September 13, 1988

NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nelson A. Riis (Kamloops-Shuswap):

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to present a petition on behalf of a number of my constituents pursuant to Standing Order 106.

The petitioners feel that the child care Act proposed by the Government contains neither national objectives nor the necessary funding arrangements and will not ensure that families have access to high quality child care. Since they believe that the child care Act is not in the best interests of young children, women or families, they are asking that the Government withdraw the child care Act immediately from further consideration.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CHILD CARE-REQUEST FOR WITHDRAWAL OF BILL
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Nelson A. Riis (Kamloops-Shuswap):

Mr. Speaker, 1 also have the opportunity and privilege to present a further petition on behalf of a number of other constituents who are concerned that the existing procedures regarding the processing of refugees has broken down. Basically, they are asking Parliament to move quickly to ensure that refugee applicants have their applications processed efficiently and effectively.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   REFUGEES-REQUEST FOR SPEEDY PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS
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PC

Paul Gagnon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Paul Gagnon (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, it is also my pleasure and privilege to present a petition signed by 47 Canadians, residents mainly of the Olds area and of Calgary, Alberta.

The petitioners oppose the initiatives of child care. They point out that a considerable number of Canadians believe that the state and their tax dollars have no place in the area of child care which is a parental responsibility, except in cases of demonstrated financial need.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to act upon the problem of this limitation in choice of child care and restore to the system fairness and justice by opposing any form of national child care policy which does not provide equality of choice, therefore leaving the child care decision-making process with the parent, where it rightly belongs.

September 13, 1988

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   EQUALITY OF CHOICE IN CHILD CARE
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NDP

Abram Ernest Epp

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ernie Epp (Thunder Bay-Nipigon):

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from residents of southern Ontario, specifically from the Cities of Stratford, Toronto and Ottawa.

The petitioners protest and state that families throughout Canada need high quality, available and affordable child care services. It has been repeatedly recommended, they say, that to make these services available to families the Government of Canada must introduce legislation containing national objectives and appropriate mechanisms for the development of a comprehensive non-profit child care system accessible to all families throughout Canada.

The Bill proposed by the Government, they note, does not contain either national objectives or necessary funding arrangements. It will not ensure that families have access to high quality child care. Consequently, it is not in the best interests of young children, women or families in Canada.

Therefore they call upon Parliament to withdraw the child care Act forthwith.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   PETITIONS
Sub-subtopic:   CHILD CARE-REQUEST FOR WITHDRAWAL OF BILL
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QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER

PC

Richard Grisé (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Is it agreed?

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PC

Douglas Grinslade Lewis (Minister of State (Government House Leader); Minister of State (Treasury Board))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lewis:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Immediately before Your Honour puts the motion I wonder if I might make an inquiry of the House. There was an understanding among the Parties that this Bill would go to Committee of the Whole House and be dealt with in all stages this morning. I wonder if I can inquire as to whether or not it is possible to get unanimous consent to have the motion read that the Bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   DISPOSITION OF BILL C-147
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NDP

Nelson Andrew Riis (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Riis:

Mr. Speaker, I do not really know where the Minister of State gets the impression that there have been some understandings regarding moving this legislation into Committee of the Whole. I would not want to rule that out as

Human Rights

a possibility. However, I think that it would be appropriate that further discussions take place now.

I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that we should proceed as per today's Order Paper. If there are any changes later in the day or later this morning we can interrupt those proceedings and perhaps make some changes. However, at the moment I think we should proceed as per today's Order Paper.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   DISPOSITION OF BILL C-147
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LIB

Jean-Robert Gauthier (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier):

Mr. Speaker, the Official Opposition was consulted, and it is true the critic for the Bill gave his consent to proceeding with consideration in Committee of the Whole immediately after second reading. However, I have no idea how many speakers there will be on all sides of the House, so I really cannot say whether we will finish the proceedings on the Bill this morning, and I cannot agree with the Minister's suggestion that the House be asked to deal with all stages of the Bill before 1 p.m. I would ask him to be patient with us, and with the Bill, and I think that by the end of the day he will be satisfied.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   DISPOSITION OF BILL C-147
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PC

Douglas Grinslade Lewis (Minister of State (Government House Leader); Minister of State (Treasury Board))

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lewis:

Mr. Speaker, under those circumstances, I suggest that Your Honour should proceed to read the motion in its original form.

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   DISPOSITION OF BILL C-147
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Perhaps there could be consultations among the parties in order to reach agreement on how the Bill is to be dealt with, possibly later on?

Topic:   NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE-FIFTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Sub-subtopic:   DISPOSITION OF BILL C-147
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GOVERNMENT ORDERS

INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ACT MEASURE TO ENACT

LIB

Philip Derek Lewis

Liberal

Hon. Doug Lewis (for Secretary of State for External Affairs) moved

that Bill C-147, an Act to establish the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

On debate the Hon. Member for Scarborough West (Mr. Stackhouse) has the floor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Reginald Francis Stackhouse

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Reginald Stackhouse (Scarborough West):

Mr. Speaker, it is a singular honour to present this Bill before the House, because it is a distinctive and important way for this Parliament and this country to share in the world-wide recognition of the fortieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That achievement, so many years ago, was an historic turning point in the recognition that

September 13, 1988

Human Rights

the rights of men and women do not depend upon the good will, the charity, or the caprice of rulers and governments, but are inherent within being human.

It is true that since 1948 men and women throughout this world have suffered tragic, tortuous abuses of their rights. That should not blind us to what has been achieved in the name of humanity. Among those achievements is the building up of a body of international law to which Governments can appeal and to which the critics of Governments can appeal. Although that body of law does not have the enforcement power that we could wish, it nonetheless provides a standard, a criterion by which Governments, institutions, and individuals can be measured and judged.

This remarkable document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has provided the foundation for the development of various declarations by Governments, including the Parliament of Canada. It can be said with accuracy that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is very much among the progeny of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Therefore, we can take heart from observing how, in 40 years, there has developed throughout the world a respect for the rights of people to be codified, articulated, and clarified in law, so that people can have some measure of civilized and rational defence against abuses. It is not enough to have only law; there must be power. Part of the power in any age, but particularly in this communication age, is knowledge, hence the importance of the proposal of Bill C-147, an Act to establish the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development.

The intent of this Bill and of this international centre will be to gather knowledge, assemble it, and disseminate it; to assist people seeking to enlarge their understanding and expand their knowledge, both within this country and beyond, so that the rights of men and women can enjoy an increased respect over what they have today.

I am very glad to say that this initiative was first recommended in June, 1986, in the report of the Special Joint Committee on Canada's International Relations, whose eminent House of Commons Chairman, the Minister of State for Finance (Mr. Hockin), I am glad to say, is present in the House.

I am grateful to have had the honour of participating in the work of that committee, and of seeing that an idea conceived and articulated in that committee's report is now gaining the possibility of legislative fruition today. Its practical value has since been underlined by the Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade, the Parliamentary Group on Haiti, and the Special Committee on the Peace Process in Central America.

We can note that the Bill's provisions reflect the general philosophy and approach outlined in the June, 1987, report entitled International Co-operation for the Development of

Human Rights and Democratic Institutions. This report was the result of a consultation involving several hundred Canadian and international organizations and individuals which was undertaken on our behalf by two special rapporteurs, Professor Gisele Cote-Harper and Dr. John Courtney. As Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Rights I am very glad to add my voice, as I trust there will be expression from other members of that committee in this debate, to support the general thrust and intent of this legislation and the centre to which it will give life.

The centre's mandate will be based on the International Bill of Human Rights. It will endeavour to conduct its affairs in a way characteristic of the country in which it will serve, and under whose authority and by whose support it will serve, namely, it will look out to the world. It will not be confined to this country alone. Its mandate will add a new and unique element to Canada's efforts to promote human rights internationally. It will offer Canadian experience and resources to groups and agencies in other countries to assist them to develop their own institutions in support of rights and freedoms.

The centre will be authorized to provide technical assistance, training, and resources for the development of electoral, legislative, judicial, and legal law enforcement and correctional systems. It may assist non-governmental groups such as churches, co-operatives, trade unions, professional associations, and other community-based associations in their effort to gain a stronger voice for citizens. It may also support organizations and programs which seek to secure an equality of rights for disadvantaged groups including women, native peoples, minorities, the disabled, and the aging. It will be enabled to do so within our own borders, for this centre will not be confined to the city in which it will have its headquarters, but it will be given the legislative authority and capability to conduct its work throughout this country, as it will be authorized to conduct its work in other countries within the law of those countries.

Given the need to respect the rights of men and women, given the need for knowledge to strengthen the efforts of legislative parliamentary committees, and the efforts of individuals, groups, and organizations within this country to do precisely that, it is absolutely imperative that there be such a centre which can provide the knowledge and the expertise required to make the protests, the initiatives, and the desires of such groups and persons effective.

An examination of this legislation will arouse in us a greater concern for carrying out the cause of human rights in this country. Recently we had put before the House a report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights entitled Human Rights and Aging in Canada. It is one example, and I refer to it simply as an illustration of the need to recognize, perhaps with a lack of consciousness on the part of many Canadians, how the rights of men and women can be abused, the right to seek employment with some expectation that the person will be judged only on his or her merits, the right to have the normal

September 13, 1988

personal freedoms of a human being in this country, regardless of what institution a person is in due to age and infirmity. Such rights-elementary, basic-are not being honoured throughout Canada at this time, as our report shows.

We have made a beginning through that report, as other committees have made a beginning on behalf of other rights and in protest against other abuses. But we need to have an ongoing concern expressed by people who will be fully and wholeheartedly devoted to this cause, and this we will find in this proposed centre.

I am glad to say that, especially in view of the mandate that it has and the responsibility that it must exercise, this centre will be an independent corporation, it will receive statutory funding, increasing from $1 million in its first year of operation to $5 million in its fifth year. In subsequent years, financing will be provided through parliamentary appropriations.

The Government believes that this should be done on a multi-year basis, following parliamentary reviews every five years of the centre's operations. This will give assurance to Canadian and international partners of the independence and the stability of the centre, but at the same time the parliamentary reviews will ensure that the operations of the centre are consistent with the broad lines of Canadian foreign policy and the objectives of our development co-operation program.

You will note from the legislation that the centre's 13-person board of directors will include at least nine Canadians and three nationals of developing countries. Ten members will be appointed by Governor in Council. These in turn will select and appoint the members from developing countries. A selection committee has been established to make recommendations on the composition of the board. It comprises Mr. Gordon Fairweather, Chairman, formerly the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and at one time a distinguished Member of this House, and as well, Mr. Marc Brault, Mrs. Margaret Catley-Carlson, Mrs. Francine Fournier, Mr. Rene Lacoste, Dr. William Saywell and Mr. Justice Walter Tarnopolsky. It is expected that the committee will provide its recommendations early this fall.

The centre's primary focus will be on activities of benefit to developing countries. We readily believe that this is not only in the tradition of Canada but that the need for it has never been greater. When one surveys the human rights records of various countries throughout the world using for reference, for example, the human rights guide offered by the publication The Economist, it is clear that the human rights record in so many developing countries is a tragic and sorry sight. Part of the need of development is the development of a greater respect for human rights.

Notwithstanding, the centre may engage in co-operation with developed countries as well. Programs for developing countries will be funded by means of the parliamentary

Human Rights

appropriations provided in the Bill. Programs of co-operation with developed countries, however, will be financed from contributions received from public and private sources. The name of the centre is that recommended by the special parliamentary committee to which I referred earlier.

We believe that by basing the centre's mandate on the International Bill of Human Rights, this centre will ensure that its purpose is recognized throughout Canada and abroad, as a valid consequence of Canada's international responsibilities, and that it will be an important application of the report of that special committee, which laid such stress on Canada's foreign policy, having a place not only for recommendations and hopes, but also a much greater place for actions and achievements. We have here one of those achievements, the achievement of this international centre for the study of human rights, which will at least have the potential to bring into being in Canada an expanded knowledge of and a concern for human rights here and throughout the world.

I am very proud to present this legislation as an eloquent and practical reaffirmation of the commitment of Canada's Government and of the Parliament of Canada to constructive international action for the advancement of human rights and democratic institutions.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Roland de Corneille

Liberal

Mr. Roland de Corneille (Eglinton-Lawrence):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the Member for Scarborough West (Mr. Stackhouse) on his presentation on the purposes and objectives of this institute, and Bill C-147, which is the Bill to effectuate that institution, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development.

This concept is not something that has suddenly been brought forward in the last minute. Indeed, it is something that has been given a great deal of thought. In June, 1985, a special joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate was created, which involved members from all three Parties of the House of Commons and from the Parties in the Senate. In its report called Independence and Internationalism, which was the result of its studies, which came out in June, 1986, it made a specific recommendation on this very subject. In that recommendation, it called for the establishment of an international institute of human rights and democratic development with carefully prepared guidelines for supporting activities by non-governmental organizations. This recommendation, found on page 105 of that report, comes from the research and concerns that were a result of a year's study of the human rights situation throughout the world, in an overview of international development. It resulted in what is known as the Simard-Hockin report, from which 1 have just read.

Following this presentation, there was then a Standing Committee of the House of Commons on External Affairs and International Trade-the regular standing committee-which met during the years of 1986 and 1987, and it came out with a report. The Government replied to the Simard-Hockin report, first of all, favourably and said that it was going to try to look

September 13, 1988

Human Rights

into this matter and that it would be in a better position to consider this at a later time but that it was supportive of the idea. That idea was given further support by the External Affairs Committee in its report called For Whose Benefit. In that particular report, it said that it favoured the establishment of such a committee, such an institute.

This is not some new idea. It is something which emerges from two very extensive studies by two very reputable committees in their recommendation that such an institute be established. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I would add the voice of our caucus to support the idea, in principle, of this institute.

We have to say that one of the main concerns that has emerged, however, from our studies in these committees is that the situation of Canada giving development assistance to countries abroad that are in clear violation of the human rights of the citizens of those countries, seems to be misunderstood, and if not, is at least causing confusion on the parts of the inhabitants of those nations. It seems to me, as if it were, in some people's minds, counterproductive for us to be helping Governments that are repressing people in the name of helping them. Because of the state of confusion, because of this apparent inconsistency and paradox, it has been necessary for us to examine and watch very carefully our relationship with those countries. How do we conduct our international assistance and how do we help those countries to foster human rights abroad are questions that must be asked. That is why this institute can be a cornerstone or one of the building blocks in this process of trying to help developing nations to establish better human rights situations.

We have to recognize that many of the developing countries, in fact many of the developed countries, carry out gruesome violations of human rights. Haiti, a country receiving development assistance, has a Government that is repressing freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and even the freedom to live of those who want to express any disagreement with the Government. In light of this kind of violation of human rights, we see confusion. There is confusion on the part of Canadians who ask how it is that we are giving assistance to a Government like that of Haiti when it is thoroughly repressing its people. Regrettably it is not only in Haiti but in other nations throughout the world that human rights are being brutally repressed. In some there is no such thing as human rights.

Look at the situation in Burundi. I tried to bring to the attention of the Standing Committee on Human Rights that we must look at what is happening in Burundi because of threatened genocide, not only threatened but, in fact, genocide of the Hutu tribe and majority of the people by a minority repressive regime. Here is a gruesome example of genocide. While it is correct to criticize the policies of the Soviet Union, Chile and so on in terms of their failure to live up to the idea of human rights, brutal genocide and the massacre of tens of

thousands of people is going on elsewhere. This is the decimation of human lives on a gross and massive basis. Something must be done urgently in our international relations about the way in which we deal with human rights in other countries and the way in which we deal with our international development assistance to those countries.

The same thing could be said about the aboriginal people in East Timor and in Irian Jaya. The oppression by Indonesia of those people and the genocide which has taken place over many years is again another example of brutal murder and slaughter on a wholesale scale. It is the purposeful and wilful starvation of masses of people. Yet Indonesia receives international development assistance from Canada. Real and gruesome situations such as this led our committee to say that Canada must look at the question of human rights and our relationship to development assistance programs in the Third World. The Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade raised these questions and asked what Canada's policy will be.

Tragically the list goes on and on of nations where repression is part of the ordinary way of life. Canadians cannot look away and act as if these problems did not exist and blindly go on simply dealing with those countries and providing them with assistance. Some kind of action must be taken. For that reason the Standing Committee on External Affairs and International Trade made some strong recommendations about what must be done, at least in the area of international development aid. In order to be able to be objective and fair the report said that for the development assistance program on the whole the committee saw merit in developing a classification grid for recipient countries that would provide incentives for good behaviour as well as penalties for poor human rights performance. Without minimizing the difficulties of such a system of categorization, the report continued, the committee put forward as a basis for consideration a suggested category system.

Let there be, first of all, a category called "human rights negative". This would apply in extreme cases, to those judged by the international community to be guilty of persistent, gross and systematic violations. In other words, the kinds of violations to which I have been referring, gross slaughters and genocide. The committee, proposed a classification grid system which would define that kind of repression.

The second category was a "human rights watch" for cases of less or variable concern where serious allegations have been made, but with many grey areas and where development progress is still possible.

The third category we recommended was "human rights satisfactory", which has an obvious meaning. Finally, we had "human rights positive".

With a classification grid we would, as a country, be able to say that if a nation is in a category that is satisfactory or positive, a green light would be given for full speed ahead for providing assistance and for the way in which it is given. But if

September 13, 1988

a country were placed in a human rights category, watch or if a country were placed human rights in a negative category Canada would not be giving government to government aid but would work only on emergency relief for floods, fires and earthquakes or through non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, church organizations and so on. That would be a comprehensive organized system of approach which the committee said needs to be put into place by Canada.

That was and is a sensible recommendation. The committee went on to recommend that we set up an evaluating system of nations as well. It is not enough merely to lay out the criteria. One also has to evaluate where the countries are falling in some category or other and to define under what category they fall under. This is no easy matter. It requires research, definitions and on the spot assessment. It requires the views of non-governmental organizations and of people throughout the world about what is happening in the various countries. It is not only a matter of stating criteria but also of observing what is happening in nations, assessing them in terms of this grid and classification, and then making a firm decision. It means an objective approach. It means not a willy-nilly approach of "Well, we will help this week but we will not help them that week", but a deep assessment based on criteria.

The Government replied to this report For Whose Benefit? In its reply it did not accept the committee's request that there be criteria laid down. It did not accept the recommendation that countries be categorized by this criteria. On March 3, 1988, in this House I expressed my concern. The Government said it would bring these problems before Cabinet and that countries would be judged by the Cabinet as to whether or not they would receive aid. I said that that simply was not good enough, that Cabinet is too busy to do this kind of thing. I asked in whose hands this would then be left and what kind of objective, satisfactory and comprehensive review would be made of the human rights situations in countries to which we are giving assistance. I have expressed my concern about this on many occasions, but I want to express my concern about it once again.

I hope that through the process of establishing this kind of an institute, there will be some possibility of establishing some guidelines or parameters that can be recommended to the Government so that the Government can take steps forward from its present position. Whichever Government may be in power will have to realize that objectivity and even-handedness is needed and that criteria must be set down so that we treat everyone the same. We should not treat one set of nations that may be friendly toward us in one way and those about which we are not too happy in another way. If we are to continue to be respected, we have to take an even-handed approach.

I think Canada has had a tremendously good record over the decades. The world respects Canada. The world respects our international development systems, precisely because we have

Human Rights

been able until now to maintain, perhaps through good luck as well as through good management, objectivity and fairness.

In establishing this new institute, perhaps the Government will ultimately see a role for it in establishing criteria. Perhaps the Government will not want to have this organization monitor these criteria, but hopefully it will at least encourage and invite this institute to establish criteria by which the Government, the Department of External Affairs and CIDA, the arm for international development, will be able to have guidelines and make decisions on what kind of aid and how much aid it will be giving.

We hope that this institute will develop into something that will be even greater than what has been proposed. We hope it will give advice to External Affairs and to Cabinet on situations throughout the world. Of course, as is true in every system of Government, we can anticipate that bureaucrats at External Affairs and CIDA may want all the assessing on human rights to be kept in their empires, but they would be well served if they opened up the process and invited such an institution as this to play its role.

There are a number of things about this institute that encourage me. Obviously it can do much to help nations to improve their police forces so that they would be less brutal and to provide insight, instruction, inter-relations and comparing of notes with nations throughout the world, especially those we are helping with international development.

By the way, helping a nation is a two-way street. When we help, we are also helped. As we try to learn things from Third World nations, they learn from us about ways to improve law and order, justice and equality rights. As we discuss ways to eliminate discrimination, and certainly above all to eliminate brutality and the gruesome violations of human rights, that educational process is of benefit to Canada as well as to the nations with which we are working. It is a positive program.

Education is desirable and important. Research and development will be extremely important. I do hope that this organization will refine its ability to verify human rights situations throughout the world. It is not sufficient to merely observe whether or not a nation is violating human rights. We must lay down the conditions whereby we are able to assess whether those violations have or have not taken place.

There is much research and study that this institute can do in establishing the very conditions, objectivity and criteria for us to assess whether we are helping a brutal regime or whether we are helping a regime that is truly struggling to move upward into the light of day for the betterment of its people. Therefore, this institute must receive our enthusiastic support.

It has received recommendations from two very notable committees. The Government has now placed before us Bill C-147 to implement the institution. While we are certainly favourably inclined toward such a positive step, I hope all Hon. Members will also be critical about some of the things involved in this Bill. There are some things that I think Members of the

September 13, 1988

Human Rights

House of Commons should think about. One is that the space devoted in the Bill to the objectives of this institute is very slight indeed. The description of its objectives and purposes amounts to a couple of paragraphs. The rest of the Bill deals with the institutional structure of the organization and the appointment process. Of course, those are important, but it is disappointing to see that so little is said in the short preamble about the specific objectives of this organization.

On the one hand, I am pleased that the objectives are not specifically set out, because that might provide room for us to move forward in the areas I have discussed. On the other hand, it seems to me that something of such great importance as this should at least set forth more fully and precisely the objectives of this institution. In any case, I bring this to the attention of Hon. Members. I would ask them to study the Bill and ask themselves if they would like to see anything more precise than that which is offered among some of the objectives included in the Bill.

I for one would like to see one of the duties of this institute being to develop criteria for human rights and criteria for monitoring human rights. Many things have already been done in this field through the Helsinki Accord. In terms of monitoring, many models have been put forward already. Still, it is at a crude level even at best, and this is an area in which Canada can give leadership in research and in recommending the way to monitor, understand and assess the criteria by which nations observe or violate human rights.

The second thing I would like to bring to the attention of the House is the matter of finance. We know that there is always a problem with money. All good things require money. This one is no exception.

The Bill proposes the assignment in the first year of $1 million for this institution and $2 million the next year, $3 million the next year, $4 million the next year and $5 million the next. Then Parliament would assess the situation and decide what further funds should be granted to it. It is a sensible approach to increase year by year the amount of money provided to the institute, but I am concerned about one thing, and I hope that the Hon. Member for Scarborough West and others who will deal with this Bill will consider it. That is, there are many people in non-governmental organizations in the field of human rights who feel, first, that $1 million may not be adequate to launch this institute, particularly if a large part of that amount goes for the basic infrastructure involved in setting up such an institute. They feel this is inadequate funding for the very first year, which is usually quite expensive for any organization or institution.

Second, and maybe even more important, non-governmental organizations are concerned that the Government expects the public and other institutions to support this institute. They are having a hard enough time maintaining their own work in a very competitive market. If the Government does not plan to

support this organization in its entirety and plans to call on revenues which are already supporting other organizations, it will put a great strain on their ability to maintain the good work they are doing. In that sense it would be self-defeating.

The solution to that problem, according to these organizations, and I share the view, is that the Government should support this institute and not look for support among those who contribute money to organizations like the Red Cross, Amnesty International and others. Those organizations are already under great financial strain and such competition is viewed by them and their leaders as a very real threat to their ability to provide very valuable services to the country and the world.

My third point deals with the proposed name of this institute. This is an Act to establish an International Centre For Human Rights and Democratic Development. I know what it means and you know, Sir, what it means, at least I hope we do, when we speak about human rights. However, with respect to the words "democratic development" there is some concern. Perhaps your view, Sir, of the meaning of "democratic development", or that of other Members of the House, might differ from mine. However, I think it should be pointed out that in the report made by rapporteurs studying the matter for the Government, Madam Gisele Cote-Harper and John Courtney, on pages 24 and 25, there is a concern expressed that this title may cause some difficulty for Third World nations when that organization is working with them.

We know, unfortunately, that the words "democratic republic" have been used by some of the most oppressive nations on earth. We know that the eastern bloc uses the words "democratic peoples republic" and so on and the word "democratic" can be misused. We know that the United States has often used the words "democratic government" as a euphemism for countries that will go along with American foreign policy. For that reason Third World nations, who see how the superpowers use these words to camouflage nationalistic intentions and the extension of their empires, are going to be suspicious when they see the words "democratic development".

What do those words mean? This is not some sort of savant's concern or dilettante's comments. It was expressed by those asked by the Government to study this matter. The recommendation is not to use those words but to use some others less prone to be misunderstood or misinterpreted as some kind of manipulative effort by Canada to establish our own way of life or values and interfere in the values and life systems of Third World nations. Therefore, I call on the Government to consider some revision in this area.

In conclusion, I hope the Government will proceed with this institute, widen its terms of reference, and that it will be more than merely an educational institution. Rather, I hope it will become involved in the pragmatic research that deals with criteria and monitoring of human rights violations, setting

September 13, 1988

down criteria and trying to be objective. I hope it will flourish and that its title and finances will be reviewed.

I also hope that it will pass this House in all stages today, obviously because of pressing concerns of time. In saying that, I do think there should be further discussion on an objective basis with people from the human rights field and all political Parties in order to make it the vehicle Canadians want it to be, an effective, objective and humane institution which all of us can support. I commend all those involved in its conception and now in its fulfilment.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT ACT MEASURE TO ENACT
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September 13, 1988