Mr. Chair, there were two very important points raised by my hon. colleague, and I will make some comments. He might wish to speak to them as well.
The first is the nature of the role of what we are asking our troops to do in the southern part of Afghanistan. It is clear that it is not a peacekeeping mission of the Cyprus type or some of the traditional types with which members of the House would be familiar. However General Dallaire, now Senator Dallaire, and others who comment on these matters would say that everybody has agreed, particularly as a result of Rwanda, that we must have a capacity today in peacekeeping to recognize that there are situations where we must have much more robust rules of engagement than in a traditional situation and where we have to bring stability to the area if ultimately there will be peace and stability so the society can develop.
I would put the Kandahar mission in that latter category. We cannot go there without being properly prepared, as the hon. member from Carleton has pointed out. We have to be prepared to fight in those circumstances and be properly prepared for that, and I will speak to that in my speech.
On the detainee matter, I would like to totally associate myself with the observations from the member for Elmwood--Transcona and my colleague from Saint-Jean when they point out that the treatment of detainees is becoming an issue which goes to the credibility of how we are actually engaging in these forms of operation.
I want to remind the members of the House that Canada is a signatory to the International Criminal Court convention. We signed it specifically because we are determined that international law will be furthered by our operations, not hindered by them. Our troops are instructed and accompanied by lawyers from the department who ensure that international law is observed in their missions.
It is for that purpose that when I was in Afghanistan last, I raised with President Karzai the model of a Danish agreement that the Afghan government has signed, which the members can have a look at. It deals with turning detainees over to the Afghanistan government.
We are in Afghanistan. We are trying to build up Afghanistan for Afghans and for their society. I cannot speak to all the details, but I can assure members that this agreement would ensure that capital punishment could not be used, that the International Red Cross would have access to prisoners to ensure that international conventions were being observed, both customary international law and conventional law, and I would hope to build in a supervisory role for the Afghan human rights commission as well.
That is the attempt. This is a negotiation that is going on, but I will keep members of the House advised as to the progress of these negotiations because I consider them important for the reasons the other members have raised.