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MCC supports stronger legislation to ban cluster munitions
WINNIPEG, Man.—Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC) is asking supporters to sign a nationwide petition on cluster munitions that will be delivered to the House of Commons.
The petition was developed by Mines Action Canada and calls for changes to Bill S-10--An Act to implement the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Senate passed the legislation without amendment. The House of Commons will soon be studying and voting on the bill.
“This petition is an opportunity for Canadians to offer a strong public witness for peace,” says Esther Epp-Tiessen, MCC Canada’s public engagement coordinator. “It is a way of sending a message to our legislators that we want Canada to do its utmost to protect people from the terrible harm caused by cluster munitions.”
In 2008, Canada signed an international agreement that prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions. To confirm Canada’s commitment to this agreement, on April 25, 2012 the government introduced the legislation.
But MCC Canada and Mines Action Canada say there are flaws and omissions in the bill and it should be amended.
“We are concerned that Bill S-10 is much too weak and actually undermines the comprehensive objectives of the treaty,” says Esther Epp-Tiessen.
For more than 35 years, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has been working to end the human suffering that is caused by small, explosive cluster munitions.
Those efforts intensified in 1981 when MCC worker, Linda Peachey, visited a family of 11 children who were grieving the loss of their mother who had been killed. The woman had accidentally detonated an unexploded cluster bomb while hoeing her garden.
During this visit the dead woman’s husband gave Peachey the head of the hoe that his wife was using when she was killed. “He asked, ‘take this hoe head back to America. Use it to tell our story, so that this won’t happen again to other families in other countries’,” says Epp-Tiessen.
Titus Peachey of MCC U.S. provided oral testimony, and staff of MCC Canada's Ottawa Office submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee which studied Bill S-10 in the fall of 2012
MCC is a member of the Mines Action Canada coalition. MCC is hoping that congregations and other supporters will add their names to the petition that’s available for download at http://mccottawa.ca. The petitions need to be signed and sent to Members of Parliament by May 15th.
Petitions signed by Canadians are presented in the House of Commons and become part of the historical record.
Gladys Terichow is a writer for MCC Canada