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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 weapons.

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

3:50 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

Let me clarify. There is no distinction between civilian and military firearms.

As for what our approach is now, rather than focusing on firearms, we are focusing on the user. So rather than trying to make a distinction about this type or that type, which is, quite frankly, difficult and controversial, we're going to talk about who the users are. Frankly, it's much clearer and much easier to agree on who are legitimate, good, and responsible users and who are illegitimate, bad, and illegal users. We can try to focus it that way instead.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Dechert.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Mr. Massoud, for your comments here today.

In your opening remarks, you mentioned that the international standards for export controls that will be established by an ATT will almost certainly be lower than those of Canada's own export controls regime.

I wonder if you could briefly explain to our committee members the Canadian export controls regime and also how the Department of Foreign Affairs ensures that Canadian exports are sent through rigorous checks before being authorized.

Thirdly, I wonder if you could compare Canada's export control regime to those of other countries.

3:50 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

I will turn it over to my friend here, who knows much more than I do.

3:50 p.m.

Paul Galveias Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Thank you for the question, sir.

To start with your last question first, Canada's export control system is a gold standard. We are recognized internationally as exercising a great deal of diligence by making decisions based on clearly articulated principles, procedures, regulations, and legislation. That in itself differentiates us from many other states that simply have legislation in place but perhaps not the processes or the capacity to exercise exactly what they've signed on to do.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

How does the Canadian export control process compare to the United States process, for example?

3:50 p.m.

Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Paul Galveias

They're relatively similar.

By way of explanation, if I may, Canada is a member of four existing export control regimes. The one that deals with munitions items primarily is the Wassenaar arrangement. We are one of 41 states that are like-minded and belong to this arrangement of export controls. The United States is a member as well.

We have commonly articulated and commonly understood principles of what we do: transparency, both in conducting our export controls and in how we report on results and items—such as not contributing to destabilizing accumulations of arms in various areas and other states. So as far as we and the U.S. go, we have very similar operating principles that we work on—

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Would that be considered—

3:50 p.m.

Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Paul Galveias

—but the actual systems are quite different.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

I'm sorry to interrupt. How do we compare to China and Russia?

3:50 p.m.

Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Paul Galveias

I'm not as familiar with the Chinese system, so I would be unable to give any meaningful comparison.

As far as the Russian system goes, we do not have a single state-authorized exporter for munitions goods, as the Russians do with Rosoboronexport. Russia is a Wassenaar member as well, so it has signed on to the common principles of how export controls can be conducted. The Canadian export control system is, in Canada, predicated upon the Export and Import Permits Act.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

How do our checks work? How do we check who the arms might be shipped to?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

Bob, that's all the time you have.

Go ahead and finish the answer.

3:50 p.m.

Senior Export Control Officer, Export Controls Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Paul Galveias

The Canadian export control system is concerned not only with the goods that are being exported, but also with the destination—to whom they are going and how they will be used. Depending upon the location, we use, to a greater or lesser extent, a consultative process within the Department of Foreign Affairs and with other government departments that have knowledge of or interest in the area to have them express their concerns and to evaluate, with due diligence, the proposed transfer.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Dean Allison

Thank you very much.

We're now going to turn it over to Mr. LeBlanc.

Seven minutes, please.

June 11th, 2012 / 3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.

I want to follow up on a line of questioning that Mr. Dewar and Madam Laverdière began.

I was interested to know that in the preparatory meetings of July 2011 there was a decision to include members of civil society as part of the Canadian delegation. I'm interested in how that process was undertaken, what criteria you used to decide who would be part of that delegation, and if other groups had applied or were interested. I'm just curious as to how you arrived at the composition of the delegation.

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

The composition of the delegation is the responsibility of the minister. The minister decides who will be on the delegation, so I would ask that you ask the minister that question.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

But from your long experience—and I understand that you don't want to speak for the minister—is there typically any kind of criteria, or do you simply get an e-mail that says “this will be the delegation”, and you have no understanding of how that was arrived at?

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

It's the minister's decision. You should ask the minister.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

You're just then informed of the decision. There's no process that goes on in the department to identify groups. At one point there's a ministerial decision as to the composition of the group. Is that...?

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

We are able to identify what governmental officials are needed and we identify what governmental officials the minister may wish to consider. Then the minister decides who will be on the delegation.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Typically, the members of the delegation would meet with senior officials of the department in planning these meetings, I assume.

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

There's always a consultation process going on, yes, and we're always talking about what's going to be happening among us. Yes.

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Once the delegation is determined by the minister, there would be internal meetings. Members of this established group would meet, I assume, with you and your colleagues.

3:55 p.m.

Deputy Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Habib Massoud

We meet at the discussions themselves, at the talks themselves. When I'm leading a delegation, I like to have a morning meeting every day, so—