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Letter from the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs Regarding Landmines

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Honourable Members of the Canadian Cabinet
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A6

Dear Sir/Madam:

The Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has been following the landmines issue with great interest, especially since Pope John Paul II reiterated his vigorous call for "the definitive cessation of the manufacture and use" of anti-personnel mines in May 1995. In this regard, we commend the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Defence for their declaration earlier this year that Canada would not produce, export or use anti-personel mines.

Nevertheless, we are aware that the Ottawa Conference on Landmines is rapidly approaching, and that the issue should be discussed at Cabinet level. We write today to encourage you to support action to encourage significant change in this important dossier.

In particular, we believe that the hosting of the Ottawa Conference on Landmines allows the Minister of Foreign Affairs a golden opportunity to announce that Canada plans to destroy its anti-personnel mine stockpiles that are not needed for clearance training purposes. Many countries (including several of our NATO allies) have already announced such plans. An announcement of this nature by the Minister would grant our country that moral authority needed to continue to push for a global plan.

In addition, we would hope that the government will soon proceed to table legislation in the House of Commons that would ensure an anti-personnel landmines ban remains in effect as part of Canada's future military policy.

Such actions at home, in addition to the steps the government is already committed to at the United Nations and other international forum, will enhance civilian safety, peacekeeping and economic development efforts in conflict zones throughout the world.

Thank you for your concern for peace with justice.

Sincerely yours,

+François Thibodeau, C.J.M.
Bishop of Edmundston
Chairman
Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops


For More Information Contact:
Deacon William Kokesch
Director, Communications Service

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, August 15 2006  
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