That a special joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate be appointed to consider Canada's foreign policy including international trade and international assistance;
That the document entitled "Guidance Paper for the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy" be referred to the committee;
That the committee be directed to consult broadly and to analyse the issues discussed in the above-mentioned document, and to make recommendations in their report concerning the objectives and conduct of Canada's foreign policy;
That the committee be composed of fifteen members of the House of Commons and seven members of the Senate;
That the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade be appointed on behalf of the House as members of the said committee;
That the committee have the power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the House;
That the committee have the power to report from time to time, to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the committee;
That the committee have the power to retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff;
That the committee have the power to adjourn from place to place inside Canada and abroad and that, when deemed necessary, the required staff accompany the committee;
That a quorum of the committee be twelve members whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented and that the joint chairpersons be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof, whenever six members are present, so long as both Houses are represented;
That the committee be empowered to appoint, from among its members, such subcommittees as may be deemed advisable, and to delegate to such subcommittees all or any of its power, except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons;
That the committee or its representatives meet on occasions it deems fitting with the special joint committee or its representatives charged with reviewing Canada's defence policy;
That the committee be empowered to authorize television and radio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;
That, notwithstanding the usual practices of this House, if either the Senate or the House are not sitting when an interim report of the committee is completed, the committee shall deposit its report with the Clerks of both Houses, and said report shall thereupon be deemed to have been presented to both Houses;
That the committee present its final report no later than October 31, 1994; and
That a message be sent to the Senate requesting that House to unite with this House for the above purpose, and to select, if the Senate deems advisable, members to act on the proposed special joint committee.
Mr. Speaker, we believe it is time to review our foreign policy in light of the changes occurring in the world, our national interests, our capabilities and the new constraints that we now face.
Our red book outlined several initiatives a Liberal government intended to pursue. Since my appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs on November 4, 1993, I have taken steps to implement these initiatives.
First, the government will soon be ratifying the law of the sea convention. We recognize that Canadians, especially those from the Atlantic region, want a more effective international regime for managing fish stocks on the high seas. To this end, my colleague the minister of fisheries went to New York yesterday to attend a special United Nations conference on this issue.
Furthermore, I have asked my officials to produce a working paper on UN reform issues in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the UN in 1995. I want to point out that Canada has always played a relatively prominent role at the UN. We have given an important grant to the United Nations Association in Canada to promote Canadians' awareness of UN reform in the context of the 50th anniversary.
Together with my colleague the Minister of the Environment, I am also pursuing means to make sustainable development a key component of our approach to international assistance.
In our red book, we also spoke of our desire to make Canada's foreign policy development more democratic. Our determination has not flagged.
This is why I am pleased to open the debate on Canada's foreign policy review in this House today.
We promised to develop an independent foreign policy for Canada. What does that mean? It means first and foremost to have the political courage to say what we think. To dare say what we think, sometimes in spite of others, to say it often before others, but also to always say it better than others. Our foreign policy must not only be independent but also more democratic. And the best way to make it more democratic is of course to listen to the concerns and interests of Canadians. This is why we want to broaden the public consultation process and enable Parliament to play a major role in this review.
We promised to allow Parliament to express its views on major international issues. Indeed, the members of this House have been able to debate our peacekeeping role in Bosnia and cruise missile testing in Canada. I believe that these new initiatives must be pursued. I also think that the parliamentary committee has a unique opportunity to debate the major issues which must be reviewed in the context of our foreign policy review.
I do hope that parliamentarians will hold public hearings across the country and will invite Canadians, not only to submit briefs and testify before the committee, but also to establish a dialogue with the government through the members of that joint committee of the House and the Senate.
We will also invite Canadians at large to play an active part in this review. On March 21 and 22, we will hold a national forum, here in Ottawa, on Canada's international relations. This forum will be sponsored by my colleagues, the Minister for International Trade and the Minister of Defence, and myself. The Prime Minister will preside at the opening of the forum.
More than 100 Canadian personalities from different walks of life will be invited to examine the major directions of our foreign policy in light of the overwhelming changes of recent years. Their comments will be extremely useful to us in assessing our foreign policy. We should be able to determine which policies continue to serve our interests and which should be redesigned.
After the forum, the government will ask the joint parliamentary committee to undertake its own review of Canada's foreign policy, taking into account what will have been said at the forum, and to make specific recommendations. I hope the committee will have the opportunity to hear the views and opinions of all Canadians across the country.
Meanwhile, together with my colleagues, the two secretaries of state and the parliamentary secretary will continue wide-ranging consultations with all those who are interested in international issues, especially the international development assistance program.
The recent annual human rights consultations with non-governmental organizations were very productive for us in preparing for this year's meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The recent International Development Week was more than a mere listening exercise for me; it enabled me to pursue and develop co-operative ties with our partners. We intend to continue in that spirit, because many people in non-governmental organizations follow Canadian foreign policy and contribute to Canada's good name throughout the world by serving Canadian interests abroad in a worthy and very substantial way.
I would like to emphasize in this House the importance that I attach to the consultation process. The forum and the work of the joint committee will certainly not be the last step in this consultative process. Indeed, the government intends to pursue these consultations, as I was saying, and we hope that it will
become a good precedent that will be followed throughout this government's mandate.
In the coming years, we want this forum to be used to examine some particular aspects of Canada's foreign policy. The government will seek to maintain an ongoing review of its foreign policy that will involve Canadians and their elected representatives, because in this world where rapid change and upheaval are the norm, we must establish and develop a flexible and effective mechanism. That is what we intend to do and that is what I promise in this House.
While we are engaged in our foreign policy review, we cannot ignore our international responsibilities. In this regard, we are to participate in five major multilateral meetings this year. At the start of the year, the Prime Minister took part in the recent NATO summit. This summer, he will go to Italy for the annual G-7 summit. In the fall, he will go to Asia for the summit of APEC, which stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation. Finally, he will attend the summit of the Organization of American States and of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.
We will therefore be very visible on the international scene this year and we must seize the opportunity to make our views and interests known at these gatherings.
This government was elected with the mandate for the renewal of our economy, our society, our political integrity and our confidence in the future. We have already begun the hard work and we know much more will have to be done. The obstacles are many but our duty to move forward is clear.
Many of our most difficult challenges and hardest choices must be faced here at home. As we said in the red book, finding jobs, protecting the environment, enhancing national unity, providing political security and enriching the cultural identity of Canada are all goals intrinsically linked to how Canada acts in the global arena.
The international community faces difficult problems. Answers will require a concerted effort by countries working together in common. Whether we talk of the economy, of international security, of respect for international law, no nation can stand alone. We face common burdens and share links that cannot be severed.
This government knows how hard the task of national renewal is, but we also know that our well-being as a country depends on a stable international environment in which we can prosper.
As the Prime Minister said in our red book: "Canada has always adapted to change and overcome adversity, and that will be the key to our future". We cannot dissociate change abroad from change at home. We must show determination, imagination and courage. We are confident of success in meeting the challenges of our times. However, we will need the support and confidence of all Canadians to meet these extraordinary challenges. We have shown in the past our desire to solve this country's problems in a shared, open and co-operative manner.
The foreign policy review process that I am launching today is intended to observe these same principles. But we do not seek to be iconoclasts. We do not seek to overturn all the values that have guided us in conducting our foreign policy until now. We must achieve a balance between continuity and change. Many sound elements of our foreign policy remain valuable and necessary today, objectives and characteristics that have helped to define us as an independent nation in the eyes of the international community.
I would say that the whole world expects something of us that it does not expect of others. We must keep in mind that Canada is a country which has something special that few countries in the world can pride themselves on having. We are in a sense universal. We have a universality that is unlike any other country in the world. We are Americans and because we are in America, we have forged special ties with our American and Mexican neighbours through NAFTA. But being Americans and members of the Organization of American States, we are also partners with countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America. But we are not only American; our geography also makes us an Atlantic people. Because of our past, our transatlantic past, we have forged very close ties with countries on the European continent. Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, we have developed ties of friendship and co-operation with European nations. However, we have also looked to the Pacific. Within APEC, Canada is developing increasingly important ties with Asian nations. We must not forget, however, that there are three oceans. There is also the Arctic. Given our geographic location, we must also develop relations and maintain important co-operative ties with northern nations.
We are fortunate to benefit from both the French and English cultures and languages and to belong to both the Commonwealth and la Francophonie. Canada plays a major role within these organizations. We have become a major trading partner of several African and Asian countries. As a former British colony, we maintain ongoing, friendly relations with Australia and New Zealand, as well as with a number of other African and Asian countries.
Canada acted as a negotiator and helped to bring India and Pakistan closer together with a view to achieving peace. We were involved in settling the Korean War conflict. Following World War II, our military was actively involved in establishing a new peace in Europe. More recently, with the UN peacekeeping missions, Canada has made its presence felt just about
everywhere in the world, but particularly in the Middle East, contributing in the process to making the world a better place.
When we look at what Canada has done and at the extent of its participation, we can see that few countries in the world can claim to have such tangible, important relations with countries on all continents.
We have to bear this fact in mind when we consider ways of improving and changing our foreign policy, while remaining faithful to those before us who helped to develop it.
Of course, we will have to make some difficult choices in some cases, but we cannot betray the hopes and trust that many countries around the world have placed in us. As I said earlier, they expect more from Canada than they do from other nations.
As we embark on this foreign policy review process, we must take heed of what has served us well, of what policies have gained us international respect and admiration, the positions we have taken and the progress we have achieved in critical areas such as peace and security, north-south relations and human rights.
We can be proud of Canada's historic leadership in the international struggle against apartheid in South Africa and of Canada's vision in creating peacekeeping. We have consistently pursued our international values and interests, not through force of arms or belligerent diplomacy but through force of reason and commitment. We have always willingly fulfilled our responsibilities as a global citizen seeking to build international understanding through co-operative multilateralism. We have welcomed international trade and investment rather than retrenching ourselves behind protectionism. Canada played a key role in the successful conclusion of the Uruguay round and toward the creation of the World Trade Organization.
We will continue to build on the strong foundations of our support for peace and security, international prosperity and development, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance, the rule of law and free trade.
These elements will continue to be basic objectives. While the dramatic events of recent years give us a sense of hope, modern times, unfortunately, are as dangerous as ever. The war in the Balkans is, sadly, an all too obvious example.
We must continue to move from security structures originally designed to contain the Soviet threat toward a new system designed to manage risk and unpredictability. Thus, we must consider the future of multilateral organizations such as NATO and the CSCE. We must also redefine, as I stated earlier, the role of the United Nations and we must also endeavour to make regional organizations such as the Organization of American States more relevant.
We must also nip possible new sources of conflict in the bud by continuing our assistance to programs aimed at dismantling nuclear weapons and by broadening and enforcing non-proliferation treaties, especially in North Korea, South Asia and the Middle East.
Chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction raise new fears. Recent treaties to halt and reverse their proliferation are steps in the right direction, but improved verification and universal accession are essential. International action is also needed to arrest and reverse an excessive stockpiling of conventional armaments.
Large scale movements of people, whether refugees displaced by persecution or persons seeking improved economic conditions, will continue. The scenes of displacement and despair we see every day unfortunately on our television screen are graphic reminders of how much remains to be done.
Countries will have to work together to address the root cause of migratory pressures. Stopgap measures to ease the pressure or stem the tide will fail.
The rise of ultranationalism as a political ideology puts progress toward democracy at the mercy of intolerance. We must act internationally to respond to problems related to the treatment of ethnic, religious and cultural minorities. Canada has much to offer the international community in this regard. The political, social and economic components of various environmental issues must be studied as parts of a whole. The solutions we must find to new environmental threats will not always be easy to accept. Sustainable development is the only way for both developing and industrialized countries.
Economically we are faced with explosive change. Dramatic developments in technology are driving changes in the organization of production, in investment patterns and in financial transfers which defy traditional frames of analysis and forms of control.
My colleague, the Minister for International Trade, will discuss these changes and their implications for Canada in greater depth.
I would like to note that economic, political and social changes cannot be separated. As we can see in eastern Europe, they intercept, overlap and occasionally conflict.
With this in mind, we wish to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Canadians. I know that our fellow citizens care about their country's foreign policy. We must therefore listen to Canadians. They can best tell us what values and interests this country must promote abroad, and how we can best contribute to the international community.
However, I think that we should take into account our important cultural contribution abroad in our review of Canada's foreign policy. We must recognize that our international contribution in this area is directly tied to our national actions to support creativity, innovation and human resources development.
Of course, our policies must be realistic. Unfortunately, we will not be able to do everything we want to do. So, difficult choices will have to be made. Our resources are limited, and we must focus our efforts where our contribution will have the greatest impact. No single issue will be off-limits in this debate on foreign policy. However, as a government, we must give the broad outline of this policy and we intend to pursue our action in the following areas: first, the pursuit of international peace and security. Second, defining Canada's place in a world where the role of regional associations is growing stronger. Third, linking Canada's values and interests, including our economic and trade interests.
Geoffrey Pearson aptly described in his book entitled Seize the Day how Lester B. Pearson and his ministerial colleagues shaped Canadian foreign policy to be independent, original, forward looking, based on truly Canadian values but requiring at the same time a sustained involvement in international organizations such as the United Nations and NATO.
In fact, Canada has always centred its security policy on two multilateral institutions: NATO, to contain the threat of communist expansion and to protect democracy; and the United Nations, to promote the values of dialogue and co-operation to resolve or prevent conflict. The end of communism has reduced NATO's importance as a military alliance. However, much can still be done by NATO.
In the unstable new Europe, NATO must transform itself into a collective security organization while welcoming into its orbit the countries of eastern Europe which want to join and become our friends instead of our enemies. This is an opportunity that the western world cannot ignore or refuse to see and take up, one that will have to be acted upon as soon as possible.
While NATO's role has changed, the UN has had to face a multitude of new demands and its role, instead of declining, has grown considerably. As you know, Canada has greatly contributed to the building of the United Nations, which reflects many values held dear by Canadians. After 40 years of near paralysis caused by the cold war, the UN is now being asked to play an increasingly active role in seeking and maintaining international peace and security.
Of course, this transition has not been an easy one. Far from yielding to the temptation of easy criticism, we must admit that the United Nations has been asked to assume almost overnight a role for which it was never prepared. Indeed, one wonders how it has been able to function in these trying times. I think that it is in order to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and to hail his remarkable efforts. He needs the support and encouragement of all peace-loving nations and all representatives of UN nations.
Canada has led appeals for a sweeping reform of the United Nations, but we must show as much courage, innovation and determination today as in the aftermath of the second world war, when the nations of the world united to create major international institutions which, I would say, have served us very well over the years in spite of their little flaws.
Institutional inertia has frustrated creative thinking. We accept that the world is far more complex than it was five decades ago. We realize there are many more countries representing many more interests and perspectives. We understand we cannot tear up everything and start anew, ignoring the significant contributions made by international organizations, in particular by the United Nations. Lester B. Pearson said many years ago: "We cannot abandon the United Nations as the main structure of peace".
We do believe, however, that it is time once again to encourage fresh ideas about where we want to go as a world community. We could draw on our expertise and our experience to develop new ideas on peace making, peace keeping, peace building; on arms controls and disarmament; on forms of adjudication and redress for interstate conflicts; on reform of the UN's specialized economic, social and cultural agencies; on practical measures to strengthen co-operative security organizations; on improving multilateral development mechanisms to deal with chronic underdevelopment; on dealing with international ecological disasters; and on reacting to international population migrations.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but it is indicative of the areas where the government believes Canada can help make a difference for the better. Now that the cold war is over we must continue to bring the nations of the world together in the pursuit
of peace. We must continue to work on frameworks that will enable dialogue and co-operation between nations.
Lester Pearson said in accepting his Nobel peace prize in 1957:
The best defence of peace is not power but the removal of the cause of war and international agreements which will put peace on a stronger foundation than the terror of destruction.
Canada must review its geographic priorities in this new international context. The end of a world divided into two camps and the emergence of new economic powers have contributed to the development of regional groups. Regional institutions can benefit the international system in many ways. They are sometimes the best tool for economic development and mediation.
We hope the growing power of certain countries will give them the necessary confidence and determination to promote co-operation between regions on a large number of international issues. We wish to establish strong ties that will enable us to initiate open and honest dialogue on our economic, social and political concerns, and on human rights in particular. However, these regions may form hostile and aggressive blocs. Canada has much to contribute in avoiding such a development.
We Canadians know the importance of dialogue and co-operation. The government is determined to help the countries of the world to adopt this course. To this end, we will have to review our priorities. We will maintain our relations with Europe because of our historical, cultural, political, economic and security ties with that part of the world, but we will also have to see how this new Europe will be affected by the growing development of the European union. This union will admittedly play an increasingly important role in Europe and lead North America, and Canada in particular, to reconsider its position in relation to the old world.
It is clear that North America will have to adjust its presence and influence in a Europe growing stronger and more united. Our political task in Europe today is building the economic and democratic structures and security of eastern and central Europe including Russia and Ukraine.
The past election in Russia has confronted us with new challenges. The results of the upcoming elections in Ukraine could also be critical in determining that nation's progress. We have already mentioned our interest in developing a special relationship with Ukraine. I have already announced specific measures toward that goal.
There is a great deal to be done. We will continue to work closely with our traditional allies and our new friends in Europe to promote security. However the respective roles of North America and Europe will gradually change. The transition will lead to a new relationship as rich and as harmonious as the one that saw us through the cold war, but it will be focused on new issues that reflect the new world environment.
Canada is by geography a nation of the north. Our relations with the United States are of paramount importance to us. We have already established a businesslike atmosphere in which to pursue our many bilateral interests. We intend to keep it that way.
The United States today is adapting to changed circumstances at home and abroad, and we share many of the same concerns. We believe Canadian experience, particularly our approach to multilateralism, can prove useful to the Americans as they develop new perspectives. We look forward to working constructively on the international scene with our neighbour.
This however does not imply that we will jeopardize our concern and our interest so as to avoid disagreement between our two countries at any cost. This is what I have indicated very candidly and very forthrightly to my American counterpart, Warren Christopher, during my recent visit to Washington last month. I made Canada's concerns about efforts by a certain group in the U.S. to reduce our agriculture and other exports quite clear and unequivocal to him.
I also indicated to Mr. Christopher that this government was determined to set its own independent course in foreign policy. By being independent I do not mean that we are opposed to the American policy but that we want to see action being taken with a Canadian point of view in mind. Our hope to see the end of the American commercial embargo against Cuba is a clear affirmation of our wish. This is a point I discussed recently with my Mexican counterpart, Secretary Tello, when I visited Mexico as the head of the Canadian delegation to the bilateral joint ministerial committee.
In the past Canada has been in the forefront of diplomatic initiatives. Canada recognized China before the Americans did and in a certain way paved the way to bring President Nixon to China and change substantially the relationship with this giant of Asia.
We Canadians believe that we could play a very important role to bring about democracy and respect of human rights throughout the entire hemisphere. Canada will pursue vigorously such a policy in every area of the Caribbean, Central America and South America in co-operation with other countries. Certainly it will not be against the wish or the will of the Americans but in co-operation as a partner within the Organization of American States.
It is obvious that we must further develop our ties with Latin America. We are very enthusiastic about the possibility of creating a community that will include the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. The potential for our trade and investment is enormous. The trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement shows us the way to go. Many steps must be taken, however, before we can achieve such a community.
We wish to encourage open and honest dialogue with our partners regarding our common and respective problems. Together, we must define the results we expect to achieve in order to clearly establish our priorities.
The Organization of American States can play a decisive role in our hemispheric relations, and Canada wishes to make this organization more effective and dynamic.
This government's creation of a position of Secretary of State responsible for Latin America is an indication of our interest in the region. My colleague, the hon. member for Northumberland, has already made two trips to Latin America to promote Canada's ties with its hemispheric partners. I will leave it to her to talk about our objectives in more detail. She is also responsible for Africa. It is in this latter capacity that she will lead the Canadian delegation to the election-monitoring mission in South Africa and visit some African countries to maintain our very close ties with that continent.
The Asia-Pacific region has become a major economic power.
As we stated in our red book, our economic prosperity partly depends on our determination to develop our trade relations with the Pacific rim countries. We will work continually with our private-sector partners to increase export opportunities for our businesses.
We also expect to see the region play an increasingly active role in politics and security as its economic power grows.
To show the importance we attach to this area, we have also appointed a Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific. I know that the hon. member for Richmond has already taken initiatives to improve Canada's ties and exchanges with the countries of the region, and that he intends to explain them to you later in today's debate.
With its west coast open to the Pacific, it is in Canada's interest to develop and diversify its economic and social ties with the countries of the region, as the Prime Minister demonstrated at the APEC summit in Seattle in November 1993.
Canada's interests are worldwide, and we will continue to have an active foreign policy that reflects our interests. Over the years, Canada has played an important role in the quest for peace. We are actively participating in the Middle East peace process, and we chair the refugee working group.
Last month, we chaired a meeting in Montebello to co-ordinate the work of all multilateral groups involved in the Middle East peace process.
We are actively participating in South Africa's transition to democracy. Elsewhere in Africa, either bilaterally or as part of the Commonwealth and la Francophonie, we are actively working with governments and NGOs to contribute to the economic and democratic development of these countries.
We will, of course, continue to be active around the world. In these days of budget constraints, however, we must restrict our scope of action. Changes in the world and in our own country are forcing us to make important choices.
If we want to have a coherent and effective foreign policy, these choices must be guided by our desire to build regional and inter-regional mechanisms that will serve us well in the fast-approaching 21st century.
We will remain globally active and committed but we cannot be everywhere in equal force any longer. That is very important. We could continue to be present but not everywhere with equal force. Change in the world and in our own capacity means that choices will be necessary. This parliamentary committee will have to help us make these choices and these priorities.
In closing, I would like to address the issue of human rights in our foreign policy. Some people would like to see a foreign policy aimed solely at promoting human rights and their values, while ignoring Canada's other interests. Others insist on a foreign policy that would serve only Canada's economic interests.
It is far too easy and dangerous to simplify the debate in this manner. In so doing, we would only compromise this country's foreign policy. We must recognize that such a cut-and-dried version of the world is wrong. Of course, our economic interests are important. Of course, we want to promote human rights. Nevertheless, we do not have the right to impose one at the expense of the other. Insecurity, instability and war are detrimental to international trade. Human rights, democracy and good governance are the best defences of peace and security.
History shows us that economic development and respect for human rights sometimes go hand in hand. Increased prosperity often triggers social change. When we talk about economic prosperity, we are also talking about international trade and investment. The development of international trade and investment is clearly vital to Canada. We depend on it for our own development, for job creation and for our economic recovery.
There is thus a complex interplay of values and interests, both in developing countries and here at home.
Is there no way to better reflect our values and interests in our foreign policy? Is there no way to combine them? Can we build economic and political mechanisms that will show that the way to universal prosperity lies through fundamental rights for all?
It is my profound belief that the concept of intervention as a right and a duty represents a turning point in the history of humankind. The world has only recently understood and accepted this concept which, to some, constitutes interfering in a country's domestic politics but to many others is a sign of hope.
I say this because I have seen the results. In Haiti I spoke to Canadian members of religious orders who work in that country, and these quite remarkable people taught me that intervention could be a duty. Considering Canada's intervention capability, we cannot afford not to use that capability to advance the cause of human rights. We cannot remain indifferent to the fact that throughout the world, millions of human beings are being denied their most basic rights.
Indifference is the modern barbarism, and we must therefore make every effort to advance the cause of democracy where we have an opportunity to do so as Canadians, because democracy remains the highest value, in the Northern snows and in the rice paddies, in the tall grasses of the savannas and the tropical rain forest, on the hot sand and in the desert. Everywhere, democracy remains the supreme value.
And if democracy is to be truly synonymous with peace, we must support it through our foreign policy. Where there are democratic governments, these governments support the cause of peace and promote peace in the world. In a democratic system, there is respect for minority rights and human rights are protected.
We must act as tireless promoters of democracy throughout the world, and in doing so, we will have an impact on world peace and security. This does not mean we must cut our political and economic ties with countries that do not respect democracy and human rights. If we isolate them, we will never be able to influence them. That is why I say, to those who insist that we make respect for human rights a pre-condition for our trading relations with certain countries, that they are on the wrong track.
We must persevere in our efforts to advance the cause of democracy in countries where it does not exist. We must do so carefully and with respect but we must persevere. I believe that if we do, if we are determined, Canadian values will be appreciated and indeed emulated by these countries which we must help, not for the sake of their leaders but for the sake of their people who are suffering and who deserve a better life.
This brings me to our development assistance program. Canadians are proud of our development assistance record, but they are concerned about program delivery and the long term effectiveness of aid.
The pressure for review of the aims and utility of the development assistance program is increasing as governments and societies struggle with deficit, debt and structural adjustment. The countries we assist are also coming under increasing pressures to provide proof that aid works and to show that the aid provides value. Developing countries will have to demonstrate they have or are prepared to adopt the social, political and economic policies that will maximize the impact of development assistance programs.
The government's earlier policy statements recognized the interdependent relationships between developed and developing countries. There are those who argue that we should abandon our commitment to the developing world because we cannot make a difference. My answer to that is that we must make a difference or we will see the level of global insecurity, instability and uncertainty increase to our peril.
We must work domestically and internationally with other donors to ensure that our assistance is applied coherently, consistently and to the maximum possible benefit.
We believe economic and social development in developing countries is a basic element of our own security. The consequences of underdevelopment, such as uncontrolled population growth, environmental damage and mass human migrations, have a long term effect on our security. Perhaps even more dangerous than the threat of nuclear war is the gap between rich and poor on this planet, a gap that is widening steadily. Unfortunately, the poor are very much aware of this situation.
With the communications media we have today, we can no longer hide this fact.
The people of the south who are suffering and destitute know that the people of the north live in wealth and opulence. If we cannot act to ensure that the people in the south benefit from the wealth of the north, we are going to have a very serious problem, because ultranationalist, extremist and fundamentalist movements will use this human misery to turn people against the richer countries and take advantage of this situation to become a
revolutionary force in the world. It is therefore imperative for us to collaborate with other partners and the world of poverty.
I believe that when formulating our foreign policy, we must ask ourselves the following question: What kind of world do we want to live in?
In formulating a foreign policy, questions of Canada's future should never be separated from the wider question: What kind of world do we want? This will be the question that the members of the parliamentary committee will have to answer in formulating suggestions for our foreign policy. I look forward to receiving their views and advice in this regard.
Let me indicate the kind of world I would like to live in. I dream of a world where there will be no more arms race, no more famine, and no more economic deprivation. I dream of a world where every child will go to school during the daytime in a safe environment and will go to bed at night well fed and in a decent home.
This is obviously a dream. But Canada should work hard to make this dream come true. After all, great events, unthinkable a few years ago, have given rise to a renewal, a new sense of hope, and must inspire all of us as parliamentarians engaged in this democratic decision making process for this country.
Nelson Mandela was released from his prison cell and now leads his party in South Africa's first democratic election. The Gdansk naval yard electrician and underground union leader, Lech Walesa, is now Poland's democratically elected president. A political prisoner and playwright, Vaclav Havel, is now the Czech republic president.
This was unthinkable just a few years ago. But dreams came true.
I believe we must work hard to give Canada a foreign policy that meets our foreign aspirations and this includes maintaining our presence on the international scene, in accordance with a tradition of excellence that we will maintain in the future.