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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was iraq.

Topics

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5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to agree in many ways with what the member had to say in his speech.

One of the big concerns I have had and the member touched on it briefly is with regard to the Sea King helicopters. I do not know if it is true but perhaps the hon. member could shed some light on this. I have read that it takes between 20 and 30 hours of maintenance just for one hour of flying time with the Sea King. I would appreciate it if the hon. member would enlighten me on whether that is the case.

On the same topic of the Sea King, not that long ago there was an article in the paper about one of them crashing onto one of our destroyers and pretty well embarrassing our armed forces by having to send the destroyer home. Perhaps he could confirm that too.

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5:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. In fact, the number is probably 40 hours of maintenance for each hour the helicopter flies.

I want to read a quote from this report that was released only less than a month ago. It was done by Captain Eric Hill, a naval captain out of Halifax. His mandate was to point out the shortfalls in the Sea Kings and the equipment. It was signed off on by the commander of the base he operated within. A couple of things he said relate to the questions that were asked.

He said, in fact, that out of 37 operational missions that the Sea King has operated in since the cold war, 33 have been above water operations. That is the interdiction type of operation involved in the gulf. I will read a part of his next point that relates to that. I will quote from Captain Hill's report on information given by crews that fly the Sea Kings:

The inherent danger of approaching unidentified surface vessels creates the pre-requisite for conducting SSC: a sensor capable of imaging beyond the limits of the human eye. [Sea King] crews do not have the tool to execute this mission. This has resulted in ineffectiveness and mission failure, endangerment of operational crews, the loss of life, and increasingly, exclusion from participation in joint/coalition operations in theatre.

That is exactly the kind of mission he is asking our people to be involved in and in fact which they are involved in the gulf region right now. This captain's report says clearly that the Sea Kings simply are not capable of performing a mission like that in any kind of effective way or in a safe fashion. It is shameful that our men and women are put in this kind of danger and that our billion dollar frigates are reduced in value to a fraction in terms of their effectiveness because of the lack of a proper helicopter on board.

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5:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I rise in the debate today I look around and think about how many people were here on January 16, 1991, when we saw gulf war one.

You and I were here, Mr. Speaker, and three more were of these members were here in 1991. Everyone else in the House is experiencing their first gulf war. I got out my speaking notes from that night and I think I was the one who was up on debate exactly when CNN declared that the war had begun. That was a traumatic experience for all of us. I said back then, over 12 years ago:

Those of us who have been following the news hour by hour in these last several days, have seen Saddam Hussein and his entire Iraqi Parliament standing up and chanting: “With our blood and with our souls, we will die for this cause and go to death for Saddam”.

I wonder how many of them have in the ensuing years, and maybe not by choice. I think about that kind of attitude where they would stand up and be so blinded as to say that this was a noble thing for them to do. Here we are 12 years later and I really wonder what we have learned or how far we have come.

On that same day, Mr. Speaker, your leader at the time, John Turner, said that we were global citizens and had crossed that boundary and were involved. You were part of that caucus, Mr. Speaker. I am sure you remember him saying that. It was a traumatic night for all of us.

He said that we were global citizens and had crossed that boundary and were involved. Those are true words now. I see a member across the way who is a member of the government now and was a Tory at the time. I am sure he remembers that day as well.

Sometimes we do not get any options about whether or not we would like to be involved; sometimes we get dealt a hand. But in fact we might not want to go war. I do not think any one of us in the House is keen to go to war. Nobody could be accused of being a warmonger. Let us get that inflammatory language right out of this debate.

When I think about what has changed in those 12 years, I wonder. I have seen a regime change here, if I may use those words. Instead of the Conservatives in power, as they were in 1991, now the Liberals are and suddenly they need a UN Security Council recommendation and resolution. But when they were in power in the late 1990s, we saw that they did not really need a UN Security Council resolution to go into Kosovo. I wonder about the consistency and I wonder about the matter of principle and the matter of disarming Saddam Hussein.

When it was important in 1991 and there were resolutions brought forward for disarming, to have a ceasefire, not an armistice, as was mentioned earlier, we somehow think 12 years later that it was okay, but the government continues to say that it needs time. Now, in gulf war two, I think about what has lapsed in those 12 years, about how many innocent people have died. The question being asked on the government benches and by many people, which is a fair enough question to a point about “we need more time”, is this: How much time is enough? Of course the answer to that is that there is never enough. It would never be enough for people to think that some good nature of Saddam Hussein's is suddenly going to take over and that he is going to think it is cool to live up to the resolutions.

If we watch human nature and look at the patterns of people and how they develop, we can see that if someone is not going to change their behaviour in a dozen years, my answer would be to everyone here, and I surely think they would agree with me, that there is never enough time for that. He simply is not going to change. In these last few days we have seen weapons being fired that were definitely on the list of equipment he was not supposed to have. So again, if we prove someone inconsistent in one area, then guess what, it is quite likely we will prove him inconsistent again.

It was fine for the member from York to stand up and talk about how we need more time, how we need to be really careful about being nasty to Saddam, and that as for the weapons he is basically a good guy and the weapons are okay. That is ridiculous. What is going to happen when something else comes trotting out? It is going to look foolish to say we did not really know that he was lying to us or we did not really know that he was being inconsistent. Good heavens, we have enough proof right now six ways to Sunday to know that this man is evil, inconsistent and dishonest and has people in his country thinking that he is going to be kind to them as their leader when thousands upon thousands of people have died at his own hands or by his own orders.

I see the government across the way being inconsistent, especially in regard to the Kosovo deal when it did not need a UN Security Council resolution then, which was important, as it ran under NATO. This week it is showing its inconsistencies by saying we really need it. If the Liberals were to look at their former leader, John Turner, they would see that he at least had the nerve to stand up and say, “I did not like it and I was not keen on it, but I think I should read it a third time”. It was not because it was John Turner. He would be the first to admit he is not the most wonderful or brightest fellow on the planet, but he was a member and the leader of the Liberal Party that sat in opposition and is now the government. I wish the Liberals would take the time to let this sink in. We are global citizens and we have now crossed that boundary and are involved, so we do not have a lot of options.

We talk about humanitarian aid. They are waxing on about when the war is over: We were not there with our allies, but boy, we will be there to do mop up and hope we get all kinds of contracts. In fact, on humanitarian aid there are now several working groups starting to put these things together, because we know there will be cleanup and rebuilding of all kinds. There are 14 groups working in the United States right now. What part is Canada playing? Precious little. Canada is not in the running. It has been basically non-existent. The minister for CIDA stood up in question period today and said yes, CIDA would be there, but there are no dollar figures and nothing is committed to.

If there is anything we know how to do well in this country it is oil exploration and oil recapping. Someone from my province of Alberta was being interviewed the other day and said that we are experts at this. He was involved in the Kuwaiti cleanup when all the oil wells were burning in Kuwait. He said on national TV that we are not going to have a chance of getting in there, first, to help, but second, for any sort of economic benefit in terms of cleaning up. He asked why we would when we were not there to stand with them in their time of need. Why would we expect anyone to be kind and loving to us so that we could say, “Good luck on your war and thanks a lot for our contracts. We will be there to pick up the economic benefit”. That is just ludicrous.

There are many expatriates in Canada who are in exile and would love to go home, to their homeland of Iraq, and start rebuilding. I think that is going to be excellent. I think that will be a positive thing.

Twelve years ago we talked about Saddam Hussein. Here we are talking about him again, yet somehow the government hopes and prays that someone else will look after it. It is like someone standing up and saying, “Here I am. Send someone else”. That is not courageous. That is not responsible in the global community. We are global citizens and for the first time ever we have said no to the United Kingdom. Great Britain is our mother of parliaments; we all keep talking about how we are fashioned after Great Britain. It is the first time that the United States and Great Britain have been unified in a mission and Canada is not there as a part of it. I just cannot believe how we would be, first, ignorant enough, but second, arrogant enough to think that we could kind of sit out the war and then move on in for economic benefits. It is bizarre.

I would ask members to rethink their stand, to say that it is important globally to stand with our allies and say how important that is, and not just say that we are going to side with Jacques Chirac. That is not right, because they are showing an inconsistency.

Jacques Chirac is standing and saying that he is the veto man. I do not want to be aligned with the veto man. I want to be aligned with getting Saddam Hussein out of office. You and I, Mr. Speaker, sat here in January 1991, and I am sure you would admit that it was a very difficult time for both of us and we do not want to see a repeat of that. Therefore let us make sure that when people ask the question of how much time is enough, we say that it is never enough. We are there now. Let us get involved and get the job done.

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5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Ironically, only a few days after the adoption in this House, with a very strong majority, of a motion calling upon Canada not to go to war—a motion we accepted immediately—today we are debating a totally opposite motion. This one suggests that we change sides, undo the decision reached in the House with a strong majority, and say, “No, there was no such majority; no, there was no such motion”. It is quite ironic, then, that only a few days later we would have to do otherwise. That is what would happen today if we accepted the Canadian Alliance motion calling upon us to join the U.S.-U.K. coalition.

This morning, I heard the member presenting the motion say that it was disgraceful that, for the first time, we were not alongside the United States, our greatest ally, that we were letting Great Britain and the United States go it alone, that Canada was not with them.

However, I then asked him the following question which he did not answer, “Why, in 1939, was it perfectly legitimate for the United States not to join the coalition consisting of England, France, Canada and other countries, which had declared war in September?” The United States stayed out of it for very legitimate reasons. It is a sovereign nation which must make up its own mind. It was perfectly legitimate for the United States to decide, for its own reasons, not to go to war. Two years later, the United States declared war, after Pearl Harbor.

At the time, Canada's friendship with the United States did not suffer. Our friendship continued as before. We continued to trade with one another. We did not lose respect for the United States because it did not declare war at the same time we did. Why would it be any different today?

In fact, I support our noble and consistent reasons for not taking part in the war right now. First, because war is a last resort. Second, because war should be declared only if there is an immediate danger of being attacked by others. The danger was certainly not immediate. Third, we decided from the beginning that we needed UN approval.

It is easy, today, for the United States to say that resolution 1441 and the preceding resolutions on Iraq were sufficient reason to declare war.

If that were the case, that 1441 and previous resolutions on Iraq were enough to give them the right to declare war, why then did the United States and Great Britain decide to present another resolution beyond 1441? If they presented a second resolution after 1441, surely they themselves were not satisfied that 1441 was enough. If 1441 and previous resolutions had been enough, why then present another resolution? Once they presented another resolution, surely they had to accept the decision on that resolution.

The second resolution, according to the United States and Great Britain, meant that if the majority agreed with them, then the second resolution was fine and they would go to war with the UN approval. However, if the majority went against them, then the second resolution would not count and they would go to war anyway.

It is very convenient to say that it was France's veto that decided the whole issue, but the numbers were not there in the first place. Only four countries backed the U.S.-British resolution: the United States, Great Britain, Spain and Bulgaria. Let us leave France, China, Germany and the big powers alone. The fact is that smaller countries, such as Mexico, Chile, Guinea and Cameroon, underwent tremendous pressure from the United States, pressures almost to the point where people were saying that it was a coalition of bullying and of billing. In spite of that, they resisted. They never agreed to join the United States and Great Britain in the second resolution.

I also heard this morning, in the course of the debate, when the member for Regina--Qu'Appelle was making his speech, people from the Canadian Alliance making interjections time and again saying to him that he must be with Saddam. If people oppose the war they are with Saddam. I find that assessment simplistic, naive and insulting to the millions and millions of people all over the world who day in and day out, every weekend and every day, go out on the streets to protest.

I have been in three peace marches myself. Am I for Saddam? Are the hundreds of thousands of people who marched with me in Montreal, 200,000 last week, 200,000 this week, for Saddam? I hate dictatorships. I hate brutality. At the same time, surely we can think for ourselves and decide that being against the war does not mean being for the dictatorship.

What is amusing is that in the United States, major cities in 30 of the 50 states have passed resolutions denouncing the war: in California, 29 cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland, San Fransisco and others; Colorado; Connecticut; New Haven; New London; Atlanta; Illinois; Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston; Detroit, Michigan; Jersey City, New Jersey; New Mexico and in New York itself, the very heart and soul of the 9/11 process and the 9/11 horror. New York City went against the war. Is it for Saddam? Syracuse went against the war. Is it for Saddam? Cleveland and Dayton in Ohio, Philadephia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and Austin in Texas, the very state of George Bush, went against the war. Are they for Saddam? Cities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, et cetera, went against the war. Are they for Saddam?

I find it insulting that people who stand and say that they are against brutal dictatorships are not consistent. If they are against brutal dictatorships, what do they do after Saddam is finished? Do they go to war against Iran? Do they go to war against Libya? Do they go to war against Zimbabwe and Mugabe? Do they go to war against Myanmar, which has ignored the dictates of the world powers for 10 years and has brutally imprisoned the duly elected leader of the opposition? Why do we leave them alone.

Why do we leave North Korea alone? North Korea is thumbing its nose at the United States and the world. It has tools of mass destruction far worse than an enfeebled Iraq has today. However we are scared of North Korea. We do not go to war there because the shadow of China looms very large. We use negotiation and diplomatic manoeuvres with North Korea but we go to war against Iraq because we know we are going to win easier there.

I am against dictatorship as are all of us here. I am against Saddam Hussein. At the same time, my reason, my heart and my soul tell me that war is abominable and a last ultimate resort. We were disarming Saddam, thanks to the United States and Great Britain and we all agree on that. Thanks to those pressures and to the inspectors doing their work, Iraq was dismantling rockets. We could have sent in more inspectors. We could have done more over flights of the Iraqi territory. In time the people of Iraq would have ousted Saddam Hussein as they have ousted dictators all over the world. Mobutu was a dictator who was ousted. Idi Amen was a dictator who was ousted. How many dictators have been ousted without wars?

What we are trying to do in Iraq is impose our democracy on a people. What will ensue are consequences we cannot even imagine. The Muslim world will be polarized against our world in the name of Islam. What will happen to Iraq? Will the United States be able to sort out the Shiites, the Sunni Muslims and the Kurds by magic because President Bush has decided it?

Asking those questions is to say that we who have decided against the war have a fair case, that war was unjustified and that we must resolve more than ever to join in multilateral actions with other people of the world to decide. The United Nations may be imperfect but it is the only multilateral forum that we have for possible conciliation and peace.

I know it is futile to speak about conciliation and peace at this time when the United States and Britain, with their four star generals with all their bars, are praising the great allies that are moving forward to destroy Baghdad. When I see all these terrible bombs blowing up so many buildings I think of the many civilians who are within those buildings, women and children.

I speak against the war. I speak for peace. I hope that in the future we will resolve to work with other friends in the world rather than declare unilateral war.

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5:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have considerable respect for this member, although I am afraid I disagree strongly with him in some facts. In particular, I would draw his attention to some factual problems in his speech.

First, he suggested that somehow our western allies were being inconsistent by not seeking a military solution to the problem of North Korea's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Does the member not understand that North Korea is precisely an object lesson in the need to prevent rogue states and dangerous dictators from obtaining these weapons in the first place because once obtained they can hold us hostage and we cannot then respond?

The member suggested that dictators can be removed without the use of war. He cited two examples speciously: Idi Amen who was in fact removed from power, not peacefully by his people, but by a military intervention of the state of Tanzania without UN sanction. Mobutu was removed by a civil war, not by normal, peaceful, democratic means.

Perhaps he could point us to the case of one dictator of that nature who has been removed without resorting to the use of force.

Finally, the member said that Baghdad was being destroyed. Perhaps he could at least give some credit to our allies that are using greater discretion and care in the application of military force to avoid civilian casualties than likely at any other point in the history of warfare. The Iraqis themselves, that propagandistic fascist regime, claims that there have only been 3 civilian deaths in Baghdad and some 250 civilian casualties when there has been a tonnage of bombs dropped there with precision on government installations greater than all of those dropped in Dresden during the second world war which resulted in 150,000 deaths.

Therefore would the member please consider the facts rather than engage in hyperbolic rhetoric which I do not think serves the debate very well?

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5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is really ironic because perhaps the member should find out where Saddam Hussein got his materials of mass destruction in the first place. Perhaps he should watch the footage of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. Perhaps he should also remember that Iraq was armed by the United States and others, including other western powers, because at the time we feared that Iran might win the war.

The hon. member should not come and tell us that we are so pious now, that we do not do anything wrong, and that we are on the right side of the equation. Many of these armaments come from old factories, whether they be American, French or British, which at the time we found convenient to supply these materials to Iraq because we wanted it to win the war against Iran.

We also want to prevent what is happening in North Korea. Yet it is completely inconsistent to say that we go to war because there are potentially weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but in North Korea we use diplomacy.

Time and again when questioned, President Bush and others have said they will negotiate with North Korea. The reason we negotiate with North Korea is because we know that a war against North Korea would be far riskier than a war against Iraq because the formidable shadow of China looms large and China would never permit a war in North Korea.

So we leave it alone. We negotiate there, but we do not negotiate against Iraq, in spite of the fact that the inspectors pleaded for more time. They said that a few more months and they will disarm Iraq. This war was written in stone months ago because President Bush had decided to go to war regardless. The United Nations became a convenience. When the second resolution did not pass because he could not get enough votes, then he went to war anyway because he had decided to go to war regardless.

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5:40 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention to the--

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5:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Shut your mouth and sit down. Your government sure does not know anything about democracy, that is for damned sure.

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5:40 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I know that there are some very strongly held views on a very emotional debate, but let us run the business not only according to the standards, but the spirit of this place.

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5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I only wanted to draw the attention of the hon. member to an interesting article this morning in the Globe and Mail , by Joseph Nye, who is head of the Kennedy foreign policy institute at Harvard. My eye caught that because he had come before a standing committee.

He made mention this morning that had the Canadian initiative, from his perspective, which set out very clear benchmarks and a firm timeline, been given more time, it might have been conducive to movement on this issue. Would the hon. member wish to comment on Professor Nye's advisement?

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5:40 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is apropos to make a reference to what happened during the Cuban missile crisis under Kennedy and what is happening now. Kennedy could have also declared war. All the chiefs of staff were pushing him to blast away against the Russians. He said to his cabinet and his chiefs of staff that the consequences of war were impossible to imagine. He used tactics and strategy to diffuse the issue. He used force, not as a means of war, but to diffuse the possibilities of war.

If the Canadian initiative had been followed, if more time had been given, if timelines and objectives had been given to Iraq with the tremendous power that was sitting on its doorstep, Iraq would have complied. We would not have had to check whether bombs fall in the right place or fall next door. It is very easy to say that it is precision bombing. At the end of it all it will be interesting to find out how many people were maimed or killed or went without food because of this wonderful precision of our bombs, smart or otherwise.

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5:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could help me understand something.

When the defence minister said this morning that Canada is remaining true to its multinational relations and the United Nations, which is the excuse that the Prime Minister used for us not going to war, he failed to take into account Kosovo where the United Nations sanction was not sought and yet Canada joined with others and went in. Why this double standard? Can this member help me understand why we bombed Kosovo without the United Nations sanction, and yet, again without the United Nations sanction, the government is using this as an excuse for not going in to Iraq?

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5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that there is an inconsistency there.

Certainly, there was no United Nations sanction for Kosovo. I suggest to him that circumstances were completely different. Kosovo was backed by the overwhelming approval of the world at large. Most of the countries that today are resisting this war in Iraq approved Kosovo. A genocide was actively going on against the Kosovo people in Bosnia. This is not the case in today's war in Iraq.

The United Nations said there was no case for justifying a war because Iraq was disarming. There was no active genocide going on in Iraq although in the past it had been the case. This regime was being enfeebled completely. It was not possible for Iraq to threaten the world at large or the United States for that matter or its own population. That is why more time was asked for by UN inspectors and most of the nations of the United Nations.

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5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Lac-Saint-Louis, for sharing his time with me in order to give me a chance to discuss this important subject.

I would like to begin by offering my sincere condolences to the American, British and Iraqi families that have lost family members in the war against Iraq triggered by the military coalition led and directed by the United States.

I am very proud of our government's decision not to take part in this war, which does not have the explicit support of the United Nations, via the Security Council. It has always been my position that we have worked and made sacrifices—here in Canada, but also in other countries around the world—to set up a multilateral institution to resolve disputes that could lead to attacks using force in this world.

This institution that we helped build was the United Nations. However, it is the only forum we have. Since the issue of Iraq came to the forefront and became a priority for certain countries, including the United States, I was among those who said that the United Nations, through its Security Council, was the appropriate place to determine the actions that should or should not be taken vis-à-vis the Iraqi government and its non-compliance with previous UN resolutions on chemical, nuclear and biological weapons.

I am proud of our government's decision and of the House of Commons that voted by an overwhelming majority to pass a motion which supported the government's decision not to participate in the military action against Iraq led by the United States.

However, I wish to make clear to the House that I am not anti-American. I am half American. My father was an American citizen who immigrated to Canada, but never became a Canadian citizen because he was proud of his American citizenship and it did not in any way diminish his pride as a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.

I have family in the United States. I have cousins, uncles, aunts, second cousins and a sister who live in the United States. My heart goes out to those American families who have members of their families participating in the war against Iraq. I hope that besides the casualties that have already taken place, which is very tragic, that the rest will return home to their families safe and sound.

At the same time, I cannot in good conscience support the motion that is being debated. There are four points to the motion, three of which I support completely. The second point calls for the House to:

express its unequivocal support for the Canadian service men and women, and other personnel serving in an exchange program with the United States and for those service men and women performing escort duties for British and United States ships, our full confidence in them and the hope that all will return safely to their homes;

I support that 100%. The third point asks the House to:

extend to the innocent people of Iraq its support and sympathy during the military action to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction and the reconstruction period that will follow;...

I support that 100%. Point four asks the House to:

urge the government to commit itself to help the Iraqi people, including through humanitarian assistance, to build a new Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours.

I support that 100%. What I cannot support is the first point in the Canadian Alliance opposition day motion which calls on the House to:

endorse the decision of the Allied international coalition of military forces to enforce Iraq’s compliance with its international obligations under successive resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, with a view to restoring international peace and security in the Middle East region;

I would love to see international peace and security restored in the Middle East region, but that region is comprised of more than just Iraq. That is the first thing. Second, the House has already, by an overwhelming majority, supported the government's decision not to endorse the decision of the allied international coalition of military forces, that is, not to support war led by the United States, the U.K. and Spain against the Iraqi regime.

Do I support Saddam Hussein? No, I do not, not in any way, shape or form. However, there is a great tradition in our country of peace, conciliation, reconciliation, mediation and peacekeeping. The decision that was made by the government on behalf of our country, not to endorse military action against the Iraqi government without the explicit approval of the Security Council, is in the tradition of this country. It is that tradition that has made our country great and has made our country a welcomed country around the world. It has allowed us to be effective on the diplomatic front, many times not in the papers. We are not going before the microphones, not this government nor preceding governments of other political persuasions.

A lot of Canada's force has been done behind the scenes. We have been able to get many countries of varying political ilk to listen and to actually follow some of our advice precisely because we have been seen as a country of peace and as a country that moves through multilateral forums.

The United Nations is our multilateral forum. It is our instrument. Those who would say that we should not follow the United Nations' decision not to endorse military action against Iraq are asking for the diminishment of its credibility and the diminishment of any possibility that it could continue to do good work in the future. Then what would we have? We would have no multilateral forum. We would have no instrument for countries that do not have a superpower economy or a superpower military armed forces to get some kind of justice if they are being bullied around by a larger country.

It is no different from a family. In a family parents are there to ensure that there is equity for their children, that their children all have a chance regardless of those children's capabilities. That is what the United Nations Security Council is there for. It is imperfect, but it is the only instrument we have.

In terms of the other three points of the motion, I have no problem and I would welcome being able to vote on each one individually. That would allow each member in the House to actually express their views on each separate point. As long as the four points remain one vote, I will not be able to support the motion. I regret that because I do think three-quarters of the motion is good. I would welcome the support of my colleagues on this side of the House to paragraphs two, three and four of the motion.

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5:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, at several points in the debate, including in the speech immediately preceding her own, for instance, we heard from the member for Lac-Saint-Louis say that the United States is a villain and a culprit in this matter because it was in fact, he claimed and many have claimed today, the principal arms supplier of Iraq in the 1980s. I would like to ask the member to reflect on whether she shares this view.

Perhaps she could comment on the report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute which keeps a database of the arms transfers. It reported that the Soviet Union delivered $17 billion in major conventional arms to Iraq in the 1980s. China shipped $5.2 billion and France transferred $4.9 billion. The other big players were Czechoslovakia, Poland, Brazil, Egypt and Romania. The United States was at the bottom of the list at $200 million, one-fifteenth of the weapons trade to the Iraqi regime from france.

Would the member care to speculate on whether the $22 billion in weapons provided by Russia and France to the Iraqi regime, in addition to the very substantial oil concessions recently signed with the Iraqi regime, may have in some way influenced their decision to exercise a veto against the implementation of 1441?

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5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Calgary Southeast has raised some very important points. They are points that I was already aware of.

I have no problem in suspecting that some of the permanent members of the Security Council had their own reasons for threatening a veto. I actually think that the United States committed a major strategic error by not actively endorsing Canada's proposal for a new resolution that set out clear dates, the last of which would have been April 8, for Iraq to clearly comply with resolution 1441 in terms of disarmament.

If the United States had supported Canada's proposal, in my view it would have had an overwhelming approval by the members of the Security Council. It would have been voted in the Security Council. One of the permanent members, possibly France, Russia, China or Germany, might have, and probably would have, vetoed it. Then we would have had a situation where the overwhelming majority of the members of the Security Council supported military action and one or two permanent members, against the will of the majority, vetoed it. That would have made an entirely different situation for the United States, for the U.K., for Spain and also for Canada, in terms of how we may have viewed supporting or endorsing military action against Iraq.

The United States decided not to support Canada's diplomatic efforts to get that other resolution through. It decided to simply not put any resolution before the Security Council and gave a 48 hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. I think that was a major strategic error on the part of the United States. It would have had the majority of the world in its favour because it would have had the moral victory within the Security Council.

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6 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw the member's attention to an article that appeared in the National Post on Friday, which is a reprint of an article by Richard Perle, who is the chairman of the Defence Policy Board which advises the Pentagon.

He says in the article that “when you get rid of Saddam Hussein by force, it will be the end of the United Nations.” Then he says:

Well, not the whole United Nations. The “good works” part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the looming chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat.

He does go on to say we have to get rid of the United Nations and bring democracy to these countries by force.

What are we to do with advisers to the president who have such a low opinion of the kind of civil discourse, the democratic discourse, that exists in the United Nations that he terms as merely a chatterbox where people bleat?

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6 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I deplore any attempts to weaken and diminish the United Nations as our sole, multilateral instrument forum for dealing with disputes between nations.

On the other hand, I would certainly support our government actively working to attempt to see that the United Nations, and in particular, the Security Council be less politicized and that individual members act less in their own personal pecuniary interest and more in the interests of people across the world in general. I would certainly support that.

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6 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am displeased that I have to rise in debate on this motion because this is, I think, the fourth time now that an opposition party in this Parliament has had to bring the issue forward.

We have been debating this matter for several months and in that period not once has the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the Minister of National Defence come before the House and briefed us on Canada's policy, on how its interests are at play, on the disposition of our military or on any of the details of our cloaked foreign diplomacy in this matter. This compares to the Westminster parliament where week after week senior ministers reported to their parliament, where votes were put to their parliament, serious votes which, yes, may have divided parties but had a real democratic result.

The conduct of our House under the leadership of the government is evidence of how shamefully the House and the government treat matters of vital international interest and international security.

Let me begin by addressing the complete absurdity and hypocrisy of the government's shifting position on this matter. The government claims that we are not participating and it will not vote for this motion when we are not participating in the action to enforce resolution 1441 and the 16 preceding UN Security Council resolutions, that we are not participating in the action to liberate the Iraqi people from the world's most brutal dictator because this did not have the explicit sanction of the United Nations. Let us look at the record.

In 1990 when this House was faced with the first gulf war and resolutions 660, 678 and 675 had been passed by the UN Security Council by votes of 14 to 1, the then leader of the opposition and now Prime Minister, cared not a whit about UN sanction and he opposed Canadian military action in the gulf at that time. He did not care about a UN sanction in 1990. At the last minute when he saw public opinion supporting our troops, he crawled halfway to supporting Canadian participation but only so long as our troops were not actually engaged in any military action.

Then in 1998 when it was clear that the Iraqi regime was not cooperating for the umpteenth time with weapons inspectors, that Iraq was nine years past its legal obligation under the ceasefire agreement of 1991, had violated by that point 12 Security Council resolutions and the UNPROFOR team had left Iraq, the Prime Minister then supported Operation Desert Fox. He supported the use of a major military force to try to compel the Iraqi regime to comply with UN resolutions. He did so even though such a force had absolutely no sanction explicitly by the United Nations.

Then in 1999 when we faced the genocide in Kosovo, of course we all know the Prime Minister ordered without the consent of this House and against a threatened veto of the Security Council, the Canadian air force to participate in bombing runs against Serbian targets for three months without UN sanction. He gives not a whit about UN endorsement of military action.

Indeed for the past nine years the Marsh Arabs and Shia in the south of Iraq and the Kurds in the north of Iraq have been sheltered from genocidal attacks by the Baath regime in Iraq only because of the brave and costly operation of no-fly zones by British and American air forces without any explicit UN sanction. I have not heard a peep of objection from the government on the purported illegalities of that military action to defend the Iraqi people from their own regime.

There is no consistency when it comes to the government. There have been many opinions expressed about the legality or illegality of this action. I would refer members to the legal opinions proferred by the right hon. the attorney general of the United Kingdom, by the Liberal attorney general of our Commonwealth ally of Australia, or to any number of legal opinions which make it patently clear that the terms of the ceasefire agreement, which included a 15 day deadline for disarmament in 1991, have been violated.

That is a legitimate casus belli , 4,300 days following their failure to comply with that ceasefire which was a condition predicated for the cessation of hostilities in 1991. That resolution 678 authorizes the use of force for the implementation of subsequent UN resolutions regarding Iraq. It is absolutely clear. Of course, the pièce de résistance was 1441, unanimously passed under chapter 7 of the UN charter, finding Iraq in material breach of 16 resolutions and providing it with a final opportunity for full, immediate and unconditional co-operation.

No one here could possibly argue that such a standard was met. The test for the United Nations and the international community at that time, and today, was whether the words of the United Nations meant something or whether it had become an irrelevant talking shop, the chatterbox like the League of Nations which allowed Mussolini to march into Abyssinia without action and which became completely paralyzed and unable preventively to stop Adolf Hitler from his aggressive designs in Europe.

We find ourselves today in an analogous legal situation to the one that Europe found itself in 1938. Europe and the civilized world failed that test. Thank God some countries have learned from history. It is to our shame that we do not count ourselves within their number.

The government says that Kosovo was a humanitarian urgency. Therefore, we could suspend the government's punctilious legal attitude toward legality of UN sanction for the use of force. Let us be clear about this, as Kenneth Pollack, a liberal foreign policy advisor to former President Clinton, now perhaps the leading expert on Iraq and author of the principled book on this subject, has said, “Saddam Hussein is one of the most terrible dictators of the last 50 years”. He said that he could be compared to Hitler and Stalin in brutality. He went on to say that in Kosovo “some 8,000 persons had been killed in Milosevic's ethnic cleansing campaign by the time NATO intervened”. He said that it was a tragedy that he did not for a moment dismiss and that in fact, he supported military intervention.

He goes on to say:

--as many as a million Iraqis have died at the hands of Saddam Hussein over the last 25 years, and they've died in horrific fashion. War can be justified by the need “to rid the world of this degree of inhumanity”.

We intervened to save a few thousand people in Kosovo. Let us again be clear, there has been ongoing military activity in Iraq without UN sanction for the past 10 years on humanitarian grounds.

As Walter Russell Mead has argued in the liberal Washington Post , that given the number of people dying as a result of sanctions, which are part of the government's callous policy of containment in Iraq, that if Saddam were to live for another 10 years in control of that country where no dissent in broached, at least another 360,000 Iraqis would die, 240,000 of whom would be children under five, not even considering the thousands of Iraqis who would die as a result of his genocidal policy against the Kurds, the Shia, the Marsh Arabs, not considering the brutality that he would visit upon dissidents in his regime.

Let me close by saying that I have had before the House now for six years a motion in support of the creation of a special international tribunal to indict and prosecute Saddam and his worst cronies in that Fascist regime for crimes against humanity, for war crimes and for genocide. I do not need to go through the evidence of that.

The Government of Canada has done precisely nothing to support efforts to create such a tribunal through the United Nations. The International Criminal Court does not apply because it only considers crimes committed after July 1, 2002.

Is it not interesting to note that it is Russia and France, according to Human Rights Watch, that have threatened to veto UN Security Council resolutions to create an international tribunal to try Saddam and his henchmen.

I submit that when members of the UN, particularly permanent members according to Human Rights Watch, take a position motivated by “their extensive business interests” and override the very demands of the United Nations when it comes to security and the humanitarian needs of populations like the Iraqi people, that does not constitute a legitimate reason for a champion of democracy and human rights like Canada to stand on the sidelines and to take a holiday from history. Shame on this government for what it has done to our 50 years of proud activism in foreign policy.

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6:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

It being 6:15 p.m. it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

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6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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6:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the amendment will please say yea.

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6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

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6:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.