Saudi Arabia is a thoroughly dependable ally for peace and good will. There is long suffering Lebanon and, most of all, the Palestinians. These people must be in the equation if a successful formula is to be worked out. As for our role in connection with a recent UN resolution, I made clear my view on that at the committee meeting and 1 shall not repeat it tonight. The hon. gentleman who spoke before me talked about the use of abstention. On that resolution, 32-20, instead of voting with El Salvador, the United States and Israel against everybody else, it would have been wise to have abstained. I regret profoundly that we did not do so.
When the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Horner) was in my party I hardly ever agreed with him. Quite often at national meetings the party supported his view rather than mine, which leads me to believe that at times parties, like individuals, deserve what they get. In the instance of the boycott 1 am more inclined to be with him in his realism than with certain other people. The main issue is surely not the Arab boycott in its primary, secondary and tertiary elements. The main thing is to settle the reason for the boycott, namely, the insistent state of war. That is why there is a boycott. It is because these states are technically still at war. Can you imagine Winston Churchill saying "In war we can use only certain kinds of boycott"? He would use them all, of course. The settlement of the issue is of the essence.
I think we could do more in the Middle East if we were more objective. I heard Professor Peyton Lyon on radio this morning saying we had lost our capacity there because we are regarded as being too pro-Israel. I should like to see the day when we could regain true objectivity. It is conceivable that the nations may not v ant to go to Geneva for renewal of the conference. They cer:?inly would not wish to go to Washington because a meeting there would be held under the wing of a great power. I would like to see Canada in a position to invite all the participants to come to Ottawa. We are peacekeepers. We are proud of this role. We had a great tradition in the days of Mr. Pearson when there was a crucial, troubled time in the Middle East and Canada was in the forefront. Perhaps an
objective Canada, unbiased, might be the scene of a renewed conference of Middle East states.
I was interested in what the minister had to say about South Africa. I am being careful not to be hostile, but I am a little troubled. I think it is sometimes dangerous to be too brittle in one's attitude toward these matters. I wonder if I were allowed a question a day by Mr. Speaker and if every day I brought up to the minister cases of a country in which human rights were being grossly violated, and asked if we were going to sever trade relations with it, how many days it would take and how much international trade we would have left. This is a very serious situation. If the minister wishes to read Amnesty International he will find there are a great many countries involved. But more serious than that and something which troubles me is that perhaps outside criticism makes it more difficult for the moderates within South Africa.
There are men of good will inside South Africa. There are moderates there, and the ganging up of the outside world has the inevitable result of making the extremists more popular in that country. That is a great danger with this sort of thing. We want to give room to the moderate men, to people of good will. There have been some forward steps taken in South Africa but no one ever mentions them. Their system, of course, is iniquitous, but do you bring improvements to the people one wants to help most by ringing them round with a circle of hostile criticism?
I am always a little ill at ease when I hear these criticisms of the majority at the United Nations. I am old enough to remember when majorities in the United Nations General Assembly were good things because they were nearly always controlled by the United States and they were nearly always from Latin America. So it was a great thing to be in the majority. I remember all the work which was done to bring that majority into play to create the State of Israel. But now majorities are considered bad. It is unwise for Canadians to get into that act as to whether a little state is as important as a big one. Does Canada say that being a small province is less valuable than being a big one? There are troubles when one gets into that seeming condescension of criticizing countries which are both small and non-white.
It is strange that there are certain occasions when the majority is damned, but when it comes to Africa we justify our actions by indicating that we are with the majority. An inconsistency such as that troubles me. If I had more time I would wax eloquently and logically as to where that will lead us.
The hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Sharp) is getting pretty senior around here, as 1 am. He spoke about the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence, of which I have long been a senior member. If I were in the United States Senate 1 would be referred to as a ranking member of that committee, and 1 would have a staff of 100 people. My long-ranking membership here seems to be of no
December 20, 1977
good, except that I am usually told, "You have said that before, Macquarrie".
I agree with what the hon. member said about the usefulness of Senate committees. Whether he is preaching for a call, or I am, I can only say that I have always felt that way about Senate committees. Their work in regard to the Commonwealth Caribbean was absolutely definitive, and they deserve great credit for it. The hon. member was somewhat unfair to our standing committees and to the hon. member for Saint-Denis (Mr. Prud'homme) when he suggested that they were not doing enough. Many months were spent on a very serious study concerning aid and development. The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona was very accurate when he commented on that. The hon. member was correct when he indicated that there is no proper term of reference; but that is not the fault of the committee, it is the fault of the government.
I am too young to be in my anecdotage, but when the Hon. Paul Martin was secretary of state for external affairs I was the spokesman for foreign policy on this side of the House. We agreed that the ministers' reports would be sent to committee. By doing that, we had an opportunity to examine any issue on the entire global surface of international relations. That should be done now. We need a broader term of reference.
I liked what the hon. member said about the non-partisan approach, but we should not bind ourselves to total non-partisanship. As St. Paul would say, there are times we in the opposition can "shew unto you a more excellent way," and therefore we have the right to disagree. When Canadians travel abroad, they do not kick around the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), nor the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Jamieson).
This has been a very excellent debate. If I had not had the guillotine put on me, I was intending to give an excellent lecture on Canada-United States relations. 1 hope to publish a paper on that soon, and I will send a copy to everyone.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS