House of Commons Hansard #242 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was culture.


HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario


Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, when Sandrine Craig died last month, the community shared the family's grief. It was a tragic loss. One can only imagine the pain of her parents and her siblings.

The family has decided to make something positive come of this tragedy. They have decided to draw public attention to the need for organ donations. They have launched this campaign to encourage Canadians everywhere to think of others when it comes to organ donations.

The health committee has made recommendations to the government which we are considering. We will soon announce an approach but above all, awareness is an important part.

The family in their courage has shown that Sandrine Craig did not die in vain.

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.


John Reynolds Reform West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

There are only nine days left on the parliamentary calendar. As parliament is expected to prorogue, I would like to ask the minister about the youth criminal justice act.

Last week my party offered unanimous consent to move that bill into committee and get some fast action on a bill which is very important to the House and to Canadians. Why is the Minister of Justice abandoning the youth of this country and the youth criminal justice act?

Youth Criminal Justice ActOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government is not abandoning this piece of legislation. I would be willing to give unanimous consent on behalf of our party to proceed to committee immediately after question period. It will be part of my business statement to make this a priority for the fall. We are still committed to the bill.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, a good reputation is priceless.

The Prime Minister has had a long political career. That too we all know.

Why then is he allowing doubt about his integrity to remain? Why is he taking such risks at the end of his career?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear. I have explained very clearly that, before becoming Prime Minister, I sold these interests. Everything was handed over to the person administering my assets, who must take the necessary decisions.

Everything was done according to the rules and in consultation with Mr. Wilson. We cannot be more clear than that.

I have absolutely nothing to hide. I look at all the members in this House, in my party and in other parties, with confidence. I can look them straight in the eye. I have no problem at all.

Merchant NavyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.


Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, one of the many communications I received on this government's demeaning and atrocious failure to compensate Canada's merchant marine said:

I believe this is absolutely appalling after they were assured that they would finally be compensated for their services as they so richly deserve.

Will the government commit to redressing its vile decision not to offer financial compensation to Canada's merchant marine, or is it really content simply to spit in the collective faces of these Canadian war heroes?

Merchant NavyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Nipissing Ontario


Bob Wood LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member would know, the committee heard numerous witnesses and has issued a report that was carefully considered. The Minister of Veterans Affairs will give the report the careful consideration it deserves and will, following consultation with his cabinet colleagues, provide the committee with the government's response in due course.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the British press is praising the work of the NATO G-8 members at the negotiation table in Macedonia. The trouble is, the only NATO G-8 member not at the table was Canada. It was our chance to demand the total disarming of the KLA.

Why was Canada, a member of the UN security council, left out of the direct negotiations again?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Halton Ontario


Julian Reed LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my minister today was in Germany. As a matter of fact, we watched the report coming from Germany at that time. If he was not physically present, it was because he was somewhere else.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. On that high note, we will conclude question period.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Dr. Khalid Bin Mohammed Al-Ankary, Minister of Higher Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I wish to seek unanimous consent that the House revert to ministerial statements under Standing Order 33 to permit a statement by the Prime Minister and corresponding responses from other parties.

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there agreement to proceed in such a fashion?

Presence In GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members


KosovoRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, members of the House will be aware that today NATO has decided to suspend its air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and that the United Nations security council adopted a resolution which set the term for an end to the conflict in Kosovo.

This paves the way for the establishment of a peacekeeping force led by NATO and for the return of refugees to their homes in peace and security.

This is a great day for the values that we have been fighting for in the world. This is a great day for the stability and security of Europe. This is a great day for Canada.

Our NATO partners knew that they could count on Canada, as they did every time European democracies have resisted the brutal force of tyranny throughout this century.

During 78 days, our fine Canadian pilots risked their lives to accomplish their duty in the name of Canadian values. Our efforts were not limited to military action. Canada played a central role in the diplomatic effort to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Patiently we worked through the G-8 and bilaterally to bring Russia to understand our action and to play a constructive role in dealing with the Yugoslav regime. In the end, Russia was a peace-broker and this country deserves the gratitude of the international community.

At the request of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Canada welcomed over 5,000 refugees from Kosovo. Canadians demonstrated again that they spontaneously open their arms and their hearts to those who suffer.

We made important contributions to the work of relief agencies assisting the refugees in countries neighbouring Kosovo: Albania and Macedonia.

Today is an important milestone in the search for a solution to the Kosovo crisis, but we are aware that a gigantic task remains ahead of us.

First, let us have no illusion. While we are confident that the agreement between NATO and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the obligations set by the security council will be respected, we remain realistic.

We have seen the Yugoslav regime betray its commitments many times before. I call on the Yugoslav authorities to fully respect all the provisions of the resolution. But until the last Yugoslav soldiers and policemen have left Kosovo, and until the international peacekeeping force is firmly in control, there remains a possibility that hostilities will return.

Our most urgent task is to monitor the departure of the Yugoslav forces and to deploy the peacekeeping force without delay.

Another key element of the peace plan and the UN Security Council resolution is the demilitarization of the Kosovo liberation army.

We welcome the commitment of the Kosovo leadership to fulfil this obligation, and we call on the KLA and all Kosovars to co-operate fully with the peacekeeping force.

I am pleased to confirm that the Canadian contingent of the KFOR is on its way to Kosovo, and will be ready to move in within days. The challenges and risks that our peacekeepers will face will be real and we wish them Godspeed in their important work to secure and stabilize Kosovo.

Once the peacekeeping force is deployed in Kosovo, we will start to organize the return of refugees, build democratic institutions, work toward confidence and reconciliation, and reconstruct the province.

Canada will participate in this effort within international organizations such as the United Nations, the OSCE and the World Bank, and through its own bilateral assistance program.

There will be no sustainable peace in Kosovo, and elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, without justice. Canada has strongly argued for the provisions of the UN Security Council resolution, which facilitate the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The tribunal's role will be indispensable in building confidence in a just settlement in Kosovo, one in which the perpetrators of crimes against humanity will be held accountable.

Canada has supported the tribunal's efforts in other parts of the former Yugoslavia and will continue to do so in Kosovo. Earlier this week we already announced that we were contributing a team of forensic experts to assist the tribunal's investigations there.

This was not a war against the Serbian people. Canada remembers that for years Yugoslavia was a friend. We fought alongside Yugoslavia in the struggle against tyranny during two world wars. Our friendship with Yugoslavia has deep roots and could be revived easily, but this friendship did not extend and will never extend to a regime that adopted the thinking and the methods of the tyrants of the Europe of the 1930s.

We sincerely hope that Yugoslavia will soon be re-integrated into the community of democratic nations sharing the values on which the Euro-Atlantic nations are based. We stretch out our hand to the Yugoslav people. We will be pleased to offer them assistance for democratization, the economic reforms and the reconstruction of Yugoslavia.

However, before this can happen, major changes will have to happen in that country. First and foremost, the leadership of Yugoslavia will have to change. Five of the leaders of the country, including President Milosevic, are indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. They are entitled to a fair trial and I hope they will seize that occasion to defend themselves, paving the way for new leadership to take the helm.

The decision of the UN security council is a recognition of the human dimension of international peace and security, From Rwanda to Kosovo, there is mounting evidence that internal conflicts not only crush human security but also threaten to destabilize entire regions.

We believe that humanitarian and human rights concerns are not just internal matters. Canada has fought for this issue to be given new weight in the international community and, in particular, in the United Nations. We believe that the agreement reached today in the council is an important step toward a broader definition of security by the international community.

Now that we are at the end of a terrible crisis that has caused problems for many of us, I would like to thank all the members of the House for their candour, the expression of their views and the support of the parties for the cause we were defending and the values that we believe in. This is a very good way for members of parliament to go back home to their constituents, who showed confidence in them during the last election. Members will be able to show them that collectively we have participated in a big move forward to make sure human security and human rights are preserved around the globe in a new fashion in the future.

KosovoRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I rise to join with the Prime Minister and others in expressing the profound relief and thankfulness of the members of the official opposition, and I am sure all Canadians, that temporary peace has been achieved in Kosovo and a temporary peace which we hope and pray will become a lasting peace.

As has been noted earlier today, the bombing has been suspended, Yugoslav troops are pulling out of Kosovo, hundreds of thousands of refugees hopefully are preparing to return home and a peacekeeping force with a UN mandate, including Canadians, will soon roll into Kosovo.

As I said during question period, it is a day to extend our profound thanks and appreciation to NATO and those brave Canadians who served with NATO for this great achievement. This is also the time to express our thanks and appreciation to those moderate Serbs who, under very difficult conditions, have brought pressures to bear on their own government to accept this proposal.

I want to suggest that this is also an appropriate time to pause and measure our progress toward peace in the Balkans against the objectives that we set for ourselves when this conflict first began.

The moral objective of NATO and Canada's involvement has always been to halt the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Yugoslav government and to care for the victims of Serb aggression.

The political objective has been to create a safe home for all the Kosovars in the region and to stabilize relations between Kosovo and the Republic of Yugoslavia and its neighbours.

The military objective, which was set at the beginning, was to damage the military capability of the Yugoslav government to carry out ethnic cleansing and hopefully drive it to the bargaining table.

Measured against the scale of those three objectives, we can now say with some confidence that the military objective has been achieved, that the moral objective has been at least temporarily achieved, and that the great challenge now before us is to achieve the political objective of creating a safe home for all Kosovars in the region and the basis of a lasting peace.

I want to suggest that achieving this political objective will be an even greater test of our ingenuity, our resources and our determination than achieving the military objective. However, we cannot turn back now.

I will raise a question: Are there any lessons which Canada can learn from our participation in this NATO exercise thus far and which call for follow-up action by the government and this parliament? Let me suggest two lessons.

The first lesson is that years of neglect and mismanagement of our armed forces by this government and others have left us and our armed forces personnel in an unacceptable position. Canada has had great difficulty in mustering the minimal resources required to be an active participant in this NATO operation. If we are called upon to do more or to sustain another peacekeeping operation somewhere else in the world at the same time, it would simply be beyond our capability.

We therefore call on the government to address this problem in a meaningful way immediately as well as in the next throne speech and budget if it is our intention to be a real player in maintaining world peace.

The second lesson to be learned from this Kosovo crisis, and this was referred to by numerous members during the take-note debate, is the very real need to create a better legal framework for multinational actions against inhuman acts by the governments of the sovereign state.

In the Kosovo case, NATO took the initiative to halt ethnic cleansing and to restore regional stability in an area of the world where NATO countries have a strategic interest.

The UN mandate to send in peacekeepers came after the NATO initiative, although I think many of us would have preferred if it had come before. The question still remains on what grounds should other states be permitted to intervene in the affairs of a sovereign state. How are such interventions to be regulated in law so as to permit multinational efforts to stop ethnic cleansing as in Kosovo but also to safeguard against the abuse of the right to intervene?

The most thoughtful speech given in the Chamber on this subject was given by Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, when he addressed the Chamber on April 29. Dr. Havel's convictions, like those of Nelson Mandela's, are not only sound because they are well reasoned but are sound and acceptable because he has suffered so much for those convictions.

Dr. Havel told the House, and he was applauded by all members when he said it:

While the state is a human creation, humanity is a creation of God.

From that premise he reasoned that human rights rank above the rights of states and human liberties constitute a higher value than state sovereignty. He said in reference to NATO actions in the Balkans:

It has now been clearly stated that it is not permissible to slaughter people, to evict them from their homes, to maltreat them and to deprive them of their property. It has been demonstrated that human rights are indivisible and if injustice is done to some, it is done to all.

He then went on to justify NATO military action in the Balkans on the grounds that in this instance protecting human rights should take precedence over respecting the rights of states.

I want to suggest that the challenge for the future is therefore to find a framework in international law which provides for international intervention in the affairs of sovereign states, if those states persist in violating basic human rights, while at the same time ensuring that international law does not permit alleged violations of human rights to become an excuse for one group of states to attack the sovereignty of another.

As in most issues involving human rights and the rights of states, the challenge will be to find the right balance, and finding the right balance is a task for which the country has a peculiar talent. This is a challenge which all of us must address in the months ahead so that the tragedy of the Balkans is not repeated in other parts of the world.

KosovoRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that a ceasefire has been reached successfully in Yugoslavia, and a peace plan put in place that will ensure the return of the Kosovar refugees to their country.

We can only hope that the Yugoslav president will honour his commitments, although this has not been his wont.

I should point out that we have nothing against the Serbs, the only enemy of humanity is the Milosevic regime.

We hope that Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will rejoin the community of nations as soon as possible. There is no doubt that the NATO action was justified by the necessity to see human rights win out over barbarism.

We therefore supported the government's resolution to endorse the NATO air strikes, even if we are as opposed to the use of force as many other Quebecers. This resolution was not, however, a good representation of the need to find short, medium and long term solutions to the political problem behind the conflict between the Kosovar people and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In recent months we have witnessed one of the most disturbing human tragedies since the second world war: ethnic cleansing, deportation and dispossession of close to one million Kosovars, who have been deprived on both a number of civil rights and their right to self-government by the Milosevic regime for some ten years now. This is what has led to the tragedy we now see unfolding before our very eyes daily on our television screens.

But there is now cause for celebration: the war and destruction are over, and the era of peace and reconstruction is beginning.

How can this peace be built?

A number of problematic issues must be addressed and complex political challenges faced, for the political stability of the entire Balkan region is at stake.

For example, there are many questions yet to be resolved concerning the status of what is legally a Serb province, which will come under the administration of the United Nations, and an international military protectorate. Under what conditions will the return of the Kosovar refugees from Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and all of the other countries that have, along with Canada, opened their doors to them?

After all, with all the abuse and atrocities perpetrated by the Serbian troops and soldiers in Kosovo, there is no question of putting the Albanian Kosovar population at the mercy of the Serb political powers in Belgrade yet again.

What will happen to the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against Slobodan Milosevic and his acolytes by the international criminal court?

Will the Yugoslav government benefit from international reconstruction aid that will be offered while President Milosevic is in power?

Will Montenegro take advantage of its courageous position against the Milosevic regime in recent months and decide its status freely or will we abandon Montenegro to its fate and allow the Serbian president to tighten his grip on this tiny republic?

What will happen to the ethnic minorities in all of the countries in the region?

We are pleased that the UN has finally played a role in resolving the Kosovo crisis. Unfortunately, the UN has shown itself incapable, initially, of preventing Serbia from violating the collective and human rights of the Kosovars and of finding a quick solution to the conflict.

This proves two things. First, the UN is incapable, in its present form, of resolving regional conflicts and that its institutions and its operations must be significantly reformed. Canada should call for such a reform as a member of the UN Security Council.

Second, it proves that, in the absence of such reform, regional or intergovernmental military organizations will increasingly have to take whatever action they deem necessary to ensure international security and the respect of human rights.

The triumph of the democratic countries will reaffirm that we are moving into a new era of international law in which despots, tyrants, terrorists and dictators have to understand that they no longer have the immunity they thought they enjoyed.

Moreover, charging Slobodan Milosevic will remind those responsible for crimes against humanity, torture or terrorism that they cannot escape justice.

Before I conclude, let me return to the proposals I made in April.

As quickly as possible, following the reinstatement of the individuals and collective rights of the Kosovar people, I suggest that Canada, with other members of the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe, the OSCE, promote an international conference on the status and rights of ethnic minorities in Europe, and specifically in the Balkans.

In the short term we must also target the sources of instability in the Balkans, namely the difficult economic situation of the countries in the region and the feeling of exclusion from major European political institutions. In this regard, we must recognize the wisdom of the position adopted in early April by the foreign ministers of the European Community.

These countries agreed to set up a fund of at least 250 million Euros to establish a security pact for the Balkans. This fund for Balkan countries would be tied to partnership agreements with the European community, including on issues such as economic assistance and trade privileges. So, this is a step in the right direction.

Following that, we will have to go further and integrate interested Balkan countries into the European community and NATO. This is necessary to ensure Europe's stability, the region's prosperity and the security of Europe's economic and military partners.

In closing, I congratulate and thank the men and women of the armed forces, who showed us their great courage and sense of responsibility, as well as members of NGOs, non-government agencies, from Canada and Quebec, who made a valuable contribution during these difficult times.

KosovoRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.


Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues in the New Democratic Party and I share with all Canadians the immense relief that the terrible conflict in Kosovo is drawing to a close. A peace settlement has been signed. Yugoslav forces are withdrawing.

My party wished for and worked for an earlier suspension of the bombing, and we regret that did not happen. However today we are immensely relieved that the NATO bombing campaign has been suspended at long last.

Let us hope that the Yugoslav withdrawal and the demilitarization of the KLA proceeds rapidly. During the withdrawal and its aftermath, let all civilians in Kosovo, Albanian and Serb, be spared further harm.

Let us hope with the entry of the peacekeeping force into Kosovo that the creation of a common security and the rebuilding of basic physical, economic and social infrastructure will enable the Kosovo refugees to return safely and swiftly to their homes.

Let us take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the members of the Canadian forces, who have served faithfully during this conflict and who are now going to take part in the peacekeeping force about to enter Kosovo.

These women and men have run great risks in performing their duty and their families have made sacrifices that deserve our heartfelt thanks.

We also pay tribute to other public servants who have worked with the refugees in the Balkans and with the many aid workers in non-governmental agencies who have done their best to help the refugees faced with this terrible humanitarian disaster.

I know from visiting with refugee families in the province of Nova Scotia the gratitude that they themselves feel for the assistance and the support provided to them in their hour of need.

The beginning of the Yugoslav withdrawal and today's suspension of the bombing are only the first step in a long journey toward a true peace settlement and true human security. The challenge of ensuring the safe return and resettlement for all Kosovo civilians lies ahead. The massive destruction inflicted in Kosovo and the rest of Yugoslavia must be repaired. The economic and social institutions of the entire region must be rebuilt and revitalized. War crimes must be investigated and prosecuted where indicated by the International Criminal Tribunal.

A temporary civilian administration must be established in Kosovo, and beyond that a permanent political settlement recognizing the legitimate rights and interests of all peoples of the region must be achieved. Let us make no mistake about it. This will be an enormous task.

Today we urge the Government of Canada to provide leadership in this economic, social and political reconstruction process. We urge the Government of Canada as well to play a leading role in the essential redefining and reconstruction of our international institutions, because above all else this conflict demonstrates how currently incapable and ill equipped the United Nations is today to help resolve and, where necessary, to intervene in civil conflict taking place within the borders of a sovereign state.

NATO intervened in this humanitarian disaster in part due to that fact. As this terrible conflict moves to the reconstruction now necessary, let us redouble our efforts to ensure that in future neither NATO nor any other military alliance acts outside of the sanctions of the United Nations.

Let us now set to work to reform and revitalize the United Nations so that it is able to deal more effectively and less catastrophically with future humanitarian crises that arise in the world.

We have in Canada a proud history of successful international innovation and international achievement. We have a large internationalist community with considerable expertise, ready and eager to contribute to the project of creating the conditions and the instruments to secure and maintain peace in the world. We call on the government to make use of these resources as it works with the international community on these vital questions.

Let us as parliamentarians, in concert with others around the world who value peace and human security, learn the lessons of this conflict. Surely we have learned that while there are international emergencies such as this one, where the horrors of the humanitarian crisis require military intervention as a last resort, such military intervention always carries with it grave threats to the lives of innocent civilians, to the environment, and grave risks of catastrophic escalation.

Let us make it a central task of the international reconstruction to face up to the difficult ethical dilemmas involved in such crises.

If Canada and others in the international community take up these challenges and can find ways to respond more effectively to such grotesque human rights violations, this conflict can be seen as the beginning of an era when the international community recognizes its responsibilities and finds effective means to defend human rights and secure peace in our global human family.

KosovoRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to sincerely thank the Prime Minister for taking the time today to make a statement in the House. That is greatly appreciated. We also greatly appreciate him taking the time to hear all of the speeches by the leaders of each party.

I would also like to congratulate the men and women of the Canadian forces who will be called into action. While we in parliament are about to begin our break, the men and women of the Canadian forces assigned to the KFOR will not be getting any break.

I should however point out a number of elements that merit consideration and solution as well, I hope. There have been some slip-ups in the way this House was involved right from the start of this conflict. Parliament ought to have taken a vote and held a real debate. Unfortunately, it did not.

That did not keep us from supporting the government's position, but I believe the government needs to learn some lessons from this. I hope that the situation will never be repeated, but should another armed conflict arise, I hope that the government will realize, as I said in the first debate when this conflict started, that the parliamentarians here are the best tool of the government. The best allies of the government are here in this House. I trust that the government will bear this in mind next time.

Nevertheless, parliament could have got involved much earlier and gradually more as the conflict unfolded.

Canada, as a member of NATO, may have won the war, as it were, but this is the first time Canada has been at war without a UN mandate since the second world war.

The Korean war was fought under a clear mandate by the United Nations. The Gulf war was fought under a United Nations mandate. Ever since that organization was created, all engagements by this country's peace forces since the end of the second world war have been by UN mandate. This is the first time Canada has ever been at war without any UN mandate.

Canada's credibility since the second world war needs rebuilding. Its credibility as a peacekeeper, as a vehicle of conciliation, and as one of the best channels for diplomacy and political solutions, has taken two beatings.

Canada's credibility as a peacekeeper needs to be restored, as does the credibility of the UN, which failed to foresee the strikes and to provide solutions.

This is not the first time there is war in the Balkans. Never was the UN involved, until afterwards. The international community was not involved in Slovenia or Croatia. There was also Bosnia, where 250,000 people died before the international community decided to get involved.

Unfortunately the history of the Balkans is riddled with serious problems. Did we take specific action in this country to try to find solutions ahead of time? Reports of both governments—Conservative and Liberal—said, when the Dayton treaty was signed, that the next problem in the Balkans would be Kosovo. They knew it.

The Department of National Defence knew it. It had specific reports. Canadian soldiers and observers have been in Kosovo for a long time. They knew what was happening, but nothing was done about it.

Montenegro is another place in the Balkans where problems may arise. It is clear in the agreement that was signed—we hope it was clear—that the Serbian army cannot leave Kosovo and move into Montenegro in order to topple the government there, which has NATO's support. The Montenegro government requested an international force there. It did not work.

The agreement signed excludes the presence of any international force in Montenegro. I hope that they will make every effort to ensure there are no more dead in the Balkans.

I hope that Canada will again assume its role as a leader in diplomacy and peace, and not as a leader in war. I hope that this will happen very soon.

We also salute the men and women going to Kosovo and we will pray hard for them. From the beginning of the conflict, and until June 3 in fact, the official position of the Canadian government was the disarmament of the KLA. Now, we know that what they have in mind is nothing more than demilitarization. Heavy arms will be taken away from Albanian KLA troops, but they will still be armed. We know that Canadian forces will be in the Kosovo region, where there is a very large Serb population. Canadian troops will therefore be at great risk.

We will continue to support the government. I hope that the government will continue to support the former mission, which I hope will still be valid, namely keeping the peace.

Going to war is easy. The war in Kosovo marks the first offensive war Canada has won, unlike the gulf war, which was not an offensive operation. Canada has won a war. Are there people celebrating in the streets? Is this the kind of war we are looking at now? Are people completely indifferent to what is going on?

All this bears thinking about. Let us resume our leadership of peace, not war.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.


Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, before I ask the Thursday question of the government House leader, I take this opportunity to thank all 40 pages for their hard work in serving and helping members.

They will be retiring from here soon and we will have a new batch of pages coming in. I wish them all well and I believe they have had a memorable experience working with the members of parliament in the House.

I also take this opportunity to thank the table clerks and all staff in the House of Commons who have also worked hard. I wish everyone, all members and you, Mr. Speaker, a happy summer.

I would now like to ask the hon. government House leader the agenda for the remainder of this week and what are the plans for next week.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if the House sees its way to complete consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-55, the magazine bill, and Bill C-49, the land claims bill, today or tomorrow, and I say hopefully today, I will consult my fellow House leaders about the possibility of commencing the summer adjournment without further delay. If these bills are not concluded then of course we will have to complete them next week.

Let me say that it is the intention of the government to follow the sequence I have just enumerated along with the bills I will now enumerate either this week, next week, or when the House resumes in the fall, whichever is the case.

The intention at this time would be Bill C-54, the electronic commerce and privacy legislation; Bill C-68, the youth justice bill, as I indicated a little earlier today; Bill C-56, the Manitoba claims bill; Bill C-48, the marine parks legislation; and Bill C-63, the new citizenship act. These are important bills for the government to take the opportunity to debate whether that means we sit longer or in the fall.

If we adjourn this week, these items will be given a high priority in the autumn. As hon. members are already aware, when the House returns in the autumn the government will be asking parliament to deal on a high priority with legislation ratifying the Nisga'a agreement.

I do want to take advantage of this opportunity to thank all hon. members, including the House leaders, the members for Langley-Abbotsford, Roberval, Winnipeg-Transcona and Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough for their constructive participation in helping the House of Commons do its work effectively, with the help, of course, of their respective whips.

I also want express my appreciation to the hon. member for Peterborough, whose performance as my parliamentary secretary for the last two years stands as a major contribution to the good operation of this House.

Over the last few days members have been particularly kind in offering me words of congratulations about an event which will occur next week, namely the fact that I will be receiving a degree in history from the University of Waterloo, a little secret I hid from most of us for 11 years. I guess it is my own personal way of countering the brain drain.

I appreciate the kind notes that were sent to me by hon. members, by the people at the table and by others in the House who were similarly kind in sending me notes and expressing kind words. I do not deserve that praise. I appreciate it enormously however.

If I can leave one message for everyone, I do not want anyone to think this was impossible or nearly impossible. That would be the wrong message. The right message, I believe respectfully, is that given the time constraints and if I were able to do it countless Canadians could also work to improve their adult education. I invite all of them to do so for their own satisfaction and the future of their careers.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement Government Orders will be extended by 36 minutes.

The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-55, an act respecting advertising services supplied by foreign periodical publishers, and of the amendment.