Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act

An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Status

In committee (House), as of June 12, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment implements Canada’s commitments under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In particular, it establishes prohibitions and offences for certain activities involving cluster munitions, explosive submunitions and explosive bomblets.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

  • June 12, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.
  • June 11, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill S-10, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the Bill; and that at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I too have a good idea. I move:

That, in relation to Bill S-10, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the Bill; and

that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is number 45; here we go again. This is 45 times that the Conservative government has brought in closure. It is a government whose members said they were going to do things differently; and, not once, not twice, but 45 times, they have broken that promise they made, how many years ago?

It is important to understand the legislation we are going to be debating. It is on cluster munitions. This is a very serious treaty that we signed onto. The bill comes from the Senate where there is testimony from witnesses who condemn this bill. In fact, most people who went to speak to members on the other side said that this bill in its present form is retrograde. It would undermine the spirit of the treaty.

So let us get this straight. We have a government that brought in at midnight, a week or so ago, this bill to the House. The Conservatives had one speaker on it at midnight; that is how seriously they take it. They then brought in closure on it. After having heard what happened in the Senate, they feel that the bill is okay the way it is, because I suspect that they are going to ram it through. After we have watched this bill come from the other side, not from this place, and after we have seen it brought up for a couple of minutes after midnight, by the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, and after we have seen what the Conservatives are doing on issues like the arms trade treaty, we certainly need a lot more debate on this. We need to take it more seriously, and we need to see amendments.

Are the government members actually going to listen to what Canadians are saying on this bill? Are they going to listen to witnesses who condemn this bill in its present form? I know the minister knows this. I have talked to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I know the Minister of National Defence knows the criticisms of this bill. He knows that if it is passed in its present form, many people will say it is better not to bring in enacting legislation because it would undermine the spirit of it.

Therefore, why is the government rushing this through again? Why are the Conservatives bringing in closure on a bill that is so very important? This is about Canada's reputation on the international stage. Why closure, why this bill in its present form? And will they allow amendments this time, or are they just going to shut it down like they always do?

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:25 p.m.
See context

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to my hon. friend, and I understand his point of view. However, the reality is that this effort to bring forward both the convention and now the accompanying legislation has been under way since 2008. The member has read the issue and has said it is a very serious one; it is one that has far-reaching implications and in which Canada has exhibited leadership. We were there in the early days of the negotiation to ensure that we were complying with both the spirit and the letter of the law. This is now the time to step forward, bring the legislation to fruition and allow Canada to go forward and ratify.

This prohibiting cluster munitions act would fully implement the legislative commitments that are there under the convention, which the hon. member mentioned. It would strike the balance between the humanitarian obligations, which are very real; we know the grave implications that come about with the use of cluster munitions. As well, it would preserve our national security and defence interests. I add that, because of the realities, that we work with other NATO allies, most notably the United States of America, in missions that very much have a humanitarian component as was the case in Afghanistan, to comply with some of the amendments and the position taken by the member opposite would prohibit that international contribution.

Therefore, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated quite clearly in his testimony in the other place, this is an honourable compromise. This is the way to move the legislation forward, to move forward with a ratification of the convention, and allow us to continue to act interoperably with our allies.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Hélène LeBlanc LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have found in recent weeks that the government is short on inspiration. No one really knows what direction it wants to take. The schedule changes randomly. As my colleague, the foreign affairs critic, has said, the government introduced a very significant but very flawed bill.

Why is this government introducing such a significant bill at the last minute? This bill has international implications for Canada.

Also, why is the government imposing a gag order and bypassing important steps, thereby preventing this significantly flawed bill from being properly studied?

What is going on? What are the government's priorities, especially in terms of Canada's reputation on the world stage?

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the short answer to what it means for Canada is action, not words. It means we are actually implementing and moving forward on this important issue.

I note that the legislation would very much preserve Canada's ability to continue to work internationally, but, at the same time, it implements Canada's commitments to the convention, as is in line with our key allies. I note that Australia and the United Kingdom, and many of our NATO allies, many of the countries we have worked with abroad, are in fact taking the same steps.

My colleague from Ottawa Centre a moment ago mentioned that there are those who are critics of the legislation. That may be, but I also note that there are a number of NGOs calling on Canada to ratify the convention. They are calling on us to move forward and ensure that Bill S-10 is enacted as quickly as possible.

Let us not let perfection get in the way of progress on this. Let us allow Canada to move forward, to step out on the international stage, as we have throughout this process, as we have been leaders in this process, and move this legislation forward. That is what we seek to do. That is why we are taking this step. This legislation is important when it comes to Canada meeting its international commitments, protecting civilians, protecting those affected by cluster munitions, and allowing Canada to continue to play a significant role internationally.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have now reached the 45th time allocation motion. This makes no sense.

Does the government intend to move time allocation motions for all bills until the end of the session? Are the Conservatives planning on proroguing so they can pack up and go home because of all the scandals coming out these days? Are they not willing to answer any more questions from parliamentarians or the public?

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no, but what I can say is that on this particular piece of legislation, we have a history that goes back to 2008. We have international commitments that we seek to comply with. This legislation would allow us to do just that.

This bill is very much in keeping with the intent for Canada to continue to play a leading role internationally in addressing the humanitarian impact of land mines and explosive remnants of war. This bill is also in keeping with Canada's commitment since 2006 to continue with the disarmament of these types of munitions that have such a devastating impact. Canada has contributed more than $200 million through 250 projects internationally to this global effort, which makes Canada one of the top contributors to this issue. That is, again, in keeping with the spirit of the legislation and the ratification of this convention.

We are deeply committed to this cause, as witnessed by this legislation and international contributions. The total amount of support by Canada continues toward the area of mine action and the issues that vary from year to year. We want to be consistent in demonstrating that, both to our citizens and those internationally who watch these issues very closely. That is why we think it is time for progress, it is time to advance the legislation, and advance this cause generally.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Calgary East
Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for answering many of the questions on this bill, as the NDP critic mentioned the other night at midnight when I spoke on this bill and gave the government's position.

What is important is that Canada has been a very strong contributor toward the damages of the remnants of war, mines and cluster munitions. The minister just mentioned the $200 million. I was in Cambodia earlier this year, where I saw a massive effort being made in war countries in removing mines and cluster munitions that have been left behind and have been injuring children. I have been to Mozambique and saw how much damage has been done to livestock, as well as to young children playing there, as well as in Angola. The Government of Canada is very proud to support all the things it has supported, over and above this bill. We should not look only at this bill but the larger picture of what Canada has been doing.

I would like the minister to elaborate on what Canada has done in meeting the goals in the bill but that are also part of Canada's core foreign policy.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague for his understanding of the far-reaching implications of this, and the fact that this is but one piece of a larger puzzle when it comes to Canada's international efforts vis-à-vis demining efforts and the use of this legislation to help implement the convention banning cluster munitions.

In his extensive travels, I know the member has on many occasions encountered representatives of nations around the world who are very grateful for Canada's efforts. Whether it be in some of the conflict zones in which Canada has been involved over the years, in Bosnia, Kosovo, and more recently, Afghanistan and Libya, we have seen the devastating effects and countries that are mined to the max, where the remnants of war have such grave implications particularly for schoolchildren.

It is something that we need to reflect on. The fact is there are many countries where the mere effort of going to school or playing in a soccer field or going out with friends to take part in the simplest of activities can result in death or grave injury because of munitions left in the ground.

Our country has in fact played a leading role over the years, internationally, in addressing this humanitarian impact of land mines. We continue to work with organizations, with other countries, to meet that standard and to play that type of leadership role on the international stage.

I mentioned some of the earlier commitments that we have made monetarily. Canada, for example, provided $16.8 million just two years ago to support victim rehabilitation, and clearance and capacity building in nine countries: Colombia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Libya, Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Palau.

Dating further back, in 2007-08, our contribution was $51.4 million. That year we ranked third overall in our contribution.

These are just a few examples of how we remain deeply committed to this cause. We continue to elevate possible mine action projects that will deliver tangible results. Here at home, this is an opportunity for us to send a very clear signal of that commitment, by passing this legislation, by moving forward with the ratification of the convention. I would encourage all members to support that effort.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments that the minister is attempting to put on the record, but it is not the issue of the substance of the bill.

What we should really be talking about is the attitude of this majority government and how that attitude has actually shifted. The direction we are going in is very negative. Canadians are becoming more and more aware how this Prime Minister, more than any other prime minister in the history of our country, tries to limit and prevent members of Parliament from being able to debate important issues that come before the House of Commons.

That is the issue. We have a government that has now introduced time allocation 45 times. It is unprecedented. It is limiting the abilities of individual members of Parliament to share their thoughts and their ideas, and hold the government accountable for the type of legislation that it is bringing forward.

It does not matter what the minister has to say about the legislation right now at this very moment. What we are concerned about is why the change in attitude. Why is the majority Conservative government not allowing members of this House to have due process on a wide variety of issues that are important to each and every Canadian?

My question is to the Government House Leader, not the minister. Why does the government continue to limit debate on a wide spectrum of legislation when Canadians have a right to have their members of Parliament standing in their place, being heard?

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I sense some degree of frustration on the part of the member. He stated that this is not the issue. The issue is in fact moving this legislation forward.

We feel it is a priority for our government. We feel that we need continued efforts, consistent with Canada's principle position on the world stage to play an important role when it comes to the banning of munitions and the demining issue that Canada championed some years ago, one in which his party played an important role—

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Oh, the member is no longer here.

In any event, the real issue is very much how we can progress on an issue as important as this and to move legislation. While it is not perfect, there are issues that could be taken with any bill on any issue. However, the reality is that we have an opportunity with this legislation that has received scrutiny in the other place, that has followed the process of legislation that comes from the Senate and that presents the opportunity to the House to move this bill forward.

We are proud of the negotiations in which Canada took part in the early days to bring about Canada's compliance and position. To remind the House, practically speaking this legislation would prohibit all possession of cluster munitions, including the stockpiling of any munitions in Canada, or cluster munitions belonging to states that are not parties to the convention.

This is a prohibition across the country that would bring Canada in line with its international partners. We do have cluster munitions, which we are now in the process of disposing. I will state for emphasis that we have not used them operationally. We have destroyed most of the stockpiles already. We are in the process of exploring the options to dispose of these final stockpiles. Practically speaking, we are well down the road when it comes to Canada's compliance.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence, like most of his colleagues, is trying to manipulate reality to his liking. I serve on the Standing Committee on Finance, and I have seen just how often the government chooses not to play by the rules. That is why it is imposing this 45th time allocation motion under false pretenses that are completely unfounded. The real problem is that the government is trying to impose its will from a to z, without listening to proposals from the opposition parties.

I want to speak briefly to the bill. The problem is not with the agreement itself; we are completely in favour of the agreement. The problem is that the bill undermines the enforcement of that agreement. Once again, as it did with the provinces and the health care agreement, for example, the government is trying to impose its will, to erode and sabotage perfectly valid agreements.

In a similar fashion, the government has turned a blind eye in other cases. It absolutely refuses to hear proposals from the opposition parties. Am I right to think that the minister will say the bill is perfect and that no NDP proposals will be received, debated, studied or considered by the government?

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would not for a moment suggest that the hon. member's views on this important issue are somehow invalid or would not contribute to its improvement.

However, again, this legislation is now at a place before the House where we can move forward on an international convention that dates back to 2008. This is an occasion in which action, not words, is needed.

The legislation is not perfect. I have said that. Most bills that come before the House are not in a perfect form, yet here we have broad support. There are NGOs that are very much in favour of the legislation, calling on the government and the Parliament of Canada to move forward and allow us to ratify it and live up to our obligations. We have taken substantial steps to do that.

Again, I repeat that Canada has an opportunity to demonstrate continued leadership in the world, to show a forward-leaning attitude when it comes to an issue as important as the ban on land mines. I would suggest that gives us the moral authority to then approach many of our allies, who have not taken the steps that Canada has and who have not moved forward in demonstrating the same type of forward-leaning attitude.

We can say definitively to them that we have passed legislation in our country, that we have taken concrete action in moving forward with our own obligations and that we encourage them, our friends and allies, to do the same.

Bill S-10—Time Allocation Motion
Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
Government Orders

June 11th, 2013 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member may not know this, but Earl Turcotte, former senior coordinator for Mine Action at DFAIT, was the head of the Canadian delegation to negotiate the convention. He also negotiated the convention on certain conventional weapons and the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines. He knows his stuff. He said about this legislation, that “the proposed...legislation is the worst of any country that has ratified or acceded to the convention [on cluster munitions] to date”. What does the minister have to say about that?