Update on Canada's cluster munitions legislation—December 2013
Thank-you to all Canadians who signed our petition on strengthening Canada's commitment to the International Convention on Cluster Munitions. We have record of some 64 petitions sent to at least 24 Members of Parliament between April and December, 2013. Through these petitions, more than 1,500 MCC supporters from across Canada registered their concerns about the bill. We are grateful for this expression of support!
On October 25th, Bill S-10—An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions—was re-introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-6.
As of November 7th, study of this bill began in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. While MCC was not one of the two civil society organizations invited to testify in person this time around, we tabled a written submission offering the committee our recommendations for strengthening Canada's implementation of the Treaty.
At the final clause-by-clause study of the bill on December 10th, one government amendment was put forward, and approved, that deleted a single word ("using" in 11(1)(c)) from the legislation. In addition, the government invited the Standing Committee to play a more significant role in strengthening and expanding on the annual transparency reports required by the Treaty.
For more than 35 years, MCC has been at the forefront of efforts to address the devastating impacts of cluster munitions.
MCC welcomes Canada’s efforts to enshrine the international Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) into domestic law. Bill C-6—An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions—is Canada's response to this Treaty.
What's the problem?
As a country that has never produced or used cluster munitions, Canada should have the best legislation in the world. But Bill C-6 has serious flaws and substantial omissions that make it the weakest legislation to come out of the Convention.
More specifically, we are concerned that the bill:
- Creates loopholes and exceptions on the use of cluster munitions that undermine the Treaty as a comprehensive ban on an inhumane weapon;
- Omits many of the positive obligations of the Treaty, including the destruction of stockpiles; the promotion of Treaty norms; the prohibition of investment in cluster bomb production; and the provision of support for victims.