--------------------The Toronto Star, November 10, 1995

by Allan Thompson, Ottawa Bureau

Hull, Que. -- Canada should lead the world by destroying its own
stockpile of land mines and declaring a total ban on the
production, export and use of the weapons, Foreign Affairs
Minister Andre Ouellet says.

In a complete turnaround from existing government policy, Ouellet
said yesterday he wants Canada to adopt a total ban on
anti-personnel mines.

"These should be banned not only in Canada but everywhere in the
world," Ouellet said.  "This is something that harms and mutilates
people in the worst way and indeed we ought to move very
diligently and expeditiously to obtain such a ban."

And Ouellet said that he hoped "Canada will give an example and
try to convince other countries to do likewise."

Ouellet's comments, made in a question-and-answer session at a
conference on foreign aid, stunned his audience because they were
at odds with the position previously taken by Defence Minister
David Collenette.

At the end of September, Collenette insisted that while a ban on
mines would be nice, Canada's military still needs the weapons.

"We still reserve the right to use them," Collenette told
reporters after a call by United Nations Secretary- General
Boutros Boutros-Ghali for a complete ban.

Ouellet said yesterday that "those who have a military position in
this regard ought to be convinced (mines) are not an appropriate

"I have had a very long discussion with Mr. Collenette and he
agrees with me that we ought to review our policy in this regard.

"We will be discussing this and we will eventually have, I hope in
the near future, a government policy in this regard."

Through a spokesperson, Collenette said late yesterday that he had
discussed the matter with Ouellet and felt that a total ban was "a
worthwhile goal we will work toward.

"While there can be many operational justifications for keeping
land mines, at a certain point in time we have to make history,"
he said.

Ouellet had been asked at the conference yesterday if he would
support a private member's bill tabled by Reform MP Keith Martin
advocating a total ban.

Ouellet said he would vote in favor of it.