Canada’s performance in arms control discussions at the United Nations has been lacklustre in recent years but this morning it reached a new low. The statement delivered by the Canadian delegation to the international meeting in New York on implementation of a global Arms Trade Treaty was by far the most disappointing of any Canadian intervention to date. In effect it signalled that Canada no longer supports a strong treaty, a significant reversal of Canada’s earlier stand.
Canada could have chosen to support the draft text provided by the Chairman of the UN session. His text included measures to assist states to meet the obligations of a treaty that might actually bring the international arms trade under control. Instead, the Canadian statement read as if written by bureaucrats frightened that the treaty would actually change things. It referred to the Chair’s text as “too ambitious” with sections that were “too detailed” or “seeking too much.” It claimed to support the idea of making international arms transfers more transparent but then stated that information sharing by states should be voluntary. It objected to several suggestions that are problematic for Canada, largely because they mean that Canada would need to adopt new (and improved) procedures.
Canada has never been a shining star in international efforts to achieve an Arms Trade Treaty that would protect lives and livelihoods. Today it became one of the states that would settle for an agreement that changes nothing.
photo: Control Arms