May 29, 1984 (32nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Allan Bruce McKinnon

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Allan B. McKinnon (Victoria):

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to cut out the Hon. Member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin), but having been faced with the choice a few moments ago between having to listen to his question or listening to the Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan (Mr. McRae), it was a difficult choice to make.
I would like to compliment the Hon. Member for Beaches (Mr. Young) for producing the motion which is before the House today. I thought that he spoke very well on the subject. He has obviously done a lot of research and has presented a case which has some merit. There is quite a debate raging across the country at this time on the subject. I think that it deserves the time of the House. It is one in which people have opinions which are not diametrically opposed, but opinions which are at some variance from each other. A person would have to be a maniac not to be in favour of nuclear disarmament with the number of nuclear weapons in the world. Anything that can bring those weapons under control and disarm them is acceptable.
The Conservative policy for years has been that we would vote in favour of any measure for nuclear disarmament that would lead to a mutual, balanced and verifiable disarmament.
The resolution before us in part reads:
-the government should consider the advisability of declaring Canada a nuclear arms free zone-
I am grateful that the Hon. Member did not make the mistake that is frequently made which is to leave out "arms" and just ask for a nuclear free zone. That would no doubt upset Ontario Hydro considerably.
I think it would be in order to ask how Canada became a nuclear arms zone with nuclear arms. This is particularly important considering the sanctimonious protestations made by the NDP against the use of nuclear arms. If one reads Hansard of February 4 and 5, 1963, one will find out why Canada has nuclear arms. Those were in the days of the Right Hon. John Diefenbaker, who was then Prime Minister. Debate raged in that Cabinet. There are still least two Members of our Party who were in that Cabinet and who could provide the information if it were not for the Privy Council oath. However, it is obvious from the Hansard of the day a serious debate had
May 29, 1984

taken place in Canada during that time as to whether Canada should accept nuclear arms. The Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson, who was the Leader of the Opposition at the time, had a miraculous conversion. I believe that his speech was given in Scarborough, Ontario, which will be familiar to the mover of the resolution.
One night Mr. Pearson decided, after some 20 years of being opposed to nuclear weapons, even winning a Nobel prize for his peace activities, to suddenly be converted to nuclear weaponry for Canadians and the Canadian Forces within Canada. Then followed two days of very strong debate on the resolution which was introduced on February 4, 1963. Hon. Members interested in this subject would find it a fascinating two days of debate. The Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan reminded me of some of the speakers whose speeches appeared in Hansard at that time. Mr. Pearson, who I believe was really quite sincerely dedicated to peace, was trying to explain why he was going to vote out the Diefenbaker Government which was insisting on not accepting nuclear weapons in Canada, namely the warheads for the Bomarc missile of that day. The debate went on with Mr. Pearson being rather devious about the motion and he was severely criticized by the Government side of the House for not being more specific about his motion. It was a supply motion. It was interesting to read the contributions made by Mr. David Lewis and Tommy Douglas who spoke for the NDP in that debate indicating that while they also greatly loved peace, they were going to vote for the Party which was going to bring nuclear arms to Canada.

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