Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I think the direction in which he is looking is spot on.
I have no particular knowledge of Somalia but I would like to speak about a roughly similar example, El Salvador. I visited it in January and several times before. Guatemala is another example.
The United Nations has gone far beyond peacekeeping in El Salvador. It has helped to monitor a cease-fire in which not one shot was fired on the combatants in a year, which is remarkable. It then supervised and validated about a year of negotiations for the peace accord, signed in the presence of the outgoing Secretary General of the United Nations. He would not let them go until they had finished the job of signing it.
Under his successor, the United Nations with strong Canadian participation has remained present in El Salvador. It is now committed to remaining until at least a month after the elections which will be held in early 1994. That will ensure, as far as international action can, the peace accords, the economic rearrangements, the human rights rearrangements, the juridical rearrangements and to cap it all off, a peaceful, clean election in March of 1994. The United Nations has committed itself to that.
There was precedent for that when the Government of Nicaragua invited the United Nations into its election. It is not the same in Somalia because it is not a state, so I am told, because it was destroyed. I think that kind of peaceful intervention by the United Nations is likely to be far more productive for all concerned than leaving it until there has to be shooting and bombing to resolve a situation that was allowed to go too far.
Mr. Ken Janies (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs) Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak on the opposition motion as presented.
I want to address the claims by the opposition that members of the Canadian forces who are now on peacekeeping missions around the world have been somewhat exposed or would be exposed to some sort of vulnerability. I think that is of concern and it is important to talk about it.
The situation, of course, is dangerous. It is obvious to anyone who watches TV or reads a paper that our peacekeepers are exposed to certain dangers. To wantonly question the efforts of the men and women of the Canadian forces when they really need unity and support is on the edge of being shameless and is a concern of mine.
Before moving to the actual situation on the ground in former Yugoslavia I want to first outline for the House how the men and women of the Armed Forces are prepared for peacekeeping. I think the member for Trinity-Spadina had some concern about how we should be preparing our peacekeepers and it is important to speak to that.
There is a false impression in some quarters by other people, not the hon. member, that we can simply walk in off the street and become peacekeepers by donning berets. Of course this is not possible.
The general purpose combat skills of the Canadian forces have become more and more essential for most of the personnel we are deploying, especially those who are going to the Balkans. Not surprisingly it has been said that peacekeeping is not a job for a soldier but it is a job only a soldier can do. This is only too valid a point today.
In fact on the basis of 44 years experience on five continents the Department of National Defence rightly believes that the best peacekeeper is a well-trained soldier, sailor, or aviator who knows his or her trade.
The suggestion that the government would recklessly send a poorly trained or improperly equipped contingent
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on any mission around the world is absolute nonsense. If everyone here really thinks about it they know that.
The basic military training of our forces training for the defence of Canada or to meet the collective security obligations is the source of their flexibility, their ability to respond to critical situations and of course their discipline. These are all key attributes required for peacekeeping.
I should not go further without taking the opportunity to talk about training because the hon. member for Trinity-Spadina has concerns about that. Members of the Canadian forces believe it is the training they get that makes them the kind of peacekeepers they are.
To ensure that high quality training the Armed Forces continually evaluates the methods the hon. member was concerned about and makes needed improvements as a matter of course. Some studies have identified the need for specialized training focusing on environmental, cultural and administrative preparation. Such training is decentralized and normally tailored to the very specific missions that our peacekeepers are going on.
For example a battalion selected for duty receives mission oriented training at home and before departure. Officers to be posted as UN military observers normally receive eight days training to prepare for their duties. There is a concern about training and the hon. member is certainly right in that we do constantly train. As the hon. member mentioned there must be a kind of flexibility so we can adjust to changing times.
Even the United Nations regards basic military training as a source of many of the skills required for peacekeeping. I do not want to suggest that there is not some concern about how those in the military who are fighters become peacekeepers. They are certainly trained to be flexible and there are training schools to do all that.
The Department of National Defence also endeavours to work with, receive information from and dialogue with the United Nations with regard to training.
There is a one week indoctrination and training process conducted at CFB Montreal every quarter for all those who are designated to serve in places like the Golan Heights and Syria.
An eight day training program is held once a year at CFB Montreal for the officers warned of possible postings to existing missions as military observers. There is a three day intensive training session which is held at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa for officers warned of immediate departure for peacekeeping operations.
Obviously, training of Canadian forces for peacekeeping is appropriate for the tasks at hand. This has been borne out by the fact that for more than four decades
90,000 Canadian men and women have been involved in keeping the peace around the world and less than 90 personnel have lost their lives. Certainly the record has been excellent. We have a tremendous reputation and considering the number of people, over 90,000 men and women, who have been involved in peacekeeping it is quite a record.
The Canadian peacekeeping experience is the collective result of our people and our Canadian forces being involved in patrols along the green line in Nicosia, clearing mines in the sands of Kuwait and patrols in the jungles of Indo-China. It is an experience which is sought after by a growing number of United Nations member states.
It is not surprising that Canada is asked to share its peacekeeping experience with other nations and has provided briefing teams. The success of our peacekeeping abilities has been noted by other countries. Canada has provided briefing teams to more than 20 different countries around the world. Members of the Canadian forces returned just late last week from such briefings in Egypt and Pakistan. We are helping other countries around the world.
Canada is a respected member of the international community and it is one of the reasons why we are always being approached by the United Nations to provide our experience and our excellence to peacekeeping missions. Other countries know this and are eager to know what makes Canada and Canadians such able peacekeepers.
Time and time again they are told that it is basic training as the hon. member from Spadina stated. It is discipline, combat skills, suitable equipment, good communications and able logistic support. All those things are part and parcel of the success of our forces.
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These qualities of course are also why we are approached by both the European Community and the United Nations to provide personnel for the international efforts to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia. In fact Canada was among the first to call for international action to resolve the crisis. Canada took its place among the members of the international community and agreed to do what it could to help end this horrible conflict.
Even though experienced peacekeeping personnel were required in the former Yugoslavia, the government carefully considered the conflict in light of the criteria or guidelines which have evolved in Canada to assist the government in deciding whether or not Canada should participate in peacekeeping missions.
Besides the training and military aspects I think the opposition will be reassured to know there are also important criteria that are considered before deciding whether we will go with the mission or not.
While these criteria are clearly not absolute they have served Canada well and include a number of areas. There must be a threat to the international peace and security of the country. The mission must be linked to efforts to obtain political settlement. The mission must have a clear and enforceable mandate. There should be agreement by the principal antagonists to the presence of Canadian troops to a peacekeeping mission.
The mission must have a clearly defined concept of operations and an appropriate command and control structure. The size, equipment and international composition of the forces must be appropriate to the mandate. The mission must have an appropriate logistics concept to support the force. The mission should be accountable to a single identifiable authority competent to support the operation. The mission must have an appropriate funding arrangement. The mission must have clear rules of engagement. The risk to Canadian forces personnel must be acceptable. The mission should not jeopardize other Canadian forces missions.
There is a good long list of very important points in the criteria of making the determination to be involved.
It was only after considering all the implications that the decision was made to join the international efforts to bring a measure of peace and security to the Balkans. I am sure all members of the House will agree that we as Canadians should not condemn the brave men and women of the Canadian forces who are in the former Yugoslavia for trying their hardest in other places in the world to help.
Many Canadians, indeed several members of Parliament, have asked why Canada has even become involved in efforts to bring peace to other parts of the world. The answer is simple. Successive Canadian governments have argued that a safer, more secure international environment is key to Canada's continued security and prosperity-
That is why in addition to defence and collective security, and efforts to promote arms control and disarmament, the peaceful resolution of disputes has remained one of the key pillars of the Canadian defence policy.
That is why Canada is a strong supporter of peacekeeping and related operations. We are concerned with threats to the larger international community which might occur as a result of spill-over from more localized conflicts causing us a great international problem.
Some 4,300 Canadian forces personnel are now participating in more than a dozen peacekeeping and related missions world-wide including the European Community modem mission and the United Nations protection forces, both of which are now operating in the Balkans.
As we all know Canada is currently making a significant contribution to the ongoing international efforts to bring peace and security to the region by contributing more than 2,100 members of the forces to these two countries.
Mr. Speaker, I want you and all Canadians to know how very proud I am of our Canadian forces military personnel in the work that they are doing throughout the world. I am very pleased that we as a government are in total support of them wherever they have been as in so many key parts and countries of the world as they are today. Also as a government we are firmly convinced and behind them supporting them in the kind of equipment they need.
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The other thing those peacekeepers, the military and Canadian forces need to know is that they are solidly supported by Canadians, by the people back home when they are doing this work. Yes, they go into this line of work knowing they are going to be in dangerous positions, but they want to know that we are going to continually provide the best in equipment for them. Really what they would like to be provided with is solid support by their people back home.
Our government and I totally support them in their endeavours. Trying situations and problems arise sometimes but with the number of people we have sent abroad, the number who have remained unmaimed or unhurt and have contributed so greatly to the world, I applaud them and I applaud our government for the total support shown to our Canadian forces.
Mr. Bill Domm (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister
for Science): Mr. Speaker, one thing I have noticed over the past few weeks in the House of Commons, is there has been a great deal of concern expressed by opposition members over the acquisition of equipment. In fact, I think that probably motivates part of their motion today which talks about the acquisition of enormously expensive equipment designed for missions no longer contemplated.
I would like to speak just for a moment on Ontario's position on the acquisition of these EH-101 helicopters. The industrial benefits to Canada with this acquisition will total 113 per cent of the purchase price of the EH-lOls. This means more money will flow into Canada over the lifetime of this project than the Canadian government will spend on the purchase of the EH-lOls.
Let us take Ontario as an example. I am quite impressed with the job creation this will afford us. Ontario will receive 27 per cent of the total industrial benefits from this national program. Among those companies from Ontario that will benefit from the program are Fleet Industries of Fort Erie, West Heights of Kitchener and Spar Aerospace of Toronto.
Including the helicopter's electronic systems more than 50 per cent of the Canadian aircraft's components will be made in Canada. Thirteen major components of
the EH-101 helicopter will be built in Canada. More than 10 per cent of every EH-101 sold world-wide will be Canadian made.
We have the frigates. We have the aircraft. Now we are going to get the kind of equipment we need. It does represent a commitment over a 10 or 13-year period of some one point so many billion dollars a year, but it is within the framework of the budget. It is in the restraint cutbacks given to the defence department to spend. It is the choice not only of the chief of staff and all his people but it is also the choice of cabinet that in order to complete the frigate program and give added safety to our shore patrol we need this to couple with the frigate to do the kinds of missions needed.
I wonder how the member feels about the acquisition of this equipment and the jobs that it might mean in his area.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-NATIONAL DEFENCE