Mar 062013
 

And the Conservative government actually seems to be keeping them in mind – to the great bedwettery of gun grabbers throughout the land.

Gun owner rights key to Canada at UN: papers

Canadian gun lawby Lee Berthiaume
Postmedia News

For nearly two weeks last year, diplomats from Canada and the rest of the world gathered at the United Nations in New York to discuss ways to crack down on the illicit trade in small arms and ammunition.

But rather than working to strengthen those efforts, newly released documents show Canadian officials were instructed by the Harper government to “play a low-key, minimal role” – and that their main objective was safeguarding Canadian gun owners’ rights.

Firearms advocates say the documents prove the Conservatives are standing firm on their promise to protect responsible, law-abiding Canadian gun owners, even on the world stage.

“To me this says that the government is holding firm on its commitment to gun owners to stop punishing law-abiding citizens for the acts of criminals,” said Solomon Friedman, an Ottawa-based lawyer specializing in firearms law. “The primary focus is making sure that Canadians aren’t burdened as a result of international commitments.”

But gun-control groups have accused the Harper government of a lack of international leadership, saying there is space to both combat the illicit flow of weapons and also stand up for legitimate firearms owners in Canada.

“If those are the two single objectives that Canada has, then it’s missing a real opportunity to put in place a historic treaty that would actually have a significant impact on people’s lives,” said Kenneth Epps of Project Ploughshares, an antigun Canadian non-governmental organization.

“To be narrowly focused on the domestic concerns of a minority of Canadians at a time when there are millions of people around the world affected by armed violence is clearly not what most Canadians want the Canadian government to be doing.”

There are currently two efforts at the UN to control the international flow of conventional weapons.

The first is ongoing negotiations aimed at creating a future Arms Trade Treaty, which would establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms, and likely establish a reporting framework as well.

Those talks have been going on for several years, with the next round set to take place in New York March 18-28.

The second relates to a promise many countries, including Canada, made in 2001 to strengthen controls on the movement of smaller firearms, called the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

The documents obtained by Postmedia News are briefing notes to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird asking permission to send a Canadian delegation to a 12-day conference in New York late last summer to review progress on that promise.

“It is proposed that Canada play a low-key, minimal role at the review conference,” the briefing note reads, adding that the Canadian delegation “will ensure that: (1) no new burdens are imposed on law-abiding, responsible Canadian firearms owners; and (2) Canada does not enter into any new commitments that are inconsistent with its domestic laws and regulations on firearms.”

The documents say those were the same objectives Canadian diplomats were told to advance during Arms Trade Treaty negotiations two weeks earlier.

The Canadian officials would also seek to have any new commitments added to the UN Program on Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons made optional – though that position was expected to prompt a diplomatic backlash.

“The Canadian delegation is likely to face criticism or questioning by some delegates on this approach (framing commitments as optional) and Canada could be isolated from traditional friends and allies.”

The documents add that Canada does not meet several provisions of the UN program, including the tracing and record-keeping of small arms and light weapons.

Original source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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