Mr. MacEachen moved
that the Bill be read the third time and do pass.
He said: Mr. Speaker, this is the final step in the creation of the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. This legislation is an expression of the hopes and dreams of all Members and all Canadians who want nothing less than a peaceful and secure world. The creation of the Institute, first proposed in the Throne Speech last December, is important to all Canadians because it is Canada's way of injecting fresh ideas and developing new and better solutions for a world troubled by conflict and uncertainty.
I think it is quite appropriate that Canada should be taking this initiative. Throughout our history we have consistently striven to realize a better and more peaceful planet, especially since the last World War, the beginning of the end of which we recently marked in the fortieth anniversary commemorating Normandy. Successive Canadian Governments, with the active backing of all Parties, have sought to save succeeding generations from the scourges of war which, twice in this century, has brought untold suffering to mankind.
Canada's adherence to the United Nations Charter, and its active membership in multilateral organizations like the Commonwealth and the Francophonie have had one basic goal in mind-to build a better, more secure and peaceful world. As peacekeepers, as participants in the North-South dialogue, as members of the western alliance, and as a bridge between East and West, Canadians have certainly attained and deserved a reputation on the world stage. I believe that we are continuing that tradition with the action which I hope will be taken today by Parliament in the House of Commons.
The Institute for International Peace and Security is the legacy of Canada's latest peace initiative, an initiative which all parliamentarians have supported and earnestly encouraged. In recent months we in Canada have made a special effort through the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and his associates to make a contribution to the search for peace, and particularly to bring about an improved atmosphere in a deteriorated East-West relationship. As I said, that effort has been encouraged by Canadians. It has been supported by all Members of the House, and I believe the effort that Canada has made, led by the Prime Minister, has been outstanding, has drawn attention to very important issues, and has had an effect in lessening the tensions which still exist in a serious way between the East and the West.
Our proposals for the resolution of international conflict have been based on sound and considered principles, because that is the way of Canada. These principles are borne out in the clause defining the purpose of the Institute. That purpose is to look outward, to promote scholarship, to encourage public discussion, and to collect and spread information and ideas on international peace and security.
The public interest in this Bill has been great, and its influence profound. By letter, by appearance before the committee, and in discussion with Members, Canadians have spoken out about what they wanted in this Institute.
There have been few other pieces of legislation about which consultation between the Government and the opposition Parties has been so close and so co-operative. Throughout these past weeks the Prime Minister has had correspondence with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Mulroney) and with the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Broadbent), and I myself met frequently with representatives of the opposition Parties, and particularly with the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition and the foreign affairs critic for the New Democratic Party. I have also had discussions with the Leader of the New Democratic Party. At times, we have been stalled in our efforts, and the road which we have followed has taken us around some rough corners. I believe that I can say that,
June 28, 1984
International Peace and Security throughout this endeavour, we have shared one single goal and that is to create a world-class institute of which Canadians can be proud.
1 must say that while the Leaders or representatives of the Parties were conducting their discussions, the members of the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence were giving the Bill their very careful consideration. Meeting morning, noon and night, over a period of weeks, this committee heard from members of the dozens of groups from across the country to whom this Institute means so much. The work of the committee cannot be under-emphasized. Despite difficulties they persevered. Positive progress was made, and a better Bill was born. I pay tribute to the industry of all the members of the standing committee. I pay particular tribute to the chairman of the standing committee who provided the required leadership. I believe that those who are inclined to deprecate the value of our committee system can point to the labours of this particular committee as an example which should moderate their views.
Through all-Party consultations we have agreed to a board of directors, and a method by which that board will select its chairman and executive director. However, that cannot be done until the Bill has received proclamation. I believe it would be appropriate to identify the persons who will be approached by the Minister to serve as representatives on the board. The list of directors which we are proposing and who, it is hoped, will serve as directors when asked, is as follows:
Norman Alcock, President, World Federalist of Canada;
William Barton, former Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations;
George Bell, Director, Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies, former General, Canadian Armed Forces;
Christoph Bertram, Editor of Die Zeit, former Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London;
Harriet Critchley, Director, the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary;
Paul Desmarais, Chairman of Power Corporation;
Gwynne Dyer, International affairs journalist and military historian;
William Epstein, former Director of the UN Disarmament Division;
Margaret Fulton, President of Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax;
Albert Legault, Professor of Political Science, Laval University;
Joanna Miller, Project Ploughshares, Saskatchewan, former President UNICEF Canada;
Denis McDermott, President, Canadian Labour Congress;
John Sigler, Professor of Political Science, Carleton University;
Ian Smart, former Director of Studies, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London;
Paul Warnke, former Director, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Lois Wilson, former Moderator of the United Church of Canada;
Gerald Wright, Vice-President, Canadian Donner Foundation.
I believe that is a very impressive list of proposed directors. The list represents a balance. The list has been agreed to by all Parties, but it also contains names which were suggested by organizations which were asked to make suggestions. I should add that we have agreed that the first chairman and the first executive director will be chosen by the members of the board, as indicated in the legislation. That would give the board an opportunity to choose the chairman and the executive director from among their own membership.
I should add that it is my intention, and the intention of others who participated in the discussions, that the 14 Canadian board members will be chosen first. That initial group of 14 Canadians will meet to choose the chairman and executive director, as provided for in the Bill. Of course, when the executive director and the chairman have been chosen, the three non-Canadians on the list will then be approached to serve. Of course it is understood that if any on the list refuses to serve, the consultation process provided for in the Bill will come into operation.
I want to add a further point, to ensure that we are quite serious about carrying out these undertakings or understandings, that I have consulted with the new Leader of the Liberal Party who will be sworn in as Prime Minister on Saturday of this week, and he has assured me that he will carry out the undertakings, or the understandings, which I have just listed. That should be of greater interest to Hon. Members of the House.
I would like to make a few additional comments, Mr. Speaker, about the Institute. We have, by legislation, established a role for the parliamentary committee to which the annual report will be referred. In so doing we have really broken new ground. By virtue of Section 32 the committee will also have the ability, in accordance with the rules of the House, to request the Institute to undertake research for, or provide advice to, the committee.
There was a provision in the Bill which made it possible for the Minister to ask for advice and to ask the Institute to conduct research. I personally placed a good deal of store on that provision because I wanted the Institute to be independent, but I also wanted it to be able to give advice, when required, to a Minister or the Government on very important questions. In that way it could be tied in more closely to the current preoccupations of any Government. The Minister is not running the Institute but he is permitted to ask for advice and policy guidance.
That same opportunity is provided to the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence. There is, I believe, a simple way by which that can be done, and the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition was quite active in discussing with me the particular amendment which might carry that out. That is an important point in the Bill.
By including in the Act as well a schedule of organizations, we have firmly entrenched the role of Canadian groups and established their role in the selection of future boards of directors. The schedule contains a quite lengthy list of organizations, I understand 89 in number. Not all organizations have been included, but there is a provision that additions or deletions can be made in the future. It may be that with experience and reflection it will be found that some organizations can be removed from that schedule. Perhaps some will go out of existence and ought to be removed. Others may appear with a greater relevance to the work of the Institute. That flexibility is provided.
June 28, 1984
There was a great deal of concern that the Institute be non-partisan and independent. It certainly was never my view that it should be anything but non-partisan, and independent, and objective. It has been given that role. Indeed, we have it guaranteed in law that the Leaders of all recognized Parties in the House of Commons will continue to have a voice in deciding the board's membership. By legislating an annual endowment we have given the Institute a means by which it can preserve independence of a certain quality.
Those were the main points I wanted to make, Mr. Speaker. We have come a long way to this conclusion and I hope it will be possible for us to give third reading to this Bill very quickly. I pledged in my speech on February 17 that the Institute would complement and not compete with existing groups, organizations, and institutions devoted to peace and security. Let me reaffirm that promise. No group will suffer adverse consequences in terms of support, financial or otherwise, from this or successive Governments, I hope. Rather, we foresee the Institute stimulating the level of interest in peace and security for the benefit of all.
We have before us a sound piece of legislation. It exemplifies the best of the parliamentary process. It reflects the goals and aspirations of all Canadians. It was achieved not through excessive partisan wrangling and bitter conflict, but through discussion, compromise and, in the end, the consensus of all Parties. I am sure we will give it speedy passage so that the other place can deal with it and let it be one of the achievements for which this Parliament can be remembered. It is a tribute to all Members, and one of which we can be proud.
We are coming to the end of the parliamentary session and some of us will not be back to this Chamber as Members, certainly not myself, because I announced yesterday that I will not be reoffering myself in the election, whenever it comes, so this is probably my last speech in the House of Commons.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY