Mr. Roland de Corneille (Eglinton-Lawrence):
Mr. Speaker, ten days ago I addressed a question to the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Miss MacDonald) concerning the meeting held by the Hon. Robert Stanfield with a representative of PLO terrorists. Specifically I asked whether Mr. Stanfield has held any public or clandestine meetings and, if so, had Mr. Stanfield discussed with that terrorist organization any subject other than, or in addition to, the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and further had Mr. COMMONS DEBATES
October 29, 1979
Stanfield made any undertakings to continue further contacts with the PLO.
1 do appreciate the opportunity that is afforded in this House to a member to be able to press for an answer to a question which a member feels was not answered during question period.
To set the record straight, it would be unfair for me to imply or allege that the hon. minister did not reply at all, but the answer was not given to my question. My question was not frivolous, and certainly not deserving of delay. It deals with a matter of grave consequences, consequences meaning that Canada may be giving tacit de facto recognition or encouragement to the PLO, which has, as we know, been involved in terrorist activites, killing not only Jewish but Arab civilians, men, women and children in Israel and in many other parts of the world. It also seeks to obliterate the existence of the state of Israel and indirectly some, or even many members of its population.
Let me point out why it is so serious, important and urgent that a reply to my question be given to this House and to the entire country. What perhaps is at stake is our national honour, the imperilling of the peace process in the Middle East, the possibility of alienating friends such as the United States of America, Israel, and others in the international community, and of giving comfort, therefore, encouragement to the PLO terrorists-a totally immoral act for Canada and an unfriendly one toward the friendly state of Israel.
In short, I would still like to know the answer to my question. The implications are even more grave as the truth unravels. First of all, what rank and authority is Mr. Stanfield perceived by other governments to have? We were told here by the Prime Minister (Mr. Clark) on October 12 that Mr. Stanfield is an ambassador extraordinary, and that because of the adjective extraordinary there can be, and I quote, "no implication of official recognition by the Canadian government of any groups with which he may have consultations." Yet today the Prime Minister tabled a letter from Mr. Stanfield to the Prime Minister on official stationery which describes Mr. Stanfield as, and I quote, "Special Representative of the Government of Canada, and Ambassador at Large." Those are very imposing and impressive titles when added up: ambassador extraordinary, special representative of the Government of Canada, and ambassador at large.
I wonder whether in the eyes of governments which are used to these terms as they have been undertsood in international law or customs over the centuries, it is now realized that a new dictionnary has been written by our Prime Minister giving a new definition to those terms.
Mr. Stanfield met with Khalid al-Fahum, chairman of the Palestine National Council, the PLO's governing body, and a member of the PLO executive committee.
It has been claimed that this meeting between Mr. Stanfield and Mr. al-Fahum does not constitute recognition of the PLO by Canada. Arab diplomats and the PLO, however, can easily
interpret such meetings as constituting a form of recognition of the terrorist organization which remains committed to Israel's ultimate destruction. The PLO's covenant, which has not been renounced, calls for the elimination of Israel. More recent statements by the PLO leaders, including the PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, belie any intention on the part of that body to recognize Israel or to change its goal of its destruction.
I have in my file recent statements by Mr. Arafat, and I quote:
Armed struggle is our only road. We have no other road to reach Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and every inch of our occupied homeland.
Our people will continue to fuel the torch of the revolution with rivers of blood until the whole of the occupied homeland is liberated ... not just a part of it.
I am confident that we shall eventually overrun Begin's own offices in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv ... Jerusalem is destined to be the eternal capital of our sovereign independent Palestinian state under the PLO leadership.
Mr. Arafat is not referring only to the "liberation" of the West Bank and Gaza. He refers to the entire state of Israel.
A few weeks ago, Farouk Kaddoumi, director of the PLO political department said; "The PLO will never recognize Israel even if Israel recognizes the PLO" Given such a policy, it seems difficult to comprehend why Mr. Stanfield found it necessary or useful to meet with the PLO's representative. The PLO's vision of peace does not include a state of Israel in the Middle East.
Topic: PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS-MEETING OF HON. ROBERT STANFIELD WITH PLO