March 10, 2008 (39th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Brent St. Denis (Interjection)


Mr. Brent St. Denis

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his very detailed question. Obviously he is a student of history. I commend him for that. I do not know whether I can satisfy his question in any great detail, but what he made me think of as he was asking his question was the age-old problem in Northern Ireland, which, in another context, we might ask, was it tribal or was it not tribal?
As for dealing with tribal issues in parts of the world where the history is unique, each situation is unique and complex, and I do not think it is the place of a western nation like Canada to be picking winners and losers. Lines are often arbitrary lines between states. They are often chosen by the outgoing military leader of the day or some far-off governor appointed from some far-off country.
With respect to Pakistan, I think our leader has said it very well. He was criticized for it, but I think he said it very well when he said that there needs to be a greater emphasis on diplomacy, and I am glad to see that in this motion. I think the Pakistan puzzle in all of this needs a lot more attention. Hopefully, with the election of a coalition government in Pakistan now, we will see some settling down of the political problems there and greater attention and energy on the border.
However, when it comes to tribal and internecine fighting, I think those mysteries will remain mysteries for the western world for a long time to come. All we can do is provide some security within their paradigm, whereby hopefully they can work things out, as we have seen slowly happening in Northern Ireland. I hope that gives the member some sense of an answer to his very good question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Afghanistan
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