Evidence of meeting #41 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was treaty.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Habib Massoud  Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Paul Galveias  Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Mark Fried  Policy Coordinator, Oxfam Canada, and Member, Control Arms Coalition
  • Hilary Homes  Campaigner, International Justice, Security and Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Member, Control Arms Coalition
  • Lina Holguin  Policy Director, Oxfam-Québec, and Member, Control Arms Coalition
  • Kenneth Epps  Senior Program Officer, Project Ploughshares, and Member, Control Arms Coalition
  • Steve Torino  President, Canadian Shooting Sports Association
  • Tony Bernardo  Executive Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association
  • Solomon Friedman  Lawyer, As an Individual

5:25 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Tony Bernardo

We have not met with ministerial staff on this issue. The minister we met with before was Minister Bernier, for a very brief time. We have not had meetings with ministerial staff since then.

I think you have to remember that many Canadians are very worried about this because of the last round.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

We just want to understand the process, really. So I was wondering, who invited you to be part of the Canadian delegation at the talks in July and February?

5:25 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Tony Bernardo

I am not part of the delegation.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

You're not part.

5:25 p.m.

Executive Director, Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Tony Bernardo

No, I'm not.

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Torino?

5:25 p.m.

President, Canadian Shooting Sports Association

Steve Torino

I was part of the delegation. I don't know who invites. Normally I get a phone call or an e-mail from Habib, asking if I'd like to be part of the delegation as an advisor. That's about it. Otherwise, there is absolutely nothing going on there.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

Thank you very much. That's all the time.

Mr. Williamson, we probably won't get a full round in, but let's give you a couple of minutes.

June 11th, 2012 / 5:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Okay, thank you.

I want to follow up on a line of questioning Mr. Dechert was on. When the fighting began in Libya, as I understand it—and correct me if I'm wrong—some of the sanctions that were in place prevented western nations from helping groups that we called rebels. Could such a treaty, as you envision it, result in the same thing happening if there were vetos at the Security Council, for example, preventing Canada doing what it thinks is the morally correct thing to do in terms of its foreign affairs position?

5:25 p.m.

Campaigner, International Justice, Security and Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Member, Control Arms Coalition

Hilary Homes

I think we have to acknowledge that the Security Council is a very political place. Sometimes it votes one way, sometimes it votes another. Putting the criteria into a treaty hopefully takes some of the politics out of it. I don't think you can ever take the politics completely out, but that's our goal.

So what would then be assessed in a conflict like Libya is who were the arms being sold to, and what is their conduct? There would be this set of criteria that would interact, and that would be the judgment. So it's not merely.... An embargo often picks one side or another, sometimes both. What we're trying to do here is say look at the situation, look at what's going on, and who is the end user of whatever it is you are trying to sell? That's the fundamental difference that would happen in a treaty setting.

Ken may want to add to that.

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Well, let me ask a follow-up question, then. Does that mean, then, that you might have a case where the Canadian government is being sanctioned for providing aid to a group that it considers to be an ally or a friend or...?

5:25 p.m.

Campaigner, International Justice, Security and Human Rights, Amnesty International, and Member, Control Arms Coalition

Hilary Homes

Again, from our point of view, it's the conduct, and it's the risk that the end user will use the weapons for human rights abuses. That's what we're trying to measure, so we were trying to take some of the politics out of it.

But I think Ken wants to add to this.

5:30 p.m.

Senior Program Officer, Project Ploughshares, and Member, Control Arms Coalition

Kenneth Epps

I just want to note the distinction between a UN Security Council embargo and the ATT, because I think there is a fundamental distinction. One is the action of the Security Council that is then binding on all UN member states, so in a sense it's a collective process settled by the Security Council, but it then becomes a requirement of all states. The ATT will require each national government to interpret the treaty in making its decisions about national transfers, and the states will be held to account for those decisions. So it will depend, I think, on how egregious the situation may be to determine how other states react to national decisions about transfers.

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

John Williamson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Do I have time for another one?

5:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dean Allison

Sure—a quick question.