Madam Speaker, may I first of all congratulate you on your appointment to this distinguished office and through you the Speaker who we elected several days ago.
It is a significant fact that in a changing Parliament and in a changing Canada we are in the process of changing the House constitution, the rules. It indicates the basic fact of common law from which the law of Parliament is passed, that it is not a frozen cake of doctrine that gelled once and for all in some bygone age, but a continuing process of creative adjustment of old rules to new social circumstances.
We have seen changes that were not expected. The House has elected a Speaker for the second time, but in this particular election there were extensive meetings between candidates and the political parties: the Bloc Quebecois, the Reform Party and as a special suggestion of the Prime Minister, with the Liberal Party. Perhaps no votes were changed, but I think there was a profound educational process.
We are all better informed of the options of choice for the future development of parliamentary rules and procedures available to us. In the process of give and take there is a cumulative advance in our thinking because parliamentary constitutional law, as I said before, is not fixed in time. It is not graven on stone tablets. It evolves and it must evolve.
The precedents we received in the 19th century must be balanced against precedents from other ages, the 17th and 18th centuries, for example. In some ways these are much more dynamic and creative in terms of the evolution of English parliamentary constitutionalism. They also affected the American constitution.
What comes out of this is that this House will continue to build on parliamentary procedures, will continue to create new rules incrementally on the old. One looks forward to the co-operation of opposition parties in building a new and strengthened role for backbenchers and for committees. It is good to have the full co-operation promised by the Prime Minister and the House leader not merely in the election campaign but since so that we represent law in the making.
That is a signal event for us because of course the speech from the throne has two main thesis in it. One is the concept of change that we live in a period of transition, in a sense a world revolution of our times, of which the collapse of the Soviet empire and the fall of the Berlin wall were merely symbolic indications. Large changes are occurring and they affect Canada as much as anybody else. Our institutions must respond to those changes.
The speech from the throne picked up the thesis advanced in the Livre rouge of the Liberal Party that change must come, that it is inherent in our society. It should not be resisted. One should guide and direct it constructively.
The second main theme in the speech from the throne is also the notion that one cannot isolate social problems. The social scientists speak of the polycentricity of problems and problem solving. It simply means that individual problems are not islands to themselves. One cannot separate social problems from economic problems nor can one today separate internal problems from larger problems of foreign policy.
We live in a global village and what happens in far-flung areas of the world impacts upon Canada and upon our development. It is in that perspective that I approach my intervention in this debate.
I represent the constituency of Vancouver Quadra which has had the honour of having as its members a Prime Minister, my predecessor John Turner, but also a very distinguished Conservative foreign minister, Howard Green who lived to a very ripe old age after his retirement from Parliament. He is remembered for reinforcing a principle developed first by Prime Minister Pearson and Paul Martin Senior, the notion that Canada's commitment in foreign policy includes a concern for people outside Canada and a concern for human rights. Howard Green, if you will remember, took the initiative as foreign minister within the Commonwealth to raise the issue of race relations with a member of the Commonwealth, South Africa, and to say that a policy of openness and open society is and should be a precondition to membership in the Commonwealth.
And so I continue in that tradition. I must say one of the striking things in my constituency is that it mirrors the changes in process occurring in Canada as a whole. We have suddenly become a global community by the very happy fact of immigration and the integration of our new communities into Canadian society.
My constituency encompasses Greek Canadians. It also has Polish Canadians. Some came as war veterans after World War II. Some came to escape the dying days of an inefficient, incompetent communist regime. The boat people came 10 or 15 years ago and now have their children at college. There is a success story for you because they came with nothing. Our Indo-Canadian community and the Sikh community have con-
tributed so much to our cultural richness. Our Chinese Canadian communities have come from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and are united in maintaining a new plural Canadian tradition.
This in some way signals the growth and change occurring in British Columbia which was once traditionally preoccupied with forestry and industries with natural resources. They are still there. They are at the basis of our richness and the new dynamic and I would say, forward looking policies of management, a part of their present development.
However, it may have escaped the notice of people in other parts of Canada that we lead in scientific development, particularly in the area of the relationship of science, scientific research, advanced technology and industrial application which the Japanese perfected but which we are doing now.
The TRIUMF/KAON project is a monument to the new dynamism in British Columbia education and science and research. It groups together the great physicists of Canada and the world. It has attached to it as ancillary projects, geneticists like the Nobel laureate, Michael Smith. It has built a massive export industry which converts a company like Ebco of Richmond that once was a minor tool manufacturer into a multimillion dollar export industry for Canada with new jobs and new wealth contributing to the national well being.
Therefore British Columbia represents at once this meeting of the new communities in a larger community of communities. By the way that term, sometimes attributed to Canadian political figures, is that of Martin Buber. He was speaking from his viewpoint as a central European scholar who later went to Israel and saw the need for communities to work together. The new pluralism means every community is enriched in the process.
There is no longer, if there ever was, a problem of languages in British Columbia. It is the objective of parents whose children have mastered the cours d'immersion in the French language to move over to a third language. I think that may be the Canadian dream reflecting the new Canada and reflecting the new orientation to which British Columbia has contributed so much. The centre of gravity in the world community is moving from Europe to the Pacific and the Pacific rim and we are there.
Therefore we will be speaking out in caucus and in Parliament on the necessary recognition of the new role of British Columbia. We sometimes feel that bureaucrats and maybe even political leaders in central or eastern Canada are insensitive to these dramatic changes in the balance of power in Canada.
The important thing to remember here is that we have a view of federalism which corresponds to the view I expressed of the common law. Federalism did not gel once and for all in 1867 in a series of static relationships between institutions or a glorifying of old processes simply because they were there.
We accept Mr. Justice Holmes' view that it is revolting to have no better justification for a rule than that it was laid down in the time of Henry II. Henry II has been dead for so many centuries. Therefore we believe in the continual updating of federal institutions.
Federalism, as Prime Minister Trudeau said, is pragmatism. It is a process of constant readjustment of old institutions and rules to meet new problems. And so we have faith in federalism and the fact that our distinctness as part of the larger Canadian society can be reflected and translated into institutional and other changes within the Canadian Constitution and by a process of evolutionary growth that does not necessarily require formal changes to the constitution. The dynamic of constitutional growth in an existing society is that it comes through incremental change and adjustment in response to contemporary problems.
In this period of change in which we all live I have spoken of the movement of the world community, the shift in the centre of gravity from Europe to the Pacific rim. It is a fact of life. It means there will have to be new emphasis on trade and co-operation with Pacific rim countries.
However it also reflects one of the great dilemmas of the world community in a period of transition. We sometimes have the coexistence of the old with the new. It is sometimes a painful coexistence, even a collision.
We expect that the 21st century will see the ideal of a viable world government. It is not with us now. Therefore, one of the realities is the commitment that Canadians have made in foreign policy from the golden period of St. Laurent, Pearson and Paul Martin, Sr. to the United Nations has to be balanced against the recognition of the regionalism that exists within the world community as a whole.
It is good that the GATT discussions led to the suggestion for a world trade organization, but this is not for the first time. It was one of the hopes of the founding fathers of the United Nations in 1946 that there would be a world trade organization. It was the failure, in some ways the unexpected failure, of this project that led to the not very satisfactory compromise of GATT. But like many not satisfactory compromises it performed a necessary function and deserves credit for those measures that have existed since 1946 to prevent an autarchic system of international trade.
I come back to the basic point that to put all one's faith in a world trade organization and in GATT is not a sufficient remedy for the economic problems of our time. I have no doubt, in
historical terms, that the government has been right to put its faith in NAFTA.
The regional organizations, the trends of history, the movement of the European Community through the ideal of the single act into, in many respects, a closed regional community compels us to look for external markets wherever we can find them. I compliment both the red book, the livre rouge, and the government for the commitment to NAFTA. To be sure, there were international problems to consider, a thicket of problems that perhaps could have been considered more fully in the last several years. However, they are not insuperable. Treaties once made are not graven in stone. There are processes under international law for changing them to new circumstances.
I had occasion as a private citizen in another capacity to examine the issue of freshwater export in bulk, whether it was to be covered by NAFTA or not. My conclusion was clearly it was not covered by NAFTA but I appreciate the concerns of those Canadian citizens who thought it was.
On this particular point it seems to me that the solution adopted by the Canadian government, the exchange of statements, is adequate in international law to achieve that point of making assurance doubly sure on the water issue. Further possibilities for change exist on a similar basis. If we worry about what the United States would say, I would simply say that the United States government more than anyone perfected these methods of change in treaties, creative change after the treaty has been signed, sealed and delivered.
We move to this situation of a coexistence of mondialist, one world tendencies through the new world trade organization, through the development of GATT and through our creative membership in new regional organizations like NAFTA.
We should all commend the initiative taken by the trade minister to put out feelers to Chile, to new countries for membership in NAFTA to expand our trade opportunities. However we should also look carefully at associate membership for our Pacific rim trading partners, or trading partners to be.
One of the great advantages of the new Canada, the new pluralistic Canada, is that we have an enormous natural resource in our citizens who have come here from other countries. They have the language and know the customs in terms of trade and commercial relationships and these things should be used to the fullest. I expect in the expansion of the trade initiatives this will be acted upon by the government to the fullest.
In the general area of foreign policy the problems of living in an era of transition are obvious enough as they are in other areas. We would have to recognize that western foreign policy as a whole, after the period of creative growth, post war with the Marshall plan and those brilliant imaginative conceptions of a new world order have been somewhat lacking in imagination and forward looking thinking in recent years.
It is noticeable that there were no strategic plans in place to take account of the collapse of the Soviet empire and even Europe. There was a real failure to anticipate that collapse, yet it had been amply warned by all of the specialists.
There was also a failure to anticipate in the absence of a plan for state succession the would-be renaissance of national conflicts, of ethnic conflict of the sort which existed in southeast Europe before 1914 and was reflected in the two Balkan wars and in World War I.
One of our problems for Canadian foreign policy is that the golden era when we did lead the free world in new ideas, the golden era of the 1950s and 1960s, the St. Laurent-Pearson-Martin era, cannot be replicated any more. We were there because the colonization had not yet occurred. However, we anticipated it and we led the way to its peaceful application and peaceful development.
Our economic position was stronger in relative terms in the world community than it is now. Of course we could say this even more for the United States which is also in a more imaginative period of thinking in foreign policy than in recent years.
Some of the problems with which a new government and new Parliament is beset reflect from a failure to recognize the contradictions and to act on them in timely fashion. That is one of the challenges for a new government and a new Parliament.
In relation to peacekeeping which Canada invented-it was Mr. Pearson's achievement and he was a Nobel laureate on account of that-we have to recognize today too many disparate tasks in too many disparate areas. In some senses in the defence forces there is too much preoccupation with military hardware and not enough attention to the new and highly political role that peacekeeping involves today. I think there was a second failure to recognize the distinction between peacekeeping which we, Mr. Pearson and Canada, devised and peacemaking which involves the overt use of armed force.
These are some of the issues that we face now: the tragedy of Somalia, the tragedy of Bosnia-Hercegovina. These are problems that could have been anticipated and not really met-