House of Commons Hansard #270 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was troops.


Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11 a.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

moved that Bill C-234, an act to amend the Criminal Code (facsimile advertising), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-234, which I am presenting today, is aimed at preventing the transmission by facsimile of unsolicited advertising for the sale of goods or services to an individual or a company.

The concern I will be addressing applies also to electronic facsimile, electronic mail and even to Internet.

With your permission, I would like to make two points. First, this House already knows, but to let the public watching us know, this bill is not a votable item. At the outside, we will have finished talking about it within an hour, and there will be no legislative follow-up to my remarks.

However, and this is my second point, the issue I am raising is very real and therefore should be given legislative attention in the near future. In this sense, our debate this morning will get people thinking and ultimately, perhaps, as I would hope, lead to the House adopting in due course legislation that meets the need.

What need? As you know, before I became a member of this House, I had another job. I was in business and I had a fax machine. In the morning, I would collect the faxes that had arrived during the night. There were those that had come from Europe, because of the time difference, with their day starting earlier than mine. There were, however, others that had been sent locally and had nothing to do with my company's business interests. I was getting what is commonly known as electronic junk mail.

If it were only occasionally, we could ignore it; if there was only a little bit of it, we could forget about it. But it is a regular happening, and the number of pages printed-at my expense or at the expense of the businesses receiving them, because it is their paper they are printed on-is far from few.

We have to understand the forces at play. The fax machine is an inexpensive way to reach anywhere in the world very quickly. When it is used for telemarketing or advertising, anyone anywhere can flood us with advertising we do not need and more often than we want it.

This sort of thing cannot be left strictly to chance. In the area of telephony, as you will recall, overzealous telemarketing has been regulated by the CRTC. Now, companies wishing to call numbers in series must follow the regulations it has established. The situation is not the same with regard to facsimiles.

Faxes have environmental and other disadvantages. A lot of paper is used needlessly, but environmental damage is not the only problem. There are also commercial disadvantages: while your fax machine is receiving unsolicited messages about things in which you are not interested and using up reams of paper in the process, your real clients are unable to communicate with you. You yourself cannot use your own fax machine to communicate with your business interests. There is a conflict between your interests and those of the companies that want to market their products without necessarily asking for your permission beforehand.

Allow me to quote from an Industry Canada document called Privacy and the Canadian Information Highway , which deals with the intrusion of the information highway on privacy: ``Citizens may also want to be protected from unwanted communications as a result of purchasing goods on the electronic highway''. I am not talking only about faxes, but also about electronic mail and transmission through the information highway.

The document goes on to say: "Disturbances or intrusions by telemarketers or targeted advertising mail is a privacy nuisance that concerns many Canadians. There is already `junk' fax, with solicitations over our fax machines for everything from coffee service to holiday trips". Should controls target marketing schemes that result from separate or related purchases, for instance, junk E-mail that follows a purchase of a Caribbean holiday with offers for a next trip?

If so, how? What rules should govern the collection and use of information about what people buy or other personal information transactions? How should these rules be balanced with the opportunity to be made aware of goods or services that people might want and need? The problem is not only the amount of time and paper used by your fax machine in receiving messages from outside parties, but also the fact that some businesses may use your or your company's own consumption profile to transmit targeted, unsolicited ads using your own resources, and may even paralyse your own operations in the process.

There is another aspect: fraudulent advertising. A recent investigation by the Montreal Urban Community Police Department on the First Nations Investors Group uncovered an almost $500,000 rip-off of some 20 residents of the Montreal region. According to police, the suspects recruited their investors mainly through electronic advertising, in particular by sending faxes directly to management consulting firms. Swindlers sent their targets faxes painting an enticing picture of the investment opportunities.

The advertising, in the name of Venture and Financing International Corporation, claimed to offer loans at attractive rates for financing residential or commercial buildings, or 1 per cent less than the rate in effect. Without going into details, this business fraudulently collected $500,000 by using the fax numbers of a highly targeted clientele.

Other uses however may be more desirable, for example, receiving your daily newspaper by fax. It is now possible for a publisher to send his readers, his subscribers, a daily newspaper either by the information highway-on the Internet-or by straight facsimile.

In fact, we know of a publisher who has 300 subscribers at $250 each a year. Mind you, this is very clever; there are no printing fees and no distribution fees, since the printing takes place at the receiving end, on the fax, photocopier or printer of the recipient.

I recall something that happened in Calgary. A computer specialty outlet refers to fax ads that zip through its machines as annoying junk that usually goes into the garbage. In its experience at least 10 sheets a day of irrelevant news has to be sorted. That is a problem. These things have to be sorted. They cannot just be looked on as junk. It must be sorted because in between these junk mail items could be real messages for business purposes.

From this same source cited by the Calgary Herald , some companies go nuts about fax firms, complaining advertisements invade their fax machines, tie up their lines and use their paper.

Furthermore, a spokesman from AGT says the Alberta phone company has no control over what travels across the lines and bears no responsibility for its customers. In this dimension there is a problem in Calgary, but it is not the only place.

In a law firm in Toronto a late night junk fax once consumed 99 pages of a lawyer's fax paper before the machine ran out. There is an added concern here. If the machine does run out of paper, not only is the paper spoiled but the machine is incapable of receiving additional faxes that could be most important for operations. The machine had been paralyzed by an outside party the company had no business with. The law firm complained that there was no way of contacting anybody to complain.

Some advertisements arrive daily just in case they were missed the previous day and become a major headache for any business. To add to the frustration, even if the offenders can be identified there is no way the offenders can be asked to stop.

There may be some hope somehow, somewhere. The CRTC is apparently under way to get authority to restrict junk faxes this fall. We are at the end of this fall and I do not know where it is at this point. A new national telecommunications act will come into effect. The CRTC unfortunately is still in a state of considering ways to exercise that control. It is not a matter of controlling and regulations; it is a matter of having the technological means to do it.

Bell Canada, which has also received floods of complaints, asked the CRTC to be allowed to disconnect those who make an abusive use of junk faxing. Bell defines this kind of junk faxes as "unsolicited material promoting the sale of goods or services where there is no business relation between the person sending the material and the one receiving it and where this has been going on for over six months".

Bell Canada's proposal is to suspend service for five days to anyone sending junk facsimiles to the same telephone number more than twice in the same month. After suspending service for these reasons three times, the company would consider terminating service permanently.

As you can see, there is a problem. And this problem does not affect just one municipality here and there. It is from coast to coast. Telephone companies are aware of the problem, but they do not have the necessary means of coercion to act on it. The CRTC is reviewing the issue, but does not see how it could be resolved through technology alone.

So I hope that my remarks will have alerted the House to the problem, to how extensive it is and to the need to take action, not in three, four or five years, but as soon as possible. That is my wish.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-234, an act to amend the Criminal Code, facsimile advertising. The purpose of the bill is to make it a Criminal Code offence to send unrequested advertisements by facsimile transmission.

The hon. member opposite clearly believes that unsolicited advertisements received by fax can be a nuisance for many people, organizations and businesses, particularly when the advertisements are long, numerous or repetitive. They use up expensive thermal paper and clog up the fax machine which is then not able to send the important messages that need to be sent and so on.

I am sure every member of the House can relate to this and would join in agreement with that problem. However, while unsolicited facsimile material can be a real nuisance, sending it is in my opinion not conduct that should be sanctioned by criminal law.

Bill C-234 proposes to make sending these faxes a criminal act. I cannot agree that making the abuse of a fax machine a criminal offence is an appropriate response. The purpose of criminal law is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society. It has long been recognized that criminal law plays an important role in protecting our social values, but there are other ways of protecting these values.

The abuse of a fax machine and a facsimile transmission is a problem that would be better dealt with using less intrusive, less coercive means and more positive approaches. Although I agree this kind of abuse is a nuisance I cannot get myself to agree this conduct is to be treated with the heavy hand of criminal law.

The past few years have seen a growing concern in the legal community and in society generally with the overcriminalization of our society and of our laws. It may be useful to go back to established principles that may prove to be relevant to the issue at hand. These principles could guide our nation in making a determination as to what ought to be made criminal and what ought to be regulated using less stringent means.

A 1982 report entitled "The Criminal Law in Canadian Society" outlined the policy of the Government of Canada with respect to the appropriate scope and basic principles of the criminal law. A clear statement is included in the report:

The criminal law ought to be reserved for reacting to conduct that is truly harmful-Criminal law should only be used when the harm caused or threatened is serious, and when the other, less coercive or intrusive means do not work or are inappropriate.

With that view, with those lenses and regarding those words of advice and direction, does the act of sending unrequested advertisements by facsimile transmission seriously harm people or organizations? We will all agree it is an annoyance, but is it harmful to the point of requiring this be made criminal with all the attendant consequences like criminal records, problems getting into education and problems obtaining employment? Certainly not in my view. It may be a nuisance or an inconvenience, but I doubt there is ever any serious harm done. Does the act of sending unrequested advertisements by fax so seriously contravene our fundamental values as to be harmful to society? Of course not.

Therefore it seems clear this conduct does not fall within the proper scope of criminal law. If the criminal justice system is to remain an effective mechanism for the protection of social values it is important that it not be overburdened. We all understand that our court system is overburdened today. Caution is therefore appropriate in creating new criminal offences. That caution makes me conclude that it would be inappropriate for the House to use such a blunt instrument as criminal law.

I raise another concern with the bill. It proposes to make the sending of unrequested advertisements by fax a punishable offence. Any person found guilty of committing this offence would be liable to a fine not exceeding $200. At first glance this small fine does not seem to constitute excessive interference with individual liberty and freedom.

However, we must remember, especially in the House and especially today with what we know to be true in the country, that subsection 787(2) of the Criminal Code provides that if one fails to pay a fine the court may order the defendant to be imprisoned for a period of up to six months. In effect, this offence is potentially punishable by up to six months imprisonment. This would be unjustifiable state interference with individual liberty. I seriously doubt that making it a criminal offence to send these faxes is truly necessary to achieve justice and to protect Canadian society.

I must also express my concern with respect to the current wording of the bill. It does not clearly define the limits of the offence. For example, the bill would prohibit the sending of unrequested facsimile communication advertising for sale any goods or service. Unrequested by whom? Do the words "advertising for sale" make it a crime to try to sell something? Is it all right to try to rent something or whatever else? These words remain entirely open to interpretation. It is also unclear who exactly is responsible, the employer, the employee or both.

I repeat my concern. The fundamental principles of individual rights and freedoms demand that criminal offences be very clearly defined. The bill is open to a range of interpretations and yet proposes to create a new criminal offence. Criminal law cannot operate in such an arbitrary manner. The bill as it stands is not

clearly drafted and would make punishable many actions and situations not criminal in nature.

I express my sympathy again with the sentiments of the bill. Most of us have experienced firsthand that receiving unsolicited commercial facsimile transmissions can be a nuisance. However, as I have explained today, the bill raises several fundamental concerns. I am convinced it is inappropriate to create a new Criminal Code offence prohibiting the sending of unrequested advertisements by facsimile transmission to individuals or companies.

Criminal law is not the appropriate instrument to deal with this nuisance. Criminal law must only be used when it is clearly necessary to achieve justice and to protect the full interests of society. It may be possible to identify more appropriate and less intrusive means of dealing with this problem, which I might be able to support, but I cannot support the creation of a Criminal Code offence for the purpose stated in this private member's bill.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:25 a.m.


Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member. She touched on some very important concerns raised by the bill. I agree that the inconvenience caused by this kind of advertising is significant and will become more significant. However, I question whether the Criminal Code is the appropriate instrument to deal with this nuisance. Basically that is what it is, a costly nuisance. Ought we as legislators to be creating a criminal offence out of what basically is a nuisance? I do not think we should be.

If this matter is going to be dealt with, it ought to be dealt with under the Communications Act. That is the proper area where we should be looking at restricting this kind of advertising, if that is the wish of Canadians.

For the information of those who are watching this debate I would like to read exactly what the bill states. It is very clearly covered in clause 1:

Every one who sends to a person or organization through a telephone network an unrequested facsimile communication advertising for sale any goods or service is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred dollars.

We saw what happened when the government attempted to curtail the advertising of cigarettes and tobacco products. From my understanding that was turned back because it violated freedom of speech and so on. Would this fall into that category as well? It may or may not, but it is certainly a question that would have to be addressed.

How would this affect advertising? Would this apply to the Internet as well where there is no costly intervention? As the hon. member who is sponsoring the bill pointed out, reams and reams of paper are consumed by those who are not interested in this kind of advertising. What about the Internet? It seems that it may in many ways be replacing the fax machine. Would this apply to the Internet? According to my understanding of what I just read in the bill it would.

We have to ask whether businesses are willing and prepared to create a negative attitude toward their product by antagonizing those very people they are contacting by advertising their goods and services. Are they willing to do that? In other words, are the pressures of the free market system not adequate to keep this thing from getting too far out of hand, the whole idea of seeing reams and reams of advertising they want nothing to do with on the fax machine in the morning?

Eventually there is going to be a backlash to this if it gets beyond a certain point. The advertisers will see that it is harming their product and the image and the profile of their company. Ought we not leave this kind of matter in the hands of the consumers who, when they are fed up with this kind of thing, will surely let the sponsors of the advertising know where they stand on it?

What about the benefit? Surely there has to be some benefit derived from this kind of advertising, otherwise they would not be doing it. Should we deny the people who are receiving some benefit from this advertising by introducing this legislation?

I do not have much more to say about the bill. The hon. member from the government side covered it very adequately. I can dispense with my concern about it falling into the area of the Criminal Code. The bill should come under the Communications Act.

We should let the market forces deal with this kind of issue. If we as legislators are to look at this kind of practice, it should not be criminalized. Simply sending advertising over the telephone lines should not be a criminal offence. If it is to be prohibited at all, it ought to be done under the Communications Act.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:35 a.m.


John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not expect to rise to speak to the motion but I think the member for Portneuf is to be congratulated in the sense that he has certainly isolated a problem of the modern age.

I have encountered that problem in a way everyone in the House of Commons has experienced it which is directly related to the business we do. In my constituency office there have been occasions where my fax machine has been jammed for an hour or so receiving about 30 pages of talking points on some piece of government legislation. The irony is I would have already heard that information from caucus debates but occasionally, staff members in the ministries get a little carried away and send us more fax material than what we really want. I see some members are very

sympathetic to this point and I am sure members of the opposition have the same problem.

I quite agree with the earlier speakers that this is not something which is best addressed by amendments to the Criminal Code. When we do get into the business of in any way limiting freedom of expression, freedom of publication and freedom of speech by the use of the force of law, we run all kinds of dangers with respect to a fundamental liberty.

In the case of the use of facsimile machines for sending junk mail, as the member for Portneuf said, who defines whether it is junk mail or something else? He did not attempt to cover the question of facsimile transmissions received that contain pornographic material or deliberate untruths. If we attempt to regulate this it is very like pornographic material. There is a blurred line that we can never be sure of where we invade into the area of genuine freedom of expression.

Similarly I reject the suggestion of the member for Portneuf that the CRTC should get into this field and come up with some kind of regulation that could be imposed on the distributors of this type of junk mail by facsimile machine. The reason is similar to that of putting it in law as a Criminal Code offence. We run great perils as a society when we give arm's length bodies control over how we express ourselves.

The CRTC after all is an unelected body. It is a body that is at arm's length from government. It is a body that is at arm's length from the people. It is very dangerous to give it any more power than it has already. I have to say I am not a great fan of the CRTC. I feel in many respects it is out of touch with the communication needs of the country. It indeed needs to be reviewed.

For myself, the solution to the problem is to come from the marketplace. The solution is essentially technological. We will see some bright inventor or perhaps some industrial giant develop a code system. An individual's fax machine will have a secret code which, when it is contacted by an external fax machine, will not permit reception unless the code is given by the sending fax machine. I am fairly confident this is on the horizon.

I have some interest in the whole question of communications intelligence. I can say with some authority that a great deal of research has been done in Canada, the United States and Britain in the communications security establishments which exist in those countries on the whole question of the security of facsimile transmissions and all kinds of electronic transmissions. The possibility of having a password or code on a receiving machine is very much within the realm of an immediate possibility.

The idea is very similar to call display on a telephone which is a relatively recent innovation of the telephone companies. Call display can be bought from Bell Canada, as can the option of not having call display. With that option, a person's identity is kept secret and nothing appears on the call display when phoning another person. That same technique could be used on a facsimile

machine. A secret numerical code could prevent a facsimile machine from receiving a transmission.

This will all come from market forces which, as the member for Crowfoot suggested, are to be key in this. It was mentioned that we are now in the era where copies of newspapers will be delivered electronically to fax machines. It will be perfectly useless if a newspaper is going to be in competition with every other newspaper for a fax machine. The only way the delivery of newspapers by fax will work is if the newspaper can respond to a secret password on a fax machine.

In the end it will be market forces. It will be technology that will solve this problem. I congratulate the member for Portneuf for bringing the matter forward because this is the place where the issues of the day must be debated. We must show that we are au courant with the issues of the day and bring some the solutions to some of the problems which confront us from time to time.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Since no other member wishes to speak on the issue and since the motion is not a votable item, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the item is dropped from the Order Paper, pursuant to Standing Order 96.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think you might find a disposition to suspend the sitting until noon, when Government Orders would proceed.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is it the wish of the House to suspend the sitting until 12 p.m.?

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

Some hon. members


(The sitting of the House was suspended at 11.44 a.m.)

The House resumed at 11.58 a.m.

BalkansGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario


David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs


That this House take note and welcome the recent Dayton peace agreement and the international community's continued efforts to bring enduring peace and security to the Balkans, and Canadian support of these efforts by participation in a multinational military implementation force (IFOR) under NATO command.

Mr. Speaker, the announcement on November 21 that the leaders of Bosnia, Hercegovina, Serbia and Croatia had reached a formal agreement on peace has provided a glimmer of hope not seen in the Balkans for a long time.

After four years of bitter fighting, internecine strife and degradation, we have seen the parties come together to try to effect a peace settlement. It is now time for all of them to step out of the shadow of war. They are not there yet. A lot of work has to be done. Although we have an agreement on paper, the challenge is to ensure that the agreement is properly enforced.

A NATO led peace implementation force authorized by the United Nations will be the key to the next stage of the peace process. Its most important job will be to ensure compliance among the warring parties on the ground with the military aspects of the agreement. Without this force, the agreement runs a serious risk of collapsing.

Our task today is not to debate a possible Canadian involvement in the Balkan peace implementation force. Our task today is to debate the nature and the form of that commitment. Canada is by no means legally bound to send any troops to assist NATO in a given mission. Nothing in the NATO treaty legally binds us to such a contribution. However, we have a moral obligation to participate in this newly expanded NATO operation and this new operation will demonstrate the relevance of NATO in the post cold war era.

In the white paper published last spring following the consultations of the joint parliamentary committee on national defence and the foreign affairs committee, we made a commitment to continue our involvement in NATO. We believe that we have an obligation when all of our allies in NATO are agreeing to participate in this force to be there with them, shoulder to shoulder. The question is to what degree. Those are the views we would like to have from members today.

This is another example of how the government, led by the Prime Minister, has reverted to an earlier tradition of allowing Parliament to participate in the whole decision making process on how troops are deployed and how our foreign policy obligations are engaged.

We have had a number of debates in the last little while and I believe today's debate will be most significant.

Over the last four years, Canada has played a significant role in the international community's efforts to deal with the war in the former Yugoslavia. These efforts have been carried out primarily through the United Nations and NATO.

Canadian military personnel have helped prevent the conflict from spreading to other parts of the region and from becoming

even more brutal. They have also helped save countless lives by assisting in the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies and by preventing more massive assaults on civilian populations.

As always, our personnel have served with courage, dedication and professionalism.

Canada has a dedicated, professional and devoted armed forces. All Canadians know that and respect and appreciate them.

With the peace process now moving into a new phase, we believe that Canada should be there. The Canadian forces, contrary to the remarks of some of our critics, are ready to serve in that implementation force.

I need hardly remind members of the expertise and the experience of Canada worldwide in peacekeeping missions since 1947. We have an impressive record by anyone's standards.

Today I have two particular functions in the debate. The first is to briefly remind members of the great contribution Canada has made to peace operations in Yugoslavia in the last few years. That is what leads us to continue the march toward peace by becoming involved in the implementation force.

Second, I believe I am obliged to provide members with some information on the proposed implementation force.

Canada has taken a leading role in efforts to bring about a peaceful end to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and to provide relief to its victims.

In September 1991, Canada led the call for the UN Security Council to deal with these issues.

Canada also responded favourably to UN requests for Canadian Forces personnel to be deployed as part of a peace operation in the region.

Our military contribution was a mix of many elements of our land, sea and air combat capability.

On land, our contribution came to include a battalion group in Croatia, a battalion group in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a logistics battalion on the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, as well as military observers and personnel for various headquarters positions.

Canada has contributed to NATO operations in the air, on the ground and on the sea in the no-fly area over Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Our ships have been off the Adriatic coast. Canadians have been in the various headquarters of the United Nations and have been involved with some NATO forces that have been deployed.

The mandate has evolved over the last four year. I will leave it to some of my colleagues to fill in the details of the great contribution that Canada has made in trying to stabilize the situation in Bosnia.

Canadian troops opened up the Sarajevo airport in 1992. Canadian troops were among the first to participate in the protection of humanitarian convoys in the fall of 1992. Canadians were the first to deploy in the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia in what has been the only example of a successful preventive deployment by the UN. Canadians were there when they were asked to become involved.

Who could forget what Canadians did in the spring of 1993? Troops were sent to the tiny enclave of Srebrenica which was besieged by Bosnian Serb artillery and troops. They held out for months and months. They were followed by our Dutch friends in NATO before that terrible event occurred this summer which precipitated the outcry of people in the world and the international community that forced a change of tactics, a change of strategy, to become more robust in dealing with the flagrant disregard for international order. It spawned a very important initiative by the British Prime Minister in July in London and subsequently led to the American organized peace effort which has resulted in the peace implementation of today.

The United States has to be congratulated for the role it has taken in bringing the parties together, in overcoming so many differences and in getting us to the point where we can at last see a long term peace which is not too far ahead of us, provided we do the right things.

Canada has been in a number of operations. I will continue to refresh the memory of members. The Canadian Hercules aircraft were the lifeline into Sarajevo, Operation Air Bridge. I was in the cockpit of one of those planes when suddenly enemy radar fixed on us. As a civilian I was really scared that day, but the Canadian pilots in that plane said: "Don't worry, they are just testing our mettle. They won't dare shoot us down".

Every day for months Canadian air crews participated in bringing in needed supplies. It was the only flight into Sarajevo. It was ships of the Royal Canadian Navy that enforced the embargo, enforced the sanctions off the Adriatic coast. I had the opportunity to be on HMCS Iroquois , one of our destroyers in that area, to see the kind of work they did in successfully capping the flow of arms and other strategic goods into that country.

Finally, Canada also has been involved in reconnaissance work with Aurora patrol aircraft. Canadian crews have been on the NATO AWACS providing information and Canadians have been involved in Operation Deny Flight.

Canadians have been there. They know the terrain. They know the circumstances. They know the people. They know the culture. That is why it is logical for Canadians to be part of the international effort led by NATO to try to bring some order to this very difficult situation, to enforce a peace, to make sure that peace plan is implemented properly.

That agreement is very impressive. It has three elements to it which cover constitutional, territorial and military issues.

Constitutionally, Bosnia will remain a single state, whose boundaries will be those already recognized by the international community. It will be made up of two entities: the Muslim-Croat federation and the Bosnian Serb republic.

It will be a loosely structured union, whose presidency will alternate. The central government will be responsible for foreign policy, trade, customs, monetary policy and so on. The agreement is generally in keeping with the land division agreed to by the parties, that is to say 51/49 per cent in favour of the federation.

As far as Sarajevo is concerned, Bosnian Serbs are to transfer to the Bosnian government the suburbs currently under their control north and west of the city, thereby joining the city to the area controlled by the federation. A corridor 8 to 15 kilometres wide will link the safe area of Gorazde and Sarajevo.

On the military side, all foreign forces except UN troops are to withdraw within 30 days of the formal signing of the agreement, which will be in Paris later this month. This is a provision requested by the Bosnian government and it does include Croatian government forces. The agreement also calls for the withdrawal of all heavy weapons to barracks behind a four-kilometre zone of separation within 120 days.

Although the Bosnian-Serb leadership was not involved directly in the Serb negotiations, it was reported that the terms of agreement had been accepted. We see some nuances to that acceptance now playing out, but a deal is a deal and this deal will be enforced by the NATO led troops that will be sent.

This is an historic agreement, but future conflict cannot be ruled out. Let us not fool Canadians. This is a dangerous place. There are ambiguities in the peace accord and old antagonisms will not disappear overnight.

We believe that the NATO led peace implementation force is critical to the peace process. I would like to share with my colleagues a few details about the force.

NATO has already agreed and started to deploy the advance parties to its force, with the agreement of all parties concerned. By deploying these troops now, NATO will be in a position to start deploying its main forces very soon after the UN security council passes a resolution authorizing NATO to proceed with the implementation of the military aspects of the peace plan. I should state, to clear up any ambiguity which may arise in press reports, that there are 11 Canadians among the advance troops. These Canadians are among the hundreds which are seconded to NATO and, therefore, are obliged to be part of NATO operations.

There will be some Canadians on the ground, if not at this moment then very shortly, but within the context of the NATO commitment which is ongoing and to which we are a signatory under the NATO treaty. I emphasize that it is not the implementation force contribution that we are debating today.

The plans for the force have been debated. They have been provisionally approved by the North Atlantic Council and they will be given final approval after the security council resolution has been passed. This plan calls for 60,000 people to be part of the forces. It will be divided into three main divisions: the British, French and American command areas.

It is very crucial that we understand the objectives of the force. They are to ensure compliance with the military aspects of the peace agreement. In particular, the withdrawal of forces to the respective territories is set out in the agreement and the establishment of agreed lines of separation of those forces.

Second, UN forces currently deployed must be withdrawn. Third, other non-military tasks arising from the peace accord must be carried out. The UN, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe will join in carrying out civilians tasks.

This is an operation that will conduct its duties under chapter VII of the UN charter, which allows for the use of all necessary means to fulfil the mission, in other words, robust rules of engagement. I assure the House that the Canadian government will have the final say on all rules of engagement being used by Canadian forces.

Canada has contributed a lot in the last seven days to the development of these rules of engagement. In particular, I pay tribute to our military staff, led by the Chief of Defence Staff John de Chastelain, who last week with his NATO colleagues in Brussels hammered out the rules of conduct and the rules of engagement which reflect Canada's concerns.

I do not have to paint a graphic picture here. We have had considerable experience in difficult situations in the last few years. We have learned about the application of force, when it should be used, to whom and in what circumstances. I am pleased to say that those experiences were taken into account in the development of the rules of engagement for this protective force.

About 40,000 of the 60,000 troops will be provided by the United States, Great Britain and France. The Russians are also making a significant contribution. It is not just all the major powers. Middle powers like Canada will also be playing a role. Every one of our allies, except Iceland, which has no armed forces, will be participating.

Among the non-NATO nations, as I have indicated, Russia will be there. A Russian brigade will operate in the American sector under a Russian commander, who will report directly to the supreme allied commander of Europe, General Joulwan, an American, rather than through the NATO chain of command. Russia has also offered an engineering and mine clearing brigade, which will operate outside the NATO led implementation force.

Who could have imagined about six or seven years ago, certainly not ten years ago, that we would have Russian troops deployed in Europe serving in the cause of peace under an American commander? The world is certainly moving in the right direction. Our friends in Russia should be congratulated for putting aside any concerns they have and being committed to peace and involved in such a way in this effort.

I would add that the implementation force will serve to test NATO's ability to head new types of missions requiring co-operation between its own forces and other forces, such as Russian and eastern and central European forces, that are not under it. This co-operation will be an invaluable first step in establishing an effective European security system for the post cold war era.

Like all peacekeeping operations, this one contains an element of risk, which will depend on the parties' desire to comply with the peace accord. The rigours of winter and the poor state of the roads in the region represent other dangers.

I know the critics will ask what this will cost. It will not be cheap. It will cost $10 billion Canadian for this entire operation to be put in place. Funding arrangements have yet to be settled, but it seems likely that participants will cover their own deployment and maintenance costs. Common funding will be reserved for common facilities such as the force headquarters, which will amount to about $200 million American.

Canada will be required to cover its share of the common funding cost even where it is not to participate in the force. At a

minimum, this will come to about $20 million. The cost of participation will depend on the nature and size of the forces. That is why we are anxious to hear about the feelings of members of Parliament who are in touch with their constituents and know the degree to which they want Canada involved in this operation.

We are currently considering options that would cost in the range of $20 million to $50 million. However, do not believe anyone who says this is a done deal. The fact is that we want to get the feeling from Parliament before cabinet decides on Wednesday as to the actual number of people we will deploy in this particular force.

At the moment the plan calls for the replacement of the NATO implementation force with non-NATO forces after 12 months.

A senior officer will be appointed to co-ordinate the civilian aspects of the peace plan, which will include economic recovery, humanitarian assistance, refugees, elections, human rights, arms control and disarmament.

If asked to, force commanders may assist the United Nations and humanitarian organizations in such activities as maintaining public order, clearing mines and transporting rations. However, their prime responsibility will be the military aspects of the accord.

In the very limited time available, I have tried to provide the House some information on the force as it is presently being constituted. We obviously look forward to the views of individual members of the House before we make the decision.

From a philosophical point of view, the government thinks Canadians understand that our interests and values as a nation depend on world stability, on a stable international order. That is why we have made such a firm commitment over the years to promote international peace and security. The foreign policy and defence reviews conducted in 1994 confirm this commitment. This commitment is shared by all parties in the House. Indeed all parties were generally in agreement with the direction of Canadian foreign and defence policies in those two reviews in 1994.

We cannot shut our eyes to parts of the world where instability and conflict have taken root. Even if we are not directly affected by events taking place far from us, we will, over the longer term, feel less safe if we ignore them. This is a lesson history has shown us a number of times this century.

Hence Canada's passionate defence of multilateral institutions, such as the UN, and its active participation in peacekeeping operations. We know the importance of working with our allies and with countries sharing our ideas to promote international peace and stability, in Europe or other areas of the world.

We have a well deserved reputation for being there when it counts. Just look at our peacekeeping record. If Canada is to continue to play an effective role on the world stage, it is critical that we maintain that reputation, which means contributing to international efforts aimed at enhancing global security.

I believe the conflict in the Balkans represents the gravest threat to international security in that area since the second world war. We have spoken of the dangers of this conflict being allowed to engulf Europe. Without the United Nations presence in Bosnia and Croatia and in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, it is not inconceivable that hundreds of thousands of more people would have died, that atrocities would have been committed in a greater number than those already committed, that Europe would have been inflamed from the Aegean to the Alps. That would be a precursor to a large European war, a war that would inevitably have dragged in other nations around the world for their own interests.

As we are at the dawning of the 21st century, no civilized nation can allow that kind of conflict to continue in one of the most civilized parts of the world. It is bitter irony that 50 years after the conclusion of the second world war the Canadian Parliament is having yet another debate, as it did 60 some years ago, about participating in a major European operation.

We have been there while the war in effect has raged all around us. Now we have a peace accord, which has its weaknesses, but it is the only peace accord we have. We have to make it work.

It is fine for us as Canadians to pound our chests and yell from the hilltops about world peace, world stability and world security, but unless we are prepared to do something about it as Canadians and put our money where our mouth is, to commit our own resources and commit our own people, then I think our cries ring somewhat hollow. As a founding member of NATO and a major contributor to the alliance over the years, Canada is expected to participate in this historic mission.

I note our friends in the Reform Party are saying we should not go. They are somewhat reticent about this involvement. This party supported our continuation in the NATO alliance. When we make a deal with people, when we have a friendly alliance, we do not walk out on them when times get tough. We do not renege on our commitments. I do not believe Canadians want the government to renege on our commitments, to turn our back on 50 years of co-operation, 50 years of success in building an organization that contributed over that period to peace and stability in Europe.

Any contribution Canada will make will be modest. I have talked about a price tag of maybe $20 million, $50 million or $60 million, depending on how we decide on the actual figures for deployment. We believe Canadians are prepared to pay that price. We will be involved in the British sector with Pakistan. I believe Holland is in there. The Czech republic will be there. In fact the British government has asked Canada to provide the headquarters.

What better compliment for Canadian involvement than that one of our major allies, who will be providing the overwhelming number of troops in that sector, has such respect for the Canadian men and women in our armed forces that they want Canadians to head up the brigade headquarters. That is a great compliment and it is something the government will certainly consider. I would like to hear the views of the members in the House about that involvement.

We have options of supplying an infantry battalion. We have options for a signal squadron. We have options for artillery. All those kinds of deployments can be made. We want to hear the views of the members of the House to see if we are in accord, as we think we are, with the views of Canadians and we are willing to make this commitment.

At a time when the public, the media and others are closely examining the Canadian military, we must recall that it is an indispensable national institution. It is a reflection of this country.

It is a reflection of Canadian culture and its tradition of two official languages.

The military is also an instrument through which the country can achieve its objectives both at home and abroad. We saw that this weekend when we saw the crew of HMCS Calgary come to the aid of a distressed ship off our Atlantic coast and the heroics of a member of the helicopter crew. I hate to inform my friends in the House that it was a Sea King helicopter. They actually do work. That master corporal went back time and time again on the end of a rope in storming seas to a listing ship with desperate people. He pulled them up one by one and took them to a waiting ship. Those are the heroics of the men and women who serve in Canada's armed forces.

We heard about that this weekend because it is a significant contribution, but every day men and women of the armed forces serve proudly both in Canada and outside Canada. What do we hear? We hear the negative complaints. We hear the petty criticism of administrative lapses, which occur in any large organization. We hear talk about terrible morale. I would say the morale of all Canadians has been affected in the last few years, because we are having to deal with a difficult financial situation, a difficult global competitive situation, getting our own house in order, and we are also having to deal with a national unity issue that once again is preoccupying us.

Canadians are somewhat introspective. They are perhaps not having morale problems but are somewhat concerned. That also goes in the armed forces. Any organization that has had a salary freeze for the last couple of years, whose catch-up to the normal public service increment was also caught in that freeze and is something we are trying to deal with, obviously will be affected.

Perhaps more than anything else that contributes to any morale problems we have in the armed forces is the incessant criticism day in and day out by armchair critics, many of them in the House of Commons and most of them in the Reform Party, who are attacking the men and women in the armed forces and the job they do. That is unconscionable.

We have one of the best armed forces in the world. We have men and women who put their lives on the line. They will put their lives on the line for anybody. They do not care whether those people hold separatist beliefs or whether those people hold Neanderthal philosophical beliefs like those of the Reform Party. They will put their lives on the line for a free and democratic society. That is what we have in the Canadian Armed Forces. Those men and women, I assure the House, will be ready, willing and able to serve in this force.

BalkansGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.


Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister ended with a flight of oratory which, in my opinion, hardly befits this morning's debate. This is the third time that this House holds a debate on the participation of Canadian troops in Bosnia, under the aegis of the UN.

As you know, in February 1994, the defence minister said that he had a duty to provide as much information as possible to MPs and to Canadians on Canada's participation in peacekeeping missions, and to truly inform people of all the related implications.

As in the two previous debates, the Bloc cannot oppose Canada's participation in peacekeeping missions. As the defence minister emphatically pointed out, Quebecers and Canadians who are members of Canadian armed forces have frequently been honoured for their role in peacekeeping missions. I think everyone agrees here that they do their job to the best of their knowledge, and that they do their utmost to ensure the success of these missions.

However, there are certain expectations. The defence minister said earlier that it is important, in this debate, that the public's opinion, as well as that of the military, be heard through members of this House. It seems clear to me that, during such a debate,

certain rules should be clarified. Throughout my presentation, I will refer to comments made by the minister.

On November 23, the Prime Minister said, after meeting with Mr. Boutros-Ghali, that Canada had a duty to participate in the peacekeeping effort, following the Dayton agreement, adding that such participation, including the number of troops to be sent, would have to be determined. This morning, I expected the defence minister to provide more details on what the government and his department have planned.

I was briefed by National Defence officials, whom I want to thank, and was told that there were a number of scenarios which cost anywhere from $2 million to some $70 or $75 million, and which require the participation of 50 to 3,000 troops in the international NATO-led implementation force. This morning, I thought the minister would suggest a specific scenario which, in his opinion, reflects what the public is prepared to support as regards such missions, and what our forces can do.

The minister said that we must fulfil certain commitments made to NATO. Indeed, whenever NATO participates in missions, its members must provide 1,000 troops. Is that a minimum or a maximum? Do we send 1,000 combat troops, or can we send military personnel for various tasks? The minister should have been a little more specific since, in a debate such as this one, he not only informs members of this House, but also the public at large.

I did not hear anything in his speech to indicate the direction we might take. Later on in the debate, I will suggest a few avenues to the minister which may be of help to him.

A little later on in his speech, the Minister of National Defence quite justifiably listed all of Canada's military contributions from the onset of the conflict during the summer of 1991, throughout 1992, the opening of the Sarajevo airport, Canadian forces' participation with NATO aircraft, all of the Hercules transport flights, participation in the Adriatric embargo, and so on.

Justifiably, because Canada has indeed made an extraordinary contribution to this conflict, and has always been equal to the task in traditional peacekeeping missions, that is surveillance of humanitarian convoys, population assistance, food shipments, food convoys, communications, etc. For anything connected to traditional peacekeeping, as the minister has said, Canadian expertise is recognized throughout the world. There is no problem in this regard; our military does an outstanding job and everybody acknowledges it, including the people of Canada and Quebec.

However, I see this type of mission as a radical turnaround. We will now be there under chapter VII of the UN Charter rather than chapter VI; this allows far more latitude for interventions, military or otherwise. According to U.S. Secretary of Defence William Perry, when the NATO contingent is in place in Bosnia, if we run into any difficulties in implementing certain provisions of the Dayton peace accord, we will just implement them through force, and if attacked we will respond in kind.

Now this has absolutely no connection with the peacekeeping missions in which Canada has been involved in the past. This is a totally new ball game. The Bloc Quebecois and the people of Quebec and of Canada have concerns about the change in the nature of our mission.

In the same vein, I would like to add that perhaps the comparisons were unwise. Unfortunately, the minister has looked at the attractive aspects of peacekeeping missions. He has listed the Canadian army's and Canada's accomplishments with respect to certain peacekeeping missions, focussing on results that are sometimes not readily measured. There are, however, some things that have to be looked at when playing under different rules. When the minister referred just now to Canadian participation in the discussions on the rules of engagement under chapter VII, I would have liked to hear him clarify exactly what those rules of engagement are, if Canada does commit under NATO auspices to taking part in this new peacekeeping mission to implement the Dayton accord.

Referring to the logistics of "peacekeeping missions", or the linguistic interpretation of the term "peacekeeping mission" , it struck me that the mission now being organized under NATO is being termed-please pardon my use of the English term-a peace enforcement mission.

Going back in time a bit, I have the unfortunate recollection that the Americans' mission to Somalia was also labelled "peace enforcement". We cannot ignore the fact that this additional connotation of "peace enforcement" on top of the traditional "peacekeeping mission" bears some similarity to what happened in Somalia. Far be it from me to go back over the unfortunate events involving the Canadians, the Belgians and even the Americans, but as soon as things started to heat up, the U.S. pulled out and left Canada, Belgium and other countries holding the bag, which led to major problems, unfortunately.

I think it is important, and this is also the position of the Bloc Quebecois, to make the change in mandate very clear. The last time NATO organized a mission under the auspices of the UN dates back to the war in Cyprus.

You may think my analogies are a bit far fetched but the fact is that nothing in the Canadian military's experience in peacekeeping missions has prepared us for the kind of participation to which we

are committing ourselves or was ever approved or accepted by the people of Quebec and Canada.

I think it is important to say this and to be prepared to consider all eventualities. In any case, the Dayton agreement divides certain territories-Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia-and was signed by representatives from Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia.

One of the problems in Bosnia around Sarajevo is that the so-called chiefs of Pale, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, the military chief, did not sign this agreement. Only yesterday we saw on the news that Mr. Mladic, the military chief heads a group that is opposed to the Dayton agreement. These are people who for at least two years thumbed their noses at the UN's resolutions, brought their heavy weapons near the perimeter of Sarajevo and then withdrew them after a number of air strikes, playing cat and mouse with the UN. And now an agreement has been signed, these people are still there on the outskirts of Sarajevo. In fact, the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic headed by Mr. Karadzic has so far been very inconsistent in its acceptance and has always been rather hard to pin down.

Another argument which casts some doubt on the security of the mission and I believe amplifies certain problems is the fact that the UN set up a war crimes tribunal. Recently, eleven judges from six different countries took part in the proceedings and convictedMr. Mladic and Mr. Karadzic of war crimes.

According to international opinion, to various experts in diplomacy or international law or crimes against humanity, peace will not have a chance until these people have been convicted.

As far as I know, those people who were at the root of the conflict in Bosnia never accepted the Dayton agreement and are already preparing to sabotage the process. I do not think it will be very pleasant or even easy to impose anything at all, because I do not see this as a peacekeeping mission but more as a mission to impose peace.

I think that in this House, parliamentarians have a duty to make it clear to the public and other parliamentarians that this means a change in what has built the extraordinary reputation of Canadian peacekeepers. It will be a different application.

Previously, a change of this kind unfortunately produced the kind of incidents we saw in Somalia, and I think it is too bad this had to happen.

My second point is the economic side. I think we all agree, and perhaps this is less true of members of the third party, that Canada has a duty to take part in these peacekeeping missions, to deal with the conflicts that arise in various countries throughout the world.

I think it is important to tell the House and the public what all this costs. The public realizes that when the government says: "We have soldiers, they need practice, we have equipment we use", all that costs money. However, in the past three years, in 1993, 1994 and 1995 which is now drawing to a close, we were $517 million over budget in Bosnia, which includes humanitarian aid and military spending as well.

This morning, the minister mentioned that costs might vary from $30 million to $50 million, depending on what the government decided. I found this hard to believe, because at the height of Canada's participation we had around 2,100 soldiers with the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Croatia and we were over budget. In other words, it cost more than would normally have been expected, about $170 million per year more over a period of three years, which adds to up $517 million.

And now the government wants to either maintain or reduce Canada's participation, at a cost of say 30, 50 or 70 million, and if they send up to 3,000 soldiers, we are talking about $75 million. When at the height of Canada's participation, it cost us an additional $170 million for 2,100 soldiers, then how can it possibly cost $75 million for 3,000 soldiers? I find it hard to follow the calculations of the Minister of National Defence, and I think some clarification is in order. In fact, it should even be incumbent on the government to provide this clarification. It must be more precise.

When we decide to do these missions, guided by our suggestions or those of the Reform Party, and the government says that we will meet our commitment to NATO and provide, say 1,000 soldiers, it must give an exact calculation of the excess costs. I am not talking about costs pertaining to soldiers in the regular forces who are already getting their salary. Not those costs. But we must clearly stipulate the excess costs that can be expected. What is also needed is a clear indication of the duration of the mandate and the rules of engagement over which, as the minister said earlier, Canada would have the last say, but I would have appreciated some further indication from the minister.

As far as Canadian aid is concerned, I would like to refer to a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs who said that Canadian aid might not necessarily be military. We have seen no indication of this option in the approach taken by the Minister of National Defence. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said that we could, for instance, take part in certain humanitarian missions through funding or by receiving immigrants. We know that since the beginning of this conflict in 1991, nearly 250,000 people have died in Bosnia and nearly 800,000 are trying to leave to get away from their wartime experiences and tragedies in their own families, with many killed or wounded. And there are also quite a few people who were maimed as a result of bombings, mines or sniper fire.

Bosnia greatly needs all kinds of help, but we in the Bloc wonder if our armed forces' ceaseless efforts are still needed. I can tell you that about two weeks ago at CFB Valcartier in my riding, the soldiers coming back from peacekeeping missions in Croatia looked a little tired. Some of them are on their fifth mission, others on their fourth or third, and I can tell you that a number of them have suffered from psychological problems, from family problems, from all kinds of problems.

Once again, we are being asked for a little more because, as the defence minister said earlier, Canada has been continuously involved since 1992. We must keep in mind that this is a European conflict and that the international community could never accuse Canada of not participating, sometimes beyond its capabilities in terms of human and financial resources, and of not doing more than its fair share.

We in the Bloc are not calling for a definitive pullout. Not at all. What I insist on, however, is that the government should think very seriously about all the implications and disclose them without any restrictions to Canadians and to Parliament.

I would like to get back to the statement made last week by the defence minister, that Canada would send troops unless the Americans got involved. Last night, I heard some Americans arguing that Congress had not yet concluded an agreement to send 20,000 to 25,000 American troops. As far as I and my Bloc colleagues know and understand, if the American effort is not approved by Congress, I seriously wonder how the famous Dayton agreement can be fulfilled.

It is a little akin to debating whether Canada should participate without clearly defining what kind of support we will provide. Should we send a fighter squadron, as suggested by the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands, an engineering battalion to repair roads, or a communications platoon? None of these options was suggested by the minister. I think it would have been an excellent opportunity to tell the people: "Yes, Canada participates in peacekeeping missions in line with its means and human resources".

As I pointed out earlier, I think that our soldiers are exhausted from all their missions, even if the white paper and the special standing committee's report call for increasing the number of land forces members. This has not been done yet. Recruitment is under way, but these people are not ready to participate. I think we should go in a different direction or limit ourselves to the 1,000 troops required under the terms of our agreement with NATO, and perhaps participate as observers or communications people, for example.

Before we make this decision, however, I have trouble understanding how the Prime Minister could tell Mr. Boutros-Ghali beforehand that we would send troops, that there was no problem.

Then we will figure out how much that will cost and what kind of assistance will be provided. And how long will we stay there? Well Mr. Boutros-Ghali indicated that commitments could be for six months, twelve months or three years, depending on how long the conflict lasts. That is another question mark for the public as well as for the military personnel involved and members of Parliament. How long will the Canadian contribution in Bosnia be for? If the government decides on a twelve month commitment, as requested by NATO members, but the conflict has not been resolved after twelve months, will we do as usual? Two days before renewing the agreement, we will hold a short debate and say: "Let us extend for another six months or twelve months. We will figure out how much all this costs after".

I am far from being certain that this is what the public expects. I think it is high time that the government, and DND in particular, should be more specific. We Bloc members agree with a Canadian and Quebec contribution to peace missions intended to protect values and traditions, but these contributions must be defined. In addition, our troops need a mandate clearly stating what they are expected to do and for how long, and the public should know how much it costs to uphold the principles and values Canadians believe in.

To conclude, regarding the geopolitical context and the Dayton agreement that was signed, we should be reminded of what Justice Deschênes, from the international court dealing with war crimes, whom I quoted, said; let us not forget that Mladic and Karadzic were declared war criminals. I do not think that Canada did anything about it or very little.

Are we going to pacify the region forcibly and then negotiate with these criminals? That is assuming that all the Bosnian families who were the victims of the atrocities inflicted by these individuals will just forgive them and forget all that happened. That a bit much to ask.

I can recall a member of the Croatian army who was also found guilty of war crimes and who was recently promoted in the army.

Again, I doubt that the population, on either the Serb or the Bosnian side, could put up with that. Consequently, peace will continue to be threatened. The international community and NATO should ensure that the sentences given out in these cases are carried out. Otherwise, several observers, and I agree with them, feel that peace will remain precarious as long as justice does not prevail.

In conclusion, before making a decision, the government should clearly explain all the political, financial and human implications relating to the rules of engagement mentioned, but not specified, by the minister. I think the time has come to discuss these rules openly before a decision is made.

Therefore, the Bloc recommends that the government set a specific duration for such missions. If, as a NATO member, we are asked to stay for 12 months, then we commit ourselves for 12 months and, in doing so, we avoid problems such as the recent hostage-taking incidents in Visoko, Tuzla and Gorazde. As some will remember, this was the Cobra mission. Since that mission is now completed, we are somewhat ahead in terms of training some troops that will be sent to Bosnia. I think that if we decide to go there, we should, and the minister talked about facilitating the withdrawal of peacekeepers, provide for the withdrawal of these troops at the end of their stay.

We should at least plan the withdrawal of our troops, so that it is not improvised, as was the case last spring or during the winter, with the hostages.

Finally, I would suggest, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, that Canadian troops be more specialized in what I call the traditional type of involvement in peacekeeping missions, which include activities such as monitoring, as well as communications and humanitarian operations. If we decide to participate in such missions, we should concentrate on such activities, given, as I mentioned, our limited human resources. We should also avoid breaking the Canadian tradition of excellent and extraordinary participation in peacekeeping missions. I do hope that Canada will never become an expert in peace enforcement missions.

Finally, it is always very satisfying to actively protect the values and principles that Quebecers and Canadians hold dear. But let us not forget that we must help our own population, and co-operate with it, if we hope to continue to help populations in distress abroad.

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before resuming debate, today our deliberations are guided by Standing Order 43, whereby members now will be entitled to 20-minute interventions with 10 minutes for questions or comments.

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Fred Mifflin Liberal Bonavista—Trinity—Conception, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Are there questions and comments on the hon. member's presentation?

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

If we refer to Standing Order 43 we would find that in this case the minister under whom the motion stands today and the next speaker have unlimited time and are not subject to question or comment.

As I understand, there are no questions or comments to the last speaker. To each speaker here forward there will be a 10-minute question or comment period available to all members.

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, that points out something very obvious. This is supposed to be a debate. We are supposed to be able to ask questions. We are supposed to be able to ask the minister questions. Obviously the orders are set in such a way that we will not be able to do that.

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Far be it from me to engage in any debate but these rules were made by the membership. If members wish to change the rules or ask for unanimous consent to ask questions, those opportunities are always available every day in the House of Commons in this 35th Parliament and all previous Parliaments and hopefully in future ones.

BalkansGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I apologize. No decision has been made but we will send troops. Parliament is here to inform Canadians, to talk about the issues, to have answers to the questions. What I hope to do today is talk about the process we are undergoing right now, the criteria the House should follow and some of the pitfalls we possibly can go into.

It is not for me to say anything about our peacekeepers. We have done a lot of backslapping here. We agree our peacekeepers are the best. We are proud of them and we would say nothing negative about our peacekeepers or our Canadian forces when they get over there to do a job. We are proud of them and we should say that loud and clear because we mean it.

We have gone through the process of take note debates before. I believe this is a democratic fraud, an illusion of consultation, a red book promise. We know many of the decisions have already been made. We know the leaks to the media have not been accidental. We know we will not get to vote on the issue. We know in the following weeks we will hear that there was a full, democratic debate in the House and that the full democratic debate was the basis on which the decision was made.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have announced a number of things regarding this issue. This is not peacekeeping; this is peace enforcement. We are using combat troops, not with the UN but with NATO. This is not part of the NATO mandate. This is not a NATO member that we are going to the defence of. This is quite different than the mandate for NATO. Let us not let the spin doctors turn this into a NATO, non-NATO, not participating with our partners debate. This debate is to get information for the Canadian people so they know what we are getting involved with.

When Mr. Mulroney decided we should go to the gulf war, everyone was absolutely abhorred the decision had been made without consulting the Canadian people. But how an election changes things.

A week ago Friday we sent a letter to the Prime Minister asking for three things. We wanted the proposal. What is the proposal so that we can discuss it? We want a full briefing, a full debate in the House and a free vote, three relatively straightforward requests. We did not even get the courtesy of an answer to the letter. We have had answers in the House that there will be a full debate; we would have all the details, maybe even a vote. We have gone through it. What a laugh the briefings were. I will get to that in a few minutes.

What is wrong is there is no true debate, no details for the proposal and we did not hear any this morning from the minister. There has been no adequate briefing, no chance to consult with Canadians. I was with 800 Canadians in one place on Saturday night. It would have been great to consult them on some of these issues.

There is no vote, let alone a free vote. It is not open, transparent and honest. The decisions have already been made. We can listen to the media talking about the decisions yesterday.

The government believes the opposition is basically an inconvenience, keep us in the dark. Obviously the backbenchers will go along with what they are told and with the speeches written for them. The spin doctors will say we are not supporting NATO, but this is not a NATO mandate. Let us get that right off the table now. Let us not make this a partisan political thing. Let us make it what is good for Canada. That is what this should be all about. That is why we need the information to debate and discuss. This whole sham we are going through is wrong and the minister knows it. He knows the information is not on the table for us to see.

What sort of things should we have discussed? We should have looked at some criteria. What kind of criteria? The last two speakers talked about the cost. This is not hard, cold and heartless; it is reality. Canadians are losing their health care. They are having difficulty educating their children and they have other problems, and we hear in our briefings that the cost may be between $2 million and $70 million. That is an accurate estimate. Now we hear in the House that it may be $50 million or $60 million. We already have made an investment of $600 million and ten lives in this area of the world. Let us talk reality here. Let us talk about what this means.

Let us look at some of the estimating that has been done. We estimated $22,000 for 1995-96 in foreign affairs for the Haiti mission. We now have requested another $67 million. Twenty-two thousand dollars for the Haiti mission in the estimates. Everybody must have known that was wrong. Let us get some estimates. Let us talk about the cost. It is a real issue.

What about the length of the mission? NATO says 12 months and we are out of there. The Prime Minister said last week that 12 months is not very long, maybe we will need three years. Maybe we will need 30 years as we did in Cyprus. How long will we stay if NATO leaves?

We also need to look at the record of 12 months in any place. Let us talk about Cyprus-30 years. Let us talk about Somalia. How successful were we in 12 months there? Let us talk about Haiti. We now have Mr. Aristide talking about taking another three years as dictator. Let us talk about the deterioration in Haiti which is ongoing. Let us talk about the duration of this mission and what we hope to accomplish.

Let us talk about the command. We have a hint that the minister knows quite a bit about it. I hope he does. In our briefing we were told that when NATO leaves it will be turned over to a group. Will we be part of the group? These are the questions Canadians want answered.

What about the mandate? What is the job we are to do? Obviously if the minister does not know we will tell him today. We will shoot to kill. We will be mean junkyard dogs. That is what the U.S. defence minister said. What does that mean for our troops? Can we really fight force with force? Is that how we get peace? Has it worked throughout history? Let us look at that.

Let us talk about the escalation of the threat to world peace. Let us talk about Germany, Russia, the Turks and the U.S., their involvement over many years. This civil war started in 350 B.C. We must look at history if we want to understand it.

What about our commitment to allies? We talked about that. This is not a defence mission. This is not the protection of an ally. This is something totally different.

There are many criteria which need to be discussed and we must get honest and non-partisan answers to these questions.

What about the threats? Let us look at Sarajevo. They will take a city with 120,000 Serbs in it and say "get out". What does that say? How will we handle that in a peace sense?

Let us ask questions about elections. There are thousands of refugees. There is a scorched earth policy and houses are being destroyed. There is no infrastructure and they are to hold elections within one year? How will they have a democratic election? What role will our NATO troops play in the elections? We need the answers to those questions and the Canadian people are asking the minister for those answers.

What about the refugees? How will we get them food, shelter and infrastructure, the basics of life? How will we handle the emotions? They have seen their children, grandparents and other

relatives killed. They have seen their daughters raped. How will the NATO troops handle those emotions?

What about the stability between the Croats and the Muslims? What about the potential for a Croat-Serbian war? We need answers. We need to ask those questions in a non-partisan manner.

What about the American policy of rearming the Muslims? How do we rearm one faction while ignoring the other two factions? How will that help to create peace? How will arming that faction give more stability? Those are the questions we have to ask.

What about the war criminals, a gigantic moral dilemma? What will our NATO troops do when a little kid tugs on their tunics and says: "That guy over there killed my parents and raped my sister. What are you going to do about it?" We need to talk about what we are to do about it. We need to tell our troops what they are to do about it. We need to know what that means. How do we deal with those human rights areas?

Will the combatants simply wait for the year and then hope they all leave? What is the real commitment of the Americans? If I were an American looking at this, I would say that I know my troops are targets. An American GI is worth a lot more than anybody else. That is the big power. They have an X on them the minute they go somewhere.

Let us look at the background. Let us look at what Vietnam did to the U.S. psyche. Let us look at Beirut, Lebanon, as soon as the suicide bombers came. Let us look at Somalia when a dead marine is dragged through the streets and it shows up on the front page of every American newspaper, what impact that had on the American psyche again. What about Haiti?

The minister must tell us what happens if the Americans decide to leave. It is a lot different when we are on the ground and starting to go through this kind of thing. Will Canada stay if the Americans leave? Is this possible? How will this work? We need answers to these questions and we will not get them in the House because the minister will not respond.

The question for us is whether Bosnia is worth dying for. That is what the Americans are asking. Would the minister send his son or daughter into this conflict? Does it pass the mother test? We have to ask those questions. We should be talking about those in the House.

In conclusion, the government has refused to provide detailed briefings. The government has chosen to rule by decree. We cannot in this party honestly support or reject this process. How can we support or reject when we do not have the adequate information or opportunity to get answers for these issues? If this were an honest approach and we got honest answers, we could give an honest answer back. If we talk about it from a strictly military sense, the next speaker on our behalf will talk about why militarily we are not equipped to say yes.

I am talking about the big Canadian picture. The method was wrong. The decision is totally the government's. I never want to hear the minister pontificate again that we discussed it, had a democratic free debate in the House and are part of the decision. We are not part of the decision. The decision is the government's. They had better remember that. The government will be responsible. It cannot hide behind this parliamentary phony sham we are going through today and have gone through before.

The government actions are the same old-style politics. Liberal, Tory, same old story: Ottawa knows best; we do not need to inform or ask the people, we will just set it up in Parliament so that it looks like it is democratic.

The government can send our troops, and I hope the minister is right. I hope there will not be a disaster. I hope not one Canadian will be killed. I hope the NATO mission is a big success and Bosnia has permanent peace. But how much better would we feel in the House if we had been part of and heard the answers and looked at the commitment, looked at all this in a non-partisan way where we had an open discussion, where we had the House full of members. The reason it is not full of members is they know this is a sham.

I hope the war criminals are brought in. I hope for Canadians that nothing goes wrong with this mission. This is a government decision. The decision has been made and the government must live with that decision.

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1:20 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception Newfoundland & Labrador


Fred Mifflin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his presentation. I am left in some doubt as to what he was proposing in particular.

First I want to clarify the record. The hon. member said they do not have enough information in the third party. If my understanding is correct-and I am not sure if the hon. member was there-there was a briefing on Thursday. I do not know how long it went on, but I understood from at least two members of the third party that they were happy with the briefing.

At the briefing it was presented what Canada's role might be. They were given 15 options of some of the things we may be able to do, what the command and control arrangements were. I would have thought there was enough information there to provide the basis, with further learning and research, to come to the House in a debate with at least four days' warning to provide some useful input.

I am not really sure where third party members are coming from. I am very serious about this. For the last week they have been complaining that morale is not good enough to participate. I can only assume they received irate telephone calls from members of

the Canadians forces, because that does not now seem to be part of their presentation. I am not really sure where they are on that issue.

On the issue that they are not being included, we have had countless debates in the House, and he knows that no decision has yet been made on the troops that will be committed. I do not know if he expects that the third party and the opposition can go over to Brussels and meet. In our system of democratic government it is the ministers of the crown, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who go and meet with their counterparts in the NATO countries and the partnership for peace countries. There is no built-in system, other than corresponding with the minister. Have they ever heard of letters? Have they ever heard of meetings in the minister's office?

We have today this special presentation, a debate. As parliamentary secretary-and I am sure I am speaking for my colleague, the Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs-I want to hear from the member and from other members who speak from the third party, the opposition party and our own party. We have this debate today to find out what the opposition parties want to do. Give us some proposals. Help us. That is why we are having the debate, not to hear the sort of rhetoric we hear: we are not really sure what we should do, sitting on the fence, maybe we should and maybe we should not.

This is a golden opportunity. It is the first time in 45 years NATO will do a peacekeeping job all on its own, with the approval of the security council, with the possibility of participation of partnership for peace countries, with the involvement of Russia, our old cold war ally, under a system that should cause so much excitement and so much possibility for fertile imaginations and learned debate.

I am very disappointed at what the hon. member had to say. What would he like to do?

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1:20 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess the member obviously did not listen to the Bloc member either. The Bloc member said the same thing: we do not have the details.

The briefing was a laugh: it might cost between $2 million and $70 million; we do not now what the mandate will be; we do not know who will run the show after NATO leaves.

We need to know the cost, the exact budget. We need to know the mission. What is the mission all about? We need to know who will be in command. We need to have something to debate. We have not been given any information. The briefing is a laugh.

We know the government has made up its mind, just as in the past. It has the information, which is why we ask for it. Check out the letter to the Prime Minister to see what we asked for. Two weeks ago we outlined exactly what we want. We want a free vote in the House. We do not want a bunch of parrots. We want a free vote where people can consult with their constituents and come here and say exactly what they think, based on the facts, not based on a bunch of stuff that spin doctors turn out. I am sick and tired of the spin doctors. I am sick and tired of how the government tries to turn it and put the responsibility on the third party.

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1:25 p.m.


David Collenette Liberal Don Valley East, ON

What do you think? What do you want?

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1:25 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

You know what we want. We have said we want the criteria, the details.

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1:25 p.m.


Lyle Vanclief Liberal Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

We want the same.

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1:25 p.m.


Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

I do not really think I can add any more to what the members do not understand.

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1:25 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wish to invoke Standing Order 43(2) so that Liberal members from here on in will be sharing 20-minute speeches, 10 and 10.

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1:25 p.m.


Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I heard reference to the initiatives put forward by the Mulroney government when it sent troops to the Middle East a few years ago. I wonder whether in fact he preferred that approach to the approach being taken by our side whereby we are involving all sides of the House before any action actually occurs.