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
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.
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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.
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic: SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF CLOSER RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH CARIBBEAN