Mr. Speaker, the motion will enable us as a country to deal with the horrible situation facing the world today. We have seen throughout the world tens of thousands of people who have been indiscriminately slaughtered in internecine conflicts.
We heard the refrain time and time again “Never Again”; never again would we see the slaughter that took place during World War II. After World War II the world got together and made a commitment to end the conflict that plagued it. In the case of Europe, we saw the decimation, destruction and genocide of over 6 million Jews, gypsies and other people who were unwanted by the Germans at that time.
After World War II, instead of the world breaking apart, it came together to develop the IMF, the World Bank and the United Nations. However, the outcome was two superpowers glaring at each other over a nuclear arsenal that was enough to destroy and decimate the world.
Since the breakdown of the Berlin Wall, we have seen a very different picture. After the cold war and the post-cold war era there has been a proliferation of internecine conflicts, conflicts within states. Rather than soldiers being killed, which is what took place during World War II and before, we now have situation where civilians are the ones being slaughtered. Over 90% of the casualties occurring today are innocent people like us and the viewers out there.
It is not a situation for the faint of heart. When I used to work in Africa, situations happened where children came up holding their bowels after they had been eviscerated. At the end of last year a friend of mine who worked in Uganda was confronted by a group of women who were walking along a roadway. Children, as part of the Lord's Resistance Army, stood up, took the women to the side of the road, cut off their ears, their noses and their lips and forced the women to eat the parts. This is the brutality that children were inflicting on adults.
Those same children were abducted by other adults in northern Uganda. However, before they were abducted they were forced to kill one of their parents. This is the kind of trauma that is occurring there.
We see circumstances in west Africa where individuals have their hands and legs chopped off. It is not to kill them but to terrorize them. In Central Africa right now we have the largest war in the history of the world with unspeakable brutality taking place. Widespread torture of unimaginable proportions is taking place against innocent civilians. The international community has been unable and unwilling to deal with these situations in a preventive manner.
Today I will articulate a way of dealing with conflict and of preventing it.
Too often in our foreign policy today we confuse conflict prevention with conflict management. When we talk about conflict prevention we often talk about peacekeeping and peacemaking, which is often too late because once blood has been spilled and people have been killed the seeds for future ethnic discontent and war have been sown for generations to come.
Trauma has been inflicted upon children and lost generations occur. We see that in many countries of the world, from Caucasus in Europe, to Bosnia, to west Africa, to Central Africa, to South Africa and to South America, to name just a few. Whole generations are lost. Economies are laid to waste. The degree of trauma to a nation is extraordinary, not only to the people but to the costs that are inflicted.
In the case of Mozambique, in its 16-year civil war 400,000 people were slaughtered, 400,000 children lost their lives, 200,000 children were orphaned and the gross domestic product fell to 20% of its pre-war situation. We had a country laid to waste. This is what is happening throughout the world.
Why should we as Canadians be involved or interested? We should be involved not only on a humanitarian basis but in cold hard dollars and cents. If we do not get involved and prevent these conflicts then we pay for it through our defence, aid and our domestic social program budgets. When conflicts occur we have refugees leaving their countries and going to other countries, including our own.
We need look no further than the Somalia and Ethiopia situations where thousands of poor individuals have come to our country putting demands on our immigration social program budgets. We have welcomed them here because of the circumstances that they left, but I am sure most of these people would rather live in their own homes in peace and security than have to move half a world away just to have their basic human needs met. We must prevent conflicts because it costs us, it costs them and it costs the world.
The cost of peacekeeping and peacemaking to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the UN has driven these institutions, particularly the UN, to bankruptcy. The UN costs have increased dramatically. The peacekeeping and peacemaking options have increased dramatically. It takes such an enormous chunk of money out of them that they simply cannot afford to function. It is driving them into bankruptcy.
In the case of the World Bank, the cost of post-conflict reconstruction has increased 800% in the last 12 years alone. This cannot continue but it will continue unless we put measures in place to prevent conflicts from occurring.
Here is a road map to conflict prevention. The first thing we need is an early warning centre. I propose today to the Canadian government that it work with members from across party lines to develop an early warning centre in Canada.
There are three possible sites that I have identified: First, Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, which has an excellent centre for conflict prevention; second, the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa with its fine post-graduate programs in diplomacy and in teaching political science; and third, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Montreal.
Any of those sites could be an early warning centre where people from around the world could input data from the private sector, NGOs, private individuals and academia. They could input information concerning their particular area for human rights abuses, violence being meted out to individuals and torture or polarization taking place between different ethnic groups, which is what usually happens. Polarization is foisted upon certain groups, usually by despots who are trying to do this for their own political gain. An early warning centre is key. Second, we need to have a series of responses. These have to be an integrated series of responses involving diplomatic, economic and military initiatives.
The diplomatic initiatives are fairly self-evident. I propose again today that the government work with like minded nations, with other interested parties, to develop a rapid reaction force of multilateral diplomats under UN auspices that can go early into a situation. We have rapporteurs in the Horn of Africa but we need more of them. We need teams of diplomats who are viewed as being independent and without prejudice who will go in and try to identify ways in which the circumstances can be diffused.
Third is economic issues. This is an area that has been untouched and unexplored and an area wherein we as a nation can use multilateral organizations to enormous effect. Using economic levers can be very effective both as a carrot and a stick in the prevention of deadly conflict.
War needs money. We have all seen pictures on television screens of individuals in impoverished countries where the average income is $1 a day, carrying on their backs AK-47s, 50 calibre machine guns and enough weaponry that would cost them years to be able to afford. The money to buy these comes from somewhere. To look behind the scenes to see where it comes from is interesting. We must develop a way to choke the money supply. We can do that by applying sanctions targeted particularly at despots engaging in behaviours patently destructive to their people.
We could look at the present situation in Angola where President Dos Santos and the head of UNITA have been engaging in a war for more than 12 years that has resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. As we speak, there is an impending devastating famine in Angola, completely and utterly organized by the two individuals that have been engaging in war for so long and using their people as tools and pawns.
Angola is one of the richest countries in Africa, and indeed the world, with its billions of dollars from the sale of oil and diamonds, diamonds that we buy when we get engaged or married. The diamonds coming from Angola are fuelling a conflict that is causing the death of thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians as we speak.
We must develop ways to choke off the money supply. Intelligent targeted sanctions and the use of financial levers should be applied to these individuals to encourage them to pursue peace and not to take the road toward polarizing groups. Using economic levers as a carrot on a stick can be enormously successful in the prevention of deadly conflicts.
The World Bank and the IMF should put conditions on their loans and on their development aid packages. We simply cannot continue to pour money into countries with no good government and where there will be an explosion of conflict. Once conflict takes place all the aid and development engaged in for decades is destroyed. We go back to square one. All the good money that we and many other countries of the world have put into the IMF, the World Bank and the UN for development is for naught once conflict takes place.
We can look at the degree at which destruction can occur. If we look at Kuwait, six months after Saddam Hussein walked into Kuwait he destroyed the country. It will take up to $100 billion to bring Kuwait back to where it was. Who pays for that? Kuwait and the international community.
We cannot afford it. International organizations cannot afford it. We have to prevent it. The IMF, the UN and the World Bank need to put conditions on the actions of countries behaving in ways that are completely destructive to the internal and external security of their regions. The government has done some excellent work in Sierra Leone by sending one of our colleagues there. We need to continue doing this.
All these organizations are not apart from us. They are us. We make up those organizations. People like to sling arrows at the UN, the IMF and the World Bank, but we are a part of them. We make the decisions and set the direction of these organizations. Therefore we can change it. In self-interest we must argue with other countries of the world that this can no longer continue.
Usually the last resort is military. It can also be implemented in a preventative fashion as was done in Macedonia. The argument can be that a small early investment in troops, particularly of a multilateral nature, can be enormously effective in preventing conflict. We saw this is in Macedonia.
It would have worked in Rwanda if it had happened before April 1994. Instead we sat on our hands and did nothing. I find it ironic that the European Union would rise on its hind legs and criticize Mr. Haider for his egregious and repulsive comments of the past. It went through enormous gymnastics to slam him yet sat on its hands when it knew that people were being slaughtered in Srebrenica and Bihac. The European Union was targeted with doing something about it. It knew full well that people would be slaughtered and it did absolutely nothing.
Right now we see situations all over the world where the European Union, the OSCE, the OEDC and the UN are sitting on their hands while people are being slaughtered. In Rwanda there is another impending conflict. It is the same one that took the lives of over 700,000. It will happen again. We do not hear a peep about what is happening in Angola, yet thousands of people are being slaughtered. In northern Angola the body parts of innocent civilians are being chopped off and fed to them, and we are doing very little to save them from this trauma.
Military intervention has to take place under certain circumstances. Troops have to be armed for war while engaged in peacekeeping missions. We cannot send them into a situation without being armed appropriately. They must have robust rules of engagement. We cannot have a situation like occurred in Bosnia where soldiers helplessly watched while innocent citizens were gunned down. They must have the mandate to go to their defence.
That is why a rapid reaction force is good. I compliment the Minister of Foreign Affairs for proposing that in the past. It is good and we need to continue to work toward it. Five to ten thousand troops in a multilateral initiative that has a permanent peacekeeping base and operation centre can be very useful for diffusing a situation early, but it has to be multilateral.
I hope these initiatives will take place with regional organizations. Regional organizations can and should play an enormous role. Too much emphasis has been placed on first world countries, NATO and North America to implement peacekeeping and peacemaking solutions. More power and more initiative has to come from organizations like the OAU, OSCE and ASEAN on security issues within their areas. This is important.
The next point is to deal with the U.S. arms registry. It should be expanded to involve the sale of small arms. The greatest producers of small arms are the G-8 nations and the five permanent members of the security council. They stand and want to talk about peace, yet they are fuelling the fires by selling small arms to individuals engaging in wars in which civilians are being slaughtered. This circular pattern needs to be broken. We need to engage in the rules and regulations and develop a method of preventing deadly conflict.
In summary, I thank the government and members of the other political parties for their support of this apolitical motion. It is one that could be extremely useful to our country in finally breaking the cycle of war that continues to take place. The major problem we have is a lack of political will and action.
If I have not been able to argue today on humanitarian grounds the basic need to intervene by helping civilians who are helpless and are being slaughtered, tortured or raped indiscriminately, perhaps I can convince the House to support the motion on the basis of self-interest. If we do not get involved early on in these conflicts we will pay for it in defence aid and economic costs to the taxpayers of Canada.
The world is looking for a leader to revamp the UN, the IMF and other regional organizations. It is up to us to work with other parties in this regard. There is a will and a desire to do it but there needs to be a flame or spark to ignite it.
It is not an option for us but an obligation. It is something of which Canadians would be proud, something we could do and something that would be manifestly important for the security of the international community.