Hon. Lloyd R. Crouse (South Shore):
Mr. Speaker, in addition, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Parliamentary Delegation which paid an official visit to Pakistan from September 7 to September 13, 1987. In view of the importance of this report, I wish to speak very briefly to it. There are some aspects that I would like to point out to the House.
Canada has a program of annual food aid to Pakistan to assist that country in feeding some 3.5 million refugees who have arrived there over the past three years. The commissioner
October 29, 1987
informed us when we were there that our food and other aid programs were very much appreciated. However, he suggested we consider some changes and I wish to mention this to the House because all of us from time to time address nongovernmental organizations who wish to help. There are two ways to help and sometimes we do the wrong thing. It was therefore suggested that we consider these changes.
The shipment of flour is not as helpful as we were led to believe. It was pointed out that we keep the wheat germ, the bran, the shorts and the middlings, and the refined flour becomes full of weevil and is hard to store. When I asked what they would like to have in place of bags of flour they said please send bags of wheat. They can grind it with grinders there and have a more palatable food for their people. They would also prefer that we send less milk powder. I asked why, because I saw their children starving. They said they do not have pure water with which to mix the milk powder. In its place they would appreciate cases of evaporated milk.
Here I was addressing perhaps 500 Afghan refugees in a refugee camp and I said if they were to come to Canada with a shopping list what would be the six or eight priority items for which they would ask. It is interesting, and this is what I want to outline especially for the House, that the first item they need is tents to house some of those people. If the tents do not have floors, they ask us to send rubber sheets to put in the tent. Third, they need quilts to go over the rubber sheets. It cools down to 90 degrees at night, but it is sometimes 110 degrees during the day and there is lots of condensation when those temperatures are in evidence.
The fourth item they asked for was more blankets. Fifth, they need boiling kettles, not enamel but aluminum, so they can stick two sticks in the ground, put a pole across, and use the kettle as a pot in which to boil water. The sixth item, naturally, was food. The seventh items was medicines, and the eighth was small children's books with large lettering-stories like we read to our own children, so they can teach their children the English language.
Those are the points that I wanted to highlight because all of us can help by using them when addressing NGOs, church groups or any other organization that wishes to send some help. They are doing a monumental job in Pakistan. They are fighting our war for us. They are appreciative of all we can do, but by rearranging our food aid program we can do a little better.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and the House for this opportunity to present these very important facts.
Topic: ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic: PRESENTATION OF REPORT OF CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO PAKISTAN