Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Charlesbourg for his remarks.
A debate like this is a time when all members of the House of Commons can express our feelings about a very serious situation regardless of our party affiliations, whether we are on the government or the opposition benches.
In reviewing the situation this past week I would like to draw the government's attention to the possibility that the Hutu refugees who are arriving on the Rwandan borders, hundreds of thousands right now, may be part of something that has been instigated by the Hutu militias themselves.
I am afraid of this. Two years ago in 1994 during the genocide in Rwanda, the Hutus fled. When they fled they left their homes and villages empty. In the intervening two years a great number of exiled Tutsis have returned to those villages in Rwanda. There is a situation in Rwanda right now where hundreds of thousands of Hutus are returning to their homeland and there are Tutsis occupying many of those villages.
I suggest this is the classic formula for additional conflict, for additional fighting among the local populations. I noticed that the Minister of National Defence made it very clear that in committing troops to Rwanda and Zaire they are being given the robust rules of engagement. That means they can defend themselves with deadly force or defend aid workers with deadly force. While one regrets that very possibility I still applaud the minister of defence for giving the troops that authorization.
However, we must remember another spectre will present itself to our soldiers over there, or there is a very good chance of it. The Minister of National Defence also made it very clear that Canadian troops were not to intervene in local or factional fighting. And so we in this House, Canadians and possibly the world have to be prepared for the possibility that we will have troops and aid workers on the ground, that we will see surrounding them a resumption of the mindless killing we saw two years ago.
I bring to the attention of the House and to all Canadians that while we do engage in a humanitarian effort which is absolutely vital, and I am very proud of Canada and my Prime Minister for initiating this, we as Canadians must be prepared to see on television in the days to come some very appalling scenes. We have to understand that we are faced with a very difficult situation, a very difficult matter of choices. I am afraid that we have to steel ourselves as Canadians and citizens of the world for the scenes we are going to see in the days to come.
I would be very interested in the remarks of the member for Charlesbourg on this.