Mr. André Caron (Jonquière)
I want to thank the hon. member for Portneuf for his remarks. I would like to say a few words about how our people would feel if Canada were to play a greater role in peacekeeping missions and in the training of soldiers for such missions.
For the past few years, a rather lively debate has been taking place in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region on the possibility of locating a firing range in the area for the training of F-18 pilots. As you know, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is home to CFB Bagotville, one of the three or four major strategic bases in Canada. By the way, this military base operates completely in French. One of the principal arguments advanced by those who oppose the plans for the firing range is that we can no longer afford to have the armed forces play a traditional role in Canada today. These people want to transform CFB Bagotville into a training base for UN peacekeeping missions. While their intentions may be good, there are many problems underlying this proposal. The fact remains, however, that the people in my region would be prepared to see Canadian and Quebec soldiers go out on peacekeeping missions and maybe even do a little more than that.
People do not like to see television images of civilians suffering, of bombings, deaths and other atrocities. When we
look at the situation in some parts of the world where suffering is widespread, not just Bosnia but Somalia and elsewhere, I think it would not take much for our people to support a more active role by the UN in peacekeeping operations than has traditionally been the case.
Subtopic: Foreign Affairs