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CONTENTS

Tuesday, January 25, 1994

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

    Mr. LeBlanc (Cape Breton Highlands-Canso) 259

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL FISCAL ARRANGEMENTS AND FEDERALPOST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND HEALTH CONTRIBUTIONS ACT

    Bill C-3. Motions for introduction and first reading deemedadopted 259

CANADA WATER EXPORT PROHIBITION ACT

    Bill C-202. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 259

STANDING ORDERS

    (Amendment agreed to.) 261
    (Motion, as amended, agreed to) 261

PETITIONS

YOUNG OFFENDERS ACT

SERIAL KILLER BOARD GAME

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

POINTS OF ORDER

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 261

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

    Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 273
    Mr. Mills (Red Deer) 274
    Mr. Tremblay (Rosemont) 279
    Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 286

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

HOME BUYERS PLAN

THE QUEBEC SEPHARAD COMMUNITY

ROBERT BURNS

MANPOWER TRAINING

REGISTERED RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLAN

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

PAY EQUITY

YUGOSLAVIA

NATIONAL BURN AWARENESS WEEK

DEMOCRACY IN HAITI

PEACEKEEPING

HOCKEY

ONTARIO COALITION OF SENIOR CITIZENS ORGANIZATIONS

FOREST INDUSTRY

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

CIGARETTE SMUGGLING

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 296
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 296
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 296

TAXATION

NATIONAL DEFENCE

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 298

TRADE

NATIONAL DEFENCE

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 298
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 298

ETHICS

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 299
    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 299

NATIONAL DEFENCE

    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 299
    Mr. Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe) 299

INFORMATION HIGHWAY

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

INDIAN AFFAIRS

KEMANO PROJECT

    Mr. Cummins 301 Mr. Tobin 301

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 301

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

    Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 302
    Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 302

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

FIREARMS

FINANCE

JOB CREATION

    Mr. Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing) 304
    Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 304

INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

    Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 304

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

    Consideration resumed of motion 305
    (Motion agreed to.) 315
    Mr. O'Brien (London-Middlesex) 317
    Mrs. Dalphond-Guiral 323
    Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) 340
    Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 355
    Mr. Speaker (Lethbridge) 356
    Ms. Brown (Oakville-Milton) 365
    Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury) 374

259


HOUSE OF COMMONS

Tuesday, January 25, 1994


The House met at 10 a.m.

_______________

Prayers

_______________

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Translation]

INTERPARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

Mr. Francis G. LeBlanc (Cape-Breton Highlands-Canso): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour of presenting to this House, in both official languages, the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association's report on the annual meeting of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, or CSCE, at its parliamentary assembly held in Helsinki, Finland, from July 6 to 9, 1993.

* * *

[English]

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL FISCAL ARRANGEMENTS AND FEDERAL POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND HEALTH CONTRIBUTIONS ACT

Hon. Herb Gray (for the Minister of Finance) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-3, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Federal Post-Secondary Education and Health Contributions Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Mr. Riis: Mr. Speaker, I wish to introduce a bill that would prohibit the export of water by interbasin transfers.

The Speaker: Order. I presume the hon. member has had consultations and will need unanimous consent. Is there unanimous consent to introduce this private member's bill?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

* * *

CANADA WATER EXPORT PROHIBITION ACT

Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-202, an act to prohibit the export of water by interbasin transfers.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I have a very short explanation.

During the discussions regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement questions were asked whether the passage of that legislation would not facilitate the sale of water from Canada to the United States and Mexico through interbasin transfers. While there may be some concerns in people's minds, this bill will put those to rest because it would simply prohibit the export of water by interbasin transfers from Canada to either the U.S. or Mexico.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

* * *

(1010)

STANDING ORDERS

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons): Mr. Speaker, with the unanimous consent of the House I move, seconded by the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie:

I. That Standing Order 104 be amended as follows:
1. In Section (1) thereof by striking out the words ``House Management'' and substituting therefor the words ``Procedure and House Affairs''.
2. By striking out sections (2), (3) and (4) thereof and substituting the following therefor:
(2) The standing committees which shall consist of not less than seven and not more than fifteen members, and for which lists of members are to be prepared, except as provided in section (1) of the Standing Order, shall be on:
(a) Agriculture and Agri-Food
(b) Canadian Heritage
(c) Citizenship and Immigration
(d) Environment and Sustainable Development
(e) Finance
(f) Fisheries and Oceans
(g) Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(h) Government Operations
(i) Health
(j) Human Resources Development
(k) Human Rights and the Status of the Disabled
(l) Indian Affairs and Northern Development
(m) Industry
(n) Justice and Legal Affairs
(o) National Defence and Veterans Affairs
(p) Natural Resources
(q) Procedure and House Affairs
(r) Public Accounts
(s) Transport
(3) The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs shall also prepare and report lists of members to act for the House on the standing joint committees on:
(a) the Library of Parliament
(b) Official Languages
(c) Scrutiny of Regulations;

260

Provided that a sufficient number of members shall be appointed so as to keep the same proportion therein as between the memberships of both Houses.
(4) The Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs shall also prepare lists of associate members for each standing committee and standing joint committee referred to in this Standing Order, who shall be deemed to be members of that committee for the purposes of Standing Orders 108(1)(b) and 114(2)(a) and who shall be eligible to act as substitutes on that committee pursuant to provisions of Standing Order 114(2)(b).
[Translation]

II. That Standing Order 108 be amended as follows:
1. By deleting sub-section (1)(b) thereof and substituting the following:
``(b) Standing Committees shall be empowered to create sub-committees of which the membership may be drawn from among both the list of members and the list of associate members provided for in Standing Order 104, who shall be deemed to be members of that committee for the purposes of this Standing Order''.
2. By deleting in section (2) thereof the words ``(3)(b)'' and by substituting therefor the words ``(3)(c)'' and by deleting the words ``(3)(e)''.
3. In section (3)(a) thereof:
(a) by deleting the words ``House Management'' and by substituting therefor the words ``Procedure and House Affairs''; and
(b) by adding in paragraph (ii) immediately after the words ``two Houses'', the words ``except with regard to the Library of Parliament;''.
4. By deleting sections (3)(b), (3)(c) and (3)(d) thereof and by substituting the following therefor:
``(b) Canadian Heritage shall include, among other matters, the monitoring of the implementation of the principles of the federal multiculturalism policy throughout the Government of Canada in order
-to encourage the departments and agencies of the federal government to reflect the multicultural diversity of the nation; and
-to examine existing and new programs and policies of federal departments and agencies to encourage sensitivity to multicultural concerns and to preserve and enhance the multicultural reality of Canada;
(c) Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons shall include, among other matters:
-the review of and report on reports of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which shall be deemed permanently referred to the Committee immediately after they are laid upon the Table; and
-the proposing, promoting, monitoring and assessing of initiatives aimed at the integration and equality of disabled persons in all sectors of Canadian society;''.
5. By renumbering section (3)(e) thereof as section (3)(d).
6. By deleting section (4) thereof and substituting the following therefor:
(1015)

``(4) So far as this House is concerned, the mandates of the Standing Joint Committee on
(a) the Library of Parliament shall include the review of the effectiveness, management and operation of the Library of Parliament;

(b) Official Languages shall include, among other matters, the review of and report on official languages policies and programs including Reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, which shall be deemed permanently referred to the Committee immediately after they are laid upon the Table;

(c) Scrutiny of Regulations shall include, among other matters, the review and scrutiny of statutory instruments which are permanently referred to the Committee pursuant to section 19 of the Statutory Instruments Act;

Provided that both Houses may, from time to time, refer any other matter to any of the aforementioned Standing Joint Committees''.
[English]

III. That Standing Order 112 be amended:
(a) by deleting the words ``for each envelope except the management envelope''; and

(b) by deleting the word ``six'' and by substituting therefor the word ``twelve''.

(c) by deleting the words ``Each group of'' and substituting therefor the word, ``The''.

(d) by deleting the words, ``belonging to each respective envelope''.

[Translation]

IV. That Standing Order 113(2) be amended by deleting the word ``appropriate''.
[English]

V. That Standing Order 114 be amended:
1. In subsection (2)(a) thereof, by deleting the word ``seven'' and by substituting therefor the word ``fourteen'' and by deleting the words ``in the envelope to which that committee has been assigned'' and by deleting all of the words after the words ``permanent members of the committee''.
2. In subsection (2)(c) thereof, after the words ``listed as'', by deleting the words ``members at large in the envelope'' and substituting therefor ``associate members of the committee''.
3. In section (4) thereof, by deleting the words ``which involve the appointment to a committee of a member not already a member of a committee in the same envelope''.
[Translation]

VI. That Standing Order 115 be amended in section (2) thereof, by deleting all of the words after the words ``meetings of'' and substituting the words ``committees considering legislation or Estimates over meetings of committees considering other matters''.
[English]

VII. That Standing Orders 91, 92(1), 106(1), 107(2), 113(1), 114(1), 114(2)(a), 114(2)(d), 114(4), 115(4), 119(1)(2), 132, 133(2), 133(3), 133(4), 135(1), 140, 141(4) be amended by deleting the words ``House Management'' and substituting therefor ``Procedure and House Affairs''.
[Translation]

VIII. That Standing Order 73 be amended:
1. By deleting sections (2) and (3) and substituting therefor the following:
``(2) Unless otherwise ordered, in giving a bill second reading, the same shall be referred to a standing, special or legislative committee''.
2. By renumbering sections (4) and (5) thereof respectively as sections (3) and (4).
IX. That the Clerk of the House be authorized, whenever appropriate, to redirect, after consultation, any references to any committees that have already been made at the time of the adoption of this Order.
X. That a Message be sent to the Senate to invite them to join with this House in the creation of the aforementioned Standing Joint Committees.
[English]

I apologize for having to read such a lengthy motion, but I think there is unanimous consent for its adoption today.

The Speaker: Perhaps in future if the hon. member has motions such as these and if there is unanimous consent on all sides, we could agree to dispense. I am only saying that for some future consideration.

I was thinking while the hon. member was going through it, what would have happened if he had had to repeat the whole thing again. That would have been something else.


261

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

(1020)

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, certainly I support the thrust of the motion.

There is one amendment I would like to suggest that I hope would meet with the consent of the House. It relates to the proposed committee in paragraph (2)(k), the committee on human rights and the status of the disabled.

The previous committee that existed that looked at this subject matter was a committee known as the committee on human rights and the status of disabled persons.

Certainly as a member of that former committee I recall that people with disabilities felt very strongly that they did not wish to be labelled as ``the disabled''.

[Translation]

I note that, in French, the committee's name refers to disabled persons.

[English]

I would also note that under subparagraph 4(c) in the mandate of the committee it refers to: ``the proposing, promoting, monitoring and assessing of initiatives aimed at the integration and equality of disabled persons in all sectors of Canadian society''.

We are talking about people fundamentally. I would hope that it would meet with the agreement of the House that we maintain the previous name of this committee which was human rights and the status of disabled persons.

I would so move if that meets with the consent of the House.

(Amendment agreed to.)

(Motion, as amended, agreed to.)

* * *

PETITIONS

YOUNG OFFENDERS ACT

Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce-Grey): Mr. Speaker, I have a petition on behalf of Delores and Edward Howey of Owen Sound with regard to the Young Offenders Act.

Their daughter Karen Howey Black was brutally murdered in British Columbia on February 15, 1993. They are asking that the act be amended to include young offenders who commit these heinous crimes.

SERIAL KILLER BOARD GAME

Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay West-Revelstoke): Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House to present a petition from the undersigned residents of Kootenay West-Revelstoke in British Columbia who would like their grievance known to this House.

This grievance has to do with a new game to be introduced in Canada called the serial killer board game. They humbly request that the House ban the sale of the serial killer board game and prevent other such material being made available in Canada in order to protect children.

* * *

QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons): Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

The Speaker: Shall all questions stand?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

* * *

POINTS OF ORDER

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to set today's debate in context.

Today is the first of many debates to come. In recent years, governments have regarded Parliament as an afterthought in policy development or have neglected it completely.

I made a promise to the Canadian people during the last federal election that I would restore respect and relevance to the House of Commons. That is why today we are debating the role of Canadian peacekeeping and tomorrow, cruise missile testing.

Also, I would like to announce today that next week for the first time in Canadian history this Chamber will be used as a forum for pre-budget consultations with members of Parliament. This will be the first time members of Parliament will be able to discuss important budgetary issues before the budget is prepared.

[Translation]

Mr. Speaker, today's debate concerns the Bosnian issue. Tomorrow, we will be looking into cruise missile testing, into whether we should authorize Americans to test their missiles over Canadian soil. Next week, we will be discussing the budget.

As I was saying in this House, yesterday, we are trying out an entirely new political process. In the past, members were always asked to comment after the fact which meant, for someone in the opposition, to oppose a decision, once it was already too late to have a real influence on the government's decision. This procedure is without precedent. I hope members will try their very best to make it efficient in order to allow the expression of views, after which the government will decide. It has been said, by some, that no vote will be taking place in this kind of debate. Since its purpose is to make views known to government before a decision is taken, it is quite naturally so.

(1025)

If opposition members or even members of my own party disagree with the decision taken, they can always, in the traditional way, make a motion of non-confidence against the government. I hope members will have, through this new


262

procedure, better opportunity to express their views and that debates will be more dispassionate and less partisan.

I take advantage of this opportunity to congratulate all members of the House. The press will have noted, and Canadians as well, I hope, that the atmosphere is much better than it used to be. All this evidently depends both on the opposition and, very much so, on the government. I have asked my ministers to restrain themselves since it is so easy, when one is the last to speak, to make that one last satisfying stab which is so upsetting to the members opposite.

The new discipline demonstrated by this House is therefore welcome, and I wish to congratulate all members on their attitude. I would invite them to express their views in all candor during the three coming debates concerning Canada's peacekeeping role, the cruise missile testing and, next week, the preliminary debate on the budget which is to be tabled in this House before the end of February.

[English]

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I rise on the Prime Minister's point of order. I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for making possible this debate and making it possible before the government arrives at a policy decision.

I would like to make one further suggestion in the spirit of what the Prime Minister said and that is to suggest that in future we depart from the custom of having party leaders necessarily lead off debates. It seems to me we could make a better contribution by simply sitting and listening to what other members are saying. If we participate, we could perhaps participate toward the end of the debate and attempt to define the common ground that has been defined by members and provide a basis for the government's policy. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

Hon. Audrey McLaughlin (Yukon): Mr. Speaker, I would also like to add my congratulations to the Prime Minister for undertaking these debates in the House of Commons. I think they are very important. The Prime Minister has said these are a test and something that is being tried. I would suggest the real test is when the government listens to a variety of points of view. I appreciate that the Prime Minister has undertaken this.

As we are debating Bosnia today, I would like to say very briefly that I am sure that everyone in Canada shares the view of our party, that we appreciate the great work that the RCMP and the peacekeepers are doing in Bosnia.

Again I want to thank the Prime Minister for this opportunity and I hope the government will listen to what I think will be a real range of constructive debate in the interests of the country. We will all have our partisan points of view but I think that all of us have the interest of the country at heart both in our international and national roles. I look forward to these debates.

[Translation]

Hon. Jean J. Charest (Sherbrooke): Mr. Speaker, I wish to join my colleague from Yukon, the Leader of the Reform Party and the Prime Minister in saying what an excellent idea it is to allow such debates in Parliament, so much the better if they contribute to more constructive exchanges in this House. For that matter, this purpose coincides well with the sentiments expressed by the government in the Throne Speech.

(1030)

This being said, while we are on the subject of the way this Parliament operates, I would like to add a comment.

[English]

Since we are reflecting on how this Parliament works I do want to say that we welcome this opportunity to participate in debate and will participate actively and open up the House of Commons.

I do, though, want to take this opportunity on the issue of the workings of this Parliament to restate our concern that even though the independent members in this place are considered independent by the Chair and number only 12, we represent 25 per cent of the vote that was cast in the general election.

There is still an outstanding concern that I raised with you on a question of privilege that really deals with two issues. One is what place will be left to these members of Parliament to speak in this House.

It is a very fundamental issue because the Prime Minister and I think a lot of members who have joined with him have said that in this place we want to offer all members an opportunity to participate in a different type of debate.

For that to happen it requires that members be able to first participate. If that is the spirit of this new House I welcome it. But I must voice some concern.

I will leave you with one last note. On the element of the matter just dealt with by the House with unanimous consent, there was no consultation. I did not object because I do not want to be in this chair objecting constantly to what is coming forth but for me that is an example of things that do come forth that in more normal circumstances would require, if this is a new House and a new way to operate, some consultation.

Mr. Nelson Riis (Kamloops): Mr. Speaker, I simply want to thank the Prime Minister for this initiative. It is a new initiative that I believe the previous government did not use at all in terms of providing an opportunity for parliamentarians to have a role in policy making.

The Prime Minister has indicated in the House on a number of occasions that this will provide an opportunity for all members who are interested in the issue to state their views on behalf of their constituents.

I assume that on debate today if necessary we will not see the clock in order that all members who wish to participate will have an opportunity if more time is required.

263


263

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Translation]

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs) moved:

That this House take note of the political, humanitarian and military dimensionsof Canada's peacekeeping role, including in the former Yugoslavia, and of possible future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations.
He said: During his visit to Europe, the Prime Minister was asked whether the government would be maintaining Canadian troops in the former Yugoslavia in the spring. The Prime Minister replied that no decision would be made until the matter could be debated in this House. You will remember that when the previous government decided to send troops to the former Yugoslavia, there was no debate, Parliament was not consulted and at the time our party strongly opposed the fact that a decision as important as this could be made without consulting Parliament.

Today, the motion being tabled before the House and inviting all members to express their views on the issue is, as the Prime Minister pointed out, in line with our party's commitment to consult with members of Parliament before making any serious and momentous decisions.

Our decision, whatever it may be, will have a heavy impact on our future role in peacekeeping, our foreign policy and our defence policy.

(1035)

We must also bear in mind that the position we take will affect our relations with countries that are friends or allies, or with countries that are very deeply involved in or affected by the conflict raging in the former Yugoslavia.

The government's position on the broad question of the place of peacekeeping in Canada's foreign and defence policies is well known. We are on record as stating that was intend to strengthen Canada's leadership role in international peacekeeping.

In the upcoming foreign and defence policy reviews, we will be examining a variety of ways in which this can be done, many of which we elaborated in the red book. I know that all of you have had an opportunity to read it, you are all familiar with it, but all the same I would like, if you permit, Mr. Speaker, to cite a few examples for the record.

We feel it is important, first of all, to re-examine the notion of stand-by forces for peacekeeping. Second, we think it is important to look at the training of peacekeepers; and third, we think it is important to review our procurement policies.

In any debate on peacekeeping, I feel we have to start by placing the issue in the context of Canada's historical contribution to peacekeeping, and go on to discuss the tremendous upheavals that affect the very nature of peacekeeping operations.

Ever since the initiative taken in 1956 by former Prime Minister and then External Affairs Minister Lester B. Pearson, Canada has been closely associated in the minds of Canadians and of other countries with leadership and expertise in peacekeeping. For years we have participated in the overwhelming majority of peacekeeping operations mandated by the Security Council.

We continue today to contribute to most of the missions, including, I would like to say, the most difficult ones. As you know, the government has clearly stated its conviction that peacekeeping is a very important component of Canada's contribution to the multilateral system and the preservation of peace in the world.

Canadians have always believed in the value of promoting multilateral mechanisms for security and crisis management. Peacekeeping is one of the most important of these mechanisms. Our approach to peacekeeping is rooted in a wider view, which seeks to promote the prevention of conflicts before they begin, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts already under way.

Over the years, Canada has developed guidelines governing its participation in peacekeeping operations. Let me summarize them.

There must be a clear, achievable mandate from a competent political authority, such as the Security Council.

Then, the parties to the conflict must undertake to respect a ceasefire and, of course, must accept the presence of Canadian troops.

In addition, the peacekeeping operation must be in support of a process aimed at achieving a political settlement.

Finally, the number of troops and the international composition of the operation must be suited to the mandate. The operation must be adequately funded, and have a satisfactory logistical structure.

These are the broad guidelines that Canada has traditionally used to make its decisions on its participation in a peace mission. If we review each of these points, we will see that in some ways the previous government did not follow these criteria in deciding whether to commit itself, as was the case with the former Yugoslavia.


264

(1040)

In the past, it would seem that the amount of risk incurred by our soldiers was rarely a problem. This is no longer the case; the risk factor has become an essential element in our decision-making.

I would invite hon. members to take this aspect, this new dimension, into consideration in their remarks today.

While these guidelines are still valid, the international setting in which peacekeeping operations occur has changed radically since 1989, and will in my opinion continue to evolve. I would therefore welcome the views of the House in this regard.

Traditionally, let me repeat, peacekeeping operations have been launched when the parties to a conflict concluded that their purposes would no longer be served by the continuation of an armed conflict but by a settlement negotiated with the aid of a third party. Peacekeepers were thus deployed to monitor a ceasefire or the withdrawal of troops from disputed zones.

But in 1989 and 1990 far more extensive peacekeeping operations were introduced, designed to assist the parties involved to implement a negotiated settlement to a conflict. In Cambodia, for example, the United Nations had a mandate to disarm the factions, establish security throughout the country, repatriate refugees, ensure respect for human rights, supervise the key departments of the national government and organize provisional elections. Thus a very important civilian component was added to the traditional military presence.

A new concept, that of humanitarian intervention, was introduced in Bosnia and Somalia. Our soldiers were not sent there to enforce a ceasefire or preserve a peace that obviously did not exist and still does not exist. Their mandate was to help humanitarian convoys get through. The example of Somalia in particular shows that this type of intervention can have very positive results, for despite the problems we hear about, most of them centred on Mogadishu, the humanitarian crisis in the rest of the country has been largely surmounted.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has acknowledged this process of evolution in the declaration he called his agenda for peace, which is based on the principle that conflict management requires a whole range of tools, one of which is peacekeeping. The international community's objectives have thus become much more ambitious: to prevent conflicts, to consolidate or restore peace by diplomatic means such as mediation or good offices, to keep the peace and even to undertake the political and social reconstruction of ruined societies.

Some operations contain a mixture of these elements. The term ``peacekeeping'' has taken on a character I would qualify as rather elastic, often extending beyond the concept of forces of intervention, as seen in Cyprus, for example.

It is important to note the international context that has made this process of evolution possible. The end of the confrontation between the two superpowers has opened the way-at least so far-for an unprecedented degree of consensus on the Security Council. Traditionally, the members of the Security Council used their right of veto to prevent intervention on a number of occasions.

More recently, thanks to this new consensus, the Security Council has been able in the last few years to exercise an authority that is indeed recognized by the United Nations charter but that has until now existed only on paper.

(1045)

It must be recognized that this process flies in the face of our preconceived notions about the nature of peacekeeping and how the international community should respond. Without wishing to launch into a terminological discourse, let me point out that the new concepts used by the Secretary-General in the agenda for peace each have a specific meaning. The term ``peacemaking'' refers to essentially diplomatic activities pursued to resolve a conflict, while ``peace enforcement'' is a situation where the international community uses force against a member state, as in the gulf war.

As you will see, Mr. Speaker, what complicates things a great deal is that an element of force is increasingly being introduced in the Security Council resolutions mandating peacekeeping operations and, in a way, changing them into peace enforcement operations. This is obviously the case with Somalia and also with Bosnia.

The effects of these changes on the United Nations are obvious. The UN suddenly finds itself in a position where it must manage operations involving over 68,000 soldiers worldwide. This increase has had a profound impact on the cost of peacekeeping. Canada's assessed peacekeeping contributions, for example, have remained at a steady 3.11 per cent of the total UN peacekeeping budget in the past five years. In absolute terms, however, Canada's contributions have risen from $10 million to $12 million in 1991-92 to some $130 million today. That is a substantial contribution, which requires us to think and very closely review the commitments we must make in this field; we shall pay very close attention to any suggestions parliamentarians make to us in this House during this debate. Clearly, the UN does not have the human, financial or technical resources for this task.

To make up this shortfall, the UN is relying more and more on regional organizations such as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States, and the Organization for African Unity. This co-operation between the UN and regional organizations was foreseen in the charter of the UN,


265

but its extent in practice is new. Here again, I would like the House to inform us of its views on the implications of this trend.

The sharp rise in the number of peace missions has brought many challenges with it. First of all, there are political challenges, as the international community is increasingly taking on responsibility for situations that, just a short time ago, were confined to the internal affairs of the states involved. Then there are military challenges, as we see a demand-which is growing constantly, and at an exponential rate-for soldiers adequately trained and equipped for missions as dangerous as they are complex. I will not hide the fact that, because our Canadian soldiers are very competent and very well trained, they are in demand worldwide. As soon as there is a request at the UN for a new peace force, people spontaneously think of Canadians and ask them to participate in these peace efforts. I am talking about challenges: political challenges and military challenges; but I am also talking about the financial challenges created by operations with personnel numbering in the tens of thousands, rather than the few thousands of yesteryear.

(1050)

To meet these new challenges, the UN and its member countries will have to thoroughly review the way peacekeeping operations are managed.

At the national level, we will have to be ever more critical about the commitments we make, and especially about how we determine to make such commitments.

At the international level, it is urgent that the UN's capacity to respond quickly and professionally to crises be reinforced.

Canada responds generously to requests for experts by the United Nations and regional organizations. The Secretary-General's military advisor is a Canadian, General Baril, and many other Canadians have been made available to the United Nations and the CSCE. We pay our financial contributions in full and on time and have submitted to the Secretary-General recommendations on making the UN structure more effective.

We are determined to increase this effort and to exercise the leadership that other countries expect from us in this field.

[English]

I would say that the Canadian men and women serving under the United Nations banner are saving lives and relieving misery. None of us will forget the poignant images of the soldiers who aided the helpless victims in a hospital in Bosnia. It is also clear their living conditions are increasingly dangerous. Here another picture comes to mind, that of the 11 Canadian soldiers threatened by Serbian troops near Sarajevo last month.

Events in Bosnia are thus very much in the public eye. The powerful images of the suffering of the Bosnian people and the challenge facing our troops have became an integral part of the evening news. However we must look beyond these images to the larger questions which Bosnia poses.

These questions, I submit, fall into two categories: the future of our commitment to the UN effort in Bosnia itself and the implications of this episode for our peacekeeping policy generally. These are the questions with which the government is now wrestling. The views of the House and of the public generally are of critical importance to our deliberations.

In discussing events in Bosnia we must bear in mind certain factors that have guided our actions to date. To begin with, we must recognize that there are two relatively distinct operations taking place in the former Yugoslavia. Though both are taking place under the banner of one UN operation, the United Nations protection force, they are quite different in terms of the activities under way and the dangers they face.

First, in Croatia our peacekeepers are engaged in a relatively traditional UN operation. There are two distinct sides and they have agreed to respect a stable ceasefire line while they are negotiating over a permanent settlement to their differences. While these negotiations are in progress the two sides have asked the UN to provide an international force to monitor the ceasefire and patrol the line. The situation is relatively stable though that stability is highly dependent upon events in Bosnia. I could say-and I am sure the Minister of Defence will expand on this-our troops there are not at high risk. This is peacekeeping as we understand it and have practised it for several decades.

(1055)

Second, in Bosnia however the situation is radically different. There is no ceasefire and there are certainly no lines. Even the desire to negotiate seems to be lacking. In these circumstances the UN Security Council has mandated our forces to engage in assisting in the provision of humanitarian relief to the civilians caught in the middle of the conflict and in providing protection through a small military presence in Srebrenica, a UN designated safe area.

Our actions in Srebrenica are a perfect example of the evolution of peacekeeping to which I referred earlier. It remains an environment in which the peacekeepers require the permission of the parties to the conflict to go about their duties.

The task in Bosnia is an infinitely more difficult and dangerous one than that which our peacekeepers have traditionally faced. In addition to the dangers of simply operating in a war zone, we must face the fact that some of the factions do not always want the humanitarian aid to get through.

For all of these dangers it has been argued however that the UN force is making a critical contribution. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross have confirmed that aid is getting through. People who would otherwise be dead


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are alive today. Canadian troops have played a vital role in this effort and continue to do so.

Beyond this humanitarian effort it is often pointed out that Canada's presence in Bosnia has served to demonstrate our continuing commitment to act with our NATO allies in the promotion of European security. It also demonstrates to the world that Canada is a nation which is prepared to carry out its international obligations under difficult circumstances, while others are merely willing to offer advice from the sidelines.

At the same time serious questions must be asked as we debate our continuing participation in these UN forces. Is there a reasonable prospect of any progress in the peace process in the foreseeable future? Will sufficient humanitarian aid continue to get through? At what point will the dangers to our troops outweigh the benefits of our presence there?

[Translation]

Concerning the first question, I am in constant communication with my colleagues who also have many troops in the region. I have spoken today with the French minister of foreign affairs about the situation and I intend in the coming days to speak with Secretary Hurd who has just returned from Bosnia and who will give us a personal evaluation of the situation on the ground. France, Great Britain and Canada are the three countries that have contributed the most troops in the region. It is clear that we will want to co-ordinate our efforts.

We think that the only solution is a negotiated solution. We think it is essential that we pressure the factions to come to a negotiated solution. We will increase our diplomatic efforts in order to put pressure on those who are the natural friends of the factions so that those who are in a better position than others can speak to the Serbs, the Croats, the Muslims, can convince them that the only solution is a negotiated peace, not prolonging the war.

(1100)

And I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that beyond the military operations involved in peacekeeping or in escorting humanitarian convoys, we will strive unceasingly through diplomatic channels to find a solution to this conflict.

[English]

I would like to refer briefly to the recent NATO summit where the question of the dangers faced by our troops was the subject of much debate. In particular the topic of air strikes as a means of relieving the pressures on our troops was prominent in major reports of the summit.

Because some confusion seems to exist in the public mind I would like to take advantage of this timely opportunity to clarify the government position on the subject of air strikes and our understanding of the procedures in place for their authorization. I hope these clarifications will be helpful not only to members of Parliament and the public at large but will also be beneficial to the press that have made some comments in this regard which I felt were sometimes out of context.

Essentially there are two distinct scenarios for air strikes. The first envisages the case where UN troops are directly under attack. In this specific case NATO agreed in June that the commander of the UNPROFOR could call on the UN Secretary- General to authorize an air strike to assist UN troops where they are under attack.

The fact that the UN Secretary-General would be the ultimate authority for an air strike under these conditions was insisted upon by Canada in view of the highly charged political considerations which would surround such decisions. There would be no debate within NATO before the strike was carried out as time would be of the essence.

We agree with this procedure. We think it is appropriate that if our troops are under attack we should be able to respond. An air strike under these circumstances might be necessary and we are fully in agreement with this.

The second type of air strike would be intended to remove an obstacle to UNPROFOR's performance of its duties in circumstances where there was no direct threat to UNPROFOR troops. The proposed air strike would thus be less time urgent. Under these circumstances the commander of UNPROFOR would submit a request for such an air strike to the Secretary-General of the United Nations who must give his authorization as in the first case. The request would also be discussed in the North Atlantic Council of NATO. The North Atlantic Council must agree to support the request.

The North Atlantic Council operates by means of consensus. Therefore no decision to launch an air strike under these circumstances could be made unless all allies agreed to it. Canada's position on this question is well known and would guide our representative to the North Atlantic Council in such debate.

We have said and we repeat that in the second case we do not believe that an air strike would be conducive to solving current situations. In fact we have said on numerous occasions that air strikes should be the last resort. We believe the use of an air strike could jeopardize the humanitarian aid process and put our soldiers in great danger.

We want it abundantly clear that obviously this is a decision that would have to be discussed and agreed to within NATO by unanimous consent, including obviously the acceptance by Canada.


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(1105 )

We have said that the only reason we would agree to such use of air strikes would be if our military people were telling us that it was okay to go ahead with it. It would be done only with the acceptance and recommendation of our military officers.

With respect to the second broad issue before us, the implications of Bosnia for our peacekeeping policy generally, it would seem that events in Bosnia provide a clear example of what I have been saying about the way in which peacekeeping is developing.

We must recognize the decisions we make regarding the continuation of our commitment to UN operations in Bosnia must be taken in the context of our considerations of Canada's willingness to remain involved in the broadening range of peacekeeping activities.

My remarks have been intended to raise several questions, questions about the future of peacekeeping generally and questions about the related subject of our future in Bosnia. In the immediate terms, the government must make a decision about the future of our commitment in Bosnia. We want to hear the views of this House on that subject.

As for the longer term issue of Canada's peacekeeping policy generally, we intend to consult with individual Canadians as part of the ongoing review of our foreign and defence policies. The parliamentary committee on foreign affairs will be asked to make suggestions and recommendations on our foreign policies.

I understand that the minister of defence will ask the parliamentary committee on defence and security to do a similar study. I suspect that these two parliamentary committees will hear witnesses, will travel throughout the country and will seek advice and opinions from Canadians on the evolution and revisions of our foreign policy and our defence policy. Therefore I am sure that the parliamentary committees in the general context of peacekeeping operations will certainly want to pursue debate and discussion and give advice to the government.

On the more immediate question of whether or not in March we should stay in Bosnia or leave is one on which we would ask parliamentarians to express their views today because this is a decision the government will have to make in the coming weeks. We will want to make this decision having assessed all the aspects as I indicated in my earlier remarks. We will obviously make a decision after having consulted with our allies. It is important to realize that Canada is playing a very important role through the UN and a very important role through NATO and such a decision cannot be taken in isolation.

I am pleased to move this motion today, seconded by my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, calling for a debate on peacekeeping. In particular, the government seeks the view of this House in two general areas: Canada's future in peacekeeping and our future commitment to Bosnia.

Although we are very much interested in knowing the views of members about Canada's future in peacekeeping, there will be other occasions to talk about it at a later date, but it might be the last occasion to express their views on our future commitment to Bosnia before a decision is made by the government. Therefore I invite members to express openly, candidly and in a very constructive way their advice and suggestions in this regard. We are open to advice. It is a difficult decision and we welcome their input in this debate.

(1110)

[Translation]

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all the members of the Official Opposition I would like to thank the government for deciding to hold this debate in the House. It will I am convinced be a non-partisan debate, enabling us to clarify our own and everyone else's thinking, so that we can make a decision that is in accord with our most fundamental interests.

I think debates like this one should be repeated from time to time, when the subject lends itself to such an approach. I would like to say that for our part we have thought very seriously about the matter. We do not claim to have the answer, we have approached it modestly. Our remarks today will reflect our awareness for the hard reality, the complexity, of an issue that demands a very difficult decision.

To the extent that we can assist the government in making a decision that accords with our fundamental interests, we will do it in all sincerity. We are therefore delighted to have this opportunity to participate in the debate.

The government, we feel, would like the whole Canadian policy on peacekeeping to be debated, not just the current intervention in the former Yugoslavia, even though the latter is expressly referred to in the wording.

But no one can be ignorant of the fact that it is the questions raised by the Bosnian intervention that have led to today's debate. In a way, it was inevitable that the concerns provoked by such a challenging mission would result in questions about Canada's peacekeeping role.

So there we have the framework for the rethinking process in which we are called upon to participate: on the one hand we must tackle a thorny question of immediate and urgent concern, and on the other we must define attitudes for the future. Although the two matters are connected, it does not follow that future Canadian policy must be based solely on our experience in Yugoslavia.

This is not Canada's first involvement in peacekeeping operations, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has reminded us. We pioneered this type of mission. We have acquired experience


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and expertise in the field that are respected by the whole world. But what is happening in Yugoslavia is without any real precedent. The apparent futility of our efforts, the risks our soldiers are running, the astronomical figures that have circulated about the costs of the operation and the daunting complexity of the political and military situation there have shaken the support that public opinion has traditionally given this type of commitment.

So we must take into account the difficulties faced by our mission in Bosnia especially, at the side of the other members of the peacekeepers. But if our decision is to be broadly and solidly based, we cannot lose our general perspective on the peacekeeping role Canada has assumed. This perspective is much more extensive in time and space than the one episode in the former Yugoslavia.

I would like here to pay heart-felt tribute to the courage and dignity with which our soldiers are carrying out the difficult duties entrusted to them overseas. They deserve our admiration and our complete support. And let us spare a thought for those who here in Canada are enduring trying times because of their anxiety for loved ones far away.

We must bear in mind that before they started being perceived as a thorn in the flesh of our diplomacy and our foreign commitments, as they are today, Canada's peace missions were, like CIDA, a great source of pride for Canadians and Quebecers. The disinterested and humanitarian nature of our international interventions was hailed again and again. And did not the architect of Canada's peacekeeping role win the Nobel prize?

(1115)

Indeed, more than anyone, Lester B. Pearson symbolized this acceptance of one's moral obligations, which is one of the duties of a democratic country. That is an aspect we must bear in mind when deciding, for example, whether we must stay on in Bosnia-Hercegovina, or withdraw and then establish criteria to govern any future participation.

Another aspect of peace missions we must not ignore is their great diversity. What exactly do we mean when we talk about international missions carried out by Canadian soldiers under UN mandates? We must avoid simplifications: in fact, this involves a whole range of varied, and indeed disparate, actions and interventions.

For 30 years, from 1949 to 1979, Canada maintained 27 soldiers in order to monitor the ceasefire in Kashmir. Canada committed 9,000 soldiers to go to war in Korea from 1951 to 1954; since that time it has kept only one on the spot to monitor the armistice agreements. Canada assigned 248 soldiers to monitor the demilitarized zone during the Vietnam war. Canada sent an observer mission under UN auspices to monitor the election that, on December 16, 1990, brought to power President Aristide, who visited us yesterday. In 1991, Canada sent 55 soldiers to monitor disarmament and human rights observance in El Salvador. In 1991-92, Canada sent 103 soldiers to help clear mines in Cambodia. Then Canada doubled the personnel assisting the UN to disarm factions that had been at war for years. Most recently, Canada sent a contingent to co-ordinate the delivery of food in Somalia, last year.

Canada has participated in 44 of the operations the United Nations has organized since the end of World War II. It has been said that we have played the role of boy scouts; this is a picturesque term, but I feel that it casts a pejorative light on a remarkable effort by Canada on the international scene, an effort that must not be minimized.

During those 44 operations, 98 Canadian lives were lost, including the eight deaths occurring in the former Yugoslavia. Canada lost 25 soldiers during the 30 years it was present on Cyprus. But the place in which Canada lost the most soldiers was the Middle East: 46 in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria.

And what about the costs? Theoretically, our share should be 3.1 per cent of expenditures; that is a percentage based on the GDP, population and, lastly, a complex weighting of factors. But, in fact, there are no set standards, because mandates change with situations and with the nature of agreements. On Cyprus, Canada alone paid the price; in the former Yugoslavia, theoretically-and I stress the word theoretically; we are well aware that this is unlikely to happen in the near future-the UN will reimburse Canada for a portion of the costs. Incidentally, many far-fetched figures on the costs of the operation in Bosnia have been bandied about. In particular, the figure of $1 billion has been mentioned. I feel that that is a rather irresponsible, I would even say a very irresponsible, way of providing information, since the true figure is nowhere near that sum. It is still a sizeable sum, of course, but we should be talking about less than $200 million in additional expenditures incurred there specifically, because the soldiers would have been paid and the equipment used here in any case. So if we are talking about a specific direct cost of our presence there, we should be talking about a figure closer to $160 million.

Thus, although our commitment in the former Yugoslavia was part of a continuing program, it very quickly gave signs of being radically different from previous commitments. The operation in Slovenia and Croatia really is a peacekeeping operation, since our troops are responsible for ensuring that peace agreements already reached are observed. But Bosnia clearly differs from the traditional model. There, we are right in a combat zone, stuck between belligerents. How can we ensure that peace reigns in a land where peace does not exist and where all ceasefires have been violated? That is where things have deteriorated; in particular, the whole world has witnessed, through the unbear-


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able images broadcast on television, atrocities that we thought were no longer possible at the end of the 20th century.

The perceived justification of our mission there has been very much influenced by the world situation.

(1120)

It is horror-stricken that we have witnessed and are still witnessing children much like our own dying in the streets, injured left to die in hospitals without care and without necessities. The world had come to hope for a new order which would not lead us to expect atrocities such as those we have seen once again in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

The fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989 provoked a euphoria as sudden as it was unexpected. On December 31, 1989, von Karajan went to what, for 42 years, was known as East Berlin to conduct Beethoven's Ninth. It was like living in a dream: Vaclav Havel had just crowned the velvet revolution in Prague, ``solidarnosc'' was on its way to power in Warsaw and Hungary was once again free. The Warsaw pact had just crumbled like a pack of cards, after more than 40 years of dullness and dictatorship. All this happened at the end of 1989; it happened, and this cannot be over-emphasized, without bloodshed, without a single gun being fired.

As everyone else, I felt I was a witness to historic events, I felt a certain amount of pride at seeing some ideals such as liberty and democracy make giant leaps. Eighteen months later, Boris Yelstin was waving a three coloured Russian flag on top of a tank. The USSR had just collapsed.

As soon as the cold war ended, we started thinking about creating new institutions to take over, to mark out what was soon called the new world order. In particular, all the European countries, the United States and Canada formed the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe designed, in the words of the then Secretary of State James Baker, as a new forum to ensure peace and dialogue from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

What remains today of this burning hope for a new world? Of course, the Czech republic, Poland and Hungary seem on the right track. However, Russia seems to be failing. Then on our TV screens, we witnessed the tragic war in the former Yugoslavia, which has been going on for the last two years.

In this new world order, one expected international law to be enforced. The relations between states would not be governed exclusively by the mere balance of power. The strong would no longer be able to bring the weak to their knees. The new order became reality once, in the winter of 1991, when Kuwait was defended against Iraqi invasion. Cynics have said there was something underground in Kuwait that seemed to be as valuable as the people living on the surface, and perhaps more valuable.

In Bosnia-Hercegovina there are three communities: the Muslims, the Serbs and the Croats. The first are the descendants of Slavs who converted to Islam after the Ottoman conquest, some 500 years ago. So these are three very ancient communities, with equally deep roots in the same soil. Demographically the Muslims are the largest segment of the population with 1.9 million inhabitants or 44 per cent, followed by the Serbs at 31 per cent and the Croats at 17 per cent. But unlike the other two groups-and this is no small detail-the Muslims cannot count on a sizeable community of fellows in a neighbouring republic.

After Slovenia and Croatia became independent, neither the Muslims nor the Croats in Bosnia wanted to stay in a reduced Yugoslavia where Serb predominance would be still greater. They called for the independence of Bosnia-Hercegovina in late February 1992. The Bosnian Serbs refused to be part of this new state.

If the Serbs had been content to fortify their position and mark out a territory for themselves where they formed a majority, we would have seen a political impasse that would probably have led to long and laborious negotiations. But unfortunately that was not what happened. The Bosnian Serbs were quickly able, with the assistance of the Yugoslav army, a relatively well-equipped force dominated by Serbs, to take control of 70 per cent of the territory in Bosnia-Hercegovina, including territories where they were only a tiny minority, to expel the non-Serbs systematically, especially the Muslims, and even to execute a certain number of them.

We can all recall the internment-camp stories that held the headlines in the summer of 1992. A number of these camps still exist today. Moreover, cultural and religious symbols have been systematically blown up, including 16th century mosques that were part of the world's shared heritage, and houses often burned to the ground.

(1125)

In reaction, and this is the spiral, the same treatment has been inflicted by the Muslims on the Serbs and the Croats and by the Croats on the Serbs, obviously on a smaller scale.

A journalist from the Paris daily Le Monde, Yves Heller, summed up the situation nicely on October 1 last, and I quote: ``The Muslims, who are the victims of an ``ethnic cleansing'' of unspeakable savagery, have lost very large territories in western Bosnia which the Serbs have conquered with extreme brutality-''

We know today that ``cleansing'' was discussed in the corridors of power in Belgrade, capital of Serbia, at the end of the eighties.


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Judging by the history of the last century, each of the three communities nurtures historic grievances against the two others. It is not for us to allocate blame. But there is no denying that in 1992 and 1993 a concerted strategy was methodically implemented which reminds us in many ways-I say this with great sadness because, like the majority of people in the west, I thought we would never again witness such barbarity-which reminds us of what other peoples, including the Serbs themselves, suffered at the hands of Hitler's troops.

And all this occurred in a region only a few hours away from Venice by car.

We must remember this today and remember also that this is the judgment of the whole international community. The Europeans recognized Bosnia-Hercegovina's independence on April 6, 1992; the United States followed suit the day after and Bosnia was admitted to the United Nations on May 22, 1992. The majority in a legitimate country was attacked by a national minority receiving substantial help from a neighbouring country. This majority should have enjoyed the protection of the United Nations charter, but such was not the case.

The recognized representatives of Bosnia have asked repeatedly for international help, but to no avail. What is the difference between Iraq annexing Kuwait and the Bosnian Serbs annexing a substantial portion of a recognized country?

The United Nations did not vigorously come to Bosnia's aid, but it did name the aggressor. On May 30, 1992, the Security Council imposed a commercial, oil and air embargo on Serbia and Montenegro. On October 9, the Security Council excluded Serbian aircraft from Bosnia's air space, and on December 1, the Human Rights Commission in Geneva used for the first time the term ``genocide'' and condemned the policy of ethnic cleansing applied by the Serbian leaders in Bosnia and Croatia. That is as clear as one can get.

It would not be fair to say that the United Nations have been totally indifferent. They have managed to take control of the airport at Sarajevo in order to use it for transporting humanitarian aid. The 30,000 or so peacekeepers have deployed throughout Bosnia manage, despite being harassed by the different factions, in transporting part of the aid destined for Muslim or Croat towns besieged by the Serbs and in some cases by the Muslims, thereby affording them a partial but indispensable relief. And six Muslim enclaves are under the protection of the United Nations. Thus, in Srebrenica, 150 Canadian peacekeepers stand between the 45,000 people who are crammed into the town and the hostile Serbian environment.

But the United Nations protection forces have spoken out. They say they are incapable of carrying out the missions they are assigned for lack of sufficient means. On the other hand, negotiations between the warring factions are bogged down; peace seems more remote than ever. Therefore, should we stay?

[English]

The easy thing would be to throw our hands up, pack up our bags and leave but this is not the way Canada earned its well deserved reputation abroad as a steady peacemaker willing to walk the extra mile in the name of peace.

Admittedly we are testing uncharted waters but we are in a new world. We rejoiced at the end of the cold war. The world is now in a state of flux and it would be unseemly of us to give up at this juncture.

France in Bosnia has shouldered a heavier burden than Canada and has paid the price with 18 dead men and 269 wounded. France seems willing to stay. It is going too far to say that there is no peacemaking whatsoever in Bosnia. There are six protected Muslim enclaves surrounded by Serbs with nothing standing between them and the Serbs but peacemakers. The peace is kept even if it is a peculiar kind of peace.

(1130 )

There have been 150 Canadians who have preserved 45,000 Muslims in Srebrenica from the ghastly treatment meted out to so many Muslims.

Now what will happen? This is the question we have to ask. What would happen if all peacekeepers left Bosnia? We should never forget to answer this question. First, the enclaves would be submerged in a very short time with the exception probably of Sarajevo. Second, the Serbs would be targeting more strategic towns and villages in the hope of breaking the backbone of the Bosnia resistance. Third, the Croats in central Bosnia would have to run for their lives. In short it would be all out war and all out ethnic cleansing.

The men in the peacekeepers act also as our eyes and our ears on the field. They justify and complete the other measures which have been carried out by the international community. Suppose they all leave at the end of their present mandate which expires at the end of March. We would have to suspend the arms embargo against Bosnia. Not doing so would be cold blooded cruelty. However, then how could we justify keeping operation Deny Flight which forbids Bosnian skies to the Serb air force?

It would really be all out war with the very real possibility of sucking in, in a much deeper fashion, allies from both camps such as Russia and Turkey who are already in the backstage. Then the Balkans would then really live up to their history.

In fact all these measures have been enacted to scale down the level of Serb aggression. As far as they go they are intended to protect the Bosnian Muslims. To turn our back on one of these measures, namely the UN forces on the ground, is to begin the unravelling of the whole patchwork. It is not an idea that is well thought out.


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However, can things continue as they are now? Can we tolerate the harassment and the kidnapping of peacekeepers? No, we should not. We should give them clear engagement rules and not timid ones. We should give them the military means to do their job. If the United Nations wants to play a meaningful role in that part of the world then it must get its act together.

The biggest morale booster for the UN forces would be the knowledge that they are not bogged down in some indefinite stalemate. There must be movement at the negotiating table. This is not for us but really for the parties involved to decide.

[Translation]

The truth is that the Prime Minister was imprudent, to say the least, when, as he was leaving Brussels at the beginning of the month, he mentioned the possibility of a unilateral withdrawal of Canada's peace mission to Bosnia. Whatever we decide, we must act in concert with our allies. Canada must not breach the solidarity pact that it has wisely, generously and courageously built over the years with our partners and friends of the North Atlantic council.

Second, to let down a civilian population whose survival, until now, has been secured largely through our presence and our aid, and to let it fend for itself in utter deprivation and insecurity, would go against our interpretation of our humanitarian obligations.

Third, we ourselves could not tolerate the sight of the massacres that would almost certainly befall the Bosnian people, as our retreat would likely start a chain reaction. Public opinion among our allies and friends would draw serious conclusions from such a decision. After setting an example of commitment and compassion, we would then set an example of disengagement and indifference. It is to be feared that others would follow in our footsteps in this second option as they did in the first one.

Finally, the maintenance of the peacekeeping forces in the former Yugoslavia affords us our only guarantee that the conflict will be contained inside the territory where it is already raging. If the peacekeeping forces were withdrawn, the hostilities could then spread unabated to Macedonia and Greece and eventually ignite the Balkan powder keg. But if we decide to stay, we must take steps to see to the safety of our troops, which means increasing our defence and intervention capabilities.

(1135)

The peacekeepers must stay, as must Canada, even more so, if we wish to see the Bosnian conflict end around the negotiation table rather than on the battlefield, with violence and massacres. It is up to us really to decide if this tragedy will be resolved through force or through reason.

It is imperative then for the future that we set the guidelines that will dictate our actions. Once in position, it is usually too late to consider a withdrawal. Those guidelines must be defined with the help of military, diplomatic and other experts. I hope the government in its upcoming white paper on defence will set forth an analytical plan that we can study thoroughly. But for the moment, the main thing to do is to keep in mind that we must continue, insofar as our capabilities allow it, to fulfil our fair share of the obligations that result from our allegiance to the values of democracy, peace and justice, values which, given their universality, deserve our efforts to further them abroad.

[English]

Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise you that in this debate Reform speakers will be dividing their time into 10 minutes segments, allowing five minutes for questions and comments.

To begin I would like to join my colleagues in congratulating the Speaker on his election, you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker and assure both of you of my full co-operation in this House in the days to come.

In this my maiden speech I want to speak briefly of my constituency, Saanich-Gulf Islands, in beautiful British Columbia. Our southern border takes in a substantial portion Victoria, the garden city of Canada. Moving northward up the Saanich peninsula we encounter a delightful mix of farms and seaside towns and villages; urban convenience in an idyllic rural environment.

Finally, it includes the southern Gulf Islands often referred to as the jewels in the crown of Canada's west coast. Here one will find some of the best fishing and sailing in the world.

In August this year the eyes of the world will be focused on the 15th Commonwealth Games activities, many of which will take place within our boundaries.

During the election the returning officer informed me that in respect to population, Saanich-Gulf Islands is the second largest constituency in British Columbia and the 10th largest in Canada. During the interval between the 1988 and the 1993 elections the number of eligible voters grew from 77,000 to over 93,000 representing 125,000 constituents. In fact, I believe I am now the proud representative of a goodly number of Canadians who were previously resident in the constituencies of many of the other members of this House.

Perhaps because of the variety of their origins I have found my constituents to be intelligent, well-informed and patriotic Canadians, very much representative of our whole country. I thank them for entrusting their representation to me and pledge my best efforts in fulfilling that very serious obligation.

Moving to this debate on Bosnia, I want to acknowledge the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, both of whom made members of their departments available to brief us on the situation in and around Bosnia. I


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thank them for responding so quickly and co-operatively to our request.

Furthermore we agree with the government's stated position on air strikes. In our view, as soon as an air strike takes place the peacekeepers and helmets of the UN take on the same colour as the helmet of the pilot who delivered the ordinance. They will be deemed to have taken sides, to have become antagonists and thus appropriate targets. Air strikes should only be authorized if UN forces are under or in direct danger of attack.

Our thanks also go to Major General Lewis MacKenzie, former Canadian commander in the area who took time to come and give us his firsthand impressions and viewpoint of the situation in Bosnia.

At the start I want to recognize the excellence of the Canadian forces personnel we have committed in the former Yugoslavia. These troops are well trained, well disciplined, well motivated and well able to carry out any reasonable task assigned to them. They have earned and deserve our respect and admiration.

(1140 )

They have also earned and deserve our informed consideration for their future involvement in the convoluted situation to which they are presently committed. In Bosnia we face deeply held differences between Serbs, Croats and Muslims who, although they enjoy a common ethnicity, are now radically and violently divided, in fact opposed. Make no mistake, none of the belligerents have clean hands; all have been involved in atrocities against the others.

Canada has a proud tradition of involvement in peacekeeping operations. It has cost more than 140 lives and many more injuries over the years but in the main I believe most Canadians have supported this commitment. However, the feedback I am now receiving from my constituents reveals their concern with the present Canadian involvement in Bosnia. They worry that Canadian lives are being put at risk in what they perceive to be a questionable cause. They wonder, if the people of Bosnia show no inclination to put aside their differences and find a peaceful resolution of their problems, is Canada helping to end or merely perpetuating this unhappy situation?

Canadians were committed to Bosnia to provide humanitarian aid, and despite the difficulties, dangers and frustrations encountered, by and large they have succeeded in their mission. But let it be well understood, this is not a peacekeeping mission, because there is no peace to keep. Rather our forces are observing and operating in and around a civil war, in the full sense of the word.

Canada presently has more armed forces deployed in theatres of operations than at any time since the Korean war. We are stretching our resources, particularly the infantry, to the limit, to the extent that should another incident such as Oka arise, it could very well be beyond the capacity of our armed forces to adequately respond.

However, the size of the Canadian forces and the tasks assigned them should await the outcome of the forthcoming defence review. On this point, Reformers commend the government on its decision to conduct this study. It is long overdue.

But a decision on Canadian involvement in the former Yugoslavia cannot await finalization of the defence review. The end of our present commitment in Bosnia is rapidly approaching and we must soon take a stand. It seems to me that Canada has only two options: first, to stay and prepare for a long-lasting involvement in the region; or second, to take the initiative by demanding that the belligerents commit to achievable, measurable and enforceable progress toward a peaceful resolution.

In this second instance Canada would further state that failing such commitment Canadian forces will be withdrawn from the theatre.

If our studies and briefings have done nothing else they have clearly shown us there are no easy solutions. By staying involved we are alleviating the suffering of tens of thousands of civilians. At the same time, inescapably, we are supplying the fighting forces and enabling or even assisting them to continue the war. Our presence is diminishing the fighting, but children are still being maimed and killed, women raped, and the general population indiscriminately bombarded. So increased hatred is continually being bred.

Conversely a withdrawal by the UN would unleash the opposing forces, prompting the likelihood of an increase in hostilities and, in some instances, a blood bath. Furthermore, it would enhance the danger that this war could extend beyond its present boundaries. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Which way do we go?

It strikes me, and I admit that my background as a fighter pilot may be influencing my reasoning, that some action is better than none. While we do not know what the outcome will be, it may be time for Canada to be hard-nosed, saying to the belligerents: ``If you are not willing to make some concessions and compromises toward a peaceful resolution of the war, we are going to withdraw and leave you to it.''

If such a declaration were delivered it would be stronger if it came in the name of all UN forces in the theatre. However, considering Canada's reputation as a peacekeeper, a threat of unilateral Canadian withdrawal would unquestionably draw world attention and hopefully impact strongly on Serb, Croat and Muslim leaders.


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(1145 )

If this were to be our decision, it must be made absolutely clear that Canada is not withdrawing because the going is rough. Canadians have demonstrated their mettle in two world wars, the Korean war and many peacekeeping actions over the years. They have demonstrated it in Bosnia. Our forces have clearly indicated their willingness to remain involved. Continuing along our present path seems to give little hope of a peaceful settlement. Rather it gives every indication of a commitment to remain and observe the civil war for many years to come.

The belligerents met in Geneva to talk on January 18 and 19, but proceedings collapsed. More talks are scheduled in Geneva on February 10. I submit that it is time for Canada to take the lead by hosting a conference here in Ottawa in early February, before that Geneva meeting, to include all countries with forces currently committed in the former Yugoslavia. At this conference, Canada should urge that the UN issue a clear and unequivocal ultimatum to the belligerents. Either accept moves to achieve and enforceable peaceful solution or accept the withdrawal of UN forces.

Should the conference not agree, Canada should state that unless definite progress toward peace happens in Bosnia prior to then, it is our intention to withdraw our troops in April when our current commitment is completed.

[Translation]

Mr. Benoît Tremblay (Rosemont): Mr. Speaker, I would just like to understand the comments made by my colleague from Saanich-Gulf Islands, particularly when he says that the people involved in this conflict share the same ethnicity, while we know they have followed quite different historical paths over the last 500 years. It is precisely the federal state imposed upon them at some point which has collapsed in the new international context. Their situation has been widely aknowledged by the United Nations which recognized Bosnia's independence; and the search for some form of agreement is at the heart of the peace efforts. Withdrawal at this juncture in the crisis would quite simply result in the virtual elimination of the Bosnians. I cannot understand the member's reasoning. I wish he would try to explain it to me.

[English]

Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, if we go back far enough in the origins of the area, we find that all the residents are basically Slavs. Over the years, they have been affected by outside influences which have caused them to go in different directions to different religions. When I referred to their common ethnicity, I meant going back a long way. Obviously there are substantial and very violent differences between them at the moment. The fact that Bosnia was recognized has been considered by some to have been a mistake, that in fact the outcome which has happened was inevitable.

It is my understanding the Muslims are acquiring quite a heavy weapon stock so we are soon likely to see an increase in armed activity on their side. While the disparity of the surrounding nations unquestionably bears on the numbers of Serbs around, I think within Bosnia itself the Muslims will be able to make a rather good account of themselves should it come to that. I hope very much that it does not.

Unless the world, and Canada in particular, takes a stance which involves the requirement for these people to accommodate, to concede, to compromise in the Canadian tradition, that nothing will happen and we will see the thing go on forever.

(1150 )

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, I too would like to question the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands with respect to the position that he has taken.

I returned a few days ago from Croatia myself. I met not only with UN commanders there but also with our Canadian troops both in sector south and elsewhere. Our troops are profoundly opposed to the suggestion that Canada would simply give notice that we would pull out after the mandate expires at the end of March.

It is their position that this would result in an incredible increase in the level of bloodshed and violence and that the very important humanitarian work they are doing in helping to bring in and escort NGOs and bringing in food and medicine would be profoundly jeopardized. Many innocent people would die and would starve.

In view of the concerns of our people and NGOs on the ground and the United Nations about this proposal, what exactly is the member suggesting in terms of compromises and concessions? He said that all parties should make compromises and concessions.

The Bosnian Serbs and Radovan Karadzic have been very clear. They control 70 per cent of the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina. They are about a third of the population. What concessions are they prepared to make now?

If Canada simply gives notice that we are going to pull out and other United Nations troops pull out as well then not only will they consolidate their position but quite clearly it seems to me that the risk of widespread bloodshed, destruction and starvation is far greater.

My second brief question is this. What about Croatia? What is the hon. member suggesting with respect to the role of the UN in Croatia?

Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, I said during my remarks there are no easy solutions to the dilemma that we are in. I recognize what


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the member says and I believe that he is correct that we are in danger if we extract our forces of allowing the fighting there to intensify.

However, if we stay involved we are also staying to observe constant carnage, killing, maiming and bombardment. I do not think there is any completely satisfactory solution to the dilemma. That is why I propose that perhaps firm action would make the difference.

With regard to the percentage, as I mentioned a few moments ago, the Muslims in Bosnia and Croatia comprise over 40 per cent of the population. It is my understanding that they are getting weapons both from the Serbs and the Croats and are in a position to at least defend themselves.

With regard to the second question on our troops in Croatia, there is sufficient interplay between the peoples in the region that demands should be made to everybody in the region and our threats should be to everyone in the region: ``If you do not somehow influence a peaceful resolution of this situation we are going to withdraw our forces''.

Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer): Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to give my maiden speech. I never thought I would be doing it on such an important subject as this one which certainly affects us now and for a long time in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate you and all other members. I want to particularly thank the people of my constituency of central Alberta. Certainly I will claim to have the most beautiful constituency with the greatest people who we possibly could have.

I want to congratulate the Prime Minister and his ministers for making this day possible. This is an example of the sort of open Parliament that Canadians want. We have to go further with more free votes and constituent assemblies and as the hon. minister mentioned with tours around the country to find out what Canadians really think on such important matters.

Peacekeeping is a very difficult subject along with what we should do and the decision we should make today. In getting this information there are a number of points that we have to consider. Certainly we have to realize that past wars and the history of places like Bosnia make it an ignition point and one that certainly could explode into a much more serious situation as has been described.

(1155 )

I think we also have to recognize that there is really no will to settle this conflict and there will not be a will in many of the situations our peacekeepers get into. I think the escalation point we should look at is of course the great power of the Muslim world and what it could put behind a conflict like this.

We should also look at Russia and its changing political scene, almost as we sit here. Certainly its defence of the Slavic races is a consideration. There is Greece and Macedonia. There is France and its position in the EC. There is Italy, Germany and Albania and their interests in this area as well. All of the recent history we must consider in making our decision on Bosnia.

Something we must also consider is the presence and importance of television in any decision we make. Around every corner is CNN, BBC and of course Newsworld. They show the atrocities and the terrible parts of all of these conflicts right on the screen in your home. We cannot underestimate the power of this sort of influence.

We must realize of course that we have no good guys or bad guys. We do not have anybody wearing a white hat or a black hat which is what we North Americans would like to see. There are atrocities occurring on all sides and we must be aware of that.

We must also be aware that the killing will not stop. It will not stop whether we stay or whether we leave. This is going on. We must recognize the humanitarian successes that have been taking place and we certainly must commend our forces for what they have been doing.

There are a lot of choices but what really should Canada do about peacekeeping? I have tried to put myself in the position of my constituents. I have tried to think about the people of the province of Alberta where we have a great many people in the military. I have tried to think of myself as a Canadian as to what I should really say.

Initially I thought we should just pull the troops out and let the Serbs and Bosnians fight it out themselves. It is a civil war and we should not be part of it. I must admit, however, upon getting into further detail that there is a lot more to it than just that. There is the humanitarian aspect of it, the war crimes and the innocent civilians. Every time we turn on the television we hear about these things. We have to think about that in any decision that we make.

We of course must realize the risk that we are putting our troops under. As things escalate, as there are threats of an increased escalation this spring, how many troops are we prepared as Canadians to bring home in body bags? We have to ask that question and we have to take this as a very serious part of our decision.

We have to look at ourselves as leaders in the area of peacekeeping. Certainly a pull out would be an abrogation of some of those responsibilities. We have to ask what that does to us as Canadians and how we feel because of that. The cost of


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course has been mentioned and our debt and deficit are part of any decision when we come to spending money.

The decision then is not easy. We have all these factors to consider. I tried to see if there was anything positive to this whole situation. Can peacekeeping have a positive part to it?

The conclusion I came to was a feeling of nationalism that is part of peacekeeping. What makes Canadians feel good? Next month we are going to look at our athletes at the Olympics and we are going to feel good. When we hear that national anthem play we are going to feel good because they have just done something that made them stand out in the world.

We are going to make Canadians feel good today because this is good government. This is an opportunity for all sides, it does not matter what one's politics are, to really have a say. Thus we will feel good.

What about peacekeeping and making us feel good? We certainly have a reputation. All across the world we know that Canadians are the best trained, have the best political background and the best psychology, if you want, of taking care of peace in this world. We already have that and that is something we should build on and should be part of our national pride.

(1200 )

We of course should emphasize a leadership role. We do not have to take a second seat to anybody when it comes to peacekeeping and the settling of world disputes.

In terms of training, we should build on this. We should provide training for sale. What better thing could we do with the bases we are thinking of closing down than turn them into international academies for the training of peacekeepers?

Let us go further than just peacekeeping. Let us talk about the settling of all kinds of disputes. Let us talk about supervising elections and a better understanding of the cultural elements that are behind peacekeeping efforts. Let us provide conflict management, human rights monitoring, civil administration and emergency measures. One cannot help but think that that could be useful internally as well if we had something like an earthquake such as that which we have just witnessed in Los Angeles.

In conclusion, I think we should always maintain our role in peacekeeping and build on it. We should become world leaders. That is really where it is at. The building of that nationalism within us, that pride of being Canadian, I believe will even go so far as to make Quebecers feel that they want to stay a part of Canada.

We can do so much with this whole peacekeeping situation. If we in this 35th Parliament succeed in building this national pride then I think we have gone a long way in succeeding in why many of us are here.

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport): Mr. Speaker, in congratulating the hon. member for Red Deer for his candid analysis I would like to ask him if it would be fair to conclude that he favours Canadian troops remaining in Bosnia? If that is so, does his view represent the position of his party or is the position of his party the one articulated earlier by the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands?

Mr. Mills (Red Deer): Mr. Speaker, I think the wonderful part of this day is that we can express our points of view taking into consideration all of our constituents and all of our fellow MPs.

I would say that withdrawal is something that is done when the safety of our forces cannot be guaranteed. That position is one that would be decided by the people in the field. I think the counterbalances, the humanitarian efforts that we are providing, offset whether we should leave or not.

Initially, I said that we had to get out. It is a civil war and we should be out of there the sooner the better. However, for the reasons I have given I would now say I have modified that position to say that it is only a last ditch thing to pull out. I think it is good that within our caucus we have this range. Through the rest of the day we will hear that range being developed. The main thing this leads to is that we must develop an overall policy for Canada both short term and of course very long term. The minister alluded to that earlier. I believe that is really what we are trying to accomplish today.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Red Deer for his comments.

I would like to ask the member for his views with respect to the concern that has been raised about the tremendous gap between a series of resolutions by the United Nations on the one hand and the reality on the ground on the other, particularly in Bosnia. We heard about children in Mostar who were recently slaughtered in the snow. We heard about children in Sarajevo just a few days similarly out sledding and playing. These six children were brutally murdered. It does not take a great deal of courage to lob artillery from 30 kilometres away.

I want to ask the member for Red Deer what his position is with respect to the plea by a number of respected United Nations commanding officers. God knows there have been a whole series of them that have made those pleas, most recently General Francis Briquemont who replaced General Morillon in Bosnia. He said: ``There's a fantastic gap between the resolutions of the Security Council, the will to execute those resolutions and the means available to commanders''.

(1205)

When we have a situation in which the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic has said, and this was just last week: ``Sarajevans will not be counting the dead. They will be counting the living''.


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Does the member for Red Deer have any position with respect to the suggestion that has been made that we strengthen the mandate of the United Nations? Certainly a plea that I heard from a number of the soldiers on the ground in Croatia is that we strengthen the mandate of the United Nations to ensure that they have the ability not only to protect the safe havens, which are far from safe now, but end the artillery bombing which is taking place as well.

Mr. Mills (Red Deer): Mr. Speaker, I have to agree with an awful of what has been said. Of course one of the matters that has made this problem so difficult is that the United Nations does not seem to have shouldered the leadership role the way they should have.

We went through probably seven or eight briefings in preparation for today. One of the things we heard over and over again, particularly from the military, was the great difficulty in not having someone really in charge. Other difficulties were having different troops, different training.

I suppose that is where my international academy for peacekeepers comes in. With the United Nations having input in that, it might help solve some of those problems and at least the troops would be trained the same. If we could get the leadership the same, it would make the United Nations stronger.

In defence of the United Nations, it has had great difficulty getting people to participate, getting other countries to provide troops and so on. It is a two-way street and we must solve that problem.

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to participate in the debate today on the motion on Canada's peacekeeping role.

[Translation]

First I would like to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition for his sensible speech-

[English]

-and the two members of the Reform Party to my right, the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands and the member for Red Deer for their most informed speeches.

The debate we will hear today and tomorrow, first on peacekeeping and then on cruise, is a debate that will allow individual members to express his or her own views. There is no whip on this side. We are on record as being supportive of peacekeeping. That is in our red book and I would be very surprised if any of the Liberal members would disagree with our continuation in peacekeeping.

However with respect to the specific mission that we are talking about today in the former republics of Yugoslavia or tomorrow, which is the deployment of further testing of cruise missiles under the Test and Evaluation Agreement members, on both sides of the House, and certainly in our party, are free to express their views and the government will take those views into account.

It is only appropriate that I join with the other members opposite in beginning my remarks by paying tribute to the men and women of the Canadian forces who, as we speak are working to bring some peace to the world's trouble spots. I know that members share my admiration and appreciation for the very difficult job they are doing, whether they are in Srebrenica in the Balkans, in the Far East, on the African continent, or off the southwest coast of Haiti. On behalf of all Canadians, merci beaucoup, thank you very much.

[Translation]

Today, Parliament has an opportunity to consider the activities of our peacekeepers, the various aspects of Canada's contribution to peacekeeping and the future direction of our commitment in this respect.

Canadians are justly proud of this country's exceptional contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts. For 47 years, Canada has made a generous and sustained contribution to peacekeeping missions. The total number of Canadians who have served as peacekeepers over the years is now over 100,000.

Canada's high level of participation is particularly impressive when we consider that our country has only one-half of 1 per cent of the world's population.

(1210)

No other country has a peacekeeping record that compares with Canada's. No other country knows the military operations aspect of peacekeeping as well as we do, and no other country has our expertise. This may explain why Canada is the only country in the world to have erected a national monument to peacekeeping.

Some say that Canada invented the peacekeeping concept. Most observers agree it was the UN emergency force, designed by former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in 1956, which demonstrated the value and potential of an international UN force.

During the sixties and in fact until the eighties, Canada increased its efforts and enhanced its reputation in the peacekeeping area. We were one of the few countries that were accepted as a neutral force to separate two belligerent parties. The international community has repeatedly called on Canada to take part in missions of many kinds throughout the world.

[English]

It was back in 1949 that Canada's first peacekeepers were deployed. They went to Kashmir with what was soon to become known as the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan under the acronym UNMOGIP.


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Regrettably it was during the first mission that Canada suffered its first peacekeeping casualty. Since that time almost 100 Canadians have lost their lives while on peacekeeping duty.

Peacekeeping has never been without risks. The Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about it today. Members on the other side have talked about it. It has always been dangerous but our forces are keenly aware of the danger when they enlist to serve their country overseas.

Canada has a long association as well with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, UNTSO. This mission, which is the UN's oldest, monitors ceasefire agreements in the Middle East and today 13 Canadian-UN military observers are with UNTSO, a commitment we began in 1954.

Canadians have served over the years in Indochina, Lebanon, Congo, West New Guinea, Yemen, the Middle East, Cyprus, Afghanistan, Namibia, Angola, Cambodia and Central America. That is a pretty impressive record for a country with a population of only 27 million.

[Translation]

In recent years, a new chapter was started in the history of UN peacekeeping operations. At the end of the eighties, when the confrontation between east and west ceased to exist, the UN was able to start operating more or less as its founders had planned in 1945.

Since 1988, the UN has created more peacekeeping missions than it did during the four previous decades.

[English]

I have already mentioned our contribution to UNMOGIP in Kashmir and UNTSO in the Middle East. As well Canada provides a total of 10 staff and military police to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus; over 200 personnel assigned to a supply, transport and communications duties with the United Nations disengagement observer force on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria. We will be hearing more of them as the weeks unfold in the quest to finally solve the Middle East dilemma. Twenty-seven Canadian forces personnel are in various staff, air traffic control and administrative support positions in Egypt at the headquarters for the multinational force, a non-UN mission which adheres to the 1979 Camp David accord. We have five military observers to the United Nations in the Iraq-Kuwait observation mission.

We have two officers including the force commander for the United Nations mission in Rwanda. We have 30 military observers, officers and staff to the United Nations mission for the referendum in the West Sahara known by its French acronym as MINURSO.

Turning to Haiti, Canada remains prepared to provide approximately 110 military personnel to the United Nations mission there. The majority of these Canadians will participate in construction of engineering projects among other tasks.

[Translation]

Canada also continues to be a participant in the UN observation mission in El Salvador, which supervised a ceasefire, disarmament and the human rights situation in that country.

(1215)

We shall continue to support the UN operation in Somalia through the presence of a small number of staff officers. At one time there were more than 1,000 Canadians in Somalia as part of the UN multinational force responsible for the security of humanitarian aid operations.

[English]

I should say that despite some unfortunate incidents which are now being adjudicated, our people in Somalia made a real difference in bringing order to the country and in helping to rebuild the infrastructure of this very poor nation.

[Translation]

Finally, Canada is a participant in the UN mission in Mozambique which has a mandate to supervise the ceasefire and the elections in that country.

[English]

The United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission in Korea has also seen the participation of Canadians. This is the agreement which supervises the implementation of the 1953 armistice accord.

We have also been involved in the United Nations special commission charged with the inspection and destruction of Iraq's ballistic missiles as well as its chemical, nuclear and biological facilities.

We have men and women on the ships enforcing the embargo against Serbia in Montenegro as well as on our ships off the coast of Haiti. Finally, there are Canadian forces personnel working to locate and diffuse land mines in Cambodia with the United Nations development programs mine technical advisory group.

I mention all of these because even though we are focusing today on the current conflict, which is a very nasty one, we should not forget the hundreds of other Canadians serving with the United Nations forces around the world in the engagements I have mentioned.

Let us take a look at the Balkans. This is a tragedy that has unfolded for the last 15 years since the death of former president Marshal Tito. While I am sure the members of the government in no way supported the kind of government that Mr. Tito gave to Yugoslavia, one thing that he did leave behind was a will and a determination to unite many disparate factions, religious and ethnic, into one nation.


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There is a lesson in Yugoslavia. It is that multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial states can only be kept together in today's world by a codification of individual rights and by their protection with strong national institutions. Those national institutions and that constitutional protection has eroded in Yugoslavia and it has forced the rest of the world through the United Nations to try to salvage some dignity, some peace and some sense of humanitarian obligation to the people living in the former republics of Yugoslavia.

[Translation]

As the conflict in the Balkans escalated, the UN gradually extended its mandate beyond the borders of Croatia. For instance, the mission was asked to open the airport in Sarajevo.

I must say a few words about the President of France, François Mitterrand, who showed great courage when he visited Sarajevo two years ago.

[English]

The president of France demonstrated great courage in drawing the world's attention to the conflict in Yugoslavia. I would also join with my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in congratulating the people and government of France together with the British government for having supplied along with Canada the largest contingents of forces in Yugoslavia.

Today we have about 2,000 personnel in Bosnia and Croatia and that is one of the focuses, perhaps the principal focus for this particular debate. We care about them. These are our people. They are doing our bidding.

Canadians have played their part in two world wars and the Korean war. I do not think we want to be part of any other larger wars in the latter part of the century or as we go into the 21st century. It is the lessons that have been learned from our actions in those wars that lead Canadians to use their military expertise, their technical know-how and their understanding of conflicts to try to help the United Nations in bringing peace to some of the hot spots that we see today.

(1220 )

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of visiting our troops very briefly for a few days in December of last year. I was first in Croatia then in Sarajevo and Visoko and then with our ship HMCS Iroquois in the Adriatic which is enforcing the sanctions with other members of NATO and the United Nations.

I was struck by the uniformity of purpose and the unity with which our men and women view our role in Croatia and Bosnia. I did not hear from them one word about whether or not they had any doubts about the utility of being in that very difficult spot. At night when we slept in the camp at Visoko and shots rang out and as we travelled to Sarajevo with shots all around us in our convoy, not one of those people exhibited any fear of the danger.

I can say that I had some fears. However, these men and women live with this every single day. They are prepared to follow the instructions of the Canadian people as expressed in Parliament and by the government. If we want them to come home then they will come home. If we want them to stay then they will stay. There is, however, no dissension on the part of our troops.

In fact, the deputy UN commander, General John MacInnis, is a Canadian and he has made some very courageous statements. There was one in the newspapers the other week about Srebrenica: ``It is not for the Serbs or any of these factions to dictate what battalions or groups of soldiers can relieve others. We are not here to be dictated to by these factions. We will determine whether or not there will be Ukrainians or whether there will be Dutch or whether there will be Nordics or Malaysians that will replace our troops''.

General MacInnis has the full support of the people under his command and I salute him and the work that he is doing. There is also the work of Colonel David Moore. Many in this House have heard him speak on radio and television. This is the gentleman in charge of our forces in Visoko, right in the centre of Bosnia. This is the gentleman who has to worry day and night about the safety of his people but more about the safety of the people in the surrounding areas.

Who can forget those graphic portrayals of our good work and our duty in keeping those hospitals open in Fojnica and Dakovica? When the civilians had to leave for fear of retaliation and death it was Canadian troops that kept those hospitals alive, whether it was washing laundry or whether it was bringing food. This was the real humanitarian side of the peacekeeping that our forces are doing in Bosnia.

I find it a little odd. I do not want to be critical of the news media or of Canadians in general or some commentators but it seems that a lot of people have only just become aware of the heightened danger that our troops face on a daily basis when the New York Times says there was danger. Maybe that says something about Canadians when we have to look at the New York Times to say whether or not something is dangerous. We have all known on this side that it has been dangerous. Our troops have known it is dangerous.

We cannot be intimidated by some of the actions that are going on on the ground every single day. There were two incidents last Sunday which we made public.

The troops there are working hard. They are devoted and they will continue to be there and work as hard as they can as long as we want them there. Therefore the views that are expressed today should not be taken lightly. I am not suggesting that


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members will take it lightly because it is very important that we underscore our commitment for them and the aims of the United Nations and peacekeeping in general.

In Canada this support for peacekeeping I believe is still there. We have heard about opinion polls that say Canadians want our people to withdraw. After hearing some of the comments from the other side and hopefully some from this side today, I think they will realize there is more to it than simple withdrawal and some of those concerns have already been expressed.

(1225)

It is up to us as elected representatives to make the hard decisions about what Canada, and by extension our Canadian forces, should do. Peacekeeping continues to dominate our operational activities and this poses special challenges for the Canadian forces who must balance their peacekeeping commitments with their other national and international commitments.

Achieving this balance is not going to be easy. Our current peacekeeping and related missions are considerable in terms of both the sheer geographic reach of the Canadian forces and the different types of operation and commitment involved.

At the same time as the complexity and the cost of peacekeeping missions increase, here at home we are faced with the hard realities of declining budgets and reductions in the regular force. I made statements on that earlier and members will be hearing more about that as the weeks go on.

Let us face the truth. The more we cut back in our defence budget the more we restrict our ability to perform these essential peacekeeping tasks along with our other military obligations.

If Canadians wish to continue to be leaders in the field of peacekeeping and continue to make this important contribution to stability in troubled regions then Canadian forces must be adequately trained and appropriately equipped. In other words, they must be combat capable forces.

Finally, Canadians must accept the risk involved in sending our troops abroad to areas of recent or ongoing conflict.

We have seen where UN peacekeeping has been. While we cannot predict where it will go in the future it seems likely there will be a continuing need for UN involvement in the world's hot spots at least for the next few years. This will pose many challenges for us on the government side and for all Canadians. I invite members to think very carefully before they advocate a hasty withdrawal from the former Yugoslavia and perhaps reflect upon the continuation of our peacekeeping in general.

[Translation]

Mr. Benoît Tremblay (Rosemont): Mr. Speaker, we are very happy to take part in this debate on Bosnia, but the minister of defence will agree that the financial aspects will be dealt with in a few weeks, maybe as early as next week, when the budget comes down. For the time being we have to limit ourselves to our commitment to peace in the world, and especially in Bosnia.

Does the minister not think that considering a unilateral withdrawal of our troops, like the Prime Minister did, when those same troops under the United Nations mandate were responsible for disarming the Bosnian people, is rather unrealistic? Can we honestly say, after having disarmed the Bosnians, that we are seriously considering a unilateral withdrawal?

I understand how difficult the situation is and how difficult it is to find a solution. Nevertheless, we already acted in a certain way, particularly toward the Bosnian people, and the minister will admit that it is rather difficult, indeed impossible, to withdraw now and leave the Bosnian people at the mercy of the Serbs.

Mr. Collenette: I would say, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member answered his own question. He underlined a very important point, and I hope other members will also give me their opinion on that point.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, as I said a few minutes ago, when I went to Croatia, I met our troops in the southern part of the country where problems abound. The commanding officer over there, Colonel Marc Lessard, gave me a briefing on the situation. Once again I would like to pay tribute to the courage of the soldiers working in that region and in the other parts of Croatia and Bosnia. Colonel Lessard mentioned some problems which I hope the minister will look at closely in order to find a solution. We talked about three main problems: first, the insufficient number of soldiers at BATCAN I. According to Colonel Lessard, they need more people, 49 additional peacekeepers for example, to increase our infantry sections from 9 to 10 persons. Second, they need mechanics, cooks and other people if they are to do their work properly. Third, there seems to be a problem with the vehicle pool and with supplies.

(1230)

Having given the minister the details I ask him to promise he will seriously consider Colonel Lessard's requests concerning the resources our military in Croatia need to accomplish their important task.

[English]

Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member functioning as a go between with our members on the ground in


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Croatia and the command here, but these are comments that not only I have heard but have been expressed throughout the command structure in the armed forces and we are trying to deal with them.

The problem is that some of these supply routes are very difficult especially in winter conditions not unlike some of the conditions we see outside the Parliament Buildings. They do not, however, have snowploughs, salt trucks and sand trucks which makes it very dangerous. In fact two of our members from le 2e Régiment de Valcartier died a few weeks ago just before Christmas because of traffic accidents.

There is no question that better equipment and better provisions will obviously help our troops. I think the comments the hon. member is making are in a sense a wish list of improvements that any commander on the ground would like to see. I do not think it is any evidence of a lack of being properly prepared to take on the very onerous duties that they are undertaking.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister might comment on just the priority that the defence department itself feels should be assigned to international peacekeeping. As we look at the military we really see that it is being asked to perform four functions on about $12 billion: the protection of Canadian sovereignty; the participation in European security through NATO; international peacekeeping; and of course the backing up of the civil authority in cases like Oka.

I wonder if the minister could comment on just where he sees international peacekeeping and peace enforcement in that list of priorities. It looks like we are asking the military to do a lot of things.

Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. member for Calgary Southwest and leader of the Reform Party raised his question. As was mentioned by my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, earlier in the debate, there will be defence and foreign policy reviews. These long range questions should really be addressed within that context. I hope that today's specific debates, because of the urgency of the peacekeeping and because of our urgency in dealing with the question of cruise missile tests, do not undermine those particular reviews that will take the balance of the year to complete.

The questions that he posed are very valid. Hopefully the committee will give us in government ideas on where we should be emphasizing our money and personnel in the years to come.

[Translation]

Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege for me to speak on this matter which I consider to be of great importance, as no doubt do all of my colleagues in this House.

Representatives of the various political parties have thus far expressed at times similar, at times opposing, views. Technical explanations have also been provided about different things, whether it be with respect to monetary issues, to equipment or to adjustments in the strength of our troops abroad.

(1235)

It is my fervent wish to help this House come to an enlightened decision on international policy as regards UN missions.

In an effort to understand this contentious mission, I, like each one of you I trust, reviewed the history of the former Yugoslavia which, over the months and years, has splintered into several independent nations, namely Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Macedonia, as mentioned several times by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence.

How did a federation that had survived for more than 40 years come to this end? National division was undoubtedly emphasized by political ideals, territory and culture. What explanation can there be, however, for the slaughter involving more often than not innocent civilians? The answer is not simple as each warring faction believes it has the legitimate right to reclaim land which it feels is rightfully its own.

The warring factions believe so strongly in their legitimate right to act that they sometimes feel the UN has no right to intervene or, at the very least, they occasionally challenge the UN's presence by refusing to cease hostilities.

The nations of the world have seen on television and read in the press the number of casualties and rapes, to the point where no one can remain indifferent to this situation. And therein lies the problem. What steps should the United Nations and, by the same token Canada, take in their quest for a better, more humane world in order to put an end to this shameful situation?

Following World War II, the United Nations were established as an organization founded on the principles of international peacekeeping and security. This organization is taking collective, effective steps to prevent threats to peace and to counter any act of aggression through peaceful means, in accordance with the principles of international law and justice.

The United Nations supports the forging of friendly relations based on respect for the principle of equal rights among peoples and their right to self-determination.

Canada must continue in its traditional role of peacekeeper. Canada's role is to maintain peace, not enforce it, as this would be a major shift away from Canada's historic role.

The peacekeepers should remain in Bosnia in order to continue protecting humanitarian relief convoys and we should recognize, despite media reports, the excellent work they are doing in helping to save Bosnian lives. We must also acknowledge the contributions of our soldiers.


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Our troops have re-opened two hospitals and kept them running. They have installed pumps to provide safe drinking water for residents. And, of course, they have escorted many convoys bringing relief, food and clothing to the besieged, helpless population.

However, while the presence of UN forces has helped to avert total disaster, there is no question that a great deal more needs to be done. The safety of the peacekeepers must be enhanced.

Negotiations must continue and at an accelerated pace because the Canadian public is beginning to get upset about the cost of peacekeeping operations and the majority of our constituents are growing tired of seeing our peacekeepers trying to keep the peace where there is no peace to keep. Some feel that we should impose peace. However, most are of the opinion that governments lack the political will to authorize a military strike and that because of this, our peacekeepers should withdraw and leave these peoples to decide their own fate. And this is precisely what the United Nations and Canada must not do.

(1240)

My colleague from Rosemont mentioned earlier that the United Nations had effectively disarmed the Bosnians, but it had also been agreed that the peacekeepers would stay on to protect them. That is one more reason for not withdrawing our peacekeeping forces.

The loss of confidence by the Canadian people certainly reflects the mood, the public opinion in other UN nations. That is why, given Canada's leadership in peacekeeping, if we withdrew our forces, that could trigger a similar move on the part of other UN nations, which would be unfair and fatal for the civilian populations concerned.

However, it would appear that recently peacekeeping has taken precedence at times over the real interests of the Canadian people, with Canada allocating military resources to several peacekeeping operations without seeing the need to get a clear and firm mandate. With regard to this peacekeeping race, Canada has also reduced its defence expenditures envelope, forcing our troops to play this role while providing them with less and jeopardizing their security.

Canada will have to look over its latest missions and learn from them. The United Nations will have to reconsider the peacekeeping process, as telling figures clearly show that the situation has changed considerably and that UN interventions are not conducted in the same spirit or under the same circumstances as they used to be. UN statistics show that over a 40-year period from 1948 to 1988, there were 754 casualties among UN peacekeepers, as compared to 197 killed in Somalia and Bosnia in 1993 alone. This huge difference clearly demonstrates that unfortunately the peacekeeping scene has changed radically and that a clear and unequivocal stand will have to be taken before any new operation can go ahead. As a matter of fact, nearly all press statements by generals from the United Nations protection force, UNPROFOR, conveyed frustration and a sense of helplessness in the face of explosive situations they could do nothing about.

I would like, at this point, to try to outline on what basis the decision should be made in Canada to participate in UN missions or not.

It is clear that Canada can no longer afford to participate in all missions.

The Canadian government will have to think twice before taking action. This action will have to meet universal criteria such as humanitarian, political and unfortunately economic considerations. Having assessed these, it will then have to set a deadline by which the goals specified in the assessments have to be reached always keeping in mind financial implications.

As with all Canadian activities, it will be necessary to give up the myth of a rich and prosperous Canada and face reality.

Our troops are proud to take part in these missions but we must clarify what the framework should be and what equipment is required and appropriate. Can we still afford this? Does the public still support such endeavours?

I think that within the context of joint action within the United Nations as well as NATO, a system should be established by which each participating nation would contribute in a specific area.

Joint action should be discussed in the UN, where a decision on the mandate of the peacekeepers from the United Nations protection force in Bosnia must be made by the end of April.

This mission should never be viewed as a total failure, because the situation in Croatia has indeed been stabilized and, furthermore, the escalation of the conflict in Macedonia and Kosovo has effectively been halted.

(1245)

In conclusion, the withdrawal of the peacekeepers from Bosnia is not a desirable option in the present context, as the consequences would be disastrous for the civilian population and for the Bosnians, who have been almost completely disarmed by the UN forces protecting them.

Obviously, a military strike would make the peacekeepers' job less frustrating but perhaps more dangerous. As I was saying earlier, we must press for further negotiations in the hope that an agreement can be reached before the end of the mandate next April and even consider tightening the embargo against the Bosnian Serbs.


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On the other hand, it would be unthinkable to try to clarify Canada's future role without undertaking a global review of our national defence policy.

I take this opportunity to point out to the hon. minister of defence that our defence policy must be reviewed as soon as possible, that patience is running out among Canadians concerned about military spending and soldiers who need specific mandates in order to do a good job.

In closing, I want to tell all Canadian peacekeepers how much we respect and admire the work they do in a difficult and often hostile environment.

I especially want to salute the officers and troops from Valcartier, who account for over 80 per cent of the peacekeeping force in Bosnia. I am personally concerned as that base is located partly in my riding of Charlesbourg and partly in that of my colleague from Portneuf.

Through their commitment and their work, those soldiers have helped preserve Canada's tradition of excellence in peacekeeping.

As I said before, they can count on all the understanding and support that my party and myself can offer them.

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr. Speaker, I request the unanimous consent of the House to continue sitting between one and two p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Hon. members heard the request. Is there unanimous consent?

[English]

Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, if there is unanimous consent the government side is quite happy to sit through lunch.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): We will now go on to the period of questions and comments following the intervention of the hon. member for Charlesbourg.

There not being any we will resume debate with the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Jesse Flis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate you on your appointment as a deputy speaker since this is the first opportunity I have had to do so.

I would also like to thank and congratulate the right hon. Prime Minister for allowing the House to have this debate on peacekeeping and defence issues so early in the 35th Parliament. We see a big difference between the 34th Parliament and the 35th Parliament. We had requested many such debates in the 34th Parliament and such debates never happened.

I hope all members of all parties will take to heart the words of the right hon. Prime Minister when he said: ``We want to hear your individual views''. I know someone from the New Democratic Party just arrived from that region. It would be very important to hear what he has to say. This is an opportunity to put on our creative hats, not to have to worry about party discipline, and to express what we know from our constituents and what we know from our experience.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the constituents of Parkdale-High Park, especially the Canadians of Croatian, Serbian and Muslim descent. I must say that in my 10 years of representing the area and having so many Canadians of those backgrounds in my riding we have never had any conflicts, any squabbles, any fights, et cetera. The Canadians of Muslim, Serbian, Croatian descent are showing that these three peoples can live together in peace and harmony. I congratulate them through this forum and all Canadians across this land who are showing the example that we want peace and not the kind of thing that is ongoing in Bosnia.

(1250)

The Leader of the Official Opposition rightly took us through the happenings at the end of the cold war and immediately after the cold war, how Solidarnosc started the movement and then the Baltic states and other countries. However the world has become a more not a less complicated place since the end of the cold war.

As the minister mentioned in his statement the key body in the international system, the United Nations, is straining to keep up with the increasing demands being placed on it. Canada is working to alleviate the pressure on the UN. Our approach is a broad scope. It ranges from strengthening and reforming the UN system itself, including providing staff to key areas such as the peacekeeping unit, to promoting the concept of co-operative security in which strengthened regional institutions and arrangements can play a larger role in contributing to international peace and security, thus relieving some of the burden placed on the UN system.

In this brief intervention I would like to focus on the efforts of Canada to encourage and position regional organizations to play a more active role in support of the UN. If we put the emphasis on regional institutions getting into potential conflict areas this will alleviate the pressures of the UN and then it can do a more effective job in crises such as the one in the former Yugoslavia.

In January 1992 the UN Secretary General launched his agenda for peace. As the minister mentioned in this document the Secretary General spoke about conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy. In this regard he highlighted the increasingly important role that regional organizations could take to


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prevent and resolve crises so that they need not come to the attention of the UN every time.

As the House knows Canada strongly supports the agenda for peace and is working to implement many of the Secretary General's recommendations. I was pleased that our parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade in the 34th Parliament submitted its recommendations and views on the agenda for peace. I was pleased that our Senate committee on foreign affairs also responded to the agenda for peace.

We have taken to heart the Secretary General's challenge to regional organizations to pull their weight more effectively on the global scene. Let me be more specific. I would like to speak about three key areas in which Canadians can show leadership, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, as well as say a brief word about the new initiatives in the Commonwealth and the Francophonie.

Post cold war Europe is a place of both enormous opportunities and challenges. As mentioned by the minister, Canada is placing considerable emphasis on strenghthening the ability of our key pan-European and transatlantic security forum, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, to prevent and resolve conflicts.

Thanks largely to Canada's efforts over the past few years the CSCE has the most extensive framework for conflict management of any regional organization. We are now working to fine tune these mechanisms and to enhance the CSCE's ability to take action to prevent conflict. The key to conflict prevention is to deal with the root causes of tension and conflict, many of which are to be found in the areas of human rights, especially minority rights. For that reason Canada is strongly supporting CSCE instruments such as the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, whose task is to serve as an early warning mechanism by providing a Canadian expert to the high commissioner's investigative team in Slovakia and Hungary.

The CSCE also has conflict management missions in places such as Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Skopje and Tajikistan. Canada has participated actively in these missions. We have headed the mission to Moldova and have personnel in the former Yugoslavia as well as on shorter term missions to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Nagorno-Karabakh and Bosnia-Hercegovina. These missions undertake fact finding and conciliation, investigate human rights problems, and generally assist these countries in making the transition to democracy.

(1255)

Canada is continuing to refine the framework for CSCE peacekeeping, a Canadian initiative. This mechanism adopted at the 1992 Helsinki summit makes the CSCE the only regional organization with the ability to mandate a peaceful operation. It permits the CSCE to call upon the UN's expertise and assistance as well as that of other regional organizations, notably NATO. While this mechanism has not yet been used it is in place should CSCE states ever need to call upon it. Let us hope it does not, but if it does the mechanism is in place.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated to his colleagues at the December meeting of CSCE foreign ministers in Rome, Canada will promote innovative approaches to conflict management in the CSCE region. He underlined this government's commitment to the CSCE and Canada's readiness to play a leadership role within the organization. He also committed Canada to working on a comprehensive assessment of the CSCE's conflict management efforts to date and to make specific practical recommendations that will help the CSCE deal more effectively with future challenges.

This organization has its failures too. I have to be very honest in the House. Again this is my own personal opinion. I attended some of the CSCE meetings and the process is decision by consensus. Members know what it is like in their own caucuses, how difficult it is to come to a consensus sometimes.

While the politicians and the diplomats are working on wording that is acceptable to everyone, we see reports such as we saw on the CTV last night where six youngsters were killed last weekend, where a young lad was getting shrapnel pulled out of his side, and where a child was walking with only one leg. We heard the report about shell-shocked children, the psychological effects of just being injured or witnessing what is happening there. It talked about the Sarajevo syndrome. Children need tranquillizers to sleep. The same report talked about the high suicide rate and passive suicide. People actually walk into the streets to get killed. They cannot take what is going on in the region any more so they walk out hoping that a bullet will kill them and end it all.

While the death toll reaches hundreds of thousands and with all that is happening daily, CSCE argues about wording acceptable to all member countries. Although I am placing a lot of emphasis on CSCE, having attended its important conference in Madrid 12 years ago I do have my criticism of it. I appeal to the international community to make the CSCE, with the help of Canada, more effective.

As the House is aware Canada joined the Organization of American States or OAS in 1990. I stood in the House on the other side to criticize the government not for joining the OAS but for how it got Canada to join. Canada joined the OAS without any consultation with the Canadian people, without any debate in the House as we are having now, and without even asking the standing committee on foreign affairs to look into the implications of joining OAS. We were very critical not of the


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OAS membership but how the former Prime Minister made the decision without any consultation or debate.

Since joining, Canada has made one of its priorities enhancing the role of the OAS in promoting regional security and stability. In its short time as an OAS member Canada has succeeded in putting these issues firmly on the OAS agenda.

(1300)

The OAS now has a permanent committee on hemispheric security. Canada is focusing the committee's work on security questions such as conflict prevention and management, confidence building measures, CBMs, conventional arms and transfers in non-proliferation. Canada is also stressing the importance of strengthening co-operation between the OAS and the UN in conflict prevention and management.

In March a Canadian promoted OAS meeting on confidence building measures will take place in Argentina. As a former principal of Argentina Public School in my riding of Parkdale-High Park and as a current member of the Argentine-Canadian Friendship Institute, I am pleased this meeting will be taking place in that part of the world. The reason I was principal of Argentina Public School was because we were twinned with Canada's school in Buenos Aires.

When we are talking about peace I think we should begin with the children, with the future citizens of this planet, because our attitudes are difficult to change. When we started with children being twinned with other countries it is amazing how children as young as age five were learning about the language, the culture and the peoples of a country as far away as Argentina.

Unfortunately because of the Falkland war the Toronto Board of Education decided to remove the name and it is back to Garden Avenue. What a sad commentary, blaming the children for the Falkland war. One recommendation I would toss out so that all members could take it to their constituents is for them to be on the lookout. Maybe there is a school in a riding that can be twinned with a school in a faraway country. We will all be richer for it.

This June at the OAS general assembly Canada will be bringing forward new proposals to strengthen the OAS role in dealing with regional security challenges.

A word on our efforts within the Commonwealth and the Francophonie organizations which bridge traditional north-south and east-west divisions in the world. Neither of these organizations have well developed approaches to conflict management. For this reason Canada submitted proposals for the development of conflict management mechanisms at both the Commonwealth and Francophonie summits this past summer. These ideas are very new to both organizations. Canada will continue to work to make these proposals a reality.

I have outlined a wide range of initiatives which Canada is undertaking within regional organizations. I do not have time to go into the ASEAN group and other regional organizations that could help address conflicts arising in that part of the world.

The House should have noticed common themes in what I have said so far. First, support for the UN; second, emphasis on conflict prevention; and, third, development of mechanisms which can be in place and be called on by states to assist in resolving problems before they erupt into conflict and before they require the already overtaxed resources of the United Nations.

As the minister stated this government is committed to supporting the United Nations. This government is also committed to positioning regional organizations to play a more active and effective role in complementing the important global efforts of the United Nations in promoting co-operative security and in building international peace and stability.

I call upon the international community with which I quite often have the pleasure of meeting through the diplomatic corps in Ottawa to do everything in its power to strengthen the various regional organizations and to make them more effective in coping with future emergencies, thus alleviating the pressures on the United Nations and making it more effective in guaranteeing international peace and security.

If we do not follow this course then Lieutenant Colonel Ian Malcolm who served with the Canadian forces for 23 years and was involved in peacekeeping in Egypt, Iraq and Namibia may be correct in a recent document wherein he asks: ``Does the blue helmet fit?''

(1305)

[Translation]

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, I would also like to commend the government for this initiative, this emergency debate which it has called non-partisan. Since this morning, we have seen how much all members on both sides of the House have made it a duty to speak in a completely non-partisan way.

I think that this government initiative, which is definitely a credit to it, should be repeated on many other occasions, in keeping with what I think is the desire of all members, especially those like me who are not designated critics or do not have specific duties, be they on the government side or not. This is an opportunity for us to express our views and at the same time to show that different points of view can still lead to consensus, especially as far as major issues such as the ones we are studying today are concerned.

I listened with admiration to the speech of the previous speaker who spoke in his own name and said that he wanted his government to go ahead and maintain troops to keep peace in the world. He spoke eloquently about children. I believe that aspect


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cannot be over-emphasized; children are often victims of these wars which benefit only arms dealers or crackpot idealists or people who will use any means to reach their ends.

However, I would like to have some clarification on air raids, which are at the heart of the debate on Bosnia. When we go on peace missions, do we also have to have air raids or should it be the other way around: if we are attacked from the air, should we respond to these attacks after receiving an order from the commander in chief? Consultation can take about an hour. I would like the previous speaker to tell me more about what he thinks of these air raids.

[English]

Mr. Flis: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments and compliments and for supporting today's process. If the hon. member does not see enough of such debates I hope he will remind us that it is time for another. In debates like this we see the best of every member of Parliament, all 295.

Actually the hon. member's comments and questions coincide with a poll that was reported in the Ottawa Citizen today. The poll suggests that an overwhelming majority of Canadians favour the idea of UN peacekeeping in general, but six in 10 respondents said that Canada's mission in Bosnia is too risky and should be ended in April. I quote from the poll: ``More and more Canadians are saying it is too damned expensive and it is so dangerous, why not have some other countries take on the job?''

The poll also suggests that when the heat is high in Bosnia, meaning the military heat, attitudes toward peacekeeping are cool in Canada but if the shooting stops then Canadians want their soldiers to be there to administer humanitarian aid.

I think when we send our troops there the one thing our mandate should guarantee is the safety of our Canadian forces. It is all right for countries to negotiate air strikes but how can air strikes be negotiated and mandated if the Canadian peacekeepers are in that region? That is where we will not get the support of Canadians if things like that happen.

If one of our soldiers has to come back you know how, I do not think we will get much support from Canadians in future peacekeeping. Yet our troops have the highest reputation in the world.

(1310 )

I had the good fortune of being in Cyprus and was talking to our Canadians forces. I talked with the British commander who begged Canada to please not pull the Canadian forces out because they are such an excellent example for the other countries that have peacekeeping forces.

We had an example in the Bosnia-Hercegovina area when it was time to remove the Canadian soldiers and replace them by soldiers from another country. The Serbs said no. They said they would accept the Canadians but not the troops of another country. The Canadian forces have this ability. They are respected by the Muslims, they are respected by the Croats and they are respected by the Serbs. That is why we can play such an important role. However, if we start dropping bombs on them, our taxpayers will give us the message to bring our troops home.

First, before we make any such move I think we have to ensure the safety of our troops over there.

[Translation]

Mr. Plamondon: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was right when he said that our taxpayers are concerned. There is even mention, in the poll referred to, of a will to withdraw from peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. I wonder if this is not a golden opportunity to analyse our need for military equipment.

As members of the Opposition, we supported the government when it decided to cancel the helicopter contract, but now we know that 800 extremely sophisticated tanks are presently being built in Ontario. We also have various military equipment, such as our F-18 airplanes, for which it costs $1 million just to train the pilot.

Should we not rethink the role of our armed forces in order to reduce all this equipment, to specialize our troops further in those peacekeeping missions, and therefore to reduce expenditures and activities in other military sectors where this material is rarely used, or should we consider leaving some special role to other members of NATO, since Canada has already participated in all the peacekeeping missions since the Second World War? Is that not something to consider?

The total budget could be reduced by eliminating some equipment which may not be necessary, but the money saved would enable us to carry on with our peacekeeping missions without overburdening our taxpayers once again. I would like to hear the hon. member's point of view.

[English]

Mr. Flis: Mr. Speaker, when the cold war ended everyone was hoping that there would be peace dividends; money that would be saved on defence would be put toward economic renewal, stimulus, reducing poverty on this planet, et cetera. That is why this government is recommending a review of our foreign affairs and defence policy.

As the Prime Minister mentioned and offered, both standing committees will be going to the people of Canada to review our


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existing policy. I hope the hon. member will make his interventions on behalf of his constituents again at that time.

I would also recommend to the member that tomorrow there will be another debate. It will be on whether or not we should continue with the cruise missile testing. That would be another excellent forum for the hon. member to raise this.

That is why I think we have come to the stage in the development of our country and the development of our foreign policy to take an in depth look and review by consulting Canadians.

(1315 )

Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast): Mr. Speaker, it is both an honour and a privilege to rise today and to acknowledge your election as Speaker of the House. I am sure that it will always be an encouragement to you to know that your peers gave you a mandate to provide both guidance and prudence to this House as we work through the days and decisions which lie ahead of us.

I also salute each of my colleagues, the men and women elected to this 35th Parliament. I am like them. I have been elected to serve my constituents of Calgary Southeast in this House of the people and trust that our collective wisdom will serve them well.

[Translation]

The hon. member for Québec-Est said that he was the last one from his caucus to rise and address this House. I feel the same way. This has enabled me to gain experience and I must say that today's debate is extremely important and requires that each of us gives it the necessary attention.

[English]

I want that thought to be known to my constituents of Calgary Southeast. I am sure that everyone within my riding will have an opinion on the war in Bosnia. Their concern will come from a desire to see lasting peace and greater tolerance and charity for others. I believe they collectively reflect the views of most Canadians.

We talk of Bosnia in an abstract sense but to bring it closer to my home, the fighting encompasses an area of 178,000 square kilometres. This area is like a block of land that extends from just north of Edmonton to just south of Calgary. There are more displaced people in this area of fighting than the entire populations of Edmonton and Calgary combined, more than 1.6 million people. Such a staggering figure should make it abundantly clear that we cannot sit idly by in a state of indecision as the fighting continues, as more families are torn asunder, as more children are killed and orphaned, as more people come to believe and accept hatred and intolerance as a way of life.

My own concern arises from an intensely personal perspective. That is what I am bringing here today, because I am of Croatian heritage. My mother was born in a small village just outside of Zagreb. I have several family members still living there. They are quite elderly and they have no desire to leave their homes. They are quite typical of those who remain there.

Of the men and women there, the women and children have all been evacuated. The men, the husbands and fathers, are the ones who are caught up in the machinery of war. Life in that village is not like what you or I could ever imagine.

It is difficult to believe that members of my family who live within hearing distance of those bombs dropping-and that is about 10 kilometres-can say: ``The war is not too near and life is managed as best we can''.

I mentioned earlier that we see ourselves as a nation seeking peaceful solutions and demonstrating tolerance and charity to others. I believe we are now struggling with how these inherent characteristics of our nationhood will help us to develop our response to a particularly brutal and unforgiving war. Having said that, as I thought about what I would say here as I stood before you today, there were three questions that kept coming to my mind which I believe have to be answered in any response that we offer.

First of all, are the people in this war dedicated to destroying each other? Second, will an intervention bring any lasting peace? The third question I asked: are we prepared as a country to watch Canadian soldiers die in this war without apparent end?

In response to the first question: are the people involved in this war dedicated to destroying each other? It appears that the answer is yes. While diplomatic efforts to end the war go on fruitlessly, the killing continues unabated. Life has been reduced to a primitive state with no electricity and no running water. People who were neighbours and friends became bitter enemies overnight. Serbs are killing Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Croats are killing Muslims and sometimes Serbs. Muslims are killing their attackers. I cannot imagine how anyone living in the midst of this carnage can remain objective.

(1320 )

Second, will an intervention bring any lasting peace? There is a fundamental tension to the focus of our debate because of our legal and moral obligations toward intervention in the region. Are we going to intervene? Also, what costs are we willing to accept if we do intervene without making a simultaneous effort to bring the conflict to an end? Do we want to see Canadian soldiers die as they bring humanitarian aid to the region?

Canada as a signatory of the United Nations universal declaration of human rights has always taken a leading role in international responsibilities. Canadians are deservedly very proud of this. We fulfil our international obligations in many important ways.


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I will mention just a few. We dispatch experienced and highly competent troops to the theatres of combat. In these theatres we care for the sick, wounded and hungry. We also provide here in our Canadian communities a safe haven to many of these peoples displaced by the fighting.

In answer to the question of intervention, I do not believe that anything we do as humanitarians will make the difference.

This is the last question. Are we prepared as a country to watch Canadian soldiers die in this war without apparent end?

Our troops have been called peacekeepers and peacemakers. What an irony when there is no peace to keep or make. I recognize that our soldiers are providing necessary aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians, but they are also giving that same aid to the warring factions. In doing so, they are indirectly feeding the war. Our humanitarian role has been reduced to a bottomless intravenous bag sustaining a killing machine. Are we doing more harm than if we were not there at all?

It is absolutely unacceptable to me to see the loss of one Canadian soldier in this war. It is not that we are scared or uncommitted or that we do not care, but losing Canadian lives in a situation where no one can win is a position I cannot sanction.

I believe that the actions our government now takes can provide Canada with a masterful role as a moral leader and a defender of world peace.

[Translation]

In conclusion, I sincerely believe that our initiative will enable the Government of Canada to play a leading role and also to be a leader in the protection of world peace.

[English]

This requires a plan for peace that demands an international political will to end the war. We expect a diplomatic intervention and nothing less than an ultimatum to all of the aggressors to negotiate peace.

The events as they have unfolded in Bosnia focused our hearts and minds on one inescapable conclusion. I am of the opinion that we cannot stay there as conditions now exist. We have an opportunity to show leadership as we state our expectation for peace to be made. If it is not met then we must leave.

(1325)

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes): Mr. Speaker, it is with interest and emotion that I listened to what the hon. member had to say. I say emotion because I myself participated in a UN operation during four years, in the Congo, from 1961 to 1965, and I was lucky enough to get out of there in one piece.

I appreciate the concern shown by the hon. member who is wondering if our soldiers should risk their lives or not. From this issue arises another rather technical question for which I have no answer and on which I was hoping this debate might shed some light. Should we or should we not ask the UN to give our soldiers broader powers to defend themselves when they are attacked, should we or should we not give them the right to retaliate and even patrol certain areas, at the risk of alienating the people and leading them to misinterpret our role, since retaliation would of course be seen as an act of aggression?

If we decide to give our soldiers broader powers to defend themselves, we are putting their lives in danger since retaliation does involve some risks. But then, if we decide not to give them more leeway, we are also putting them at risk, since they will be left defenceless during an attack.

[English]

Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question that was asked. I would like to say just a couple of things. I am like him. I am not a technocrat. The question he asked was one he stated would be very difficult to answer.

I have to say how difficult it was given my background to write this speech. I came to this issue with my heart and my mind. The questions as I framed them were the ones that I felt comfortable I could provide a response to. I do believe that it is up to our diplomatic community to make a decision regarding the nature of the questions as you asked them.

Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre): Mr. Speaker, I have a comment more than a question to make to the hon. member.

She indicated we cannot stay there and that we must make peace and get out. In order for us to accomplish peace we have to invest more time in understanding the region and its peoples.

I attended the briefing yesterday and heard from our military people that they too are sometimes very confused as to who is doing what. There are conflicting stories continuously coming from the media. I am not sure what station it was but I followed a program on TV last night emphasizing how these people are being persecuted and that cleansing is taking place. I am very confused about who to believe, what to believe, what paper to read and so on.

There is no question that we all want peace, however, the member for Kamloops made a statement earlier that it is country against country and nation against nation and region against region and the Greeks against the Macedonians. I would like to make the point that when we get information it is a matter of presenting the facts as they are.


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What if we keep on referring to certain resolutions the United Nations has made in the past? It recognizes FYROM or the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. We should keep on referring to it as such as the name was approved by the United Nations and agreed upon by both parties. All we are doing here is adding fuel to the fire.

I read a sports column the other day about breaking down the groups in the various European soccer competitions that are to take place next year. The newspaper stated that Greece will be in this section and Macedonia will be in another section. I think we have to help ourselves by presenting the facts as they are unless they are consistently presented as FYROM or the former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia.

(1330 )

Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I feel honoured to rise and speak on this subject today for a number of reasons.

First, I think the fact that the Prime Minister has seen fit to encourage a debate of this nature so early in the 35th Parliament is I believe a tribute to our peacekeepers and the kind of operations that Canada has become expert in over a number of years.

Second, I would like to point out what a-

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I regret the intervention to the parliamentary secretary. I would ask for his indulgence and possibly that of the House. It has been my error or omission following the request from the Reform Party which had indicated earlier in this debate that it was splitting its questions into 10 and 5.

I hope that with your consent I might recognize the member for Nanaimo-Cowichan. I would ask the parliamentary secretary to please help me.

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, seeing as how I forgot to congratulate you on your appointment, I think I should pay you back by allowing the Reform Party to speak on this subject.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I thank the parliamentary secretary.

Mr. Bob Ringma (Nanaimo-Cowichan): Mr. Speaker, I did not jump up when you called the hon. member for Bonavista-Trinity-Conception out of turn because I have such esteem for the gentleman, having known him over so many years. I was quite attentive to what it was he was going to say and would have held my peace.

I will be very brief about the customary niceties of this maiden speech in order to save time for debate material on this subject of peacekeeping.

[Translation]

First of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Welland-St. Catharines-Thorold for being elected Speaker of this House and yourself for your appointment as acting speaker. As far as I was concerned, it was a small victory for democracy which we try to improve little by little.

[English]

I would also like to thank my wife, Paula, for 40 years of unflagging support for me and in particular for the last two years of support.

It is customary here to describe one's constituency. Let us just say that if one was to embellish all of the descriptions of constituencies heard so far in the House then that would describe Nanaimo-Cowichan. It cuts a swath of beauty from the tranquil Gulf Islands right across Vancouver Island to the wild and rugged west coast.

To my constituents in Nanaimo-Cowichan, I thank them for the honour of representing them in Ottawa. I will try to help you understand what is happening in Ottawa if I understand it myself. However, I will certainly represent your interests in Ottawa and not Ottawa's interests to you.

This brings us to the issue of the day which is peacekeeping and more particularly the situation in the former Yugoslavia. What do my constituents think? I believe that the people of Nanaimo-Cowichan, in common with many other Canadians, think as follows. We are proud of the record of Canadian peacekeepers. We are very proud of the troops who are there doing that job at the moment, the Royal 22e Régiment de Valcartier.

However, Canada seems to be stumbling at the moment because of a lack of international leadership and political will.

(1335 )

We also appear to be short of armed forces personnel to properly meet all current obligations. Therefore, the government's proposed review of foreign affairs and defence policies is timely and welcomed. We must determine if our peacekeeping activities are in accordance with these policies or should these policies be changed.

My constituents see in the Bosnian situation the enmity of hundreds of years of religious and ethnic differences. There appears to be no way to end this hatred. At the same time, Canadians recognize that enmity of this sort is not confined to the Balkans. It is a world-wide problem which leads to atrocities and wars. The world community therefore must find better ways of dealing with it. The United Nations, NATO and the European Community are not perceived as being effective in dealing with the problem.

In response to the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs' statement this morning that he had been talking to his colleagues in France and Britain, it would be helpful to this House for us to know in


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what detail. I am really curious to know what France and Britain are doing and what are their thoughts. What are the thoughts of all of the European Community vis-a-vis this terrible situation in the old Yugoslavia?

My constituents have images of Canadian soldiers trying hard to help and sometimes being humiliated in the process. This is very much resented, to the point where some say: ``Let us get our personnel out of there''. Balancing this is the view that our troops do prevent many atrocities in their own sector and enable humanitarian aid to be given. Some therefore say that we must stay for humanitarian reasons alone. These views of my constituents seem to be in consonance with the views of other Canadians.

There are factors other than my constituents' views to be considered with regard to Bosnia. With regard to Bosnia, as opposed to Croatia where at least there is a peace accord to keep, take this into consideration. Without a change of attitude on the part of the combatants, there appears to be no solution. If the status quo is maintained peacekeepers could be there indefinitely.

The next point is that the withdrawal of peacekeepers leads to the spectre of genocide and more atrocities. Complete withdrawal leads to the spectre of war as some of the surrounding countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Greece, Turkey and the former Russian states move in to help their particular friends.

Against this background we must identify our role as parliamentarians. First, we must listen to our constituents. Second, we must with haste, re-examine our foreign affairs and defence policies which the government has stated it will do. Third, we must keep the Canadian public informed. Fourth, as parliamentarians, we must show leadership in finding a solution.

It seems to me that leadership is the key if there is any solution to be found. We in this Chamber must take the lead and we as a country must take the lead.

(1340 )

Therefore if the status quo is unacceptable, we must change it. The protagonists in Bosnia must be forced to the negotiating table and kept there until they come up with a peace plan that others can supervise. Canada alone cannot make this happen, but surely the world community can.

Therefore it seems to me that Canada must use its credibility and its stature as a peacekeeper to provide the necessary leadership. We must first talk with the United States, Britain and France and then with NATO, the NATO associates which are coming on line, and the United Nations. We must insist that collectively we come up with a plan that will force the creation of a peace plan by the combatants. If we cannot achieve this, Canada should then think of withdrawing.

I will conclude by underlining the earlier words of my colleague, the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands, that more peace talks are scheduled in Geneva on February 10.

Canada must take the lead by hosting a conference here in Ottawa before that date. Participants should include all countries with forces now in the former Yugoslavia. This conference which we propose must of itself or through the United Nations issue a clear ultimatum to the belligerents that either they come up with an enforceable peace plan or they accept the withdrawal of UN forces. If the conference cannot agree to this and show concrete progress toward peace in Bosnia, Canada should announce its intention to withdraw at the end of its current commitment in April.

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, it is the first time I have stood up since the election and I want to congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair. Having known you for a long time I know you will do your very best in looking after the interests of members of this place from all political persuasions, including the independents I might add.

The member opposite just gave a very good overview of his views about Canada's role vis-à-vis peacekeeping and the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia, the sovereign state of Bosnia.

I too have many constituents who share a view on this, coming from the riding of Dartmouth which has a very large number of individuals who are employed by the Department of National Defence. We have Shearwater there. Many individuals who work in the Canadian navy reside in my area. I can certainly say that the issue of Canada's role as a peacekeeper is first and foremost in their minds.

I have a brother who has just come back from perhaps a less strenuous tour of duty, but nevertheless one which was fraught with some danger. He was in Cambodia as a member of the UN force that was there during the Cambodian elections.

In commenting on the remarks of my hon. colleague, it is fairly clear that the Canadian public is very supportive of Canada's historic and leading role as the world's peacekeeper. Even in times of great fiscal difficulty when we are trying to figure out how we are going to pay for the essential services Canadians have come to expect, the Canadian public generally is extremely supportive of the efforts the men and women in uniform from the Canadian Armed Forces have played abroad.

However the Bosnian situation is quite different from what we have been used to in the past. Out of all of the peacekeeping missions we have been on, this is one where no one could question whether or not there was a peace to keep. Clearly there is no peace to keep. Of the warring factions, the most aggressive faction which did not accept the referendum on Bosnia, the Serbian faction, has clearly indicated through its actions over the last year that as much as it may like to pay lip service to the fact that the United Nations may be trying to do something to


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bring about peace it has shown time and time again that it is not prepared to deal with the forces there in a fair manner.

The people in my area have been seized with this issue just as they have in the hon. member's riding. The people in my area as much as they want to see Canada continue to play its role feel very strongly that the lack of substance and the lack of follow-up in many of the threats that were made in resolutions by the United Nations have clearly put our peacekeepers at a disadvantage. Every time that the United Nations gets up and tells one or all of the warring sides to: ``Do this or else'', the or else has never come.

(1345 )

I would just conclude my very brief comments on the hon. member's remarks by indicating that the people in Dartmouth as well are very concerned. They support the proud tradition of Canadian peacekeeping but in this particular instance they are asking the Government of Canada to take a lead role to ensure that there is a peace made before our people are asked to keep a peace that simply does not exist.

Mr. Ringma: Mr. Speaker, since the hon. member is obviously in accord with my remarks, as apparently are our constituents, there really is no reply to be made.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): We have two minutes remaining on questions and comments. Hopefully we can share that two minutes evenly between the question and the answer.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, I will try to be brief.

I want to express my concern about the position that has been taken by Reform Party members, including the member for Calgary Southeast, who said: ``I do not believe anything we do as Canadian soldiers will make a difference''. We are making a difference in a very important way in that area in getting humanitarian aid through and certainly in helping to save lives.

My question is very straight forward. Instead of Canadian troops and the United Nations deciding to leave that troubled area of Bosnia and Croatia because of the failure to date of peace plans primarily because of Bosnian-Serb intransigence, would he and his colleagues be prepared to consider another alternative? That alternative is that the United Nations finally get serious and give the troops on the ground the power they need and have been asking for through their commanding officers to enforce a peace and to stop the cycle of bloodshed and destruction.

Would he agree to a change in the rules of engagement of the United Nations and finally strengthening that position so that no longer will we have the cycle of bloodshed and destruction that we see at the very least in the six protected areas of Bosnia?

Mr. Ringma: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway.

I would agree to a discussion at least in the United Nations with respect to our troops and a revision of the rules to ensure that they are properly protective of our troops.

The thing that I believe the hon. member is missing is that for us to enforce a peace in Bosnia when there is no peace agreement there has the implication of bringing in tens of thousands of troops to have this happen. This is the point that I and some others have been making. We must first bring the warring factions in Bosnia-not in the other part of Croatia, but in Bosnia-to the table and insist that they come up with a plan. There has to be a plan before they can so-call, keep the peace.

Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, my preliminary remarks stand.

I want to congratulate you and say that I am delighted to stand and speak on this subject. It is a tribute to our men and women in uniform involved in peacekeeping operations, indeed to the Canadian military and to the institution of this House where members are allowed to speak without fear of being castigated by their whips and party officials.

With this kind of debate and the number of speakers we have heard this morning I have found the level of the debate to be very enlightening, non-partisan and what the Canadian public is looking forward to seeing, not just in the early days of this Parliament but as the 35th Parliament of Canada continues to operate.

I have had to change what initially was my approach because of the time. I will try to finish by two o'clock when Question Period starts although I may have to spill over.

What I want to do very briefly is look at why Canada has become so expert in peacekeeping. Why has it become the acceptable operation? We can look at some of the things that have changed that. Perhaps we can look at the future of these kinds of peacekeeping operations and then suggest some ground rules that may need to be looked at because we are now involved in a different kind of operation.

(1350)

If we go back to the early beginnings of peacekeeping, I guess it really started during the cold war when most UN operations were paralysed except for peacekeeping in areas of the world that were either of little importance to the superpowers or the area of operation could be dangerous to the superpowers' interest.


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I believe our first substantive peacekeeping operation took place in response to a United Nations request for officer observers in Kashmir that is strategically located between India and Pakistan. Canada agreed after some negotiation to send four officer observers from the army in 1949. The following year this was increased to eight officer observers and in fact was changed from the militia to the regular army. It is my understanding that this was the beginnings of peacekeeping.

That was in the late 1940s and we are still involved. We are still engaged in that operation. Shortly after, our participation in the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, UNTSO, took place in the Middle East. We are still there.

In 1954 Canada became involved in the International Control Commission in Indo-China. Although we were there for a different reason we are still there.

In 1956 Canada's military peacekeeping operation increased tremendously and dramatically when the Suez crisis erupted. The involvement of a Canadian who was then the external affairs minister, the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson, is well known. We stayed there until our peacekeepers were kicked out by Mr. Nasser in 1967.

Our government contributed a battalion to Cyprus in 1964. It was supposed to last for six months. It has lasted for 30 years. As the hon. Minister of National Defence mentioned we still have peacekeepers in Cyprus. It is not the battalion that we had before, but we still have 10 members of the Canadian forces in Cyprus.

What am I saying? I am saying that in our involvement in peacekeeping operations, 44 since the first one, we have regrettably lost, not including Korea, 98 young Canadians of the 100,000 young men and women in uniform. That is our peacekeeping record. If we examine the operations we have to ask how Canada established this reputation. Was it because our population was benign? Was it because of the nature of our military forces? Was it because we had an extraordinary interest in world events? Was it because we were a middle power?

I do not think there is a simple answer but we need to look at some of the operations individually. We were involved in Cyprus because we were a NATO power interposed between two NATO countries. We were involved, I would suggest, in the International Control Commission in the mid-1950s because we were a western democracy.

We were involved in the Middle East operations, I suppose primarily because in both world wars we established a kind of professionalism and a general purpose force that was deployable, had good logistics, a good reputation and the ability to do it. As each of these 44 operations continued the success of one fuelled the other. Whenever a troubled part of the world lent itself to peacekeeping who was going to be called? Canada.

While the operations that took place until a few years ago were not standard in the sense of being the same in each operation, they were more or less, with the possible exception of the Belgian Congo to which reference has already been made and Korea, peacekeeping operations in the sense that they were policing. They became acceptable to Canadians because we as a military force and as a country made a change. We made a difference. We helped to keep the world a better place in which to live. Our military people became expert in it and it became acceptable, with minor exception, to all political parties.

(1355)

A few years ago at the end of the cold war, the demise of the Berlin wall and the invasion of a foreign country attempting to take over the sovereignty of another country-and I refer now to the gulf war-the ground rules changed. After some discussion in the House and with some division of Canadian opinion we in Canada became involved in the gulf war.

After the gulf war I would suggest the situation changed. To begin with, the definition of peacekeeping did not stop at policing. It involved-and I am using simple terms-peacemaking which involved enforcement. It involved humanitarian aid which called up support in the feeding of people and the protection of lives. It involved other kinds of operations like for example in Cambodia with helping to run the country until a government was put in place.

Other things happened as well. The power of the United Nations changed in what was referred to as a new world order. It is what many of us in the House today have made oblique reference to as perhaps a world disorder.

Has that made a difference to the intensity and the number of operations in which we are going to be involved? I suggest it has. It is my thesis that we will see more requirements for peacekeeping in its general sense. We will see more in the intensity and more in the requirements to get other countries including Canada involved in the sovereign affairs of other countries.

I say that because in the 179 countries in the world today there are 4,000 languages. Some 60 of these countries have populations of one million or less and 40 of them have populations of less than 200,000. More important, and I think this is germane to the argument, less than 10 per cent of these countries have a homogeneous ethnic population and less than 5 per cent have an ethnic group that accounts for more than 75 per cent of the population. What we are seeing is an explosion of nations downward, to the point where they are really comprising the smallest ethnic and religious groups.

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If we add to that the low levels of tolerance that seem to be dominant in the world today, poorer tolerance for religious, social and ethnic differences, we are going to see more requirements for peacekeepers.

What should our response be in Canada? Our response has to be relative to what it is we can do. What can we do? I want to suggest at the outset to the House and to anybody listening to this presentation that whether we stay, participate, do not participate or withdraw, it will never be related to the will of the Canadian forces in the sense that they will do the job they have been asked to do.

Our history recalls Canadian participation in an operation that heretofore had been impossible to achieve. I refer members of the House to Vimy Ridge. As a Newfoundlander I recall the heroic action of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 1916 when practically every member of that battalion was wiped out in a few hours. Let us make no mistake about it. It will not be a withdrawal because we do not want to stay.

However we have to look at some of the ground rules. Has the United Nations changed in its ability to control what is happening in the leadership of these operations, in the command and control of these operations? Have the mandates been clear? I recall a speech many of us would recall made in the Congress by General MacArthur when he returned from Korea. I remember his last resounding message was: ``Of the corps, of the corps, of the corps''.

I remember a presentation when I was a young officer being made by perhaps the father of peacekeeping, General E. L. M. Burns who commanded the Middle East involvement in our first real sizeable contribution to peacekeeping. If he had a refrain it was: where is the mandate, where is the mandate, where is the mandate? Without a mandate we can do nothing. Without an effective United Nations what we do may not be the right thing. It may not be done properly. It may not be timely. Where we go depends on the support we have, not just in Canada but in the world at large.

In my concluding remarks I would say that before we become involved as a country in peacekeeping operations we must check to see what is our mandate. What is the ability of the United Nations to command and control these particular operations? We can look at our requirements because of the kind of country we are. Because of our makeup it is in our interests to be involved in any activity that makes the world a more stable place to live.

It is also incumbent upon us to ensure that the things we do will not jeopardize the resources of our country, to say not the least of putting our young men and women in uniform in harm's way more so than we should be expected to do as a sovereign country.

The Speaker: It being two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to statements by members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

_____________________________________________


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STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[English]

HOME BUYERS PLAN

Mr. Paul Steckle (Huron-Bruce): Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks I have received a number of calls and letters of support of the extension of the home buyers plan which is due to expire on March 2 of this year.

In a recent letter on this subject a local real estate company referred to a survey by the Canadian Real Estate Association. This survey found that 86 per cent of first-time home buyers said the plan was instrumental in their decision to buy a home. Furthermore, 80 per cent of respondents said it was imperative to repay their first RSP loans and 41 per cent said they would repay it faster than the program required. According to the letter the CMHC found that a full 26 per cent of 1992 housing sales involved the use of this plan.

I am in full support of the home buyers plan and urge the finance minister not only to extend the program but to make appropriate changes to the law so that this type of plan is a permanent option to home buyers.

At this time of fiscal restraint we should be looking at exactly this sort of initiative, one that does not cost the government or the taxpayers any money.

* * *

[Translation]

THE QUEBEC SEPHARAD COMMUNITY

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr. Speaker, I attended last Sunday the convention of the Quebec Sepharad Community. I noted that this community is very active not only within the Quebec Jewish Community as a whole but also in Quebec society itself.

The Sepharad people are an example of community involvement for all Quebecers. Besides their strong solidarity as a group, they make ceaseless efforts to play a role in today's Quebec.

The exchanges and debates which took place during this convention allowed for a better knowledge, thus a better understanding of the various political tendencies in Quebec.

Such opportunities can only enrich democracy. I would like to thank and congratulate the Quebec Sepharad Community for holding such events.


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[English]

ROBERT BURNS

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, I rise today, on January 25, to recognize the anniversary of the birth of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who was born on this day in 1759.

Scottish people around the world rise today to toast his immortal memory. He was but a poor and lowly farmer but recognition of his greatness is seen in the words of the song written in his honour more than 100 years after his death:

Let kings and courtiers rise and fall, this world has many more,
But brightly shines above them all the star of Robbie Burns.

* * *

[Translation]

manpower TRAINING

Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier): Mr. Speaker, occupational training is one of the best means to reduce unemployment, to retrain older workers and even to eliminate poverty. By refusing to allow its French minority to fully participate in the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board, the Ontario government is denying them access to that training. Because of that, thousands of Franco-Ontarians are deprived of training.

(1405)

When renegotiating the federal-provincial agreement on education next March, the federal government should take into account the serious deficiencies of the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board and their impact on the assimilation of francophones and require the Ontario government to create a manpower training and adjustment board effectively serving all Canadians living in Ontario.

* * *

[English]

REGISTERED RETIREMENT SAVINGS PLAN

Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean): Mr. Speaker, RRSPs provide self-financed pensions for Canadians who do not benefit from government or company sponsored plans.

I would like to quote a Nepean resident, Mr. Denis Deschenes, who states:

I am 42 years old and I do not enjoy the benefits of a registered pension plan sponsored by an employer. My future retirement income depends solely on my contributions to a personal and spousal RRSP; thereby ensuring that my wife and I will not have to rely on government during retirement years.
That our government would now consider altering this to generate more revenue today is disastrous and self-defeating.
I recognize that our country is facing difficult financial times. But, I resent having penalties imposed on my hard work and financial planning. The RRSP is the only pension vehicle my wife and I have.
If the government wishes to restrict those of us who depend solely on an RRSP as a source of future income, then I strongly suggest that it apply this restriction fairly to all.

* * *

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford): Mr. Speaker, I think I have my remarks timed a little more precisely today so that I can take this opportunity to wish you well in your serious and important duties in this Chamber after your election. I trust that you and the others appointed to help you will have enough judgment, patience, sensitivity and good humour to put up with 200 fledgling MPs. We will do our best.

I want to talk briefly on a topic of importance to all Canadians: sustainable development. In our government's red book ``Creating Opportunity'', sustainable development involves the integration of economic and environmental goals.

The previous Conservative government acted as if environmental concerns and job creation were diametrically opposed concepts. I disagree completely. It is my belief that there are many economic benefits, particularly future benefits, from tying job creation and technological innovation to environmental protection and concerns. In fact all our decisions in the House should recognize-

The Speaker: The hon. member in using such flattering words used up a little bit of his time, but we will catch him next time down the road.

* * *

[Translation]

HIGH-SPEED TRAIN

Mr. René Laurin (Joliette): Mr. Speaker, after the contract for the construction of military helicopters was cancelled, the Bloc Quebecois repeatedly insisted that the money saved be reinvested in the development of a high-speed train in the Quebec-Windsor corridor.

In 1991, the Ontario-Quebec Rapid Train Task Force recognized the significance of that project and its economic impact. The task force held extensive consultations during which the public pointed out the need to make the cities along that corridor more efficient if they are to succeed in a competitive market.

The project would create 120,000 direct jobs, plus hundreds of highly specialized and permanent jobs resulting from technology transfers and industrial agreements.


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Despite all these benefits, the Prime Minister told the press that the introduction of a high-speed train was not a priority.

We are concerned about the lack of interest shown by the government in an innovative project that would create jobs, promote the use of leading-edge technologies and stimulate research and development in Canada and Quebec.

* * *

[English]

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Mr. Werner Schmidt (Okanagan Centre): Mr. Speaker, today while reading the Globe and Mail I was struck most forcibly by the headline: ``Planned hangover merits sick pay''.

In Ontario it was recently ruled that it is acceptable, or at least tolerable, for someone to receive benefits from intentionally getting drunk.

An employee of the Metro Housing Authority decided on a Friday that he would require a sick day on Monday because of the anticipated effects of excessive alcohol consumption over the weekend.

I rise before this House because I am sure this case was not an isolated incident. How often does this type of abuse occur? How long must hard working Canadians endure the fiscal reverberations of social irresponsibility and whimsical behaviour?

(1410)

On behalf of outraged Canadians, this abuse must not be tolerated at any level. Honest and hard working individuals should not be the victims of other self-indulgent behaviour.

* * *

PAY EQUITY

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, in the previous Parliament the issue of regional rates of pay within the federal public service was the subject of two private members' motions that I placed before the House. Indeed the existence and unfairness of regional rates of pays was the primary cause of the national ships crews strike in 1989. It continues to be an irritant within the federal public service.

Thousands of federal employees who work in Atlantic Canada doing the same jobs as their counterparts in central and western Canada get paid less, and in some cases up to 30 per cent less, simply because of the region in which they have chosen to live.

Last Thursday in the House the President of the Treasury Board stated:

One of the programs this government is most committed to is the matter of pay equity.
This is a pay equity issue. I urge the President of the Treasury Board to take immediate steps to eliminate this abhorrent, discriminatory practice of regional rates of pay.

* * *

YUGOSLAVIA

Mrs. Jane Stewart (Brant): Mr. Speaker, the following poem was read by Corporal Stewart Lowe on New Years Day in my riding. It was written by his friend, Corporal Ron Hefferman, in honour of their chums who were killed in the former Yugoslavia.

Today it seems appropriate to share it with all members of this House:

Remember me
We bid farewell to family and friends
In hopes that someday we can live as brothers.
I pray for the day that wars will end
And my fate will be spared to others,
It was the war to end all wars,
That was what they said,
But after seventy six long years,
Canada still counts her dead.
I was a true Canadian, I wish you could see,
All I ask is-Remember Me.
In war I fought and died, I thought that it would cease;
Now under the blue beret I die for world peace like
Michael, Ralph, John Zerpapolski
Plus the thousands of soldiers before
On November 11 I died for Peace not war.
I was a true Canadian, I wish you could see-All I ask
is
Remember Me.

* * *

NATIONAL BURN AWARENESS WEEK

Mr. Roger Gallaway (Sarnia-Lambton): Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to urge all members of the House of Commons and indeed all Canadians to recognize and lend their support to National Burn Awareness Week from February 6 to February 12.

Burn injuries are a leading cause of accidental deaths in Canada with children, the elderly and disabled Canadians being at highest risk. Most burn injuries and deaths can be prevented by increased public awareness and education.

Burn prevention through education means greater use of smoke detectors, increased home escape planning and teaching children not to hide from fire. Prevention through education will result in many lives being saved and great reductions in suffering.


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Finally I wish to thank the members of the Shrine of North America as well as the Canadian Fire Association for their hard work and dedication to supporting and promoting National Burn Awareness Week.

* * *

[Translation]

DEMOCRACY IN HAITI

Mr. Roger Pomerleau (Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you, on behalf of all Canadians and Quebecers, for having welcomed President Aristide in this House.

There are many long-standing ties between our two communities and it is only natural that many Haitians chose to live with us.

I am sure I speak for all Canadians and Quebecers when I express the hope that human rights and democracy will be restored in Haiti as soon as possible and that President Aristide will go back to govern that country as its sole democratically legitimate leader.

* * *

[English]

PEACEKEEPING

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East): Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the new Reform tradition of constructive comments in the House, I would like to compliment the Liberal government for scheduling today's debate where members are free to express their own opinions and hopefully the opinions of their constituents.

I am optimistic this may set a precedent of the government listening to the people of Canada before bringing forward government action in future crafting of legislation. Because noisy, attention seeking, special interest groups frequently appear to set government agenda, it would be most helpful if the government continues this policy of listening to members of the House and ordinary citizens of Canada.

Reform MPs will be watching closely to see what action the government takes with respect to Canada's peacekeeping role, the future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations, and whether that action parallels the overriding consensus of members of the House today.

* * *

HOCKEY

Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston): Mr. Speaker, hockey fans across Canada were disappointed when the NHL Board of Governors effectively prevented Toronto Maple Leaf star, Glenn Anderson, from playing for Canada's Olympic hockey team next month. A motion by Maple Leaf President Cliff Fletcher at the Board of Governors meeting which would have allowed Anderson to play for Canada was not even considered.

(1415)

The NHL has come up with some rather lame excuses considering the fact that the NHL has allowed its players to play in the Olympics in the past.

It is not right that NHL team owners, a majority of whom are American, should dictate who should play on our Olympic hockey team. Canada should be permitted to showcase its best athletes on the world stage. To their credit, Mr. Anderson and the NHL Players Association are not prepared to let the matter die. It is time for Canadian hockey fans to tell the NHL what they think about keeping Anderson off our Olympic team.

I call on the minister responsible for fitness and amateur sport to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at the earliest possible opportunity, with a view to allowing Mr. Anderson to play on our Olympic team.

* * *

ONTARIO COALITION OF SENIOR CITIZENS ORGANIZATIONS

Ms. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the work of the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens Organizations.

The coalition of 56 organizations across Ontario with 460,000 members has succeeded in compiling a brief with recommendations which was distributed to all federal Members of Parliament. The brief is very well written and their concerns are succinctly articulated. I know this will contribute greatly to the ongoing discussion concerning our aging population.

I wish the coalition well in its endeavours and I present this brief.

* * *

FOREST INDUSTRY

Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John): Mr. Speaker, the aerial spray program to control the spruce budworm has been actively ongoing in New Brunswick for more than 30 years. This program has been successful in minimizing the damage in tree mortality caused by the spruce budworm and has been instrumental in ensuring the long-term viability and vigour of the New Brunswick forest industry.

The future health of New Brunswick's forest resource and its forest industry depends upon adequate protection against the spruce budworm. If the registration of fenitrothion were to be cancelled, our New Brunswick forests would be at serious risk if

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we are forced to rely on B.t. alone. At present we have only one proven reliable tool and that is fenitrothion. B.t. is still in its experimental stage from an operational point of view.

The forestry in New Brunswick is the most important industry we have.

_____________________________________________


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ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Translation]

CIGARETTE SMUGGLING

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.

Yesterday in Saint-Eustache something very serious happened, something that should disturb any responsible government. More than 1,000 people deliberately and openly defied the law.

The Prime Minister knows perfectly well why otherwise honest citizens went to this extreme. These people are angry about the continuing failure of the federal government and the RCMP to stop cigarette smuggling. And now, this movement may spread to the Sherbrooke area tomorrow. In other words, the government is facing an organized movement of civil disobedience.

My question: Has the Prime Minister forgotten that his first duty is to enforce the rule of law?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, we have asked the RCMP to enforce the law and the necessary action will be taken. Charges will be laid against those who disobey the law.

Meanwhile, I have had a chance to discuss with several provincial premiers, including the Premier of Quebec, the Premier of Ontario, and the Premiers of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the possibility of taking a common stand and dealing with a situation that I deplore as much as the Leader of the Opposition does. We hope to have an agreement within the next few days. If not, we will act unilaterally, and I hope we can count on the support of the Opposition.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, this is an attempt to hide behind a smoke screen of possible discussions and hypothetical agreements with the provinces, but meanwhile, the government has the authority and the responsibility to take the necessary action.

I will ask the Prime Minister a very simple question which everyone in this country would like to ask. Since the identity and actions of the smugglers have been public knowledge for a long time, why do the federal government and the RCMP not take immediate action to make them stop?

(1420)

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I am informed that the police have made a number of arrests in the past few weeks. If any members of this House have the names of some of the smugglers, I hope they will act as responsible citizens and advise the police so that they can take the necessary action. If the hon. member knows any smugglers, it is his duty to give their names to the police.

Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I imagine the Prime Minister has a tv monitor in his office. If he looks at the monitor, he will see who is responsible. Earlier, he passed the buck to the provincial governments and now he is passing the buck to the members of the opposition. He is the leader of the government, he is Prime Minister and he should do something about this.

I would like to ask how he can expect people to trust him to enforce the law, when an average citizen in Jonquière, after selling illegal cigarettes for an hour, is arrested while professional smugglers have been able to conduct their activities on a regular basis without any interference at all. The question is this; is there a double standard in the justice system in this country?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General. The professional cigarette smugglers who have been active for many months are doing great harm to convenience store owners and to the public treasury. The government's inaction is only worsening the situation, and the demonstration in Saint-Eustache is damning proof.

My question is as follows. The Solicitor General told us yesterday that he had not intervened directly before to collect sufficient evidence. Therefore I ask him today whether he has evidence not only for Saint-Eustache but also for Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake?

Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, evidence is a matter for the RCMP to decide; it is not for the Solicitor General to make such operational decisions. But I wish to inform the House that over the past year, the RCMP arrested 3,500 people and also seized tens of millions of dollars of contraband tobacco, and the RCMP will continue to enforce the law throughout our country.

Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): All well and good, Mr. Speaker. I now ask the Solicitor General whether the RCMP has given him evidence that smugglers have been acting for months in full view and with the full knowledge of everyone in Akwesasne, Kahnawake and Kanesatake? If he has such evidence, why does he not act?


297

Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, yes, so far the RCMP has given priority to fighting the big criminal rings that smuggle tobacco. As I just said, it is up to the RCMP to give the Crown prosecutor evidence and if the evidence is suitable, the people involved will be charged.

* * *

[English]

TAXATION

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I have a question today for the Minister of Natural Resources, whom I would like to congratulate on her appointment. And I do not have to raise my voice to make my point.

The Minister of Finance and others have implied that the government has a revenue problem rather than a spending problem. These insinuations have led to concerns especially in Alberta that the government is considering the institution of a carbon tax to be paid by the producers and users of fossil fuels.

As the Minister of Natural Resources and as the member for Edmonton Northwest, will the minister make strong representations to the finance minister pointing out the discriminatory aspects of such a tax and its potentially negative impacts on development and jobs in the petroleum sector?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, let me say first of all to the hon. member, I thank you for your kind words of congratulations.

In relation to his specific question let me say that I believe it to be purely speculative. As the hon. member is aware the Minister of Finance has embarked on an unprecedented consultative process. He is in Toronto today. He will be in Calgary on the weekend. I know that you and members of your caucus have been invited to participate in that process.

(1425 )

I look forward to having you and others make their views known in relation to the carbon tax on Saturday.

The Speaker: I know the minister meant to address herself to the Chair throughout.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I did the same thing with my first questions.

I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Natural Resources. The same speculations about the government having a revenue problem rather than a spending problem have also led to another concern. That is that the government is considering repealing the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act which permits income taxes paid by investor owned utilities to be rebated to their customers so that they are put on the same footing as the customers of government owned utilities that pay no such taxes.

Will the Minister of Natural Resources, the hon. member for Edmonton Northwest, make strong representations to the finance minister concerning the discriminatory aspects of any such repeal and the negative consequences of such an action, particularly on energy users, in her home province?

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member from Calgary that I know this is a very important issue.

I have received representations as recently as yesterday in relation to this particular tax measure. I have already raised it with my colleagues in the Department of Finance. I know my comments will be taken into account as part of the ongoing consultative process.

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I have one further supplementary for the minister. This is a terrible question for a new minister.

If the federal budget, notwithstanding the minister's strong representations, were to contain a carbon tax or the repeal of the Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act, would the minister be willing to resign?

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Natural Resources): Mr. Speaker, let me say that I view the hon. member's question as purely hypothetical.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

* * *

[Translation]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. Minister of Defense quickly rose to answer a question I had asked the Prime Minister.

He said and I quote: ``I should say that la Sûreté du Québec is wondering why a national defence beacon went off in that area when it obviously appears there is no plane missing. That is a question that is under investigation by la Sûreté du Québec.''

My question is for the minister of defence: why did he state in this House that the matter was under investigation by the Sûreté du Québec when on CBC news at noon an official spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec formally denied that such was the case?

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, to confirm the answer I gave yesterday, a search and rescue helicopter landed near Oka-Kanesatake in response to a distress call from an emergency beacon.


298

A small group assembled near the helicopter and one individual approached the crew to inform them that the helicopter was being shot at. Those comments were informative and not threatening.

[English]

After that, our forces, having determined that there did not appear to be a plane downed in the area, decided to leave. They did not want to provoke any further incidents given the sensitivity of the region.

With respect to la Sûreté du Québec the information I had when I came into the House yesterday was that la Sûreté du Québec as well as my own officials were investigating this matter. Since the hon. member has spoken, I certainly will go back and find out the state of the investigation if there is one being done by la Sûreté du Québec. Certainly my officials are looking into the matter.

If I have further information, I will bring it to the attention of the House.

(1430)

[Translation]

Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question is to the Prime Minister. I would like him to tell us why his government, himself included, is trying to conceal the seriousness of what happened in Kanesatake.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): We are not trying to conceal anything, Mr. Speaker. A call was received and, as usual in such a situation, the Canadian forces sent a helicopter to see whether or not a plane had crashed in this part of the Canadian territory. They found no sign of an accident and returned to their base. They performed their duty and nothing more.

It was their duty to be there. If some were unhappy about seeing a Canadian forces helicopter on the reserve, they must realize that the whole of the Canadian territory comes under the jurisdiction of the Canadian forces, whether it be Oka or somewhere else in Canada.

* * *

[English]

TRADE

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Trade. It concerns the upcoming bilateral trade negotiations with the United States.

There appears to be a major disagreement as to which set of trade rules, GATT or NAFTA, will take precedence. The minister has assured Canadians that his legal advisers are confident that GATT rules will supersede those of NAFTA.

Can the minister produce for this House and especially for thousands of Canadian agriculture producers a copy of this legal opinion?

Hon. Roy MacLaren (Minister for International Trade): Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to send the hon. member that opinion.

Mr. Charlie Penson (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for that co-operation.

My supplemental question is that it is unlikely this situation will be resolved in court but rather through a political negotiation. Can the minister give his assurance that Canadian durum wheat producers will not be abandoned in these negotiations?

Hon. Roy MacLaren (Minister for International Trade): Our intention, Mr. Speaker, throughout our discussions with the United States which have been conducted in part by my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, has been to protect the interests of Canadian grain farmers.

* * *

[Translation]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, some people from Kanesatake said they threatened a Canadian army helicopter and scared off the soldiers, thus aborting a rescue mission, and the Prime Minister says nothing happened.

Could the Prime Minister tell me whether he thinks it is normal that the Canadian army is unable to carry out rescue missions safely, no matter where they happen to be on Canadian soil?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I said that when there is a distress call anywhere in Canada and the army has to respond with a rescue operation, it is doing its duty. That is exactly what the army did yesterday. It was doing its duty, as it always does, under all circumstances and in all parts of Canada, including all Indian reserves in this country.

Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, as my supplementary, aside from the fact there was no trace of bullets on the helicopter, does the Prime Minister not feel that shooting at an army helicopter to the extent that members of the military felt their lives were in danger constitutes a serious incident that infringes on Canada's sovereignty on its own territory?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, there can be no infringement of Canada's sovereignty when Canadians are on Canadian soil. There is no evidence whatsoev-


299

er that shots were fired. The army did its duty. I say it did the right thing. It had the right to go there and if another distress call is received under similar circumstances, it will go back. No one will be able to stop the army from doing its job, as prescribed under Canadian law.

* * *

[English]

ETHICS

Mrs. Sharon Hayes (Port Moody-Coquitlam): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

As the Prime Minister has acknowledged, Canadians are demanding that integrity be restored to governments. In the Speech from the Throne the government took a step in that direction by promising to appoint an ethics counsellor.

In light of the issue raised in this place yesterday regarding an hon. member, does the Prime Minister agree that it is even more urgent that an ethics counsellor be appointed?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, it is part of the government program. One will be appointed when the legislation is passed, if legislation is needed to achieve that goal.

(1435 )

Mrs. Sharon Hayes (Port Moody-Coquitlam): Will the Prime Minister please share with the House the steps he is taking to ensure that that ethics counsellor will be free to act on his or her own judgment and authority, independent of political manipulation?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): When somebody is sworn in to do his job in this government, he does his job. That is it.

* * *

[Translation]

NATIONAL DEFENCE

Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker, as regards the Kanesatake incident, the Prime Minister says all those involved did what they had to do and the minister of defence says they left without following up on the situation. The nature of the distress signal that caused the incidents of last Friday at Kanesatake remains a mystery.

My question is for the minister of defence. Can he tell the House if he received any further information on the nature and origin of that signal?

[English]

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I believe I answered that question a little earlier. We are looking into the matter to find out with this DND frequency why there was this signal at the reserve at the time. As soon as I have information, I will make it available.

[Translation]

Mr. Gaston Leroux (Richmond-Wolfe): Mr. Speaker, my second question is this: was the minister informed of the fact that the signal could have come from a large building located on Kanesatake territory?

[English]

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman and his colleagues are trying to inflame what appears to have been a routine operation. We want to find out why that particular signal went off in that particular area, but other than that I do not think we should read too much more into it.

* * *

INFORMATION HIGHWAY

Mr. Harold Culbert (Carleton-Charlotte): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for industry, science and technology.

Is it his department's intention to work with the provinces to develop a Canadian information highway? Premier McKenna is committed to developing in New Brunswick an electronic information highway. I believe there is a similar need for a Canadian information highway for all of Canada.

Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry): I would like to thank the hon. member for the question. He will know that the Speech from the Throne contained a reference to developing a Canadian strategy for an information highway. We think this is a very important initiative, to begin to provide a mechanism for the exchange of information of a technical and scientific as well as consumer-based interest across the country in a speedy way.

There is interest at the government level and in the provinces. I have spoken with Premier McKenna about it. He has taken initiatives in the past week to appoint a minister of state responsible for this. There has also been a great deal of interest and initiative taken in the private sector.

[Translation]

Just yesterday they announced a project for the implementation of an information highway in the Chicoutimi region.

* * *

[English]

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose): My question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The Auditor General reports the minister and his wife flew to Boston and New Orleans aboard a government-owned Challenger. The Auditor General says the cost of this trip was


300

$172,920 versus $5,356 had the minister and his wife travelled by commercial airline.

My question to the minister is this: is it departmental policy that the minister use taxpayer-owned aircraft at vast expense when commercial flights are available?

Hon. Marcel Massé (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal): Mr. Speaker, I was asked to give a conference at Harvard University on public service renewal on very short notice. I had events that were already prepared on Monday morning in my county. The only way to get there for 4.30 in the afternoon to give the speech was, in fact, to take the plane. I had to come back in the evening because there was a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.

I think in the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, the expenditure was fully justified.

(1440 )

Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose): Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question. Can we take from the minister's answer that he is promising business as usual or is he saying he will spend taxpayers' dollars with a little more restraint?

Hon. Marcel Massé (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister responsible for Public Service Renewal): Mr. Speaker, all I can promise is that in the future I will use taxpayers' money in order to be as efficient as possible in exactly the way it was demonstrated by that trip.

* * *

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

On my recent trip to the Canadian north I witnessed the deplorable living conditions of the Inuit. In particular, the misery of the inhabitants of Davis Inlet in Labrador has been highlighted in recent months following the disclosure of the very high rate of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse among the young people in that community and the failure of the treatment administered.

Does the government intend to put an end to the disgraceful and inhumane treatment meted out to the inhabitants of Davis Inlet by moving the village, for example, and are these priority concerns for the minister?

Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean for his question and his concern.

It is a high priority. Two weeks ago we had officials with my personal staff and Justice in. We will be going back probably with an acceptable package in the early part of March which will probably involve health and justice.

I assure you it is my priority to get this done this month. I agree that we cannot have this happen in our country. These are our people and we cannot leave them out there.

The Speaker: I know it is a small thing but would hon. members always please address questions and answers to the Chair.

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean): Mr. Speaker, I would remind the minister that I am the hon. member for Saint-Jean, not Lac-Saint-Jean. It is very important; it is my other colleague here.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Bachand: I would like to ask the minister if his government is prepared to exert its influence with the Liberal Government of Newfoundland in order that positive steps might be taken to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants of Davis Inlet and in particular to help the desperate young people in that community.

Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development): Mr. Speaker, I met with the Premier of Newfoundland and with the Attorney General.

In the last week the Attorney General of Newfoundland has had two two-hour discussions with my executive assistant. There is a misconception that Newfoundland does not want to take care of the problem. I assure you that they do. They are as concerned as we are and we are working together to solve this as best we can. Ultimately it will be well into the next century before the problems of Davis Inlet are solved.

We will work together to the best of our ability to solve the problems.

* * *

KEMANO PROJECT

Mr. John Cummins (Delta): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Kemano completion project in British Columbia has raised considerable concern.

During the election campaign in a letter to the Cheslatta Band of Burns Lake the Prime Minister made a commitment that if


301

elected his government would participate in the ongoing B.C. Utilities Commission hearings. He would make available all information in federal possession relevant to the hearings, and furthermore the government would remove the gag order on current and former employees with information pertinent to the proceedings. Alcan itself has requested federal participation in the hearings.

Is the Prime Minister prepared to live up to his election commitment today?

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I congratulate him on his new responsibilities as a member of the Reform Party opposite.

The hon. member will note that a clear and consistent pattern has emerged and it is that this new government strives mightily always to ensure that the commitments and declarations of the Prime Minister of Canada are lived up to.

This matter is being considered Thursday by cabinet. We hope to be able to apprise the House of the results of our deliberations shortly thereafter.

(1445 )

Mr. John Cummins (Delta): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his answer.

In the same letter the Prime Minister also made a commitment ``to undertake an immediate study of all available options to ensure the maintenance of sustainable fisheries and a sustainable regional economy in the Nechako region and the well being of aboriginal peoples who are affected by the completion of the Kemano project''.

It is now three months since the election. When is the Prime Minister going to live up to his commitment for this immediate study?

Hon. Brian Tobin (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that the settlement agreement was signed in 1987 and that the current circumstance with respect to the terms and conditions attached to the Kemano completion project were negotiated by a previous administration.

It is reasonable that a new government on assuming office would want to review fully this very complex matter involving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of expenditure-$600 million on phase II, over $1 billion on phase I-and would want to fully undertake all of its responsibilities to explore this matter before proceeding.

I have thrown as broad a hint as I can without risking cabinet solidarity. Members will find that the government always strives mightily and consistently to ensure that the commitments given are kept in as full and as complete a manner as possible. Cabinet is now seized with this question.

* * *

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resource Development.

In the Auditor General's report released last week it was revealed that there were many problems with respect to the telephone service in the income security programs branch. The report criticized the service saying that more calls were abandoned than answered.

People are having difficulty getting through on the telephone lines and are consistently getting a busy signal. This creates a real problem for seniors who are often in urgent need of information regarding their old age and Canada pension benefits.

I would like to ask the minister how he plans to solve this problem in order that Canadians can receive the service they deserve.

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Scarborough Centre for having become a persistent advocate on this very important issue.

It is important to point out to members of the House, particularly those who are on the constant refrain of how to cut back government expenditures, but in this particular case the increase of calls on old age pension and security questions increased by 60 per cent over the last six or seven years. We now receive over 11 million calls a year.

At the same time a restraint program cut back personnel by 20 per cent. As a result many senior citizens have not been able to receive the service they require and deserve.

Saying that, we have now taken steps to try to correct the situation. We will be taking on board a special program, a system of telephone banks with about 200 personnel that will have immediate access through a computer to all of the phone systems of our department throughout Canada. We will be spending about $3 million to upgrade that equipment. That will be the first phase in an attempt to modernize the system. We believe it will provide immediate, and we hope, efficient service within a matter of four or five weeks.


302

I hope that the hon. member can wait until that system comes into place because it is a clear indication that we are going to target existing resources of the department to provide direct service to Canadians.

* * *

[Translation]

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

Mrs. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Hubert): Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, a young girl, Sarah Dutil, was killed in Verdun. The suspected murderer is an individual who was released on November 15, 1993, after his trial for murder was cancelled. He was freed directly as a consequence of the appointment, on June 23, 1993, of Henry Steinberg, the Superior Court judge in charge of the case, to the Quebec Appeal Court.

The then Prime Minister acted without any regard for Judge Steinberg's previous commitments. Such action is totally unacceptable and is bound to discredit the administration of justice and the whole judicial process.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Does he agree with the recommendation made by the Quebec Bar Association suggesting that it become mandatory to consult with the chief justice of a court before appointing one of his judges to another position?

(1450)

[English]

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, may I first express the sense of horror and sadness that all members of this Chamber must feel at the tragic death of Sarah Dutil. Our hearts go out to members of her family.

There are two aspects I would offer to the hon. member in response to the important question she has raised. First, my understanding of the traditional practice is that whenever a trial court judge is to be elevated to the appellate level, inquiries are made by the minister of the chief justice of the relevant court to be sure that the appointment will not interfere with the completion of any proceeding or trial that is under way. That is certainly the practice I intend to follow as long as I have any involvement with the appointment process. As to what happened in June of last year with respect to the appointment in question, I have no personal knowledge.

There is a second aspect as well. The Department of Justice will soon be introducing an omnibus amendment to the Criminal Code and among other things it will propose a change to section 669.2 of the code, the effect of which will be to ensure that a criminal jury trial can proceed notwithstanding the disqualification of the presiding trial judge for any reason and the substitution of another judge so that such a circumstance may never happen again.

[Translation]

Mrs. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Hubert): Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that such transfers in the midst of proceedings are an untimely and unacceptable intervention on the part of the government in the administration of justice, is any action being considered right now? I listened carefully to the minister who said that he would eventually introduce a bill. But I want to know this very minute what he intends to do.

[English]

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I can only provide my assurance to the hon. member that in any case from the present time forward which involves the appointment of a judge sitting at the trial level to another level of the courts I shall inquire before any such appointment to ensure that it does not interfere with the fair and safe completion of any proceeding before that trial judge.

* * *

AUDITOR GENERAL'S REPORT

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence and was inspired by a concerned citizen, Mr. John MacIntosh of Dundas, Ontario.

Will the minister inform this House what action if any has been taken against the members of his department staff who failed to provide Parliament with the actual cost of transporting cabinet ministers and others in Canada as disclosed by the report of the Auditor General.

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I have answered this publicly before. There is a discrepancy between the officials in my department and the Auditor General on the accounting principles involved. It is something on which I have asked for further clarification.

Mr. Ed Harper (Simcoe Centre): Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question. Could the minister tell us to what extent the civil servants of his department will be held accountable for their actions in the future?

Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I do not think that is a question that should be addressed to me. That is a question for government, and I do not know who could answer that.

* * *

[Translation]

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval-Est): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.


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The Minister of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday after meeting with the elected President of Haiti, Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide, that the federal government is committed to supporting a total embargo against Haiti and its military regime.

The present military and oil embargo against Haiti which is viewed as inadequate by President Aristide will be extended to include all areas, with the exception of international aid, of course.

My question is as follows: what concrete steps does the government intend to take in co-operation with Haiti's allies to ensure that the international community, including Haiti's neighbours, comply with the embargo, and to strengthen the commercial blockade, thus helping to bring about the return of the duly elected president, Mr. Aristide?

(1455)

Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is very relevant. Clearly, given the present situation where Haiti basically has four friends working within the United Nations to advance the cause of democracy in this country, we lack support.

One of our goals is to extend Haiti's circle of friends to include a certain number of countries, specifically neighbouring Caribbean nations which could, working together with Haiti's four traditional friends, help to enforce a comprehensive and truly effective blockade.

Mrs. Maud Debien (Laval-Est): Does the Canadian government intend, as it has repeatedly said, to help train Haitian police forces whose mandate it would be to restore the country's democratic institutions? Did the minister make any formal commitments in this respect in the course of his talks with Mr. Aristide?

Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister discussed this matter when he met with the Secretary General of the United Nations in Paris. We feel it would be a good idea to organize under the auspices of the United Nations this kind of training program for police officers from countries under military dictatorship.

This proposal which was put forward by Canada could apply first to Haiti, and could later be extended to several other countries under military rule where a counterbalance such as a police force could be useful in terms of instituting and maintaining democracy. Consequently, during the course of our discussions with President Aristide yesterday, we obtained his support for such an initiative.

Obviously we cannot take this kind of initiative without the approval of the Haitian government. And we have obtained it. We will be appointing a representative who, along with President Aristide's representative, will review the terms and conditions of this kind of police officer training program.

* * *

[English]

FIREARMS

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

I noted in the House last week there is a torrent of inquiries regarding the new regulations for firearms acquisition certificates. There is mass confusion and frustration among firearms owners, RCMP and firearm safety instructors. As recently as last Thursday my assistant was getting two totally different answers to basic questions from the RCMP and safety instructors.

Is the minister aware of the problem and if so, what is his department doing about it?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member, I should first say that the introduction on January 1 of the safety courses for firearm owners is simply another important step that has been taken to ensure safety in the use of firearms in Canada, and we are happy that it is now in place in six provinces with the balance to follow on April 1.

So far as the circumstances surrounding the courses at present are concerned I am reluctant to agree with the description given by the hon. member. I do agree that in some provinces efforts are still under way to design and deliver the training courses. In most provinces master teachers have already been trained and are preparing to deliver the courses.

I expect that within a month or two the transition period, which will naturally involve some element of adjustment, will be over, these courses will be in place and the safety of Canadians that much more assured.

* * *

(1500 )

FINANCE

Mrs. Dianne Brushett (Cumberland-Colchester): Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Acting Minister of Finance in the absence of the minister.

The Bank of Canada rate is at a 30-year low of 3.94 per cent and expected to fall five bases points again today. Yet five year mortgage rates are still at 7.25 per cent. The spread is greater than 3 per cent.


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In 1963 the Bank of Canada rate was 4.0 per cent and five year mortgages were 6.25 per cent, representing a spread of 2 per cent.

What measures will the Government of Canada take to ensure that Canadian banks reduce this spread and lower mortgage rates proportionately to the bank rate?

Mr. David Walker (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Cumberland-Colchester for that very good question on the cost of a five-year mortgage.

As the member pointed out, the prime rate is at 5.5 per cent, which is the lowest rate since in 1956. Today the basic bank rate fell not five but six points. One year mortgage rates are at their lowest since their inception in 1980, but the five year rate still remains high. We in the government are watching this very closely and we are sure that Canadian financial institutions would like to see it drop more quickly also.

* * *

JOB CREATION

Mr. Chris Axworthy (Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The minister will know that the red book promises on jobs have received four pretty major setbacks over the last couple of months: the signing of the NAFTA, the increases to the UI premiums, the replacement of John Crow by Gordon Thiessen and the chopping of $300 million from the training fund.

I wonder if the minister could explain why he has lost every one of these battles in cabinet and whether he could indicate what we could do in this House to assist him in making sure that job creation becomes the number one priority of his government.

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Human Resources Development and Minister of Western Economic Diversification): Mr. Speaker, not only has the hon. member not been able to read the red book accurately, but he clearly has not been able to read the record of the government accurately.

We have had a great string of successes. We have introduced the infrastructure program which has been universally applauded across the country as a major job stimulant. We have frozen the UI premium rate for a period of two years to provide a real incentive to small business to create jobs.

Mr. Speaker, I know time is of the essence so I do not want to hold the members of this House up for the whole afternoon as I recite the great record of the past three months. However, I will say to the hon. member for Saskatoon-Clark's Crossing that Parliament will have an opportunity to make its greatest contribution-and I know the hon. member has been a valued member in this area-by looking seriously at the structure of our social employment training programs across Canada to give a real incentive to millions of Canadians to find a job and give real dignity to their lives.

I look forward to the participation of that member so we can all enjoy, as parliamentarians, a record of accomplishment.

[Translation]

* * *

INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

Hon. Jean J. Charest (Sherbrooke): I am directing my question to the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker.

The minister responsible for the infrastructure program recognized before this House last week that the program was vulnerable to political influences, with regard to the Congress Center program in particular.

I have since come across a secret memo to the Prime Minister stating-and this is the clerk of the Privy Council writing to the Prime Minister-that his Minister of Human Resources Development and his Minister of Public Works have requested more direct control over the infrastructure program, and this, a mere ten days into this government's term of office.

[English]

The same secret memo written to the Prime Minister goes on to say-

The Speaker: Order. Could the member please put a very brief question.

Mr. Charest: My question for the Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker, in relation to this secret memo written to him, is whether or not he has clarified the mandates of the ministers of human resources and public works as they attempted a power grab in their own regions in relation to all federal undertakings as written in this secret memo?

(1505)

[Translation]

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, every member of the cabinet can take part in this program and, of course, regional interests are discussed in cabinet, especially considering that both ministers referred to are in charge of government agencies through which money is distributed because this the only way the government can implement this program quickly and effectively. So, it is ACOA and-

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[English]

-the western diversification organization which are actually responsible for the delivery of the programs and both ministers are in charge, one on the Atlantic coast and the other one in western Canada.

_____________________________________________


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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[English]

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

The Speaker: The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs has the floor for six minutes.

Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I had finished my presentation. In the interests of brevity I did finish so we have about five minutes for questions and comments.

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence indicated that he foresees the role of our peacekeeping forces continuing and perhaps increasing in the future, and that it is most important a mandate or a mission statement be developed. In this way we can determine what is the role we are to play.

Can the parliamentary secretary advise what the government is doing to develop the role and to ensure that the United Nations knows exactly what Canada thinks. What is his opinion concerning Canada's peacekeeping forces that are now around the world and does he think they will be in more demand over the next few years?

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for that question.

I want to correct the hon. member. I am sure it is a misunderstanding. He is not trying to put words in my mouth. My thesis was that peacekeeping operations generally would likely increase because of the trend in the other 180 countries of the world with the smaller populations and the non-homogeneous ethnic, religious and racial groups.

My thesis was that the need for peacekeeping operations in general would likely intensify, would increase. I also pointed out in my thesis so would the intensity of peacekeeping operations, so would the nature of peacekeeping operations and so would the complexity of peacekeeping operations in the general sense of peacekeeping.

What is the government doing to help the situation along? I would remind the hon. member that, for example, in Bosnia alone, I cannot recall the number of UN resolutions. I know there are 743, 770, 776 and 800 and something. They are the ones with which I am familiar. I am sure there are others. We would like to, as much as possible try to get our mandate in a shorter period of time and in a less complex manner. Second, we would strive to have, perhaps through debate in the House of Commons, which we all agree is a novel but very useful exercise, to make our wishes and desires of what it is we want our peacekeeper forces to do, to make our wishes known to the United Nations, perhaps more in advance than we have had in the past.

(1510 )

With respect to the United Nations, the government is working on areas through our staff at the United Nations, our ambassador, and through those who are on the international staff to try to improve that part of the United Nations which oversees peacekeeping operations.

There are areas such as, for example, around the clock command and control capability; staffing with perhaps a more experienced and a larger number of military personnel. In this way the kind of command and control operation that takes place in NORAD or in NATO headquarters where instantaneous responses can be given and political input can be received, analyzed and weighed with respect to decisions, would take place in a much more clear-I hesitate to use the word efficient-and more effective manner than happens now.

I can assure the hon. member that those of us who are involved in these kinds of activities on this side of the House are imbued with their importance and wish to make our mandate more clear. It would make the selection of what we participate in more effective to have a better response to what it is we believe the Canadian people want and would support in the future.

[Translation]

Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank and to congratulate my hon. colleague for his speech. I would like to ask him a question. For one thing, he made a number of very positive remarks in his speech on the value of Canadian intervention abroad, but could he tell us what his position is exactly with regard to a Canadian presence in Bosnia-Hercegovina?

[English]

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I was being specific in what I was hoping would be accepted by the House and by those who were listening as I am sure the hon. member was as to the litmus test to apply to the operation and to what our future direction would be.


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I would remind the hon. member that those of us in the House who are going to be involved in looking at this in future operations, particularly those members of the cabinet who sit here along with the Prime Minister, will be listening to the response of all hon. members to get their input before any final decision is made in the House.

As a parliamentary secretary it is incumbent on me to pay attention to those presentations being made which allow the government to make a measured choice. Decisions are to be made on the facts and representations such as the one in which it was made clear by the hon. member from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca that he was making a presentation representing the feelings of his constituents.

As this debate is expected to continue certainly well into the hours of the evening, I can assure the hon. member that I and other members of the government will be paying very close attention to what it is the members have to say so that when decisions are made this will be taken into consideration.

It is important for the hon. member to take into consideration what I as a member of the House of Commons and as a member of the governing party put forward with the experience, whatever it is, that I have had on a litmus test or an overlay that could be put on this operation and others to see what decisions would be made with respect to future operations.

If I could be permitted, there is one area that I did not cover. Very briefly, I refer the hon. member to a presentation that was made in December 1992. In addition to all the other measures to which I made reference and it has been mentioned in the House today, I think it is important for hon. members to consider that a timeframe is very important as well.

(1515)

We look at all these considerations and I believe it is incumbent on any input to the United Nations to include a timeframe by which we will go back and review: (a) if the situation has changed; (b) if the measures that we have asked for have been met; and (c) if our mandate is as clear and indeed is as we believed it to be. I believe that is important in considering future directions that will be taken by Parliament, not necessarily just by the government but by Parliament, in responding to what I believe is going to be if not more Bosnias, certainly more Croatias and more of the kind of the 16 peacekeeping operations in which we are now involved and will likely be asked to be involved in, in the future.

The Deputy Speaker: Before I recognize the member for Bourassa I might indicate to members of the House that if they want to split their time they can get more speakers on instead of at three o'clock in the morning or whenever it is going to be. I believe one of the parties has already indicated it wants its speakers to speak for 10 minutes with a five minute question period. That is of course a matter for the parties to decide.

[Translation]

Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa): Mr. Speaker, congratulations on your appointment as Deputy Speaker of the House.

It is with a certain emotion, some apprehension and a lot of hope that I rise in this debate. I represent the riding of Bourassa, which includes the municipality of Montreal North with a population of about 85,000, with 70 per cent francophones and 30 per cent allophones from around the world, mainly Italians and Haitians, but also people from the former Yugoslavia.

It is a riding inhabited by people of modest means. My riding was badly hurt by the recession but contains very dynamic community organizations, popular groups and economic agents. These people are very interested in international problems, especially what is happening in the former Yugoslavia.

People are asking my staff and myself to take action. We must stop the massacre of innocent people, including women, seniors, young people and children, as we saw last weekend when six children were killed by mortar shells in Sarajevo.

Mr. Speaker, I come from Chile but I have been living in Montreal for 20 years. In Chile, Latin America and especially Central America we have experienced war and conflict. In Chile, we lived through a 17-year dictatorship that forced me to leave a country that I love dearly. There human rights violations were systematic and flagrant. I am also the first Quebecer of Chilean origin in the history of this country to be elected to the House of Commons.

I am therefore very concerned by the conflict and the barbarous acts committed in the former Yougoslavia that we see every day in dramatic detail on television.

(1520)

Mr. Speaker, even before immigrating to Canada with my family, I had heard about Canada's role in peacekeeping and its commitment to promote peace and security throughout the world. At that time, we wanted Canada to become a member of the Organization of American States, a decision that was unfortunately too long in coming.

I listened with great interest this morning to the very relevant comments of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs about the role played by the Organization of American States and Canada's involvement in this regard. I encourage Canada to play a more active role within the OAS.

As far as Latin America is concerned, I am happy to see that Canada has been participating in the United Nations observer mission in Salvador since September 1991. Two members of the Canadian forces are currently monitoring the implementation of the agreements reached between the Government of Salvador and the Farabundo Marti Front for national liberation on human rights, the cessation of hostilities and disarmament.


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The mandate of this mission expires on May 31, 1994. I personally hope that Canada will extend its participation. It is because of the problems that persist in Salvador that I asked the Canadian government not to execute the expulsion order against some 30 Salvadorans living in Quebec who were denied refugee status. Unfortunately, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has not yet replied. Canada should also send observers to the election that will be held in Salvador on March 20.

In Haiti, 11 Canadian military officers were part of the United Nations observer group for the verification of elections in Haiti, which was established in November 1990 for a four-month mandate.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we greeted in this House the democratically elected and legitimate president of Haiti, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The UN and the OAS are currently trying to arrange for his return to Haiti. Resolution 875 of the United Nations Security Council calls for the application of appropriate sanctions against the military in power.

I hope that Canada will continue to contribute to the international naval force patrolling the waters around Haiti and to the immediate restoration of democracy in that country. It is also the hope of the large Haitian community living in my riding of Bourassa in Montreal North.

President Aristide was democratically elected on December 16, 1990, with 67 per cent of the popular vote. He thus represents the will of the Haitian people.

(1525)

It is therefore time to step up and intensify the pressure on the military regime of General Raoul Cédras. The UN and the OAS must implement a full and complete economic boycott of Haiti, which must cover everything except humanitarian, medical and food aid, of course.

I hope that the government will be consistent with its statements and act on this issue. Personally, I intend to watch it very closely.

Canada's role in conflicts in the world brings us to basic issues involving the great values of solidarity and justice on which we have wanted to base our society. From these great values, our predecessors in this House developed a code of conduct written into laws defining our duties to assist people in danger and our moral obligations to those who are in extreme distress.

We have wanted to extend these duties and moral obligations not only to our fellow citizens who are affected but also to the people of the rest of the world who are in conflicts which endanger their lives, by giving them significant aid which very often means the difference between life and death for them.

These great values have guided our action abroad and earned Canada its international reputation and credibility as a defender of peace.

However, on his latest trip to Europe, the Prime Minister seemed to want to call into question this great tradition and the underlying values along with it by saying that Canada was a little tired of playing the international boy scout.

This is a strange position, claiming to be part of the great Liberal tradition which developed these policies of international aid and backing off when the going gets rough. However, you know your true friends in tough times and not when things are easy.

Despite what the Prime Minister seems to be saying, I believe that Canada must maintain its presence in areas of conflict where this presence is deemed essential to the safety of the civilian population involved. If today we deny this duty to assist, we would not only break with some of our social values, but even worse, we would limit our aid to people who are in danger in Canada.

Of course, there is no question here of putting our soldiers in dangerous situations. If their security must be strengthened by giving them the means to defend themselves and carry out their mission effectively, let us do it, but let us not withdraw them for all that.

For the sake of human rights, the lives of thousands of innocent people and the traditional commitment to UN peacekeeping missions, from which Canada derives much of its international credibility, Canada must continue to shoulder its responsibilities. Canada must do so by promoting a negotiated solution to conflicts, by working with its UN partners to ensure a more effective role for peacekeepers, by maintaining and even increasing its humanitarian aid to the civilians concerned, and by providing adequate assistance to the thousands of refugees who flee this terrible fratricide.

(1530)

Mr. Speaker, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the ethnic clashes in Bosnia and in Croatia have led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Civilian and ethnic minorities have been the victims of mistreatment, rapes and murders.

According to figures published in November 1993, more than 4.2 million people from Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina have been forced to leave their homes or are caught in the battles. More than 800,000 people have taken refuge in other countries.


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The UNHCR was given the mandate of helping the people displaced within the former Yugoslavia, as well as those so-called ``vulnerable'' persons who are mostly in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

I want to pay tribute to the UNHCR, which does an excellent job in the distribution of humanitarian aid, in spite of the extremely difficult situation which prevails in that region.

Besides distributing food, medication and clothes, in some regions the High Commissioner's office looks after restoring water and hydro supplies, building houses and granting monetary aid to families who accept refugees.

It is sometimes very difficult if not impossible to provide humanitarian aid in some regions of Bosnia. Convoys are often delayed, stopped and even raided. The city of Sarajevo is supplied through land convoys and also through the most important airlift operation in history.

The personnel working for humanitarian organizations is sometimes harassed or assaulted and often requires the protection provided by peacekeepers.

The international community is making great efforts to absorb the more than 800,000 people affected by the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

Germany alone has accepted more than 340,000 refugees; Hungary, 128,000; Sweden, 92,000; Switzerland, 72,000; Austria, 90,000. As for Canada, it has only accepted some 10,000 refugees.

Nationals from the former Yugoslavia can enter Canada as refugees or through the family reunification program, following special measures implemented in 1992.

I believe that the Canadian government should continue to implement its host program for refugees and immigrants from the former Yugoslavia.

The quota for 1994 should be increased considerably. Moreover, families and groups should get organized to accept these refugees and provide support for them.

(1535)

I have personally met several refugees from the former Yugoslavia. They are all very active and sometimes highly qualified people who make a great contribution to Quebec and to Canadian society.

In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them to Quebec and to Canada and to express my sympathy and my solidarity to them all.

Canada provides about $50 million in humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia. Between April and December 1993, Canada gave out $1.5 million to UNICEF, which spent a quarter of that amount on rape victims. For which I want to say to them: Well done.

But we have to do more. We have to support UNICEF initiatives to treat the traumatized children and women who are the real victims of this war. This should always be a priority for Canada.

I listened very closely when the leader of the Official Opposition and member for Lac-Saint-Jean delivered an excellent speech this morning.

I wholeheartedly agree with him on this issue. I want to describe the main points on which we should focus.

First, I am strongly against the unilateral withdrawal of Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia, as was recently suggested by the Prime Minister.

Second, I believe that the presence of Canadian soldiers in Bosnia is needed to stop this conflict from further deteriorating and from extending to other regions of the former Yugoslavia.

Third, the presence of our soldiers is also needed to maintain military support for the people and humanitarian assistance for civilians.

Fourth, we have to stop the fighting from escalating.

Finally, the presence of peacekeepers in Bosnia could and should facilitate the diplomatic negotiation process. I hope that the warring factions will reach a negotiated agreement as soon as possible.

Just like its Western allies, Canada made its first mistake in Bosnia when it did not intervene sooner and allowed the evil that has been gnawing at this poor country to develop just as it had before in Spain and in Germany. Let us not make a second mistake which could be fateful.

Withdrawing our peacekeepers from Bosnia would in fact result in a massive slaughter for a population which is looking to us and to the international community for protection.

Let us avoid irreparable damage. Let us renew the mandate of our Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to thank the hon. member for Bourassa. We now have a question and comment period. Of course, with hundreds of members wishing to speak in this debate, you do not need to feel compelled to ask questions or


309

make comments. Is there anyone who wants to ask a question? As you can imagine, I try generally to recognize hon. members from other parties who want to ask questions, if there are any.

[English]

Mr. Len Taylor (The Battlefords-Meadow Lake): I appreciate the opportunity to raise a question here. As this is the question and comment period I do have a couple of comments that are probably more relevant than my question. Given the fact that the minister is here I would very much like to direct a comment to him. I do not necessarily expect a reply at the moment from the hon. member who has spoken or the minister.

The Deputy Speaker: If I could just interrupt the member. I think he knows that is out of order so he has to put his question or his comment. Why does he not just make a comment?

Mr. Taylor: I will make the comment and as I indicated I am very happy to be able to do so while the minister is present.

(1540 )

Essentially the issue of peacekeeping is one that is important to all members of the House as we recognized in the debate today so far. I have heard in the debate a desire of members of this House to support the peacekeeping troops and the peacekeeping efforts for the most part, but mostly there is support for the young men and women who are skilled, talented, courageous and sometimes confused in their efforts. They are often asked to do jobs that are difficult and dangerous and we have seen that on television and we have heard about it in the debate today.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, and for the benefit of the minister they are often called upon to react to situations they have never before encountered. They are often asked to react very quickly. The defence department, this government and members of this Parliament recognize that we have to stand behind these troops in the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Today a young man lies confused, frustrated and angry in an Ottawa hospital. His parents, residents of the Flying Dust Band in my constituency in northwest Saskatchewan wonder what has happened to their son. He is a very decent young man and eager to serve his people. He is a role model for the youth in his community. Master Corporal Clayton Matchee went to Somalia with Canadians forces to serve a peacekeeping role. His physical and mental injuries are not the result of a military engagement, but rather the result of a hanging in a Canadian compound. Military officials say he hung himself in an effort to take his own life.

Despite inconsistencies in the evidence, despite expressed concern with his commanding officer, despite his inability to speak on his own behalf, Master Corporal Clayton Matchee is facing charges of second degree murder and torture in the death of a Somali man.

Canada's peacekeepers are asked to do many jobs on a daily basis and some of their work is simply expected to be done. When we as parliamentarians talk about our role in peacekeeping we have to realize that we ourselves are not out there on the front line. We can think we know what it is like out there but we really do not know. We have to, like a good hockey coach, encourage our team to go out there and do the best that they can.

Therefore, in the course of the debate today I want to call on the Minister of National Defence to drop the charges against Master Corporal Clayton Matchee. The circumstances surrounding his case are confusing. It will take more than a military court to determine the events which led to the deaths in Somalia, the actions of some members of the Canadian airborne, the hanging of Master Corporal Matchee, the subsequent charges and the charges brought against his commanding officer.

In conclusion let me say that the circumstances need to be examined and I have no doubt that eventually the truth will come out, but I would very much like the minister to take steps to drop those charges in the interests of the family of Master Corporal Matchee and in the interests of all peacekeepers. This will show that we will support our troops regardless of the circumstances into which they are put.

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker: It seems to me that those comments are not addressed to the member for Bourassa, but if he wishes to respond-

Mr. Nunez: I would like to join the hon. member in thanking and congratulating Canadian soldiers, most of whom come from Quebec, who are serving their country in Bosnia and the other parts of the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): I have been listening to the debate since this morning and I want to congratulate my learned colleague for bringing up a different aspect of this issue. My colleague talked about humanitarian aid. He pointed out the


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relationship that exists between Canada's role as a peacekeeper throughout the world and the need to provide humanitarian support to certain areas. He also talked about participating in the organization or the supervision of elections throughout the world.

I think he was the first one in the House today to underline the importance of these two aspects.

I would like to ask my colleague to elaborate further since it is an issue of great concern to most Quebecers and Canadians.

(1545)

Mr. Nunez: Mr. Speaker, briefly, I think Canada's role at the international level is also to promote democracy and the democratic process all over the world. Recently, I was a member of Canada's official delegation that was sent to Russia to supervise the December 12 elections. Our role in these elections, which also included a referendum, was greatly appreciated by the people. I think we should accentuate Canada's role not only in the promotion of peace in the world, but also in the development of democracy.

[English]

Hon. William Rompkey (Labrador): Mr. Speaker, may I first of all congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair and the Speaker on his election. Indeed, I congratulate all those who occupy the Chair.

May I say at the beginning something about this particular debate. I have been here for 21 years and I believe that the debate today is the best debate I have heard in the Chamber. It is frank, well informed, useful, constructive and in advance of a decision. I congratulate the government for bringing forward the debate and I congratulate all members for the way they have participated in the debate.

I would like to make the following points on this issue. First, it seems to me that peacekeeping is one of the primary matters that has defined us as Canadians. We look for definitions of ourselves and it seems to me that peacekeeping is one of those things that has defined us. It has told the world the kind of people we are, the kind of things we believe in and the kind of role we want to play as citizens in the world.

I do not want to go over again the ground that has already been covered very adequately about Canada's role in peacekeeping over the years. We have acquitted ourselves well and suffice to say we do now have a reputation in the world, a reputation that is honourable, that is justified, that is very real and that I believe should be maintained.

We now have peacekeeping operations all over the world. It is something that Canada has done well, continues to do and something I believe Canada should commit itself to in the future as one of the priorities of defence policy. There are many aims and objectives of defence policy but among those out of country objectives I believe that peacekeeping should be at the top of the list.

However, we need to understand we can only do so much. Our resources are limited and we will have to justify according to set criteria our involvement in peacekeeping operations in the future. I believe it is understood that we are already stretched to the limit and that we cannot take up any more.

The other point I want to make about peacekeeping is that it provides an opportunity for the Canadian forces. It may be one of those few out of country opportunities provided for the Canadian forces at the present time. It gives our soldiers, airmen and naval personnel an opportunity to practise the kind of training that they have had and the kind of professionalism that they exemplify so well.

These peacekeeping opportunities provide us with an opportunity to show what we are trained for and to show leadership. We now have about 2,000 of our personnel in the former Yugoslavia. Our mission in Bosnia is not traditional peacekeeping. We are there not only to keep warring factions apart but to deliver humanitarian aid.

Many people have been upset by the situations that Canadians have found themselves in recently, particularly where they have been harassed and even abused in the course of their duties. I was privileged to spend several days at Valcartier last spring with the Vandoos before they went to the former Yugoslavia. I can tell the House that our troops receive up to date, thorough and excellent training before they go abroad. They are very well equipped to make decisions. They found themselves in some very difficult situations and they have handled themselves with honour and distinction.

(1550)

We are doing an important job in Bosnia. It is true there is still a great deal of horror being experienced in that country but people are alive now because we are there. People are fed because we are in Bosnia. There is no holocaust, there is no genocide because we are in Bosnia. The point I am making is that things would be a great deal worse if we were not there.

My position is that we should stay in Bosnia as long as we are providing a useful role. I believe we are at the present time. I would counsel against unilateral withdrawal. We are there as members of the United Nations. We must not forget we are there as members of NATO. NATO has a role in Bosnia. In addition to our role in UN peacekeeping operations over the years we have been a valued and esteemed member of NATO. It is important to


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send the right signals about the strength of the trans-Atlantic alliance as this stage of the game.

There were arguments made this morning that perhaps a threat of withdrawal would be useful. It could also be argued that it would be counterproductive because it would send a signal to those factions in Bosnia that they did not have to negotiate, that they did not have to be serious at the negotiating table and that they could carry on as they have been doing. It seems to me that the threat of withdrawal sends the wrong signal.

I believe Canada should stay with the mission at the present time and that we should withdraw only in consultation with our colleagues, the other members of the UN. What must be rectified is the gap that exists between UN decision making and implementation of those decisions. That gap has been identified not only by our own personnel such as General MacKenzie, but most recently by the Belgian general as well.

We should put our efforts into rectifying the weaknesses that exist in UN decision-making and implementation. We have to strengthen the UN for Bosnia and all the other Bosnias that are going to happen. It is true-perhaps we have not made this point clearly enough today-that the cold war is over. However, many would argue there is not more but less stability as a result of that. There is still instability in the world. There is still a threat to world peace. As long as that exists the chances are that we are going to have to contribute more in time and effort to situations like Bosnia.

It is important we strengthen institutions such as the UN in its decision making and implementation process. We should also ensure that the burden is shared fairly. We have every right to expect that. Canada has given perhaps more than its share, certainly more than other countries. We should expect the burden to be shared fairly.

I would like to conclude by saying my last words to Canadian soldiers and to quote the Canadian soldier who appeared in one of the most recent television clips having come back after his convoy was harassed and shot at by those he was really put there to help. He said: ``This is what I have been trained for. This is what I have been trained to do. It is an opportunity for me. This is the job we are here to do and it is the job we want to do''. I think he speaks for Canadian personnel in their determination to do the best job they can. It is up to us as parliamentarians to give them the proper back-up to do the job.

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough): Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to what the hon. member had to say. I thought it was very well put. Today we are having this very special debate. It is focused on Bosnia and the problems associated with it.

(1555)

I would like to make a comment and ask the hon. member a question. It seems to me this lends urgency to the matter of a defence review. I know this is to be a public review but would it not be much better to move toward an armed force which is much more citizen based and in which there are many more opportunities not only for full-time very professional service but also for a variety of part-time service commitments and the strengthening of the cadet corps? I think that would focus on the various types of peacekeeping and peacemaking we have at the present time much better.

I also hope that the public review recommends better use of our bases so they can be training bases for international missions and things of that type.

The other review which is in the offing, I think next year or the year after, is a full-scale formal review of the United Nations. We heard a good deal from the hon. member just now about the way the United Nations has been operating in Bosnia.

For myself, and I say this as a great supporter of the United Nations, it seems that in the area, for example, of science and education the United Nations has become unnecessarily cumbersome and fat. It is extremely important that Canada play a key role in the revitalization of the United Nations.

Would the hon. member care to comment on those two reviews, the defence review and the review of the United Nations.

Mr. Rompkey: Mr. Speaker, I think I have already indicated my concurrence with the point he is putting forward about the UN. The problems we have in Bosnia are not with the troops or with the military personnel but are with the political will and the political structures that give form and structure to the way in which they are operating. That is where reform is needed. If we do not reform those institutions we are going to be worse off in future than we have been in the past.

The UN is really the only institution that can adequately deal with this situation. Perhaps CSCE or NATO as supplementary agencies can have a role but unless the UN is strong and has the political will and the structures, I do not think we will be able to deal with these things adequately in future.

On the reserves I support the total force concept. There are reserves overseas now in peacekeeping operations. We depend on them heavily. We will I believe and I hope depend on them even more heavily in future. It is clearly the way to go. I was in the forces myself in the reserves in an institution that no longer exists, the University Naval Training Division. It was an excellent way for young people to get a start in life, to earn some money, to get an education and for me to become a Canadian. It is something that we have to strengthen.


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We have seen some creative thinking already on the future use of bases, for example, St. Margarets in New Brunswick where private enterprise has bought a whole base and is now using it as a housing unit. That is a very creative use of the former armed forces base. Also there are educational initiatives taking place particularly in the province of Nova Scotia which use existing facilities for the training of young people. There are creative ways that we can make use of armed forces bases as well. I totally support what he says.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his intervention and for his support for a continuing role for Canadian forces in the former Yugoslavia.

I want to ask the member a specific question with respect to some of the concerns that have been raised about the nature of the mandate and the rules of engagement. The member is well aware as an experienced member in this area of the concerns raised by General Briquemont, General Cot, and others in this regard.

Does the hon. member support a strengthening of the mandate to ensure that when we talk about safe havens and in particular the six safe havens that were identified by the United Nations in resolution 836 in June last year which are clearly not safe when innocent children are slaughtered in cold blood in the snow as they play on their sleds. Does the hon. member agree with the need for a strengthening of the ability of the forces on the ground to respond to that kind of very serious attack?

Mr. Rompkey: Mr. Speaker, I would absolutely agree with that. That is part of the point I have been trying to make. The weakness is not on the ground but with the structures under which that personnel operates. We have to strengthen the mandate there. We also have to provide adequate personnel to carry out the mandate.

(1600)

At the present time it seems to me that we do not have enough resources in the former Yugoslavia to do the job. In addition to what is there now perhaps we need more forces to carry out the mandate, but obviously the mandate has to be strengthened.

Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): Mr. Speaker, I compliment those who have stood in their places today to express their views on this very important topic.

Someone asked how we gained a reputation as peacekeepers. I would suggest it did not just start in recent times. I would go back to World War I where 66,000 young Canadians lost their lives. I would go back to the League of Nations where the first big challenge came to the league 12 years after it was founded in about 1931 when Japan entered Manchuria. There was no muscle in the league. No one wanted to take a stand. They had problems back home that were more pressing and Asia was too far away. The league failed in that one.

In 1935 the league failed again when the Italians took over Abyssinia. There were too many problems. France did not want to disrupt its relationships with Germany. What happened was that we simply drifted into two world wars because there was no one who was ready to take a firm stand united together. If there is anything the United Nations stands for today it is the element of unity, of bringing countries of the world together to take an international stand against aggressors.

My feeling is that in no way can we allow an aggressor to get away with anything. The War Crimes Commission is on the ground in Yugoslavia now. That should be followed up with charges against those who commit war crimes, those who have committed war crimes against children, women and the elderly, those who have destroyed property and everything under the sun in the horrible situation in the former Yugoslavia. The court system is not good enough for them. They must be brought to justice. If that is not done it is a weakness within the UN itself, but I would suggest the world community would demand that it be done.

The Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson is another reason why Canada has peacekeeping in operation today in a very successful way. He started that in 1956 in Egypt and the Middle East. Canadians really made their mark there. We were active in many peacekeeping operations. Of course the first big test for the United Nations was the Korean war itself. Over 1,500 young Canadians gave up their lives on that occasion.

The question today in my mind is not whether we can afford peacekeeping. The question is whether we can afford to be without it. My answer is no. We cannot afford to be without it. We cannot afford to sit back or to have other countries sit back. Other countries have a firm responsibility in this regard along with us. They must play a role. They must pull their weight.

If we do not take a stand against all these little aggressors around the world then we are going to have a major conflict. We are going to have other young people from this nation, the cream of the crop, in another world war. Heaven knows what that will be like. We cannot have this situation coming about. We must handle bonfires wherever they occur in the world.

I would like to say a word about what happens at home. Military people are looked upon as soldiers. What about their spouses back home? What about their families back home when the other spouse is sent off to peacekeeping duties for six months at a time as they are today? What help do they have? What about the mother with three or four small children? What help does she receive?

There is help in the community. There is an organization called the rear party. It maintains communications with the families. There is always someone there to help them. They give them information about what is going on in the United Nations


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site where their spouses are, where their fathers or mothers are or whatever the case may be. Spousal groups are included in the rear party organization back home on the base. Spouses meet with the rear party. Spouses write messages and news items. They send tapes to their loved ones. No one is left alone.

(1605)

A resource centre was set up in Petawawa. I live three miles from the base gate at Petawawa, Ontario. I used to teach school there. I was there for five and one-half years before going into politics. I have learned the operations of the military community, how it operates first hand. I have the greatest admiration for those people.

The family resource centre provides advice and assistance to the rear party group. They work with agencies in the community. I must say of my own area in Renfrew County, in the Petawawa area, we have three Petawawas: the village, the township and the base. Then Pembroke is 10 or 12 miles away. Deep River and Chalk River are to the north. There are other communities around Renfrew County. They too support the base in spirit on Remembrance Day and in many ways as family units. They mix together and the rapport is tremendous.

Social workers are on the base to help these families when the soldiers are away on duty. There is a senior officer in each group who will have information on the families before they leave. They know the soldiers' spouses. They know about the soldiers' families. They mail videotapes back and forth. There are padres and doctors in the field and at home as well.

There is an overall unity plan working in a major role for military families. A well organized system is in place. We ask what about the expenses? These expenses are paid for. I want the taxpayers of Canada to know they are paid for by non-public funds. They are paid for by raffles. They are paid for by profits from messes, canteens and so on. This says a lot for the dedication and the care of the Canadian soldier community.

The work with agencies in the community is very important. At Christmastime they send letters back and forth. Before they leave they even make sure that their wills are intact so that if any accident does happen their families do not have to go through the whole legal rigmarole of putting things in place; they are already there.

The dedication and the ability to cope on the part of our Canadian forces are real examples of citizenship. Canadian soldiers will do the job they are called upon to do, as the hon. parliamentary secretary said this afternoon. Soldiers are prepared to do the job. We have some soldiers in the House today who are members of Parliament. I am glad they are here to give their first-hand experiences.

The mandate in the United Nations must be clear. There must be an element of co-operation among all parties. If not, our troops are indeed in danger. There must be a responsibility in the parties to respect international decisions. Should we arm the troops? People say: ``Why not give them arms so they can go in and fight?'' If we do that we are taking sides in the conflict and destroying the very basis of the UN in the first place.

I received a telephone call from one of my constituents today who wanted to see our soldiers armed. That is something which will have to be debated in the House and something the UN will have to take a closer look at in terms of how well they are armed to protect themselves. All parties must agree with the mandate and live up to it.

I am glad the War Crimes Commission is on the scene in Yugoslavia today to pin down people who are disobeying international law, those people who are committing war crimes. After this is over they should be brought to the International Court, formally charged, tried, and sentenced accordingly. We cannot allow this to go on.

(1610)

Canadian soldiers, as I said, will do their job. Should they be in Yugoslavia? If we as one of the United Nations do not supply soldiers to look after the humanitarian side of operations in Yugoslavia to try to bring parties together and save the peace, we are not really living up to the international spirit that is the very basis of the United Nations itself.

Again I ask the question: can we afford to be there? In today's world, with trouble spots all over the world, I do not think we as Canadians can back away from it. We were one of the founders of the United Nations, one of the key players at its founding. Yes, the United Nations needs upgrading. It needs improvement to meet the situations and the challenges of the future. They are going to be many.

In order to do so we must work together with the international community. The UN must be strengthened and improved to enable it to meet those very situations. We cannot allow young children and women to suffer. If the United Nations were to pull out of Yugoslavia today there would be more rapes, more child abuse and more killings of children, women and elderly people. There would be no law at all.

We as human beings living on the face of this earth together today could not allow that to go on. We would have it on our consciences. Just remember, it was a small skirmish in Europe that set off the trigger for World War I. It was the depression years of the thirties that continued to set the stage for World War II. Again nobody stood up. Nobody wanted to be counted. They had too many problems at home.

Today we have a lot of problems at home. We have to look after them, try to solve them as well. We must also realize that the world today is like a little pea in a pod. It is small. Everything that happens around this world affects every other nation in the world. We cannot allow these bonfires to burn


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without putting water on them, without cooling them and keeping peace in various parts of the world. We can bet it will be an ongoing battle. We have trouble spots today all over the world. The United Nations will have to face up to that or we will face a worse war in the future that maybe mankind itself will never survive.

Can we afford to be in the United Nations as peacekeepers? I do not think any sane nation on the face of the earth today has any other answer but yes, we have to be there. It is not a dollar value. It is a human value and it is the future of the world.

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, I listened with a great deal of interest as I have for many years to my colleague from Renfrew. He has been an ardent and very convincing supporter of giving the Canadian military establishment the tools to do the job we have asked of it over the years. I cannot think of a more articulate proponent for the men and women who have chosen to serve our country through the Canadian Armed Forces than the member who just spoke.

I want to ask him a very specific set of questions. Even after one term, compared to my hon. colleague I am still a rookie when it comes to matters such as this one. One thing that deeply concerns me with the situation in Bosnia is the impotence or the seeming impotence of the United Nations in using its collective voice to try to force the aggressors in Bosnia to stop, cease and desist and to find some diplomatic, non-military, non-aggressive means to try to bring the situation to a head, to find a resolution.

It has been going on for far too long. We have had far too many children killed. We have had far too many people dislocated. We have heard of far too many rapes and acts of brutality, the likes of which we had not heard since the second world war. Time and time again the United Nations, that great and venerable institution, has passed resolutions but it seems to have forgotten to put some teeth into the resolutions. It seems not to have found the ways to enforce the resolutions so that the atrocities we have heard all too much about would have ceased. Indeed I want to quote what the outgoing UNPROFOR commander, Belgian Lieutenant General Francis Briquemont, said. This was in the Globe and Mail of January 24: ``There is a fantastic crisis now because the politicians are writing and voting I do not know how many resolutions, but we have no means to execute them''.

(1615)

The question I ask of my colleague is: what is it that he believes Canada can do? What leading role can we take to ensure when the United Nations chooses to pass resolutions and actions in cases like this that in actual fact they are adhered to and there are teeth behind the resolutions? What role can Canada play to strengthen those resolutions?

Mr. Hopkins: Mr. Speaker, first, Canada is loved and respected around the world. There is a great difference between being loved and being respected. We happen to have both those good qualities in the eyes of other countries.

The best work Canada can do today is to bring nations together in a diplomatic manner and have them sit down to decide on these measures, just as the Prime Minister did when he attended the NATO conference in Brussels recently.

We have to protect our own soldiers. We are not going to have them in situations where they are fired upon or bombed. They must be looked after. We cannot have the people over there using them as targets either.

Another thing I want to say to the hon. member, and I thank him for his kind comments at the beginning, is that it is very important that the United Nations itself be strengthened. If anything is going to come out of the situation in the former Yugoslavia it is going to be that the United Nations itself must be strengthened. It must be updated and brought into the 21st century. As I said in my speech, there will be many issues to face throughout the 21st century and we cannot do it with a century-old logic.

[Translation]

Mr. Philippe Paré (Louis-Hébert): Mr. Speaker, since I share the views expressed by the hon. member for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, I will not ask a question but I would like to make a comment. As I try to figure out why the people of Canada and Quebec have such mixed feelings about peacekeeping missions, I can see two ways to explain this. First, it seems to me that we still have a hard time seeing ourselves as citizens of the world. I think that when a larger and larger number of Canadians and Quebecers start to see themselves as such, they will see more clearly the need for our involvement.

The second point is that, as I see it, the peace missions in which Canada has taken part may have been too heavily focused on peacekeeping or pacification, giving a somewhat lower profile to the humanitarian aspect. The hon. member for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke mentioned it but I would like to emphasize this point by pointing out that there are over 250 non-governmental organizations in Canada looking to provide humanitarian assistance around the world. I think that, when peacekeepers are sent on a mission, it is to keep the peace of course but also and perhaps more importantly to allow these organizations through which hundreds of Canadians want to provide humanitarian relief to reach the people who need it.


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Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Government House Leader): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment.

There have been discussions among the parties and I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion:

[English]

That on Tuesday, January 25 and Wednesday, January 26 the ordinary hour of daily adjournment be deferred until 10 p.m. and that during the time of such extended sitting, no dilatory motion or quorum call shall be accepted by the Chair.
[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?

Mr. Langlois: Mr. Speaker, the motion put forward by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands reflects accurately what has been agreed upon and it is with pleasure that the Official Opposition gives consent.

(1620)

Mr. Robinson: Mr. Speaker, I simply want to verify something. Considering what the Prime Minister said, I presume that if there are still members willing to participate in the debate at 10 p.m., we will be able to continue the debate. On that basis I will support the proposal.

The Deputy Speaker: I ask myself the same question. Could the parliamentary secretary clarify the issue?

Mr. Milliken: Mr. Speaker, we can certainly have discussions around 10 p.m. to continue the debate if this is necessary. But it is the intention of all the House leaders to end the debate at 10 p.m. if that is possible. The House leaders hope that with two very long sittings today and tomorrow, and maybe next week, the debates should end at a reasonable time for all members, and this is what we are trying to do this afternoon.

The Deputy Speaker: Resuming debate. I believe the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands wants to take the floor. I think the leader of the Reform Party has a point of order.

[English]

Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating you on your attainment of your office. In the past you have had struggles with party discipline and it must give you some satisfaction to-

The Deputy Speaker: Excuse me, I have been reminded that I forgot to ask if there was unanimous consent to the motion that was put by the parliamentary secretary. I take it that that is not a problem and nobody is going to object. Then there is unanimous consent and everybody is happy.

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

Mr. Manning: Mr. Speaker, I did just want to congratulate you on your attainment of your position. As I said, you have had your own struggles with party discipline in the past and it must give you satisfaction to preside over not just a Parliament but a session where party discipline is more relaxed.

I would also like to congratulate other members who have spoken today for the scope of their presentations and for the sincerity of their presentations. I personally found it both helpful and impressive.

That said, like all other members I have a deep interest in this issue from the standpoint of international security as well as from a humanitarian standpoint.

Members of Parliament from Calgary have a special interest in this issue because up to 1,600 personnel from the Currie base in Calgary are scheduled to go to Croatia and Bosnia in the next couple of months. I do think it is important that we are able to communicate to them and their families the reasons they are going, the job they are expected to do and the resources that will be made available to them.

Reform members have not approached this debate with any preconceived notions or positions. We hope to make a contribution however by identifying key questions to be resolved, commenting on those questions from a variety of perspectives and then trying to synthesize the responses of various members to those questions into guidelines which may be useful to the government.

What then are the main questions to which the government requires answers? We think there are three of them. The first is a broad question of foreign policy: Should Canada as a country continue to play a major role in international peacekeeping and enforcement? The second is a broad question of defence policy: What should be the role of Canada's armed forces as we approach the 21st century and how does that relate to international peacekeeping and enforcement? The third is a more particular question forced upon us by the urgency and the tragedy of events in the former Yugoslavia: Should Canada continue to play a role in the current United Nations peacekeeping operations in that part of the world? Obviously the third question would be easier to answer if there were clear answers to the first two.

(1625)

Should Canada as a country continue to play a major role in international peacekeeping and enforcement? There are strong arguments in favour. Number one, we live in an unsafe world and there is an obvious need for international peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention. Number two, Canada has internationally recognized experience and expertise in this field of endeavour. The member for Red Deer has proposed that Canada should specialize in providing training in peacekeeping and


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perhaps even export that to the world. Number three, Canada enjoys a greater degree of acceptance as a peacekeeper than many other nations, including the United States.

Those are all strong arguments but there are cautionary notes to be sounded as well. Number one, not every conflict situation is amenable to resolution by international peacekeeping forces. We will need to learn to distinguish between those that are and those that are not. Number two, Canada has limited resources and we cannot take on any and every request for peacekeeping activity that comes along. Number three, we need to give more attention as a number of members have said to the adequacy of the organizational structure under which peacekeeping operations are undertaken.

Obviously, the United Nations is needed to provide the legal and political framework for peacekeeping activities. But is the United Nations capable of providing the field command and logistic support required, or should that come from somewhere else, from a revamped NATO perhaps, or directly from a consortium of those countries that actually supply troops to these operations?

So let us look at the question: Should Canada as a country continue to play a major role in international peacekeeping and enforcement? The answer I hear suggested by the comments that have been made thus far today is, yes, but a qualified yes with much more attention being given in advance to how the peacekeeping effort is to be organized, its potential costs and the prospects of making a meaningful contribution.

Let me turn to the second question: What should be the role of Canada's armed forces as we approach the 21st century and how does that relate to international peacekeeping and enforcement? While this is not the subject of this debate as we were reminded by the minister of defence, it is the question which must be answered by the government's review of defence policy as promised in the speech from the throne.

At present the Canadian military is being told in a very loose and undefined way that it has at least four tasks to perform with $12 billion. It is to protect Canadian sovereignty, including our long sea coast in the context of continental defence. It is to participate in European security through the NATO arrangements. It is to provide support to the civil authorities at home in special cases such as Oka and it is to participate in multiple international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations under the auspices of the United Nations.

It is clear that this Parliament and this government must give the Canadian military a clearer statement of its mission for the 1990s and the 21st century than it has had heretofore. These four functions in our judgment need to be ranked in some order of priority with resources to match the priority assigned. If that were done, as the hon. member for Charlesbourg said earlier today, we would then have a clearer idea of what kind of commitment Canada could then make at any given time to an international peacekeeping possibility in different situations.

The third question I have posed is: Should Canada continue to play a role in the current United Nations peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia? This has probably been the focus of almost 50 to 60 per cent of what has been said here today.

(1630 )

Those who advocate withdrawal seem to do so for several reasons. They argue that the political situation in the Balkans is insoluble other than by massive military intervention or dictatorial means which Canada cannot support. Others argue that the cumulative costs which have never been fully presented to the Canadian people are too high. They argue that if the Canadian people themselves were to be fully consulted on the question of making a commitment to stay versus preparing to withdraw, then a majority of their constituents might say prepare to withdraw.

Those who advocate a continuing role do so on the following grounds.

First, the conflict in the Balkans has erupted into broader international conflicts in the past and could do so again if not contained.

Second, any weakening of Canada's resolve in Croatia or Bosnia will weaken the resolve of other peacekeeping partners and further encourage the belligerents. I think this was the argument made by the member for Labrador.

Third, I think this is the most powerful argument that has been made for a continuing role. Humanitarian concern for the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people, many of them women and children, demands an international response and a Canadian response no matter how effective or ineffective that response may appear to be. This position was eloquently argued at the very beginning of this debate by the leader of the opposition.

As I sat here listening to these various arguments I have tried to put ourselves a little bit in the government's shoes and tried to ascertain whether there is any reasonable middle ground between a commitment to stay and preparing to withdraw. If there is it would appear to me to be this.

First, Canada should insist on a better command and support structure for the peacekeeping initiative in the former Yugoslavia as a condition for remaining. This is something to be negotiated with the United Nations and not with the belligerents.

Second, Canada should define, perhaps at the conference that several members have mentioned, certain modest expectations for its continued participation in the former Yugoslavia such as


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the securing of some sort of enforceable agreement in Bosnia however frail by the end of the year.

Third, Canada should consider withdrawal only as a measure of last resort if these first objectives could not be obtained. It is my hope that these modest observations may be of some help to the government in framing a general policy on Canada's future peacekeeping role and in arriving at a particular policy with respect to our continued involvement in the former Yugoslavia.

[Translation]

Mr. François Langlois (Bellechasse): Mr. Speaker, my question is twofold but I will be brief in order to enable the hon. member for Calgary Southwest and leader of the Reform Party to provide an answer.

At the beginning of his speech, the hon. member said that we should establish criteria to decide when Canada should participate in international missions. Would the hon. member specify which criteria he would like to use in the present case? Also, at the end of his speech, the hon. member suggested-at least it is my understand, but I would like some clarification-that Canadian troops could stay there under certain conditions. If these conditions, and I believe there are three, are fulfilled, does the hon. member for Calgary Southwest suggest that Canadian troops should stay in the former Yugoslavia?

[English]

Mr. Manning: Mr. Speaker, I think the answer to both of these questions is the same. I was attempting to suggest whether we could define certain criteria that would govern whether Canada participated or not in a peacekeeping operation and if it did decide to do that, whether to remain. In the minister's statement this morning one will notice that he listed the four or five guidelines that we have used in the past and I think a number of those are adequate.

(1635)

The one that I would suggest refining is perhaps Canada insisting more than we have in the past of an adequate command structure and logistical support structure for any peacekeeping operations that we get into. I do believe a number of our own military people have suggested that if there is a weak link then the UN is good at getting a legal mandate to get in there but it is not so good at managing the on the spot command of logistics. I think maybe strengthening that one criterion would be a step in the right direction.

Mr. Pat O'Brien (London-Middlesex): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the thoughts of the leader of the Reform Party.

I would like to ask him if he could elaborate on his statement that we ought to distinguish between a conflict that is resolvable as compared to one that is not.

I think we have seen recently in our world some very ancient feuds such as the one between the Israelis and the PLO and indeed in northern Ireland which I remember hearing about from my grandmother. We have seen progress in some areas that perhaps people felt were unresolvable.

I ask the leader of the Reform Party if he could elaborate as to how he would make that very complex determination. I wonder if he could also address this fact. In his speaking to the humanitarian role we are playing there, that itself would seem to suggest that it is very difficult to determine when a conflict is resolvable and that we may well have a role to play as Canadians with our expertise in what superficially could appear to be thoroughly hopeless.

Mr. Manning: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

I did not mean to imply that the criteria should be whether the conflict is resolvable or unresolvable. If I did this then I was not communicating. I think the dilemma was pointed out with just having that as the criterion.

I was suggesting that perhaps we could set some modest expectations in situations that we get into. It is not that we are going to resolve some ancient conflict that has been going on for hundreds of years but even in the case of Bosnia would it be unrealistic to set the expectation? At least we would get some kind of shaky agreement like the one in Croatia which is hardly a peace agreement but it is better than what there is in Bosnia. If that was the expectation then at least a goal would be set. If one can get it then one can say that is grounds for continuing to proceed.

I am talking about extremely modest expectations but something that one can work toward as a criterion.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on the last question that was asked.

We have heard a number of different perspectives from Reform Party members of Parliament who have spoken. I think that is a healthy thing.

However, I must say it has left me a little confused as to what the position is of the Reform Party or indeed if there is a position of the party as such. I want to ask the leader of the Reform Party to clarify the position.

We heard from the member for Calgary Southeast who said that in her opinion Canadian troops should pull out. The mandate expires on March 31 and Canadian troops should pull out because we are not able to fulfil a humanitarian role is what she said.

I want to ask the leader of the Reform Party very specifically if he agrees with the position taken by his colleague from Calgary Southeast. This position was taken as well as I under-


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stand it with certain moderation by his colleague from Saanich-Gulf Islands. Does he rather agree with the position taken by his colleague from Red Deer who suggested for the reasons that some of us have enunciated that there is a very important humanitarian role for the United Nations to play and that Canada should-

The Deputy Speaker: Very briefly, please. The leader of the Reform Party.

Mr. Manning: Mr. Speaker, that is a complex question.

First, the Reform Party is not taking a position on this particular issue. We have encouraged our members to speak their own views and the views of their constituents.

I would suggest to the hon. member though that the positions that have been expressed by these various members are reconcilable. I think there is a desire to participate in this peacekeeping role subject to certain conditions and I think the debate among us is on what those conditions should be.

Some would say that those conditions cannot be made and therefore we should withdraw. Others would go along with imposing other conditions. I think the debate among us is not whether to withdraw or not to withdraw, but whether to stay or withdraw in accordance with certain conditions.

(1640)

Mr. Allan Kerpan (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre): Mr. Speaker, on this seventh day that the 35th Parliament has been sitting, I want to join my colleagues in congratulating you on your election. You and your colleagues have really helped me and others to become oriented with the procedures of this Chamber.

I also want to thank many others who have made a tremendous contribution in allowing me to be here in this House. I could not be here without the unfailing support and love of my parents, my wife Melanie, our four children, Joshua, Tyrel, Stephanie and Danille, and many other dear friends who I want to salute here today.

I want to thank the people of Moose Jaw-Lake Centre for the honour of representing them here in Ottawa. As many have mentioned before me, today's politicians are not always viewed with the greatest amount of respect. My goal here in this 35th Parliament is to do my part to put back the honour in the term honourable member.

I represent the riding that has often been called the heartland of Saskatchewan. Moose Jaw-Lake Centre is surrounded by nine other federal ridings. It is truly prairie country with agriculture being the primary industry. The Trans-Canada and the Yellowhead highways run directly through our riding and carry thousands of tourists both east and west across this beautiful part of our country every year.

The population is divided equally between the city of Moose Jaw and surrounding small towns of about 70 small towns and villages. It has been my privilege to visit every one of these towns over the last few months and to listen to the concerns and the ideas of rank and file Canadians of every political stripe.

As mentioned by other hon. members before me, we also had some famous people who came to this place before me. The great John Diefenbaker represented part of my riding during his years as Prime Minister. We are also home to the world famous Snowbirds at the Canadian Forces Base 15 Wing in Moose Jaw. Yes, we are indeed proud Canadians in the heartland of Saskatchewan.

I am here today also to speak on a subject that is of great concern to me. It is a subject that I feel very close to in many ways. Early this century my grandparents emigrated from Croatia to this great country of ours. They came here, like millions of others, to escape political persecution and oppression. They felt locked into a political system that gave them no alternative but to leave.

I too have felt that same urgent desire for political change, but here in Canada, unlike my grandparents in Croatia, I do not need to run away. I am very thankful that I can stay here and become part of the vast political change that is sweeping this nation.

As I mentioned before, I feel very close to the subject matter here today. Like my friend, the hon. member for Cambridge, my family's roots are deep in the war torn region that we know as the former Yugoslavia.

The history of this area is long and troubled. If one looks back on the last 100 years one sees that each generation carries the same hatred and mistrust of the one before it. That in itself is reason enough to convince me that our involvement in the area represents an almost impossible challenge. There are no good guys or bad guys in this war. Each side is responsible to some degree for the problems that we see daily. That has always been the case.

The small town where I live has, over the past 90 years, had the distinction of being the new home for a great many immigrants from the former Yugoslavia. In Canada, Kenaston has the highest number of former Yugoslavian residents per capita living outside of their homeland.

In the last few months I have had the opportunity to be directly involved with three gentlemen and their families who have emigrated from the former Yugoslavia to Canada. I have come to know these men and their families personally. Their backgrounds as well as their ideas are varied. One gentleman is a Croat, one is a Muslim Croat and the other is a Serbian Croat.


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I would now like to give a few short quotes from these three gentlemen who have witnessed first hand the torture and the horror of their homeland.

(1645 )

One gentleman told me: ``You must run from building to building like a mouse. What is needed are peacemakers, not peacekeepers, but perhaps it is too late. From my Croatian viewpoint the United Nations was required more when the war was first started. They are now not needed. The war would not be any different with or without them''.

I quote the second gentleman who said: ``Permanent humanitarian aid can only be achieved with the settlement of the war. A new approach must be found by the United Nations. The UN soldiers are put in a situation of humiliation. They are not serving in the capacity of peacekeeping. Bosnians have lost hope that the United Nations can help the problem. The United Nations should intervene in a new way''.

The third gentleman told me: ``The United Nations humanitarian assistance provides some relief, when you can get it. For example, my parents from May 1992 to their escape in August 1993 received only one package of United Nations supplies containing one kilo of flour and one bar of soap. The battle line is within 5 kilometres of my home. I live through constant days of fighting and you can hear bombing and gunfire followed by a few days of limited gunfire. Families would move in fear of an imminent outbreak''.

Even among these three people we see varied opinions as to the success of the humanitarian aid we are trying to place in Bosnia. What appears common to me in their comments however is that there will be no short-term fix to the problem. It is likely to be a situation where a United Nations peacekeeping operation will have to be considered for a very long time. Before that can happen, I believe, along with these people, that peace must be made.

The United Nations forces are now between a rock and a hard place. There is no consensus among the warring parties themselves as to the United Nations involvement in Bosnia. The humanitarian aid I think is appreciated. The military element I think is despised. The warmongers would like them to leave; the victims need them to stay.

I see the only option that is left to us as part of the United Nations force is to withdraw temporarily and re-evaluate the situation. Threats and ultimatums to stop the fighting have not worked to this point. I believe that we must take a firmer stand. I say this with mixed emotions. It is hard for me to stand here and propose withdrawal knowing full well that one of my relatives might die for lack of food or medical aid. Yet I know that in my heart we cannot continue for much longer under the present circumstances.

Canadian lives have been and will continue to be lost for a mission that I now believe can achieve no satisfactory conclusion. We must be prepared to give our United Nations force a new mandate.

In conclusion I urge the government to continue to study the history, the people and the present situation of this area and make its decision based on the best interests of Canadians and of all those involved.

Hon. Raymond Chan (Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)): Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker of the House and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your encouragement during my campaign. Without your encouragement I would not be here today, Sir.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Richmond, my riding, who have looked beyond my ethnicity and have elected me as their member of Parliament. In Richmond not only do we talk about multiculturalism, we also practise multiculturalism.

The Deputy Speaker: I hate to interrupt you, especially after what you have been saying, but I think yours is more a speech than a comment on the speech that was just made. Am I not correct?

Mr. Chan: Actually I will be following up with my questions, Mr. Speaker.

I can identify with the hon. member about his background. I too came to Canada in search of freedom and democracy.

I feel that what is happening in the former Yugoslavia is not only a problem of military action.

(1650 )

As the hon. member has said, it is because of the hatred between the different ethnic groups there. Even though they have been living together for hundreds of years the hatred still exists.

It is important for us to preach to the people in that region about how Canadians can live together peacefully. It is because we have the idea of multiculturalism, that we respect each other regardless of our racial backgrounds.

The question I would like to ask the hon. member is: While the Reform Party members are visiting that troubled region, would they please take the opportunity to preach to the people in that region about how beautiful and wonderful multiculturalism is and let them understand the very important parts our various cultures play in Canada.

Mr. Kerpan: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my address, certainly that is one of the problems. This conflict is not something new. It has been going on for many years, in fact, for more than one century. That has always been the problem. From


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time to time there will be an outbreak of violence such as we are seeing right now.

The key situation here as I mentioned is that first we have to stop the fighting somehow, either through ultimatums or other means. Then once the fighting is stopped, we can go in and we can start to work on the real humanitarian aid and get all three sides talking to each other.

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle): Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the remarks by the member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre. I appreciate the fact that his ancestry is Croatian.

Having been to Croatia and Bosnia several times and having helped organized the first group of members of Parliament who supervised the first free election both in Bosnia and in Croatia, what I am hearing from them is that even though the UN troops, both as peacekeepers in Croatia and as suppliers of humanitarian aid in Bosnia, even though the UN troops in many instances have been ``ineffectual'', they are a thin line which has prevented a total holocaust. To remove that thin line would mean the death of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.

Are we really prepared and is the hon. member suggesting we should remove that thin line? Are we prepared to live with the consequences and the thought that we might have been responsible for the deaths of so many innocent people?

Mr. Kerpan: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member poses a very good question. It is a valid argument and certainly one we must not overlook, the humanitarian side of things.

The people I talk to, those most directly involved, are telling me there is very little trust on either side. They are telling me that whether we were there as a peacekeeping force or a humanitarian force, it really would make very little difference whether we were there or not as far as what the consequences of the war would actually be.

I have based my thinking on that type of common sense approach, common person approach to it.

Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to participate in this important debate concerning Canada's role in peacekeeping with specific reference to our role in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia.

I have a personal interest in what has been taking place in Croatia and Bosnia because that is where I am from. I was born in Croatia. My roots are there. I have family and friends there. The situation in my old homeland has caused me great anxiety and it has been disheartening to say the least.

In 1992 when the United Nations Security Council announced that it was sending peacekeepers to Croatia and later to Bosnia and Hercegovina, I was confident that a resolution to the conflict was within reach. I was optimistic that with peacekeepers, there would be peace. Unfortunately I was mistaken.

(1655)

On February 21, 1992 Canada announced that it would commit up to 1,200 personnel to serve with the United Nations protection force in Croatia. Two months later 30 RCMP officers made the trip to Croatia to assist as police monitors. Our contingent became part of a 13,000, 31-country mission, which was the largest UN peacekeeping operation since the Congo in 1960.

UNPROFOR's operational mandate currently extends to the five republics of the former Yugoslavia. Those include Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It also has a liaison presence in the sixth republic of Slovenia. In Croatia, UNPROFOR was deployed to areas where it was felt that its presence could help to ensure a lasting ceasefire.

Those areas were designated as United Nations protected areas. In the UNPA zones in Croatia, Serbs constituted the majority or a substantial minority of the population and ethnic tensions had resulted in armed conflict.

The UN's original mandate for Croatia was outlined in UN resolution 743 and had several objectives: to ensure the withdrawal of the Yugoslav National Army from all parts of Croatia; to ensure that all UN protected areas were demilitarized through the withdrawal or break up of all armed forces in them; to see that all persons residing in those areas were protected from fear and armed attack; to control access to those areas and to ensure that they remained demilitarized; to monitor the operations of local police and to help ensure non-discrimination and protection of human rights; to support the work of UN humanitarian agencies; and to facilitate the return, in conditions of safety and security, of civilian displaced persons to their homes in the UN protected areas.

I can say with confidence that in Croatia the UN has been unable to fulfil much of the mandate which I have just described.

While it is true that the Yugoslav National Army no longer has a visible presence in Croatia and that UN peacekeepers have been largely successful in their support of humanitarian assistance missions, both in Croatia and Bosnia, UNPROFOR has been unable to ensure the demilitarization of the protected areas and it has had little success in helping displaced civilians return to their homes.

Some have been extremely critical of the UN's inability to fulfil its mandate, not just in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina, but in other parts of the world. In a recent article by Robin Harris, political advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Mr. Harris accuses UNPROFOR of presiding over ``constant ethnic cleansing by Serbs who are driving


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Croatian citizens from their homes in occupied Croatian territory''.

He writes that during a recent trip to Croatia he also witnessed the daily shelling of the Croatian towns of Gospic, Karlovac, Zadar and Osijek by Serbs, all from within so-called United Nations protected areas.

The criticism has also unexpectedly come from all sides in the conflict. Last January the entire mission was placed in jeopardy when Croatian President Franjo Tudjman stated that he did not want to grant UNPROFOR an extension of its mandate because it had failed to achieve its original objective. In particular President Tudjman was reacting to the failure of the UN to demilitarize those forces in UN protected areas.

(1700)

Even the United Nations itself has admitted that in Croatia UNPROFOR has been unable to establish conditions of peace and security that would have permitted the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes in the protected areas. The UN has admitted that despite the best efforts of its civilian police they have been unable to prevent discrimination and abuse of human rights in the protected zones in the first year of their mandate. The UN has also expressed frustration over its inability to compel the warring parties into accepting negotiated agreements.

The situation in Bosnia is somewhat different from that in Croatia. For starters, the mandate of peacekeepers in Bosnia was strictly to assist in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the victims of the war. That has not been an easy job. Quite often the delivery of aid has been dangerous and difficult. Aid convoys have been detained at various checkpoints for hours and days on end while the war victims wait.

While aid is getting through to some of those in need, it is getting there with great risk to those who are delivering it. The war is fiercely continuing in Bosnia. Sniper fire and shelling continue to be daily occurrences. While the UN refers to safe areas in parts of Bosnia, fighting continues in and around those areas.

In fact it is in one of those so-called safe areas that Canadian peacekeepers have been surrounded. They are unable to leave until replacement troops arrive. However replacement troops have not been permitted to enter the town of Srebrenica to relieve our troops. While an agreement to allow our peacekeepers to leave appeared to have been reached in principle several weeks ago, Canadians are still waiting for their replacements.

In conclusion, this peacekeeping mission has had some unforgettable successes. In July 1992 Canadian soldiers liberated the Sarajevo airport and enabled airlifts of humanitarian assistance to commence in a region that had been without food and other necessities for far too long.

On another occasion just before Christmas it was Canadian peacekeepers who came to the rescue of Bosnian psychiatric patients abandoned by hospital staff. We all remember the television images of those helpless people in a field outside the hospital, some without clothes, all unable to care for themselves. Had it not been for our peacekeepers those people may not be alive today.

Those are but two of the highlights in a war that has been raging for over three years. However noble and brave those acts were, we must accept that tensions are rising. It appears as though all sides are getting frustrated with what they see as the status quo. They are beginning to take their frustrations out on our peacekeepers.

This past weekend we learned of two incidents in which the lives of our Canadian soldiers were placed in jeopardy. One of those incidents took place in a so-called protected area in Croatia, and the other in a peacekeeper's camp in Visoko, outside Sarajevo. These events follow several others which have taken place over the past two months.

I am sure that members of the House recall that Canadian peacekeepers were held at gun point and endured a mock execution in Bosnia at the hands of Serb soldiers not long ago. We also recall that they were detained by Croation soldiers in Gospic at approximately the same time. It has only been a few weeks since Canadian peacekeepers were caught in the middle of a shootout between Bosnian Muslim and Croat warriors.

(1705 )

Canadians are extremely sensitive people. We are propelled by a desire to help people in need. That is why we cannot bear to witness the daily suffering and tragedy in Bosnia and Croatia. That is why we sent Canadian peacekeepers to those two countries. We felt that we could help put an end to the suffering of the innocent victims of war. However we must decide whether our desire to help the people of Bosnia and Croatia is more important to us than placing the lives of Canadian soldiers in jeopardy.

The decision to remove Canadian peacekeepers from Bosnia and Croatia is a difficult one. The situation in Croatia while serious is not nearly as volatile as that in Bosnia and Hercegovina. There is a role for the UN to play there. Efforts demand to be redefined.

While I am concerned that the departure of our peacekeepers from Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina may result in increased hostilities in the region and place the lives of my friends and relatives and jeopardy, I can no longer support any initiative in which Canadian soldiers are often used as human shields separating warring factions.

There are also fiscal implications. As everyone is well aware our country's pockets are not overflowing with money. We have a serious debt and deficit problem that needs to be addressed. We must assess whether we can actually afford, not just the missions in Bosnia and Croatia which last year alone cost us


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approximately $120 million and where we have more than 2,000 peacekeepers but other missions around the world where we have additional Canadian peacekeepers.

I am of the opinion that we must review and redefine peacekeeping altogether before we agree to participate in future peacekeeping missions. This review of peacekeeping operations should take place at the international level within the context of the United Nations. Perhaps at the same time we could come up with some suggestions on how to make all UN operations more effective. However that is a debate that can be reserved for another day.

I submit that we should no longer risk the safety of Canadian troops. Nor should we continue to place a financial burden on Canadian taxpayers by footing what is amounting to be a rather expensive venture.

Members will by now know that this is not a decision I have reached lightly. I urge my colleagues to give this their utmost consideration so that we may find the best possible solution for Canadians first and foremost.

The Deputy Speaker: Particularly after a speech like that one members do not have to put questions to the member; they can just make comments during the remaining time.

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member. I understand he is the first person born in Croatia to be a member of the Canadian Parliament. I sincerely congratulate him on that.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

Mr. de Jong: When we look at the history of the Croatian people I suspect we will find that the first ones were some of the earlier explorers of the St. Lawrence and other parts of this continent. The Croatian people have historically been known to be a great seafaring people. Descendants of the Croatian people can be found throughout the world. They have that in my common with my people from Holland. Holland was also a great seafaring nation and continues to be.

I am somewhat dismayed, however, at the suggestion and the conclusion of the hon. member. Understanding the frustrations that we all feel and that Canadians feel when we read about Canadian troops being mishandled and their lives being threatened while attempting to deliver humanitarian aid, the initial reaction is to get the heck out of there. We are trying to do good yet our lives are being threatened and we are being humiliated. In the end sober second thought has to decide what course we are going to take.

(1710)

I hope before the government decides to act that it uses the intelligence network I am sure is operating in Bosnia-Hercegovina. As I understand it, it takes all the existing information and intelligence available to come to a basic conclusion or understanding.

If we remove Canadian troops and UN troops what will the results be? Will the result be a further and greater holocaust? What if our intelligence indicates that it will be? Even though that thin and inadequate UN line keeps some semblance of order and in its own way prevents a total holocaust from occurring, surely we have no other choice but to stay in there.

Can the hon. member tell us if he has any other information on which to base his opinion?

Mr. Peric: Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows at the present time our role is not acceptable over there. It is a very weak role. Only under different conditions would I support UN troops in the former Yugoslavia. Otherwise I am in full support of pulling them out and bringing our Canadian soldiers back home.

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words today on this very important and historic debate. I think we owe a great credit to our Prime Minister for showing leadership in reforming the House. Not only are we dealing with an historic tragedy in Europe. I think we are dealing with some history in this very Parliament. I appreciate the chance to participate in this new openness.

As I prepared for this brief intervention I attempted to boil down the situation as much as I could. I doubt that very many of us are experts in international affairs, but nonetheless we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens to make intelligent and well considered decisions.

It is a particular privilege for me to say a few words because the late Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson was the former member for Algoma. By the end of today all members will know that Mr. Pearson was instrumental in the very formation of peacekeeping missions by the UN. He won the Noble prize in 1957 for his leadership in the Suez Canal crisis. That kind of leadership exhibited by Canada and Mr. Pearson then requires that we show leadership at this time. Canada's stature in the world as a peacemaker goes unquestioned.

This crisis I believe provides us with an opportunity. The tragedy that is occurring in the former Yugoslavia can at the same time, like Suez, be an opportunity for us to find new solutions. We certainly do not want to see this kind of thing happening over and over around the world. We cannot co-ordinate conflict but we can certainly co-ordinate and plan our response to conflict.

The situation in the world is such that the nature of conflict is changing. Unfortunately we are seeing much more ethnic fight-


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ing and religious fighting. Because of the nature of the general change in conflict it requires we change our approach to solving these kinds of problems. I would not dare presume to speak for Mr. Pearson, but I would suggest that if he were here he would say we have to reinvent our approach to peacekeeping given the situation we face.

I would recommend to my colleagues a report published in February 1993 by the other place. It was a report of the standing Senate committee on foreign affairs entitled ``Meeting New Challenges: Canada's response to a new generation of peacekeeping''. It is excellent reading and contains some very forward thinking ideas. I make a suggestion to the House. We recognize that in April there is a decision point for our country in terms of whether we stay or not stay. The rotation involved in Srebenica is really not directly involved in our decision with respect to April.

(1715)

We also have a decision to make or delay until November. Our commitment in the former Yugoslavia is in six-month increments. This is the negotiated arrangement that all member nations have with the UN.

I suggest that because the government has made a commitment to review our foreign affairs policies and our defence policies, which will likely come to a conclusion by this fall, and because we want to involve Canadians in those consultations, as we are doing with the budget and the efforts by the finance minister to involve Canadians, I believe we will see public consultations.

We need to have a partial moratorium on Canada's involvement in the former Yugoslavia. I am not suggesting a withdrawal from the region. I am only suggesting that a decision be made by our minister to withdraw our troops from Bosnia to Croatia from this spring until this fall.

Our commitment to the NATO forces there is in six-month increments. I believe we need to give Canadians a little bit of breathing room when it comes to our involvement not only in Bosnia but in peacekeeping in general.

It is my recommendation to the House that even though there are four options, one being to withdraw entirely from the region, another to simply withdraw from Bosnia but stay in Croatia, we could keep the status quo stable at our base in Bosnia and in Croatia, or we could augment our forces.

I believe that only the second and third are options for us right now and that the second is the one we should opt for which is to withdraw our troops into Croatia.

The review we will be holding in Canada over this next six to eight months is very important for the long term. I would not want to see our troops in a situation that could blow up when we do not have a thoughtfully considered place in the peacekeeping or peacemaking efforts of the world. When you consider that we are the third largest contingent over there, I really have to question how much say we have in what is going on.

I recognize that there is a serious humanitarian element to this if we remove troops from Bosnia. There is a lot of important work that needs to be done in Croatia in support of the humanitarian effort and there are other nations that need to take their turn at this very important task.

By withdrawing our troops from Bosnia and moving them to Croatia we can send a subtle but important message to our allies and to the UN that our own role as a peacekeeping nation is under review. It recognizes there is very little effort being made by the protagonists to come to a peaceful compromise. Canada can show its leadership by sending a strong message that we are looking seriously at our role as peacemakers in this world.

We want to give Canadians through this next six to eight months an honest opportunity to see how our troops are deployed, how we commit our Canadian tax dollars to peacemaking around the world because Canada has never shirked its responsibility. However, maybe it is time for others to come forward. We are all grateful to our troops for their efforts in all peacekeeping theatres, especially in the former Yugoslavia, but we do not want to see them in a situation that may blow up and soon be out of control.

(1720)

I remind the House that we had great leadership with Mr. Pearson back in the late fifties. If Canada wishes to maintain that role-and I am sure our new Minister of Foreign Affairs is up to the task as is our entire government-it does not mean that we have to endanger our troops in a very volatile situation while we review our place as peacekeepers in the world.

Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough): Madam Speaker, I really enjoyed what the member had to say. I wonder if any member of the Reform Party has any comments on it.

An hon. member: Where are they? They are not here.

An hon. member: Was that a question or a comment?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): It is a comment. Are there any further questions or comments? Resuming debate.

[Translation]

Mrs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre): Madam Speaker, since this is the first time I rise in the House as the member for Laval Centre, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election to the Chair. I would also like to emphasize the efficiency, professionalism and exceptional work being done by the entire staff of the House of Commons.


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I would also like to extend sincere greetings to my constituents in Laval Centre. On October 25 they proved that they understood the importance of respecting the individual by electing me as their representative.

I will now focus on the subject of my speech. For several hours, members of this House have applied the profound values of our North American society to an issue that is both painful and necessary: should we review the usefulness of the presence of Canadian peacekeepers in the world's hot spots, in light of past experience and of the new geopolitical context that has arisen as a result of recent disruptions, especially in Eastern Europe?

The answer, of course, is yes. From personal experience, we all learned long ago that situations and contexts constantly change and what yesterday seemed obvious is far less clear today. The Bosnian conflict is a case in point. We must not be afraid of analysing reality, even if we see some elements we did not even know existed. It is our duty as a responsible society.

The reality we are analysing today has two sides. I call them the reality of the heart and the reality of the mind. I do not know which takes precedence over the other, but I hope that the decisions we will be asked to make are made in light of values that are fundamental to Canadian and Quebec society, in other words, our democratic values, our collective responsabilities and respect for the individual.

Ever since the news brutally reminded us of the existence of the former Yugoslavia, there is a memory that often comes back to haunt me.

(1725)

It was in the early sixties, at the end of January, and yes, I was on a ski slope. It was snowing. A friend introduced the man she was going to marry. He was a Yugoslav, but over the past few years, Stéphane has become a Croat, first and foremost. He predicted what is happening now in that part of the world when he said thirty years ago: ``When Tito disappears, this artificial country will be a bloody battlefield.'' He was right, of course, and it did not take long for his apocalyptic vision to become a reality.

Slovenia was able to resist the Yugoslav army and managed to assert its independence at the end of 1991. Croatia, however, quickly became the scene of a civil war that significantly altered its borders. Without the presence of the UN peacekeepers, the conflict would have been far worse. During the past year, Bosnia-Hercegovina has monopolized the headlines in the international media. An area where Croatians, Serbs and Muslims had managed to live together in harmony, it has now become a genuine powder keg. Powerless, we watch a tragedy that can only compare with the vast displacement of the millions of men, women and children who suffered as victims of the atrocities committed during the Second World War.

When my friend Stéphane listens to the news and reads the papers, he thinks about the victims of this conflict which seems to go on and on. Who are they? Women and children, of course. In Sarajevo, 10,000 people have died in 21 months. More than 1,500 were children. But the others, those who manage to survive, what kind of reality do they face from day to day? For them, life is synonymous with fear. Hunger, cold, sickness, violence and death are everywhere.

In Bosnia-Hercegovina, as in any territory where armed conflict lashes out indiscriminately, the average citizen is separated from his environment. The population of this area is estimated at more than four million, two-thirds of whom have fled their homes or what is left of them in their search for elusive safety. This exodus is the most staggering facet of the entire conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Intimidation, torture, murder and rape perpetrated on minorities under military occupation have all contributed to the ``ethnic cleansing'' of zones controlled by the warring parties.

Can we decently question the usefulness of UN contingents? If they were not there, would food, medicine, and blankets have any chance of reaching those protected areas that receive a stream of destitute refugees?

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no. In fact, inter-ethnic confrontations in the former Yugoslavia have caused the exodus of millions of people who are desperately seeking refuge. In Bosnia-Hercegovina, out of a total population of 4.5 million, the office of the High Commissioner for refugees calculates more than 2.7 million persons have been displaced.

(1730)

This is roughly the population of Greater Montreal. These people are out on the roads, sometimes in bitter cold.

At the very beginning of this conflict, displaced families received help from relatives, friends, fellow countrymen. This is no longer the case. The situation has deteriorated considerably and it is hurting the majority of the people from the former Yugoslavia. The conflict is wreaking economic havoc throughout the area.

If any one still wondered about the importance of the UN military presence in critical areas, let us just think back to last fall, when the flow of relief was interrupted for nearly three weeks following attacks on UN convoys. Barely 40 per cent of the required supplies reached the civilians. I am convinced that no one in this House will dare call into question the relevance of the assistance provided to the civilian population by these men and women who, in the name of fundamental rights and freedoms and at the peril of their own lives, try to minimize for these people the disastrous and inhuman effects of insane conflicts.


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The action of our peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in particular is an integral part of the efforts by the High Commission for Refugees. They go hand in hand. Without the logistical support provided by the UN forces, especially the Canadian peacekeepers, there is no way humanitarian assistance could get where it is supposed to. These convoys bringing food, clothing and medical supplies to people who are increasingly dependent on them are often delayed, stopped or attacked. Nevertheless, the people of Canada and Quebec have every right to wonder what our peacekeepers are doing in the former Yugoslavia.

It should be pointed out however that the primary role of the UN peacekeeping forces, of which Canada is a member, is to provide assistance to populations in need, to try to reduce tension between warring factions and provide organizations such as the High Commission for Refugees with all the technical assistance required. This peacekeeping force currently includes over 2,000 Canadian soldiers, more than half of whom are stationed in Bosnia-Hercegovina. About 80 per cent of the Canadian contingent is made up of young men and women from Quebec, which goes to show the generosity of our people.

Canadian peacekeepers escort humanitarian relief convoys and secure areas under UN protection. Without their support, this goal would be difficult and perhaps even impossible to reach, in view of the fact that missions are often plagued with administrative obstacles laid by the military commands, whether Bosnian, Croat or Serb. It is obvious that without the help of the peacekeepers, the peace mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina would come to a standstill.

What are the cost to the people of Canada and Quebec? There is no denying that there are economic costs associated with the presence of Canadian peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia. Let us not at this stage overestimate, worse, underestimate these costs.

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Economic costs are one thing, loss of life is quite another. Each life is important and invaluable. Two casualties among our peacekeepers are directly linked to these hostilities. This number is too high, but it is perhaps not too great a cost when we think of the countless lives that have been saved thanks to the presence of Canadian peacekeepers.

If we have succeeded in saving a single life, a single child, then we have already accomplished a great deal. Our peacekeepers know this and do not hesitate to say so. Quebecers and Canadians know this as well. Can we, for economic considerations, dismiss lightly all of the work and all of the humanitarian relief provided by thousands of civilians and UN peacekeepers? We have a duty to be responsible and to fully assume our role as citizens of the world.

The process of collective reflection that we have initiated in this House leads us to think that the debate must be comprehensive. The presence of the peacekeepers is a tangible symbol of the support Canada and Quebec have always extended to oppressed nations, because here in this country, we value people above all else.

Consequently, Canada must continue to fulfil its current mandate. It must give its moral and political backing to the UN peacekeeping effort. It must continue to escort humanitarian relief convoys which serve as the daily lifeline for approximately two million people, mainly women and children. We must work together toward world peace through concerted efforts to prevent conflicts from spilling over borders.

Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve): First of all, Madam Speaker, I am pleased to offer my congratulations to my colleague, the member for Laval Centre, for her brilliant, clear presentation, full of the compassion for which she is known. I also want to congratulate you on the responsibilities entrusted to you and to participate, perhaps modestly, in the debate which has been going on since ten o'clock this morning by telling you that I represent a riding in eastern Montreal where the social and economic conditions are rather difficult.

On several occasions, I was able to discuss with my constituents what Canada's presence abroad means. This brings me to say that the debate we are having today as parliamentarians should lead us to answer two main questions. The first is what exactly does it mean in terms of resource allocation to participate in a peacekeeping or a peacemaking force abroad? The second basic question is what are the underlying values? To understand the present debate, I think that we must go back to the past. I believe that our colleague from Laval Centre has clearly shown that we have a responsibility.

(1740)

I believe in something called international conscience. I believe that the reason we have to debate the conflict in the former Yugoslavia where three major communities have difficulty living together is that some decisions were made before. We as parliamentarians cannot ignore that the decisions were made, first, just after the First World War and, second, just after the Second World War.

The reason I refer to these historical facts is that I think there is a lesson to be learned from this century: every time the international community was tempted to withdraw from a problem or to minimize its extent, this had the contrary effect of prolonging the problem.


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Remember the first time an attempt was made to lay the basis for real international solidarity with the League of Nations. They let Ethiopia be invaded and look at what that led to!

Remember the Munich Conference where the heads of state let Hitler invade Poland. Look at what that led to!

My way of understanding today's debate is to say: what would it mean for the international community if Canada withdrew, if Canada took out its 2,000 soldiers, who represent about 8 per cent of the international force? I think that it would send a message of resignation, of cowardice and of lack of solidarity.

Of course, I do not contend that Canada alone bears the whole responsibility for the forces to be used in those efforts, but I think that Canada must take pride in an activist tradition, a tradition of peacemaking which is very honourable. What we must ask the international community to do is to give the outlines for a political decision.

With the Leader of the Opposition, I had the pleasure to meet two generals in the field who told us about the conclusions we should draw.

We should be particularly proud of two things: first, that international action has managed to keep the conflict within limits, a conflict which could have been explosive and spread beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia. Secondly, and I think that several members have referred to it, concerning the humanitarian shipments, we do not claim that there have been no mistakes, but we say that some pretty good work is going on and that the situation would be much worse if food supplies could not be sent through.

So I think that these two reasons alone should convince us as parliamentarians that it is worthwhile for Canada to continue what it is doing.

There is a third point, and I think that is where our actions will have the greatest effect. Some people in the international community have a great deal of experience which gives them a lot of credibility. I am thinking of former President Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon and more could be named. I think that we must tell our fellow citizens that if we want Canada to keep up its effort and continue to allocate resources to it, we also want a decision made and some guidelines laid out. For this, I think that we should mandate people who know the international community well, who have credibility in trying to bring the parties together, because we must not be mistaken. Basically, ultimately, our guiding purpose must be to try to lead three communities to live together. For historical and immediate reasons, they have difficulty doing so.

In that regard, if a vote were taken today, I would say that Canada should maintain its participation. Thank you.

Mr. André Caron (Jonquière): I wish to congratulate my colleague from Laval Centre for her excellent speech before making a short comment.

She started out by telling us that we should look at the situation and at the matter we are dealing with today not only with our minds but also with our hearts. And I think that in her speech she emphasized the need to listen to our hearts.

(1745)

I often listen to the speeches of my colleagues. We hear a lot about strategy and international policy considerations but not much about what Pascal called ``the reason of the heart'', as my colleague was pointing out. She showed us that, in such a situation, our first duty as human beings is to be present. Under certain circumstances, on a personal level or even in international politics, we often feel powerless, we do not know how to react or what to do but we know instinctively that we have to be there. It is our duty as human beings.

She also reminded us that we had an obligation to feed, clothe and heal others. Canada and Quebec should be proud that, throughout their history, they have been committed to these duties that are incumbent upon us all as human beings. When we see others suffer, our impulse is to go help them, to do our part.

As my colleague showed us, I think that we have a duty to intervene. When we feel that we can do something, even if it is not much, to help someone, to save lives, to alleviate pain and suffering, I think that our duty is to intervene. I want to thank my colleague for pointing out this whole aspect in her speech. We can talk about strategy, statistics, costs and interventions in Bosnia or in other similar situations, but we must remember that, as human beings, we should also listen to our hearts.

[English]

Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough): Madam Speaker, I want to join with the rest of my colleagues in congratulating you on your appointment to the role of assistant Speaker. I know that you look forward to this as do we in the House of a Parliament that is different, more progressive and more open than that which we have probably come to live with over the last number of years.

I want to congratulate all of the people today involved in this very important and very timely debate about our role as peacekeepers throughout the world and what the future role of the Canadian military should and will be.

As I rise to participate in this I say that I am a member of Parliament who has taken great interest in the last number of years in Canada's military and in our foreign policy. I had the opportunity on two occasions to travel with the defence committee. Once we went to eastern Europe as a part of our delegation. There was that trip along with the other times I spent as a


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member of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

I believe this has given me somewhat of an insight into the problems and the questions which are facing our military and which we must address if we are to continue to build on a foreign policy which is coherent in the light of today's world situation.

This is consistent with our historical record as one of the world's leading peacekeepers. As we all know, Canada has long been a world leader in the field of peacekeeping and our contribution has been appreciated around the world.

After World War II Canada was a major military and industrial power and one of the leaders of the free world. We gave our unconditional support to the United Nations from the beginning and we were leaders in the movement to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the North American Air Defence Command.

(1750 )

We were ready to participate as a full partner with the world community in collective action. While the United Nations involvement in Korea was not peacekeeping as such it was a collective action to deter aggression and was a prime example of the ability which that organization had to react around the world.

The pre-eminent Canadian contribution to peacekeeping came at the time of the Suez crisis in 1956 when Canada, under the Right Hon. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent and external affairs minister Lester B. Pearson, played a leading role in the world community. They were instrumental in the establishment of the UN peacekeeping force in the Middle East.

The eminent historian J. L. Granatstein says that the high water mark of Canadian prestige in the world was reached during the Suez crisis of 1956. As most hon. members well know Mr. Pearson won the Nobel peace prize. At that time Canada stood at the forefront of world security and peace efforts and we were a very proud nation.

Our commitment to international peacekeeping has continued and a roll call of the places Canada has served would take one around the world. Today there are over 2,300 Canadians on duty in places as diverse as Rwanda, Iraq and El Salvador and the others that we are talking about today. Our peacekeeping efforts have been a badge of honour worn proudly by the men and women of our forces who have served this world and this country with dignity and with purpose.

We cannot however rest on the laurels of the past. The world today is a vastly different place than it was in the 1950s or in the subsequent decades. All the implications of our role must be examined. We as parliamentarians must lay out a clear and concise plan of action for our government and for our military which is consistent with the role as citizens in the world.

It must be said that the last two major peacekeeping operations have been fraught with frustration. Every speech made in this Chamber today said that. The horrible savagery which has been talked about in Bosnia comes to us instantly every day on television. It was mentioned here earlier today that on the past weekend six young children out playing in the snow were killed by shells. The daily butchery based on longstanding ethnic hatred causes each of us to grieve when we see it in our homes on television.

Our troops have also served in Somalia in a harsh and hostile climate and environment for which probably they may not have been fully prepared. The people we send on these missions of course are soldiers. They are not social workers. Their training, as good as it is, and it is the best there is around, does not always equip them for the degradation and inequities they see. They are placed in areas where the game is played by different rules which are not consistent with the values that they know and we know.

We must always remember when we send our young men and women abroad that they are going in may cases into a no win situation. It is like the tale of the three young boy scouts who helped the lady across the street. It is an awful lot more difficult if she does not want to go.

Sometimes our troops and others are in a situation where they are trying to make peace between groups and peoples who really want to continue their animosities which go back into the mists of time. When we put our people into these situations we must remember that frustration follows.

The world has undergone dramatic and fundamental change over these past few years since Canada stood at the zenith of its international prestige as a world leader in the peacekeeping process.

The fundamental cornerstones of Canada's foreign policy have not changed substantially over the years, however. We are still committed to defence and collective security with our allies. We remain committed to arms control and disarmament.

(1755 )

We are committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. We must ask ourselves whether we are now entering a phase where we become world police. Is this the role we are to play?

Even over such a short time span as the last five years, the face of the world has changed dramatically. Maps five years old are out of date. Few could have seen following the dramatic days when the Berlin wall came down how fundamentally the world would change in such a short time.


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The collapse of the communist party and the dismemberment of the Soviet Union would have been unthinkable a decade ago. We would have thought then that if the old order in eastern Europe were to collapse then all would be well. Peace would break out all over the world.

We smugly watched and claimed victory at the end of the cold war not realizing the pent up ethnic nationalistic tensions that were just below the surface. The thin veneer of civilized behaviour was quickly stripped away. Now we see a world situation more fraught with danger than at most times during the past 50 years. During the peaceful years that followed World War II we developed the attitude that reasoned and rational behaviour would rule the nations of the world.

What we forgot is that only 80 years have passed since the beginning of World War I which was a horrible, wasteful war that was finally touched off by a spark in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

Only 55 years have passed since the beginning of World War II which was the most destructive conflict in human history. We may feel we are past the stage of generalized conflict but I fear that that smugness may be false optimism. We pray that we will never be faced with the other way but we must realize that many of the tensions, conflicts and hatreds that led to war in the past are still with us today.

As I mentioned earlier, almost daily on the TV and other news media we are reminded of the mindless, terrible slaughter that continues around the world. Our greatest challenge as people is to prevent further conflict, to show world leadership and to cause others to follow our example of nationhood based on reason. This is where disputes and conflicts are settled by dialogue and not by bullets.

There is a great challenge facing this government as we approach the 21st century. We must assess the role of our armed forces and we must provide them with the direction that is necessary in a troubled world.

It must be a multilevel approach. Our military role must be defined and priorities must be established. Canada must continue to be the honest broker who works tirelessly on diplomatic fronts to halt conflict around the world and to eliminate the root causes of these conflicts.

We live in difficult times. The economy of Canada demands that we restrain our spending but a troubled world looks to us for leadership. As I said earlier, as the citizens of the world we must be involved in the affairs of the world partly out of self-interest and partly because morally we must be involved in trying to make the world a better place.

We must however perform our duties only after the most careful examination of all the implications that our future involvement holds. This challenge faces us all. If we do not create a world free of conflict then the price we pay as Canadians may be too horrible to contemplate.

We have been a world leader in peacekeeping over the years. That tradition is now more important than ever.

[Translation]

Mr. Philippe Paré (Louis-Hébert): Madam Speaker, I am pleased with what I am hearing today. I think that what is being said in this debate could contribute to enhance the perception that the Canadian and the Quebec people have of the House of Commons and of Canadian parliamentarians.

(1800)

I believe that something else will be achieved tonight. This deeply thought out and dispassionate debate will reinforce for Canadians and Quebecers the values of generosity and compassion they hold most dear. What we are really talking about in this debate is respect for life. Canada cannot stand still when there is suffering, and I think that Canadians and Quebecers had to witness with their own ears and eyes this demonstration of human solidarity among Canadian parliamentarians.

[English]

Mr. Proud: Madam Speaker, I would just like to thank the hon. member for his comments. I totally believe in what he said regarding the debate that is taking place here today in this place.

I know, as I travelled around my riding of Hillsborough, the same as every other member did in their ridings, that people in this country were telling us that we had better change the image of this place now.

I just wanted to say that it is not always going to be this congenial in here. However, when it is this way we really can produce a good product. I am sure that out of this debate will come a policy based on other hearings that are held throughout the land and a military and foreign policy that once again we in this country can be very, very proud of.

Mrs. Beryl Gaffney (Nepean): Madam Speaker, I noticed that everybody has been congratulating you that you are now in the chair. I would like to say that it is nice to see a woman in the chair and I say kudos to you.

I have not been on House duty today but this is one debate I have been watching on my TV monitor in my office all day with a great deal of interest because the variety of the discussion and the difference in thoughts have been very interesting to me.

All of us who have spoken on this issue today are representative of all Canadians. We have represented all different points of view which will certainly give our government at lot to think about, in particular the role of our peacekeepers in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the former Yugoslavia and should we bring our troops home.


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However, I believe the issue is much broader than just simply bringing our troops home. I believe other issues are at play here. We need to look at redefining the role of the United Nations and we need to address Canada's foreign policy relative to our defence policy.

Canada and its soldiers have participated in UN peacekeeping missions in many areas around the world since shortly after World War II. In fact, Canada was the founding member of both the United Nations and NATO and in both cases has worked to develop these institutions into effective bodies that could prevent and manage crises and provide a forum where countries could work together and collectively solve the crises.

As I stated at the outset, the issue at hand is much greater than simply bringing our troops home. For example, what would be the cause in effect or the risk if Canada did that? Would we be sending the wrong message to the other world participants? Would it cause other nations to pull out thereby abandoning the UN role and our support of the Secretary General's agenda for peace developed in 1992? Would it cause a spillover of hostilities into other regions of the Balkans?

I wish I had the time to request a broad range of opinions from my Nepean constituency. I have been fortunate because quite a few have phoned and quite a few have written me. I would like to quote from only four of them.

One World War II veteran said: ``There is no peace to keep. There is no need for them to be there to defend Canada. Our forces should be withdrawn''.

Another said: ``In the spirit of Lester Pearson's vision, the UN should get out and return only when the combatants arrive at a peaceful settlement amongst themselves.

(1805)

Of the opposite point of view was the comment from another Nepean constituent who said: ``As my MP, this message is to inform you that I strongly support Canada's contribution to the United Nations protection forces in Bosnia. We should continue our efforts in the international arena by trying to convince other nations to accept their responsibilities in resolving the unfortunate situation in Bosnia. A withdrawal at this time of our support to the UN sends a negative message to other nations when we should be demonstrating positive leadership at the international level''.

A fourth is a retired colonel who wrote a paper entitled ``The Perils of Peacekeeping''. The article suggests that a reasonably sufficient defence establishment is an important block in Canada's national foundation. Moreover, peacekeeping is but one component of that block, which is what I said initially.

The key point is that Canadians need to accept that a coherent defence policy and an effective armed forces to implement it are essential for advancing their national interest. Needless to say, sufficient resources have to be made available for the policy to succeed and to protect the soldiers, sailors and aviators who carry it out.

In a briefing available to us all yesterday by the Canadian military and external affairs, we were advised that Canada has 2,400 troops in the former Yugoslavia. At one point during this mission Canada was contributing 10 per cent of the troops in the mission. He said that by April of this year it could be as low as 2.4 per cent.

The UN mission has two objectives. The first is to contain the conflict from spreading beyond its current borders. The second is the protection of people through humanitarian aid to the people of Bosnia-Hercegovina. This could be through food or through medical supplies. In this respect at least 2.5 million civilians have been assisted directly by UN intervention.

The military advisers at yesterday's briefing believe the merits of the UN forces in the former Yugoslavia are:

They have been able to contain the fighting. An agreement of sorts has been reached between the Serbs and the Croats over borders in Croatia and in Srebrenica, and the fighting has been contained.

They also have been reasonably successful in delivering humanitarian aid which is their prime mandate, including medical evacuations and the protection of hospitals.

I questioned the general. I asked him if in his opinion more civilian lives would have been lost had we not been there. He responded that many more surely would have died, especially the elderly and the children who cannot fend for themselves.

The military advisers went on to say that the solution to the problem in the former Yugoslavia must come from within the country by the heads of the warring factions, probably brought on by international pressure. A UN military solution would simply be too costly, both in terms of equipment and manpower. It would require over 100,000 troops to enact a peace enforcement mandate. There are not enough countries willing to offer the number of troops required. While our Canadians are adequately equipped to carry out their role as peacekeepers, they do not have the offensive equipment necessary to carry out a peace enforcement mandate.

In speaking with my constituency, I have not spoken to anyone who would want to send their son or daughter into a full conflict situation in the former Yugoslavia.

As the former Minister of External Affairs said in a recent commentary: ``Canadians must search their hearts to see whether they will accept the wholly different risks of withdrawal. The cynics view is that the killing, the atrocities, the ethnic cleansing can get no worse, but that is not so. Vengeance killing and localized thuggery are just as likely to soar beyond contemplation as they are to end. Canadians would be here at home, safe, but at the cost of shattered lives, ideals and values and bearing


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that uneasy burden of having abandoned a vulnerable civilian population.

Considering the unsatisfactory alternatives, Canada's best bet,'' said the former external affairs minister, ``is the unsatisfactory status quo''. To further quote Ms. McDougall: ``It was Canada, and we were the only country, that called for early UN intervention in 1991, when it could have limited the devastation that followed.

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Today, western leaders have decided that the defence of our values is not worth the casualties that would result from the tougher actions. Canada initiated the process that led to the war crimes tribunal. We have a responsibility to ensure our presence, that war crimes are prevented and that criminals if necessary are punished''.

This brings me to the issue of the United Nations reform. I managed to take a few weeks of holidays at the beginning of January and took along the book ``Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo'' written by retired Major General Lewis MacKenzie. It was a pretty heavy book to read on the beach but I managed to get through it all.

He states that ``the international community gets a good deal when it borrows a nation's soldiers. Peacekeepers carry out the job they are trained to do without questioning. UN soldiers risk their lives every day in an attempt to create conditions whereby political discussions can take place, leading to peace in areas of armed conflict or tension''. He was very critical of the UN's role.

This is where I commented again at the outset. Reform of the UN must be one of the parameters. The UN is apparently incapable of providing adequate logistics to support the many missions around the world. No one is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Heaven help you if somebody in Sarajevo or in Somalia wanted some help from the United Nations on a weekend. There is no one there. They go home at five o'clock on a weekday and there is no one there on the weekend.

The third point in my equation is Canada's defence policy and how it ties in with foreign affairs. The centre of Canada's foreign relations must be an effective United Nations. This is still the best way to protect our nation's ties in with defence. We spend $2.5 billion on foreign aid. Is it being well spent? Should we be concentrating on the basic needs of third world nations? Do we have a responsibility to spread prosperity and can this be done without pushing our country further into debt? I think we can with an equitable defence policy.

In summary, I applaud our peacekeepers. Their dedication and commitment to their job is unsurpassed. To an extent, we have let them down. Our government must move quickly to work with the member nations of the UN to reform the institution.

The Canadian government must define our foreign policy objectives in relation to a defence policy. Canada is in a position to lead if we knew where we were going. Our peacekeepers are the professionals, they deserve nothing less from us.

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway): Madam Speaker, I would like to join in congratulating you on your appointment to the chair. I know that you will bring the dignity and wisdom to the chair that you have brought to the other deliberations of this House.

I also want to thank the Prime Minister.

[Translation]

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for giving all members of this House a chance to discuss this very important issue, and I hope this will create a precedent for future important decisions. I also hope the government will take members' recommendations seriously.

[English]

I believe the previous speaker suggested that the former Secretary of State for External Affairs in a recent article stated that we must accept the status quo in the former Yugoslavia.

If there has been one cry, if there has been one consensus that I have been able to determine in the debate today it is surely that the status quo is not acceptable. Where we differ, as members of Parliament and even within parties, is how we respond to this tragedy and what the most appropriate response is as Canadians and as citizens of the world through the United Nations.

(1815)

I returned earlier this month from a visit to that troubled region of Croatia. While there I met with a number of people. I met with the foreign minister of Croatia, with senior members of parliament, including the chair of the foreign affairs committee and the human rights committee. I have met as well in my own community with representatives of the Serbian community.

I also had the privilege of meeting with General John MacInnis, the deputy force commander of UN forces in the former Yugoslavia and the commander of Canadian forces. I met with General Jack Vance, the colonel commandant of the infantry, a very highly respected soldier who was there to provide support to the men and women on the ground in Croatia.

I flew down to sector south on an UNPROFOR helicopter.


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[Translation]

There I met Colonel Marc Lessard, commanding officer of our troops in the Royal 22nd Regiment.

[English]

I received an excellent comprehensive briefing on the fine work that is being done by our Canadian men and women in sector south and indeed elsewhere.

I was taken to a number of observation posts, met many of the soldiers that have been working on the ground and saw the tremendous work and dedication that they have brought to their commitment in that region.

I am sure all members of the House would agree with me that we are tremendously proud of the men and women that are serving not just Canada but that are serving the United Nations in that troubled part of the world. These men and women often serve at great personal risk. While two Canadians have died in the field we know of many others who have been fired at, who have been harassed and intimidated. Certainly this is unacceptable and it is happening in both Croatia and Bosnia.

We take this opportunity as well to recognize that our troops are also involved not only in Operation Harmony in Croatia but also in Operation Cavalier a second battle group that is assigned to UNPROFOR in Bosnia. At the present time it is the 12th regiment, le 12e Régiment blindé du Canada.

We participated in the European Community monitor mission which is a non-UN mission in the region. We are participating in the naval force as well that is enforcing sanctions, Operation Short Guard. We are involved in the NATO airborne warning and control system.

One of our most significant and important accomplishments is our involvement with the Hercules aircraft which are based in Ancona, Italy. They have transported over 1,000 mercy missions bringing in desperately needed food and medicines to the people of Bosnia.

This is tremendously important work and I would be deeply troubled at any suggestion that we would abandon that important work. I would note as well that we were some of the first people in to Sarajevo. In fact in June 1992 we opened the airport at Sarajevo. We were involved in a preventive mission in Macedonia and elsewhere.

In deciding on the fundamental question facing this House and facing the government as to whether or not to renew the United Nations mandate and to recommit our troops when that mandate expires on March 31, I think it is very important that we have a clear understanding of what exactly that mandate is.

In Croatia the mandate is to restore civil authority, to assist in the return of displaced persons to their homes and to assist in the demilitarization of the UN protected areas, the so-called UNPAs.

Our troops on the ground are doing that and are doing good work to the extent that they are allowed to do that. I know that many Croatians in Canada and indeed in Croatia feel a tremendous sense of frustration because they are living in occupied territory. One quarter of their country Croatia has been occupied. That is unacceptable and it is unacceptable that the people of Croatia who have been displaced, who have been cleansed from their homes, should not be in a position to return.

(1820 )

What are some of the concrete actions that we are taking on the ground in sector south in Croatia? Just as one example are the humanitarian programs that we are involved in. We are providing security and infrastructure during body personnel or prisoner exchange at the Miranje Crossing. We are distributing winter clothing to children in sector south. We are assisting in the protection of the Croatian minority in the bi-ethnic villages of Rodalice and D. Bruska. We are assisting other UN organizations like the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the form of providing fuel within programs in that area. This mandate is tremendously important.

In Bosnia of course there is no peace to keep, but we have three fundamental objectives. We are providing military assistance to the UNHCR and to other accredited agencies responsible for providing humanitarian aid and restoring infrastructure in Bosnia-Hercegovina. We are assisting in the evacuation of the injured, the protection and security of the population and we are helping to maintain the status of some of the safe havens. In particular I would note Srebrenica. We are keeping the lifeline between Sarajevo and central Bosnia open.

In fact just this past week as an example of what we have done in Bosnia, look at our accomplishment, at what Canadian troops did last week. They escorted six humanitarian convoys carrying 540 tonnes of aid and 14,000 litres of fuel. They repaired an alternate route to move refugees to a Swedish shelter without exposing them to Bosnian-Serb fire. They acted and continue to act as human shields in Srebrenica where, if they were not there, 45,000 Muslims risk slaughter. They have continued to protect psychiatric hospitals in Fojnica and Dakovica. These are all tremendously important humanitarian efforts which would be destroyed if we were to pull out. There are many similar examples.

Our presence in Bosnia and Croatia has made a profound difference in humanitarian terms. The military people I spoke to on the ground there, whether they were our own Canadian troops or others, including the Belgians, were unanimous on the


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tremendous importance of maintaining that presence. They pointed out that it would be a disaster if we pulled out and that it would result in an appalling bloodshed.

An example of the impact of our troops can, I think, be given by looking at an area in which Canadians and indeed the UN have been denied access. I am speaking of the area in the northwest part of Bosnia, known as Banja Luka.

I would commend to all members of this House an incredibly eloquent and moving letter which was sent to the editor of the New York Times about a week ago by a Canadian diplomat, Louis Gentile, who is on leave to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is working at great personal risk in Banja Luka. I want to just quote briefly from his letter. He states: ``I wonder how many of your readers have seen Steven Speilberg's ``Schindler's List'' and how many have heard of Banja Luka-Bosnia in the heart of Europe''. I know there was a showing just last week for parliamentarians of ``Schindler's List''.

Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia. Canadian troops tried to get in there. They were at the border but the Bosnian-Serbs would not let them through. The mayor of Banja Luka took a bribe of about $49,000, but flatly refused to allow any UN troops in.

Well what has happened in the absence of a United Nations presence there? Massacre, rape and concentration camps; Omarska, Manjaca, Turnpolje, tens of thousands of Muslims and Croats who could not escape the region. They have been stripped of all of their civil rights. They have been forced out of their homes and dismissed from work.

The writer talks of the terror of attacks by armed men at night, rape and murder, children unable to sleep, huddling in fear behind boarded up doors and windows. Fifty per cent of all of the Roman Catholic churches and diocese have been destroyed. Two of the most magnificent mosques in all of Europe and elsewhere have been burned down or blown up, including the 16th century Ferhad Pasha mosque.

(1825 )

That is the reality in an area in which the United Nations has not been present. That is a reality elsewhere as well, but at least we have been able to save some lives and bring some peace, some food and some medication.

That is genocide. Of course there is a convention that was signed after World War II, a convention on genocide whereby the nations of the world committed themselves to never again allow these atrocities that we have seen before in this century.

We saw it in Armenia in 1915. We saw it in the holocaust in World War II and we said collectively: ``Never again''. Yet in the very heart of Europe it is recurring. We cannot say we do not know about it. We see the horrors every day on our television sets. We cannot deny the reality of mass rape, of torture, of execution, of concentration camps, of murder, of massive refugee movements, of ethnic cleansing.

I met with a representative of UNICEF, a Canadian. Canadians are doing such fine work in that region. This representative had prepared two reports for UNICEF on children and women in Bosnia-Hercegovina and children and women in the republic of Croatia. What is happening there is a horror story, an absolute horror story.

Other speakers have referred to the numbers from Sarajevo and we heard about the bombing of six Bosnian children by artillery shells. Such courage. Lobbing artillery from 30 kilometres away in the hills outside Sarajevo takes great courage, does it not? Killing innocent children there, innocent Croatian children in Mostar. The siege goes on.

I witnessed firsthand the horrors of this war in eastern Croatia. I travelled to Vukovar, a city which has been destroyed, a formerly beautiful city on the banks of the Danube reduced to rubble, almost everything destroyed, markets, homes. I visited a Catholic church and walked through the rubble. I saw the photographs of children. I saw the broken down statue of the Virgin Mary, the crosses, totally destroyed.

From there I went to a mass grave site in a little village just outside Vukovar. In a garbage dump over 200 bodies were buried. The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal has been trying to investigate but the Bosnian Serbs have told them they cannot do that. It is appalling.

The question we must address and that I will address in the few minutes remaining is in response to these horrors, to this human tragedy, what should Canada do and what should the United Nations do.

Clearly the most desirable solution is a diplomatic solution. God knows we have tried that so many times. We have gotten so close, gotten to the point where Karadzic, on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs has said that yes, they would accept the solution, that it would be taken back to the Bosnian-Serb parliament. What do they do? They say to forget it. ``We have 70 per cent of the territory even though we are only about a third of the population and we want to keep that territory and we will use force if we have to''.

I am not hopeful about the possibility of a diplomatic solution in the absence of stronger and more effective United Nations action. We have seen the ethnic cleansing. We have heard the many threats that have been made. There can be nothing worse than bluffing.

In fact when Karadzic went back to his parliament in May 1993 before they voted he said that either they accept this plan or they can expect fierce attacks by NATO forces. His information minister said no, that they were only bluffing and that they could continue. Too often that has been the history: to bluff.


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Do we pull out our forces on March 31? I say no. I say that would not only be a profoundly tragic event because it would deny the humanitarian assistance that we are providing but as well I say that the status quo cannot continue. I say it is time that the United Nations listened to the voices of its commanders, whether it be General Cot, General Morillon and so many others who say that they have to be given the tools to do the job.

(1830)

The mandate is there on paper. The mandate and resolution 836 of the United Nations is there on paper. They can take the action that is necessary but they do not have the resources. I suggest it is time that we clearly understood, that we have clearly sent a message to the Bosnian Serbs and to others engaged in atrocities that we are serious.

I do not have the time to quote the many statements that have been made by a series of generals but it is time that we said that air strikes in combination with ground troops will be used if the bloodshed, the carnage and the violence does not stop.

We cannot continue to be witnesses of this holocaust any longer. We cannot pull out. Air strikes alone, our military people tell us, will not achieve the objective we are seeking. If we are serious about safe havens in Tuzla, in Sarajevo and in the other four areas that were designated, we must get serious about giving the United Nations troops on the ground the opportunity and the ability to enforce those safe havens.

We must do more to assist the refugees who are fleeing from that area. We must do more to ensure that the war criminals who are responsible for these atrocities are brought to justice and that the resources are made available to that tribunal.

We must ensure that the United Nations' agenda for peace becomes a reality, preventive diplomacy, a United Nations standing army to help to prevent the recurrence of these atrocities in the future.

Finally in closing, I want to return to the words of this courageous Canadian in Banja Luka who said: ``Our office has been evacuated three times for threats to our security. We can evacuate a few hundred members of minorities judged to be in the worst danger but cannot protect them all. Their families have lived here for centuries. The United Nations was unable to deploy troops here because Bosnian-Serb authorities refused to allow it. To those who said to themselves after seeing ``Schindler's List'', `never again', it is happening again''.

Finally he says this and I echoed his call: ``The so-called leaders of the western world have known what is happening here for the last year and a half. They received play by play reports. They talk of prosecuting war criminals but do nothing to stop the crimes. May God forgive them. May God forgive us all''.

[Translation]

The genocide must stop. Canada must continue to play its role. The United Nations must be able to maintain their role. We must do everything we can to stop this genocide.

[English]

Mrs. Jane Stewart (Brant): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate the hon. member for his personal and poignant intervention today.

Having had that personal experience it adds clearly to the debate. I note he urges us to remain in Bosnia and in the war torn areas. I contrast that with other personal accounts made earlier today by members who may not have been there but who still have families there. Those members have indicated that their best view is that we should pull out. It is a very difficult decision we have before us.

I would like to note that the hon. member has indicated his recognition for the lack of clarity and strength in our current mandate. I too am concerned about that. I am greatly concerned that without a clear mandate we may be allowing ourselves, whether we mean to or not, should we stay, to move from peacekeeping to peacemaking. I would find that an unacceptable transition.

I would like to ask the hon. member how long he would have us stay in these troubled areas without a clear mandate, with risking identifying ourselves as being the enemy and not the peacekeeper.

Mr. Robinson: Madam Speaker, it is important that we recognize that pursuant to the existing mandate-God knows there have been many UN resolutions-in June of last year, UN resolution 836 mandated United Nations peacekeepers in that area to participate in the delivery of humanitarian relief. It authorized UNPROFOR in carrying out the mandate defined in this resolution to take the necessary measures, including the use of force, in reply to bombardments against the safe areas by any of the parties or to armed incursion into them or in the event of any deliberate obstruction in humanitarian aid to take all necessary steps including the use of air power.

(1835)

That is the mandate which now exists. I think what we are hearing from the generals on the ground is that the mandate has to be strengthened to clarify the ability of the United Nations to clearly respond. The shelling of safe havens means that, in fact, they are not safe. How can one talk of safe havens which are being shelled from the hills.

As General Briquemont said, there is a fantastic gap between all of these Security Council resolutions, the will to execute those resolutions and the means available to commanders in the field.


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What we have to do, in response to the hon. member's question, is to listen to that plea and to strengthen the resources which are available on the ground. Air power and air strikes alone are not the answer, as we have heard very clearly from all of those in the field.

Certainly in the absence of a very clear ability to do that the humanitarian mission of the United Nations is jeopardized. In the longer term, particularly in Croatia, the United Nations must not be seen as a power which effectively freezes the status quo. We have to be very clear that internationally recognized borders of Croatia must be recognized and that Croatians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes must be permitted to return. The United Nations must be supportive of that.

[Translation]

Mr. André Caron (Jonquière): The hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway is to be commended for the quality of his report. The hon. member went over there and met the people in charge. I think it is very important that he should tell us what he saw. We often read about it in the newspapers, in accounts by officials and diplomats, but these do not have the same impact as a report by someone who shares our values, who went over there and observed and reflected on what he saw.

I appreciate the fact that he did this for us as well. I am also pleased to see him expand the scope of this debate, because since I have been following this debate, I notice there is a possibility that we will maintain our forces in Bosnia. I think the hon. member went a little further when he asked us to consider the means we will give our troops and the means the United Nations will give troops on a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia. There is the whole dimension of reinforcing the mandate and peacekeeping operations of the people over there.

I think that is an important dimension. It is not enough to stay. What we do over there has to be effective and in the interests of the people themselves, since it is for their sake that Canada and other western countries are making an effort to maintain peace in Bosnia.

[English]

Ms. Roseanne Skoke (Central Nova): Madam Speaker, I rise in the House of Commons today in thanksgiving to God for our great country Canada. Canada, the nation, welcomed approximately 70 years ago my Croatian grandfather Alex Skok and my Croatian grandmother Veronica Pushkar and their children who came to this country from Croatia in pursuit of a better life. They settled in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

Therefore, today I feel compelled, in memory of my Croatian grandparents and in defence of my family still living in Croatia and in defence of our Canadian soldiers, to enter into this debate.

This is the most difficult foreign policy question of our time. Since the end of World War II Canada has proudly stood as a leader in world affairs, stepping forward whenever international peace and security were threatened. However, the cold war has passed and the world we face today is much more complex.

(1840 )

The anticipated peace has given way to a resurgence of deep-rooted and often brutal ethnic conflict. The situation in the former Yugoslavia is the most striking example of this problem.

Canada has a long and proud tradition of participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson, truly the greatest Canadian diplomat and foreign policy thinker, who conceived and developed the very notion of peacekeeping. For this he was recognized with the Nobel peace prize.

When the call came to serve in the former Yugoslavia, Canada was among the first to step forward. However, after many months of engagement in countless incidents and disappointments, it is time that our nation review its peacekeeping policy and take a leadership role.

When undertaking this endeavour to review our policy, we must ask ourselves, what is the nature of peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep? This pertains especially to the conflict in Bosnia where the Muslim, Croat and Serb factions have been unable to sign a peace accord. The United Nations therefore is engaged in an attempt to deliver humanitarian aid when possible and under extremely dangerous conditions.

The mission in Croatia is slightly different in so far as the peace accord between the Croat authorities in Zagreb and the Serbs in Belgrade has tenuously held since the early part of 1992. However, the situation is no less hazardous there either where, for example, two Canadian peacekeepers almost lost their lives when they were shot at by members of the Serbia militia this past weekend.

There are many proposed options for Canadian policy. The first is to maintain the status quo that exists today. Clearly this option is unacceptable from the Canadian perspective for the reasons aforementioned. Canada has done more than its fair share and, frankly, I feel that our allies have taken us for granted.

Canada should be proud of its peacekeeping heritage but we cannot continue to support every mission for an indeterminate amount of time. Cyprus is the best example of a costly Canadian commitment that went on far too long.

A second option available to Canada is to demand that fundamental changes occur in regard to how the United Nations handles its peace operations. For instance, if the conflict on the ground is such that peacekeepers are constantly attacked and prevented from fulfilling their mandate, then the rules of engagement need to be changed. United Nations troops need to be able to use adequate force to repel attacks by various factions. This is not a call for active peacemaking but it is a call for the


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right for Canadian troops to protect their own lives in a hostile environment.

It is time to reform and strengthen the mandate of the United Nations and to reform the rules of engagement for our Canadian peacekeepers.

The third option is that our future posture must be one of selective commitment rather than blanket support for United Nations operations. Canada has spent $490 million and sacrificed eight lives in this mission to date. While many countries have talked peace, few have actually stepped forward with real commitment. How much more must Canada be asked to do, and to what end?

NATO talks and talks of air strikes, yet when the forces on the ground perceive the hour to be drawing near, it is our soldiers who are attacked. The time has come to bring our soldiers home.

In Croatia our troops are merely a political trip-wire with no real ability to effect events on the ground, or even adequately defend themselves. It is wrong to deploy Canadian soldiers in a zone where they are at such unquestionable risk while possessing so little control.

In Bosnia there is truly no peace to keep and Canada should not base its military engagements simply on moral grounds, but on real interests. Canadians are engaged in a sporadic and often dangerous humanitarian relief operation. Beyond this there is no clear mandate or time frame for their operations.

(1845 )

The position our Canadian government will take on this very important issue will undoubtedly have profound implications for the shape of Canada's armed forces, for the practice of future peacekeeping, and for the evolution of the United Nations and its future mandate.

It is my position that Canada should withdraw all its military forces from both Croatia and Bosnia. I am asking that our Canadian military be withdrawn.

Bring our soldiers home. Make way for the families living in the former Yugoslavia to come to Canada to seek refuge and to live in the land of peace and freedom that we all enjoy.

[Translation]

Mr. Roger Pomerleau (Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies): Mr. Speaker, I am by no means an expert on international military operations or international air strikes. I listened closely to the last four or five members speak and I noted that some of them claim different origins. I also listened carefully to the statement by the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway who went to Bosnia to meet with those on the front line. I know that many members such as the hon. member for Central Nova can trace their roots to this part of the world.

Judging from what the last four or five speakers have said, I do believe that in this part of the world, the potential for global conflict genuinely exists. The current situation is explosive. And I believe that Canadian troops stationed in Bosnia are preventing the conflict from escalating further.

I also believe that, regardless of the situation described to us today, the murders or other atrocities, the world is poised to become a global village. The possibility of this happening is very real. If we want to tip the scales in favour of the global village rather than global conflict, certain countries must assume some responsibility and get involved. Canada owes its very sound reputation to some degree to its level of involvement. That is why I would support a decision to have our troops remain in Bosnia.

[English]

The Deputy Speaker: Would the member for Central Nova like to make a reply to that or take it as a comment?

Ms. Skoke: I will take it as a comment.

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Central Nova. I get the impression from her statement that she does not have a very high opinion of the reputation Canada has developed in the field of peacekeeping in the last forty years, since the end of World War II. What about the initiatives of Mr. Pearson and the Nobel Peace Prize he received? I am wondering if her suggestion that Canada withdraw its troops from Bosnia now-a suggestion which may seem totally justified given the prevailing climate of uncertainty about the mandate of our troops there-may be somewhat premature and whether it might lead to regrettable action which could tarnish Canada's image abroad. Did the hon. member for Central Nova take into account this aspect of the issue before calling for the withdrawal of Canadian troops?

[English]

Ms. Skoke: Mr. Speaker, most certainly in preparing my speech I have taken into consideration the various options. I think I indicated three in my speech, one being to retain the status quo. In so doing obviously we have to consider our position internationally and our credibility as far as Canada is concerned. The second option I presented was that of modification of a commitment, and the third option would be that of total withdrawal.

(1850)

I repeat the same question I asked in my speech. We must ask ourselves what is the nature of peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep. I feel that is the issue here.


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My final position or conclusion was that whatever position our Canadian government takes it will undoubtedly have profound implications because this very issue is begging us to answer many important questions. First, what will be the future shape and determination of Canada's armed forces in their mandate? Second, what is going to be the practice of future peacekeeping? Third, we will have to look at the evolution of the United Nations and its future mandate.

I reassure the hon. member that I have most certainly taken into consideration the various options. It is a very difficult question. Obviously we have heard controversial responses from various members. I want to reassure that I am not taking my position lightly, but the issue is: What is the nature of peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep?

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford): Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech of the hon. member for Central Nova and previously to one of the member for Cambridge. I think they made some rather good points.

Personally the three options presented seemed to be the three options that are available. I am sure Canada alone cannot decide on the second option. We can only decide on either the first or the third. Either we stay and be humanitarians or we get out and let the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims decide what kind of a country they want to live in if they can do that.

There is certainly no peace. To pretend that we are peacemaking is silly. To pretend that there is peacekeeping being done in Bosnia is likewise silly.

I would like to ask a question of these people who know the area better than I do. I have done a little Balkan folk dancing but I have never been there. Are the historical enmities so deep that nothing short of separation or destruction is going to solve the problem?

Ms. Skoke: Mr. Speaker, I think I will defer to the hon. member for Cambridge sitting next to me because of his origin.

The Deputy Speaker: You cannot do that.

Ms. Skoke: Oh, I cannot do that. He was born in Croatia. I think I am going to be dodging and not answering the question specifically. What we have here is a classic case of conflict among ethnic groups. To think that peacekeeping or intervention is going to terminate that conflict is unreasonable.

We can look at our own country and its ethnic groups, and perhaps even at the House of Commons if I can use an example of where there may be some threat of the Bloc Quebecois wanting to separate from Canada. At what point in time can we solve all the world's problems with respect to these different factions and special interest groups? Because of that and because an ethnic war is going on there, it is my position that we should offer refuge to any of those who wish to leave the country, anyone who wants to seek the freedom we offer in our great country of Canada.

I do not feel we have a responsibility or can effectively carry out a role to solve or resolve all the ethnic problems. We are going to do very well to handle the situation we have in Canada.

(1855)

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Nipigon): Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate you on your elevation to the position of Deputy Speaker. It is the first time you have recognized me since I have been in the House and you have been in the chair. We on this side of the House are very pleased the Prime Minister saw fit to make the appointment. We are very hopeful and wish you good fortune in your future role. I am also thankful for your allowing me the opportunity to make some comments with respect to the former country of Yugoslavia.

Our involvement in Yugoslavia is on two fronts: a diplomatic front and a military front. The ongoing diplomatic initiatives undertaken by our minister and his parliamentary secretary who is with us this evening are commendable. I congratulate both of them on the very fine job they continue to do with respect to trying to solve this almost insurmountable and horrendous problem on the diplomatic level. The parliamentary secretary has visited with many of the people who originated from that country in my riding of Thunder Bay. I know their efforts both at the United Nations and at NATO were very well appreciated, not only by the people whom I represent but I am sure by all Canadians throughout the country.

The second area in which we are involved in this dispute is the military area and the participation of our military personnel who have been sent there to try to bring some order to the chaos. It is obvious they are there on humanitarian grounds by exclusion. They are not there as peacemakers because there is just no peace to make and that is really the role of our diplomats. They are not there as peacekeepers because there is no peace to keep. Obviously they are there on the very valid grounds of humanitarian reasons.

The main issues when one discusses the humanitarian aspects are those of providing the basic necessities of life such as food, medicine and some degree of shelter to the people who are always the innocent victims, those who are directly involved and those who are hurt in a conflict in which they have no part.

You had an office down the hall from me, Mr. Speaker, and I would see your children going back and forth. I am particularly grieved when I look at the atrocities perpetrated on children in this area and the sadness. From my perspective, whenever I see a program in the newscast referring to this troubled area and I see the children, my mind goes to my grandchildren as I am sure it does for other Canadians. The situation is horrible. One wonders


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why it cannot be resolved, but that is beyond what we can do in the House.

When discussing why we are there, the military aspects of our involvement, naturally we on this side of the House rely very much on the competent minister we have in charge as Minister of National Defence. I am glad he is in the House this evening to listen to the debates on both sides in order to formulate some opinion on what we should do.

I thank the minister for insisting that this is a free and open debate for every member of Parliament to voice their own individual concerns. I am also very pleased to compliment his parliamentary secretary to whom we look for guidance in military matters because of his many years in the military. In his second career he chose to join us in the House of Commons, bringing his wealth of military experience with him. There are some very good resource people on whom we base our information.

The question really comes down to why we are there. Why are we in Somalia? Why are we in most other troubled areas in the world?

Yesterday we welcomed in the House the President of Haiti. He was a democratically elected president of a democratic country. The military of that country chose that he should not be allowed to exercise the democratic principles his country wanted him to exercise. As a result he is a president without a country because the military will not let him perform his duties.

(1900)

When one thinks of that aspect one says how lucky we are in Canada. It could never happen in Canada. Because of the military in this country and because of the democratic process that we have, there are very distinct lines and the military always responds to the people of Canada through the Minister of National Defence and the cabinet.

Logically when decisions are made at this level I suspect that with any proposed action to assist our allies or to make a contribution to the United Nations or NATO, the Minister of National Defence would first meet with the chief of staff to discuss the proposed role in which our military would become involved.

The first issue to be ascertained naturally, as I spoke earlier, is whether it is for humanitarian grounds, peacekeeping or peacemaking.

Once the minister sets out very clear terms on what our objectives should be, the chief of staff I assume would then confer with his assistants and colleagues in the department of defence and the military on how best they could fulfil the mandate on the order of the defence minister and the cabinet and, through them, the people of this country.

I think the role of the military is to analyse the degree of success of their mandate and what commitments they will have to come back to before they accept that responsibility when they meet with the minister and talk about the necessities of fulfilling that mandate. What is the required manpower? What is the required equipment? How long will it take to fulfil the obligation and to bring whatever action there will be to a satisfactory conclusion?

I think at that time if one could imagine what the decision making process would be, the political arm swings in and makes that fundamental commitment to the military personnel to say that it will provide the manpower, the equipment and the funding necessary to do the job.

I think at that particular period of time the role of the political arm or the role of the politician and the cabinet and the minister, other than being reported to on a daily basis, really turns itself over and those in charge of the military operation take most of the responsibility once that fundamental decision, or what I call the first order of command, is made.

That preamble of getting into that position leads me to reflect on why we have our military people in this troubled land today.

Let us reflect on what has happened in this House over the past little while. In the last government we had a Minister of National Defence who was perhaps preoccupied with other things. We had another Minister of National Defence toward the end of the term. During that period of time we had the chief of staff appointed ambassador to Washington and another chief of staff was appointed. When we came to government what we saw there had been a little dysfunctioning or disorientation.

What I am suggesting today is with that logical background of events that have taken place at this time I would respectfully request that our minister consider removing our forces from that troubled area and reassess our position with respect to our future role in providing military assistance to the troubled area about which we talked today and many of the troubled areas which I am sure will arise in the future.

I suggest we should define our role as to whether we are peacekeepers and if we are peacekeepers let us train our military as best we can and equip them as best we can.

I would like to close with a comment on how proud we are in this country that our military people in the former country of Yugoslavia are performing so admirably and that every Canadian is very proud of the role they are playing. I hope that our minister and our Prime Minister and all of us in this House say that it is time for us to get out and reassess our position.

(1905 )

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley): Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to address the House


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I would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker and to all the members of this House on their election.

As the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, I represent the constituency with the greatest number of voters in western Canada. Located on the west coast just southeast of the city of Vancouver, my constituency abuts the Canadian-American border. It contains the city of White Rock, the south portion of the city of Surrey and the southwest corner of the township of Langley. Although the riding is only 250,000 square kilometres, it contains a wide diversity of communities.

Part of my constituency is dedicated to agriculture. A number of large vegetable farms are located on some of the richest agricultural land in Canada. Dairy and poultry farms are located in the Cloverdale and South Langley areas. My constituency also has light industrial areas that provide a wide variety of commercial goods. These industries as well as other small businesses have raised a concern about Canada's national debt and the enormous federal deficit. These business people want their government to take control to reduce spending. They say that if the government wants to increase economic activity then it should work toward reducing taxes and the cost of doing business in Canada.

However, the greatest land use in my constituency is residential. The community of White Rock is located on the shores of Semiahmoo Bay and is well known as a retirement centre because of its mild climate. The area has also attracted a large number of families and as a result there is a growing element of the constituents who commute outside of the riding's boundaries.

My constituency is one of the fastest growing areas of this country, but unfortunately one of the aspects of rapid growth is an accompanying growth in criminal activity. During the election campaign my constituents considered this to be one of the major problems. My constituents have made it quite clear that they expect this government to bring greater protection to society.

My constituents elected me on a platform of fiscal responsibility, parliamentary accountability and criminal justice reform. I would like to thank the voters of Surrey-White Rock- South Langley for their confidence in me and to assure them that I am their servant and I will do everything in my power to accomplish these goals.

However, this evening I am here to speak on Canada's role in Bosnia and I do so as an ordinary Canadian. Like most Canadians, I have read, listened and watched countless stories about the tragedy of Bosnia and Hercegovina. These stories have evoked a wide range of emotion. I have been horrified by the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, especially the children. I have been disturbed by reports of the political strategy of ethnic cleaning. I have been very proud of the role that Canadian peacekeepers have had in Bosnia.

I have also been very irritated at the unwillingness of the political and military leaders of the warring factions to reach a peaceful solution. I have expressed frustration with the UN's inability to take definitive action to resolve this issue and I was outraged when I heard reports of Canadian peacekeepers being subjected to mock executions.

When our troops are subjected to such treatment it is difficult to disagree with those individuals who call for the withdrawal of Canadian troops. At some point we may have to do so, but I believe that despite all the adversity it is critical that Canadians remain in Bosnia. No matter how bad the situation is now, without Canadian peacekeepers the situation would be much worse. Canadians are going to have to decide if they are prepared to live with the consequences of a unilateral withdrawal, a withdrawal that could result in a full fledged war and the genocide of ethnic groups.

If this were to occur, could Canadians sit back and wash their hands of the affair? Could we say that this is not our concern? Are we prepared to accept the fact that we might have been able to stop this, but that we got tired and frustrated?

(1910 )

I know that when we see television reports of children killed we wonder what good United Nations peacekeepers are doing. When we hear reports of entire families being wiped out we wonder what peace Canadian soldiers are supposed to keep. However, without the presence of Canadian and other United Nations personnel, Bosnia would probably be faced with the wholesale slaughter of children and civilians.

This is the choice that Canadians are facing. Do we withdraw our troops and accept the prospect of full fledged war and potential genocide or do we indefinitely commit our troops to a peacekeeping mission where there is no peace to keep?

I do not imagine that many Canadians are prepared to commit our troops indefinitely to an ill defined mission in a country where political and military leaders have shown little inclination to resolve the issue. Many of the difficulties appear to be caused more by the United Nations mandate than by the mission itself.

As the outgoing commander of United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia stated, it is fine for the politicians and diplomats to pass these wonderful resolutions but they do not mean very much unless they are accompanied by the willpower to carry them out.

We have to give our peacekeepers the authority and resources to carry out their mandate and perhaps Canada and the United Nations need to redefine the rules of this mandate. However, is the mission itself worthwhile?

For those who believe that Canada should withdraw its peacekeepers I ask them whether they are prepared to abandon the people of Bosnia to the mercies of the factional leaders. A glance at history has shown that over the last 50 years we have


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had too many instances of people's lives being left to the mercy of dictators and despots.

Today, people say that if we had intervened in many of these situations earlier, we might have saved millions of innocent victims. When one considers the events that have already occurred in Bosnia with the United Nations presence, imagine what a future without the United Nations intervention would mean for the people of Bosnia. One wonders if today's ethnic cleansing will become tomorrow's genocide.

I do not believe that Canadians are prepared to condemn the people of Bosnia to such a fate. Our intervention, no matter how troublesome or frustrating, certainly is preferable to permitting the genocide of one or more of the ethnic groups in Bosnia.

It is obvious that the only acceptable way to resolve this conflict is through negotiation. Unfortunately, it appears that the various factional leaders have little incentive to resolve the issue.

Some would even suggest that the presence of the United Nations peacekeepers has provided the leaders of the various factions with an excuse not to come to a quick resolution. They would suggest that all sides should experience the effects of a full scale war so they can fully appreciate the horrors of such warfare. This they argue would give the negotiators the incentive to reach a peace agreement. Perhaps it would, but what would be the cost in human lives?

Tens of thousands of Bosnians have already lost their lives in this conflict and thousands more will likely die. However, the toll would likely have been in the hundreds of thousands without our involvement. Unfortunately we must wait for the various leaders to reach a settlement on their own.

Canada and the rest of the international community must continue to pressure the warring factions to reach an acceptable peace. We have to impress upon these leaders that military victories resulting in territorial gains will not be internationally recognized. We have to impress upon them that the prize for their aggression will be a total isolation from the world community.

I think that Canadians recognize the fact that Canada cannot afford to be the peacekeeper to the world. It is a credit to our military that we are in such popular demand for the role. Our reputation as peacekeepers is unparalleled and it is a good reputation to have. Nevertheless Canada does not have the money to send its troops into every dispute.

Reality dictates that we have to pick and choose our assignments. The planned review of the Canadian Armed Forces is a good step in determining the extent to which Canada should be involved in these missions.

Canadians are going to have to decide just what resources we are prepared to commit to these endeavours. It is a noble role but such nobility does not come cheap. It is the Canadian taxpayer who will have to decide the extent to which they are prepared to underwrite these missions. However, this is for future roles.

(1915)

The reality of today is that rightly or wrongly Canadian troops are in Bosnia. It is also reality that this is not a great situation to be in. We have asked our peacekeepers to attempt to keep a peace that does not exist. As our troops attempt to keep three warring ethnic groups from killing each other, we have found that we are ending up being hated by all three sides. We really have entered into a classic no win situation.

Critics of Canada's presence in Bosnia can probably list dozens of valid reasons why we should not be there. In return, I can offer only one good reason why we have to remain. It is for the simple reason that without us the situation would be a lot worse. These people are dependent upon the UN force to keep them alive.

It is an unfortunate reality but Canadians are showing a greater concern for the fate of the Bosnian people than their own leaders. This concern or compassion may force us to make an occasional impractical decision, but it is also a virtue that makes this country such a wonderful place to live.

Canadians have been fortunate to face precious little political violence in their history. We do not have to worry that when our children are outside playing in the snow some artillery shell is going to land in their midst and kill them. Perhaps it is for this reason that Canadians should be in Bosnia.

We need to do whatever we can to help the rest of the world achieve peace. We must keep a window open for negotiations to take place in the hope of a peaceful resolution. We have to show them that we care.

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley on her intervention in this debate.

This is an important debate in the House of Commons. I am pleased that we are starting off in such a fashion. It allows members to rise without fear of retribution by party whips when they take the personal positions they feel on this very important issue. I commend her on her remarks. They were delivered very well and there was a lot of substance to them.

I have a concern that I want to share with my colleague who just made her remarks. As I said earlier, I support the peacekeeping mandate of the Canadian forces over and over again. Indeed I commend the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for the excellent job they have done over the last number of decades. However the reality is that in this current situation the United Nations has found itself to be desperately wanting in


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being able to use resolutions from the collective body of the United Nations in order to stop this aggression. There has been over a dozen resolutions by the United Nations.

The member just referred to some of the atrocities that are occurring. At the same point in time the shelling continues in Sarajevo, no matter how many times the United Nations has stood, spoken as a world body and said if they do not stop the aggression, if they do not allow the humanitarian aid through, if they continue in their aggression in the city of Sarajevo, they will do x, y and z. They have never done anything.

It is rather telling that in the latest attack we saw in the last few days young school children were murdered as they played outside. It was only 200 metres from the main Sarajevo headquarters of the United Nations military force. It is fairly clear the individuals who shelled the area where those children were simply did not believe the United Nations had any teeth or desire to escalate the situation by the use of armed intervention.

Does the member believe the United Nations has in effect let down Canadian peacekeepers and the peacekeepers from other nations who are there by issuing these hollow threats and the sabre rattling they have undertaken through these resolutions?

Ms. Meredith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment that I feel perhaps the United Nations got into the Bosnia situation prematurely. However I maintain that decision was made by the previous government of our country and by the United Nations. Now is not the time to resolve that issue.

(1920)

The time is now to develop a foreign policy and a defence policy that will clearly address the role of the peacekeepers and our position as Canadian peacekeepers within that collective community.

The world community must take note of what is happening and send a clear message that this kind of aggression is not acceptable in the world and that it will not be rewarded by giving more land and more power to them. They have to be condemned for this kind of aggressive behaviour.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I echo the comments the member has just made. I want her to clarify whether or not she believes-and I am not saying whether we should have been in there when we were through the UN-that the UN, once we were there, acted in a responsible fashion by the passage of resolutions on which it obviously had no intention. It obviously had no gumption or stomach to follow through on the sanctions or the threat of air strikes if indeed the aggressors in this particular circumstance did not cease and desist with the type of genocide which had been undertaken.

Ms. Meredith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond by indicating that I feel the United Nations representing the world community must take a stronger stand in denouncing this type of aggressive behaviour.

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak today and to congratulate you on your ascension to the position of Deputy Speaker. I look forward to working with you. I also thank members of the government who have given all of us the opportunity to address this very important issue.

As this is my maiden speech I would certainly like to take the opportunity to thank the people of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, my riding, for giving me their confidence on October 25. I commit to them that I will again do my very best to represent them here in Ottawa. This subject is of great importance to the people of my riding because of its long history in defence and peacekeeping with Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt being there and the Princess Patricia Rifles.

I would however like to say that because of the seriousness and gravity of the situation we are speaking about today, I will keep my introduction to the most beautiful riding in Canada to a minimum and rather invite everybody to come there to see it for themselves.

The issue at hand today is Bosnia, a very serious one, and what should be Canada's role in this bloody civil war. I will preface what I am about to say by mentioning that there are no white knights and no black knights in this situation. Rather there are many gray zones. Atrocities have been committed by all sides. However certainly there has been a preponderance on the side of Serbian aggression.

It is important to note that the people of the former Yugoslavia did in fact live together quite nicely up until the beginning of this century. After World War I and with the collapse of the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires the Serbians, Croats and Muslims were fused together to form what we have come to know as Yugoslavia. There was little rancour beforehand. However ethnic tensions mounted because one group, the Serbians, were given preferential treatment to the expense of the other ethnic groups there. I hope this subject I have just mentioned is not lost on the Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

This culminated in World War II as ethnic tensions mounted with the slaughter of over two million Croats and Serbians at each other's hands, a number I might add that far exceeds the number of people who were killed at the hands of the Nazis. This deepened the hatred between the two groups, widened the rift between them, and set the stage for the carnage we see today in all its horror via CNN. As time goes on and the atrocities pile up on both sides, the rift between the peoples widens and the misunderstanding and hatred deepen. That is a profound tragedy.


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Now that I have presented my preface what will our role be in this conflict? Since there is no peace in existence today, as has been said before, there is no peace to keep in the seething caldron of racial hatred. Is there peace to make? I think so but it will only come through diplomatic channels and not with force. To commit our troops with force today would in my estimation banish them to be just another fourth force in this encounter.

(1925 )

Along this line of questioning are air strikes. Should we or should we not employ them? If we use air strikes the impartiality of the peacekeepers would be forever forsaken. This would set us up for two things. First, it would set us up for full-scale reprisals by all sides that would produce a large loss of life both among the United Nations troops and therefore among our own.

It is interesting to note in these conflicts-and I speak from some personal experience-that one group can go ahead and kill its own people to make it look like another group is doing the killing. It is the easiest way to go against the group that is disliked intensely and against which the other is fighting.

Second, what would happen if we engaged in this conflict-and this is very important to understand-is that it would completely neutralized the humanitarian role the United Nations has engaged in so far. While this role has been imperfect it has indeed saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people from death, rape and torture. Thus I do not think that air strikes are an option.

Now we are left with the last option, the humanitarian effort for which we have been given a mandate under the United Nations. At this time I would publicly like to state that it is a role our Canadian men and women have been doing admirably. Often overworked, underarmed and outgunned they have carried out their UN humanitarian role with profound bravery. I would like to extend to them publicly my heartfelt thanks and admiration.

Should we engage in this endeavour? If we pull out it can be fairly certain that other member states will pull out too. Therefore no humanitarian aid effort would go through in this conflict whatsoever. It would set the stage for mass genocide. Hundreds of thousands of people would be killed and there would be an escalating conflict.

It is very important to understand that this whole area is a tinderbox. The escalating conflict would involve other countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania, Italy and Germany. I do not think Canadian people would tolerate it.

At this time I would like to hearken back to the holocaust memorials we see every year and our response to them. As we view the horrible footage of Nazi atrocities the world commits naively to say never again. Tragically we may say this and believe it but clearly our heads are stuck in the sand for we have allowed the situation to continue in other countries over the years such as Cambodia, Iraq, Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia, to name just a few. Bosnia represents an opportunity to say never again and to do something about it.

The soldiers are fighting these dirty little civil wars, but the greatest penalty to pay are the penalties that are paid by the civilians. I can say from personal experience that the penalties are paid by the children, the infirm and the aged. Those are the people who are subjected to the brunt of it.

As a physician and surgeon I worked in Africa and treated people who had suffered under a bloody civil war. I can say I have seen the effects of gunshot wounds, people who were chopped up with machetes, victims of torture and gang rape, children and teenagers with their arms and legs blown off, and the death, social destruction and dislocation that tear apart the very fabric of a country often forever. Once we have seen it we are compelled to do something about it. We cannot turn our backs on it.

What I have heard is that our soldiers feel the same way. It was perhaps best put most eloquently by a commander of our United Nations forces who said that there was a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when a young man or young woman came home and was able to say: ``I helped keep this peace. I helped save lives. I helped people in distress. I helped people who are much worse off than I am''. It raises the morale of individuals and collectively contributes to the well being of Canadian forces at large.

Apart from the purely altruistic reasons of continuing these humanitarian efforts there are some very concrete reasons why we should get involved in this venture. By having a leadership role in these multinational peacekeeping efforts, Canada raises its profile, strengthens its positions and gives us leverage across a broad range of diplomatic endeavours.

(1930 )

My philosophy is that we should get involved in these efforts earlier. In that way we can often obviate these situations, not always but sometimes. Bosnia is a case in point. The writing was on the wall in 1987.

I would summarize by suggesting the following. First, we should continue to provide humanitarian aid and not pull out of this endeavour. Remember we are there for the innocent civilians and not the combatants. This is another important point to remember. Many of the fighters and their leaders would like us to be out of this conflict so they can continue to increase the pace of the battle, increase the brutality and the killings. If we ask the civilians whether they want us there, they will tell us yes they do because we are often the difference between life and death for them.

Second, do not use air strikes unless we need to protect our own troops.


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Third, we need to strengthen the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including the freezing of state assets and additional trade restrictions. I would go so far as to say complete isolation of the republic, but I would also engage in trade embargoes and sanctions against any other state that refuses to enter into these peace talks in a legitimate and determined fashion. Bring them to the table.

Fourth, penalize countries which break the embargo that exists with economic and financial penalties. They are being broken now. I suggest we get on them collectively and do something about it.

Fifth, continue with diplomatic efforts and let us play diplomatic hardball with these people with the aforementioned sanctions. I would go so far as threatening them with freezing their assets long after this resolution comes about, if they do not come to the table now.

Sixth, I would demand immediate guarantees for the safe movement of humanitarian aid by UN forces throughout Bosnia.

Seventh, create more safe zones where appropriate.

Eighth, continue with the war crimes tribunal under UN auspices which would hold accountable those individuals responsible for the atrocities that we have seen. I feel that the credibility of international humanitarian law demands a successful conclusion to this endeavour, for if we do not do it the failure of this process will exist. If we do continue, it will act as a deterrent in the future.

Finally, I would strongly suggest to the government and in fact plead with it to continue our humanitarian involvement under the UN auspices for the reasons that I have mentioned before. In fact I can probably summarize by saying if you do not do it now, you pay me now or you pay me later. That is what is going to happen.

I would like to make a personal plea for two brief things in which I think Canada should take a leadership role. First, Canada should act in a leadership role in banning the manufacture and distribution of anti-personnel devices. These devices from Hades have but one function and that is to maim and not kill civilians. We have seen them used with horrific results in Cambodia and other countries. Even when these conflicts are resolved the country is hamstrung. The people cannot move anywhere. They cannot move any goods and services because of these anti-personnel devices. They are truly horrific.

My second point ties into what I said before. We need to look in the future for potential conflicts. One I would bring to the attention of everyone is the Republic of South Africa. It is a tinder box and going into its elections in April is a very sensitive time. I would suggest that the United Nations consider bringing in an interim observation force to ensure that the elections go ahead in a fair and unbiased fashion. If these elections are perceived as being unfair and rigged, then it could lead to a bloody civil war.

I believe my time is up and I thank you for you attention, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, this is what happens when I get down on the list and it is a shorter debate than it really should be.

I want to comment on an excellent speech by the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. I think the personal experience that he has brought to the debate says a lot. A lot of us can get up and make comments about what we think is happening and how we see resolutions. Obviously from his experience in Africa he has seen it firsthand and knows the devastation that is certainly being wrought as we speak in places like Bosnia.

(1935 )

He mentioned a number of very interesting alternatives. I am one of those people who believes that Canada, wherever possible-I underline wherever possible-should continue its humanitarian relief efforts such as peacekeeping in Bosnia. I also believe that there may be a problem in that the United Nations unwittingly may have put our troops at greater risk by having so many resolutions on which they obviously are not going to follow through.

Since the member has come up with some very good recommendations, does he believe that things like greater and enforced sanctions against Serbia and some of the other nation-states to try to bring them to the table should be a prerequisite that is put forward by Canada? This would have to be met by the world body before we would give them basically carte blanche that our peacekeeping troops would continue under their current mandate.

In short, does he think Canada can play a greater role given that we are renowned world peacekeepers? People do want us there. We are serving a very good humanitarian purpose. Should we be able to lever that at the United Nations to try to force it to take some of the actions that the hon. member has just mentioned?

Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca): Mr. Speaker, if we are going to make conditions upon our humanitarian aid efforts then we had better be ready to back them up with some action.

As I said before in my speech, my personal feeling on the matter is that if the stick we are going to use is the withdrawal of our humanitarian aid efforts, I disagree with that. We are obligated to continue with humanitarian aid efforts and not to do that would only involve an ever expanding war in the area with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. I do not think we should use that suggestion as a stick. Rather we should use what leverage we have gained over the years to convince the other


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countries involved in this endeavour to side with us in strengthening the sanctions.

For those countries that are not involved in the endeavour, we have trade and other agreements with them that we can use as a stick to make them do what we say in terms of stopping illegal export of arms, fuel and weapons to the warring side. There are alternatives that we need to use but I do not think we should use it as a stick in the UN.

Mr. Jesse Flis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I compliment the hon. member for an excellent speech.

[Translation]

Mr. Plamondon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am surprised to see two Liberal members in a row speak in response to the speech of the member from the Reform Party, when two members from the Bloc Quebecois had risen.

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member is absolutely right. The Chair failed to recognize the member from the Bloc Quebecois before the member from the Liberal Party. I understand the situation clearly. So, I will give the floor very briefly to the parliamentary secretary and then recognize the member from the Bloc Quebecois.

[English]

Mr. Flis: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I draw the attention of everyone in this House to the fact that I have asked the parliamentary Library to do research into this whole topic.

Mr. Vincent Rigby, Political and Social Affairs Division, did put out a paper called ``Bosnia-Hercegovina: The International Response''. It is available in our parliamentary Library if anyone is interested.

Mr. Rigby mentions that Bosnia has demonstrated that the world's structures are not prepared to deal with the type of violent, ethnic nationalism that is rapidly becoming endemic in the post cold world war. The nation-state may no longer be the basic unit of international politics. Conflict within states rather than between them has become the new threat to international security.

Because of his knowledge, I wonder if the hon. member would comment on that. Is it a new fact that we are dealing with now? Can we look forward to such threats in the future, internal conflicts rather than state-to-state conflicts?

(1940 )

The Deputy Speaker: I remind the member, please try to brief as you have someone else waiting to ask you a question as well.

Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca): I understand, Mr. Speaker. I thank the member for a very intelligent question. It is a very far-reaching one.

The world, in my estimation, is breaking up into tinier and tinier nation-states. Areas within countries are now defining themselves within the context of a certain ethnic group. That is tragic because they are not practising big T tolerance. That is what is occurring in the world today. We see it in many areas. We see it in Afghanistan, Cambodia. We see it in Bosnia and in fact in South Africa. It is going to happen time and time again.

One of the lessons we have to learn through this is that we are going to be faced with these situations in the future time and time again as areas in countries start breaking down to the smallest sub-groups. We had better have a plan to deal with them.

As I brought up in my speech, we have to get into these situations early and prophylactically. The United Nations did a very good job in Macedonia and has done a very good job in preventing the war from escalating there.

I hope we can collectively address the particular issue that the member mentioned because we are going to have to make a plan. We are going to be faced with it more and more in the future.

[Translation]

Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, thank you. I hope that you will give me enough time to ask my question.

I listened with great interest to the hon. member's comments concerning Canada's participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Even though I do not have his experience, I share a lot of his concerns regarding the safety of Canadian peacekeepers.

Canadian troops are, of course, going through a difficult time. But their well-known professionalism enables them to overcome these difficulties and accomplish their mission in a very satisfactory fashion. Finally, the very positive results of their humanitarian aid efforts and of their strategic operations to contain the conflict within the current borders have been pointed out on several occasions today.

I would like to remind you that 80 per cent of the members of the 12th Armoured Regiment of Canada and the Mechanized Batallion of the Royal 22e Régiment from Valcartier come from Quebec, including many young people named Bergeron, Bigras, Simard, Gagnon, Dugas and so on from the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. We can all be proud of the excellent job done by our soldiers. In this regard, I would ask the hon. member who spoke before me if he thinks that the withdrawal of troops by Canada, especially if it were done unilaterally, would bring our allies to question the firmness and durability of our commitments?

An hon. member: That is beautiful.


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[English]

Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca): Mr. Speaker, I think it would tell the rest of the world that our involvement in these conflicts, to some extent, would not be as much as we could have done.

As I said before, if we remove ourselves from this conflict then the other member states that are engaging in the UN protective forces UNPROFOR are also going to move away from it and leave the people tragically to their own devices.

The important point I would like to make, as I said before, is that the people we are talking to tend to be the leaders of the fighting groups and they do not necessarily represent the people on the ground. That is a very important point to remember. The people who are paying the price are the people on the ground, the innocent civilians. We are not talking to them. We are talking to the wrong people, in a sense.

(1945 )

Although the Canadian people and our armed forces have done an admirable job, and nobody can criticize them for the work that they did, even if they do pull out for whatever reason, I think it will be a personal tragedy. The other nation states that do follow us in this endeavour will also tragically pull out too.

The Deputy Speaker: I think this is the longest record we will see in this Parliament for questions during a five minute period. I hate to think of how much time has expired.

Mr. Ted McWhinney (Vancouver Quadra): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you first all on your appointment as Deputy Speaker. You are somebody who knows Parliament and its history and who loves the institution. You will bring integrity, good judgment and compassion to your office. I congratulate you.

It is a matter of some sadness to me to speak on this debate. I have had the privilege of lecturing to the University of Belgrade, the Serbian Academy and to the University of Zagreb in earlier happy years when that was one country. It is one ethnic community but the cultures are widely different. Three hundred years under the Austro-Hungarian Empire make the lovely city of Zagreb as it was into an Austrian city with the architecture, the gardens, the parks, whereas Belgrade looks another direction.

The original era perhaps, the political era, was joining these disparate communities together in 1919. It was done by consensus. The Croat and Slovanian leaders of the period feared rightly that without a solution of that sort they would be given over to Italy. The whole Illyrian coast had been promised to Italy under the secret treaties of 1915 if it deserted the German alliance and joined the western powers as it did. So you had a basis for a union that was consummated in one of the Versailles-dependent treaties, the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye which I will have occasion to refer to in a moment.

I do raise the issue though that here I think we have a political problem that, reversing Clausewitz, cannot be resolved by military means.

One of the problems here is that Bosnia-Hercegovina was not a situation ripe for solution by classic peacekeeping methods as devised by Lester Pearson. Peacekeeping is not mentioned as such in the charter. It is a gloss on it. When Mr. Pearson devised the concept it was based firmly on chapter 6 of the charter and not on chapter 7. What has happened basically in the Bosnia-Hercegovina situation is that we have escalated into a peacemaking situation which invokes another section of the charter, chapter 7, which does authorize the recourse to armed force but which the precedents indicate clearly that unless there is a consensus as to the political goals to be achieved by the military intervention then the situation is doomed to failure.

I think the problem for Canada, in some respects a tragedy for our military forces who are not responsible for that-they carry out the orders-is that personnel developed and trained for peacekeeping have been used for peacemaking. They neither have the military equipment available nor the sensitive type of political training that is required to carry out even peacemaking missions today.

In a pathological sense I suppose Somalia is the perfect example of how peacekeeping transforms surreptitiously into peacemaking and fails. I echo the sentiments of the member on the other side who raised the issue of the soldiers on court martial for the carrying out of orders as they saw it in Somalia when clearly the political intelligence was lacking.

We have to consider in terms of peacemaking and peacekeeping, the two which are now joined together, the roles and missions Canada is capable of performing. One thing that is very clear is that it is quite impossible to be represented in too many places at one time.

(1950 )

If we are going to be in Somalia and in Cyprus, we cannot be in Bosnia-Hercegovina and do the job rightly. So one of the things our committee on military affairs will have to consider is a more prudent economy in disposition of our forces and deciding the priority areas. This is something that in a period of budgetary restraint has to be considered very seriously.

My main thesis though is that Bosnia-Hercegovina represents an attempt to resolve by military means something that should have been resolved by political means. There was a time when Yugoslavia was breaking up. The problem of state succession in eastern Europe should have been foreseen and provided for in advance but was not any more than one had provided for the succession with the collapse of the Soviet empire and the


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movement to a more liberal Russia. It was not foreseen. It was not provided for.

What one has had, and this explains the muddiness of the decisions from the United Nations as carried out by the main powers that must assume the responsibility for them, is a division of attitude among western foreign ministries. In fact, looking back one is reminded of divisions between western foreign ministries at the time of the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-78, at the time of the two Balkan wars, at the time indeed of World War I. You see the divisions between the Quai d'Orsay and the Wilhelmstrasse of those periods replicated in a milder form perhaps but still in the consequence it is the same in divisions as to the policy to be applied in Bosnia-Hercegovina. We are in the middle of that and that is a problem.

There have been criticisms made of one of the European foreign ministries that it precipitated the problem by premature recognition of post-succession Yugoslav states Slovenia and Croatia. I do not accept that criticism in relation to Slovenia and Croatia. They did have a separate historical existence as units of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Their frontiers are reasonably clearly defined under the doctrine of uti possidetis which is recognized in international law.

One has many more concerns about Bosnia-Hercegovina which did not really exist until 1878 and which always has had a high element of artificiality about it. I think it was an error to recognize Bosnia-Hercegovina and to admit it to the United Nations above all without taking the trouble to define what status it should have, what its frontiers would be, what its relations with its neighbours should be. I think this does come within the category of premature recognition and the political consequences with this.

The United Nations efforts through the Vance-Owen plan, noble but politically and may one say constitutionally and legally very naive predictably would end in failure.

I would wonder why our government committing forces to Bosnia-Hercegovina did not perhaps raise these issues of the necessity of a political settlement. Is the time for diplomacy past? Not in the least. It has not really been tried. Yugoslavia was put together in 1919 as a consensual union of the kingdom as it was called of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by an international conference of which Canada was a part. We signed the treaty of St. Germain. It was our second international act and we are legal party to it.

I suggested in an earlier pre-parliamentary capacity as a private citizen, as an expert witness deposing before the United States Congress committee on foreign affairs, the House of Representatives, that the machinery of the treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye be revived. It is a still extant treaty. One needed a global view of the Balkans. One cannot isolate Bosnia-Hercegovina from the fate of other areas, including the former Yugoslav republic that calls itself Macedonia but perhaps should be called the republic of Skopje.

Peace in the Balkans as a whole is dependent on rational solutions in this area as in any other area. The failure was to recognize that post-succession Yugoslavia required a larger political consensus than Bosnia alone before you could safely and decently send military forces into it.

Therefore, I would have some criticism for our own governments in going in too enthusiastically and not asking the questions that European foreign ministries should have asked: Where they wanted to go and what their purpose was and which are present certainly in other fora such as the CSCE, NATO and the European community.

(1955 )

It is not too late for a Canadian initiative maintaining our forces in Yugoslavia and Bosnia until the limit but saying: ``Look, a political settlement should come''. Is it ripe? There is a time when parties to a conflict wear themselves out. Exhaustion takes over and that is when diplomacy takes over. There are some indications that that could be near.

In any case simply to maintain forces without pushing for a larger political solution, without telling the European Community countries: ``Look, you have to get your act together. You have to give some signals of what you want to do''. We cannot solve the Bosnia problem without solving the problem in Skopje, without guaranteeing the security of territorial frontiers without the Balkans. If we do not do this, we are back to 1878 and 1913-14. Santayana said that if you do not study history, then you make all the errors again. What is emerging is a sorry exercise in international diplomacy.

I think the big Canadian exercise is steering back to the United Nations the necessity for a larger political consensus, a larger conference of which if we follow the treaty of St. Germain route, we will be a part and we can speak out on this.

I do not think we can solve Bosnia without solving the other problems. Is it to be partitioned? If it is to be partitioned the frontiers will have to be defined. The treaty of St. Germain provides for the compulsory jurisdiction of the international court in these matters. It has the advantage in frontier definition of making an ally of time.

Peace is necessary. We have a basis for a settlement that will be viable and it is better then than casting blame on military forces. I think the military forces are not to blame and we have performed well.

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra on his excellent presentation. If we had heard


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such an analysis before intervening in the former Yugoslavia, our approach might have been better planned.

However, the same cannot be said of our Prime Minister who, during his trip to Europe, made public comments about the advisability of withdrawing our troops from Europe. At the local level, in ridings like mine where some 15 young servicemen and women are participating in the peacekeeping effort in Bosnia, his statement made people hope for a swifter return of their sons and daughters but fear for their safety. On the national and international level, it prompted everyone to question the firmness of the Canadian position.

In my opinion, that move marked a departure from the Canadian diplomatic tradition, which helped create Canada's image as a peacekeeping nation. That kind of gesture would also prevent us from learning lessons from the Yugoslavian crisis in order to better react to such conflicts in the future.

I think we should search for comprehensive solutions like those put forward by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. I may even suggest a few myself, such as the creation of a multinational force that could deal with that kind of situation in a permanent fashion with a crisis centre, thus avoiding a piecemeal approach.

Many of the soldiers deployed overseas in these situations are members of the reserves. The Senate committee on foreign affairs studying the issue was wondering whether the training given to reservists, which tends to focus on offensive actions, qualifies them to intervene in such operations.

(2000)

It is important, perhaps strategically, for Canada to establish a mission specialized in logistics, dealing especially with transportation, equipment, everything that facilitates the military operation itself. It is in fact an area where we have acquired considerable expertise.

I also learned in today's debate that the Minister of Foreign Affairs regularly tables clear and detailed reports on our involvement in international missions. That seems very appropriate to me.

Finally, as the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra showed us in his presentation, we must educate our soldiers about the history, culture and traditions of the countries where they must intervene. The peacekeepers deployed in Somalia, not necessarily the Canadians, were clearly in need of such training. It is important for our peacekeepers to know what they are getting into.

Those were the comments I wished to make on the speech delivered by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. I would have liked him to elaborate a bit further on the kind of solution that could be applied in the former Yugoslavia with its complex ethnic mix. If possible, I would like him to tell us the kind of solution he envisions.

Mr. McWhinney: Mr. Speaker, those are excellent suggestions.

The multinational force is closer to the letter of the charter, section 43, chapter 7. Unfortunately, this excellent suggestion is not often followed by the United Nations.

Clearly, political training for our soldiers should be recommended to the Minister of National Defence. It is the lack of political sophistication that really hampered their effectiveness. It would be an excellent suggestion to make to our defence minister.

[English]

Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport): Mr. Speaker, as you will probably know, Bosnia was a beautiful part of the world, rich with culture, endowed with natural resources, producer of excellent wines, abundant with historical sights, the meeting place of Christian and Muslim architecture where minarets and church towers punctuated the skyline of cities, towns and villages.

Today that Bosnia no longer exists. Its civilian population lives in terror, famine and mourning.

Today in this Chamber we have been asked by the government to think about Canada's role as a peacekeeper and in particular about Canada's role in Bosnia. Here are my thoughts on our role in Bosnia.

It seems to me that the Government of Canada should continue the role of our armed forces in Bosnia while continuing to press for a political solution in Geneva.

Why do I say that? I say it for a number of reasons. Canadian troops in Bosnia these days are providing humanitarian relief. They are offering the most civilized role any military force can provide. They are ensuring survival and life protection, quite in contrast with the conventional role played by the military throughout centuries.

The withdrawal of our Canadian troops from Bosnia would mean in essence abandoning the civilian population to its fate of starvation and possibly death. Our withdrawal would mean that other nations whose troops are part of the United Nations effort in the former Yugoslavia may follow our example if we were to withdraw. Women, children and the elderly would run the risk of being wiped out or becoming another wave of refugees seeking a homeland elsewhere. Withdrawal would mean creating a crisis in adjacent regions. International security could be put in serious danger in the Balkans.

(2005 )

From the relatively contained problem in Bosnia, the danger of spreading is high with very serious security implications and even the possibility of laying the foundations for another world


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war conflict. The withdrawal would mean a victory for the bullies who are pursuing the policy of ethnic cleansing, an abhorrent, barbaric, repulsive, blood-chilling concept which the world community must continue to reject and deplore vigorously.

All Canadians abhor the notion of ethnic cleansing. We are strong believers in human rights. We promote human rights at home and abroad at every international forum. In Bosnia the human rights of people who have lived there for centuries have been trampled upon. The Government of Canada should not lead Canada into a retreat but rather continue to protect innocent people in Bosnia through the United Nations and with the help of like-minded nations also involved there.

These are the reasons why I would sincerely hope that the Government of Canada will continue maintaining its present role, the fine and unique role that our troops are performing these days in certain parts of Bosnia.

During this debate a number of arguments have been advanced in favour of withdrawal. I will mention a few but they are not very compelling. Some have said: ``Oh well, this is a civil war. There is no reason for any of us to be there''. This is an ethnic war. Bosnia as a state, as a cohesive society, hardly exists any more.

Then there are those who have said that the situation has reached a point where air attacks are the only answer. However, what happens after the air strike? What does the world community do after it has bombed? Has that been thought through as to the consequences of such a measure which basically would affect the civilian population? We are not talking here of large armies concentrated in visible and easily targeted points. We are talking about very interspersed forces that are very difficult to focus on and reach.

There are also those who have said that this is too large a financial burden. Well, can you imagine Canada saying to the world community, to France, the United Kingdom, the Scandinavians, the Netherlands and others, that we find this role too expensive for Canada, a nation with the reputation that we have of wealth, abundance and the capacity to be generously available to the world community? What a sham that would be.

There are those who have said that we should withdraw our troops from Croatia for six months. What would happen to the Bosnian population during those six months? Has that question been explored?

Then there are those who have said there is no peace to keep.

(2010 )

Evidently that is a point that one has to take into account because we are not at that point yet. Therefore the answer is true. There is no peace to keep at the present time, but there are tens of thousands of lives that can be saved. I rest my case on those considerations.

[Translation]

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. member who just spoke for his clear and precise position on maintaining the troops now in Bosnia. I share his concerns when he asks if we can simply abandon a civilian population to people who want to carry out ethnic cleansing, as he said.

He talked about civil defence, but I would like to come back to the last part of his speech when he spoke of the financial burden. Yes, some people do wonder if we can still afford such a peace force. There is that strain of opinion, that questioning. In his argument, he did not point out that we could perhaps completely reorganize our armed forces so that a section of them, as the speaker before him said, would be specifically trained to keep peace and also restore peace. For this, perhaps an exhaustive study should be done on all the equipment we are using. Maybe the equipment we use on such missions could be more narrowly focused and specialized since the missions are increasingly difficult. For example, my colleague spoke just now about logistics; maybe we could become logistics specialists and let other countries provide other kinds of support, such as medical support.

For that, perhaps our government and all political parties should sit down around a table and define the positions or needs or specializations for these peace missions. The money saved by specializing could enable us to continue our peace missions without taking more from our fellow citizens. On this point, I would like the hon. member to tell me if he could agree with that line of thinking, and I know that he has followed peace missions for a long time. He is not afraid to say the exact opposite of the Prime Minister about maintaining peace missions. He definitely thinks that cannot be questioned. But perhaps to reassure our fellow citizens, could we consider together the possibility of reducing some of our military expenditures through specialization, as a way to keep our peace missions without raising taxes? I ask his opinion on this.

Mr. Caccia: Mr. Speaker, I am not an expert in military logistics and expenditures. I am only a politician. I thank the hon. member for Richelieu for his question, but I am not in a position to add anything to what I said before.

Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue): Mr. Speaker, since I am addressing this House for the first time outside question period,


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I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of my riding of Témiscamingue for have trusted me enough to send to Ottawa the member who will come to be known as the youngest one elected to serve in this Parliament.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

Mr. Brien: Like several of my colleagues, I too have members of the Canadian forces living in my riding, including some of those presently taking in part in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. I have listened carefully to the hon. member for Davenport and the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra who spoke before him. Does the member for Davenport agree that we should be more actively involved in conflict resolution at the political level, as his colleague from Vancouver Quadra seemed to indicate, or does he think it would be better for Canada not get involved at that level, but simply to maintain peacekeeping forces in Bosnia?

(2015)

Basically, what I want to know is should we play a major role in terms of resolving the conflict, beyond military action?

Mr. Caccia: Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Témiscamingue for his question. My impression is that Canada already plays a good role, a major role as a nation 27 million strong which is highly respected around the world. I think that the Liberal government will do a good job representing the aspirations and hopes for peace that all Canadians share from coast to coast.

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf): Mr. Speaker, the House has been debating Canada's role in UN peacekeeping operations for a number of hours now. Obviously, it is an important question and there are many aspects to consider.

Of course I want to focus on the role and mission of our peacekeeping forces, but I would also like to take a closer look at their presence in Bosnia.

Since the mid-1950s, our peacekeepers have earned a reputation for Canada as a very humanitarian nation. You will recall that it was on the initiative of the former prime minister, the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson, that Canadian peacekeepers, working under the auspices of the United Nations, undertook their very first peacekeeping mission.

Peacekeeping has since become the cornerstone of Canadian diplomacy. Many other countries have also patterned themselves on us when sending peacekeepers on missions throughout the world.

Canada's decision to make a name for itself on the world scene as a peaceful, humanitarian country has earned it a reputation which generally means that we are greeted as friends when we travel abroad.

Over the years, Canada has therefore maintained a tradition wherein it holds an altruistic view, namely a view of peacekeepers as carriers of the humanitarian torch and missionaries of peace. Quebecers and indeed all Canadians are proud, and justifiably so, of having made a major contribution to peacekeeping in the world.

I would mention that the tradition of the peacekeepers reflects a fundamental value held by the people of Quebec and of Canada. We are a peace-loving people, imbued with a keen sense of tolerance and democracy. We value human life a great deal and we are sensitive to human suffering. It is very natural for us to want to help those in need.

I know this House would agree that the role of our peacekeepers in maintaining peace and alleviating human suffering has reflected the very profound, historic values of Quebec and Canada.

The war in Bosnia has blurred the traditional role of our peacekeepers. They cannot keep the peace when there is no peace to keep. Whereas in the past our peacekeepers were called upon to maintain a brokered peace, this time, they find themselves in the midst of a conflict between factions which seem to see no advantage in settling their dispute. So, what are our peacekeepers doing in such a nightmare?

(2020)

[English]

This question interests me for more than one reason. Indeed, approximately 80 per cent of all Canadian and Quebec soldiers actually deployed in Bosnia do come from the Valcartier CFB which is home base of the French speaking 22nd Royal Regiment part of which is in my riding of Portneuf just west of Quebec City.

Those almost 2,000 soldiers lived either on the base or in one of the surrounding areas. I personally know families that have a parent actually in Bosnia. I am therefore even more sensitive to their anguish.

[Translation]

As I was saying, I take a particularly interest in this issue, especially since many of these soldiers are from my riding. I personally know families who have a relative in Bosnia, and I truly share their fear. I also know that these families, because they correspond with their relative, are aware of the importance of the humanitarian aid provided by our peacekeepers in Bosnia.

It is therefore important that this House correctly define the rationale for our involvement in Bosnia and in other international peacekeeping operations. We must ask ourselves the true question about our peacekeepers in Bosnia, namely: what is their mandate? It is certainly not the traditional one of helping to maintain peace, because the factions there are still engaged in all-out war.

So then what is their mission? Do we expect our peacekeepers to bring peace to the area? Mr. Speaker, even if this were what is asked of them, how could they possibly bring a peace which the warring factions have currently no use for?


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Should we consider letting our troops use force to take control of the country and to subjugate the belligerents? Should our troops use violence for humanitarian reasons? Should they occupy the area to impose our peace? No, because to do so would be to forget the important lessons of history, namely that no occupation force can be a substitute for an agreement truly recognized by the parties involved.

[English]

Furthermore, if this government would authorize our troops to make use of force to impose reason onto the fighting factions, we would depart dramatically with our pacifist traditions that honour Canada and that are so dear to the people from Quebec as to those from all provinces I am sure.

[Translation]

What is the mandate of our troops in Bosnia? Unfortunately, this House does not have a magic solution to solve the problem in Bosnia and to improve the prospects of the people there. However, this House can and must define the mandate of our peacekeepers in Bosnia. We owe it to our troops stationed over there, to their families waiting here, to Quebecers and Canadians, and to the international community.

So what is the mandate of our troops in Bosnia? Mr. Speaker, while reflecting on this issue, I came across a dilemma, like many other members who have thought about this issue and have expressed their views here today. Today, by acting as a buffer between the warring factions, are the United Nations not protecting the belligerents from the consequences of their acts? In other words, does the peacekeepers' presence unduly and unnecessarily prolong the agony of those people? Would it not be better to have the peacekeepers withdraw from the area, leaving the belligerents alone to face the atrocities and the consequences of their acts? Would our absence perhaps more conducive to a resolution of this conflict?

(2025)

One thing is certain: far from being observers without influence in this military and political game of chess, UN troops have an impact on the situation through the direct and important role they play.

What we must do is consider whether the process of resolving the conflict is helped by the presence of our peacekeepers. Is their presence an asset or a liability?

I think the debate should focus on a third dimension which I will discuss now. Consider the results obtained so far. Without peacekeepers the conflict would very likely have spread to the entire region of Eastern Europe, like a replay of World War I. However, this conflict has not only been contained but has gradually been confined to a very limited area. The presence of the peacekeepers has given diplomacy and peace a chance to make some progress, bit by bit.

But there is more. The presence of the peacekeepers has afforded civilian populations real protection in a terrible war and alleviated their suffering significantly. This was not done without serious difficulty. Convoys of food and medicine were held up, supplies diverted to the black market, soldiers threatened by belligerents and some soldiers, unfortunately, were killed. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of people received food and medical care and managed to survive.

At this point I would like to share with you and with the members of this House what I was told recently by the wife of one of our soldiers who is now in Bosnia. This lady told me that her husband had been very moved by the terrible living conditions of the people over there. She told me how her husband took off his socks and gave them to a child who was walking barefoot in the snow. This was only a few days before Christmas. The public in Quebec and Canada is also worried about the cost of our operations in Bosnia.

I did some research. I did some simple arithmetic, and I can assure you that the costs directly related to the presence of our soldiers in Bosnia represent only about 25 cents per month per person in Quebec and Canada, 25 cents, for an annual total of $120 million. Twenty-five cents per person per month. I think our fellow citizens can afford to contribute a quarter to help people in need.

What is the role of our peacekeepers in a new world order? First of all, their role will certainly not be that of a global cop. That is out of the question, because it would be entirely counterproductive. Obviously, their role is no longer limited to peacekeeping in areas where the parties have decided to resolve their differences.

We must consider a new role, a role for the twenty-first century. As nations struggle towards democracy, this new role would be to prevent conflicts from escalating and spreading, to protect and help civilian populations and to provide diplomatic efforts with a climate conducive to conflict resolution and durable peace.

(2030)

The new role of Canada in this regard will be not only to participate in peacekeeping, something we are already doing, but to guarantee in the field, proactively and peacefully, protection and assistance to civilian populations in distress, while diplomats try to come up with a formula establishing peaceful relations between populations at war. The new role of Canada should not be limited to peacekeeping, it should also focus on peacebuilding and peacemaking.

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, Canada should not withdraw from peacekeeping operations. Quebecers and Canadians of all provinces have a long tradition of peace, and our peacekeepers will


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not only be perfectly able to fulfil their redefined mission for the 21st century, they will also do so knowing full well what is expected of them.

Withdrawing from peacekeeping, withdrawing from Bosnia, would be repudiating one of our greatest traditions. It would also, given our reputation as a world leader in peacekeeping, set up a chain reaction among countries participating in peacekeeping operations with the United Nations. It would also mean condemning tens of thousands of men, women and children to suffering, torture, rape and death. This might also cause the conflict to escalate and spread to neighbouring areas.

Canada has undertaken in Bosnia a difficult, but useful, humanitarian action. People in Quebec and Canada are not the type to quit a job they took on. On the contrary, we all strive to finish what we start, especially when the going gets tough. Quebecers and Canadians are not quitters.

I would like to conclude by thanking personally, and on behalf of all my colleagues in this house I am sure, all our troops from Quebec and Canada who, day after day, put their life on the line while serving their fellow man, not only because this is the job we asked them to do, but also because they are noble-hearted men and women.

Mr. David Berger (Saint-Henri-Westmount): Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Portneuf on his speech. It was all the more appreciated because the Valcartier base is in his riding. The personal testimony of soldiers and their families contributed very much to this debate.

I would like to ask the hon. member a question on his notion of what he called a new peacekeeping role for Canada. He talked about the need to protect people in distress. If I got it right, it all boils down to intervention on humanitarian grounds.

Is that the new role he contemplates? Does he advocate intervention on humanitarian grounds only or does he want to take that further and include some diplomatic or negotiating role?

(2035)

Mr. de Savoye: Mr. Speaker, I am not in a position to define this new role for the House. However, I see humanitarian missions covering a number of aspects. One is protecting populations in distress. Gaining time is another consideration, by giving the factions a number of rules to observe, which will give diplomacy enough room, both literally and figuratively, to proceed with negotiations that one hopes will bear fruit, and they will, if the timing is right. So our objective should not be only to feed, care and protect. It should also include, and we see that today with our own peacekeepers, talking to the factions and creating a number of mini-agreements which over time will give our diplomats a chance to build on what has been achieved. I hope that answers the hon. member's question.

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, I much appreciated the excellent speech made by the hon. member for Portneuf. I had the privilege of being born in his riding, and in fact, I was born in Valcartier, so his riding is twice-blessed.

The hon. member for Rivière-du-Loup mentioned a multilateral force formed by the UN that would ensure our troops would be better prepared for such operations.

He also mentioned courses in history or even humanitarian aid for our soldiers, to prepare them for missions as complex as those in Bosnia, for instance. What are his thoughts on this suggestion which is also supported by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra? Is this more or less in line with what he was trying to say?

Mr. de Savoye: I want to thank the hon. member who was born in Portneuf for his question.

In fact, Canada is in an excellent position to play a leading role at the United Nations in organizing a multilateral force. We have the expertise, and we also have the recognition of the international community. It would be not merely sensible but also interesting and productive to go this route. I think the twenty-first century will give us a chance to make the words violence and war obsolete.

Mr. André Caron (Jonquière): I want to thank the hon. member for Portneuf for his remarks. I would like to say a few words about how our people would feel if Canada were to play a greater role in peacekeeping missions and in the training of soldiers for such missions.

For the past few years, a rather lively debate has been taking place in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region on the possibility of locating a firing range in the area for the training of F-18 pilots. As you know, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is home to CFB Bagotville, one of the three or four major strategic bases in Canada. By the way, this military base operates completely in French. One of the principal arguments advanced by those who oppose the plans for the firing range is that we can no longer afford to have the armed forces play a traditional role in Canada today. These people want to transform CFB Bagotville into a training base for UN peacekeeping missions. While their intentions may be good, there are many problems underlying this proposal. The fact remains, however, that the people in my region would be prepared to see Canadian and Quebec soldiers go out on peacekeeping missions and maybe even do a little more than that.

(2040)

People do not like to see television images of civilians suffering, of bombings, deaths and other atrocities. When we


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look at the situation in some parts of the world where suffering is widespread, not just Bosnia but Somalia and elsewhere, I think it would not take much for our people to support a more active role by the UN in peacekeeping operations than has traditionally been the case.

[English]

Mr. Morris Bodnar (Saskatoon-Dundurn): Mr. Speaker, first of all I wish to congratulate you and all the others in the House. That way I can simplify it. It has been mentioned many times over and over.

I wish to take this opportunity as well to thank the voters of my riding of Saskatoon-Dundurn for electing me to this House of Commons. Saskatoon-Dundurn comprises a large part of the city of Saskatoon, a city that we affectionately call the pearl of the prairies. The electorate represents all strata of society and are a true mosaic of cultures, creeds, nationalities and religions. I am proud to represent them as their member of Parliament.

The question that is before us today is obviously a very serious one. Canadian soldiers in Bosnia are in more than just a peacekeeping role. It has been mentioned many times over that they are in a war zone where they are neither aggressors nor combatants. This is a very difficult and extremely dangerous role.

A country has crumbled because of religious and ethnic problems. The citizens of Bosnia have rejected the peaceful methods that Canadians have embraced for years of parliamentary debate. Instead they have embraced the gun and the bomb as their means of communication. As well, as the nation has crumbled the peace process sponsored by the European communities and the United Nations seems to have crumbled. It appears that the different leaders have lost control over their military leaders. This is shown by the fact that every time a truce has been drafted it is broken before the ink has dried on the document. The leaders who appear to be intoxicated with power show the problems of a quest for political power over the value of human life.

However, it is not our job here today to name aggressors or to point fingers. Our primary question is the safety of Canadian military personnel stationed in the former Yugoslav republic and that is the only reason that we are here. It has become clear to many that a military solution to the situation in Bosnia is no longer feasible. What is needed now is a political solution. However, the quest for power and nation building seems to destroy all hope of achieving a political settlement without the intervention of the world community.

We have seen the world community intervene at a number of different times. The European community peace negotiators, the Vance-Owen peace negotiations and the current negotiations in Geneva have all proved fruitless. Ceasefires are signed, ceasefires are broken. Peace plans show hope only to have one party walk away at the last moment. The situation seems bleak at present, bleak of ever reaching a political settlement.

(2045 )

We must be careful to balance this against the needs of the 2.75 million people that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says depend on the humanitarian aid as their sole source of food. This is a weighty question.

We must sit here to balance the lives of 1,800 Canadian personnel versus an estimated three million innocent citizens. However the problem does not stop there. It is estimated that once a peace agreement is signed, if one is ever signed, they will need two times the number of troops they have now in the former Yugoslav republic to monitor the peace accord and to disarm the belligerents.

Therefore by staying, are we just getting ourselves into a project that will turn into another Cyprus where we were for 25 to 30 years? I think the chances of a peace agreement at this time are slim.

I wonder if it would make any difference if today we were speaking in the House had the situation a few weeks ago been one of guns being shot not over our soldiers' heads but at a lower position. If we had dead personnel would we be speaking any different today? I suggest we would be.

I must join with the member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre and say that we should withdraw for now and reassess our position.

[Translation]

Mr. Gérard Asselin (Charlevoix): Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to the debate on Bosnia since 10 o'clock this morning. I have heard words like democracy, solidarity and peace. I think the fact that we welcomed Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide in our gallery yesterday heightened the awareness of every member of this House because, since this morning, the words democracy, solidarity and peace have popped up in practically every speech.

After meeting with President Aristide, the Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about a ``man democratically elected by the population of Haiti''. Mr. Ouellet reiterated Canada's wish to see democracy restored in Haiti and President Aristide rapidly reinstated in his post. He said: ``Together we will go to the Security Council; it is a concrete step we must take to restore democracy.''

Democracy, solidarity and peace-words that have been heard all day and in practically every speech made by members of this House-must be preserved in Yugoslavia, Haiti, Bosnia and Canada. These great democratic principles must guide today's statements and tomorrow's actions.

(2050)

In closing, we, as members of this House, will have to take a position as soon as possible because the people in Bosnia and our fellow citizens in Quebec and Canada are awaiting our decision. I am convinced that our decision will reassure Cana-


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dians, who expect this House to make a decision based on democracy and solidarity.

The Deputy Speaker: Does the hon. member for Saskatoon-Dundurn wish to respond?

[English]

Mr. Bodnar: Mr. Speaker, because that was not a question but primarily a comment by the hon. member I have nothing further to add.

[Translation]

Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, I have a comment and a question.

I am somewhat surprised by the remarks the hon. member has made, especially when he talked about withdrawing from Bosnia, while several of his colleagues have told us that withdrawing would mean abandoning the people, who would then starve. It would also cause a crisis in neighbouring regions, with everything that entails. The aggressors would have won and it would mean rape and famine for an entire population.

Am I to understand that the member who just spoke will not support in his caucus a government position which should be first to ensure that Canadian troops are safe and second to help Canada live up to its reputation as a champion of peace on the international scene?

So, the member will be against giving this House the assurance that the Canadian peacekeepers will not be unilaterally pulled out of the former Yugoslavia.

[English]

Mr. Bodnar: Mr. Speaker, we have debated the question, exchanged ideas and listened to all other hon. members who have given their views with respect to these matters.

The purpose of the debate is to exchange and to formulate ideas. Hopefully if the hon. member has further comments with which he can convince other members on the other side of the House as to why his position is more favourable perhaps he can be convincing. That is the reason we are here today.

I can indicate that some of the comments, such as those made earlier today by the hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre were convincing. If the the hon. member who has just posed his comment has further comments that may be convincing I ask him for them.

[Translation]

Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds-Dollard): Mr. Speaker, the situation of our Canadian UN troops in the former Yugoslavia is worrisome. Mr. Boutros-Ghali said last weekend that he was thinking of using air strikes to free a Canadian contingent stationed in Srebrenica. Obviously, the UN troops' mission is in jeopardy.

(2055)

Since 1947, Canada is the only country to have participated in all UN peacekeeping missions. This participation has made Canada's presence felt throughout the world. Our peace missions are recognized. They contribute to Canada's international prestige. We have become leaders in the art of keeping peace in the world.

[English]

For that matter if we go back a few years ago, members will recall that Mr. Lester B. Pearson was the recipient of the 1957 Nobel prize for the promotion of peace.

The first Canadian involvement in a peacekeeping contingent goes back to 1947 in the Kashmir but it was not until 1956 at the time of the Suez Canal crisis, at the initiative of the Canadian government, that the peacekeeping operations began as we know them today.

On that occasion the then minister of external affairs, Lester B. Pearson, proposed sending troops under the United Nations flag in order to permit the orderly retreat of belligerents from the canal zone. Since then Canadians have never missed a single peace mission.

In 1988, a second peace Nobel prize was awarded to the United Nations international force. At home we pay tribute to our troops. In the fall of 1992 during a monument unveiling ceremony by the Governor General, Mr. Ray Hnatyshyn, the monument was named the Reconciliation.

[Translation]

Until this latest mission in Bosnia, we had lost 80 lives. Our soldiers have often had to live in frightful conditions, but they have managed to carry out their mission. This time, the former Yugoslavia is at war. Will we suffer more loss of life in a single mission than in all the previous ones? Our men and women now have to undergo armed attack without the ability to react. Their families and their children are worried about them. A climate of fear and uncertainty is setting in. They are witnesses to a war, they are not allowed to use their weapons and they stand by powerless as people are massacred. Can we call this a peace mission?

Nevertheless, the UN troops' intervention in Bosnia is important. Canada faces a dilemma. We cannot accept depriving these people of our humanitarian aid and we cannot send our troops on a peace mission in a country at war. We cannot keep peace if there is no peace. We cannot restore peace against the will of the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims. In this context, Canada is in the best position to help set new rules for peacekeeping. Our action to date has been preventive and it must remain so. We are there to maintain the peace; we represent the peacekeeping forces.

In some incidents during this war in Bosnia, tension was so high between these peoples and the line between legitimate defence and provocation was so thin that action taken by our


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men and women could be interpreted as aggression by the belligerents. It would be a pity if Canada's peacekeeping reputation were tarnished because of a situation where the violence and horror of war cancel out our efforts for peace. Can we prevent the recurrence of such dramatic events? Can we afford to continue our peace mission in the world?

All these questions remain unanswered, but we cannot overlook the fact that peace missions cost Canadians dearly. Nevertheless, we think they are essential. When we aim for the essential, we eliminate the superfluous and we avoid waste. If we want to maintain these missions, I am afraid that we will have no choice but to exercise tight control over the expenses incurred and future spending. That is the price we will have to pay if we want to continue to ensure peace.

Peace missions are essential for their humanitarian work, for the relief they provide to the most disadvantaged countries, but also to the men and women who could not have survived the misery created by the famine, drought, floods and devastation of war.

(2100)

They are also essential for Canada. We have built an excellent reputation, we are present on the international scene, we are the number one peacekeepers in the world. This is an essential role for Canada. Is our presence in Bosnia too costly, will it force us to forgo other missions which could bring peace? Should we withdraw from Bosnia?

[English]

British troops are now threatening to withdraw from the United Nations contingent in Bosnia. Let us recall that the United Nations has chosen to name the peacekeeping troops the blue helmets so that the Canadians will be differentiated from the British because of their almost identical uniforms. It is my opinion that threats will not do anything and that we would rather concentrate our efforts to assure that the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia will fulfil the mandate which justifies their very existence and that serious proposals be put forward to end this conflict.

So far, all efforts by the west to end this conflict have failed. The whole situation is very disturbing. What should be the role of Canada in order for it to be the instigator of solutions for this conflict and to prevent the resurgence of similar conflicts elsewhere? Shall we have the means to maintain peace in Yugoslavia after this war has ended or will our position be so weak that for all practical purposes it will be the end of our peace missions?

These are all questions that deserve serious thinking and proper answers if we want to assure the success of our future interventions.

[Translation]

Canadian experts are already present in several developing countries as well as in Russia and Ukraine to initiate these countries to peacekeeping operations. Following the appeal made by Boutros Boutros-Ghali to preserve peace in a more energetic way, it has been suggested that an international training centre for peacekeeping be set up in Lahr, Germany. We all know that Canada will close its base there in 1994. Would this training centre enable us to maintain our role as peacekeepers as well as to make good use of existing facilities? Canada could thus continue to be a leader at the international level. This suggestion certainly has some merit and deserves careful consideration to determine the likely benefits of such a centre, whose objective could be the prevention of other conflicts.

The war in Bosnia is serious and tragic. Not only because of the hardships and the violence which prevail in that country, but also for the families of our soldiers who live in fear while waiting for the return of their loved ones. Those families hope that Canada will continue to fulfil its peacekeeping role in a climate of peace.

[English]

One cannot maintain peace if there is no peace. Canada is a peaceful country. This was implied and demonstrated and our reputation is solid on that matter. We have an important role to play on the international scene as a peacekeeping country. The members of our peace missions know that their involvement is crucial and very often is the last hope of populations that are continuously living in a state of disturbance and dissension.

[Translation]

Canada can fulfil its peacekeeping obligations. Peacekeeping means that we can act before a situation degenerates into a conflict and that we can maintain peace after a conflict has ended. We have a role to play both before and after a war. If we intervene before a conflict occurs, we may be able to avoid wars and preserve peace.

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Pierrefonds for illustrating how complex the situation is and how difficult it is to make a decision. In one hour, we will come to the end of a debate during which members of Parliament will have provided the government with useful information. We will have the choice between a withdrawal of our troops, the status quo, or a solution which seems more appropriate to me, namely to restore the conditions for success. It is very encouraging to know that according to the Stoltenberg-Owen plan, thus named since Mr. Stoltenberg took over from Mr. Cyrus Vance, we could be very close to a solution. Indeed, we could be extremely close to an agreement and negotiations will resume on February 10. Conse-


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quently, any decision made by the Government of Canada will have an influence on those negotiations.

(2105)

I want to ask the hon. member for Pierrefonds if he thinks that the Canadian government should take a stand in the next few days, or if it would be preferable to wait until shortly before April 1st, when our commitment will end, to announce, based on the status of the negotiations, if it is appropriate to maintain our presence in Bosnia, given the very significant impact of that role for Canada's reputation as a peacekeeper, a reputation which it has developed over the last few decades?

Mr. Patry: Mr. Speaker, to answer that question I would say that this is a very personal issue. The Government of Canada should immediately engage in negotiations with the concerned parties, especially with the UN, to somehow renegotiate the agreements ensuring its presence in the former Yugoslavia because, for all practical purposes, Canada must remain there to maintain peace in that area. We must not in any way avoid our obligations at the international level. And Canada's role on the international scene is a humanitarian role. Therefore, in my opinion, Canada's peacekeeping role must be maintained in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that the hon. member is clearly in favour of maintaining peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia, so as to avoid a slaughter of the population, especially the Bosnian people.

However, many Canadians and Quebecers are concerned about the cost of maintaining those peacekeepers. Earlier I referred to a reform of our military budget.

Would the hon. member tell us which solution he advocates to maintain our peacekeepers over there while keeping tax increases at a minimum?

Mr. Patry: Mr. Speaker, I learned something earlier from the member for Portneuf, who represents the same political party as the member for Richelieu, to the effect that it would cost each Canadian taxpayer 25 cents a day to maintain Canada's peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia.

I think this is a very small price to pay to maintain our humanitarian aid over there, and I would be prepared to fight in the Liberal caucus for the monies and credits required to ensure that peace.

[English]

Mr. Jim Abbott (Kootenay East): Mr. Speaker, I would like to make note of the fact that the Minister of National Defence is in the House and the fact that he has spent an inordinate amount of time considering his responsibilities in being in the House and listening personally to this debate. I think that it says something very positive about the direction in which the government is going in taking the views of the members of this House seriously when attempting to come to a broader consideration and determination of where it wants to be going. I thank him for being here.

I would like in my intervention to broaden the discussion just somewhat on the basis of the order of the government's business when it speaks of the possible future direction of Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations. In taking a look at a future approach, I would suggest that we have to be businesslike.

As I come from a business background that is an easy thing to say, but there are many things to be taken positively in the business environment. When we take a look at business and managing affairs we take a look at the fact for example that there must be measurements, yardsticks and goal posts that we can measure things by. We must have a plan. We must have objectives and goals.

(2110 )

We think often of the number of times when we have heard jokes made and sometimes we forget about the original purpose of when. Often we get drawn into these things as a nation when we forget what our original purpose is. Therefore, it is important that we take a look at the definition of what we are doing in terms of peacekeeping.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a briefing by the national defence department. I apologize to the House that I did not make accurate notes and so I do not know the time frame. However, my understanding is that the peacekeeping forces world-wide-not Canadian, but all of the peacekeeping forces-in a very short period of time have expanded from 10,000 to 80,000. This is rather a boy scout, altruistic approach on the part of the of the world community where the world community sees a problem and jumps into it. We have in the world a situation of increasing complexity and danger not only for our soldiers but indeed for the soldiers of all the world.

As has been noted in many interventions, Canadians have a very proud peacekeeping history. We have spoken about ourselves and I believe our interventions have been accurate that we have that history of being the originators of the idea and the actions of peacekeeping.

In this same briefing it was noted that two very valid reasons were because of our emphasis on multinational diplomacy and also in support of the United Nations. I believe as members of this House representing Canadians that Canadians too want Canada to support the United Nations.

However, going further with the criterion as to how decisions are made concerning whether we should be involved in a peacekeeping effort, we take a look at the three.


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First, there is agreement by parties to a peaceful settlement. Coming from a constituency that happens to include the majority of the Canadian Rockies, I come from a very beautiful but remote area. We have all sorts of very large wildlife there and it makes me think of walking down a path with a 22 calibre rifle and coming across a grizzly bear in rutting season. I would really have to think twice about what I was going to do simply because I would be wondering what the bear was going to to.

Truly if we as a nation are going to become involved in these situations where we have 500, 1,000 or 1,500 people and we are up against an array of tens of thousands of combatants, is it not somewhat like walking down a trail and coming across a grizzly bear when I only have a 22 calibre rife in my hand?

Second, we must also know what clear mandate we have to be there.

Third, we must have a sound financial and logical basis for being there.

Narrowing the focus for just a second to specifically the situation in Bosnia, I must profess that I do not necessarily understand, and perhaps many Canadians do not understand, if we do in fact have a sound financial and logistical basis for being there.

If I may I would like to share a brief story about what happened on my first day in Parliament. The member for Fraser Valley East and I were on a tour with our wives and the four of us ended up in the Remembrance Chapel at the base of the Peace Tower. I recommend it to all members. It was a riveting experience. We were there at 11 o'clock. If one has the good fortune of being there at 11 o'clock one will be there when they turn the pages of the books of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war. It was a very moving experience because it gave me a real feeling of what it is to be a Canadian and what price has been paid so that we have the freedom of speech we have here tonight in this House of Commons.

I thank those dead people, but what about the ones who are living? What about the ones who are currently facing danger and threat every single second that they are in these theatres of war? I personally cannot possibly imagine the fear that must grip an individual in those situations. They come back but they have emotional scars. This is a price they and their families pay when they come back. When these brave men and women of our Canadian forces come back their families have to deal with their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or children who have been there and have been changed because of the experience. There is a tremendous price. There is a real cost to being involved in a war as we are.

(2115)

Reflecting again on my experience in the Remembrance Chapel I wondered to myself how many of these brave men and women died as a result of quick decisions, forced decisions. As we are going forward and want to broaden the approach by taking a look at the future direction of peacekeeping in Canada I ask: Can we take the time? Can we take deliberate action? Can we set the goals for measurement? Can we plan? Can we gain an original purpose for why we are there?

My own feeling is that we must continue in peacekeeping. Our world needs our interventions in peacekeeping. In his intervention the member for Red Deer, my colleague in the Reform Party, suggested using some of the bases and some of our expertise to export peacekeeping understanding and peacekeeping lessons. It was an excellent suggestion but we must measure the cost.

The Reform Party probably for the last three or four days in the House has spoken only in terms of cost. Whenever we talk about that we talk about dollars and cents. I would like to reflect for a second on the emotional cost, the cost of those who will pay the ultimate sacrifice.

With respect to Bosnia in the short term I would agree with the other members who suggest that if we do something precipitous, if we do something quickly, we will create danger for the people in that theatre of war. Furthermore if we telegraph what we are going to be doing, in other words if we are too obvious with where we are coming from, we create self-fulfilling prophesy. Truly we are caught in a bind.

I believe we must not do something precipitous. We must be prepared to cut our loss but to do it intelligently and with planning. We must resist at all cost instant solutions. Far too often in our community we see instant solutions, the desire for instant solutions. We must take deliberate action.

As a very proud Canadian I sometimes feel that as a nation we end up with boy scout or altruistic actions, taking a reaction to world events. Rather than being pulled along by the world community into these peacekeeping situations I believe we must become more businesslike in our decision making so that we may manage our future direction.

[Translation]

Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata): I wish to thank the member who spoke before me; his presentation was very clear and to the point. But I would like to add a comment. Last November 27, in my riding, I met thirty young soldiers returning from Bosnia who were celebrating with the families of thirty other soldiers who had just left for Bosnia.

While talking with them, I realized something that several of my colleagues mentioned today. It seemed like they were not


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fully aware of the experience they had just been through. Granted they had not been back long, but it seems to me they had not received as thorough a training as they should have had, given the type of work they were expected to do.

Going back to what my colleague just said, that we needed to establish criteria, to give very clear mandates, to have a sound financial basis and so on, I would like to know if he thought about the training of the troops, if he thought about that aspect of the issue?

(2120)

On that point, does he agree with the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra who talked about the need, for example, to explain to young militiamen what is at stake politically so that they would not only understand the tactics and get the sophisticated training they need to face whatever danger they will encounter, but also learn the social and political dimensions of the type of intervention they will be asked to perform in those countries.

[English]

The Deputy Speaker: Does the member for Kootenay East want to treat that as a question or as a representation? Does he wish to reply?

Mr. Abbott: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reply by saying that I do believe our soldiers must receive all the training required without any question and at whatever cost. However I do not know there is any possible way that people can be trained for the emotional scars that occur in a theatre of war.

Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, I found the remarks of the hon. member to be very informative. I was very struck by his suggestion that we bring sound businesses practices to what is essentially war.

Would the hon. member mind elaborating on how we put humanitarian aid on a sound financial footing?

Mr. Abbott: Mr. Speaker, the member has suggested humanitarian problems. Obviously these things happen very quickly.

In terms of humanitarian activity, the situation in the former Yugoslavia is such that there are combatants creating serious difficulties for the humanitarian aid to come through. May I suggest there has to be a logical businesslike approach to see if we or any other peacekeeping nation or force is actually going to be able to accomplish the purpose.

There must be intervention in terms of the supplies and those kinds of things but the question always must be: Can we get it there? I believe that is measurable.

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue): Mr. Speaker, since the question and comment period is almost over, I will be brief.

I may not have understood exactly what the hon. member said about the cost of humanitarian interventions. I would like him to explain again what he thinks about the money being spent on peacekeeping operations. Does he think that we should maintain or even increase the amount spent in this area, even if it means reducing other expenditures in the military? Does he consider the money spent on humanitarian intervention a priority?

[English]

Mr. Abbott: Mr. Speaker, the point the member raises is a valid one. I hold in my hand some photocopies of an article in the Globe and Mail on the weekend in which our Minister of National Defence was quoted as saying that there was going to be some pretty stiff medicine. The headline was: ``Cuts are going to be deep''.

This is part of the measurement. This is part of the decision-making process the Canadian people must make. Is this something they are prepared to commit to? If so, in terms of dollars and cents they will have to commit those dollars and cents.

Mr. Ray Speaker (Lethbridge): Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to your new office and wish you the best in your responsibilities in the chair. I would like to express my thanks to the government for putting this matter on the agenda so we as representatives of the Canadian people are able to express a view prior to the decision being made. I think that is very commendable in a new government expressing and acting as an open government. I want to say thanks for that in my remarks tonight as I stand before the House of Commons.

(2125)

A variety of aspects have been enunciated and clearly defined before this assembly. What I wanted to do tonight was to express encouragement to those who have served in Bosnia and to express encouragement to those who have to make the decision on what we do as a country in the weeks and the months ahead.

Tonight we address a very special problem and have a very special responsibility in defining our peacekeeping role in the future and especially what our role will be in Bosnia. Our recommendations and our subsequent actions will have a significant impact on the former Yugoslavia and on the lives of those who are coping in what I would call the bloodiest European battlefield since the second world war.

Canadians from coast to coast have been made witnesses to the tragic events that have taken place in the Balkans. Every night on television we see the effects of the day's mortar blasts. Every day we read articles detailing the plight of those unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire.


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I want to say to this assembly that the tragedy of life in Bosnia underscores how fortunate we are as Canadians to live in this great country of Canada. Many of us practise different religions. We speak different languages. Close to 400,000 Canadians speak neither French nor English, yet we live in harmony, with tolerance and in understanding of one another.

Previous legislators have taken steps to ensure that all Canadians enjoy the freedoms of conscience, religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression. Our Canadian charter and our Constitution provide a guarantee of freedom and a right to life, liberty and the security of person for all of us in the nation.

People in the former Yugoslavia also have a just claim to these inalienable rights. Because Canadians are a part of a peace loving nation we have an obligation to aid or to ensure those rights may be made possible for those people. From what I have heard in the briefings previous to today and from what I have heard in this assembly I believe we can do this best by keeping our peacekeepers in the Balkans. While we cannot solve the conflict, we can continue to deliver United Nations humanitarian aid which to date has helped, as I have heard, almost three million people.

By remaining in Bosnia we are acting as a conscience to those who are committing the many atrocities. In addition to our 2,000 soldiers, seven Canadian forces members are working as war crimes investigators. According to military officials with whom I have talked on this matter, this unit in some cases has actually prevented some war crimes from taking place and that is certainly a very commendable role. These same officials also tell me that our presence in the former Yugoslavia is preventing the war from spreading into a wider international conflict.

Canada's role in Bosnia is essential. Our troops provide food and medicine to hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise starve or die of other consequences. Canadian peacekeepers are fulfilling what has become our country's historic international mission for which we are well known. They are promoting peace and security. At the same time they are acting as an international conscience in an area of the world I believe desperately needs that conscience.

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's remarks have made me wonder about the reasons why this question of whether or not to withdraw from Bosnia is creating so much tension in Canada.

(2130)

I wonder if we should not also reflect on the value of providing the people of Canada with complete and factual information on the situation in Bosnia.

In our day-to-day dealings with people, when they talk about the Bosnian conflict or any other international situation, they often mention the atrocities broadcasted on the news, the casualties, the costs involved, the money spent on that aspect of our international involvement. They are far from having have a comprehensive view of the impact of such activities or their importance.

I wonder if the member who spoke before me could tell us how he would feel about asking our soldiers and higher-ranking officers presently serving in Bosnia to take part in some of the public debates in Canada and tell us what they actually saw and experienced, without any partisan bias. They could share their thoughts on the action they saw over there and perhaps even suggest ideas without having their loyalty questioned or risking disciplinary action. I would like the hon. member to tell us what he thinks of that idea.

[English]

Mr. Speaker (Lethbridge): The hon. member has made a very good suggestion in terms of consulting and listening to those people who actually have been there on the scene. I have talked to some volunteers who have been there from a variety of groups providing humanitarian aid outside the military. They have seen atrocities. They have seen starvation. They have seen the difficulties in families and the conflict within families. They feel very sick about it but they do have a story to tell. If they were not there many others would lose their lives because of lack of food and medical care. Their presence even though they are in danger is essential in that sense.

I would think that the government through the senior officers or the leaders should bring forward those people, the common soldiers at the ground level and certainly consult with them and get their opinions. First, from what I have heard to this point that would be substantial information and second, it would encourage us in Canada to continue our presence in Bosnia.

Mr. Julian Reed (Halton-Peel): Mr. Speaker, to rise in a maiden speech on an issue as important as this must be something rather providential, to participate in a debate in which the members have been so constructive. Our colleagues in the Liberal Party, my new friends from the Reform Party, and my new friends from the Bloc have all contributed today not only to a tribute to the expertise, the training of our troops in the very special role we play on the world scene but have also offered a series of constructive suggestions which I hope will be duly noted and dealt with.

I was particularly impressed with my friend from the Reform Party this morning who suggested that because of the expertise we have developed in this country in peacekeeping that we might be in a position to provide that training on an international basis.

We have done that before. In the Second World War we had the Commonwealth air training plan. We provided opportunities for people who were close to the scene in combat to get out of the combat zone and properly train for their role in war. I hear


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my friend from the Bloc endorsing that tonight and it is very refreshing. I also say that because as a former member of the Ontario legislature for 10 years I do not think I ever had the privilege of participating in a debate that was this constructive and lacked the interjections which I have become used to over the years.

(2135 )

Being a soldier, a service person, always has been dangerous. Being in combat is highly dangerous. I wonder whether playing this humanitarian role, which is neither peacemaking nor peacekeeping is even more dangerous. It is more dangerous because of the continuing barrage, the continuing intimidation, the continuing challenge to the psyche of our service people over there on a daily basis. It never stops. It goes on and on.

Yet with the training that these people receive and the level of professionalism they take such pride in and we are so proud of, they carry on through it all. Very often it is through the worst of conditions, conditions that you and I, Mr. Speaker, could not possibly imagine.

Reference was made to the boy scouts and the way Canada very often participates in that altruistic mode. Having been a boy scout for 30 years I must say that I am kind of proud that we do that in Canada, in spite of the fact that sometimes we tend to walk where angels fear to tread.

I join this debate in expressing great pride in those service people and recognizing the unique role Canada plays in the world. We are indeed the best at what we do. We should always recognize that very special responsibility.

Canada has continually been an ardent supporter of the United Nations. Indeed Canada pays its dues. We are there when we are called upon. We wish that every member country would accept that same responsibility. Perhaps as time goes on we are going to have to face that question with the United Nations as to whether it becomes what the late Mr. Pearson believed it could become at its very best or leave us hanging with some other member countries rather high and dry because others will not shoulder their share of the responsibility.

Part of our reason for needing to stay as an agent of humanitarian aid in Bosnia is part of our recognition of the importance of the United Nations and our desire to keep it not just alive, but well, thriving and growing.

This debate was precipitated by the news report of the apprehension and detaining of 11 of our service people by what it turns out to be a group of people who might have been less than compos mentis at the time, to be generous. That was the bad news that was reported to this country which really was the trigger that got this debate going.

We should point out in fairness and in perspective that all of the functions that go on in Bosnia are not those kinds of critical situations. It is not news to report that there are hundreds of tonnes of food being shipped every day into these various hot spots. It is not news when nothing happens. It would be like reporting that there were 5,000 safe take-offs and landings in Canada last week. That is never reported but when there is one aircraft accident or a nose wheel collapses, it makes the front page. I would suggest to all of us that we have to put what we read in the newspapers and what we see on television into that proper perspective.

(2140)

I would like to make a personal comment on air strikes. It seems to me that air strikes under these conditions would be a gross admission of failure, of our inability to handle the situation in any other way, the very last resort.

As has been pointed out there are about three million souls in Bosnia who depend on the countries under the United Nations that are delivering humanitarian aid daily. They have no other means of continuing their physical existence, so we have that responsibility.

Finally I would like to make a suggestion to the Minister of National Defence who is here with us tonight listening to this debate. I am not sure whether our soldiers would really appreciate it that much but perhaps we could send them some copies of the Hansard which contains this debate to let them know what we think of them and how proud we are of the work they are doing.

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Looking at the time, we had agreed to go until 10 o'clock. My assessment is that we are progressing very well. Certainly the level of debate is excellent even at this time of the evening. Quite a few other speakers would like to go on the record on this important subject.

I wonder if I could beg the indulgence of the House to sit until midnight on the condition that there be 10-minute speeches and no questions and comments? Could I seek unanimous agreement from the House on that please?

The Deputy Speaker: Could we agree that the pages could go home?

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, there is no objection from the government side and I strongly recommend it.

The Deputy Speaker: Can we start right now or do we need to have further questions?

Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I would recommend because of the number of speakers that if the House agrees, we should start now with 10-minute speeches.

Some hon. members: Agreed.


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Hon. Jean J. Charest (Sherbrooke): Mr. Speaker, I want to also join colleagues who a few minutes ago remarked on the very high level of debate in this place with regard to this motion.

Yes, I have been here for some time and I want to corroborate that and say I am equally very impressed by the quality and the contribution of members on all sides of this House. In fact, it is very impressive to hear some of the new members of this place who are making very thoughtful contributions to an issue that is not an easy one.

I do not want to dwell on the history of all of this. Today, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other members of this place have talked about how important peacekeeping and now what we call peacemaking has been for Canada.

It is truly a hallmark of our country. It is related directly to the contribution of a great Canadian who was our Minister of Foreign Affairs and went on to become a Prime Minister of this country. It is something that to members and citizens of this country is a matter of pride that we all share in that accomplishment and to the fact that this role that Canada has played has enabled our country to take an important place in international affairs.

(2145 )

[Translation]

Mr. Speaker, Canada plays a very important role in several international forums. It is something that defines us as a nation. Canada is a member of the Commonwealth, the Francophonie, the Organization of American States. Our membership in the OAS is quite significant in terms of our participation in efforts to resolve the Haitian conflict. Our involvement in all these forums reflects our view of the world and the role we hope to play in it.

Today's resolution is about Bosnia. I would like to briefly state our party's position on the main issues we are facing at this time, not only because we will have to make a decision regarding our participation as early as March 31, but also within the wider context proposed by the government.

[English]

Generally, there have been three issues raised with regard to our participation in peacekeeping, now peacemaking, efforts not only in Bosnia but around the world. The first one is the risk factor which has become greater than we have previously known it to be.

The second issue is whether or not we are doing our fair share. That has been raised many times today in this House. The third one is whether we can afford to continue to do it.

On the risk question, let me offer a quote by a prominent Canadian, General MacKenzie, who was the first person to go into this theatre for Canada leading our efforts there. He was asked, before a committee, whether Canada should restrict itself to chapter 6 traditional peacekeeping only. His answer was quite elegant. He said: ``You could do that, sir, but as a professional soldier I would be mightily embarrassed if you did''.

The context of that reply is a view that I share. When we started with peacekeeping we experienced great birth pains through that period. We tend to forget them, but it was also a very high risk proposal back then. However, we persisted and Canada led the way. We forged a place for ourselves and we developed a concept that went on to serve the world. I say that because my sense is that today peacemaking is also experiencing its birth pains.

Yes, the risk may be different and greater, but, as General MacKenzie has said, if it is our commitment and our destiny to take this on and to forge that concept, then we must accept the fact that the risk is there and we as a country are willing to meet it.

In fact, when we look at Bosnia it is important to appreciate that we have accomplished a lot. Yes, I join with other members in this place in speaking about the contribution of all the men and women who have been active in that theatre. Some of them have been from my home riding.

Our previous Secretary of State for External Affairs, Barbara McDougall, wrote an article recently for the Globe and Mail on what this contribution has been about. I take from her comments some of the things that we should recognize and some of the successes we have had that have been quite significant. ``The strategic objective of preventing the spillover of hostilities into other regions, such as Kosovo, has so far been achieved''.

Second, ``UN peacekeepers, including Canadians, have helped hold together an uneasy truce between Serbs and Croats in the disputed areas of Croatia''. I do not want to seem to diminish the risk in what is happening there, but we have been fairly successful.

Third and most important, ``lives are being saved in the humanitarian effort''.

Here are three areas of real successes for us in this effort. I think we need to keep a perspective these.

As we move on to this risk that is truly greater, I think we will want to work toward continuing the efforts that others have started.

(2150 )

There are very few countries in the world that can take credit for developing the command, control and supply solutions to inherent problems of operating a multinational mission in the field such as multiple languages, cultural differences and different command structures.


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If there are very few countries in the world Canada is among those few. For that reason I would like to think that we will continue in that area.

In a document, ``Agenda for Peace'', the Secretary General laid out the issues and proposed possible solutions.

[Translation]

The Secretary General's ``Agenda for Peace'' draws a picture and proposes ways to intervene: preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping, the establishment of conditions favourable to a durable peace.

[English]

In the document, ``Agenda for Peace'', put forward by the Secretary General of the United Nations, there was also some discussion about a standby force that the United Nations could put together. In this same document, it is not held as being one of the solutions that they would like to contemplate.

After the experience in Bosnia, I would think that maybe we would want to revise that position. My party believes that, if anything, we would want to think very carefully about our experience there and whether or not the United Nations, as it contemplates its 50th anniversary, would want to revisit this matter and consider it very seriously.

We also know from our experiences that what we will need is a very strong commitment to multilateralism. The experience of other countries in Somalia, for example, seems to indicate that there is some way to go. I am thinking in particular of our American friends who have had some difficulty in making and adapting to this new context of multilateralism-and we know that from our experiences in the gulf war-that is a reflection of what has happened over the last few years with the decline of the superpowers and the change in the structure around the world. That challenge is also very relevant to peacekeeping.

We believe the United Nations should contemplate the reforms that are going to be important in this area. In fact there are about eight reforms. Let me first stress that these reforms happen around the UN as a cardinal instrument in this new world order that we hear so much about.

[Translation]

We must rationalize UN operations and rethink its role in promoting peace and security.

Our party thinks that the United Nations must implement a number of changes. First, create a permanent strategic headquarters to enhance the management, planning and operational capacity of the UN. Second, improve its preventive diplomacy capacity and undertake an independent policy analysis of volatile situations. Third, obtain from the member states formal commitments to put at the disposal of the UN troops ready to intervene if necessary, just like Canada does. Fourth, set up a training program aimed at high-level officers who will be commanding the troops in complex, difficult and dangerous situations. Fifth, introduce a code of conduct and common method of operation for all soldiers serving under the UN flag. Sixth, rationalize UN institutions wherever possible to streamline them and make them more efficient, more concentrated, more responsible and more attuned to needs. Seventh, secure a commitment from member states to pay the full amount owing to the UN on time. And eighth, enforce more stringently the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and impose harsher sanctions on violators.

Mr. Speaker, I see you signalling to me that my 10 minutes are up. Very quickly, in conclusion there was a second point I wanted to comment on, namely whether Canada was paying its share. Very briefly, I would just like to make the following comment.

[English]

On the old issue of fair share, it is worth reflecting just a second in relation to our contribution to NATO where traditionally we have not been the highest contributor. However, if we weigh that against our contribution to peacekeeping, Canadians may find a perspective, as is the case on the world scene with other countries, a pretty fair contribution by Canada to this effort.

On the issue of affording it, we have to be very creative in how we deal with this and be mindful of it. The 10 per cent share may be something we would want to reflect on, but I would certainly encourage the government, the minister and this Parliament to support our efforts there.

I have no simple answers on whether we should continue or not, but our party is inclined to continue our support as long as the international community is also living up to its commitment. We could then set reasonable objectives to be met in regard to what our contribution is, when and how we should be there and when we should be pulling out.

(2155)

[Translation]

Mr. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton-Lawrence): Mr. Speaker, I know that it is very difficult to see members in this corner. There is not much light here.

I would like to congratulate you on your new position. I know that you have served this House and the Canadian people well, both on this side and on the other side. I am sure that under the present circumstances, you will continue doing the work for which you have already shown a great ability. An ability that also includes the value of peacekeeping.


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[English]

Many of my colleagues today, including the latest one who spoke about the value of peacekeeping, have begun to reflect on just what we should be doing in this instance and as well with respect to peacekeeping.

I was impressed, as I am sure are many of my constituents and constituents throughout Canada, by the recitation of the reasons why we find ourselves today in Bosnia-Hercegovina. One of those reasons of course is that we have established a tradition in this country that accepts a responsibility to contribute to world order, to the establishment of a civilized fashion of government, of the maintenance of peace and the propagation of the concept of law as that which should govern all countries.

One of the colleagues from the Bloc went so far as to say-I do not quote but paraphrase because I was taken by some of the phrases-

[Translation]

Canadians are proud of that work because, in playing that role, Canada has been working towards freedom, towards the achievement of democracy and towards the extending of human rights.

[English]

These are no mean ambitions, no mean objectives and no mean goals for the purposes of our troops both in Bosnia-Hercegovina and elsewhere. In fact those types of goals have made us, in many respects, a leader in establishing not only a philosophy but a mechanism and a role for our armed forces for the world throughout to follow.

For us it has been a pragmatic approach to the limited type of military resources we could bring to any theatre world-wide. It is fair to say that we are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a threat militarily to any country in the world given the number of troops we currently have in our defence structure. However, we have used them intelligently. We have used them for the maintenance of peace. We have used them to teach others how to establish order and how to establish and maintain an approach to conflict resolution that could lead to eventual long-term peace.

Many of my colleagues in this House today and Canadians everywhere seem to be ambivalent simply because none of those ideals, none of those values appear to be as clear as they have been in the past.

My hon. colleague from Sherbrooke talked a few moments ago about all of the valued initiatives of the last decade or so. But they are no longer very clear in the public's mind. Why not? Many of us have witnessed on a daily basis the kinds of repugnant pictures that would suggest we are no longer as successful as we have been in the past. Perhaps that is what hurts us most.

(2200 )

One of our colleagues earlier indicated that we are revolted by the barbarities, the atrocities, the outright horror, the destruction of all belligerents. No one mentioned the aggressor because one of the weaknesses in discussing peacekeeping in the context of what used to be called Yugoslavia is that there are many belligerents but we have named no aggressor. Consequently when we make comparisons between the set of circumstances in which we have engaged our military forces and those which were engaged in the Gulf war, there is that basic difference, that we have named no aggressor and therefore we have let others dictate our actions on the basis of that vacuum.

Almost on a daily basis we have been reminded that all of our good intentions, all of our resources, the risks that we ask our young men and women to take in a theatre of war or conflict, are producing no results. We are so stunned by that that some members represent the public view that perhaps this is not cost efficient.

My colleague from Hamilton-Wentworth asked a very pertinent question and that is how to measure the cost efficiency of a moral value, of a value that has international application and a value which has a long-term benefit for social order.

Others have indicated that we are absorbing, as we have been in all of our engagements, virtually all of the material costs. Others, our allies, our friends in the UN and NATO have not been so conscientious in following that model.

We seem to be at a loss at what to do because our troops, like some members here-and I do not mean to make light-are cornered, out manoeuvred, by belligerents who have no regard for their goals and their altruistic reason for being in such a locus. Worse, we seem to be manipulated by our own allies who are engaged in an evolution of military tactics just as we are witnessing an evolution of peacemaking and peacekeeping.

While it might appear that I have made a Freudian slip when I say there is an evolution of peacekeeping and peacemaking, in the last House we went into the discussion of peacekeeping in the Gulf war to peacemaking. Our obligations had shifted. The moment we make a definition that is different from the one that had guided until that day virtually all of our interventions in the world theatre, we assumed an entirely different set of obligations, both material, personnel and in outcome.

We have not made a definitive explanation yet of what we mean by peacemaking. If I listen to my constituents, I understand that it is what most of us as Canadians would want most desperately for the people of the Balkans today, that someone would impose peace, would make peace, and then we would voluntarily go in and keep it.


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We are not a part of that evolution, not at the decision table. Our Minister of Foreign Affairs gave a very detailed explanation of what is going on, blow by blow, chronologically, at the political table, with respect how our allies are dealing with the circumstances in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Should we then be considering just simply this question of peacekeeping, or should we be addressing peacekeeping per se?

I know you want to give me just another moment to close off, Mr. Speaker. That is the unfortunate part of having only 10 minutes to speak. I will use the next 55 seconds to close off.

(2205 )

What we should do as a House is draw our attention to some of the good initiatives that have been proposed by both sides of this House. For example, I am pleased to have presented a proposal in 1989 to convert one of our military bases into an international peacekeeping training centre. For my colleagues on the Reform side this would have generated some $80 million a year and provided nations throughout the world with an opportunity to avail themselves of the expertise, both military and paramilitary, for application in peacetime and in conflict resolution throughout the world.

That idea did not receive all the attention it deserved but Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis is still being considered. Mr. Speaker, I know that you will allow me to encourage my colleagues on the government side to reconsider and to focus on a re-evaluation of where we should be. We should be where our obligations have taken us. Let us discharge those and then focus again on how to best to utilize the materiel and expertise we have built up.

[Translation]

Mrs. Eleni Bakopanos (Saint-Denis): Mr. Speaker, this being my first speech in the House, I would like to start by congratulating you on your appointment to the chair. I would also like to thank my constituents of Saint-Denis for giving me their support. I am very proud as a Canadian and Quebecer of Greek origin-the first woman of Greek origin to be elected to this House-to be representing them here, today.

[English]

The riding of Saint-Denis is in many ways a microcosm of what Canada is today. With cultural communities representing every corner of the globe, the issue of peacemaking or peacekeeping is of great concern to my constituents and the reason that I rise before you today.

[Translation]

I am convinced that the Canadian peacekeepers presently in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, and especially in Bosnia, should not be withdrawn.

[English]

Canada has a very important role to play in resolving this conflict. To pull out now would be abandoning our responsibility to the international community and moreover abandoning our ideals as a nation which pioneered the concept of peacekeeping. We have come a long way from the failure of the League of Nations in preventing global conflict to the far more successful formula for peacekeeping established in the United Nations. Crises will exist but we must never give up searching for solutions to prevent conflict.

With its long and distinguished tradition of peacekeeping, Canada has a moral responsibility to help bring about a solution by easing the level of tension and mistrust that has plagued the former Yugoslavia. No enemies are irreconcilable if they can learn to know and respect each other.

[Translation]

It is a well known fact that the United Nations peacekeeping operations are in serious trouble in some places, the former Yugoslavia and Somalia in particular. However, we can say that, on the whole, peacekeeping operations have had a positive effect. For example, while Mogadishu remains tense and unstable, the rest of Somalia is demonstrating a tremendous recovery capacity. Is it not marvellous to realize that, thanks to the United Nations peacekeeping operation, Somalis are no longer dying of starvation? And what about the remarkable success in Cambodia? That country went through a long and traumatic period, but can now look forward to a better future.

[English]

As I mentioned, there are several difficulties that UN peacekeepers and especially our own troops are encountering in the former Yugoslavia. Perseverance, not withdrawal will lead to a positive outcome, the outcome that we have been working toward for nearly two years.

[Translation]

Our peacekeepers are now playing an essential role, preventing bloodbaths. There would no doubt have been many more civilian casualties had it not been for them. To pull them out at this time would trigger an escalation of violence.

(2210)

Besides, in assessing the value of our peacekeeping action, we will have to be careful not to trigger hostilities which would only get our troops bogged down in that conflict.

[English]

The action in December of the four European union states which established diplomatic relations with the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia have increased the possibility of yet another outbreak of violence in the Balkans. It is the same premature recognition of Bosnia-Hercegovina that contributed


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to its political disintegration and to the armed conflict that continues to this day.

Let us be cautious in extending diplomatic relations so quickly lest we find ourselves once again in the same difficult position. We must avoid having to stretch our forces any further in the former Yugoslavia.

The European union continues to lack a coherent and unified approach to solving the conflict in the Balkans. Canada must rise above this and it will not be done by pulling out our troops at this very crucial time.

[Translation]

Canada is renewing its support for the UN and the CSCE. Our country is committed to strengthening the North Atlantic Alliance, which plays such an important part in peacekeeping operations.

[English]

NATO was created in order to counter the very real threats which the Soviet Union under Stalin was making against western Europe. Since those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them, let us not abandon too quickly this excellent instrument which has served us so well over more than four decades. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO must assume a new role in the international forum and Canada has an integral part in helping to define what that role is.

[Translation]

NATO's primary role must remain deterrence; not aggression, but deterrence. NATO is also indispensable in terms of providing logistic support for peacekeeping and humanitarian actions.

[English]

Last but not least, NATO is the only existing institution which is capable of receiving most east European states with proper status and a tested framework for regional collective security.

[Translation]

The real issue as far as NATO is concerned is not to decide whether or not it is not relevant any more, a thing of the past, but rather what shape to give it now. That is what we must examine in the general context of peacekeeping operations.

[English]

Several important lessons can be learned from the recent past and applied to our peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia. First, distinguish where one can be useful and where one cannot. It is sometimes better to limit one's intervention to the strict minimum humanitarian intervention when one knows that the adversaries are not amenable to any form of wisdom. In the case of Bosnia it is our duty to protect and help the innocent victims and minimize the bloodshed as much as possible.

Second, we must be patient. Some conflicts cannot be solved in weeks or even years. They take decades of patient effort to bring the opponents closer and for them to learn to respect each other.

Third, minimize effectiveness under a clear leadership and with precise objectives in mind. Compare the effectiveness of the coalition forces in the Gulf war with the irresolution and inefficiencies of the situation in Bosnia.

Fourth, play by the rules of collective security. National pride or prejudice cannot be allowed to have priority over the necessities of an efficient security system. The French, Germans and British are now bitterly regretting their haste and their differences and their botched attempts to keep peace in the former Yugoslavia.

[Translation]

Fifth, better safe than sorry. The proliferation of nuclear technologies and know-how must be a constant reminder of the troubling fact that someday prevention may be the only thing keeping us from a nuclear apocalypse happening in our own backyard.

[English]

The world today is a very different place from five years ago. Who would have believed in January 1989 that the Berlin wall would come tumbling down and soon after that the Soviet empire. Likewise that Israel would be talking peace with the PLO or that there would be multiracial elections in South Africa.

(2215 )

As the Governor General said in the throne speech last week our hopes for global peace have been raised and, in many places, shattered. In some countries today democracy is under stress, its future uncertain.

I was born in Greece, the cradle of democracy. My parents emigrated to Canada because of its reputation as a country where democracy is very highly respected. It is in this tradition that Canadians today continue their unwavering commitment to peacekeeping.

It is up to Canada to play a responsible role in seeing the resolution of this conflict. Pulling out our Canadian troops will not solve this conflict, but greater concessions among the international community and organizations like the UN and NATO will.

[Translation]

We will have to keep doing our share to ensure that, once the conflicts have been resolved, our peacekeepers can get their due share of the credit for restoring peace in this troubled area.


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[English]

Mr. Simon de Jong (Regina-Qu'Appelle): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity of joining the debate on this very important question. I appreciate the opportunity of being involved in this debate because my involvement as a person with both Croatia and Bosnia stretches back a few years now.

As I mentioned earlier in the House I helped to initiate the organization of a group of members of Parliament. We acted as observers in the first free election in Croatia. As well I helped do the same thing when the elections in Bosnia-Hercegovina occurred.

I remember spending election night with the Muslim party and celebrating with them their victory and the success of the first free election. At that time I had the hope that in Bosnia we would find a bridge between the middle eastern and western or European cultures. I was quite impressed by the people. I had met the Muslim people in Bosnia and I had high hopes that such a bridge would be built between the two different cultures and religions.

I experienced hope as well in Croatia as they started up their new government and in many ways I helped them. They wanted to know how to organize a public service commission, set up a department and what the environmental regulations were. It was the basic things in starting a government from scratch. There was the excitement as well of re-establishing their nation and their nationhood.

It was a period of a lot of hope and optimism. I made some basic understandings that even though one had many years of a totalitarian government that tried to suppress both religion and nationalism, I understood that one cannot suppress it. I am an internationalist, but one cannot suppress nationalism.

The only way to do it is as we have seen in western Europe and on the North American continent. It is the evolution of different nations coming together and beginning to realize that they have more in common with each other and a whole new attitude and a whole new approach starts to develop.

However, what I saw in both Bosnia and Croatia is that all the suppression did was to drive it underground and the moment the suppression was released it came back up to the surface right from where it left off. In the evolution of cultures, peoples and religions you cannot suppress. Suppression does not work.

I was concerned at that time that with the fall of the Berlin wall and the removal of the suppression that all sorts of groups of people who had been suppressed were going to demand their nationhood. I suggested at that time in a letter to the external affairs minister in a speech I made in the House that three principles should be observed.

First, it is the right to self-determination. The people in Croatia through a democratic process decided to become independent. They had that right.

(2220 )

Second, there is the principle that boundaries should exist the way they are and that that armed force would not be tolerated by the international community to change boundaries. The only way boundaries could change is through negotiation and in some instances perhaps through arbitration but only through a process such as this should boundaries change.

Third, there is the principle of the right of minority groups. Minority groups and people of different ethnic groups have been shifted around in the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union.

How can one deal with this? One has to respect minority groups not just by putting it in high flowing terms in the Constitution but in having the mechanism as we have here with the human rights commission. We need some tribunal that could hear complaints, lay charges and levy fines and penalties if need be. It would be able to enforce the rights of minorities in order to ensure whether they are the minority Serbs in Croatia, the minority Muslims in Serbia or whatever that their rights would be respected and they would be respected as human beings. Unfortunately this did not happen and the whole former Yugoslavia has descended into hell.

I remember being back there in January 1992 and standing in a little village called Vocin. They had a 16th century church that was totally blown up. As I entered the village I thought it had hailed all these little pebbles all over the place. Then it was explained to me that several thousand tonnes of explosives had been used to totally destroy this church. It was explained to me that there were some 45 elderly people whose average age was 65 had been murdered in that village. They happened to be Croats. One or two were older Serbians who must have tried to protect the older Croatians.

I stood at a spot and the manacles were still there where an old man had been shot in the back of the head. His hands had been manacled. His body had been sawn in half and they had tried to burn his feet. His feet had just been stubbles.

There was madness, insanity and craziness. It is as though the hounds of hell had been let loose. It is as though we had serial killers on the loose enjoying the killing in their torture.

That madness now goes on and on. One hears stories of fundamentalist Islamics fighting-the Mujahedin-for the Bosnian cause. One hears stories where some of the worst of the secret police of Albania, Russia and the former East Germany are fighting on the Serb side.

Last week I had the opportunity of having lunch with quite a high official of the Croatian government. She was informing me


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of a case of where a young Croat had come in and had seen the head of his best friend impaled on a post. He went out and committed all sorts of atrocities to this Muslim village.

The madness goes on and on. The way she described it was that it was the devil's banquet. What can we do? Why should our young Canadian men and women be out there at risk? There is no economic or strategic importance to us but there is a human moral interest to us.

At the end of the last war the world said that we would never again tolerate this type of holocaust. This type of holocaust is occurring today.

What I would propose is that the Canadian Armed Forces along with that of the UN and forces from other countries would militarily enforce a safe haven so that every man, woman and child in the affected areas who want to escape from the madness can go to the safe havens. We also propose to both the Croatians and the Serbians-

The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry but there are so many people who want to speak and the time is up.

Mr. de Jong: Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent of the House for one minute to finish my remarks.

The Deputy Speaker: Is that agreed?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Mr. de Jong: Mr. Speaker, consider the role of the Canadian forces in Croatia where one-third of Croatia is still occupied by Serbian forces. We must surely keep our forces there. To take our forces out of Croatia and Bosnia would invite a much greater holocaust. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

(2225 )

Even though the situation in Croatia has not been resolved, at least the fighting and the massacre has stopped. The Croats and the Serbs are talking. They have made an agreement. They are going to open up embassies in each other's country and eventually through negotiation that dispute can be settled without the slaughter of men, women and children.

Canadian men and women have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Surely now is not the time to stop in our worthwhile effort.

Ms. Bonnie Brown (Oakville-Milton): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House tonight and to have you in the chair. In spite of late hours we have certain colleagues still here with us.

May I say that I believe it is truly appropriate that the first special debate of this Parliament is on peacekeeping. I think it appropriate for several reasons.

First, this Parliament with 200 new members represents Canadians' desire for new direction at the same time that they desire Parliament to get back to basics. Surely the search for peace and justice is the basic role for government. Peace is a challenging goal. Great thinkers of the past have pondered its elusive nature. Is it the inability of individuals to resolve their differences without violence that spills over from the home to the streets to civil war and to international conflicts, or is the large conflicts between nations which leave in their wake a pattern of violence that works its way from the battlefront to the cities and the neighbourhoods and indeed into family homes?

Second, the topic is appropriate because our Fathers of Confederation recognized this issue when they listed peace first, followed by order and good government, as their three main goals for this country.

Third, the appalling situation which goes on in Bosnia-Hercegovina causes anguish for all Canadians who watch the human suffering on their television screens each night.

Therefore I wish to thank the Prime Minister for announcing reviews of foreign policy and defence and the Minister of National Defence for giving us the opportunity to put forward our opinions.

I have no personal connection with the military and no personal connection with the area under debate but I do know that currently Canadians are interested in the expenditures of their government and are even questioning the long term value of military expenditures. They no longer believe the Russians are coming and if they consider the concept of being defended they wish to be defended against threats to their security in terms of job loss, poverty, hunger, illness and the escalation of violence in their society.

They understand that the military and its acquisition of ever more sophisticated equipment eats up precious resources that could be used for building the country. For example it has been said that health care workers and community volunteers working to raise money for local hospitals wonder why they are having bake sales while governments contemplate huge military expenditures.

At the same time, Canadians recognize that the military represents jobs to some workers, careers to some scientists, profits to some business persons and local support to some politicians.

In spite of the current question about the cost of our defence establishment, I do believe that most Canadians are truly proud of the peacekeeping function and the reputation we have for responding to trouble spots around the world. Very few realize that the cost of peacekeeping amounts to only about 2 per cent of that military budget they are concerned about.

Canadians know that the end of the cold war and the emergence of tribalism have changed the nature of conflicts that have erupted since.


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The realities that UN peacekeepers face today are different. Does that mean we should abandon our traditional honourable role? I think not. Rather I see a need to redefine and work through the most effective way to aid the innocent victims of violence.

(2230)

We do not have to reinvent the wheel. Work has been ongoing by subcommittees of the House in the last Parliament and indeed by the Canadian Senate which published a report last year called: ``Canada's response to a new generation of peacekeeping''. I believe this work can serve as a common sense guide to future decisions.

It is tempting to say: ``It is hopeless. Let's pull out'' or, on the other hand, to respond to the violence we see and say: ``Let's get tough. Let's increase our intervention through more troops and perhaps air strikes''. These are tempting suggestions.

If we are truly peacekeepers we will recognize that violence begets more violence. If we are truly a peacekeeping nation we will follow the moderate course set out by the Senate with its step-by-step recommendations that indeed respond to most of the concerns raised in the Chamber today.

Let us not back away from our tradition of moderation. It has served us well. Let us not be forced to an extreme position by a deadline. That happened much too often in the last Parliament in my view. Let us be the leaders in this field of international decision making.

All members of the United Nations are fumbling in their attempts to respond to these ethnic wars. We can best serve our brothers and sisters in this global village by having a well thought out foreign policy which then guides our military activity.

We are a new Parliament. Let us take the time required to develop a cohesive plan. Let us not abandon the vulnerable in Bosnia and let us not abandon our tradition of moderation in international relations.

[Translation]

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup): Mr. Speaker, I enter this debate as the member for a riding and a region represented by people named Côté, D'Amour, Babin, Dumas, Gagnon, Grand'maison, Laliberté, Landry, Morel, Pelletier and Paré in the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

Soldiers from the riding of Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup and Rimouski-Témiscouata are in Bosnia on a voluntary basis, with the Fusiliers du Saint-Laurent, of the Rivière-du-Loup and Rimouski garrison.

The questions people ask themselves, especially the relatives and friends of the soldiers who represent Canada in this very complex international operation are: is the safety of our troops ensured? Is their role well-defined? When will they come back? In short, is it worth it?

The question regarding the safety of our troops is an obvious one, especially since the operation in the former Yugoslavia is totally different from the previous ones in which the Canadian Armed Forces were involved.

Indeed, maintaining peace like we did in Cyprus and like we are now doing in Croatia is very different from escorting humanitarian aid convoys and protecting Muslim areas, as is the case in Bosnia. Those are totally different operations.

Moreover, the voluntary participation of militia members raises the issue of the role of the regular force and the militia in the context of international operations.

In that regard, the government should take a close look at the recommendations made in 1993 by the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(2235)

This committee recommended providing our military with the kind of training that would prepare them for their role in international missions, by creating reserve units for logistics, transport and communications, that would be used for peacekeeping operations rather than strictly war-time operations.

The issue of the security of our troops cannot be dissociated from the transparency and relevance of the mission with which they are entrusted. I believe that we have here the reason for the uncertainty among Quebecers and Canadians about the effectiveness of our operations in Bosnia. Canadian diplomacy which, in the past, has been instrumental in developing the image of Canada as a peacekeeper in the international community, would do well to learn from the past and return to a genuine defence of the cause of peace.

I believe the mission in Bosnia should continue until negotiations are able to reach a settlement. However, it is important for our operations to contribute directly to resolving the crisis and above all to avoid perpetuating the current imbroglio.

I wish to point out that the people in my riding support the Canadian government's involvement in international missions if there is evidence such operations are necessary, our troops are adequately prepared and our diplomatic efforts are effective, because the diplomatic front is also very important.

The people in my riding, and especially the families of the soldiers involved, hope there will be no more of the uncertainty that arose as a result of the Prime Minister's comments that it might be appropriate to withdraw Canadian troops, comments he made in public on his last trip to Europe. Any statements on the subject should not be the kind of improvised remarks that raise doubts about the relevance of operations and their duration.


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In the broader perspective of the current debate on our policy on peacekeeping operations, I would favour setting up a multinational force, with Canada contributing more specifically to the mission logistics, an area in which we have developed expertise and which would give us a defensive rather than an offensive mandate.

I believe it would also be appropriate to table regularly a clear and detailed report on our participation in international missions.

Finally, by giving our troops better instruction in the history, culture and traditions of the countries where they will be sent on peacekeeping operations, we can avoid situations of the kind we experienced in Somalia and also in the former Yugoslavia, where not knowing the customs of the country is a major source of friction and undermines the effectiveness of the operations of our troops.

I want to thank you for your attention, and I would like to take this opportunity to commend those members of my riding who have volunteered to help resolve a crisis situation that requires patience, tact, a profound sense of history and, we might as well admit it, a little luck.

[English]

Mr. Harold Culbert (Carleton-Charlotte): Mr. Speaker, I extend my very best wishes as you confront the many challenges ahead in this 35th Parliament of Canada. I offer my personal congratulations on your election and appointment as Deputy Speaker.

(2240 )

I also extend my warmest appreciation to the many helpful members and staff of the House who provided assistance to me and my staff as we prepared to represent the constituents of my riding of Carleton-Charlotte. I am very proud to stand here today as their elected representative. I am humbled to have been honoured with their trust. It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to working together with my colleagues in the House of Commons as we attempt to build a better tomorrow for all Canadians.

On behalf of the constituents of Carleton-Charlotte I wish to recognize the many Canadian veterans for their distinguished service. There are many veterans and active duty servicemen and women from the Carleton-Charlotte riding who have served our nation with pride. These men and women have been instrumental in establishing our leadership role in United Nations peacekeeping efforts. It would be negligent and irresponsible for us to turn our backs quickly on these achievements and the fact that our servicemen and women continue to work to maintain this leadership role made possible by our distinguished veterans.

After careful consideration of the many occasions where Canadian servicemen and women have fulfilled their peacekeeping obligations, I encourage my colleagues to recognize the many international successes they have achieved. They have successfully promoted international democracy while being recognized around the world as partners in peace.

Canada is a peaceful nation which commonly provides humanitarian aid. Let us not lose sight of this priority. We may have to review our role with the United Nations. We may have to review concerns with our Canadian defence and foreign policies, but I hope we will continue to respond to the needs of troubled nations for many years to come.

I respectfully request that my hon. colleagues give due priority to the most important concern of the day, and that is the safety and security of Canadian peacekeepers. When we are confronted with a threat to their security we must immediately protect Canadian servicemen and women and we must assure their families of their safe return.

This is certainly not the first time, and I sincerely doubt it will be the last time, there has been a threat to the security of Canadian peacekeepers abroad. Although I would like to encourage the House to give due consideration to the defence and peacekeeping policies, I believe we must first protect those who made sacrifices for us all.

Recent events in the former Yugoslavia have clearly demonstrated the importance of ensuring the protection and security of Canadian peacekeepers when considering future commitments. As many nations forge ahead in search of peace and democracy economic repression often causes hardships which require humanitarian aid. We must address these needs of our global neighbours with a sense of steward-like responsibility.

As a partner in the effort to bring peace and democracy to the citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina we must give consideration to this tragedy by continuing to provide humanitarian aid to those in need, not by professing to be an expert on this international crisis but by assuming a responsibility for our servicemen and women and for our role on the international stage as partners in peace.

(2245)

While protecting Canadian interests we must also consider the interests of the citizens of the former Yugoslavia who are without security, electricity, food and water. If there remains a possibility of being a partner in this effort under more secure conditions, then we must continue on.

We have the good fortune of being protected by the Canadian Armed Forces, one of the most respected and well-known peacekeeping forces in the world. We should recognize this good fortune by giving proper consideration to the advice of our military leaders. Perhaps it is time we stood behind those who stand behind us. We should work with our military leaders to facilitate the protection of the Canadian peacekeepers so that


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they maintain our international responsibility and may complete their duties as assigned to them by the United Nations.

The United Nations is an organization which contributes greatly to the development of the global community. We must continue to be a full partner within the organization and continue to maintain a positive relationship with our international neighbours.

We must also continue to fulfil our leadership role in promoting the importance of the United Nations to the global community. We must encourage the United Nations to fulfil its responsibility to the international community and continue to promote peace and democracy while delivering aid to those in need.

We can be proud of our historic relationship with our United Nations partners. If we intend to maintain our leadership role with the United Nations we must continue to uphold our peacekeeping and humanitarian responsibilities. We cannot expect the United Nations to do its part unless we are prepared to do ours.

Mr. John Richardson (Perth-Wellington-Waterloo): Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you in your appointment to such a prestigious position. At your convenience would you please pass on my congratulations to the Speaker on his election to his position.

It is a pleasure for me to speak to the debate on our participation in the Bosnia-Croatia situation and pay tribute to our fine soldiers who are serving in the UN and the role they play.

Since 1949 our Canadian soldiers have acquitted themselves well at each and every opportunity where they have been asked to serve their country through the United Nations. It is my pleasure to hear so many members speak so highly of the quality of the Canadian soldiers who serve with valour and honour.

Tonight we discuss and give legitimacy to our soldiers being in Bosnia-Hercegovina as part of the UN operations. Canadians did not have the opportunity to debate their soldiers being sent abroad potentially into harms way. For that I am pleased tonight to see that some legitimacy is now being given to them through the Government of Canada in this open debate.

Two or three things have been brought forward in the debate. Most Canadians have taken great pride vicariously in the activities of our UN operations since their inception. The Canadians have been received warmly and fairly because of their even-handed approach to their duties in the UN.

I have some concerns about Canadians serving in the UN and each operation and each after action report highlights the shortcomings of the United Nations.

(2250 )

The Security Council is quick to identify the need and requests volunteers. The operator is the Secretary-General for all operations of this type. When on UN operations or when decisions have to be made backtracking through the network to get to the Secretary-General is often necessary. It is often arduous and tedious to get a decision on what should take place, whether it is in the Golan Heights, the Sinai, in Katanga or whether it is now in Yugoslavia. We have seen two generals resign over the very same thing: the command and control of the operation.

I would like to take a moment this evening to recommend that our government look to this as a future opportunity for our defence forces, whether they are sailors, soldiers or airmen that they will know they are going in on an operation that has a task force established at UN headquarters to plan the operation and the logistics on a permanent basis. That type of planning would put our soldiers at risk but would ensure that there is a chain of command, a logistic channel and that it is in place before the operation takes place. The present system of an ad hoc chain of command and logistic organization is not good enough.

We have heard time and time again in the debate today whether we should be involved in the UN operations. We can participate fairly if the United Nations at the insistence of Canada establishes a permanent planning or task force headquarters as part of the Secretary-General's office.

Presently we have Major General Maurice Baril as an advisor. That is certainly not enough liaison. Other countries have advisors. However, if we are going to be there, there must be a method of setting up standard operating procedures, methods of logistic support and command and control. I think our soldiers would feel much more comfortable. Canadians would feel much more comfortable that we were sending our troops into an organization that is established to handle them in an operational theatre and could give direct and quick response to a situation in that theatre.

We know the UN lacks the human and technical resources at the moment. I hope our government will see fit in its future planning to recommend the establishment of such a task force and an operational headquarters to oversee such tasks as we have undertaken in Bosnia, certainly the humanitarian effort and the peacekeeping operation in Croatia.

This task force would have a permanent operational staff to establish some form of standing operational procedures, both in the area of communications and operating techniques or tactics.


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Such an international agency designed by the UN and under the control of the UN would go far to improve the facilitation and execution of the task of our soldiers and our country in undertaking the assignment by the UN.

I will sum up by stating how proud I am of our Canadian troops. I am pleased to see how well they participated in the Gulf War, our sailors, soldiers and airmen.

In the future I can see that as a major task for the Canadian forces as we extricate ourselves from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and possibly NORAD and focus our resources on UN operations.

(2255)

[Translation]

Mr. David Berger (Saint-Henri-Westmount): Mr. Speaker, before getting into the subject of the debate, I would like, in this first speech in this Parliament, to thank the voters of Saint-Henri-Westmount for their confidence.

[English]

With the enormous challenges facing Canada and the world, I am very privileged once again to represent Saint-Henri-Westmount in this House of Commons.

[Translation]

The question we ask ourselves today is whether Canadian soldiers should remain in Bosnia. Ultimately, this decision must be made by the government, after consulting our allies.

To begin, I would like to mention that many reservists from several regiments in my riding have served in Bosnia and many are still there. These soldiers belong to the Royal Montreal Regiment and the Maisonneuve Regiment, among others. I wish to point out their courage and their desire to serve the cause of peace and I hope that they return safe and sound from their mission.

Earlier today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told us about some of the factors that the government will consider in making its decision.

I believe that in the final analysis, there are good reasons for continuing our humanitarian mission. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross have both confirmed that aid is arriving in spite of the difficulties. People who would have died without protection and international aid are still alive today.

The international effort has also successfully prevented the conflict from spilling over into the neighbouring republics of Macedonia and Kosovo. Canada also has a long-term commitment to peacekeeping and international institutions like the United Nations.

We contributed, we tried to contribute to European security when we took part in two world wars, in NATO and in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Since Canada's decision will probably influence other countries, we must ask ourselves if the international community has a role to play in Bosnia. I believe so, Mr. Speaker, for the reasons I just mentioned.

Future peacekeeping missions will probably experience problems similar to those in Bosnia. Since Canadians have played a leading role in developing peacekeeping, we surely have a role in finding solutions for these problems.

[English]

The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that one of the questions we must address is whether the danger to our troops outweighs the benefits of the mission. Like all Canadians and all members of this House, I would not want our troops to be exposed to needless risks and certainly they need to be able to defend themselves.

There is uncertainty about the rules of engagement and command and control. But I would like to suggest that these are questions that should be debated in perhaps a more expert forum than on the floor of the House, in committee. The ultimate decision as to when the risks or the dangers outweigh the benefits must be left to the government and the military.

Another important question we must address is whether there is a reasonable prospect for progress in the peace process as the minister mentioned. As I have said, one of the reasons for remaining in Bosnia is our desire to contribute to European security. I think Canadians would insist that there be a clear link between our role as peacekeepers and a place at the table. In fact Canada has had problems in getting the Europeans to the table. I understand it has been difficult even getting information about what is discussed at Geneva, let alone getting some input.

(2300 )

The House of Commons and the government should insist that our military role be accompanied by a diplomatic one. The international community has made serious mistakes in dealing with the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. One such mistake was the recognition of Croatia without considering the position of its Serbian minority which made up anywhere from 12 to 20 per cent of the population. While a ceasefire has been established in Croatia the threat of renewed war looms large.

Bosnia also was an ethnically heterogeneous republic. Although some Bosnians lived in ethnically distinct areas, most did not. History and intermarriage had created an ethnic jigsaw puzzle. The Europeans, followed by the international community at large, also recognized Bosnian independence without considering the objections of its Serbian minority. Similarly, various attempts to broker peace between the parties have


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revealed serious shortcomings. The Vance-Owen plan was criticized for rewarding Serbian aggression.

The Washington agreement of May of last year which provided for so-called safe areas or enclaves was widely criticized in the western press for accepting ethnic cleansing and herding Muslims into small areas in which living conditions are horrible. The Owen-Stoltenberg plan to divide Bosnia into three ethnically pure states has also been widely criticized.

I spoke yesterday with the former Yugoslav ambassador to Canada, Goran Kapetanovic. He is a Bosnian Muslim and today a refugee in Canada, a fellow with the Canadian Centre for Global Security here in Ottawa. He believes that international forces will not accomplish much in the absence of a viable plan or framework for peace. He believes the major drawbacks to solutions being negotiated at Geneva are that they accept the idea of ethnic purity and are partial solutions which do not address the problem that I referred to earlier of Croatia. All of the former Yugoslavia has to be dealt with in a settlement.

The former ambassador asks how at the beginning of the 21st century the international community can accept introducing apartheid to Europe. What precedents would we be setting for future conflicts and for existing conflicts in eastern Europe? He believes that as a prerequisite to peace the UN Security Council must decide the pre-conditions of a viable peace. By way of example he suggests the following principles: that nothing can be achieved by violence; that refugees should be able to return to their homes; that people should be able to move freely and meet their family on one side or the other of borders, in essence that minority rights should be secured.

These are principles which are upheld or which are spoken about pretty well every day of the week in the United Nations. It seems to make good sense to me that they form the basis of any peace proposal.

I remarked earlier that Canadians see a clear link between their role as peacekeepers and a place at the diplomatic table. I urge the government to take up the challenge of assuming a greater role in seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict. As a successful multicultural country with a constitution that contains elaborate guarantees for minority rights, we Canadians have much to contribute.

The government is launching a foreign policy review. In the context of that review I believe that the government should convene a meeting bringing together the best minds in the country to develop proposals to end the conflict.

The world community needs leadership. Indeed it is crying for leadership. Let Canada provide that leadership.

(2305 )

Mr. John English (Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I represent the constituency of Kitchener, an urban southwestern Ontario riding that possesses, like Canada itself, a diversity of industry and people.

Like so many constituencies in this country it has been profoundly affected by events in Bosnia, the former Yugoslavia, today and was affected also in the past. In the summer of 1914 a shot was fired in Sarajevo and World War I began. Two years later in 1916 Berlin, Ontario, which was called Canada's German capital became Kitchener and Kitchener changed profoundly after that date. After 1945 Kitchener riding received thousands of immigrants and refugees from what was Yugoslavia.

I take these examples to illustrate that nearly all Canadians were affected by those two terrible wars and those two terrible wars were concentrated in the area where we are looking at such carnage today.

I think everyone in Canada took the same lesson from World War I or World War II and that was the notion that Canada's foreign and defence policy should have as its fundamental principle the notion that its national interest was best served by the construction of an international order based on law and strong multilateral institutions.

From that commitment came Canada's major contribution to the world after 1945. This period which is known as Canada's golden age of diplomacy was marked by a strong Canadian commitment to the United Nations, and a belief that the cold war had created a special middle power role for Canada. Of course the best example of this was the role of Lester Pearson in the Suez crisis of 1956.

It is often said that Pearson invented peacekeeping in 1956 but I think it is more properly said that he codified the procedures of peacemaking. The concept was simple and has been extraordinarily useful not simply for Canada and the United Nations but for the interests of world security.

It was held by Pearson at that point that the UN should use the armed forces of nations that were not major powers and those nations should supervise peace settlements. Furthermore such supervision should be carried out with the consent of and through continuous negotiations with the parties in the dispute. This was a central character of peacemaking as it was defined in 1956-1957.

In fact Pearson was disappointed with the outcome of the negotiations in 1956 because there were limits on what Israel


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and Egypt would accept. He had wanted more carefully defined terms and conditions but he was unable to convince others, including the Secretary General at the time, that these arguments had validity.

Ten years later, however, in 1967 we saw the validity of his arguments when the United Nations emergency force was forced to withdraw when the agreement made among Egypt, Israel and the United Nations did not hold.

Canadians at the time who would express great pride in our peacemaking participation and tradition were bitterly disappointed and many then began to speak about Canada no longer being the helpful fixer, no longer going out and serving in peacekeeping missions.

After the early successes, as in the Middle East, there had been a series of failures. It was not simply the United Nations emergency force in 1967 but also failures in Congo and to some extent a failure in Cyprus. We hear such sentiments today in similar circumstances and we need to remind ourselves that we faced such challenges to our peacekeeping commitment before.

In the Saturday edition of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record Pam Goebel, a Kitchener native and a reserve army captain who had recently returned from Bosnia, described our work in these terms: ``It is a waste of soldiers' lives, a waste of taxpayers' money. Basically the soldiers feel they are keeping someone alive today so they can be killed tomorrow''.

Captain Goebel's reaction is understandable and seems to be shared by many other Canadians. Bosnia has been an enormous tragedy not only for its own people but also for the United Nations, for NATO, and for us.

(2310 )

What happened with the end of the cold war is that the original concept of peacekeeping has been stretched far beyond its original concept and limits. First, the number of operations is so much larger than it was before. In fact, there has been, as we heard earlier today, as many UN peacekeeping operations after 1989 than in the previous 43 years of the United Nations. Most of these have been successful, a few have not.

Second, it has become clearer, as preceding members have suggested, that the United Nations is unable to meet the demands either physically, conceptually or financially.

Third, and I think this is Canada's major difficulty with the new kind of peacekeeping, peacekeeping is no longer a middle power phenomenon. It is forgotten that in 1956 the peacekeepers who wanted to be there were the British and the French, who after all were the invading armies. It was Pearson's job to tell the British and the French that peacekeeping was not a job for great powers or for super powers, it had to be a job for middle powers. That definition held for many years. But after 1989 and the end of the tensions of the cold war, suddenly the question has to be asked: why are the great powers not there? Britain and France are, but of course Russia and the United States remain outside.

All of these factors deeply influence our position in peacekeeping operations, but I do not think they change the basic precepts. We have participated in every peacekeeping operation but I do not think we can do so in the future. Our resources are limited, the missions are too many.

As we have heard earlier from several speakers, the weakness of the existing UN structure suggests that it would be better for Canada to concentrate on efforts at preventive diplomacy rather than on peacekeeping itself. In the last few years I think it is fair to say that peacekeeping has dominated too much of our foreign policy agenda.

Our skills and knowledge in this country are not simply military. Lester Pearson, after all, the father of peacekeeping, was a poor soldier but an outstanding diplomat.

We should keep in mind that in Bosnia the mistakes that have been made were not made in Sarajevo but rather in New York and Washington and other European capitals.

Canada at one time last year accounted for approximately 10 per cent of the world's peacekeepers, even though our UN assessment was roughly 3 per cent. The United States, whose assessment is 25 per cent, arguably too high, had no soldiers participating under UN command in peacekeeping operations.

We should impress upon the Americans the importance of accepting their responsibilities. It is not enough to issue idle threats of air strikes and pull back from the kinds of commitments to multilateralism that we heard the United States talking about two or three years ago. Indeed there are troubling signs in the United States that recent international events are leading to a resurgence of unilateralism and even isolationalism. That would be a tragedy for the world and especially, I think, for Canada.

What then should we consider doing about Bosnia? We should recognize, above all, that we must do everything possible, politically and diplomatically, to bring an end to this terrible war. However we should not become embittered with the United Nations or relax our involvement with it.

I would argue, as several other speakers have, that we should in fact devote more effort to strengthening that institution. It is not so much the United Nations that has failed but rather the European nations who failed to take responsibility as a regional entity with an event that has such terrible consequences in their own back yard.

I also think that we should, as much as possible, try to make peacekeeping less of a national affair where individual military officers, whether Italian, Canadian or French, are identified as national officers rather than officers serving under the UN command. I think the previous government responded too


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quickly to the glamour of peacekeeping and did not recognize the dangers that are so clear today.

The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the parliamentary secretary but his time is up.

(2315)

Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I only regret that it did not take place in the last Parliament prior to the sending of troops to the former Yugoslavia.

The Prime Minister ought to be commended for giving members of the House the opportunity to express their opinion individually as to Canada's role in the former Yugoslavia and in peacekeeping missions around the world.

Parliament has been called upon today to consider the following statement:

That this House take note of the political, humanitarian and military dimensions of Canada's peacekeeping role, including in the former Yugoslavia, and of possible future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations.
I have to say how impressed I have been listening to the debate take place today, especially with the quality of speeches from the new members of Parliament. It bodes well for the future direction of the House and the importance of individual members of Parliament.

I had the opportunity to visit the former Yugoslavia before the conflict began. I cannot say how distressed I have been over the last several years to watch the constant bombardment of Dubrovnik and Croatia and the bombardment and the loss of life in Sarajevo. I cannot say how distressed I am as well to read about our Canadian troops being shot at and humiliated in Bosnia. Parliament has to come to grips with this issue and determine whether the risk involved and the cost of this mission warrant our continued participation.

Canada has made a commitment to be there until April. We ought to discharge that commitment to April and not renew our commitment given the danger faced by our troops presently in that region. As has been pointed out by a number of speakers, there is no ceasefire in Bosnia. There is no peace and there is no desire for peace. There is no peace to keep. Therefore Canada is not discharging its traditional role of peacekeeper. It is clear that we are discharging a humanitarian responsibility there to ensure that much needed aid reaches distressed regions.

In Croatia, Canada is playing its traditional role in keeping the peace in that region. I should note with interest that all members of Parliament of Croatian origin who have spoken in this discussion called for the withdrawal of troops from the former Yugoslavia. I found that rather interesting. I did not expect those individual members to be taking that position.

In any event it is clear our troops in Croatia are serving an important function. There is no doubt our troops in Bosnia are serving an important function, but it is also true that the nature of the mandate is unclear. There has been a series of incidents that would suggest our troops are not safe.

It is also clear that the cost of the mission is rather significant. There have been estimates of upward to a billion dollars having been spent in the last several years on this mission. The incremental cost is close to half a billion dollars.

We have to be cognizant of the expense given the open-ended nature of the commitment some hon. members are suggesting. There is a clear consensus that the role of peacekeeping has changed and there is confusion of the exact role of Canadian troops in Bosnia.

Canadians are justifiably proud of and committed to our tradition of peacekeeping. They are less sure about the current efforts of our troops in Bosnia because it is not a peacekeeping exercise. We ought to take note that a significant majority of Canadians in a poll that was released today expressed some very serious reservations about our continued involvement in Bosnia.

(2320)

Canada has done its part over the years as has been pointed out. Canada has participated in every peacekeeping mission in the last 30 years. We have certainly done our part. We have contributed to the humanitarian cause in Bosnia and in other parts of the former Yugoslavia.

It is clear that a diplomatic resolution to the problem is not imminent. I do have concerns about the length of time that Canadian troops will be called upon to ``keep the peace'' in that particular region. It seems to me that the diplomats have failed at the UN in trying to achieve a peace there. It was clear three years ago there would be significant conflict.

For those reasons I believe at the conclusion of our commitment in April we ought to bring our men and women back home. It is not to suggest that all peacekeepers, the British, the French and others, will withdraw. There is the assumption that if Canadians withdraw then other peacekeepers or UN forces will withdraw. That is certainly not clear.

We have an obligation. We have discharged that obligation but we must recognize as well that there will continue to be conflicts all over the world. Are we suggesting that we ought to continue to participate in every conflict? There is so much we can do as a nation both fiscally and in terms of other commitments. I would call upon the government to continue our


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obligation until April and thereafter bring our men and women home.

Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth): Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to represent the people of Hamilton-Wentworth both in the House and in this debate. I must say too, as this is my maiden speech, that it is somewhat daunting to follow such eloquence as we have heard here for most of the day.

I would like to convey to you, Mr. Speaker, and hon. members an anecdote that pertains to the debate we have heard in the House. I come from the village of Lynden, a rural community of some 500 in southern Ontario, which has always managed to send some of its sons and daughters to the great wars of this century.

On the wall as one enters the village church there is a roll of honour commemorating those who died in the service of their country. The village also has a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion which over the years has served, especially on November 11, to keep alive the memory of those who were willing to defend their lives, not just for Canada but for what Canada stands for.

Shortly before Christmas I attended a social at the legion centred on the giving out of service pins. The event was well attended for the branch is well supported in the community. What was unusual however was to see someone there who was actually on active service, to see the green uniform of today's Canadian forces. It was a young man in his early twenties named Chris Kivell. I talked to Chris whom I have known since he was a little boy. He had just been accepted into the Canadian forces, into the artillery. He was following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Owen Kivell, who had served in the navy during the second world war. Owen had survived the torpedoing of a ship in the north Atlantic. Young Chris looked very fine in his new uniform which he wore with pride.

Nevertheless I asked if he was not scared about the prospect of being sent to a hot spot like Bosnia and he said that he was. He had talked to other young men who had been there and who had recited the frustrations and dangers. Then he said to me suddenly, perhaps remembering that I was an MP: ``But, Mr. Bryden, don't let them pull the Canadian troops out of Bosnia. We want to be there''. I have since had time to reflect on his comment. A whole generation separates us so I cannot be sure that I am reading his feelings accurately. However I know my village. I know the people in it. I know the values he grew up with.

(2325 )

My conclusion is that Canada has a fine military tradition both francophone and anglophone going right back to the French and British struggles of the 18th century. In the 20th century in the Boer War, the Great War and World War II, Canadian soldiers both French and English speaking incurred the admiration even of their enemies for their bravery and devotion at Dieppe, at Normandy and during the liberation of Europe.

In the post-war years the Canadian forces became specialists at peacekeeping. Again our Canadian soldiers garnered the admiration of the world for their firmness, their bravery and their non-partisan ability to keep warring parties apart. The book perhaps has yet to be written that fully describes their accomplishments but the world knows. Canada and peacekeeping: that is the legacy that has been created by Canada's soldiers over the past 40 years.

Now the world is a darker and more threatening place. The breakup of federated nations like the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia has unleashed hatreds that go back centuries. Peacekeeping as we used to know it is all but impossible in these terrible tribal conflicts. The hate runs deep and it has no respect for women and children.

Our soldiers in Bosnia are there for humanitarian reasons only. At the risk of their lives they are there to guarantee that people be fed. The UN intervention has saved hundreds of thousands from starvation. Canada is an essential part of that intervention. Canadian soldiers have died in Bosnia. Others have been injured but thousands of people, mainly women, children and the elderly, have been saved.

I submit that the international role of Canada's military has advanced rather than regressed, advanced at least in spirit. Instead of fighting to win wars and instead of fighting to prevent wars now in Bosnia we are simply fighting to save lives. Is there a nobler purpose for a soldier? I think not.

I look across the floor in the direction of members of Bloc and Reform. I was most impressed by the compassionate content of their remarks during the debate. Their comments reveal that no matter what separates us in ideology, no matter what separates us in history going back to Lord Durham's report or to the Plains of Abraham, we are united in our desire as Canadians. Call us what us what you will, Saskatchewaners, BCers, Acadians or Quebecers, we are united in our desire to rescue those in the world who are defenceless, those who are hurt and hungry.

Let us not be deflected from doing what is right because of opinion polls. The trouble with always doing what a majority seems to want is that majorities can sometimes be poorly informed. There is no regular news coverage of the Canadian forces in Bosnia. Their story is not being told by the Canadian media. We cannot judge the Canadian situation in Bosnia by watching CNN or reading a newspaper. We must therefore take guidance from the only people who really know, who are right on the spot: our own soldiers, the Vandoos and the Princess Pats for instance. They believe in what they are doing. We on all sides of the House should be very proud of them.


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Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in the House to represent the citizens of Fredericton-York-Sunbury. It humbles me when I consider just how many people will be affected by the outcome of the government's decision around this debate.

(2330 )

As this is my first opportunity, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment. I also wish to pay tribute to the Hon. Milton Gregg, the last member of both my riding and my party to be in this House. He was a representative of the government of the day and won the Victoria Cross in the Second World War.

I would also like to pay tribute to my immediate predecessor, Mr. Bud Bird. Mr. Bird has long served our region with dignity and diligence.

Finally I would like to note the recent passing of my Reform Party opponent. Jack Lamey was a worthy representative of his party. On behalf of all the residents of the riding I express sympathy to his wife Addie and the family.

CFB Gagetown, the largest military training base in Canada and by land mass the largest base in the Commonwealth, lies within my riding. I am sure members of this House can appreciate the significance of this debate for the people of Fredericton-York-Sunbury in general and for the people of CFB Gagetown in particular.

It is one thing to be concerned for family and friends serving in dangerous circumstances halfway round the world. It is appreciably worse when that risk is not accompanied by a clear sense of purpose or measure of effectiveness.

Hopefully this debate will serve to clarify Canada's position on the role of our country and others within the UN peacekeeping forces generally and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in particular.

I should say that we in Fredericton-York-Sunbury are pleased with the government's decision to have this debate. I would also like to commend the other parties and their leaders for both their co-operation and their participation. Their early intervention did much to establish the tone for this debate and I am certain Canadians will find it refreshing to know that we want to get things accomplished.

As I acknowledged earlier, constituents within my riding are particularly interested in this debate because so many of CFB Gagetown have, are, or probably will participate in peacekeeping engagements.

In light of this level of concern I wanted to ensure that I did not deal with the situation superficially. Sunday night I met with a number of interested parties wanting to advise me of their concerns. Participants ranged from former peacekeepers, one of whom was stationed in Sarajevo, students from the region attending the University of New Brunswick, and others of the public who had called or written to express concerns.

Of particular note, we received a detailed presentation on a situation in Bosnia from a member of the military recently stationed in that region. I would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel Yann Hidiroglou, the deputy commander of the United Nations military observers, for his thoughtful and comprehensive briefing.

It was repeated throughout the meeting that the debate surrounding the situation in Bosnia has become too polarized. Arguments are generally aligned at one of two ends. Canada must be in Bosnia under any or all circumstances, or we must remove our troops because the situation is either too dangerous, too costly, or ineffective.

We must work together to find a more moderate middle ground solution. There are no easy answers but in identifying the balance we need to consider what the consequences could be if we decided to remove our troops entirely. We are after all citizens of the world.

We must recognize the possibility that a withdrawal might only be temporary. Troops might have to intervene again under conditions far worse than those that currently exist. As well, it is clear that our troops are able to get humanitarian aid through to those in need. The UN Commission for Refugees and the Red Cross are both on record as having stated that the food is getting through.

What about our international reputation? If the UN withdraws what impact will this have on future peacekeeping operations? Would this make it politically impossible for governments to keep forces in foreign regions? In the same vein how do we want to be remembered by history? We must consider what the scenario might be if we were not involved in Bosnia.

I believe a balance must be struck in order to achieve our desired middle ground. That balance begins with the recommitting of our troops. We must however recommit as a government that is willing to improve conditions for the men and the women on the ground.

I see a number of ways we can accomplish this goal. First, Canada as a country has great credibility as a nation of peace and peacekeeping. I believe we should rely on our knowledge and reputation in these areas and call upon other countries, many of which have closer ties than we with the belligerents to launch an appeal to warring factions and seek diplomatic solutions.

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We must also review the criteria under which we have committed our troops and make amendments where possible to improve conditions, again calling upon our historical reputation and record. People are uncertain about our role in Bosnia, our purpose for participating and the value of the exercise. We need


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to bring clarity to the situation and let people know everything which can be done is actually being done.

I conclude by stating that we need to recommit our troops to their involvement in Bosnia but not necessarily under present conditions. We must also commit to ensuring members of the military are properly and adequately trained, that UN field operations are politically supported by member nations. We must commit to provide the support needed to reduce risk.

As well both the government and the military need to communicate their purpose and decisions clearly so that everyone is aware of the objectives for both our troops in Bosnia specifically and UN forces generally. We will be holding future debates about Canada's military and peacekeeping roles. It is my hope that the precedent has been established for these debates.

I salute forces both now and in the past which served Canada for what will soon be 50 years in the area of peacekeeping. I also salute the families and friends of those involved in peacekeeping missions. I am sure they join me in acknowledging the excellence of our Canadian troops. Their excellence is why Canada's role in Bosnia is so critical.

Ms. Jean Augustine (Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I am indeed honoured to address the House today on behalf of the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I think the people of Etobicoke-Lakeshore will join me in this debate and in the expression of congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, as well as to the Prime Minister for providing the opportunity for debate.

Peacekeeping is an activity Canada does as a country. It is an activity which gives us world-wide respect and makes us all proud to be Canadians.

Canadian soldiers have been involved in every United Nations peacekeeping operation since 1947. We have sent approximately 90,000 men and women to war-torn countries around the world. Peacekeeping and peacekeepers have represented us in areas like Korea in the 1950s; Egypt, 1954; the Congo, 1960-64; Nigeria, 1968-70; Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia in the early 1970s; Iran in the late 1980s; and in many Latin American countries between 1989 and 1992.

Canadian peacekeepers are currently in El Salvador, Cyprus, the western Sahara, Angola, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Korea and Cambodia. Of course they are currently involved in the former Yugoslavia. There are some 4,700 Canadian men and women with United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. They comprise approximately 10 per cent of all peacekeepers on duty.

We greatly value our peacekeepers and take pride in our peacekeeping activities. We treat that very seriously. Obviously we have very practical reasons for being involved. Canada can prosper only if we are living in a stable and reliable world environment. I think most Canadians believe that peacekeeping is a valued activity. We had two Nobel peace prizes awarded, one to the late Lester B. Pearson and the other to the peacekeepers in 1988.

Given the international importance of Canada's peacekeeping efforts I would like to briefly discuss my two main concerns: first, the priorities in terms of financing; and second, peacekeeping in this international context.

One of the concerns many have with peacekeeping is that Canadian peacekeepers be properly outfitted for the dangerous situations they often encounter.

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This means that the equipment should be fully functional. They should have access to proper facilities and have adequate protection. All of this, of course, requires financial support.

The second concern I have is international commitment. If we as Canadians decide it is a priority for us to remain involved in peacekeeping, we must encourage collective, responsible action through the United Nations. I hope we would encourage other United Nations members to pay up their UN dues, to commit troops, to provide logistical and technical support and to honour UN resolutions.

Canadians cannot do it alone as we have seen in Bosnia where replacement troops for Canadians are not allowed to relieve our peacekeepers. We need a strong United Nations to which countries pledge, not only in word but in financial support, troops and technical terms.

Peacekeeping is one area in which we service the world. I sincerely hope we continue to do so. However, I only want us to continue to do so if we provide our peacekeepers with the necessary equipment to protect themselves while performing their duties as well as securing that stronger international commitment.

We live in a global village. We have our responsibilities in that global village.

Mr. Rey D. Pagtakhan (Winnipeg North): Mr. Speaker, please allow me, on behalf of Winnipeg North, to echo the sentiments of those who have risen in this House and congratulated you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker, and also to the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, and our fellow members.

I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank the constituents of Winnipeg North for their renewal of confidence in last fall's election. It is a testament to this new Liberal government's commitment to seek the input of its citizens on matters of foreign policy that we begin in the early life of this Parliament with a very public debate on peacekeeping.


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At a time when citizens are increasingly concerned about domestic issues, it is pertinent to ask a fundamental question about our involvement in expensive and potentially dangerous peacekeeping missions abroad. Why are we there? Why indeed are we taking an interventionist approach to problems and conflicts which ostensibly lie thousands of miles away in places most Canadians have never even seen?

Why, with the magnitude of economic and social problems facing all Canadians, are we giving the issue of international peacekeeping even a cursory glance? Why, of course, is a valid question.

I propose to offer some very compelling answers. I would encourage fellow members on all sides of the House to share these answers with their constituents.

First, to those who would question what benefits our peacekeeping missions abroad hold for Canada, we must reinforce the idea that Canada is not an island. Rather, we hold a privileged position as a world leader in international diplomacy. We carry the torch of Lester B. Pearson's legacy, a legacy which poses no ultimatum but patience in the search for peace.

If we fail to settle conflicts and unrest abroad, those problems by extension become our own. Conflicts overseas could, if left unchecked over time, expand to engulf our own nation. Indeed, it is in our national interest to be involved in peacekeeping missions abroad. However, national self-interest alone represents only one aspect of the need for our continued involvement in peacekeeping.

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I submit to my fellow members that there is a noble interest at stake here. Our humanitarian mission in the former Yugoslavia alone directly benefits 2,750,000 residents of that war torn nation who would have no other means of survival in the face of such appalling conditions. These invaluable relief efforts are best pursued by a team of nations, which is why a renewal of our participation in the United Nations forces in that part of the world and elsewhere is essential, to my mind.

Other nations may waver, but I believe Canada should continue to reassert its commitment to independent foreign policy. I am confident that this government will not waver.

Allow me to call to the attention of fellow members what I feel may be a vital omission in our peacekeeping policy. It is the failure to communicate to citizens the many benefits of these operations particularly at a time when domestic issues threaten to consume us. Successful efforts seldom make headlines the way disasters do. Perhaps that is why an Angus Reid poll released this week indicates that six in ten Canadians support a withdrawal of Canadian troops from Bosnia. I cannot help but wonder whether the figure would be different if citizens were given a different look at the humanitarian function our overseas troops are performing.

Recently we saw on TV and in the print media the photo of an empty wooden sled on a patch of blood-covered snow in Sarajevo, a symbol of the horror and futility of war. We witness by way of the media the slaughter of civilians in their homes, the massacre of women, the senseless killing of children in the playgrounds, the bombing of hospitals and photos of entire village populations deprived of food and clothing. When we witness these human indignities we agonize and our hearts are torn. When this happens these horrors of war assume immediate proximity.

In conclusion, peacekeeping missions are the ultimate challenge to our nation's soul and how we respond to this challenge will reflect our national conscience. The lives of these people in that part of the world are in our hands.

The Deputy Speaker: There are three speakers left. They are the members for Waterloo, Scarborough West and Victoria-Haliburton. I wonder if they would agree to divide their time since it is so late. Would five minutes each be all right? You can blame the whip if you do not like the order you have on the list. The member for Victoria-Haliburton is first.

Mr. John O'Reilly (Victoria-Haliburton): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I will keep my comments as brief as I can.

It is with great pleasure that I rise tonight and for the first time speak in the greatest forum of our country. I further wish to express my thanks to the people of Victoria-Haliburton who sent me here and instilled confidence in me to do my best.

The matter we are discussing today is one that is of concern to all Canadians. This discussion is long overdue and I thank the Prime Minister for this opportunity.

Peacekeeping has long been viewed as a made in Canada concept, which is understandable since former Prime Minister Lester Pearson developed the program and subsequently was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his efforts. Canada has long been a vocal and active supporter of organizations for international stability and order and now has in the area of 2,300 troops stationed around the world in various peacekeeping operations.

For the most part, these operations have been peaceful. However, more and more often violent encounters are occurring in day to day peacekeeping. The role of peacekeeping is changing.

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In today's debate we must be careful about what is being discussed. We can easily dismiss peacekeeping by saying that we must get our troops out of dangerous peacekeeping areas. However this sort of thinking is short-sighted.

We must expand our discussions and ask what we want our peacekeepers to do. We must develop a clear and concise mandate for our peacekeepers. Are we committing troops to a

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peacekeeping operation because Canada has never refused to commit troops to a UN operation, or do we commit because it is in the best interests of Canada to have a presence in a particular operation?

We must think of our financial situation and come to terms with the implications of a shrinking defence budget and how it might affect our participation in future peacekeeping operations. Furthermore, when we do commit our troops to an operation we must ensure they have the proper equipment and training to address whatever situation may arise in that operation.

Although we are somewhat isolated here from the realities of peacekeeping, we owe it to those who are risking their lives in frightening situations that they have the best equipment and training available to adequately protect themselves and to ensure the operation is carried out with success for Canada.

I did have 21 pages, but I have condensed it.

Mr. Tom Wappel (Scarborough West): Mr. Speaker, there are five very brief points I want to make. The motion we are debating today asks us to take into account the political, humanitarian and military dimensions of the possible future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations.

The five points I wish to commend to our government and to the minister are as follows:

First, Canada is a small country comparatively speaking, with limited resources. As such we cannot act alone. We do know however that there is strength in unity. We can support each other. Therefore, we must in my view maintain our membership in international organizations, including the United Nations and NATO.

Second, we must work to cleanse the hypocrisy of these organizations. What do I mean by that? Contrast the swift action of the coalition forces in the gulf and the billions upon billions of dollars spent in the gulf in a very short period of time with the inaction in Yugoslavia where children are being killed daily, with the inaction in East Timor where Roman Catholics are being slaughtered by Muslim extremists, and the inaction in Tibet where China is committing cultural genocide against the people of Tibet. What about the countries in Africa where tribes are slaughtering each other by the tens of thousands? These organizations are doing nothing in these tragic places.

Third, we must continue to speak out forthrightly and forcefully on behalf of human rights, dignity and the inherent worth of all human life.

Fourth, we must lend our military expertise and reputation where warranted. We cannot be in all places at all times.

Fifth, our military are in the business of warfare. They know the risks. They have chosen their profession. But we cannot ask our military to put their lives on the line unless we are prepared to ensure they are adequately equipped, supplied and supported. As we would not send our children into a full contact hockey game dressed only in pyjamas, we cannot send our sons and daughters into the world's most dangerous and volatile areas without proper protection, training and equipment. Anything less is irresponsible. Anything less is indefensible.

Mr. Andrew Telegdi (Waterloo): Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate this day of having gone through the whole Chamber and come down to the last speaker, being me. We are going to be out of here before midnight.

I represent the federal riding of Waterloo made up of the township of Woolwich, Waterloo and a part of Kitchener. We are the home of Project Ploughshares at Conrad Grebel College, as well as a Centre for Conflict Resolution. Of course we have a very strong Mennonite base. The Mennonite community is strongly involved in assisting people in other countries in time of crisis.

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When we look at our country, when we listen to speakers and when we see the background we have in the Chamber, we are like a little United Nations. I cannot help but reflect that we represent very much a beacon of hope to a troubled world.

One person in my riding, a Dr. Elmasry, is a professor at the University of Waterloo. He is an active member of a number of human rights organizations. He wrote in his presentation, an article that he sent to me, that the overwhelming fact that confronts the moral fabric of the post cold war era was that the world aggression in Bosnia-Hercegovina was a war of genocide. The second important fact was that there was no decisive international will to stop the genocide. The holocaust prescription never again became meaningless. In this pathetic moral desert the European Community and its security and human rights concerns have become severely tarnished.

I received some quite important communications from some grades six, seven and eight students. It is important to me in my personal circumstances. In 1956 when Canada embarked on its peacekeeping mission at Suez I was a nine-year old boy in Hungary and the Hungarian revolution was going on. I do so very well recall Hungarians felt so abandoned when the Suez crisis took over. Somehow we felt that a right to self-determination of the Hungarians was sacrificed on the altar expediency on the Suez campaign.

The students who wrote to me were in a group called the Urgent Action Team at St. Agnes Elementary School in Waterloo. JoAnne Thorpe is their parent volunteer who works with them. One letter was written by a student, Cheryl Feeney:

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In Bosnia they are crushing the skulls of children and slitting the throats of the women and shooting the men as they try to defend their family.
Celene Krieger states:

I am sure that you heard about what is happening in Bosnia, like wars, death and many innocent people dying, being raped just because of their religion. The most horrifying thing is that many of these people are children.
Beckey Curran states:

I believe that Canada should help in peacemaking. I know that some people say we should take care of our own problems before we take care of others. That may be true but we take our freedom for granted and we should realize how it would be if our own country was not free and we were at war.
The letters go on. I guess I am touched by the serious tone of the letters and the fact that our young people have so ingrained in themselves that one of the great roles of Canada in this world is peacekeeping and peacemaking.

I was speaking to Ernie Regehr about Project Ploughshares and I asked him: ``What is your prescription to the problem?'' One of the points he made was that unless there were people in Bosnia-Hercegovina, unless there are witnesses to human suffering, unless there are people who are ready to assist with the human suffering, we will never know what has gone on there. We will never know what will continue to go on there. In some ways the actions of the Europeans and the United Nations in putting the arms embargo in place have left the Muslims of the region defenceless.

As Canadians, one of the stronger proponents of the United Nations, we must try to establish international law and to fight against lawlessness. It is generally accepted that if there is anything that unites us as a country this is one of the issues. We cannot do it all. We have to work through strengthening the role of the United Nations. We have to make the commitment that we will stand together with the democracies of this world to make sure that law, order and self-determination will prevail.

The Deputy Speaker: Hon. members will be interested to know that the hon. member for Waterloo was the 50th speaker we have had today in a debate that the member for Labrador said earlier was the best debate we have heard here in 24 years.

It is my duty to say that it being almost midnight. Pursuant to the order made earlier this day the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at two o'clock p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 11.59 p.m.)

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