March 26, 2014
Did Foreign Minister John Baird mislead the United Nations about the presence of a gun lobbyist he put on Canada’s official delegation to important arms control talks?
Documents I have reviewed from 2012, marked up with what appear to be Minister Baird’s own handwritten instructions, suggest strongly that he took a personal interest in removing any reference to the Canadian Shooting Sports Association from official correspondence being sent to the United Nations.
These documents, and others emerging from his department through access requests, are painting an alarming picture of the growing influence of the gun lobby on Canada’s international arms control position, and the government’s desire to conceal that fact from the UN.
Last week, Embassy’s Kristen Shane reported that newly released documents from 2013 show the foreign minister’s office asked bureaucrats to meet with gun groups and industry before heading into the final round of talks toward an international Arms Trade Treaty last March.
The invitation was extended to several arms-producing companies, “three representatives of the National Firearms Association, and one each from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association and gun lobby group Canadian Institute for Legislative Action,” according to Shane.
Non-governmental organizations that have been advocating in favour of the Arms Trade Treaty were not issued invitations to the meeting.
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