March 6th, 2013

Conservatives must stop undermining arms control talks

New Democrats are strongly criticizing the Conservative government today for their attempts to undermine United Nations negotiations on small arms control.

“As small arms fuel violence in places like Syria and Mali, the Conservatives are instructing Canadian diplomats to drag their feet on UN negotiations to improve arms control,” said NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Paul Dewar. “Once again, the Harper government is abandoning Canadian values and playing a spoiler role in vital international negotiations.”

The unregulated trade of small arms has led to increased violence in conflict zones, more civilian casualties and undermined peace efforts. Despite this, Canadian diplomats were ordered to play a “low-key” at the UN negotiations and focus on the priorities of gun lobbyists. The Canadian government’s position echoed that of U.S. pro-gun lobby group the National Rifle Association, who vowed to fight a draft treaty to regulate the arms trade.

“The Conservatives are playing domestic politics with the lives of millions of civilians in war zones around the world,” said Dewar. “It’s shameful when a government puts partisan domestic politics ahead of the positive and constructive role we should be playing internationally.”

“This treaty is aimed at saving lives. When Canada joins other UN member states for the final negotiations later this month, we will be looking for the government to stop their attempts to undermine and weaken this important treaty,” concluded Dewar.