I was first attracted to political life because of my interest in international affairs and I was first attracted to this party because of my great admiration for the Prime Minister who during my college years made many significant and important contributions to the solution of these problems.
[DOT] (5:10 p.m.)
As a child growing up during the second world war I was particularly struck with the atrocities of war, with its meaninglessness, its negativism and its complete frustration for all men. It was at that time when I was very young that I made up my mind to try to work toward the abolition of war and, as I say, this is one of the main reasons I entered politics.
When I was home during the last few weeks discussing some of the issues with my constituents, they were raising the question of the abolition of the death penalty and I was giving them the reasons for my particular stand on this issue. They said to me, "Well, if you would vote for the abolition of the death penalty for those reasons you would also vote for the abolition of war". I said, "If I could vote for it in the House of Commons of Canada, I would, but unfortunately it requires the consent of many other parliaments".
When the United Nations was established I was full of enthusiasm that it would serve as an effective means of bringing about peace in the world. Although I believe it has done much thus far, I feel it could do much more. The government has indicated so far, especially in the Speech from the Throne, that it intends to take further action in this direction. For this and for all they have already done I want to congratulate them.
During the past year two significant events took place in the world which directed attention to the importance of the United Nations
and the work it can do for peace. One of these events was the visit of Pope Paul to the United Nations in which this man who is a non-political figure pleaded with the world to try to refer more and more of the problems of war and peace to the United Nations and to work toward the prevention of war.
During the same year a large and prestigious conference took place in the United States known as the Pacem in Terris Conference. This conference gathered together eminent scientists, philosophers, journalists, politicians and other experts from all over the world to discuss the problems of war and peace from an objective point of view, a non-political point of view, and to try and find some real solutions. They also brought these problems to the attention of the public in general, and I think that today more than ever before it is important and legitimate that the public be interested in these questions which in the past have only been dealt with by politicians and experts. I say it is legitimate that the public in general be interested in these questions today, Mr. Chairman, because today politicians can involve total populations in wars, which could be disastrous for all of us.
I know that the younger people of Canada are particularly concerned about these things and they often wonder if they are not being asked to build a new and greater Canada and a new and greater world only to have them destroyed in a senseless war. I hope our government will continue to act with initiative and courage in these matters and that it will work to support programs that will make the United Nations an effective forum for world peace. I hope that steps will finally be taken to see that all of China is represented at the United Nations, that steps will be taken to provide the United Nations with a more permanent, effective and properly financed police force, and that there will be increased efforts toward disarmament and a greater reference of international disputes to the World Court.
I took note earlier in the session, Mr. Chairman, of the remarks made by the hon. member for Sherbrooke when he cited the percentage of our budget spent on defence and military matters. He pointed out that in Canada we spend approximately 25 per cent of our budget on defence and he also pointed out that many other countries of approximately the same size spend on an average 15 per cent. He cited figures in this respect. France spends 23 per cent of its budget on
February 3, 1966 COMMONS
defence, Great Britain spends 27 per cent and the United States 52 per cent. It would appear that Canada has spent a greater amount of money than would seem reasonable in this respect, but I should like to bring to the attention of the hon. member for Sherbrooke and many other hon. members of the house the great contribution that Canada has been making to the United Nations peace forces throughout the world. I understand that although this money is spent under our defence budget a great deal of it is spent in the maintenance of peace. Our government has also mentioned increased foreign aid and has referred to specific items in the Speech from the Throne.
1 believe that without such aid all other initiatives for peace are meaningless and cannot be fruitful. Two thirds of the world's population are underfed, underclothed, undersheltered and to a great extent illiterate. Unless these people are soon helped their despair will not be confined to Asia, Africa or South America but its violence will pour over into Europe and North America. Frustrated hunger will not respect superficial international boundaries.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Chairman, I had the privilege with other members of the house of visiting the site of Expo '67 and I was greatly impressed with the enormity and imagination of this great project. Those men associated with it should be congratulated. Already 70 countries have expressed their desire to participate and I believe that Expo will provide a great opportunity for Canada to meet the world and for the world to meet Canada. I believe that through this Exposition Canada can make a significant impact on all humanity.
However, I believe the Exposition could do much more than sell goods and exchange cultures. I believe it could be a great occasion to make a major breakthrough for sustained peace and world order. Significantly, the Expo theme is "Man and His World". I believe it would be very appropriate to establish at Expo a program designed to relax international disputes and permit peaceful settlements, perhaps with a conference somewhat similar to the Pacem in Terris Conference which was held in the United States. Alternatively we should have a model United Nations of young people from all over the world because these are the people who have to live in the world of the future. Furthermore, Mr. Chairman, scientific, economic and commercial projects could emphasize the
Supply-External Affairs need for assistance and co-operation between the developed and underdeveloped nations and dramatically bring public attention to this whole question.
I should also like to refer to the Company of Young Canadians, which I think can make a significant contribution to peace within Canada and abroad. I note that some students and student groups in Canada have objected to the creation of the Company of Young Canadians because they feel it is an intrusion into an area already occupied by CUSO, Canadian University Services Overseas. It is my hope that the legislation setting up the Company of Young Canadians will provide for co-operation with CUSO, with the World University Service and other groups interested in these same matters. I was pleased to note that the new chairman of the Company of Young Canadians was formerly with CUSO. I think this indicates that the government is taking many steps in the right direction.
[DOT] (5:20 p.m.)
It also occurs to me that there are many people who are no longer young who would also like to work both in Canada and abroad for the unfortunate people of the world. These would include retired persons, widows, unemployed and others who are still in the prime of life and who may be willing to dedicate a year or two of their lives to this great work. Perhaps the government may be able to find some means, through legislation similar to that which will establish the Company of Young Canadians, to provide these people with an opportunity to contribute to the solution of the world's problems. Although the house may pass many items of progressive legislation, Mr. Chairman, I think that we would all agree that if we cannot work with the nations of the world to maintain peace, then everything else will be meaningless.
Subtopic: DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS