Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Davenport for his willingness to share his time.
I want to speak a bit personally. I know we are wrapping this us, but it is important for us to remember that we are actually speaking about something that many Canadians have already undertaken.
I would like to commend a group called STAND, Students Taking Action Now! Darfur. This group has been in our universities and high schools for a number of years now and has been acting really hard on the issue of Darfur. I had the privilege of taking a couple of their members to Darfur this past January and I was very impressed with their commitment.
These students decided they were going to go after all the various universities in the country that had investments in Darfur. I would like to commend them because at the end of the day, they have been successful at getting a number of universities across the country to divest from the companies that are taking part in what is going on in Sudan. This included my own university, the University of Western Ontario, which had invested in six companies.
STAND was so proficient and consistent at what it did that I am proud to announce that the university president, Mr. Paul Davenport, has now pulled the University of Western Ontario out of all of those investments. We are speaking about something that Canadians are already involved in.
There was mention earlier of the peace talks that took place between north and south Sudan. I was at those peace talks along with my wife and there was one driving factor that got the northern government to come to the table. In the first round of peace talks it did not want to, but in the second round there were a number of reasons why it did.
Much of it was because of the divestment threats that were happening from Europe, the United States and Canada, which were trying to divest from companies that were taking part and the northern government realized it was going to be financially hurt if it did not participate.
A large part of the success of those peace talks, that resulted in peace between north and south Sudan and ended a war that had killed three million people and displaced five million, was due to divestment and because Canadians using the Internet, especially students, knew how to access that stuff and make a difference.
My wife and I were in villages when bombings took place, when the government of north Sudan sent in their MiG jets, big bombers or militia units. We need to remember that 70% of the money that comes from these oil revenues and other companies that are in Sudan goes toward munitions. We were at the receiving end of those.
I know none of us want it to be that way, but it was not about my wife and I. We had to watch people as they had to gather together for funerals and other things because the western world would not speak out at that particular time.
This is life and death. We are not talking about some fancy little thing that we are trying to do. We are talking about people dying in Darfur right now because many of us have failed to take action.
I heard it mentioned earlier that one particular party had a plan for what it was going to do in Darfur. We all have plans for what we want to do in Darfur, but it is not about that. It is not about my plan or someone else's plan. It is about the fact that this is the kind of thing that has to rise above all our plans. For the sake of the people of Darfur and, yes, of Iran, we have to take action.
I heard Stephen Lewis being quoted earlier. Let me remind people that I was at a conference with Stephen Lewis a couple of months ago and he said the very thing that is keeping us back from acting on Darfur and divestment is partisanship. I am trying to say that it does not matter what other people's plans are or what my plan is. What matters is: What is our plan? What is it that we stand for and believe in this country?
I do not want to take much more time, but everyone knows I have three kids from Darfur. I have talked about how they wake up at night from the bombings and everything else that happened. There are millions of kids still in Darfur who are going through this. It is time for all of us to act.
I commend my colleague for having the courage to stand up and demand that we begin to divest from a government that will do this to its own people. I commend the people across the way who have been willing to support this bill, and I plead with my Bloc colleagues, I really do. I know there might be some difficulties with it, but it is not about nuance. It is about human rights and acting.
I am thankful for the time that has been given to me and I especially want to commend my colleague for the courage he has shown in bringing this forward.