April 2, 1987

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

EXTERNAL RELATIONS

PC

Monique Landry (Minister for External Relations; Minister responsible for La Francophonie)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Monique Landry (Minister for External Relations):

Mr. Speaker, I am eager to share with the House what I have seen and experienced during the past couple of weeks as I travelled in China and Thailand. I say "eager" because I believe our relationship with the new Asia, which is emerging with astonishing speed, is crucial to our mutual interests.

After visiting several parts of Asia and a series of development co-operation projects in which Canada is involved, I am very pleased to say I was given tangible proof of the effectiveness of our development aid. The projects in which Canada is involved are having a definite impact.

Last week during my visit to Thailand, I signed several agreements aimed at promoting co-operation in major sectors between our two countries. For instance, Canada will provide a grant of $5 million to help the women of Thailand participate to a greater extent in the development of their country. These funds will enable them to initiate income-generating activities, open small businesses, have access to credit and receive leadership training.

Other agreements concern the funding of Canadian goods and services; scholarships for Thai students who want to pursue post-secondary studies in Canada in crucial areas such as energy and food production; and opening up new areas for co-operation such as food processing, air traffic control and environmental protection.

I visited the Champthai factory, an example of a joint venture involving a Canadian company, Champion Road Machinery of Goderich, Ontario and a Thai company. I visited a centre for remote sensing which is receiving technical assistance from Canadian companies in Montreal and Vancouver.

I was profoundly affected by my visit to a school for the blind, where fantastic work is being done.

I also went to Northeast Thailand, the country's poorest region, where I visited rural development projects funded by Canada. However, what struck me most was the way the relationship between our two countries has changed. There is so much vitality and growth everywhere in Thailand, and there are so many positive aspects for Canada that we can no longer properly speak of a donor-beneficiary relationship. These terms reflect a dependence that is no longer significant.

I can report that the same is true, but on a larger scale, in our relationship with China. It was a great privilege to spend 10 days in the world's most populous nation as a representative of the Canadian Government. It was a very productive 10 days, indeed. There were meetings with Deng Xiaoing, China's elder statesman, with the President, the Prime Minister and other officials at the highest level.

In following up on the Prime Minister's commitment of last year, I was able to announce, as Minister responsible for CIDA, 11 new projects of development co-operation to a value of over $90 million in such fields as management education, municipal planning and linkages at the college and university level. I was happy with the focus of our existing program, which The Globe and Mail has described as aimed at people and knowledge. I am particularly pleased to report that we have also taken some early initiatives in the important and promising fields of transportation and telecommunications.

There were many highlights. On one occasion I met with representatives of one of our development partners, the AllChina Women's Federation, doubtless the world's largest such organization with 93 million members. On another occasion I travelled by boat on the Yangtze to the site of the proposed Three Gorges Complex where the river, the hills and the mists truly speak to the soul. However, this spot is also where China is contemplating building a power complex with a capacity greater than the entire James Bay Development. The proposed project would also control floods and extend river navigation. We can be proud that China has entrusted a Canadian consortium with the carrying out of the feasibility study. We can only assist China, in its great wisdom, to make this crucial decision about its future.

There are two further observations I would like to offer. The first concerns Asia in general. Asia is changing fast-much faster, 1 fear, than our Canadian ideas and attitudes about

April 2, 1987

Statements by Ministers

Asian reality. The fact is that Asia with immense needs, pent up demand, a large and growing middle class and huge human and material resources, will become the mainstream, the centre of gravity of the global economy in the very near future-likely by the turn of the century, less than 5,000 days from now. It will have the world's largest, most diverse and, perhaps, most modern industrial capacity. This means that our relationship with Asia will be utterly transformed.

In reality, of course, transformations do not happen overnight-they are already well advanced. Some of us gained that insight when we recently saw Canadian communities vying for investment by Japanese and Korean car makers. But I am very concerned that Canadian perceptions are lagging dangerously far behind the fast pace of change. How many of us have looked recently at GNP per capita figures and noticed how Asian countries have begun to surpass those in Europe? At current growth rates for per capita income Taiwan and Korea will be richer than the United States four decades from now.

The point I want to make is that if Canadians want a strategy for success, whether we are talking about government, business or Canadians in general, they had better realize that, especially in Asia, the old game is over and a quite different one is under way with new roles and new rules. It is important for Canada as a whole to understand the new reality so that our country can make major adjustments, economically, politically and psychologically.

One of the aspects of this new reality is the fact that we need China more than it needs us. A look at the total volume of our exports in 1985 reveals that China accounted for 3.4 per cent, whereas Canada was the origin of only 1.6 per cent of Chinese imports. At that time, we turned a new page of Canadian economic history when, for the first time, a larger volume of our exports went to the Pacific region instead of crossing the Atlantic.

If we expect Canada to prosper as a major trading nation we must gain a very clear insight into worldwide economic events and do everything we can to cultivate our ties with Asia. We must establish a long-term economic and institutional relationship.

More subjective, my second remark has to do with the state of our relations with Asia and the way the Government approachesThis significant aspect of our external relations. In this respect I can say that our relations are excellent and that the Government is taking decisive action to strengthen these ties with Asia well into the XXIth century. Everywhere I went I was struck by the people's warm and friendly reception.

Although Canada does not rank high in terms of population, our impact in China is much more important than most of us would imagine. Our reputation over there is practically second to none. The name of Dr. Bethune was on everyone's lips.

I also believe that their attitude towards us is due in part to the deep respect which Canada has always shown for China and its priorities. Indeed, the same things goes for Thailand.

By any means the Government does not neglect any opportunity to expand these ties. I have just returned from my visit over there with the Governor General. The Minister of Communications (Miss MacDonald) as well travelled to that country a few days ago, and recently there were other ministerial visits.

While in Asia I had the opportunity to sign a number of agreements for specific projects, thus moving our co-operation forward in keeping with, for instance, the commitments made last year by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney). To further the process, Cabinet has now approved a strategy for China which reflects the importance Canada attaches to its relations with the Asia-Pacific region in general and with China in particular.

The strategy builds upon the major achievements since Canada's recognition of the People's Republic of China in 1970, especially the measures taken by the Government in the past two years, such as the opening of a consulate in Shanghai and the announcement by the Prime Minister when he visited Beijing last May that Canada is doubling its CIDA bilateral program and setting up a concessional financing facility. The strategy is designed to set an institutional framework for the building of a focused, orchestrated and dynamic approach to our relationship with China, a key political actor in Asia and Canada's fifth largest market in the world.

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, I wish to share with you a Thai tradition. When one gives alms to a monk it is then customary to thank the monk for accepting the gift. The truth is that Canada's participation in Asia's development is indeed enriching and benefiting Canada. Day by day the relationship between our country, and those of Asia, grows more balanced and becomes more mutually beneficial.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
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LIB

Roland de Corneille

Liberal

Mr. Roland de Corneille (Eglinton-Lawrence):

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to say that I wish that my comments on the Minister's presentation could be better prepared, since I think it has been a valuable contribution. Unfortunately, I was not in receipt of her remarks and was therefore unable to give time to the preparation of the type of remarks that I would like to make on behalf of my Party. At the same time, on behalf of the Members of the House, I wish to thank the Minister for the fact that she has come to the House to report on her visit and to give us an insight into her findings.

As an aside, an interesting aspect of her remarks was her comment concerning the importance of the trade future of the Pacific Rim. The growth of the power of many of the previously undeveloped and now rapidly developing countries in Asia will in fact shift Canada's trade to a larger extent to the Pacific Rim as opposed to the Atlantic Region, which is an idea that Canadians have to catch up with, as the Minister has indicated. Now that she has come back, the Minister should

April 2, 1987

now meet with the Minister for International Trade (Miss Carney) for the purpose of enlightening that Minister, as she is contemplating Canada's trade relations with the United States, on the importance of trade with the nations of the Pacific Rim. It is our contention that it is within the total context of our GATT relations and within the context of our total trade with all of the nations of the world that we should consider our trade relations with the United States. Perhaps the Minister for External Relations will be helpful in getting that point across to the Minister for International Trade.

I should like to call attention to the Minister's report on Thailand. Given that she is the Minister for External Relations, her report includes a section on the work of CIDA, something that is entirely within her area of responsibility. In looking at our development programs, both multilateral and bilateral, we want to ensure that such programs are beneficial to the poorest people of the countries involved. In addition, we want to ensure that any such developments are not in any way harmful to the weak and the poor of those countries. This, of course, is something that is difficult to achieve when one is dealing with sovereign nations. Certainly, we would not want them to feel that we were interfering with their plans and their views. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we do have that responsibility of which I spoke.

I was pleased to hear that the Minister went to the poorer sections in Thailand and had the opportunity to see what some of those problems are. But, it does also raise certain areas of concern, those concerns having to do with the plight of the poorer people in these countries and the whole question of human rights. I regret that the Minister did not make a few comments in that regard.

Like everyone else, I was happy to hear about the desire to provide education and to work on co-operative educational programs with Thailand, including the exchange of students, the possibility of having Thai students in Canada-something which would be beneficial to both of our countries. Such programs are a positive step in beginning the process of improving human rights in other countries and in ameliorating the suffering that takes place in those countries.

I was pleased to hear about the Minister's visit to China, a country which we often speak of as the "Sleeping Giant". Given the vastness of that country, and the size of its population, it is certainly a good thing to have Canadians generally visit that country to acquaint themselves with it, and it is particularly beneficial when leading members of our Cabinet travel to that very important nation. While it is a Communist nation, it is an important one, and Canada has provided leadership in the past in opening up relations with it. In this regard, I make reference to former Prime Minister Trudeau, who helped create a better respect for China as a nation that must be dealt with in the realities of the world. So, it is a good thing that the Minister was able to spend time in China,

Statements by Ministers

allowing her to return to Canada with a better assessment and appreciation of things in that country.

I should like again to call the attention of the Minister to the manner in which we provide aid to these countries. As the Minister responsible for CIDA, she will be aware that some of the projects undertaken around the world have led to some tragic results. We have had examples of countries, with the assistance of the International World Bank and the IMF, going after major projects, including the construction of hydroelectric dams, that have led to tragic consequences. We have had examples where a nation's leaders, in their desire to keep up with the progress of other countries, have embarked on projects which, while providing them with some personal glory, have done a great deal of damage to the country's population.

I will not cite specifics. I think the Minister knows what I am talking about. Certainly in various nations of Africa, this kind of thing has taken place.

I can understand that the Minister, in speaking about the Three Gorges Complex, would not want to insult the leadership of the Chinese people by challenging them about the wisdom of that project. However, it is a project in which we are involved, and a project on which Canadian firms are seeking contracts. The construction of hydro-electric dams in other areas of the world have led to the displacement of entire populations, with no provision for relocating the people affected or providing them with a better and improved way of life. On the contrary, such projects have oftentimes led to the total destruction of the lives of those people. Oftentimes, they result in economic ruin. In addition, there have often been, as a longer range result, dreadful environmental repercussions.

By no means am I suggesting to the Minister that all hydroelectric dams are bad. On the contrary, provided that all of the necessary safeguards are taken, they can be good. However, we have seen ourselves involved in projects where not enough attention has been given to these matters, with the result that, instead of having brought about alleviation of the suffering of the poor, we have in fact brought about just the opposite. Many projects bring about very dubious long range benefits for the economy of the country involved, with very powerful and tragic short term repercussions on the people directly affected by the project. I regret that the Minister did not comment on how some of these tragedies of the past could be avoided insofar as any involvement we have with China is concerned.

We have to ask ourselves, too, just how the Minister sees her role as one who is concerned with developments. Development, of course, does include trade, and certainly it is not her function to try to be the Minister for International Trade. However, I think her observations on the trade situation will be of assistance to her colleagues in Cabinet. I would welcome from the Minister, as soon as possible, a further detailed explanation as to what is happening in Asia insofar as the poorer people are concerned, those on whom we are supposedly focusing as our top priority in terms of CIDA aid.

April 2, 1987

Committee Reports

Indeed, in the Minister's statement-and I appreciate that in a short presentation such as this she cannot cover everything-I did miss hearing anything about the tragic fact that there are so many people on the Asian continent who continue to live in very limited circumstances, people who are illiterate and not well cared for medically. These are the very people, through our CIDA operations, we want to help.

As well, I should like to have heard her observations on nongovernmental organizations, organizations that monitor the human rights situation and the economic situation in those countries. I hope that she did visit some such organizations.

My comments, Mr. Speaker, are meant to constitute both congratulations to the Minister and an expression of concern in relation to those areas that were omitted from her remarks. I do want to express my appreciation to the Minister for her having taken the time to make this trip and for the courtesy of her report to the House.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The Hon. Parliamentary Secretary on a point of order.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
LIB

Philip Derek Lewis

Liberal

Mr. Doug Lewis (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council):

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There have been discussions among the Parties, and I think you will find that there is agreement to immediately move to the item Presenting Reports from Committees, in order that parliamentary committee reports can be presented, following which we can revert back to my colleague from Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands (Mr. Manly) for his intervention in reply.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I take it that there is agreement to the suggestion put forward by the Hon. Parliamentary Secretary.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

As your Speaker, I am reluctant to comment too often on matters of the relations among the Parties in this place, but I think it is appropriate to remark at this time that while the Hon. Member for Eglinton-Lawrence (Mr. de Corneille) expressed a desire for more time to consider the Minister's statement before replying, he was extremely gracious in his response. I would ask that when statements are being made in the Chamber every effort be made to give those who must respond adequate time to consider the statements before making their reply.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink
PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I merely offer that as a comment. It is something that I hope will be given consideration.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink

DISABLED AND THE HANDICAPPED

PC

Patrick Boyer

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Patrick Boyer (Etobicoke-Lakeshore):

Mr. Speaker, this morning I have the honour of tabling the first report of the Sub-Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped. The title of the report is: CHALLENGE-Putting our House in order.

[DOT] (M30)

The report 1 am tabling this morning on behalf of the parliamentary committee on the disabled is a unanimous report entitled "Challenge-Putting our House in Order".

Pursuant to Standing Order 99(2), I specifically ask, on behalf of the committee, that the Government provide a comprehensive response within 120 days. In a very encapsulated form, when the report speaks about putting our house in order, it is something Hon. Members of the House can particularly take to heart. The message relates to mentally and physically challenged Canadians and it sets out an action plan for us to lead by example.

In presenting the report this morning, members of the committee would like to note that Your Honour is mentioned in the report for the exemplary initiative you have taken in responding to the concerns of the committee, developing an action plan, establishing timetables, and moving to action so that the needs and aspirations of mentally and physically challenged Canadians are being adequately responded to on the Hill, and through this example which the committee will be using, through all other departments and branches of the federal Government.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   DISABLED AND THE HANDICAPPED
Sub-subtopic:   PRESENTATION OF FIRST REPORT OF SUB-COMMITTEE
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

[Editor's Note: See today's Votes and Proceedings]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   DISABLED AND THE HANDICAPPED
Sub-subtopic:   PRESENTATION OF FIRST REPORT OF SUB-COMMITTEE
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EXTERNAL RELATIONS

NDP

James Douglas Manly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands):

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my Party I wish to express appreciation to the Hon. Minister for External Relations (Mrs. Landry) for her statement and for the trip which she made, along with the Governor General and others, to China and Thailand. The growing importance of Asia in the world and in Canada's relationships with other parts of the world has been underscored by the visit and by the Minister's report.

In the early 1950s the question of the recognition of the People's Republic of China was something of an United Church heresy, because the United Church of Canada was

April 2, 1987

advocating that before many other organizations in Canada were. Some people felt that the sky would fall in if Canada took such a drastic step. It finally happened in 1970, and since then there have been absolutely no regrets on the part of Canada that we have recognized the People's Republic of China. We have been seeking to build stronger ties ever since. It is important, as the Minister has done, to underscore the importance of those ties both for Canada and for the world in general. Coming from a riding on the Pacific Coast, I know how important it is for our people.

China is a country which has made tremendous strides in the last few years, yet it continues to face tremendous problems. Canadian and Chinese co-operation is essential and, as the Minister pointed out, it is essential for Canada as well as for countries in Asia. I was very pleased to note in the Minister's comments on Thailand that we are moving beyond the donor-recipient relationship. It is important for us to move into an era of international co-operation rather than see a kind of paternalistic relationship continuing.

I have some concerns about some of the issues mentioned by the Minister, certainly the major dam project. It is interesting to note that we have announced an additional $1.4 million to expand the scope of the Three Gorges feasibility study. This is in addition to the $8.7 million contract awarded last July to a Canadian consortium. That contract was to look at the technical, economic, and financial viability of a multi-purpose development in the Three Gorges. When we are considering a project of this kind, it is important to be aware of the environmental impact and of the human rights impact-what will be the results on people upstream and downstream from the developments. While we recognize that the final decision will be that of the Chinese Government-and its integrity as a Government is involved-and that Canada is involved in providing financial assistance, we have a responsibility to ensure that some values which are very important to Canadians in terms of the environment and human rights values are being protected or looked after. Before any further contracts are let involving Canadian money for the Three Gorges project, I urge upon the Minister that there be some statement to Canadians about the environmental impact and about the human rights impact of this massive development.

The Minister knows, as do all Members of the House, that sometimes massive developments which can produce some very positive results can also have some very negative results. Every Government must be involved in trying to weigh what is positive against what is negative. That is the final responsibility of the Chinese Government as far as the project is concerned, but I think the Canadian Government has a responsibility in terms of further Canadian assistance.

Statements by Ministers

I was pleased to see an emphasis in the Minister's statement on assistance to women and the $5 million which will be going to women's projects in Thailand to help them develop income generating projects. It is a helpful emphasis. We want to underscore the need for CIDA constantly to find ways of emphasizing the needs of women around the world.

This brings me to a concern that there is no dollar figure attached to the support for the All China Women's Federation. The Minister pointed out that its membership is 93 million, a huge organization, yet there is no dollar figure attached to the kind of aid which will be going to it. Perhaps the dollar figures will come later. I hope they will. It is very important not to lose sight of this as we emphasize the importance of women. It has an important public relations aspect for Canadians. They want to hear about it, but they would also like to hear what dollar figures are attached.

The Minister's remarks about the changes which are taking place in Asia are well taken, yet she talked about a strategy for Canadian success in that huge and developing market. I am not completely sure what is our strategy for success, but I have a suspicion that the Minister is trying to have a closer link between Canadian development assistance and Canadian trade, and that bothers me. Development assistance has its own priorities which must stand on their own and be addressed on their own. Time after time, talking about development assistance, representations have been made to the Government that the primary target for such assistance should be the poorest of the poor. Yet Canada has traditionally had a policy of tied aid by which we seek to do two things; we hope to help developing countries and that somehow we help the poor, and we are also very concerned about developing Canadian industry, exports and services.

O)

I do not think the best way to encourage Canadian trade and services is by trying to use development assistance as a lever. These two very commendable goals have to stand on their own, and when we try to use tied aid as a method of levering our way into a market, no matter how important that market is, we end up having some very skewed development projects. We have seen some of the white elephants that have been created by tied aid in other parts of the world. This should not be done on a continuing basis. Trade has its own priorities. We should be addressing it in a straightforward, honest manner, and we should be addressing development priorities in a straightforward, honest manner. I leave those comments with the Minister and with the House.

Again, I thank the Minister for her statement. I want to underscore the importance of her visit, and the visit by other Canadian Ministers and other Canadians generally to the whole Asian area.

April 2, 1987

Committee Reports

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Sub-subtopic:   MINISTER'S STATEMENT ON VISIT TO ASIA
Permalink

FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL FISCAL ARRANGEMENTS AND FEDERAL POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND HEALTH CONTRIBUTIONS ACT, 1977 PRESENTATION OF REPORT OF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

PC

Allan Bruce McKinnon

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Allan B. McKinnon (Victoria):

Madam Speaker, as Chairman of the Legislative Committee on Bill C-44, an Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements and Federal Post-Secondary Education and Health Contributions Act, 1977, I have the honour to report the Bill to the House in both official languages, without amendment.

I would like to thank all Members from all sides of the House for their co-operation during the consideration of this Bill in committee.

[Editor's Note: See today's Votes and Proceedings]

[ Translation]

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL FISCAL ARRANGEMENTS AND FEDERAL POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION AND HEALTH CONTRIBUTIONS ACT, 1977 PRESENTATION OF REPORT OF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
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PETITIONS

LIB

Marie Thérèse Rollande Killens

Liberal

Mrs. Therese Killens (Saint-Michel-Ahuntsic):

Madam Speaker, 1 have the honour, pursuant to Standing Order 106, of tabling a petition signed by residents of the riding of Saint-Michel-Ahuntsic who object to the proposed changes to the Patent Act in Bill C-22. They feel the Government's proposal will increase the already high cost of provincial health insurance plans and will also have a direct impact on all Canadians not covered by private insurance plans. The undersigned call upon Parliament to reject this proposal which will increase the price of drugs for all Canadians.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   OPPOSITION TO PROPOSED CHANGES TO PATENT ACT
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April 2, 1987