January 25, 1994

BQ

Paul Crête

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Paul Crête (Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup)

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Central Nova. I get the impression from her statement that she does not have a very high opinion of the reputation Canada has developed in the field of peacekeeping in the last forty years, since the end of World War II. What about the initiatives of Mr. Pearson and the Nobel Peace Prize he received? I am wondering if her suggestion that Canada withdraw its troops from Bosnia now-a suggestion which may seem totally justified given the prevailing climate of uncertainty about the mandate of our troops there-may be somewhat premature and whether it might lead to regrettable action which could tarnish Canada's image abroad. Did the hon. member for Central Nova take into account this aspect of the issue before calling for the withdrawal of Canadian troops?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Roseanne Skoke

Liberal

Ms. Skoke

Mr. Speaker, most certainly in preparing my speech I have taken into consideration the various options. I think I indicated three in my speech, one being to retain the status quo. In so doing obviously we have to consider our position internationally and our credibility as far as Canada is concerned. The second option I presented was that of modification of a commitment, and the third option would be that of total withdrawal.

I repeat the same question I asked in my speech. We must ask ourselves what is the nature of peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep. I feel that is the issue here.

My final position or conclusion was that whatever position our Canadian government takes it will undoubtedly have profound implications because this very issue is begging us to answer many important questions. First, what will be the future shape and determination of Canada's armed forces in their mandate? Second, what is going to be the practice of future peacekeeping? Third, we will have to look at the evolution of the United Nations and its future mandate.

I reassure the hon. member that I have most certainly taken into consideration the various options. It is a very difficult question. Obviously we have heard controversial responses from various members. I want to reassure that I am not taking my position lightly, but the issue is: What is the nature of peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

John Finlay

Liberal

Mr. John Finlay (Oxford)

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the speech of the hon. member for Central Nova and previously to one of the member for Cambridge. I think they made some rather good points.

Personally the three options presented seemed to be the three options that are available. I am sure Canada alone cannot decide on the second option. We can only decide on either the first or the third. Either we stay and be humanitarians or we get out and let the Serbs, the Croats and the Muslims decide what kind of a country they want to live in if they can do that.

There is certainly no peace. To pretend that we are peacemaking is silly. To pretend that there is peacekeeping being done in Bosnia is likewise silly.

I would like to ask a question of these people who know the area better than I do. I have done a little Balkan folk dancing but I have never been there. Are the historical enmities so deep that nothing short of separation or destruction is going to solve the problem?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Roseanne Skoke

Liberal

Ms. Skoke

Mr. Speaker, I think I will defer to the hon. member for Cambridge sitting next to me because of his origin.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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?

The Deputy Speaker

You cannot do that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Roseanne Skoke

Liberal

Ms. Skoke

Oh, I cannot do that. He was born in Croatia. I think I am going to be dodging and not answering the question specifically. What we have here is a classic case of conflict among ethnic groups. To think that peacekeeping or intervention is going to terminate that conflict is unreasonable.

We can look at our own country and its ethnic groups, and perhaps even at the House of Commons if I can use an example of where there may be some threat of the Bloc Quebecois wanting to separate from Canada. At what point in time can we solve all the world's problems with respect to these different factions and special interest groups? Because of that and because an ethnic war is going on there, it is my position that we should offer refuge to any of those who wish to leave the country, anyone who wants to seek the freedom we offer in our great country of Canada.

I do not feel we have a responsibility or can effectively carry out a role to solve or resolve all the ethnic problems. We are going to do very well to handle the situation we have in Canada.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Joe Comuzzi

Liberal

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay-Nipigon)

Mr. Speaker, let me congratulate you on your elevation to the position of Deputy Speaker. It is the first time you have recognized me since I have been in the House and you have been in the chair. We on this side of the House are very pleased the Prime Minister saw fit to make the appointment. We are very hopeful and wish you good fortune in your future role. I am also thankful for your allowing me the opportunity to make some comments with respect to the former country of Yugoslavia.

Our involvement in Yugoslavia is on two fronts: a diplomatic front and a military front. The ongoing diplomatic initiatives undertaken by our minister and his parliamentary secretary who is with us this evening are commendable. I congratulate both of them on the very fine job they continue to do with respect to trying to solve this almost insurmountable and horrendous problem on the diplomatic level. The parliamentary secretary has visited with many of the people who originated from that country in my riding of Thunder Bay. I know their efforts both at the United Nations and at NATO were very well appreciated, not only by the people whom I represent but I am sure by all Canadians throughout the country.

The second area in which we are involved in this dispute is the military area and the participation of our military personnel who have been sent there to try to bring some order to the chaos. It is obvious they are there on humanitarian grounds by exclusion. They are not there as peacemakers because there is just no peace to make and that is really the role of our diplomats. They are not there as peacekeepers because there is no peace to keep. Obviously they are there on the very valid grounds of humanitarian reasons.

The main issues when one discusses the humanitarian aspects are those of providing the basic necessities of life such as food, medicine and some degree of shelter to the people who are always the innocent victims, those who are directly involved and those who are hurt in a conflict in which they have no part.

You had an office down the hall from me, Mr. Speaker, and I would see your children going back and forth. I am particularly grieved when I look at the atrocities perpetrated on children in this area and the sadness. From my perspective, whenever I see a program in the newscast referring to this troubled area and I see the children, my mind goes to my grandchildren as I am sure it does for other Canadians. The situation is horrible. One wonders

why it cannot be resolved, but that is beyond what we can do in the House.

When discussing why we are there, the military aspects of our involvement, naturally we on this side of the House rely very much on the competent minister we have in charge as Minister of National Defence. I am glad he is in the House this evening to listen to the debates on both sides in order to formulate some opinion on what we should do.

I thank the minister for insisting that this is a free and open debate for every member of Parliament to voice their own individual concerns. I am also very pleased to compliment his parliamentary secretary to whom we look for guidance in military matters because of his many years in the military. In his second career he chose to join us in the House of Commons, bringing his wealth of military experience with him. There are some very good resource people on whom we base our information.

The question really comes down to why we are there. Why are we in Somalia? Why are we in most other troubled areas in the world?

Yesterday we welcomed in the House the President of Haiti. He was a democratically elected president of a democratic country. The military of that country chose that he should not be allowed to exercise the democratic principles his country wanted him to exercise. As a result he is a president without a country because the military will not let him perform his duties.

When one thinks of that aspect one says how lucky we are in Canada. It could never happen in Canada. Because of the military in this country and because of the democratic process that we have, there are very distinct lines and the military always responds to the people of Canada through the Minister of National Defence and the cabinet.

Logically when decisions are made at this level I suspect that with any proposed action to assist our allies or to make a contribution to the United Nations or NATO, the Minister of National Defence would first meet with the chief of staff to discuss the proposed role in which our military would become involved.

The first issue to be ascertained naturally, as I spoke earlier, is whether it is for humanitarian grounds, peacekeeping or peacemaking.

Once the minister sets out very clear terms on what our objectives should be, the chief of staff I assume would then confer with his assistants and colleagues in the department of defence and the military on how best they could fulfil the mandate on the order of the defence minister and the cabinet and, through them, the people of this country.

I think the role of the military is to analyse the degree of success of their mandate and what commitments they will have to come back to before they accept that responsibility when they meet with the minister and talk about the necessities of fulfilling that mandate. What is the required manpower? What is the required equipment? How long will it take to fulfil the obligation and to bring whatever action there will be to a satisfactory conclusion?

I think at that time if one could imagine what the decision making process would be, the political arm swings in and makes that fundamental commitment to the military personnel to say that it will provide the manpower, the equipment and the funding necessary to do the job.

I think at that particular period of time the role of the political arm or the role of the politician and the cabinet and the minister, other than being reported to on a daily basis, really turns itself over and those in charge of the military operation take most of the responsibility once that fundamental decision, or what I call the first order of command, is made.

That preamble of getting into that position leads me to reflect on why we have our military people in this troubled land today.

Let us reflect on what has happened in this House over the past little while. In the last government we had a Minister of National Defence who was perhaps preoccupied with other things. We had another Minister of National Defence toward the end of the term. During that period of time we had the chief of staff appointed ambassador to Washington and another chief of staff was appointed. When we came to government what we saw there had been a little dysfunctioning or disorientation.

What I am suggesting today is with that logical background of events that have taken place at this time I would respectfully request that our minister consider removing our forces from that troubled area and reassess our position with respect to our future role in providing military assistance to the troubled area about which we talked today and many of the troubled areas which I am sure will arise in the future.

I suggest we should define our role as to whether we are peacekeepers and if we are peacekeepers let us train our military as best we can and equip them as best we can.

I would like to close with a comment on how proud we are in this country that our military people in the former country of Yugoslavia are performing so admirably and that every Canadian is very proud of the role they are playing. I hope that our minister and our Prime Minister and all of us in this House say that it is time for us to get out and reassess our position.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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REF

Val Meredith

Reform

Ms. Val Meredith (Surrey-White Rock-South Langley)

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first opportunity to address the House

I would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker and to all the members of this House on their election.

As the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley, I represent the constituency with the greatest number of voters in western Canada. Located on the west coast just southeast of the city of Vancouver, my constituency abuts the Canadian-American border. It contains the city of White Rock, the south portion of the city of Surrey and the southwest corner of the township of Langley. Although the riding is only 250,000 square kilometres, it contains a wide diversity of communities.

Part of my constituency is dedicated to agriculture. A number of large vegetable farms are located on some of the richest agricultural land in Canada. Dairy and poultry farms are located in the Cloverdale and South Langley areas. My constituency also has light industrial areas that provide a wide variety of commercial goods. These industries as well as other small businesses have raised a concern about Canada's national debt and the enormous federal deficit. These business people want their government to take control to reduce spending. They say that if the government wants to increase economic activity then it should work toward reducing taxes and the cost of doing business in Canada.

However, the greatest land use in my constituency is residential. The community of White Rock is located on the shores of Semiahmoo Bay and is well known as a retirement centre because of its mild climate. The area has also attracted a large number of families and as a result there is a growing element of the constituents who commute outside of the riding's boundaries.

My constituency is one of the fastest growing areas of this country, but unfortunately one of the aspects of rapid growth is an accompanying growth in criminal activity. During the election campaign my constituents considered this to be one of the major problems. My constituents have made it quite clear that they expect this government to bring greater protection to society.

My constituents elected me on a platform of fiscal responsibility, parliamentary accountability and criminal justice reform. I would like to thank the voters of Surrey-White Rock- South Langley for their confidence in me and to assure them that I am their servant and I will do everything in my power to accomplish these goals.

However, this evening I am here to speak on Canada's role in Bosnia and I do so as an ordinary Canadian. Like most Canadians, I have read, listened and watched countless stories about the tragedy of Bosnia and Hercegovina. These stories have evoked a wide range of emotion. I have been horrified by the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, especially the children. I have been disturbed by reports of the political strategy of ethnic cleaning. I have been very proud of the role that Canadian peacekeepers have had in Bosnia.

I have also been very irritated at the unwillingness of the political and military leaders of the warring factions to reach a peaceful solution. I have expressed frustration with the UN's inability to take definitive action to resolve this issue and I was outraged when I heard reports of Canadian peacekeepers being subjected to mock executions.

When our troops are subjected to such treatment it is difficult to disagree with those individuals who call for the withdrawal of Canadian troops. At some point we may have to do so, but I believe that despite all the adversity it is critical that Canadians remain in Bosnia. No matter how bad the situation is now, without Canadian peacekeepers the situation would be much worse. Canadians are going to have to decide if they are prepared to live with the consequences of a unilateral withdrawal, a withdrawal that could result in a full fledged war and the genocide of ethnic groups.

If this were to occur, could Canadians sit back and wash their hands of the affair? Could we say that this is not our concern? Are we prepared to accept the fact that we might have been able to stop this, but that we got tired and frustrated?

I know that when we see television reports of children killed we wonder what good United Nations peacekeepers are doing. When we hear reports of entire families being wiped out we wonder what peace Canadian soldiers are supposed to keep. However, without the presence of Canadian and other United Nations personnel, Bosnia would probably be faced with the wholesale slaughter of children and civilians.

This is the choice that Canadians are facing. Do we withdraw our troops and accept the prospect of full fledged war and potential genocide or do we indefinitely commit our troops to a peacekeeping mission where there is no peace to keep?

I do not imagine that many Canadians are prepared to commit our troops indefinitely to an ill defined mission in a country where political and military leaders have shown little inclination to resolve the issue. Many of the difficulties appear to be caused more by the United Nations mandate than by the mission itself.

As the outgoing commander of United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia stated, it is fine for the politicians and diplomats to pass these wonderful resolutions but they do not mean very much unless they are accompanied by the willpower to carry them out.

We have to give our peacekeepers the authority and resources to carry out their mandate and perhaps Canada and the United Nations need to redefine the rules of this mandate. However, is the mission itself worthwhile?

For those who believe that Canada should withdraw its peacekeepers I ask them whether they are prepared to abandon the people of Bosnia to the mercies of the factional leaders. A glance at history has shown that over the last 50 years we have

had too many instances of people's lives being left to the mercy of dictators and despots.

Today, people say that if we had intervened in many of these situations earlier, we might have saved millions of innocent victims. When one considers the events that have already occurred in Bosnia with the United Nations presence, imagine what a future without the United Nations intervention would mean for the people of Bosnia. One wonders if today's ethnic cleansing will become tomorrow's genocide.

I do not believe that Canadians are prepared to condemn the people of Bosnia to such a fate. Our intervention, no matter how troublesome or frustrating, certainly is preferable to permitting the genocide of one or more of the ethnic groups in Bosnia.

It is obvious that the only acceptable way to resolve this conflict is through negotiation. Unfortunately, it appears that the various factional leaders have little incentive to resolve the issue.

Some would even suggest that the presence of the United Nations peacekeepers has provided the leaders of the various factions with an excuse not to come to a quick resolution. They would suggest that all sides should experience the effects of a full scale war so they can fully appreciate the horrors of such warfare. This they argue would give the negotiators the incentive to reach a peace agreement. Perhaps it would, but what would be the cost in human lives?

Tens of thousands of Bosnians have already lost their lives in this conflict and thousands more will likely die. However, the toll would likely have been in the hundreds of thousands without our involvement. Unfortunately we must wait for the various leaders to reach a settlement on their own.

Canada and the rest of the international community must continue to pressure the warring factions to reach an acceptable peace. We have to impress upon these leaders that military victories resulting in territorial gains will not be internationally recognized. We have to impress upon them that the prize for their aggression will be a total isolation from the world community.

I think that Canadians recognize the fact that Canada cannot afford to be the peacekeeper to the world. It is a credit to our military that we are in such popular demand for the role. Our reputation as peacekeepers is unparalleled and it is a good reputation to have. Nevertheless Canada does not have the money to send its troops into every dispute.

Reality dictates that we have to pick and choose our assignments. The planned review of the Canadian Armed Forces is a good step in determining the extent to which Canada should be involved in these missions.

Canadians are going to have to decide just what resources we are prepared to commit to these endeavours. It is a noble role but such nobility does not come cheap. It is the Canadian taxpayer who will have to decide the extent to which they are prepared to underwrite these missions. However, this is for future roles.

The reality of today is that rightly or wrongly Canadian troops are in Bosnia. It is also reality that this is not a great situation to be in. We have asked our peacekeepers to attempt to keep a peace that does not exist. As our troops attempt to keep three warring ethnic groups from killing each other, we have found that we are ending up being hated by all three sides. We really have entered into a classic no win situation.

Critics of Canada's presence in Bosnia can probably list dozens of valid reasons why we should not be there. In return, I can offer only one good reason why we have to remain. It is for the simple reason that without us the situation would be a lot worse. These people are dependent upon the UN force to keep them alive.

It is an unfortunate reality but Canadians are showing a greater concern for the fate of the Bosnian people than their own leaders. This concern or compassion may force us to make an occasional impractical decision, but it is also a virtue that makes this country such a wonderful place to live.

Canadians have been fortunate to face precious little political violence in their history. We do not have to worry that when our children are outside playing in the snow some artillery shell is going to land in their midst and kill them. Perhaps it is for this reason that Canadians should be in Bosnia.

We need to do whatever we can to help the rest of the world achieve peace. We must keep a window open for negotiations to take place in the hope of a peaceful resolution. We have to show them that we care.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Ron MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth)

Mr. Speaker, I commend the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley on her intervention in this debate.

This is an important debate in the House of Commons. I am pleased that we are starting off in such a fashion. It allows members to rise without fear of retribution by party whips when they take the personal positions they feel on this very important issue. I commend her on her remarks. They were delivered very well and there was a lot of substance to them.

I have a concern that I want to share with my colleague who just made her remarks. As I said earlier, I support the peacekeeping mandate of the Canadian forces over and over again. Indeed I commend the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for the excellent job they have done over the last number of decades. However the reality is that in this current situation the United Nations has found itself to be desperately wanting in

being able to use resolutions from the collective body of the United Nations in order to stop this aggression. There has been over a dozen resolutions by the United Nations.

The member just referred to some of the atrocities that are occurring. At the same point in time the shelling continues in Sarajevo, no matter how many times the United Nations has stood, spoken as a world body and said if they do not stop the aggression, if they do not allow the humanitarian aid through, if they continue in their aggression in the city of Sarajevo, they will do x , y and z . They have never done anything.

It is rather telling that in the latest attack we saw in the last few days young school children were murdered as they played outside. It was only 200 metres from the main Sarajevo headquarters of the United Nations military force. It is fairly clear the individuals who shelled the area where those children were simply did not believe the United Nations had any teeth or desire to escalate the situation by the use of armed intervention.

Does the member believe the United Nations has in effect let down Canadian peacekeepers and the peacekeepers from other nations who are there by issuing these hollow threats and the sabre rattling they have undertaken through these resolutions?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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REF

Val Meredith

Reform

Ms. Meredith

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment that I feel perhaps the United Nations got into the Bosnia situation prematurely. However I maintain that decision was made by the previous government of our country and by the United Nations. Now is not the time to resolve that issue.

The time is now to develop a foreign policy and a defence policy that will clearly address the role of the peacekeepers and our position as Canadian peacekeepers within that collective community.

The world community must take note of what is happening and send a clear message that this kind of aggression is not acceptable in the world and that it will not be rewarded by giving more land and more power to them. They have to be condemned for this kind of aggressive behaviour.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Ron MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. MacDonald

Mr. Speaker, I echo the comments the member has just made. I want her to clarify whether or not she believes-and I am not saying whether we should have been in there when we were through the UN-that the UN, once we were there, acted in a responsible fashion by the passage of resolutions on which it obviously had no intention. It obviously had no gumption or stomach to follow through on the sanctions or the threat of air strikes if indeed the aggressors in this particular circumstance did not cease and desist with the type of genocide which had been undertaken.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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REF

Val Meredith

Reform

Ms. Meredith

Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond by indicating that I feel the United Nations representing the world community must take a stronger stand in denouncing this type of aggressive behaviour.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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REF

Keith Martin

Reform

Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak today and to congratulate you on your ascension to the position of Deputy Speaker. I look forward to working with you. I also thank members of the government who have given all of us the opportunity to address this very important issue.

As this is my maiden speech I would certainly like to take the opportunity to thank the people of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, my riding, for giving me their confidence on October 25. I commit to them that I will again do my very best to represent them here in Ottawa. This subject is of great importance to the people of my riding because of its long history in defence and peacekeeping with Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt being there and the Princess Patricia Rifles.

I would however like to say that because of the seriousness and gravity of the situation we are speaking about today, I will keep my introduction to the most beautiful riding in Canada to a minimum and rather invite everybody to come there to see it for themselves.

The issue at hand today is Bosnia, a very serious one, and what should be Canada's role in this bloody civil war. I will preface what I am about to say by mentioning that there are no white knights and no black knights in this situation. Rather there are many gray zones. Atrocities have been committed by all sides. However certainly there has been a preponderance on the side of Serbian aggression.

It is important to note that the people of the former Yugoslavia did in fact live together quite nicely up until the beginning of this century. After World War I and with the collapse of the Ottoman and Hapsburg empires the Serbians, Croats and Muslims were fused together to form what we have come to know as Yugoslavia. There was little rancour beforehand. However ethnic tensions mounted because one group, the Serbians, were given preferential treatment to the expense of the other ethnic groups there. I hope this subject I have just mentioned is not lost on the Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

This culminated in World War II as ethnic tensions mounted with the slaughter of over two million Croats and Serbians at each other's hands, a number I might add that far exceeds the number of people who were killed at the hands of the Nazis. This deepened the hatred between the two groups, widened the rift between them, and set the stage for the carnage we see today in all its horror via CNN. As time goes on and the atrocities pile up on both sides, the rift between the peoples widens and the misunderstanding and hatred deepen. That is a profound tragedy.

Now that I have presented my preface what will our role be in this conflict? Since there is no peace in existence today, as has been said before, there is no peace to keep in the seething caldron of racial hatred. Is there peace to make? I think so but it will only come through diplomatic channels and not with force. To commit our troops with force today would in my estimation banish them to be just another fourth force in this encounter.

Along this line of questioning are air strikes. Should we or should we not employ them? If we use air strikes the impartiality of the peacekeepers would be forever forsaken. This would set us up for two things. First, it would set us up for full-scale reprisals by all sides that would produce a large loss of life both among the United Nations troops and therefore among our own.

It is interesting to note in these conflicts-and I speak from some personal experience-that one group can go ahead and kill its own people to make it look like another group is doing the killing. It is the easiest way to go against the group that is disliked intensely and against which the other is fighting.

Second, what would happen if we engaged in this conflict-and this is very important to understand-is that it would completely neutralized the humanitarian role the United Nations has engaged in so far. While this role has been imperfect it has indeed saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people from death, rape and torture. Thus I do not think that air strikes are an option.

Now we are left with the last option, the humanitarian effort for which we have been given a mandate under the United Nations. At this time I would publicly like to state that it is a role our Canadian men and women have been doing admirably. Often overworked, underarmed and outgunned they have carried out their UN humanitarian role with profound bravery. I would like to extend to them publicly my heartfelt thanks and admiration.

Should we engage in this endeavour? If we pull out it can be fairly certain that other member states will pull out too. Therefore no humanitarian aid effort would go through in this conflict whatsoever. It would set the stage for mass genocide. Hundreds of thousands of people would be killed and there would be an escalating conflict.

It is very important to understand that this whole area is a tinderbox. The escalating conflict would involve other countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania, Italy and Germany. I do not think Canadian people would tolerate it.

At this time I would like to hearken back to the holocaust memorials we see every year and our response to them. As we view the horrible footage of Nazi atrocities the world commits naively to say never again. Tragically we may say this and believe it but clearly our heads are stuck in the sand for we have allowed the situation to continue in other countries over the years such as Cambodia, Iraq, Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia, to name just a few. Bosnia represents an opportunity to say never again and to do something about it.

The soldiers are fighting these dirty little civil wars, but the greatest penalty to pay are the penalties that are paid by the civilians. I can say from personal experience that the penalties are paid by the children, the infirm and the aged. Those are the people who are subjected to the brunt of it.

As a physician and surgeon I worked in Africa and treated people who had suffered under a bloody civil war. I can say I have seen the effects of gunshot wounds, people who were chopped up with machetes, victims of torture and gang rape, children and teenagers with their arms and legs blown off, and the death, social destruction and dislocation that tear apart the very fabric of a country often forever. Once we have seen it we are compelled to do something about it. We cannot turn our backs on it.

What I have heard is that our soldiers feel the same way. It was perhaps best put most eloquently by a commander of our United Nations forces who said that there was a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when a young man or young woman came home and was able to say: "I helped keep this peace. I helped save lives. I helped people in distress. I helped people who are much worse off than I am". It raises the morale of individuals and collectively contributes to the well being of Canadian forces at large.

Apart from the purely altruistic reasons of continuing these humanitarian efforts there are some very concrete reasons why we should get involved in this venture. By having a leadership role in these multinational peacekeeping efforts, Canada raises its profile, strengthens its positions and gives us leverage across a broad range of diplomatic endeavours.

My philosophy is that we should get involved in these efforts earlier. In that way we can often obviate these situations, not always but sometimes. Bosnia is a case in point. The writing was on the wall in 1987.

I would summarize by suggesting the following. First, we should continue to provide humanitarian aid and not pull out of this endeavour. Remember we are there for the innocent civilians and not the combatants. This is another important point to remember. Many of the fighters and their leaders would like us to be out of this conflict so they can continue to increase the pace of the battle, increase the brutality and the killings. If we ask the civilians whether they want us there, they will tell us yes they do because we are often the difference between life and death for them.

Second, do not use air strikes unless we need to protect our own troops.

Third, we need to strengthen the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including the freezing of state assets and additional trade restrictions. I would go so far as to say complete isolation of the republic, but I would also engage in trade embargoes and sanctions against any other state that refuses to enter into these peace talks in a legitimate and determined fashion. Bring them to the table.

Fourth, penalize countries which break the embargo that exists with economic and financial penalties. They are being broken now. I suggest we get on them collectively and do something about it.

Fifth, continue with diplomatic efforts and let us play diplomatic hardball with these people with the aforementioned sanctions. I would go so far as threatening them with freezing their assets long after this resolution comes about, if they do not come to the table now.

Sixth, I would demand immediate guarantees for the safe movement of humanitarian aid by UN forces throughout Bosnia.

Seventh, create more safe zones where appropriate.

Eighth, continue with the war crimes tribunal under UN auspices which would hold accountable those individuals responsible for the atrocities that we have seen. I feel that the credibility of international humanitarian law demands a successful conclusion to this endeavour, for if we do not do it the failure of this process will exist. If we do continue, it will act as a deterrent in the future.

Finally, I would strongly suggest to the government and in fact plead with it to continue our humanitarian involvement under the UN auspices for the reasons that I have mentioned before. In fact I can probably summarize by saying if you do not do it now, you pay me now or you pay me later. That is what is going to happen.

I would like to make a personal plea for two brief things in which I think Canada should take a leadership role. First, Canada should act in a leadership role in banning the manufacture and distribution of anti-personnel devices. These devices from Hades have but one function and that is to maim and not kill civilians. We have seen them used with horrific results in Cambodia and other countries. Even when these conflicts are resolved the country is hamstrung. The people cannot move anywhere. They cannot move any goods and services because of these anti-personnel devices. They are truly horrific.

My second point ties into what I said before. We need to look in the future for potential conflicts. One I would bring to the attention of everyone is the Republic of South Africa. It is a tinder box and going into its elections in April is a very sensitive time. I would suggest that the United Nations consider bringing in an interim observation force to ensure that the elections go ahead in a fair and unbiased fashion. If these elections are perceived as being unfair and rigged, then it could lead to a bloody civil war.

I believe my time is up and I thank you for you attention, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
Permalink
LIB

Ron MacDonald

Liberal

Mr. Ron MacDonald (Dartmouth)

Mr. Speaker, this is what happens when I get down on the list and it is a shorter debate than it really should be.

I want to comment on an excellent speech by the member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. I think the personal experience that he has brought to the debate says a lot. A lot of us can get up and make comments about what we think is happening and how we see resolutions. Obviously from his experience in Africa he has seen it firsthand and knows the devastation that is certainly being wrought as we speak in places like Bosnia.

He mentioned a number of very interesting alternatives. I am one of those people who believes that Canada, wherever possible-I underline wherever possible-should continue its humanitarian relief efforts such as peacekeeping in Bosnia. I also believe that there may be a problem in that the United Nations unwittingly may have put our troops at greater risk by having so many resolutions on which they obviously are not going to follow through.

Since the member has come up with some very good recommendations, does he believe that things like greater and enforced sanctions against Serbia and some of the other nation-states to try to bring them to the table should be a prerequisite that is put forward by Canada? This would have to be met by the world body before we would give them basically carte blanche that our peacekeeping troops would continue under their current mandate.

In short, does he think Canada can play a greater role given that we are renowned world peacekeepers? People do want us there. We are serving a very good humanitarian purpose. Should we be able to lever that at the United Nations to try to force it to take some of the actions that the hon. member has just mentioned?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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REF

Keith Martin

Reform

Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca)

Mr. Speaker, if we are going to make conditions upon our humanitarian aid efforts then we had better be ready to back them up with some action.

As I said before in my speech, my personal feeling on the matter is that if the stick we are going to use is the withdrawal of our humanitarian aid efforts, I disagree with that. We are obligated to continue with humanitarian aid efforts and not to do that would only involve an ever expanding war in the area with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. I do not think we should use that suggestion as a stick. Rather we should use what leverage we have gained over the years to convince the other

countries involved in this endeavour to side with us in strengthening the sanctions.

For those countries that are not involved in the endeavour, we have trade and other agreements with them that we can use as a stick to make them do what we say in terms of stopping illegal export of arms, fuel and weapons to the warring side. There are alternatives that we need to use but I do not think we should use it as a stick in the UN.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Jesse Flis

Liberal

Mr. Jesse Flis (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, I compliment the hon. member for an excellent speech.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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BQ

Louis Plamondon

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Plamondon

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am surprised to see two Liberal members in a row speak in response to the speech of the member from the Reform Party, when two members from the Bloc Quebecois had risen.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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?

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member is absolutely right. The Chair failed to recognize the member from the Bloc Quebecois before the member from the Liberal Party. I understand the situation clearly. So, I will give the floor very briefly to the parliamentary secretary and then recognize the member from the Bloc Quebecois.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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LIB

Jesse Flis

Liberal

Mr. Flis

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I draw the attention of everyone in this House to the fact that I have asked the parliamentary Library to do research into this whole topic.

Mr. Vincent Rigby, Political and Social Affairs Division, did put out a paper called "Bosnia-Hercegovina: The International Response". It is available in our parliamentary Library if anyone is interested.

Mr. Rigby mentions that Bosnia has demonstrated that the world's structures are not prepared to deal with the type of violent, ethnic nationalism that is rapidly becoming endemic in the post cold world war. The nation-state may no longer be the basic unit of international politics. Conflict within states rather than between them has become the new threat to international security.

Because of his knowledge, I wonder if the hon. member would comment on that. Is it a new fact that we are dealing with now? Can we look forward to such threats in the future, internal conflicts rather than state-to-state conflicts?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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?

The Deputy Speaker

I remind the member, please try to brief as you have someone else waiting to ask you a question as well.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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January 25, 1994