Our approach is multi-faceted; yours is two-faced:
Last month, Senator Romeo Dallaire asked when Canada would bring in legislation to ensure that all applicable laws are in compliance with the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which was ratified in 2002.
This week, he got his answer, which – as it turns out – is that there are no plans to do so, as, according to the Conservatives, the government is already in full compliance with the protocol, despite its stubborn refusal to intervene in the case of child soldier – and Canadian citizen – Omar Khadr. Apparently, that’s what is known as a “multi-faceted approach”:
Canada has a multi-faceted approach to implementing its international human rights obligations, including those found in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflicts (“OP CRC (Armed Conflict)”).
Prior to ratification in 2000, a comprehensive assessment of federal laws, policies, and practices was conducted to determine if they complied with the OP CRC (Armed Conflict). A similar assessment was also undertaken by the provinces and territories. Canada did not signal its intention to be bound until after these comprehensive reviews had been completed. As a result of this review, Canada amended its National Defence Act (NDA) to entrench into law the Canadian Forces pre-existing policy of precluding persons under the age of 18 years from being deployed into areas where hostilities are taking place. This amendment (section 34 of the NDA) came into effect on June 29, 2000.
Canada also relies on the constitutional protections that are already in place under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as through existing legislation, policies, programs, and public education to implement its international human rights obligations respecting children.
As with each of the major United Nations human rights treaties, Canada must periodically report to the United Nations on measures taken to implement Canada’s international human rights obligations. Canada submitted its first report on the OP CRC (Armed Conflict) to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2004. It can be found at: http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/pdp-hrp/docs/crc/pfcdeca_e.cfm)
Through this multi-faceted approach to implementation, the Government has determined that Canada is in compliance with the OP CRC (Armed Conflict), and as a result, the Government does not plan on passing specific implementing legislation. (emphasis added)