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Mondial Fall 2021: Obituary of Simon Rosenblum

By Fergus Watt

Simon Rosenblum, who served on the WFM – Canada board of Directors from 1997 to 2014 died August 17, 2021, in Toronto following complications resulting from gastrointestinal tract injuries (perforated duodenum). He was 69.

Simon spent his life working on social and economic justice issues. He served on the staff of Project Ploughshares during the 1980s, writing and co-authoring (often with Ernie Regehr) several books and articles on disarmament and arms control issues. Later he served as chief of staff to Floyd Laughren, Treasurer for the province of Ontario during the NDP government led by Bob Rae.

Simon held a number of positions on the WFM – Canada Board but was particularly valued for his in-depth understanding of international relations, his political judgment and ability to advance a peace and global governance agenda in the day-to-day realpolitik. In 1999 he led an initiative obtaining the endorsement of six former Canadian Defence and Foreign Ministers in support of Canada advocating a policy of “No First Use” of nuclear weapons. Canada did subsequently advocate (along with Germany and Norway) the adoption of a No First Use policy in the context of a NATO strategic policy review. However, the initiative did not gain majority support within the NATO alliance.

Simon also had leadership roles with organizations working on Middle-East peace issues, such as Canadian Friends of Peace Now, as well as organizations working on child poverty policy in Canada. He was known for his frequent published letters-to-the-editor of the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail. His personal interests were wide-ranging, from art collecting to opera to the world of sports, and he never grew tired of playing pranks on friends and colleagues.

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