Thursday, February 17, 1994
Bill C-217. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 1461
Bill C-218. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed adopted 1461
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1462
Motion for concurrence 1462
Mr. White (Fraser Valley West) 1479
Mrs. Dalphond-Guiral 1496
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 1497
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1500
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1500
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1500
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1501
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1501
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1502
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1502
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1502
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1502
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1503
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1503
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1503
Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 1503
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1504
Mr. Chrétien (Saint-Maurice) 1504
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 1505
Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 1506
Mr. Harper (Calgary West) 1507
Consideration resumed of the motion 1508
Mrs. Brown (Calgary Southeast) 1512
Mr. Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry) 1523
Mr. Leroux (Shefford) 1525
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury) 1527
Division on motion deferred 1534
Mr. Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier) 1535
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Thursday, February 17, 1994
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Nick Discepola (Vaudreuil):
Mr. Speaker, the Standing
Committee on Finance has the honour, this morning, to present
its first report.
In accordance with its order of reference of Friday, February
4, 1994 your committee has considered Bill C-2, an act to
amend the Department of National Revenue Act and to amend
certain other acts in consequence thereof, and has agreed to
report it without amendment.
* * *
Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston)
moved for leave
to introduce Bill C-217, an act to amend the Young Offenders
Act, the Contraventions Act and the Criminal Code in
He said: Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank the hon.
member for Leeds-Grenville for seconding the motion to
introduce this bill.
During the election campaign Canadians made it clear that
they would like to see some fundamental changes to our
criminal justice system. It would appear that the Young
Offenders Act has acted as a lightning rod for a lot of the
concerns in the community. This bill in my view would address
some of the very serious flaws in the Young Offenders Act.
The bill has three purposes. First, it would lower the age
limits that define a young offender. A young offender would be
defined as a young person between the ages of 10 and 15. As a
result, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds would be held
responsible for their criminal acts and prosecuted in adult court.
Presently, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are subject to the
Young Offenders Act and not the Criminal Code of Canada in
adult court. In my view, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are old
enough to understand the nature and consequences of their acts
and should be held responsible as adults.
The second purpose of the bill would be to increase the
maximum, I stress maximum, penalty for first and second
degree murder from five years to ten years. I believe Canadians
want to see some changes to the maximum penalty provisions
for murder under the Young Offenders Act. Any persons
between the ages of 10 and 15 who commit first or second degree
murder would face a maximum penalty of 10 years.
Finally, the bill would allow for the publication of the name of
the young offender after the young offender's second conviction
for an indictable offence.
In conclusion, I believe if this bill is carried by this House it
will go a long way to satisfying some of the very serious and
reasonable concerns of Canadians with regard to problems in
our criminal justice system.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
* * *
Mrs. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Hubert)
moved for leave to
introduce Bill C-218, an act to amend the Unemployment
Insurance Act (excepted employment).
She said: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the
hon. member for Laurentides for supporting this bill and would
also like to give a short explanation about this legislation.
The purpose of this bill is to exclude from the excepted
employment category those jobs that are characterized by a
dependant relationship between the employer and the employee.
At this time, the employment of women collaborators is not
insurable unless, as it says in clause 3(2)(c) of the
Unemployment Insurance Act, these women can prove they
would have gotten into a similar work contract had they not been
their employers' spouses.
This clause of the Unemployment Insurance Act is
discriminatory, because it creates a different burden of the
proof, especially for women collaborators.
That is why I hope that my bill will be debated as soon as
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
* * *
Mrs. Marlene Cowling (Dauphin-Swan River):
Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(1), I would like to table
this petition which has been duly certified by the clerk of
The citizens of Dauphin-Swan River are asking the federal
government to seek approval from the Canadian people for
Canada's policy with reference to official languages.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West):
pursuant to Standing Order 36(1), I rise to present a petition
from concerned citizens of the township of Langley in the riding
of Fraser Valley West, British Columbia.
This petition of well over 1,000 names expresses the concern
of installing supermailboxes in our heritage community of Port
Langley, the birthplace of British Columbia. Supermailboxes
would not be in keeping with the historical traditions of this
Therefore, the petitioners request that Parliament designate
Canadian heritage communities to be exempt from Canada
Post's supermailbox program.
This petition is submitted with my full support.
* * *
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
The Speaker: Shall all questions stand?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (for the Minister of Finance)
moved that a ways and means motion to amend the Excise Tax
Act, laid upon the table Monday, February 14, 1994 be
(Motion agreed to.)
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs)
That a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons be
appointed to consider Canada's Defence Policy;
That the document entitled ``Review of Canadian Defence Policy, Minister of
National Defence Guidance Document'', be referred to the Committee;
That the Committee be directed to consult broadly and to analyze the issues
discussed in the above-mentioned document, and to make recommendations in
their report concerning the objectives and conduct of Canada's Defence Policy;
That eleven Members of the House of Commons and five Members of the
Senate be Members of the Committee;
That the Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on
National Defence and Veterans Affairs be appointed to act on behalf of the
House as Members of the said Committee;
That the Committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of
That the Committee have the power to report from time to time, to send for
persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence from time to
time as may be ordered by the Committee;
That the Committee have the power to retain the services of expert,
professional, technical and clerical staff;
That the Committee have the power to adjourn from place to place inside
Canada and abroad and that, when deemed necessary, the required staff
accompany the Committee;
That a quorum of the Committee be nine Members, whenever a vote,
resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented and
that the Joint Chairmen be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and
authorize the printing thereof, whenever six Members are present, so long as
both Houses are represented;
That the Committee or its representatives meet on occasions it deems fitting
with the parliamentary committee or its representatives charged with reviewing
Canada's foreign policy;
That notwithstanding the usual practices of this House, if the House is not
sitting when an interim or final report of the Committee is completed, the
Committee shall report with the Clerk of the House and that it shall thereupon be
deemed to have been laid upon the Table;
That the Committee present its final report no later than September 30, 1994;
That a message be sent to the Senate requesting that House to unite with this House
for the above purpose, and to select, if the Senate deems it advisable, Members to act on
the proposed Special Joint Committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this
opportunity to address the House formally and launch the
defence policy review.
For the next few minutes I will outline the terms of the process
that will be involved in the final product which will be the new
defence policy for Canada.
The need for a thorough review of Canada's defence policy is
generally recognized. In fact, during the election campaign, all
parties called for a review of the present policy to ensure that it
really meets the needs of today. The attention given to defence
issues should surprise no one. Defence is a fundamental duty of
the government and has major impacts in Canada and abroad.
Furthermore, the maintenance and operation of our armed
forces account for a considerable share of public spending.
Therefore we must have a clear and realistic defence policy
which defines what we expect of the Canadian forces and how
we intend to equip and train them to carry out their tasks.
During the election campaign, my party maintained that it
was urgent to review Canada's defence policy in order to take
account of the country's new needs and the financial reality we
are facing as well as international instability.
I would now like to describe how the government intends to
conduct this most important review.
We have had some discussions in the last few months on the
issues that have arisen, and the public consultation process is a
central priority for this government. In the election campaign
this was outlined by all parties that felt that Parliament should
take a greater role in the formulation of policy development.
Parliament has always historically had that essential role, but in
recent years governments have moved away from listening to
members of Parliament in a full and timely way in the
formulation of policy.
Since we reconvened in this Parliament in January, we have
had debates on two very important issues, our maintenance of
peacekeeping in the former republics of Yugoslavia, and cruise
In this same spirit of consultation, we are proposing today the
establishment of a special joint committee of Parliament to
consider the future of Canadian defence policy.
In something that will be unique and to avoid unnecessary
taxing of individual members who will be very busy with a
number of committees, we are going to have the House of
Commons membership in this special joint committee mirror
the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans
Affairs to join with nominees from the Senate. That means the
same members involved in daily defence related matters, those
studying the estimates, will be dealing with the defence review.
The most knowledgeable people on defence matters will be
carrying through both exercises.
Through this committee we hope to receive the broadest input
possible; in other words, not just from experts and interest
groups, but from a wide variety of Canadians concerned with
this vital national issue.
Ever mindful of the somewhat travelling road show that
became a circus on the Constitution which the previous
Conservative government put into place a year or so ago dealing
with the Charlottetown accord, we would not wish the
committee to follow that unsavoury precedent. We would,
hopefully, wish the committee to hold hearings in different parts
of Canada so that people who otherwise could not afford to
travel to Ottawa will be able to get to some regional centres. I
hope that does not become an undue expense for the House and
that there will be selected communities, large communities
across the country, in which representations can be made.
We would like this report from the committee to be made no
later than September 30 of this year. Why September 30? We are
trying to keep to our red book timetable. I know members of the
other parties are going to become tired of the red book. However
we have to emphasize to Canadians that they can expect this
government to keep its election promises as much as possible.
This is one we are trying to keep. We want the review to be
completed by the end of the year so that Canadians will at last
know where defence policy is going in this very turbulent time.
We will monitor the progress of the public debate as it
proceeds in the journals and conferences and in the media. Once
the committee completes its work we will study it very
carefully. The public component of the policy debate on defence
will be conducted as it should be, by the House of Commons and
the Senate. That is the true vehicle for public input. If members
of Parliament and Parliament itself cannot be the vehicle for
expressing the will of Canadians, I do not know what else can.
The report will play a major role in shaping the government's
response. By that I mean there will be a white paper on defence
probably within a few months of the committee issuing its
findings. The completion of this should be at the end of the year.
I do not want to mislead hon. members of the Senate and the
House. The report they will issue will not constitute the new
defence policy but we will ignore many or most of its
recommendations at peril.
As I said Parliament is the unique place to bring a certain
dimension to the debate that one cannot otherwise get through
private consultations. I hope to engage in consultations with
experts, officials and other people in the defence community as
well as to have discussions with our allies based on their
experiences. All of our allies are going through a similar
turbulent period in developing foreign policy and defence
policy. I will be having those conversations with them but
certainly public participation and the role of members will have
a heavy bearing upon the eventual outcome of this policy.
In the interim, government is going to have to make decisions.
The world does not stop because Canada is having a defence
review and I hope that members will take that into
consideration. I can imagine some of the things that will come
up in the next few weeks and months. I hope members then do
not ask why we do not leave things until the end of the defence
review. The fact is we have to make some tough decisions.
A very tough decision we made, which was another red book
promise, was the cancellation of the EH-101 helicopters. We
have had some difficult discussions with our NATO allies both
at the summit in Brussels and over the last few weeks by
telephone. My colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the
Prime Minister and I have had discussions with our allies on the
very difficult situation in the former republic of Yugoslavia and
the potential of air strikes. Some of the ongoing discussions
have led to lengthy consultations in the House. I mention
peacekeeping and cruise missile testing.
One could envisage for example the government being asked
to consider how to respond to events in Bosnia, a request to send
additional peacekeepers to that location. Obviously we have to
make those decisions very rapidly as events occur. They cannot
We will keep Parliament, especially the committee, fully
informed of any significant decisions as long as we do not betray
any confidences with our allies in the process. We will strive to
make sure these decisions which have to be taken on a day to day
basis do not prejudice the outcome of the review. We will do all
we can to ensure that any decisions we do take on an ad hoc basis
in response to developments as they occur will have the broad
support of Canadians.
During the same period, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will
review Canada's foreign policy. The minister will provide
details on this subject to Parliament in a few weeks. Since the
country's foreign policy and defence policy overlap in several
areas, my colleague and I have developed a process to allow
both reviews to proceed in harmony.
Under the terms of reference of the parliamentary committee
reviewing defence policy, this committee will meet with the one
responsible for reviewing Canada's foreign policy.
I also accepted the invitation of my colleague, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, to co-chair the national forum on international
relations, which will certainly consider questions related to
A national forum on matters, whether they be defence policy,
foreign policy, overseas development aid, or trade policy will be
hosted by my colleagues, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the
Minister for International Trade and I in a few weeks. That again
is another promise in the red book.
The fundamental issues in the defence review to be
considered are set out in a guidance document the government
has put together. If I have the agreement of hon. members, I
propose to table it in both official languages pursuant to
Standing Order 32(2).
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Is there agreement to
table the document?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Mr. Collenette: It is the guidance document that will be
provided to all members of the committee to help them in their
deliberations. It does not set out any prescriptions; it simply
identifies the issues and helps them frame their deliberations. It
is intended to stimulate discussion and focus the work of the
committee on the critical issues to be resolved.
To give members a sense on how the government intends to
approach the substantive aspects of the review I would like to
spend a few minutes reviewing the broad outline in the
document I have just tabled.
The document begins an examination of the Canadian defence
issues by setting out the international and domestic context of
In it we note that the cold war has yielded some very real
improvements in international security relations. Since 1989 we
have seen an astounding chain of events occur, especially in
eastern Europe with the dismantling of the former Soviet Union
and the re-emergence of states that have not been independent
for many years, in some cases for centuries.
There has been significant progress in arms control and the
resolution of some of the long-standing regional conflicts.
Beyond this we have the rapidity of events unfolding especially
in Europe to caution us as to how we deal with the formulation of
The guidance document talks about the unpredictability, the
volatility and the violence in the international environment. We
see this obviously in the former republic of Yugoslavia and the
disintegration of that country. However, it is being played out in
the bordering states, the former republics of the Soviet Union,
both in Europe and in Central Asia.
I have become much more alarmed at the pattern of events
that are occurring in that part of the world with smaller states
potentially having the ability to operate nuclear weapon systems
which have come into their hands directly because some
republics of the former Soviet Union have them on their soil.
However, I must admit I am very happy with the agreement
which seems to have been put in place in the former republic of
Ukraine, now an independent state, for control in dismantling
and dismemberment of these weapons.
Many people have been involved in the arms business and the
nuclear development business in that part of the world. We know
there are regimes that for whatever reason through territorial
expansion or other designs of hegemony in the region want to
use nuclear weapons to improve their case. We see a very
disconcerting scenario unfolding and that should make us
vigilant in formulating our defence policy.
What I am trying to say is that the events, the hope and the
euphoria in 1990 and 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet
empire has given way to a bit more realism, a bit more
pragmatism. Yes the world potentially is a better place. We do
not have this terrible arms race between the two superpowers,
but the fallout, especially in the Soviet Union, in Russia and that
area has created a degree of instability we have to be very
mindful of. We shall watch the situation in Russia very
carefully. Of course Canada is fully behind attempts in that
country to organize itself in the most democratic and
fair-minded fashion in its new role as an independent country
free from any ideology.
From a military point of view Russia does remain a power. It
has nuclear weapons. It still has a large armed forces, much of
which has been repatriated from the former eastern European
states. Events such as the second coup attempt last October and
the outcome of the recent elections are of concern to us. They
reflect the precarious state of reform in a climate of serious
social and economic problems.
Making long-term decisions about the Canadian Armed
Forces is difficult enough at the best of times. It is even more
difficult when the future of international security is so complex
and so uncertain.
The guidance document reminds us of the importance of the
national dimension of Canada's defence. As a bare minimum,
under the National Defence Act, the forces are required to take
action in situations that threaten public order in Canada. The
forces still have a role to play in defending Canada and
protecting Canadian sovereignty, and this role includes assisting
other departments and other levels of government.
Over the years, the government has asked the forces to assist
certain government agencies in search and rescue activities and
with relief in cases of national disaster and the protection of our
In its deliberations, the committee will have to determine
what the appropriate national roles for the Canadian Forces are
and what level of capability our military people need to fill these
One of the most significant domestic issues affecting the
Department of National Defence and Canadian forces is fiscal
restraint. This is addressed in the foreword of the guidance
document. I have stressed that we have to develop a policy that
is realistic and affordable. I want to re-emphasize that point
today. Because of the urgency of fiscal restraint, we must set
priorities and focus on plans, procurement and operations that
are most essential to our needs.
The guidance document sets out three areas where the
committee and Canadians need to think carefully about defence
priorities in an attempt to design an appropriate defence posture
for the 1990s. However in doing so we cannot forget the cost
In that context I would like to address a comment which has
been raised by the other parties and by some of my own
colleagues. That is the logic of having a defence review when we
are about to cut a massive amount from the defence budget. This
is something which again was outlined in the red book.
With respect to defence we agreed to eliminate the EH-101
helicopter program. It was a sound decision. It was a good
decision. That particular piece of equipment was too expensive
for our needs. We felt that the former government erred. We said
so in the campaign and we have discharged our obligations.
At some point in time our need for replacing the Sea Kings to
carry on search and rescue and other naval operations for which
some of the EH-101s were intended will have to be addressed.
Committee members can help us along when they discuss the
role for the forces and their policy suggestions as to the kind of
capability we need in search and rescue, in maritime
surveillance and the naval force generally where the EH-101
was to be deployed.
Our other promise was to cut $1.6 billion from the defence
budget. It is there in the red book. It is not a budget secret. This
is public. Of course the Minister of Finance when he brings
forward his financial projections will obviously take that into
That is a promise we will discharge. I am on the record saying
that in speeches and I have mentioned it in the House.
In dealing with this urgent fiscal situation, because the
savings have to start clicking in April 1, at the beginning of this
fiscal year 1994-95, we had two options. We could have decided
to curtail operations. We could have decided to, as I have said
not facetiously but honestly, do something that would have seen
our F-18 fighter planes fly every seventh day.
We could have our great new frigates which are admired by
naval experts around the world just give tours of the Grand
Banks instead of going any further and, again being somewhat
tongue in cheek, having guns without bullets or armoured
personnel carriers that do not function.
We cannot afford that because defence of our country and our
vital interest is crucial. We must do this in the best way possible.
What we decided to do is to try to take the tough decisions that
governments have ignored in the past. They have ignored them
in a most irresponsible manner.
As the armed forces budget as a proportion of government
spending has decreased from about 24 per cent in 1963-64 to
about 8 per cent today and going lower, the number of actual
uniformed personnel has decreased from 130,000 to about
77,000 or 78,000. It is going lower because of the cuts that were
announced by the previous government. Those are working their
way through the system.
We have to decide. The government would be interested
obviously in hearing from the committee as to how low we can
go to have a real credible defence. If one goes too low, what can
one do and what can one not do?
Along those 30 years as we were shedding uniformed
personnel we were not in a commensurate way dealing with
infrastructure and capacity. We have an administrative and
physical infrastructure and capacity which is too much for the
more modest armed forces we have today.
As anyone in business knows, if one's market share declines
radically one has to cut one's overhead if one wants to stay in
business. Unlike some in the House who tried to equate
exclusively business with government, we do not do that
because government is not a business like any other business. It
is a unique institution that has to balance many competing
However, we do owe it to Canadians to try to operate
ourselves in a most efficient manner. When we announce our
defence cuts, we will do so in such a way as to address this
infrastructure imbalance, this inflated administrative overhead
that does not really conform with the actual role being
discharged by the armed forces today.
It will be very controversial. It will impact on every region of
the country. I cannot over-emphasize enough the severity of
what we have to do. If we do not do this and do this fast, that is in
the next few weeks, then we will have to take the cuts in the
operational end which in effect will grind us to a halt. It could
even mean that we would have to, notwithstanding the decision
of the House about deployment in the former Yugoslavia, the
government's decision and the views of the House, concede
I do not think Canadians want to do that. We have to discharge
our obligations whether it is there or elsewhere. We have to
continue to operate the business, the plant or service for
Canadians that the Canadian Armed Forces brings forward.
It would be very difficult. It would be very controversial and I
would ask the members not just in the opposition parties but also
my own party to understand the difficulty that we have to face.
In doing it we will deal with individuals affected in a way
which is extremely sensitive, which will go beyond what is
required in terms of collective agreements and with our
personnel. I believe that we will be able to put as good a face on
what we are going to do from a human impact position as
possible, as realistically as we can. With respect to communities
that will be affected, this will be very difficult. Some can absorb
job losses, some can absorb the decline in economic activity, but
others will not be able to do so readily. We do not want to preside
over the dissolution of entire communities in the country.
Even though the government's financial means are severely
restricted, we will work with provinces and communities,
members of Parliament affected and businesses to try to ensure
that the very good plant and capacity that we have in many of our
facilities-office buildings, bases, other structures-are used
for other purposes. Whether it is business, community projects
or provincial government works, we will try as best as is
possible to ensure that the economic activity in those
communities is not gutted but is maintained to some degree.
Having said that, there will be no more Summersides. We
cannot afford it. The former government-no disrespect to my
colleagues from Prince Edward Island, there may be one or two
in the House today-closed that base and there was an outcry. I
understand the outcry. The compensation that the people in
Prince Edward Island received was generous by comparison
with what we can do today. We just do not have the hundreds of
millions of dollars to replace the economic activity.
I want to take the opportunity in this debate to tell my
colleagues why we are proceeding in this way. We have to do it
now to preserve the fighting edge of the forces, but not to
prejudice the outcome of the defence review.
If we mothball equipment and curtail operations, it is still
going to mean jobs. If when the defence review is complete, the
members have worked hard in their committee and they
advocate a certain direction, we may have to say: ``Well, we
cannot do that any more because we got rid of that piece of
equipment, we cut out that unit from the armed forces and to
restore it is going to cost hundreds of millions of dollars''.
By acting now I believe we are going to preserve the ability of
the joint committee and others participating in the review
process to effect policy in a meaningful way and at least be able
to have a fighting capability at the end of this year that can
discharge any obligations the committee thrusts upon it.
I would ask for the co-operation of members when we
announce our budget cuts. My colleagues and I will be available
on a regional basis to explain what we are doing and to try to
mitigate somehow the impact. We will do everything we can to
help various communities. But the time has come to address
some of these very difficult questions and it must be done now. It
I am going on a little bit longer and I must apologize to my
critics on the other side. I have probably told the House more
than I have told the cabinet. It is meeting upstairs and I have to
go and face the music, which is somewhat unusual in the sense
of the House hearing a longer speech on defence than cabinet has
already heard. It is meeting now and I apologize to my critics
because I will not be here to listen to them. My parliamentary
secretary is here. As members know, he is a former
distinguished member of the Canadian navy. He will be making
notes, plus our officials will be watching the debate on
television. Everything that is said here today certainly will be
brought to my attention.
In conclusion, the government wants to hear about every
aspect of defence policy-our multilateral relations, NATO and
NORAD. I think NORAD is up for renegotiation in 1996. We
want the committee to be completely unfettered in what it looks
into. We want it to be reasonable, obviously, and I think the
members will be reasonable. We will be meeting jointly with the
foreign affairs committee. I see my colleague from Toronto, the
parliamentary secretary of foreign affairs, listening to the
debate. There is obviously overlap in some areas but we could
hold joint hearings to make sure there is no duplication of work.
I have confidence in the quality of the members that I know
are on the House of Commons committee from the three parties.
They are knowledgeable, they have spoken in the debates on
cruise missile testing and on Bosnia and our role in
peacekeeping. They are knowledgeable people and they are
sincere. They want Canada's defence policy not to be one of
partisan bickering but something upon which we can all agree
and something about which we can all feel the kind of pride that
we should feel.
The Canadian Armed Forces has a terrific reputation. It goes
back decades. It goes back to our participation in world wars, the
Korean war and all our peacekeeping ventures. We have just sent
over a fact finding tour led by people from foreign affairs. We
have one of our senior military people assessing the situation in
Bosnia because we have to make a decision very quickly about
our engagement. The comments about the conduct of Canadian
troops are absolutely outstanding.
I hate to quote one of the belligerents, but one general on the
Serbian side when talking about our troops in Srebrenica said:
``We want the Canadians to stay. We trust them. We like them''.
That is probably the only thing the three factions agree on in
Bosnia, that the Canadian troops are probably the best that are
deployed there under the UN command.
We have a proud institution, terrific people. In many respects
it is a shame that we have allowed our armed forces to work hard
without having paid much attention to them over the years. The
last government dealt with the armed forces in a most
reprehensible manner in terms of policy. It issued a white paper
without public consultation. It slashed here there and
everywhere with no military, operational or logical reason to do
so. It certainly shocked the morale of the armed forces.
However, we have professionals. They know what is coming
in terms of defence reductions but they have a real faith in this
Parliament and the changing attitudes of the Canadian public
and the government to try and be fair and honest with them so
that they can discharge their obligation in the best interests of
everyone in this country.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to start by congratulating the Minister of National
Defence on his presentation. In the course of my speech,
however, I will show there are a number of points on which we
differ with the minister.
I am not sure whether we should be grateful to the government
for initiating a review of our national defence policy, as part of a
motion to appoint a special joint committee to consider the
document from the Department of National Defence entitled
Review of Canadian Defence Policy.
I do not intend to dwell on the pros and cons of appointing a
special joint committee. The role of the Standing Committee on
National Defence happens to be to deal with the items that
together form the mission of this new committee. Without
wishing to seem repetitive, is this not just another form of
duplication and overlap, a waste of time better spent making the
decisions that are so important to Quebecers and Canadians?
The new committee will have the same consultative powers:
the power to summon witnesses, to hire consultants and to print
documents. It will also, as the minister said, adjourn from place
to place inside Canada in order to get the advice it needs to make
Everything in the committee's structure and operations is a
duplication of the Standing Committee on National Defence,
thus generating additional costs that, although not necessarily
excessive, will not be well received by the Quebec and Canadian
It has been said repeatedly that we must reduce public
spending, make government more effective and, what all
taxpayers would like to see, simplify the parliamentary process
to make it productive and cost effective. And lo and behold, here
we have one more addition to the government apparatus, and I
find that very difficult to accept. All members in this House
should try, to the best of their ability, to reduce all unnecessary
spending, even the smallest amounts, to prove to our
constituents that we realize the financial situation is very
serious and that our actions must reflect the commitments made
by all parties to their constituents.
I am afraid that, all things considered, I cannot accept the
duplication of time, energy and money this special joint
committee will represent. The Minister of National Defence
said earlier that hon. members were very busy, and now he wants
to make them even busier by striking another committee that
would have the same mandate as an existing committee.
I repeat that it is the responsibility of the Standing Committee
on National Defence to review the document tabled by the hon.
minister and to make the best possible recommendations. The
standing committee can invite any expert on military or foreign
policy issues, and ask pertinent questions so as to develop a
defence policy and submit it to the government. Again,
members of the standing committee who will sit on the joint
committee will have access to the same experts, will ask the
same questions and, no doubt, will get the same answers. If this
is efficient decision making, then I understand why Canada's
debt is so large.
However, the tabling of this motion has one definite
advantage: it will force members of this House to discuss the
motion itself, but also Canada's defence policy, which is often
criticized by the public, the media, some elected
representatives, as well as the Auditor General.
I think we all want an exchange of ideas, but also an in-depth
review of the role of our national defence establishment. We
must look at every aspect of defence policy. Commitments to
NATO, the United Nations and the United States are all
important elements in this review. Some major changes have
occurred on the international scene in recent years; all NATO
allies have modified their defence policy and the United States,
Great Britain and France have adopted new approaches. Canada
has, to some extent, followed the same process by coming up
with a new defence policy statement in 1992.
This trend has triggered three patterns in the readjustment of
defence policies. First, all countries reduced their defence
budgets, which translated into reduced demand and production
for the defence industry. This situation severely affected arms
producing countries, including Canada, where thousands of jobs
disappeared. Quebec also paid a heavy price, since a good part
of the Canadian defence industry was centralized in the
The second pattern is more of a strategic nature, since it has to
do with evaluating possible external threats, following the
reduced risk of east-west conflicts. This risk being now almost
non-existent, the threat of regional and even local conflicts has
taken a new importance which defence policies must now take
into account. Canada shares this view with its allies.
The third pattern is the progressive transformation of
international institutions such as the UN and NATO, whose
political and strategic missions are being fully reviewed.
In the context of our relations with other countries, we must
remember that the role of Canadian peacekeepers was examined
during those long debates on the situation in Bosnia and on
Canadian peacekeeping missions. The Minister of National
Defence also referred to that role in his speech this morning.
Consequently, I will not discuss this issue at length.
Other aspects concerning the review of our national defence
policy are just as important, but they affect us and our
constituents much more directly. I am referring to the national
and financial aspects.
The national aspect has to do with internal activity. What role
do we want our military personnel to take on inside the Canadian
territory? Will our armed forces play a more significant role to
ensure our internal security? Will they be called upon to patrol
the Canadian coastline to protect us against possible intruders?
Will they be called upon to play a more active role in the fight
against drugs? Will they be called upon to help monitor fishing
activities in our territorial waters? Will they be called upon to be
more involved in sea and mountain rescue operations? Will they
be called upon to help the public in case of a natural disaster?
Only when the role and the mandate of the Department of
National Defence are clarified will we be able to determine the
human resources and the material required to fulfil that
It would be premature to evaluate and analyze possible
changes in our defence policy until the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, in co-operation with the Minister of National Defence,
takes a close look at our commitments to NORAD and NATO,
and also at our involvement in UN peacekeeping missions. In
fact, the minister said earlier that officials from those two
departments would meet to discuss those issues. So, until the
House is informed of the outcome of these meetings, it is
difficult to predict what Canada's new defence policy will be.
Only then we will be able to determine the personnel required.
Moreover, future needs should be determined in co-operation
with military authorities. Given the circumstances, we should
not focus on major policy directions, but rather on
administrative aspects, in order to find out what the real
For starters, the Bloc Quebecois suggests that reduction
programs already initiated be evaluated. This includes an
evaluation of the decision to cut back on staff, reduce the
number of officers and close certain bases. We should know why
military equipment is being procured or maintained and
determine, with the help of the military, whether such
equipment is relevant. We have to make the necessary choices
and avoid spending billions of dollars to procure equipment
solely for regional development purposes. Often, the costs are
higher than if we had relied solely on ability and expertise.
Finally, as the Auditor General has repeatedly pointed out, the
minister should be made to completely rethink his military
At this juncture, I cannot help but give several examples of
this procurement policy which has cost the taxpayers dearly. If
this policy is not amended, it will prove to be even more costly.
Take, for instance, Litton Systems of Toronto which was
awarded the contract to modernize destroyers, even though it
had no expertise in shipbuilding. The $2 billion contract
awarded to Litton Systems represented a waste of money since
this company was unable to fulfil its commitments owing to its
lack of expertise in this field.
Logically, why was the contract to modernize these destroyers
not awarded to MIL Davie of Lauzon, the company that built
these ships, was totally familiar with their components and had
the necessary expertise to fulfil the terms of the contract?
Another example is the $250 million contract awarded to a
British Columbia firm for the construction of tracked vehicles.
The company based its design on a Swedish model, whereas
Bombardier has been building this type of tracked vehicle for
decades now. Had these contracts been awarded to companies
with expertise in these fields, the government would have saved
money. This is what it should be aiming for.
In his 1992 report, the Auditor General refers to major
operational problems, in particular with regard to the weapons
management policy or military equipment procurement
programs. Because of the numerous problems and difficulties
that arise, the processing of proposals is delayed and a large
number of staff are tied up. Several recommendations make
mention of staff problems and specifically, of DND's defence
program management system.
In section 17.25 of his report, the Auditor General is openly
critical of the program management system, noting that in
addition to being ineffective, it generates an enormous amount
of work for staff. The Auditor General proceeded to say, and I
quote: ``The first problem relates to the enormous staff
workload needed to implement this cumbersome process. Our
analysis of all projects over $10 million identified in the defence
services program as of February 1991 revealed that it takes an
average of 1,109 days from the time a project is first identified
in the DND database until the statement of capability deficiency
document is approved. It takes an average of 1,107 days for the
program planning proposal to be approved, 1,608 days for the
program development proposal, 1,332 for the program change
proposal, and 394 days for effective project approval by the
Treasury Board. These average times between individual stages
of the defence program management system and the number of
times these documents are amended and recirculated provide a
good indication of the amount of staff effort involved''.
Considering the many pitfalls and obstacles, the Auditor
General estimates that only a very small percentage of projects
proceed through the entire, amazingly ineffective process.
He pointed out, among other things, that all the change
proposals to the defence procurement program -and there are
many; just think of the frigate contract and the disputes between
National Defence, St. John's Shipbuilding in New Brunswick
and MIL Davie of Lauzon, in Quebec- are making even more
cumbersome a process which already takes too much time and
costs taxpayers too much.
The costs associated with such a management process cannot
be considered in isolation. Large amounts are involved and,
instead of making things easier for the government, it is making
things harder, so much so that the government is now avoiding
this complicated process and granting gainful contracts directly
to companies, like Bell Helicopter of Mirabel for the tactical
transport helicopters and Western Star for the light off-road
I think that if the Auditor General points out serious
deficiencies, it is worth looking into the matter. Why is the
Liberal Party not acting? No business could survive such
methods, it would go bankrupt.
The abnormally high number of higher ranking officers in the
Canadian Armed Forces is another example of an overly liberal
and incredibly costly process. How can we justify having 32,999
corporals and 7,631 captains when there are only 9,370 soldiers
in our armed forces? There are just about as many captains as
soldiers. With only 9,370 soldiers on a total strength of 77,975,
the Canadian forces are the most top heavy in the world,
relatively speaking, and also the most expensive to maintain.
Would we not be justified in questioning the suitability, the
desirability of such an expensive top level? Would it not be
better to have fewer officers and to apply the savings to
equipping our soldiers? Unquestionably, such a situation calls
for corrective budgetary action.
I would now like to move from the personnel problem to the
infrastructure problem, specifically to the closure of military
bases. This is not the first time in our history that the
government has had to close down military bases. Several were
closed after the second world war, and again in the sixties, in the
seventies and, more recently, in 1988-89 when the Conservative
government closed over 13 bases and stations across the
In spite of it all, the defence infrastructure remains far too big
for the size of the forces. With a strength of merely 78,000
members, the Canadian Armed Forces are maintaining from
coast to coast facilities that could accommodate 140,000.
Obviously, more cuts are needed, especially since several of our
bases are obsolete and increasingly expensive to maintain. Also,
their strategic value is not the same as it was at the time they
were built. So, for all these reasons, the government will have to
make a choice and impose a new round of closures.
During the last days of its mandate as the Official Opposition
and again during the election campaign, the Liberal Party took a
stand for base closures in return for real, concrete guarantees to
the communities affected by these measures. As a matter of fact,
the Minister of Defence said a few words earlier about the
Promises were made in the red book to convert surplus
military bases in Canada to peacekeeping training and staging
centres. The Liberal defence conversion plan reflects a strategic
direction based on Canada's foreign policy, a policy in which
peacekeeping is viewed as a political basis that the Liberal Party
will rely heavily on.
The plan to convert surplus military bases to peacekeeping
training and staging centres seems to be an important part of the
Liberal Party's foreign policy and their March 26, 1993 press
release was very explicit in that regard. So, this policy direction
should not be overlooked and action in this area is to be
It is important at this point to denounce holding a special
debate on Canada's defence policy when the government has not
yet tabled its new white paper on defence.
This position applies not only to the issue of cutting military
bases but also to that of training centres for peacekeepers.
We, in the Bloc Quebecois, cannot approve the peacekeeper
training centres initiative for several reasons.
First, it would be unrealistic to believe that countries from
around the world or NATO members will send their troops to
such centres for training. Who will pay the travelling expenses
of international troops coming here to train and the costs of
transporting their equipment? The UN does not have the
resources to pay such costs. Furthermore, these international
missions always have extremely tight deadlines. How can one
reconcile these deadlines with a stay in Canadian training
centres that will cause even further delay?
Second, as the minister was saying earlier, it has been
demonstrated that Canadian peacekeepers are among the best
trained in the world. So why create a training centre when our
troops already enjoy exceptional training conditions on their
existing bases? Why should we spend new money to move our
troops, who are already training in the field, at less cost, for
Third, it is dishonest and hypocritical to argue that the
creation of a training centre does not entail extra costs for the
Canadian government. How can we say that, on one hand, we are
cutting spending by the Department of National Defence and
that, on the other hand, we are keeping military bases which
should no longer be in use open for peacekeeper training. This
contradictory message deserves to be challenged by the Bloc
Fourth, Quebec's military bases, Valcartier in particular, play
a very important role in preparing Canadian troops for
international peacekeeping missions. Encouraging the creation
of training centres for peacekeepers-in Cornwallis, for
example-effectively means the end of this type of activity on
Quebec territory and the loss of significant economic resources.
We have no choice but to oppose such measures, for the very
foundation of defence department activity on Quebec territory
may be affected.
The real solution to compensate communities that will be
affected by defence spending cuts remains the establishment of
defence conversion committees. The success of these
conversion projects is totally dependent on local people taking
in hand the economic resources offered by the government to
compensate for losses caused by the termination of defence
activity and to stimulate the economic diversification of the
region affected by these changes.
We are proposing that priority be given to local and regional
stakeholders in the military base conversion process. These
local stakeholders are in the best position to know how to
optimize resources and how to decide on economic
diversification projects. We are also proposing that a plan be
developed for the economic reallocation of buildings and
facilities that will be closed by the Department of National
Defence, and then that existing infrastructure be integrated into
economic renewal projects put in place by local stakeholders.
Program management, preparation and planning must be
transferred to local stakeholders to prevent the federal
government from over-centralizing once again. In any case, it is
likely that projects favoured by local people would be more
valid than those coming from the federal government. In fact, a
centralized approach may lead to excessive costs and again to
the bureaucratization of government action. The federal
government's action plan should not hinder local and
In conclusion, the Bloc Quebecois is reiterating its
commitment to the cuts that must be made in the defence
department's budget. In my speech, I pointed out several
questionable expenses in a costly and demanding management
system, and it would not be unreasonable to believe, like the
Auditor General, that drastic changes must be made in this area.
Finally, the list of criteria for military base closures was
compiled many years ago. Such closures must be done in a
rational and irreproachable fashion. When we look at
infrastructure, it is important to remember that Quebec only has
13 per cent of the defence department's capital assets. It would
then be ill-advised to believe that Quebec bases can be reduced
even further, as this would only aggravate Quebec's current
disadvantage in this area. In addition, the bases in Bagotville,
Valcartier, Saint-Jean and Montreal are operational and
essential to military operations as they represent the minimum
needed in Quebec.
In closing, I want to state once again my disagreement with
the motion to create a joint committee. I would urge instead the
government and the department of defence to simplify, instead
of complicating, the defence policy review process.
I hope that the minister will have the political courage needed
to rationalize the management of his department with
intellectual honesty and the enlightened co-operation of all
I would like to commend, in closing, the commitment made
by the hon. minister in his speech to carry out the rationalization
everyone is hoping for.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands): Mr. Speaker, I
congratulate the Minister of National Defence on his
presentation this morning and my colleague from the Bloc
Quebecois on his presentation, although I must say there are
some portions of his presentation with which I disagree.
I would like to reiterate the Reform Party's support for the
conduct of a defence review. We think it is long overdue and
vitally necessary that our country revisit the requirements of
We also support the establishment of a joint committee of the
House of Commons and the Senate. It is my understanding that
there would be two committees dealing with this matter if it
were not for the consolidation into one.
Senate expertise as evidenced in the 1993 Senate Standing
Committee on Foreign Affairs report on Canadian involvement
in peacekeeping is but one example of the expertise the Senate
brings to bear and can offer. Within reason more heads,
particularly knowledgeable heads, are invaluable. It provides
for broader input.
The committee at the moment is skewed somewhat eastward,
in that there is a lack of western representation on it. I am hoping
that perhaps in the representation from the Senate we will see
some more western representation to provide a more national
We are very much in favour of the document's support for
consolidation with other parliamentary committees. We think it
is important that defence be taken in conjunction with foreign
affairs. Obviously it is an adjunct to it. We also think a
consolidation with the industry committee to involve defence
conversion will best benefit Canada in the conversion from our
current defence posture to a different one.
With the end of the cold war, as the minister said, there was
great relief throughout our country and throughout the world
because it appeared the great menace that had faced us for many
years was gone. That to a large measure is true. The Warsaw pact
collapsed and there was no hovering menace that appeared to be
ready to consolidate or to take over the west.
However more recent happenings have indicated that is not
quite the case. We now have a much more volatile world.
Nationalism has risen in many areas, including the previous
Soviet Union, and there is danger that local conflicts or
extended conflicts could erupt in that area.
We have seen the dire consequences of ethnic and religious
clashes. They are going on at this moment in the former
Yugoslavia. It would be a misnomer to say the world is a safer
place now. In fact it is probably more dangerous without the iron
fist control we used to see in the Warsaw pact.
A rising threat which we must be concerned with and take
account of is the terrorist threat. With the sophistication of
modern weapons and the ability to distribute those weapons
throughout the world by countries which are a little lacking in
foreign exchange and therefore vulnerable to offers of
remuneration for the weapons, they are virtually everywhere or
can be virtually everywhere in the world. We as an independent
have to be very conscious of this point and prepared to deal with
a terrorist threat.
I guess we should be asking ourselves the following question
right now: Are we entering an era of continued instability, or are
we simply transiting a time of turbulence and discord? The
answer to that question is not readily available. I think we have
to await the outcome to see just what is going on. I fear that it
may be a more extended period than we would wish.
Traditionally Canada's defence priorities have been, first
sovereignty, then mutual defence alliances, aid to the civil
power, peacekeeping, and search and rescue. In this defence
review nothing should be sacred. Everything should be
examined to decide whether or not we want to continue with it,
whether we want to reallocate priorities, and whether we can
afford to do what we say we are going to do.
For instance, search and rescue is almost a given. People
consider that if we have defence forces they will be there to help
people at sea, to help people who are lost, to help survivors of air
crashes, and so on. However, is this better done by the military,
or could it possibly be done by contract with a civilian agency in
a cheaper fashion? I think that question must be considered.
We must consider Canadian national needs: the ability to
control our air space, to detect and monitor people who enter it,
to control our seashores and the approaches to them, and to
control our borders. We must be able to provide protection from
smuggling, from deliberate pollution, from illegal immigration,
from drug trafficking and from overfishing. The question we
must deal with is: How much of these tasks must be accepted by
the armed forces and how much can be assigned or co-operated
with other agencies?
We must look to Canada's international needs and desires.
Our mutual alliances come to mind. We have been involved in
NATO since 1949. It has been a very successful involvement
because in my mind this is what brought the Warsaw pact to its
knees. It is what stopped the encroachment into western
territory from the east. Although NATO could be recognized as a
large relatively inefficient and very expensive enterprise, it has
accomplished its purpose. It should be recognized as that.
NORAD is almost considered by some to be an agency we no
longer need. We must be very careful in our assessment of
NORAD because it also has a space adjunct to it that I think we
would ignore at our peril.
Going to the proliferation of various weapons of
sophistication in the world right now, there is a very great
likelihood we will see strategic missiles in hands we would
prefer not to see them in. While NORAD is not in the business of
providing a defence against it, it could certainly plot the launch
of these missiles and the projected strike zone, where it is going
to hit. This was used to some effect in the Persian gulf war when
the Scud missiles were tracked from their launch. Their impact
was passed as information to our naval vessels in the Persian
We have to look beyond those two mutual defence alliances to
our burgeoning involvement in the Pacific Rim. Is it going to
involve a requirement for Canada to join in with some defence
alliance with the people in the Pacific Rim area?
Since the beginning we have been involved in UN
peacekeeping activities. Probably Canadians in the majority
would vote for continuation in these activities. But we have to
question very seriously in which ones do we wish to be involved.
How much are we willing to commit in funds to providing those?
Those funds not only involve the actual deployment of the
people who are there. They involve the cost of training those
people, of transporting them and of looking after them after they
Again referring to the gulf war and other commitments we
have had, we have had naval vessels in the Persian gulf, in the
Red Sea, in the Gulf of Aden, in the Indian Ocean, and currently
we have vessels deployed in the Adriatic.
It is important to realize that at this moment there are over 700
submarines employed by over 44 different countries in the world
today. There are another 150 being constructed at this moment.
The submarine has become the weapon of choice for many
nations because it is relatively inexpensive to operate and
relatively devastating in its ability to control what goes on. For
instance, in the Falklands war, one British submarine tied up the
entire Argentinian fleet and kept it out of the action.
Therefore we have to very seriously consider when we deploy
our naval forces into other spheres whether we go there as an
independent nation capable of providing our own protection or
with a force that can add this protection to us. That is a decision
we have to take.
We are involved at the moment in a humanitarian assistance
mission in the former Yugoslavia. There are many misgivings
among many Canadians about the mandate, the effectiveness
and the actual involvement of Canadians in this type of theatre.
Finally, of course, we must consider the requirement for
Canadians to intervene on ideological grounds where we see a
human rights violation situation going on in a country and our
people think there is a requirement for Canadians to be involved.
The mission in Haiti at the moment comes to mind.
Finally, we have to consider the terrorist threat that I referred
to earlier. It is very likely that at some time there will be a
serious terrorist threat posed not necessarily against Canada but
perhaps against one of our neighbours or our allies. It could also
be posed against us and we must be prepared to deal with that.
To paraphrase from the guidance document, the question that
we need to examine in this defence review and answer is should
Canada establish and maintain at the lowest possible cost a
combat capable total force of naval, land and air forces which is
adequately equipped, appropriately supported and properly
trained to protect Canadians, their values and their interests at
home and abroad.
I suspect the answer to that is going to be yes, although we
may be seeing a change in the priorities that we have allocated in
the past to those that we will allocate at the finale of this defence
review. Our aim should be to give Canadians the defence forces
they want and are willing to pay for.
My perception of our task in this defence review differs
somewhat from our colleagues in the BQ on one item and maybe
with others. I do not know. The bottom line as far as I am
concerned should be that within those forces and within the
budget that Canadians approve, Canadian defence dollars
should be spent on defence and not on ancillary items.
The social benefits traditionally associated with defence
establishments which come from employment and military
payrolls must take second place to defence requirements.
Finally, the outcome of the defence review should be to
answer the needs of Canada as a whole, not those of any one area
or region within the country. To my mind we are trying to
establish the requirements for Canadian defence forces from
Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and from the American
border to the North Pole.
We should concentrate on achieving what we think is needed
and what we can afford to do. That should be our final game. It is
my hope that when the white paper is produced some months
after the conclusion and the submission of our final defence
review, it will reflect very closely the findings that we come up
with in this review.
Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce-Grey): Mr. Speaker, it is a
pleasure for me to participate in this debate and to say to
members opposite that I appreciate their input.
The last intervention by the member from the Reform Party
was quite good. It was balanced. It said that there were
imperatives that we have as a nation whether it is an
insurrection, smuggling or looking after our territories or
whether or not search and rescue is something that the military
should have or whether it should be privatized. Canada has a
unique tradition with respect to its role as played in World War I,
World War II and in conflicts. I think our size, our economic
base and our geography along with those traditions have placed
Canada in a particular position that cannot be ignored, and that
is that we are well-known for our peacekeeping roles. Some
people would ask if it is peacekeeping or peacemaking. Whether
or not we want to get into that argument is really not a problem
since our major role is probably to help stop conflicts.
The member opposite made a very good point when he spoke
about submarines. Submarine warfare as well as cruise missiles
and F-18s have changed the way that wars are traditionally
fought. The Suez Canal was something very strategic until there
were submarines. Submarines could be in any place in this
world. There is something called MIRV which comes out of the
water with a propeller and rocket fire. It can break into seven
warheads and each one can be independently guided. That
changed the whole perception as to whether or not a base was
needed in any particular locale.
I for one would like an answer to the question of the hon.
member, what exactly is our role, and then try to deploy our
people based on that role. Of course that role would involve not
only the defence standing committee but also military experts.
The minister of defence said that we do not operate our system
like a business. He was right. I listened to the member opposite
who said that we should not be engaged in deadly war
equipment. It is a fact of life that for our own protection we may
have to do it and since we have a surplus, we sell to people
globally. Then there is a fight within the country about whether
it goes to Montreal, Quebec City, British Columbia or Ontario.
That is probably something that should not be in this debate
since we are talking about what our position is, what kind of
equipment we require and how are we going to carry it out in the
realities of the amount of money we have.
I would like to make one point and I hope that it is considered.
The member for York South-Weston and others have looked at
defence spending and have said that it is top heavy with generals
and people in the upper echelons.
We hear the argument that these people are required since our
standing army is not very large and if we have to get up and go,
these people can train troops, that they are in positions
strategically in order to make that happen.
One suggestion that is probably appropriate involves the great
tradition of taking people from the private sector who were in
the military, taking their years of experience, counting them in
the pension funds and so on. That is one area where the private
sector could probably help. Strategically we need those people.
However, in reality I do not think we can pay for generals and so
on. To keep these people motivated, they take exams and keep
moving up, so there is a top heavy army. One innovative
technique might be to let them be in the private sector and do
their managerial work which involves some of the skills we
need, whether it is logistics or whatever special expertise they
have, and allow them to interact with the military from time to
time to keep them combat ready.
I applaud members opposite for their interventions. I know
there is another subcommittee. I am not sure why that is
happening. As far as I am concerned I do not care which
committee studies it. I just hope the focus is on the reality.
Bismarck said once that countries should only make alliances
with countries of their own size. Once you start with one bigger,
you are going to get into trouble. You cannot go around saying
that you are neutral. You can be neutralized but you are never
neutral. It is the brutal reality about power and power relations
in this world. Canada is unique. We do not want to fight with
anybody. We happen to be next to the United States which is a
global force and deploys itself. Because we are in the global
spaceship called earth, everything is interconnected with
everything else. There might be a hot spot and it may be that the
conflict could spread, which we have seen happen time and time
again, and then it affects us.
We have to look at it strategically and come to grips with that
within our own reality. I think that is the way we should go.
Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, I do not think there was a question
there. It was mainly a comment. I would agree with much of
what the member said.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, first I would
like to comment on the points raised by my colleague from the
Bloc Quebecois who argued against creating another committee
because it was duplication. Last week they were taking the exact
opposite point of view when they said: ``Let us form another
committee to examine the waste and duplication in
government''. Now they are opposed to the creation of a
committee that is going to do some additional work.
I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of National Defence-
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I would just like to
remind members that in the question and comment period,
comments or questions can only be directed to the last
spokesperson. In this case the member for Saanich-Gulf
Islands was the last member to speak to this motion. So I would
ask the member for St. Albert if he would direct his comment or
question to his colleague from Saanich-Gulf Islands.
Mr. Williams: My question therefore is for the last speaker.
The riding of St. Albert where I live is on the edge of a major
military installation, CFB Edmonton, which employs
approximately 3,300 people. That is a major installation.
I would like to give a bit of a background on how much is
actually involved in that installation. The base provides
administrative and technical support not only for the elements
of air command but for those units located in Edmonton from the
National Defence Headquarters, Land Forces Command
Headquarters, Maritime Command, Training Systems
Headquarters and Communications Command. It is a tactical
aircraft centre for the Canadian Air Forces as well as a parachute
In addition, it is the home of such units as the Canadian
Airborne Centre, Parachute Maintenance Depot, Survival
Training School plus four flying squadrons. Not only that, but
the search and rescue for western Canada for the the north is
located in Edmonton.
A couple of years or so ago we had a horrible crash in Resolute
Bay where we were unable to get our search and rescue people in
to perform a rescue without the loss of life. I think it is
absolutely important that we have a military installation in
Edmonton that can serve the north.
The Minister of National Defence has said that there will be
major cutbacks announced within the next few weeks prior to
the defence review taking place. I would like to suggest and ask
my colleague from the Reform Party who was speaking whether
he agrees with me that no cuts should be made, especially on a
major military installation of 3,300 people, until such time as a
defence review has taken place and we can find out whether or
not this is really needed. How can it be decided that a hub of
military installations that serve all of western Canada,
employing 3,300 people, is no longer relevant?
I would like to ask the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands if
he agrees with that point of whether we should wait until the
review is finished before we make any major decisions of that
Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the
I am already on record with the minister as reflecting the view
that I believe that closure of bases and so on should better await
the outcome of the defence review. I think it most important that
we know what we are doing and why we are doing it before we do
it. It is far more expensive and time consuming to try to recover
a capability that we have given up than it is to maintain it for just
another few months and then say: ``All right, now we do not
need it''. I do agree that we would be wiser to wait until the
defence review is completed before we announce base closures
and so on.
On the other hand I am assuming because of the multitude
of activities that take place at Edmonton perhaps it might not
be one that is considered for closure. However, if in the course
of the defence review it is revealed that the capability that is
vested in Edmonton can be diversified to other bases and the
capability that is required is still available then I would say that
I would have to opt on the side of Canada and its defence force
as a whole rather than leaning toward supporting any particular
area in the country.
Hon. William Rompkey (Labrador): Mr. Speaker, I am very
pleased to take part in this debate today and I want to talk a little
at the beginning about the timeliness of the debate and I do so as
the recently elected chair of the House of Commons Standing
Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.
In that capacity I am looking forward to the review and to
hearing from people all across the country. I want to thank the
government for bringing forward the review in the way that it
has. When we were in opposition we called time after time for
the government to do exactly what is being done today.
As the official critic for the opposition at that time, I recall
asking the Minister of National Defence if he would refer this
matter to the House of Commons standing committee. Now we
have a reference and I am very pleased with that.
It seems to me that we need to go about it in this way. We have
seen defence cuts over the last several years and we all know that
the cold war is over, that there is a peace dividend and that
restructuring has to take place.
We also are very much aware of the fiscal and monetary
situations. We are aware of the deficit and the need to restrict
and cut that deficit and keep it in line. Obviously, defence has
played and will continue to play its part in the reduction of the
We felt quite correctly as an opposition that to drive defence
policy from the Department of Finance was not the way to have
an armed forces for Canada for the future.
We felt that we really should proceed by examining the aims
and objectives of the armed forces. What do we want Canadian
armed forces to do for the foreseeable future and for the next
That is the way we are proceeding now and it is the right way
to proceed. Defence cuts can and should be and have been made
but there is a critical mass to be maintained within the armed
forces. If we fall below that critical mass we remove our ability
to respond to the challenges of the future and to equip the armed
forces however that may turn out to be for the task ahead.
To drive defence policy from the Department of Finance we
felt and feel now was not the way to proceed. I am very pleased
that we are going about this examination, this review, with an
open mind and questioning all the underpinning assumptions of
national defence for the future.
I am also pleased that the House of Commons, the
representatives of the people, is being used as a vehicle to
include as many Canadians as possible in this debate. We will
want as parliamentarians to hear from Canadians all across the
country who have an interest in defence matters and in the
security of Canada. I hope they will come forward and I invite
them to come forward. Perhaps we can even use the vehicle we
are using today of television to include as many Canadians as
possible in this review.
We want their ideas. We want them to feel that this is their
debate, this is their review, these are their armed forces, the
armed forces of their country. I hope that many Canadians will
We will be doing it as well in conjunction with our colleagues
on the committee on foreign affairs because obviously there is a
very integral relationship between the armed forces and the
foreign affairs of Canada. That is a component of the armed
forces and we will be looking at that. We will be exploring our
membership now in NATO, the development of the CSCE, our
partnership in NORAD and the alliances we have formed and
may continue to form and explore on both coasts and in other
I am looking forward to this and I want to talk a little about my
own experience with the armed forces. It may underscore an
aspect of the armed forces that we have not heard about and
perhaps do not always consider.
I remember joining the naval reserve when I was at Memorial
University in St. John's. I was 19 years old. As a matter of fact, I
had been a Canadian for seven years at that time. I was not born a
Canadian. I have a great deal of fun sometimes by telling other
people that I am a new Canadian. I came to this country when I
was 13 years old.
We in Newfoundland, it is important to underscore, were not
part of this country until 1949. When I joined the navy reserve I
was a new Canadian of seven years. I had rarely been off the
island. My friend from Summerside knows that those of us who
are born and live on islands live a pristine and surreal existence
that is the envy of many other people all over the world. One
thing that it does for us is create a bond between us, but it does
not introduce us always to other people in other areas.
When I joined the Canadian navy I met for the first time other
Canadians. I discovered what they were like. I got to know them.
I trained in Halifax, I trained in Esquimalt, British Columbia. I
saw both ends of this country and all places in between. That
introduced me to Canada.
I make that point because I do not think we should
underestimate the role of the armed forces in Canadian
citizenship in the broad sense.
As we question what is happening in the world and as we
question what is happening in this country and as we look for the
kind of Canada we have had, the kind of Canada that we want
now and for the future, let us not underestimate the role of
As we see many national institutions fading, disappearing and
changing it seems to me that the Canadian armed forces are one
of those national institutions that is still with us and that still
provides a very important role in this country for national
citizenship in the broad sense of the word.
It helped me to educate myself. It taught me a few things. I
suppose if war were to be declared and were called up, I would
be called upon to remember some of those things that I learned
over 30 years ago. God help the country if that were the case.
However, it taught me more than just navigation, seamanship,
semaphore and that sort of thing. It taught me about people, how
one responds to people, how one works with people, how one
lives with people and about this country as well.
I do not think we should underestimate the value of the armed
forces for education and citizenship in the broadest sense of the
words. I am not saying that may be the primary role of the armed
forces but I think it is an important role.
We should ask in this review how the armed forces reflect
Canada in other ways. How many aboriginals are there in the
armed forces, for example? Is it commensurate with the
percentage of aboriginals in this country? How do the armed
forces reflect the bilingual and bicultural nature of Canada? We
do have bilingualism within the armed forces. As a matter fact,
we have components of the armed forces that operate in either
I had the privilege last spring, as a matter of fact, of spending
some time at Valcartier with the Vandoos before they went to
Bosnia. I was impressed once again with the competence, the
professionalism and the dedication of that particular fighting
unit which is so renowned not only in this country but around the
world. I was impressed as well with its ability to respond to new
It does not simply have a tradition. When I saw the simulation
of events it was to meet in Bosnia going on at Valcartier I
realized that particular unit not only had traditions but had
competence in anticipating new situations that it would find
itself in and was developing an ability to respond.
We should ask ourselves in this review how the armed forces
reflect various aspects of Canada in the inclusion of aboriginals,
in the inclusion of people of both official languages.
There are other components as well that we should be looking
at to see whether our own armed forces effectively reflect the
kind of Canada that we have and that we want.
Then we should ask what do we want the armed forces to
defend against? Should we be talking about defence or should
we be talking about security, the security of Canada, and how we
want Canada to be secured? Are our borders secure against the
incursions of illegal drug pedlars, for example? Are we secure
against foreign overfishing? I have to say that recently, as a
matter of fact within the past few days, the Minister of Fisheries
and Oceans has been in Brussels trying to convince the
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization that we do have a
serious crisis in this country.
I have to say as well that the reports this morning were not all
that encouraging. The CBC reported that European countries
still do not accept, as I heard the news, that there is a crisis and
that there has been a dramatic decline in fish stocks, even over
the past year.
If we have not been able to adequately defend ourselves and
our resources through discussion and through international
forums, and I consider myself a moderate, I have to say very
clearly that these resources are important enough to us that we
should consider taking extreme measures if we have to defend
We have to see the future of the Canadian navy in that context,
not just in the context of search and rescue. That has been
alluded to already by my colleague from Saanich-Gulf Islands,
and quite rightly. I have known SAR Techs over the years and
they are among the most competent and effective that we have
anywhere in the Canadian forces. We have to make sure that we
give them the appropriate tools to do their job.
Particularly for those of us who live on both coasts, search and
rescue is an essential and fundamental component that must be
How do we secure our towns and our cities in emergencies
across the country? As my colleague has quite rightly said, that
has been a historical role of the Canadian Armed Forces and will
continue to be for the future. How do we secure this continent of
North America in co-operation with our very powerful
neighbour to the south? How do we secure air space? How do we
secure the seas around North America? How do we secure our
towns and cities within North America?
There is a role there for the armed forces, it seems to me. We
should be asking questions and comparing some of the things
that are going on in the United States. For example, in the United
States there is a national guard. Is there a need or a role for such
an organization in Canada? I do not know. These are interesting
questions that we can explore as we explore the security of our
towns and cities and our coasts and the role of the armed forces
in doing that.
Finally, apart from securing the continent and looking at the
defence organizations that we have had such as NORAD, do we
need a NORAD of the Pacific as well as a NORAD of the
What about the Arctic sea? As the Prime Minister and others
keep reminding us, this is a country that runs from sea to sea to
sea. I just saw my colleague from Iqaluit here in the Chamber
and he and I both understand that quite often traditionally
Canadians see the coast as being east and west, but there is a
northern coast as well. In my riding I come very close to the
Arctic sea, to Baffin Island. I am just south of Baffin Island and I
know that northwest passage is important to us as well.
Canada runs from sea to sea to sea and we have to make sure
that all of those coasts, all three of those coasts, are secure in the
future. That is our mandate.
How do we want to do that? We have to realize also that the
world has to be made secure. Canada has a role in that as well.
The world has shrunk and is smaller than it ever was. Even if
we wanted to and even if it was not in our best interest, I think we
would be called upon to play a role within the UN. There is a
growing need now, it seems to me, to look at the international
structures we have created for ourselves to see if they are
effective in decision making for keeping peace in the world.
Once we ask about structures like the UN, NATO, the CSCE and
so on we then have to ask: What armed forces do those structures
need and how can Canada contribute?
We have been called on over the years to be peacekeepers for
the world. We have an international reputation, and quite rightly
so. We will have to ask ourselves in this review: What is the
level we can sustain in terms of peacekeeping? There has
already been another call for more Canadian troops to go to
Bosnia as the ceasefire seems to be taking hold and to be
How much can Canada sustain? We have troops in something
like 17 different peacekeeping operations all over the world,
something like 2,700 Canadians at last count, almost 2,000 of
whom are in Bosnia, in the former Yugoslavia alone. Can we
maintain 2,700 people in 17 different peacekeeping operations
all over the world? It is not just our armed forces but our RCMP
is taking part in those operations. Sometimes our customs
officers are taking part in those operations. What level can
Canada sustain? What role should Canada play?
We will have to examine that. For all those roles how may
people do we need in the armed forces? How many soldiers?
How many airmen? How many naval personnel? How many
naval ratings do we need? Those are the questions we have to
How will they be trained? Do they have to be combat ready?
There is a theory proposed by the people to whom I talked at
Valcartier last spring, the generals who were training the
peacekeepers going to Bosnia, that the most effective
peacekeeper is a fully trained combat soldier ready to meet any
emergency. Only if we are ready to meet any emergency can we
meet the lesser emergencies.
We will have to ask: How do we train and what do we train
for? Finally how will we equip the armed forces? What level of
armaments will we need? How will we get those armaments?
How much will we produce in this country? How much should
we buy off the shelf? These are questions we will have to ask.
What will be the impact of that on Canadians now? Obviously
we will not take as thorough an assessment of the arms
production industry in Canada, but it is relevant to the armed
forces and it is relevant to the economy of Canada at this time.
Those are questions the committee will have to ask as well.
How much will we build in Canada? We are building now. We
are building in Halifax. We are building in Saint John. We have
some of the best in Quebec. We have some of the best and most
competent shipbuilding operations anywhere in the world. We
are building in London, Ontario. General Motors has an
important plant for the construction of armoured vehicles.
How much of this are we going to need? How much of this are
we going to continue to build as Canadians? How much can we
purchase elsewhere? Finally what level of funding will there be
for the armed forces?
In his statement the minister has quite rightly pointed out that
this is an important part of our study too. In the document he
tabled today, the guidance document, paragraph 6 says that the
Department of National Defence has been and will continue to
be supportive of efforts to improve Canada's overall fiscal
situation. Planned outlays have been cut back by more than $14
billion over the period between the fiscal years 1989 and
The cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter program and
defence budget cuts called for during and since the recent
federal election campaign will lower defence spending by well
over 10 per cent in the next four years, from a high of 40 per cent
some years ago to perhaps less than 7 per cent in present
circumstances. Defence expenditures today account for less
than 8 per cent of the federal budget as opposed to about 20 per
cent in 1964. The defence estimates have taken a hit. There has
been a reduction in defence estimates. There will be more as we
fight the fiscal situation and as we fight the deficit.
I end where I began: We must not forget there is a critical mass
to the armed forces and there is a level below which we cannot
pare. If we go below that level whatever it turns out to be, we
may not have an effective armed forces in the country to do the
kinds of things we want them to do. That is the kind of question
we will be asking in this review.
Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, I listened
carefully to the previous speaker. He gave us a very eloquent
overview of national defence. However, I do not fully agree with
him, especially since he did not stick to the motion before us
As for the motion tabled this morning by the Minister of
National Defence, I do not see the need to hold a special debate
on our national defence policy, since the government has yet to
table its white paper. With this debate, is the government
playing for time and trying to bring the public on side? What I
just said also goes for the cutbacks affecting military bases and
for the peacekeeper training centres.
I was hoping the debate would focus mostly on ways to lower
defence spending, even before the budget is tabled, rather than
on a joint committee made up of a specific number of people,
with specific terms of reference, which will undoubtedly cost
Canadians an unknown amount of money. Earlier, the hon.
member raised many questions, and I think that we have
received enough information from our military strategists and
our military staff and we have had enough discussions with these
people to know where we should be going with our national
I wonder of course how much this review will cost. I also
wonder about the committee membership. I do not see why we
need five senators on this committee, since they would only
increase costs. But anyway, I am against such a committee.
In this debate on national defence, I have much more
confidence in our military strategists. We have to trust someone,
otherwise we should stop sitting in this House and start spending
all our time consulting department after department. For
example, CFB Bagotville is designed to be involved in Canada's
territorial air defence, airspace control, drug enforcement,
international forces as well as support for our land and naval
CFB Bagotville can provide air defence since it already has all
these elements. It can respond to all our anticipated needs in
relation to NORAD. Bagotville is located 245 miles from
Gagetown, 240 miles from Tracadie, 370 miles from Clearwater,
85 miles from Valcartier and 290 miles from Petawawa. Its
central location makes it ideally suited to provide, with
optimum efficiency, the services to which Canadians are
entitled. The only thing that this base, which is 99.9 per cent
francophone, needs to be really efficient is an air to ground
I hope that the government will take these remarks into
consideration and will take action instead of constantly telling
us to wait, to wait for the creation of jobs, to wait for the budget.
Communities that are concerned about base closures want to
know. This is the question that I want to ask my colleague: How
long they will have to wait before the government makes a
decision. Will they have to wait one more year or even two more
years? Will the government let this uncertainty drag on? If they
knew that they were going to lose their base, they could start
working right away with labour unions, with the industries that
will be affected and with the people themselves in order to come
up with a new project to replace that base. That is my question.
Mr. Rompkey: Mr. Speaker, I tell the hon. member that
Bagotville is very important to me because CF-18s from
Bagotville are staged into Goose Bay from time to time. In my
riding we have a very direct connection in Goose Bay to
Bagotville. I do not know what the future is for that base or other
bases. I know the government will very soon make clear its
intention in that regard, in keeping with the promises made in
the red book during the campaign. Very soon Canadians will be
apprised of the intentions of the government in that regard.
I just want to make two other comments. As I understood the
hon. member he seemed to want to have the government's
intentions first. As a member who has been around here for some
time, I have to say I have been very impressed by the way in
which this particular Parliament has proceeded, that is by
actually asking members of Parliament what they thought
before the government made some decisions.
Those of us who were around here before know that was not
always the case. Decisions were made. They were a fait
accompli. They were handed to people whether or not they liked
them. This way is a much better way to proceed. Not only are
parliamentarians being asked their opinion before long-term
government decisions are made, but the people of Canada are
having a chance to participate. When we were in opposition we
called for this and I am very happy to see it is taking place.
With regard to an increase in spending, whether or not the
member agrees with a joint committee I do not see a great
increase in spending. It seems to me the committee will have to
travel whether or not it is both Houses. The salaries of senators
as well as members of Parliament will be paid on whatever
committee they happen to sit on any particular day. I do not see a
great increase in spending as a result of having a joint committee
rather than a House of Commons committee.
Mr. Randy White (Fraser Valley West): Mr. Speaker, I will
try to be a little more brief in my question. I suspect many of us
in the House have been touched at one time or another in some
way by the military as I have been. I have friends still in the
military all over the country whom I knew 20 years past.
I agree with many of the comments made by the hon. member
for Labrador concerning national pride. People today are
somewhat confused about the role of the military. People within
the ranks of the military are also somewhat confused about it
which does not do much for their morale.
I do believe we should study first and take action second, as
my friend from Saanich-Gulf Islands has said. I also believe
we should end the political football that has been evident within
the military for 20 years at least. It seems to become an issue
every year at budget time.
I would like the hon. member to comment on three areas.
When the minister made his opening statement he said that
public consultation is a priority with the government but the
report that will ensue from the consultation will not constitute
the new defence policy. I wonder if that is some form of
disclaimer to the findings of the report itself or if it is just
another way of saying the committee does not have as much
teeth as we think it may have.
Another comment is on the selected communities where
representations can be made. It is important to realize that some
of these communities should be places like Summerside which
has already gone through this type of situation. That community
may offer some very good comments on this particular situation
now that the deed has been done down there. The locations of
these representations should be very carefully assessed and
One other comment I would like to have made by the hon.
member is the role of the reserves. I well remember growing up
in the maritimes in the mid-1960s. I joined the military in
Halifax, virtually having left school at a predetermined age. I
had very few opportunities but I received a very good
opportunity with the military and made a home there which led
to a career.
What role does the government see for the reserves? There is a
great opportunity for expansion. Perhaps the hon. member could
comment on the future of young people in the reserves.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Before I recognize the
hon. member for Labrador, the member for Fraser Valley West
reminds me that like all new members in this 35th Parliament he
has learned his lessons well in a very short period of time and
that within one question there are many questions to the hon.
member for Labrador.
Trying to respect the standing orders with regard to time
limits of speeches in questions and comments, particularly in a
debate such as this one which is of great importance to all
Canadians, and wanting to give as many members as possible
the opportunity to participate, I would ask the co-operation of
everyone so that we might be able to get on the record the
participation of as many members as possible.
Mr. Rompkey: Mr. Speaker, I take your point and will be
On the last point, let me just say that I would foresee an
increasing role for the reserves in the Canadian Armed Forces.
We are committed to the total force concept, as was the previous
government. We will be studying the comments the Auditor
General has made on the inadequate integration of the reserves.
However, suffice it to say that I see a continuing and increasing
role for the reserves in the Canadian Armed Forces. Indeed,
approximately 30 per cent of our people in Bosnia are reserves.
I take the point concerning locations of representations. I
assure the hon. member that the committee will want to travel all
across the country. The committee wants to hear from as many
Canadians as possible, including those who traditionally have
been part of the armed forces establishment and those who are
With regard to the minister's comments this morning about
the white paper following on from the committee report, if the
member reads the blues, he will see the minister said that the
government would not necessarily be totally governed by the
report of the committee. He did go on to say, I think if the blues
are checked, that the government would ignore the committee
report at its peril.
I simply took that as the minister giving himself enough
latitude to be the government, as is his role, but saying very
clearly that this is a serious process and that we do want to hear
recommendations and to hear policy formulated from the
parliamentarians of Canada after listening to the people of
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères): Mr. Speaker, the
government is inviting us today to a third debate on Canadian
defence policy. Going against all logic, the government started
this series of debates by asking the House to reflect on two
special aspects of such a policy, namely the role of Canadian
peacekeepers in Bosnia-Hercegovina and in Croatia, and the
testing of cruise missiles over Canadian territory, before letting
us know the general direction of its intended defence policy.
Today, without any warning, the government is asking the
House to debate the main thrusts of our new defence policy
using as a base a vague and general document which has been
handed out to members at the very last minute. Moreover, the
government assumes that a defence policy can be considered
independently from foreign policy, which is not the case. There
again, the government carefully avoided to unveil its intentions
regarding the direction it will give to this new foreign policy.
However, since we must accept the general format decided
upon by the government for this debate, I will say that we first
need to put this question in the general geopolitical context of
the day, because it is this context which determines the choices
Canada will have to make when defining its defence policy.
It might be useful to recall that at the end of the second world
war, the world split in two distinct blocs, the western bloc and
the eastern bloc, which set up two competing military alliances,
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, that Canada
joined in 1949, and the Warsaw pact.
At the end of the cold war, toward the end of the eighties, this
polarized political situation changed drastically. The Warsaw
pact dissolved, leaving NATO without any apparent rival.
Therefore, western countries do not seem to be facing any
readily identifiable threat. World stability is no longer the result
of a balance of power between two groups. New nuclear powers
are gradually emerging, and they often are politically unstable.
Under such circumstances, it became difficult for Canada and its
allies to question the collective security system which had
determined their defence policy during the cold war.
On another level, the decreased influence of the east bloc
countries and Russia on international issues had a direct impact
on the political and military stability in several regions of the
planet. Yugoslavia and the ex-Soviet republics are the most
striking examples of that.
Some regions have also tried to take advantage of the new
division of strategic powers to assert their political and military
presence in their part of the world. The Persian Gulf war remains
the most striking case, in line with the new configuration of
In response to the emerging political balance, NATO
countries reviewed and then modified their defence policies.
The same process went on in Canada and, in 1992, the
government presented a new political statement to replace
Perrin Beatty's white paper dating back to 1987.
The defence policy of western countries was readjusted in
several ways. First, the most important measure in my view was
to reduce the defence budgets; since exterior threats were no
longer comparable to those that prevailed during the cold war,
defence did not require as many resources as it did in the past.
The armaments industry was affected directly by that
readjustment because its markets shrunk considerably. In arms
producing countries, hundreds of thousands of people were laid
off and Canada was no exception.
Second, on a more strategic level, was the review of potential
sources of outside threats. Under the new international order,
the danger of an east-west conflict has greatly diminished. The
new dangers, as identified by NATO members, stem from the
regional conflicts which have been emerging in various parts of
the world over the last few years. Canada shares this point of
view, as attested by its 1992 policy statement.
Third, the political and strategic mandates of the major
international organizations are being totally redefined. The UN
and NATO are two cases in point.
The United Nations organization, through the Security
Council, is increasingly being asked to take action in conflicts
arising in various parts of the world. The latest ones, the gulf
war and the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, herald new
trends which have a significant impact on the national defence
policy of western nations.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for its part, seems to
be willing to take on a much bigger role since the disintegration
of the Warsaw pact. Originally designed to ensure the mutual
defence of its member countries, NATO is now seeking to
modify its defence mandate in the north Atlantic to become
more closely associated with the United Nations organization,
as its military arm whose role would be to enforce the mandates
given the UN by the Security Council.
This trend is reflected in negotiations on the use of air strikes
against Serbian troops in Bosnia-Hercegovina.
As a member of two major international organizations, NATO
and the UN, Canada cannot and must not withdraw from
discussions on these issues. The international situation is very
unstable, and it would be extremely dangerous to renege on our
As you know, Canada does not have the necessary resources to
provide for the security and full defence of its vast territory.
This given has had a decisive factor in Canada's defence
policy for several decades, as can be seen by this country's
participation in joint security systems established through
NATO and NORAD. It would also be unrealistic to think Canada
is not affected by changes in the global political situation. We
must realize that Canada can play a strategic role at the
international level and, in return, rely on its international
alliances to guarantee the security of its territory. That was the
gist of the 1992 policy statement.
The statement replaced the 1987 white paper which, as I said
earlier, was drafted in a cold war context. The new defence
policy was intended as an adjustment to the new international
situation. It pointed out the risks that continued to exist from a
strategic point of view, despite the collapse of the Warsaw pact,
and perhaps I may quote the following:
The nuclear arsenals of the former Soviet Union remain sufficient to devastate
this continent. At a time of ongoing instability in the Commonwealth of
Independent States, prudence requires that we take these capabilities into
account in the formulation our defence policy.
The size of our country, its strategic location, and the limited resources that we
can devote to defence mean that, for the foreseeable future, Canada will maintain
its long-standing relationship with the United States.
Until further notice, this policy statement is still the Canadian
government's official policy on national defence. A few
adjustments have been made, however, including the renewal of
the Canadian-American agreement on cruise missile testing.
Furthermore, with its contingent of peacekeepers, Canada has
also helped redefine its role within our international
As far as strategy is concerned, we have seen that the
geopolitical context is changing very fast. As I said earlier, this
development should not necessarily be interpreted as a portent
of a new era of peace. The carnage taking place in various parts
of the world should give us some indication that is not the case.
It would be illogical to think that just because the world is no
longer divided into east and west as it was after World War II, we
should abandon our role within the joint security systems.
The concept of threat should not be perceived only as being
inherently linked to the concept of territory. Should the conflict
in the former Yugoslavia spread beyond its borders, for
example, Europe and NATO would be directly involved. The
catastrophic consequences of such a scenario are serious enough
to make us realize how important it is to have a defence policy
which is not only intended to protect the territory of Canada or
Quebec, but also takes into consideration the security of our
strategic and traditional allies.
During the last election, and many times since October 25, the
Bloc Quebecois has reaffirmed its support for cuts in the budget
of the Department of National Defence. Despite the
international context I have just described, we believe that we
could cut that budget by some 25 per cent without dramatically
impairing the operations of that important department.
Reducing the budget of the Department of National Defence
by 25 per cent does not mean that we should withdraw from our
obligations. On the contrary. The Bloc Quebecois is not
advocating the total elimination of all major equipment
procurement programs, though we believe some should perhaps
These programs remain important if Canada is to live up to its
international commitments, but the rapid changes on the
political scene worldwide make it necessary for western
countries to redefine their defence policies on an ongoing basis.
Canada is no different.
A new government has been elected and it is now its
responsibility to propose new directions, in terms of defence,
that can adequately address these rapid and fundamental
changes that are occurring throughout the world. In this regard,
you will note that the Liberal Party of Canada had already stated
some of its positions while sitting on this side of the House, in
the opposition, and during the last election campaign.
But it is worth pointing out, Mr. Speaker, that this is not the
first time that the Liberal Party sends conflicting and unclear
messages about its defence policy. Let me just remind you that,
in the early seventies, under Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian
government tried at first to distinguish itself from its American
neighbour, but later, in the early eighties, its positions got
considerably closer to the Americans'. As evidence of this, it is
interesting to note that it is the Pierre Elliott Trudeau
administration that first authorized cruise missile testing on
Canadian soil in 1983.
Let me also remind you that Prime Minister Trudeau had
taken on an international peace mission while at the time
increasing considerably national defence budgets and
authorizing the purchase of sophisticated equipment in order to
support Canadian defence policy. I am thinking, for instance,
about the acquisition of CF-18s and the first order for new
frigates intended for the Canadian navy.
While sitting in the opposition, the Liberal Party often blamed
the Conservative government for being too conciliatory with the
United States. It did not keep the Liberal Party from reaffirming
its support for the cruise missile tests last January, even though
many of the top members of the party had objected to such tests.
It is not easy therefore to anticipate what the main orientations
of the government will be on the issue of national defence.
Yet, on a political level, it is important that we make sure the
government determines in the very near future the thrust of new
defence and foreign affairs policies that will be credible, clear
It is too late to go on listing platitudes like they have been
doing in the red book until now. The Liberal Party is in office; it
must act responsibly and stop pretending it is consulting people
in order to gain time. Consultation is definitely a good thing, but
it does not relieve the government from its obligation to reveal
its intentions and the general principles of the policies it wants
to implement. Discussion is valuable only if it is based on solid
The House of Commons is now in its third emergency debate
on issues that are not supported by an honest and concrete
national defence policy. What is even worse is that those debates
do not seem to lead to any well defined policy.
Such an attitude is totally inappropriate. At this stage of the
discussion, we denounce resorting to emergency debates on a
national defence policy when the government has not even
presented its new white paper on the subject.
I also seriously question the creation of a joint committee of
the House and of the Senate to study and define the direction
Canada's new defence policy should take. I doubt it is pertinent
and financially sound as an operating procedure.
Since there is already a House standing committee which has
been given the mandate to study defence issues, we believe a
joint committee would only duplicate its efforts, with all the
expected drawbacks as far as efficiency and cost effectiveness
are concerned. We think the government must avoid such
expensive practices which only go to demonstrate that the
Senate of Canada is useful and its existence fully justified. This
inference alone should lead us to question the relevance of
keeping this antiquated and archaic institution.
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on what the hon.
member for Verchères had to say and pose a question to him.
He made reference to the fact that this is the third debate we
have had in the House on the armed forces in a hundred days. He
spoke of this in a negative sense. I suspect there are those in the
country and many members in the House who would look on that
fact as being very positive. Certainly members of the armed
forces welcome a discussion on their business. Three
discussions in a hundred days is more than we have had on
national defence in the House in the last 10 years. I see that as
The member says these discussions are about defence policy,
that we are going to have a defence policy today. I remind him
that in the case of Bosnia the fact that we have a peacekeeping
capability and would peacekeep is defence policy. Whether we
would continue to leave peacekeepers in a particular location is
a national operational decision. It is not a policy decision.
On the business of cruise missiles the minister made it quite
clear on February 3 when he answered a question that we had
agreed to participate in the cruise missile testing, but on the
understanding with the American government that future testing
would be determined by our defence policy. It is unfair for him
to do that.
I have a question for him. He says that we are buying time.
The red book said that we would have a defence white paper by
the end of this year. That is what we are doing. It was clear. It
was telegraphed months ago, almost six months ago. By the
same token he says this is all wrong because we cannot make
policy in these decisions; we have to study it properly. Then he
says we are just biding time and goes on to say that what we
really need to do is to cut defence by 25 per cent.
Does the hon. member want a policy to decide what we want
to do, or does he want to cut it by 25 per cent? He cannot have
Mr. Bergeron: Mr. Speaker, listening to my hon. colleague, I
hear a lot of things I never said. First of all, I would like to say
that I went out of my way to point out that such a debate was
highly desirable, and highly praiseworthy, but that we cannot
have a discussion just for the sake of it. To have any productive
discussion, we need a policy paper to give a direction to the
When we had the debate on whether Canadian peacekeepers
should stay in Bosnia-Hercegovina and in Croatia, and the
debate on allowing further cruise missile testing in Canada, we,
on this side of the House, criticized not the relevance of the
debate nor its very nature, but the fact that the debate was going
on before the government had presented its overall policy or the
general direction of its defence policy.
My hon. colleague is quite right when he says that cruise
missile testing and peacekeeping are part of Canada's overall
defence policy. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, it is
totally illogical to proceed backwards and, as I said before, put
the cart before the horse by debating certain specific aspects of
the defence policy before we even had a chance to discuss that
policy as a whole.
In view of such criticism, we thought that the government had
gotten the message. Obviously, it has not. It is back today with
this debate on Canada's defence policy, without any policy
paper or guidelines, except for this short paper we were given
only this morning.
I think that we should have received this document much
earlier so that we could have been apprised of the government's
concerns and questions regarding defence policy. They only
gave it to us this morning. How are we expected to have a
worthwhile debate under such conditions? What I was
criticizing in this debate was not its relevance but the way it is
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, in my introductory comments on welcoming this
opportunity to speak I said how great it was that we had three
parliamentary debates on national defence in a hundred days
which was more than we had in 10 years. Certainly I welcome
that. I know members of the armed forces and members of the
House welcome it. I see it as very positive.
The premise under which we are discussing today is that for
the first time, certainly in my memory, parliamentarians are
having a look at and listening to what the country has to say to
determine what will be the defence policy. In my memory a
white paper has not been written as a result of a parliamentary
committee. I welcome that. It is the way it should be done.
Instead of people behind closed doors putting together
documents on premises that may or may not be right, I believe
this is the right and proper way to produce a white paper.
By way of introduction I want to give some indication of how
I plan to organize my thoughts today. I want to have a look at the
traditional way we have gone about producing defence policies
in Canada. Then I want to expand and have a look at some of the
factors that have changed which may cause us to rethink our
traditional way of producing our defence policies. Then I want
to give some examples of those general discussions in the time I
To begin with, Canada's traditional approach to defence
planning has been affected by many factors. Many of them
cannot be changed. We have the country's political evolution
and, to a certain extent, our post-colonial sense of dependence.
This was thrown off at Vimy Ridge but it still remained for a few
years after. We have our vast expanse and remoteness. We are
the second largest country in the world. We have three oceans.
We have the world's largest coastline. We have our physical
contiguity with the world's most powerful state and, above all,
our own peculiar political culture and the effect on how we
The formulation of a clear policy in Canada is never a simple
or easy matter. In my opinion Canadian defence policy has
seldom represented a deliberately chosen course of strategic
direction or a fully integrated element of national purpose and
For more than four decades the basic premise on which
Canada's defence policy was based was the cold war. That was
the background against which we defined our security interests.
That was the reference point for the setting of priorities and the
making of decisions.
The 1964 white paper was based on the view that if there were
a war it would be nuclear and over quickly, thus precluding the
practical use of conventional or reserve forces.
The 1971 white paper cut back military numbers but expanded
their roles: protecting our sovereignty, defending North
America, upholding NATO, domestic emergencies and UN
The 1987 white paper considered nuclear powered
submarines, new tanks, bases in the north and forward operating
bases for F-18s as essential to our defence, at a time when the
cold war premise was about to come to an end.
It also, incidentally, seriously considered the total force
concept, calling up a force in reserve to complement forces in
The latest policy statement issued by the minister of defence
in September 1991 represented a useful, but I believe long
overdue clarification of a change in orientation. If one really
views it in its pure terms, the document was more of a
rationalization of incremental decisions that had already been
taken more than a suitably thoughtful re-examination of the
basis for future policy development and planning.
The premises have changed. It is now time to measure policy
against those changes and on that basis work our way to
decisions that will serve our national interest.
To begin with we are now living in a period of technological
change that can justifiably be called a second industrial
revolution. Advances in microelectronics, genetic engineering,
materials, space and telecommunications have turned industrial
planning upside down.
When we factor in the deeply embedded and substantive
trends in the physical environment, human rights,
demographics, trade and economic patterns, it suggests a
climate in which the traditional business as usual view of
defence planning is unlikely to work.
I believe also the concept of national security is changing.
Today it must be recognized that military might does not wield
the same amount of national power it did yesterday. Indeed, the
relative power of countries is now determined by an increasing
interplay of economic and military factors which together with
the fragile disposition of modern political systems is a major
The emerging democracies in eastern Europe for example, in
Latin America and elsewhere will only add stability to their
respective regions if they are seen as capable of tackling their
National security in the future may be just as concerned with
environmental issues and the ability of a nation to feed itself as
it is with the size, nature and structure of the armed forces
shaped from the time honoured need of maintaining territorial
sovereignty and security.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska comes to
mind. So does the collision early in this decade between a U.S.
and a Russian nuclear submarine near Russia's Arctic naval base
in which some experts suggest that had the submarines collided
at a different angle, both may have sunk instantly before their
nuclear reactors could have been shut down.
Economic and social developments, while traditionally
considered important in determining national interest, have
today taken on a new significance for military planning as states
struggle for independence and to protect markets and access to
resources vital to their domestic economies.
Interruption in the flow of oil out of the Middle East for
example was a major consideration in Canada's going to war for
the first time in 40 years in the Persian gulf in 1992.
Similarly, the concern of Atlantic Canadians, my own
province and the Atlantic provinces, over the survival of their
northern cod stocks may very well involve maritime forces
responding to foreign overfishing on the nose and tail of the
Grand Banks in a big way.
The hon. member for Labrador this morning spoke of this and
other national and sovereign imperatives that we will have to
consider. Therefore I will not cover that.
I now want to cast my eye internationally. At the end of World
War II we ended up with 60 countries in the world-recognized
entities as countries. As a result of revolutions and
decolonialization, countries breaking up, today we have three
times that many countries in less than 50 years.
In these 180 countries of the world, there are 4,000 languages
and as many religions. What is interesting about the
composition of the countries is it is responsible for the trend that
we see today. That is that 60 of these countries have populations
of one million or less and 40 of them have less than 200,000, less
than most of the smaller provinces in Canada.
More important, and I think it is germane to the argument I am
making, 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
I believe what we are seeing is an explosion of nations
downward and inward to the point where they are really
comprising the smallest ethnic and religious groups.
In the last four and half years we have been involved in the
world and in Canada in more peacekeeping operations than we
have in the last 40 years. If we take the trend that I spoke of
earlier and look at the increasing intolerance of religious, social
and ethnic groups one for the other, it is my thesis that the
demand for peace operations is going to increase in scope, in
number and in complexity.
Let us look at some very simple examples. Political
instability has us involved in Cambodia. The inability of
Somalis to provide food for themselves had us involved there.
Ethnic wars in the former Yugoslavia has us involved there.
Canadians are asking why, why? These are some of the things
that our defence policy will address.
The simple answer is that Canada is a major trading nation
with a multicultural make-up and it is in our national interest to
invest our national resources to maintain a more stable world.
The traditional concept of national security is also affected by
the uncertainty as to what might be a new pattern of world order
to emerge following 45 years of a relatively stable cold war
environment. I would suggest that history tends to work that
way. History tends to work in pattern, certainly in my lifetime.
The most recent example I suppose I can quote is that after the
end of World War II it took a few years for a pattern of the cold
war to emerge and for east and west military and political
alliances to polarize on either side of the iron curtain. We had
the Warsaw pact versus the NATO alliance. The cold war is now
over and the security systems that we have known all our lives
are in question. We are waiting to see what will eventually
On top of that the traditional alliances, the Middle East order,
has changed. Trade patterns have changed and we are not sure
what is going to replace them. We are still getting used to the
idea of a single superpower and what that means to the outcome
of regional disputes, although the recent Persian gulf campaign
does provide some tangible evidence of how future blow-ups
may be managed.
What happens in the Middle East will in many ways impact on
Europe and what prospects there may be for global order in
coming decades. The same argument applies for Asia where the
changing power balances are affecting the positions of China
and Japan as well as the smaller economic tigers such as Korea
Superimposed on all of that of course is the compelling need
to refurbish the operating mechanisms of the United Nations.
That I do not believe needs any elaboration in this House to the
Until a clear pattern emerges which if we are to believe
history it will in a few years, hasty decisions on defence services
programs for a 15-year period based on an outdated defence
policy of the past five years may prove very, very risky.
Another consideration comes to mind. It relates to the need in
responding to these factors of change within the parameters of
national pressures for immediately shrinking defence budgets.
As identifiable enemies disappear we do not have an identifiable
Warsaw pact, we do not have an identifiable Soviet Union; as a
perceived identifiable enemy disappears, the constituency for
defence cut funding in this country and in other countries will by
natural order and natural trends diminish and the call for peace
dividends and conversion will increase.
The Canadian Peace Alliance, for example, is already calling
for the budget to be cut in half. I am still seeing editorials in
national newspapers citing the importance of identifying the
industrial parameters and the national imperatives related to the
conversion of defence industries. Conversion of defence
industries is a big thing in the United States and in the U.K.
They may not agree with them, and there are members in the
House whom I see nodding and shaking their heads, but I believe
they have to be addressed by proper defence policy review.
In summing up what I have said, let me repeat that this is a
time when it is particularly important to base defence policy on
a truly vigorous appreciation of the complex global situation, on
the broader meaning of national security and on a focused effort
to be prepared to dispense with the traditional methods in the
interest of effectiveness. As I said earlier, the fact that the
genesis for this white paper is coming from political
committees, parliamentarians studying the issues, I believe is an
indication that we have agreed and are prepared to digress from
the age-old traditional methods.
Canada is committed to peace. That after all and above all is
our national interest. Our national goal is to promote a more
stable international environment as I spoke of earlier. The role
of our armed forces is to defend this country and to contribute to
the preservation of peace and stability throughout the world.
Our defence policy must support these objectives.
To do this effectively it must be based on a clear-eyed
perception, one that recognizes the achievements of the past but
also the continuing dangers of the present.
Sir John Hackett, a very well-known and highly respected
military person and author, once said: ``When a society looks at
its armed forces, it is looking in a mirror and if the reflection of
that mirror is a true one, the face they see will be their own''.
Our armed forces have always acquitted themselves
admirably. Their reputation as true professionals is unsurpassed
be it in NATO, peacekeeping, national efforts, search and rescue
or any conceivable operation that is within the purview of the
Our policy review must be correct in order that when our
young men and women in uniform are committed to an operation
and sent in harms way, as many of them are today, their
government and their country will know that they need to be
there and they have the proper equipment and logistics support
to make sure that they will do their job as well as they can under
In conclusion the decisions we make about Canadian policy
must be guided by commitment, by focus, and by prudence.
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr.
Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech of the hon. member. It
seems he has disregarded an aspect of the national defence
policy review and consequently of the Canadian Armed Forces,
and that is the work language in the armed forces.
I know that the former Conservative minister, Mr. Masse, had
deplored the fact that French language was rarely used in the
armed forces and that few francophones got promotions.
I know that in my own riding some members of the reserve
cannot take courses in French and, therefore, find themselves
barred from getting promotions.
Therefore, I wonder if the government will consider this
matter in its review of the general role of the armed forces, and
consequently of the operations of the Canadian Armed Forces. I
would like to know the government's position on the matter
because the present situation appears quite deplorable.
Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's
question. Whether it has applicability and relevance to the
particular discussion I just had I suppose is immaterial. I will
grant him that it is an aspect of our policy we should be looking
at. I did not mention it of course. He appreciates that in a
20-minute presentation we are all constrained to present factors
determined by a number of things.
It is a fair question. What I will say to the hon. member is
something the Prime Minister has not said. I am sure he would
agree with what I am about to say but I have not checked it out
There are no sacred cows. We have assumed nothing in that
sense. Clearly there have to be parameters in what it is we do. I
speak generally and from personal experience. Considerable
progress has been made in that area. More progress has yet to be
One example for the hon. member of an ongoing project in his
province is a centre of excellence for the naval reserve force. He
is aware of course that the headquarters for naval reserves is in
Quebec City. This centre of excellence will be used for training
reserves. It is meant to address the ability for naval personnel
who tend to be posted to the east and west coasts to be given the
opportunity to participate in their second language.
I use that as one example of the ongoing efforts by National
Defence. However, the general answer to the member's question
is that I am sure it will be addressed.
Mr. John Williams (St. Albert): Mr. Speaker, I would like to
congratulate the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
National Defence for his eloquent defence of the defence
At the edge of my riding are CFB Namao and CFB Edmonton.
We heard the defence minister speak this morning about how
there will be cuts. I understand that cuts have to be made.
However, today we are debating the need for a defence review. I
am quite concerned that the minister intends to make some
serious cuts to the defence establishments.
Prior to the commencement of the review or right at the very
beginning rather than at the end, CFB Edmonton now employs
about 2,800 military personnel and quite a number of civilians
in addition to that. It is the base for search and rescue for
Canada's north. As I mentioned, there was the plane crash in
Resolute Bay where there was loss of life because we were
unable to get people in there quickly enough to save those lives.
Can the parliamentary secretary give any assurance
whatsoever to me and my constituents, if the rumours are true
that CFB Edmonton is perhaps on the chopping block, that their
jobs are secure? This is a major defence installation. We cannot
just say that all the things they were doing yesterday are now
totally superfluous and just close the whole place down. This is
the hub of the western forces in Canada and many headquarter
facilities are there.
Can the parliamentary secretary give his assurance that CFB
Edmonton will be maintained so that these people can be assured
they are performing a vital role as they have been in the past
toward the defence of Canada?
Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the hon. member
feels constrained by this in response to his constituents. I would
do the same thing and I appreciate his concern.
I would just like to repeat what the minister said this morning.
I have heard him say it many times. That is that we have to be
very clear that the infrastructure rationalization is separate from
the defence policy.
The hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands will remember as
I do that whenever cuts and reductions in the military force came
up those of us in uniform would reach for a thing called the
infrastructure study. We would give it to the politicians because
we knew they would never cut back on infrastructure. It was
politically dangerous to engage in infrastructure rationalization.
We-not just any side of the House, but all politicians and I
am one of them-cannot engage in that any longer. We now have
an infrastructure for 75,000 people that we had for 130,000. We
may get away with plus or minus 10 or 20 per cent but we cannot
get away with 100 per cent deficit. We have one building for
every two people in the Canadian forces. We cannot rationalize
that. We cannot agree with that and cut the operational edge of
the armed forces. It would not be fair to our men and women in
We have an operational capability right now. That is
essentially to send a task group to sea, to send two squadrons of
fighter aircraft abroad and to send a battle group. We want to
honour the commitments we have made in the red book but at the
same time maintain our operational commitment until we decide
in a defence policy review what we want that commitment to be.
The hon. member knows I am unable to comment on the
question he has asked me. I hope the overall perspective I have
given him will put it in the context of what we are discussing
today and why the policy review will be in the future and
infrastructure decisions will have to be made before that.
Mr. Maurice Godin (Châteauguay): Mr. Speaker, I have
been listening for some time now to what the member opposite
has to say about defence. I must say I have serious reservations
about the need for such a new committee.
Earlier, some members told us how pleased they were because
this is the third time the issue has been raised in the last 100
days. That, in my opinion, does not mean we will get better
results. If we had been better prepared, we might have needed to
address the issue only once.
Also, we have heard a lot about the way this government is
doing things, about the way it consults before taking action. I
agree that members should be consulted. However, when we are
asked to set up a committee without knowing how much it is
going to cost, we need to consider the proposal very carefully.
Earlier, a member talked about the Charlottetown circus which
cost, as we know, millions and millions of dollars.
What bothers me beside the costs of the project is the way they
keep quoting the red book. It seems that the red book contains all
the solutions needed to improve government management. If
that is true, why not simply implement the red book; let the
government implement it and we will be able to decide for
ourselves. We might not need this committee after all, which
plans to travel throughout Canada.
We also heard about cuts and streamlining measures. But what
will we do? We will travel throughout Canada to gather
suggestions without knowing whether we will get the money and
the budget to implement them.
To sum up, I would like to ask my colleague how much he
thinks this committee will cost us? What will we get from it?
You have to remember that less than a week or 15 days ago, we,
in the Bloc Quebecois, were suggesting that a committee be set
up to review government expenditures, and that our proposal
was turned down. Such a committee was not deemed necessary,
because the government thought it had all the tools it needed to
do that review.
I think that today the government is not looking just to set up
another committee, but it also wants to travel throughout
Canada to sound out public opinion. We just came out of an
election. First, we should let the government implement the red
book, and then, we can see what more can be done.
Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, I am going to run out of time. May I
have the unanimous agreement of the House to answer the
question? It will not take too long.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): There is some time
remaining for the parliamentary secretary to respond. If he
should go beyond the allowable limits we are prepared to take
into consideration his request at that time.
Mr. Mifflin: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had a number of
questions but I think the focus was why we need to have this
committee. I have to presume he means the combined
committee because I do not believe the hon. member would
object to the defence standing committee studying the defence
issue. I am going to assume he meant the combined committee.
I am not sure where the Bloc is coming from because I sat in
this House a week or 10 days ago while the Bloc argued for a
committee to look at issues the Auditor General had raised. On
the one hand it wants some committees. On the other hand it now
objects to the fact that a committee is struck for a substantive
purpose, that is to look at what it is we are doing in defence.
The hon. member asks why we do not just apply the red book.
That is precisely what we are doing. We are applying the red
book. The red book says we are going to have a defence policy
review by the end of the year. That is what we are doing. It
should be no surprise.
The hon. member talks about preparation time. My gosh,
people with the backgrounds they have should not need much
time to prepare on such an issue as defence policy. God knows
members spoke about it enough during the election so they
should have enough preparation time to talk on the general
subject. This is not a specific issue. Any member can get up and
talk about anything on defence related to a defence review. I am
not sympathetic to that problem quite frankly.
I will address the substantive issue. The substantive issue the
hon. member has put to me is how the parliamentary secretary
and the minister can support a combined committee. I will give
him the answer; it is not that complex.
In the bad old days the traditional method I talked about in
defence planning was relatively simple in the sense of how it
was done. We asked: Who is our enemy? We looked across the
ocean or up in the sky and we identified a potential enemy. Once
we identified the enemy, we asked: Okay, what are his
capabilities? There are satellites now that can hover 200 miles
above and can read not only the licence plate number on a car but
also can give the pigment in the paint. We knew more or less
what the enemy had. We had the enemy identified and the
The third aspect was: What is the intention of that enemy?
Does he intend to surprise us by lobbing ballistic missiles? Does
he intend to have a landing force in the Arctic? What are his
Determining intentions was more difficult than determining
the capability or identifying the enemy. If a country had more
armed forces than it justifiably and reasonably needed to defend
itself, then it could be concluded it had an intention other than
its defence. It had an offensive intention. Depending on how
much excess defence capability it had could determine more or
less how aggressive those intentions could be.
We cannot identify the enemy now. Therefore we do not know
what his intentions are and we do not know his capabilities.
When faced with that kind of situation as we are now that the
cold war is over, we tend to fumble and do not know how to go
However, what we are faced with, as many members in this
House know, is the sitting down of reasonable men and women
to take a look at a situation that is peppered with uncertainty. In a
case like this the more people within the confines of an
institution, in this case the parliamentary institution, we bring to
bear, the better our judgment is likely to be.
In bringing two sides of the House together we not only get the
perspective of members of the House of Commons, a certain age
group, a certain philosophy and a certain commitment because
of their requirement to campaign and be re-elected, we bring
into call the upper chamber, the other place, which brings
another dimension to those factors I mentioned.
The salaries are there anyway. On the cost of travelling, the
numbers of dollars are so marginal as to be almost
Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to start by apologizing to one of my
constituents. I came to this House today certain that we would
get unanimous approval from all corners and every party in the
House on this defence review. Therefore, I have to apologize to
that constituent in Penticton who said: ``I watch the CPAC
channel but it is always so negative''. I thought today we would
have something positive. I hope to address this issue with some
very positive comments because I am in support of it.
A review of Canada's defence policy is long overdue.
Although emphasis and approach have varied from time to time,
Canada's defence policy remains much as it did 30 years ago.
Therefore, I support this motion.
I look forward to reviewing the guidance documents referred
to in the motion that the minister tabled this morning to
determine exactly the scope of what our review will be.
I would also like to commend the government for using the
committee system to undertake such an important policy review.
The effective use of committees is an important means by which
an individual MP can represent the views of his or her
constituents in developing national defence policy.
As a member of the standing committee on defence, I look
forward to the task ahead of us with the wealth and experience
including military, academic and business backgrounds of those
who sit on the committee. I endorse the concept of combining it
with the Senate as well. The reason for this is that while we have
a large number of people on the committee from eastern Canada,
we only have a few who will bring a western perspective to the
committee. Hopefully, with the five Senate members there will
be some representation from the western provinces.
The work of this joint committee will be extremely important.
Three questions have come to my mind and I am sure many
Canadians have asked themselves the same questions. First, are
our current Canadian forces suited for the post-cold war era?
Second, do our international commitments meet our military
capabilities? Third, how effective is our current defence
spending? These are questions to which all Canadians would
I am reminded of during the campaign when I was in the town
of Keremeos in my riding. A gentleman stood up at the back of
the hall and said: ``I do not believe in having a military in
Canada and I do not think I should have to pay taxes for such a
thing as encouraging people to go off to war and fight''. My
question to him at that time was: ``If you do not believe in a
military, do you really know what it does? Do you know the role
it plays? For instance, would you object if the military were a
part of an exercise to capture people who were bringing in a
shipment of cocaine off the coast into Canada to sell to our
youth? Would you be against a military if you were capsized on
the ocean and the search and rescue technicians from Vancouver
Island came to your rescue? Would you be against the policy at
that point? Or would you be against a military that made certain
that our sovereignty and our natural resources were not taken
away by other countries like we do with our fisheries patrols?''
These are the things I do not think Canadians really sit down
and think through about what the Canadian military role is and
the actual importance of the things it does. It is one of the
downfalls that the Canadian forces really can accept some
responsibility for because they have not communicated all of
their roles to all of the people of the country. That is one of the
things we have to look at. These are extremely important
questions and the committee must deal with them.
I have a little background in the military. I spent some time in
the Royal Canadian Navy in the early 1970s and I remember at
that time the military experienced a time when we were not
upgrading our equipment. We were dealing with the equipment
that we had and did the best we could but the government was
not spending money on upgrading equipment.
I remember one story when we were called out. I was
stationed on a ship on the west coast in Esquimalt and we were
called out because there was a Russian destroyer just off the
coast of British Columbia and our task was to go out and follow
it and make sure it did not get into any mischief.
During this excursion we went out and found that this
destroyer was a vessel that was much more capable than we
were. It was a very technologically advanced vessel. We could
not even keep up with this particular vessel because of the ships
we had at that time.
The captain of the ship turned to one of boatswain mates and
told him to go down to the leading seamen's mess and get the
bingo crank for playing bingo on board. Everyone wondered
what he was talking about but he did it. He got this bingo cage
that holds the balls with a handle on it. The order was given to
hoist it up the mast. Of course, everyone was wondering what
the captain of the ship was up to. He looked at it and was very
happy with his accomplishment and he said that the destroyer
would be taking pictures of it for the next two hours and for three
weeks it would be busy trying to figure out what it was.
The point I am trying to make is that although our equipment
was not always the best, we certainly adapted to the situation we
One of the areas I would like to talk about today, and nobody
else has talked about it too much, is personnel and how we are
going to cope with the changing armed forces. In particular, I
would like to talk about the total force plan, the concept
introduced in 1987 which I understand the hon. member for
Bonavista-Trinity-Conception participated in which has
made our reserves a key component of Canada's defence policy.
The total force policy concept aims to integrate regular and
reserve forces to give reserves a greater role in military
capability. The total force concept was also designed to allow
Canada to maintain the same level of military capability while
cutting costs. Reservists are paid only when they are on active
service or in training and are therefore less of a drain on the
As a result of this policy's greater reliance on reservists the
levels of regular troops have declined while the numbers of
reservists have increased.
In 1990-91 Canada had 88,000 regular force personnel. These
numbers are projected to decrease to 75,000 in 1995-96. On the
other hand, today there are about 38,000 reservists and by the
year 2000 this is projected to grow to 47,000.
Presently reservists play an increasingly important role in
Canada's peacekeeping operations. Reservists make up a much
greater part of the replacements going on overseas missions.
As we heard today, I think the latest rotation to go overseas
was composed of about 50 per cent reservists.
Some serious concerns have been raised about the increased
reliance on the reserves and I hope this joint special committee
will look in more detail at these issues.
In the past few years some concerns have been expressed that
we are placing too many demands on reservists, especially those
who have not been trained to the same extent as our regular
In his review of reserve forces in 1992, the Auditor General
pointed out that as reservists move up in rank, and this is through
no fault of their own, they lack the training and skills as
compared with those in the regular forces at an equivalent rank.
He found that reservists lacked practical experience. As an
example, when a combat arms officer reaches the rank of major,
it amounts to approximately 750 training days difference that
the two people have attained.
We must ask, therefore, whether we are placing reserve forces
in situations for which they are not adequately trained. In
response to these concerns the Standing Committee on National
Defence and Veterans Affairs recommended in 1993 that in
Canadian contingents deployed in dangerous UN operations
such as Bosnia, the number of reservists be limited to no more
than 10 per cent of the total force. So far, there has been no
problem on the ground due to lack of training, and our troops
have properly carried out the tasks which have been assigned to
I would like to say that everyone in Canada should admire the
work and courage and dedication that these reserve forces have
displayed in these dangerous operations.
However, we must ensure that we are not placing unfair
demands on our reserve forces. Serious concerns have been
raised about the readiness of the reserves. Also, in the 1992
report the Auditor General found that only one-third of
reservists would turn out during an emergency and many of
those who would turn out would not be properly trained to the
necessary standards. This joint committee must ensure that
Canada does not sacrifice its readiness.
One major reason why reservists do not receive enough
training and experience is their lack of security in their civilian
employment. It is extremely difficult and a risk for many
reservists to participate in training exercises because they may
lose seniority at their jobs, they may be subject to losing
promotions or their vacation time and in some cases they may
even lose their jobs to serve the country in the reserve force.
This is an issue that I am deeply concerned about. I have a
tremendous admiration and respect for reservists who have put
their jobs on the line to serve Canada.
This is also a very important hurdle for the effectiveness of a
total force concept. The Conference of Defence Associations
has recently pointed out that if the issue of job protection is not
addressed it is doubtful the total force will reach its top level of
The Canadian Forces Liaison Council is concerned. It is
currently trying to solve this problem by emphasizing to
employers that the training and discipline the reservists gain
will actually benefit the employer and will far outweigh the loss
in employees' time.
We must consider the point and the viewpoint of business
owners very seriously. After all they face additional costs and
inconveniences when their reservist employees are called for
training or active duty.
This may prove to be particularly trying to small and medium
sized businesses. Everyone in this House has recognized that
small and medium sized businesses are going to be the areas in
which we create the employment in this country. Therefore, if
we are looking at a defence review we also have to realize that a
number of these jobs that are created through small and medium
sized businesses will also have this additional strain that some
of those people will probably be reservists.
The real test of this policy, however, is yet to come. Presently
many reservists serving overseas are students who are willing
and able to take the time off from their education. Replacements
for many of these student reservists may have to come from
employed reservists for whom it will be much more difficult.
This special joint committee will, I trust, consider ways to
encourage employers to permit reservists to serve in Canada. In
many other countries there are laws requiring reservists to be
allowed time off to train and to serve, while preserving their jobs
and their seniority. The problem is that this could discourage
employers from hiring reservists. We ought to be very cautious
about any legislation that may do that.
In this defence policy review we should also consider ways to
protect the employment of reservists, whether called up for
training or active service. At minimum, I would hope that we set
an example for the private sector and take measures to protect
federal employees who actively serve in the reserves. By
addressing this issue we can show our support to the increasing
role we are asking reserves to fulfil in our defence policy.
Canada's armed forces have a commendable history of
providing a well run, effective military which has performed the
many tasks required of it with distinction and with honour.
Whether on cold patrols, fisheries patrols off our coasts or
peacekeeping duties in the war torn corners of our world, the
men and women who serve Canada so well deserve our
admiration and support. The realities of the present day debt and
deficits however mean we have to be concerned that we are
getting the best value for taxpayers' dollars.
In his 1992 review the Auditor General stated that the
problems related to the ability of reservists to respond when
called up have reduced the savings possible under the total force
concept. I hope the special joint committee will make this one of
its primary focuses.
Finally I would like to take a moment to talk briefly about a
program that is close to my heart and falls under the defence
budget: our national cadet program. This program with which I
have been involved for several years is a useful and productive
program that instils a sense of civic responsibility and national
pride in young Canadians. It does not matter if they are from
Valcartier, Quebec, from Labrador, Prince Edward Island,
Saskatchewan or Alberta, they all undergo the same training
program. It helps to strengthen the unity of our country.
While the program grows in popularity its budget has been
decreasing. I believe it comes back to the issue of effective
government spending. How many inefficient projects are we
saving at the expense of this program which trains 65,000 young
Canadians in leadership, citizenship and physical fitness?
This is the type of program we should encourage. It is
uniquely cost effective for the government because it is a
partnership between the Department of National Defence and
civilian organizations like the Navy League of Canada, the
Army League of Canada and the Air Force League of Canada. In
communities where they are located there are local
organizations that also support them through funding. In my
own community of Summerland, British Columbia, the Kiwanis
Club is a supporter of the cadet program.
The government has expressed a concern for youth. In the
national cadet program Canada already boasts the finest youth
program in the world. Over the next year I will certainly make
the joint committee aware of the important role the cadet
program plays in the lives of Canadians.
These are some of the issues I look forward to addressing in
the upcoming defence policy review. I support the motion and I
commend the government for allowing the special joint
committee to consult broadly in making recommendations. I am
eager to hear the input of Canadians on the issue. I hope we will
respect the views of all Canadians. Through public consultation
we can have an effective review of our defence policy.
Mr. Bernard Deshaies (Abitibi): Mr. Speaker, first, I would
like to thank my colleague from the Reform Party for his
excellent and very instructive speech on the work of the
Canadian Armed Forces.
Since he did not say why he had decided to support the
government's proposal to create an ad hoc committee for this
review and since there is already a parliamentary committee on
National Defence, could he tell me why he thinks this committee
is necessary? And how can he justify these additional
expenditures? There is no doubt that with the creation of this ad
hoc committee the regular committee will be free to study other
issues, but why this ad hoc committee? Why would we allocate
special sums of money for travelling across the country? It
seems to me that the Reform Party has repeatedly asked that we
cut spending. Why does the hon. member think that we should
put extra funds at the disposal of this group of parliamentarians
and senators to consider a new approach, a new Armed Forces
policy? How can he reconcile this with his party's position?
Mr. Hart: Mr. Speaker, I addressed that in my speech. I feel it
is important because of the make-up of the House standing
committee. We have two members on that committee who
represent the views of westerners. My hope is that with the
additional five members from the Senate we will see
representation from all parts of the country. That is why I
I do not look at it as a duplication. They have their committees
and are doing some work. By putting the committees together
there is an actual saving. We are talking about the things the
member was talking about in making sure the right hand knows
what the left hand is doing.
I do not want to cover any ground that I have already covered.
However on the question regarding expenditures as far as travel
in the country for consultation is concerned, the other member
of the Reform Party on the committee and I will certainly make
our views known that these trips in Canada must be justified.
The work when we go on these trips will be work. There must be
a reason for undertaking them. Otherwise we would be opposed
to doing it.
Mr. John Richardson (Perth-Wellington-Waterloo):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. member for
Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt on his positive attitude in
seeking a resolution to the very serious problem presented to
Parliament, the very serious debt crisis we face. The turn of
events in the world requires us to assess our alliances and
commitments to alliances and to look at how we have allowed
our armed forces to be stretched from sea to sea in bases that no
longer have relevance to their initial establishment. We will
have to do some evaluation on a merit basis of whether they need
to be done because this is a political decision.
The people in the armed forces can tell us about their needs,
their training, their numbers, et cetera. Every time when it
comes to making decisions the presentation from the Canadian
Armed Forces has been that this is where we can cut without
affecting our effectiveness.
These are some of the decisions we will have to make on
behalf of the people of Canada so that we can keep our armed
forces in a strong position to undertake the tasks the government
always places upon them. They are spread thin because this is
dictated to by the nature of the base policy the political
decisions have made on.
Like the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt
I hope we will look at these situations. Some of the bases will
stay and probably be enlarged. We do not know that. Certainly if
we are to make decisions we need all the relevant information.
As the hon. member said, in some cases we may have to go and
look at them and when we speak we can speak with some sense
of reality on behalf of the armed forces.
Again I would like to thank the member. We must keep in
mind that if the armed forces were in need of overhauling, the
decisions were delayed, delayed and delayed in this place. It was
not the fault of Department of National Defence, because that
was offered as a cut year after year after year.
Mr. Hart: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
comments and I concur.
Mr. Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to know if we are still in the questions or comments
period or if I am beginning a 20-minute speech.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): No. We are still in the
period for comments and questions, with a few minutes left.
Mr. Glen McKinnon (Brandon-Souris): Mr. Speaker, I
commend the previous speaker on his quality of presentation
and his obvious knowledge of the subject. I would suggest that
much work has gone into the preparation of his talk today.
Does the member opposite feel that militarily there was any
advantage in looking at a possibility of having a consistent
movement of personnel from cadet to reservist to regular force
in terms of the armed force component of training?
Mr. Hart: Mr. Speaker, under the current guidelines the cadet
program follows they do not promote advancement to the
regular force or reserve force. One main reason for that is that it
encourages not only young people who are interested in a
military career. It encourages young people who have an interest
in aviation, leadership training, their communities and getting
involved in civic responsibility. It is not just a military focus. I
am not sure it would benefit the program if we added that
element to it.
Right now many who have joined the cadet movement go on to
many other careers. It has been a positive experience. The
experience the cadets gain through participation is very
important. It makes them better citizens no matter where they
I am not sure making advancement to the regular force or to
the reserve force part of the program is the answer for the cadet
program. It certainly is a positive experience wherever they go.
Some do go on to the military.
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, by way of comment on that subject, the hon. member is
right. The purpose of the cadet organization is not to induce
young Canadians to join the Canadian forces.
Having said that, there is a natural affiliation. I regret I do not
have the numbers, but several times in the last 10 years I have
looked at military colleges, military units and officer corps.
Without question if we go to one of these units, particularly the
military colleges, and ask ``how many of you have had cadet
experience'', we would be absolutely astounded by the number
of hands that would go up.
I seldom get personal in the House, but my introduction to the
navy really came directly as a result of being involved in my
local sea cadet corps, RCSCC Matthew, where I was the chief
petty officer. As a result of one of the annual inspections the
inspecting officer had literature and discussed what we planned
to do for the future. It was a direct result of my association with
the cadet organization; it certainly helped me make a decision
to have a career in the military. It is important to make that
As a final comment, even if a cadet never goes anywhere near
the recruiting office, the cadet organization in the country is one
of the finest, if not the finest, youth organizations and one of the
most unsung and unpublicized. Whether or not it is intentional
most Canadians do not know about this tremendous program
that is so responsible for making our young Canadian men and
women much better citizens.
Mr. Hart: Mr. Speaker, at the start of my speech I said I was
hoping for a positive experience. I certainly am getting it in the
As a former commanding officer of an air cadet squadron I
have seen two of my cadets go on to Royal Roads Military
College. I would agree there is that element to it.
There is no question that with a program that encourages unity
in all regions from every spot in this country, every area has the
benefit of a cadet program. Those cadet programs are of vital
interest to the Canadian people.
People will I hope start to take notice and participate in the
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Mr. Speaker, I have
waited a long time, probably close to five years, for a debate like
this to take place in the House of Commons.
I was first elected in 1988. It should be fairly clear to anybody
who has been to or lived in Nova Scotia and knows anything
about national defence that the contributions made by the
Canadian Armed Forces in Nova Scotia and indeed all of
Atlantic Canada are extreme not just in dollars spent but also in
contributions to communities.
When I was growing up, when we would see somebody in
uniform on the main street of my home town, including my
father who had served in the armed forces during the second
world war, we would look to these people with a great deal of
respect. It was bred into us. Of all the places in this great
country, I believe there is no place where a service man or
woman would feel more welcome than in a place like Nova
Scotia because today we still harbour the same degree of respect
for the men and women in uniform that we did during the Second
World War and in times since then.
Places like Nova Scotia have benefited greatly financially
because of the contributions and placement of bases of the
Canadian Armed Forces. It is important when talking about the
motion in front of us that we look at this from a bit of a historical
CFB Shearwater and probably half the Canadian navy on the
east coast are in my riding. When I was elected in 1988, one of
the big concerns that I heard over and over again was that these
people in uniform who chose to serve their country so proudly
and so well felt that once their representatives were elected, they
forgot that they too were constituents who needed to be heard.
They were fed up in 1988 with what they saw as a series of
government initiatives that clearly did not care what the job was
that they were asked to do, that clearly were not policy driven.
They seemed to be driven by an imperative first to get elected.
Therefore they promised anything. However, once they were
elected, they said they had a debt, a deficit and other things to
consider. These were tough decisions. Guess who got the biggest
cuts every time something came around? It was the men and
women in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Somebody may ask why that is. Perhaps one of the reasons is
that when one becomes a member of the Canadian forces and is a
good soldier, seaman, air force pilot or working on the Sea King
helicopters, one gives up many of the fundamental rights that
every other Canadian has come to expect. One gives up one's
right to publicly criticize government policy.
Many men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces
immediately become an easy target for indiscriminate
non-policy based cutting in the area that they have chosen to
make a living, national defence.
In 1988, it was tough for me to canvass. When knocking on
doors in Dartmouth, career naval officers said to me that my
party was against the nuclear submarine program. How can you
say your government will look after the interest of the Canadian
military establishment, the defence industry establishment and
indeed the interest of Canada as a sovereign state if you do not
support this initiative?
I said to them that I believed the Canadian Armed Forces had
to be given the tools to do the job that they were mandated to do.
First and foremost, before we went into these major
expenditures we had to have a defence review. We needed to
have a white paper that had some teeth, that took into account
the fact that the world had changed dramatically since any
government had made a fundamental policy review in national
People said to me at the time that Mr. Beatty, then Minister of
National Defence, had a paper that went to the floor of the House
of Commons. I told them that he had not acted on it, that we were
still talking about it. They said that nevertheless it was a paper. I
had a heck of a hard time convincing those individuals that the
Liberal Party was committed to having a fundamental review of
defence policy and that we would modernize our national
defences for a changing world. I suppose a lot of them did not
vote for me.
About six months after that when the Conservatives were
re-elected in 1988, all their plans, policies and great promises of
what they were going to do for the Canadian military
establishment got shuffled away because of the debt and deficit.
All of a sudden Mr. Beatty's white paper on defence was
shredded. Once again we had a haphazard approach on how to
deal with Canada's national defence forces.
In 1989 when the budget was brought in, after many men and
women in the Canadian Armed Forces voted for the
Conservative Party, voted for that government because they
believed what had been said in the pre-shredded document of
1987 white paper, the Tories came in in 1989 and cut nearly $3
billion, $2.75 billion, from national defence over four years.
They did this without any review of the impact that would have
on the role that we asked the men and women in the Canadian
Armed Forces to perform for us as Canadians both domestically
We also saw base closures, again without a fundamental
review. What is it that you want the men and women in the forces
to do? Tell the generals and they will do their best. Do not come
in and say: ``We want you to do exactly the same today as you
did yesterday, and by the way we are going to send you to three
or four more peacekeeping hot spots in the world, but you are
going to have to do it with $2 billion, or $3 billion, or $5 billion,
or $7 billion less''.
It was ridiculous. It was impossible to do both things at the
same time. However the military did their best. Then we had
what I consider to be an attack on regional realities in Canada.
Because the Tory government did not have a lot of seats in
Atlantic Canada, it decided in the 1989 defence cuts that we
would share a greater burden of defence cuts than any other part
of the country. With 22 per cent of the personnel of the Canadian
Armed Forces in Atlantic Canada, we received 55 per cent of the
cuts in that 1989 budget. Forget what the mandate was. Forget
what those bases were doing. Forget how that would impact on
the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces to do their job. It was
cut. A political decision was made to cut in Atlantic Canada
because the Tories had very few seats there.
The Tories were not going to look anywhere else and we lost
bases. We lost CFS Sydney, CFS Barrington, CFB Summerside.
I still cannot believe that one. We had reductions in Gander, in
Chatham, New Brunswick and on top of all that CFB Moncton,
our supply base. I have talked to the generals who say it makes
sense to have CFB Moncton, it makes sense to have CFB
Political decisions were made at that point in time. The best
advice of the generals was thrown aside. That government which
had a lot of seats in one province, the province of Quebec, made
some decisions about where supply bases should go. That is
what it did.
It is little wonder that the men and women in the Canadian
Armed Forces started to view all of us that practise politics in
this place with a little bit of suspicion. They had been fooled
The other thing that we saw in subsequent budgets was about
$11 billion cut over the long term from national defence
expenditures in Canada, all without a policy in place. Each and
every time the government mismanaged its financial dossier, it
hit national defence for the reason I said earlier. The men and
women in national defence really do not have a voice. They are
not allowed to speak up. They give up that fundamental right
that every Canadian comes to expect because they have chosen
to serve their country.
We are once again faced with the big bogeymen of the national
deficit and debt. Where is government most likely to look first
for cuts? National Defence. I have done my homework. I have
done my research. I have come to a conclusion. We have a major
debt problem in this country. We have got a deficit problem.
The one area of expenditure that has not contributed in any
great way to the debt and deficit of this country is national
defence. Since the mid-fifties we have seen the expenditures on
national defence, not rise like in almost every other area of
expenditure but go down steadily from about 25 per cent to
about 7 per cent. We have seen the standing forces of the
Canadian Armed Forces almost halved in the last 10 years.
National defence, I understand, is a big budgetary expenditure
item. I am not saying that it is not. I think that in the absence of a
fundamental wholesale full policy review that any further cuts
to the Canadian military at this point in time would not only be
stupid, would not only be dangerous but would be disastrous for
the capability that we may be asking for in 12 months or 14
months' time, that the men and women and their generals and
planners undertake for the Canadian Armed Forces.
I want to debunk another myth because some of it is coming
from this side of the House and that is kind of hard for me to
take. There is a myth that somehow when governments need to
cut that we do not look at the strategic reasons why bases are in
certain places but we say: ``Well, we have to somehow equal
pain''. As an Atlantic Canadian who has been here for five years,
when I hear equal pain it usually means more pain down in my
neck of the woods than anywhere else. I hear this coming from
some people in the department and some people in the
government and it scares me.
Somebody said to me the other day: ``Well, you know, Ron,
you have $1,240 per capita being spent in Nova Scotia on
national defence and the average is about $388 or $389
nationally. So I guess you can take a bigger hit than anybody
else''. The last time I checked, Canada had one of the longest
coastlines of any state in the world. Of all the provinces in
Canada, I would
put forward that when we take all of those coves on that craggy
shore of Nova Scotia together, we probably have the longest
coastline of any province in Canada.
The last time I checked, a sovereign state that had a navy had
to put it on the coasts. It does not put it on the prairies. It does not
put it in central Canada. I suppose it could try to put it on the
Great Lakes but it might have trouble getting out sometimes.
The last time I checked, if you are a maritime state, you have to
put your navies on your coastline. We have the largest coastline
of any state in the world. Nova Scotia has the largest coastline of
British Columbia is on our Pacific side. Where do we put our
navies? We put them on our coasts. That is why Victoria,
Esquimalt and Halifax harbour are the homes to Canada's navy.
Yes, it costs to have a navy. It costs about a billion dollars per
coast to have that small, paltry navy that probably needs a lot
more equipment than what it has, but it does a damn good job
with the equipment that we have given them and the resources.
I am not going to apologize and say because Halifax is the best
ice-free Canadian port on the east coast of Canada that
somehow we should shut everything else down in Atlantic
Canada that has to do with the military because we have the
navy. I am not going to do that because it does not make any
strategic sense. The argument is full of vile subtleties that I am
not going to debate in this place.
If we take out the Canadian navy and its contribution in
Atlantic Canada, suddenly Atlantic Canada and all of the other
defence establishment expenditures are below the national
average. Is that not shocking? The member for Chatham knows
that. I look at the member from Summerside and he knows that.
However, past governments have said: ``Well you have more
than the rest, therefore you have to suffer a little more''. Well,
we have suffered quite enough from poor planning on defence
strategy and poor economic planning of the last government. I
am hoping that my government today is not going to do the same
One thing I do know is that we do have a surplus of
infrastructure in the Canadian Armed Forces. I know that. That
is fundamental. It is reality. What I do know is that when
planners over at finance start to determine what they think is
sound infrastructure for defence then our defence policy hits the
shoals. I know that defence planners are no more capable of
dealing with science and technology planning perhaps or the
post-secondary educational area in Canada than finance
planners would be in defence.
That is why we need first-and I underline first-and
foremost a fundamental review of what it is that we want our
Canadian Armed Forces to do. Do up the list, priorize it, put our
expenditure lines down, tell us how much it will cost and then sit
down as a government and determine which of those priority
options we are going to undertake.
I think to go the opposite direction would allow us to fall into
the same trap as the previous Conservative government. It
would allow the state of our Canadian Armed Forces to further
erode to a point perhaps from which they will not easily be able
It was not easy in this election to be canvassing with our red
book. I supported the red book but it was not easy. The red book
said that if we became government we would cancel the EH-101
CFB Shearwater is in my riding. It employs a lot of people and
does a tremendous job for Canadians. There is the navy at
Halifax harbour. Therefore, it was not easy for me to tell people
at national defence that I supported new helicopters but I did not
support that acquisition. I did it because I believed in the larger
policy that we put forward as a government.
I said it before and will say it again to put it in Hansard that as
long as we have the Canadian navy on both coasts, it is going to
need shipborne air support. As long as we have ships and a navy
and we need air support we are going to have to have good
equipment to send our pilots up in.
The Sea King helicopters currently at CFB Shearwater are
old. They are aging. We have great maintenance crews to keep
them flying but they are still old and aging. This or some other
government is going to have to make a decision on replacement
because those helicopters must be replaced.
The argument then is as to whether or not the choice of the
previous government was indeed a sane one. I do not think it
was. It was a helicopter based on the premise of an old white
paper in the absence of any modern defence policy saying that
what we needed was a cold war helicopter. I know it does other
things but essentially it was a cold war helicopter.
What I said to the people in my riding was that if they elected
me as part of a Liberal government I would ensure there was a
voice for the Canadian Armed Forces in my caucus and on the
floor of the House of Commons. I would ensure there was a
fundamental review of defence policy. I would ensure when that
defence policy review was completed that somebody would be
there to fight for the resources for the men and women of the
Canadian Armed Forces to do the job we ask of them, which they
do so willingly and so proudly on behalf of each and every one of
We are at that point now. I have read the red book. I had a
little bit of say in how it was put together as some of us on this
side did. We knew there would be cuts to national defence, but
we said two things. We said we would fund the infrastructure
program in the red book through cuts to the existing programs
and we identified national defence as one of those departments.
We said we would take $360 million from national defence.
We also said we would not take it in the same manner the
previous Tory administration had, but that we would take it after
consultation. I underline after. We indicated that any further
cuts in national defence would flow from this fundamental
policy review for defence.
I hope that on Tuesday we find that those commitments we
made and that I and every one of us canvassed on are upheld in
Nobody in the Canadian Armed Forces I have met thinks
times are easy. They know times are tough because they are
taxpayers too. They know that the debt and deficit are spiralling
out of control. However they also know that government has a
responsibility to maintain a defence force.
What are the things I would like to see in the review? First and
foremost we have to look at what our domestic requirement is.
There is the navy on the east coast of Canada. We send those
frigates and supply vessels out. We send them on exercises in the
north and south Atlantic. It costs a lot of money to do that, but as
long as we are involved in things like NATO then that is part of
I hope that the defence review looks at what is the best and
most efficient use of the limited naval resource we have on both
coasts first and foremost looking at what it is we need as a
I have mentioned four or five times that we have the largest
coastline in the world. I do not have to remind any Canadian that
we have a major crisis in the Atlantic fishery. We cannot even
police our own 200-mile limit. We have had a problem with too
many Canadian fishermen taking too many fish because we
could not watch them. We have had a problem with too many
foreigners coming in and taking too many fish. Because we
could not even police our own sovereign fish resource on the
east coast the result is that we have about 40,000 people out of
work down there.
We have seen an ecological catastrophe of biblical
proportions with the virtual elimination of the northern cod
stock. Surely to goodness we have learned our lesson and the
defence review will look very closely at what it is we can do with
our naval resources to ensure that our renewable fishery
resource and which has employed so many hundreds of
thousands of Canadians over the centuries is protected once
those cod stocks return. That is a role we can look at.
There is another thing we have to look at. There is another war
going on in our waters. That is the illegal drugs which are going
into far too many coves, nooks and crannies, all along the east
and west coasts of Canada. It is destroying our young people.
Surely to goodness one of the things we must do is look at our
defence resources and apply them in such a way that we combat
this crime wave.
I hope we also look at the defence forces for other things.
Domestic security also includes environmental security in this
day and age. I do not know why we could not use the expertise of
the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces to have a first
and ready strike force. Any time there is an environmental or
ecological disaster in Canada these highly trained individuals
could go in and secure the area and mitigate against
environmental catastrophes as much as possible for Canadians.
On the international scene we are going to have to fish or cut
bait. We cannot have it both ways. We are a small nation of
around 28 million souls. We do our very best. Canada has
participated in every peacekeeping venture since the second
world war. Think about it. We are spending over $1 billion in our
efforts in Bosnia at a time when the government has a $45 billion
deficit and we are talking about cutbacks to programs and
transfers to individuals.
These are not easy times for us. However surely the defence
review will look at these things and will look at what it is we
want our armed forces to do in domestic security. It will also
look at what we should be contributing as part of our
international collective responsibility. Maybe it is
peacekeeping. Maybe we will decide there are other things we
What I do know is that the framework established in the red
book must be completed. This defence review we are debating
today is absolutely essential and has been far too long in the
offing. I am very pleased one of the first things our government
has done is to choose to set this committee up as quickly as
possible so it can go out and consult and come back with the
framework for a modern policy for the Canadian Armed Forces.
I am no seer; I do not have a crystal ball. However I hope that
on Tuesday the actions the Minister of Finance must take in
order to try to control our spiralling debt and deficit will not
adversely affect or prejudice this review. I hope the Minister of
Finance and the Minister of National Defence will be able to
effect as much of the savings as they must for this current year
internally, without laying waste too much of the infrastructure
of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In conclusion, this has been a great debate and I look forward
to participating further as the day rolls on. The men and women
of the Canadian Armed Forces have waited a long time for a
government that lives up to its commitments on defence. They
will be proud and pleased this defence review is now finally
under way. At its conclusion they will find that yes, democracy
does work and that yes, sometimes political parties and prime
ministers do keep their word to the men and women of the
Canadian Armed Forces.
Mr. Gilbert Fillion (Chicoutimi): Mr. Speaker, I hope that I
will have the time to make my comment.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Order, please! I simply
want to remind the hon. member for Chicoutimi that we do have
three or four minutes left, but that the hon. member for
Dartmouth would like to be able to answer.
Mr. Fillion: Mr. Speaker, I have the feeling that the member
had a little more time than planned. I do not know if I am
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I must say that I have
followed all the speeches closely this morning and that I have
complied with the Standing Orders to the best of my abilities.
Mr. Fillion: Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the speech which was
just made and I must say that for the first time this morning we
seem to be hearing a different tune from the other side of this
The hon. member spoke of a white paper, a question that was
raised this morning. I would like to remind him of a statement
the present Prime Minister made when he was Leader of the
Opposition in March 1993: ``Canadians deserve a government
which can lead the way, a government which brings new ideas
and new strategies, a government which helps them adapt to
This debate and the approach which this government has
taken in the past 100 days are at variance with what the Prime
Minister said. So that my colleague can answer about what he
said on the white paper, I ask him whether he is prepared to ask
his caucus to have the Liberal government table its white paper
on national defence as soon as possible and let the existing
parliamentary committee on defence do its job and not create a
The Speaker: The hon. member for Dartmouth has about 30
Mr. MacDonald: I will be very quick, Mr. Speaker.
I can understand, the hon. member opposite is probably used
to watching Conservatives on this side of the House who make
their decision first and then consult later. We are a government
of a different stripe. We believe fundamentally that the people of
Canada have a right to be heard before decisions are made.
The white paper will flow from the discussions that will take
place in our caucus, in national defence, in the Parliament of
Canada and in the standing committee that has been struck
If the hon. member will just give us a little time and give
Canadians a chance to be heard, that paper will be tabled at the
appropriate time in this House.
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.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth):
Mr. Speaker, I would
like to bring the House's attention to an article in yesterday's
Globe and Mail
The front page article describes the problems that plagued the
Winnipeg blood fractionation plant when political manoeuvring
became more important than proper technology and business
practice. The Canadian Blood Committee, forerunner of the
Canadian Blood Agency, currently trying to derail the Halifax
fractionation plant and take over the Canadian blood supply,
squandered millions of taxpayers' dollars before virtually
giving the obsolete plant away.
In contrast, the proposed plant in Halifax will be built,
financed and run by the private sector. Miles Pharmaceutical,
which runs fractionation plants around the globe, has
guaranteed the full output of the plant.
I call on the provincial ministers of health to learn from
history, put petty politics aside and support the Halifax
fractionation plant for what it is: good sound economic
development in an area that is desperate for good economic
* * *
Mrs. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre):
Speaker, yesterday, the Secretary of State for Training and
Youth accused the Bloc Quebecois of waging a vendetta with the
aim of destroying the Mohawks because their aspiration for
self-government would threaten Quebec sovereignty.
I will remind the secretary of state that Quebec, more than any
other jurisdiction, has always shown very great respect for the
First Nations. Indeed, on March 20, 1985, the Parti Quebecois
government was the first to recognize the principle of
self-government for them.
The recent declarations of the Official Opposition never
challenged the bonds created over time with the native people.
Their sole purpose is to end illegal activities carried out with
complete impunity by a small group of individuals.
We are extremely sorry that a member of this government
refuses to recognize that the only demand-
The Speaker: I regret that I must interrupt; the hon.
member's time has expired.
* * *
Mr. Werner Schmidt (Okanagan Centre):
when will justice be served? When will we stop defending the
rights of the criminal and defend the rights of the victim and
I am referring to Michael Drake, a convicted child molester
who was released on bail while he awaited his deportation
hearing. That deportation hearing was held yesterday. Today,
Michael Drake is again free on bail as his lawyer prepares to
appeal the immigration board's decision to deport Michael
Drake to the United States.
How many times will this happen before something is done?
How many innocent people will have to become victims before
the minister of immigration will ensure that offenders like
Drake are not released on bail during the appeals process?
* * *
Mr. Glen McKinnon (Brandon-Souris):
Mr. Speaker, I am
pleased to rise on this occasion to share with my hon. colleagues
the fact that yesterday I received a Valentine from the Canadian
Federation of Students in Manitoba. The Valentine's message
outlines concerns over the relationship between the previous
government's Canada Student Loans Program and students
relying on this program.
On behalf of those students I would encourage all members of
the House to participate in supporting changes to the program
which would include the reintroduction of a six month interest
free period, no privatization and a full re-evaluation of
eligibility criteria and of the weekly loan limits.
Mr. Speaker and all hon. members, if you love education this
Valentine is aimed at you.
* * *
Ms. Susan Whelan (Essex-Windsor):
yesterday I met with the Minister of the Environment to alert her
Fermi II, a U.S. nuclear power plant, planned to pump 1.5
million U.S. gallons of radioactive water into Lake Erie.
Plant officials and the U.S. government nuclear regulatory
commission insist that this water is only slightly radioactive and
well below legal limits.
I want to assure the residents of Essex-Windsor that the
Minister of the Environment instructed her Ontario regional
officials to conduct on-site field testing at Fermi II before the
water was released to ensure that the levels of radiation are
within legal standards and no other contaminants are present.
Those tests are currently under way.
I am very concerned and so are the citizens of
Essex-Windsor. Lake Erie is a shared body of water and the
Canadian public has a right to be informed of potential threats to
our drinking water. The levels of radiation may very well be
within legal and even within Canadian standards, but Canada
should be given ample public warning of such releases.
* * *
Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Nunatsiaq):
Mr. Speaker, on
Monday, February 28 the first national aboriginal achievement
awards will be presented. A ceremony at the National Arts
Centre will honour the outstanding career achievements of 13
aboriginal Canadians, five of whom are from Northwest
Territories. This years winners are Susan Aglukark, Thelma
Chalifoux, Nellie Cournoyea, Jean Goodwill, Cindy
Kenny-Gilday, Verna Kirkness, Rosemarie Kuptana, Bill Lyall,
Ted Nolan, Alanis Obomsawin, Murray Sinclair, Art Solomon
and Bill Reid.
Congratulations to all for inspiring and enriching our
communities, our peoples and our country.
The award ceremony will be broadcast on CBC March 3. I
encourage all members and all Canadians to join us in this
celebration of our talent, pride and hope.
* * *
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata):
Speaker, this year, the Quebec Marine Institute located in
Rimouski is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and I want to take
this opportunity today to underline this important moment in the
history of seamanship training in Quebec and Canada. For 50
years, the Institute has earned an enviable reputation for itself
both at the national and international levels in several fields
related to maritime life. Young people and adults from
everywhere come to the Institute to get quality training in these
Deeply rooted in the region's maritime tradition, the Institute
ensures Quebec's ongoing expertise in this area and enables the
province to share its knowledge with the entire country. In
addition to overseeing the maritime emergency measures
training centre for the Canadian Coast Guard, the Institute has,
since 1987, helped train Canadian Forces reserve personnel and
is involved in many international co-operation projects.
We can only congratulate the Quebec Marine Institute for its
initiative and its unwavering pursuit of excellence. May its
dynamic spirit help it to weather all obstacles on the road to its
* * *
Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo-Chilcotin):
Mr. Speaker, I
would like to bring to the attention of the Minister of Finance the
many requests of my constituents to protect the present level of
RRSP contributions. In the past, much of the workforce was
employed by businesses with the means to provide pensions for
their workers. Today, more and more people are employed by
small companies or are self-employed and have no retirement
We must preserve RRSPs as an essential means of allowing
individuals to provide for their retirements rather than
becoming dependent on government safety nets. The limited
benefit to be realized by reducing RRSP levels compared with
the high cost of reducing personal retirement savings plans is
not in the best interests of Canadians.
I urge the Minister of Finance not to include changes to the
registered retirement savings plan in his forthcoming budget.
* * *
Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Don Valley North):
today marks the second anniversary of literacy action day. In an
effort to increase awareness of literacy issues and to keep them
on the national agenda, groups such as Movement for Canadian
Literacy and others will be reaching out for the support of all
members on this issue.
In Canada there are over seven million adults with low
literacy skills. In my riding alone, Don Valley North, there are
over 12,000 residents with just such a problem. This is not only
disheartening, it is absolutely unacceptable.
In keeping with our policies outlined in the red book, the
government has promised to restore funding for the National
Literacy Program to its original level. Further, I ask the
government to increase this funding in order to overcome this
I call on my colleagues to make every effort possible in
removing barriers that prevent a number of Canadians from
enjoying a never ending world of cultural enrichment.
* * *
Mr. John Finlay (Oxford):
Mr. Speaker, I would like to
commend the Oxford County Board of Education for passing the
That the Oxford County Board of Education support all efforts to block the
entry and sale of killer cards in Ontario.
I would like to say how important it is to me and to many
members of the House, especially those of us who have served as
educators of our children, that these vile cards that demean the
victims of crime not be allowed to cross our borders.
I ask the government to take steps to stop the entry of these
cards and once again commend the Oxford County Board of
Education for passing such a worthy motion.
* * *
Mr. John Murphy (Annapolis Valley-Hants):
Speaker, since 1986 approximately 1,400 of Canada's 5,200
rural post offices have been shut down.
Recognizing the important role of rural post offices, the
Liberal government placed a moratorium on further closings
immediately following the October election.
I believe that the preservation of rural post offices offers a
direct link to the future viability of not only my riding of
Annapolis Valley-Hants but of communities across Canada.
These post offices provide valuable and necessary services and
further closures would cut an important link in the social
cohesiveness of rural communities.
By reaffirming our commitment to keeping these rural post
offices open, the government can play an important role in
strengthening the economic and social infrastructure of rural
I urge the government to continue to demonstrate its
commitment to rural Canadians and ensure that these post
offices remain open.
* * *
Mrs. Monique Guay (Laurentides):
Mr. Speaker, this
morning the newspapers reported on comments made by the
Deputy Prime Minister about our party and the Mohawks.
As Bloc Quebecois members, duly elected by the people of
Quebec and duly recognized as the Official Opposition, we
strongly object to the absolutely blasphemous comments made
yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister.
How can the Deputy Prime Minister suggest that ``the
Mohawks are right to be offended by the Bloc's comments'',
when we have always made a clear distinction between certain
warriors involved in smuggling and the other Mohawks who live
in a climate of terror created by the warriors.
Who is the real culprit here: the Deputy Prime Minister or
Bloc members who are just doing their job by representing their
* * *
Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River):
Speaker, the Commission on Resources and the Environment is
a B.C. government project to review and recommend solutions
to land use conflicts on Vancouver Island. These talks fell apart.
A community report was submitted which recommended 12
per cent of Vancouver Island be protected with minimal loss of
employment, the creation of nine new parks and a continuation
of community planning initiatives.
The commissioner's report was released last week. Virtually
every community within the North Island is opposing the
recommendations which will displace workers and create major
This report is top down decision making and the affected
communities want to send a strong message to government that
it is unacceptable and to listen to the people.
* * *
Mr. Guy H. Arseneault (Restigouche-Chaleur):
Speaker, today I would like to draw the attention of the House to
the importance of the CN line that goes through northern New
The government and CN must maintain the railway line
through northern New Brunswick to ensure the development and
the economic viability of the region and the province.
The CN line through northern New Brunswick is one of the
most profitable lines in eastern Canada. This line is one of the
major factors in the present and future development of the
forestry and mining industries in the region and the two major
international ports of Belledune and Dalhousie.
I call upon CN to recognize the economic importance of this
line to northern New Brunswick and therefore urge it to maintain
its full operation.
* * *
Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport):
Mr. Speaker, once again
we learn the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence continue to be
seriously damaged by toxic substances we produce and consume
as a society. The International Joint Commission reports that the
quality of water continues to be in danger because of
unacceptable levels of persistent toxic substances.
The commission urges Canadians and Americans to deal with
these toxic substances. They are damaging the economy, human
health, wildlife and all other forms of life.
The commission recommends that governments, businesses,
communities, labour, educators and the media act together in
order to stop the damage, restore the integrity of the ecosystem,
and protect the health of millions of people whose well-being
and economies depend upon these beautiful bodies of water.
* * *
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East):
Mr. Speaker, the
federal government has promised one-third participation in the
KAON project in Vancouver, a project which is on the leading
edge of world technology and holds great promise for Canada.
All that remains to complete the funding package is to pursue
The Minister of Industry is sending mixed messages about
KAON. Federal government support appears to be wavering
which is causing our international partners to lose confidence.
The Americans are enthusiastic about this proposal, and I
quote from a statement by their KAON study panel:
Mixed messages from Canada appear to have been received. A request now
from Canada at a ministerial level-for a U.S. response might be very helpful to
enable the early completion of the process.
We need to know, potential international investors need to
know, as do the B.C. government and the scientific community,
whether the minister is going to press ahead with this project.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition):
Speaker, my question is directed to the Prime Minister.
RCMP accounts and sources reported daily in the media are
gradually revealing the extent of criminal activities connected
with the smuggling operations of the warriors. The problem has
become a very serious one, as we read this morning in the
Montreal daily La Presse, which reported that smugglers
operating on the reserves were also involved in money
laundering, along with, and I quote: ``-Italian organized crime,
motorcycle gangs and even a number of Colombian families''.
According to the officer responsible for RCMP operations in
Quebec, the RCMP cannot stop criminal activities on the
reserves without the co-operation of the Mohawk authorities.
Considering that the situation has gone beyond the limits of
what is admissible under the rule of law, will the Prime Minister
acknowledge he has a duty to meet the Mohawk chiefs in order
to obtain their co-operation in stopping the activities of the
warriors, as requested by the RCMP?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we have given the RCMP a clear mandate to do its job and wipe
out all smuggling in Canada, including on Indian reserves.
As I explained to the House, the whole issue of policing on
Indian reserves is very complicated. We have the local Mohawk
police which is authorised by law and has a mandate delegated
either by the Government of Ontario or the Government of
Quebec. We have the provincial police which is involved in
general law enforcement, in other words, the Quebec Provincial
Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.
As for the federal police, its role on Indian reserves is to deal
with smuggling. That is what it is doing now, and I have nothing
more to say. The RCMP has a clear mandate to do its job as
prescribed by law.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, it is common knowledge that any police, effective and
prestigious though it may be, and we acknowledge that is the
case with the RCMP, needs the support of the government. In
this case, the RCMP does not have that support. That is pretty
I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he will admit that my
question, which he failed to answer, is very relevant, in other
words, we should ensure that the RCMP can count on the
co-operation of the chiefs on these reserves and consequently,
the Prime Minister should see them himself and not let people
see ministers when they come out of these meetings and the
parties are contradicting each other.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, if
the Leader of the Opposition really wants to solve the problem,
he will ask his members not to play the game of dragging the
problem of the Mohawks into their questions all the time.
We are fighting those who are criminals. Some are outside the
reserve; there might be some on the reserve. But the impression
of the Mohawks at this time is that it is a campaign by the Bloc
Quebecois to tarnish their reputation, and this is not useful.
Hon. Lucien Bouchard (Leader of the Opposition): Mr.
Speaker, there is quite a difference between tarnishing a
reputation and sticking to the facts. The Bloc never asked any
questions that were not close to the facts, and the Bloc relayed
allegations which were made and published in very respected
newspapers in Quebec: Le Soleil, La Presse, Le Droit, et cetera.
The answer of the Prime Minister is equivalent to abdicating
the authority of the law. If the Prime Minister would like to
discharge his duties he would meet the chief of those villages
and localities to make sure they provide their full co-operation
to the government.
Since there are links with international activities on this
question, would the Prime Minister get in touch with the
American government to get the full co-operation of that
government so as to implement an international police action
plan which would be efficient and professional?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
the RCMP has been in touch with the American authorities.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval): Mr. Speaker, the press is
also reporting this morning that the RCMP is in a position to
prove that in 1993 alone, at least $700 million in cash passed
through the Akwesasne reserve, that many other items in
addition to cigarettes are smuggled and that many other groups
associated with organized crime are involved.
Will the Prime Minister undertake to put an end to the
activities of organized crime groups who are taking advantage
of a protected area just a few kilometres away from Montreal to
launder money and conduct their illegal activities without fear
of being stopped?
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker,
the matter of money laundering the hon. member refers to is
already under active investigation by the RCMP. It has the full
support of the government in doing whatever it considers
necessary to put an end to the smuggling rings wherever they are
in the country.
I wish that the RCMP had the same support from the Bloc.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):Mr. Speaker, my
supplementary is for the Solicitor General, since he is answering
for the Prime Minister.
Can the Solicitor General, who is privy to all kinds of
information, explain to us why he is always the only one in the
dark, when in fact these allegations come directly from RCMP
investigators? Is the Solicitor General living on another planet,
or does he simply prefer to turn a blind eye to what is going on?
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker, I
am dealing with reality, not like the Bloc that says that it asks
questions that are only ``close to the facts''.
If the Bloc were serious it would ask questions based on facts
because that is the kind of answer the government is giving. Our
answers are based on facts, based on full support for the RCMP
and its work everywhere in the country.
* * *
Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Prime Minister.
Yesterday the Prime Minister told Canadians that the whole
idea of members voting solely on the basis of what their
constituents want or believe is revolting.
At a time when Canadians are seeking better representation in
Parliament, could the Prime Minister please explain why this is
so revolting to him?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
said that we could not run a country through referenda. That is
what I said.
If some members of Parliament do not think they can pass
judgment when a law is in the House, they do not belong in the
House. That is what I said. We cannot go to the electorate and
have a referendum every time a member cannot make up his or
her mind. ``If it is too hot in the kitchen'', as Truman said, ``get
out of the kitchen''.
Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River): Mr. Speaker, we are in
the Chamber. This is what concerns us today. I quote: ``The
erosion of confidence in politicians is partly a result of an
arrogant style of political leadership. The people are irritated
with governments that do not consult them or that disregard
their views''. Those words come straight from the Liberal red
When did the Prime Minister begin to disregard this section of
his red book?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
that is democracy. Canadians read the red book and they voted
for the Liberal Party. That is democracy at its best.
* * *
Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue):
Mr. Speaker, CBC
Prime Time News
reported yesterday that liquor smugglers had
bribed Canadian customs officers to make their illegal activities
easier. This morning, the minister asked for an investigation and
announced the hiring of 350 additional officers.
Can the Minister of National Revenue tell us whether he has
arranged for tight controls during the selection process to avoid
hiring people with links to organized crime and whether he will
report back to the House after the investigation is completed?
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue): Mr.
Speaker, I can assure the hon. member and the whole House that
when we hire the new customs officers they will be subject to
normal procedures, which are very strict, for choosing the very
We are fortunate we have a large number of people in Canada
who have worked for the department on a part-time basis during
the summer and who may be a potential pool from which we can
I can assure the hon. member that the very high standards the
customs service now has will be maintained with the new people
who join as a result of the increase in customs numbers
announced by the Prime Minister last week.
Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue): As a supplementary, I
would ask the minister to say if he will report to the House on his
investigation. I would also like to ask him whether he recognizes
that the lack of follow-up on goods in transit in Canada is a
weakness of Canadian customs and that this weakness is a boon
to all kinds of smugglers.
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue):
Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will certainly follow up. Obviously at this
point when we have just asked the commissioner of the RCMP to
carry out an investigation there is indeed very little to report.
However, as matters progress and as the commissioner and
the RCMP reports back to the Solicitor General, we will be
reporting back to the House.
* * *
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary North):
Mr. Speaker, I
would like to ask a question of the Prime Minister. When
government members vote in the House on a particular issue,
does the Prime Minister expect them to represent the position of
their party, their personal judgment, or the majority view of
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
The Speaker: I think the question is acceptable in its form.
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
said yesterday-it is very simple-that this notion we should be
replaced by polling is revolting to me. I repeat it today. We have
been elected to use our judgment. Members of this party use
their judgment knowing they belong to a party which was
elected with a program which was distributed across the
country. This is what a political party is.
The hon. member should be more worried about the way her
party votes than the way the Liberal Party does.
Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary North): Mr. Speaker, I
believe the only way to restore public trust in the judgment of
Parliament is for Parliament to show greater trust in the
judgment of the people.
Would the Prime Minister agree that one of the most effective
ways of doing this is to give the people a direct role in major
decisions from time to time through binding national referenda?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
there was a referendum in Canada about a year and a half ago. It
can be used once in a while but it cannot be used as a formula to
run Parliament. That is not the way to do it. We were elected
under a program.
There have been free votes in the House in the past. I must tell
the hon. member I voted against capital punishment and
abortion twice. This was not what my electors preferred but they
continued to vote for me because I used my experience and
judgment in those cases. It was a matter of conscience for me. I
took my responsibilities and I went back to them. The hon.
member will be facing the same thing.
Democracy is using your judgment and if the people are not
happy they will vote against you.
The Speaker: The Chair sometimes has difficulty when a
finger is pointing one way but I know you are referring to me
* * *
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot):
with the tabling of the federal budget just days away, concerns
are being voiced from all quarters about possible tax increases
as well as the elimination of certain tax provisions benefiting
Is the Minister of Finance aware that middle-income
taxpayers have been overtaxed for ten years? Can he reassure
them by promising to spare them this time around?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance
is aware that the previous government has imposed something
like 38 or 39 consecutive tax increases. And it is obvious that the
middle class, in fact all Canadians, have been crushed by the tax
burden imposed upon them by the previous government, of
which the leader of the opposition was a prominent member.
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot): Mr. Speaker,
I look forward to having a little fun myself next Tuesday.
Just days before the budget, I ask the minister again, can he
reassure families in Quebec and Canada by denying rumours of
tax hikes for middle-income taxpayers, rumours of taxes on
group insurance plans and rumours of a lower ceiling on RRSPs?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of Regional
Development-Quebec): Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois critic
for Finance is an economist who is very familiar with the rules
of the game. He knows full well that three or four days before
tabling a budget, it is not the place of the Minister of Finance to
disclose its content. He knows full well that he will have to wait
until Tuesday, and I do not see why he is not using more common
* * *
Mrs. Daphne Jennings (Mission-Coquitlam):
Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.
My understanding is that the Prime Minister and indeed his
party supported and actually pushed the previous government to
enact the National Referendum Act in 1992, a special situation.
Yet in his answer to me yesterday he said no to a referendum on
the issue of physician assisted suicide.
Has the Prime Minister lost faith in the people of Canada so as
not to entrust them with making a decision on this matter
through a national referendum held at the same time as the next
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, I
would like the hon. member to check something. What was the
cost of the last referendum? They are always talking about who
is spending too much money. Is the hon. member saying that
whenever members are traumatized and cannot make up their
minds, they should spend half a billion dollars to help them do
We will use our best judgment and the people will have the
occasion to judge us at the next election. I know we will win it.
Mrs. Daphne Jennings (Mission-Coquitlam): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to reiterate I am actually speaking of a
referendum at election time which of course defrays the cost.
The National Referendum Act covers more than
constitutional matters. Surely the Prime Minister must have
known that when he pushed the Right Hon. Joe Clark in a letter
dated November 12, 1991 and I quote: ``to give the federal
government the power to hold a referendum''.
Why is he then denying to the people of Canada that right on
this special issue similar to the Constitution?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we will be in Parliament for four and a half years. During that
time we might have 25 questions for the people of Canada.
Because members of the Reform Party have no platform and no
direction from anybody they want to ask their electors rather
than having the guts to have a program and get elected on it.
* * *
Mr. René Laurin (Joliette):
Mr. Speaker, my question is for
the Minister of Finance.
Yesterday, appearing before the Standing Committee on
Finance, the Auditor General warned the government about the
high cost of replacing the GST by some other tax of a yet
unknown nature. He pointedly noted that the implementation of
the GST had cost government and businesses a total of more
than $800 million.
Does the Minister of Finance share the view of the Auditor
General that replacing the GST would needlessly cost millions
of dollars to government and businesses, when those businesses
are not yet totally familiar with the tax?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of
Regional-Development Quebec): Mr. Speaker, it is really up
to the committee to determine what is going to replace the GST.
I believe that it is a very important exercise in democratic
judgment. If the previous government had done so, perhaps we
would not be in the mess we are in now.
This being said, the hon. member must know that I share most
of the views of the Auditor General, and in particular the one
which deals with the elimination of overlap and duplications
between departments and agencies. The role of the Auditor
General is to audit the books, while the role of the committee
and the Department of Finance is to set the fiscal policy of the
Mr. René Laurin (Joliette): Mr. Speaker, would the Minister
of Finance not agree that, instead of replacing the GST, it would
be wiser to simplify it, to iron out all its administrative problems
and to take the necessary steps to collect all accounts in arrears
which total more than $1.5 billion?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance and Minister
responsible for the Federal Office of
Regional-Development Quebec): Mr. Speaker, simplifying
the sales tax, reducing the cost, lowering the administrative
burden, all that is part of our goal when we consider replacing
the GST. And up until now I thought that was an opinion we
shared, at least I thought that was the opinion of your critic for
finance. If you have changed your mind, you should tell the
* * *
Mrs. Karen Kraft Sloan (York-Simcoe):
Mr. Speaker, the
IJC today released a report that claims governments have not
done enough to clean up pollution in the Great Lakes. It is clear
that toxic chemicals continue to enter the Great Lakes system.
There is evidence to indicate that this is damaging not only to
the environment but to human health as well.
My question is for the Minister of the Environment. Does the
government have any specific plans to resolve this serious
Hon. Sheila Copps (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of the Environment): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon.
member for her question. I know she will acquit herself of her
new responsibilities as the vice-chairman of the environment
committee because she has a good record of concern about these
The fact is that the IJC report is bad news for the 45 million
people who drink water from the Great Lakes. It reconfirms our
concerns that human health is affected both directly and
In fact there is an international meeting to which I will be
sending officials next week to continue the process of virtual
elimination of toxins.
We expect to have a timetable and a framework in place
within the next six months. We are very concerned that we sign
the second phase of the Canada-U.S. water quality agreement to
ensure that the decrease in sperm levels and the increase in
breast cancer are dealt with very directly by elimination of
* * *
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest):
my question is for the Prime Minister.
The CBC reports liquor smugglers to be making profits of
$105,000 per truckload and bribing Canada Customs officials to
facilitate their trade. The finance minister talks of closing minor
tax loopholes while smugglers are finding huge loopholes big
enough to drive trucks through.
Does the government intend to expand the principles of its
action plan on cigarette smuggling to include a broad attack on
all sectors of the growing underground economy?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, if
the hon. member had listened to the announcement I made in the
House of Commons last week, he would know we referred to the
fact that the task of the RCMP was not to act only against
cigarette smuggling but also against the smuggling of alcohol,
drugs and armaments. That is the mandate of the RCMP and the
Department of National Revenue.
In order to succeed we have to spend more money. We gave
more money to the RCMP and the Department of National
Revenue to be well equipped to do the job.
Mr. Preston Manning (Calgary Southwest): Mr. Speaker, I
have a supplementary question.
The government knows there is a direct link between high tax
levels and the growth of smuggling in the underground
economy. The government has set targets for deficit reduction
and job creation.
I ask the Prime Minister: Has the government set a long-term
target for tax reduction and can he tell the House what it is?
Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker,
we said we wanted to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of the GNP.
I do not think I can add to what the Minister of Finance will have
the pleasure of giving as his plan for this fiscal year, Tuesday
next. The hon. member has only to be a bit more patient and he
will have his answer.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg):
yesterday, officials of the United Nations Protection Force
asked for an additional 2,000 to 3,000 peacekeepers to ensure a
genuine ceasefire and the withdrawal of artillery around
During a scrum yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
indicated that he is considering sending more Canadian
peacekeepers and that the government would make a decision in
the next few days.
Given the urgency of the situation, will the Minister of
Foreign Affairs tell us clearly if Canada can give a positive reply
to the UN's request to send more Canadian peacekeepers to
Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, the hon. member should know that Canada is third in
terms of the contribution made to the UN force in the former
Yugoslavia. We think that we have already done more than our
share in this regard.
Obviously, the United Nations are trying to get additional
troops to ensure an effective ceasefire and to maintain peace in
I believe that other countries can make a greater effort and we
hope that they will follow our example and reply positively to
the UN Secretary General's request.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg): Mr. Speaker, unless
I am mistaken, the minister just said that Canada is doing more
than its share regarding this mission. Consequently, if it cannot
get additional troops, the UN could soon be unable to maintain
the permanent ceasefire which we were all hoping for.
Hon. André Ouellet (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Mr.
Speaker, I am not sure I understood the question, but I presume
the hon. member wants to know if I agree with the UN request to
increase its force. I believe the answer is yes. We have told other
countries that we feel we are doing more than our share and that
they should make an extra contribution.
* * *
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of National Revenue.
The Customs and Excise Union opposes an integration of
custom officials into Revenue Canada, saying that their focus
will shift away from border protection to tax collection.
The minister says that he is taking steps to ensure the security
of our borders. Will the minister also assure the House that in
this process the wording of customs officers' present job
descriptions will not change?
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue): Mr.
Speaker, the issue was discussed at some length in the House
when we had second reading of Bill C-2. It was discussed again
at the committee stage in the finance committee a short time
The fact is that we intend to continue to have what I regard as
one of the best customs services in the world for the non revenue
aspect at the border. On the revenue aspect, that is collecting
money, they do very well too but other things such as attempting
to find children who have been kidnapped, attempting to pick up
smuggled goods-drugs, arms, liquor or whatever-they do
I can assure the hon. member that there is absolutely no
intention on the part of this government of changing the
fundamental role of the customs service at the border.
Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley East): Mr. Speaker, I thank
the minister for his answer.
Just for clarification, because of the integration process and
because of the PS-2000 initiative the job description will have
to be rewritten. I need assurance from the minister that the new
wording on the job description for the customs officers will
retain its present emphasis on law enforcement and border
protection rather than merely tax collection.
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of National Revenue): Mr.
Speaker, I thought I had answered the question.
I can assure the member that when it comes to rewriting job
descriptions, we will have first and foremost in our mind the
excellent job currently done by customs and the perhaps
increasingly very important role that we see for them to perform
at the border.
I obviously cannot at this time, given the negotiations that
will take place with the union and given the negotiations that
will take place within the department, commit that the exact
wording will remain there in the future as it has in the past.
In terms of emphasis, which I believe to be the hon. member's
question, I certainly do not envisage any change whatsoever.
* * *
Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell):
Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for Canada
As a result of the previous government's policies, some 1,300
rural post offices were shut down between 1986 and 1993. The
minister announced a temporary freeze last November on such
Will the minister now tell us what he will do to keep rural post
offices open in Canada.
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Public Works and
Government Services and Minister for the Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the
hon. member for his question. I am pleased to announce today
that the government of Canada is putting in place a moratorium
with regards to the closure of rural post offices.
As hon. members will know, before the election campaign,
during the election campaign and after the election campaign
this party and the Prime Minister stood clearly and firmly
against the closure of rural post offices in this country. I wish to
announce today that effective immediately a moratorium is in
place with regard to the closure of rural and small town post
offices across this country.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Dingwall: Mr. Speaker, at three o'clock I hope I can get
the concurrence of the House in order to provide additional
detail to all members.
* * *
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata):
Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
I understand that the Minister of Canadian Heritage has
ordered an assessment review on the possible merger of the
National Film Board and Telefilm Canada. My question to the
minister is: Can he confirm that the government intends to
amalgamate the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada into
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr.
Speaker, I can confirm that there is, in fact, a study underway.
We have yet to receive its findings. There will undoubtedly be
some findings and recommendations coming out of this review.
I cannot anticipate what the recommendations will be, but once
we get them, we will make the appropriate decisions.
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata): Mr.
Speaker, I have another question. Should the merger be
recommended, will the minister acknowledge that such a
merger, which would result in the integration of the National
within Telefilm Canada, would erode and threaten any
assistance being provided to the documentary and animated film
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr.
Speaker, I am of course very concerned about the public. I am
also concerned about quality productions and the information
provided by these two wonderful institutions. The National Film
Board has been in existence for a long time now. You can rest
assured that, before we make any decision, we will take into
consideration the public interests and the quality of the service.
* * *
Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Mr. San Martin Pedro Hugo, an admitted Peruvian terrorist
and conspirator to the murder of government officials, was
denied refugee status in Canada and deported. Now that same
individual has been granted a minister's permit and flown back
to Canada. It will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to
send him through the entire refugee process a second time.
When will the minister halt this hearing and have this terrorist
Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration): Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his
question. I have discussed this case with him.
Concerning this case of the refugee claimant who was denied
refugee status, it was the feeling of my officials that the
individual posed a threat to the Canadian community. Therefore
the immigration officials had this individual flown back and
deported to Peru right away.
Subsequent to that, the individual's lawyer appealed the case
to the Federal Court of Canada. It was the Federal Court that
ordered a new appeal hearing in front of the Immigration
Refugee Board. There is something called due process, and
therefore immigration was simply obeying the Federal Court,
which is the law of the land.
Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast): Is it in the best
interests of Canadians is my question. Since the election of this
government, the minister has been made aware of numerous
flagrant abuses of the refugee process. Canadians are concerned
that the system is out of control.
How many more examples of abuse will the minister allow
before he responds to the legitimate concerns of Canadians who
want the refugee determination process overhauled?
Hon. Sergio Marchi (Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration): Mr. Speaker, this government has moved very
swiftly to try to deal with the concerns of Canadians in terms of
ameliorating the Immigration Refugee Board. In fact, we moved
on appointments that spoke to quality of experience and
expertise. That was in fact concurred in by the press secretary to
his leader who stated that finally these appointments are in the
Second, we also have reviews under way that are going to
balance the whole question of tolerance with the question of
criminality. The member should be cautioned not to inflate and
inflame the situation, that it is out of control and that somehow
criminals are certainly in the majority. That simply and
factually is incorrect.
Third, immigration officials did airlift this individual. It is the
Federal Court that through this individual's appeal granted a
rehearing. That is simply the law of the land.
I would ask this member to work within the law. If he is
advocating a change in the law, that is another question.
* * *
Mr. Ghislain Lebel (Chambly):
Mr. Speaker, my question is
for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
On Friday, February 4, just before the Gorecki brothers left to
represent Canada in snow sculpting at the Lillehammer Games, I
received assurance from the minister's office that the Canadian
delegation would receive the Gorecki brothers with all the
respect due them. Such was not the case, however, and were it
not for the generosity of the Norwegian people, the Gorecki
brothers would have spent their time in Norway out in the snow.
Can the minister explain to us how he, warm and comfortable
in his suite, could let such a faux-pas happen, knowing his
legendary diplomatic courtesy?
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage): Mr.
Speaker, I would be extremely sorry to lose my diplomatic
courtesy by taking part in politics. I believe that we have
something called Canada House in Lillehammer and it is open to
all Canadians who go to the Olympic Games and especially to
The people to whom he referred were certainly welcome to go
there and I am bitterly disappointed that they did not have a
chance to do so. I should add that I stopped to see their snow and
ice sculptures and I would be pleased to congratulate them.
Mr. Ghislain Lebel (Chambly): Mr. Speaker, I would like
the minister to tell me the hours that Canada House is open. I
believe that the Gorecki brothers are entitled to an apology from
the minister, at the very least, because they went there and were
not even received as they should have been.
The Speaker: Does the minister have an answer?
Hon. Michel Dupuy (Minister of Canadian Heritage):
There was no question, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: I did not hear one.
* * *
Mr. Stephen Harper (Calgary West):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the government whip in his capacity as the
government spokesperson for the Board of Internal Economy.
The hon. whip will know that in recent years the board which
manages the business affairs of the House and its $240 million a
year budget has met in private and has refused to publish its
decisions, including decisions related to financial matters, often
for up to two to three years after those decisions took place.
I wonder if the hon. whip could inform the House as to what
actions are being taken in this regard, what actions are being
considered, when we might expect a reform and opening of this
process and when that might begin to take place.
Mr. Alfonso Gagliano (Saint-Léonard): Mr. Speaker, I
thank the hon. member for Calgary West for his question.
Two years ago in January 1992 when my leader, now the
Prime Minister, appointed me to the board, I said that the board
should be more open. I am proud to inform this House and
through this House all Canadians that at the last meeting the
board decided to table its minutes once they are approved by this
House so that all members and Canadians can see all the
decisions that we take.
I want to thank all the members of the board and you, Mr.
Speaker, for permitting this decision. I am sure this is the right
step in the right direction for more open government.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
* * *
Mr. Harry Verran (South West Nova):
Mr. Speaker, my
question is for the Minister of National Defence.
CFB Cornwallis has been a recruit training centre for nearly
half a century. Now we learn that Canadian troops training as
peacekeepers for deployment in the former Yugoslavia are
training in California.
Will the minister please tell the House why this training is
being done in the United States instead of at Canada's foremost
training centre, CFB Cornwallis?
Could the minister also tell us that no extra costs will be
incurred by the Canadian Armed Forces in order for this
undertaking and this training to be done in the United States?
Hon. David Michael Collenette (Minister of National
Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, I
thank the hon. member for South West Nova for his many
First, training for our peacekeepers in Bosnia is being done at
the moment in California. This group is the Strathconas from
Calgary. It is being done there because we have to guarantee
adequate climatic conditions for that training. We cannot
guarantee that at any base in Canada including Cornwallis,
Gagetown or Valcartier because of the weather.
Second, with respect to Cornwallis, the outdoor training
facilities would not be appropriate. They are just not sufficient
for the kind of training that is required.
I should also say that the hon. member has been very diligent
in pursuing me around the confines and the corridors of
Parliament Hill, advocating his case about Cornwallis. I would
say to him and to his constituents that we are very mindful of the
promises we made in the red book. We are mindful of our
promises for the establishment of Canadian peacekeeping
I would only hope that he would understand, as we make our
decisions known in the next few weeks about budget cuts and the
like with National Defence, he has been listened to and that his
ideas have received due consideration. I hope he will realize we
will try to meet the commitments that we and the Prime Minister
made in the election campaign.
* * *
Mr. Jag Bhaduria (Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege to request you
to defer your decision on the question of privilege I raised in the
House on February 15.
I am making this request to allow me to retain and instruct
counsel. It is my desire to have my conduct judged by my peers
in a fair and open process, namely at the elections and privileges
I wish to give my personal undertaking that I will honour and
abide by the verdict of my peers after a fair hearing. I am
convinced that due process will clear my name of all accusations
Mr. Peter Milliken (Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons):
Mr. Speaker, I
rise on a point of order. I wonder if in the spirit of openness the
House might give its consent to revert to Statements by Minis-
ters for the minister of government services to make the
statement he referred to in Question Period concerning rural
Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier-Sainte-Marie): Mr.
Speaker, I had indicated to the government House leader and the
whip that I agreed to have the minister's statement and that we
would give our unanimous consent, even though we received the
information and the document very late.
Also, we on this side of the House would have appreciated a
little more restraint on the part of the governing party in
question period, so that there would really be a statement and
not a sneak preview of a statement, as happened in question
period. Perhaps the minister could have refrained from asking
another member to ask him a question which had been well
prepared by his department. We give our consent.
Mr. Elwin Hermanson (Kindersley-Lloydminster): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to speak to the same point of order.
We would agree that the use of ministers' statements in
question period is not proper use of our time and would not give
unanimous consent for the ministerial statement at this time.
Mr. John Nunziata (York South-Weston):
the member for Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville rose to
make a request of the Chair. I believe the Chair did not comment
on his request to have your decision deferred.
The Speaker: I will defer my decision to a future date. I
thought I had made that clear. I will defer my decision.
* * *
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Roberval):
Mr. Speaker, I would like
to ask the Government House Leader to tell us what the business
of the House will be for the balance of the week and the
beginning of next week.
Hon. Herb Gray (Leader of the Government in the House
of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada): Mr. Speaker,
today the House will continue its consideration of the motion to
establish a special joint committee on defence policy. On Friday
the House will consider Bill C-5 regarding the customs tariff
and Bill C-7 concerning certain controlled drugs.
Monday shall be an allotted day. On Tuesday the House will
consider Bill C-11 regarding tobacco and, as we know already,
at 5 p.m. the Minister of Finance will make his budget
presentation. The budget debate will begin on Wednesday and
continue on Thursday of next week.
The business for Friday, February 25, will be legislation to be
determined later after some further discussion with the
opposition House leaders. We also hope that later next week we
will be able to discuss with them some of the business we will be
calling once the House returns from its weeks break.
I want to make one further comment. While today I said that
Monday shall be an allotted day-and I assume this will be
understood by the Table to mean I am designating the day-I
also want to say that if by chance I say that Monday or any other
day of the week will be an allotted or is an allotted day then it
means I am allotting it formally. I hope that will be understood
by those concerned.
By the way I am not referring to my colleagues, the opposition
party House leaders, but others who are charged with recording
the business of the House.
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Madam Speaker, before
we broke for Question Period the hon. member had asked me a
question concerning the defence white paper. I would just like to
The question basically was: Would I support the government
tabling a white paper on defence policy? He seemed to think that
should be done prior to consultation. I had indicated to him very
clearly that this is a different government on this side of the
House. We consult first and then act. We do not act and then
We committed in our red book to a period of consultation. We
have said to the Canadian public and we have said to the men and
women in the Canadian Armed Forces that no more would there
be a slash and burn approach to defence policy. We recognize
there is a fundamental responsibility as a government to
modernize our defence establishment. We recognize we have
certain fiscal restraints which we have inherited from the
previous government. Over all, we recognize our fundamental
responsibility to Canadians that when we get into areas such as
national defence policy, social policy, fisheries policy, whatever
it is, we have a responsibility to consult. What we have started
here today with this debate on the floor of the House of
Commons is to get that process going, to put it over to a standing
of this House and to ask that committee to review what we
should be doing in a modern, geopolitical world context.
In conclusion, we will come back at some point. I will support
our government, this party, putting forward and tabling in the
House of Commons a white paper on national defence. It will not
be done, and I underline this, until the work of the committee has
been done and all of the interest groups and all Canadians
wishing to be heard on this issue are heard.
Mr. Guy H. Arseneault (Restigouche-Chaleur): Madam
Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague from
Dartmouth and I know he has a keen interest in national defence
affairs. He has spoken quite profoundly today and a number of
times in the House and in caucus. He is certainly a defender of
national defence. I would ask him today if he could comment
further concerning his opinion regarding base closures.
Mr. MacDonald: Madam Speaker, I would make a few more
comments on base closures.
If we talk to members of the Canadian military who know
what they are talking about, who should be the people who drive
the defence policy, and ask them what they need to do the job we
have asked them to do, they will say that since the Conservative
government slashed the standing forces, there has not been a
corresponding cut in redundant defence infrastructure. We all
know that is the case.
My premise in the arguments I put forward today is simple. If
we are asking a House of Commons committee to go forward
and consult across this country about what our defence policy
should be, we should not if at all possible, and I underline this,
prejudice the outcome of that report.
What we should do in keeping with the commitments we have
made in the red book is try to realize as much of the $360 million
in expenditure cuts to national defence without adversely
affecting the infrastructure that is left in the country.
We just heard my colleague from the Cornwallis area, from
South West Nova, ask a question of the minister in the House
about CFB Cornwallis. We have heard that CFB Cornwallis,
which is in Nova Scotia, is the English speaking recruit training
centre for the Canadian Armed Forces. Even though our forces
had been reduced, I would anticipate that the result of a review
would show that we are still going to have some new English
speaking recruits coming into the system.
My colleague from South West Nova asked specifically about
My point is if we can leave as much of the infrastructure intact
at this point, pending the outcome of the defence review, we will
be leaving every available option open to that defence review
committee as far as what role it believes our armed forces should
be mandated with.
It is never easy to close a base. I want to say that. It is never
easy to close a base. It can be unconscionable, however, for a
government to close a base without first and foremost looking at
the defence priorities and the requirements and how that base
closure would affect those requirements.
I would hope that the Minister of National Defence and the
Minister of Finance in their wisdom will look internally at
operations, will look at things such as lowering the hours of
flying time for the Sea Kings at Shearwater. For every hour that
the Sea Kings are in the air out of CFB Shearwater they take
about 21 hours of maintenance. If they could cut the number of
air hours by 30 or 40 or 50 per cent for a year without affecting
the mandate and the requirement to be flying for certain
manoeuvres it would be a substantial saving.
Perhaps there are things like that which can be done by
reducing flying time for the Challengers currently out over the
Atlantic doing fisheries patrol. My understanding is that fully
40 per cent of those flights are really not fisheries patrols. In the
short term, perhaps a year, until this defence review is
completed those reductions in expenditures could be made
without adversely affecting the realm of possibilities of defence
That is my position on defence reviews. I am hoping that on
Tuesday when the budget comes down the ministers who are
charged with this responsibility will be able to find savings
internally without taking too sharp a knife to bases and
Mr. Yves Rocheleau (Trois-Rivières): Mr. Speaker, I am
relatively pleased to speak in the House today on this matter.
This special debate initiated by the government on Canada's
defence policy bears a strange resemblance to the other special
debates that have taken place in this House since January 17 last.
We have had debates on social programs, on Canada's role in
Bosnia, on cruise missiles, on parliamentary reform, on
pre-budget consultations, and so on and so forth. All of these
debates, which appear to have no common thread, illustrate the
extent to which the newly elected government lacks the political
will to see things through.
Strangely, the government's actions seems to contradict the
claims in the Liberal Party's red book. Page after page, the
Liberals led Canadians and Quebecers to believe that they were
capable of grasping and resolving the enormous economic and
social problems gripping the country today.
This debate does not seem to fit in with any particular plan.
Yet, it should be part of an overall review of Canada's foreign
policy, of its role with respect to the Third World and
disarmament, of its relations with the United States, of the
relationship between foreign policy and defence policy, and so
We are being subjected to a special debate on Canada's
defence policy, and one of the primary objectives of this debate
is to propose the appointment of a joint committee on which the
other house would be represented, no doubt to ultimately make
it appear more useful and justify a little more its existence in the
eyes of the Canadian public.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Rocheleau: This committee, which obviously will cover
the same ground as the Standing Committee on National
Defence, will be a superb example of wasted time, energy and
public funds, and of overlap.
This debate is even more useless in that it does not even
reflect-and that was the least we could have expected-what is
stated in the red book with respect to industrial conversion, an
area that especially interests me as industry critic.
The red book was clear and explicit, and I quote from page 55:
``The defence industries today employ directly and indirectly
over 100,000 Canadians. The end of the Cold War puts at risk
tens of thousands of high-tech jobs. A Liberal government will
introduce a defence conversion program to help industries in
transition from high-tech military production to high-tech
But today, not a word. Not a word either in the throne speech,
in the address in reply to the speech from the throne or in the
defence minister's opening remarks in this special debate on
Canada's defence policy. The issue of industrial conversion was
entirely left out of the discourse and concerns of this
Most armament production industries are high-value-added
manufacturing industries. This makes jobs in defence
production valuable. It is therefore important to preserve theses
jobs because a decline in the manufacturing industry of Canada
and Quebec could be extremely detrimental to the economy.
An estimated 46,000 workers depend on armament
production in Quebec. Over 32,000 of these jobs are listed in
industrial fields. This is to say that industrial conversion is of
particular relevance to Quebec. From 1987 to 1992, sales of
weapons produced in Quebec have dropped by over 48 per cent,
from $1.6 billion in 1987 to $810 million in 1992. During the
same period, 11,000 jobs were lost in that industry.
The geopolitical situation, combined with a decrease in
defence procurement contracts have resulted in a substantial
drop in defence production, particularly in the Montreal area.
Businesses associated with this kind of production are going
through an extremely difficult period, and the transition does
not guarantee the preservation of many jobs.
For example, the cancellation of the EH-101 helicopter
contract translates into a significant shortfall for the Quebec
economy. Defence companies work in very high technology
sectors where costs are high. In other words, if conversion is to
be achieved, it must favour civilian production with a very high
added value and a very high technological content, and certainly
not the manufacturing of stove pipes or common consumer
If there was a real political will in this government, it could
act almost immediately in two areas where industrial
restructuration could be achieved in a tangible way. I mentioned
earlier the helicopter deal and the government's decision to
cancel production, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois. We
must remember, however, the compensation suggested at that
time by the Official Opposition to soften or completely avoid
the negative impact of this decision. It was to transfer the
scientific and technological budgets and expertise associated
with the helicopter production project to the high-speed train
project between Quebec City and Windsor, which has very
important economic and technological benefits and the
tremendous advantage of meeting a need of the civilian
population, and whose technology could then be exported.
So far, the Liberal government has turned a deaf ear to this
suggestion despite the statements in the red book. It took the
same attitude toward the MIL Davie shipyard. This shipyard,
which used to specialize in military shipbuilding, is now
threatened with closure. In fact, it had to lay off 600 workers
since the beginning of 1993. If nothing is done, it could be
forced to close after delivering the last ship to the Canadian
Navy. This shipyard has embarked on a process to convert from
military to civilian production. It has started this process. In this
context, in order to survive, MIL Davie must be awarded the
contract to build the Magdalen Islands ferry and receive
assistance in developing a new kind of multifunctional ship
called smart ship.
In fact, the MIL Davie case was the subject of a unanimous
consensus during Rendez-vous 93, an event held in Montreal by
the private sector on September 15 and 16, 1993. Eighteen
associations were gathered at this meeting on the economy,
which took place at the suggestion of the Conseil du Patronat du
Québec, including the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan
Montreal, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the
Front de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec, as well as the four
main labour bodies in Quebec.
During this Rendez-vous, a resolution proposed by the École
polytechnique de Montréal, regarding the opening of a
high-speed train line between Quebec City and Windsor, was
also unanimously passed by the participants. In the same vein,
I would like to mention that, last week, residents from my
riding and from the Trois-Rivières region sent me a petition
signed by close to 6,700 people asking for a substantial
reduction of military expenditures and the reinvestment of a
good part of the resulting savings in the creation of good jobs.
Those 6,700 petitioners are to be added to the 5,000 who have
already expressed their disagreement regarding the helicopter
contract. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to
the tenacity of all those who participated in this initiative, and
I will be proud to table their petition in this House in the weeks
If industrial conversion is necessary, it will be done on a case
by case basis. There are already a few success stories, one of
which I find particularly interesting, that is the Expro plant in
the Montreal region. I want to tell you briefly about the
instrument which brought about this success, namely the setting
up of a manpower adjustment committee.
I am all the more pleased and comfortable to discuss this issue
because I worked with these committees for 11 years in my
region, when I was with the Quebec Department of Manpower. I
can therefore attest to the strength and the power of these
committees in a business, when their presence and their role are
well understood. That strength is gained through the
information, often confidential, which circulates within the
committee, and is also linked to the common cause at stake and
to the interest for the parties of finding common solutions to
It is very rare that a situation does not improve when
employers and employees work together, are supported by
governments, and are assisted by a neutral and independent third
party who diagnoses the strengths and weaknesses of both sides
of the company and who, after the two sides have approved that
diagnosis, proposes a binding work plan.
As in the case of Expro, this should be the government's
preferred structure if, some day, it should decide to make good
on its election promises regarding industrial conversion.
In conclusion, we have to realize that a whole sector of the
high-tech manufacturing industry is in jeopardy. The economic
future of Canada and Quebec is largely dependent on our ability
to react positively to this structural change. The government
must get its act together and clearly show its political will to
take energetic and consistent measures to ensure the industrial
conversion of our military businesses.
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Madam Speaker, the
hon. member just gave a speech, indicating some of the ideas
that he has as to where the government could effect some
savings in national defence expenditure.
Somewhere out there is a misnomer that perhaps some
provinces do not get a great economic impact from national
defence expenditures. One place that is fairly great is in the
province of Quebec. Indeed colleagues on my side of the House
and employees of members that I know from the province of
Quebec have little understanding about the great and very
positive economic impact of national defence expenditures in
I remind the member that for 1992-93 according to the data I
have received from national defence, in excess of $2
billion-that is a lot-is spent directly in the province of
Quebec by the Department of National Defence.
I would ask him to go a little bit further. One of the things that
sometimes is not put into the right envelope as far as benefits are
capital projects from Atlantic Canada. We have the frigate
replacement program which is out of Saint John, New
Brunswick. Many of those vessels are being built in the province
of Quebec. Indeed the Department of Industry has indicated
clearly that for every dollar that is spent in Atlantic Canada on
capital projects, about 44 cents of it goes to Ontario and Quebec.
Therefore the major impact of defence may be at least 50 per
cent more and perhaps even double. There is about $3 billion to
$4 billion in that economic impact in the province of Quebec.
The member from Trois-Rivières indicated that he had a
petition from some people in his riding. They basically said that
they thought there should be even further cuts.
The hon. member knows that there are both civilian and
military personnel employed in his riding and that his riding
benefits to the tune of at least $4 million to $6 million. Would he
be willing to forgo that $4 million to $6 million infusion from
national defence, both civilian and military employees, grants
and other purchases, to put into other ventures in his riding?
Would he agree with the petitioners that he mentioned that we
should slash $4 million or $5 million from Trois-Rivières?
Mr. Rocheleau: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
question. I think that we must see the question in a broader
perspective. Major geopolitical changes are taking place on this
planet, and within Canada, budget cuts have already been under
way for several years. I illustrated it in my statement. Spending
decreased by about 48 per cent, with the effect of cutting about
11,000 jobs in Quebec, including high-tech jobs.
Governments and politicians must develop a broader vision. I
do not think that we can limit ourselves to the short term; we
must consider the medium and long term. Of course, some
sacrifices may have to be made, but one thing I want to
emphasize is that it will be done case by case. I do not think that
it will be big government programs designed here in Ottawa; it
will be decided case by case, factory by factory, using an
instrument with which I am familiar, labour committees. These
have been successful in all kinds of situations, especially one
case which I am told is already a model for this planet. All kinds
of people, including academics, are studying how Expro, which
was known for labour conflicts of all kinds, strikes, lock-outs,
all sorts of rather negative things, became a company with
exemplary labour relations that is once again profitable.
I think that we must favour this kind of approach, which is not
magic, but is necessary: maintain good labour-management
relations. The secret of this mechanism is information, no
Mr. Harold Culbert (Carleton-Charlotte): Madam
Speaker, I am certainly glad to see that my hon. colleague across
the way has read the red book so faithfully. We are pleased to see
After listening to his comments with regard to economic and
social programs and all the things we should be doing today, I
assure the hon. member that they will be done by this
With regard to the defence committee and the subject matter
of today and his comments, the hon. member made several
comments with regard to alternatives and suggestions as to how
government should be working with and for the people and
providing the opportunity for input.
The committee he is talking about actually provides
opportunity for additional input. I would certainly hope the hon.
member will provide that committee with the opportunity to tap
into his expertise to provide that input and those suggestions.
That is exactly what it is for. It is a forum to provide as many
people as we possibly can in this area with an opportunity to
provide their expertise and their input to assist the department in
making the best possible decisions in the final analysis.
I think we should indeed be pleased that this government
continues to provide the opportunity for that input. That was not
always the case with previous administrations.
Is the hon. member prepared to provide the benefit of his
expertise and input to this committee to assist in the long term
and short term as well to make those decisions that are going to
be made and recommendations that will be made back to the
department of defence?
Mr. Rocheleau: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for
his comments. I am flattered that he noticed. Of course, if ever
people in certain places thought that my contribution could be
valuable, I would be only to happy to oblige. But the point I was
making, what I was objecting to in my speech is the fact that the
special joint committee in question will cover the same ground
as the Standing Committee of the House on National Defence.
Personally, I do not see the point. Perhaps it is as good a way as
any to keep the people in the other place busy. However, given
the costs involved-and the member on this side of the House
will agree-I think that the money might be put to better use, as
the case may be.
I also object to the fact that this debate has no framework. As
the Official Opposition, we would have expected a plan of
action, a master plan, an overview of defence and foreign policy,
a white paper, something. But no, the proposal is to set up a joint
committee, period. Very disappointing!
On the other point, I will be pleased to oblige if ever people in
certain places should see fit to call on me.
Mrs. Jan Brown (Calgary Southeast): Madam Speaker, I
will be as brief as I possibly can.
I would like to thank the hon. member for his presentation. He
included significant detail in his speech of those projects in
Quebec that are defence oriented and within the manufacturing
sector. They do indeed provide employment to many. He cited
the figure of 46,000 jobs.
He indicated in his opening remarks his concern for the lack
of a thread to link together our debates in this House. This is a
legitimate concern demonstrating a desire to seek coherence,
which I think is the word the hon. member used, through
national program development. He then moved to provincial
domain, highlighting a narrower level of concern.
How can he reconcile his role as a national representative
while at the same time working on a case by case scenario within
and for Quebec? This does not provide the national coherence
that he identified in his opening remarks.
Mr. Rocheleau: Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague
from Calgary Southeast for her comments.
In this case, and this is perhaps where my experience comes in
handy, I know with regard to government programs that
problems within a company are best dealt with within the
company, through an in-house program. The key players, that is
to say an employer and the workers, unionized or not, must be
involved. They must learn to speak to each other, whatever the
situation. Expro is a perfect example. It can be done, in terms of
conversion as well as in other areas where the situation has
Ms. Mary Clancy (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
Citizenship and Immigration): Madam Speaker, I cannot tell
you what a delight it is for me to rise today. It is the first
opportunity that I have had to speak in this House when you are
in the chair.
I want to make special note. My congratulations to you on
your appointment as the deputy chair of committees of the
whole. I know that the whole House benefits from your wise
counsel in chairing us here today and in the future. My deepest
and warmest congratulations to you.
It gives me pleasure as well to rise to speak in this debate and
to talk for a few minutes about an issue that is of great concern to
me and to my constituents. For over five years now it has been
my very great honour to represent the people of the city of
Halifax has many names. It is known as the city of trees. It is
known as the city with more green spots than any other city in
North America but primarily and perhaps most widely it is
known as, thanks to Hugh MacLennan, Halifax the warden of the
north. It was known throughout World War II in many dispatches
and many news bulletins as a small east coast Canadian port.
From its founding in 1749, Halifax has been a city of great
military significance in the defence of North America, most
particularly in the defence of the north Atlantic. It is Canada's
eastern naval base and the largest naval base in the country.
There are a variety of reasons why Halifax was chosen.
Probably first and foremost is that we do have one of the most
beautiful natural harbours in the world. Up until this winter it
had been ice free for most of the time, but this winter has
defeated many of us with its severity. Even Halifax harbour had
a little bit of ice this winter. Normally we are and claim to be the
largest natural ice-free harbour in the world.
We also have a distinct advantage in that we are the closest
port in North America to Europe. We are also close to the major
ports on the eastern sea coast of the United States. Behind the
harbour itself we have Bedford basin. It has been said many
times by me as well as by others that every navy in the world
could ride at anchor with room to spare in Bedford basin.
We have been home to the Royal Canadian Navy since our
founding. It might not have been called the Royal Canadian
Navy at that time. I am sure the hon. member from Bonavista
can tell me exactly what it was called in 1749, not that I am
suggesting he was there, but he would know.
Mr. Mifflin: Sir Edward Cornwallis.
Ms. Clancy: Yes, indeed, he was the admiral of the day.
On a more serious note, Halifax has been a focal point of the
Canadian navy as long as there has been a Canadian navy.
Haligonians, though perhaps not always so, are now proud and
happy to be home to the Royal Canadian Navy.
We have had some differences at some times over our history,
as my colleague from Newfoundland would agree, but those
differences have been settled for a long time. As I said, the
location of DND in the city of Halifax and its environs is of
tremendous importance to the healthy economy of Halifax, to
the healthy economy of Nova Scotia and to the healthy economy
of Atlantic Canada. However, it is also tremendously important
to the historical and cultural life of our city.
We are and we define ourselves by that port. We know that the
military presence there is of tremendous significance. We know
also that not just the ships and their personnel but the work done
at the naval dockyard is of tremendous importance to the
economy of our city.
We are, and people are always surprised when I say this,
essentially a city without an industry. We are the regional centre
of the federal government and the provincial capital of Nova
Scotia. We have five universities-six, excuse me. My hon.
colleague from Halifax West would remind me that within the
environs of our two ridings we have six universities. We also
have that most important element to our economic health, the
Department of National Defence.
Consequently, as the review of the armed forces and of
national defence is taking place it is of supreme importance to
the people of Halifax that the continued health and survival and
indeed the continued thriving of DND be reiterated in this
House. It is a matter of importance for all the people of Canada
but most particularly for the people of Nova Scotia.
There are several things I want to talk about with regard to the
areas I hope will be covered in a review. For the majority of the
five years I have had the good fortune to be here in this House I
had the responsibility to speak on behalf of women. Although I
have different responsibilities today, one never loses the feeling
for work one has done for a long time. As a woman and as a
member of Parliament there are certain messages that every one
of us knows we must carry as women represent 52 per cent of the
population in this country.
Last year under a different government in this House a report
was tabled by the then Minister of National Defence, the then
member for Vancouver Centre, on elements within the
Department of National Defence and activities relating to sexual
harassment and gender bias. At the time I and other members of
my party spoke out very strongly on the need for reforms within
the Department of National Defence.
I want to state at the beginning of my remarks that when I talk
about problems of gender equality, sexual harassment, and
discrimination on the basis of gender, by no means do I consider
the Department of National Defence to be the only offender or
the worst offender.
We live in a society that sadly in 1994 is still basically sexist.
We live in a society where women are still generally
discriminated against. They deal with a lack of recognition in
the value of the work they do. They deal with harassment and
glass ceilings which prevent their promotion and prevent their
attaining the goals many of them richly deserve.
Consequently it is incumbent upon all of us in this House, men
and women alike, to remember when we deal with any matters of
national policy that questions relating to fairness and equality in
gender must always be on the table.
As the member for Halifax, as all members do, I have office
hours every Friday in my riding and when the House is not
sitting, throughout the week. Over the past five years I have had
a number of young women come to see me. Many of them were
DND personnel, either in the services or civilian workers. Many
others have come to see me from other federal and provincial
government offices and whatever.
However, because this review is taking place I want to make a
very special plea. I know that special plea will not go unheard by
the minister, his parliamentary secretary, the members of
cabinet or indeed by the Prime Minister because I know this is a
government of fairness and a government that intends to
establish fairness. I want and hope that in this review the report
that was tabled last year on gender inequality and sexual
harassment within the Department of National Defence will be
looked at. I hope that the proper and appropriate systems will be
put in place.
Again as the member for Halifax, when these young women
would come to see me there was a common thread with regard to
the problems particularly of sexual harassment. A number of
people who have not dealt with the problem or have not been
faced with this particular form of discrimination sometimes find
it hard to believe. It has always been my experience in dealing
with good men and true-and I find that the vast majority of
gentlemen in this Chamber can be classed as good men and
true-that there are two problems. I am trying to explain the
problems of sexual harassment.
One problem is the vast majority of men that women deal with
would never even consider activity of this nature so they cannot
believe it actually happens. The other is that for a small number
they do not want the light of day shone on it and have themselves
found out. Therefore, again they do not want to hear about it.
However, I think the former is most generally the case.
Let me assure those who think this kind of activity is unusual
or the exception that it is not. It is very difficult for women who
are victimized in this way to come forward. All the standard
reactions of women are not to rock the boat, not to disturb the
status quo, not to anger their superiors. That is because for many
of them, the jobs they hold are absolutely crucial to their
families, to their standard of living and to maintaining their
place in life. Frequently when these matters take place they
think: ``I imagined it,'' or worse: ``I did something to engender
That is usually not the case. As a matter of fact, empirical
research in this area is that it almost never is the case. Along
with that equally unacceptable practice, that of racism, it stems
from the unconscionable behaviour of the perpetrator and not
from the behaviour of the victim.
Consequently I make this plea today. In the review and in the
decisions as to where the Department of National Defence is
going, as to where we are going as a country on defence policy, I
will do something I rarely do in this House and that is to quote an
My American source is one of the first great feminists of
North America, Abigail Adams, the wife of the second president
of the United States, John Adams. She was the mother of, I think
it was the fourth president of the United States, John Quincy
Adams. When her husband with his colleagues was crafting the
declaration of independence and later the constitution of the
United States, she said: ``Remember the ladies''.
Well, I would paraphrase it for the 1990s. I would say to my
colleagues and to those people who will be doing the review in
the Department of National Defence, that policies relating to
gender equality must be part and parcel of the new armed forces,
of the new Department of National Defence.
Women in this country have earned the right and deserve to be
full partners in all our endeavours. Women can serve in the
armed forces and serve with distinction as they have done over
many, many years. However they must be able to enter that
milieu as they must be able to enter any milieu, particularly one
that is governed by the public policy of this country, with the
knowledge that they will not be victimized, that they will not be
treated as second class citizens, and that if anyone attempts that
kind of behaviour proper systems will be in place to answer and
deal with those complaints.
The difficulty we have had with both sexism and racism, not
just in this country but in democratic societies generally, is that
we have tended to deal with them as individual cases before
well-meaning and well-acting human rights commissions. An
individual goes to the system with a complaint based on a breach
of human rights law. That individual might get redress in one
particular case, but the system that allowed the offence to occur
in the first place has not changed. It has not removed the ability
for such acts to occur. That is what we must do right through our
government, right through our public policy.
The fact is that this review of the Department of National
Defence is a golden opportunity. It is an opportunity that must
not be missed, that can go forward again-and this is something
we are all concerned about in this week before the budget is
about to come down-without costing a whole lot of money.
It is my belief that systemic discrimination can be eradicated
from federal government agencies generally without costing a
whole lot of money. That is not the case for some of the other
things that I am very keen on, such as pay equity and a few other
things. Those are going to cost money and the piper will have to
be paid and he will have to be paid soon as well.
The question of systemic discrimination and the question of
setting up within our current institutions, defence and otherwise
in this country, can be done and has been shown that it can be
done by a variety of reports under human rights commissions,
under royal commissions. I refer, for example, to the Abella
report on employment equity which shows certain ways that
systemic discrimination can be dealt with.
I can remember some 12 years ago when you, Madam
Speaker, and I were both present at a meeting here in this
building sponsored by what was then known as Employment and
Immigration Canada during which we discovered that CIDA
Canada marketed a program to other countries across the world
that showed them how to eradicate systemic discrimination
from private sector companies and government offices at very
We have the program. It is available. I believe that we can
implement it within our own public service, within our own
Department of National Defence.
While we permit the evils of racism and sexism, while we
permit discrimination in any form in this, one of the most
pluralistic and multicultural societies on earth, we have no right
to stand proudly as Canadians and claim it as we know it can be
and should be the greatest nation on earth.
We tend to be rather quiet as Canadians, but we are also
accused from time to time of being rather smug because we are
so very fortunate. In spite of the ills that beset us in times of
economic downturn, in spite of the difficulties and in spite of the
world's worst weather, at least here in Ottawa, we do not deny
the fact that we are among the luckiest people in the world.
Until we solve the problems that beset 52 per cent of the
population, until we do this, we as Canadians carry a burden that
we should not pass on to our children.
Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Madam Speaker, the
previous speaker, the hon. member from the beautiful province
of Nova Scotia, is to be commended for introducing into today's
debate the subject of discrimination in the Canadian Forces,
although she made it clear this was not the only department
where major changes were necessary.
The motion before the House today to appoint this special
joint committee could, of course, include discrimination, but I
wonder whether this would not be duplicate a previous exercise.
Perhaps action, not more studies, is what we need. You referred
to the Abella report and the report released last year which made
it clear that discrimination existed in several sectors at National
The facts are there, recommendations have been made, the
various parties have responded to the reports that were
published, and the only one that is not moving at all is the
government. I think it would make sense for the government that
has been in power since October 25 and whose members has
been familiar with the problem for years, and especially
considering the report released last year, to immediately table
specific measures to deal with this discrimination.
You mentioned this earlier, quite rightly, and it surprised me
as well last year, when I heard that the government was giving
other countries advice on how to eliminate discrimination in
certain agencies, even private agencies, and that it did not
consider implementing its own recommendations.
Although I applaud your comments on the subject, I think you
were rather soft on this new government by failing to state quite
frankly that it was time to do something specific, since the
report and the recommendations are known. All it takes is for the
parties involved, meaning the government, to make a decision
so that, as you pointed out, this kind of discrimination on
military bases is abolished.
I do not think a committee, especially not a committee of both
Houses, which means a very big committee, which would be
asked to discuss conversion, to reflect on the potential need for a
new base for training peacekeepers, to consider the advisability
of closing certain bases or what Canada's contribution should be
as an international force, in multilateral forces, I do not think it
could also talk about discrimination. This committee will
already have too much on its plate. A debate on this particular
issue would not be appropriate in a committee that is supposed
to make recommendations for future policy. It seems to me we
do not need any further debate on this issue. The public realizes
that changes are necessary. Changes must be made, and the
government can make them without a committee, on the basis of
In any case, this committee seems to be one committee too
many. We already have a National Defence committee, which is
supposed to consider future policy and the estimates and hear
testimony from the military and civilians. The hon. member for
Trois-Rivières said earlier in his speech that he had a petition
signed by nearly 7,000 people from Trois-Rivières who
objected to the fact that National Defence and the defence sector
are so generously funded and said that conversion was
necessary. We already have a committee that can hear these
witnesses and make recommendations to the government.
I have known the hon. member as an ardent activist for
women's rights. I applaud that, and I know she will keep up the
good work, but she will realize it is much harder now. A great
politician once said that power imposes its own constraints. I
want to ask whether she is prepared to rise in caucus and here in
the House, not to ask members to think about discrimination but
to ask for immediate implementation of the recommendations of
the Abella and other reports, which tell us exactly where the
discrimination is and how it should be corrected.
If she wants to accomplish anything, it will have to be done
through government decisions. I also think that the proposed
committee should not be struck. In other words, the committee
is unnecessary because we already have a National Defence
committee that could examine all the items the minister
mentioned this morning and which the red book, which you
praised so highly during the election campaign, mentioned as
well, although far more clearly than the minister did in his
speech this morning.
Would the hon. member agree that it is time to do something
about discrimination instead of taking this issue back to
Ms. Clancy: Madam Speaker, I must say I am truly delighted
to see the hon. member's conversion on the road to Damascus
because as he has kindly recalled my history on the opposition
benches as an activist for women's rights, I too recall his
original incarnation in this House as a member of a government,
indeed as a member of a government that had full access to the
Abella report which was tabled in this House in 1984 when the
hon. member was part and parcel of that government.
I am sure that his desire for quick action has come since his,
shall we say, change in circumstance. I will, however, say that I
am a little disappointed at the hon. member's wish to debunk a
committee that has not yet been struck. Certainly there is a
committee for national defence, a standing committee of this
House, and it has a particular mandate.
The joint committee that is being talked about in this
resolution has a specific mandate that was promised, I might
add, in the red book. We on this side of the House will always
keep our promises. That is a promise we made. It is a promise we
are going to keep.
What I want to see done and what I know will be done by this
committee is that the systemic changes necessary to prevent
further discrimination within the armed forces will be dealt with
by this joint committee as part and parcel of its long-term
mandate. To say that this work can be left to the committee on
national defence is to be unrealistic. I know the hon. member
would never be so with regard to the duties of the standing
committee here in this House.
For example, the standing committee on defence will have to
deal with estimates and with various and sundry other matters as
they come up in the daily business relating to the minister of
defence and his responsibilities.
This joint committee is to do a very special job within a very
special period of time. As I said before, it is one that is
absolutely necessary to the health and future of the Department
of National Defence.
With regard to the need for action, I want to make perfectly
clear that in my remarks I was certainly not calling for any more
studies, no more studies. We know what the problems are. We
know where they are. We know how they exist and we also know
how to fix them.
What remains to be done now is for this committee to take as
its mandate, which I am quite sure it will, this problem and work
it in with the review and its recommendations for changes within
the armed forces that the Department of National Defence will
carry forward into the next century.
Mr. Allan Kerpan (Moose Jaw-Lake Centre): Madam
Speaker, today I would like to join some other members of this
House in supporting the motion before us to strike a special joint
committee of the House of Commons and the Senate to consider
Canada's defence policy.
It is the conviction of many within our country and among our
international neighbours that the last decade of this millennium
presents an urgent and opportune moment to re-examine
defence policy and national security.
The international, regional and internal factors compelling us
as Canadians to review our policy are well articulated by people
within and out of the defence industry. I am sure they will be
thoroughly addressed by the joint committee we are proposing
to strike today.
For my part, the issues of fiscal constraint, international
political instability and the safety and adequate resourcing of
troops we send abroad in service are priorities.
I wish to contribute to the current debate by emphasising the
process of review. I want to encourage the proposed joint
committee to consult carefully and widely with Canadians
during this review process for two basic reasons.
First, the federal government has a unique and special role in
educating Canadians about national defence and security.
Defence is totally within the constitutional jurisdiction of the
federal government. We must discharge our duties in this regard.
This review process is one opportunity to make younger and
newer Canadians in particular aware of the role that our armed
forces play and of the service they provide for us. I also hope
that the joint committee will consider in its deliberations other
ways and means for Canadians to be made fully aware of the
importance of defence.
Developing educational and training programs will also
ensure that we have a secure pool of future personnel for our
armed forces service. While a consultative process will no doubt
reveal various opinions and philosophies about the role of
defence, the open and frank discussion should be of great
educational value and should contribute to a national consensus
for defence policy, one that would be sufficient to guide us into
the next century.
The importance of achieving such a national consensus is the
second reason for a broad and careful consultation process
among Canadians. The best policy and legislation that
governments can bring forward is that which commands lasting
I believe that Canadians not only need to understand but that
they want to understand defence policy. I believe that they will
support policy that they understand and have had a hand in
It is with this in mind that I offer some constructive criticism
of the timing of this review. It seems to me that the Liberal Party
red book makes a number of policy decisions that may prove to
be premature. These include increasing the priority of
peacekeeping, establishing peacekeeping centres at surplus
bases, forcing defence industry conversions, creating a
peacekeeping brigade of volunteers and cutting the defence
budget by $1.6 billion over four years.
Others have made this point as well. I as well feel that
piecemeal change to defence policy before a thorough review is
completed is a case of putting the cart before the horse. We
cannot be sure of what our requirements will be, for example, in
the area of base reorganization before the review process is
completed. In other words, I would encourage the government to
be as objective and open minded as possible when going
through this review process.
The two crucial functions that the joint committee on
Canada's defence policy can fulfil by developing a good process
of consultation are education and consensus. The government
must continue to find ways to accomplish these objectives.
I would also like to present an idea to this House which I have
suggested to the minister of defence privately regarding the
potential closure of Canadian forces bases. I recommended that
the minister strike an ad hoc caucus of members who have CFBs
in their ridings to participate fully in the base closure review
The benefits of such a process would be as follows. First, the
minister may be provided with information from each base and
surrounding community that he might not otherwise have had
the benefit of receiving. This information, along with expert
opinion, would be shared and debated openly in an ad hoc caucus
resulting in the best analysis and decisions possible.
Second, it would allow the MP to more ably and effectively
represent the views of his or her constituents. Third, it would
increase the ownership level of the decision among
parliamentarians and, therefore, among Canadians.
It is important for the government to have the respective MPs
regardless of the future of any given base as allies rather than
adversaries of the decision.
Having been fully informed of all the factors in the decision
making process and having had the opportunity to contribute to
the discussion on behalf of constituents, an MP would be a great
help in communicating, gaining support for, consolidating and
monitoring the outcomes of the decision.
In conclusion, a consultative, co-operative approach relating
to the whole defence policy or to a subdepartment of it seems to
be very much in line with the government's stated agenda for a
more open and effective Parliament.
I am sure that we would all admit to some uncertainty about
what the next century will bring in terms of internal, regional
and international stability. I would argue, however, that the best
way to face such an uncertain future is with careful planning.
The future will surely come. The question is will we drive into it
or will we drift into it?
Canadians will feel most secure with the future if we as
leaders involve them, help to educate them, listen to them and
together come to the best possible decisions.
Mr. Mac Harb (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for
International Trade): Madam Speaker, I would like to
congratulate the Prime Minister and the Minister of National
Defence and the government on this long overdue review of our
defence policies, the way we provide services as well as the role
of national defence. I would also like to congratulate the
government on involving once and for all national defence staff,
the armed forces and all those who have anything to do with
national defence policy.
I believe it takes a lot of guts to undertake such an overall
review. I am very happy and delighted to see this review taking
place. In particular, unlike my colleague on the opposition side,
I am encouraged by the fact that our role internationally will be
enhanced through this review and also through the fact that
some of the bases that we have here in Canada might be used as
training bases for other forces around the world that might be
interested in peacekeeping roles.
When it comes to the closure of bases, the hon. member is
saying that MPs should be consulted in order for them to go back
to their constituents and tell them about the issues so that they
may bring back the views of their constituents. It goes without
saying any MP who tells me that his or her constituents support
the closure of a base is mistaken. No constituent would like to
see a base in their neighbourhood or their surrounding being
What we have to do is involve those affected by doing a
review to ensure that whatever action the government takes
would have a minimal or no affect on the surrounding
community. The government is doing just that.
I am informed that this member in his home province of
Saskatchewan undertook an initiative to have a look at one of the
bases that is under consideration, I presume, and invited
everybody but the member for the area in which this particular
base is involved. I want to ask him why he did not practice what
he preached. When he undertook this initiative why did he not
involve all of the different partners rather than just picking and
choosing the people he wanted to invite to that particular
meeting or event?
Would the member not agree that it would really be wrong to
prejudge the government decision on an initiative which has just
now been launched? Would he not agree that it would be wiser to
wait until such a time as the committee is struck and has had a
chance to undertake a review? Does he not think that would be
the best time and place in order to make any kind of presentation
on behalf of his constituents? That would be the proper time for
the member to tell the government and the minister the kind of
things he would like to see the government do when it comes to
national defence issues.
Mr. Kerpan: Madam Speaker, I have two points. First of all,
the base that is apparently in question in Saskatchewan happens
to be the base which is in my home riding. Second, in any
attempts or meetings that we have had as a Saskatchewan caucus
we have invited everyone to be present and to take part in those.
The question that the hon. member raises is a good question
and one that I talked about in my presentation. There can be no
way at this point that we can go out and make piecemeal cuts or
changes to any part of the defence without the full review
process. We have to give the review process a chance to work.
I look at base closures as one perfect example. If we close or
drastically change base x in province y today and pending the
outcome of the review this fall we may say that base x in
province y should have been kept. One cannot make a judgment
as to what the long-term mission or the long-term goal of our
defence should be without giving the process a chance to work.
Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth): Madam Speaker, I was
in the lobby but I was listening to the speech by the member. I
fully understand the angst that he must feel knowing that with
the base and with cuts pending he may have to deal with that in
his riding. I certainly wish him well. I certainly hope that he
does not have to deal with that at this point.
I have a fundamental question. During the election campaign
the Reform Party in my riding-I have one of the largest
military ridings in the country-would go around and say that it
was its party's platform to eliminate the deficit in three years.
However, at every all-candidates meeting on my side of the
harbour and on the side of the harbour of my colleague from
Halifax, whenever asked about defence policy we never
received an answer.
The hon. member is now speaking for his constituents and I
think that is the right thing to do. I want to know what the party's
position is? The Reform Party platform said that in three years it
would eliminate the deficit. With 37 cents of every discretionary
dollar left in the budget going to defence, how would his party
approach cutting the deficit to zero without going around and
laying waste to most of the national defence infrastructure?
What I am saying is maybe he cannot have it both ways. I have
never seen it like that. Maybe he can explain how it is done.
Mr. Kerpan: Madam Speaker, first of all if anyone would
take the time to look at our famous blue book they would see that
we have not advocated any major cuts to defence from the $12
billion budget it is currently working under.
Having said that, we also believe that sooner or later we have
to make infrastructure cuts. I am not opposed to cutting back or
to making changes in defence. What I am saying in the whole
gist of what I did say was that we have to get the process
finished. I agree with the member's side of the House to have
this review process but let us not make any changes until we
have a look at it.
There may be a situation in which something very close to me
is necessary to be cut. I would not like that. My constituents
would not like that but that is part of the tough talk and the tough
things that have to happen over the next few years.
Mr. Murray Calder
(Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe): Madam Speaker, I
would like to compliment the hon. member on his speech.
I listened with a lot of interest because obviously something
we are going to have to do is revise the role of the military for the
21st century. Things have changed. The cold war is over.
What I am interested in here and now is process of review. I
would like to know what the hon. member's vision is of how this
process of review is going to work, how this committee is going
to be put together. Obviously one of the things we will be
looking at is the cost part of it and the Reform is definitely
looking at the cost of operating government.
I would like to know how the member is going to put together
Mr. Kerpan: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon.
member for his question. It is a good question.
The vision I probably have for this review is that there would
be a committee of members who have CFBs in their ridings.
That would give all of us, and I have a CFB in my riding, a
chance to sit down and make the case or tell the minister or tell
the committee of people that this is what makes Moose Jaw wing
15 very good, very important.
I would talk about things like the low cost of operating this
service in Saskatchewan, for instance. We would do this in
conjunction with expert opinion, people who are in our defence
industry at this time. There has to be some give and take so that
we can look at what is best for the industry and for the country as
a whole and not necessarily what is best for my riding or any
Having said all that, I do know, as I mentioned before, that
there are going to be some tough choices. If an MP were asked to
be part of that committee he or she could go back to his or her
riding and indicate the reasons that base x was changed or base y
I was part of that and it may make sense. We have to change it
based on what we talked about.
Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough): Madam Speaker, as with
many aspects of Canadian life, the time has come for a long and
hard look at our military policy, where we want it to go and how
we want it to be an instrument of our national policy.
I would like to begin by saying how much I appreciate the
opportunity to participate in this important debate and I believe
it is important because it affects everyone in this country.
After all, Canadians, no matter what their age, their
occupation, or where they live, have a stake in defence. For that
reason I am especially pleased that the government has formally
launched a defence review in the House of Commons. In so
doing, the government is once again showing its commitment to
consult with Canadians and take account of their opinions in
determining the future of defence policy.
The opinions of concerned Canadians will be given voice here
today, as they have been already, and they will no doubt
influence the structure and the purpose of our military forces in
As the minister noted in his speech earlier today, the aim of
the review is to develop a new defence policy for Canada, one
that reflects not only an uncertain environment abroad, but our
needs here at home and the values we hold as Canadians.
The government hopes that the special joint committee on
defence policy will hear the widest possible range of views on
the future of Canadian defence.
Once the committee is established I expect that it will make
plans to solicit the widest range of opinion on these issues. But
before consultations begin we need an answer to a basic
question: Is there a need for armed forces in the world today?
Many people are asking this question.
In my view, the answer is yes. A glance at the front page of
any major daily newspaper on practically any given day will
enforce this view. Regrettably, the potential for conflict still
persists, both between states and within states.
Armed forces are designed to play many roles in the world
today. During the next few minutes I would like to discuss those
roles in general and I will describe how the Canadian forces
could help Canada meet its domestic and foreign policy
In doing so I will identify the specific roles that the Canadian
forces carry out. They exist as security at home and they exist to
contribute to international security and defence through
multilateral operations abroad.
Finally, I will describe some of the activities undertaken by
the Canadian forces. Those activities stand as solid proof of the
asset our military represents due to its great ability to carry out
many necessary tasks at home and abroad.
The most basic reason that any country fields armed forces is
to protect its people, its territory and its political independence.
To provide that protection, armed forces must guard against
threats to sovereignty from without and answer threats to law
and order from within whenever those threats outstrip the
availability of civil authorities to respond.
Democratic governments prefer to avoid using the military to
maintain public order but having the ability to do so provides a
form of insurance against unacceptable risks.
The Canadian forces have been called upon to respond to
threats to public order. We all recall the calm and disciplined
performance with which the Canadian forces helped to diffuse a
potentially explosive situation at Oka a few summers ago.
Providing protection is an important military role, but it is not
the sole raison d'ètre for the military.
Most armed forces are also capable of carrying out a variety
of civil roles like search and rescue and disaster relief. We do
not have to look beyond our own borders for examples of this.
The national roles played by the Canadian forces can be
invaluable. One of the most important and most dramatic roles
is search and rescue. It is a task that demands professionalism
and determination, often under daunting conditions. The crews
that fly search and rescue missions enjoy their triumphs such as
when a Sea King helicopter lifted two stranded hunters from an
island off Nova Scotia or plucked nine Honduran seamen from a
sinking ship off the coast of Haiti.
Sometimes, of course, the end result can be far from
rewarding, as we saw in the futile search for the missing crew of
a cargo carrier lost in the Atlantic last month or the grim
discovery last summer of a wrecked plane that ended a 12-day
search of the Quebec wilderness. But the point is that our forces
are there, they are trained, they are equipped and they are ready
to meet Canada's search and rescue needs.
Our forces are also ready to respond to calls for disaster relief.
Canadian soldiers, sailors and air crew have fought floods,
battled forest fires and evacuated isolated communities standing
in the way. For more than 50 years Canadian forces have also
played a role in protecting our marine resources. Today Aurora
and Arcturus surveillance aircraft conduct fisheries patrols over
huge expanses of ocean, taking over where the Argus, the
Tracker and the Lancaster left off.
The proficiency of the Canadian forces is the product of their
training and equipment. The dedication of our service men and
service women in carrying out those domestic roles attest to
their status as a national asset. Based on the contribution they
make to our national, domestic interests alone, there can be no
doubt that the Canadian forces should continue to play a
significant role in our collective future.
I have described the role of the armed forces within the nation
state. Of course, armed forces also are maintained to respond to
serious breaches of international security. Few of us would have
to search our memories to think of these examples. The two
world wars come to mind immediately, as does the Korean
conflict and the most recent war in the Persian gulf.
When the cold war ended, we had hoped this type of threat
would recede, but as Iraq's invasion of Kuwait illustrated so
forcefully, aggression and conflict are not yet things of the past.
In addition to the many civil wars currently under way,
tensions between nations are high and could easily lead to
conflict. Think of the uneasy truce that exists between North and
South Korea or the apprehension among the states bordering the
civil war in the Balkans. Obviously there is no substitute for
armed forces to respond to situations where diplomacy and
negotiations have failed leading nations to resort to force.
Indeed even the authors of a document as hopeful as the
United Nations charter acknowledge that these types of
situations would continue to exist and in response they called
upon states to maintain armed forces that can be used to defend
the principles contained in the charter.
Canada's armed forces are no strangers to operations of this
type. We were a major allied power during the second world war.
We sent forces to Korea under UN command. In 1990 we were
among the first countries to commit forces to the multinational
coalition that operated in support of the United Nations and
reversed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Collective defence is another form of multilateral military
co-operation in which security minded nations choose to
participate. While sovereign states join organizations like the
United Nations, helping to ensure international security on a
global basis, collective defence arrangements are more limited
and more focused. Essentially collective defence arrangements
result when like-minded nations promise to co-operate to
guarantee each other's defence.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO is a classic
example of that co-operation. Since it was founded in 1949 the
alliance has grown to include 16 nations, all of which have
pledged to pool resources for the common defence. NATO's
primary purpose has been to prevent a major war through the
deterrence of aggression and in this it has been very successful.
Considering that the cold war could easily have ended with a
nuclear confrontation, we are very fortunate that NATO never
had to use its military capabilities. That does not mean however
that other than preventing an east-west conflict there were no
benefits to collective defence through NATO. Far from it. At a
basic level NATO reduced the expense and increased the
efficiency of providing for defence within the Atlantic
and from a political perspective NATO contributed greatly to
the reconciliation of countries that only quite recently had been
at war with each other.
NATO has also served as a meeting place where nations could
discuss security issues and as a catalyst for military
standardization and interoperability. In fact the familiarity
NATO bred was put to very good use during the gulf war. Many
of the allied countries were well acquainted with one another's
equipment and procedures, factors that enhance the success of
Canadians have been strong supporters of collective defence,
not only through NATO but through a longstanding bilateral
defence relationship with the United States. We have placed our
armed forces at the service of NATO and NORAD and we have
actively participated in shaping allied positions. I hope that
Canada will continue to play this constructive role.
A third international role for the armed forces and for
Canadian forces in particular is the involvement in
peacekeeping operations. Most Canadians today are familiar
with the contribution we are making to a concept first
introduced in the years following World War II. Back then
peacekeeping and observer missions were seen as something of
an exotic innovation, but today they are widely accepted.
The review will provide Canadians with an excellent
opportunity to reflect on the complex and evolving state of
peacekeeping. The reality is that many current operations bear
little resemblance to the original concept.
Within the last five years alone military forces have stepped
into the breach to carry out an ever increasing and changing
variety of tasks. Let us consider some of them for a moment.
Peacekeepers have helped to monitor elections in Africa and
Central America. They have trained local populations to
recognize and disarm land mines in Afghanistan. In Cambodia
they helped provide administration on a nation-wide scale. In
the war torn remnants of the former Yugoslavia they have
ensured the delivery of humanitarian aid and created safe havens
In only a few years peacekeeping tasks have expanded
exponentially and the demand for qualified personnel to serve as
peacekeepers has risen to new heights. No one is more aware of
these developments than Canadians. In the past few years we
have listened to reports about the activities of our forces in
troubled spots around the world. We felt pride when Canadian
forces air crews flew humanitarian aid to Sarajevo. We watched
on television one hot summer day as a young Canadian soldier
risked his life in the same city to save two women wounded by
sniper fire. We have read about the difference our peacekeepers
have made in Cambodia, in Central America and the Middle
There are many other worthy stories that have never, ever
received wide circulation. Take for instance the military
engineers in Bosnia who lowered the road through a mountain
tunnel and straightened hairpin curves to improve a critical
route used to deliver humanitarian aid. The Canadian soldiers in
Somalia, we hear a lot about them but we did not hear about the
ones who improved schools, reopened a hospital and got public
utilities up and running in this area.
In essence, the defence review will chart a new direction for
the Canadian forces as we enter the 21st century. That role has
changed dramatically, even since the end of the cold war.
Although sovereignty protection and collective defence remain
important priorities, peacekeeping has become a focal point for
the Canadian forces. We need to ask ourselves how best to strike
a balance between these activities.
In conclusion, the end of the cold war has brought about
dramatic reorderings and turbulence throughout much of the
world. To meet the challenges of today and those we expect to
encounter in the future we must field flexible, capable military
If Canada seeks peace in a time of great transition and
upheaval then it follows that we must retain armed forces
capable of meeting the challenges to our defence and security at
home and abroad.
Mr. Gaston Péloquin (Brome-Missisquoi): Madam
Speaker, I listened very closely to the speech by my hon.
colleague for Hillsborough and I agree with him that the
Depatment of National Defence does many things very well and
that it plays an important role.
However, if we examine each of the services in detail, it is
clear that each one is important and has a role to play. My
question is the following: Since we already have a national
defence committee and given that we are asking the middle class
and the poor to tighten their belts, what more can a special
sixteen-member joint committee accomplish that existing
I would also like to ask my hon. colleague why the sixteen
committee members should be authorized to travel from place to
place within Canada and abroad to receive evidence?
Would it not be more logical to have witnesses come here to
Mr. Proud: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
comments and his questions. I suppose I could use the saying six
of one, half a dozen of another. I assume one of the reasons for
the joint committee is to have the two Houses involved and the
16 people. It does not matter to me whether it is 11 or 16 or
whatever the case may be. However it is going to be a joint
committee of both Houses. There will be expertise on that joint
committee from both Houses of Parliament.
We have talked over the years of the other place being an
instrument that is not of much use to the country. One of the
reasons that has come about is that the other place has not been
used enough when we are starting out on such things as this
investigation of our armed forces.
The people from the other place will contribute to this
committee as well as we will contribute to it. So far as the 16
members going across the country is concerned, why not bring
the people here? The hon. member will find in a lot of instances
that people will be brought here. The most viable thing to do
would be to bring people here.
We remember what happened when other committees went
across the country in the last number of years. People were very
concerned when the committee did not go to their areas. We have
to be cognizant of that. We should visit as many of these areas as
we find necessary. With that number of people, we can also split
into different committees that can visit at different times in
different areas of the country. That would help to speed up the
process and not miss anybody in the overall scheme of things.
I do agree that in many instances it would be much more
expedient, much more economical, to bring the people to Ottawa
to listen to them here.
Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke):
Madam Speaker, the hon. member who has just spoken has broad
experience in government. He has been in provincial
government and he has been in Ottawa for a while.
Does he not feel it is very important to have a number of
members like 16 on a committee including senators and to have
breadth and depth from across the country on matters as
important as the future defence policy of our large country, a
country that has a great name around the world in peacekeeping
and in doing more than our share during wartime in the past?
We will have many people with expertise in foreign affairs.
We will have people with expertise in the military field. We will
have other people with expertise in the industrial and training
fields. The Canadian forces is the largest training school in
Does the hon. member not feel it is important to have breadth
and depth from across Canada on the committee, to have the
committee going to meet Canadians who cannot afford to come
to Ottawa because this is a huge country, and to let Canadians
have their say on such matters as defence policy and foreign
policy? If we do not have that breadth and depth, will we not
have an inward looking attitude instead of a broad, outward
looking attitude at the world and nationally in our own country?
Mr. Proud: Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his
intervention and his questions. I think they are very relevant.
I spoke just a moment ago about this very thing. This is
certainly one of the most important committees I have been on
in my time here. It is going to take an in depth look at our
defence policy as to where we are going into the next
millennium. I believe we have to be committed to it. As I look at
the make-up of the committee thus far I am very pleased. We
have many good people on it from every party in the House. I
think that spells good for the future. I am sure the people who
will be chosen from the Senate will add their expertise to it at
their own level.
As I said a moment ago, we have to go out to various parts of
the country, and probably other places around the globe, to get
the whole input of people who have a great interest in our
country and in our military as to what we should have in
This is not something that will be a hodge-podge, band-aid
situation. I think we have had some of that in the past. I believe
the time has come. Canadians have told us that we have to
change. Our economics tell us we have to change. I can see the
make-up of this 16-member committee. It will split into
subcommittees to go across the land and across the world to see
what will be necessary for the next number of years. This is very
important to the future of the country.
Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne): Unfortunately, there
are only a couple of minutes left, Madam Speaker, and I think I
could do a 20-minute speech because I am so frustrated from
hearing what I just heard. I will try to be calm and precise and to
ask the hon. member opposite for a precise answer.
On the first opposition day, we had a debate on a special
committee to review every item of government spending and to
save not millions but billions of dollars. The Liberals were
against that committee to save money and to avoid duplication
in the mandates of committees, as they said at the time. They are
now offering us the same thing in a defence committee, not the
same thing but a real duplication with enormous costs on reports
we already have and answers we already know, with senators,
probably to assess the relevance of their duties and to occupy
them to a certain extent, since they have nothing to do, with 16
members, 14 on this committee. I am sorry but I would like some
clarifications on the relevance of this committee, an
approximation of costs, and I would like to know why you were
opposed to a committee to save not millions but billions of
dollars where now you are proposing to spend money.
In conclusion, I would suggest that you keep your red book
introduction for the next campaign, if there is one, to the effect
that voters no longer trust politicians because, with behaviour
such as this, they will continue to distrust them.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I can give the hon.
member for Hillsborough about 30 seconds if he thinks he can
give an answer in that time.
Mr. Proud: Madam Speaker, this committee was struck by
the House. The committee is in place, the Standing Committee
on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to study the policy. It
is a joint committee of both Houses.
The idea that we are going to spend more money on it is
ridiculous. We are given a budget to go forward as a committee
and that is what we are going to do. We are going to determine
the future defence policy of the country for some time to come.
Mr. Laurent Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry): Madam
Speaker, today the government, in a somewhat hasty move, has
introduced a motion calling for the establishment of a joint
committee which would duplicate the work of the Standing
Committee on National Defence. I do not want to expand on the
substance of the motion at this time since several of my
colleagues have argued against it and stressed that there is no
justification whatsoever for setting up a joint committee which
would cover the same ground as the Standing Committee on
National Defence, increase costs and delay the implementation
of a defence program. Therefore, not suprisingly, I join with my
Bloc Quebecois colleagues in denouncing the striking of this
joint committee, as proposed by the government in its motion.
Instead, I would rather spend my time focusing on the issue of
industrial conversion. As we know, defence industries employ a
considerable number of people and since the end of the cold war,
these factories are getting fewer and fewer orders. They have
already begun laying off workers. Therefore, steps must be
taken quickly to convert military factories for civilian purposes.
What I do not understand is that the Liberal Party of Canada
appears to be saying two different things. When it formed the
Official Opposition, it said one thing, but now that it is in power,
it seems to be singing an entirely different tune. To confirm my
suspicions, I would like to read to you a short excerpt from a
March 26, 1993 press release prepared for immediate
publication by the office of the then Leader of the Opposition.
Therefore the current Prime Minister was Leader of the Official
Opposition at the time. He was in Quebec City where he
announced to reporters a policy to convert the defence industry
for civilian purposes. That announcement appeared on the
following day's papers. Three opposition members were also
making a similar announcement here in Ottawa at the same time
and virtually all of the media in Canada covered the story.
Right now, the Liberal government has all the data it had back
when it was in opposition. Why authorize another joint
super-committee to conduct further studies and analyses and
undertake more trips when we already have a committee, the
Standing Committee on National Defence, to do the job? It
makes no sense!
I would like to read part of the statement issued by the then
Leader of the Opposition at the press conference held on March
26, 1993. ``Today, Liberal leader Jean Chrétien, speaking in
Quebec City, and three Liberal MPs, speaking in Ottawa,
unveiled the defence conversion policy that would adopted by a
Liberal government to bring our high-tech military industry
into the post cold war era, while creating at the same time new
economic development opportunities''.
Here are the highlights of the announcement made in Quebec
City by Mr. Chrétien and in Ottawa by Mr. Axworthy, the
External Affairs critic, by Mr. Bill Rompkey, the Defence critic
and by Mr. Jim Peterson, the Industry critic.
They proposed to expand the mandate of Industry, Science
and Technology Canada's $200 million Defence Industry
Productivity Program, known as DIPP, from developing defence
technology to helping the industry convert and diversify into
areas such as environmental technologies and high-tech
peacekeeping technologies. They also proposed the
establishment of an Economic Conversion Commission, with
the participation of industry and labour, to facilitate and
coordinate the process of conversion in the 100,000-job defence
industry. Quite a few people work in the defence sector, 100,000
to be exact.
The Liberals urged the opposition and suggested to the
Conservatives, then in office, to develop joint conversion
arrangements with the United States, the market for 80 per cent
of Canada's defence exports. Under the Clinton administration,
the United States have embarked on a major defence conversion
effort, thus reducing demand for Canadian-built defence
``The cold war is over, and Canada must adapt to a changing
world'', said Mr. Chrétien at that press conference. He went on
to say that ``the Tory government has no defence conversion
policy and has been content to let the market dictate
Mr. Chrétien noted at that press conference that he had been
calling for government action on defence conversion since
March 1990. The Liberal leader called the international arms
trade, which has shrunk by 25 per cent in the last few years, an
industry of the past. He said, ``We need to invest in the economic
winners-and the job creators-of tomorrow''. He wanted to
invest and suggested to the then Conservative government to
invest $5.8 billion in helicopters. He said that it was a cold war
policy and that it was no way to develop Canada's high-tech
potential. The Liberals believed instead in gearing this shrink-
ing industry towards more competitive military and civilian
goods. Government can and must show leadership in shaping
change. It was still Mr. Chrétien talking.
He then concluded by saying, ``Canadians are entitled to a
government that is prepared to lead, a government that has new
ideas and new strategies and which helps them adapt to changing
times. Our policy on defence conversion is a clear example of
how a Liberal government will respond to the needs of
Canadians in the 1990s''.
When we look at, listen to and read what the Liberals were
saying when they were the Official Opposition as opposed to
what they are not doing now that they are in power, it is clear that
they have two languages: one for the left side of their mouths
and another for the right side.
The Bloc Quebecois's policy on conversion takes into account
the importance of the armament industry and its structural
impact on the economy. The Bloc Quebecois proposed during
the last election campaign and fervently hopes that the federal
government will take steps to facilitate the defence industry
conversion process. Such a program is necessary and must be
implemented as soon as possible.
The Bloc Quebecois doubts that the Liberal government will
pursue a wide-ranging conversion policy. The EH-101
helicopter episode is revealing in this regard and clearly shows
that the Liberal government does not intend to pursue a
comprehensive strategy on this. It was a perfect opportunity for
this government to show its true intentions in this area, but it
preferred to single out the helicopter program, without a
conversion program in return.
Then how can we launch such a program? Professors
Bélanger, Fournier and Desbiens, of the defence industry
conversion research group at the Université du Québec in
Montreal, did some research and came to the conclusion that a
very large number of defence workers live in Montreal, a region
where they conducted a more in-depth study on the effects of
The Montreal region is the main defence industry centre in
Quebec. More than 500 defence companies are located there and
the total value of goods and equipment delivered amounts to a
little over $2.1 billion. The region alone generates 63 per cent of
defence economic activity in Quebec and accounts for 26 per
cent of the Canadian market. The employment picture shows
what is happening.
My time has expired, even though I would have liked to go on.
I will continue at the next opportunity. I would just like to say
that, on this whole issue of industry conversion, many jobs are at
stake and there is an urgent need to intervene.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Order! It is my duty,
pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the
questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as
follows: the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier-Public Works;
the hon. member for Louis-Hébert-Quebec City Airport; the
hon. member for MacKenzie-Grain Transportation.
Are there questions or comments?
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Madam
Speaker, I listened with great interest to what the hon. member
for Beauharnois-Salaberry had to say. He actually said a lot
that I agree with. He gave us some good figures on conversion.
This is a legitimate question, it is not posturing but I am not
precisely sure whether he meant that the defence review should
look at conversion or whether he felt we had precluded
conversion from being considered. I can assure him that is not
the case. Nothing is being left out of the review. Nothing is
sacred and nothing is to be left untouched with respect to
Also, I gather more from the tone than the statement of what
the hon. member said about the decision on the EH-101
helicopters, and of course I am making an oblique reference to
the decision of the government to cancel the project, but my
understanding was that his party was in favour of cancelling the
project as well.
If the hon. member could clarify these two points I would be
Mr. Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry): Madam Speaker, I
am pleased to answer the question raised by my colleague. Of
course, the Bloc Quebecois agreed 100 per cent with the
cancellation of the helicopter contract, except that it was only
half done. Not only should they have cancelled the helicopter
contract but they also should have recovered the money that was
to be invested in it and put it in an industrial conversion fund. I
blame the government for not doing that part of the job. It was
only half done.
This second part could have redirected all the money to be
saved on the manufacture and purchase of the helicopters-over
$5 billion. If this $5 or $6 billion had been invested in
converting military companies, we could have stopped the
hemorrhage that is going on right now.
I take the example of the Expro plant in my riding. It makes
powder and shells. Not so long ago, the Expro plant had over
a thousand workers, but with the end of the cold war, Expro's
orders from the defence department dropped drastically. Now
this plant has only 400 employees. I give you this example
because I know that plant particularly well, since it is in my
riding, but the same danger threatens some 60,000 workers in
these military plants throughout Quebec, over 60,000 if we
consider all of Canada.
The Liberals only did half the job when they cancelled the
helicopter contract because they did not take the money that
should have come back to them and invest it in industrial
There was a second part to the question, but I spent so much
time on the first that I forgot the second. I do not know if my
colleague-Oh yes! It has come back to me, Madam Speaker.
The whole issue of industrial conversion should probably be
discussed by the defence committee and I hope that we will not
have to discuss it as well in the joint committee that you want to
set up, because that would further prolong the debate-there
would be no end to it. Workers in our factories are now waiting
for a conversion program before they are unemployed. That is
the threat hanging over us.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Mr. Lavigne (Beauharnois-Salaberry): Workers in
military plants who are in danger of losing their jobs tomorrow
morning do not want to hear about setting up a joint committee
that will report in six months or a year or two. The government
should take a position before then. It is urgent. Enough
discussion-let us act.
Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford): Madam Speaker, my
remarks will deal with disparities between Quebec and other
parts of Canada.
Quebec is one of the most disadvantaged areas in terms of
economic benefits from National Defence contracts. Quebec's
per capita share of defence spending is clearly below average.
The following figures speak for themselves. An internal
document from the Department of National Defence indicates
that per capita spending for 1990-91 was $1,217 in Nova Scotia,
this province ranking first, followed by New Brunswick in
second place with $1,050, while Quebec ranked sixth, with a per
capita share of defence spending of only $316.
Updated data for fiscal year 1992-93 indicate that the trends
observed with regard to inequities experienced by Quebec in
terms of economic distribution have worsened. The latest
figures from National Defence, provided by the Minister of
National Defence himself when he met with parliamentarians on
February 10, confirm that Quebec's share of benefits has shrunk
considerably. Actually, 16 per cent of the benefits go to Quebec,
while Ontario gets 36 per cent, the Atlantic provinces, 16 per
cent like Quebec, and Western provinces, 20 per cent.
Defence spending includes various expenditures. There are
infrastructure expenditures, personnel expenditures, equipment
expenditures as well as procurement and services expenditures.
In terms of personnel expenditures alone, with 25.4 per cent of
the population of Canada living on its territory, Quebec received
only $773 million in benefits in 1990-91, as compared to $1,821
million for Ontario with 36.6 per cent of the population. Even
Nova Scotia got more than Quebec, namely $793 million.
In 1992, the Department of National Defence conducted an
in-house assessment of the extent to which Quebec was
receiving its fair share of certain types of defence expenditures.
This assessment demonstrated how unfairly Quebec was treated
by the federal government with regard to defence spending as a
percentage of Canada's GDP. Inequities were found under the
following budget items: construction, research and
development, operations and maintenance, Reserves and
Cadets-to supply and equip the cadets-overall defence
spending, personnel costs, Regular Force, civilian personnel. In
all these areas, Quebec was clearly at a disadvantage.
As far as defence infrastructure in Canada is concerned, it
should be pointed out that Quebec's share represents only 13 per
cent of the value of the federal government's defence
installations, as compared to 34 per cent for the Western
provinces, 27 per cent for the Maritime provinces and 26 per
cent for Ontario. To remedy the situation, the Canadian
government and the Department of National Defence, under
Marcel Masse, former Conservative Minister of National
Defence, had developed a major infrastructure modernization
program for Quebec, building drill halls here and these at great
cost. Capital expenditures apparently exceeded $100 million.
These projects have raised Quebec's share of funds allocated
to construction up to 19.2 per cent of the total amount of this
budget item. However, they are now put in jeopardy in the short
term by the upcoming budget, which will be tabled on February
22 as we all know. It is important that Quebec remain a priority
because it is clearly disadvantaged with regard to government
expenditures in those areas.
Technically, Quebec has four large military bases, which
provide jobs for thousands of people: Valcartier, 6,085
employees; Montreal, 3,922; Saint-Jean, 2,031; and Bagotville,
The Department of National Defence remains a major
employer in Quebec with more than 13,820 employees listed on
these four bases. Though the numbers are substantial, we must
not forget that comparatively speaking, Quebec is not getting its
fair share, and we object to any cuts at the expense of Quebec's
Another aspect of the regional economic impact of defence
procurement contracts is the issue of interprovincial trade in the
arms production sector in Canada.
John Treddenick, an economist with the Royal Military
College in Kingston, looked into this subject and according to
his study, Quebec performed well on direct contracts with the
Department of National Defence but was getting less than its
share of economic spin-offs, increasingly.
The potential for absorbing defence contracts into the
economy in Quebec is not the same as in Ontario. The big winner
in interprovincial sub-contracting is Ontario, because it is able
to get major sub-contracts from projects managed in other
provinces. In this respect, it occupies a unique position
compared with all Canadian provinces, with a defence complex
that far outweights the size of its direct contracts from the
Department of National Defence.
However, Quebec's defence production is still substantial.
The Quebec economy, and especially the economy of the
Montreal area, is very dependent on National Defence contracts,
as was pointed out repeatedly by Professor Yves Bélanger at the
University of Quebec in Montreal, who is an expert on these
issues. Consequently, an industrial conversion strategy must be
prepared as soon as possible.
At this stage, we should not have a special debate on National
Defence policy until the government has released its white
paper. This position applies both to the issue of downsizing in
military bases and training centres for peacekeepers. In fact,
there are several reasons why the latter initiative should not be
supported by the Bloc Quebecois.
First, it is unrealistic to believe that countries from all over
the world would come to train in these centres. Who is going to
pay the cost of bringing international troops and their equipment
over here? The UN does not have the resources to pay for all
Second, it is a fact that Canadian peacekeepers are among the
best trained in the world. Why bother setting up a training
centre, when our troops already receive excellent training at
Third, it would be dishonest and hypocritical to let the public
think that creating training centres would not generate
additional costs for the Canadian government. How can we tell
people we are cutting back on defence spending, and at the same
time keep military bases open to train peacekeepers? This does
not make sense, it is misleading and the Bloc Quebec cannot
support such proposals.
What is my party's position? We received a mandate from the
people of Quebec to fight existing inequities and ensure that
Quebec gets its fair share.
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Madam
Speaker, I listened attentively to what my colleague had to say.
Although I was not in the House all the time because I had to
take a telephone call, I was listening in the lobby. I agree with a
lot of things he had to say; he made some very good points.
Looking at the aspect of the defence policy review to which he
made reference, I am assuming he would be interested in the
conversion policy. One thing the defence policy review will
more than likely look at is the subject of conversion because it is
an ongoing matter at the end of the cold war. The U.K. is doing
it. The United States is doing it. No matter what happens we
have to look at that opinion. The policy review is an excellent
time to do it with expert witnesses.
If the hon. member's party is so big on conversion surely it
would not want to stand in the way of a policy review taking
place purely because of the mechanism of the standing
committee. That is almost a technicality in a way. Surely he
would look at the bigger subject and have a policy review so that
policies that would be beneficial to his constituency could be
looked at in a very positive sense.
Mr. Leroux (Shefford): Madam Speaker, I would like to
thank my colleague for his words. I think that we do not need to
set up a joint committee to decide on conversion policy. I
remember very well during the election seeing programs of
different political parties which already dealt with the subject.
As my fellow member of the Bloc Quebecois just said, I think
that at some point the government will have to act and shoulder
Now they seem to want to have us discuss all sorts of subjects
in the name of a so-called democratization of the House, but one
thing is certain: the government was elected to govern and not
only to consult.
I think that at this stage it would be advisable for our duly
elected government to get to work and make the decisions it
must make so that Canada can finally have a policy which
reflects the needs of the people.
Mr. Louis Plamondon (Richelieu): Madam Speaker, I would
like to congratulate my hon. colleague who just spoke. I think he
brought up a very important point, namely the distribution of
funds and Quebec's share of DND funding. The perception is
that Quebec is very well served in this regard. Of course, we
want to hold on to the jobs we have and of course, we willingly
accept the benefits that come with these jobs. This debate gives
us an opportunity to demonstrate once again how Quebec is not
getting its fair share.
I believe my hon. colleague said that Quebec has only about
15 per cent of the jobs in the industry, whereas we account for 23
or 24 per cent of the country's population. He mentioned that the
province has only 13 per cent of all military infrastructures and
is allocated only 15.8 per cent of DND's overall budget. This is a
very important consideration for us.
Disregarding for the moment the historic injustice of which
we are the victims, I think the hon. member put his finger
squarely on the problem, namely that the government is trying to
gain some time by holding debates-and this one is particularly
untimely and premature since the Department of Foreign Affairs
has not yet decided what role the Department of National
Defence will be called on to play in international policy.
In closing, I would just like to say that I agree completely with
my hon. colleague about the proposed committee. We already
have a perfectly adequate national defence committee. To set up
a joint committee with senators would be a waste of time. The
time has come to take action. The government must make some
decisions. That is what it was elected to do. So, it should act and
stop setting up committees.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): The Chair recognizes
the hon. member for Shefford, but very briefly, please.
Mr. Leroux (Shefford): Thank you for your courtesy, Madam
Speaker. At the risk of repeating myself, I would simply like to
add that we, the members of the Bloc Quebecois, were elected to
ensure that Quebec is not merely a province on the receiving end
of social assistance and unemployment insurance. On every
issue and in every area of federal jurisdiction, we will ensure
that Quebec gets everything it has coming to it. Finally, I would
just like to say that in the past, Quebec did not get its fair share
and the time has come to put things right.
Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Madam
Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in
this important debate examining the future of Canada's defence
policy both in Canada and abroad. The proposed review is most
timely because Canada, along with other nations, has come to
recognize that the end of the cold war requires us to rethink the
nature and purpose of our military forces.
I add that the timeliness of the debate is significant for
another more broadly defined reason. The end of the cold war is
not only significant for bringing about change in the defence
agenda but in our political agenda as well. Not only is the
military's role a broad issue, but as I said it has a role at home.
We need to protect the perimeters of our country, but we must
consider the military in terms of helping those in need at home.
Having said that, the end of the cold war has not brought a
sudden end to the need of our military; quite the contrary.
However our focus and priorities must shift in a number of
policy areas. In other places, in other committees, we are in the
process of redefining how government will better assist the
citizens it has been elected to serve. In terms of our military we
are redefining how we can better serve the people of our own
country, as well as the people of other nations who are in need of
Internationally the focus on peacekeeping training befits
changes now occurring at the global level. Emphasis has shifted
from one of conflict to conflict resolution. Such change is both
welcome and necessary in light of changes happening within
society at large.
Citizens both within and beyond Canada's borders now call
for greater peace and justice. Greater emphasis is placed on
democracy and human rights. When the cold war ceased to
dominate the focus of international relations that change
brought great hope that our nation would achieve a strengthened
spirit built on international co-operation and collaboration.
While we have seen a relaxing of political tensions in some
parts of the globe, there are still far too many regions where
military conflict is intrinsic, a way of life for people in far too
many regions. We still see countries attempting to meet political
agendas with military force. This government's plan to
strengthen our leadership role in peacekeeping and to commit to
Canadian efforts to improve the UN's policies on peacekeeping
could not come at a more necessary stage in our history.
It is right for Canada to fulfil the roles of peace enforcement,
peace establishment, peace restoration and peace building. I
would add to this list the more recent dimension of humanitarian
aid protection. Such humanitarian intervention enables aid
convoys to reach those people in dire need of assistance. Few
can argue about the benefit of such intervention given the
number of lives saved by this action.
It is time to reach consensus on the debate surrounding our
military and restore our focus to the original UN mandate
penned in its charter in 1945 to be a major force for international
order and stability.
I would add that it is not only important for us to examine the
changing role of our military on the national and international
levels. We must also determine how such change should be
We must continue to train troops to be prepared for any kind
of military encounter along with training for peacekeeping
initiatives. We need to strike a balance between maintaining
armed forces to protect ourselves and participating in
international peace operations. I believe the time has come for
us to put forward an expanded role for our Department of
National Defence, one that is not restricted to military
since this focus fails to reflect the new reality of the
interdependence of foreign and domestic affairs.
Canada has one of the best regarded military forces in the
world in no small part because of the training we provide our
troops. We need to capitalize on this capability more often and
deliver this training to the international community. While we
do much of this now, we have the capacity to do more.
CFB Gagetown is the largest military base in Canada by land
mass and is situated in my riding of
Fredericton-York-Sunbury. As a combat training centre,
Gagetown is a land force centre for excellence dedicated to the
training of world class soldiers and leaders. Training is
conducted within the framework of combined arms operations
up to the battle group level. The base provides a most
sophisticated and realistic simulation training environment and
employs some of the most expert instructors in this field.
The base is responsible for conducting the most advanced
courses for the infantry, artillery and armour elements of land
force command and the training of troops that have served in one
or more peacekeeping missions. The Royal Canadian Regiment
stationed at CFB Gagetown participated in two missions within
a two year period: Cyprus from October 1991 until April 1992;
and the former Yugoslavia from November 1992 to May 1993.
In addition there are always a number of soldiers from CFB
Gagetown serving with the UN in a variety of peacekeeping
missions. The experience and leadership gained while training
at CFB Gagetown has had a significant impact on the success of
Canadian troops during peacekeeping missions over past
Further members of the reserve force totalling some 2,000 for
the Atlantic region and trained at Gagetown have served in
peacekeeping missions. As well reserve soldiers provide a
valuable resource for emergencies because they are able to work
along with the regular force personnel in various situations. The
nature of reserve training is an area we may wish to explore in
order to further evolve the role of our military in training on the
We also need to explore options for using our military
personnel and military facilities for non-military purposes. Too
often we hear of the need for better equipment and increased
personnel in search and rescue. Were military resources more
easily available to assist organizations like the RCMP and EMO
the trauma and agony suffered by individuals and in many cases
entire families and communities would be greatly reduced.
We also need to explore what roles military personnel and
their facilities can play in non-military employment and
training programs. As I mentioned in a statement earlier this
week during members statements, the Department of National
Defence has recently engaged in a co-operative initiative with
New Brunswick's Department of Advanced Education and
Labour to pilot an occupational and lifeskills training project.
Just Monday of this week 30 unemployed New Brunswickers
between the ages of 17 and 24 began a 20 week program of
military lifeskills and occupational training and job experience
at CFB Gagetown. For the participants selected from youth
strategy, aboriginal peoples and social assistance programs, the
combination of occupational and lifeskills training will help
young unemployed New Brunswickers build new futures.
There is more at stake in such an initiative than just training
and employing 30 individuals. Although I do not mean to
diminish the significance of that, in this period of fiscal restraint
it is important to consider the financial benefits of providing
training programs in this manner. Since the Canadian forces
provide the training facilities and instructors for the project in
New Brunswick, the people, space, materials and facilities are
readily available. It strikes me that this amounts to a creative
arrangement for both federal and provincial governments.
We must also consider how our military can contribute to
environmental protection and clean-up and to border patrol,
particularly as it relates to the north and the sea. This places new
and increased demands on our military such that it moves the
forces' agenda beyond just that of defending the country.
As we consider our nation's place in the global community we
must remind ourselves that Canada has had a positive and well
established international reputation for decades. We have been
admired and emulated by countries around the globe. We want to
continue to set examples for other nations. We can do this by
redefining our military role to better reflect the social changes
occurring at the international level. In many respects we are not
only just capable of setting such examples, we are also obliged
to do so.
When I first arrived in Ottawa to represent the people of
Fredericton-York-Sunbury I was immediately struck by the
cultural diversity represented in this House. I have always been
proud of Canada's efforts to give equal recognition to all
cultures living within our borders. This pride was reinforced
when I realized the reality of the vision.
We are citizens of the world living in one country. Within our
very own borders we know and represent a multitude of cultures
found around the world. Unlike the United States we do not
ascribe to a melting pot approach where people must give up
their culture; we encourage individuality and uniqueness. Such
a philosophy and approach puts us in the unique position to
understand the various interests and cultures of the world.
In our understanding of just how wonderful such diversity
truly is, we are in the best of all positions to help others when
they are faced with some form or level of forceful conflict. The
diversity within our borders has not only taught us to be a
compassionate and caring society; it has taught us about the
many ways of life embraced by many people. We can use our
own enlightenment not only as an advantage to ourselves, but
also as an advantage for helping others in need of conflict
I am fully aware that our desire to accommodate a variety of
cultures may be controversial and may need government support
from time to time. However that should not mean that we do not
want that diversity.
We can use this knowledge and respect. In fact I believe we
owe it to the international community to assist the United
Nations in its mission for promoting world peace. Our
knowledge of ethnic diversity combined with our excellent
military training and knowledge places us in an enviable and
more than capable position to help achieve global stability.
In closing, I would like to add that the people of
Fredericton-York-Sunbury are peaceful people who are
proud New Brunswickers and Canadians. This pride is not just
defined by the integrity and quality of life at the community
level, but is further defined by the international reputation we
know ourselves to possess around the world.
People recognize that this positive image carries with it
certain obligations and responsibilities we must be willing to
extend to those in need. As a country we cannot make excuses
for ourselves and stay away from the fray. We are far too socially
aware to bury our heads in the sand and hope that volatile
situations will somehow resolve themselves, preferably in a
In light of the need for us to examine and redefine Canada's
military, I support the call for the appointment of a special joint
committee comprised of members of the Senate and of the
House of Commons to review Canada's defence policy.
Mr. Paul Mercier (Blainville-Deux-Montagnes): Madam
Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague and I
totally agree that changing international circumstances demand
that we diversify the role of our armed forces and, hence, that we
expand the types of training of our military personnel.
My colleague was right in pointing out the role played by the
Canadian Forces in humanitarian aid. As a Quebecer, I could
also point out that they had an opportunity to show a total
control of the situation during the Oka crisis.
I would like to stress the fact that during the two first wars,
our forces were able to show their real capability and, in the last
few years, they have won the admiration of the world in peace
I would like to give my personal testimony to my colleague. I
was in Belgium during the liberation of some Belgium cities by
the Canadian army. I was also in Katanga, now Zaire, in 1963,
when the Canadian Forces took part in a UN mission of
transition that is quite forgotten now in Katanga. So I had the
opportunity to admire the Canadian Forces both in their military
role and their humanitarian role.
What I would like to stress is that we should not forget in this
diversification that eternal peace is not guaranteed. Nothing
proves that our role will ever be limited to separating warring
parties or bringing humanitarian aid. Nothing proves that we
will not be dragged into conflicts of direct concern to us.
The end of the cold war is certainly a good thing, but, though I
am neither a soldier nor a strategist, I do not feel that the present
situation in Russia is more reassuring than the situation that
existed in the former USSR. There are other potential conflicts
in which we could be directly involved. The role we should
assign to the bases, in order not to close them, should continue to
be partly military in addition to the new responsibility, with
which I fully agree, of diversified humanitarian help that they
should be taking over.
My question to the hon. member is this: Does he not agree
with me that we should continue to consider the strictly military
role of defence of the territory and participation in democratic
alliances involved in possible conflicts, besides this new and
purely humanitarian role?
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Madam
Speaker, I thank my colleague and appreciate his intervention.
The many issues brought forward merely point to the need for a
We mentioned our traditional defence role in terms of
international conflict. We also mentioned humanitarian aid and
the need to broaden training to include other kinds of activities. I
concur on all those points and in fact use that as a strong
argument for having this review and striking this joint
I also welcome the opportunity to respond by saying we have
to be more focused. We have to be more strategic in where we
task troops to participate by virtue of the changing nature of our
own military force and the department.
I would also like to speak for a second on the broadening of
training. I did not mean to suggest it would just be a broadening
of military training that would be available, but rather a general
broadening of training including other kinds of training. We all
recognize there is a task force on human resources development
that is looking for places for training. It strikes me that these
facilities are one.
Mr. George Proud (Hillsborough): Madam Speaker, I want
to commend my colleague for his remarks and his interest in this
very specific task we are taking on.
We have heard many interventions here in the last number of
weeks regarding our defence policy as it stands, our
peacekeeping role and the costs that of course are always
involved in any major undertaking we get into in this country, be
it military or anything else.
I have my views, as does everyone else, on what the role of the
military is in the future of our country. There are those in society
as I said in my speech who perhaps do not believe we need any
participation. Then there are those who believe we should spend
the whole budget on it.
I assume somewhere down the line we are going to have to
make a decision as to what our future is going to be in this area.
There are many situations out there. In the peacekeeping roles
we are involved in today the majority of our troops are land
forces. We have a navy and an air force. I just want to ask the
hon. member his view on what he sees coming out of the
machine at the end of the day when we have completed this study
and the government makes its decisions. What does he see from
his constituency and from his national perspective as to where
we should be going.
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Madam
Speaker, I think the important feature in terms of this review
may very well be the review itself in that in the nature that it is
proposed, there was I assume broad consultation. I heard some
debate as to the nature of that broad consultation but I really
believe, perhaps more than with other programs, that the
national defence policy of a nation requires significant public
support, public understanding, sympathy and so on.
I believe that support depends on a sense among Canadians
that they have the opportunity to have a say as to what the
country is doing in those terms.
More than anything else I think what we will have at the end of
the day is a concise, thoughtful, national policy that Canadians
can understand with clarity, that Canadians can help in fact
create through the broad consultation that will take place in the
There has been, particularly in the international tasks that
have been engaged in, some confusion as to objectives and the
nature of missions and so on. I really believe if nothing else at
the end of the day we will have a larger understanding of what it
is that our troops are sent out to do.
I think that is vitally important.
Mr. Fred Mifflin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of
National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs): Madam
Speaker, I will be very fast with this. The hon. member for
Fredericton-York-Sunbury spoke about the training program
at Gagetown with the government of New Brunswick.
Could he elaborate for a couple of minutes on that because
that is a very interesting program.
Mr. Scott (Fredericton-York-Sunbury): Madam
Speaker, this program is a co-operative initiative between
national defence and the department of advanced education and
labour in Fredericton, essentially using the facilities, the trained
personnel, instructors at CFB Gagetown, material, equipment
and various people. There was a province-wide advertisement
placed and a number of applications sent in. Because it is a pilot
project this one is limited to 30 but the intention is to see this
There is a potential at the end of a 20-week program to
become engaged in national defence itself. Also, because of the
nature of some of the training available through the Department
of National Defence, these individuals are trained in life skills,
employment seeking skills, basic self-confidence objectives.
Either way it is a win-win situation for both national defence
and the provincial government in Fredericton.
Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke):
Madam Speaker, I have not had the opportunity to congratulate
you on your appointment to the chair. We wish you well. I know
you will do a very fine job.
I want to take this opportunity in this debate to thank my
constituents for my re-election and for supporting me over the
years the way they have. We have the largest county in the
province of Ontario. In addition to that in my riding we have a
large part of the district of Nipissing.
I live three miles from the base gate in Petawawa township.
That base has been in the forefront of peacekeeping activities
since day one. The families of the military and the civilian
community have been rubbing shoulders. They get along well
together. They play together. They work together. They study
together and they plan together.
There is a very good civilian-military relationship throughout
the entire community. That is very important. It is very
important that our civilian community support our Canadian
Armed Forces. This defence policy we are talking about today is
undoubtedly in the long run going to mean they will be facing
challenges of great cultural differences wherever they go in the
world. They will be facing great differences in religious beliefs
and customs wherever they go.
It is not easy for personnel in the Canadian forces to be sent to
any trouble spot on the face of the earth. They are ready to go,
they are professionals, but there will be accidents along the way.
When there are accidents we have to support them and when
they do an excellent job we support them. If we do not do that
then I would suggest to everybody that we are not really living
up to that great promise we make on November 11 as we stand
around the cenotaphs and say: ``We will remember them''.
Every soldier who goes abroad to do work on behalf of
Canada, every soldier who works for this country has the same
dedication to this nation and to his or her duty as those who have
gone before them. We wish them well.
As we talk about Canada's defence policy in the few months
ahead it is going to be very important that we consult those
people as well as the Canadian public at large.
You cannot have a debate such as this on Canada's defence
policy and have an inward look at it. Defence policy and foreign
affairs policy automatically mean that we are not only looking at
things in a national perspective here at home but we are looking
at the world as an international community and we are going to
work with them.
We must be humanitarian in our view of the world. We must
be realistic. There is no way we can face the situations in this
world today without being professional. Our Canadian Armed
Forces are professional. There is a great visiting back and forth
between Gagetown and Petawawa. I want to thank my hon.
colleague from the Gagetown area for the speech he delivered
this afternoon. He obviously has a very good feel for his
constituents in the military community. It is very important to
have that feeling on the floor of this House as we talk about
defence policy and foreign policy for this great nation of ours.
There was a great deal of comment this afternoon about the
defence committee. I cannot believe some of the comments I
have heard. One would almost think that a standing committee
around this place was something new. Standing committees
have been going for decades. Standing committees have been
meeting some of the best professional witnesses, the
professional community and organizations anywhere in the
world to come before a parliamentary committee. What is
democracy all about? When a government is elected, does that
government make decisions without consulting people along the
We just finished nine years of a government of that kind. It
said it was consulting people all the time but it very seldom did.
I ask the question: Where is it today? The leader of the Bloc
Quebecois sat right here in the front row on this side of the
House under the previous government. It is probably a good
thing that he changed parties or he would not be in the House
We talk about standing committees of the House of Commons.
My goodness, my own county council back home has about 35 or
36 very respected people on it. They have their committees for
local government and they do a fantastic job. You save yourself
a lot of heartache and trouble in the future. At least you have a
feel for what is out there. You have some expert advice.
We in our capacity as individual members in this House of
Commons are not all experts. We cannot stand in our place, and I
defy any members of the opposition parties to stand in their
place, and say that we know it all, we do not have to talk to
anybody. That is not the way a good government operates.
A good government works with the people of the nation. It
takes advice from the people of the nation. There are cases
where you have to stand up and be counted because there is no
real consensus of opinion. It is called leadership.
You cannot have a democracy if you do not have leadership.
Sometimes you have to make those tough decisions but make
them we must. That is why we are here. That is why people are
paying us to be here.
We have played a great role in peacekeeping in support of the
UN and we have heard a great deal about that today. However let
us remember that when we are talking about those two things
and when we are talking about a defence policy, what we have
been doing in recent years in the international community as
well as at home has been born out of our participation in two
major world wars and the League of Nations in between those
two world wars.
The Korean war came as the really first test of the United
Nations. Was it going to stand up and be counted? Were the
nations that belonged to the UN going to stand up and be counted
or were they going to take the side step as happened to many
nations that were members of the League of Nations between the
two world wars?
It is very important that we continue as a nation to be good
negotiators. It is important in this community that we have a
good Canadian Armed Forces that has the ability and the
capacity to operate in the international scene and to face all
kinds of disasters and challenges. People who are in the forces
joined because they know that is what their challenge is. They
love the life they are in.
Canada played a major role in the founding of the United
Nations after World War II. In that respect, I suppose we built
some of our defence policy at that time. If we were going to
promote the United Nations and be a member of the United
Nations from its founding day onward, we had to support it. That
meant at times that we had to support them in settling
If we do not take that attitude then we not only let ourselves
down, we let the United Nations down and we let the
international community down. Worst of all, we let the peace
forces throughout the world down and we are going to run into a
major conflict. There are all kinds of people out there looking
for a scrap these days.
Canada played a major role in the founding of NATO, the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Lester B. Pearson, St.
Laurent and King before him played a major role in the NATO
organization. We know very well that if it had not been for the
NATO forces sitting there ready to do battle, ready to face the
Warsaw pact head on, if it had not been for trying to promote a
balance of power in the world in those days, and there is no
question in my mind as a student of history, we would have run
into another major conflict in the world.
What would have happened in a nuclear arms war? We know
the answer to that. I suppose we do not want to believe the reality
of it but the potential was there. If we do not meet those
challenges of today, if we do not have a good foreign policy for
Canada and if we do not have a good defence policy for this
country, I maintain that we will not be doing our responsible job
as a nation in the international community nor will we be doing a
good job for our own people right here in our beloved nation of
The Ogdensburg agreement of 1940 signed by Mackenzie
King and President Roosevelt is a good example of the kind of
international responsibility that we participated in during the
second world war.
The North American air defence was another example of
protecting Canada at the same time as helping to protect other
Canada has always believed very strongly in multinational
defence operations. Here with a population of 26.5 million or
whatever we have today we could not begin to defend our
borders, our coastal waters and our far north if we were not
members of an international defence alliance. That was the real
basis of NATO. That is where we must maintain our relations
with other countries in the world.
Canada is a respected country around the world and that is
why we can work with other countries in keeping the peace and
keeping small battles down to a small roar instead of a big roar.
We were very influential in the founding and the ongoing
activities of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in
Europe. That too is part of our defence organization because if
we did not promote it we would not be promoting the well-being
in the international community of those involved in that
During the cold war what happened? The cold war was almost
a battle to see who would go broke first. Military equipment and
new technology cost so much and so dearly that it was a matter
of who put the most into it, who had the best tax base and not
who could win a war but who could sustain the cold war the
longest. We know that the Soviet Union went broke first, but in
doing so it certainly put the United States into a healthy debt
situation today. We know what our own situation is like here in
The real basis of a defence policy is not just to get together at
home and form a defence policy, but to get along with our
neighbours and get along with the world community at large.
That demands some expertise and some professionalism.
I would stack the members of our Canadian forces up against
any diplomatic organization in the world. We think about them
as fighting people. They are ready to do that. They are good
soldiers but they are also good negotiators because sometimes
they find themselves in the middle of things when they have to
negotiate or talk to the enemy or to try to bring parties together
under peaceful conditions.
I always say to members of our Canadian forces that not only
are they good soldiers, they are good diplomats. They may not
like my third definition for them but they are also good
politicians because it takes that kind of leadership, that kind of
negotiating skills that one requires in politics. We need that in
the international community today. Our soldiers need that and
our professionals need it when they go abroad.
World problems did not go away with the ending of the cold
war. There are some people who think they did. We are only
kidding ourselves if we believe that. Look at what has happened
in the former Yugoslavia. We call it a humane world. We think
that parts of the world have been here so long that today they are
very human and realistic in their outlook. What we have seen in
the former Yugoslavia is a good example of what took place in
the dark ages when there were wars among tribes, et cetera.
Somalia is another good example of a nation divided within
itself, fighting within itself and starving its people into doing
what the military leaders wanted them to do or the local leaders
wanted them to do. It is just a terrible situation.
Our defence policy is going to have to be-and I state this in
the strongest, sincerest terms-such that our numbers in our
Canadian forces are going to have to stay at a healthy level at
which we can carry out our foreign policy.
If our forces are reduced to levels at which we really cannot
have an effect on the international community, if we really
cannot carry out our duties as effective peacekeepers, if we
cannot really carry out our duties to help the United Nations in
major challenges that come along, then we will not be playing
our role and our foreign policy will not be in place. Our
Canadian forces are a large part of the foreign policy of Canada.
Questions have been asked across the floor of the House today
of why we do not bring in a white paper now, why do we go to all
this trouble of interviewing people and having hearings from
experts, specialists and our Canadian forces personnel, and why
do we not just bring in a white paper and table it and then have a
The last government, the Tory government that we had
between 1984 and 1993, tried that out for size. The Tories
brought in a white paper. Where is it today? What part of that
white paper is valid today? Where would our nuclear
submarines be today? We would have spent billions of dollars
under that white paper that was not properly thought out before
it was tabled in this House of Commons.
That is not the way this government is going to operate. This
government is going to operate in a responsible manner in which
we know what we are talking about before we take off on the run
with some white paper. That is going to be a very important
We write our white paper after we put our policy together. Our
policy means that we understand what the challenges out there
really are. Our white paper should tell us that we are ready to
face those challenges. It should provide for the changing
conditions out there.
I want to go back to my home base of Petawawa. On many
occasions when peacekeeping groups were put together they
were brought into base Petawawa and there we had paint shops
set up. Vehicles that were going to serve the UN were all painted
white. Then they went through another shop and the big initials
UN were painted on them. Then they were loaded on to
Hercules, on to flat cars and were taken by ship and by plane to
the problem area, wherever it was in the world. That is a great
operation. It is run from square one.
We can bring an element of troops in from Calgary, others
from Gagetown, others from base Kingston and others from
Chilliwack if they are needed. It is a national operation. They
are brought all together. The professionalism of our forces,
which is going to be very important to promote in our defence
policy review, is that they can work together. They train together
and they are training together with our allies. Certainly that is
going to be part of a defence policy. We have to continue to train
with the Americans, with the British, with the Germans and have
them over here, people from the international community.
As we know, we have the international community already
training in Canada in places like Goose Bay and Shilo, Manitoba
and in Alberta. It is a very good operation.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): I am sorry, the hon.
member's time has more than expired.
Mr. Murray Calder
(Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe): Madam Speaker, I
would like to congratulate the member on his speech.
In 1988 I ran against the nuclear powered submarine issue
because it was an issue that Canada was looking at Cadillacs
when we did not need them. The helicopter deal that we had
during this election campaign was again Canada looking at
The member stated that the Department of National Defence
is going to undergo review. I applaud that because basically we
have to look at what the role of the Department of National
Defence is going to be in the 21st century.
Canada has been called a boy scout in the international arena
in which we have been solving problems and helping countries
that need help. I am watching right now Russia, which went
broke in the arms race, selling off at bargain basement prices all
its arsenal to different countries that are willing to buy it. This
obviously is going to be a problem in the future.
If the hon. member could polish off his crystal ball a bit, after
the review in this country where does he see our position on the
UN and NATO in the international arena?
Mr. Hopkins: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for
his question. In response, I have heard the term boy scout used a
great deal when talking about our Canadian forces. All I can say
is that if we had more boy scouts like them, we would have a lot
less trouble in this world. The term is used in a friendly way, but
Canadian forces have always proven themselves, proven that
they have metal, that they have courage and that they do their
If it were not for the qualities of our Canadian forces to bring
people together we would be in a lot worse position in this world
today than we are. I applaud the forces for that.
Where do we stand after the review? I know that the hon.
member would not want me to upstage the committee that is
carrying out the review of the forces, nor would I try to prejudge
it at this stage of the hearings which just got under way this
morning as we went on with the defence committee.
I would like to say a word, though, about the UN. Not only is
Canada having a defence review, but the time is long overdue
when we should have a United Nations review. There is no better
country in the world to lead up that review and to promote it than
Canada because of the role that we played and the support we
have given to the United Nations over the years, plus the fact
that Canada had such a major role in the founding of the United
Nations to begin with.
We have to watch its operations now and upgrade it as well
because that will mean that however the United Nations is
upgraded will have an effect on our own defence policy in the
future. We want to get better decision making powers out there.
Where do we see NATO? I can give my views on that at this
stage. If we are going to continue to have major problems in the
world and fires such as we have, then we are going to have to
have a good alliance.
It is very important that we keep up the NATO alliance and
keep our relationships together in the event that we have to pull
that organization together for a major crisis some day. We do not
have to be out there flaunting great forces every day of the week,
but we have to keep it together and keep a good base for strength
there in the future.
I read something the other day that I think is a good example
as we start this defence review. It said that we should build on
our fires, not on the ashes of our past.
Some of the fires of the past are what we used to organize the
United Nations. What this country had was statesmanship in
those days to organize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Let us not lose it, let us build on those fires of the past and keep
them there for many years to come. That is the only way we are
going to retain any level of peace in this old world that we live in
Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West): Madam Speaker, I also
want to congratulate the hon. member for his speech this
evening. I certainly can appreciate, as he does very well, the
history and the role of our armed forces, coming as I do from an
area in which there is certainly a very strong military
component. Although I have no bases in the riding of Halifax
West, many people who live in the riding work either at the
Shearwater base or CFB Halifax or the dockyard or on the ships
I am certainly very pleased the government will be reviewing
the defence policy of our country. It is certainly long overdue.
We do have a strong role to play in peacekeeping. In terms of our
foreign policy it is very important that we play a role in the
world and continue to do so because the world is facing many
strains. The pressures on the world are intensifying in many
ways because of poverty growth, population growth and
environmental problems world-wide.
How does hon. member see these intensifying pressures
affecting the role of the military in future?
Mr. Hopkins: Madam Speaker, the hon. member mentioned
lastly the environmental problems. If we could prevent wars
such as the one that occurred in the Persian gulf we would be
doing that entire part of the world a great favour. The fallout on
the environment as a result of the Persian gulf war has been
horrendous in that region of the world.
This is why I want to emphasize today that our new defence
policy and our foreign policy have to put great emphasis on
keeping those types of battles down to a minimum and trying to
settle them peacefully before they blow wide open. This is
where I think the United Nations comes in. If the United Nations
had had more power to move quickly and to act, maybe we could
have prevented some of those disasters from happening in the
manner in which they did.
I agree with the hon. member that wherever our forces bases
are located, the people tend to live in the surrounding
communities. That is good because they get to know one another
very well. They get to know some of their problems and they
have a feel for the civilian community. As we go on with this
defence review it is going to be very important to emphasize
civilian military relations in those communities and in
communities where we do not have a military presence at all.
The hon. member and myself have a feel for it. Other
members who spoke today have a feel for it, but those who live
in communities that never see the military from one day to the
next do not have the same feel for it. That is why this defence
review is very important. That is why it is important the defence
committee travel Canada to have an impact on those areas and to
let them know what is going in the military community.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is the House ready for
Some hon. members: Question.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Is it the pleasure of the
House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those in favour of
the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members: Yea.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): All those opposed will
please say nay.
Some hon. members: Nay.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): In my opinion the yeas
And more than five members having risen:
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Pursuant to order made
Tuesday, February 15, 1994, the recorded division stands
deferred until three o'clock on Tuesday, February 22, 1994.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Shall I call it 6.30?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38
deemed to have been moved.
Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier):
Speaker, in late January media reports informed us that Public
Works Canada had completed a preliminary study which
proposed that the public service in Ottawa vacate up to 25 per
cent of its downtown office space and move to outlying areas.
This study was part, I am told, of a Tory legacy following a last
minute, poorly thought out public service restructuring plan
announced in June 1993.
These media reports told us that the cost of the proposal would
be approximately $175 million over 10 years, while the annual
savings for moving to the suburbs are estimated at about $20
million a year. One does not have to be an engineer or an atomic
specialist to figure out that it will cost quite a bit. Over a matter
of 10 years we will not even recover the cost of the moves.
I am not saying the proposal is being implemented. I have
been trying to get some information from the department on it
and as of today I have not received any. That is why I am rising
in my place today to bring this matter to public attention again.
If the proposal were implemented, the equivalent of three
buildings the size of L'Esplanade Laurier could be vacated in
downtown Ottawa. Obviously this is a large office space
component and could have a very detrimental effect on the
downtown core of the national capital city.
Media reports also suggest that the implementation of the
proposal would involve the departure of 11,000 to 14,000 public
servants from downtown Ottawa. I want to address the impact
this could have and I want to talk about the spinoff effects the
policy could have.
For example, we all know a public service job generates about
two or three other jobs in the service sector. This will have a
damaging effect on small businesses in the area; it will make it
very difficult for them to survive. The downtown core will suffer
significantly because of the disparity between the actual
requirements of businesses now and the possibility of them not
being able to survive in the downtown area depleted of public
The current state of the real estate in my capital, the Ottawa
community, is not that great that we want to make a proposal that
would make it more difficult to exist. Local taxpayers have
invested heavily in transportation infrastructure, including the
OC Transpo transit way. It was built on the assumption that there
would be and would continue to be a high level of employment
in the centre of the city.
Finally there is the green government concept, the
environmental impact this would have if thousands of public
servants begin to work in the outlying regions but live inside the
Ottawa community. I wonder how many will switch to public
transportation rather than use their cars and private means of
transit. This will mean more vehicles on the road. It has been
recognized that exhaust is the main source of air pollution in
Ottawa. Therefore it would have a detrimental effect on our
When I first raised this matter in the House in my question on
February 1, the minister of public works indicated that no
decisions would be made on the matter-and I believe
him-until there are wide consultations with members of
Parliament as well as with the ministries of industry and of
The minister's office also offered a briefing to me and my
colleagues from the region on February 1. I indicated that in my
mind a briefing should be given no later than February 15.
Unfortunately as of today I must report that no date, in fact not
even a timeframe, has been provided by the minister's office for
I raise this out of frustration at trying to understand what is
going on in terms of this supposed interim study which would
affect seriously the downtown core of my city.
Mrs. Marlene Catterall (Parliamentary Secretary to
President of the Treasury Board): Madam Speaker, I will
gladly answer my colleague's question and explain what the
situation is. He raised a few points when he talked about his
concern for the economic well-being of downtown Ottawa.
As the Minister of Public Works and Government Services
assured him in the House in response to his question on February
1, it is the intention of the minister to listen to the points raised
by the hon. member and those of our national capital region
The process of consultation is part of the openness we intend
to pursue. With regard to recent media reports on government
plans for office occupancy related to the national capital region,
I would like to reiterate what the minister has said on the
subject. The review is preliminary only. It was developed for
strategic planning purposes and allows for all options to be
The government restructuring initiative involved the
combining of some 16 departments into 8. This resulted in a
need to review their space holdings. It is only part of a normal
planning process. It is within the mandate of Public Works and
Government Services to provide productive and affordable work
places for the federal government. Given the magnitude of
inventory of crown controlled space in the national capital
region, some 2
million square feet of office space, this can only be achieved
through long-term planning, the study of various options, and
their impact on not only the departments concerned but on other
departments, other governments, the economy, the
environment, and the private sector.
We recognize the impact that changes in government have on
the economy in general and the real estate market in particular.
After salaries, facilities management is the major public
service expenditure. The federal government, just like the
private sector, seeks the most cost effective accommodations for
its employees but also wants their work environment to be
conducive to their productivity.
I can only reiterate what the minister has said. It is a
preliminary study. All options are on the table. No decisions will
be made until full consultations have taken place.
Mr. Philippe Paré (Louis-Hébert):
Madam Speaker, last
Friday, I asked the transport minister the following question:
Is the minister aware that the new radar facility of Bernières. . . does not work
between the 241st and the 247th degrees, although all of the air traffic between
Quebec City and Montreal uses that corridor?
What was the minister's answer? The decision was made a
while ago, and other cities have lost their radar control terminal
and safety was the basic criterion.
My question had nothing to do with the timing of the decision,
nor the name of other cities that might be subjected to the same
fate, or even the criteria that led to this decision.
I know for a fact that on November 27, 28 and 29, 1993
calibration flights were undertaken to test the Bernières radar
facility. I do not have the report in hand, but I am aware of some
of the conclusions: first, the area between 241 and 247 degrees
does not come under primary coverage; second, the primary
north-east coverage of the airport is poor.
Clearly, what it means is that between 241 and 247 degrees,
the Bernières radar, which will take over after the Quebec
airport radar control terminal has moved, at the latest on
September 1st, will automatically be disconnected to avoid
ground interference. Planes between Quebec City and Montreal
all use this corridor. That means that for a few minutes these
planes disappear. How can the minister believe that I can be
satisfied with his answer when he says, and I quote:
There is no doubt in my mind that the transfer of the control terminal from
Quebec City to Montreal will not jeopardize safety.
The fact that he did not answer my question, even though it
dealt with public safety, gives rise to all kind of speculations,
including the notion that this could be revenge against
French-speaking air controllers who fought for language rights
15 years ago.
My supplementary related to the fact that, in his letter to the
Official Opposition critic for Transport, the minister claimed
that his civil servants' decision was based on a recommendation
of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. In my
supplementary, I reminded the minister that a report prepared
for his department by an American group of experts, the
Sypher-Mueller group, recommended not only that the Quebec
City and North Bay facilities remain open, but that they be
Again, the question is quite simple: Which American experts
are we to believe? Those from the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration whom the minister vaguely alluded to, totally
out of context, or those hired by his department to carry out a
specific study on the specific project to centralize the terminal
control units of Regina, Halifax, Saskatoon, Quebec City, North
Bay and Thunder Bay. The latter group unanimously
recommended that the facilities in Quebec City and North Bay
not be closed.
I am not satisfied with the minister's answer when he keeps
arguing that the same criteria apply to all units and emphasizing
the fair and equitable way in which all decisions are made.
My question was an important one. It questioned the very
basis of the Department of Transport's decision to close down
the control terminal in Quebec City.
I deduce from the answers to these two questions that the
minister cannot give the people of Quebec, the Association des
gens de l'air, the aircrews, the flight attendants and the members
of this House the assurance that the new radar facility in
Bernières is capable of taking over from the unit in Quebec City.
The minister also failed to demonstrate to the people of the
Quebec region that the decision to close this unit is based on
hard facts provided by the experts. This leaves the door open for
all manner of interpretation.
Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Canadian Heritage): Madam Speaker, the
Minister of Transport answered the questions and sent a letter
including a briefing note and also held a briefing session.
What concerns me in this affair is that my colleague simply
does not want to hear the answer.
The member knows that the priority of the Minister of
Transport is to provide safe and efficient service to pilots and
their customers, Canadian passengers and freight carriers. To
do so, we count on a considerable number of sophisticated
aviation systems and on highly skilled personnel.
Once again, the air traffic control system has some basic
elements. One of these is the control tower at individual
airports, as is the case for Quebec City.
Another basic element is the regional control centre, like the
one in Montreal.
The member is well aware that the radar in Bernières will be
fully operational when the transfer takes place.
The technology exists to give pilots safe and efficient service.
He is trying to convince us that Quebec City was treated
differently. That is certainly not the case.
The terminal control units in Halifax and North Bay, which
had more traffic than the TCU in Quebec City, were also
relocated, as were the terminal control units in Regina, Thunder
Bay and Saskatoon.
I hope that the member and his colleagues will take note of the
invitation from the Minister of Transport to visit the regional
control centre in Montreal so that they can all understand that
their constituents will continue to receive safe and efficient
service, in French, from a very sophisticated centre equipped
with the most modern technology.
Mr. Vic Althouse (Mackenzie):
Madam Speaker, yesterday I
rose in my place and put a question to the government which was
answered by the Minister of Transport. However I believe he
failed to catch the full impact of the question. He treated it as a
pre-budget question which it was not.
Essentially the question concerned the government's
intention with regard to the Crow benefit under the Western
Grain Transportation Act, something that the red book forgot
and which the Liberal Party ignored during the election. It is
time the government became more clear as to what its intentions
are with that Crow benefit because it is very important to the
continued development of the economy of western Canada.
For those who do not know, the Crow rate was established to
encourage settlement of western Canada. Settlement would not
have occurred at the levels it did at the turn of the century
without the Crow rate. In 1982 a previous Liberal government
decided to kill the Crow and put in its place a Crow benefit
which was supposed to continue into perpetuity.
The previous Conservative government under Brian
Mulroney decided to begin dismantling that Crow benefit 10 per
cent starting August 1 of this crop year and tabled a bill from the
Ministry of Transport which would have the effect of doing
away with that financial benefit entirely in four years.
That means the government will save somewhere between
$650 million and $730 million annually. I suppose that is why it
causes great fear in my heart to think the Minister of Transport
would only see it that far.
Essentially this Crow benefit and the Crow rate that preceded
it have been the underpinning of land values in western Canada.
At the moment farmland values amount to something in the area
of $35 billion. Doing away with this benefit will essentially
make that land worthless.
If the government wishes to do away with the benefit, it will
be taking away about $35 billion of equity in western Canada's
economy which cannot be easily replaced and is being used now
to finance the restructuring of that western economy. People
borrow against farmland to build small and large plants in their
own communities to diversify the economy of that part of the
If the Department of Transport has its way this opportunity for
diversification will be cut off right at the knees. Not only will it
be cut off but government will be cutting off all hope of future
diversity financed from within the region. It will be killing the
hopes and dreams of people and sometimes four generations of
work of the people whose businesses will go bankrupt as a result
of this policy.
If the government does not understand how the economics of
this work, it should simply take a quick look at my own
community where the Crow benefit amounts to something like
$29 a tonne. We produce about one tonne per acre and the cash
rents in that area are about $25 a tonne. Doing away with the
Crow benefit means that cash rents have a market value of minus
$4 per acre. I can assure the spokesman for the government that
minus $4 an acre return means that the land is not worth very
Ms. Albina Guarnieri (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of Canadian Heritage): Madam Speaker, the member
for Mackenzie has again raised the issue of the Western Grain
Yesterday he noted that the previous government had
implemented a 10 per cent reduction in the government subsidy
effective last August and that proposals for further changes had
been tabled. Last year's reduction in the WGTA subsidy was a
consequence of the previous government's December 1992
The Minister of Transport yesterday advised the hon. member
to wait until next Tuesday when our colleague, the hon. Minister
of Finance, will have the pleasure of tabling the first budget on
behalf of our government.
This budget will reflect one of the most extensive and open
consultative processes that has ever preceded the tabling of
budgets in this House. Canadians have reason to be confident
that this budget will be seen as a major initiative toward getting
people back to work and addressing the financial challenges
facing the country.
Last summer the previous government tabled a draft bill on
reforming the Western Grain Transportation Act. It set in
motion certain processes for consultation with interested parties
on two key issues: method of payment as well as grain
transportation and handling efficiencies.
My colleague, the hon. Minister of Agriculture, has stated
that our government has no entrenched commitment to the draft
reform legislation. We recognize that the WGTA is an extremely
important issue to all Canadians. We also acknowledge that
many people have devoted considerable time and energy to the
consultative processes that were under way when we took office.
For those reasons we have decided to complete processes and
then determine our next course of action. I understand the
ministers involved hope that by the summer they will be in a
position to give a more definitive response concerning the
government's plans for the Western Grain Transportation Act.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu): Pursuant to Standing
Order 38(5), the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to
be adopted. The House therefore stands adjourned until
tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 6.33 p.m.)