands of precious lives. To prevent any repetition of the A-bomb tragedy, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have continually sought to tell the world about the inhumane cruelty of nuclear weapons and have consistently urged that nuclear weapons be abolished.

In 1982, the Mayor of Hiroshima proposed a program to promote the solidarity of cities toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons, offering cities a way to transcend national borders and work together to press for nuclear abolition. This initiative became known as Mayors for Peace. Toronto joined Mayors for Peace in April 1983 and as of June 1, 2014, there are 6,084 cities in 158 countries and regions that are members. In 2003, Mayors for Peace launched the 2020 Vision Campaign with the goal to abolish nuclear weapons by the year 2020 while continuing to work on a broad range of issues that will contribute to a genuine and long-lasting world of peace. As future Mayor of Toronto, and thus responsible for its citizens, and as a member of Mayors for Peace, what steps would you take to work toward eliminating nuclear weapons?

Dr. Vinay Jindal
Chair, Toronto's Hiroshima Day Coalition
hiroshimaday@yahoo.ca

Please respond by July 15, 2014.

Responses may be made public or published on or around the Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Ceremonies at Nathan Phillips Square this August 6, 2014.

Responses

Jeff Billard

“As the mayor of North America’s fourth largest city, I would first propose a resolution to be adopted by Toronto Council to explicitly support Mayors for Peace “2020 Vision” campaign”
— Jeff Billard, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

I’m proud of the fact that Canada has representation on many, many different international nuclear disarmament organizations. And definitely proud of Toronto being a member of Mayors for Peace.

As the mayor of North America’s fourth largest city, I would first propose a resolution to be adopted by Toronto Council to explicity support the Mayors for Peace “2020 Vision” campaign.

As mayor, I would also be an active participant in other mayoral coalition groups, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and ensure fellow members were aware of the goals of Mayors for Peace.

I’m not aware of our outgoing mayor’s focus on Hiroshima Day, or awareness around Mayors for Peace, but I know former mayor David Miller ensured various groups with similar goals could meet and discuss at city hall. I would be willing to do the same.

Most importantly, I’d meet with Toronto’s Hiroshima Day Coalition and other groups to understand the best way of prioritizing their objectives within the office of the mayor, and council at large. My knowledge is limited, but is greatly enhanced by people like you with the passion and vision of a better city, country, and world to provide advice

Olivia Chow

“As a member of Mayors for Peace, Olivia will continue active participation in the group including promoting The 2020 Vision. Olivia will also continue to honour the memory of victims of nuclear-weapons through public awareness of the Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square.”
— Olivia Chow Campaign for Olivia Chow, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

Thank you for this timely reminder about the importance of abolition of nuclear weapons. As you know, we have a long history of supporting efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons dating back to 1969 when council first engaged with the push for a more peaceful world. This was one of the crucial steps leading to membership in the Mayors for Peace initiative in 1983.

Olivia’s late husband, Jack Layton, was there at the beginning of the Peace garden and served on the city’s peace committee during the 1986 Year of International Peace. Three years earlier, he was part of a city council that voted to declare Toronto a nuclear-weapons-free zone.

As your new mayor Olivia, will continue the legacy of a nuclear-weapons-free city. As a member of Mayors for Peace, Olivia will continue active participation in the group including promoting The 2020 Vision. Olivia will also continue to honour the memory of victims of nuclear-weapons through public awareness of the Peace Garden at Nathan Phillips Square.

Thirty-one years have passed since Toronto declared itself a nuclear-weapons-free zone. In honour of Toronto Hiroshima Day, Olivia recommits to this principle, and remembers the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Thanks for your interest in our city,
Olivia Chow’s campaign

Matthew Crack

“My stance is firmly against nuclear weapons…When hate and fear get taken over by love and kindness, nuclear weapons will see their last day.”
— Matthew Crack, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

My stance is firmly against nuclear weapons. As Mayor of Toronto, I will promote peace and kindness in the way that I deal with City Councillors, in the way that I speak with citizens and in the way that I conduct myself. Change happens from the inside out. When hate and fear get taken over by love and kindness, nuclear weapons will see their last day.

Xiao Feng Huang (Charles):

“The use of atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked a dark day in human history…
we must stand together as humanity, regardless of race and religion to eliminate the use of all weapon of mass destruction.”
— Xiao Feng Huang (Charles), 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

The use of atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki marked a dark day in human history. That day should never be repeated and we must stand together as humanity, regardless of race and religion to eliminate the use of all weapon of mass destruction.

Dewitt Lee

“I would first of all ensure that our neighboring nuclear plants are fully secure…secondly take a vocal and visible leadership role in supporting the 2020 nuclear free goal and push the Canadian government to stand boldly against countries attempting to secure nuclear weapons.
— Dewitt Lee, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

Thank you very much for including me in this most important moment as Toronto stands with the world to recognize a day that the world truly mourned together. The tragedy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, marks the date we were all introduced to the true horror and devastating power of nuclear weapons. They will always be in our hearts. I applaud the Mayors for Peace initiative and your bold 2020 agenda and I’m very proud of Toronto’s long standing involvement.

In response to the question posed to mayoral candidate on what would we do if elected mayor, I would have to say that I would first of all ensure that our neighboring nuclear plants are fully secure and that emergency plans are in place and updated constantly to protect the safety of citizens who would be impacted by a leak or terrorist attack. I would secondly take a vocal and visible leadership role in supporting the 2020 nuclear free goal and push the Canadian government to stand boldly against countries attempting to secure nuclear weapons.

Erwin Sniedzins

“We must set up a stop nuclear weapons social media global network that is tied into all organizations…that are actively working to make this happen.
As Mayor of Toronto I will champion this type of global Mayoralty effort.”
— Erwin Sniedzins, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

Hiroshima & the elimination of Nuclear weapons

With about 19,000 A-Bombs stockpiled in the world we hear and watch Tyranny in North Korea & Iran racing to add to the potential destruction of our planet. It is hard to engage madness in a constructive dialogue to stop and help to reduce this stockpile of self-extermination let alone adding to our potential eradication. We not only need all the Mayors of the world to unite in one voice and one vision and mission to get rid of Nuclear weapons but all Heads of Countries as well.

We need more than dialogue. We need to use the power of the global people to their financial might to support the boycott of these new nuclear tyrants who are rushing to build A-Bombs. We must set up a stop nuclear weapons social media global network that is tied into ALL ORGANIZATIONS i.e. UN, VOW, etc., that are actively working to make this happen. We need 2 Billion people to join so that we can have our collective voices heard and acted upon. We need the Mayors to help spearhead this initiative and drive to make it so. Then it is incumbent on their people to elect officials in the 8 countries who will guarantee that once elected they will get rid of their nuclear weapon stockpiles. Right now it is fragmented.

As Mayor of Toronto I will champion this type of global Mayoralty effort.

Tibor Steinberger

“Nuclear weapons are bad and have done a lot of damage when used but at the same time has been responsible in giving incentive and urgency in bringing all parties to the table for peace negotiations.”
— Tibor Steinberger, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

Nuclear weapons are bad and have done a lot of damage when used but at the same time has been responsible in giving incentive and urgency in bringing all parties to the table for peace negotiations. Nuclear weapons are an insurance policy for peace and it is the country’s responsibility to keep it secure.

John Tory

“As Mayor of Toronto, I would encourage our City’s relationship with Mayors for Peace…I would work toward bolstering relations with the federal government, lobbying to them our firm stance against nuclear proliferation and a push for peace and common security.”
— John Tory, 2014 Toronto Mayoral Candidate

As Mayor of Toronto, I would continue Toronto’s strong stance against nuclear proliferation. I would remain committed to our vision that was enhanced through Mayor Lastman’s proclamation of Hiroshima Day in Toronto. I believe the revitalization of the Peace Garden, which will make it both larger and enhanced, will contribute greatly to bringing the city together in commemoration, and raising awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons. Further, as Mayor of Toronto, I would encourage our City’s relationship with Mayors for Peace. I believe in their visions and efforts that uniquely allow cities from all over the world to stand together against nuclear proliferation. Finally, I would work toward bolstering relations with the federal government, lobbying to them our firm stance against nuclear proliferation and a push for peace and common security.