Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mel Hurtig Warns of Nuclear Holocaust



Canadian author and nationalist Mel Hurtig will be the featured speaker at this year’s commemoration of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki taking place at Toronto City Hall on August 9.

The commemoration is organized by the Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition. 140,000 Japanese were killed in the first American atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. In Nagasaki 74,000 were killed and another 75,000 injured on August 9, 1945 when the U.S. dropped the second atomic bomb on that city.

In his speech in Toronto on August 9, Mel Hurtig warns that the world is sleepwalking towards an inevitable cataclysmic nuclear holocaust unless urgent steps are taken to reverse the recent sharp deterioration in international cooperation to curtail the deployment of nuclear weapons and to stop American plans to weaponize space.

“The continuing proliferation of nuclear materials along with the likelihood that terrorists will acquire and use them, plus the recent plans by the U.S., Russia and China to upgrade their nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and the weakening or abandonment of important anti-nuclear agreements are a guaranteed recipe for disaster,” Hurtig says.

At present there are 31,000 nuclear weapons in existence. The U.S. has 10,000, Russia 20,000, China 400, France 350, the United Kingdom 200, Israel 200, India 95, Pakistan 50 and North Korea an unknown number. The average U.S. warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Russia and the U.S. each have 2,000 nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert ready to be launched on 15 minutes’ warning, greatly increasing the risk of an accidental nuclear launch. Collectively, the nuclear powers have spent more than $12 trillion to develop and maintain their nuclear arsenals.

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition is organizing two events on August 6 and 9 to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. A thirty minute program starting at 6 pm during the IRIE Music Festival at Nathan Phillips Square on August 6 will feature dub poet Clifton Joseph, the Yakudo Traditional Japanese Drummers, the reading of the Toronto Peace Message from Mayor David Miller, and the reading of the Peace Message from Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba by a granddaughter of a Hiroshima survivor.

On August 9, the Nagasaki commemoration will take place near the Peace Garden on Nathan Phillips Square from 6:30 to 9 pm with Phyllis Creighton as MC. The program begins with Origami paper cranes folding and storytelling for children, the Yakudo Drummers, the reading of the Toronto Peace Message and the Peace
Message from Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh, featured speaker Mel Hurtig (author of Rushing to Armageddon), Shakuhachi bamboo flute playing by Bonchiku Hoshi, a reading of Kurihara Sadako’s poem, “Bring Forth New Life,” and Yusuke Tanaka singing “Don't Let It Happen Again”. There will also be announcements from
Mayors for Peace and the recent World Peace Forum in Vancouver. Dub poet Clifton Joseph, student Yuki Otsuji and the Raging Grannies will also contribute to the program. The evening closes with a Lantern Ceremony
accompanied by bamboo flute playing by Bonchiku Hoshi.

The Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition has been organizing commemorations at Toronto City Hall on August 6 and 9 for over a decade. A coalition of peace and community organizations, its members include Physicians for Global Survival, Science for Peace, Voice of Women, the Canadian Friends Service Committee, the Older Women’s Network, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, and others.

Mel Hurtig is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been awarded honourary degrees by six Canadian universities. Among his many other awards and honours are the Lester B. Pearson Man of the Year Peace Award, the Speaker of the Year Award, the Royal Society of Canada’s Centenary Medal, and, on two occasions, the Canadian Book Publisher of the Year award. He has been Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Booksellers Association, the National Chairman of the Committee for an Independent Canada, and is the founder and former Chairman of the Council of Canadians. Mel Hurtig also founded and published The Canadian Encyclopedia. He is the author of several bestselling books including The Betrayal of Canada, Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids, his autobiography At Twilight in the Country, The Vanishing Country and his latest book Rushing to Armageddon: The Shocking Truth About Canada, Missile Defence and Star Wars, which the Globe and Mail review called "perhaps the most important book published in Canada this year." In 2004, Mel Hurtig was named one of the top 100 Albertans of the past century.


For further information or to arrange interviews:

Mel Hurtig: 604-684 8433;

Hiroshima Day Coalition:

Anton Wagner, Anton Wagner Productions, 416-863 1209; fax: 416-863 9973

Phyllis Creighton, Science for Peace: 416-481 7647;

Sid Ikeda, Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre: (Home) 416-447 0986 or cell no.
416 452 9765

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