06/06/2013 08:23 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Protecting Canadians' Interests First in the Arms Trade Treaty

The NDP's senior spokesperson for foreign affairs recently lent his name to an article that contained a number of baseless claims that were, frankly, wrong.

After accusing Canada of aiding and abetting the illegal weapons trade, he goes on to suggest that if an Arms Trade Treaty had been in place, the Syrian Civil War and Assad's attack on his own people would have been somehow prevented. Both of these claims expose the NDP's ignorance.

If properly done, an Arms Trade Treaty can help limit the worldwide trade in illicit arms. Canada has always worked, and will always work, to keep arms out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, and those who abuse fundamental human rights. That's why we were among the 154 countries that agreed to move this treaty forward. At the same time, it is important that such a treaty should not affect lawful and responsible firearms owners nor discourage the transfer of firearms for recreational uses such as sport shooting and hunting.

That's why Canada took a leadership role at the United Nations to make sure that doesn't happen. That is also why we'll take the time to consult with provinces and stakeholders and seek their views on this issue.

Unlike the NDP, we will always take the time to ensure the interests of Canadians are protected. We do our homework. We make sure that any treaty we sign onto is good for Canada, and good for Canadians.

As we do, your readers should remember that our government has taken a number of important steps to keep arms out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and human rights abusers:

• We've helped destroy surface to air missiles and conventional weapons from countries like Sudan and Libya;

• We've supported arms control programs in the Caribbean, Colombia, and Central America;

• And we have funded programs around the world to train law enforcement officials on stopping arms trafficking.

That's the kind of real action and real results that Canadians expect of their Government.