I have just started my speech and already a Liberal MP across the way is defending Saddam Hussein. That is a shame.
Remember: these are soldiers of our closest neighbour, our strongest ally and historically our best friend who have been tortured and in whose hands Saddam Hussein stands guilty of violating Geneva conventions. This latest war crime only adds to the revolting record of this most vicious of modern day tyrants and dictators. These soldiers, our allied soldiers, our friends, are fighting to disarm a madman and to liberate the Iraqi people and our hearts and prayers go out to them and to their families and loved ones at this time.
Saddam hopes that this latest violation, this public humiliation, will weaken the resolve of allied countries. For the sake of decency and humanity, Saddam must be proven wrong on this point and I believe that this latest vile act of his will actually strengthen the resolve of allied countries to disarm him and to liberate the Iraqi people. Saddam's latest brutality constitutes further evidence that Canada should have supported the allied coalition to remove him.
Therefore today I present a motion that endorses the allied coalition to disarm Saddam Hussein and to liberate Iraq. It supports the personnel of the Canadian army, navy and air force, who are serving in exchange programs with the allied forces, and it commits us to help the Iraqi people to build those institutions of freedom and democracy that will be needed in a post-Saddam era.
This does not require the Liberal MPs to violate the orders they have been given in terms of previous instructions from the Prime Minister. They can endorse this and still keep their party line and not fear the crack of the party whip on their backs.
The motion supports the enforcement of 17 Security Council resolutions, the historic liberation of the Iraqi people, and the disarmament of Saddam Hussein. That has been the clear position of the leader of the Canadian Alliance, it has been the position of the members of Parliament of the Canadian Alliance, and we laid out this position in the House over six months ago.
May I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that in October of last year we made these three points. Should Saddam Hussein not agree to or not fulfill an agreement to unconditional and unrestricted access for UN weapons inspectors, or should the UN Security Council issue a declaration to demand Iraqi compliance and should Iraq fail to meet those conditions, or, and this was a key point of ours six months ago, should some UN Security Council members falter in re-emphasizing their own past declarations, Canada should stand with its allies in ensuring that Saddam understands that failure to comply will bring consequences.
That was our position six months ago. We have stayed with that. Our leader has been consistent on that point and so have we, and more and more Canadians are moving to that position.
Saddam has failed to disarm. The United Nations has failed once again to disarm him. Now is the time that we should join with our closest allies to disarm Saddam Hussein, and we are not doing that.
This motion, however, proposes something that is meaningful, something we could do, something that could add somewhat and something that at the same time could take away from the wrong-headed restraints of the federal Liberal government when it comes to helping our allies.
Let us examine at this point the only alternative to this course of action that the Prime Minister has put out as his preference, and that has been containment. As an alternative to true disarmament the Prime Minister has proposed that we try to keep Saddam in some kind of a box. Here is what the Prime Minister said on March 9: “...Saddam cannot do anything anymore. He has troops at the door and inspectors on the ground, planes flying over--and he cannot do anything”. The Prime Minister thought that was a sufficient policy. The Liberal position is that somehow Saddam Hussein can be isolated in a box and sanctioned into not threatening the Middle East or the international community.
The evidence is clear that this policy of containment has not worked over the last 12 years. That is because containment, as he says, is only working today because there are 250,000 allied troops on Saddam's doorstep at a cost of $1 billion a day. It is untenable that this kind of buildup could be held for a long period of time. We know from experience that the moment the troops were to leave his doorstep Saddam Hussein would once again restart his weapons program. He would have done it in a heartbeat, as in 1995 when, in defiance of everything he had ever promised, he moved troops once again to the Kuwaiti border. It was only when U.S. troops aligned against him that he backed off.
Ironically, the Prime Minister supported the containment strategy so strongly and thought it was such a great idea that he was prepared to contribute exactly zero troops to enforce it. The Canadian government has shouldered none of this burden, but it is prepared to insist that the allies continue it at a huge cost and do it indefinitely.
International unity is required for any containment policy, but when one considers the Liberal anti-Americanism of the government and its penchant for constantly obstructing the efforts of our closest allies, international unity was not achievable through Canadian attempts through the foreign policy channels. Even if Saddam were contained, we could not have removed the danger that he represented to the world. It would not have been difficult for his regime to slip those vile weapons that he has into the hands of vile terrorists. The world could not have afforded that risk.
It was also untenable to think that the world could stand by and allow him to continue with the murderous death rate of his own citizens: 100,000 citizens have died at his hands since 1991. That is a death rate of about 5,000 people a month. I respect protestors' ability and right to protest, but they never talk about the loss of life that has been going on under this man's hands for months and years.
To conclude this point, the policy of containment was not working. It could never have worked and we Canadians should have joined our allies in doing something about that. We can do something today with this motion, and we can send out a message of moral support, if nothing else, to the allied coalition, which is right now in the process of enforcing UN resolution 1441, disarming Saddam Hussein and in fact liberating Iraq.
If we fail to do this, to give some sign of support through this motion today, Canada's standing in the world will continue to be diminished. The Liberal government has seriously injured the interests and the reputation of Canada by refusing to support the United States, the United Kingdom and 42 other countries in their effort to disarm Saddam and liberate Iraq.
Because of the Prime Minister's decision, we have now taken a certain place as a country on this new geopolitical divide that has opened up around the world as a result of the war against Saddam. This Liberal government has placed Canada on the wrong side of that divide. Our most cherished historical allies either support or are actually a part of the allied action to disarm Saddam and liberate Iraq. The United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, these are the countries, along with Spain and the new emerging democracies of the new Europe, with whom we share the most in common and our interests are most aligned.
We now stare across the chasm of this new divide. We stare at our former historical allies. Now we are in the position of relying on our allies, and relying on them alone, to be taking these steps to protect international security and, at the same time, Canadian security. Indeed, it is really ironic that the Liberals have been able to decimate our armed forces through lack of funding, because they know, though they do not admit it, that our neighbours to the south would come to our rescue if ever we were under attack. Yet now, when our allied friends need us most, our government curls up into the political fetal position and cowers behind a UN resolution that was never passed.
Consider this divide and with whom we are now allied. We are now allied with a minority of nations at the G-7, a minority of nations at NATO, and a minority of the OECD countries. We are in a minority with those international groups.We have aligned ourselves with some of the fiercest and most deeply entrenched tyrannies on earth. We are now allied with Libya, Syria, Iran, China, North Korea, and Cuba. How do members think Canadians feel about that?
I remind the House that these tyrannies have a vested interest in the survival of their fellow tyrant in Baghdad. The dictators of Damascus, the tyrants of Tehran, and the Syrian puppets who now control the once free people of Lebanon all know one thing: that once the people of Iraq have tasted democracy and freedom, other oppressed people of that region will want it too. I want that for other oppressed peoples around the world.
These are our new friends and the rulers with whom the Prime Minister has aligned us. Does the government not understand that we will be judged internationally based upon the company we keep? Canada's historic reputation as a liberator, as a loyal friend to our democratic allies, and as a courageous defender of good over evil is now clouded and compromised.
This brings me to my next point of Canada's enlightened national interest. That interest lies in the advancement of democracy and freedom around the world. Often we speak of advancing democracy and freedom around the world as an act of charity or simply a humanitarian gesture, but it is more than that. All of the historical evidence demonstrates that democracies tend to trade more and go to war less with each other by virtue of the fact that they are democracies.
Democratization abroad therefore serves not only world peace and world interest, it serves Canada's economic and security interests at home. The infusion of democracy in Iraq could help democracy spread throughout the entire realm. With the eventual success of democracy across the Middle East would come a real curtailment of the terrorism that is associated with fanaticism from those regions.
There is no shortage of evidence that this is so. Renowned international relations professor Dr. Michael Doyle explained this proven link between liberty and peace. He said:
Democratic states, founded on such individual rights as equality before the law, free speech and other civil liberties, private property, and elected representation are fundamentally against war. When the citizens who bear the burdens of war elect their governments, wars become impossible. Furthermore, citizens appreciate that the benefits of trade can be enjoyed only under conditions of peace. Thus the very existence of free market democracies such as the United States, Japan, and our European allies...makes for peace.
It is hard to deny this argument. Over the centuries hundreds of wars have been fought, yet only a handful of these wars have been fought between opposing democracies. Spencer R. Weart explained this in his exhaustive study in a book entitled Never at War: Why Democracies Will Not Fight One Another . He wrote:
Yet several scholars (including me) did notice, independently, a peculiar regularity: during the past century there have been no wars between well-established democracies.
He went on to share the results of rigorous statistical analysis in which scholars compiled lists of hundreds of conflicts from the past two centuries. The researchers asked themselves an important question: “What was the probability that absence of wars between well established democracies is a mere accident?” Their answer: “Less than one chance in a thousand”.
According to another renowned political scientist, Jack Levy:
...this absence of war between democracies comes as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations.
Regardless of cultural, economic, religious, ethnic and social considerations, democracies have proven to resist the urge to attack one another, and that is where the rubber meets the road.
We know that Canada would be better off if the world were a more peaceful and secure place. We know that democracy is a prerequisite to long term security and peace. Therefore, we must conclude that democratization in countries like Iraq is not only a moral good, but also a major contribution to Canada's own peace and security. In this sense, Canadians could advance our own enlightened national interest while helping Iraqis to achieve theirs. It is yet another reason why Canada should have stood on guard with our allies in disarming Saddam Hussein and liberating Iraq, and yet another reason why supporting the motion could be a small step to letting the world know of where our hearts lie in that area.
It is in Canada's enlightened national interest to see Iraq transformed from a dungeon of despotism to a lamppost of liberty, a beacon in the region that could inspire change across that whole land.
I want to review for the House four tangible steps the official opposition has proposed to achieve these high ideals. We must help convince our once close allies that even though the Canadian government appears to be blindly clinging to a wrong-headed decision not to join our allies, that in fact we are still with our allies, that we are serious about assuming our responsibilities in a world threatened by terrorist groups and rogue states.
First, the House must pass this motion which endorses the allied coalition to disarm Saddam and to liberate Iraq.
Second, we must take the necessary step to send the signal that the government could protect Canadian security and rebuild our diminishing international reputation by outlawing all known terrorist groups.
We must ban, for instance, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the group that routinely takes credit for suicide attacks in Israel and causes tremendous instability in the entire region of the Middle East. We must outlaw the National Liberation Army. This is an Iraq-based terrorist group with links to Saddam Hussein. Our own intelligence agency confirms that that group raises money in Canada. Canada must outlaw the group Jemaah Islamiah. They are the al-Qaeda linked Bali bombers. These are the terrorists who joyfully and proudly took credit for decimating hundreds of people. It is because of their commitment to continue to do so that our allies have banned them. The Liberal government refuses to ban their activities on Canadian soil. What is wrong with the government?
These are some steps that we can take to show our allies that we are serious about doing something, even in a limited way to advance security domestically and internationally. Canada must outlaw these and all other terrorist groups which our allies have also outlawed.
Third, we can take the funds that the Auditor General says exist in this slush of surplus which the Liberals have and commit the amount that the Auditor General has identified which coincides with the studied Canadian Alliance option which our armed forces need to become truly effective. The Auditor General herself has identified these funds. The funds are there and we could commit them. The federal government refuses to do that. We must shoulder our responsibility in that area.
Fourth, we must immediately expel Saddam's diplomats from Canada. Saddam's regime is once again engaged in odious violations of another convention and this is the Geneva convention with the torture of these allied prisoners of war. The government could demonstrate its commitment to that convention with the expulsion of Saddam's remaining representatives.
Other allied nations have done it but Canada refuses. Whose votes are the Liberals worried about losing? Our government, our Prime Minister and these federal Liberals do not have the intestinal fortitude to say to diplomats representing one of the most evil regimes on earth that they should go home and help Saddam clean up his act. The government refuses to do that. There is no excuse for that.
The government could simply do it today. It could simply tell those representatives to go home. There, sitting across from us, is a Liberal MP who gives the thumb down as we bring that forward as a suggestion. We cannot abandon the Iraqi people in a post-Saddam war. We must be there in the efforts of reconstruction. Canada has not been invited to be a part of the reconstruction effort and the rebuilding of the democratized Iraq.
The motion today is straightforward. Although the government still refuses to join our historic allies, the passing of the motion could send an important signal. It is a small signal for Canadians, but a big encouragement to our allied friends who are moving toward Baghdad as we speak and seeing their comrades in arms fall to the side.
Others are paying the ultimate price, a price Canadians dearly but willingly paid as peacemakers at Vimy Ridge in Europe, at the beaches of Normandy in World War II, the hills of Korea and in Kosovo.
The people of Iraq will always remember their liberators. They will also remember that Canada was not there. However, if we pass this motion they will remember that in a small way we were willing to support their liberation and the day when they, as people on this planet, would eventually experience freedom and democracy in their own land. We must pass this motion today.