Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):
Mr. Chairman, when the committee took recess I was discussing the suggestion of a NATO food bank and economic aid being given by the NATO countries to the less fortunate nations of the world, and I oppose it.
The reason for my opposition is this. No matter how highly NATO may be regarded as a means for our own defence, nevertheless in the underprivileged areas of the world it is regarded as an instrument of imperialistic powers, and I argue that if NATO is to administer aid that aid is going to be suspect. It
would be far better if we intend to help the underprivileged countries of the world, as we should do, to do it through the United Nations and through the agencies which are already there.
But I would like to think that we would do it in a more generous way than has been indicated by the government this year in the increase it has made under the Colombo plan. The government may take some pride in the fact that it is giving another $600,000 or so, but nevertheless that merely means that one cent per capita of our population is to be given every 90 days for further economic assistance to those nations which could do with more help, and I and my party are convinced that we are not doing nearly enough in this form of aid to less fortunate countries of the world.
Then there was another matter the Prime Minister mentioned. He talked of those who were behind the iron curtain, and all of us sympathize with what he says. We are just as concerned about those people as he is. The Prime Minister said in his speech, as reported at page 2723 of Hansard:
We thought of the people behind the iron curtain, people who believe in freedom as we do. Sometimes we are apt to forget them.
It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister and the government apparently have already forgotten about many individuals who fought against communism, who left their homes and are now denied the right to come to this country. I refer, of course, to the Hungarians and to the orders which were issued this year preventing by and large any further entry into this country of Hungarian victims of communist persecution. The Prime Minister went on:
When the declaration was being drafted I had the honour to move that there should be the inclusion of a paragraph to give to those people, whether in the Ukraine, in Hungary, in Poland . . . some hope.
I should like to give them hope; I am sure every hon. member would, but I would like to see something practical done so that hope can be translated into fact. After all, there are displaced persons in camps in Europe today who are the victims of communist persecution, Ukrainians and Poles who suffered under communism yet who, because they are ill or old, are not able to come to this country. If we feel so strongly about those people, those victims of communistic persecution, then we have to do something more than just more or less hold out hopes. We have to couple those hopes with action.
In the communique itself there are quite a number of points which demand answers. There are too many words in it and nothing
much is at all clear. For instance, the communique contained the following:
We are therefore resolved to achieve the most effective pattern of NATO military defensive strength, taking into account the most recent developments in weapons and techniques.
Let me ask the Minister of National Defence this question. How does the government propose to go about this? Later in the communique we find the following; we have-
. . . decided to bring about closer co-ordination with a view to ensuring that each NATO member country makes its most effective contribution to the requirements established by the alliance.
But how are we to do so, Mr. Chairman? These are words. We want to have these words explained; we want to know what government policy is in this regard. Then later on we find the following:
As regards defence production, We have decided, in view of the progress already made, to take further measures within NATO to promote the coordination of research, development and manufacture of modern weapons including intermediate range ballistic missiles.
There are many of us who have been asking for this close co-ordination for a long time, and we have been promised it for a long time, yet nothing has been produced which we can really get our teeth into. The government owes it to this house and to Canada to explain many of the questions which arise out of the words used in the communique.
Then there were the usual platitudes about economic collaboration and close co-operation among the countries of NATO, the need for greater unity, and so on. Yet, as the Minister of Finance pointed out, the United States is making a mockery of these high protestations which we hear and about which we read. What is the government doing to ensure closer economic co-operation with the nations of Europe? Well, there has been set up a European free trade area, and the government's only concern about it, apparently, is to see that we should not be excluded from its scope in regard to food, drink and tobacco. I would have thought, if the government was really desirous of improving the trade situation in this country, it would have made a much more decided attempt to get closer in an economic sense to the nations of Europe.
We have to do that for this reason if for no other. Earlier this session I spoke about the increasing United States economic domination of this country. We have to rectify this imbalance, and the only way we can do it is by trying to increase our trade, not with the United Kingdom only but substantially with this European free trade area. There there might be some hope for us; there, I am certain, will be the salvation of NATO.
A lot of lip service has been given to article II throughout the years. But if there are doubts in Europe-and I at times share those doubts-I think they can be dissipated very rapidly by entering into the closest economic collaboration and co-operation with our European allies. When we do that, then I think we shall be much safer than by relying solely upon the words which we see in this communique.