Is Canada ‘Dropping the Ball’ on Landmines and Cluster Munitions?

Canada played such an important role in championing the cause of banning and clearing landmines in the 1990s that the Antipersonnel Landmine Ban Treaty is called the Ottawa Convention. It was also in the vanguard of the campaign to ban cluster munitions.

But this weekend Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star wrote a damning report on Canada’s flagging commitment to life-saving demining efforts in Bosnia and other mine-affected countries. The activists, former diplomats and NGO workers he quotes suggest that the conservative government of Stephen Harper has little interest in mine action. Indeed, Harper has been accused of attempting a hawkish ‘conservative revolution’ of Canada’s foreign policy, which is at odds with the country’s liberal tradition.

Then today Handicap International called on the Canadian government to fix a loophole-ridden cluster munitions bill currently before the Senate. “The bill has significant omissions which could have fatal consequences for civilians,” according to a report from Canada NewsWire. Mines Action Canada has organized a petition calling for the bill “to make it clear that no Canadian should ever be involved in the use of cluster munitions for any reason, anywhere, at any time, for anyone.”

For further details on Canada’s mine action and cluster munitions policy, click here.

To learn how you can be involved in advocacy efforts, visit Mines Action Canada.

~ by Matthew Bolton on 24 September 2012.

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