Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Issue 17 - Evidence - Meeting of October 29, 2014


OTTAWA, Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to which was referred Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, met this day at 4:15 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.

Senator Percy E. Downe (Deputy Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Deputy Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. We are beginning our examination of Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

We have various witnesses today. Representing Mines Action Canada we have Mr. Paul Hannon, Executive Director; and Ms. Erin Hunt, Program Coordinator.

Joining us by video conference from the Netherlands we have Mr. Frank Slijper, Policy Adviser, Security and Disarmament, PAX.

I understand Mr. Hannon is going first.

Paul Hannon, Executive Director, Mines Action Canada: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. As the Executive Director of Mines Action Canada, I have been working on the cluster munitions issue since 1999. I have seen the humanitarian suffering caused by cluster munitions and I have seen the international community come together to ban these indiscriminate and inhumane weapons. Watching our ambassador sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo was the highlight of my career.

Canada should be commended for contributing to the strong definitions found in the convention. These definitions ensure that the treaty achieves a balance between security and humanitarian concerns by clearly stating that only those weapons that cause unacceptable harm to civilians are banned. Canada completed stockpile destruction before being legally obligated to do so, an achievement to be celebrated. Canada's active engagement in support of the convention is commendable, but it is also why I remain so concerned by this draft legislation.

Today I want to raise two main areas of concern. First, Bill C-6 doesn't comment on investment. The Honourable Senator Fortin-Duplessis has stated that investment in cluster munition producers is considered a form of assistance and is therefore banned. The legislation needs to make this clear.

We have met with Canada's major financial institutions and while they are supportive of disinvestment, clarity in the form of government legislation will make the process much easier for them. In the house and here in the Senate we have heard that including prohibitions on investment might be difficult because of Canada's Criminal Code. I encourage you to do the hard work to include investment in Bill C-6 because it will contribute to reaching Canada's goal of an end to the suffering caused by cluster munitions.

Second, I have strong concerns about the interoperability provisions of Bill C-6. I'm aware that military cooperation and joint operations are complex, but I would like to remind senators present that we are here to discuss legislation implementing a comprehensive ban on a weapon that creates lethal barriers to development for many communities. A weapon is currently used in Syria, where our researchers have found that 97 per cent of all those killed have been civilians.

The convention is very clear about its goal:

. . . to put an end for all time to the suffering and casualties caused by cluster munitions at the time of their use, when they fail to function as intended or when they are abandoned. . . .

The legislation will need to change if we want to achieve that result.

Mines Action Canada has serious concerns about section 11 of Bill C-6. We believe that the defences found in section 11 are inconsistent with the purpose of the treaty. Statements made here and in the house regarding Bill C-6 have made it clear that section 11 is an attempt at interpreting Article 21, known as the universalization clause of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We do not have a problem with joint operations nor with Article 21, but we disagree with the interpretation of Article 21 found in this legislation.

At least 37 states, including NATO allies and Mines Action Canada, do not believe that Article 21 allows states to avoid their obligations to prohibit assistance with the use of cluster munitions found in Article 1 of the treaty. Canada appears to be taking a contrary view.

We welcome the amendment made in the house, yet that amendment left unfinished business for this committee. The word ''using'' was deleted in paragraph 11(1)(c). However, paragraph 11(1)(a) continues to allow Canadians to order the use of these banned and inhumane weapons. I encourage you to fix this oversight. I refer you to our written submission for more details on our suggested amendments.

As the legislation is currently drafted, the loopholes present a danger to the treaty. It undermines the prohibition on assistance with large loopholes rather than narrowing the language to ensure that the clarity needed for the standard of Canadian criminal law is met. Canada's legislation makes it more difficult to convince other states to join. Brazil, for example, cites the understanding that states like Canada are actually supporting the use of non-states parties, and they cite that as a reason for not joining the treaty.

The minister said that this legislation is grounded in the art of the possible, yet no art is required, just the courage to set high standards and reach them. For years, we were told that it was impossible to ban land mines, and then we were told it was impossible to ban cluster munitions, but courageous people made it happen. The Convention on Cluster Munitions has showed us that it is possible to balance security concerns with humanitarian concerns and achieve a comprehensive ban on cluster munitions.

Today, with a little courage, you can ensure Canada stands with the victims of cluster munitions to say ''never again.'' Amend the legislation to close the loopholes and show that we meant what we said when we signed a treaty to end for all time the suffering caused by cluster munitions.

Thank you.

Erin Hunt, Program Coordinator, Mines Action Canada: Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on Bill C-6.

I was pleased to hear my colleague bring up the idea of courage in his testimony. In my work with youth from cluster munition-affected communities and with young cluster munition survivors, I'm often amazed at the courage they demonstrate. They share their painful stories again and again in support of the Convention on Cluster Munitions so that no one else suffers the way they have.

It has been difficult to explain to these youths why Canada has put forward this flawed bill and why Bill C-6 appears to condone the use of a banned weapon. At the house committee, Minister Baird testified that Bill C-6 is written the way it is because ''we can't deal exclusively in what we'd like to see; we have to deal with the world the way it is'' and ''the reality is that we aren't there yet.'' When faced with youth who have suffered immensely from these horrific weapons, that rationale falls short. Young people look to their leaders to make change, not sit around and wait for someone else to change the world.

Treaties like the Convention on Cluster Munition are negotiated because the way the world is is not working. Implementing a treaty is going to require effort and change. Unfortunately, clause 11 cements the status quo rather than requiring any changes. Maintaining the status quo will not achieve the results Canada wanted when it signed the convention. The success of the Ottawa treaty banning land mines was not due to some spontaneous world-wide decision that land mines were no longer useful. It is successful because Canada demonstrated true leadership. We set a high standard in the Ottawa treaty and in our legislation, and then we helped our allies meet that standard. Recently, we saw the United States update its land mine policy almost completely in line with the Ottawa treaty — proof our allies are capable of meeting our standards.

Canada has a long history of independent thinking and international leadership. There is no reason to sacrifice Canadian principles for the protection of civilians while we wait for other countries to be ready for the convention standards. Let's set the bar high for Canadians so we can demonstrate leadership internationally.

Our written submission outlines ways in which Bill C-6 can be amended to close the loopholes and set the high standard needed to relegate cluster munitions to the dust bin of history.

The cluster munition survivors I encounter in my work do not believe that Canada's draft legislation will prevent others from suffering the way they have. Clause 11's exceptions are viewed as condoning the use of a weapon that maimed them or killed their family members. Some survivors have met with Canadian officials to share these concerns, and I encourage the committee to hear from survivors before making their final decisions about Bill C-6.

These survivors had their lives shattered by cluster munitions, but they try to recover, build a new life and commit themselves to ensuring no one else suffers the way they have. I urge you to take all the testimony you hear and read into account when you consider amendments for Bill C-6. Have the courage to create change like the youth I work with. Have the courage to make history and amend Bill C-6.

Thank you.

The Chair: We will turn to our video conference witness from the Netherlands, Mr. Frank Slijper.

[Translation]

Frank Slijper, Policy Adviser, Security and Disarmament, PAX: Good evening Mr. Chair, and thank you very much for your invitation to participate in this meeting via video conference.

[English]

Since English is my better tongue, I will continue in that language.

My name is Frank Slijper. I work at PAX, formerly known as IKV Pax Christi, in the Netherlands. As a co-founder and active member of the Cluster Munition Coalition, PAX strives for strong national implementation measures to ensure countries uphold both the spirit and the letter of the convention. Furthermore, PAX is leading the ''Stop Explosive Investments'' campaign to end financial investments in cluster munitions producers.

PAX appreciates the opportunity to be heard in this committee hearing with regard to Bill C-6, a bill that once enacted will enable Canada to ratify this convention. I would like to raise a number of concerns with Canada's proposed Bill C-6 to implement the CCM.

The Oslo process that led to the convention on cluster munitions was driven by the unacceptable harm these weapons have caused around the world. It was the humanitarian imperative that prompted 114 states to join the convention thus far. The CCM bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. It requires countries to clear affected areas and destroy stockpiles of the weapons, and it includes ground-breaking provisions requiring assistance to victims and affected communities. It is the most significant international development treaty since the 1997 mine ban treaty banning antipersonnel land mines.

Both the Netherlands and Canada were actively involved in the Oslo process and signed the convention when it opened for signature on December 3, 2008. The Netherlands became the fifty-second state party in 2011 and has since destroyed all its stockpiles, as has Canada.

However, Canada's current domestic draft legislation gives cause for concern. If the proposed Bill C-6 is passed without further amendment, Canada could have the weakest legislation in the world. In view of Canada's strong history of eradicating the world of land mines through the Oslo process and Canada's role in an endorsement of the Oslo process, this is an unexpected and undesired development. Seeing how Canada has never used or produced cluster munitions, it is surprising that Canada could have the weakest legislation amongst all the states with implementing legislation.

As proposed, key elements of Bill C-6 run counter to the legal requirements of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and its life saving work. Clause 11 on military cooperation and combined military operations explicitly permits almost all forms of assistance to foreign militaries in the use of cluster munitions. The bill permits Canadian Forces or public officials to request other countries to use cluster munitions in the course of joint military operations and, in certain cases, enables such personnel to order the use of these outlawed weapons. These provisions are in clear contradiction not only to the spirit of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but also on the ban of the use of cluster munitions and on assisting others to do so as laid out in Article 1 of the convention.

The Netherlands, like the majority of NATO countries, has been able to balance its needs to operate with states outside of the CCM, including a small number of NATO members, without compromising the prohibitions of the CCM. Since the vast majority of NATO states are party to the CCM, it is not necessary for Canada to argue that the ability to assist with the use of cluster munitions is a key aspect to joint military operations.

As with the Ottawa treaty, Dutch military personnel are not exempt from the prohibitions outlined in the CCM at any time, and that they retain the ability to engage in joint military operations with states not party, with no operational challenges. There's no need for Canada, which often participates in the same alliances as the Netherlands, to create these dangerous and unnecessary exemptions.

Regrettably, Bill C-6 also does not explicitly prohibit investments in producers of cluster munitions. According to the Cluster Munition Coalition, PAX and a growing number of countries, the prohibition on assistance in the CCM includes the prohibition on investments in cluster munitions. Article 1.1(c) of the Convention on Cluster Munitions states:

Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: . . . Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.

The growing group of 27 countries that has joined the CCM have made interpretive statements that they identify investments are, or can be seen as, prohibited under Article 1.1(c) of the CCM. Canada on several occasions has recognized that investments in the production of cluster munitions amount to an offence under Bill C-6. While such a prohibition may be understood by the ban on aiding and abetting production under section 6(f), PAX recommends an explicit prohibition on the investment in cluster munitions producers to be included in Bill C-6.

The surest way to prevent money flowing to producers of cluster munitions is to enshrine such a prohibition into national law. At the time of writing, nine states have adopted such legislation: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Samoa and Switzerland.

An amendment to Bill C-6 to explicitly include a ban on any form of investment in cluster munitions produced in companies would serve the purpose of stopping financial support to the production of these outlawed weapons and create a level playing field and clear restrictions for financial institutions.

We believe it is crucial that our concerns with the current Canadian implementation legislation are heard and considered as part of the ratification process. PAX appreciates that the House of Commons has made a small amendment to Bill C-6 in response to these concerns.

However, the amendment was not sufficient. Deleting the word ''using'' from paragraph 11(1)(c) did not alleviate all our concerns and left other references to use in the draft bill. It is therefore crucial that it becomes clear from clause 11 that assistance with ''use'' is prohibited. Section 11 should be replaced with language authorizing members of the Canadian Armed Forces merely to participate in military cooperation or joint military operations with states not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Finally, the bill should have an explicit ban on investment in cluster munitions producers so as to ensure no money from Canadian financial institutions flows towards producers of these weapons, both now and in the future.

Thank you very much.

The Deputy Chair: We are going to start with questions. If we have the technical problem with our last witness fixed, we will hear the presentation as well, but for now we'll go straight to questions.

[Translation]

Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Mr. Hannon, my question is for you. In an Ottawa Citizen article in December 2013, you stated that the government's decision to remove the word ''use'' was significant.

You said that this specifically means that the Canadian Forces themselves can never use cluster munitions, but that it will also be more difficult for other countries to use them in joint operations that Canadians are participating in.

Could you please expand on those statements?

[English]

Mr. Hannon: Certainly. The deletion of the word ''using'' was important. It is not as far as we would like to see it go, but it was good the house made the amendment. It made it clear that Canadian Forces personnel will not be involved directly themselves using the weapon.

We are talking about a weapon that is to be banned. It is banned by the majority of the world states, and we don't think it makes sense that Canadian Forces personnel may be put in the position where they may have to assist someone else in the use of this weapon, or to actually request the use of weapon itself. It seems to us inconsistent with the treaty, but it also puts our Canadian Forces personnel in a very awkward position. They're going to be using or involved with the use of a banned weapon, knowing that their own country has banned the weapon, but because they're on an exchange or in some form of secondment or joint operation they may end up being involved in the use of the banned weapon.

We think it is much clearer if Canada sends a message to all our allies that Canadian Forces personnel cannot be involved in any way with the use of this weapon. That's the way we will stop the weapon from being used, and it is the best way to protect our Canadian Forces personnel as well.

Senator D. Smith: To all three of the witnesses, I am not trying to be partisan here, but I have the feeling that these experts in the area think this bill is already quite outdated and for whatever reasons we seem to be in a straitjacket, that we don't have much choice, and land mines are hardly used anymore. Am I missing something? Is that what you are saying to us?

When our friend in the Netherlands uses that phrase with regard to Canada's legislation, ''the weakest link of legislation,'' it doesn't make me feel good.

Am I missing something, or is that the gist of the message you are trying to convey to us?

Mr. Hannon: We are using the land mines example as a lesson learned in terms of setting very high standards for global practice at the national level but also internationally. That was an unequivocal ban on the use of what was then a very commonly used weapon and it was in the arsenal the vast majority of the world's states. With Canada leading that process, and with its domestic legislation, it was very much in line with the international treaty, set very high standards which others are following. Hardly anyone uses land mines anymore. It is not an instant thing. We're not going to get rid of land mines instantly and we won't get rid of clusters instantly either.

If we set a high standard and say these weapons are no longer acceptable and should not be in the arsenal or in the military practice of any state, we will eventually get all those countries. Eighty per cent of the world's countries are now part of the land mines treaty. My colleague mentioned the U.S. They're doing everything, except in one country, to ban the weapon, so we have a great deal of influence. The world looks to us, and particularly because of our leadership on land mines they look to us on this treaty.

We think having very strong legislation will send a clear message, and Canada has already sent some good messages. Destroying our stockpile before we were even a state party to this treaty was a tremendous thing. There was a lot of applause when that was announced in Costa Rica last month at a meeting of states party to the treaty.

That's the kind of leadership we feel we need. To close the loopholes in this treaty would be another way of showing that leadership and demonstrate to the world that we don't think this weapon should ever be used by anyone and make sure that Canadians will never be involved in that use.

Mr. Slijper: It is very important for Canada to make sure that it won't work with cluster munitions in any way, not in combined military operations with other states possessing and using cluster munitions. I think that is extremely important for Canada to ensure.

Ms. Hunt: To add to what my colleagues have said, yes, we have said here and in other committees and international forums that Canada's legislation is currently the worst in the world.

You mentioned something about being in a straitjacket, and I don't think we are in a straitjacket. This is still draft legislation. You do still have time to amend the legislation. There's a lot of written testimony that I've seen handed out today with many suggestions. Personally, my favourite is there's still the word ''use'' in paragraph 11(1) (a), even though we took the word ''using'' out of paragraph 11(1)(c), so it would makes sense that this committee would perhaps take out the word ''use'' in other instances, such as in 11(1)(a).

Senator D. Smith: In other words, we don't have to start from scratch. There are amendments that can get it on track to maybe not achieve all of your goals but deal with a few fundamentals? Is that fair?

Mr. Hannon: Yes, that's it.

Ms. Hunt: Yes.

Senator Housakos: I thank our guests for being here this afternoon.

Do any of you have suggestions or opinions on how we can go about protecting our soldiers from liability when it comes to interoperational activities? Canada has friends and allies around the world. We have security interests and military operations around the world. As you yourselves have said in your own words, Canada has been a leader when it comes to taking a stand on cluster munitions. I think this bill is clear that we don't condone the use, the development, the possession or the movement of cluster munitions. How do we go even further, as you're wanting us to go, and impose our view on some of our friends and allies that haven't yet come to the conclusion that we have? We hope they will, and inevitably they will. Canada has been a leader when it comes to a lot of these issues in the past. In the meantime, we still have certain combined operational activities with friends and allies around the world. What can we do to protect Canadian Forces members and allow them to be effective members in those operations while respecting our own legislation?

Mr. Hannon: This is not a situation unique to Canada. Our major military alliance is with NATO, and the majority of NATO states are states parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, so they all face the same situation we do. Many of them, such as Germany, the U.K. and France, have long-standing and extensive cooperation with the U.S. military, which is a state not party yet to this convention. Allies like New Zealand and Australia are in the same situation.

Our allies who are not yet party to this treaty understand the situation that we are in. The U.S. in particular is very aware. Their own military has problems with this weapon. They called them battlefield losers. They caused more harm to their own soldiers in the first Iraq war, more than were killed and injured, by their own cluster munitions that failed to work as they were supposed to, which is a major problem with the weapon, than they were by any other weapon. I think everyone knows that.

There are many ways we can amend the legislation. The legislation could say, as I believe the New Zealand legislation does, that simply participating in a joint operation with a state not party to this convention is not prohibited and does not bring any liability to our soldiers.

There are other ways. Germany has a specific clause in their legislation that we would be happy to pass on to the committee if you would like to see it. There are many ways.

The main issue here is that participating in joint operations is not the issue; it's making sure that nobody uses an indiscriminate and inhumane weapon. Article 21 of the convention obligates Canada and all the other states parties to tell their allies who are not yet party to the treaty that they cannot use cluster munitions and that that state should not use them as well. When you put all those things together, it's easy enough to do.

We're certainly not interested in seeing any prosecution or charges against Canadian Forces personnel, and we're certainly not interested in seeing us not participating in any operation that is deemed necessary for our own security. We just want to make sure that when we are involved in those situations, that we do not use a banned weapon. The same thing applies now with the land mines treaty, and the land mines domestic legislation does not have a clause like clause 11 of this legislation.

Senator Housakos: I appreciate your answer. In an ideal world and setting, we wouldn't have our Canadian soldiers come anywhere close to these weapons, but in certain operations where they are shoulder to shoulder with countries that have not banned that weapon yet and there is a reason for a Canadian soldier in that course of operation to be in close proximity with their fellow American soldier, how do we overcome the fact that this piece of legislation, from a Canadian perspective, Canadian terms, is clear on cluster munitions, but in any specific operation in the field, you're in proximity with other soldiers, units and operations that don't fall under this legislative jurisdiction? How do we protect our Canadian soldiers from not contravening Canadian rules and regulations in those instances? On one hand, we're asking them to do an operation on behalf of their country with an allied force. On the other hand, we're telling them we don't want them anywhere near cluster munitions.

Again, if Germany might have some legislative way of doing it, I'd like to see that evidence, but I don't see any legislative way of getting around that corner.

Ms. Hunt: Just to respond to that, for example, we could use the legislation that we have for land mines, which reads that subsections (1) and (2) of section 6 do not prohibit participation in operations, exercises or other military activities with the armed forces of a state that are not a party to the convention that engage in an activity prohibited under subsections (1) and (2), if that participation does not amount to an act of assistance in that prohibited activity. That is section 6 of the Canadian land mine legislation.

If you give me a second, I'm going to pull up the New Zealand legislation that contains similar language. New Zealand has that a member of the armed forces does not commit an offence against section 10(1), which is the prohibitions in their legislation, merely by engaging in the course of his or her duties in operations, exercises or other military activities with the armed forces of a state that is not a party to the convention and that has a capability to engage in conduct prohibited by section 10(1).

I think what's come up a few times when we've been discussing this legislation is the fear of Canadian soldiers being pinned down and not being able to call for air support, which would be concerning but, with a cluster munition, that's like the last weapon you would ever want used if you're the person pinned down. It's an aerial denial weapon, so that means you would not be able to retreat safely and you can't actually guarantee that the support you're calling in is going to hit the target.

For example, in our current alliance in Iraq, we have 10 or 11 partners in that combat. Of them, Canada is the only signatory, nine are states parties, and only the U.S. is a non-signatory. I would trust that ourselves and our allies will discuss our policies and that sort of thing and get to that before we launch into any joint operations. There are discussions before we join a coalition.

Senator Dawson: I have supported Minister Baird on legislation in this committee and in the chamber, but we are not there yet.

Mr. Hannon, I want to go back to the munition agreements we have had in the past, and we could go back even further in the past. Mr. Pearson never said ''we're not there yet'' when he did Suez. Mr. Mulroney did not say ''we're not there yet'' when Canada was a leader. Mr. Mulroney did not say ''we're not there yet'' when we were leading that battle. We had the pleasure of sitting with Lloyd Axworthy when he was minister. When he was dealing with the land mines issue, he did not say ''we're not there yet.'' We were leading, so we had to be the ones in front telling countries that are now looking at us and saying, ''Well, we don't want to go because Canada's not there yet.'' We should be there.

I would like you, Mr. Hannon, to come to the period in which we had the land mine debate, some of the issues that are being brought up. And I understand the concerns of Senator Housakos. We've seen the necessity of solidarity with our Armed Forces, but ''we are not there yet'' is not a criterion. It's not a standard that Canada has had in the past.

I would like it, Mr. Hannon, if you could refer to the experience of the land mines agreement, how Canada would be the salesperson on this issue and should be doing that again today.

Mr. Hannon: I think two tracks in the land mines treaty were most effective. One was very much a diplomatic track where Canada took tremendous leadership and went around to all our allies and other states talking about the humanitarian harm that was caused by the weapon. Not that it didn't have some form of military utility, but the humanitarian harm far outweighed the usefulness of the weapon and convinced other governments to join on, one by one.

The second was a military track where our military personnel — some who were retired military personnel, others who were active personnel — went to other states and talked about the fact that in our operations and our military we did not use land mines. We did not need them and we felt that others did not need them as well. I think that's an opportunity we have on this weapon in Canada because we've never used them. We've never even tested them and we've destroyed our stockpile. But clearly our military is very capable of responding to any operational requirement or threat that we as a country or our allies may face.

That's an area where I think the treaty will benefit from having Canada as a full state party because our military personnel will be able to talk to other states that are not yet there, not yet ready to join this treaty and say, ''You don't need this weapon. You can use these things. You can have these procedures. You can have practices like this.'' If we match that up with our diplomatic capability — and we know from first-hand experience that we have fabulous diplomats in our country — we can go out there and help other countries understand why this weapon is no longer acceptable, and we will speed this process along a lot faster.

Senator Dawson: Ms. Hunt or Mr. Slijper, is there anything you want to add? I have the same concerns as Senator Housakos. This is a step in one direction, but again, if we are badly influencing countries that should be following us because they're saying we're not doing it because Canada isn't going far enough, we're not being productive as we were in the past, and we've proven in the past that we can do this. You have some wording that you propose, the words ''use,'' ''using.'' We'd like to join in supporting, if it was as good as it should be. I don't know if Mr. Slijper would like to add something.

Mr. Slijper: Adding to what Ms. Hunt said earlier, looking at the current operations going on against Islamic State, I think the United States is the only NATO country that has not signed or ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions. They are very much aware that the allies with whom they operate at the moment strongly object to any such use by the U.S. Therefore, I think it's very important for Canada to have this strong language also embodied in its national legislation. It sets a standard and it sets a norm, even for other countries not yet state party to the cluster munition convention. This works; this stigmatization is important to end any future use of cluster munitions.

Of course, it's a completely different operation than previous operations, but remember back in 2003 when Saddam Hussein was toppled in Iraq. Within weeks, many cluster bombs were used, but until this day, in battle against the Islamic State, I haven't seen any report of cluster munitions used, and I think strong standards set by allies within NATO in other coalitions are very important in this regard.

[Translation]

Senator Demers: I would like to thank the witnesses for being here.

[English]

Mr. Hannon, you noted that the bill doesn't include the term ''investments.'' However, as I review the previous testimony from our witnesses, I noticed that the officials have clarified this point. The term ''investment'' is too broad under criminal law.

For our implementation bill, we have decided to use language such as ''aiding,'' ''counselling,'' ''abetting,'' which are pre-existing terms understood within the context of criminal law. What do you say on that, sir?

Mr. Hannon: I think it's great, the more clarification we get on that. The key message we want to get out to our colleagues in the financial community is that the Canadian government believes that investing in the production of cluster munitions is prohibited because we view that as a form of assistance.

Obviously, talking to people in the financial community, if it says right in it that investment is prohibited, it makes our job easier and makes their job easier. With your clarification — if that is the understanding and is stated clearly when we have third reading here and Royal Assent — it will help us make that perfectly clear.

My preference would be that it says ''no investment'' in the legislation, but if I can't get that, I'm happy to get the clarification if that is the common understanding.

Senator Demers: Do you have anything to add?

Ms. Hunt: I agree with that.

Senator Demers: Mr. Slijper, do you have any comments on that, sir?

Mr. Slijper: I think that Mr. Hannon very clearly stated the importance of clear legislation, if that is possible. That makes it easier for financial institutions to understand the exact remit of the law, but if that's not possible, any clearer spoken statement on this would definitely help as well, yes.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: When I read Bill C-6, that we are currently considering, and the attached convention, I see section 6 which states ''Subject to sections 7, 8 and 10 to 12, it is prohibited for any person to. . . ,'' followed by a list of everything that is prohibited in relation to cluster munitions.

However, sections 7, 8 and 10 to 12 include the following wording: ''Section 6 does not prohibit a person from acquiring. . . .''

These sections include all kinds of exceptions. I understand that we want to protect our soldiers — I absolutely agree with that. I think the best way to protect them would be to prohibit their use unconditionally. Are all these exceptions the result of pressure from foreign interests?

[English]

Ms. Hunt: I think what you are asking is that we all agree we want to protect Canadian soldiers, both from prosecution and also from the dangers that cluster munitions would cause or carry out in the field, but could you clarify the question a little bit? I missed part of the translation.

Senator Robichaud: Well, there is a series of exemptions in four articles, from clause 6. I say the best protection for our Armed Forces is to completely ban the use under any conditions. I think that would be the best protection rather than to have exemptions.

Regarding the exemptions put in the bill, are we subject to pressures from sources that are exterior to the country? Is that a little clearer?

Ms. Hunt: That is so much clearer; thank you.

Mr. Hannon: I would agree with you 100 per cent that the best protection for our forces is to make it perfectly clear that Canada believes this is a banned weapon and our legislation is totally consistent with that, simplify it without having a lot of exceptions and defences in there. That will make it operationally difficult for them and put them in a tenuous situation where they may be involved in the use of a weapon that they know their country has banned.

During negotiations, a number of states made it clear that, unlike the land mines legislation, they felt they needed an article that made it clear they could participate in joint operations. All of us who have been involved with land mines felt that was not necessary because an international treaty that deals with a weapon cannot prohibit you from doing a joint operation with another state, but states such as Canada and others made a compelling enough case that Article 21 does have two clauses in it that deal with joint operations.

During those negotiations — and that went on for a year and a half — Canada and other countries always made it clear the reason they raised this was to make sure that they could participate in joint operations. It was not to create loopholes in the treaty. We all know the states that were most enthusiastic or felt they needed that section in Article 21 were those who were part of NATO or those who had worked closely with the U.S. because everybody envisioned the U.S. would not be joining this treaty any time soon. Whether or not there was any outside pressure, I cannot say.

But I do think it is clear that we should be setting our own standards. If we're prepared to fully ban a weapon, we should make it clear to everyone else, including our allies and particularly our Armed Forces personnel, that they should not be involved with using a banned weapon in any circumstance, for any reason, for anyone.

Ms. Hunt: As Mr. Hannon said, I'm not necessarily sure there was a lot of outside pressure. I feel that clause 11 in this legislation reflects us underestimating our allies' ability to adapt to the new normal of this prohibition on cluster munitions that is widespread throughout the world.

Our allies are well aware of the convention, and they are coming up with ways to deal with it when most of Europe are states parties, most of NATO and a lot of ISAF. Almost every alliance has a large number of countries that are states parties. The way our legislation is written, it is like we don't expect our allies to know that, or something like that. I don't know whether it is pressure from them or pressure we have put on ourselves to step back from our own principles.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: Mr. Slijper, do you have anything to add?

[English]

Mr. Slijper: I'm not aware of any foreign outside pressure on your government in making their legislation. Looking at it from the other way, if Canada would operate with whatever country that is not party to the convention on cluster munitions, any such country would be well aware of the awkward position it would place its partners in when it would use cluster munitions. Again using the example of current operations against Islamic State, I think the U.S. is well aware that it would undermine support for that operation very much if they were to commit to using cluster munitions in that operation.

Senator Oh: Thank you, gentlemen. My question goes back to the differences between land mines and cluster munitions. These are two completely different treaties for two different types of weapons and there is a difference in the way of cluster munitions are typically used in operation.

Can you please describe the difference between land mines and cluster munitions? I understand these are two very different weapons systems and their uses are different, so wouldn't their differences make it necessary to have two different approaches in banning them?

Mr. Hannon: They are definitely two different types of weapons technology, and tactically it forces you to use them differently. Fortunately, there are not many non-state armed groups who have captured or used cluster munitions, but that's not been the case with land mines; a lot of them did use them. The land mines treaty was not only on states parties and states not party to the treaty, but it also put pressure on non-state armed groups, particularly those who had some form of political goal in their activities. It stigmatized the weapon and said nobody should use this because the weapon cannot tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant and between a child and a soldier.

Cluster munitions are different in that they're not placed in the ground or on the ground like land mines. They are delivered by air, either from artillery or from airplanes, and they spread out over wide areas. For example, if you see a box of Smarties and you open it up and pour it on the table, the Smarties would drop all over the place. That's what happens with cluster munitions. They're much more lethal. They were designed in the aftermath of the Second World War, in the Cold War, to disable tanks and armoured personnel carriers. They're more lethal than land mines.

There are two problems with them. One is during the time of attack they disperse over a wide area, so they can't tell if they're actually hitting the target that they wanted to hit. They may hit civilians, ambulances and school buses or they may hit a tank. You can't control them once they open up.

The second problem with them is that after attack, a large number of them fail to explode when they hit the ground or a target. They leave behind de facto mine fields, except this de facto mine field is more lethal than a land mine field.

In both cases, the weapon technology is different but the impact on civilians and communities is the same. It denies land they can't go to for agriculture or go to school or to church, or to go to water or to market. It denies them that land. It also threatens people, disables them and kills them.

The bigger problem with cluster munitions than land mines, in my personal opinion, is that they don't look dangerous. They look like a tennis ball or a soda can, and children tend to pick them up when they have failed. You will see a lot of survivors with upper-body injuries from cluster munitions. They lose their eyes, arms and hands. However, with land mines, because you have to step on them, you see lower-body injuries; that is, legs amputated, lower-body injuries and people losing their reproductive ability, et cetera, because of the damage caused.

In both cases, it is an indiscriminate weapon. It can't tell the difference between a soldier and a combatant, so in that sense they need to be banned for the same reason.

Canada did such a great job on the land mines treaty that it became the template for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Many states feel that if we do the same thing — and I certainly concur — we will ban these weapons in the same way but hopefully faster.

Ms. Hunt: We should probably clarify that land mines were an incredibly widely used weapon when they were banned in the 1990s. They were used in over 60 countries, and almost every military in the world had them in their arsenal.

Cluster munitions are not like that. They're not as widely used. They have been used in far fewer conflicts and far fewer militaries had them to begin with. We just need to make sure we keep that in mind.

Right now it seems like land mines were such an archaic weapon, but it's because the land mines treaty worked so well. At the time it was negotiated, we were told it was impossible because it was a widely used weapon that everyone had.

The Deputy Chair: Colleagues, we are short of time. We have questioners on a second round. I would ask senators to put their questions, and witnesses can answer them at the end.

Senator D. Smith: I certainly accept that this legislation is well intended, but I think it is out of date already. When I think back to the evidence we heard from previous witnesses, what was clear to me at the time was that if you are looking for a role model, the one was New Zealand. I'm pretty comfortable with New Zealand. Maybe you could highlight the one or two things in New Zealand that make you more comfortable.

I'm not being at all critical of the Americans here. They are our allies, but we can't be too influenced by a country that's never going to sign it anyway.

Can you highlight the aspects in the New Zealand legislation that give you a high comfort level?

Senator Housakos: I want to give two specific examples and what creates the quagmire here for the government.

Any Canadian Forces member who simply authorizes the overflight of Canada by an American, even in peacetime and even if the plane does not land in Canada, can find themselves in trouble without clause 11. A soldier that has been assigned to a U.S. logistics chain and has been asked to help just simply load and unload a truck would be viewed as aiding and transferring or transporting cluster munitions, for example. These are two simple, probable examples that can happen at any given time.

I go back and I still haven't had a clear answer. I know the U.K. and Australia are grappling with this issue, and we are grappling with the issue. We happen to be three countries with important responsibilities with friends and allies around the world. I understand you would like us to be even more on the forefront than Canada has already been, and I don't think Canada has been ambiguous when it comes to its allies and our position on cluster munitions around the world.

However, we have to have legislation that is practical. I haven't heard anything in terms of compelling ideas of how we can make it more practical than what the legislation already is.

Ms. Hunt: With regard to New Zealand's legislation, as Frank mentioned, it does include reference to investment. Keeping in mind that New Zealand is a similar Westminster system to Canada, and also New Zealand has a great section on interoperability, which I feel does respond a bit to the second question, the section that I read out previously in the session.

I have a copy of the New Zealand legislation with me, if anyone is interested.

Senator D. Smith: Give it to our researcher, please.

Ms. Hunt: Yes, you'll get it.

I will hand over the second question to my colleagues, but one thing that came to mind is I might not be a lawyer, but there has to be some level of knowledge or — somehow the legal expression mens rea is stuck in my head, but I'm guessing I learned that in a movie.

I believe there has to be a level of knowledge. I really wish the lawyers sitting behind me were sitting beside me right now to finish that sentence properly.

Senator D. Smith: Mens rea means intent.

Ms. Hunt: Yes, intent.

Mr. Hannon: That's part of the key here. I said earlier we're not here to try and find ways to prosecute Canadian personnel who may be involved in a joint operation with a state non-party, and certainly if they're carrying out their duty. What we're trying to do is come up with legislation, and we think there are a number of different examples in our written submission and other written submissions you have received that would protect personnel in those situations.

What we're trying to do is stop somebody from saying, ''This is the weapon of choice and this is the weapon we use.'' We don't think Canadians should be saying, specifically if they're in a command position, ''Use cluster munitions.'' That's the thing. If it's somebody who is loading or flying an airplane, as long as the pilot doesn't say ''drop cluster munitions'' rather than ''shoot,'' that is not what we're here for. We're not going to stop the use of cluster munitions around the world by looking for those kinds of examples.

What will stop cluster munitions is having countries like Canada when we go on a joint operation say, ''We can't use cluster munitions and we don't think anyone else should.'' In joint operations, each state gets to choose the weapons it uses. If we have somebody seconded or on exchange and they have to act as a soldier, like a soldier of that country would, because they're on exchange or secondment, as long as they're not the ones saying, ''This is the weapon we choose and this is the weapon we want.'' That part needs to be clear.

The other part is everyone below that level is really not going to help us stop the use of the weapon and is certainly not what we're interested in going after. That's not what we want. We want to stop people from choosing to use this weapon, the same as we want to stop them from producing this weapon and investing in companies that produce it.

The Deputy Chair: Unfortunately, our time is over for this panel. On behalf of committee members, I want to thank the witnesses — Mr. Hannon and Ms. Hunt in the room, and especially Mr. Frank Slijper in the Netherlands — for taking the time to give their presentations and to answer questions. We understand the time difference, and we thank you for your commitment to appear today.

Senators, joining us how by video conference from the United Kingdom is Ms. Sarah Blakemore, Campaign Director, Cluster Munition Coalition; joining us by video conference from California, and appearing on her own behalf, Ms. Lynn Bradach.

Ms. Blakemore, would you be ready to do your presentation and then followed by Ms. Lynn Bradach?

Sarah Blakemore, Campaign Director, Cluster Munition Coalition: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The Cluster Munition Coalition appreciates this opportunity to submit comments on Bill C-6, An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which, once enacted, will enable Canada to ratify this convention.

The CMC and its sister campaign, the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines, have worked in close collaboration with the Government of Canada for many years on the elimination of indiscriminate weapons such as land mines and cluster munitions. We commend Canada for submitting three voluntary transparency reports and finishing the destruction of its cluster munitions stockpiles even before becoming a state party. We are now pleased to see Canada moving closer to becoming a state party, and we generally welcome its development of a national implementation law, including penal sanctions for violations of the convention as required under Article 9.

At the same time, the CMC is deeply concerned about certain key elements of Bill C-6 that we find are contrary to both the letter of the convention and its underlying aim.

As currently drafted, the bill permits assistance with a wide range of prohibited acts including the use, stockpiling, transfer and production of cluster munitions. It also authorizes some Canadians to directly engage in prohibited activities when seconded to foreign militaries. As all such activities are banned under Article 1 of the convention and are clearly inconsistent with the object and purpose of the convention, Bill C-6 must be revised in order to faithfully implement the convention and its categorical ban on cluster munitions.

In the context of Canada's ongoing debate on Canada's implementation law, some participants at meetings on the Convention on Cluster Munitions felt the need to remind states that national legislation prohibits all actions that could in any way contribute to the continued use of cluster munitions.

The CMC is particularly concerned about clause 11, ''Exceptions — military cooperation or combined military operations,'' which explicitly permits almost all forms of assistance to foreign militaries in the use of cluster munitions.

Paragraph 11(1)(a) allows Canadian Forces and officials during joint military operations to direct or authorize activities prohibited by the convention, including use and transfer of cluster munitions. Paragraph 11(1)(b) of the clause further authorizes such personnel to expressly request another state to use cluster munitions if the choice of cluster munitions used is not within the exclusive control of the Canadian Forces.

Paragraphs 11(3)(a),(b) and(c) explicitly permit assistance with prohibited acts in joint operations as well as conspiring to perform such acts in harbouring someone who has performed such acts. These provisions stand in marked contrast to Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which requires states to never, under any circumstances, assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party under this convention.

The CMC recognizes that Canada's close military relationship with the United States requires regular participation in joint military operations of the state not party. Indeed, Article 21 of the convention was inserted in order to enable such military cooperation and operations with states not party that might engage in activities prohibited to a state party.

At the same time, it is clear from the negotiations, a legal analysis of the article and comments from the vast majority of states parties that have made known their views on this matter that Article 21 should be understood as a clarification that joint operations are permitted and that neither the state party nor members of its Armed Forces would be legally responsible for the activities undertaken by a state not party during the course of such operations. But it is not a qualification to Article 1's absolute prohibition on assistance, which applies under any circumstances.

Clause 11 of Bill C-6 implies, however, that Article 21.3 of the convention does provide such an exemption. Such logic is flawed for two major reasons. First, under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 21 must be interpreted in the broader context of the convention, including the absolute ban under Article 1 and the object and purpose set out in the preamble. Instead, clause 11 enables Canadian nationals to contribute directly and indirectly to the use of this banned weapon.

Second, it would be inconsistent for Article 21 of the convention to both authorize the assistance and use of cluster munitions while at the same time requiring state parties under Articles 21.1 and 21.2 to promote the universalization and norm of the convention, and to discourage states not party from using cluster munitions.

Moreover, it is important to note that a clear international stigma now exists against the use of cluster munitions. Use has been limited to a handful of occasions since 2006, with almost all users vociferously denying responsibility in a clear desire to distance themselves from these discredited weapons. There has also been vocal and widespread international condemnation of each new instance of use.

The United States itself appears to be moving away from the use of cluster munitions, especially in the context of joint operations, where it understands its allies' legal responsibilities. Bill C-6 risks undermining this stigma by enabling Canada to assist with future use.

In addition, with the use of cluster munitions now linked to states like Syria that show no respect for international humanitarian law, it would be an embarrassment for Canada to be associated with their use. The political cost for any such assistance would certainly be high.

Several other close allies to the United States have developed legislation that addresses interoperability, especially the need to avoid punishing soldiers for inadvertent assistance in the use of cluster munitions, while remaining consistent with the convention's object and purpose. Indeed, 35 state parties, including 11 NATO members, have expressed the view and/or enacted national legislation in line with the interpretation that Article 21 is a clarification, not an exception, to Article 1. Canada can and should do likewise, without putting at risk its ability to conduct joint military operations with the United States.

We therefore recommend replacing the text of clause 11 with language authorizing members of the Canadian Armed Forces to merely participate in military cooperation or joint military operations with states not party to the convention. It may be noted that members of the Canadian Armed Forces will not be held liable for their actions if they inadvertently lead to the use of cluster munitions by the Armed Forces of a state not party.

The proposed legislation fails to include any prohibition on the investment of public or private funds in the manufacture of cluster munitions or their component parts. The CMC sees such investment as a clear form of assistance in the production of cluster munitions, which is prohibited under Article 1 of the convention, though such a prohibition may be understood by the ban on aiding and abetting production under section 6.

The CMC recommends that an explicit prohibition on the investment of public or private funds in the development and production of cluster munitions be included in Bill C-6.

Canada has been a longstanding leader in humanitarian disarmament and a donor to Mine Action. In order to avoid undermining such important contributions through the bill's fundamental flaws, we strongly urge the Senate to revise the draft legislation in line with these recommendations. We hope this legislation will be swiftly enacted so that Canada can ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions without further delay.

We look forward to working with Canada on universalization and implementation of the convention when it becomes a state party.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you, Ms. Blakemore. We'll now hear from Ms. Bradach, and then we'll have questions from senators.

Lynn Bradach, as an individual: My name is Lynn Bradach. I'm here today as a survivor. I'm a person who has had to live with the true horror of what a cluster munition can do.

You see, on July 2, 2003, my 21-year-old son, Marine Corporal Travis Bradach-Nall, was killed during a clearance operation in Iraq by a U.S. cluster munition.

No words can explain the pain I felt at the loss of my son. I could not deal with this reality, and it took months before I began to ask questions about the incident. I can't tell you how angry I was to learn that the country he was fighting for, and ultimately died for, had manufactured and deployed the weapon that killed him, the weapon that has a long history of devastating consequences. How could it have been the weapon of choice again?

Travis called to tell me he had volunteered to stay and take part in clearance operations. I begged him to reconsider. I told him that living with the fear of losing him was killing me. His answer: ''Mama, that's not true. You and my brother Nick are safe, but I can't leave these guys here. I'm not sure all of them know what they're doing. I'll come home when they all come home.'' Travis was the only one in the group who didn't come home.

I think of his words often with the work that I do. I know that he is proud because I have chosen to continue his work. I'm now part of an international group known as the Ban Advocates. The members of this group have each been directly affected in some way by this inhumane weapon. Now we have dedicated ourselves to working for the total ban of this weapon. We do this by telling our stories, stories that are painful to tell and painful to hear but that reflect the truth about cluster munitions. Ninety-seven per cent of casualties are non-combatants. There are countless other grieving mothers just like me.

I want to praise the people of Canada and their government for what you have done so far in helping to bring about the high standards of the cluster munitions convention. I was there when your country signed the treaty. I cheered and congratulated Canada at a recent meeting in which a representative announced that you destroyed your stockpiles even before you had finished your ratification process. What I ask now is that you keep the treaty strong.

I'm asking you to work with me to protect not only the tens of thousands of innocent civilians who are left to deal with these weapons for years to come but also our brave young troops who have volunteered to give their lives for us if duty calls. Do not put them in a situation where they are involved with the use of a banned and dangerous weapon. They risk too much for us for them to be involved with a fatally flawed weapon like cluster munitions. It is up to you, the government, to set high standards for the weapons to be used during a time of war.

I have read a statement saying that Bill C-6 has loopholes to protect Canadian troops. I cannot see how allowing Canadians to order or assist in the use of cluster bombs will protect them. These loopholes will not protect your personnel from injury or worse. They will not protect Canadians from the guilt my son's friends feel about coming home when he did not, and they will not protect Canadian mothers from the pain I have been living with for over a decade.

Please use your time here to amend this legislation. Human Rights Watch, the Cluster Munition Coalition, and Mines Action Canada have recommended changes. Please make sure no Canadian is involved in the use of cluster munitions. As we have seen recently in Syria and in Ukraine, cluster bombs are the weapons of terrorists and tyrants. Let us condemn them as we do all acts of terrorism and not give in to fears that might cause us to justify their use.

Thank you.

The Deputy Chair: Thank you.

We have a list of questioners. Senator Ataullahjan.

Senator Ataullahjan: Ms. Bradach, I thank you for being here. I'm at a loss for words. What do I say, as a mother, to a parent who has lost a child? I can't even comprehend your grief.

You were on a panel at the Interparliamentary Union for the assembly's discussion on this issue in October. I would be very interested to hear what came out of that discussion.

Ms. Bradach: Basically what came out of the panel was a lot of support from different parliamentarians from different countries. I would say we educated a lot of them. I told my story as to how it has proven to be more detrimental to be involved with cluster bombs than it is of help to the troops.

I would say that, basically, the outcome was that we made advances with different countries and have people helping us push the convention forward.

Senator Ataullahjan: The IPU is comprised of 166 countries. Did you have any view on which countries were present, because certain countries there are having issues?

Ms. Bradach: I don't know all of the countries. There were several African countries, many of which spoke French. I don't speak French; I'm so sorry. A lot of them were involved in it and have cluster munitions in their countries. Off the top of my head, I can't remember the countries we had meetings with.

One of my most successful was with a senator from Bangladesh, now the president, who was very moved and said he would be helping us as much as he can to be involved in the IPU events.

I felt we made some really good progress. I'm trying to think of some of the other countries we went and talked to, but I'm a little nervous right now. I can't think of anything. I felt it was a very successful couple of days in Geneva.

Senator Ataullahjan: You were with Mr. Chowdhury, in very capable hands, and I'm sure he will look after you. Thank you.

Ms. Bradach: Yes, thank you.

[Translation]

Senator Fortin-Duplessis: I would like to begin by asking Ms. Blakemore a question. I would like to know a little more about your coalition.

You belong to a coalition that is against cluster munitions. How many countries belong to this coalition? How many groups belong to it? How many individuals does it represent?

[English]

Ms. Blakemore: Thank you very much for your question. I'd be very happy to tell you a little bit more about CMC.

We are a coalition with organizations ranging from small groups of survivors to international NGOs working in 100 countries around the world. They will be names of organizations you might recognize such as Mines Action Canada and Human Rights Watch. We work together globally and in individual countries on the implementation and universalization of the CCM.

Many of the people parts of the coalition are survivors. Also as part of our organization, we have the survivor network, which supports survivors of our campaign for their rights.

We also run Cluster Munition Monitor, which is our research initiative that publishes research on cluster munitions and the status of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in every country in the world on a yearly basis. It's the de facto monitoring for the treaty.

I hope that answers your question.

[Translation]

Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Yes. I have a few more questions for you but before that I would like to read you a brief excerpt from a speech that Minister Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave before the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee.

He said the following: ''Let me make something else perfectly clear. No Canadian soldier will use cluster munitions, ever. I want to repeat that: no Canadian soldier will use cluster munitions, ever. A directive from the Chief of the Defence Staff will see to that. When this bill is passed, we can task that directive.''

This bill makes it clear that if Canadian commanders are responsible for a mission with military members from other countries serving under them, the Canadian commanders will never have the right to order the use of cluster munitions.

In terms of interoperability, we are very close to the U.S.; they are our closest neighbours. We often need them, and they need us.

The permission Canadian soldiers are granted is extremely limited. It may involve simply moving boxes containing cluster munitions. However, Canadian soldiers will never plant mines. Interoperability is very important because of our main neighbour.

I would like to say a few words of encouragement to Ms. Bradach. I am a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, but I was unfortunately unable to take part in the IPU meeting you attended. I do, however, want to tell you that I understand your grief. Yours is a much greater grief than mine because you lost your son, but mine landed with both feet on an antipersonnel mine in 2003. One of his legs was almost entirely destroyed, while the other was quite literally torn off. Those who have been injured by mines suffer terribly, but so do their parents and those around them.

[English]

[English]

Ms. Bradach: Thank you.

Ms. Blakemore: We really appreciate Canada's leadership on this, and I'm here to say that fixing this bill and closing these loopholes is taking the next step. That would really be my only comment. This is about building on the important leadership and to make sure that the human empathy the senator just talked about is water tight and that we are working together to build a convention, national legislation, of the absolute highest standards.

The Deputy Chair: I don't see any other questions. I would like to thank the witnesses for their presentations and for taking our questions today.

We'll meet again tomorrow, colleagues, on this same bill.

(The committee adjourned.)