Madam Speaker, it is with some trepidation that I rise to speak on this motion. No matter how many times we are confronted with the armed conflicts of the world, the decision to send Canadian forces into the dangers of civil strife is a most difficult one to make.
Many Canadians are rightfully concerned about the risks of peacekeeping in this particular situation. But I believe that as Canadians we must remember how fortunate we are to live in the country we do, that the majority of citizens of this planet are not so fortunate. The decisions we make today affect our constituents, our fellow Canadians as well as people beyond our borders around the world.
The age old question is am I my brother's keeper? I am very proud of my country, that we have decided yes we are. Globalization is much more than a question of using the resources of developing countries, the poorest areas of the world, and seeing them as customers for our trade.
Globalization also recognizes that the deprivation of the majority of the world's population is not only their problem but our problem. Causes of strife like starvation, lack of basic health care, lack of the ability to grow, produce, consume and distribute your own food are problems for the entire world and not only for the people who suffer from them.
We know that around the world at any time there are a million people who want to come to Canada. One of our biggest obligations in the world is to help make it possible for people to live safely with some basic standard of living in their own country as well.
The question we are debating today goes to the very heart of whether a country like Canada, which has been chosen several times by the United Nations as the best country in the world in which to live, should have set an example for the world to follow or should have turned its back.
As in the past, we have to decide whether to act to stop the suffering in the great lakes region of Africa or to ignore the cry for help. I am immensely proud that we decided not to walk away and that our Prime Minister and our government recognized the unique leadership role that Canada could play in this. I am extremely proud that we played that role very well. Generations of Canadians have worked to build in this part of the world a prosperous and just society based on fundamental democratic principles. We also have built a reputation as being one of the foremost promoters of these values around the world. And the way that we have responded to this crisis I believe has sent a clear message to the world about the kind of country Canada is and why we are looked up to as an example of a responsible international country.
In so doing, we will be showing the refugees in the great lakes region of Africa that we are concerned about what happens to them. We will reaffirm Canada's lead role as an intermediary, and will be maintaining our country's reputation as a negotiator and peacemaker.
Given the region's history, clear and prompt action by the international community is necessary, if we are to avoid the situation in the great lakes deteriorating into a repeat of the bloody massacres in Rwanda two years ago.
In recent years Canada has called on the international community to work together to deploy peacekeeping forces more rapidly. A couple of weeks ago the Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke of the need for increased peace building and reconciliation in the relations between countries.
Canada's leading an active role in this mission will ensure that the plea for help from the displaced people of this region will not go unanswered.
Our involvement will open critical lifelines of food and medicine to the refugees and the injured civilians. It will help people return to their homes and settle in some measure of safety and security.
Our mission is clear. It is to ensure that much needed aid reaches the afflicted civilians of the region and to provide safe passage to those refugees returning to their communities.
In taking the leadership in both the establishment and the mandate of the multinational troops, Canada will once again set an example to the world that as a nation we will not shirk from our duty in this world. We will help restore peace to a region that has suffered for too long and we will continue to fight for the dignity and safety of the less fortunate citizens of our world.
This is an evolving situation. None of us can predict exactly how it will evolve. But I am confident that we have sent troops who are trained, capable and who will for the first time be able to use their specialized training for this kind of situation.
The member for Calgary spoke about how often we do this without getting recognition or credit. That is one strengths of our country, to do what is right and to do it in the most difficult of situations. We have demonstrated time and time again that for a country of our size, with our resources, we are able to make a global contribution far beyond what could reasonably be expected of us.
I say again I am very proud of what the government and the Prime Minister have done. I know we all wish those troops being sent to this very troubled part of the world our best wishes for a successful and safe mission.