The Canadian Landmine Foundation: A History

The Canadian Landmine Foundation (CLMF) was formed in 1999 following the ratification of the Ottawa Treaty.  The campaign to draft, sign and enact the Ottawa Treaty, known officially as the Convention on the Prohibition on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines, came from Non-Governmental Organizations as well as the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy.  Canadian officials, along with NGO leaders such as Jody Williams, created what would be known as the “Ottawa Process” – a process where for the first time NGOs aided in crafting international policy.

In the aftermath of this monumental achievement, the Canadian Landmine Foundation was formed with the help of many prominent Canadians.  The Canadian government was committed to continue supporting the campaign against landmines, and through the Canadian Landmine Fund, provided financial support to charitable organizations such as CLMF.   With this support, the CLMF was able to undertake 91 projects in 12 countries, fund the training of 17 mine detection dogs and raise over $4 million between 1999 and 2008.   It also spearheaded the successful Night of a Thousand Dinners (N1KD) campaign that saw thousands of Canadians come together on November 21 to support the campaign against landmines.  Celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, Governor General Michaëlle Jean, and American Secretary of State Colin Powell have all been involved with N1KD events.  At its peak, 90% of Canadian Rotary Districts were hosting dinners and there was participation in over forty countries worldwide.

By 2009, the Canadian Landmine Fund had expired and the CLMF underwent a drastic reduction.  Without government providing operation funding, the organization decided to move from its Toronto offices and let go its five full-time staff members.  It moved to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, Ontario and reduced its Waterloo staff to one Administrative Coordinator.  Through the University of Winnipeg, Claire Fernandez managed the financial aspects of the Foundation.  In 2010, it moved into the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.  Today, there are two part-time staff members there, Matthew Wiseman and Caitlin McWilliams, who deal with administrative duties while Claire continues at the University of Winnipeg to act as Accounts Manager.

 

Important Events in the History of CLMF

1996
Oct: Canada hosts international meeting to develop a strategy for moving towards a total ban on anti-personnel mines

 

1997 Oct: The Ottawa Convention is opened for signature

 

1999 Mar: The Mine Ban Convention is entered into force
Jun: The Canadian Landmine Foundation is officially introduced by the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy with $1 million dollars from the Canadian Landmine Fund
Dec: Canadian Landmine Foundation Inaugural Gala hosted by Prime Minister Jean Chretien

 

2000 Jun: Adopt-a-Minefield Campaign launched
Nov: Meals for a Mine-Free World (formerly Night-of-a-Thousand-Dinners) launched in Ottawa

 

2003 Dec: Canadian Landmine Fund renewed

 

2007 Dec: 10th Anniversary of Ottawa Treaty

 

2008 Mar: Canadian Landmine Fund finished
Sept: Canadian Landmine Foundation moves from Toronto to joint placement at University of Winnipeg and the Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo, ON

 

2010 Sept: Canadian Landmine Foundation moves from CIGI to the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS) at Wilfrid Laurier University

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