Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rights.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Cape Breton Highlands—Canso (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Human Rights Act May 9th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I will pick up my remarks where I left off this morning. Before question period I was in the process of saying that Bill C-33 is not about homosexual unions. It is not about same sex benefits. It is not even about sex. It is about human rights.

Bill C-33 advances the moral proposition that it is a violation of fundamental human rights to deny a person access to services or to discriminate against someone in terms of employment purely on the basis of their sexual orientation. Indeed Bill C-33 does not even advance that proposition. It merely expresses in federal law what already is recognized by the courts and in most provincial human rights legislation.

The legislation does not confer special rights on gays and lesbians any more than including religion as a prohibited ground for discrimination confers special rights on Catholics for example.

It is merely in place to prevent discrimination on these grounds. If discrimination does not take place, then the law need not be applied. Unfortunately there is far too much evidence that discrimination against gays and lesbians does take place in our society.

Those who would oppose this bill for whatever purpose need to confront the moral question: Is it morally acceptable to discriminate against someone because he or she is a homosexual? If so, what is the acceptable form and extent of the discrimination? Is it putting employees in the back of the shop? Is it refusing services to them? Is it by a sign in the window that says no gays need apply? These are the questions that need to be asked.

Those are the same questions which might in another time and another place have been asked where the word "homosexual" was replaced by the words "Jew" or "black". If one follows the logic of those questions, one leads quickly down the dark road of intolerance. These questions will lead us down that road of intolerance if we are not prepared to confront them.

For example, yesterday a member from Manitoba referred to legislation in Canada taking us toward societies like Liberia or Zambia with violence and social disorder. He attributed that in some way to the provision to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In all sincerity I do not believe that Canadians in 1996 want their government and their Parliament to go down that road. This is the process of reflection which leads me to support this legislation.

Canadian Human Rights Act May 9th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my 20 minutes with the hon. member for Burlington.

I welcome the decision of the Prime Minister to permit a free vote on this legislation. The subject matter of Bill C-33 is a human rights issue. It is also a moral issue. As a moral issue it is important that members of Parliament be permitted to vote according to their conscience.

I do not wish to have my support for this legislation misconstrued as having been coerced. I realize many of my constituents have different views on this question. I know those views are deeply held and the product of sincere conviction. I respect those views. I want to explain how I have come to my position.

Those who oppose the bill fear it will have the effect of giving social approval to homosexual relationships, to same sex marriages and to same sex benefits through the courts, or that it will make it possible for crimes such as pedophilia to be protected by human rights laws. They argue Bill C-33 grants special rights to gays and lesbians.

Are these concerns valid? Let us remember what Bill C-33 does. Bill C-33 makes a slight amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Canadian Human Rights Act is a federal law which prohibits discriminatory practices in the workplace and in access to goods and services in activities which are the legislative responsibility of the Parliament of Canada. For the purpose of this legislation, these activities include the Government of Canada itself, banks, airlines, railways and telecommunication companies.

The Canadian Human Rights Act is about discrimination related to employment and access to goods and services in these sectors of our economy. It sets out what is discrimination and the recourse and remedies available to individuals when it occurs.

Under the current act the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for which a pardon has been granted. Bill C-33 adds the words sexual orientation to these categories.

It is important to emphasize the words are sexual orientation. This ought to provide reassurance to Roman Catholics, of which I am one. I quote from a recent letter to the Prime Minister by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops by the Most Reverend Francis J. Spence, Bishop of Kingston.

The letter, which I obtained through the courtesy the Most Reverend Colin Campbell, Bishop of Antigonish, has been helpful to me in considering my position on this legislation. In his letter Bishop Spence points to a distinction made by the church which he says "is not often made in the public debate between orientation-inclination-and behaviour".

Bill C-33 is entirely about orientation. It has nothing whatsoever to do with behaviour. The term is entirely neutral. It applies equally to persons who are victims of discrimination because they are heterosexual as to those who are victims of discrimination because they are homosexual.

It has nothing to do with whether a person is sexually active or not. The celibate homosexual gets the same protection under Bill C-33 as the most promiscuous sexually active heterosexual. What counts is whether the individual is the victim of discrimination in the workplace or in terms of access to services strictly because of his or her sexual orientation. The bill has nothing to say positive or negative about the behaviour itself.

At the same time, Bill C-33 does not in any way invite or encourage an individual to express or practise or flaunt his or her sexual orientation or desires in the workplace. It in no way changes what are acceptable social norms of behaviour in this regard. If an employee or a customer in a federally regulated institution chooses to behave in a lewd or sexually aggressive or inappropriate way he or she can expect no protection from discipline under Bill C-33. They are subject to the same actions related to sexual harassment or sexual assault or immoral conduct and so on as exists under present laws. However, even in those cases the individual is entitled to due process before the law and not to be the object of systematic discrimination.

Will Bill C-33 lead to the legalization of such crimes as pedophilia? The answer is now. Pedophilia is not a sexual orientation. It is a crime. It a crime regardless of whether the offender is heterosexual or homosexual. It is an offence under the Criminal Code which is a totally separate statute in no way affected by the bill.

Will Bill C-33 end up sanctioning same sex marriages or the granting of same sex benefits? No. These are completely separate issues that have nothing to do with the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Canadian Human Rights Act has to do with discrimination in terms of employment and access to goods and services. It has nothing to do with marriage. Nor does it apply to same sex benefits.

Bill C-33 is not about homosexual unions. It is not about same sex benefits. It is not even about sex. It is about human rights. Bill C-33 advances the moral proposition that it is a violation of fundamental human rights to deny a person access to services or to discriminate against someone in terms of employment purely on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Employment Insurance Act May 2nd, 1996

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to say a few words this afternoon on Bill C-12, the legislation to create an employment insurance system in Canada.

I have been associated with the efforts to modernize and reform Canada's unemployment insurance system for some 12 years. I was a civil servant between 1984 and 1988 in the department which preceded the human resources development department in the area that was working on unemployment insurance reform. For the last eight years as a member of Parliament I have represented a constituency in which unemployment insurance is a very important part of the local economy. I have been associated with many of the efforts to reform the UI program and changes that have been made to that program over the last eight years.

Most recently, as the chair of the human resources development committee I travelled across the country examining the views of Canadians on the reform of Canada's social security system. I had a chance to talk to many Canadians about the need for UI reform and the direction the UI reform process should take.

Bill C-12 has gone through a great deal of study by the Government of Canada, by both the current and previous ministers responsible, as well as members of the House, notably the members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development. It represents a major step forward in the difficult task of reforming Canada's system for insuring Canadians against unemployment, for providing Canadians with support and creating conditions for stable employment and job security in a rapidly changing world.

While the changes which are represented in the employment insurance bill do not completely provide the kind of employment insurance we will need to confront our problems in the 21st century, they do go a very long way toward improving and modernizing the present unemployment insurance system. Let me make a few brief important points about what the legislation does.

Basing the new system on hours and not on weeks will create a much more flexible employment insurance system which, in today's job market, will entitle people to employment insurance much more readily than in the past. It will be fairer to seasonal workers. Many of them have concentrated weeks of work in a short time of the year. If they do not acquire the 12, 13 or 14 weeks under the existing system whether or not they work long hours during those weeks, often they do not qualify for unemployment insurance.

Changing the formula to hours allows seasonal workers easier entitlement and in a shorter period of time. It will also allow workers who can only get part time work to use those hours to build toward their entitlement. Previously in many cases if workers did not work 15 hours a week, they simply did not qualify for unemployment insurance.

It is an improved system because it will provide a much broader coverage for the labour force. It covers every hour worked, not just for those individuals who work a minimum of 15 hours a week. Providing broader coverage not only allows more people access to the employment insurance income benefits which are part of the

program but it also allows more people to have access to the tools for re-employment which are also part of the legislation.

Those tools for re-employment are now only available to people who are getting unemployment insurance benefits. That has created a great deal of confusion and distortion in areas where people would like to take advantage of training programs but do not qualify for unemployment insurance. They are unable to access that benefit. Under this new system those benefits will be more broadly available. More support will be provided for individuals to take advantage of those tools to get back to work.

This new system introduces the notion of allowing people to accumulate and build their entitlement. That is a very powerful incentive to creating more stable and long term jobs especially in those parts of Canada where it is more difficult to create jobs.

The notion of allowing people to accumulate entitlement is in various parts of the bill. It starts with the basis of hours worked rather than weeks worked as a unit of account. The intensity rule is a very astute amendment by the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. It allows for people who are repeat users of benefits and who would have their benefit levels reduced through the intensity rule, that by working more hours during that period of unemployment they can build back up their entitlement thereby delaying the effects of the intensity rule.

A number of features in this program are directly suited to people with low incomes. It will give them an opportunity to have more than the 55 or 57 per cent of their earnings replaced through this new system. Through the family income supplements which are part of the new employment insurance system, people with low incomes will be able to have a larger portion of their incomes replaced. That is one of the progressive features of the system.

The new system recognizes the regional differences and the fact that in many parts of the country jobs are much harder to find. The system is regionally differentiated in order to take that into account. The important thing we all have to know in this House is that the fundamental purpose of this legislation has to be to create the conditions for jobs and job creation especially in those parts of Canada where jobs are difficult to create.

The unemployment insurance system cannot be a barrier or obstacle to creating jobs. If it does that, and the old system has done that, then we are fighting against ourselves. We are working at cross purposes and we are not providing the environment Canadians want and need in order to have the jobs that will provide secure incomes for the 21st century. That is why this system is an important improvement to the existing unemployment insurance system in Canada.

Supply April 23rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question I can answer on behalf of Turkey. I certainly hope the Government of Turkey would be willing to do whatever necessary to improve relations with its neighbours, including Armenia, and would work in their bilateral relations.

Armenia is now a nation state, like Turkey. I hope they would work collectively in the organizations of which they are both members, notably the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, other organizations in Europe as well a the United Nations, to enable their societies to develop progressively together, notwithstanding the tragedies that have occurred in the past.

Naturally Canada would support that and would want to encourage both sides to improve their relations and to do whatever is necessary to get over this historical conflict between the two peoples.

Supply April 23rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Bloc member for his question. Canada does not deny what occurred in 1915. However, the term "genocide" is very specific in international law and was defined only later. It became part of the international corpus of human right legislation only later, and the Government of Canada feels that this is not the term to use to describe tragedies, massacres or events which occurred earlier in history.

It goes without saying that we live in an imperfect world and, throughout history, many events showed man's inhumanity to man. Canada is at the forefront of nations to create a structure which, in the future, will limit if not eliminate such events. We want to create a sense of respect for human rights, whether in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda or elsewhere, to make sure that we remember the lessons of history and do not repeat them.

This is what the policy of the Canadian government aims to do. We want to ensure that, without necessarily always looking back, we move forward by creating a sense of respect for human rights. We must work at the international level to create structures that will allow us to anticipate problems. We must prevent massacres which, unfortunately, continue to occur in certain parts of the world. Over time, by working together as members of the international community, we hope to gradually eliminate such tragedies.

Supply April 23rd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, we have before us today an important motion calling for the commemoration of the tragic events of April 1915 in Armenia. The motion asks the House to recognize the week of April 20 to 27 of each year as the week to commemorate man's inhumanity to man.

The proposed motion refers to the concept of genocide, a concept relatively recent as to form and content. In fact it was defined and codified only in 1948, when the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide was adopted.

We do acknowledge that the Armenian community was victimized and that Armenian people were killed in 1915, but we must remain cautious in defining those events with a concept that was coined and codified only years later.

Also, the Turkish government of today is not the Ottoman empire of yesterday, which was responsible for the killings. The word "genocide" entails specific obligations, as stated in the provisions of the international convention.

The question is, if this House were to acknowledge that the concept applies to the events of 1915, could that bring about an obligation to some form of compensation for historical prejudice? I applaud today's motion because it forces all Canadians to reflect upon history.

It is difficult to imagine anything positive resulting from the horrific events that marked the first half of this century. The tremendous loss of millions of innocent victims such as the Armenians in April 1915 continues to haunt us today. Perhaps however the victims of these calamities did not suffer and die in vain. From their courage and our collective shame has emerged a strong legacy, the recognition of human rights as a duty of all states.

Grounded in the universal declaration of human rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948, this legacy has led to an impressive collection of human rights instruments. These documents set out the rights of the individual and equally important, the corresponding duties of states to respect, protect and promote those rights.

Why should Canadians care about human rights in far off places? Human rights violations affect us all. They undermine our basic humanity and prevent us as a global society from progressing. Equally important, when these abuses reach widespread and systemic levels, our own security is threatened. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said it best during his recent statement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights:

If we turn away from the desolation and dismay of human suffering, if we fail to stop hatred from flowing through the channels of our new electronic networks, if we do not care about the present or future of vulnerable children, if we do not stand up to the despots and bullies, if we do not counter the capricious and arbitrary actions of authoritarian governments with no legitimacy beyond weaponry and terror, then we will face the harsh consequences down the road.

It is therefore very much in the interests of Canadians to work to prevent human rights abuses throughout the world so as to avoid the kinds of tragic events we have heard described in the House. If we compare the protection of human rights today with the situation of 80 years ago when the Armenian massacre occurred, we see tremendous progress.

Drawing inspiration from the universal declaration, numerous international treaties and principles have been adopted. The two international covenants represent the most important of these, but the many other instruments address specific fundamental human rights concerns, everything from genocide and torture to the rights of women, children and the disabled.

These instruments have broadened the scope of human rights and have enhanced protection for all of us. The task of defining and codifying human rights is largely complete although important areas remain to be addressed, such as human rights defenders and the rights of indigenous people.

We must recognize that the framework of human rights instruments is not in itself sufficient to protect us from the scourge of human rights abuses. We need only look at the events in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda among others to acknowledge that humanity still has failed to rid itself of acts of barbarism and hatred. The Canadian government is firmly committed to finding lasting solutions to these problems.

As a recognized leader in the human rights field internationally, Canada has worked to develop the institutions and machinery to ensure that human rights recognized on paper are respected in reality. In organizations such as the United Nations, the Commonwealth, la Francophonie, the Organization of American States and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Canada has and continues to play an active role in advancing the human rights agenda.

One of the most important developments in recent years is the creation of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Responsible for the co-ordination of all human

rights activities within the UN system, the high commissioner is poised to play an influential role in strengthening protection of human rights.

Although severely underfunded, the creation of the post has already had a salutary effect. In the aftermath of the Rwanda crisis, the high commissioner was able to mobilize a team of human rights monitors and establish them on the ground. Despite some initial problems, the human rights mission has helped to improve the situation for Rwandans, both in the country and in the refugee camps. Canada played an important role in the establishment of this mission.

Recently the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced a further contribution of $500,000 to support the human rights field operations in Rwanda. A separate grant of $300,000 was also announced by the minister for a similar program in the former Yugoslavia. These operations of the high commissioner are critical for they represent the first forays into the areas of early warning conflict prevention and post-conflict peacekeeping.

The ability of the United Nations and specifically the high commissioner for human rights to place observers and monitors on the ground should go a long way toward identifying the root causes of gross violations of human rights and to play a role in finding solutions to these problems.

These monitoring operations can and should play the role of the eyes of the international community, alerting the world to potential disasters in the making. In so doing they can hopefully provide sufficient time to allow the United Nations or other bodies to prevent or minimize human rights abuses.

A key element of the field operations is human rights education and training of the military, police and other important actors. Breaking down the culture of violence is fundamental to finding lasting solutions. Through education and training, the UN is seeking to create an ingrained respect for the rule of law among those in places of authority. The goal is laudable but it is impossible to achieve in the world's troubled areas unless the international community devotes greater resources to the UN's human rights program.

Canada is doing its part even as we work to put our own financial house in order. The challenge for Canada is to maintain its commitment and convince other states of the critical importance of supporting the UN high commissioner.

Monitoring and training are but one part of the efforts to prevent gross violations of human rights. A second important factor is for the international community to send a clear signal to the perpetrators of human rights abuses that their transgressions will no longer be tolerated. The tribunals established to deal with war criminals in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda are an important start. Already a number of persons have been charged and prosecutions are expected to commence in the near future.

As critical as these tribunals are, they remain ad hoc bodies established to deal with the circumstances arising from two tragic events. Will the necessary political will exist to establish similar bodies should these types of events happen elsewhere?

To avoid the problem of attempting to develop solutions in the immediate aftermath of an incident, the world community today is considering the establishment of a permanent international criminal court to deal with war criminals. Negotiations on the court have commenced under UN auspices. While the negotiations are difficult, Canada, which is playing an active role, is hopeful that a positive outcome can be achieved. Once established, the court will stand as a monument to the international community's resolve to fight barbarism and to punish those who would shock the conscience of the world.

As regards Armenia, Canada is a friend of Armenia. Although this country is only four years old, Canada has been working to help Armenia deal with the problems of nation building and to resolve the difficulties which that country and that society have had to deal with in the early stages of its nationhood.

For example, Canada has supported Armenia in dealing with the ravages of an earthquake in the Leninakan region in 1988 and has been contributing to finding a solution to the debilitating war in the Nagorno-Karabakh which has extracted a terrible toll on the people of the region and has aggravated the difficulties of building that nation in that region.

I have spoken at length on human rights. I cannot overemphasize their importance in preventing the kinds of situations we are discussing today: the massacres, ethnic cleansing and other egregious acts such as the Armenian tragedy of 1915, that have occurred in the past and which we have again recently witnessed, all started with isolated violations of human rights.

Would the situations in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia have occurred as they did if international human rights institutions had been in place to alert and the international community ready and willing to act effectively to protect the victims of the initial human rights violations? We may never know, but the chances are that some lives and some communities could have been spared the suffering they endured. We owe it to them, to past victims of widespread transgressions and to ourselves to do what we can to ensure that these atrocities do not happen again.

Through its continued active participation in the UN and other international bodies, and through our support for human rights institutions such as the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Canada can make a difference.

I salute the Bloc Quebecois motion. At the same time, to fully give justice to all those, first among them the Armenians who by birth or ancestry have been victimized by the inhumanity of war and oppression, I call on the House to join with the government in supporting an amendment which will proclaim the week of April 20 to 27 each year as the week to remember the inhumanity of people toward one another.

Interparliamentary Delegations April 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the reports of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association to the monitoring of Russian elections for the OSCE parliamentary assembly held in Russia from December 13 to 19, 1995, and to the meetings of the bureau and the standing committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE held in Vienna on January 10 and 11, 1996.

Foreign Policy March 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the conduct of Canada's foreign policy is the responsibility of the Government of Canada. The minister responsible is working with members of Parliament, including the parliamentary associations. He is giving his support in this regard in the interests of all Canadians.

Foreign Policy March 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs intends to work with all members of Parliament in the conduct of Canada's foreign policy, in Europe as elsewhere.

North American Aerospacedefence Command March 11th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to take part in this debate on the renewal of the NORAD agreement between Canada and the United States.

Earlier today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Canadian government, clearly indicated the government's preference and its intention to renew the NORAD agreement, knowing that it could contain significant changes to its objectives in order to reflect new geopolitical realities in North America and throughout the world.

I am happy to see that both opposition parties agree with the government on this issue and support the renewal of the NORAD agreement. I am also happy to see that opposition parties, particularly our friends in the official opposition, recognize the importance of the relationship between Canada and the United States as

shown by this agreement. I will even say, if I may, that it shows how important it is that Canada be a united country that has the respect not only of the United States, but of the entire world. That is why we were able to build with our partners to the south such a close and strategically sound relationship as the NORAD agreement.

In the course of their day to day lives, Canadians carry out their affairs blissfully unaware of the existence of the NORAD agreement between Canada and the United States. That speaks well of the smooth way in which the agreement has worked between our two countries for the last 37 years since it was first instituted in 1958.

As others have said today, NORAD is a good deal for Canada. Canada contributes about 10 per cent of NORAD's total annual operating costs, or $320 million a year. That is a bargain because every country with the ability to detect and intercept unknown aircraft does so. No country that can prevent it lets unknown aircraft overfly.

If there were no NORAD, Canada would have to monitor and be prepared to defend the world's second largest land mass on its own. This would be an onerous task for our country with its relatively small military resources. In order to monitor and defend our own air space with only our own resources we would need an air force several times larger than the one we have. We would need more radar installations and the manpower to run them and interpret the data. By the way, if we had no agreements with the United States in other defence spheres, this would also require an army and a navy much larger than the ones we now operate.

There would be two alternatives in a situation without NORAD: let the Americans do it, or do not do anything. After all, things are relatively peaceful in this part of the world and who would want to hurt us? The Americans are our friends, so why not let them do what they think is necessary to defend North American air space?

If we abdicated our responsibility in that way, we would have no say in the policy governing our own defence. We would have no say if there were plans afoot to intercept aircrafts which were carrying nuclear weapons or missiles over our territory. We would have no say about what foreign ships and aircraft were doing in our country. We would have no agreements governing the routes used by U.S. nuclear powered vessels travelling in our waters. We would become a passive client state. This would represent a steep descent from the heights we reached on the scale of pride and independence 50 years ago.

In World War II our efforts to defend freedom were far out of proportion to our population. We had the world's fourth largest navy at the end of the war. During the war our military personnel died in combat at a rate per population that was 1.5 times greater than that of the United States military. We have always been proud of the sacrifices we made for freedom. We paid a high price to win World War II.

If on the other hand we chose to let foreigners' aircraft fly where they wished and we depended on their good intentions and responsibility to conform with Canadian law, including environmental law, we would lack one of the prime indicators of a modern nation state. These are unthinkable alternatives as I am sure everyone in this House would agree. Therefore in the domain of aerospace surveillance and warning we have the North American aerospace defence command. This brief look at the continent without NORAD would have made clear for all of us that we need this organization to protect our sovereignty.

The system begins with the world's most modern technology centred at the Cheyenne Mountains installation. There are regional NORAD centres that contribute to our security in Alaska, in North Bay and in Florida. Members will have heard in the budget speech that some NORAD functions in Canada will now be centred in Winnipeg, close to the centre of the country. In addition to the installations I have mentioned there are radar stations throughout the north and on both coasts feeding information into the NORAD networks.

The north warning system consists of 15 long range radars, 11 in Canada, 39 unattended short range radars and nine associated satellite communications systems. The north warning system is deployed across the Alaskan north slope, northern Canada and the Labrador coast and provides surveillance of the northern approaches to North America. Data gathered by the system is sent by satellite communications to the appropriate regional centre at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska or North Bay where tracking, identification and interceptor control are handled.

The Canadian portion of the system is operated and maintained by civilian radar contractors under contracts managed by DND. With the end of the cold war system costs have been reduced resulting in a lower level of operations and fewer staff at the radar locations.

In NORAD we have a system that uses the most advanced technology to defend Canada against terrorism and surprise attack by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons carried by missiles or aircraft. In addition, it detects drug smugglers and terrorists. This is a multi-purpose system and its effectiveness is tested frequently. Canadian NORAD pilots fly some 800 training missions a year. I find this reassuring.

The NORAD agreement that I have just described is only one of many agreements and arrangements that Canada has with the United States. We have some 239 bilateral agreements covering everything from water quality of the Great Lakes to trade. Between

Canada and the United States there is one of the most extensive, broad ranging links between any two countries in the world.

The trade between Canada and the United States is greater than between virtually any other two countries in the world. The range of bilateral arrangements and co-operations on multilateral fora is as extensive as that between any other two countries.

By taking advantage of the NORAD renewal in this area of strategic aerospace defence we are building on the strong relationship we have shared with our neighbour to the south and from which we in Canada have benefited. There will be disputes. We have disputes with the United States at the present time on a number of issues but that should not obscure the important friendship and ties that we share and wish to maintain as a united country on the North American continent with the most powerful country in the world.

I appreciate the opportunity of speaking on this matter. Once again I am pleased to see the degree of agreement the government's proposals have this afternoon. We also look forward to constructive suggestions opposition members may have for the government as it prepares to continue this very important agreement with the United States.