Mr. Speaker, I hope I can be as eloquent as my colleague, the member for Ottawa West—Nepean, and I thank you for your great judgment.
First, I wish to inform you that I will be splitting my time with a young father, the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie. I am convinced that this young father will be powerful in expressing his special concerns about this missile defence shield.
Normally in this House, we hear comments like, “It is a pleasure to rise to speak to” or “I am happy to address this issue today”. This afternoon, I dare say that, as a member of Parliament, I rise because it is my duty to speak to the Bloc Quebecois motion.
Like the member for Ottawa West—Nepean and many other colleagues, I have reservations about that missile defence shield, especially regarding its impact.
As I begin my speech, I must explain my reasons for rising in the House. I feel it is my duty because of my age, and because of my wisdom, I hope; because, like you, I am a grandfather, except that I have only one grandchild whereas you have four already and you will have a fifth next week. I congratulate you on that.
That missile defence shield intrigues and worries me. What impact will it have on our grandchildren? On what kind of a planet will our children live?
Since September 11, 2001, the situation and mindset of people around the world have changed considerably. People have developed terrorism phobia. What is a phobia? It is an irrational fear caused by a person, a situation or an event. Is such an irrational fear or terrorism phobia at the origin of the missile defence program? Unfortunately, I think the answer is yes.
I have several points to make. For example, there is this phobia about terrorism. What are the implications? Among other things, flights of British Airways or Air France were cancelled. Why? Because someone presumed, suggested or believed that there was a terrorist on board the plane, and so, everything was cancelled.
Terrorism is being blamed for all sorts of unfortunate situations on this planet. Here is a case in point. There was an accident in Russia not too long ago. The roof of a busy aquatic centre collapsed, killing or wounding several people.
The first thing the Russian government did was to blame it on terrorism, but when the dust settled, it was determined that the accident was due to a terrible construction flaw. This is what terrorism phobia is doing.
Moreover, we are now using terrorism to try to put our minds at ease. I will give an example to illustrate my point. Countries conduct military aggressions on one another. There are also military aggressions within countries. And are these aggressions justified? By blaming terrorism. The number one excuse is “We are fighting terrorism”.
Even here, in Canada, we are feeling the impact of terrorism phobia. Think of the bills that were passed or out forward, such as the border control bill, the identity card bill which has yet to be passed, and the bill respecting military control over certain zones. Is the source of all these bills and all the past and future discussions about them not terrorism phobia? That is not a question for me to answer.
What fears and concerns should we have, my colleague who is a young father and myself, as a grandfather? Will the missile defence shield bring us back to the cold war era, when Russia had missiles pointed at the United States and the U.S. had missiles pointed at Russia, and the question was which would be the first to launch a missile.
The cold war was the time when all nations in the world underwent the most significant militarization. We have become armaments experts. We can almost hit a dime from very far away. Weapons are increasingly sophisticated and powerful. Just think about depleted uranium. The cold war gave birth to all kinds of weapons of mass destruction. Every nation in the world, from the United States to Canada, France and Great Britain, tried to get their hands on the most sophisticated offensive or defensive weapon.
Because of this shield, will we try to specialize and buy even more sophisticated weapons? Will the shield lead to the weaponization of space? Unfortunately, I think so, because the Americans have made it very clear. They said that weapons will be based in space. Weapons will be put in place to destroy other weapons in space. It is crystal clear. We are heading toward the weaponization of space.
Are we preparing for future star wars, Star Trek and the likes? We all remember Jules Verne and his 80,000 Leagues Under the Sea . People thought he was crazy, but nowadays we take these things for granted.
Another concern that comes to mind is costs. How much is this going to cost to our taxpayers? Mr. Bush said it is no big deal; it will cost between $60 billion and $100 billion. However, according to one of his citizens, Dr. Kenneth Arrow, the Nobel Economics laureate of 1972 and a professor at Stanford University, the costs could reach between $800 billion and $1,200 billion by 2015. To use a figure the people in Quebec will understand, it will cost the United States $1.2 trillion.
I know that the federal government has no qualms about wasting public funds. But can the taxpayers afford spending millions of dollars on this?
Before I conclude, I would just like to remind the House that, for the people to be sovereign, the elected representatives—like you and me—must do what the people decide. Therefore, before voting, we should find out how the people want us to deal with the missile defence shield?