Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate tonight although I must say I do so with minimal enthusiasm. This is the end of a rather long personal road for me.
I have always opposed the intervention by Canada or Canada's allies in other people's wars but as of this time I have had to change my outlook. Enough is enough.
Time after time in my lifetime the western world has stood by compromised, temporized and allowed large numbers of people to be butchered. We have the situation now in Gorazde in which thousands of people are in imminent danger of death unless somebody moves in from outside and helps them.
At this stage there is only one way that can be done and that is with air strikes. There is no possibility on earth of getting ground troops from anywhere into that area in time to help those people.
I am not talking geopolitics here. I am talking humanitarian efforts because those people will die en masse. There is no question about it if the world does not do something. It has been said many times here tonight that air strikes alone cannot solve the problems in Bosnia. That is true but if they are executed immediately they can save the people of Gorazde and that is what counts.
There is no time for an ultimatum. There is no time for further discussions. The necessary mechanics are already in place. Warnings are not an option. Warnings have been given again and again and they are no longer taken seriously. Air strikes have to be not only immediate but unrelenting. Anything that moves, tanks, field artillery, has to be taken out. Bridges have to be taken down. Any kind of ammunition or field depot, anything that helps the Serbian war effort, should be fair game in the Gorazde area.
If that is done, if you punish them hard enough and fast enough they, being normal human beings in some ways, will have a self-protective instinct. They will move back. The problem with this scenario is that there is also no time to pull out our troops. If we are going to save Gorazde it has to be done now. Our people cannot be taken to safe haven before the air strikes are made.
Our field commanders on the ground must have the freedom to do whatever they deem necessary to get our people out of harm's way. If air strikes are executed we have to face as a country and as a Parliament the fact there probably will be Canadian casualties. It is inevitable and this is a responsibility that the government with the support of apparently almost everyone on the opposition side has to face up to.
We have all been briefed at great length on the inhospitable terrain in that country for movement of troops, for normal military manoeuvring. Even if we had large numbers of troops in there we would still need the air strikes.
A lot of people I have spoken to who are military people would agree that it does not necessarily follow that if we escalate the war we must have hundreds of thousands of foreign troops in Bosnia.
The Bosnian Muslims are there already. They have been effectively disarmed by the embargo that we have imposed supposedly against all of Yugoslavia. This has really had a serious effect only on the people of Bosnia. They are the victims of this. The Serbs one way or another have continued to get arms. I presume they are able to make them because they have a certain amount of industry intact. They have not had the war rolling back and forth across their part of the country for two years. They are getting them from elsewhere, they have to be.
Let us lift the embargo. I think this is what the Bosnia Muslims want. It would mean that we could help these people without committing large numbers of western troops. Give them a chance to die with dignity. They are dying anyway and they will continue to die by the tens, perhaps the hundreds of thousands if we do not give them the chance to help themselves.
I would urge, I would beg the government to take this to the UN, take off the embargo. Give these poor devils a chance.
I notice that on this I am in complete agreement with the hon. member for Regina-Qu'Appelle. I doubt if there is anyone in North America with whom I have larger degrees of political differences and I heartily concur with this. Let the Bosnian Muslims have a chance to defend themselves.
First and foremost save the people of Gorazde. Stop making idle threats. Stop giving ultimatums. Make the air strikes and make them before it is too late.