House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not know if there was a question in there. All I can say is that pre-emptive war does not work. We will have to promote peace. That is our only hope for world order.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member could comment on the fact that Alliance Party members for the last few weeks have accused anyone who does not agree with their policy of supporting the American war against Iraq of being anti-American. Would the hon. member comment on that statement that because we do not agree with the war and the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and others do not agree with the war the Alliance Party members think we are anti-American?

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, what I hear from the Alliance members is a bit disconcerting. We do not make enemies by promoting peace. So, why would they think that we are making enemies out of the Americans by promoting peace? I think that they should reconsider their position, stop looking at the little picture and take a good look at themselves.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to my habit, I am not going to say that I am pleased to speak today. I believe that the situation is extremely serious and dangerous. It may be much more serious than we think it is today and perhaps even more than we may realize now.

This morning, at 11:06 a.m., I was watching and listening to the news. I will give a few examples. Of course, I will not quote all of the examples that I saw. Simply on the news at 11:06 a.m., it was mentioned that the first refugees had arrived in Jordan.

Shortly after the beginning of the attack, around 11 p.m., the United States initiated a global alert in anticipation of potential terrorist acts against American citizens in foreign countries. Artillery fire has allegedly been heard at the Kowait-Iraq border. Israel has asked its people to start wearing gas masks, and I could go on. At 11 a.m., CNN confirmed that two oilfields in southern Iraq were on fire. There might be more now.

Eye witnesses report that southern Iraq has been under heavy bombardment. In Italy, demonstrations against the war are being held in several cities, and I could go on. There is talk of sirens, of attacks. There is talk of people having been injured, but all we see on our television screens is a green image that looks like a video game; an image that looks like what our kids use in our houses on their computers. But this has nothing to do with video games. This has absolutely nothing to do with these games. This is a real war, an intensive war that could give rise to a major increase in terrorism.

We know that all our communities, countries and the countries of the free world have been forced to dramatically increase security because attacks are anticipated.

War has been declared and a country like Iraq is being attacked. Naturally I do not condone the regime that governs Iraq. I cannot condone a dictator. I do not condone the way Saddam Hussein treated his people, the Kurds and his neighbours in 1990.

But was it justified for democracies to attack Iraq without the approval of the United Nations? No, because as a democracy, we must respect democracy and the institutions that we have created, namely the United Nations. This is a fundamental principle. If we no longer respect the institutions that we have created for ourselves, if we as democracies no longer respect the institutions that we have promoted, that we have contributed to creating and continue to run, it will no longer be possible to enforce international law.

The arbitrary war against Iraq by the United States, Great Britain and Australia is very serious. This act is very serious for democracy and our international institutions, but it is also very serious for the women, children and citizens of Iraq who will suffer after already having suffered for years under a dictatorial regime. This desire to destroy a regime and replace a dictator adds to their suffering.

In 1970, I read Building Peace by Dominique Pire, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958. After the events of September 11, I did not remember the reference, but I said that peace is much more than the silence of guns.

In 1990, after the gulf war, the guns were silenced. We stopped bombing Iraq, but what did we do as a democracy for the Iraqi people?

The Americans had promised to back the Sunni among others, in the south. And what happened? They did not really support them.

We need only look at the present-day situation in Afghanistan. The guns are silent, but have there been any real improvements? I would say not. At the present time in Afghanistan, we can consider that any real improvements are limited to the capital. The country is still under the domination of the war lords, who control the nation as a whole and are once again tyrannizing the population, especially women and children.

As far as the status of women is concerned, it is wrong to claim that Afghani women are living any different lives than they were under the Taliban.

I too have received e-mails, and will read from a few:

You have declared war on me, but I propose peace to you in return.

This reaction may seem as unreal as the 2001 attack on New York did.

In terms of democracy, this is, in my opinion, what our response to those attacks should have been and what our response should be today. You have declared a kind of war on us but we propose peace to you, the sort of peace in which we will provide you with help as a people, will help you develop, will help you to grow and progress.

I know that Saddam Hussein is no angel and that his regime is corrupt and dictatorial. But is it really necessary at this time to take action without the authority of the United Nations? Once again, I say no. As many nations around the world, including France, Russian and Germany, have said, given a little time, we might have been able to bring about a regime change.

Also, had we seriously taken matters into our hands right after the first gulf war, we might not have to change the regime in Iraq now. It would probably have been gone for years.

Let me quote from another excellent e-mail I have received:

Instead of praying for a few hours before launching into war for years to come, acting out of vengeance, out of the desire to fight terrorism, an announcement should be made to the effect that every effort will be made to build peace on justice and sharing.

As long as democracies do not understand that peace must be built, and built on the firm foundations of justice and sharing, we will continue to be faced with the same problems.

Terrorism flourishes in fertile ground. Poverty and misery constitute a breeding ground for terrorism, and there is no shortage of poverty and misery around the world. It is safe to say that two-thirds of the world population currently has to make do with the bare minimum and that the situation of the so-called fourth world is extremely tragic.

What is the Bloc Quebecois calling for today in its motion? It is simple, and I would like to come back to it. The Prime Minister of Canada told us, “We will not go to war.” However, we already have military personnel on site, and the Bloc would like the government to reconsider its position in that respect.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, the member from the Bloc made the statement that he really did not think much about the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and indeed after the gulf war in Iraq. We all recognize that there are improvements that can be made, but the member also made a statement that he did not think that the situation for women in Afghanistan was any better today than under the Taliban. I take great exception to that.

I cannot comprehend how this can somehow be construed as an excuse for inaction when we have basic human rights being violated by two regimes, one of which has now been overturned. There is an international effort to turn things around and we do not put all of that burden on the original combatants.

As a matter of fact, the Americans have said very clearly that it is not their interest in doing the reconstruction. They are not good at it and they want others to step in and do that. Canada is a country which is very good at that.

I would like the member to respond to the impression he left that people would not be better off.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Madam Speaker, there is one thing that my hon. colleague needs to understand. Violence begets violence; it is unavoidable. Our democracy will have to learn that lesson someday.

It is pointless to initiate a violent action without the authorization of the United Nations, without the backing of the United Nations and other international institutions. For any action that is questionable, there will be a reaction, and that reaction might be even more violent than the action itself. If you have the backing of the United Nations, then you have the backing of the whole international community.

Therefore, if there is a reaction, it can be dealt with. In what direction is the action initiated by the United States taking us? If more attacks like those of September 11 were to be sponsored by another country, will the U.S. feel they have the right to attack that country right away?

Let us take a more concrete example. If an attack were to come from Indonesia, one of the largest countries in the world, would the U.S. decide to attack Indonesia the next day? That is what we need to understand. No action can be justified without the backing of international institutions.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.

Like tens of millions of people around the world, I was deeply troubled by the idea of the war that was going to be declared, and that has now started. All war brings is destruction. So many innocent people, who have nothing to do with the decision to go to war, will die.

I could not help but see the great paradox in the comments used by those who support the war. The other day I heard the President of the United States talk about peace and security in the world. How do you make peace by going to war? What kind of example for peace are we setting for the world when we go to war and drop the most deadly bombs on innocent people?

I also heard those in favour of the war speak of reconstruction after the war. In order to rebuild, first you have to destroy. How paradoxical to destroy places in order to rebuild them, instead of trying to work together to build a better world.

In this war, we have forgotten about the innocent, the women and children, the soldiers sent to the front, while their leaders go about their daily lives in a maximum of comfort. And that is what is so wrong about this war. That is why, in this euphoria, there are potentially catastrophic consequences for those who want war at all costs. There is the polarization between the countries in our world and, on the other hand, the countries in the Islamic world who will turn this war into a real cause, a sure breeding ground for future terrorists. Is that how to fight terrorism?

I would like to quote an editorial from the New York Times of March 18, 2003, that talked about the consequences of this war:

The Atlantic alliance is now more deeply riven than at any time since its creation more than a half-century ago. A promising new era of cooperation with a democratizing Russia has been put at risk. China, whose constructive incorporation into global affairs is crucial to the peace of this century, has been needlessly estranged. Governments across the Muslim world, whose cooperation is so vital to the war against terrorism, are now warily navigating between popular anger and American power.

Senator Byrd had this to say in the Senate on February 12, 2003:

Will our war inflame the Muslim world resulting in devastating attacks on Israel? Will Israel retaliate with its own nuclear arsenal? Will the Jordanian and Saudi Arabian governments be toppled by radicals, bolstered by Iran, which has much closer ties to terrorism than Iraq?

I have heard that this war will cost us at least $200 billion. This money could have been used in a much more constructive or positive manner. The purpose of this war is to get rid of Saddam Hussein, this despot, this tyrant. Clearly there is a consensus here among us all that he is an extremely cruel despot and tyrant, but we must be consistent.

Are we also going to go to war against Zimbabwe to get rid of the dictator there who will bring famine to 6 million of his own people? Are we going to go to war against Libya which also has a dictator? Are we going to go to war against Myanmar which has imprisoned for years the duly elected leader of the opposition? Are we going to war against North Korea which is thumbing its nose at the world, against all the edicts of the United Nations about nuclear power?

No. In North Korea the United States has decided to use diplomatic arrangements because of course the shadow of China looms very large there. War against North Korea would be far more inconvenient than war against a feeble Iraq.

I heard it said by the proponents of war that it was the French and its veto that prevented a diplomatic settlement. Yet the second resolution brought in by the United States and Great Britain could not get enough support to carry itself.

I remind the people who blame only the French, that the Russians, the Chinese, certainly Germany, Mexico, Chile, Guinea, Cameroon, all these countries were there despite tremendous pressures by the United States, and especially on the small ones, to conform and vote for them. In effect all the votes that the United States and Britain had was Great Britain, the United States, Spain and Bulgaria.

I marched with the marches for peace three times in Montreal. The first time there were 15,000 people. The second time there were 100,000 people. When we marched the other day there were upwards of 200,000 people. The story was repeated across the world, on every continent of the world, in the United Kingdom itself, which is in the war. Millions of people turned out in London, Manchester and all the other cities.

In Spain, where the Prime Minister is for the war, 95% of the people are against the war. In Italy where the Prime Minister is for the war, again 95% of the population is against the war. It is all across the world and here in Canada.

Are we listening to our people? Our people say that wars are not always inevitable. Sometimes we have to go to war because it is a last resort and there is no other option. This time war is totally unjustified and unnecessary and so say the tens of millions of people all over the world. It is really symbolic that in the organization of NAFTA two of the main partners of the United States are staying away from the war for the same reasons as so many other countries of the world are staying away from it.

War is abominable. War kills innocents and it destroys. Senator Byrd said in his speech on February 12. He said:

To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.

Indeed, war is a horror. I find it very sad to see on the television these images as if there is an euphoria and a great testimony to war, all these explosions and so forth. Meanwhile who suffers from the explosions and our wonderful smart bombs and the other ones, the cruise missiles and all the other missiles? It is the innocent, women and children. Fifty per cent of the population of Iraq is under 18 years old, 10 million people, and they do not want war.

Why deplore the war when we cannot do anything about it, sadly? I hope we will find in there a lesson for the future that the only salvation for a peaceful world is to be part of the forum of nations, not to take it upon ourselves to decide that this dictator or that dictator is wrong and we should pre-empt his or her actions and go to war against him or her when it suits us and our own interests. The only way that peace can be established is through a forum of nations.

Therefore I hope we take the resolve today that never again will we face as we do today, as a world, an unnecessary, unjustified and therefore immoral war.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, the member is talking about the victims of war as being innocent women and children. They are the victims of the tyrants who are in control, whether it is the Taliban or Saddam Hussein. I think the million plus people, who are no longer alive because they were living under that regime, might have something different to say than with what the member has been coming forward.

I would also like to inform the member that he may want to check out the background of Senator Byrd before he starts aligning himself with someone who has a track record of being very supportive of the KKK.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, I am not going to characterize Senator Byrd and his personality. I am just quoting from a speech he made which I thought reflected--

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Will the member please allow me to speak? I listened to him with great civility and I ask the same thing of him.

I am not going to characterize Senator Byrd and look into his past. All I was doing was reading from a speech which I thought was cohesive, which made a lot of sense and which came from an American Senator in the senate.

I could also quote from Senator Kennedy and he was not a member of the KKK. I could also quote from the minority leader the other day, Senator Daschle, and many Americans who today refuse to accept the doctrine that pre-emptive war is the only reason for replacing dictators.

I would like to repeat for my hon. colleague that it is very nice to say that this dictator caused millions of deaths. Mugabe will cause famine for six million people. Do we declare war there? Do we declare war against North Korea? Why is the United States treating North Korea differently from Iraq? North Korea is a far greater threat and danger and its regime also has caused all kinds of brutality and death in its country. Yet we just leave it alone. There diplomacy will work. Obviously the United States is really worried about the big shadow of China next door. Therefore one regime is one way and the other regime we go to war with all our smart bombs, 250,000 soldiers and so many ships.

We have many questions to answer ourselves. How is it that tens of millions of people around the world, the greatest demonstration for peace ever, have spoken so loud? Perhaps this is what the members of the Canadian Alliance should reflect on, including 80% or more Canadians who say that war when it is inevitable, yes; but not war at any cost at any price every day when we decide we want it.

Committees of the House
Government Orders

5 p.m.

York South—Weston
Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Madam Speaker, my colleague talked about reconstruction, conciliation and building a better world. The member is obviously characterizing the role that the United Nations and the vision and the hope that the United Nations would offer.

The member also has talked about the future needless estrangement of China and Russia at time when we are developing a global attitude and a strengthening hopefully of the United Nations.

The member also has talked about the future in terms of Korea and the problems with the Palestinians and Israel.

I ask my colleague this. How can we strengthen the United Nations and what is the role that Canada can play in recognizing that the future is very precarious, as he has described, inasmuch as the United Nations has not been able to respond to the present situation?

Committees of the House
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Madam Speaker, for those who say that the United Nations is now irrelevant because of the war, I say exactly the reverse. Never have we needed the United Nations more than we do now. If this war has taught us something, it is that now there must be conciliation. People of the world must get together in the only forum we have. It may have all its flaws. It may not be the perfect forum by any means. No human forum is ever perfect. At the same time it is the only source of conciliation, of getting together, that we have across the world where small nations and large nations can all have a say.

We need the United Nations more than ever to rebuild, to reconstruct and to reconcile this world and stop it from polarizing into blocs that hate each other and that want war.

Business of the House
Government Orders

March 20th, 2003 / 5 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, discussions have taken place between all the parties as well as with the member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, concerning the taking of the division on Bill C-206, scheduled at the conclusion of private members' business later this day. I believe you would find consent that at the conclusion of today's debate on Bill C-206, all questions necessary to disposed of the motion be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to Tuesday, March 25 at the end of government orders.

Business of the House
Government Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?