Monday, December 10, 2007

Landmines, Mother Earth and the Salvation Army

Whooee! Well friends and foes, I've made this analogy before so forgive me (or not) if you've already seen this argument. When I see the specious position put forth by Baird in Bali, I question Canada's role in any international agreement that fails to include every country in the world. BTW, are there any agreements that include every country in the world?

Canada joined 121 nations and signed the anti-landmine treaty in 1997. The United States did not sign. Canada ceased production of landmines and, in 1997, committed $500 million to landmine eradication.

Just last week, Bev Oda announced another $80 million of increased funding for Canada's landmine eradication efforts. The commitment to eliminating landmines appears to have been embraced by the Harper government. Why else would they voluntarily increase funding?
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said Monday in Ottawa that the UN MineAction Centre for Afghanistan will receive the funds.

"Canada will continue its strong support of mine action activities in Afghanistan and the United Nations mine action service with a contribution of $80 million over the next four years," Oda told a press conference at the Canadian War Museum.

The Tories already budgeted $8.8 million for Afghan de-mining last February.
But...but... but...

Landmine production and deployment continues unregulated by non-signatories such as the US. Canada's arms, weapons and munitions manufacturers have been cut out of the lucrative international trade in anti-personnel mines. It's not fair.

Canada is not responsible for the deployment of any significant percentage of the world's landmines. Canada alone cannot hope to remove all the landmines. At best, we can hope to eradicate maybe 2%. But what's the point when the US continues to produce landmines and they are still being deployed in various hotspots all over the world?

Over 50 years ago, when I was about 5 or 6, my Mum gave me a dime to put into the Salvation Army's Christmas bucket. She told me the money would buy Christmas dinners for poor folks. Even then, I had an idea of what could be bought for ten cents. I asked Mum how a dime would help. She replied, "Every little bit helps."

What a simple concept. At age 6, I had no trouble grasping the idea. Why can't our so-called leaders understand such a simple concept? With regard to landmines, they appear willing to act -- even without the co-operation of the big landmine producers. Why are they so intransigent regarding the environment?

Times have changed since 1955 but I'm willing to bet that if a 6 year old puts a dime in the Sally Ann bucket, the bellringin' believers will be thankful for every penny. My ol' Mum is now 82. I took her out Christmas shopping last week and we saw a Salvation Army guy in the mall. I won't say how much I gave but I know my Mum approved and we both know my little bit will help.



Red Canuck said...

You're quite right JB. Whenever I heard Baird spouting off about not signing anything unless the "big emitters" sign on, I cringe.

I'm reminded of the Dragon Boat races I watch every year here in Vancouver. It seems to me that if you're trying to move a Dragon Boat forward, and 3 people decide they're not going to row, does it make any sense for the entire crew to stop rowing? You may not get there as fast, but at least the boat will start moving if the others put their oars in the damn water!

Karen said...

I've always thought the Salvation Army was an excellent charity. Most of their donations actually go to help people instead of for "administrative" fees. In Victim Services, we took many people to the shelter who needed a place to stay. Of course, we also ran across the ones who claimed to be desitute and need help, but who wouldn't go to the shelter "because they won't let me have liquor in there." Lost my sympathy at that point. We had plenty who just wanted us to give them money. That didn't happen.