House of Commons to vote on Arms Export Review Committee

school-destroyed-yemen-bombingOn Thursday, 28 September 2016, NDP Foreign Affairs critic Hélène Laverdière introduced an important motion which reads in part:

That the House recognise that:
– Canadian arms exports have nearly doubled over the past decade, and that Canada is now the second-largest exporter of arms to the Middle East,
– Canadians expect a high standard from their government when it comes to protecting human rights abroad,
– Canadians are concerned by arms sales to countries with a record of human rights abuses, including Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Sudan,
– there is a need for Canadians, through Parliament, to oversee current and future arms sales;

The motion goes on to call for a new parliamentary Arms Export Review Committee to review and report on:

  • Canada’s arms export permits regime,
  • proposed international arms sales,
  • annual government reports regarding arms sales,
  • the use of these weapons abroad, and
  • all matters and broader trends regarding Canada’s current and future arms exports.

During the debate, Liberal government members questioned the cost of such a committee and the negative impact it could have on the Canadian arms manufacturing industry.

Click here for a link to the Hansard transcript of the debate, scrolling down the page to Government Orders.

We at Ceasefire.ca strongly believe public support for a Canadian arms manufacturing industry can only be sustained over time if Canadians are satisfied that it is in full compliance with the highest international standards, as exemplified by the Arms Trade Treaty. This is the only way to ensure that Canadian jobs will not depend on selling arms to despots and tyrants.

The vote on this motion is TUESDAY, 4 OCTOBER, sometime after Question Period. But your views will still count even after the vote has taken place!

Please email Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at PM@pm.gc.ca or his Chief of Staff, Katie Telford, through her Executive Assistance at Olivia.pineau@pmo-cpm.gc.ca to let them know that it is in Canada’s enlightened self-interest to have rigorous oversight of our arms exports through the establishment of an Arms Export Review Committee.

Photo credit: ips-dc.org

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