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Ban cluster bombs

Dear Mr. Jasmin,

Thank you so much for signing and sharing our #fixthebill petition.  This email is a special update to the signatories of the petition.  It has been over a year and a half since we launched the #fixthebill campaign and petition so we at Mines Action Canada wanted to share with you the progress of our collective efforts.  In that time, the draft legislation originally known as S-10  has snaked its way through the Senate and into the House of Commons.

The House of Commons held a late-night second reading debate of the bill in June 2013.  The debate was held under time-allocation limiting the amount of time the Parliamentarians could discuss the bill yet still 19 MPs spoke in favour of amending the legislation. The widespread concern about the bill was mentioned numerous times during the debate.  The debate is available online both in text <;id=0610b0a5ad&amp;e=9997211e93>  and video <;id=30163d9351&amp;e=9997211e93>  (debate started at6:10pm). After the short debate, the bill was referred to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development for study just before the summer break.  As you may know, Parliament prorogued over the summer break so when the House of Commons reconvened Bill S-10 became Bill C-6 and returned to the Foreign Affairs Committee.

After days of testimony in the committee, the government surprised everyone when they requested a special meeting to deal with the most controversial section of the legislation. At that special meeting, the Committee only deleted the word « using » from Section 11(1)(c) <;id=fddde00478&amp;e=9997211e93> despite strong testimony from civil society and frequent statements by Minister John Baird that he was open to amendments.  There is no longer an exception for Canadian Forces personnel to use cluster munitions while in combined operations, on exchange or when they are seconded. This is an improvement and we know that the government would not have proposed this change if Canadians like you hadn’t spoken out. We welcome that the government has heeded our call to ensure that no Canadian is involved in the use of cluster munitions, but we do not understand why the government would permit Canadian Forces personnel to assist someone else to use or request someone else to use this indiscriminate and inhumane weapon.  If we want to end the suffering caused by cluster munitions we must go beyond ensuring Canadians will not use these banned weapons and ensure that Canadians will not help others use these unacceptable weapons.  The Convention on Cluster Munitions is a total ban on cluster munitions to protect civilians during and after conflict.  We expect Canada to live up to that high standard. This amendment has fixed one of problems in the original draft, but there is still significant room for improvement.

Bill C-6 will now proceed to the House of Commons for report stage and Third Reading when Parliament resumes at the end of January.  There is time to improve Bill C-6 at that point and later in the Senate where we hope the Senators will undertake a comprehensive review of the legislation as they have sober second look at this legislation.  Although we are disappointed with the committee’s decision, Mines Action Canada remains committed to fixing this bill and you can help us by sharing the petition <;id=367b73bbbd&amp;e=9997211e93>  and supporting our efforts <;id=2652e5f91f&amp;e=9997211e93> .  Thank you for your support!

The Mines Action Canada team

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#fixthebillNe laissez pas les Canadiens utiliser les bombes à sous-munitions