On Friday, October 4, the MBCBL met with Portage Lisgar MP Candice Bergen to discuss Bill S-10: An Act to Implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In addition to expressing concerns about the weakness of the draft legislation, the MBCBL questioned why there was nothing in Bill S-10 to ban investments in producers of cluster munitions.
The discussion on the weakness of Bill S-10 focused on the loophole that would potentially allow Canadian military personnel to continue to be involved with the use and transfer of cluster munitions when involved on joint-military operations with countries that have not joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). “This loophole is unacceptable, especially given assurances from the government that the military will make it policy to not allow its troops to be involved with the use of cluster munitions on joint-military operations. If that’s the case, then put that into the treaty,” says MBCBL coordinator Darryl R. Toews.
As the Cluster Munitions Coalition notes, “Air-dropped or ground-launched, they cause two major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. First, their widespread dispersal means they cannot distinguish between military targets and civilians so the humanitarian impact can be extreme, especially when the weapon is used in or near populated areas. Many submunitions fail to detonate on impact and become de facto antipersonnel mines killing and maiming people long after the conflict has ended. These duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.” It would be completely unacceptable for Canada’s military to be involved with the use of this weapon after signing an international treaty that is supposed to ban that activity.