arms trade treaty
We know why the Liberals won't fix this bill: for them, the economic benefits of selling weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia outweigh human rights.
With the proper amendments, Canada has an opportunity to prevent the suffering of thousands of innocents, and raise the ethical bar on international arms sales.
The country is experiencing the world's largest epidemic, and it has everything to do with the Arms Trade Treaty.
The Arms Trade Treaty aims to establish global standards for responsible national decision-making on the transfer of conventional weapons.
The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will be held in Istanbul in one week's time. Convened by the UN Secretary General, this Summit has been years in the making, and will bring governments, aid organizations, civil society and business together to embrace a new Agenda for Humanity.
Since the $15-billion Saudi arms deal was announced on Valentine's Day 2014, there have been numerous occasions when Ottawa should have explained to Canadians how this contract is compatible with the human rights safeguards of Canadian export controls. Yet two years on, we are still waiting for an explanation.
The government of Canada knows that signing the UN Arms Trade Treaty will save lives by stopping the illegal flow of small arms. Minister Baird is faced with a choice then: does he take a meaningful step to prevent carnage like the Nairobi attacks or does he bow to the domestic gun lobby and their fallacious claims? Sadly, I suspect we know the answer to these questions.
Stephen Harper's decision to protect those who use international tax havens to evade paying their taxes is inexplicable and unacceptable. Canadian companies should be good global citizens paying their fair share of taxes in countries where they operate, not hiding behind tax shelters and shell companies. After all, tax evasion is hurting the Canadian economy as well -- one estimate puts the cost at $7.8 billion per year, or slightly more than the amount the government will spend on infrastructure in First Nations communities over the next decade. Yet the government will not even provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with the data necessary to calculate an official figure.
If properly done, an Arms Trade Treaty can help limit the worldwide trade in illicit arms. But 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.
On Monday I asked Canada's foreign affairs minister about the Arms Trade Treaty. Shamefully, the Conservative government acted as a spoiler during the treaty negotiations. The only civil society representative on Canada's delegation was from the gun lobby -- a man who was hailed by the NRA as one of its "beacons of hope." Hundreds of thousands of people die every year as a result of armed conflict. This treaty will help them. Dozens of countries have realized this, and have joined together to pursue a safer and more prosperous future. Canada should join the world in ending the illegal flow of weapons to the world's worst conflicts.