CNE features mine clearance display (3)
At the Canadian National Exhibition, just past the paramedic display and before the food building there is a curious sight, a mine removal group showing their macabre wares. They are former army mine disposal personnel not quite ready to hang up their spurs, wanting to go out and eradicate more mines.
The group’s founder is Gerald Darcy, a twelve-year Canadian Armed Forces veteran in his early thirties, who started the group seven months ago. Darcy explains: "I lost some friends in the service to landmines." For him this operation "Canadian Landmine Eradication Awareness and Removal" Project (CLEAR Project) is not just a project, it is a crusade.
There are over 100 million landmines in the ground worldwide, causing 20,000 landmine casualties per year. The vast majority are civilians, including children. Some landmines are specifically designed to resemble toys.
Landmines can remain active for more than 60 years.
Canada spearheaded the ban on landmines with the Ottawa Treaty of 1997 (to which over 122 countries have signed on), banning antipersonnel mines.
IED's or 'Roadside Bombs' are mostly made up of landmines and unexploded ordinances (UXO)'s.
There are UXO's all across Canada. It costs approximately $1,000 to clear a mine.
The first project, after they have received some funding from the Trillium Foundation, would be to go to Darfur where six of them would spend six months doing mine removal as well as training locals to continue on.
The next project would be for two of them to go to Afghanistan where they will do the same.
They have a web site www.mineclearing.org , a charitable number and assure us that all donations would go to mine clearance action.
They look like young men who have seen too much death too soon caused by devices of which are too many all over the world.