When talking about war, one has to be very careful. Look at the damage and terrible things that are happening in that war now. If we could have avoided it through further work on disarmament, and I believe we could have, then that is what we should have done. That is the principled position taken the government. That is the principled position which is supported by the people of Canada in majority.
Of course if one examines Mr. Bush's remarks, he has never been clearly on the path of disarmament. That was the United Nations' endeavour. He talked about regime change. There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator. There is no doubt we want him to go. There is no doubt that the Iraqi people will be far better off without him.
If regime change is what this is all about, then it begs the question, who is next after Saddam Hussein? After all, there are a lot of brutal dictators still left in this world and a lot of people who violate human rights. I thought it was absolutely atrocious that the head of the country of Libya, who violates human rights, should become the head of the human rights commission. There are a lot of such people who exist in this world.
There is North Korea. I consider North Korea to be a more clear and present danger, as the words go, than Iraq. Iraq in this conflict has not shown a very strong ability to defend itself or to attack. It has not attacked any of its neighbours. One of the things that was feared was that it would probably launch scud missiles against Israel, but it has not done that. In fact it has lost a lot of the territory from which it could launch them. Obviously it is not quite the strong danger that some people have tried to make it out to be.
Who is next is one of the questions. Then the other question is, who decides? Quite obviously the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the U.K. have decided to go around the United Nations process. I know the United Nations is not a perfect institution. It does need reform but it is our only institution for international discussion, for keeping things within a multilateral process and, as such, is quite vital for us. I believe we have to continue in that process. Otherwise, might becomes right. In other words, the countries that are the strongest go off and do what they want to do. I do not think that is in the best interests of the people of this world at all.
Therefore, who is next and who decides are important questions. Those are things that I think are very much in question as a result of this action by these countries that are part of the coalition.
I want to point out, as we talk about our friendship and our trading relationship with the United States, that yes, the United States and the American people are very close friends of ours, they are allies of ours and that will continue. That will not stop. We are very committed to the campaign against terrorism. We have committed more troops to Afghanistan than many of these 35 or 40 countries have committed to the Iraq effort, which the United States lists as supporters. We have been there with them. We have lost troops. We have had casualties in Afghanistan.
We are working with our United States allies in terms of the defence of this continent, Norad being one of the best instruments of that, with the smart border programs and all the things we are working on together to help ensure the safety of the people who live on this North American continent.
They will continue to be our friends and allies. I know that some of them are not very happy with our position on this but friends do disagree. We disagreed before. We did not go Vietnam. We disagreed with them on that, we disagreed with them on Cuba and we disagree with them on this one. On many other occasions though we have stood shoulder to shoulder, as we continue to do in the campaign against terrorism and in particular the effort in Afghanistan.
Some people talk about the trading relationship. The trading relationship is driven by the business communities in our two countries. I can tell members that they will want to keep it going. Regarding United States businesses, we are their biggest customer, far bigger than any other country in the world. They will continue to want to export their goods and services into our country. They will not want to stop that.
In terms of what Canada exports there, bear in mind that we are the number one foreign country in terms of the provision of energy to the United States of America, whether it is oil, natural gas or electricity. That trading partnership will continue. Yes, there are always problems with softwood lumber or this or that, but they all predate this kind of decision about Iraq in any event. I think we will get through all of this and still be great friends and great allies.
We hope and pray that the war will be quick and that the amount of suffering and casualties will be kept to a minimum. So far that looks to be the case. It is going rather quickly but we do not know, of course, until they get to Baghdad just how much opposition might occur.
After the war is over, winning the peace may prove to be more difficult than winning the war. There will be a long period of time to try to establish a civil society in Iraq and to try to establish some form of democracy in a country that really has not had it and to try to deal with the ethnic divisions within that country. Initially it would appear that there will be a military governor from the United States and that will create a lot of controversy in that entire region. Let us hope that this conflict can be over quickly and that it can be contained so it does not spread to other parts of the region or become a conflict of civilizations.
I believe in the position we have taken and therefore I cannot support the first part of the Alliance motion. I wish we had an opportunity to support the other parts but we have been denied that.