Since the mid-1950s Canada has actively promoted a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) that would effectively and verifiably ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices.
In 1994, Canada's then-Ambassador for Disarmament, Gerald Shannon, was appointed Special Co-ordinator in the world’s permanent forum for the negotiation of disarmament treaties, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, with a goal of gaining consensus for a negotiating mandate for a FMCT. In 1995, the CD adopted the "Shannon Report" and endorsed it in the "Principles and Objectives" decision of the NPT Review and Extension Conference. In August 1998, the CD agreed to establish an Ad-Hoc Committee to negotiate a FMCT based on the mandate agreed in this report. Canada chaired the first session of the FMCT Ad-Hoc Committee in 1998.
Regrettably, the CD’s inability to agree on a Program of Work has prevented FMCT negotiations from being resumed after the end of the 1998 session. Canada continues to promote the objectives of an FMCT by calling for an immediate universal moratorium on producing fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, and by urging all states that can have the capacity to produce fissile material to commit themselves immediately to this moratorium.
At the same time, Canada has consistently supported and/or led efforts to ensure that FMCT negotiations remain high on the international agenda, and to continue to lay a solid technical and procedural base for those negotiations when they resume.
In FMCT negotiations, Canada will work to ensure that the CD deals with nuclear disarmament and arms control objectives for the five nuclear-weapon States, and equally with nuclear non-proliferation objectives for those states that remain outside the NPT. FMCT negotiations should be complemented by a parallel set of negotiations among states that possess fissile materials to establish effective mechanisms to reduce and eventually eliminate their existing stockpiles.