Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-14, which will make it possible to control the export, import and transit across Canada of rough diamonds and will establish a certification scheme for the export of rough diamonds in compliance with the Kimberley process internationally.
Before discussing the bill itself, I would like to give a brief overview of the steps that have been taken by Canada and the international community in connection with the rough diamond trade. The international community is still greatly concerned about the lilnk between the illegal rough diamond trade and the financing of armed conflicts, particularly in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Although blood diamonds constitute only a small part of the international diamond trade, they do have considerable impact on the peace, security and sustainable development of the countries involved.
With leadership from Canada, the United Nations has taken several initiatives to address this problem. In 1998 the Security Council imposed sanctions prohibiting the import of rough diamonds from Angola that were not controlled through an official certificate of origin scheme.
During its term on the UN Security Council in 1999 and 2000, Canada played a key role as chair of the Angola sanctions committee in pressing for measures to strengthen implementation of these sanctions. These measures laid the foundation for the adoption of additional sanctions on Sierra Leone which placed similar restrictions on rough diamond imports from that country.
Sanctions were also imposed on Liberia, given its role as a channel for illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone.
The UN has shown an ongoing interest in the blood diamond issue. In December 2000, and again in March 2002, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolutions, of which Canada was one of the sponsors, calling for the creation of an international rough diamond certification program, in order to tighten up measures to control the diamond trade and prevent blood diamonds from getting into legitimate markets.
The G-8 is also keenly interested in this issue. At the July 2000 Okinawa summit, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, along with the leaders of the other G-8 countries--