House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

Point Of Order

10 a.m.

The Speaker

I am now ready to rule on the point of order raised by the hon. member for Kootenay East on June 12, 1996 concerning the placement under Private Members' Business of a motion for a free conference with the Senate.

I thank the hon. member for raising this matter and the chief government whip for his contribution to the discussion.

In his submission, the hon. member argued that because his motion seeking a free conference with the Senate on the accountability process for the main estimates dealt with the maintenance of the authority of the House on the management of its business, it should be considered under Motions, under the rubric Routine Proceedings, pursuant to Standing Order 67(1)(p). He also requested that this matter be dealt with expeditiously in light of the timelines established for the supply process. I have tried to accommodate his request.

I have examined the arguments and precedents and, in my opinion, there are two aspects to this point of order: the first, whether or not free conferences can be employed to deal with matters such as the one proposed by the hon. member and, second, under which heading on the Order Paper this motion should be dealt with by the House.

In a bicameral Parliament such as ours, the two Houses share in the making of legislation. Throughout the legislative process, the House of Commons and the Senate communicate with each other by means of messages. Historically, on occasions where the two Houses had reached an impasse on amendments to a bill, they had resorted to a free conference, a meeting of the representatives of the House and the Senate at which they attempt, through negotiation, to resolve their differences on the amendments in dispute.

In the Canadian context, free conferences have occurred only in relation to amendments to bills. Although the possibility of resolving conflict by means of a conference is provided for in our standing orders, it has not been used since 1947. As the hon. member acknowledged, Beachesne's sixth edition, citation 748 states in part:

Conferences between the Houses are now obsolete, since their main function, that of providing an occasion for communicating reasons for disagreement to amendments to bills, has been taken over by the modern practice of sending Messages.

In the present situation, in my view it is not for the Chair to decide whether or not a free conference is the appropriate mechanism to deal with the substance of the hon. member's notice of motion. The matter before the Chair is its placement on the Order Paper.

Over the years, various kinds of motions have been categorized and assigned their own place in the daily programme, including private members' motions, motions for leave to introduce bills, and motions to adjourn under Standing Order 52.

These categories have developed over a lengthy period of time in response to the need to adapt to the organization of House business. Some categories are now uniquely reserved for the government or the opposition, whereas others are reserved for private members and some very special categories are reserved for items which affect the transaction of the routine business of the House.

In addition, the kind of motions permissible under "Motions" has been narrowed to those that consist primarily of motions for concurrence in committee reports and motions relating to the sittings and proceedings of the House.

It has become the practice that when private members give written notice of motions pertaining to matters of the type described in Standing Order 67(1)(p), these motions are placed under the heading Private Members' Business on the Order Paper. These include motions seeking to amend the Standing Orders, providing orders of reference to committees of the House, arranging the

conduct or the management of House business or in some other way dealing with the parliamentary environment.

On many occasions where such motions as enumerated in Standing Order 67(1)(p) have been moved under Motions without notice, both ministers and private members have sought and been granted unanimous consent to do so. However, there are currently no other opportunities for private members to move motions during Routine Proceedings.

Therefore, the hon. member's notice of motion M-266 is properly placed on the Order Paper under Private Members' Business. I thank the hon. member for having brought this matter to the attention of the House.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions

Foreign Affairs
Routine Proceedings

June 18th, 1996 / 10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 1995 annual report on the export of military goods from Canada and a Canadian strategy document on reduction of military expenditures in developing countries.

Export Of Military Goods
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in 1992 I was a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs and Trade which issued a report on ways to improve Canada's control of the export of military goods and ways to diversify the defence industries and promote greater conservation toward civilian production. It was a good report and my colleagues on the committee worked hard to come up with realistic recommendations that would help move government policy forward in imaginative ways.

As the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I can say that a number of those recommendations are now being implemented. Not all of them, of course, in part because the international circumstances have changed; in part because there are limits to what any one country can do on its own.

I cite the work of the standing committee to underline a crucial point: this House has a real and irreplaceable role to play in the formulation of foreign policy. Parliament is able to consult with Canadians and draw together diverse views in a way that no other national institution can. It has an honourable tradition of public involvement and consciousness on leading issues, and has demonstrated an acute sense of how to promote, even provoke, new ideas.

I want to turn to Parliament once again. I want to present on the occasion of the tabling of the annual report on military exports the main features of our security policy. I encourage the Parliament to make new recommendations.

First I want to describe briefly the international context in which we operate, and give a sense of what Canada is now doing in the security field.

Canada has long put international security at the centre of foreign policy. In the years immediately following the second world war, General Andrew McNaughton led the movement to place atomic power under multilateral control, and to assure that atoms would be used for peaceful purposes.

In the 1960s, Tommy Burns was an inspiring force behind the drive to establish the international machinery for arms control and disarmament negotiations. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Pierre Trudeau led the call for nuclear sanity, including a proposal for a strategy of suffocation to halt the risk of nuclear proliferation.

In recent years, however, the focus has been changing, and changing in ways that enables Canadians to play to our unique national traditions, strengths and aspirations.

At the end of the cold war, the prospects of interstate conflict are diminishing rapidly. Instead, we are more concerned about conflict within states, that wreak havoc on domestic populations and occasionally threaten to spill over into neighbouring countries.

If internal conflict does erupt, as we have seen in Cambodia, Bosnia, Haiti and elsewhere, it can prove even more vicious and murderous than wars between states, and can have enormous destabilizing effects on global security.

When internal conflict finally does end, we still face enormous challenges of building the peace. A ceasefire between states is much easier to monitor and enforce than a cessation of hostilities within states. There is no clear border to separate belligerents, no clear difference between populations.

We must also deal with the new emerging security threats such as crimes of narco-trafficking, with environmental degradation and displaced populations. A recent round of UN conferences on habitat, social development, women's rights, etc., demonstrate that security of the individual is now a key element of any foreign policy.

New instruments are being developed requiring new forms of international co-operation. Last year, for example, Canada chaired a meeting of G-7 ministers to improve our efforts to combat terrorism. Our police forces are working more and more closely with our counterparts throughout the world to address the serious problem of ruthless criminal organizations.

Similarly, we know that democracy, responsible government and respect for human rights are fundamental building blocks of durable stability and security. But our support for these principles should not take the form of hectoring from the sidelines.

Therefore, we are working with countries-with their governments, their non-governmental organizations, their citizens-to build vital, civil institutions that promote human rights and democracy.

The Dayton accords reflect this approach. Canada played an active role in supporting the human rights elements of these accords and is strongly committed to continue providing resources to this end.

Prevention of conflict is always the preferred option, but sometimes there is no stopping the slide into war. What do we do then? Peacekeeping has been a major achievement of the last 40 years, but in more and more cases the traditional forms of peacekeeping do not apply. International military units have been used in recent years to help deliver humanitarian aid in the middle of war. They are being used to enforce the peace, as NATO is doing in Bosnia.

Canada is responding to new forms of conflict in new and, we hope, more effective ways. For example, we believe that the early and rapid deployment of well-trained UN forces can help smother emerging conflict before it flames out of control. We have established a training centre at Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. Our soldiers are training their counterparts in Asia, Latin America, eastern Europe and elsewhere in the techniques of peacekeeping and we have seen in the last few years that these new peacekeepers are increasingly making a major difference.

We also prepared a major study involving experts from Canada and around the world on how to improve the UN's capacity to get peacekeepers in the field much more rapidly. We have a series of practical, affordable recommendations which we are now developing at the United Nations.

A third focus is peacebuilding. We know that it is not enough to simply stop the war. We must also build the peace. What Canada is doing in Haiti is a good example. There, we are working with the local government to build political and civil institutions that can address the needs of the Haitian people. Police from the RCMP and the Sûreté du Québec are training up a new Haitian police force.

We know that hate messages can poison a population and make peace impossible. Therefore Canada recently launched an initiative in Europe to promote free, democratic media as a counter to the kind of distortions that helped trigger the war in the former Yugoslavia. We are beginning to look at broad issues of how the new information technologies and our high level of skills in broadcasting can become an effective role and tool of our foreign policy.

These three strands of conflict prevention, rapid response and reconstruction and peace building are distinct, but they do reinforce each other. They have to be drawn together into an effective approach to conflict. Our resources are finite. Choices have to be made about what we can do best. This is an area where the views of Parliament are most welcome and necessary.

Even as we make these changes we are still faced with a world arms production still standing at almost $200 billion per year. Granted, there has been progress in recent years in reducing nuclear weapons through the START process. The steep cuts to the arsenals of the former Soviet Union and the United States are welcome.

We now face the prospect of growing nuclear and in most cases chemical and biological capacity in other states, particularly the so-called rogue nations which recognize no international norms and rules. This represents a very serious threat to our security. For this reason the extension of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was crucial. The indefinite extension of the NPT was seen as virtually unachievable a few years ago, yet with determined effort in east-west co-operation we made it happen.

At the extension conference last year Canada played a central role in drafting a Declaration of Principles and Objectives and a Declaration of Enhanced Reviews that broke the logjam and made success possible. The latter is of great significance because it pledges all signatories to review every five years. Preparations for each meeting will take several years and that is the time to get our

ideas into play. Again, I would consider that Parliament has a major role to play.

We need new approaches to those regions where proliferation risks are the highest. Members of Parliament will remember only a few years ago the great anxiety about the future of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. After some initial hesitation the Ukraine government realized that nuclear weapons were an obstacle rather than an entry card into the wide community and today Ukraine is free of nuclear weapons. It is also the beneficiary of considerable financial help. This year under Canadian chairmanship the G-7 concluded an agreement with Ukraine to shut down the Chernobyl reactor.

We have to consolidate the gains of recent years in reducing nuclear weapons. One major problem is what to do with the nuclear weapons grade plutonium which has accumulated from the destruction of existing weapons in the United States and Russia. At the nuclear summit in Moscow our Prime Minister announced that Canada is prepared to consider converting some of this material into nuclear power generation in Canada.

Our offer is contingent of course on whether the program can meet strict security and environmental standards. If we go ahead the program would substantially reduce the stockpile of weapons grade material that can find its way into countries bent on illicit nuclear weapons production.

Equally important for attaining security against non-proliferation is a need to sign a comprehensive test ban treaty by this fall. The Canadian role has been important both in pushing for the treaty at Geneva and in providing the scientific work needed for verification.

Weapons of mass destruction raise the most serious questions about the future of our planet, but we must never forget that conventional weapons are the ones that still do the killing in the conflicts that have raged over the last several years. To limit them is even more complex than in the nuclear, chemical or biological fields. In this area the end of the cold war may only have made matters worse. There is an excessive supply: weapons made redundant by the end of the east-west competition find their way cheaply into third world countries. There is a heightened demand for high tech weapons. Countries that once looked to one or the other superpowers now feel obliged to protect themselves.

There has been some modest progress but the emphasis is on modest. The UN register of conventional weapons is a useful tool. However there are loopholes and real problems of voluntary compliance. We as Canadians are now working to improve it, but progress unfortunately will be slow.

More optimistically, there are promising signs of the emergence of new world co-operation and co-ordination regarding the control of conventional arms and dual-use exports. For decades a NATO led organization called COCOM established tough barriers to cover the flow of weapons. The cold war is over and the Russian federation and former Warsaw pact members in eastern Europe are now just as concerned about the destabilizing weapons programs of rogue states as we are.

Last December Canada, its former COCOM partners, as well as its former Warsaw pact adversaries joined forces to announce a new regime, the Wassenaar arrangement, to promote greater transparency and responsibility in global arms and dual-use trade.

Canada is also leading international efforts that could result in a global ban on anti-personnel mines. Justified as legitimate weapons of war a few years ago, we have seen recently how these terrible devices have become instruments of terror against civilians.

On January 17, we announced a moratorium on the production, export and operational use of antipersonnel mines. This provided a dramatic push to international efforts. A year ago we were a mere handful of hopeful countries and now, a large network of countries are thinking along the same lines as Canada.

Along with Canada, 35 countries, including the U.S.A., Germany and South Africa, have now declared their commitment to work for a total ban. Last month, during his visit to Ottawa, Foreign Minister Kinkel of Germany agreed to work closely with Canada on winning international support for a ban. The Mexican Foreign Minister did the same.

We have also the commitment of the Central American presidents. Furthermore, we are working in NATO, in ASEAN and in consultation with our G-7 partners.

This coming fall we will break new ground by hosting an international strategy session in Canada to reinforce work on securing a ban. We are now mobilizing support for a UN resolution at the general assembly.

We accept that countries have the right to self-defence, to maintain militaries and to arm those militaries in a manner consistent with their legitimate defence needs. Aside from the so-called rogue states that have removed themselves from all reasonable international standards of behaviour, there are still others whose weapons procurement appear to go well beyond the limits of actual need. The question is: What is legitimate and what levels of power, sophistication and expense are warranted?

This is particularly worrying in developing countries that divert scarce resources from economic development toward military

build-up. Do aid flows free up money so that governments can spend their domestically generated funds on weapons? Or, if aid funds were held back, would these governments spend their money on weapons anyway?

The relation between aid policy and military in recipient countries is now a matter of priority for Canadians. Canada has taken a leading role internationally in garnering support for further study and concrete action. Canada raises the issue consistently in international fora such as the World Bank and the IMF, and has formed a group of like-minded countries who meet regularly to define innovative ways to target development co-operation efforts in this regard.

At the G-7 summit in Halifax last year, G-7 ministers adopted Canada's proposal to urge multilateral development banks to take account of military spending. Recently we have proposed that the OECD conduct a series of case studies on this subject. Today I tabled a strategy paper and I hope it will be the source of major debate in this Parliament.

To reinforce our commitment on conventional arms control we need to look continuously at our record. Export controls are the most important tool in limiting military exports and most responsible countries have them in one form or another.

Canada's controls are among the toughest in the world, but I intend to tighten them further to ensure as far as possible that our exports do not end up in the wrong hands or end up being used for unacceptable purposes. I have instructed my officials in the following way: to carry out more rigorous analyses of the regional, international and internal security situations in destination countries to forestall the possible destabilizing effects of proposed sales; to apply a stricter interpretation of human rights criteria, including increasing our requirements for end user certificates and other end use assurances to further minimize the risk that Canadian military equipment might be used against civilians; and to exercise the strictest controls over the export of firearms and other potentially lethal weapons to satisfy me that gun control laws and practices in recipient countries are adequate to ensure that Canadian firearms do not find their way into illicit arms trade nor fuel local violence.

Today I have tabled the sixth annual report on Canada's military exports. I am pleased to report that military exports decreased 12 per cent in 1995 and remain low as far as lower income developing countries are concerned.

I want to make Canada an even more responsible player in the global military goods market and I want Canada to continue to play a leadership role in the multilateral Wassenaar arrangement. Again I would invite Parliament to take an active interest in defining this role.

I have talked today about the ways our foreign policy is being refashioned around the new security policy principles and objectives. I am confident we are on the right track but I want to make sure we continue to move ahead, to look to the future by building on our solid foundations.

I mentioned earlier the work of Generals MacNaughton and Burns and of former Prime Minister Trudeau to bring some sanity to the world, to reverse the rush toward greater and more destructive weapons. At that time many mocked their efforts as idealistic dreams or worse. Today their ideas are commonplace, the starting point for current discussions. I hope parliamentarians will join us in this search.

Export Of Military Goods
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak about Canada's security policy, more specifically about the tabling of the sixth annual report on the export of Canadian military goods.

However, before I get to this last topic, I would like, first of all, to say a few words about the extremely cavalier manner in which this government, and more specifically the Department of Foreign Affairs, have acted, given the circumstances surrounding this debate.

Once again, the opposition parties and the official opposition to which I belong were not advised until the very last minute that a debate on Canada's security policy had been scheduled in the House. In light of this fact, it is extremely difficult for our political party and for the other parties represented in the House to perform their duties properly since we cannot prepare ourselves in advance. If the minister truly wants thoughtful, cohesive and lively debates to take place in this House, then he must give parliamentarians sufficient time to prepare themselves.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened in the case of the debate on renewing the mandate of Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia. There again, the government failed to notify the opposition parties or the official opposition until the very last minute, despite the fact that this was a matter of utmost importance. Indeed, the debate centred on whether or not the government should renew the mandate of our peacekeeping forces stationed in a hostile theatre of operations. We deplore the attitude taken by the government here, as it does not appear to have learned anything from that unfortunate incident.

The situation is even more regrettable given that the new Minister of Foreign Affairs had shown some sensitivity and openness toward opposition members by giving them adequate time to prepare for the debate on Canada's peacekeeping mission in Haiti. In addition to notifying us in advance of the debate and of the motion to be debated, the minister invited us to attend a briefing on the subject and gave us more than enough advance notice. It would

now appear that this was nothing more than a chance occurrence on the part of this government and that improvisation has now become once again the order of the day.

I must also deplore the fact that the government is asking us to speak about an annual report on which we have yet to lay our eyes. How can we properly comment on a report which only the minister and his officials have seen? The official opposition has an important role to play in a democracy. However, it must be allowed to properly assume this role. Unfortunately, we see that once again, the government was unwilling to or did not take the necessary steps to allow us to properly take on our role. Otherwise, it would have given us the chance to read and comment in advance on the report on the export of Canadian military goods. Is this not what we are doing here in the House today?

Furthermore, the minister even took the liberty of giving the National Press Club of Canada a sneak preview of his speech earlier this morning, before the House even had a chance to hear it. What a paradoxical attitude to have toward Parliament, an institution that the minister professes to respect and whose opinions he claims to value.

However, I cannot remain silent when our work is made even more challenging by virtue of the fact that the federal government, which prides itself on being the champion of official bilingualism, displays shocking arrogance by sending us the foreign affairs minister's speech in English only. This reflects a blatant lack of respect for my political party as well as for all francophone parliamentarians in the House. The message the federal government has conveyed to the francophone population is therefore one of contempt.

I demand that the minister give us his assurances that this intolerable situation will not occur again in future.

Regarding the sale of Canadian military goods abroad, it should be noted that in 1994, sales to third world countries increased by 40 per cent, setting a new record. In fact, sales to developing countries rose from $242.2 million 1993 to $342.6 million in 1994, an increase of over $100 million.

Canada managed to increase its share of the market at a time when other global arms suppliers were experiencing a general decline in sales. It will be interesting to see whether Canadian arms sales to developing countries will have registered another increase in 1995.

Yet, the minister mentioned in his speech that exports of Canadian military goods had declined by 12 per cent in 1995. Despite the decrease, sales of arms and of Canadian military goods to developing countries remain very strong.

In fact, they remain so strong that the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the leading authority on the transfer of conventional arms to developing countries, ranks Canada seventh among all third world arms suppliers for the years 1991 to 1994. This agency estimates that Canadian arms sales to developing countries totalled $800 million over this four year period.

Moreover, it should also be noted that in 1994, Canada sold some of these military goods to countries with repressive regimes guilty of systematic human rights violations. Unfortunately, this is happening despite government guidelines aimed at curbing exports of this nature. The government was either unable or unwilling to stop the sale of military goods to these countries.

How can the Minister of Foreign Affairs be proud to announce to us that Canadian arms sales declined by 12 per cent this year, when the 1994 annual report on the export of military goods shows an increase of 48 per cent over the previous year? This means that, compared to 1993, Canadian arms sales are up 36 per cent. Those are the real figures.

The Bloc Quebecois is not opposed to trade. Quite the contrary, in fact. However, when it comes to arms sales, we believe that we must remain vigilant in the face of the Liberal government's choices.

In this case, we know for a fact that military goods produced in Canada are not always used advisedly. For example, in 1994 Canada sold $1.2 million worth of arms to Indonesia. Yet, we know that this country has been illegally occupying East Timor for the past 20 years and has been responsible for over 200,000 deaths, according to Amnesty International.

How can we believe that the goods produced here were not used to put down this country's population? How can the minister claim that he is toughening his criteria in order to draw up a list of countries that can purchase arms from Canada? What the minister is not saying is that arms sales to Thailand increased from $620,000 in 1993 to $20.621 million in 1994.

Nonetheless, it is ironic to hear the Minister of Foreign Affairs give us an overview of his government's record of arms sales to foreign countries, when as recently as last year, this same government was seriously negotiating the sale of its fleet of 63 CF-5 fighter aircraft to Turkey.

I even put a question about this issue to the minister of defence in March 1995. Need we remind the House that the Turkish air force and artillery were pounding civilian Kurds in northern Iraq at that very moment?

Even though Canada ultimately sold 13 of its fighter aircraft to Botswana, the mere fact that it even dared to negotiate the sale with

Turkey is reprehensible. There was reason to be concerned that these fighter aircraft would be used to bomb civilian targets. The Bloc Quebecois refuses to compromise where this issue is concerned.

The minister also talked about antipersonnel mines. I would simply remind the House that the Bloc Quebecois members have expressed only partial satisfaction with the announced moratorium on the production, export and operational use of antipersonnel land mines.

Admittedly, the moratorium is a step in the right direction. However, in our view, the government missed a golden opportunity to show some leadership by refusing to destroy its own stocks of land mines.

The Bloc Quebecois believes that Canada should take the lead in destroying these weapons.

Nevertheless, I do want to say that the Bloc Quebecois wholeheartedly supports Canada's participation in UN mine clearing operations in many countries. Canada must spare no effort to help toughen up the restrictions on the use of land mines, until such time as these are completely eliminated from the world's arsenal of weapons.

On the subject of arms exports, I would like to remind the Minister of Foreign Affairs of his government's profligate spending on arms, particularly at a time when it has no qualms whatsoever about slashing blindly at the expense of most disadvantaged of all to make up part of its annual financial deficit.

Simply as an example, consider the defence department's recent decision to purchase 1,600 new anti-tank missiles at a cost of $23.6 million. This brings the total cost of the procurement program to over $230 million.

One has to wonder what the army did with the first 4,500 missiles it ordered in 1993. Why did the government order an additional 1,600 missiles when it never really had any use for the ones it ordered in the first place?

I can understand that we need to be prepared, just in case. However, I would remind the minister that it is time for his government to stop imagining enemies hiding behind every bush, to stop making preparations for war and to put a end to costly and unjustified large-scale procurement programs.

This government's stubborn insistence on purchasing new submarines, the usefulness of which has never been proven, speaks volumes about its logic.

On the one hand, the government is quick to purchase useless military toys while on the other hand, because of cutbacks, the level of government assistance to the poorest nations will be the lowest it has been in nearly 30 years.

An OECD report released in Paris yesterday shows that the level of official development assistance fell by 7 per cent last year in Canada to .39 per cent of GNP, whereas internationally, the level was .7 per cent of GNP.

Canada's contribution has not been so paltry since 1969. This is deplorable.

In conclusion, it is my hope that the new guidelines announced by the minister this morning for the export of military goods will be applied much more stringently and consistently, something which we have grown accustomed to since the government took over the reins of office.

Export Of Military Goods
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the minister's statement. As it was very extensive and as I have received it only recently, I will not comment on everything but I will focus on a few of the most important issues dealt with in the statement.

I share the minister's opinion that conflict within states constitutes the major security threat in the coming decade. Our recent experience in Bosnia, Rwanda and Haiti bear this out.

Unfortunately the UN has been woefully inadequate in dealing with such conflicts and an increasing burden has been placed on countries like Canada to intervene on their own to save the day. This is not acceptable.

The UN must undergo a fundamental restructuring and reform from top to bottom over the next few years, not decades, if this trend is to be reversed. As it stands now there is little political support for the UN on many occasions and even less financial support.

It could easily be argued the UN is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. This will continue if countries like Canada do not lay down the law at the UN and bring about a fundamental reform.

We can be leaders in the area of fulfilling this role. I firmly believe the security of the entire world depends on our creating that reform within the UN or a similar agency. It is necessary. We need a leader and I think Canada could fill that role very well.

There is more to the problems of international conflict resolution than the UN. It can be traced to this Parliament. We all acknowledge peacekeeping is one of Canada's great contributions to building world peace, but look at how Parliament deals with the peacekeeping issue.

We have in the past held sham debates with inadequate information about the mission and no votes. How can the minister argue he really cares about the opinion of Parliament when mission after mission this continues to happen?

It happened repeatedly with the Bosnia mission where there was a totally inadequate mandate and no long term plan. Now it appears it could be happening with Haiti.

The minister well knows the mandate for the Haiti mission expires at the end of the June, but we still have no long term plan. Canada has not established clear criteria or conditions under which we are prepared to continue with this mission. Once again the minister is getting ready to sign a blank cheque to continue the Haiti mission.

Does the minister really think this kind of nonsense is acceptable? Helping Haiti is a worthy cause but there has to be a plan. There has to be broad based international support including financial support. There have to be clear criteria for Canadian participation and there has to be a reasonable chance of success in an acceptable timeframe.

Yet Parliament has heard nothing about these things. There has been no information. The UN is still floundering around in typical fashion and I do not think this bodes well for the future of the mission, regardless of the good intentions of Canada and the very commendable work of our soldiers and RCMP and other police forces and the hardships they have had to endure in Haiti.

Moving on to another topic, I would like to talk about combating terrorism. Reform fully supports the government in this effort and we encourage the minister to take bold steps to cut off any terrorist funding flowing from Canada. In addition, we want to see quick progress in international co-operation to punish terrorists who use borders as shields against justice.

On human rights and democratic development, I agree that isolation and hectoring, to quote the minister, is not productive. We must assist in the building of institutions which support human rights and democratic development throughout the world. This is in our interests and this is what Canadians would want us to do.

With respect to the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Reform agrees this is an urgent problem. That is why we firmly supported the government in its efforts to indefinitely extend the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. That is also why we have repeatedly urged the government to take all steps to ensure the comprehensive test ban treaty is signed as quickly as possible. We particularly refer to China which we hope will very soon become a signatory.

The minister's statement also mentioned anti-personnel land mines which should be banned worldwide. He stated how on January 17 of this year the government announced a moratorium on the production, export and operational use of these weapons. I guess the minister forgot to mention that it was Reform that first proposed this long before the government ever got around to doing it.

I congratulate the Reform member for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca who has worked diligently on this topic and who introduced a private member's bill to deal with this issue last year.

On the minister's proposal for tightening conventional arms control, Reform broadly supports this concept. However, we wish to examine the details of the plan before we would comment further.

There are many areas of security policy on which I believe there is a broad consensus between parties. However, we need action, not just endless words.

On the issue of handing over blank cheques to the UN and blindly supporting peacekeeping missions, the government needs to rethink its approach. Reform has frequently commented on these issues and I know the minister privately agrees with much of what we have to say.

It is up to him to assume responsibility for correcting these problems and he should do so without delay.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 22nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs in relation to its order of reference from the House on the matter of the communiqué published by the hon. member for Charlesbourg on October 26, 1995 concerning the members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The issue before the committee was a narrow one: Does the communiqué from the hon. member for Charlesbourg constitute a contempt of the House of Commons? The committee came to the conclusion that the hon. member's actions were irresponsible. The committee cannot find reasonable grounds to show that he was in contempt of the House or that a breach of parliamentary privilege had occurred.

The committee does not countenance the actions of the hon. member for Charlesbourg in sending out the communiqué in the terms it was, nor does it feel that the hon. member for Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt was acting in an entirely non-partisan way in raising the matter as a question of privilege when he did.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak at this stage to give some explanation as to the reason for the Bloc Quebecois's dissident report on the whole issue examined by this special committee.

We, the Bloc MPs, have come to the rather easy conclusion that silence gives consent. That is exactly what the Liberals have done in this totally insipid report, in spite of everything the committee heard and mostly did not hear concerning the extremely serious and precise accusations made by a Reform member of Parliament against my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg. During the three months of hearings held on the accusation of insurgency, no proof was submitted. The Liberals came up with this cowardly report and we would be their accomplices if we did not speak up.

When reading the Bloc's dissident report, you will see that, unlike the Liberals' report, it is truly honest.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, as would be expected, the Reform Party also tabled a dissenting report to what amounted to a Liberal opinion from the committee.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member is aware, I believe, that he will need unanimous consent in order to make a similar statement as was made by the previous member.

Is there unanimous consent?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is not unanimous consent. Accordingly, the Reform Party is not permitted to make a dissenting opinion in the House today.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Sheila Finestone Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

In accordance with its mandate and under Standing Order 108(3)(c), the committee has considered the upcoming 50th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The committee has requested that the government provide a comprehensive report to the recommendations found in this report pursuant to Standing Order 109.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act
Routine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Portage—Interlake
Manitoba

Liberal

Jon Gerrard for the Solicitor General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-52, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Prisons And Reformatories Act
Routine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Portage—Interlake
Manitoba

Liberal

Jon Gerrard for Solicitor General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-53, an act to amend the prisons and reformatories act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)