December 17, 1981

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Leader of the Opposition):

Madam Speaker, 1 rise under the provisions of Standing Order 43 to present a motion. Last night at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto thousands of concerned Canadians, including members of all political parties, gathered to show their concern and support for the people of Poland in the form of the following resolution:

We, Canadians of Polish descent, are deeply concerned about the current events in Poland, and we call upon the Canadian government as cosignatory of the Helsinki Accords to undertake the following actions:

1. To press for the immediate lifting of martial law in Poland and the release of all Solidarity officials.

2. To press for the reinstatement of the rights of workers to form free trade unions.

3. To publicly state that no intervention by third parties into the internal affairs of Poland will be tolerated.

4. To send to Poland, for distribution by non-government organizations, significant economic aid in the form of food, medical supplies and agricultural machinery and feedstuffs in order that the people of Poland survive the coming winter.

We trust that the voice of the Canadian government as international mediator will be heard and that the conflicts in Poland will be resolved in a just and lasting manner.

Therefore I move, seconded by the hon. member for Oshawa (Mr. Broadbent):

That this House express its concern by supporting the resolution introduced last night by the Canadian Polish Congress and approved by the thousands of Canadians there present.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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LIB

Jeanne Sauvé (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Madam Speaker:

Is there unanimous consent for this motion?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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LIB

Jeanne Sauvé (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Madam Speaker:

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Does the House agree to the said motion?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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PC

Charles Joseph Clark (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Clark:

Madam Speaker, I wish to address this matter very briefly, as I am sure the hon. member for Oshawa, the

seconder of the motion, and the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. MacGuigan) would simply like to underline the grave concern which is felt by Canadians across the country about the situation in Poland, and particularly to underline the importance with which we, in the House and in this party, feel this matter be treated as a question that the rights and freedoms so recently won by the citizens of Poland be preserved and be free from any interference by the Soviet Union or by other outside forces.

It is for that reason that we have introduced this motion under the provisions of Standing Order 43 today. I am certainly pleased that it has received the unanimous consent of the House. I am pleased that the Secretary of State for External Affairs and the Government of Canada will be fortified in actions they might take by knowing that they have the support not only of the thousands of Canadians who met last night in Toronto, but also the unanimous support of the House of Commons.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Madam Speaker, as the seconder of the motion 1 rise eagerly to support its purpose and the ideas which lie behind it. I think people the world over, beginning in August of 1980, were impressed, were delighted with, and ultimately gave their total support to the courageous movement of the people of Poland to begin to take the very difficult steps toward achieving a free society within their own land. We have seen in the past year, in my judgment, the most remarkable mass movement since World War II by a people in face of incredible odds to determine the conditions of their lives, not by forces from without their borders but by themselves. In recent days we have seen that courage, that determination, and that fundamental love for freedom put in jeopardy. I and my colleagues strongly support the principle and the details of this motion.

I conclude by saying that I am sure I speak not only for Canadians of Polish ancestry but for all Canadians from one part of our land to the other when I wish the people of Poland well in this moment of trial.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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LIB

Mark R. MacGuigan (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. Mark MacGuigan (Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Madam Speaker, I received a copy of this motion just after coming into the House. I agreed to its being debated so that we could have some moments to reflect on this very serious situation here in Parliament.

December 17, 1981

The Government of Canada has been very concerned about what has been happening in and around Poland in recent months. Of course the Canadian people themselves have been concerned. In fact there has been an enormous outpouring of support from the Canadian people, not only from Canadians of Polish ancestry but from Canadians of many other ancestries, which is typical of this country, to the Poles. There have been many contributions of food, and many contributions of money to enable food and medicines to be sent to Poland. The Government of Canada has joined in that and recently announced the contribution of $100,000 to the Canadian Polish Congress to enable food and medicines and any other useful materials to be sent to the Polish people.

Aid of that kind, of course, is distributed in Poland by non-governmental organizations but, generally speaking, the Canadian government has to deal with the Polish government, so the greater part of the aid we have sent to the Polish people has been sent through the Polish government. We have in fact been the largest per capita donors to the people of Poland. Our contributions have been principally through our sales of grain at concessional rates.

On October 29 Canada announced that it would provide an additional $500 million in credit guarantees in order to permit Poland to continue to import the one million to 1.5 million tonnes of grain provided for in our bilateral grain agreement which expires in December, 1982. Food credits announced by other countries, such as the United States, do not go beyond this year, whereas ours go through this year into next year. We are already in the position of having fulfilled some of the requirements of that contract by having shipped something like one third of the grain which is provided for under the framework agreement. We intend to continue to provide support of that kind to the Polish people.

The Canadian banks have also made a contribution to Poland in recent years. These banks are participating along with other world banks in negotiations with Poland to reschedule payments for 1981.

It is my understanding that these negotiations are still in process, but at this stage it is not clear what the outcome of them will be. Undoubtedly there will be further word on that within the next several weeks. It is not our intention, as I suggested in this House the other day, to suspend any form of our assistance to Poland at this time.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
LIB

Mark R. MacGuigan (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MacGuigan:

It may be all very well for some countries which have different policies to suspend the application of those different policies, but it is not our policy to hurt the Polish people in any way in this time of difficulty for them by suspending our shipments of grain to them. We do not think that would be in their best interests.

As I understand this resolution, it would urge us to do even more than has been done up to this time, even though we are the largest per capita donor.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
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LIB

Mark R. MacGuigan (Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MacGuigan:

I might say that it would not be possible for us to ensure that our aid be given through non-governmental organizations as the motion requests-

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
PC

Erik Nielsen (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nielsen:

Talk it out!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
LIB

Jeanne Sauvé (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Madam Speaker:

Order, please. It being 2.15 p.m. it is my duty now to interrupt the debate. Oral questions.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Put the question.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink
PC

Erik Nielsen (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nielsen:

Madam Speaker, I am sure there is consent to put the question.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   POLAND-RESOLUTION PASSED AT PUBLIC MEETING IN TORONTO-MOTION UNDER S O. 43
Permalink

December 17, 1981