Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the people of Ontario for electing a new PC government yesterday. It was a great victory. I think they made the right choice by electing a government that can serve the people, first and foremost, and no one other than that.
I am pleased on this beautiful morning to talk about Bill C-47, a piece of legislation that does not achieve its stated purpose. I have spoken about the bill before. It is ineffective, unfair, and a step backward. I mean every word I say about the bill. The bill is a further example of the Liberals doing what they do best, chasing an optic while ignoring the tangible effects of their actions.
Canada has a robust and effective system of arms control that has served it well for decades and will continue to serve us for as long as we need. I called Bill C-47 a step backward, and I mean that quite literally. The system that we currently operate under meets or exceeds anything proposed by the UN treaty. It is a fact that our current protocol exceeds the requirements of the UN treaty contained in the bill before us.
I have the honour and pleasure of sitting on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. When we were studying the legislation, Amnesty International appeared as a witness to discuss the legislation. Their testimony was quite interesting. Indeed, we were able to gather very important things from the witnesses who appeared before committee. Amnesty International is a very trusted and well respected organization on the world stage and in Canada. We wanted to get its opinion on the difference between the proposed legislation and the current regime we already have in Canada. Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International told us on October 31, 2017, “in the critical aspects where we need strengthening, it is not a step forward”. If we are not making substantive progress, then why are we doing what we are doing?
We know that the United States, Russia, and other major countries making up the majority of the sales of military equipment have either not signed or likely will not ratify the treaty. As is the case with many ineffective international treaties, the key participants in the trade are not part of the treaty. We have a right to ask these questions before we adopt anything that comes our way, no matter where it comes from. The bill cannot be part of an effective international regime because we know that the Arms Trade Treaty is being ignored or boycotted by major players in the international arms trade. That is something we also have to pay attention to, because we are not the only player on the world stage, and we have to consider looking at those major players before we consider any law, or piece of legislation, or any treaty we have to agree to, because it means so much to Canada. We have to be very careful when considering what we are doing.