Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the Special Joint Committee on Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy.
In accordance with the order of reference, our report addresses the changes occurring in the world today and their impact on Canada. We all can see that Marshall McLuhan's global village is becoming more and more of a reality for Canadians. That reality has an impact on their security, their jobs and their well-being. The whole world is affected. Therefore, Canada's foreign policy is a domestic policy and our domestic policy is a foreign policy.
Some people would say these changes cause upheaval in interests and fundamental values and that Canadians today are then faced with significant challenges. Our report contains conclusions and recommendations on the principles and priorities that should guide our foreign policy.
In fact, our report suggests a new agenda for what is left of this decade and for the beginning of the 21st century.
The new agenda we propose reflects the deep rooted values that Canadians want to see expressed in their foreign policy and the need to make strategic choices. In fact selectivity and criteria for selection are features of the report.
The agenda includes: reform of the major international institutions of global governance, such as the United Nations and the international financial institutions to make them more effective, more transparent, more representative and more accountable; expanding our concept of security to include non-military factors and a greater specialization of the armed forces to better support peacekeeping operations; and promoting a rules based multilateral trade system and a Team Canada approach to trade development and foreign policy in general.
The agenda also includes: a greater emphasis on the promotion of Canadian culture and learning as a fundamental dimension of foreign policy; a strategy for managing the complex relationship with the United States of America, including better use of the multinational mechanisms; and a reformed foreign aid program designed to target assistance more effectively to meet human development priorities.
Finally the agenda includes: strengthening foreign policy linkages with sustainable development and human rights; and continuing the democratization of Canadian foreign policy through dialogue and education.
I would like to thank the 500 witnesses who presented evidence to the committee during the last seven months and all those who sent briefs and proposals. We received approximately 560 briefs. I would also like to thank the members of the team: the clerks and their personnel, the research assistants and all those who co-operated with us and gave us such a tremendous support.
On my own behalf, I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues of this House and of the Senate who worked hard to produce what I consider to be an excellent report.
The committee members were all struck at the commitment of Canadians towards the very simple principle that we should build a better world. This report testifies of the fact that when working together and in unity, Canadians can make a very unique contribution.
Pursuant to Standing Order 109, Mr. Speaker, the committee asks the government to present a comprehensive response to this report.
Subtopic: Committees Of The House