Bosnia and Herzegovina: Why has Canada ‘dropped the ball’ on landmine removal effort? – thestar.com.
[posted without comment, as actions speak for themselves...]
n 1997, the Canadian government helped spearhead what became known as the Ottawa Treaty, an agreement signed by 125 countries to end the production of landmines, clear the ones that had already been laid and destroy all stockpiles.
The treaty was a watershed. While countries had long recognized the damage caused by landmines — Canada started destroying its stock of 30,000 in 1996 — the number of landmine casualties continued to climb. In Belgium, they were still digging up 80 mines a day — mines that had been laid during World War I.
Lloyd Axworthy, Canada’s foreign affairs minister at the time, called the treaty “this generation’s pledge to the future and a bridge to the millennium.” The International Committee to Ban Landmines won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
It helped that the cause had the support of Diana, Princess of Wales, who travelled to the landmine-laced countries of Angola, Pakistan and Bosnia.
But 15 years later, Canada appears to be abandoning the cause. Landmine experts and current and former diplomats say Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is telling demining groups that landmine removal is too closely associated with past Liberal governments.
“The Conservatives like to say, ‘It’s not us,’” says Gerry Barr, former executive director of the Canadian Council for Independent Cooperation, an umbrella group of aid agencies. “It means they haven’t built that brand. Someone else has. The Liberals did. So why would they support it?”…
The news came in the wake of revelations that Canada plans to close five U.S. missions, phase out a program that funded Canadian studies at universities abroad, sell 22 of the department’s most valuable paintings and raise $80 million by selling 40 of its official residences abroad.
“We criticize the U.S. a lot, but when a leadership role is thrust on them, they follow through with it and stick it out, regardless of a change in government,” says Paul Hannon, executive director of Mine Action Canada, a lobbying group. “We should do the same.”