May 5, 1978

PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

Of that I am more than satisfied.

However, this motion fortunately comes back for its second round. I must say that during the period of some six or seven months that this House has been sitting that situation does not happen to very many motions. It was my good fortune to have one come up about three weeks ago, and now we have this one. This motion deserves this further debate. One has but to read Hansard of December 16 when, in a House that appears to have been much more populated on the eve of the Christmas holiday than this one, hon. members debated the motion put forward by my hon. friend.

It is a motion which I think is a classic example of one which should have come to a vote and decision many years ago. Our colleague the hon. member for Hillsborough has put forward the subject for discussion some 13 times in 13 sessions. He has certainly been faithful to his ideals in regard to the Caribbean. I think this House has done a disservice to our colleague in that it has never come to any decision on this. It has not expressed a definite opinion on the subject of Canada's relations with the Caribbean, notwithstanding the ingenuity, linguistic and otherwise, that the hon. member has shown in drafting his motions and changing their tenor. Now we see that he has gone to the extent of suggesting that a special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons should be established to consider the advisability of taking an initiative. Gracious me, we have never seen such diplomatic language! It is "to consider the advisability of taking an initiative". That in itself is barely asking this House to breathe.

There is a motion of mine that was debated again the second time about three weeks ago. It is only the first time it has been presented in the House. I did not expect it to have any definite expression of opinion of the House but I have seen by the time of its second reading that there has been quite a different change in attitude toward the motion. There is a good chance that, if such a motion were presented by some hon. member some time next year when the House composition undoubtedly will be changed, it would not fall to a government backbencher to present such a motion and there would be a degree of acceptability.

I am very encouraged by the debate we have had in the House on the subject of removing the mandatory retirement age of 65. We have had expressions favourable to the principle that I have advocated from both sides of the House, and some hon. members on the government side delivered very thoughtful and well prepared speeches on the subject. We know that in the other place the motion has gone to a Senate committee where it is receiving favourable consideration.

I would have hoped that in this place a motion dealing with the relations of Canada and the Caribbean would have come to a conclusion. We have had many debates in which that subject has been canvassed. We have had many visits of delegations

May 5, 1978

from the Caribbean, and vice versa. The hon. member for Hillsborough and myself, under the leadership of the hon. member of Algoma (Mr. Foster) as the president of the CPA, visited Trinidad and Jamaica late in January and early February. From time to time we receive members from the Caribbean legislatures as observers and participants in the Canadian CPA regional conferences. These are valuable exchanges and I hope to see many more.

But I do want to emphasize to hon. members that while my hon. friend from Hillsborough has used the vehicle of suggesting that we should appoint a special joint committee to consider the question, he is after something much more than that. I think he is right, and, of course, he does not exhaust the subject in any way at all. First of all, he has asked for consideration of the subsidization of sea-borne transport between this country and the Commonwealth area. When he and I entered this House there was regular ship traffic between the east coast ports and the Caribbean and it was subsidized. For some reason or another which is lost to me, ever since that sea-borne transport came to an end our relations with the Caribbean have not been nearly so good. Certainly I do not think our trade has advanced to the point it should had that transport remained in position. Then my friend wants to get in a little, shall we say, home development, or, as the hon. member for Esquimalt-Saanich (Mr. Munro) said, a little bit of local improvements, by the upgrading of the sea ports of Atlantic Canada.

Then we come to tariff changes. There have been some tariff changes. I must commend the hon. member for Algoma for his expose of the formal relationships between Canada and the various Caribbean countries, CARICOM, and whatever may be the ultimate results of negotiations under way in the trade arrangements that may exist between Canada and the Caribbean countries. Of course, tariff changes have been put into effect about three years ago with regard to general preferences for developing countries. Mind you, one or two of them may not much longer be developing countries if one examines their economies. In some instances it would be difficult to look upon Trinidad as a developing country. It has a stable government and an enviable financial position because of its resources, and for a number of other reasons.

In so far as other countries are concerned, they have come away from colonial status only in recent years. Their economies are not diversified enough. Others have populations which are far too small and fragmented. The over-all picture must be considered. In Canada we cannot consider our relations with any particular one of the Caribbean countries. It seems to me that here is a heaven-sent opportunity for Canada tc really get down to brass tacks and, to use a trite phrase, "to put its money where its mouth is", at the same time without imposing our own standards. There is a very grave risk of doing that. It is our choice as to what should be done in some of these smaller countries in the Caribbean in order to improve their transportation facilities, whether they be port facilities or airports. There are some countries where educational facilities can help. I do not know whether it is any great help to bring

Caribbean Community

some of their brighter people here to attend university because the tendency has been that they want to stay here. Then they are a permanent loss to their own country. In many instances I would prefer them to establish their own base of education rather than try to jump into the twentieth or twenty-first century in one leap. Let us look at it in the longer term of one or two generations.

In this connection, what happened in Taiwan in so far as education is concerned is a good example of what can be done. In 1949 there was general illiteracy, even down to the primary level. Now there is about 99 per cent attendance at elementary school, there is a correspondingly high attendance at secondary school and a very high attendance at university. Those attending university are not necessarily abroad. However, some are sent abroad and brought back.

The over-all advances in education in Taiwan are a good example of what should happen in countries we can help with education. Our plan should be on the basis of one to two generations. We should start at the elementary level and bring the children up through the high schools. We should not take the top 10 per cent and suddenly convert them into university students. We know that causes problems.

The provincial governments have decided to charge students from third world countries higher fees because of their colour. Most of it is racially motivated. Unfortunately, it has that inspiration. The Immigration Act which this House passed and the regulations come into force this month. A foreign student now has to come in almost like an immigrant. Application has to be made offshore. This is done without the student examining or being seen by the school which he or she wishes to attend. We are going at it in the wrong way. In this area I think we can do a great deal to help our Caribbean friends. I do not think we should look at them down our noses and say, "We will help you". There is then a tendency to patronize.

They also require capital for investment. However, we should not give the impression that we are offering plundering capital, that it is going to come in to skim off and to develop industry, using the people of those countries at the lower levels without teaching them management skills and what-have-you so that they can do the job.

I cannot say that I have a solution. The problem is difficult. There is the question whether there is going to be an investment which will be politically safe and whether there will be an adequate return on it without having negative effects upon the people in any country in which Canadians might wish to invest, whether it be in hotels or other businesses. They need the capital. We needed capital. In fact, we still need it. We resent it if owners of capital tell us how we are to do things or that Canadians in whatever business is developed will be kept down to be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

The idea of the hon. member for Hillsborough is the right way to proceed. Better relations between Canada and the Caribbean have to be developed after mature thought and careful examination.

May 5, 1978

Caribbean Community

If there is to be a body on parliament hill with the time to draw upon as wide experience as possible in order to examine a problem such as this, I believe a special joint committee is one of those structures. Adequately staffed or populated, the other House could certainly furnish the personnel or the structure for these deeper studies.

On that score I would commend our friend. I would also like to say that this is one of the motions one should be able to put to this House for an expression of opinion after a limited time. There is no sense bringing it forward year after year, which we see so much of on the order paper at the present time. This is an area where our rules committee should be able to make recommendations that can be brought forward for this House to adopt. On ten of these motions a year, for example, there could then be, after suitable debate, the provision of time for a vote. In that way we would be making progress.

The last idea I wish to put forward with regard to this question has to do with our own procedure. It would be very simple to handle. The hon. member for Hillsborough, the hon. member for Algoma, the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier (Mr. Gauthier), the hon. member for Brant (Mr. Blackburn) and myself went to Trinidad and Jamaica in January. However, there has been no way to report to this House on what we saw. We travelled on a CPA organized tour for which parliament pays. It seems to me there should be some degree of reporting to the committee.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired. The hon. member may continue with unanimous consent. Is there consent?

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thought I could complete my remarks before my time expired. I suggest that maybe half a dozen periods of private members' hour should be set aside for reports from presidents and leaders of various parliamentary delegations that go out on behalf of the parliamentarians of Canada. In this way we could share in the experiences of those hon. members and discuss the conclusions they have reached. After all, if the senators have found a way of doing this, there is no reason why we should not. It would be simple, to agree on a trial basis that the report of the president of the CPA, for example, on events at a particular conference might be made here in the House so that members could comment on it. Why has such a thing not been attempted?

I thank the hon. member for Hillsborough for providing me with this vehicle for putting forward some ideas with regard to the Caribbean and consideration of reports from members of travelling groups from this chamber, as well as with regard to bringing private members' motions to a decision so that this hour might be more useful as a forum for expressing our ideas.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

Ian Watson

Liberal

Mr. Ian Watson (Laprairie):

Mr. Speaker, I, too, congratulate the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) on putting forward this motion in the first place and on managing to have it debated a second time.

The hon. member is fond of harking back to the days of wind and sail when the normal trade routes ran north and south. This trading pattern, in which the Caribbean area was a vital element, resulted in an era of prosperity relative to the rest of the country which has not been equalled since. As an historian, the hon. member enjoys calling, in this instance, on the lessons of the past to predict the future, and I think he is on the right track now because of the extension of Canadian sovereignty out to 200 miles. There is, I am convinced, a new prospect for the prosperity of the maritime provinces. In the last two years we have added approximately 600,000 square miles to the waters under Canadian sovereignty, and over the next generation this will produce thousands of new jobs, mainly in the Atlantic provinces. The suggestion in the motion that we should now move to strengthen our relationship with the Caribbean is valid. It makes a lot of sense and I hope we can persuade the government to act on it.

One method by which we might proceed is suggested in the motion. If, by chance, we do not get through the debate today in time to vote on the establishment of this commitee, perhaps the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence could devote a number of hours to the study of the subject matter. There have been no discussions about this in advance so perhaps it would not be possible to arrange this today. Nevertheless, we have all known cases where the subject matter of motions has been referred to committees, and this is the suggestion I am throwing out.

There are certain guiding principles which I feel Canadian policy should adhere to strictly in this part of the world. First, we must try to treat all the Caribbean islands in the same way. We should not give more aid to one than to another. Second, we should never place ourselves in the position of creating a Canadian sphere of influence in the Caribbean because this would lead to the creation of an image of imperialism which no Canadian would wish to place upon our great northern democracy.

Finally, I should like to make a suggestion with regard to those islands in the Caribbean which have made overtures to Canada in favour of some kind of special relationship. I refer particularly to the Turks and Caicos. I am opposed to any such special relationship. I feel, though, the time is long overdue for an initiative by the Commonwealth itself which would provide for some kind of supranational authority or arrangement whereby colonies of the Commonwealth which do not wish to remain under colonial status but do not have the population to go it alone, would have an alternative whereby they could transfer sovereignty to a supranational authority in return for assistance and guidance from all Commonwealth countries. This idea might be discussed at some future Commonwealth conference. I hope we can provide an alternative for these small groups of islands which no longer wish to be administered from London but which do not want to try to go it alone

May 5, 1978

for various reasons, possibly because if they did they would risk dangers to their own democratic institutions which would not be worth taking.

There are other things which we could do in the Caribbean as a helpful government if our aid is requested. We have all heard about the sugar cartel, how that London-based monopoly, Tate and Lyle, has over the centuries maintained a stranglehold on the economies of some of these islands. It strikes me that Canada could do more than it has done to assist these island economies to break this commercial stranglehold in line with the objective of the government to create a food policy which would assure long term prices for certain basic food products, of which sugar is one. Sugar ranks among the most important of those products. We could be doing something in the Caribbean which would help the local economies and over the long-term the Canadian consumer. If, however, the only result of our effort to stabilize sugar prices was to benefit this sugar monopoly operating out of London, I am afraid I simply would not support that kind of Canadian effort.

Finally, I want to tell the hon. member for Hillsborough that I personally will strongly support any effort by this House through the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence within the next few week to give consideration to the various suggestions contained in his motion.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald W. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to contribute briefly to this debate. I do not intend to use up my full time because I want there to be time for this matter to proceed to a vote. I congratulate the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) for the breadth of his view over and above that other proposal which came before us at one time to single out one group of Caribbean islands for preferential treatment. I think the approach that the hon. member has taken in this motion to single out the Commonwealth Caribbean Islands as those to which we should direct our attention particularly is to be highly commended.

I also want to thank the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert) for the notion he brought forward toward the end of his remarks about the great need for all interparliamentary groups who attend meetings outside this country or even inside this country-because some of them do meet in Canada-to report to this House. I think this should not be a permissive operation; it should be mandatory that reports of the visits be made to this House in a formal way, and there should be provision for some sort of discussion on them, if only to indicate where visits have taken place, who has taken part in them, and what profit we as parliamentarians, whether we were part of the visiting group or not, derived from those visits.

There was a time when reports were made to this House. I recall very clearly in the opening days of the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group that reports were prepared regularly and laid on the table here for all hon. members to see. They were entered into the record and were available to hon. members. I happen to have some recollection of that because I was secretary to the first three or four of those meetings in my

Caribbean Community

capacity as head of the Commonwealth division in the Department of External Affairs. I was surprised when I came to this House to find that there was no provision for making reports of that sort.

I just wanted to comment on that and then come back to this Caribbean operation. I like the notion regarding seaborne traffic. I was very happy when there was a connection by sea from the east coast down through the Caribbean Islands to Trinidad and Tobago. A more delightful way of spending a holiday I cannot imagine. Unfortunately, I never had occasion to make use of those ships. I think they were called the Maple Leaf line.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

The "Lady" boats.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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PC

Donald W. Munro

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich):

The "Lady" boats were there before the war and during the war. Unfortunately, some of them were lost during the war, if I remember correctly, some very sadly. In fact, some relatives of mine were lost with them. After the war there was the Maple Leaf line which was a gift, I believe, of the Canadian Commercial Corporation or CIDA to the Caribbean Islands for inter-island trade.

I think there is much to be said for developing a similar route from an eastern Canadian port to the Islands and back to Canada. In that connection I think it is important that we try to develop trade in those products for which the Caribbean Islands are highly reputed, and with good reason. I think it was the hon. member for Laprairie (Mr. Watson) who mentioned sugar. Sugar certainly is one of them. That is a freight cargo, but there are other perishable commodities which we should be able to buy from our Caribbean neighbours, to our advantage. We now buy many of our products from that producer immediately to the south of us, so much so that our trade has become unbalanced.

It is strange that in the trade figures of many banana exporters in Central and South America Canada is not mentioned. We buy our bananas from the United States which, with the exception of Hawaii, does not produce bananas. We buy our bananas through the United States, and our trade in bananas is regulated with the United States, which is absolute nonsense. When the time comes to work out reciprocal trade agreements with Central American or Caribbean countries-I think Caribbean countries ship their bananas mainly to Britain-we should be buying our bananas directly from the Caribbean and not from the United States, which imports them from Equador, Hawaii, Costa Rica or Nicaragua.

We should be trading with countries of origin, which is a very simple matter. I wonder where our coffee comes from and how much of it is imported directly. I cannot remember on that one. Jamaica produces a very good grade of coffee; I think they call it Blue Mountain coffee. They are proud of it, and rightly so. There are other products as well. I think we buy pineapples from the United States and perhaps a few from the Caribbean. We buy papaws, mangoes and avocados. I suppose we get mangoes from the Caribbean, but not in the quantities we ought. We probably buy our mangoes mainly from California.

May 5, 1978

Caribbean Community

I am not going to push this too much longer, but in the regulation of this trade I do not think it is beyond the wit of man in this special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons suggested by the hon. member for Hillsborough to work out some means for developing a monetary policy which would facilitate transfers of capital and settlement of trade in international accounts on preferential terms between Canada and the Caribbean. There once was a thing called the British preference. That British preference has largely disappeared. If it has not disappeared entirely, I think with the Tokyo Round in Geneva it will have completely disappeared as far as Canada is concerned. Why can we not develop a Canada-Caribbean preferential trade system? That could be done within the GATT, if necessary, to our mutual advantage. It would be advantageous not just for Canada but also for the countries which could supply the things we need. Those countries could provide a lot of produce for us. In that way they would be able to stand on their own feet, knowing that they would be paying their own way, as they want to do, and not just be recipients of aid. They want to pay their own way by producing the things people want.

We would want in return, of course, to visit, possibly under preferential money terms. Why should we not? I am not suggesting a monetary union. Maybe that would be the long term objective, but we can work towards it. We could have a sort of Common Market, if you like; not as the first stage, not in the first year, but we might work towards it.

In these respects-I am thinking particularly of the transport of goods and of the goods themselves-there are many areas where we might give assistance. The hon. member for Edmonton West mentioned schooling. We have assisted in the development of the University of the West Indies. I think we should go on doing that, provided the local circumstances are such that people within the area can improve their educational standards and return and deliver to the countries from which they came the techniques and the cultural development which are so necessary there. And we should send some of our university students there to learn something of the ways of that part of the world.

There is so much to be commended in this resolution that I think it is time we had a vote on it. It is before us now a second time. I hope that it is not the intention of the government to talk it out on this occasion.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

B. Keith Penner

Liberal

Mr. B. Keith Penner (Thunder Bay):

Mr. Speaker, as others have done before me, I, too, wish to commend the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) for presenting this motion. He has been a good friend of the Caribbean for a very long period of time. I attended many Canadian-Carib-bean lunches under the auspices of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Canadian branch, and these luncheons were hosted by the hon. member for Hillsborough. I would say that hon. members who went to those meetings learned a great deal from the hon. member for Hillsborough, who always

[Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich).l

presided graciously and with generous amounts of wit and wisdom.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

B. Keith Penner

Liberal

Mr. Penner:

I note that the hon. member for Hillsborough is present in the House today, and I wish to express publicly what I have already said to him privately, that we will miss the hon. member here in this chamber. His speeches, as we all know, were always models of good English usage and, I would add, they were never unduly long.

I know all members of the House hope that the hon. member for Hillsborough will find his return to the academic world satisfying and stimulating. We know that his students will be well tutored in the science as well as in the art of politics.

As I said at the beginning, my colleague and my friend, the hon. member for Hillsborough, the mover of this motion, has exhibited a long standing interest in the Caribbean, and he is once again to be commended for the dedication he brings to ensuring that the attention of parliament is directed towards our policy vis-a-vis the Commonwealth Caribbean. Canada's long relationship with this part of the world goes well back in history, to a period when particularly our maritime provinces were in constant contact with the sugar, rum and spice producing islands. What a sight these eighteenth century ships must have presented in the Canadian and Caribbean harbours!

Today's traffic between Canada and these Caribbean countries may be less dramatic, given the absence of sailing ships, but it is no less extensive. Quite the contrary, in terms of cargo volumes and passengers travelling in each direction, the relationship has expanded dramatically over the past two centuries, to say nothing of the increased cultural and other contacts which have become a feature of the last few decades. I shall have more to say on this subject in a moment.

I presume that the motion, in referring to the Commonwealth Caribbean, addresses the entire range of former British possessions in and around the Caribbean, including the now independent countries of the Bahamas, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica as well as the other islands which have different constitutional status. It would be well to bear in mind not only the physical differences among the islands, but also their constitutional variety.

The countries just mentioned are completely independent of Great Britain, while others such as Montserrat, the Turks and Caicos, the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans are Crown colonies. Still others comprise the West Indies Associated States. These states-Antigua, Dominica, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla-are self-governing countries for whom Britain retains responsibility over defence and external affairs. Bermuda and Belize are in a similar situation. The House will note that these territories, with different constitutional status, are widely scattered-from Guyana in South America to Bermuda in the Atlantic. Some cannot accurately be described as Caribbean at all, but for purposes of further discussion I shall include them all since they do have the common denomination of a British colonial background.

May5, 1978

The great distances between these islands and their different histories have contributed considerably to their individual identities which, to a casual observer, may not be evident at first glance. The Caribbeans are nevertheless as proud of their individual countries and traditions as we are. Their cultural variety is frequently as profoundly different as is their topography, which can vary from lush volcanic to arid and rocky, most, of course, being liberally endowed with glorious sunny beaches, many of which Canadians know very well. We must not, therefore, make the mistake of considering them as a homogeneous unit even when we speak in terms of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

I have mentioned the constitutional diversity in part to point out another aspect of these island nations' futures, namely that several of them will soon achieve independence and will therefore be taking their rightful place in the international councils of the world. We should not be surprised to see at least two Associated States become independent this year and possibly two or even three in the following year. Even once they become independent, however, they will still share with us, despite all of their rich diversity, the bond of Commonwealth traditions.

Because we are aware of our bond with the Caribbean and of all the elements particular to each of these nations, we have always proceeded, in our desire constantly to develop and intensify our relations with them in a pragmatic manner, without ever imposing rigid and artificial constraints which would not correspond to our mutual interests and would not be a true reflection of reality. Thus our relations have developed on three levels: that of bilateral relations through direct gov-ernment-to-government contacts; that of regional relations within the context of organizations developed by the Caribbean Commonwealth itself, such as the Caribbean Development Bank and CARICOM, Caribbean Common Market; and the third level of relations is multilateral, particularly within the Commonwealth. I should point out that in each of these levels Canadian action has been intensified in the course of the past ten years, nor has it ever before been so visible or varied. We should, therefore, congratulate ourselves on the mechanisms put in place which have permitted us to achieve considerable positive results.

Our aid program in the Commonwealth Caribbean is constantly increasing and is currently set at S30 million per year, which represents the largest per capita disbursement of aid furnished by Canada throughout the world. We began this program in 1958 at which time our assistance went to the Federation of the West Indies, as it was then constituted. At that time it included Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and some of the Leeward and Windward Islands.

Up to that time our aid funds had been reserved for the Colombo Plan. When the Federation was dissolved in 1962 we carried on the program and it has been increasing ever since. Our chief preoccupation at that time was to encourage the development of the common services which the islands needed to facilitate relations among themselves. For example, of the $10 million spread over the first five years of our program, $7

Caribbean Community

million were employed to develop a transportation system between the islands. Subsequently Canadian development assistance was accorded for distinct programs with each of the islands. Guyana, then British Guiana, and Belize, then British Honduras, were not included in the original programs but they did benefit from the commonwealth technical assistance program which was launched in 1958, and since 1963 they too have become CIDA aid recipients.

In 1964 Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago received separate budgetary allocations as well as lines of credit. In 1966 the program had achieved a minimum value of $15 million per year for the region. This did not include such special projects as that of the University of the West Indies, in respect of which we gave $5 million. In fact, between 1966 and 1971 we spent $100 million, which was 33 per cent more than we had committed ourselves to spending. Since then this sum has nearly doubled for that area of the world.

As hon. members know, the Canadian International Development Agency revised its aid strategy in 1966 and modified its priorities in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Of course, the region will continue to receive our largest per capita aid disbursements, but the program will no longer be based on the social and industrial infrastructure but rather on the development of productive employment and agriculture.

This will not eliminate all of their problems considering the current world economic climate and the serious problems which these countries will face in the domains of unemployment, instability of primary material prices, the great expense of imports and deficits in their balance of payments. This situation has brought about certain special measures on the bilateral level and through the international multilateral organizations such as the International Monetary Fund. But Canada is determined to pursue more than ever its policy of development aid to permit these countries to arrive at the economic take-off point.

A number of these developments of the past few years in our development aid to the Caribbean Commonwealth, I am pleased to report, correspond to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs of the Canadian Senate, in its report of 1970 on Canadian-Caribbean relations. As this report suggested, Canada has continued to concentrate a good part of its aid in this region on the smallest of the islands, placing a major emphasis on developing the resources of these countries and giving to the program a maximum effectiveness, thanks to a systematic co-ordination of its initiatives.

Let me say a word on the commercial side. The volume of exchanges is also very considerable, and in 1976 it reached the level of $120 million, which was made up of $90 million of Canadian exports and $30 million of imports from the Caribbean. Unfortunately, these figures are lower than they were in the previous year because we were faced with two serious difficulties. The first was certain restrictions which countries such as Dominica and Guyana imposed on our products, and the over-all effect of the cancellation of preferential tariffs

May 5, 1978

Caribbean Community

which was brought about by the Lome Convention signed between the European Economic Community and a large part of the third world. Nevertheless, we continue to be optimistic about future prospects in this region. The eventual signature of a commercial agreement between Canada and the Commonwealth Caribbean could well serve as a stimulant to this exchange.

From the point of view of investment, if I may say a word about that, Canada plays a substantial role in sectors such as tourism, the aluminum and bauxite industries and banking. It appears that investment possibilities will increase despite the priority given by certain of these countries to public investment. We hope that here, too, the eventual signature of an agreement between Canada and the members of the Caribbean Common Market, called CARICOM, will facilitate this type of development.

Finally, in the political domain we should bear in mind the constant exchange of visits in both directions which, in the recent past few years, have included visits to Canada by the Prime Ministers of Guyana and Jamaica. In addition, in 1977 we had the pleasure of receiving Prime Minister Gairy of Grenada, Prime Minister Bradshaw of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguil-la, Prime Minister Bird of Antigua, Prime Minister Price of

Belize, President Clarke of Trinidad and Tobago, Governor General deGale of Grenada, and no less than a dozen other distinguished personalities from these various countries who attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference held here in Ottawa.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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?

An hon. Member:

Question.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

B. Keith Penner

Liberal

Mr. Penner:

I think some hon. members who are failing to pay attention to the importance of these relations will recall that they met some of these distinguished gentlemen, if they were free to attend the conference.

These meetings were equally numerous in the Commonwealth context both at the level of heads of state or government, such as the meeting in London last spring, and at the ministerial level, such as the finance ministers' conference in Kingston last October. It seems evident to me-

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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LIB

Denis Éthier (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ethier):

Order, please. The hour provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired. It being five o'clock, this House stands adjourned until Monday next at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 2(1).

At 5 p.m. the House adjourned, without question put, pursuant to Standing Order.

Monday, May 8, 1978

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN
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May 5, 1978