House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aid.


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12:30 p.m.


Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too want to congratulate the hon. member for the amendment that he moved and say that we intend to vote for it because it relates to an area where Canadians and Quebecers really want to be represented by those whom they elected. I think this would show respect for the opinion of the people who just voted last fall, in the general election, on the way they see the future of the foreign policy, that is that it be made by the people who were elected in the general election.

By the same token, it would be for us an indication of our willingness to do things at a lower cost and to take into consideration all the criticisms that we may have received on the unnecessary spending there may be in the Canadian federal system as well as in all bureaucratic systems. However, we do not intend this morning to put the federal system on trial. In that sense, the amendment from the Reform Party suits us very well and we hope that the government will also see fit to vote for it.

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12:30 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments. They reiterate a very strong point and we appreciate the support.

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12:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I do not want to confuse members, but there was mention made in the intervention of the hon. member for Richelieu that we commonly refer to the Senate as the other place.

Today, with the word Senate being in the motion, I would deem it acceptable for members in replying to questions or comments to use the same term as in the motion. Ultimately we must be vigilant and remain respectful of all members in the House as well as senators in the other chamber.

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12:30 p.m.

Etobicoke North Ontario


Roy MacLaren LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the discussions today of Canada's foreign policy initiated by my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I want to share with members today some thoughts on the role of trade in our total foreign affairs policies, sketch out possible policy directions, and encourage discussions on how we can best proceed in the future.

I am also very pleased to co-sponsor the foreign policy forum which will involve people across Canada from the private sector on March 21 and March 22. It will seek their views on public policy. I look forward to the subsequent work the parliamentary committee will undertake under the initiative of my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The importance of trade to the making and implementation of Canadian foreign policy has long been a central principle of our vision of international relations. Lester Pearson entitled his 1957 Nobel peace prize address "Four Faces of Peace". Significantly his first face of peace and the one about which he spoke most eloquently was trade. Mr. Pearson noted:

The higher man sets his economic goals in this age of mass democracy, the more essential it is to political stability and peace that we trade as freely as possible.

He spoke of the high political purpose of civilizing the commercial policies of governments through the reduction of trade and investment barriers.

Mr. Pearson understood that trading agreements can underpin human development, including greater respect of basic human rights, by expanding the scope of international law, by generating the growth required to sustain social development, and by making governments that have opened their markets more sensitive to the reactions of international business and other governments. An autarkic, inward looking society that depends little on trade and international investment is less likely to respond positively to concerns raised by others.

The construction of an international system of binding rights, obligations and effective enforcement in which Canada takes its place as one of the more active and creative architects helps to ensure that the rule of law prevails over the rule of unrestrained power and discriminatory fixes. The making of trade rules fits this objective very well.

Despite the disputes that arise and the range of barriers that continue to impede people everywhere from reaching their true economic and social potential, internationally agreed rules governing trade relations can be the cement that binds together the international community.

Our government has focused mainly on economic recovery and job creation. Trade directly impacts on that area.

A large part of Canada's prosperity is due to the fact that we have access to foreign markets. Our exports of goods and services account for more than a quarter of our gross domestic product.

At the beginning of the nineties that proportion was slightly less than the one recorded in Germany, about the same as the one recorded in France and in Great Britain and more than double the one existing in the United States and in Japan. Directly and indirectly, exports sustain more than 2 million jobs in Canada, and international trade will become more significant for the conservation and the creation of jobs.

Against the background of Canada's trade record and the importance to Canada of exports as well as imports, the conduct of Canada's trade relations must rest on two pillars: first, the quest for greater international security through agreed rule

making and enforcement and, second, the creation of competitively sustained jobs for Canadians, whatever the product, wherever the market.

It is now generally acknowledged that the world economy has experienced fundamental changes over the last three decades and that these changes have been primarily structural in nature. The globalization of production, the growth of knowledge based industries and the shift in wealth and power to the Asia-Pacific region all point to the rise of a new international economic order.

It is also commonly accepted that attempts on the part of national governments to shield themselves from these changes are not only illusory but fraught with danger. Admittedly this has not stopped certain governments from attempting to do just that. In the United States in some quarters the current political obsession is Japan, which enjoys a sizeable trade surplus despite or perhaps because of its current recession. Behind such cryptic phrases as fairer trade and levelling the playing field often lurk notions of replacing open rules based competition with managed trade, restrictive quotas and regulated trade balances. Likewise in Europe there are some who support the idea of a closed, self-reliant bloc. Regional liberalization and policy harmonization are certainly laudable goals when aimed at deepening Europe's commitment to freer trade. However these objectives become rather less admirable when one additional goal is to shut out global competition, especially from low cost producers in Asia or Latin America.

Fortunately or unfortunately there is no turning back the clock on globalization. Like the industrial revolution of the previous century, the kinds of changes produced by rapid technological change and by the liberalized trading system have permanently altered the economic landscape. As we saw with the former communist bloc, efforts to shut out these forces eventually collapsed, with the collapse of the Berlin wall itself, largely because these countries were being left behind in an accelerating, footloose technological race. Countries must either move rapidly to adapt to change or watch their productive capacities deteriorate and their living standards decline.

The central lesson of globalization for Canada is that we can only achieve economic growth through an open, outward looking trade policy. In the current domestic economic climate characterized by accumulating private and public sector debt, high rates of taxation and anaemic consumption, there is no wellspring of demand waiting to be unleashed by the right macroeconomic fix. Any meaningful domestic growth strategy must almost by definition be export led. Only by targeting new and additional markets, by assisting our firms to be competitive in those markets and by creating an open, outward oriented economic base both for domestic and foreign businesses, will the government have any realistic hope of securing long term growth and job creation.

At the same time we must focus not just on how much Canada exports but on what Canada exports, the type of markets we pursue, the delivery systems were provide and, perhaps most important, the productive climate we foster at home will in many ways shape the kind of Canadian economy which evolves in the years ahead.

We must also recognize that in a world of rapid and complex change where international institutions are struggling to keep up, where other countries are employing a wide range of instruments to gain advantage in the global marketplace and where Canada is but a middle power, we need to be more focused, more single minded in the pursuit of our policy objectives.

It has been suggested that political diplomacy is giving way to economic diplomacy. If Canada is to remain a significant player in an international arena characterized primarily by the interplay of economic forces, we must define a more strategic, less universal niche in the affairs of the international community. More than ever trade policy is about positioning Canada in the global economy so that we attract the high value added, high technology industries and jobs of the future.

The key to developing an effective trade strategy for Canada is to begin to identify more precisely our national priorities, both regionally and sectorally, based on a much clearer assessment of where our economic interests lie. In practical terms this means working directly with our key export sectors to develop a more focused, more agile policy agenda which is concerned less with trade instruments or the institutional frameworks than with trade objectives. It means using all the policy tools at our disposal, multilateral, regional and bilateral, to achieve clearly set out national priorities. In an ideal world, trade liberalization would occur multilaterally on the broadest possible range of fronts. Unfortunately we are dealing with an imperfect, changing world and we must be prepared to wield a whole array of trade policy instruments if we want to reach our market access goals.

Although time does not allow me today to examine in detail the policy directions in the trade area for Canada in the decades ahead, I want to set forth what should be our three objectives.

First, we must define our priorities more clearly based on a rigorous assessment of where Canada's competitive advantages lie. It remains true that Europe is still central for many Canadian exports and an important source of investment capital.

We shall continue to attend to the trans-Atlantic market very carefully.

The United States market and the successful management of our trade relations with our neighbour remain fundamental to Canada's economic prosperity.

Nonetheless, the highest growth rate, the most exciting new market opportunities are in the western hemisphere, in Latin America and more especially westward across the Pacific to Asia.

Moreover, it is with many of these emerging markets that Canadian exports will enjoy a strong comparative advantage and major growth opportunities in the years ahead, much stronger than we enjoy in the markets of Europe or even in the United States.

How can we secure further access to traditional markets while actively expanding our economic links with high growth markets overseas? The central focus remains the multilateral trade framework which provides the foundation upon which our trade policy is constructed. For this reason we are committed to promoting an early start to the work of the new world trade organization. Called into being by the recent Uruguay round of the GATT, it is largely a Canadian proposal that completes the post war trade and payment system in the best traditions of Canadian foreign policy.

We shall actively encourage the international community to elaborate more fully a forward looking work program that reflects Canadian interests as well as the new trade issues, especially trade in the environment and the possibility of replacing anti-dumping regimes with competition policy, that have arisen through greater global integration.

We will also actively encourage means by which the new world trade organization, the World Bank and the IMF can co-ordinate their efforts to reach mutually reinforcing policy objectives. We shall actively encourage the prompt accession of China, Taiwan and Russia to the new world trade organization with all its rights and obligations.

The fact remains that Canada's most critical economic relationship is with the United States, the destination of over 70 per cent of our exports, and indeed with North America as a whole.

To manage this relationship Canada has a more comprehensive rules based framework in the recently proclaimed North American Free Trade Agreement.

The government's commitment to strengthening this framework is underscored by our successful efforts to establish NAFTA working groups that will strive to reform practices related to the inappropriate use of anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

NAFTA can provide a complementary tool for expanding opportunities for Canadian exports only if it remains fundamentally open to the world economy. What we do not want to see is a NAFTA which turns inward on itself, devolving into a form of continentalist, protectionist block.

For this reason we must focus our attention on the accession issue and underscore its importance as a means of strengthening trade and investment relations not only within our hemisphere but indeed across the Pacific for those Asian countries ready for a comprehensive economic partnership.

The new world trade organization and NAFTA are not the only tools available to Canada to expand our trade relations beyond North America.

Another approach can be to explore the prospects for negotiating a range of bilateral trade arrangements with selected high growth economies overseas. Such a policy would in no way compromise our existing and vital relationship with the United States. The goal is not to increase Canada's independence through a rekindled third option. Such independence even if it were economically desirable is largely illusory in an increasingly interdependent world.

On the contrary, Canada's role in the FTA and now in NAFTA should be translated into a competitive advantage by encouraging greater economies of scale, by facilitating mutual beneficial sourcing and networks and by helping Canadians to build globally competitive industries. It is essential that we view our North American base not as a buffer against international competition but as a springboard to a rapidly expanding global economy.

Trade agreements open doors. Our trade development activities help companies walk through them. In the emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific region or Latin America the goal of establishing an institutional foothold in those markets and constructing strong business links or alliances is at least as important as formalizing market access agreements.

As the second part of our strategic approach to trade policy we must also devise ways to target government programs and resources more effectively to assist Canadian companies to reach into key markets.

Of particular concern to the government is the role of small and medium sized enterprises which have the potential to be the growth engines of the future but often lack the critical mass, the financial resources or the technical expertise to penetrate foreign markets. Building stronger linkages with the private sector, improving the delivery of market information, better co-ordinating government programs, both federal and provincial and further leveraging domestic financial resources are issues now on the table.

The main objective is not to encourage government to be better at exporting but to encourage the business sector to be more aggressive, more outward looking global traders.

Are there ways of redesigning our trade development institutions and activities so that we bring a more co-ordinated approach to the design, the allocation and implementation of our limited resources? Should we consider working with the provinces and industry to be the linchpins of effective export strategies by adopting a more market driven approach to trade development, one which sees government as an export facilitator rather than an export leader? We can use market signals to set our real trade priorities.

Last, we must foster a domestic economic environment conducive to export led growth. It has become commonplace to observe that the boundary between national issues and international issues is becoming blurred in the same way the distinction between domestic policy instruments and trade policy instruments is in many instances meaningless. Regulatory and tax policies that unnecessarily inhibit export sectors must be revisited. Regimes and restrictions that block constructive international investment must also be re-examined. As the world economy becomes increasingly open, Canada will inevitably be exposed to greater and more fluid investments.

We need to ensure that Canada can attract the kind of high quality foreign investment that will allow us to take advantage of technology transfers to sources from global markets and to remain at the hub of international linkages and alliances. The basic objective of our policy is to further Canada's national economic interests at a time when these interests show a far greater constancy than the increasingly complex and competitive world with which we grapple. We can do a much better job of ensuring that these interests are translated into bold policy objectives and clear priorities.

To that end we intend to ensure that the government's own house is in order with regard to international business development support. Upon entering office we found duplication, overlap and sometimes confused mandates that hindered the efforts of our exporters to compete abroad. We intend to correct this and to build a single integrated program that addresses issues such as the timeliness and dissemination of market intelligence, the need to reform the mechanisms now in place that provide export financing, and the promotion of mutually beneficial science and technology co-operation between Canadian and foreign companies.

We have to find ways of doing things better, both because good fiscal accountability demands it and because budgetary realities oblige us all to act responsibly as well as creatively.

Moreover, we intend to develop this program through a much closer and more active partnership with the provincial governments and with the private sector.

This process and the foreign policy consultations now launched will assist us in identifying the appropriate tools and strengthening program delivery. During the course of 1994 I shall announce the concrete results emerging from the consultations in which we are now engaged.

We must ensure that the greater co-ordination of all Canadian foreign policy tools to underpin our interests abroad are respecting the fact that these interests will always be varied. I want to reassure this House that the government will vigorously defend the market access achieved through negotiations and realized in practise through the efforts of our export community. We shall not hesitate to challenge other nations when they do not live up to their international trade and economic obligations, threatening Canadian interests and Canadian jobs as a result.

This is, after all, the whole point of international rule making. We shall be active bilaterally and we shall use the dispute settlement provisions in our international trade agreements to defend the interests of all Canadians.

Today's debate marks early in our mandate a period of reflection and discussion about the direction of Canada's foreign policy in a new and more competitive world in which trade and economic issues will be at the centre of the stage as never before. I am convinced that by working through these issues together we shall emerge with a clearer sense of purpose and a direction abroad that can only benefit the prosperity of all regions of Canada.

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12:55 p.m.


Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, when we look at Canada's external relations in terms of development assistance and international trade with a somewhat critical eye, we have to recognize that by providing assistance, Canada is doing business and seeking business.

Does the minister believe it would be possible, without creating a gap, to make a better distinction between those two Canadian types of action in order to make it clear that business is business and assistance is assistance if we are going to try to eliminate the somewhat undue influences which clearly exist in that area?

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12:55 p.m.


Roy MacLaren Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member brings forward a valuable question in terms of the intended purposes of foreign aid. I am sure that others during the course of this debate will want to comment on that broad question as well.

With regard to the specific question the hon. member raises, the commercial relations of our aid program, commercial involvement in our CIDA program can often bring real benefit. I think in particular of how in a number of instances in which a sale of Canadian goods or services is envisaged in a recipient country, a Third World country, quite often CIDA can provide

the training element that can make a greater reality of the investment. I have in mind the instances where Canadian companies have entered into joint ventures or even direct investment in a Third World country where quite obviously a short term problem is going to be the absence of local people capable of working in that factory or industry. In those instances CIDA has often been able to provide the financing for the training which enables the local people to participate in the new industries involved.

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1 p.m.


Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister. I will preface it.

One of the criticisms in the past of our trade department is it has not had really strong links with the private investment community, private business, and it felt a little bit left out. I think I hear the minister saying that is something that is going to be corrected in this review that is taking place.

Could he just assure me that in fact that is actually what he said?

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1 p.m.


Roy MacLaren Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not for one moment want to suggest that I have had misgivings about the abilities of officials in the department to develop and maintain close working relations with the Canadian private sector.

I think all of us would recognize, and I am sure the hon. member would do so, that the world is a rapidly changing place. Technology is evolving very rapidly in a way that suggests that new approaches to the relationship between the trade commissioner service on the one hand and the Ottawa based staff on the other with the business community needs to be under constant review.

One way in which we are giving current expression to that is to examine the ways in which financing is provided to Canadian companies for their export sales. Quite obviously there are limited total resources within the country, whether they come from government or the private sector, to bring about that support.

We are talking with the banks at the moment about how we might better co-operate together on export financing. We are looking in particular, as I noted in passing in my statement, at the possibility of more financing being available to small and medium sized businesses that are interested in getting into the export world, a world that often is bewildering to them and where they need some assistance from either federal or provincial governments and from the banks to participate actively in the export world.

Therein is an example of an area where we are actively looking at some initiatives to see whether we can tie the work of the department and of the Export Development Corporation yet more closely to the private sector interests.

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1 p.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, last February 17, the government invited this House to a third debate on national defence launching the process that would lead to the review of Canada's defence policy.

At that time, I mentioned the contradiction in the fact that the government was entering into such a debate before declaring what its own directions, its own intentions were on the subject of defence. Meanwhile, the government had already decided to authorise the United States to resume testing of cruise missiles over Canadian territory and, a few days later, it announced some drastic cuts in the defence budget, the closing of several bases and two military colleges, and the six-month extension of the Canadian peacekeepers' mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina. All those decisions have a direct impact on Canada's defence policy and they were made without the slightest announcement of the government's intentions and before the joint committee responsible for the review of the defence policy had even begun its proceedings.

At the time of that debate, I said: "Moreover, the government assumes that a defence policy can be considered independently from foreign policy, which is not the case. There again, the government carefully avoided unveiling its intentions regarding the direction it will give to this new foreign policy".

That statement is still very valid today, some four weeks later. Today, the government is inviting us to participate in the launching of Canada's foreign policy review process, while once more keeping its own intentions rather vague and unclear. However, today, we had the opportunity to hear the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for International Trade outline the foreign policy guidelines the government intends to follow.

I must say that I find it totally deplorable that it is only this morning that we were given the working paper which is supposed to be the basis for the debate on Canada's foreign policy. Moreover, the government persists in seeing the foreign policy review process as totally separate from the defence policy review process, an approach which, in many respects, does not make any sense.

Foreign policy is closely connected to security and defence. It is particularly true in Canada where post-war foreign policy has been geared to the collective security system set up under the UN, NATO and NORAD.

The foreign policy review we are embarking upon follows two major reviews of this kind undertaken by the Canadian government during the last 25 years. The first one took place in 1969-70 under the Trudeau government and the second one was conducted in 1984 by the Mulroney government. Since then,

there has a been a lot of water under the bridge and a lot of events caused much ink to flow; cases in point are the fall of the Berlin wall and German unification, as well as the breaking up the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism.

There is an urgent need to review defence and foreign policies in view of drastic changes in world order. Today, the notion of security takes on a meaning very different than was the case not that long ago.

However, several other major changes have also contributed to making the federal government feel the need to review Canada's foreign policy. I can think of the development of communications, the emergence of environmental concerns, as well as the globalization of markets.

It is important to point out that this globalization is an inescapable phenomenon. It is a tendency which affects the economy of all countries, whether they are G-7 members or developing nations. To try to escape this reality would be like ignoring the emergence of new means of communication and production; in other words, it would be tantamount to ignoring the changes which have occurred in our economic environment.

In a previous speech made in this House, I mentioned that the economies of Quebec and Canada are largely dependent on exports of goods and services, which account for close to 16 per cent of the country's gross domestic product. Obviously, the economic prosperity of a nation of seven million people or, for that matter, of a country with a population of 28 million, is contingent upon having access to major markets. This is why I wonder about the reluctance of English Canada to recognize the existence of a potentially beneficial pattern, assuming it is well managed.

However, even though market globalization implies a certain degree of integration in an economic structure which transcends national boundaries, it does not mean that small countries have to yield to the powerful economies of the world.

By standing up for themselves, these small nations ensure that their interests will be protected, since they will have been enshrined in duly negotiated agreements implemented by neutral international organizations. Moreover, they can enjoy the same benefits as their trading partners and competitors.

Many smaller states, like Denmark and the Benelux countries, have done well against great economic powers such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom and have recognized the need to open up to the world.

To protect ourselves against the almost unlimited high-handedness of the great powers, we need to embark upon some serious negotiations and to establish dispute settlement mechanisms capable of withstanding political pressure. Of course, laxness and obscure definitions would under no circumstances whatsoever be deemed acceptable.

There is much more to the benefits of free trade and market globalization. In fact, it is our hope that foreign companies gaining access to the United States and North America will increasingly choose Canada and Quebec as their entrance point to these markets.

As you may have guessed, the Bloc Quebecois is not against reopening NAFTA to include new partners. Quite the opposite, it would welcome them. However, it greatly hopes that the government projects will include significant measures to help Quebec and Canadian businesses and workers to adjust to this new reality.

Various groups were opposed to the signing and implementation of the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, because these treaties did not include any adjustment measure.

Finally, I have one last word of advice about market globalization that comes from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. At a round table on international trade, one of its officials said, and I quote: "GATT, NAFTA and other regional agreements help to create a more dynamic, foreseeable and stable trade environment. However, our members believe that globalization represents bigger and bigger challenges for Canada. They think that the capacity of Canadian businesses to take advantage of the opportunities provided by GATT and NAFTA and to keep their share of the domestic market directly depends on the capacity of Canada to put its finances on a healthy footing".

In fact, the leader of the opposition himself raised this issue earlier today, during his speech.

I have also mentioned that the Chamber of Commerce advocates improved co-operation between the private and the public sectors. As I have mentioned before in this House, this means, among other things, that the government must give access to all the information and expertise it has and create an environment conducive to investments in Quebec and in Canada.

Although Canada and Quebec are irremediably committed to freer trade with the free trade agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement and GATT negotiated agreements, we must be careful and watchful of arbitrary decisions on the part of our trade partners, in particular the United States, to which our industries could fall victim.

The process leading to the gradual elimination of trade barriers between Canada and the United States is undoubtedly well under way and on schedule, but this does not prevent the

Americans from applying against some of our products and some of our industries protectionist measures which appear to be anachronisms given the current trend towards market globalization.

This total disregard for the international rules of the game on the part of the United States when it comes to trade is evident in a number of areas of economic activity in Canada. Take for example the conflicts between Canada and the United States on steel, softwood, beer, some farm products and uranium.

In those areas, the American authorities are systematically trying to deny Canadian products access to their market by using all kinds of cunning and harassing tactics such as constant red tape, countervailing duties, repeated use of the various dispute settlement mechanisms, etc.

The latest weapon the United States added to their arsenal of trade impediments is their super 301. This rather exceptional measure allows the American administration to penalize the countries deemed guilty of unfair trade practices against the United States.

Super 301, which is in total contradiction with the rules and the spirit of GATT and NAFTA, was strongly denounced all over the world, in particular by the Secretary General of GATT and by the European Commissioner for International Trade.

Fortunately, Canada is not directly threatened, at least for now, with possible application of super 301. The United States are now threatening Japan with trade retaliation measures if it does not open its market wider to some American products. However, there are reasons for Canada to fear the potentially negative impact of the application of super 301 to Japan. The Prime Minister of Australia and some French parliamentarians already expressed their fear.

This strong hint of protectionism from another era shows the need to establish strong international institutions that can guarantee the continuation of the free trade movement and help countries to protect themselves against arbitrary and unilateral decisions by the great economic powers.

In this regard, the creation of the world trade organization as of January 1, 1995 seems to be a step in the right direction. Also, we will have to ensure that clear and functional dispute settlement mechanisms are included in NAFTA and that the discussions requested by the federal government regarding the definition of dumping and subsidies are successful.

As I said earlier, trade liberalization and market globalization seem to be a trend, an irreversible phenomenon. The prosperity of nations will depend more and more on international trade. It is a fact that will be part of Canada's economic reality from now on. So, as I mentioned in this House on February 1, the warm reception given by both federalists and sovereignists in Quebec first to the free trade agreement with the United States and later to the North American Free Trade Agreement should surprise no one.

In the context of market globalization, it appears essential to me that the provinces be able to ensure the development of their economy, their culture and their society. This position, inspired by the Gérin-Lajoie doctrine, implies that provincial government institutions abroad deal with areas under exclusive provincial jurisdiction at the international level.

It is with that in mind that Quebec started, in the early 1960s, to establish a network ensuring its presence abroad. Today it has 27 offices abroad to promote Quebec exports, to seek out investment, to implement immigration agreements and to encourage exchanges in education, language and culture.

Other provinces also, including New Brunswick, Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, have established a number of offices abroad. However, Ontario recently decided to close its offices outside Canada.

When a provincial government chooses to maintain a mission abroad in order to promote its interests and its culture, it should not expect the federal government to undertake obstructive action against it. If we want provinces to be able to attract investors and to help our businesses break into foreign markets, we should avoid these centralist offensives or pressures on provinces by the federal government.

I would like to take this opportunity to add a few words on the government project called Team Canada. This should not be confused of course with the hockey team of the same name. This project aims to encourage and develop a synergy, a co-operation between the various Canadian stakeholders in the area of exports. Team Canada, it is to be hoped, must remain a flexible organization promoting co-operation and collaboration between these various Canadian stakeholders in the area of exports.

Too often we have seen such initiatives become exercises in centralization which look like bureaucratic monsters. Moreover, consultation with the provinces is imperative if we are to avoid duplication, draw upon their expertise, and define their real needs.

At any rate, the whole process of reviewing our foreign policy, more particularly as it applies to international trade, should obviously take into consideration the views, expectations, and concerns of all interested parties.

At the very beginning of my remarks, I took great care to state my reservations and concerns about a foreign policy review that is totally divorced from the national defence policy review, a rather illogical decision. I would now like to deal with my concern about the process itself.

The government's motion provides for the appointment of a joint committee of the House of Commons and Senate. I think that such a committee is utterly useless and inappropriate. Having a certain number of senators join the members who sit on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade will only make for a heavier structure and lead to an inefficient and unproductive committee. It will also drive up the costs, since more people will be travelling with the committee.

In my opinion, the creation of working subcommittees that some see as a solution to the problems of effectiveness and cost related to the joint committee's size is in reality a proposal which will ultimately undermine the coherence and unity of all committee members in their work.

Some will say that creating a joint committee will help us avoid duplication between the House standing committee and Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, thus avoiding expenditures made by two committees working simultaneously on the same issue. This argument is pointless since both committees, like all committees of the House which have an equivalent in the Senate, are constantly overlapping anyway.

We agree with the principle which prompts the government to propose the creation of a joint committee of the House and the Senate, that is to eliminate costly and useless duplication between the two committees responsible for foreign affairs and international trade.

Obviously, we disagree on the means. While the Liberals propose a temporary solution to a real problem, which is due to the existence of the Senate itself, we respectfully suggest to our colleagues that the sole purpose of creating such a joint committee is to maintain this ancient and antiquated institution which is completely out of touch with Canadian reality. That is why we oppose the creation of this joint committee.

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1:20 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a short question. We certainly agree with the mention of the Senate item. I look at the difficulty that Canada has in becoming known in the international community.

The hon. member mentioned something about the efficiency that some smaller countries can have. He made reference to several countries. I would take a look at Norway which has a huge tax burden and a high debt level and point out that maybe it is not being as successful.

My question concerns the economy of size. Some of the hon. member's comments made reference to the fact that smaller units can be successful in the international community. I wonder if he could elaborate on that a bit, please.

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1:20 p.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find interesting the specific reference made by my colleague from Red Deer to a Scandinavian country which, everyone knows, has experienced over the last few years a growth in public spending for which it now has to bear the consequences.

I think he has deliberately targetted a Scandinavian country to illustrate his point. He could just as well have chosen a country other than a Scandinavian one, such as Austria, Denmark or Switzerland. He preferred to choose Norway to argue that a small state is not necessarily more efficient than a large one.

In answer to that, I will only point out that while Canada is a large country, it is not really in a better financial shape than Norway.

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1:20 p.m.

Northumberland Ontario


Christine Stewart LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to address the House on the opening of our foreign policy review.

My remarks today are made in the context of our government's commitment to a foreign policy review. A foreign policy review commences with this opportunity in the House of Commons for elected members of Parliament to speak to issues which, although they may not seem as urgent as their constituents' well-being, are in fact just as relevant to our well-being as health, welfare and a social safety net. Many factors outside of Canada threaten the security of our daily lives and those of our children and grandchildren just as surely as unemployment, health and education programs and difficulties resulting from our debt and deficits at home.

If world population growth rates continue and poverty world-wide is allowed to continue to ravage our global environment, if consumption levels continue without consideration of whether that consumption is sustainable, if women world-wide are not recognized as the critical determiners of health and education standards and economic well-being and yet are not supported adequately in these roles, then our very survival is threatened, not just our economic and social well-being.

Members of Parliament are elected to represent more than the immediate interests of their constituents, important as these interests are. Members of Parliament are obliged to balance the interests of their constituents with the broad and often conflicting interests of the regions of Canada and of our country as a whole. Federally elected members of Parliament must broaden the balance of all these interests to include a global perspective,

the best interests of humanity as a whole, our global family. Our vision cannot be blinkered by narrow interests. We must not be blind to critical issues in a rapidly changing world.

As I am sure all members have noticed since the commencement of the 35th Parliament, determining the future directions of our nation is a complex and often difficult balancing act. Canada has a longstanding reputation for leadership in addressing international problems and we intend to further strengthen this reputation over the years. However, no government has all the answers.

In the post cold war era, we are continually presented with rapidly changing situations, new challenges and many opportunities. That is the reason the government is launching today a broad consultative process with the Canadian people.


In the end, the government will have to make decisions based on principles, but we admit that Canadians, because of their culture, education, as well as their many travels and professional experience, are more than ever able to contribute to policy formulation. Such a combination of culture, education and international experience is unequalled in any other country.

The Liberal government is not starting from scratch in this foreign policy evaluation. Over the last four years, we consulted Canadians on a whole series of issues such as UN reform, foreign aid, human rights and sustainable development. Our principles were stated clearly and we want them to be the grounds for our review.

At the end of the process, I sincerely hope that we will be able to establish a more consistent foreign policy whose various components-assistance, trade, defence, environment, health, agriculture, immigration and politics-will be complementary.

In the past, elements of Canadian foreign policy have often operated without consideration of their effects on other policy areas. This resulted in policies which often worked at cross-purposes and which ran the risk of cancelling out each other's benefits. Our fragile planet cannot withstand the continuation of this short-sighted approach. Scarce resources, public and private, must be harmonized to maximize our limited capabilities. We need a full foreign policy review to help us better understand how to achieve coherent results.

My specific purpose in addressing this debate today is to highlight the relevant issues from the perspective of my areas of responsibility, Latin America, which includes the Caribbean and Africa.

I would like to begin with some reflection first on Africa. As a continent which is rich in culture, human and natural resources, I believe it cannot be marginalized. Africa currently has a population of 650 million people, a figure that could double by the year 2010.

With such enormous population pressures, what can we do when the people of Africa are forced to eradicate their own natural resources for the purposes of survival? It is in those situations that environmental concerns become as much a security issue for Canada as terrorism.

The nature of Canadian aid to Africa has changed in recent years. More and more our dollars are spent in providing relief, not development assistance. This relief is augmented by peacekeeping and defence dollars dispensed in response to social, economic and political upheaval.

Ultimately Canada is forced to make huge contributions to refugee programs at home and abroad. We must recognize the immense costs of social, political and economic crises and their effect on our own well-being at home here in Canada.

The cost to Canada of emergency assistance, peacekeeping and refugee care and processing in war zones far outweighs the cost of building secure and stable societies through long term development. In recent years it has become clearly evident that we cannot afford not to promote international peace and security.

Aid or development assistance alone in whatever volume is insufficient to the task. Dollars spent by Canada for development should complement policies and programs of recipient country governments with the same ends in mind.

Sustainable development, good governance, respect for human rights, adherence to democratic principles, economic transparency and acceptable accountability standards are requisite. We cannot afford to squander too many development assistance dollars in countries that do not respect the principles and goals of our initiatives.

For that purpose, Canada has already started to relate our assistance to such principles as respect for human rights and competent economic management. This will surely be examined as part of the foreign policy review.

This is obviously an approach of utmost importance. Yet even a policy of providing development dollars to countries practising good governance policies will not alone achieve sustainable development in those countries. Economic opportunity must also be possible.

For many African countries debt burdens threaten to prevent the emergence of a viable economy. There is an additional need in developing countries for policies to encourage foreign investment and international policies which permit free and fair trade to occur with poorer nations.

Political will on all sides to bring about necessary reform is paramount. I am sure our foreign policy review process will assist the Canadian government in developing proactive, effective methods to achieve this goal.

Africa is going through a period of profound changes. The people of many African countries proved their determination to rid themselves of cyclical problems of corruption and abuse associated with their governments. Africans want governments that will be able to fulfil their basic needs, namely as regards health, education, peace, sustainable development and economic stability.

Africa is facing a tough challenge. The changes needed will not be possible without tremendous work and the commitment of its people. Canada is aware that the road to democracy will not be an easy one. Any political change inevitably comes with problems and unexpected detours. Nevertheless, it is important that the democratization process be anchored in the respect of African customs, traditions and values in order to take root deeply and provide hope for future generations of Africans.

In countries that are on their way to democracy, it is not enough to support the democratization process and principles of good public administration up to election day. Although decisive elections are but a first step. Canada must go on supporting the principle of good administration of public affairs.

We also should not underestimate the economic ties Canada has established with Africa. Our African trade involves every Canadian region and has allowed many companies to make more effective use of their knowledge in technology.

This is of significant benefit to Canadians who not only gain market access but jobs and greater economic security for themselves. By applying our knowledge and supplying our products where the demand emerges, Canada maintains and increases its competitiveness.

It is worth recalling that the United Nations, the Commonwealth and la Francophonie are major multilateral organizations through which Canadians and Africans have been closely associated. Many hon. members may not be aware that African countries comprise 30 per cent of the United Nations membership, 27 per cent of the Commonwealth and 52 per cent of the countries in la Francophonie.

The linguistic, cultural and historical ties between our nations have existed far longer than our relationships through aid programs. Canada's bilingual and multicultural nature has been an important factor in building those long term relationships. That is the foundation upon which we can take the opportunity to build a long fruitful partnership well into the future. We only need the political will to do so. In my opinion, we cannot afford not to.

Within our development assistance programs Canada has traditionally attached the highest priority to activities which attempt to reduce global poverty. It has been recognized that crime, violence and large scale conflict often result in situations where poverty is most prevalent.

The government has stated that its goal is to provide 25 per cent of official development assistance. This is to meet basic human needs and human resource development, to provide basic health and education, to work more closely to assist women who are the principal providers of health, nutrition and education, and to provide sustainable development so that future generations may also know peace and security.

The government was elected on the promise of fiscal responsibility. While we are not in a position at this time to increase funding to our development assistance program, our goal remains the same: to achieve a 0.7 per cent official development assistance to GNP ratio.

Despite this need for fiscal restraint I do not believe that limited financial resources necessitate a reduction in effectiveness. Through creative, proactive and well-managed programs our impact can even increase. Initiatives in terms of human rights for example often administered on a small scale can have a widespread impact. Our challenge is to administer all our programs more effectively.

We recognize the impact of necessary change can be felt unequally by different groups in society. Canada is trying to respond to this reality by working with international financial institutions and through local governments to protect existing adjustment programs, but mitigate the negative impacts by launching new social programs to benefit those most directly affected by adjustment. We hope the foreign policy review will address this issue.

Still, Africa's continuing debt burden severely handicaps its efforts at sustainable development. As a development partner we need to consider how best to alleviate this burden. Success will assist in the creation of healthier African economies.

Mr. Speaker, allow me to speak now about Latin America. Canada is part of the Americas. With globalization, Latin America and the Caribbean are more and more the focus of Canada's foreign policy. That region has already got involved in a process of fundamental change and modernization on the economic, political and social levels. With its positive co-operation, Canada has a unique opportunity to be able to take part in that development and help shaping it. In this hemisphere, we are considered as a responsible and increasingly involved partner, and I think we have a lot to gain from that partnership.

While recognizing the potential of that partnership, we must also admit that Canada has a lot to learn if it wants to avoid being marginalized in the development of its relationships with the other countries of the hemisphere. These countries have a very

different history, language and culture than ours, and our understanding of their circumstances will affect the scope and success of our relationships.

Canada's foreign policy regarding that region is faced with many difficulties. Our attitudes towards Latin America and the Caribbean must be in tune with the general objectives of our foreign policy, that is the relief of poverty, the promotion of sound public management, of human rights, of social stability, of gender and racial equality, of a sustainable environment and of international peace and stability.

While that population is quite educated compared with other developing regions, they have serious social problems which must be addressed at the grass roots. It is essential that we solve these problems if we want to ensure their well-being in the future.

These last few years, there have been positive political tendencies in Latin America. In the early eighties, many countries had military regimes. Now, almost all governments in that region have been democratically elected in accordance with free constitutional procedures. As these countries get familiar with the democratic process, they bring their policies up to international standards.

Work is being done by Latin American and Caribbean citizens to consolidate and strengthen democratic judicial and human rights institutions. Canadian assistance has been and remains important in reinforcing these trends. The military in most countries now shows a greater respect for civilian authority and has retreated to a more limited proper role in society.

Canada supports and is encouraged by this process of democratization. Similar to our work in Africa it is imperative to remember that elections in themselves do not create democracy. It is incumbent on the donor countries to continue their support until a true democratic society is achieved. In fact we anticipate the day when we learn from each other in this regard.

In the Commonwealth Caribbean, Canada has longstanding strong ties with both governments and people. These ties have been based on shared parliamentary and democratic traditions, common values, close personal contact with government leaders, extensive tourism and major involvement by Canada's chartered banks. We expect these ties to endure and strengthen in the years ahead.

How should our relationship with the region be modified to reflect future and global interests? There has also been significant progress in the area of economic renewal in Latin America and the Caribbean. This provides the foundation for sustainable growth and development.

Many countries in this region are making considerable progress in implementing market oriented economic reforms, privatization, deregulation, emphasis on export oriented production and are integrating into regional and global markets. Investor confidence is improving.

As a result this is a region which is expanding economically and in which Canada has an increasingly important trade and investment stake that can contribute to economic recovery and renewal in Canada. We must seize these opportunities in the most effective manner possible.

Canada's official development assistance plays an important role in our partnership throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In this instance there are certain existing similarities to our relationship to Africa.

By supporting the economic reform process and encouraging governments to do more now to mitigate the associated social costs, Canada's aid program has promoted sustainable development, particularly in the management of natural resources. It has contributed to a reduction in poverty and has promoted respect for human rights, democratic development and good economic governance.

I know from firsthand experience with grassroots projects throughout Central America the good that can result from human scale community development initiatives supported by Canadians. Our larger scale official programs of development assistance have also had a positive impact in vital areas ranging from food production to human rights, from the development of clean water sources to economic reform. They have contributed to encouraging the economic and social improvements that are taking place.

Since it became a member of the Organization of American States in 1989, Canada actively supported the OAS in its efforts to promote democracy and constitutional rule, as well as judicial reform and human rights protection. Its missions have given Canada an opportunity to strengthen human development in all regions.

I believe that Canada should continue to support regional initiatives in favour of human rights, environmental protection and trade development.

In this process, we should also make sure that poor countries are not marginalized. Marginalization of less developed countries can result in instability and massive movements of populations away from poor countries and into rich ones, and could also jeopardize emerging economies. Such situations have re-

percussions all over the world. Therefore, there may be merit in trying to prevent them.

Recently, Canada launched a partnership with a country of this hemisphere, Haiti. As one of four friendly countries-with the United States, France and Venezuela-Canada will play a role in the OAS and the UN in the restoration of democratic and constitutional rule in Haiti. It will support President Aristide and protection of human rights.

Cuba poses another challenge. The Cuban economy has undergone serious deterioration. Economic reforms have been limited as have human rights improvements. However I believe we cannot afford to marginalize any country in this hemisphere. Careful evaluation is necessary to encourage the full reintegration of Cuba into the hemispheric family, a process that will require significant change.

Canada's relationship with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean cannot be classified in general terms as each country of the region is so vastly different. For those in the initial stages of development simply providing education and poverty alleviation is not enough. We must also assist them in developing fairer trading relations with their trading partners throughout the world.

Latin America is on the brink of having a more significant impact in international policy areas, as it now has a chance to pursue its vision of becoming an important international player. The challenge for Canada will be the flexibility of our approach and the way in which we accept benefits which are offered through the maintenance and continuance of relationships with both Latin America and the Caribbean.

In closing, it is the vision of the future of Canadians that the Liberal Party is trying to capture in this review process. The result of the process should permit policies which not only respond to the domestic needs of Canadians but also project the international image which Canadians want their government and government initiatives to pursue.

In all of this we are working toward a better future, a future with considerably less poverty, positive sustainable development, social and political equity not only for ourselves but for all women, men and children throughout the world and for our partners in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. I hope everyone present will assist us in achieving that goal.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

March 15th, 1994 / 1:45 p.m.


Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. minister on her comments this afternoon that add to the very important debate taking place with regard to our foreign policy.

I heard the minister speak about the need for aid in the areas that she represents, Latin America and Africa. Would the minister agree with the Auditor General and his comments that there is a need to downsize and reduce the number of countries we give aid to in order to better target our resources? Could the minister comment on that?

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Christine Stewart Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to comment. Earlier today the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that we have to try to be more focused in our foreign aid policies. Being more focused in foreign aid policy does not refer only to aid. There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not we can concentrate on fewer countries having fewer bilateral relations with countries around the world. Through that debate we have produced a greater concentration of development assistance to regions of the world.

The government and I support the development of regional initiatives in the world, but I personally believe that should not preclude our bilateral relations with any country in the world. There are many other instruments of foreign policy besides aid which we can use to enhance and promote bilateral relations with nations around the world.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for her comments. As we all enjoy the debate about foreign policy, hopefully we will come to the start of the process in which we are going to be involved to set policy going into the next century.

I would like a comment from the minister or at least her opinion on whether we should have enabling legislation for CIDA. I was surprised to find no legislation in place at this time that gives CIDA its legislative authority; it is just a creation of cabinet.

Would the minister comment on both the advisability of that because I realize it restricts CIDA's activities somewhat and, in view of that, whether or not it would help to control some of the costs the Auditor General mentioned that have been permanent sores in many Auditor Generals' reports over the past few years?

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Christine Stewart Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure development assistance, foreign aid, and in particular the role of CIDA in providing development assistance and aid around the world, will be very large subjects in the foreign policy review process in general.

The government in its history has kept CIDA closer to its day to day operations of foreign policy. Through the instrument of CIDA and foreign aid there was the desire to supplement other political foreign policy initiatives by keeping them close to the government rather than legislating CIDA at arm's length from the government, as we have done for various other institutions such as the International Development Research Council and the International Institute on Democratic Development and Human Rights.

At this point I would not like to conjecture on how CIDA should progress into the future. I know I want to see these issues discussed very fully in our foreign policy review so that we hear from Canadians how they feel the aid development assistance instrument can be best used in our whole foreign policy package.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I have taken notice of the member standing. Unless there has been a reassignment of seats he might seek to return to his seat while I am on my feet and I might recognize him.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her excellent speech. I would ask for her opinion on whether or not she sees any role for Canada utilizing the United Nations and bringing together the international community to employ economic levers against countries that may be abusing the foreign aid they get, or even in the context of gross human rights abuses within their countries.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Christine Stewart Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to working very closely with the United Nations in trying to strengthen it, in order that the United Nations can be better able to meet all complex situations that exist in our global world. Right now the United Nations is dominated by a security council with a very limited membership which reflects in many ways a cold war era rather than the era we now exist in.

It is very difficult for the United Nations because of its current structure to respond, as the member suggests, to some of the difficulties existing in the world today. As I said, Canada is very interested in not only continuing to support the United Nations but to help it to reform itself in many ways so that it better reflects the global needs of the world.

Certainly Canada as a nation in its bilateral relations with other countries of the world is very concerned about issues of corruption and misuse of funds provided for development purposes to other nations. We do everything we can. We use every bilateral instrument we have at hand to try to encourage governments that may be practising corrupt activities to stop.

I can say from my own experiences as a minister travelling throughout Latin America and Africa that our own country's initiatives in that regard have had some good effect. Countries are now coming forward voluntarily to tell me about measures they are taking to overcome problems. Many countries through regional approaches are beginning to police each other.

There is great hope about what we can do to face the difficulties the member raised which are serious for us. There are things we can do bilaterally as a nation, but there is more we can do through helping the United Nations to reform itself and reform its institutions so that it can help in the process of addressing these issues.

Canadian Foreign PolicyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

There being no further questions and it being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

World Junior Alpine ChampionshipsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention Mélanie Turgeon's incredible performance at the World Junior Alpine Championships in Lake Placid, New York. This Canadian athlete, who is only 17 years old, dazzled the crowd of onlookers and journalists when she won her fifth medal yesterday.

During the entire week of competition Melanie has shown the world what extraordinary talent she possesses. She won a gold medal in the giant slalom, another in the combination, a silver medal in the Super G, a bronze medal in downhill, and another in the slalom.

This remarkable young athlete is the first skier to have won five medals at the World Junior Alpine Championships, a feat which no doubt foreshadows a brilliant career.

Mr. Speaker, I join all Canadians in congratulating Mélanie Turgeon and telling her how proud we are of her and how much we admire her. She is truly a credit to our country. Well done, Mélanie!

Revenue CanadaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently a constituent in my riding wrote to inform me that it was impossible to get through to a federal telephone service, Revenue Canada's 800 information number on child tax benefits.

Nearly three million people are affected by the failure of this service. These are the same people who are asked to pay their taxes without delay, while being deprived of a quality information service that could allow them to claim a deduction to which they are entitled.

This situation is intolerable and shows a total lack of respect for taxpayers. I do hope that corrective measures will be taken as soon as possible so that our fellow Canadians do not have to put up with such a frustrating situation any longer.

EuthanasiaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, media seekers have recently jumped on the euthanasia issue with little regard for the risks down the road.

In my riding the non-partisan public advisory group which has a direct say through me in all issues has overwhelmingly said no to legalizing euthanasia. The same response was expressed by a vast majority of people attending our recent town hall meeting in Aldergrove, British Columbia.

However sometimes we need to listen to children to bring us back to reality.

In the words of nine-year old Dustin Chadsey of Clearbrook, B.C.: "I don't think people should be able to kill each other or themselves. Only God can decide if we live or die".

Before the media seekers do more damage, I urge all members to ask all their constituents their opinions on this important issue.

Collège Militaire Royal De Saint-JeanStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Gilles Bernier Independent Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Defence is making cuts. The government has no choice, and I support the difficult decisions it has to make. I sympathize with the communities in Saint-Jean, Victoria, Cornwall and Nova Scotia, but we sometimes have to sacrifice symbols and monuments in order to put our finances back on track.

It is possible to reach a compromise on the future of the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean. The Canadian government, in collaboration with the Government of Quebec, has offered to find another use for the college so that the local community will not suffer undue economic hardship. The present debate is emotional and almost irrational at times. It is being turned into a language war.

In the budget, none of our regions has been spared. We are here to make decisions, and I hope the government continues to act firmly. By the way, how about marching to Victoria in British Columbia with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, to try and save the Royal Roads Military College?

Human RightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, human rights violations continue to plague the modern world.

Media reports of atrocities in Bosnia, Punjab, the Sudan, South Africa and elsewhere should shock every citizen around the world.

It is too simple to dismiss these atrocities because they take place so far away, but these horrific events do touch Canadians.

A crime committed against an individual is a crime against all of humanity.

For this reason I would like to voice my support of the recent appointment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights to the United Nations.

It is up to those of us who thrive on freedom to protest human rights violations wherever they occur.