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  • May 9th, 2017

Key questions about Canada’s Arms Trade Treaty legislation

800px-2000_people_killed_by_arms_every_dayIn this blog post we highlight some of the key questions we will be asking the Government of Canada about Bill C-47, Canada’s national legislation to implement the Arms Trade Treaty.

Will Bill C-47 bring all U.S.-destination military goods — the bulk of our military exports — within the ambit of the Export and Import Permits Act as is required by the ATT?

Comment: So far as one can tell from the draft legislation, the intention is to continue to EXCLUDE U.S.-destination military goods from Canadian export controls AND from the Annual Reporting on our military exports.

Why is the Government of Canada relegating a central provision of the enabling legislation — the legal obligation on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to assess export permit applications on the basis of the criteria set out in Section 7 of the ATT — to the regulations to be promulgated AFTER Royal Assent?

Comment: This approach is contrary to the basic rules of legislative drafting and will deny parliamentary and public scrutiny of one of the most important provisions of the ATT enabling legislation.

Why is the Government of Canada not considering an Arms Trade Treaty Implementation Act instead of this convoluted approach of amendments to the Export and Import Permits Act?

Comment: See for example this model legislation which makes it absolutely clear and transparent what the new law is all about:  Arms Trade Treaty Model Law.

Watch for the next blog in our series, where we will continue to analyze this historic legislation to ensure that it fully complies with Canada’s international obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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