January 26, 1994

NDP

Svend Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Svend J. Robinson (Burnaby-Kingsway)

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing the 20-minute time at my disposal with the hon. member for Saint John.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate. I congratulate the members who have spoken immediately preceding me, the member for Sarnia-Lambton and the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, on the courageous position they have taken.

I believe that it was the leader of the Bloc Quebecois who suggested that this debate today was in a sense a charade, that the government's real purpose was not to let the United States test cruise missiles and that this debate would give the government an opportunity to say "no".

I think the agenda is precisely the opposite. I think the leader of the Bloc Quebecois is profoundly mistaken. The agenda here today is in fact that the government is prepared to say yes to cruise missile testing and is laying the groundwork for that by betraying in a very profound way the promises that were made in opposition by the Liberal Party of Canada and by leading members of that party to say no to cruise missile testing for the reasons so eloquently set out by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

I want to take exception not only to the process here because I think the fix is in. I think in fact that the decision which has been made and communicated to the United States government is that yes it can go ahead but there is this little nuisance that came up last week when one of the members from the opposition stood up and reminded the government of the commitment that it made while in opposition.

What was that statement that was made by the member for Winnipeg South Centre? It was this. He suggested in a question to this House on February 15 that:

Given that many Canadians, particularly citizens of the north as represented by the Northwest Territories government, the Dene Nation and the circumpolar council, have strongly opposed any continuation of these tests, why has the minister wilfully proceeded with this agreement contrary to the wishes of these Canadians without any form of public consultation or public parliamentary hearings?

Public parliamentary hearings. This parliamentary debate is not public parliamentary hearings. The voices of northerners, the voices of aboriginal peoples, the voices of peace groups who want to be heard on this issue are not being heard in public hearings.

I note that the representatives from the Northwest Territories, the member for Nunatsiaq and the member for Western Arctic, are both strongly opposed to the testing of cruise missiles. Yet their constituents are denied an opportunity to be heard in public hearings.

I might ask parenthetically where is the voice of that eloquent defender of progressive thought in the Liberal caucus, that ardent advocate of an end to cruise missile testing, the member for Winnipeg South Centre? I am waiting to hear his contribution to this debate.

This debate is not just about the testing of the cruise missile. I might say that the position we have taken as New Democrats on this has been to oppose the testing of the cruise from the time it was first started in 1983. It is also fundamentally a debate about political integrity, about honesty and about the credibility of the governing parties.

I say that because I think we have to look at the record. Yes, in 1983 it was the Liberal government that approved the first 10-year agreement to allow for cruise missile testing over Canadian soil. But in 1984 the Liberals went into opposition. Of course Liberals in opposition tend to be a little more progressive than when they are in government. What did they say in opposition? Well the Liberal Party of Canada in a convention in November 1986 said that it would ban cruise missile testing.

The hon. member for Papineau, who was then external affairs critic, suggested that cruise missiles would be destabilizing and that cruise missile technology would have a disastrous effect. I quote the Minister of Foreign Affairs: "The government persists in playing hide and seek on the policy it will adopt with respect to testing of the new cruise missile, this dangerous cousin of the present missile that is faster and better able to escape detection.

Letting such a weapon in Northern Canada would raise the stakes even more."

He was right in 1988; he is right today. It is really sad that the member for Papineau was more progressive then than the members of the Bloc Quebecois are today on this issue. It is really sad that the very strong and powerful voices of the peace movement in Quebec are not represented here in the House by the Bloc members, who talk about the importance of supporting our great American allies. It is really sad.

We have heard the glowing statements of the minister of the members in opposition. We have read in the fabled red book that Liberals believe Canadians want their national government to play a more active independent internationalist role in this world of change.

What did the Liberal Party of Canada promise to the people of Canada in writing in September 1993? It said this in response to a questionnaire from End the Arms Race: "Liberals have opposed further testing of the cruise missile since 1987. We will bring this testing program to an end". That was the promise of the Liberals in September 1993. They did not say they would bring it to an end if George Bush was re-elected. There were no parentheses. There were no asterisks. They said they would bring it to an end.

What has happened? A month later they gave approval in principle for the cruise missile testing to continue.

Let us be clear about what the issue is here. The issue is not a question of breaking a contract solemnly entered into. I was astonished to hear the very distinguished member for Vancouver Quadra suggesting we would be in breach of our solemn undertakings if we did not allow cruise missile testing to proceed. I would have hoped that member would have read the agreement, because of course the agreement itself makes it very clear.

I quote from the agreement: "Either the Department of National Defence or the Department of Defense in the United States may refuse any testing project proposed under this agreement".

It is utter nonsense to suggest, as the member for Vancouver Quadra has done, that in some way we would be in breach of our commitments under this agreement. The agreement provides for consent and it provides for withholding that consent.

The issue is about the testing of a dangerous new missile, a destabilizing new missile, the stealth missile, which has first-strike capability. It is nuclear equipped. The reason the Americans want to test it over our soil is that our terrain is similar to that of Russia.

I have the original background document from the first agreement in 1983. In response to the question why test in Canada it said that it was suitable for operational testing of air launched cruise missiles over representative terrain and realistic route lengths. Representative terrain. Representative of what? Representative of Russia. Realistic route lengths. What are they? Some 2,200 kilometres, about the time and about the distance it would take to fire those cruise missiles into the heart of Russia.

We have heard it suggested that because Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a very dangerous man, is now in a position of some influence in Russia we should be testing this nuclear weapon. I say that is another reason for us to say no to the testing of the cruise missile.

In 1992 Boris Yeltsin said they would stop testing the cruise missile. He has appealed to the nations of the world to join in that. If Zhirinovsky is able to use the argument that we are testing the missile and it is aimed fundamentally at them, how on earth does that help in the pursuit of peace?

It is time we recognized the real enemy. The real enemy is surely poverty. The fact is that 40,000 children die every day on this planet. The real enemy is the crushing debt burden and the increasing gap in wealth and power between north and south. The real enemy is environmental degradation.

I would have hoped the Liberals would have shown leadership on those issues. But, no, they are prepared to say yes to the old ways of doing things. Why not allow the defence and foreign policy reviews to take place before we agree to go ahead?

By saying no we will be sending a powerful signal, not only to the people of Canada, not only to the Pentagon, but to the world, to the community of nations, that we are prepared to take a lead in the pursuit of peace.

It was the member for Winnipeg South Centre who asked this question in February 1993: "Whatever happened to the fresh new thinking about defence matters since the cold war?" Indeed, whatever happened to that fresh new thinking? Let us hope that voice and that view will prevail; that we will take bold new steps to create a nuclear weapons-free zone in Canada; that we will say no to low level testing over Innu lands in Labrador; that we will create a common Arctic security zone, as the member for Yukon has suggested; and that we will respect the wishes of aboriginal people such as the Canoe Lake people as suggested by the member for The Battlefords-Meadow Lake.

The time has come for new thinking. The time has come to say no to the testing of the cruise missile in Canada.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment.

I would like to thank the hon. member for his eloquent speech. When he was reading from the agreement about representative terrain I was wondering whether we might take a look at what representative terrain means. I have a feeling that the threat today is not so much from Russia or the Soviet Union but from other countries that will have some types of nuclear capability.

I was wondering whether the terrain of those countries might be more like the terrain between Montreal and Ottawa or Toronto. We know the threat is not from the Soviet Union now but more from other countries. I wondered if he would comment on that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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NDP

Svend Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Robinson

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Nunatsiaq makes an excellent point and it is a point that was made earlier. Some members have made reference to the tragic war in the gulf that was going to dislodge Saddam Hussein and install democracy in Kuwait.

Surely if that is the argument we should not be testing over northern territory. Perhaps we should be testing the cruise missile over the deserts of Nevada. If the threat as suggested is coming from the more urban areas, the member for Nunatsiaq is probably asking what about testing over Calgary Southwest. What about testing over Lac-Saint-Jean? What about testing over other areas that are slightly more populated.

It is an entirely legitimate question. I welcome the hon. member's intervention.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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REF

Monte Solberg

Reform

Mr. Monte Solberg (Medicine Hat)

Mr. Speaker, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has already threatened the west with nuclear annihilation if we try to interfere with his attempt to re-establish the Russian empire.

Does the member really think he would not follow through with plans to re-arm the former Soviet Union should we quit testing the cruise missile in northern Alberta and northern Canada?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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NDP

Svend Robinson

New Democratic Party

Mr. Robinson

Mr. Speaker, it is madness to suggest that we respond to Vladimir Zhirinovsky at this point by testing the advanced cruise missile, the stealth missile, which would allow us to respond with a nuclear attack on Russia.

Surely the most effective way to respond to the Zhirinovskys of this world is to do whatever we can to isolate them. We should make it clear that the community of nations has put behind it the days when we responded to aggression with aggression, when we responded to the very dangerous and destructive threats of Zhirinovsky by simply spending more money on developing nuclear weapons that will respond to him.

We have an excellent opportunity to bolster the forces of democracy in the former Soviet Union or Russia by entering into a common security arrangement with them that would entirely demilitarize the Arctic and restore health to a very fragile Arctic environment.

That would be the most effective way of responding to Zhirinovsky and to isolating Zhirinovsky along with the other Zhirinovskys of the world.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John)

I would like to thank my colleague from Burnaby-Kingsway for sharing his time with me. This is supposed to be my maiden speech and I am certainly pleased, Mr. Speaker, that you have recognized Wayne's World over here in the corner.

Given the military history of my riding of Saint John, New Brunswick, and our long association with the sea and with shipbuilding, we may have a somewhat different perspective on military matters than many central Canadians. I say that because we are building the frigates for Canadians right in my shipyard. The shipyard in Lévis, Quebec, to which one of my colleagues in the Bloc referred today, is winding down his program. My shipyard is winding down our program. I will have 3,500 people out of work, probably by the end of this year or by May 1995. I hope the Department of Transport and the Department of National Defence will be taking a look at the most modern shipyard we have in Canada when they are giving out the next contracts.

The Liberal government and the minister of the day, the hon. Roméo LeBlanc who is a senator today, gave us our first set of frigates and the next government continued on. We do have what is considered to be the most modern shipyard in Canada sitting in Saint John, New Brunswick. We should continue to build on that. I say to my friends across the way in the Liberal government that they should take advantage of what they have done in the past by putting that shipyard in place.

Certainly we in Saint John have never become caught up in the fuss regarding this cruise missile business as others have done. I smile to myself as I listen to everyone talking about nuclear missiles and nuclear power because we have the most efficient nuclear power plant in the world. I just came back from Romania. The government sent me during this past year. We are building nuclear units in Cernavoda, Romania, because we have the most efficient nuclear power plant in the world in Saint John.

I have interest groups that pop up and think we are building nuclear weapons because of our nuclear power plant. Every time we use the word nuclear everyone becomes frightened. Sometimes it seems to me that Canadians do not really know how lucky we are in many areas, to be sure, but certainly in the area of defence policy.

I hope that the government goes ahead with its planned review of defence policy and that the review will both collect the opinions of Canadians and act as an opportunity to inform Canadians in this area. Few of us of today's generation have ever had to go to war or have even been within the range of one. That is a blessing, but sometimes one wonders if that inexperience

has given some of our fellow Canadians a rosy view of what it takes to make and preserve peace.

I do not know if I subscribe to the view that the best defence is a good offence, but I subscribe to the view that the best defence is important if war is to be deterred. It is in that context that I put the testing of the cruise missile delivery system. It is reasonable to be prudent until one can be certain that all risks have disappeared.

There are those who believe that the best path to disarmament is for everyone to lay down their arms, or at least stop developing weapons technology, and that one way for that to happen is for Canada and her defence partners in NATO and NORAD to set an example.

I respect them for the sincerity of their belief but I do not share it. I am from the school that believes disarmament in which one can have real confidence requires binding treaties between all countries, a reliable and open verification system, and some collective method for dealing with violations of agreements.

Let us not kid ourselves. Would Canada be at any real risk if we had no army, no navy, no air force? The truth is that we are not far from being at that point right now. Or, even if we opted out of NATO or NORAD, would Canada be at risk? Almost certainly not. That may be God's greatest gift to Canada.

We are members of mutual defence agreements like NATO and NORAD for other reasons than our own defence. There are historical connections, commercial markets, countries where many of us came from, and even the knowledge that doing defence collectively is not only cheaper but to get everyone inside the agreements is best way to forestall war completely.

The world has made great progress towards disarmament in the last 10 years aided immeasurably by the changes that have happened in Europe, particularly the former U.S.S.R. But as long as there are armies and weapons, maintaining the peace will require the capacity to defend oneself and one's partners if necessary and that means keeping up with technological developments.

I make no pretence to be an expert on weapons systems or on the cruise, but even a little reading shows very quickly that a great deal of misinformation has been put about regarding these tests over the years.

For example, many of the opponents have argued that the cruise is only designed for the delivery of nuclear bombs-I heard that here all this afternoon and again this evening-and that to agree to test it is to be in favour of expanding nuclear weapons.

It turns out that the missiles used against Hussein in the gulf war were cruise missiles delivering regular bombs with amazing accuracy as I remember.

I noticed that one member of this House has gone so far as to say that these tests should not be allowed because they would contribute to instability in Russia; that the conservatives there would claim the tests prove the west intends to threaten Russia.

That seems just a little far-fetched to me. In fact, it may be that I should be a little bit worried about why someone would want to make that statement and that case. I completely agree that a democratic Russia peacefully integrated into Europe is in all our interests but it is hard to imagine that testing unarmed cruise missiles could have any impact on what is admittedly far from a stable situation in Russia.

In fact, I cannot find much evidence that supports the notion that the issue is a nuclear one any longer. The real issue as far as I can tell is that the technology may be too simple and therefore readily developable for conventional use.

The excellent reports prepared by the Library of Parliament say this, for example:

As the understandable pre-occupation with Superpower nuclear cruise missiles has diminished over the past several years, more attention has been paid to shorter-range and much simpler cruise weapons. While not comparable to the long-range systems of the United States and Russia, shorter-range (mainly anti-ship) systems are currently in service in a number of countries and even more countries have programs for which cruise missiles could be developed. According to reports, some U.S. officials feel cruise missiles will become an important proliferation threat in the future, and research continues to improve the capability to track them. In April 1992, MIT physicist Kosta Tsipis argued in The New York Times that while tremendous attention has been paid to the proliferation of ballistic missile technology, accurate cruise missiles could pose a much greater threat in the future. According to Tsipis, basic technology in the form of commercial jet engines, gyroscopes and autopilots is now widely available to anyone who wants it. In his words, "Any country that can manufacture simple aircraft can construct a cruise missile that can carry a ton of cargo at least 300 miles and land no more than 30 feet from its target.

One of the reasons for continued testing is the tests include testing anti-cruise systems; the capacity of radar and planes to find, follow and intercept missiles once launched. Given Professor Tsipis' arguments, that information alone may be the best reason for carrying on the tests.

I suppose it is imaginable that the full scale review of defence policy that the government has said is coming could conclude that we should take back our defence exclusively to ourselves, that we should leave NATO and/or NORAD, but I doubt it very much.

In any event, it does seem to me and to my party, which may only be two, that one would announce a policy review and then make changes in the implementation of existing policy prior to actually conducting that review. Is that not the whole point of

reviewing policy, too find out what both experts and ordinary Canadians think should be done before making any changes?

In fact, that is what the then Liberal critic for external affairs, the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, said the government should have done before renewing the agreement on testing in February of this year. He did not say the government should hold a one-day debate in the House. He said that if his government was elected it would hold full hearings across the country. That is presumably what the defence committee is going to do, or I trust that is what they are going to do. The Liberal's red book made a big issue out of their commitment to "the democratization of foreign policy".

We take the government at its word on this question, that this debate will be part of the broad, sincere dialogue with Canadians that they were promised during the election. Surely the Liberal government should honour their entire commitment and not make substantive changes in defence policy before those hearings have been held. That, in addition to the wisdom of being prepared for the worst while negotiating for better, suggests to us that these tests should not now be stopped.

In that regard, I note that the Ottawa Citizen reported on Saturday, January 22 that the cabinet has already made the decision to allow the tests despite its objection to the test when it was in opposition. For that I am pleased, but while we would agree with the decision, if the report is true it does not bode well for the government's stated commitment to the democratization of the process.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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BQ

Pierre De Savoye

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Saint John touched on two aspects that are of particular interest to me. She talked about potential job losses in her shipyard. She also talked about using cruise missiles with more accurate guidance systems. I will address this second point before going back to the first one and asking the hon. member for Saint John for her comments.

The need to make the cruise missile guidance systems more accurate is a very subtle indication that these missiles will not be used to transport nuclear heads. Missiles carrying nuclear heads do not have to be very accurate as any hit within a kilometre of the target is considered a bull's eye, but great accuracy is required to deliver a conventional head for a "surgical" operation. Therefore, the tests requested by the Americans promote the denuclearization of conflicts. That is how I see it and I would ask the hon. member to respond and let me know her views on this issue.

Let us now talk about jobs. We have been talking about war and peace for several hours but, in my opinion, the real issues are jobs and technology. There will be no war in the near future thanks to the diplomatic efforts being made on several fronts to resolve certain conflicts. In the meantime, however, the huge military-industrial complex needs contracts and the Americans are very good at feeding that beast. As a Liberal member was saying this afternoon, it would be interesting to implement the conversion of the defence industry to civilian uses. The technologies we are talking about, namely the recognition of patterns through computerized programs, could easily be used for computer-assisted work in our plants. There are jobs in all this, as the Americans have been quick to realize while we are talking about war and peace. What does the hon. member for Saint John think of all this?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Wayne

Mr. Speaker, I trust that we are not talking about war but that we are talking about peace.

I believe Canada needs to stay on top of all high technology. It needs to work with its partners across the border to make sure that peace remains.

As I stated in my comments, we need to enter into agreements and treaties in order to ensure there are no more wars. I believe the free trade agreement entered into by this government will encourage high technology and jobs. I am very pleased that the government signed the agreement about 18 days after the election. I guess it thought the one we negotiated was pretty good. I really appreciated that. It is wonderful. We will now have jobs for our people.

I do not believe that by working with our partners across the border we will lose jobs. I believe we will create jobs for our people.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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REF

Jim Silye

Reform

Mr. Jim Silye (Calgary Centre)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the member for Saint John for her speech on this subject. I have been here since the debate began this afternoon and I believe her speech has been the most well-reasoned, well thought-out and articulated opinion on this subject that we have heard or that I have heard in my opinion here this evening and this afternoon.

I believe it is important that we have both perspectives brought into view, but this one was very articulated. I really appreciated her speech.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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PC

Elsie Wayne

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Wayne

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the government has afforded me this opportunity to speak. I believe this is the freedom that we have been looking for.

We are here to represent all our people and this has given me that opportunity. I am hoping that we will all work collectively together for what is best for Canada.

In this case, I will reiterate that I feel it is most important that these cruise missile testings take place. In my opinion and in the opinion of my party, if this happens it will be a deterrent because one never knows what the former Soviet Union is going to do.

I was asked by the German government to go to Germany to look at unification. I had an opportunity to be on both sides of the Berlin wall. It is like night and day. On one side the people are living in harmony, but if one crosses over, even today, those soldiers are still living in those homes. When one sees it and feels it, I say to every member in this House, make sure to vote for keeping the cruise missile testing continuing in Canada because it must be a deterrent. Things are not what they appear to be.

We all thought that when the Berlin wall came down everything was all right. That has not happened yet. There is a lot of need there and there is a lot of need for us to be ready.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Bill Rompkey

Liberal

Hon. William Rompkey (Labrador)

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Saint John on her maiden speech. It was a very thoughtful speech and indeed she listed some of the arguments that I want to make myself.

I will be brief because we have had a long debate today. Again, I want to congratulate the government on having this debate before the decision was taken. That leads me to the point brought up by the member for Burnaby-Kingsway who said we should take our decision now, a negative decision on cruise missile testing and then have a defence review.

It seems to me that the proper way to proceed is in fact the opposite to within the context of a defence review to examine cruise missile testing and in fact all other agreements and all other defence arrangements that Canada has.

We should be very clear that this is not a debate about a nuclear weapon as has been pointed out earlier. This is a weapon system and it can have a nuclear warhead or it can have a conventional warhead. Therefore, the debate is not about nuclear weapons. In fact, nuclear weapons are not allowed on Canadian soil. That was an initiative that a Liberal government took and it is the law of the land at the present time.

This is not a debate-we have to be very clear about that-about nuclear weapons, but it is about the testing of a weapons system that belongs to a partner of ours in North America, to a colleague of ours in NATO and to a partner of ours in NORAD. I think we should think very carefully about how we treat that particular partner and indeed about how we treat this particular weapon.

It may be that we do not want to continue and there is no need to continue all of the arrangements that we have with the Americans at the present time. However, I repeat that the proper examination of that is within an overall defence review and the Liberal Party did commit to a defence review when it was in opposition and it is committed to a defence review now. I submit that that is the proper context in which to determine the future of cruise missile testing. We may not want to continue to test cruise missiles forever.

However, I think we should be very careful about the discontinuing of any weapon at the present time. The fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the cold war has not brought stability. Rather, I think, we can argue that there is more instability in the world now than ever before. Our forces took part in the gulf war some time ago. It has already been pointed out that a cruise missile was very effective in bringing to an end that war.

There will be more gulf wars and Canada will be involved in them with our partners. NATO was an important part. It was not there with the NATO flag but it was an important part of the gulf war. The unity, training and coherence of NATO was a very important factor in bringing that war to an end. We have to think very carefully about dismantling the weapons and the alliances that we have in view of the instability that is in the world at the present time.

What is the success story? The success story is that our way of life, beliefs and philosophy have gained pre-eminence because of the strength that we had and the strength we were able to demonstrate, but not to exercise. NATO never went to war. NATO is the most successful military alliance in history and it is arguably the best equipped and best trained military alliance in history and yet it never went to war. It was successful simply because it was there and everybody knew it was there and everybody knew what capability it had.

The success we have had is because we have been able to demonstrate strength. We have to think very carefully before we start to weaken our capability. I think it is important to negotiate from strength and not from weakness.

Part of that strength clearly has to be the strength of the United States itself. The United States is not universally popular and there are many people who resent the growing role of the U.S. as the world cop. I would prefer to see the UN become that cop, but it is clearly true that in all of our alliances we in Canada and other allies on both sides of the Atlantic depend heavily on the might of the American military machine for our alliances. We have to think very carefully about reducing the strength of that machine and those alliances in the present circumstances.

I do not think it is necessary to draw this debate out for a long time. I simply want to repeat in closing that the proper examination of cruise missile testing is within the overall review of defence policy. Clearly I think that is the way to proceed and my counsel to the government would be to maintain our agreement. It is a signed agreement and whether it is with the United States or any other partner I think we have to be very careful about our own credibility if we simply break agreements unilaterally.

The proper examination of whether to go ahead with cruise missile testing or not in the future is within the defence review and not at the present time.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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BQ

Pierre De Savoye

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Pierre de Savoye (Portneuf)

Madam Speaker, I want to go back to this issue because I would like to hear the views of the members who are taking part in the debate today, with respect to employment.

The previous speaker said that NAFTA would allow us to have access to these new technologies. But we must not forget that those are classified technologies, since they are designed for military purposes by the American DOD. Therefore, specific agreements would have to be made with the United States to enable Canadian contractors to have access to this type of high technology and to get the R and D contracts for that technology. I would like to hear the opinion of the hon. member for Labrador on this issue.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Bill Rompkey

Liberal

Mr. Rompkey

Madam Speaker, I am not sure I caught the whole question. I apologize but I wonder if the hon. member would simply repeat the question please.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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BQ

Pierre De Savoye

Bloc Québécois

Mr. de Savoye

Madam Speaker, the point is with NAFTA you have access to the markets over there but in the case in question here this is classified technology. It is not obvious that the DOD will give us this access or will give it to our suppliers. What is your opinion on what your government should do to ensure that the Americans give our suppliers access to that technology and to the R and D contracts that go with it?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Bill Rompkey

Liberal

Mr. Rompkey

Madam Speaker, I do not think I was the one who brought up NAFTA. I think it was the hon. member for Saint John.

Nevertheless it seems to me that there are a number of ways in which that information can be shared. We do have defence agreements with the U.S. We have defence production agreements and we have a number of mechanisms whereby information can be shared. I think it is entirely possible within the various co-operation agreements that we have and within the various alliances that we have to ask and to get the United States to share the kind of information that the hon. member is talking about.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be here to participate in this very important debate. Before I get into my speech I would just like to point out a couple of comments that were made by the member for Saint John and the member for Labrador. They want to differentiate between cruise missile testing and whether it is carrying nuclear weapons or conventional weapons.

I would like to point out that whether it is conventional or nuclear, it is a weapon of destruction. This is a weapon of war we are talking about. The conventional weapon kills a few less people, but it kills people nonetheless.

I would like to thank my colleague the Minister of National Defence and his parliamentary secretary for this opportunity. I am proud that my party and the leader of my party, the right hon. Prime Minister, is giving the House the chance to discuss this matter before final decisions are made.

The issue of cruise missile testing is a sensitive one for the people of the Northwest Territories. As a member of Parliament form the NWT it is my duty and privilege to bring their views to this Chamber.

The people of the Northwest Territories have a strong and deep conviction on this matter. Since 1984, when testing began over the Mackenzie Valley, the legislative assembly of the Northwest Territories passed six resolutions opposing these tests. Numerous letters of concern have been sent from the NWT government and from individual residents of the Northwest Territories.

Despite these clear and frequent expressions of the will of the people of the Northwest Territories, the missile testing agreement has been renewed again and again. Over northern objections, the initial testing agreement was renewed in 1988 for a further five years. In 1989 the Government of Canada agreed to allow the testing of the advanced cruise missiles. In 1993 the government agreed to a ten-year renewal without even consulting the government of the Northwest Territories.

Northerners were shocked by this total disregard for their concerns and felt that their voices had not been heard on this issue. At the heart of the matter for northerners is their right to determine what happens on their territory.

The Northwest Territories is a vast land but it is not an empty land. The aboriginal people of the Western Arctic in the region where the tests take place, the Dene and the Inuvialuit, have lived there for thousands of years. Much more recently, non-aboriginal people have chosen to make the NWT their home.

While the population of the region may be considered small by southern urban standards, together, all the peoples of the NWT are working to build a better future for their children. A big part of that future involves aboriginal land claim settlements. While progress has been made in this area not all the

aboriginal people have achieved land claim settlements. Work is still proceeding on several outstanding claims.

For those who have not yet settled their claims and for those who have, protection and enhancement of the traditional economy and lifestyle is an overriding concern. While most aboriginal people have settled in communities, their culture and economies take them out on the land at various times throughout the year. Traditional hunting and trapping grounds can be miles away from so-called home communities.

When the cruise missiles fly up the Mackenzie Valley to the Beaufort Sea, they are not flying over unused and unoccupied territory. They are flying over lands that are and have been used and loved by generations of people who live up there.

Northerners also see a future for themselves that builds closer ties with their circumpolar neighbours. While it may be natural for southern Canadians to look south, it is more natural for northerners to look north and around.

The people of the NWT have much in common with other circumpolar peoples. Beside climate, we share many social and economic concerns. We see opportunities to learn from each other and to contribute to each other's development.

The peoples of the north are peaceful people. We do not feel comfortable with our land being used as testing grounds for weapons of war.

We worry about the consequences of accidents and the damage that could be done to our communities, the wildlife and the environment. At this time the threat of an accident from the testing of an American cruise missile is far more real to the NWT residents than that of the threat of an attack from the old Soviet Union and accidents have happened. Let me point them out.

In 1990 a Canadian CF-18 crashed outside of Inuvik while tracking a cruise missile that had been released from an B-52 bomber.

In 1986 two cruise missiles went down during tests. One crashed near Primrose, Alberta and the second one went down in the Beaufort Sea.

Last February, when Canada renewed the cruise missile testing agreement with the United States without consulting the government of the Northwest Territories or northern aboriginal organizations, the leader of the NWT government wrote to the Minister of National Defence. She expressed her disappointment and concern that the views of the people most directly affected by this testing were not even considered.

Other members of the legislative assembly also made their views known. Some very eloquent words on this matter were spoken by the Dene member for Nahendeh, Mr. Jim Antoine. I want to share his views with this House and the Canadian people. I am excerpting from his statement in the legislative assembly in Yellowknife on February 23 of last year:

These missiles fly through Dene airspace in my constituency. I have talked to people who are in the bush on their trap lines and they have seen these missiles fly above the trees. They are followed by B-52 bombers.

I am opposed to cruise missile testing and I am also opposed to war. I saw the coverage on television which showed how cruise missiles were used in the war in Iraq. I saw how destructive these cruise missiles could be. I had troubled feelings in my heart. I felt like the Northwest Territories had contributed to that destruction by allowing those missiles to be tested in the air over our traditional lands.

Northerners continue to have troubled feelings in their hearts over the role of the military in our territory. While military expenditures have improved transportation and communication infrastructures and have generated employment, training and business opportunities for northerners, these benefits have not been as great as northerners had hoped. For many northerners the negative social and environmental impact of cruise missile testing, low-level training flights and related military activities outweigh the benefits. For years a number of northern organizations, non-aboriginal and aboriginal, have been working toward demilitarization of the Arctic. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference has been a pioneer in this effort.

In 1990 the Government of the Northwest Territories released a discussion paper on military activity in the north which proposed the establishment of a circumpolar zone of peace and security. While the Department of National Defence did not respond favourably to the concept at that time, I would ask that this proposal for a circumpolar zone of peace and security be looked at again. Cruise missile testing of course would have no place in such a regime.

In any case northerners do not simply see the need for continued cruise missile testing over their territory. As the NWT government leader recently stated:

In our view, the cruise missile testing component of military activity in the Northwest Territories can no longer be justified given the significant changes which have occurred in the international arena during the past few years.

I agree. Northerners recognize that although the cold war is over other security concerns have arisen. However they question whether the standard military responses are the appropriate or only responses we can make. In many cases an economic helping hand may accomplish more for our long-term security interests than military shows of force.

I suggest that northerners who have a unique perspective on peace and security can make valuable contributions to the upcoming review of national defence policy. Northern views should be fully represented and considered in this review.

By increasing and improving communications and co-operation with our circumpolar neighbours, northerners are building bridges across the Arctic Ocean. Northerners are forging new friendships and renewing and strengthening old ones. For those

who may not be aware a northern firm recently built a village in Siberia.

Northerners do not believe continued cruise missile testing in the Northwest Territories will further the goals of enhanced peace and security. Cessation of these tests however could be a bold step toward a new circumpolar security regime.

Cruise missile testing is only one component of the umbrella test and evaluation agreement we have with the United States. It is possible to terminate this specific project arrangement without terminating the other parts of this agreement.

Northerners are not suggesting the termination of the entire umbrella agreement. They are only asking for the termination of the specific cruise missile testing component. Let us take a bold step. Let us cancel the cruise missile testing.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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?

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I would like to remind the House that questions should be on the previous speaker's debate.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Pat O'Brien

Liberal

Mr. Pat O'Brien (London-Middlesex)

Madam Speaker, like many members in this House I have mixed feelings on this question. I certainly appreciate the comments of my colleague. I am sure we all share the anguish he must feel representing the people most directly affected by this important decision. It certainly would not bother me to see Canadian foreign policy by this new government show a little bit of independence at this time from the United States.

I would like to ask the member if he could comment on what I am hearing as one of the strongest arguments in favour of the testing, at least in my opinion, and it is simply this. As a partner in NORAD with the United States are we not bound to some extent, if not very bound, to carry out this test as part of that NORAD partnership?

I wonder if the hon. member could address that concern. I listened closely to his comments. They were excellent comments, but I did not hear that particular argument mentioned. I sincerely would be interested in how he might respond to that argument because I think it is also a strong point.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Anawak

Madam Speaker, we do have agreements with other countries, whether they are of a military nature or any nature. We do have agreements with other countries, treaties, pacts. We have to remember we are still an independent country. I have very strong feelings about the fact that Canada is a free country. We are a nation of people who are peace loving.

I do not think we have an agreement with the United States that can be, as I pointed out at the end of my speech, terminated year by year. I do not think we are getting into any trouble. Frankly, I would not care if we got into trouble with the United States. I do not think we are getting into any trouble if we decide to cancel cruise missile testing in the far north.

As I said earlier in a point to one of the members, the area of possible conflict has changed in the last two or three years. The terrain is not the same. If the Americans had to attack anybody it would not be the Soviet Union.

Despite some concerns about the mad guy from Russia-I cannot remember his name, the fool anyway-I do not think he is a threat. Therefore Russia is not a threat. There is no Soviet Union. The threat is more from other countries that may be developing nuclear weapons.

Why do we not ask the United States to test their cruise missiles over terrain of similar nature. If the terrain is similar to the terrain between here and Montreal or Toronto and Vancouver why not test it through there?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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BQ

Bernard Deshaies

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Deshaies (Abitibi)

I would like to ask the hon. member a brief question. I also have mixed feelings regarding this issue, and since I also represent a riding which is bordered by the far North, I want to ask the member this question: Since our country and his region have never experienced war, if we had to go to war some day and had not learned how to defend ourselves, either alone or with the help of allies, would the hon. member still think that he made the right decision today?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Cruise Missile Testing
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January 26, 1994