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- Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 495
- Mr. Bergeron 498
- Mr. Hart 501
- Mr. Collenette 503
- Mr. Nunez 506
- Mr. Bergeron 507
- Mr. Jacob 508
- Mr. Richardson 509
- Mr. Richardson 510
- Mr. LeBlanc (Cape Breton Highlands-Canso) 511
- Mr. Bertrand 511
- Mr. Frazer 513
- Mr. Collenette 515
- Mr. O'Reilly 516
- Mr. LeBlanc (Cape Breton Highlands-Canso) 517
- Mr. Flis 517
- Mr. Dromisky 520
- Mr. Solberg 520
- Mr. Wells 520
- Mr. Murphy 520
- Mr. Leroux (Shefford) 521
- Mr. Abbott 521
- Mr. Alcock 521
- Mr. Bertrand 521
- Mr. Landry 521
- Mr. Discepola 522
- Mrs. Sheridan 522
- Mr. Hart 522
- Mr. Solomon 522
- Mr. Easter 523
- Mr. Shepherd 523
- Mr. Bernier (Gaspé) 523
- Mr. Hoeppner 523
- Mr. Gauthier 524
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 524
- Mr. Gauthier 524
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 524
- Mr. Gauthier 524
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 524
- Mr. Loubier 524
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 525
- Mr. Loubier 525
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 525
- Miss Grey 525
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 525
- Miss Grey 525
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 525
- Miss Grey 525
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 526
- Mrs. Lalonde 526
- Mr. Young 526
- Mrs. Lalonde 526
- Mr. Young 526
- Mr. Duncan 526
- Mr. Irwin 526
- Mr. Duncan 527
- Mr. Irwin 527
- Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 527
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 527
- Mrs. Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata) 527
- Mr. Martin (LaSalle-Émard) 527
- Mr. Frazer 527
- Mr. Collenette 527
- Mr. Frazer 528
- Mr. Collenette 528
- Mrs. Picard 528
- Mr. Dingwall 528
- Mrs. Picard 528
- Mr. Dingwall 528
- Ms. Augustine 528
- Mr. Dingwall 529
- Mr. Morrison 529
- Mr. Anderson 529
- Mr. Morrison 529
- Mr. Anderson 529
- Mr. Brien 529
- Mr. Young 529
- Mr. Brien 530
- Mr. Young 530
- Mr. Mayfield 530
- Mr. Manley 530
- Mr. Mayfield 530
- Mr. Manley 530
- Mr. Lee 531
- Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 531
- Mr. Nunez 531
- Mrs. Robillard 531
- Mr. Abbott 531
- Mr. Manley 531
- Mr. Solomon 531
- Mr. Manley 532
- The Speaker 532
- Mr. Scott (Skeena) 532
- The Speaker 532
- Mr. Irwin 532
- Mr. Zed 532
- Mr. Axworthy (Winnipeg South Centre) 532
- Mr. Bergeron 534
- Mr. Morrison 534
- Mr. Maloney 535
- Mr. Zed 535
- Mr. Bevilacqua 535
- Bill C-19. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed
- Mr. Manley 535
- (Bill deemed read the second time, deemed to have beenconsidered
by a committee and deemed reported withamendments.) 535
- Bill C-231. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed
- Mr. de Savoye 535
- (Motion deemed adopted, bill read the second time andreferred to
a committee.) 536
- Bill C-232. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed
- Mr. Riis 536
- Bill C-233. Motions for introduction and first readingdeemed
- Mr. Riis 536
- Motion for concurrence in fifth report agreed to 536
- Mr. Zed 536
- Mr. Nault 536
- Mr. Vanclief 536
- Mr. Vanclief 536
- Mr. Frazer 537
- Mr. Frazer 537
- Mr. Ringma 537
- Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 537
- Mr. Harper (Simcoe Centre) 537
- Mr. Riis 537
- Mr. Solomon 537
- Mr. Zed 537
- Consideration resumed of motion 537
- Mr. Leroux (Shefford) 537
- Mr. Bryden 539
- Mr. Richardson 539
- Ms. Clancy 540
- Mr. LeBlanc (Cape Breton Highlands-Canso) 541
- Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) 543
- Mr. English 545
- Mr. English 546
- Mr. Wood 547
- Mr. Sauvageau 549
- Mr. Richardson 551
- Mr. Bryden 551
- Mr. Maloney 553
- Mr. Chrétien (Frontenac) 554
- Mr. Robichaud 555
HOUSE OF COMMONS
The House met at 11 a.m.
That this House take note of the importance of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the security and defence of North America, and of the government's intention to renew the NORAD agreement with the United States for a further five years.He said: Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation to all members of the House in agreeing to this important debate. This is the second time in three weeks that we have had the opportunity as parliamentarians to look at a critical aspect of Canadian foreign policy.
In this case we are dealing with one of the most important bilateral treaties that has been established between ourselves and the United States over the last almost 40 years; the renewal of the North American air defence agreement which has represented a major issue of security and defence co-operation between our two countries.
NORAD has been a key element in this co-operation since 1958. It has served our countries well during a variety of changes, particularly during the period when we were concerned about the surveillance of airways during the cold war.
It is our assertion, one I believe most Canadians share, that the continuation of NORAD can serve us equally as well in a post-cold war environment, an environment which despite the reduction and elimination of the ballistic missile threat to North America still remains full of many uncertainties in the world we live in.
NORAD represents a key element of our foreign and security policies. For 40 years, this agreement has been a strong link in our bilateral relationship with the U.S. That is why we are proposing today to renew this agreement for a further five years effective May 12, 1996.
My colleague, the Minister of National Defence, will further review during this debate the specific military and defence requirements and aspects of this agreement.
I will concentrate my remarks on the rationale, the new objectives, the new security context as well as the foreign affairs dimension of this proposed NORAD renewal.
I hope we can encourage members to participate in how we situate this important resigning of the NORAD agreement within the broader context of our relationships with the United States.
Four sets of issues have dominated Canada-U.S. relations in the past few years: first, economic and trade relations following the implementation of NAFTA; second, culture; third, the environment; and fourth, defence matters.
Defence relations have been the least controversial of the last three sectors. In fact, the U.S. and Canada generally share the same vision and interests with respect to the security of North America.
This very close co-operation in defence and security matters has constituted for 55 years a fundamental and important foundation of our relationship in the North American continent with the Americans.
The question before us today is how these fundamentals evolve in a post-cold war era. Times have drastically changed, as we all recognize, since the basic text of NORAD was last updated in 1981. Canadians can legitimately ask whether we still need a NORAD agreement.
Since becoming the Minister of Foreign Affairs I have carefully studied the reviews of NORAD undertaken by Canada and the U.S. in the last two years. I have read the recommendations of the
special joint committee on Canada's defence policy and the special joint committee that reviewed Canadian foreign policy, both of which endorsed the renewal of NORAD.
In that assessment and review I conclude the following. Even though Canada does not face the same threat or concern about bombers, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles it did during the height of the cold war period, the capability and the necessity to continue to exercise effective surveillance and control over Canadian air space are still basic defence requirements with important implications for Canadian sovereignty.
A binational aerospace defence co-operation through NORAD remains a highly effective, cost effective means to meet this basic national objective. What we are saying is that NORAD itself is a very important way in which the continued protection and advancement of Canadian sovereignty and responsibility can be maintained at a cost within our means.
To date the central purpose of NORAD has been to provide both Canada and the United States with the means to ensure an appropriate level of air sovereignty, attack warnings, assessments and responsive defence. The agreement offers a number of key advantages which are just as relevant today as they were a few decades ago. Let me cite a few.
First, NORAD provides a comprehensive warning capability against any residual stocks of ballistic missiles and provides defence against bombers and cruise missiles.
Second, NORAD discourages criminal activity, especially drug smuggling and illegal immigration, which we do not need in this day and age. It is evident that we need continual protection against terrorism and common criminals who may seek access to our borders through the use of air means.
Third, it gives Canada access to valuable military and technological intelligence in the aerospace field that is unique among all countries.
Fourth, it substantially enhances the ability of the Government of Canada to ensure its will is respected throughout all areas within Canadian jurisdiction by providing in a very cost effective way the capability to monitor and control developments within our aerospace.
Fifth, it gives Canadians a voice in the planning and operations of the aerospace defence of North America, developments which whether we were in NORAD or not would directly affect our interests.
For these reasons alone NORAD continues to make good basic sense. While NORAD has continued to serve these basic national interests our government felt strongly that aspects of the agreement needed to be substantially updated to meet current and future defence needs. In the last two years new considerations have come forward and are being addressed in the new agreement. This is not just an old NORAD agreement; it is a substantially revised agreement.
I will cite four major changes in the proposed renewal. First, there is a concern about the proliferation of advanced military technology including weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue governments that may support terrorism. As we all know, Canada is a leader in the effort to deter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. We recognize this is an essential component of an effective defence against attack by nations or terrorists using nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
The reason for this leadership is that there is concrete evidence that the number of countries working together to acquire these weapons is increasing. In this regard the end of the Soviet Union diminished one threat, a nuclear exchange between east and west. At the same time it increased another threat, the opportunity for other countries to acquire the expertise and materials to build their own weapons. This is a concern that has become increasingly apparent as we see the trade and exchange of components of nuclear weapons, delivery and manufacture.
The new NORAD agreement will provide clear provisions of aerospace warning and control to meet the potential of this new threat of arms proliferation. It is one way to provide a clear deterrent against that expansion we so greatly fear.
There is another equally important reality. In renewing the NORAD agreement we faced the growing importance of space in military operations. The special parliamentary joint committee on Canada's foreign policy recommended Canada should be prepared to renew the NORAD agreement, but should press for a further shift of emphasis from air defence to global space surveillance. Canada should require prior consultations on any move to abrogate the anti-ballistic missile treaty or to place weapons in space.
The new agreement does exactly that. It is one way we can ensure full protection against developments that would increase the risk of new space based weapons. As a result of the NORAD agreement we are now in a position to exercise real control and judgment.
I want to make one thing very clear: NORAD's technology remains the best in the world to provide surveillance and warning functions with efforts to defend our aerospace. However, that new technology is not the stuff and matter of a star wars program. It involves no weapons in space, a concept we as Canadians oppose. There is no anti-ballistic missile system in any way connected to this NORAD agreement. NORAD has evolved to reflect the threats faced by Canada and the United States and this process will continue if we decide to renew the agreement.
In fact, one important objective which was sought by Canada and will be met in the renewal of the agreement was to develop a more formal mechanism for the two countries to consult on developments with implications for North American aerospace defence and through which NORAD's missions could evolve. Because of NORAD we will have a place at the table to determine the pace and timing of any developments and the ability to say no or to register our concerns.
Moreover, the agreement will make clear that these missions will require the approval of both governments to proceed. In effect, we have a veto within the North American defence agreement to say no to these particular proposals.
A third consideration when renewing the agreement was the increased use of North American air space for legitimate purposes, such as civil air traffic, which has expanded geometrically with the signing of the open skies agreement. Unfortunately, it is also becoming increasingly penetrated by illicit activity from the air. That is particularly true when it comes to the drug trade and their use of air space to make their connections.
The agreement we are proposing will clearly refer to the need to co-ordinate national systems for the surveillance and control of North American air space to cope with these added activities, both of a legal nature and of an illegal nature so that both governments can make sure that the best protection for our citizens is provided.
A fourth consideration, and one that I know is of great importance to members of the House, was the need to reflect the contemporary concern for environmental protection. Up to now the NORAD agreement has not contained any clause on environmental protection whatsoever.
At Canada's request, a new clause will be added in the accord to refer directly to environmental issues, expected to be few, but that reference will go to the permanent joint board of defence by a national group made up of defence and diplomatic representatives, the chair of which is the member of Parliament for High Park, who is our representative and the co-chair in that area.
With these changes, ensuring again that any problems related to the environment under the new agreement will be relayed to that joint board and decisions will be made jointly, I think that completely and clearly answers the concerns expressed by members of the House during those hearings.
With the changes I have just outlined, I believe that the revised agreement will transform NORAD from a cold war defence arrangement to one of the 1990s and beyond and will give us a much better ability to protect our sovereignty and provide for increased co-operation in areas of vital concern to us in the use of our valuable air space.
As rewritten, the new NORAD agreement should meet today's security environment as well as Canadian interests and needs. It will also provide a clear indication of the government's commitment to Canada-U.S. defence co-operation and reaffirm at the highest level our intention to continue the co-operation in North American aerospace surveillance and air defence.
Let me in closing take a moment to talk about how NORAD fits into the broader context or scenarios of Canada-U.S. relations. We have all read from our school days on, the variety of cliches that abound about Canada-U.S. relationships. However, beyond those cliches there is one fundamental truth. The most comprehensive relationship between any two countries in the world is that which exists between Canada and the United States. It exists in the hundreds of thousands of transactions that take place every day between private citizens and businesses across borders. It also exists in a wide variety of areas such as trade, culture and the environment. In these cases we have been able to or tried to manage these relationships in a variety of ways.
Much of what we do bilaterally, regionally and internationally relates directly to the special management of our unique relationship with the United States. Our co-operative yet complex relationship stands as a model. I do not believe any two countries in the world have been able to manage these complex relationships in the way we have. In saying that, it is clear we have our differences, and sometimes the differences tend to be a lot more visible than the matters in which we share common interests, common values and common visions.
We are all very aware of the irritants which characterize the trade and environment areas, to take just two examples. The extraterritoriality being proposed under the Helms-Burton bill, or the disputes on Pacific salmon which are now being dealt with, are serious integral challenges to our basic interests. I can assure members of the House that we will take all necessary steps to defend the Canadian national interest in these two areas.
We also have differences of opinion, not just in direct relationships about larger foreign policy issues such as the reform of the United Nations. We think the United States has a responsibility to pay its bills. We believe on the issue of Cuba that an active program of engagement is the best way to provide for the evolution of democracy and the treatment of human rights in that country rather than a policy of isolation.
We know how to work out those differences in a productive and friendly manner through good debate and dialogue. Subject to the recommendations of this debate, Canada's intention to renew the
NORAD agreement offers yet another illustration of a good working relationship with the United States.
Furthermore, the NORAD agreement offers to those elected representatives in the United States who have been making some comments in the last few weeks about Canada's position, how things should properly be done: where we sign an agreement; where we have a framework; where we engage in dialogue; where there are rules of the game; where there is processes to follow. That is the way two countries get along, not by calling each other names or having certain members of the senate make aspersions about our past history.
The NORAD agreement is the model on how we conduct our relationship, not the kind of statements made by the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, the senator from North Carolina.
I believe a renewal of this agreement provides a very strong message, a very effective message, to Canadians and Americans alike. This is the way to do business together. This is the way to get along together. This is the way to co-operate together and to do it in an orderly rules based system that allows us to express our differences but at the same time to co-operate where that co-operation is in our mutual interests.
We have differences and similarities. The way to deal with these is to have rules in place to make sure that those rules and similarities have their best expression and their best outlet. It is a relationship that must continue to be based on mutual respect and a solid understanding of our respective individual and independent needs and priorities.
The new NORAD agreement that we are putting before the House today for debate builds on this relationship. It demonstrates to both our populations how we can continue to advance and secure good, co-operative relationships with our very important neighbours. Perhaps it can demonstrate to other countries around the world that is better to get along than to have disputes. The NORAD agreement is one clear way of doing that.
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this House to speak to the renewal of the NORAD agreement between Canada and the U.S, especially since this debate was requested by the Bloc Quebecois in its dissenting report on reviewing Canada's defence policy.
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the new Minister of Foreign Affairs for agreeing to give the official opposition enough time to prepare for today's debate. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs' open-mindedness is in stark contrast to the arrogant and disrespectful attitude toward the opposition taken by this government since the beginning of its mandate with respect to this type of debate.
During the election campaign, as you may recall, the Liberal Party of Canada promised-in an effort to increase transparency, or so it claimed-to regularly consult the House on major issues in foreign and defence policy that may require Canada's involvement. Since the 1993 election, we have in fact noticed that the few debates hastily organized by the government-supposedly to consult Parliament-were nothing but a sham.
Most of the debates were announced with less than 24 hours' notice, with the government providing the motions, relevant papers and briefings at the last minute, before we finally realized that the dice were loaded and that the government was consulting the House merely for appearance's sake.
Despite somewhat inadequate preparation due to a lack of time, we have always insisted on taking part in these debates, if only to be heard. We are therefore happy to see that the government has finally decided to give us enough time to prepare adequately for this debate.
Yet, I fear that this debate will have no more impact on the government's decision, since it seems that the foreign affairs minister's signature is a mere formality. According to a report in the February 24 edition of Le Devoir, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has already approved the final version of the new NORAD agreement and will sign this agreement with his American counterpart during a visit to Washington on March 13 or 14.
Let us point out that the minister's officials have informed us that no decision in this regard had been made so far. This raises an important question: if the minister feels that today's debate is serious, does he really believe that major amendments could be made to the new NORAD agreement in the 24 to 48 hours following this debate?
Which leads to this other important question: Why does the minister refuse to provide the official opposition and the other parties represented in this House with a draft of the new NORAD agreement before it is finalized? Why are the various opposition parties not allowed to give their opinion on this agreement on the basis of all the relevant information that would enable them to really discuss Canada's participation in NORAD?
In this sense, we would greatly appreciate it if, out of respect for parliamentary democracy and for the people of Quebec and Canada, the minister provided all parties in this House with a draft of any agreement or accord contemplated before it is implemented. This would enable the opposition parties to better fulfil their parliamentary duties, while at the same time enhancing the quality of debate for the benefit of our fellow citizens. That is what I call real transparency.
This being said, as you no doubt know, the NORAD agreement was not negotiated overnight. Allow me, therefore, to backtrack briefly to try to understand why such an agreement came about in the first place and to try to see more clearly whether or not the NORAD agreement should be renewed.
First of all, note that this agreement originally derived from the Ogdensburg Declaration of 1940, in which the idea of joint defence arrangements between the U.S. and Canada was officially set out for the first time.
At the time-must we be reminded-the United States and Canada were at war with the Axis powers, which greatly encouraged closer formal military ties with our American allies. Later, in 1947, our two countries set out the basis of a new military co-operation, particularly for air defence. A few years later, in 1954 to be precise, Canadian and American air force officials came to the conclusion that the best way of ensuring both countries' air defence was to place it in the hands of a single organization under a single command.
The U.S. and Canada conducted negotiations that eventually led to a bilateral agreement being signed in 1957, establishing an integrated air defence command based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following year, on May 12, 1958, the North American Aerospace Defence Command Agreement, commonly known as NORAD agreement, was entered into by Canada and the United States. At first, this agreement was to be renewed every ten years, but this time frame was shortened to five years, in light of the ever changing geostrategic global situation.
Note also that, since its beginnings, the NORAD agreement has been renewed seven times. Initially, the main purpose of this agreement was to ensure active air defence against Soviet long range bombers. To this end, NORAD's integrated command was equipped with ground based radars and with fighter interceptors.
It is interesting to note that NORAD's defence system was set up shortly after the U.S.S.R. developed an atomic bomb, thus creating a real threat for North America.
It is also to be noted that a major element of strategic balance changed following the launching of the first Soviet satellite in space. Indeed, in the ensuing years, the U.S.S.R. developed delivery vehicles capable of making decisive hits on Canadian and U.S. targets.
During the arms race, the United States also developed intercontinental ballistic missiles, commonly called ICBMs. These missiles were equipped with nuclear warheads and were also capable of hitting Soviet targets. However, given its lack of effective defence systems against this type of attack, the U.S. found itself, for the first time in its history, vulnerable to the Soviet threat.
Consequently, in the mid-sixties, NORAD put the emphasis on early warning in case of an attack. NORAD's early detection of soviet missiles would ensure a swift response from the U.S. and became part of the nuclear deterrent strategy. However, even though it had lost some of its importance, air defence against bombers remained a priority.
When the NORAD agreement was renewed in 1981, and following the development of cruise missiles launched from airplanes and submarines, air defence against such a threat became again a top priority. It goes without saying that these developments resulted in a strengthening of east-west and northern security measures. The name of the organization was also changed. The term ``air defence'' was replaced by ``aerospace defence'', so as to reflect NORAD's increasingly greater concerns regarding aerospace threats.
NORAD continues to play an important role in terms of surveillance and defence of the North American air space. However, given the end of the cold war and the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the early nineties, we now have to ask ourselves whether it is necessary to maintain such a structure and, if so, whether its mandate should be redefined.
Even though the cold war is over and Russia is not the aggressive and threatening power that the Soviet Union was, we must remain alert and on the lookout for any outside attack. While NORAD was set up to counter the Soviet threat, it would be overly simplistic to assume that, since the U.S.S.R. no longer exists, we do not need this type of aerospace defence system any more.
It is true that, in times of peace, the relevancy of such a system may not be obvious. History, however, has taught us several lessons including this one: to be naive when it comes to security could have disastrous consequences.
It is an accepted fact that, to survive, a state must be able to ensure the security of its territory and of its population. Even today, the Canadian state cannot escape this simple but unavoidable obligation. But we would be kidding ourselves if we thought or claimed that Canada can ensure its own security. That is why it is in the best interests of both Canada and Quebec to be realistic and to renew the NORAD agreement.
Nobody can deny that Russia as it exists in 1996 still possesses mass destruction weapons and nothing can guarantee that we will not see, in the years to come, changes of government or changes of attitude toward the west, particularly toward the United States. And the same goes for other powers such as China, for example, which also possesses mass destruction weapons and has very large military capabilities.
Since the end of the cold war, dozens of armed conflicts have arisen throughout the world and no country can claim to be immune from that. Every country tries to get the maximum from the means at its disposal. It is well known within the international community
that several countries are presently trying to acquire or to develop chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons.
These weapons, combined with the use of missiles launched from submarines, ships, airplanes or by other means, could eventually become a threat to us. Let us not forget that terrorism has become a problem in our societies and that state terrorism is a reality that we have to live with.
On the other hand, we must ask ourselves what would be the possible consequences of Canada's non-participation in NORAD. What could be the impact of this non-participation in terms of the inviolability of our air and aerospace sovereignty, the effectiveness of our military defence and the costs that an autonomous defence would create?
It is obvious that the NORAD agreement has been particularly beneficial to Canada's defence policy. The establishment of an exclusively Canadian air and aerospace detection system would have been extremely costly for Canada. Sharing the costs of the current system with the United States has certainly helped us save tens of millions of dollars.
At the present time, we spend about $300 million each year on the NORAD aerospace defence system, which is about 10 per cent of the total costs associated with this system. It is absolutely certain that, if we were on our own, Canada could not have the same level of protection it is enjoying now for the same amount of money.
Canada's participation in NORAD has even allowed us to protect our sovereignty in the far north over the last 35 years. Because of the scope and efficiency of the detection system in place, Canada is spared from having to maintain a major military presence in this region. Canada's position and credibility concerning the demilitarization of the Arctic is therefore defensible.
Canada is also able, through NORAD, to obtain highly significant strategic information from our American allies which would otherwise be unavailable.
Our NORAD membership provides us with access to information concerning Canada, while sparing us the heavy expenditures related to developing, launching and maintaining such satellites.
NORAD also provides Canada with access to space monitoring technology, which is nothing to be sneezed at. That access takes a number of different forms, one of which is the training Canadian military personnel in American military installations.
The Bloc Quebecois sees another advantage in Canadian membership in NORAD: Canada's partnership with the Americans in aerospace defence has, undeniably, given it some clout with the U.S. in this field. Canada has some degree of control over what goes on in Canadian air space. Without NORAD, would it have been possible for us to defend ourselves against the designs the U.S. had on our air space? That is far from certain.
I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to indicate the Bloc's support of the government's recent commitment not to authorize any weapon deployment in Canadian air space.
While the Bloc does agree that the NORAD agreement has served Quebec's and Canada's interests well, and while it is prepared to support renewal for a further five years, this does not mean there are no changes to be made to it.
In fact, in its 1994 defence white paper, in connection with the renewal of the NORAD agreement, the government committed to ``look closely into those areas which might require updating, given the new challenges to continental security''.
The Bloc finds it most regrettable that the government has let slip the opportunity offered by renewal of the NORAD agreement to do as it had suggested in its own white paper: redefine the primary mission of that organization within the present international context. Why indeed has it not seized the opportunity afforded us here to make changes, such as an expansion of NORAD's mandate to enable it to support UN peacekeeping missions in the Americas.
In this regard, the Bloc Quebecois wrote in its dissenting report on the foreign policy review that Canada should review ``its current military alliances and adapt them to strategic missions in accordance with the needs of the United Nations. This approach would inject new life into these organizations and would make them more effective in protecting safety and in resolving conflicts. It would also make it possible for Canada to meet its public security objectives, which are crucial to its own domestic security''.
As regards UN regional peace missions in North America, could NORAD not help the UN with its mandate, in Haiti for example, by doing air surveillance? This new mandate for NORAD might help the UN increase its chances for successful peace missions in the region.
Furthermore, by supporting this new mission for NORAD, as proposed by the Bloc Quebecois, the government could tighten up its notion of collective security. It could thus play a more important role with the United States in this regard in North America.
The Bloc Quebecois also feels it is time the NORAD agreement was expanded to include our other American economic partners. We feel that NORAD could provide a valuable means of linking our economic and trading interests to our common interest in
security. This could ensure the sustainability of the incipient political stability in countries in Central and South America.
In this regard, we could start first by extending NORAD to Mexico, which is also a party to NAFTA, and then, little by little, to other countries, in South America. We could thus eventually end up with an alliance of the Americas. The aim of this alliance, essentially, would be to set up a common air, land and sea surveillance network. It would enable Canada to set up a tighter, and better co-ordinated defence structure at less cost to taxpayers.
NORAD could also be used to a greater extent in the fight against drug trafficking. It could be used more intensively against drug traffickers using Canadian and American airspace. And, if it were extended to other countries in the Americas, it could be put to greater use in their struggle against the drug trade.
Moreover, the new NORAD agreement should answer the Bloc Quebecois' legitimate concerns with regard to anti-missile defence. If, for instance, either party to the NORAD agreement wanted to develop and use new anti-missile defence technology, the other party should not only be consulted but also be in agreement.
By so doing, Canada would avoid finding itself in a situation where, even though consulted, it would be subject to American decisions in this area, which, let us not forget, is at the heart of today's nuclear deterrence strategy. A new NORAD agreement should also include clauses providing for environmental protection with respect to Northern military facilities. Furthermore, since the Canadian and American governments appointed negotiators, in February 1995, to deal with this issue, we would hope that by now a solution to this problem has been found and that it is reflected in the present NORAD agreement.
However, in the what we would consider regretable event that the Canadian government was unable to reach an agreement with our neighbours to the south, the Bloc Quebecois would urge it to engage in continuing negotiations without delay; eventually, such negotiations would be held on a regular basis. My party believes that the U.S. must pay its fair share of the costs to clean up these sites.
Lastly, Canada should make it very clear it is committed to promoting the demilitarization of Canada's North and to negotiating with Russia granting this region the same demilitarized zone status as Antarctica.
To conclude, I would say that, for the reasons I just mentioned, the Bloc Quebecois will support renewing the NORAD agreement. However, we believe it essential to make a number of changes and, in this respect, we ask the government to consider the official opposition's legitimate claims with an open mind.
Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to speak in this take note debate on the motion:
That this House take note of the importance of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in the security and defence of North America, and of the government's intention to renew the NORAD agreement with the United States for a further five years.(1145 )
This is the second take note debate in two weeks. Although I appreciate the spirit in which it is offered, there is a feeling in the House that these debates are nothing more than smoke and mirrors and that already a decision has been made by cabinet on this. The minister is shaking his head no but my mother told me that perception is everything. If that is not the case, then it is the minister's responsibility to make sure that the perception is changed. I leave the minister with that challenge. It is sometimes felt by opposition members and other members in the House that these debates are just an illusion and a charade and that the decision has already been made.
Our bilateral defence ties with the United States have been the single most important linchpin in Canada's defence network since World War II. NORAD is the most enduring symbol of these bilateral defence ties. Since the beginning of the cold war and the advent of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, it became readily apparent that North America was a single entity that could only be defended with co-operation between Canada and the United States.
In 1951 Canada permitted the United States strategic air command to place bases on Canadian soil. In addition Canada independently and in co-operation with the United States constructed the pinetree line of radar installations for North American surveillance. It was followed by the mid-Canada line and of course the DEW line.
In 1957 NORAD was formally established in an agreement that has been reviewed and renewed every five years since 1967. Due to the significant benefits Canada derives from NORAD, the Reform Party supports in principle the renewal of the NORAD agreement. NORAD was designed to simplify combined operations between the air forces of the United States and Canada during times of crisis or conflict. The primary objective of NORAD continues to be to use aerospace surveillance and air defences to assist each nation in safeguarding the sovereignty of its air space.
To those in the House and other Canadians who would ask why Canada should continue in NORAD in this post cold war era, the
answer is very simple: sovereignty. Sovereignty is a country's responsibility. We must ensure that no one violates our air space. This is the primary focus of NORAD, one that is independent of the demise of the Soviet Union.
Air sovereignty is defined as a nation's inherent right to exercise absolute control over air space above its territory. NORAD assists Canada and the U.S. in this undertaking through surveillance and control, the ability to detect, identify and if necessary to intercept unknown aircraft approaching North American air space. That is the reason Canada should renew this agreement.
In his remarks the Minister of Foreign Affairs made mention of the fact that most of the threats are gone in this post cold war era. I caution the minister to reassess his statements in that regard. With the end of the cold war the threats did not just disappear; they are still there. The minister called them residual stockpiles. By the end of the year 2000 up to 25 nations will have developed weapons of mass destruction. Some will have the technology to reach North America. We in the House must support sovereignty.
The greatest benefit the Canadian and U.S. governments derive from NORAD is the ability to share not only the responsibilities but the resources and the costs for continental security. It would be militarily impractical as well as inefficient for each nation to unilaterally perform NORAD's current missions and functions.
In Canada's case although air sovereignty control may be possible, the mission of air defence in depth would be difficult due to the country's large land mass and its small and, it seems every year, shrinking defence force. Other benefits to both nations include shared intelligence and technology, joint strategic planning for defence and the long tradition of binational co-operation and friendship. In short, Canada cannot go it alone. With our modest population and expansive territory, we must maintain our defence ties with the United States.
As a sovereign nation with NORAD, Canada must play its part and contribute combat capable forces for our mutual benefit. This is where the Liberal government has failed. The Liberal government is letting Canadians and our allies down. The Liberal government has again hit the defence budget with significant cuts. Defence spending will be reduced a further $800 million. Where does the government intend to make cuts in the defence budget? The answer is capital equipment, the very thing that our armed forces need to maintain our Canadian sovereignty.
The Liberal government has not been forthcoming enough to tell us what equipment it plans to eliminate. It could be more of our CF-18s. Maybe they will move from their current warm storage into cold storage or maybe will be mothballed completely. Those CF-18s are needed to intercept intruders or for a variety of other NORAD related systems. Regardless of what equipment goes, the end result will be less combat capability and less ability for Canada to protect its sovereignty.
Defence, deterrence and sovereignty are concepts that require combat capable forces if they are to be realized. Allies and potential aggressors alike must view our combat capabilities with respect. The $800 million in cuts to the defence budget will reduce not only our combat capabilities but the international respect Canada has fostered since World War II.
As a member from British Columbia, I will give a recent example which the Minister of Foreign Affairs also alluded to. Even our closest ally, the United States is losing respect for our sovereignty. I refer to a letter dated March 6 written by the hon. member for Skeena to the Prime Minister which states:
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
I write to you on a matter of utmost urgency, which has serious implications to our national interest and our Pacific salmon fishery.
I refer to the passage of Congressional Amendments to the American Fisheries Protective Act in November of 1995. By this action, the U.S. Congress is seeking to prevent Canada from exercising unfettered jurisdiction over Canadian internal waters. This is a direct challenge to Canadian sovereignty and cannot be allowed to stand.
As I am sure you are aware, the American Congress has made a unilateral declaration of free passage for U.S. ships travelling through B.C.'s inside passage. This is preposterous and totally unacceptable.
Alaskan commercial fishermen continue to harvest Canadian salmon at levels which violate both the letter and spirit of the Pacific Salmon Treaty (1985). This is at the core of the American declaration for ``free passage''. It is a bully tactic, designed to both intimidate and remove any leverage Canada has in seeking a resolution to the Pacific salmon dispute, by imposing economic costs to American commercial vessels.
The actions of the American government do not call for diplomacy, but with a resolute declaration by you, as Prime Minister, that Canada will not in any way tolerate a challenge to its sovereignty over its internal waters. You must be prepared to back this declaration with a visible demonstration of our Nation's resolve. I strongly urge you to take the following actions:
1. Immediately declare that this American legislation constitutes a direct threat to Canada's sovereignty and that it will not be tolerated.
2. Declare Canada's position that any attempt by the U.S. Coastguard, or any other military force to enter Canadian internal waters to enforce their legislation, to be an act of invasion.
3. Declare that any act of invasion will be treated as such and appropriate measures taken to counter it.
4. Establish a Canadian naval presence in the Canadian territorial waters along B.C.'s coast, to deter any American breach of Canada's internal waters, unless authorized by Canada.
5. In the absence of a fishing plan under the Pacific Salmon Treaty for 1996, announce passage fees for American fishing vessels at the same rate, or higher, than those levied over two years ago.
Mr. Prime Minister, it is vital to the interests of both B.C. and Canada that you act in a decisive and responsible manner. The American people have long been our good friends and neighbours. I am confident that this irresponsible act, on the part of a handful of politicians bowing to the American commercial fishing lobby, would never carry the judgment of the vast majority of American citizens. I am also confident that it will not carry the judgment of the international community. This is the act of bullies who would use intimidation and the veiled threat of force to get their way.
This is not a partisan issue. Strong leadership by you and your government is crucial at this time. If you take the actions listed above, or ones very similar, all of Canada will be behind you. If you do not, Canadian sovereignty will be diminished, our standing in the international community diminished and Canadian citizens demoralized.
I look forward to your actions on behalf of my constituents and all Canadians.(1155)
It seems odd at this very time when we are talking about protecting sovereignty around the world for North America that the only ones who are invading our sovereignty are the people with whom we hope to sign an agreement in a few short hours or days.
The Reform Party is pleased to support in principal, and I stress in principal, the extension of the NORAD agreement for another five years. With Canada's shrinking defence budget, it is imperative that we continue this agreement. NORAD is value added for the Canadian taxpayer. We benefit greatly from the agreement. This capability benefits peacekeeping forces around the world. It plays a vital role in drug interdiction and could also contribute to monitoring arms control and treaty compliance.
We are not pleased at the proposed massive cuts to the defence budget which will further undermine our armed forces, their combat capability and ultimately Canadian sovereignty. The government should be ashamed of the additional cuts to the defence budget. These cuts are not the result of deficit reduction but rather the result of the government's failure to balance the budget. This failure to balance the budget is not only undermining our social programs but Canada's national security and sovereignty as well.
The Liberals are sending a strong signal to our allies that Canadians are freeloaders and not prepared to contribute to our mutual defence. This is the wrong signal to be sending. It is one that will call into question our position as a middle power and a reliable partner.
I suggest to the Liberal government that unless we maintain our military capability which can adequately defend our sovereignty, we will have more incidents such as we see in B.C. with the U.S. declaring B.C.'s inside passage to be an international waterway. We ask that the Liberal government express to the United States our concern and determination to maintain Canadian sovereignty over the B.C. inside passage.
We would hope that in the tradition of shared resources with the United States and the friendship and co-operation which has been expressed over the years that those qualities can be maintained with the settlement of this most recent irritant and that Canada will continue to support the common interests of sovereignty with the United States and not work against them. We hope that can be accomplished with respect to the signing of the NORAD agreement.
Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate for the NORAD renewal. I am pleased that both the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party have given their general support to the renewal of the agreement, although I am perplexed at the convoluted logic of the last speaker, the critic for the Reform Party.
In one breath he is supporting the NORAD renewal but in another he is issuing a virtual declaration of war against the United States for incursions the Americans are allegedly making on the west coast militarily. That will bring some smiles, if not in Washington certainly in the parliamentary press gallery.
Another point raised is that the debate is somehow irrelevant. That could not be further from the truth. Cabinet has not looked at this issue. There has been no debate and therefore it is totally wrong to say that what is being said here today will have no influence on ministers when they look at the agreement.
I urge the House to support the renewal of the North American Aerospace Defence Command or NORAD agreement. The reason I want this agreement, which served the interests of this country and this continent well, to be renewed is because I am confident that, in this regard, the government is supported by most Canadians and by the vast majority of members. Incidentally, my colleagues and myself are very grateful for this support.
Throughout the cold war, this Canada-U.S. partnership for the aerospace defence of North America faced the greatest threats that defence technology could devise. NORAD waited and watched, always ready to sound the alarm and intervene. This task, however mundane, was necessary and if it went largely unnoticed, it is precisely because it was so successful.
Today the cold war is over and there is no immediate threat to Canada. Hon. members are correct to assert that. However, it would be a mistake to conclude that Canada can go without defences. Although the challenges facing us have changed and laudable
progress has been achieved in arms control, not all dangers have been eliminated. Dangers continue to be posed by the huge remaining stockpiles of nuclear weapons, by the proliferation of advanced military technology, by the transfer of technologies to rogue regimes and by the growing importance of space in military operations.
That is why the House of Commons and Senate special joint committee on defence drew attention to the instability in the world when it brought forward its recommendations in the fall 1994. These instabilities were reflected in the white paper the government issued in December of that year.
None of the dangers we have been talking about is of an immediate threat to North America, but in a world characterized by turbulence and uncertainty all of the dangers are real. Despite the emergence of a new international order, prudence dictates we must maintain an adequate aerospace defence capability for the longer term.
NORAD's basic missions, early warning and the preservation of air sovereignty, are and must remain unchanged. That said, the NORAD agreement we placed before the House today has been substantially revised to meet today's specific conditions and to anticipate future requirements.
NORAD has adapted to the new geopolitical and financial realities, in that the agreement was substantially rationalized to make it much more affordable. Since the agreement was last renewed in 1991, spending has been greatly reduced and other savings are contemplated.
The agreement remains vital to Canada's defence and economic interests, to the establishment of close and harmonious relations between Canada and the U.S., as well as to international peace and stability.
The NORAD agreement is the most important and most visible bilateral agreement on security and defence that Canada has entered into with the United States. It was originally signed on May 12, 1958, and it has since been renewed, extended seven times, the latest renewal dating back to 1991 and carrying us over to May 12, 1996.
Canada-U.S. co-operation for the defence of North America was already well established long before 1958; after the French were defeated in 1940, Canada and the U.S. established a permanent joint board to oversee defence planning and commitments.
A point of particular relevance to this discussion should also be mentioned. During the years immediately following the second world war, the U.S. air force and the Royal Canadian Air Force began working together to ward off the launching of an attack on the continental air space.
This co-operation was inevitable. General Charles Foulkes, the chair of the Canadian joint chiefs of staff from 1951 to 1960, once wrote: ``There were no boundaries upstairs and the most direct air routes to the United States' major targets were through Canada. Therefore air defence was to be a joint effort from the start''.
The original NORAD agreement put in place a binational command structure for fighter defence against long range Soviet bombers. In the mid-1960's the emphasis shifted from air defence to attack warning and characterization of attack in response to the emergence of nuclear tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs, as the primary threat to the North American continent.
The 1975 renewal of the agreement redefined NORAD's mandate in the following way. First, it was to assist Canada and the U.S. in safeguarding sovereign air space. Second, it was to contribute to deterrence by providing attack warning and assessment of aerospace attack. Third, it was to ensure an appropriate response against air attack if required. NORAD has retained these missions in all subsequent renewals.
Since 1975 there have been only two major modifications to the NORAD agreement. In 1981 NORAD changed its name from the North American air defence command to the North American aerospace defence command in keeping with the new emphasis on warning against ballistic missiles.
In 1991 the definition of air sovereignty was expanded to include detection and monitoring of aircraft suspected of drug trafficking. Canada's contribution to NORAD includes aircraft surveillance assets, infrastructure and personnel, which represent almost 10 per cent of NORAD's total cost.
Our annual expenditures include the cost of some 790 personnel working at NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne mountain operation centres on airborne early warning aircraft, at a variety of sensor sites and in NORAD air defence operations. Canada's four operational CF-18 squadrons have NORAD responsibilities on a rotating basis with two squadrons, one in the east and one in the west, out of Cold Lake and out of Bagotville, on designated state alert at any one time.
In recent years the reduced threat of air attack against North America has necessitated the alert state's being reduced significantly. Should there be a crisis or war that threatens North America, two squadrons of CF-18s would be assigned to NORAD for the joint defence of Canada and the U.S. Additional resources could be assigned to the defence of the continent if required.
The hon. Reform critic said the recent budget cuts in national defence could somehow impair our commitment to NORAD. We would not be bringing this agreement for renewal if we did not think we had the capability, notwithstanding the defence budget cuts, to deliver on our capability. The hon. member should be assured that we do have the capability and will retain the capability in that regard.
In addition to the availability of the CF-18s, the Canadian NORAD region headquarters at North Bay operates the Canadian portion of the North warning system, four coastal radars and four forward operating locations to support fighter operations in Canada's north.
Like previous governments, the current Canadian government agrees that our country's aerospace defence needs may be very effectively and efficiently satisfied through NORAD. Early in 1994, the external affairs minister and myself instructed our officials to undertake preliminary discussions with their American counterparts regarding a possible extension of the NORAD agreement beyond 1996.
We were in complete support of the goals and principles of the existing NORAD agreement, but we had come to the conclusion that it had to be adjusted to meet present and future defence needs. From the very start, we were determined to have substantial changes made to ensure that the agreement is streamlined and brought up to date in preparation for the next century.
Our first and most fundamental concern was the wording of the agreement. We felt it should more closely reflect the real world. The gist of it has not changed since 1981, in spite of the fact that the nature of North American aerospace defence has changed drastically. A new strategic framework has emerged since the cold war between east and west. In this framework, while the threat is greatly reduced, new challenges require a new approach and greater flexibility than before, when our present and future needs were set strictly by the cold war.
The government also wanted to make sure that NORAD's mandate would be clearly set out. It also was of the opinion that a consultation process be established that would allow Canada to state its views to the United States in a more formal setting. Thus, the missions would be discussed on a regular basis and, if necessary, they would evolve very naturally.
While these Canadian-American exploratory talks were underway the parliamentary committees independently reviewing Canada's foreign defence policies fully endorsed the renewal of NORAD. They did so in the context of the threat being diminished to North American airspace but not eliminated.
The government followed the reports with strong statements of its own in favour of NORAD in two documents, ``Canada and the World'', the foreign policy white paper, and the 1994 defence white paper. In that document we spelled out in explicit terms the fundamental role that collective defence plays in our security, indeed in our sense of ourselves as a people and as responsible citizens of the world. The white paper pointed out we are bound to our allies in Europe and the United States by political values, interests and traditions we wish to support and foster.
It is for that reason that Canada has participated in the implementation force under NATO in Bosnia. I was pleased last weekend to be with the Canadian men and women serving in that theatre who are doing a remarkable job in a short period of time to help bring peace and stability to Bosnia. This is a historic mission because it is the first time NATO has actually taken on an operational assignment in its 50-year history. It has shown that the command and control, the lessons of preparation of the last 50 years have stood the organization in good stead for its operational effectiveness which I saw last weekend.
There are practical benefits to collective defence such as standardized equipment and procedures and the accumulated experience of joint and combined operations. I certainly saw that last weekend. These practical benefits are valuable in our continuing efforts in support of collective security.
Alliances dismantled in peacetime may be difficult to revive when a crisis occurs. That is why we have to keep our involvement in multilateral organizations such as NATO and why we must renew the NORAD agreement.
It seems obvious enough but somehow this lesson was forgotten twice in this century when political leaders not only in Canada but among our allies allowed the defence establishment to run down to such a level that it was ill prepared when crisis came.
Despite the compressions in the defence budget, we are absolutely determined to keep a combat capable force with new equipment, a lean and efficient military that will serve our interests and will be the effective cadre, together with a revitalized reserve force, for mobilization should we be called on to go into a major conflict.
In the 1994 report of the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy there was an articulation of our wider international responsibilities as a country:
If we believe that Canada stands for values that are worth promoting in a larger world, we must be prepared to invest resources and commit Canadian troops in defence of those values. If we are not prepared to do so then what do we stand for as a country?When President Clinton visited Ottawa in February of last year, he and the Prime Minister reaffirmed the intention of both
countries to renew the NORAD agreement. In the same month, I visited NORAD headquarters and toured the operation centre at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado in the company of my colleague, the Secretary of Defence, William Perry.
During that tour, I was really impressed by the continuing necessity of a co-operative, high level aerospace defence function for our two countries and by the competence and dedication of the Canadian and American personnel serving there. These people work side by side in an integrated command structure for the security of our continent. They truly reflect the special relationship that Canada and the United States has developed over 39 years of close co-operation.
Therefore, as the men and women of Canada work, sleep and enjoy their lives, a group of men and women are still, in this age of diminished threat, constantly on watch for any threat against North American air space.
Canadian and American officials continued to meet on NORAD renewal dossiers throughout most of last year. This has resulted in the agreement that we hope to sign. I hope MPs will be pleased by the extent to which the final draft reflects Canada's negotiating aims. I know the critics for the Reform and the Bloc Quebecois have been brought up to speed on the agreement. Briefly I want to touch on a couple of points before I sit down.
The agreement transforms NORAD from a cold war defence arrangement to an international accord for the 1990s and beyond. The agreement's definition of the strategic environment as it affects North America is entirely new. It stresses the revolutionary change brought about by the end of the cold war and the progress that has been made in nuclear arms control.
However, at the same time, it notes that the world has not become suddenly safe.
As I have already said, the threat posed by ballistic missiles may no longer be an imminent one. Nonetheless, we must take into consideration the fact that there are still large stockpiles of such weapons. We must also take into account current and future strategic developments that could impact on the security of North America's airspace. For example, I am thinking of the proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles, not to mention the increasing use of space for military purposes.
The new text of the agreement also provides that Canada and the United States must work together to monitor and control non-military air traffic in North-American skies. This joint effort is necessary to deal with the increase in legitimate air traffic, and also with air access to North America for illegal purposes such as drug trafficking.
To ensure government transparency as well as clarity in terms of its goal and its policy, the agreement provides, as regards NORAD missions, the most detailed definition ever included in a public document.
These missions are twofold. The first is aerospace warning, including identification of aircraft or missile threat with the potential of striking North America and the monitoring of man-made objects in space and the detection, validation and forewarning of attack, whether by aircraft, missiles or space vehicles, using mutual support arrangements with other commands.
Second, aerospace control, which includes providing effective surveillance and control of North American air space from routine peacetime surveillance through a defence attack from aircraft or cruise missiles.
Before I conclude, I am pleased to announce a heightened level of agreed consultation between the two governments and on a formal mechanism for the consultation on developments with implications for aerospace.
As my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, any of those disagreements or clarifications will be sent to the permanent joint board on defence. I am pleased to note that the chairman of the board has been re-appointed for another term and is a member of the House, the hon. member for Parkdale-High Park, who has done a terrific job over the last year, ensuring Canada's interests.
Mr. Osvaldo Nunez (Bourassa, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the defence minister about the demilitarization of the Arctic. I am familiar with the situation in the Antarctic, to the south of Chile and Argentina, which the international community agreed to recognize as a demilitarized zone. Everything went very well; every state with some territories in the Antarctic, as well as all of the international community I think, agreed to co-operate.
What is the position of the Canadian government on the demilitarization of the Arctic? Is the government ready to open discussions with Russia on this issue? I would like to see the Arctic demilitarized in the years to come.
Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member talks of his earlier life in Chile and of the demilitarization of the Antarctic region. This was possible because the same degree of international threat was not prevalent.
The Canadian Arctic and the Arctic generally was for 50 years the potential battleground between the Soviet Union and the United
States, Canada and its allies. Therefore, strategically the Arctic has historically occupied a different place in geopolitics.
The goal was for demilitarization in general. In a perfect world we would not need armies, air forces or navies. We would all be peaceful people and get along with each other. However it is somewhat naive to believe that we are even close to that state in the world. In fact, as we are debating, we see potential hostile acts occurring off the coast of China with respect to exercises by that government. That shows the level of threat is everywhere, not just in the Arctic but around the world.
With respect to the Arctic, we have to be prudent. We have to realize that our security has to be protected and we must recognize that means a military presence through warning systems and communication devices in the Arctic until such time as the threat over the Arctic is diminished.
This is not particularly my field, but I am sure the Minister of Foreign Affairs would say that even while we still look forward to maintaining our defence over the Arctic, we can still work with countries such as Russia and others who have an interest in the Arctic to make sure that pollution is controlled and environmental concerns generally are respected.
Moving forward with this agreement does not preclude movement on those fronts.
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister. At the beginning of his speech, he referred to comments some hon. members from this side of the House have made so far, including me, about how this debate will really influence the decision the government is about to make or will make in the next few days concerning the renewal of the NORAD agreement.
I was pleased to hear the minister say, and I am ready to believe him, that this debate is relevant and that the government intends to take into consideration what is said in today's debate when the time comes to make a decision.
However, I cannot help but be a little sceptical. In his speech, the minister described the process which will ultimately lead to the renewal of the NORAD agreement. He described the whole process. So, I am a little bewildered, since the negotiations with our American partners are over and, from what I hear, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is expected to travel to Washington to sign the agreement very shortly, on the 13th or 14th of this month.
Therefore, following today's debate, can the government really take into consideration all the information and the suggestions we have for them? I put the same question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs earlier, but, unfortunately, his speech was not followed by a question and comment period, so he could not answer. Maybe the Minister of National Defence will provide the House with an answer.
Technically, is it possible for the government, following this debate, to reopen the negotiations with our American partners in order to include a number of recommendations made by members from Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, including the ones I made about the demilitarization of the Arctic and the integration of new member states in the NORAD agreement? Is it possible to reopen the negotiations on some of these issues before the agreement is to be signed? Or is this only an exercise in futility, where we debate the NORAD agreement, knowing full well that, in the end, not a lot can be changed before the agreement is ratified?
Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat distressed at the cynicism the hon. member displays in his question.
The debate today is the conclusion of a two-year process in this Parliament of discussing NORAD renewal. His colleague, the hon. member for Charlesbourg, the critic for the Bloc Quebecois, was on the special joint committee on defence and NORAD was discussed. In fact, committee members may have even visited Colorado Springs and certainly got full briefings on North American air defence.
We have had other discussions of NORAD at the parliamentary committee during the estimates when the chief of staff, other military officials and public servants have been present. Today is a full day's debate on the discussions that we have had with the U.S. on the draft agreement. The critics of the other parties have been fully briefed.
The hon. member talks of being inspired, and if indeed there are inspiring insights that are revealed today in the debate, yes, they will be taken into account by the government. We can still go back to our American colleagues and say that we had a debate in the House of Commons and an interesting point was raised on this particular item which we feel should be taken into account before the agreement is signed.
Knowing the co-operative nature of discussions that have gone on between the Americans and the Canadians, I am sure we would be able to reflect those concerns in the final document.
Perhaps the hon. member lives in a somewhat cynical world. I live in a much more idealistic world which says that when the government comes to the House of Commons and says it really and sincerely wants to hear from hon. members, the transcript will be looked at. Officials are listening to the debate, watching television, and all those comments will be taken into account before the agreement goes to cabinet and is signed.
Mr. Jean-Marc Jacob (Charlesbourg, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on the government motion to renew the NORAD agreement. As my colleague from Verchères has already pointed out, along with the ministers of foreign affairs and defence, this is a longstanding agreement due to be renewed in May 1996.
All speakers have agreed on the agreement's beneficial effects in a variety of areas, as well as on its role in advanced observation, detection and surveillance of air space.
I am sure all members are aware that, without the NORAD agreement and the U.S. financial contribution, Canada could never have afforded such a sophisticated and effective facility in the north. Clearly, as my colleague has already pointed out, the Bloc Quebecois totally supports renewal of the NORAD agreement.
As I have already stated, this agreement has provided Canada with heightened surveillance potential at an affordable cost, as well as a wealth of information. For instance, I have in mind satellite surveillance. Canada made no financial contribution to it, but access under the NORAD agreement, and receives information of undeniable usefulness to a variety of fields.
I think what has been said indicates clearly, however, that there is unanimous agreement that NORAD itself is a child of the cold war, dating back to a time when there was a threat of Russian invasion of North America, with bombers or medium to long range ballistic missiles. I will spare you the various names attached to the metre per second performance or the range of each missile according to their classification. This was the threat that gave rise to the NORAD agreement during the cold war.
Later, agreements between the U.S. and Russia were signed at the end of the cold war, which put an end to missile detection and altered NORAD's role to some extent. I think this year's renewal will bring a new shift. Clearly as the minister or even my colleague for Verchères has said, we cannot simply drop this agreement.
Obviously, if the government decided to abolish the radar installations in the north on the grounds that, with the NORAD agreement, satellite detection would be sufficient, we would no longer need these infrastructures. It is nevertheless a facility paid for, as I said earlier, in part by Canada and in part by the United States, which therefore has meant the latest high efficiency equipment and which should continue to operate in order to provide air surveillance.
Although the Soviet threat disappeared following the end of the cold war, air space surveillance remains a priority, to my mind, but not perhaps because of the potential threat of invasion. I was listening to the minister earlier, who said that Canada will retain full military capability in order to defend its sovereignty.
I always chuckle a bit when I hear that, because experts, even those from the Department of National Defence, have often said that, with our long coastline and our huge air space over both Canadian and Quebec territory, we have neither the resources nor the funds needed to go at it alone and defend our sovereignty.
It is a bit unrealistic to think that we alone can defend our immense territory despite budget cuts, which could have in fact been even somewhat more substantial than those the minister announced this year. Even if the budget were increased, we would never have what it takes to defend our immense air space and coastline on our own. We need only look at NORAD.
I believe that, under this kind of arrangement, Canada has done what it could, agreeing that the Americans would provide technology and funds in exchange for using the Canadian territory to monitor the North American air space.
The reopening of this agreement between two countries negotiating according to their resources reminds me of what we mentioned in our dissenting report on the defence policy review, that is that Canada should conclude alliances or agreements and supply only what it is able to supply, given its financial resources.
As I said before, those who believe that we can defend our territory with the limited resources we have right now are dreaming, especially in today's economic climate. Through its reputation, its participation in peacekeeping missions and diplomatic negotiations, Canada is offering its partners, its allies all it can financially.
I believe that Canada cannot afford to withdraw from NORAD, which has been very profitable for both Canada and the United States, especially in financial terms.
At this point, I would like to add that, unfortunately, when we reviewed the defence policy, we touched only briefly on the NORAD agreement. We met with Defence representatives who explained the 1991 agreement and the changes made since then.
The Bloc Quebecois said on several occasions both on the foreign affairs committee and the committee in charge of reviewing defence policy that the NORAD agreement should be expanded in terms of its role, its mission and its partners.
I believe that the minister has redefined its role very well; its role is to provide early warning and to monitor air space, which in Canada includes searching for civilian aircraft that might be involved in drug trafficking. I believe that in this respect the United States has been slower to act than Canada. During talks on this new agreement and at the time of signing, I think Canada should suggest an increase in membership, their involvement being in
accordance with their military or financial potential, and also some changes in the role of NORAD.
It is often said in military circles that some agreements should not be abandoned in time of peace, that we should not demilitarize in peace time; we should not lose our combat capability, because should a conflict arise we would have problems restoring the severed links or the cancelled agreements.
I recognize that we could call this being wary of any potential conflict. However, I think we should remember that North America itself never had any wars, but always participated with its allies in the search for solutions to various conflicts. I believe the role of Canada, Quebec and the United States is to continue in that direction.
However, I would like to say, because it was mentioned by the Bloc Quebecois in its minority report, that there is currently a war which, in my opinion, might be more deadly, more real and more obvious that any hypothetical cataclysm or conflict which could bring about loss of human lives, and I am thinking about the drug problem, the problem of drug trafficking, mainly in the U.S., but also in Canada.
We know that the detection systems of NORAD could be applied to the fight against drug traffickers with great effectiveness. According to information coming from the Department of National Defence we are about to acquire a new coastal system which would allow detection as far as 250 miles from shore, and this would be useful to monitor both fishing activities and drug smuggling.
Unfortunately, neither the Americans nor the Canadians seem willing to acknowledge the financial and human problems, the society problems, created by drugs coming into the country in scores of places, because of the vastness of the North American territory. I find it hard to understand how we can contemplate spending money on things like equipment, weapons, antitank missiles, radars, perhaps even helicopters and antisubmarine equipment, when the social fabric in large metropolitan areas, especially in the U.S. and Canada, is disintegrating before our very eyes-because of the mafia's growing influence, among other things-when we could make very effective use of NORAD's monitoring capabilities, including satellite and AWACS surveillance, the DEW line and even coastal radars, to detect any small boat or aircraft that could then be intercepted very easily.
Instead, we see the potential for invasion. It is in this regard that I question the real evolution of NORAD. Canada has very often-even more often than the U.S.-taken part in missions in various parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. Although North America is not experiencing any conflict like that in Europe, there is still a kind of plague that, in the last 30 years, has killed in my opinion as many if not more people than all the conflicts elsewhere on this planet, and yet we do nothing about it.
I find it somewhat puzzling that we are not using our defence capabilities to address a very serious social problem as well as negotiating and refining agreements with other countries to address this problem.
In closing, like my colleague for Verchères, I would like to tell the minister-who told us that, for all practical purposes, negotiations had been completed but that we could still make suggestions-that I hope he will take into consideration the Bloc Quebecois' suggestions, which I feel are very important. First, allow more countries to join NORAD, broaden NORAD's role and mission without focusing on potential star wars or invaders, but continue to use this defence technology infrastructure. I would also suggest some civilian or parliamentary monitoring of these defence partnerships which, I think, could be very useful to American society.
Mr. John Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it was a pleasure to hear the hon. member for Charlesbourg make positive comments about the NORAD agreement and the possibility of its enlargement.
Of even more pleasure to my ears was to hear the hon. member for Charlesbourg talk about support of the integrity of Canadian sovereignty. I emphasize the words he used on Canadian sovereignty and the membership in this by all sovereignists together in a united Canada. I do not know if he meant it, but that is the way it came across to me. I thank him for that support. We are all working toward it.
Mr. Jacob: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the hon. member took what said that way, because that is not at all what I meant. I even stated in my speech that Canada should not consider preserving its sovereignty, or so-called territorial integrity, all by itself. I had no such thing in mind. What the parliamentary secretary was suggesting is that, deep down in my speech, one could read that I stood for Canadian unity. Far be it from me to address constitutional issues while dealing with the NORAD agreement. I was speaking as a citizen of Quebec, of Canada and of North America.
I regret that, in a discussion of capital importance in my view, elements of a political game are introduced that do not have their place in considering an international agreement like this one. I would suggest that the parliamentary secretary keep his digs for our upcoming discussions at the defence committee.
Mr. John Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle.
I perused the opposition member's statement on sovereignty.
I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate on the renewal of the North American aerospace defence command, or NORAD agreement. NORAD has been one of the pillars of the Canadian-American defence relationship for nearly 40 years. It symbolizes the long tradition of friendship and co-operation which exists between Canada and the United States.
Throughout the cold war NORAD provided our countries with effective means of defending the North American continent against possible air attack. It also proved to be a highly flexible agreement adapting to meet new threats. I will take this opportunity to trace the evolution of NORAD and in particular to discuss the ways it evolved to meet today's challenges.
With this new agreement the government will equip NORAD to deal with new domestic and international circumstances while at the same time preserving the benefits of our longstanding co-operation with the United States in the aerospace defence field.
After the second world war, the cold war gave rise to a new threat, that of an intercontinental bomber force capable of launching a nuclear attack on North America.
That is what prompted Canada and the United States to deploy forces to counter this threat. However, the level of co-operation between the our two countries in terms of continental air defence remained limited for some years.
Things changed in 1958, with the signing of the NORAD agreement, which integrated Canadian and American air defence resources.
Our governments had come to recognize that it was much more efficient and effective to work together to ensure air defence. And they still think so.
Over the years the original mission of NORAD which was to control entry into sovereign air space, to provide a warning of attack and to respond to the attack if necessary, has been modified to keep pace with the changing weapons technologies. From 1958 to 1962 NORAD focused on defending against bombers. NORAD employed American and Canadian interceptor aircraft, American air defence artillery and Canadian based surface to air missiles. Our collective radar resources at the time consisted of the Canadian based distance early warning, mid-Canada and pinetree lines as well as some United States based radar systems.
In 1962 as the superpowers kicked their ballistic missile programs into high gear, NORAD adjusted its operational posture to that of deterrence. Although NORAD still had to contend with the bomber threat, its main focus shifted to missile warning, space intelligence and target identification. The mid-Canada line was dismantled and the pinetree line and the United States radar systems were reduced. As well, the number of American and Canadian interceptor aircraft were reduced from 1,600 to 500.
In the 1980s, the development of cruise missiles that could be launched from aircraft or submarines once again changed the nature of the threat hanging over North America. At the operational level, NORAD continued to put the emphasis on the same elements, but it made some changes regarding the deployment of its forces.
For example, forward operating locations in Canada's north were organized so that NORAD's airplanes could intercept cruise missile carrying aircraft before they could launch their missiles.
It was also during this period in 1981 that NORAD changed its name from North American Air Defence Command to the North American Aerospace Defence Command, reflecting the new emphasis on the space based satellites to warn against missiles.
At the end of the cold war NORAD has entered yet another stage in its development. The end of the superpower rivalry lifted the shadow of a nuclear Armageddon and for now eliminated the threat of attack against the North American continent. But the new strategic environment remains far from stable. Weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery still exist and their proliferation especially among rogue states could in time pose a major threat to North America. Facing an uncertain future, we cannot afford to let down our guard completely. NORAD therefore still has a role to play in preserving our security.
Under the new agreement, giving the alert in case of an aerospace attack against North America will continue to be NORAD's main mission, along with the surveillance and control of North America's air space, including legal and illegal air traffic. NORAD must also continue to evolve, and the new agreement will ensure that it is the case.
Canada and the United States have already decided to reduce operating levels for air defence and ground based radar surveillance for our northern approaches. However we will maintain the capability to conduct the appropriate levels of operations at full readiness should the need arise.
Should a strategic threat to the continent arise in the future, we will have enough equipment, infrastructure and expertise to build up our NORAD forces again. Canada currently contributes 720 personnel to NORAD as well as a number of CF-18 aircraft on continuous air sovereignty alert.
NORAD will remain a flexible arrangement that can take on new roles as circumstances dictate. The new agreement will stress the importance of close consultation between our two governments as NORAD moves into the 21st century.
NORAD remains a pillar of North America's security system. It also remains a highly effective and economical defence agreement.
NORAD was set up almost 40 years ago. Canadian and U.S. governments still feel that it makes more sense to accomplish together the missions and the duties of that command.
Since Canada's territory is very wide and since our armed forces are relatively limited in numbers, it would very difficult for us to conduct aerospace defence operations alone.
Although control of our air sovereignty would be possible, air defence would be difficult. Canada also depends entirely on the assistance of the United States to provide warning of ballistic missile attack both at home and in other theatres where Canadians could be threatened. For example, during the gulf war, Canadians in the Persian Gulf donned protective gear and gathered in shelters after receiving warnings based on NORAD assessments of impending scud missile attacks.
The Deputy Speaker: The member's time has expired. Questions or comments.
Mr. Francis G. LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is: Would the member please conclude his remarks.
Mr. Richardson: Mr. Speaker, Canada also benefits greatly from American intelligence, technology and expertise, all of which help us maintain essential military capabilities. We must not forget that NORAD is a cost effective exercise for Canada.
Our annual contribution to NORAD is only 10 per cent of total costs. Should it decide to assume alone its aerospace defence, the costs to Canada would be prohibitive.
Moreover, only 12 per cent of NORAD's total operation costs are related to headquarters. The rest is directly related to NORAD's operational activities. In other words, NORAD uses its resources efficiently.
In conclusion, shared values and interests have made Canada and the United States trusted friends and allies. Our defence partnership stands out in this respect. Our defence relations have been close and always successful. NORAD is a case in point. The challenge of co-ordinating activities of two air forces against a wide range of threats has never been easy but NORAD has proven equal to the task.
NORAD's success can be traced above all to its flexibility. Although its basic objectives have endured over the years, NORAD has responded to an evolving strategic assessment. Canadian forces personnel associated with NORAD have performed an essential national service over the years with skill and dedication. This new agreement gives them the opportunity to continue this service.
Mr. Robert Bertrand (Pontiac-Gatineau-Labelle, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to take part in this debate on the importance of NORAD. I want to share a few salient points about NORAD with my distinguished parliamentary colleagues.
NORAD was set up about 39 years ago to provide for common air defence of North America. The first NORAD agreement was concluded in 1958, that is in the year following the creation of the command.
At first, NORAD was organized in such a way as to counter the threat posed by Soviet bombers, but it evolved over the years in response to the transformation of the strategic context.
In the early sixties, NORAD had to develop warning capabilities against intercontinental ballistic missiles, to add to the capabilities against long range aircraft that were already in place. Those were the main threats during the sixties and the seventies. However, the introduction of sophisticated cruise missiles in the Soviet military arsenal led to other adjustments in the defence capabilities of NORAD in the eighties.
As NORAD adapted to the changing threat, its facilities and its infrastructure were changed. Thus the old radar facilities were replaced or closed down, operations centres were regrouped and
the number of aircraft available to NORAD was considerably reduced.
Thanks to such adjustments, NORAD has been able to retain its operational and financial efficiency and effectiveness, because the command continually adjusted to new developments.
NORAD is well known for its flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness, and it still serves the security interests of both countries very well. Without NORAD, it would be difficult if not impossible to protect these interests. These elements still have an important role to play, as was evident in discussions on the renewal of the agreement in 1996.
The command and control structure of NORAD has also developed over the years into the integrated structure we now have. Representatives of both countries are found at all levels of that structure. This means that Canadians and Americans work in close co-operation at all levels of the NORAD organization in both countries.
NORAD headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The commander-in-chief is an American general, and the deputy commander-in-chief is a lieutenant-general of the Canadian forces.
There are also three regional headquarters. One is in the Alaska region of NORAD, at Elmendorf air force base, near Anchorage, Alaska. The headquarters of the Canadian region are located at the base of the 22nd wing in North Bay. Finally, the headquarters for continental U.S.A. are at Tyndall air force base, Florida.
Regional headquarters in the United States are under the command of American major-generals. Canadian brigadier-generals act as deputy commanding officers: the Canadian sector is commanded by a Canadian major-general and an American brigadier-general acts as deputy.
Although the NORAD agreement has been renewed every five years, the text of the agreement has not been revised since 1981. The objectives mentioned in the 1981 agreement were taken from the 1975 renewed agreement. This means that these objectives are now more than 20 years old.
The objectives are to help each country protect the sovereignty of its airspace, including the fight against drug trafficking; to prevent attacks against North America by maintaining our capabilities in aerospace surveillance, early warning, characterization of aerospace attacks and defense against air attacks.
The special joint committees on the defence policy and the foreign policy of Canada both examined the issue of future Canadian participation in NORAD. It was recommended that Canada continue to participate in NORAD, in consultations on the renewal of the NORAD agreement and in policy analyses. It is not surprising that the 1994 white paper on defence also reflected this point of view.
Even though most Canadians take NORAD for granted, it is worth pointing out all the benefits Canada derives from its role in the command. NORAD is first and foremost the principal institution protecting Canada's air sovereignty. If it were not a member of NORAD, Canada would have to spend considerable sums of money on command and control resources, satellites and aircraft for protection similar to the one provided by this organization.
Canada assumes approximately 10 per cent of total operating costs of NORAD, and it would be quite difficult to find a more cost effective arrangement. NORAD also offers other benefits besides protection of our air space. NORAD could very well have become the principal symbol of Canada-US co-operation in defence matters.
NORAD contributes greatly to dialogue and co-operation and often enables Canada to exercise, in security matters, more influence than it would be able to otherwise. Besides being conducive to goodwill, NORAD provides Canada with practical and measurable benefits.
The sharing of information is one of the most important practical benefits. Canada enjoys a special relationship with the United States. As its ally, it is first among its equals. Because of this, Canada has access to invaluable strategic information from space based resources that it does not have and does not have the means to acquire.
Access to advanced technology is another benefit of NORAD. For example, we took part with the United States in research and development projects on radars in space. As Canada acquired some knowledge in the field, it was invited to participate fully in a United States-United Kingdom technology exchange program on space based surveillance systems. Generally speaking, our co-operation with the United States in NORAD allows us to keep abreast of the latest developments in aerospace.
On the operational level, the Canadian Armed Forces get significant benefits from their participation in NORAD. Canadian Forces can really work together with American forces in complex military situations thanks to the many years of practical experience they got in joint planning and in NORAD operations.
The professional training the aircrews, air weapons technicians and air traffic controllers get by participating in NORAD is almost irreplaceable and it does not compare with the training the Canadian forces could give on their own. Since our fiscal situation will remain tight in the near future, the operational benefits we derive from NORAD will be essential to the maintenance of our army's skills in aerospace defence.
The NORAD agreement is undoubtedly the most significant defence agreement concluded between Canada and the United States. It has given us many benefits for nearly 40 years et should continue to do so well after the year 2000, given the changes we have agreed to make.
Through renewal of the agreement, NORAD will remain a key component of Canada's defence position. Consequently, it will allow our country to continue to defend its interests.
Canada's participation in NORAD is clearly beneficial, both in terms of operations and of economics. Without NORAD, it would be absolutely impossible for Canada to ensure its aerospace defence as effectively, even if it continued to devote the same amount of money to this task.
In brief, NORAD is a good deal for Canada and I support it.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, this is yet another Liberal pretence of parliamentary consultation on an important defence issue. There is to be no vote and the outcome is a foregone conclusion because all parties are on record as approving the continuation of Canada's participation in the NORAD agreement.
At the risk of dating myself, I first became involved in NORAD in 1958, shortly after it came into force. That was an employment in Quebec at place called Mont Apica and following that to Ontario and to Vancouver. Over the intervening years I continued a sporadic involvement in NORAD matters until my final tour in NORAD at McCord air force base, 25th air division headquarters, Tacoma, Washington.
I have since been involved in studying NORAD through my membership on the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy. In that capacity we looked at NORAD in detail and visited NORAD headquarters at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs.
The primary objective of NORAD, of course, is to protect Canadian and U.S. air space. By maintaining a known and capable aerospace surveillance we expect and hope to deter attack. If that deterrent should fail it is the responsibility of NORAD to identify the threat, to characterize the type of air attack and respond appropriately by the effective deployment of either Canadian or American aeroplanes or both.
Obviously with the end of the cold war the situation in NORAD has changed and there have been ongoing consultations to incorporate appropriate new postures. Starting in 1994 there have been studies by various agencies including the Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of International Trade, the American Department of Defence, the State Department and, as I mentioned a few moments ago, the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy. It has also been discussed in the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence.
This had led to a unanimous endorsement of Canada's continued participation in NORAD. This agreement is soon to be approved for a further five years and Reform is and has been on record as supporting NORAD.
This is a good deal. Canada's share of the expense in NORAD is 10 per cent of the total cost, about $320 million. It promotes goodwill between our countries and provides benefits such as intelligence sharing from which we acquire knowledge.
It gives us access to leading edge technology, not only with the United States but also with other countries such as the U.K. We also share research and development activities. This assures Canada's aerospace sovereignty and provides untold benefits to us. I say again NORAD is a good deal for Canada.
Speaking of good deals and Canadian sovereignty, what about the four British Upholder submarines? They are modern. They are almost new. I understand that two of them have barely been used. They are capable. Unlike the description that some people give to them, they are not hunter-killer, they are patrol submarines.
Canada has developed and maintained an expertise that took years to acquire. Continuing our submarine practice would enable us to pay our NATO dues to an extent by providing submarines as targets not only for Canadian but for all NATO forces. Being a member of the submarine club provides intelligence information that is of great benefit to Canada. People do not want submarines running into each other under water, so they advise each other where their submarines are located.
This acquisition would provide Canada with the ability to patrol both coasts, which is something we cannot do full time at the present time. With the advent of air independent propulsion or AIP, these submarines would provide an under ice capability which would answer a lot of critics who look at the northern waters and say Canada can do nothing about them. This is not a nuclear capability. It is in the vicinity 14 days submerged but it would provide the ability for Canadian submarines to transit the Northwest Passage and certainly to seek out anyone who is there without permission.
Submarines are cost effective. They have relatively small crews, about 45 in the Upholder, and they can be sent off for a long time without having to be replenished.
Submarines are surreptitious and thus they are very effective against, for instance, ships jettisoning garbage; tankers or freighters who choose to pump their oily bilge in Canadian waters;
foreign fishers in restricted waters; drug smugglers; and illegal immigrants. In a lot of ways, they are similar to what NORAD assists Canada in doing.
Furthermore, submarines are effective because when people know you have them but do not know where they are, they have to take this into account when they operate. There are well over 600 submarines in use in the world today and more under construction. Forty-four different countries operate them, countries like Iran or Libya. They were a factor in the former Yugoslavia. They had five submarines in that area and we had to take note of them. Most people are aware that there is an active submarine building program under way in China.
Because of its effectiveness and economy, the submarine is really becoming a weapon of choice for a lot of countries. If I might give one example of the effect it can have, if we go back to the Falklands, one British submarine tied up the entire Argentinian fleet by being on patrol outside the harbour. They have an effect and ability to influence operations far beyond their normal capacity.
Submarines have been recommended by the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy and they were included in the white paper. What we have is a government which lacks resolution. It has reduced the defence budget by some $800 million over the following three years but it is prepared to give away $24 million to put a UN force in Haiti rather than recoup the funds from the UN.
The government is procrastinating unnecessarily and perhaps it is going to forgo this possessed and needed expertise and capability. I refer to a statement by the Minister of National Defence previously when he pointed out that NORAD, an agreement signed and conducted in peacetime, if it were not renewed might be difficult to reacquire were we to go to war. I say the same thing with regard to our submarine expertise. It is something that has taken many years to acquire and surely we should not forgo it lightly.
The same questionable judgment is involved in delaying the maritime helicopter buy. This is a deliberate gamble which will endanger maritime helicopter crews by extending the time they have to fly the antiquated Sea King.
It brings the question to mind, is the government deliberately reducing Canada's military capability to the point where it becomes ineffective? We know that former Prime Minister Trudeau was heading that way until he discovered the ill effects it would have on Canada's trade relations in Europe. Is it a coincidence that our present Prime Minister was a member of Mr. Trudeau's cabinet and presumably supported his thrust?
The submarine decision apparently has been left in the hands of the Prime Minister. I wish I could but I do not have much confidence in the fair, practical consideration that submarine acquisition will be given.
We know that one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, thinks the Canadian forces should become simply peacekeepers, this despite all the evidence which confirms that the best peacekeeper is a combat capable sailor, soldier or air crew.
What should happen here is that the good, the needs of Canada should prevail over politically correct positioning. Despite the recommendations of the special joint committee on Canada's defence policy that 66,700 was the absolute minimum to which the Canadian forces could be reduced without giving up capability, this government is headed for 60,000, several thousand under the recommended minimum. It is my position that the recommended figure was already marginal or too low. Look at what the Liberals propose to do to the reserves.
Is there a threat to justify NORAD'S continuation? There are still a great number of ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads that can reach North America. There is a proliferation of ballistic missile technology and we need to continue to improve methods of missile event protection, assessment and warning.
Furthermore, the role of space is becoming more important. We must remember there are still more than 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world. At present there are about 170 to 200 missile events each year, half of which are space launches. In comparison, missile events peaked in the late-1980s at 1,400, but this is still a substantial number and the technology is improving.
By 2001, which will be the next NORAD renewal, space will assume an even greater role in aerospace defence. Also, the new cruise missile technology may lead to a North American threat. These missiles are becoming smaller and more accurate. They can be deployed from any number of vehicles, a freighter, a small aeroplane, a submarine and so on.
Examples of countries that are proceeding with this type of equipment are North Korea and China, both of whom have a missile capability to strike Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. We have seen the flexing of China's muscle recently in the run up to the Taiwan election.
Peace and global stability are achieved from a position of strength, deterrence and a balance of power, not through the vain hope that reasonable positions or responsible actions are likely to prevail. Any such hope is an illusion.
There has been and still is considerable concern and mistrust among Central American, South American and Caribbean countries when it comes to co-operative ventures with the United States. They have a perception that U.S. interests will overpower the
partnership, resulting in the concerns of smaller states being ignored or overruled.
However, NORAD, by clearly demonstrating that an effective, considerate and balanced partnership can exist between the only remaining superpower and a relatively small-at least in population-neighbour is an example that a security organization like NATO has become in Europe could be possible within the Americas. Thus NORAD could be the basis from which an Americas defence security organization emerges.
OAS, the Organization of American States, would seem to be the logical genesis for such an organization. However, my admittedly limited exposure to the OAS has revealed that the apprehension I referred to earlier is embedded in that body. Whether there is or will be a perceived need for an Americas defence security organization, I do not know. However, I do know that if an example of balanced and co-operative partnership between the U.S. and a smaller, much less powerful state is required, NORAD provides that example.
In conclusion, NORAD has been and is a success story in which it is in Canada's best interests to continue participation.
Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to make a couple of remarks about the speech that was made by my friend from Saanich-Gulf Islands.
First, since it has occurred twice now in the debate with respect to America's defences, not just North America but South America, I should tell the hon. member that Mr. Perry, my counterpart in the United States, convened a meeting of all defence ministers of the Americas for the first time in Williamsburg last October. A second meeting will be held later this year. We are starting to develop links with those countries through trade. Therefore, it is natural that security questions should be discussed also.
Second, I want to take note of the hon. member's criticism of my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, whom he alleges has said that the defence forces of Canada exist solely for peacekeeping. That was not what the minister said and the hon. member knows that is not true.
The fact is that peacekeeping is the most visible portion of our defence effort because we have been involved in so many peacekeeping efforts. The participation in IFOR in the last couple of months, the first NATO force to which I alluded earlier, shows that there are other bilateral arrangements and engagements in which we take part.
It is true that many in Canada believe that Canadian defence forces should be relegated solely to peacekeeping. Those people are wrong. Canada has armed forces for: first, domestic assistance to the civil authority; second, in defence of sovereignty, which is what we are talking about today with NORAD; and third, the involvement in multilateral assignments, most of which have been the UN but it is not exclusively so.
Last, I would just like to comment on the hon. member's continual reference to expenditure cuts in the defence budget which he is tying into the NORAD debate. I find it somewhat odd that Reform Party members, who have campaigned for the last few years on slashing the deficit and have chastised the Minister of Finance for not going fast enough, are being somewhat selective. When they do not like expenditure cuts in certain areas they then have some other justification for their position. We saw this in their defence of social programs when we know the Reform Party is out to demolish social programs. There is a bit of incoherence here.
Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for his intervention.
I am delighted to hear there has been some ongoing consultation with American defence ministers with regard to the establishment of a defence/security mechanism for the Americas. I hope that my reference to the NORAD example as being a workable indication that this will suit people will be taken forward.
With regard to the comments about Reform's budget cutting policies, what we say is that if a capacity is required then it should be provided. If it cannot be provided as an adequate capacity then it is not worthwhile supporting. The money should go where it is needed and there should be sufficient funds to make it work properly.
Mr. Hill (Prince George-Peace River): Otherwise, why do it?
Mr. Frazer: When the minister referred to the Reform position on social policies, he is forgetting what was said during the campaign. We said that the biggest single threat to social policies in Canada is the interest payments on the debt. That is exactly where we are right now. Since this government came into power, $10 billion extra is being paid out in interest on the debt which will hit over $600 billion this year. That is what is endangering our social policies and that is all.
Reform would again examine them and would focus its support on the people who really need it. That is not slashing, that is not demolishing, that is being sensible and forthright.
Mr. Collenette Mr. Speaker, he had an eloquent defence of his party's policy, but he talks about the interest on the debt. Obviously the interest on the debt is something that concerns us on this side of the House.
How does he plan to deal with that problem if he is advocating that we do not make expenditure cuts in operations? Defence is one of the largest operating departments.
If we had not cut defence by the amount that was in the budget last week, can he tell us where the Reform Party would have got the money to deal with this problem?
Mr. Frazer: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. minister would take the time to read the taxpayers' budget, he would find out where those cuts were. He would also be aware that this time next year we would be debating what to do with the small surplus that would be forthcoming as a result of implementing that budget, not looking at another $24 billion down the drain including interest charges and cutting into social programs.
Mr. John O'Reilly (Victoria-Haliburton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with another member.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak about the importance of NORAD and to share some perspective with my hon. colleagues on the value derived from NORAD's agreement, naturally on behalf of the people of Victoria-Haliburton.
A 1994 review by the auditor general showed the Department of Defence was the largest body in government with 33,000 civilians, 77,000 regular personnel and 30,000 reserves. They have been faced since that time with CAP growth and yet have participated in unusually high levels of military operations; recently in the gulf war and engagements in the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and even the Oka crisis. We have every reason to be very proud of our military personnel.
Since the end of the cold war the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD, and the Canadian NORAD region, CANR, have undergone numerous changes to respond appropriately to the changing threat to North America.
Although change has been part of NORAD's evolution since its inception in 1957, recent political developments have been especially dramatic and significant. The response by NORAD demonstrates its commitment to providing effective and efficient aerospace defence for both Canada and the United States.
The foundation for NORAD was laid prior to the cold war when Canada and the United States joined forced to defeat the Axis powers of Europe and Japan. The August 1940 Ogdensburg Declaration formally articulated for the first time the concept of joint Canadian and American defence.
Following the second world war in February 1947 both Ottawa and Washington announced the principles for future military co-operation including air defence.
In 1954 the Royal Canadian Air Force chief of staff, Air Marshall C. Roy Slemon, held formal discussions with the commander of the United States air defence command, General Earle E. Partridge. They concluded that air defence for both countries could be best provided by a single organization with one command.
On August 1, 1957 the Canadian minister of national defence and the American secretary of defence announced the binational agreement for an integrated air defence command based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. NORAD was inaugurated as a command on September 12, 1957.
The first NORAD agreement was signed by the two countries on May 12, 1958 and has been renewed or extended seven times since. The current agreement will expire in May 1996. Today NORAD continues to assist each nation to safeguard the sovereignty of its air space, to contribute to deterrents by providing an aerospace surveillance capacity, to ensure threat evaluation and attack warning and to plan for an appropriate response to attack should deterrence fail.
Though each of these missions was born in the cold war, NORAD's mission emphasis has shifted significantly to adjust to changes in the strategic situation.
The air sovereignty mission has expanded to include south oriented surveillance and counter-drug operations. The attack warning mission has changed as well to focus on more accurate detection of single launches. The air defence postures have relaxed but the capacity to regenerate forces in a timely manner remains a priority.
Today's focus is clearly on air sovereignty, defined simply as each nation's right and responsibility to control the air space above its territory. Although air sovereignty is a national and not exclusively a military undertaking NORAD, provides Canada with an effective and efficient mechanism to monitor and control air space.
Surveillance systems detect, identify and track unknown aircraft approaching and/or entering Canadian air space. From January 1992 until October 1994 there were 1,624 unknown aircraft detected throughout NORAD. Historically Canadian NORAD regions account for 19 per cent of all NORAD's unknowns, 10 per cent in eastern Canada and 9 per cent in western Canada. When necessary, armed fighters are scrambled to intercept, identify and escort these unknown aircraft.
Counter-drug operations are a classic example of the air sovereignty mission. Although a small component of the entire air sovereignty mission, they are vital to the security interests of both countries and illustrate how well NORAD and Canadian NORAD regions have adjusted to emerging threats and changing national priorities.
The May 1991 renewal of the NORAD agreement included surveillance and monitoring of aircraft suspected of smuggling drugs as part of NORAD's mission. NORAD's goal is to end undetected and unchallenged air trafficking of illegal drugs into North America. To achieve this goal NORAD and Canadian NORAD regions have surveillance and alert forced capable of responding to aerial trafficking. They also have improved communication and co-ordination procedures with drug law enforcement agencies.
Canadian NORAD's regional forces have been drastically reduced and restructured to meet today's threat. The emergence of a new threat in the form of air launched and sea launched cruise missiles in the 1980s lead to sweeping changes in NORAD's surveillance systems.
An agreement authorizing extensive upgrading and modernization of air defence systems was reached by the Canadian and American governments in March 1985. The result was the North American air defence modernization project. This project replaced the antiquated distant early warning line and the north warning system comprising 54 modern radar sights stretching from the west coast of Alaska across Canada's Arctic mainland, and then along the east coast through Labrador.
Eleven sights located in Canada have long range radars and 36 short range radars fill gaps and provide improved small target detection. Additionally, four Canadian coastal radars provide long range coverage on Canada's east and west coasts.
Another part of NORAD's improvements to its surveillance capability is the ballistic missile early warning system. This system includes sights located in Flyingdales, United Kingdom, Thule, Greenland and Clear, Alaska. The Thule system in Greenland was upgraded in 1987. The Flyingdales site was upgraded to provide 360 degree coverage for all of Europe and North Africa in 1992.
Canadian fighter forces have also been adjusted to match today's situation. At the end of the cold war in 1989 Canada had seven operational squadrons. These squadrons were available for immediate deployment and ready to fight on arrival. Today there are four squadrons and training levels have been reduced to the extent that it would require several days of training, depending on the tasking, before any of the squadrons could deploy and be combat ready in a specific theatre.
The benefits and membership of NORAD are outstanding. Standardizing equipment among members is probably one of the leading ones. Having a structure in place during peace time is a lesson we should take from our immediate histories. Situations like the gulf war and desert storm must keep us on alert and in readiness mode for our own protection.
Leading edge technology and space based technology are also another large part of the advantages of NORAD. It is the single most important agreement between Canada and the United States. Another part is environmental protection; radar sites for the protection of our lands and the animals that populate the areas in question.
Last year the president of the United States and the Prime Minister of Canada renewed their commitment to NORAD.
We have every reason to take a hard look at the defence budgets and adjust them to the times we are in. As I stated, in a 1994 review by the auditor general, our defence indicated 33,000 civilians, 77,000 regular personnel and 30,000 reserves; this with a capped growth, and yet they have participated in unusually high numbers of engagements with success have served our country proud.
We have every reason to be proud of our military personnel and the role they play in NORAD.
Mr. Francis G. LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague whether in his opinion NORAD is a good deal for Canada.
Mr. O'Reilly: Mr. Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for the question. I indicated the benefits to Canada for a DND budget of $320 million as probably one of the least expensive agreements any nation could have with the United States.
Though there is a crisis in Cuba right now and that Canada is having some differences there, I still think that 99 per cent of the agreements Canada has with the United States, the giant to the south, are excellent agreements and this is one of them. Although minuscule problems do occur, they can be solved with this type of agreement in place.
Mr. Jesse Flis (Parkdale-High Park, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in the debate today. It is a double pleasure because the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence gave me the honour of chairman of the Canadian section of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence between Canada and the United States.
This Permanent Joint Board on Defence was formed through a meeting of Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Roosevelt at Ogdensburg, New York on August 18, 1940. They came out with a joint statement issuing the announcement of this permanent joint board. That board has been meeting since 1940, sometimes more than twice a year. Now it is twice a year with one meeting in
Canada and one in the United States. The last meeting of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence was in Kingston on October 10 to 12, 1995. The 197th meeting will be held in the first week of April in the United States. I am the Canadian chair and Dwight Mason is the chairman of the U.S. section. He reports to President Clinton and I report to the Prime Minister of Canada.
It is at those meetings that we did discuss the renewal of the NORAD agreement. Is it okay as it is? Is there something lacking in the agreement that we should build in? We talked about the inclusion of something about protecting the environment. I am pleased the Minister of Foreign Affairs already mentioned that if there is any environmental dispute, it would be referred to the Permanent Joint Board on Defence between Canada and the United States.
The NORAD treaty is reflective of the positive and co-operative relationship that Canada and the United States have in so many areas. Our two countries are linked by defence, a dense web of common interest in a wide variety of areas. NORAD represents a highly valuable element of the defence web.
Since both ministers and other speakers before me have already given the content of the NORAD agreement, I would like to take this time to show how our two countries co-operate in other areas for the defence and security of our two countries, for example in the environment, energy and transportation.
Our two countries are stewards of much of the North American environment. Our mutual care of this environment is a model for the world. Our bilateral environmental relations are marked by a high degree of co-operation. Geography has made joint action and sensitivity to the rights and needs of each other a matter of both necessity and common sense.
Canada and the United States share a border close to 9,000 kilometres along over 300 rivers and lakes. Wildlife migrates back and forth across this border and air currents flow in both directions. To a significant degree, each country depends on the other to ensure that the great wealth of natural resources each possesses is managed in a sustainable fashion and that a high level of environmental quality is provided to its citizens.
Over the years a dynamic and multifaceted legal institutional framework for managing our shared environmental resources has evolved. This framework consists of both formal and informal arrangements.
At the formal level the oldest mechanism is the boundary waters treaty negotiated way back in 1909 between the United States and Great Britain on behalf of Canada. This treaty established the legal framework for the use and management of transboundary waters by the two countries. It created the International Joint Commission to prevent and resolve disputes. The commission has earned an international reputation for its handling of transboundary environmental issues in an independent, objective and collegial manner.
The treaty is a remarkable document which, to the credit of those who drafted it, has withstood the test of time. Among its notable provisions are those giving each country equal rights to the use of boundary waters and prohibiting the pollution of these waters by either country.
The 1991 air quality agreement provides a forward looking framework for addressing transboundary air quality issues and for establishing new commitments to control other transboundary air pollution problems in the future.
Other important agreements include the 1916 migratory birds convention, which is one of the oldest and most effective conservation treaties in North America, and the 1986 North American waterfowl management plan, which aims to restore continental migratory waterfowl populations.
In addition there is the 1978 Great Lakes water quality agreement. This agreement is perhaps the best example of constructive Canada-U.S. co-operation on environmental issues. First signed in 1972, the agreement provides a framework for cleaning up our most significant shared resource. Although more work needs to be done particularly in eliminating the input of persistent toxic substances, great strides have been made in restoring the lakes to an acceptable level of quality for the benefit of citizens on both sides of the border.
In addition to formal arrangements, there is a network of informal ad hoc linkages between various levels and departments of our two governments. Co-operative arrangements have also been forged between our provinces and the state governments in the U.S.A. The provinces are of special importance in the environmental area due to the significant responsibilities they have for natural resources and environmental management. Just as Canada and the United States must work together on environmental issues, so too must the federal and provincial governments.
An additional and valuable component of the Canada-United States environmental relationship is the many linkages that have been developed between environmental interest groups and between business and industry in both countries.
What this myriad of formal and informal linkages have in common is the recognition that air, water and wildlife do not stop at national borders. A case in point is the situation of the Porcupine caribou herd which is crucial to the life and livelihood of Canadian aboriginal communities. In a 1987 agreement Canada and the United States recognized that this herd is a shared resource. As a result, both governments are concerned about any plans that would cause harm to the herd's main calving grounds in Alaska.
It is important to note in this debate on the NORAD renewal that the new NORAD agreement will include a clause that provides for Canada-U.S. discussions of the environmental implications of NORAD operations. This underscores that sound environmental relations between Canada and the United States have become an important dimension in all areas of the bilateral relationship. It also underscores the recognition of the need to address in a consistent manner north and south of the border the environmental implications of joint defence activities. As I mentioned, the minister already mentioned in his remarks what happens if there is an environmental dispute when we are co-operating in NORAD exercises and activities.
Moving to the energy sector, Canada and the United States have a co-operative relationship which has benefited both countries for many years. Our energy relationship is governed by the principles of deregulation and non-discrimination within the framework of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. That is why I do not think we should get too uptight when Jesse Helms tries to pass legislation in the United States which affects Canadian businesses. We do have the NAFTA rules to go to and we have the World Trade Organization rules to refer to.
The success of Canada's oil and gas export industry in the United States is impressive by any standard. Canada is one of the United States' leading oil suppliers. Our current oil exports of one million barrels per day could increase as new developments such as the Hibernia field come on stream. Canadian natural gas now represents some 12 per cent of the U.S. market. Opportunities should grow as Canada's dynamic petroleum producing and pipeline companies continue to work closely with their U.S. partners.
Canada and the U.S. have a long history of electricity trade dating back to the first export of Niagara Falls power in 1901. We co-operate very closely on power issues within the context of the Niagara River treaty and the Columbia River treaty. Today Canadian provincial utilities export well over $1 billion in electricity to the U.S.A. However, we face important challenges in the coming years and I will briefly refer to some of them.
The U.S. electricity industry is now undergoing deregulation and restructuring. Current U.S. proposals may require Canadian electricity exporters to offer open access transmission in Canada if they wish to receive similar access in the U.S. The Canadian electricity industry and the Canadian government generally welcome new U.S. market opportunities offered by deregulation. However, the structure of the Canadian industry is different from that of the United States, with a small number of very large publicly owned utilities and provincial jurisdiction over electricity generation and distribution.
Canada too is moving toward electricity deregulation, but the pace of change in Canada may be different. We will work with the U.S. to ensure its co-operation in continuing our strong bilateral relationship during the transition. Together, Canada and the United States are putting in place advanced efficient energy systems that facilitate economic growth in both countries.
In the bilateral transportation area, NAFTA and open skies have expanded Canada-U.S. commerce and tourism tremendously. For example, Canada and the U.S. now trade $1 billion Canadian per day and open skies has helped Canadian Airlines International increase its transborder passenger traffic by 84 per cent. Air Canada traffic grew by 24 per cent. Last year more than one million people crossed the Canada-U.S. border.
These accomplishments put new stresses on the border however at a time of decreasing government resources for staff and infrastructure on both sides of the border. In response to the new realities of border management, Canada and the U.S.A. announced the accord on our shared border during President Clinton's February 1995 visit to Ottawa. This is a significant achievement.
The border accord is an agreement between the Canadian and U.S. border inspection agencies to jointly modernize and improve border management. The border accord functions as an umbrella agreement for various individual initiatives.
For individual travellers the CANPASS/INSPASS programs at airports and CANPASS/PORTPASS on highways allow frequent travellers to cross the border via special lanes. Rather than face a customs or immigration officer, travellers pass through an automated gate that is activated by a personal identifier such as a fingerprint or hand geometry. Duties can be paid by credit card. CANPASS is now available when entering Canada at the two highway crossings in B.C. and at the Vancouver airport. It is expected at all of the Pearson terminals, Dorval and Mirabel by the fall of 1996.
For commercial traffic, the NAFTA prototype will harmonize border documents and procedures in all NAFTA countries. Documentation will be shared electronically. New transponder technology will read electronic signals from properly documented trucks and allow them to cross the border without stopping. A prototype of this system is expected to be on line at Buffalo-Fort Erie this year.
Canada and the U.S.A. also co-operate on preclearance services. For example, since the 1950s air preclearance in Canadian airports has allowed U.S. customs and immigration officers to preclear U.S. bound passengers into the U.S.A. before crossing the border giving Canada based travellers direct access to the huge U.S. air network.
In the autumn of 1995 Canada and the U.S.A. agreed to extend preclearance services to the Ottawa airport. The U.S.A. is considering establishing preclearance services at Halifax. Other U.S. preclearance services are provided for the Vancouver-Seattle train service and for ferries travelling between B.C., Washington and Alaska.
When we look at the NORAD renewal we should not only be looking at that one agreement between our two countries. We should look at the whole mass of treaties and agreements we have to demonstrate to the world how our two countries live together in peace and harmony. We live together taking into account that air currents and water currents do not stop at a border; they travel back and forth. And so with our defence and with our security we must also look at the defence and security of North America.
The Speaker: I believe that terminates the member's time for the debate.
It being two o'clock, the House will now proceed to Statements by Members.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS[English]
This year's winning foursome came from St. Catharines, Ontario and consisted of Marilyn Bodogh, Jane Hooper-Perroud, Corie Beveridge and Kim Gellard. A capacity crowd saw the Ontario team post a 7 to 4 win over Alberta. It was truly an exciting eight days worth of curling.
Thank you Thunder Bay for a job well done.
* * *
This proud regiment and its predecessors have participated in the Northwest Canada Rebellion of 1885, the first and second world wars, the Korean conflict and many of Canada's peacekeeping obligations around the world. Members serving in the regiment have been awarded numerous and impressive medals and decorations for their dedicated and selfless contribution to Canada's military campaigns.
The government's attempt to cut the defence budget on the backs of cost effective reserve units will sever the link between the Canadian Armed Forces and local communities and undermine the glorious contributions of reservists across the country. Instead, the reserves should be bolstered by directing savings from the bloated civilian and military bureaucracies to combat personnel and equipment.
The South Alberta Light Horse Reserve has an outstanding history. Our nation has benefited from the service and sacrifice of these men and women who have served Canada well. The government should preserve, not obliterate their presence.
* * *
I would like to commend the minister for endorsing the consensus recommendations and his commitment to seeking resolution where agreement was not reached.
The minister has shown that he is willing to listen to the concerns of fishermen and to continue to work toward resolution on the more contentious issues.
Because of concerns expressed to me by fishermen, I have been recommending for months that the core criteria be revised to include fishermen who have 75 per cent of their earned income from fishing which will include many small handline fishermen. The minister's commitment to this change is very important.
While not all of the issues were resolved, I am pleased by the amount of consensus coming from the meetings. It shows that a free flow of dialogue between the fishermen and the department can lead to new agreements and a better working relationship. I commend all who were involved for their patience and flexibility.
* * *
Last night in Toronto the Acadia men's hockey team showed tremendous determination in the CIAU final against Waterloo and came away with a thrilling 3-2 victory. Combining their speed and quickness with a total team effort, Acadia was unstoppable in its quest for its second national title in four years.
Goals from Paul Doherty, Wade Whitten and Christian Skoryna, combined with a stellar goaltending performance from rookie Trevor Amundrud, proved to be the difference in this game.
I want to pass on my congratulations to the players, the coaching staff, Acadia University, and, of course, the hundreds of fans who travelled to Toronto to cheer Acadia to victory.
Last night the Acadia Axemen proved that they are truly a cut above the rest.
* * *[Translation]
How many additional millions is this going to cost Quebec taxpayers, when the federal government already spent at least $16 million to promote the Canadian identity during the 1995 Quebec referendum campaign?
I would ask the Prime Minister who is known to have condemned those he considered excessive devotees of the ``flag on the hood'', to remind the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage that moderation tastes better.
* * *[English]
No specific provision for public funding of RCI is contained in the government spending estimates tabled last Thursday. The heritage minister is making noises about continuing RCI but has given no indication that she is prepared to look at alternative funding through commercialization.
The minister is seeking out Canadian business financial support for her flag program. Why can the minister not use these contacts to seek support for RCI? She should give the employees a chance to prove that RCI is a viable enterprise that can sustain itself on corporate advertising. If the government is so confident in the private sector's ability to create jobs, let us see it happen.
I challenge the heritage minister to announce today that she is seeking advice and corporate support for the privatization of RCI rather than the traditional tax and spend Liberal approach that has driven the country to its knees.
By the way, speaking of people on their knees, when is she going to tell the RCI employees whether or not they have a job on April 1?
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This would not be such a remarkable event except for the fact that less than a year ago this young man was a star hurdler. He was run off the road in an act of violence and rendered a paraplegic. Rather than giving up, he has worked very hard training over this past year. After entering his first wheelchair race last week, he came second.
We are all very proud of Tyler Keith and we hope he keeps it up.
* * *[Translation]
This race, which took place in Melbourne, Australia, made it possible for the rest of the world to discover what Quebecers and Canadians have known for a long time: Jacques Villeneuve is one of the greatest race car drivers in the world. We are convinced that, without an unfortunate mechanical problem, Jacques Villeneuve would have started his promising Formula 1 career from the top step of the podium.
On behalf of my colleagues in this House, I congratulate Jacques Villeneuve for his talent and determination. He makes his country proud.
* * *
Villeneuve perform in his first Formula 1 race in Melbourne, Australia.
Jacques Villeneuve started from the pole position. Already this is a feat for a beginner in Formula 1. He led throughout the race but, because of mechanical problems, he had to leave that position only 5 laps before the end. He has shown everybody that he really is to be taken seriously in the Formula 1 racing. He still has to run several races before this summer, but he will be in Montreal on June 16 and we will be very glad to see him race on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. Congratulations, Jacques, on your performance.
* * *
In reply to that legitimate concern and in order to reassure people on the future of health, post-secondary education and welfare programs, our government promised to maintain the level of funding of that program for five years. This is further evidence of this government's commitment towards the development of a true partnership with all the provinces.
* * *[English]
At the heart of these initiatives are the needs of the child. While it took government action to bring about the legal changes, it was as a result of the parents, generally mothers raising their children alone, who pushed this issue forward, Suzanne Thibaudeau's court challenge to a law she felt treated her unfairly; my colleague, the member for Nepean whose private member's bill focused attention on this topic; and the member for Westmount whose leadership articulated the needs of many witnesses who appeared before us.
Finally, the loudest praise is for the thousands of custodial parents who have lived with the former system, for whom this issue was not an interesting legal point but grim reality which hit them every time there was not enough money for the extras, or even the necessities.
It was emotionally draining and difficult for many not used to expressing themselves forcefully or in public. But still they came and our hat is off to them.
* * *(1410 )
Our nation is famous around the world in assisting with dispute resolution among nations. What are the Liberals doing to prevent a further increase in tensions? Already free movement in shipping lanes has been impeded. Trade throughout the Asia Pacific region has been disrupted.
The lack of Liberal leadership could tarnish Canada's hard earned international reputation. Canada must demonstrate leadership before conflict breaks out. The Liberals have no constructive policy, nothing to offer to help alleviate the tensions between Taiwan and China. Under the chaotic command of the Liberals, Canada's defence policy, foreign affairs policy, and international trade policy are in conflict.
This government should offer to help broker a resolution between Taiwan and China.
* * *
This budget is the same old Liberal policy that cuts social programs. Canadians will see less services and higher taxes as the provinces struggle to deal with massive social program funding cuts. Saskatchewan alone will lose $110 per capita.
It is the same old Liberal policy that gives tax breaks to the wealthy. The Liberals passed Bill S-9 which gives wealthy Cana-
dian families tax breaks on U.S. assets and tax credits for donations to American universities. Meanwhile education funding is cut and the GST remains.
It is the same old Liberal policy that keeps the unemployment rate high. It is the same old Liberal policy that ignores small business. This past year small business created 100 per cent of all net new jobs in Canada but the budget left them out in the cold.
This budget stays the Liberal course of ignoring the needs of middle class and poor Canadians, ignoring fair taxation, job creation and adequate health and education funding.
* * *
This meeting was organized to provide province-wide input and discussion on the review of Canada Post, in part because P.E.I. is being ignored by the review committee set up by the former minister.
Participants stressed the importance Canada Post plays with respect to our Canadian heritage when we as a country are struggling to redefine ourselves. Canada Post is an institution that operates in many communities throughout Canada. Its continued existence is essential, especially in rural communities where it shows the presence of the federal government and provides services which must be accessible to all Canadians.
I will be sending a summary report to the mandate review committee but at this stage participants reinforced their support for the continued existence of Canada Post and all the services it provides.
* * *
The people of Durham expressed their concern for these programs, specifically the Canada pension plan, in three town hall meetings that I held recently.
They were very clear about the general direction of change. Most understood the shortcomings of the plan and how assumptions made in 1966 now significantly depart from reality. They wanted the assurance that changes would not affect those who have already made their retirement plans, the pensioners that are now receiving or soon to receive benefits.
They also took exception to governments, whether provincial or federal, assuming they could invest any reserve balances at their discretion to refinance their own deficits. They wanted the assurance that funds would be invested wisely at market rates, and they questioned the wisdom of allowing governments to make those decisions.
Canadians will continue to need a mandatory plan but the people of Durham want it managed better.
* * *[Translation]
This protest was aimed at expressing their frustration with the Liberal government, which is showing a total lack of understanding on this issue. The government must withdraw this bill that will hurt seasonal workers, among others. The government must go back to the drawing board and propose to the people of Canada and Quebec a reform that will reflect the new realities of the labour market.
Yesterday's protest shows the government, particularly the Deputy Prime Minister, that the people who condemn the unemployment insurance reform do it because they want justice and equity. These are not separatists, but men and women who cannot see the end of the tunnel.
* * *(1415)
Canadians have been demanding more accountability from their government institutions. The auditor general has no jurisdiction over the wheat board and the wheat board is not even subject to the Access to Information Act.
Wheat board commissioners set their own pensions and those of their dependants and nobody knows that they are. Clearly this is not accountability.
I urge all members of the House to support this bill which will ensure farmers and Canadians that the board is operating in a more open and accountable manner. This will send a positive message to Canadians.
ORAL QUESTION PERIOD[Translation]
Since the government is doing so little to create jobs, how can it justify going on to attack a tool as effective in creating and maintaining jobs as the labour-sponsored venture capital funds, because they invest all their money in Canada's economic development?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt as to the importance of these funds in creating jobs and there is no doubt as to the management capability of these funds.
That said, I have to point out that there is enough money in the funds for the next three years, that is, they have grown considerably, and the measures we have taken will not affect them. There is money available.
It was also agreed from the start that major incentives were needed to get these funds off the ground. Now that they are established, we think it important to lower the incentives in order to free the money for use elsewhere, specifically to create jobs for young people.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would correct the minister and remind him that the fund set up by the CSN, for example, is a new one and has not had time to capitalize and really get off the ground. The blow dealt it by the Minister of Finance is extremely hard for such a fund to absorb; it could well cut it off in mid flight.
I would ask the minister how he explains his attack on the labour-sponsored venture capital funds, when he has not withdrawn the authorization given RRSPs-regular registered retirement savings plans-in January 1994 to invest 20 per cent of their funds abroad, promoting job creation, but abroad?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied the new CSN fund, which we, the government helped develop, will grow hugely.
Furthermore, as regards the RRSPs and foreign investment, it must be said that the aim of RRSPs is not only investment in Canada but also the protection and expansion of pension funds to protect Canadians' pension plans.
In addition, Canada, and the province of Quebec, I must add, are dependent on foreign capital. It is therefore not in our interest to limit Canadians' ability to invest abroad, on one level, because we want to encourage foreigners to come and invest here at the same time.
Mr. Michel Gauthier (Leader of the Opposition, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is important that we understand each other well, the Minister of Finance and I. Therefore, I ask him the following: How can his government-the government that is doing so little for job creation, I would remind him-how can it justify giving tax exemptions to people investing in RRSPs, who, through these RRSPs, are permitted to invest 20 per cent of their capital outside the country, who thus keep or create jobs outside the country, when this 20 per cent can go as high as 36 per cent through an investment in trust companies?
How does the Minister of Finance justify the hard blow to the labour-sponsored venture capital funds, which invest and ask only to invest all their money in keeping and creating jobs at home? They are trying to save and maintain our businesses. Is this not reason for him to change his mind?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when we look the investments these funds make, we see that a fairly significant percentage is in debentures and has not gone directly to job creation, for the pure and simple reason-and they will tell you so-that there is a shortage of investments and it takes a bit of time. That is why I said there was enough at least for three years. There is nothing there to slow growth or job creation.
On the other hand, the measures we took with respect to these funds have been very well received throughout Canada, including in Quebec, because we recognize that these funds were established to help them get started, and, now that they are established, things are going quite well. I should add, as far as the 20 per cent is concerned, I have said in this House that it was not this government's intention to permit more than 20 per cent. But, it must be said that pension funds in Canada invest in companies that create jobs abroad.
I am sure the Leader of the Opposition would not want the Caisse de dépôt to stop investing in Canadian companies creating jobs abroad.
* * *
countries considered as tax havens and advise big business on how to avoid paying Canadian taxes.
My question is to the Minister of Finance. How can he believe that the public will have confidence in a committee whose membership includes people whose own firms take advantage of tax havens, and whose very business consists precisely in advising clients on how to reduce or eliminate completely taxes payable to Revenue Canada?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): First of all, Mr. Speaker, when the same question was asked of me last week by the same member, I told him that three committee members, including the chair, are academics with no connections with any corporations, or major multinationals.
Having said this, I am convinced that the hon. member will realize that, if what we want is to look at how to close up tax loopholes or the ways companies wrongly get around job creation or foreign investment requirements, it is worthwhile to consult precisely those who are knowledgeable about such loopholes, not people who know absolutely nothing about them.
Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, how can the minister believe for even a minute that those committee members would agree to chop off the very branch they are sitting on? Not likely. It is anything but logical.
What I am asking the Minister of Finance under the circumstances is this: Is he not in the process of providing a first class funeral for business tax reform? If that is what he is up to, let him admit it.
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if one wants to examine social policy, one will ask those people who are experts in social policy. If one wants to examine environmental policy, one will ask those people who are experts in environmental policy. If one wants to close tax loopholes, who better to ask than those who know how to create them?
Surely the hon. member would not really want us to ask members of his party who have professed total ignorance of the Tax Act since they have been elected.
* * *
Creative writing is one thing but people in Canada thought they were voting in a government, not a thesaurus. Words have to mean the same thing. Replace means replace. Scrap means scrap, kill or abolish.
These people across the way have clearly broken their election promise time after time. Why will the finance minister not simply admit the government has no intention of scrapping, killing or abolishing the GST?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I quote from the red book once again: ``A Liberal government will replace the GST with a system that promotes federal-provincial fiscal co-operation and harmonization''. Harmonization means harmonization means harmonization.
Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, rest assured there will be no harmony with this harmonization, especially in the province of Alberta with no provincial sales tax.
The truth is the government has simply broken its promise to Canadians. What is worse, it plans to replace the GST with a new super tax that will increase the cost of textbooks, heating oil and funerals, to name a few.
In Ontario alone the Liberal super tax would amount to a tax increase of $3 billion a year. That is why residents of Toronto will be gathering in front of the Sheraton tonight at seven o'clock to protest this Liberal plan.
How much will this new Liberal super tax, the twin of the GST, add to the yearly tax bill of Canadians?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it would not add to the tax bill of Canadians. If a number of the provinces were to harmonize, it could well lead to a reduction in taxes. It would certainly lead to a reduction in the cost of administration which would be passed on to consumers.
The Reform Party is so desperate to seek issues. Nobody ever said that in the province of Alberta it would be imposed on Albertans. We now have virtual harmonization in Alberta because there is no tax.
For the hon. member for Beaver River to consistently raise straw people and say here is a problem when none exists, surely to heaven she can put her attention to the problems and the opportunities of the country rather than the figments of her own imagination.
Miss Deborah Grey (Beaver River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, you will be surprised to learn that several straw people will be outside the Sheraton in Toronto tonight because taxes are taxes and people feel that very strongly.
The minister talks about fairer taxes. How fairer will this new super tax be? First, it increases the tax bill for consumers. No matter what he says he simply will not convince Canadians who are already paying too much in taxes. Second, it kills jobs. A recent study done by the University of Toronto estimates that the Liberal government's new super tax will kill 74,000 jobs in Ontario alone.
That is not a straw person saying that. It will also reduce real income substantially. That is not a straw person. It will also slow economic growth for real people, not straw people.
How will this new super tax be fair to anyone, especially Liberal members seeking re-election?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker this tax has been recommended by the Canadian Tax Foundation. Tax simplification is vitally important to small and medium size business.
Can the hon. member tell me why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recommends this tax? I will tell her. It wants to create jobs among its membership. Why does the Chamber of Commerce recommend this tax? It knows how good it will be for Canadians.
What is the matter with the member for Beaver River that she refuses to accept that Canadians want tax simplification and lower costs? Why does the Reform Party not wake up and smell the roses?
* * *[Translation]
Yesterday, more than 2,000 people demonstrated for the withdrawal of the unemployment insurance reform bill, which now goes by the number C-12. That group was made up of Quebecers from a number of different regions, New Brunswickers, Micmac, people from the Gaspé, Acadians, anglophones, all coming together to demand that bill C-12 be withdrawn. They have had enough of the government's dumping on the disadvantaged and the middle class to control the deficit.
Will the minister acknowledge that what people are demanding, people who need a real unemployment insurance scheme, is not minor amendments but withdrawal of this bill?
Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that again yesterday people were expressing their concerns about the proposed bill, which was first known as C-111. I trust that my hon. colleague, as well as those voicing their concerns yesterday, will wait for the reaction of MPs, such as my hon. colleague, who sit on the Committee on Human Resources Development.
That committee is now charged with examining Bill C-12, which is an exact reproduction of the former bill, as required by parliamentary procedure. There will, however, be changes, amendments and it is somewhat surprising to hear that the hon. member has already decided these would be minor.
I have confidence in the committee and I am confident that the proposals from members interested in improving the situation will be serious and extensive.
Mrs. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we have read the budget, and if there had been any signal of an in-depth reform, we would have seen it.
Is the minister aware that, as long as the Minister of Finance continues to take $5 billion each year from unemployment insurance premiums, the best that can be done is cuts and mini-reforms, which will be disastrous both economically and socially?
Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I should point out that the Minister of Finance has not taken any $5 billion from the unemployment insurance fund. The hon. member who is the Bloc finance critic can, I am sure, explain to his colleague that the surplus is, moreover, extremely small at this time.
That surplus is expected to increase, but I must remind the hon. member that, at this very time last year, we were in a deficit situation with the unemployment insurance fund. What is very important to realize is that we must not interfere with a surplus, even one that has actually existed until recently only in the mind of the hon. member.
* * *[English]
That would be good news if it were true, but it is not. The Nisga'a deal just substitutes one kind of tax exempt status for another. It would mean that all Nisga'a lands and any business that is run by the Nisga'a central government is tax exempt.
How can the Minister of Finance justify permanent exemptions from taxation on no other basis than race?
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one of the key issues we had to address is how to deal with taxation of aboriginal people. We did it in what we thought was a humane and progressive way by saying: ``We will work with you toward profitability and self-sufficiency and at a certain time you have a responsibility to pay taxes''.
It is through that type of sensitivity and philosophy that a deal was reached with the Nisga'a. I would think the Reform Party, which has been calling for a system of taxation, would hail such a
system where aboriginal people are now saying: ``We will agree to that. We will pay taxes like everybody else. Just give us a hand to get there''.
Mr. John Duncan (North Island-Powell River, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the minister is continuing to perpetuate a myth that is not true in this agreement. This leads to constitutional entrenchment of tax exemption. This is unfair. It is that simple. Disguising it under the terms of a land deal makes it no less unjust. Other businesses in the area will not be able to compete with tax exempt businesses run by the Nisga'a central government.
If the Indian affairs minister is serious about fairness, will he commit to restoring real fairness by levying the same tax on the Nisga'a that all other Canadians will have to pay?
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of our side, this riding is represented by a Reform member, the member for Skeena, who has never mentioned a word in the House about the Nisga'a.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Irwin: It is true, thirty per cent of his riding; 23,331 natives in the Nisga'a area are members of his riding.
Businesses at Terrace are now looking at this as a business opportunity. Rather than lining with the Reform and saying they want a referendum they are now saying: ``Maybe we should get in our cars, drive that hour and a half and talk to the Joe Gosnells of the world''.
Last week the media in B.C., Alberta and Ontario supported this. Bill Young, 72 years old, one of 240 people in the area, said: ``I feel good about this. I think a lot of people around here feel good about it too''. So do we.
* * *[Translation]
According to this government's third budget, in the future, pension benefits for senior women with spouses will be determined on the basis of family income, thus reducing their benefit level and their degree of financial independence. Questioned on this subject in this House last Thursday, the Minister answered, and I quote: ``-nine women out of ten will get more money because of our reform''.
Will the Minister of Finance finally recognize in this House that this decision to make pension benefits dependent on family income is a direct attack on the independence achieved by women as a result of 50 years of continued efforts?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Not at all, Mr. Speaker. As I have already stated in this House: nine women out of ten will benefit from this reform.
Take the poverty level for example; one absolutely aberrant consequence of the poverty that exists in certain parts of our country is the high percentage of women who are affected. That is why one of the goals of our reform was precisely to benefit these women. In fact, I think we have done a great job of ensuring that they will be better off.
Mrs. Suzanne Tremblay (Rimouski-Témiscouata, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the minister, in repeating himself, left something aside; he forgot to mention that these nine out ten women are ``single'' women, not women with spouses.
My question is about women with spouses. Since he is so sure of his facts, this must mean that he directed his officials in the department to conduct some studies. My question to the minister is very straightforward. Tell him, Mr. Speaker, that it is very straightforward. How many women with spouses will see their pension cheques cut or taken away as a result of the bad decision announced in the minister's budget?
Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, 75 per cent of all Canadians will benefit from this reform. Seventy five per cent of all Canadian men and women, and women are the majority. In fact, women represent not only the majority of the population, but also the majority of seniors. Quite clearly, the vast majority of women with spouses will benefit from this program.
* * *[English]
Will the Minister of National defence stop playing politics with these worried employees and sit down and tell them which base areas and personnel are to be affected by privatization?
Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, alternative service delivery is one means by which we are cutting costs at
national defence. In the budget last week we mentioned a number of locations that would be eligible candidates for such alternative service delivery.
Alternative service delivery does not necessarily mean privatizing in its pure sense. It could also mean an arrangement whereby the current employees are involved. All these matters are to be discussed with our employees and the unions.
As for the specific question, there is no proposal on the table. We have just announced that this particular base may be a candidate and we have to look at it over the coming months.
Mr. Jack Frazer (Saanich-Gulf Islands, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the employees have been informed that the plan has already left the base. These employees are not only being kept in the dark about their future, they are even being denied the right to bid on these contracted out functions. They are also worried that a local Liberal supporter has an inside track in seeking this contract.
Will the minister assure this House that all legitimate bids for contracting out will be considered and that we will not see yet another example of political payoff and patronage at 5 Wing Goose Bay?
Hon. David M. Collenette (Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member accused me of playing politics. It seems that this particular member who has never uttered one question on anything pertaining to defence arrangements in Newfoundland before, now rises at this point in time with this specific question. The reason he is so concerned about undue Liberal influence in that riding is that just about everybody votes Liberal in the elections and they will do so on March 25.
* * *[Translation]
The minister proposes to establish a health services research fund, on which he will spend $65 million over five years, and whose mandate is to identify, and I quote: ``what works best in our medical system'' and ``what does not''.
How can the minister, on the one hand, threaten the quality of health care by cutting transfer payments to the provinces and, on the other hand, spend $65 million on a committee to find out what does not work in the system?
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have to take issue with the thesis of the hon. member's question.
The Minister of Finance has given exactly what provincial ministers of health have wanted for quite some time. He has given them consistency. He has given them a cash floor as it relates to the CHST and he has given longevity in terms of the amount of money that will be provided in terms of the transfers.
With regard to the second part of her question in terms of the health services research fund, this is a very creative tool which the Minister of Finance has agreed to. It will help to lever money from other provincial governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations in order to look at research which will have an immediate impact on cutting the cost in terms of the health care system. It is not a form of duplication anywhere in the country. We want to work co-operatively and consult with the provinces on the best way in which to utilize the fund, provided of course that they wish to be a part of it.
Mrs. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the government has already spent $12 million on the national forum on health. And it is now setting aside $65 million for a research fund.
Does the minister realize that he could have used this $77 million in public funds in a different way, if only the federal government agreed to withdraw from this area, which comes under the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces and in which it is interfering through its spending powers?
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, maybe at some other time we will have an opportunity to debate the hon. member's assertion that this is exclusively a provincial matter.
The research fund which is being put in place by the Minister of Finance is a very creative tool. Provincial governments that deliver health care in this country would then have the ability to utilize that kind of money on research which is needed. It will be conducted by the Medical Research Council. It will be done at arm's length to the minister involved. It will provide paybacks to the health care system not only for the first year but indeed in the years to come.
* * *
report indicates that Health Canada is prepared to take a leadership role to make sure that the Krever recommendations are implemented.
Could the Minister of Health tell the House what is being done now to reassure Canadians of the safety of their blood system?
Hon. David Dingwall (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Justice Krever has a made a significant positive contribution to the country's blood system. His interim report of 43 different recommendations and the seven which apply to Health Canada have all been acted upon.
As a result of Justice Krever's recommendations where he talked about the lack of governance in the blood system in this country, today I have embarked upon a consultation process not only with provincial governments but with all of the major stakeholders and consumers across the country to try to put in place a system of governance for the blood system.
It is our obligation to work co-operatively and effectively with all of the players to ensure that the blood system in this country which is presently safe is the safest system in the entire world.
* * *
Two hundred and eighty-seven kilometres of the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan have not yet been twinned in spite of the provincial government's readiness to proceed under a federal-provincial cost sharing agreement.
The government here seems to have a bottomless purse to finance hockey rinks, swimming pools and useless projects like gun control but no real infrastructure. When will the government honour its cost sharing obligations, complete this important project and end the carnage on this death trap?
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, with the leader of the Reform Party promising hundreds of millions of dollars of highways in Labrador, I am surprised the hon. member did not follow up his leader's approach.
We have number of agreements in place with the provinces but of course we have limited funds. At the present time Transport Canada is putting out some hundreds of millions of dollars on joint programs that have been agreed to with the provinces to improve the road systems. We will obviously be looking at Saskatchewan along with the other requests that come in.
I must point out again to the hon. member and his party that funds are limited. The Minister of Finance is a hard taskmaster and we do not have the opportunity of spending money on roads right, left and centre as that party seems to believe we should.
Mr. Lee Morrison (Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I think the only time the hon. minister looks at Saskatchewan is when he flies over it.
I am glad the minister mentioned Labrador because the section of the Trans-Labrador Highway from Churchill Falls to Goose Bay is a national disgrace. It is very strange that when there is a 90-10 sharing agreement available for the Trans-Canada Highway, the best the government has been able to come up with for Labrador is 50-50. Our annual foreign aid to China would pay for that section of highway many times over. Where are the government's priorities?
Hon. David Anderson (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, before this government took office the previous government did a study of the Trans-Labrador Highway. There were two aspects involved. The cost to bring it up to a paved two lane highway with .8 meter paved shoulders and a design speed of 100 kilometres was $625 million. It went up from there to the second phase to between $700 million and $1.125 billion.
That is the type of approach of the party opposite: endorsing for short term byelection purposes extravagant road building projects in Labrador. I would like to think that party would adopt a more responsible approach, particularly in light of the responsible budget we heard in the House only a week ago.
* * *[Translation]
How can the government pretend to help young people when, in fact, it reduces funding for education by hundreds of millions, in return for a few temporary jobs?
Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, young people in CEGEPs, community colleges and universities certainly do not have the same understanding of the program as does the hon. member. They know full well that the only jobs that make sense for people who are still studying at a post-secondary level are temporary ones. This is what
happens when one attends university; these students do not expect permanent jobs this summer.
I can tell you that the young people whom we met were really appreciative of the fact that, in our budget, and in spite of all the restrictions imposed by every province as well as by the federal government, we still managed to double the moneys available to create jobs for Canadian students this summer.
Mr. Pierre Brien (Témiscamingue, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we obviously do not meet the same people. The students I know are not very pleased by the fact that they are being deprived of $500 million in return for $60 million. They do not see this as a helpful measure.
Does the minister realize that, by making cuts in social transfers and, consequently, in the funding of post-secondary education, he deprives young people of a decent education, accessible to all, and of true access to the job market?
Hon. Douglas Young (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one of the problems with Bloc Quebecois members is that they are totally disconnected from reality.
If anybody in the Bloc Quebecois has a list of students they do not want to have helped by the summer student job creation program, send it over. Across the country and in Quebec young men and women are looking for work and they are extremely pleased that the government in these circumstances has found the way to double the amount of money available for summer student employment.
It is an indication of the lack of concern the hon. member has that again he plays politics on the backs of young people while pretending to support them.
* * *
The red book promised a $900 million increase in research and development yet these are the facts: Last year the Liberals cut heavily into basic research and eliminated capital gains exemptions. Why did the government break its promise to increase R and D funding by $900 million? Better yet, why did the government not create tax incentives for research and development rather than subsidies?
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was interested to hear the Reform Party advocating increased tax breaks and increased spending, but we will take that under advisement.
I am very happy the member raised the question of research and development. Today not only was the government able to release its science and technology strategy ``Science and Technology for the 21st Century'' but it also introduced the new program Technology Partnerships Canada. It will provide funding of $150 million next year, $200 million the following year and $250 million the year after, not in subsidies but in assistance to research and development. It is money for projects including environmental technologies and defence conversion. Again, these are red book check offs: defence conversion, environmental technologies, new funding for research and development. We are fulfilling our promises.
Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo-Chilcotin, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry is giving us the next chapter in the Liberal program of do as we say, not as we do.
Canadians were hoping for a forward looking science and technology strategy to create good long term jobs. Indeed they were hoping for some form of tax relief to spur investment growth in the emerging technologies. Instead, last year the Liberals killed the Tory defence industry productivity program, DIPP, and now they present a $250 million business subsidy dressed up as a non-subsidy. Call it son of DIPP.
Can the minister tell us how giving people back their own money and calling it not a subsidy is better than lowering taxes?
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the member has read the science and technology review he has a remarkable ability to read quickly because it is quite a thick document and was just made available to him this morning. I commend it to his reading. He may be surprised at what he finds there.
I ask myself who it is he has been talking to. Who is it out there who wants more tax loopholes when the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Advanced Technology Association, the Business Council on National Issues and the business organizations have all recognized that the kind of program we have designed is not a subsidy program. It is an investment program with repayable contributions to give Canadian firms the ability to compete on a level playing field with firms from across the world. This is where we are going to create jobs for the next century. This is where we are going to give Canadians the advantage they need.
Following the minister's statements in the House last week, China, which is a permanent member of the security council, fired three M-9 guided missiles which struck within 30 to 40 kilometres of the island of Taiwan. In light of these actions by China with whom we normally have good relations, can the minister assure the House that Canada condemns this unprovoked act of intimidation against Taiwan and that the peace and security in this region, an important one for Canada, will not be allowed to deteriorate further?
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member's question represents is the deep concern many Canadians and we in the government feel about the escalating conditions between China and Taiwan. We are deeply concerned that these matters not be allowed to escalate.
To underline that fact, I met again this morning with the Chinese ambassador. We had a very long discussion where on behalf of the Government of Canada and the people of Canada I reiterated that we should ensure that nothing is done to provoke or escalate the matter, that any differences should be decided by a peaceful negotiation and that we offer whatever good services we can in Canada to help provide a peaceful solution in that area.
* * *[Translation]
The minister denied last week that bribes were being given by her department's officials. But the minister knows perfectly well that former deputy minister Roger Tassé, in spite of a restricted mandate, said more in his public statement than he did in his report, and that his allegations were confirmed by Mr. Pascucci, president of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union.
Under the circumstances, why does the minister not call a new inquiry?
Hon. Lucienne Robillard (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have indeed received Mr. Tassé's report. We are looking at it now, and after studying all its recommendations, we will act on most of them. Again, Mr. Tassé's report contains no allegation of fraudulent or illicit acts involving any departmental officials.
Did the cabinet decide last week? If it did, does it believe the CRTC is fulfilling its 1994 order to open up competition and what was the decision?
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is aware that appeals have been lodged with the governor in council with respect to decisions of the CRTC. When cabinet has dealt with those appeals he and the public will be notified.
* * *
Within days of firing 25 per cent of the staff of its newly acquired Saskatchewan daily newspapers, your friend, Conrad Black's Hollinger Inc.-
The Speaker: I would like the hon. member to address his question through the Speaker and make it quite brief, please.
Mr. Solomon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Hollinger corporation threatened to put small independent community based newspapers out of business. It threatened to put the smaller weekly newspapers out of business by providing free newspapers in the communities of Melville, Wynyard, Canora, Kamsack, Preeceville, Norquay and Watson.
My question is this. Since the Prime Minister has challenged business to create jobs for Canadians and since his finance minister agrees that the firing of Hollinger employees at the Saskatchewan dailies is ``not behaviour that is supported by the community itself,'' could the Prime Minister tell the House when he will come to the aid of these small Saskatchewan businesses and communities by instructing the bureau of competition policy to initiate an investigation of the concentration of media-
The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Industry.
Hon. John Manley (Minister of Industry, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows the provisions of the Competition Act. If he has some information he wishes to disclose I know the director will want to investigate it.
He will also know that the director acts as an independent agent in investigating complaints that are made with respect to offences that may or may not have been committed under the Competition Act. I suggest that is the appropriate remedy.
The Speaker: My colleagues, this brings question period to a close.
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Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
The Speaker: I have notice of a point of order arising from question period from the member for Skeena.
* * *
The minister knows full well that this land claim is very important. It is a crucial issue in my riding. I have risen on it many times in the House. I have held many meetings in the riding with respect to this.
I would ask that the minister, to whom many of these interventions have been directed-
The Speaker: The hon. member of course raises a point of debate but it is not a point of order.
Mr. Stinson: It's in Hansard, the guy lied.
Mr. Abbott: The minister lied.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
The Speaker: The hon. member rose on a point of order. I heard his point of order. He is on the record and I have judged it to be not a point of order but a point of debate.
At times we get a bit excited in the House. I would ask all hon. members to please be very judicious in their choice of words, even when they are just reacting out loud. I would ask all hon. members to do that.
Mr. Scott (Skeena, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I ask for your guidance. If an issue arises in the House that has profound implications to me as a member of Parliament and for my riding, such as false information is put in front of the House, what am I entitled to do as a member of Parliament to ensure the record is straightened out?
The Speaker: I am sure the hon. member will see when he reviews the blues that he did have recourse today. He is now on the record. However I still judge that it is not a point of order. Perhaps it is a point of debate between members.
I am not here to say who is saying what is true. I am here to see to it that all members have a chance to speak and speak freely. If corrections are to be made they will be made as they have today.
Hon. Ron Irwin (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if I may clear the record for the benefit of the hon. member, he has spoken many times about this issue. The point I made is he has not spoken on the side of the Nisga'a people.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
The Speaker: Before we get into further debate I will call Orders of the Day.
* * *
More important, it is an occasion for me to underline Canada's strong partnership in the Commonwealth. Partnership is a word that is often used these days. In some ways it is almost in danger of becoming meaningless by the fact that it is so often used in so
many contexts, unless we give it meaning with real substance, real force and real action.
In my previous portfolio of human resources development we worked very actively in partnerships with the business community, local communities, charitable communities. We learned that the most effective partnerships were those where everybody had a voice in the process, where the objectives of the partnership were clear and where action was taken collectively to achieve our ends.
Often the most complex and seemingly difficult problems could be cracked wide open when the right people were brought together to collaborate, work and make sure their energies were used in a new synergy.
I believe that the Commonwealth can provide the active dynamic partnership to find solutions to many of the very complex, difficult problems affecting people around the globe.
We have proven before that developing solutions and bringing collective pressures to bear can produce important results, such as the change in the apartheid regime in South Africa which is one of the notable accomplishments of the Commonwealth over the past decade.
With 53 countries and 1.5 billion people represented, we have at our fingertips in the Commonwealth a potentially enormous force for wisdom, power and influence. The leaders of the Commonwealth can use that force to bring about important objectives to which we all aspire.
Our collective commitment to promoting democracy, good governance and greater respect for human rights is a high priority item of our Commonwealth program. This commitment was reaffirmed by the Harare declaration and during the summit of Commonwealth heads of government. We must act according to the old saying ``Charity begins at home''.
Obviously we are saying that we must begin at home.
In my recent speech to the non-governmental organizations in preparation for the 52nd UN Commission on Human Rights meetings, I stated the first principle of Canada's human rights policy must be a commitment to continue working on domestic agendas with particular regard to aboriginal people.
Such individual action by countries must be complemented by a collective action, if you like, a new partnership. By adopting the Millbrook action program, heads of government in Auckland this past year responded to a personal initiative by the Prime Minister to provide the Commonwealth with a much more expanded and explicit mandate to work for democracy and to respond in a preventive way to problems before they arise.
The creation of a Commonwealth ministerial action group as a part of this initiative is an ideal and important vehicle for carrying out that statement.
Currently this meeting of action groups of ministers is facing an enormous challenge in the form of the brutal regime in Nigeria. The execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other political prisoners during the last Commonwealth meeting was a call to action to which none of us can afford to be in any way indifferent.
The Commonwealth is at the forefront of condemning those killings. We must now take the lead in trying to bring about timely changes in Nigeria and not to be overtaken by events.
It is our partnership with all the forces described above which can advance to the next Commonwealth ministerial meeting in London in the next month, give real impetus for driving changes and creating a more open society in Nigeria. Like any successful partnership, we must have a clear objective and the means by which that objective can be achieved.
It is something to which the government is dedicated and we hope we can call on the support of all members of Parliament as we work within the Commonwealth to bring about major evolution and devolution of practices in Nigeria, to open up the system and to protect human rights.
In addition to the official Commonwealth that brings governments together, the Commonwealth is also a growing association of ordinary people having thousands of transactions across many borders every day of the year. Thousands of Canadians are active in international voluntary, professional, development and service organizations which are based on the Commonwealth.
Direct contacts between Canadians and individuals from this broad array of countries to these organizations are an important force in building international understanding and ensuring that Canada's position and reputation in the world can be enhanced.
I would like to conclude by reaffirming my personal commitment and that of the Government of Canada to the Commonwealth and the partnership it represents between peoples of different languages, different races, and different faiths around the globe.
We must join our efforts and work relentlessly to create a tolerant and stable world.
Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise this afternoon on behalf of my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois to mark Commonwealth Day on this second Monday in March.
This is the third time the Bloc Quebecois has the opportunity to celebrate this event in the House of Commons. As my predecessors did on previous occasions, I would like to stress how important Canada's membership in the Commonwealth is. It dates back to the very beginning of the organization, in 1931.
I cannot help but insist on the need for this government to finally give its true meaning to its Commonwealth membership. We will never say it often enough, the Commonwealth is the ultimate forum to debate the major issue of respect and promotion of human rights and democracy.
The last Commonwealth government heads meeting, which took place in New Zealand last November, was no exception. This last summit ended with Nigeria being suspended from the organization on account of the unusually harsh nature of its present government, which executed several political opponents, including Mr. Saro-Wiwa.
The Bloc Quebecois welcomes the three main objectives set at the Auckland summit, namely, to go beyond rhetoric, to put principles into effect, and to show determination to stick to them.
These new objectives, set out at the Auckland summit, show how Canadian policy, in terms of these three goals-the promotion of human rights and democracy, foreign aid and international trade-is inconsistent. I would like to take this opportunity to point out to the government that it is really unfortunate that it has opted for not going beyond the rhetoric and not making its actions conform to a consistent and transparent policy.
The government chose not to actively promote human rights and democracy in order to be able to focus only on its commercial interests.
In a different connection, I would like to remind the House, and in particular our English speaking fellow citizens in Quebec, that a sovereign Quebec would wish to remain part of the Commonwealth. This commitment is quite natural, since it reflects the value of our British heritage and traditions. The English speaking community in Quebec must be reassured in this regard. Need I remind them again that the nationalists have many times undertaken to ensure that a sovereign Quebec would fulfil its responsibilities towards the English speaking minority in Quebec?
English speaking Quebecers, as we have said repeatedly, will continue to enjoy all the collective rights they already have. I hope that this is no longer an issue for English speaking Quebecers. The English culture is as vibrant as ever in Quebec and we are very proud of it. It is part of the rich collective heritage we want to preserve. Historically, English speaking Quebecers have played a great role in the growth and evolution of Quebec society and their contribution is greatly appreciated by all of us.
The fact that Canada, and indirectly Quebec, is a member of the Commonwealth reminds us that English is not the preserve of English speaking Quebecers. The majority of French speaking Quebecers use it too. That is a firm guarantee that English will survive and prosper in Quebec. Needless to say, English is a great cultural language, and there is no reason to believe it is threatened in any way.
Sovereignists have expressed a desire to remain part of the Commonwealth. This is not only a sign of respect for the contribution the English speaking community has made to the development of Quebec, but it is also the best demonstration of our will to live all together in our modern and outward looking society.
Why would it not be possible to extend that concept to include a larger partnership which would be in the best mutual interests of the rest of Canada and Quebec? This would be an opportunity to give a real meaning to the word partnership.
Mr. Lee Morrison (Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity to rise on the occasion of Commonwealth Day. Canada has been a proud member of Commonwealth since its inception in 1931. The first secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Arnold Smith, was a Canadian who helped shape the spirit of international co-operation which remains the foundation on which the Commonwealth stands.
Over the years Canada has established a leadership role in the Commonwealth and provided an example for other countries to follow. Today Canada is the second largest financial contributor in the Commonwealth. That, coupled with our lack of a colonial past, should ensure that Canada maintains a guidance role in the organization for the future.
The Commonwealth in the mid-1990s has seen some dramatic changes. First, it was the readmittance of South Africa in 1984 and then the suspension of Nigeria in 1995. I hope that in view of the continuing intransigence of the Nigerian regime the Commonwealth will extend its suspension of Nigeria to outright expulsion.
Canada's current work within the Commonwealth in the fields of democracy, good governance and human rights is a worthwhile attempt to give the Commonwealth the identity it needs, an identity that will serve it into the next millennium.
As Canadians and our governments are attempting to do more with less, it is fitting on Commonwealth Day to examine the value Canada receives from its membership. I call on the minister to provide leadership in the ongoing renewal and review of Canada's membership not only in the Commonwealth but in all multilateral organizations in which we participate.
Canadians as well as the citizens of all Commonwealth member states would be well served by the Minister of Foreign Affairs were he to encourage the organization to examine its financing, goals and practices to ensure all member countries are receiving the greatest possible value for dollar from its activities.
However, this is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of the Commonwealth and look forward to the future. I join with my colleagues in their observance of Commonwealth Day.
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In four years the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum has grown from 15 to 25 member states in the Asia-Pacific region, many of them also members of APEC. Through regular dialogue this assembly has established itself as an important platform to enhance confidence, consultation and co-operation among its member countries.
As one of the founding members of this forum, Canada is a well established and active player in this assembly. Through this meaningful vehicle, Canada has the opportunity to build goodwill with Asia and to establish important contacts for future dealings.
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If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in the fifth report later this day.
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He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-88 of the first session of the 35th Parliament at the time of prorogation. I therefore request that it be reinstated as provided in the special order adopted on March 4, 1996.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-88 at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 35th Parliament.
Accordingly, pursuant to order made Monday, March 4, 1996 the bill is deemed to have been read the second time, considered by the Standing Committee on Industry and reported with amendments.
* * *[Translation]
He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is a social justice measure that protects the rights of workers in case their employer goes bankrupt since it gives priority to wage claims.
As a point of order, this bill is in the same form as Bill C-237 at the time of prorogation of the first session. I would like to mention that, the first time it was introduced, this bill was seconded by the late Gaston Péloquin, our former colleague and member for Brome-Missisquoi.
With the approval of my colleagues from the Bloc, of course, and also of 46 Liberal members and two NDP members, I ask that this bill be reinstated pursuant to special order of March 4.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-237 at the time of prorogation of the first session of the 35th Parliament.
Accordingly, pursuant to order made Monday, March 4, 1996, the bill is deemed to have been read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations.
* * *[English]
He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill has in one form or another been before the House for some time. Basically it is an act to prohibit the interbasin transfer of water used for export. Primarily it is intended to keep Canadian water in Canada.
Recognizing the actions of the Americans in the last little while, whether with regard to salmon, inland passage, Cuba, the marketing board, sugar or softwood lumber, we need to take some very clear steps in order to protect our water and ensure that we have adequate water for future generations.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
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He said: Mr. Speaker, this bill is the result of a number of initiatives taken by young people in my constituency and a number of neighbouring constituencies urging Parliament to consider reducing the voting age from 18 to 16.
They point out that at 16 young people are able to drive all sorts of vehicles on our highways, get married and raise a family, join the armed forces, collect unemployment insurance but cannot vote. There a lot of young people ages 16 and 17 who would enjoy the privilege of voting. This bill would give them that opportunity.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Is there unanimous consent?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to.)
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The petitioners are looking for a system that will deal with the overlapping regulations and investment climate making sure that this industry remains in Canada. This is part of the Keep Mining in Canada campaign. I am very much a large supporter of it and urge the government to pay attention to their interests.
The petitioners call upon Parliament to consider the advisability of extending benefits or compensation to veterans of the wartime merchant navy equal to that enjoyed by veterans of Canada's World War II armed services.
This petition obviously was signed in advance of the budget of the Minister of Finance, so we can put this one down for the next budget.
The petitioners point out a number of options and I will read a sample of them. They are asking to keep dangerous sex offenders and pedophiles locked up for life; to eliminate statutory release; to impose stiffer sentences for violent offenders; have violent offenders serve their full sentences; have time added for bad behaviour; have a central register for the names and addresses of violent offenders; and give the police more authority in apprehending and interrogating violent offenders, including the ability to take blood and saliva samples and on and on. Mr. Speaker, I think you get the point.
The petitioners feel very strongly about this issue. I am pleased to present the petition on their behalf.
The petitioners believe that the Senate should be abolished. If we abolished the Senate we would save $600 million over the next 10 years. They feel that because it is an institution which is not very productive this should happen. They ask the House of Commons to provide an amendment to the Constitution of Canada in relation to certain matters that may be initiated by a resolution in the House of Commons.
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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, Government Orders will be extended by 13 minutes.
Mr. Jean H. Leroux (Shefford, BQ): Mr. Speaker, first I want to tell this House that I support the motion tabled on March 5 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the importance of the role of the
North American Aerospace Defence Command, better known as NORAD.
I do support the government's intention of renewing the NORAD agreement with the United States for a further five years.
I support the motion, but I also want to propose some major changes to this strategic defence alliance, with a view to promoting a pan-American integrated alliance. As we know, the first NORAD agreement was signed on May 12, 1958. Since then, the agreement has been renewed seven times.
We all agree that the international situation is very different now, and that NORAD should adjust to the new reality. Let us first look at the political aspect. It is important to ensure that Canada is represented effectively. To that end, it is absolutely necessary that the Canadian government come up with a new defence policy that is sound, detailed and practical, given our international commitments as well as the state of Canadian public finances.
The government must assume its responsibilities by clearly stating its position in that regard, while also reiterating its commitment to NORAD. From a strategic point of view, the geopolitical context is changing at an accelerated pace. That evolution must not necessarily be viewed as the portent of a new era of peace in the world, quite the contrary.
The bloody conflicts that occur everywhere on the planet should make us aware of the need for this type of co-operation and for the development of new military alliances that are better integrated.
It would be illogical to think that, because of the disappearance of the bipolar world that came into existence after the second world war, we must stop playing a role in strategic alliances. On the contrary, we must develop such alliances, for they have served us well so far. It is through them that Canada, a middle power, has achieved a measure of credibility around the world.
Through our membership in NATO and our partnership with the U.S. as part of NORAD, we have developed a multilateral approach to the defence and security of North America.
We are working with our partners and allies to promote peace and stability because we know that we cannot do much on our own.
This, however, does not prevent us from reviewing our role in current alliances and redefining our mission within these alliances, in light of the changes dictated by today's realities and in anticipation of the new data that may affect us later.
I would now like to make a few points. Contrary to what many Canadians and Quebecers may think, NORAD is not an agreement for the integrated defence of North America but a bilateral defence agreement to develop a joint Canada-U.S air defence based on a unified command structure.
Earlier this week, we met with defence and foreign affairs officials, who told us that NORAD is costing Canada around $300 million a year. We pay about 10 per cent of the costs, which puts the total for both Canada and the U.S. at a little less than $3 billion.
Canada allocates 700 person-years to NORAD, while the U.S. assigns some 12,000 troops.
For the Canadian government, NORAD has always been the cheapest way to monitor and defend Canada's vast air space since implementation costs are shared.
Yet, since the early 1980s, the purpose and content of the NORAD agreements have changed in ways that have broadened the geographical area over which facilities are scattered and especially the nature of the equipment's surveillance and interception mission. It must be understood that times have changed, technology has evolved and NORAD has had to adapt.
The review process put in place when the agreement was last renewed, in 1991, concluded that NORAD ``was not obsolete'' in the unstable context of a world ``still equipped with nuclear weapons posing enough of a threat to justify maintaining collective air and space surveillance''.
The 1994 white paper on defence goes along the same lines. That is why the government undertook to take ``a close look at areas that may require updating in view of new challenges to continental security''.
The Bloc Quebecois is pleased with the government's decision to allow a debate to be held on the renewal of the NORAD agreement. This perfectly meets the expectations we has expressed in our dissenting report on the review of Canada's defence policy.
It must be understood that this House of the Canadian Parliament is the only elected House in Canada. It is therefore important that this kind of matter, that accords or agreements like this one, between Canada and the U.S. first be submitted to this House, and not the opposite, where we would be consulted after a decision was made. That is what I call phoney consultations, and that is unacceptable.
However, I think that, contrary to the way things were done in 1991, this time, as part of the renewal process, the new role of NORAD in the context of the post-cold war era should be examined much more openly.
The government could take this opportunity to redefine the primary role of NORAD, as promised in its 1994 white paper. On this subject, I would like to ask a few basic questions to this House and to the minister.
Today, in 1996, against whom does NORAD protect us? Does NORAD's initial role reflect the new dynamics of the post-cold war era? Why should we continue spending billions of dollars on defence if Canada is no longer threatened by any direct military threat? In all parts of Quebec and Canada, our constituents all ask the same think: What is the use of defence?
If the concept of security has really changed, would it not be wiser and more positive to put our limited resources to use for new purposes, within new structures and more appropriate alliances?
Given that NORAD was set up during the cold war, it goes without saying that the agreement served a different purpose then than it does now. In my opinion, NORAD no longer concerns exclusively Soviet military power.
This is what brings me to discuss the need to redefine NORAD's mandate and to make a proposal to the minister, namely that NORAD's new mandate should promote a pan-American integrated alliance. That alliance would essentially set up a joint detection and surveillance network to monitor the skies, lands and waters of the whole continent.
NORAD's mandate could be extended so as to include other partners from the American continent. The agreement could be a precious tool to link our economic and commercial interests to military alliances that can ensure some continuity to the political stability that is emerging in some Central and South American states.
In short, the time has come to develop a defence policy that is responsible, turned to the future and, above all, that reflects Canadian democratic values. I do not claim to know the future any more than you, Mr. Speaker, the minister, or any other member of this House. Only time will tell whether Russia pursues its journey toward democracy and a market economy, or whether it opts for a more menacing type of regime.
I did not even attempt to speculate on the impact that a military conflict could have in regions that have been enjoying relative stability in recent years, including China and the Indian sub-continent.
I will only say that the relative peace that has been ours for over 40 years is a blessing for all. Developed countries must absolutely not take peace for granted, mainly because of the tensions caused by the worldwide increase in population and pollution.
One thing is for sure: should a major threat hang over the North-American continent, Canada will always be asked to take part in an alliance such as NORAD, and its citizens will always expect concrete action from their government.
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canada and the United States had to share the most intimate secrets in the context of the NORAD agreement. Of course, Mexico was not included. Does my Bloc Quebecois colleague believe that the United States would like to share a highly confidential agreement such as NORAD with a third country, like a separate Quebec?
Mr. Leroux (Shefford): Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. If Quebec were to become a sovereign state it would be most interested in being part of NORAD because NORAD is part of North America and we are part of North America.
The world is changing tremendously. I hope the member agrees that the Americans are one part of the world we must organize today. It could be the new mission of NORAD to organize this part of the world.
When there is a conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina some people say that Europeans should take care of it, should deal with it. If there is ever to be regional conflicts in the Americas of which Quebec is part, the Americans should be asked to send blue berets to that part of the world to take care of them in a very specific way.
I said in my speech that we no longer have the money to go around the world on these missions. I believe it would be wise for Canadians, Quebecers, Americans, and perhaps Mexicans and others, to have a regional organization of the Americas in which we could take care of them.
Like I said, it seems important to me to review the role of NORAD. This agreement will be renewed in 1996, but it will have to be reviewed again later on. I think now is the time to start thinking about that and about the kind of arrangement we could have. The organization of NORAD is important. It has changed over the years, and I think its future role could be to defend the Americas. That is the point I am trying to make.
Mr. John Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I compliment the member on his presentation. I thought it was enthusiastically put forward and I understand his commitment.
Does the member have any specific points which would enhance the present negotiations and would make the treaty more current and relevant than he suggested earlier?
Mr. Leroux (Shefford): Mr. Speaker, in its minority report on the defence committee, the Bloc Quebecois made suggestions to improve NORAD's performance, if I may use the term.
We feel that regional defence structures require a new framework for our continental defence agreements. As you know, NORAD is a military organization. The decisions are made by members of the military. I think that, in a changing world, it would be interesting to also have a civilian NORAD organization that could participate in the decision making process.
As I said earlier in the other language, the beautiful language of Shakespeare, I think that NORAD should be the ultimate organization for the Americas. In order to achieve this goal, we will have to develop our relations.
Later, one of my colleagues will talk about the economic and trade implications, etc. He could elaborate on this. The Bloc Quebecois also feels that the Canadian government should do an in-depth analysis of the consequences of all its defence agreements with the U.S.
As you know, there are over 800 defence agreements in effect between Canada and the U.S. There are also 149 working committees and subcommittees. I think what matters is to have a consistent, affordable defence policy, which is what Canadians and Quebecers expect from us.
We are currently enjoying a climate of relative peace and I think we must never forget that every dollar we spend comes from the pockets of Canadians and Quebecers. We must always think of why we spend this money: to ensure the best possible protection and security for our taxpayers.
We support the NORAD agreement because it is not costing us a lot of money. We receive a great deal in return for paying about 10 per cent of the costs. I think that $300 million is a reasonable amount to pay to enjoy safer air space. I think it is quite reasonable.
Ms. Mary Clancy (Halifax, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon with the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
It is a delight to be participating in today's debate on the renewal of NORAD. As many members are aware, Canada and the United States have a long history of friendship. Our political, economic, social and cultural ties are the most extensive of any bilateral relationship existing in the world today.
Our defence ties are far reaching. Although we have always had and will continue to pursue an independent foreign defence policy, our geography, our history, our trust and our shared beliefs have made the Americans our close partners in the defence of our common continent. They have also made us natural allies in the pursuit of international peace and security.
NORAD is one of the pillars of this defence relationship but our co-operation does not end there. Members should be aware of the extent and importance of our military partnership. As it evolves to meet new demands and challenges this partnership will continue to play a major role in ensuring Canadian security and in enhancing international stability.
Canada and the United States have maintained a close security relationship since the end of the 1930s, when President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King united our two countries in a continental defence partnership for the first time.
During the second world war, our defence relationships expanded and deepened. That is how, under the Ogdensburg accord of 1940, the permanent joint board on defence was established.
As for the Hyde Park declaration of 1941, it united the Canadian and U.S. economies to counter aggression.
After the war as the east-west confrontation took root, the relationship continued to develop. As years passed, new bilateral agreements and arrangements, NORAD being the most famous, were added to the list. Today this list is very long. Our military partnership now includes 60 formal bilateral defence agreements, 200 memoranda of understanding and numerous service to service understandings. These agreements and arrangements cover virtually the entire sphere of military activity: joint planning and operations, combined exercises, defence production, logistics, communications, research and development, and intelligence. In all, there about 600 Canadian military personnel serving south of the border.
Canada and the U.S. consult in roughly 150 bilateral forums that require regular consultation, discussion and meetings. In addition to NORAD, this includes the permanent joint board on defence. The PJBD is the senior advisory body on continental security. It meets twice a year providing an opportunity for diplomats and military officials from both countries to discuss important and sensitive bilateral and international defence matters. There is also the military co-operation committee established in 1945. This forum allows our respective military staffs to meet and carry out combined military planning for the defence of North America.
Canada-American defence co-operation also includes an extensive network of defence production research and development arrangements which provide the framework for our close economic ties in this sphere.
The defence production sharing agreement signed in 1956 sets out the terms of bilateral trade in defence material. It allowed Canadian companies to compete with American companies on the American market.
The defence development sharing agreement signed in 1963 helps Canadian companies develop products for use by the U.S. armed forces and promotes research and development in Canada.
Trade in defence goods between the two countries amounts to almost $2 billion Canadian every year. Our longstanding industrial co-operation has resulted in a highly integrated defence industrial base.
We also have the Canada-U.S. test and evaluation program, allowing our countries to test important weapons systems at each other's military facility. This cost effective and flexible arrangement has become an integral component of our defence relationship.
And, naturally, Canada and the United States are tied by their membership in a variety of multinational organizations, including the UN, NATO, the organization responsible for security and co-operation in Europe as well as the Organization of American States.
Recently, we participated in a number of multilateral operations, such as the United Nations mission in Haiti and the activities conducted under NATO in Bosnia by the peace plan implementation task force, or IFOR.
Closer to home, Canadian and American military personnel have a long tradition of working closely with each other in operations and training exercises. At sea, Canada-U.S. co-operation involves the surveillance and control of vast ocean areas on both coasts and in the Arctic. We exchange information in support of search and rescue and any narcotic operations, co-operate in humanitarian emergencies and hold regular bilateral exercises at sea.
Canada-U.S. defence co-operation, having lasted through more than 50 years of evolving challenges, continues to thrive. The Canadian government believes that this co-operation still serves the fundamental interests of Canada. Although the world has changed dramatically in recent years, we must always be ready to co-operate with our American allies in the defence of North America. There may be no direct military threat to our continent at the moment but there are no guarantees for the future.
The government would like the Canadian Forces to be able to continue to work closely with the U.S. armed forces under various circumstances. We must bear in mind that there are other immediate benefits to maintaining a close relationship with the U.S. for defence purposes.
For example, extensive training and operational experience are gained by Canadians. We retain a useful degree of influence in critical areas of United States defence policy that directly affect us. We gain access to important defence related information. Canadian companies benefit from access to important technologies and the large U.S. defence market.
If the Canadian government remains firmly committed to its defence relationship with the U.S., we also understand this relationship must continue to evolve. Although Canada and the U.S. are cutting back on some continental defence activities, we are also looking into ways to preserve the Canadian-American defence relationship. NORAD is a perfect example.
Given the current international environment and urgent domestic priorities, it might be tempting for us to turn our backs on a longstanding co-operative agreement, but the lessons of history teach us that this would be shortsighted. While still conducting an independent foreign and defence policy, we must continue to work with the U.S. to meet the challenges of the coming century and to preserve our relationship as a source of stability in a turbulent world. The benefits of our defence partnership far outweigh the costs, all the more so since activities have been scaled back to deal with today's realities.
The Canadian and American governments must also show vision and imagination in ensuring this partnership has the capability to meet future demands. This new NORAD agreement being debated today offers clear proof we are following a wise path. That is what this government does best: it follows wise paths and gives good government.
Mr. Francis G. LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): 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.
Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, Ref.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak in the debate on the North American Aerospace Defence Command.
The question before us is whether as a country Canada should contribute to NORAD for the next five years. I believe that Canada should. NORAD has served our country and North American security extremely well.
The first thing we must realize is that the post cold war era is not safer than times past. In fact the world is more unstable and fragile than what has gone before. The duel between two superpowers, the former U.S.S.R. and America, has unshackled a number of countries which were in conflict and has given rise to rabid nationalism that is a major and potent destabilizing factor in the world.
I might add that we have been ill-equipped, ill-advised, ill-prepared and unable to deal with the major security threats that are now occurring. An example is the rise of ethnic nationalism along the lines of Mr. Zhirinovsky, a very dangerous creature in the former U.S.S.R.
Many former Soviet Union countries are very unstable. One need not look any further than Chechnya or Tadzikhistan to see the conflicts that are brewing there. I need not remind the House that many of these former Soviet Union countries are nuclear capable.
There has been a proliferation of countries with ballistic missile technology. Despite our best efforts to control nuclear technology and biological weapons, a number of countries, some of which are renegades in some aspects of their foreign policy, may already have nuclear capability or are pursuing this capability. As has been seen in recent times this capability can be utterly devastating. We need look no further than at what happened in Japan last year. If we expand on that there is no reason why that cannot land on our doorstep one day.
There is a myth that the United States is the only superpower in the world. That is simply not true. One need not look any further than the China-Taiwan conflict that is occurring today to see that there is another superpower, China.
Fueled by a superheated economy, China has gone on a spending spree, the likes of which has not been seen or taken into full account in recent memory. It has purchased a lot of very powerful aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles and weaponry, including nuclear powered and nuclear capable submarines and ships. In other words, it has built up perhaps the second most powerful military force in the world.
China also has a very different political ideology from us. That political ideology is very dangerous. We need not look any further than the China-Taiwan conflict to see the extent to which China is willing to pursue its goals. Fuelled by its ability to get Hong Kong and Macao under its wing, it now sees Taiwan as another possibility that it can bring into the fold. However, it is doing this in a way that flies in the face of the norms of international co-operation and international agreements.
It is up to the international community to deal with this in a way that will be productive. NORAD has given us this capability.
I bring up the Taiwan-China situation to show that here is a situation very close to our borders where nuclear weapons can potentially be used. Therefore, NORAD needs to continue and it needs to continue with our co-operation.
Another aspect not heard much about in terms of NORAD is that apart from continuing on as it is today, it can be made an even better system. Part of what could considered is a global warning system.
What I propose is something that has been talked about before in some circles. NORAD could be integrated into a global warning system with other allies in the north. Their warning systems could be integrated with NORAD to have a surveillance system, an early warning system and also a system which can be acted on should possible dangers be faced. Not only will it be good for the furtherance of NORAD, but it will also be good for international co-operation among our allies, a level of co-operation that we are going to need in the future.
As I have said before in the House, Canada's security is intimately entwined with the security of every other country in the world. Therefore, Canada has to pursue a course of action that lends itself to international involvement, co-operation and endeavours that are going to make our collective security stronger. To do it alone is impossible. For Canada to do it alone is absolutely ludicrous because we simply do not have the money and the power to monitor a land mass the size we have been given.
On a related topic, I might add that the $800 million that has been taken from the defence portfolio, while it is welcomed, I would warn the minister of defence that removing it from procurement is wrong.
The situation at present is that we have a Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence who appear to be pursuing courses that is not in sync. Canada has, correctly so, pursued a course of peacekeeping and peacemaking in our foreign policy. It is something that we can do very well and one that we ought to continue. If the men and women in our armed forces are to be obligated to do this, then they have to be provided with the tools. To send them out in the field in peacekeeping and peacemaking without the proper tools is putting their lives in potential danger and that is unforgivable. The men and women in the armed forces must have the tools to do the job properly.
Peacemaking and peacekeeping is not a benign endeavour, it is combat pure and simple, and they must be armed for combat if they are going to do the job well and if they are going to protect themselves from possible danger. Anything less would be putting our people in danger and this House cannot under any circumstances let that occur. We have that obligation to them.
There are a couple of other aspects of the China-Taiwan situation that I would like to talk about. I was thankful to see that the Americans took the initiative by taking a battle force into the Straits of Taiwan. The larger resolution of this problem and others like it are going to need international co-operation.
Apart from the China-Taiwan conflict there is the potentially volatile India-Pakistan conflict, two nuclear powers glaring at each other across the Himalayas. This has been going on for a long time. It is heating up and one day this can prove to be a very problematic and devastating geopolitical event. It is one that is as preventable as is the one between China and Taiwan.
How is this going to be done? It will not be one country that does this but it will require international co-operation. I believe, and many of my colleagues here in the House that I have spoken with also agree, that Canada has a unique opportunity and a unique responsibility in the international family. We are one of the few countries that has the ability and the reputation to take a leadership role in revamping the international security organizations to become more effective.
Foreign policy in this world has taken on a reactive tone. We do not deal truly with peacekeeping or should I say conflict prevention. We deal with conflict management. That is what peacekeeping and peacemaking is all about.
Instead of incurring the terrible costs that conflicts occur, not only in terms of human costs but also the devastation wracked upon a country that descends into civil war, we must address our endeavours into preventing those conflicts from occurring. To do this we have to identify the precursors to conflict and co-ordinate international efforts.
Who is going to do that? It will not be the United States because that country, for better or for worse, is mistrusted in many spheres. Few countries can do this. Canada is one of those along with probably a half a dozen other Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand.
I am happy the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that he would be very happy to hear suggestions from the House. I would suggest that the Minister of Foreign Affairs convene a meeting with other like-minded nations to develop a common foreign policy to revamp international organizations such as the United Nations and international financial institution.
Through a concerted effort we can make change. The way to do this is to speak in terms of self-interest. When a country blows up, when a country descends into civil war such as what happened in Bosnia, the international community is left spending billions and billions of dollars to try to reconstruct the economy and the infrastructure in these countries. It also has to try to push down the ethnic discontent and hatred that has descended in these countries. We need to look at it far before this occurs. We need to look at it before the killing starts because once the killing begins the seeds of ethnic discontent are there for the future. It is very difficult to produce long term peace if that occurs.
All we need do is look at Bosnia today and see the fracturing occurring in the Bosnian federation, a situation I believe will fracture. We hope it will be done in a peaceful way at the negotiating table and not at the end of an assault rifle.
Canada must involve itself with the Nordic nations to do a number of things. It must revamp the United Nations. The security council must be revamped and expanded. We need to get rid of the security council veto for any country. Any endeavours by the security council ought to be made on a two-thirds majority vote.
Another aspect is the revamping of international financial institutions. The IFIs can be a potent, non-military lever to addressing the precursors to conflict. The precursors to impending conflict, such as with Nigeria and Bosnia, are often brought forward by individuals trying to manipulate ethnic hatreds for their own end, usually for power. The IFIs can bring down on them a
number of non-military restrictions such as not renegotiating loans, withholding foreign aid or giving them foreign aid if they are prepared to enter into diplomatic solutions to their problems. It is low cost and effective.
You need money to drive a war. Without the money you will not have war. The countries that will potentially explode in the future are some of the most impoverished in the world, often relying heavily on international financial institutions for their money. As a country we can work with other countries to revamp the IFIs to make them a more effective tool for preventing conflict.
Another aspect we can use along with our involvement in NORAD is the pursuit of a stronger international arms registry. An arms registry will add a measure of transparency to the very murky world of arms sales. If we can find where arms are being built up through sales we can use that as a potential indicator of a precursor to a conflict about to happen. It will send out warning signs.
The other thing we need to do is revamp the UN crisis centre to make it an effective conduit of information to the UN security council. By doing that we and our neighbours can have a better idea of potential conflicts on the horizon.
These are some of the endeavours that we can pursue. I think it is incumbent upon us to do that. Our past reactive foreign policy is costly, myopic and leads to much human suffering that is entirely unnecessary in our world. Not only do we have the likes of China and Taiwan, Indian and Pakistan to deal with, but also other countries such as Tadzikhistan, Chechnya, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria and many others that are potentially explosive.
Why deal with them after? Why not deal with them now before the conflict? Our approach historically has been weak. It has been the policy of appeasement, waiting to see what happens. Time has shown this to be ineffective and inhumane.
One of the fallacies of foreign policy has been that we tend to negotiate with the leaders of certain countries who do not necessarily have the best interests of their people at heart. Generally speaking, wherever we are the average civilian wants to live in peace and harmony and have a good life.
Politicians in certain countries are willing to sacrifice that for their own end. It is very important for us to realize that when we are negotiating with these individuals.
I have an aside on the topic of Bosnia. If we believe the implementation force is to be the be all and end all of Bosnia, we are sadly mistaken. The different groups within Bosnia, the Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats, are starting to polarize. The leadership in the Bosnian Serb camp is starting to once again stir the ethnic discontent and hatred that started this problem in part in the first place. We must head this off. We must head off the misinformation taking place there now.
Furthermore, the implementation force does not buy us peace. The implementation force merely buys us a window of opportunity so peace can occur. First, along with providing a safe haven within which civilians can live temporarily, the international community must get together with the European Union to rebuild the economic infrastructure within Bosnia. If a country's civilian population is without an economy, if there is a desperate and a poor population which already has the seeds of ethnic hatred, there are all the precursors of a conflict. Bosnia will descend into conflict again unless we recognize that.
We need to keep abreast of the fact these groups are splintering. Let us make sure they splinter at a negotiating table in a peaceful way and not at the end of an assault rifle.
Our policy on Cuba has been perfectly correct. The Americans are wrong. It is a parsimonious policy driven by the rich Cuban expatriate community in the United States that is manipulating politicians in America to do what it wants. If we do not help Cuba in terms of bilateral trade and bilateral economic activity, we will be left with a desperate population in Cuba. When Mr. Castro dies there will be a power vacuum that will lead to conflict. Then we will have Haiti II in the Caribbean. That is what will occur.
I strongly encourage the foreign minister to speak to Mr. Clinton and to tell him to support our policy of active engagement with Cuba. When we do that, when we build up the economy for the people of Cuba, we build up a middle class, we build up a political power structure that will one day take over from Mr. Castro in a peaceful way. We would not be left with a potential second Haiti in our midst. That would not only be unfair to the people there but would create a political and geopolitical problem in our area.
We support the NORAD involvement into the future.
Mr. John English (Kitchener, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I welcome the comments of the hon. member which were enlightened and sensible. Not surprisingly, I agreed with much of what he said.
He made several excellent suggestions such as co-operation among the polar nations, expansion of NORAD in some respects to work with other polar nations in terms of surveillance. He made some important suggestions in terms of UN reform. He said Canada's security is intertwined with the security of every other
country in the world and that Canadians must take a leading role in establishing the precursors to peacekeeping.
I agree with these sentiments. They are wise sentiments. However, we are talking today about NORAD and the advantage is surely that it does save Canada a great deal of money. We work with the United States in activities such as surveillance. We have based our defence policy on co-operation.
Many of the hon. member's suggestions would cause Canada's defence budget, indeed its foreign affairs budget, to rise dramatically. Does the hon. member believe his party, his constituents, his province and Canadians in general would support the kind of increase in the defence budget and foreign affairs budget that such policies would seem to suggest as necessary?
Mr. Martin (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca): Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for the very important question. There is no way we in this party would support an increase in spending in foreign affairs and in defence.
I do not accept the hon. member's premise that it will cost us more to do the things I mentioned. They do not all have to be done at the same time but can be worked into our foreign policy and our defence policy over time.
The cost of inaction today is far greater than the cost of preventing a situation. If we had been involved in the Rwanda situation with other countries earlier it would not have cost us the hundreds of millions of dollars it has today. Similarly it would not have cost us the billions of dollars in the former Yugoslavia if we had gone into the situation earlier and prevented those conflicts.
The key is prevention. We might spend a dollar today but we will save much more in the future. These costs are involved in a number of different areas. When a conflict occurs we have the migration of populations to our shores. This costs us in terms of immigration claimants, in terms of foreign aid, in terms of our defence and foreign affairs budgets if we do not address these problems in a preventive fashion. As we all know, the costs of getting involved in a conflict are far greater than the cost of preventing those conflicts.
My hon. friend has made many interesting and wise suggestions in the House. I am sure we will get together sometime in the near future to discuss this further. The bottom line is prevention is better than waiting for a conflict to occur and action after that. Furthermore, our involvement in prevention is predicated on the fact that other countries will involve themselves in prevention as well.
I reiterate that these involvements are in a multinational fashion, done with other countries and therefore will be much less expensive than in reacting to conflicts in the future.
Mr. John English (Kitchener, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Nipissing.
I welcome this opportunity to participate in the debate on NORAD renewal. As the House has heard, NORAD was originally formed 39 years ago to provide for the common air defence of North America, and the first NORAD agreement was signed in 1958.
The original purpose of NORAD was to counter the Soviet bomber threat of the 1950s, but soon after its establishment we faced an additional challenge, Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. While these remained the principal threats of the 1960s and 1970s, the introduction of sophisticated cruise missiles into the Soviet inventory meant further adjustments to NORAD in the 1980s.
With all these changes NORAD evolved to meet changing threats and it also adjusted its facilities and infrastructure. For example, outdated radar facilities were replaced or closed, operation centres were consolidated and the number of aircraft available to NORAD was significantly reduced.
Adjustments such as these ensured that NORAD remained efficient and effective in both an operational and financial sense as the command matured and adapted to changing circumstances. For NORAD flexibility, effectiveness and efficiency are established traits which continue to serve the national security interests of both Canada and the United States in ways which would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve unilaterally. As we have seen in the 1996 renewal negotiations, these traits continue to be a critical feature of NORAD.
The command and control structure of NORAD has also evolved over the years into the integrated structure that it is today with binational representation throughout. This means that at NORAD bases in both nations Canadian and American military personnel work side by side at all levels of organization.
The headquarters of NORAD is located at Colorado Springs. The commander in chief is an American four star general while the deputy commander in chief is a Canadian forces lieutenant general. This is an excellent example of co-operation between our two nations.
There are also three regional headquarters: the Alaska NORAD region at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside Anchorage; the Canadian NORAD region at 22 Wing North Bay, which will move to Winnipeg as announced in the recent federal budget; and the continental United States region at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The regional headquarters in the United States are commanded by American air force major generals with Canadian brigadier generals as deputies, while the Canadian region is
commanded by a Canadian major general with an American air force brigadier general as deputy.
This is a remarkable achievement and there is no other bilateral command in the world that is so fully integrated as NORAD. To the men and women who serve within NORAD, the national insignia on the uniform is immaterial in their day to day activities providing for the aerospace defence of North America. Yet despite this integration, NORAD today enhances rather than diminishes our sovereignty.
Air sovereignty and air defence operations have been enduring missions for NORAD since its genesis. Last year NORAD monitored over 400,000 flights entering North American air space. More than 400 of these flights could not be correlated with known flight plans and required further investigation, including in some instances the launch of fighter interceptors.
Approximately 200 fighter launches take place each year to investigate unknown contacts. About one-third of these result in interception. Generally the remaining two-thirds are identified by other means prior to interception. Although the bulk of these interceptions are innocent in nature, in the past a small number involved either Russian aircraft or suspected drug smugglers.
Assisting law enforcement agencies and countering suspected drug smugglers has been a NORAD responsibility since 1991. As I mentioned earlier, in addition to air sovereignty, since the 1960s NORAD has been responsible for missile warning for North America. While the end of the cold war has certainly reduced the risk of missile attack in North America, we must remember there are approximately 20,000 nuclear weapons in existence around the world.
As the defence white paper noted, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the technology for delivering them over long ranges is an issue of growing concern. Accordingly the missile warning capability of NORAD remains an important part of North American defence.
NORAD has specific responsibility to provide warnings of an intercontinental ballistic missile, submarine launch ballistic missile or cruise missile attack on North America. Global missile events are detected by American satellites. Currently there are some 100 launches into space each year, most having to do with the launch of military and civilian satellites. In the late 1980s annual launches numbered approximately 300. NORAD monitors all areas of strategic interest seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The greatest benefit the Canadian and American governments derive from NORAD is the ability to share not only the responsibilities but also the resources for continental security. It would be militarily impractical and economically impossible for Canada or the United States to perform NORAD's current missions or function unilaterally.
As I said earlier, NORAD was signed in 1958 and it built upon post war defence arrangements and of course on wartime co-operation. Prior to the war there were defence discussions between Canada and the United States in the 1930s which built up the precedent for the permanent joint board of defence that a member earlier mentioned.
It is worth remembering that prior to 1930, Canada's defence planning was developed with the view of countering attacks from the United States or even in some wild moments thinking of small Canadian invasions of the United States. It seems ludicrous to us today that Canada should have the United States in its defence plan as a possible enemy, but within the last 60 years that had been the case. What changed the situation was Canadian and American leaders working together recognizing that greater threats were outside this continent than within. Working together they achieved the kind of co-operation that marks Canadian and American relationships today.
Paradoxically, through co-operation we have shown that we can preserve our sovereignty better than through conflict. In the case of NORAD the existence of NORAD made our voice louder in Washington rather than softer when we objected to American policy on the ABM treaty. It made our voice louder in Washington when we objected to aspects of the so-called star wars policy of the Reagan administration in the 1980s.
In summary, the NORAD agreement transcends defence co-operation between two nations. Its most visible manifestation is the broad based co-operation between two countries. It is a model for other countries in the world that face conflict and believe that such conflict cannot be transcended.
NORAD remains well postured to assist both nations in responding to current and future aerospace security challenges.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger): Before the resumption of debate, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Frontenac-Agri-food sector.
Mr. Bob Wood (Nipissing, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address an issue which is of great importance to my riding of Nipissing and that is the renewal of the North American aerospace defence command agreement. I know my colleagues will agree that NORAD is the most visible and important feature of the bilateral partnership that exists between Canada and the United States. The Canadian NORAD region is headquartered in my riding.
Although the NORAD agreement has been renewed at least every five years since its first signing back in 1958, the text of the agreement has not been revised since 1981. Moreover, NORAD's present objectives date back to 1975. These objectives are: to assist each nation in safeguarding the sovereignty of its air space, and this also includes counter-drug operations; to contribute to the deterrence of attack on North America by providing capabilities for aerospace surveillance, warning and characterization of aerospace attack, as well as defence against air attack; and, should deterrence fail, to ensure an appropriate response against attack by providing for the effective use of our respective forces available for air defence. With these objectives in mind, I will summarize the results of the NORAD renewal negotiations.
Early in 1994 the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Minister of National Defence directed their officials to consult with the United States on the future of NORAD. These consultations took place between April 6 and October 18, 1994 under the auspices of a bilateral group consisting of four agencies: from Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of National Defence; and from the United States, the Department of State and the Department of Defence.
Out of these consultations emerged the report ``Options for Canada-U.S. Co-operation in Aerospace Defence'' signed by both countries on October 18, 1994. This report established the broad framework for the subsequent renewal negotiations.
While a working group was conducting its analysis and preparing its report, the special joint committees of Canada's defence and foreign policies were also examining Canada's future participation in NORAD, albeit within a larger context. The NORAD renewal consultations and the parliamentary reviews all recommended Canada's continued participation in NORAD. Not surprisingly, this view was also reflected in the 1994 defence white paper.
Early in 1995 the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Minister of National Defence approved Canada's renewal objectives. At the end of July last year, Canada and the United States together agreed on the general objectives for renewal. Canada then crafted the first draft and exchange of notes between our countries, which formed the basis for negotiations within the United States. Negotiations of the final text of the exchange of notes took place from August to November 1995. The text was then presented for national approval.
In Canada the review and approval process for NORAD renewal includes today's parliamentary debate followed by cabinet consideration. In addition, the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs also examined the technical aspects of NORAD's renewal last October.
I will now spend a couple of moments on Canadian negotiating objectives for NORAD renewal and discuss the degree of success we have achieved so far. I should mention here that Canada's objectives took full account of the excellent work of the special joint committees on Canada's defence and foreign policies as well as the NORAD renewal working group. Needless to say, the government's 1994 defence white paper provided critical direction.
As I mentioned earlier, the NORAD agreement was last rewritten in 1981 and at that time it kept the objectives set out in 1975. As the agreement is now written, it does not reflect current strategic circumstances. Canada's first negotiating objective therefore was to update the language of the NORAD agreement to reflect current and projected geostrategic circumstances. This first negotiating objective has been fully achieved. The new draft agreement explicitly recognizes the changed security environment of the post cold war era and its effect on North American aerospace defence.
Specifically, the new agreement acknowledged that there is a significant decreased threat from manned bombers; that there is the potential for deep cuts in nuclear arsenals as a result of arms control measures; that nuclear weapons capable of striking North America remain in place; that the role of space will take on greater significance in the future; and that a proliferation of sophisticated cruise missile technologies could pose a threat to North America in the future. In short, the new agreement places traditional threats in their proper post cold war context while making a prudent assessment of future challenges.
Given the tremendous changes in the world since 1975 and the potential challenges facing us in the years ahead, Canada's second renewal objective was to articulate clearly NORAD's current and future roles. I am happy to report that this objective has been achieved.
In the revised NORAD agreement, NORAD's missions are specified as aerospace warning and aerospace control. An example of aerospace warning is the detection and assessment of missile launches such as the well publicized scud missile launches that occurred during the gulf war. An example of aerospace control is the use of ground based radars to detect, track and assist in the identification of unknown aircraft in or approaching Canada's air space.
Canada also wanted to ensure that the NORAD agreement allows for bilateral examination of potential areas of mutual interest between our two countries. Therefore, Canada's third negotiating objective was to ensure that the NORAD agreement facilitates the examination of new or enhanced mission areas and does not close off any options that may be in the interests of Canada and the United States.
The third negotiating objective has also been fully achieved. Nothing in the new agreement would commit Canada or the United States to any specific programs in this context, but it would provide the flexibility to explore areas of mutual interest in the future. It is important to understand that changes to NORAD activities can only take place with the agreement of both countries at the appropriate levels.
It is critical that Canada is able to exert some influence on developments in aerospace defence that affect Canadian security interests. Canada's fourth negotiating objective therefore was to include a consultative mechanism to ensure that any future developments affecting the aerospace defence of North America would be the subject of prior consultations. Once again, this objective has been achieved. Wording has been incorporated into the new agreement that will provide for this consultation. Moreover, this consultation will serve to underscore the central role of NORAD in North American aerospace defence.
During the negotiations, Canada also argued that a clause on the environment should be included in the revised agreement to protect the environmental interests of both countries. This was not a stated Canadian objective but the government did attach importance to it. The new agreement stresses the importance of protecting the environment and commits both parties to reveal the environmental dimension of NORAD operations to the permanent joint board of defence. The procedures for this environmental review will likely be the subject of a separate agenda item at the next meeting of the PJBD in April this year. This additional negotiating objective has been fully met as Canada and the United States will consult at a higher level on NORAD's role in protecting the environment.
In closing, we are on track for a highly successful renewal of the NORAD agreement this spring. All of Canada's negotiating objectives have been achieved. The renewal of NORAD this year will represent the most significant revision of the agreement since 1981.
Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Terrebonne, BQ): Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in this debate on the renewal of the North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement, commonly known as the NORAD agreement.
It is important to remember that Canada signed this agreement for the first time in 1958. Canada and the United States have renewed the agreement seven times and are expected to renew it again this year, which explains the debate we are having today in this House.
First of all, allow me to review the historical background to the NORAD agreement, and then to propose to extend the NORAD agreement in order to include our economic partners from the rest of the Americas.
To properly understand how such an important organization got its start, I would like to quote from a document prepared in the back rooms of National Defence, which summarizes NORAD's main objectives.
According to this document, NORAD's groundwork was laid out before the cold war, when Canada and the United States joined together to triumph over Europe-Japan axis powers. The concept of joint defence activities between Canada and the United States was officially mentioned for this first time in the 1940 Ogdensburg Declaration. In February 1947, after the second world war, both Ottawa and Washington announced the principles for future military co-operation, including air defence.
In 1954, the Chief of Staff of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the commander of the United States Air Forces Air Defence Command held formal discussions. They concluded that air defence for both countries could be best provided by a single organization under one command. In 1957, the Canadian Minister of National Defence and the U.S. Defence Secretary announced the signing of a binational agreement to establish an integrated air command based at Colorado Springs, U.S.A.
Since May 12, 1958, the two countries have been renewing this agreement every five years.
This brief introduction or historical overview shows the importance of this agreement as far as the air defence of North American, more specifically of Canadian, air space is concerned. But there are also economic reasons, in addition to the historical ones.
I shall stop for an aside here, reminding you that Canada pays for only approximately 10 per cent of the costs of defending North American air space, and the Bloc Quebecois is in favour of renewing the NORAD agreement. At the same time, however, it does propose major changes.
The Bloc believes that, unlike the situation in 1991, renewal of the agreement now ought to trigger debate and a far more transparent evaluation of the role of NORAD in a post cold war context. The threat of the U.S.S.R. no longer hangs over Canada and the U.S. The traditional threat of nuclear conflict is, to all intents and purposes, no longer present. There are still other threats, however, such as the emergence of regional powers with nuclear weapons, and the rise in terrorism. Both of these could have been discussed in a far more transparent fashion here today in the House.
North America's air defence role can, and must, change to keep pace with international geostrategic fluctuations. The Bloc Quebe-
cois is convinced that decisions on renewal could have been shaped by such considerations, but here again everything points toa done deal.
According to February 24's Le Devoir, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has apparently already endorsed the final version of the new NORAD agreement. The Minister is supposedly going to sign it on March 13 or 14 with his American counterpart, according to this report.
What disrespect on the minister's part. Disrespect for the members of his own party, who get up and speak while knowing full well their minister has already negotiated the clauses of the agreement with the U.S. behind the scenes. Disrespect for the House as well, scoffing at the importance of the debate that has been going on here and the opinion of the members of all parties. I trust that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will not get into the habit of throwing such roadblocks in the way of the workings of this House, for his credibility will suffer if he does.
The Bloc also regrets the fact that the government did not use the occasion of the renewal of the agreement to redefine the primary mission, as it said it would in its 1994 white paper on defence. The proposed changes to the new agreement are relatively minor. Another promise by the wayside, but we are used to that.
There is one basic point we would have wanted raised in the negotiations for NORAD's renewal. It has to do with opportunities to expand the agreement to include new economic partners in the Americas. The Free Trade Agreement has become the North American Free Trade Agreement. Three countries have interests in this huge continental market, and Chile is waiting in the wings. All of the Americas have agreed to open borders within a specific time frame. Given this opening up of commercial markets and the countless economic networks, a complete redefinition of NORAD seems inevitable and must take this new pan-American reality into account.
The Bloc Quebecois feels that a renewed NORAD should be the basic means of linking our economic and commercial interests to military alliances, which may ensure the longevity of the incipient political stability in Central and South American countries.
On many occasions, we have seen how a country's political stability depends on its economic prosperity. I think it would be beneficial to all the Americas to have this stability apply to the entire continent, north and south.
The proposal to expand NORAD should first be made to Mexico, which is already a NAFTA partner. It would then be appropriate to invite other countries in the OAS to take part in a joint continental defence project.
The dispute between Cuba and the United States provides a patent example of the complexities in the relationships among the
countries of the three Americas. The Bloc Quebecois, like the government, condemns the action of the Cuban air force, but leaves it up to the ICAO to investigate and reach its conclusions. However, the Helms-Burton bill, through its extraterritoriality, violates international law and impinges on Canadian sovereignty in the area of foreign relations. This conflict also reveals the close weave of political, economic and commercial ties among the various trading partners on the continent.
The question we are asking on this side of the House is whether such a tragic event should lead us to wonder about the continent as a whole given the links between the countries which make it up. Do economic interests stay separate from political interests for long? This is a issue that highlights NORAD's importance within the context of the global market.
Cohesion is essential in this era of interdependency and, in my opinion, seems to be a priority in the renewal of this key agreement between two players faced with a increasingly changing chess-board.
To remain up to date, a new NORAD could allow for an extended partnership, as we have seen with NATO, which would serve as a support to co-operation for peacekeeping as well as for democracy or the respect of human rights.
We are under the impression that with the assistance that the United States and Canada give to Haiti, to give only one example, a preventive air mission could be conducted under the auspices of NORAD. Many countries in South America are working toward democracy or trying to protect human rights. These countries could also benefit from such assistance.
We firmly believe that, with some sort of regional alliance, issues such as the Haitian problem or the trafficking of drugs from Colombia would be substantially different. By making overtures to these countries which are not part of the western bloc, an expanded NORAD could develop linkages with the south, bringing us to more open-mindedness and creating new opportunities for Latin American countries.
With regard to technology, NORAD offers several alternatives through co-operation, which would narrow the gap between north and south and could result in the export of specialized jobs to the south. Technological transfers would revitalize the economy in the countries involved. Chili, where Canadian exporters are investing millions of dollars, is a case in point. Several other countries in South America are interested in technology making quick inroads into their markets.
On an American continent open for business, it would to the benefit of every one to have partners with a healthy economy and a healthy political life. Human rights, respect for democracy and open trade are in North America major values, which are becoming
increasingly present in the south. These are several elements which would warrant a closer monitoring of the continent.
Nobody likes to trade at the expense of human rights. It is up to us to uphold these fundamental values. Moreover, by increasing the number of its military partners in the Americas, Canada would no longer be alone to protect its sovereignty against the United States. Multilateral agreements would result in American decisions with regard to air defense having somewhat less weight.
One must realize that, with around 10 per cent of the budget and an even lesser percentage of forces, Canada is far from having the last say within NORAD. By increasing the number of participants and decision makers, and by involving emerging democracies in the decision making process, Canada will improve its reputation in this part of the world, which is becoming increasingly familiar to us.
In conclusion, I would say that we are convinced that NORAD's mission should be broadened in order to include our economic partners in the rest of the Americas. This would provide a new direction for NORAD more in tune with the major economic, social and political challenges of the next century.
Mr. John Richardson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member for Terrebonne. In his speech-
-the description of NORAD was well defined in the early part of the hon. member's speech. The preamble to that led me to believe that he was looking at this as a collective security agreement, which it is.
Then it got into something like it was the United Nations with all kinds of different aspects to it that were not under the umbrella of the existing mandate for NORAD. As a consequence it was sucked into the Organization of American States and other areas of co-operation, like NAFTA.
The reality is a aérospatial collective agreement. It is nothing else but that. It is two countries coming together for collective security to bring some stability and peace of mind in case there is the need to activate it in full force again.
What does the member see in the defensive aspects of the-
-North American Aerospace Defence Command as being positive?
Mr. Sauvageau: Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question, which gives me the opportunity to explain some elements of my speech he thinks were not perfectly clear. Please excuse me for that, dear colleague.
The only thing I was trying to say is that Canada and the United States signed, in 1958, an agreement on the defence of North American air space mainly because they were the two major economic and political partners in America and in North America for that matter.
Given the opening up of markets, given the ties being created between Mexico and Chile, given also the conclusions of the last trip the Prime Minister made to South America where he said to the Organization of American States that we wanted a common market 25 years from now, I believe defence of the air space should be extended not only to Canada and the United States, but to all of the Americas.
The basis for NORAD, that is defence against the eastern bloc during the cold war, because NORAD came a short while before the cold war but was mainly established during the cold war, has evolved and changed over the years. Should the NORAD bases now be reoriented according to the geostrategic realities of the Americas? I believe so.
As my colleagues have said previously, we support the renewal of the NORAD agreement, like our Reform and Liberal friends. On that no one disagrees, everybody agrees: NORAD is profitable for Canada. Nobody disagrees, everybody agrees.
However, in their 1994 defence white paper, the Liberals said that what was needed was a thorough redefinition of NORAD orientations; but in the renewal agreement such as it is proposed, we can see that its principles have not been redefined at all. The only thing I want to say to my hon. colleague is the following: yes, NORAD is good, but NORAD needs to evolve with the course of events, economy and trade trends and all ties that bind all countries of the Americas together.
Mr. John Bryden (Hamilton-Wentworth, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak during this debate. I may be able to add something to it. Everyone in the House was given a briefing book from national defence on NORAD and I would like quote one sentence from that document: ``Following the second world war in February 1947, both Ottawa and Washington announced the principles for future military co-operation, including air defence''. I will comment on that February 1947 agreement because it involved much more than settling the principles we needed for a collective air defence.
Canada shared with Britain and the United States the most intimate military secrets. At the end of the war they knew about radar, they had done the most intimate experiments in chemical and biological warfare research and they shared communications intelligence. Canada was directly linked with the United States and
Britain in intercepting radio signals and decrypting them, as well as decrypting diplomatic signals.
Canada also ended the war as the second nuclear power in the world. Nearby in Chalk River the second nuclear reactor outside of the United States started up in 1945, precisely at the same time that Igor Gouzenko, the famous Soviet cypher clerk, defected to Canada and actually launched the cold war. It was Gouzenko who warned the British and the Americans that the Russians were not allies at all but were planning world domination. That led very directly to the secret accord of February 1947.
The details of that agreement are still unavailable in the archives of Canada and the United States although various historians have been able to piece together what it consisted of. It dealt in the sharing of communications intelligence and signals intelligence. It included the sharing of biological and chemical warfare research. Canadians undertook on behalf of the allies to do most of the chemical warfare testing at Suffield near Medicine Hat.
The agreement also included the setting up various intelligence organizations in Canada which did not exist before. These included the joint intelligence committee which was the clearing house of secret intelligence, and the joint intelligence bureau which examined topographical intelligence, geography and that kind of thing.
Once the threat had been appreciated, that Stalin was a dictator much along the lines of Hitler, it was realized that the United States was the next likely target. The Americans decided that the attack was likely to come over the Arctic. Therefore, Canada in a very real sense had no choice but to co-operate with the United States in setting up some sort of air defence plan in the Arctic.
I have actually seen a document in which the former prime minister, Mackenzie King, advised his deputy minister of foreign affairs that Canada had to come to an agreement with the United States because American planes were already mapping Canada's Arctic and if Canada did not come to a military agreement on the defence of North America with the United States it would be a serious erosion of our sovereignty.
However, the agreement for the defence of North America, which finally took place in 1957, was not that hard to come by in the sense that Canada, the United States and Britain were already intimate allies in terms of secret intelligence. We shared then, as I hope we still do now, the most intimate military secrets without question. I can give you an example of that actually, Madam Speaker, and I will in a moment.
When the North America air defence system was set up it consisted primarily of three lines: the DEW line, the distant early warning line which was a series of radar stations in the high Arctic that looked over into the Soviet Union as far as they could go. The idea was to spot the masses of Soviet bombers as they approached Canadian territory. Then there was the mid-Canada line which was a series of automatic radar stations that would indicate which direction these masses of bombers were flying, whether they were going to Chicago, New York or wherever. This was followed by the pine tree line with one station up near Barrie, not very far north of Toronto. That line was designed to zero in on the interceptors. We had aircraft stationed at North Bay that were designed to shoot it out with the incoming Russian bombers. That was the situation toward the end of the 1950s.
It was apparent that this was a very expensive thing to put together. What I have to stress again is that this required the most intimate co-operation between the Americans and the Canadians. By 1960 it became apparent that it was going to be very difficult to shoot down the masses of bombers. It was at about that time, in the early 1960s, that the Canadian government under Diefenbaker decided to abandon the famous Avro project which was the fighter bomber that the Canadians had developed which was a superb aircraft, no doubt about it, in favour of Bomarc missiles. Canada, at the pine tree line level, became armed with Bomarc missiles. These were the most modern missiles of their time.
Madam Speaker, I am going to tell you something that you do not know. These Bomarc missiles which were stationed in various places in Canada were equipped with nuclear warheads. At the time, the government denied that there were nuclear warheads on Canadian territory but in fact the archives just down the street will show that Canada actually did have nuclear warheads on the Bomarc missiles. The reason for this was that if the bombers came down in waves then a small nuclear warhead could shoot down 30 or 40 bombers rather than trying to bring them down individually.
I mention this to illustrate how absolute was the exchange of secret intelligence between the United States and Canada at that time and how absolute was the confidence that the Americans had in Canada because it actually permitted another foreign country to have missiles on their soil which were capable not just of shooting down Russian bombers, but also capable of attacking the United States. Given the American isolationist or independence mentality, to have that much trust in another country is quite remarkable.
That leads me to why I am glad to have the opportunity to rise during this debate because now we come to the present. The threat has changed and it is a different threat. It is not the Soviet Union perhaps but there are cruise missiles, biological warfare weapons, nuclear weapons going around the world who knows where. The threat still exists so there is good reason to want to renew this NORAD agreement with the Americans.
Earlier in this debate several of my colleagues from the Bloc spoke very strongly for the agreement and felt it could be extended to the rest of North America. It cannot be extended. The history of secret intelligence in Canada has been an exchange of information between the United States and actually less so with Britain.
Those who would argue that we can separate this country and not lose some essential things are wrong. I can suggest the one thing that we would lose, certainly a separate Quebec would lose, is the ability to be a partner in the secret intelligence arrangements that have existed for 50 years between the United States and Britain. I suggest that type of isolation would not only be unfortunate for a separate Quebec, it would be very dangerous.
Mr. John Maloney (Erie, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the debate on the renewal of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, commonly known as NORAD. Canadians are frequently reminded that we have differences with the United States and indeed we do.
The media tells us of the disputes with the U.S. over the inside passage between the Canadian mainland and Vancouver Island. They tell us that we differ over the export of grain, eggs, pork products and softwood lumber under our trade agreements and we differ over how we should deal with Cuba. We differ as friends and participation in NORAD has done much to foster this friendship.
The list of things that Canadians and Americans have in common is much longer and this list begins with NORAD. Created in 1958 the first agreement covered 10 years and has been renewed seven times since. Each time the Parliament of Canada has fulfilled its responsibility in debating the merits of a further extension. Indeed with the debate today we are once again exercising these responsibilities.
NORAD has evolved over the years from its original purposes for a binational command structure for fighter defence against long range Soviet bombers to attack warning in the mid-sixties in response to intercontinental ballistic missiles. In the mid-1970s the current objectives of NORAD were defined which included assistance in safeguarding sovereignty of airspace which now includes counter drug initiatives, contributing to deterrence of attack by surveillance and warning and if deterrence fail to ensure an appropriate response to attack.
These agreements have never been static. They changed to meet the changing needs of Canada. The House will note that the first NORAD agreement was for 10 years. This was too long between reviews. We needed to look over the forms of our continental defence effort in the context of changing times and times changed rapidly in the sixties, seventies and eighties and even faster in the nineties.
Each renewal has taken place in an atmosphere created by the times. During the Vietnam war some Canadians believed that we should not renew NORAD at all. Overall our differences have stood the fact of our common North American home, the fact of our shared history and the rock bottom inescapable fact of our generally similar values.
Our overriding interest since 1958 has been in preserving our heritage from attack by a system with which we shared little. However, with the end of the Russian empire we have discovered that we have more in common than we knew with the peoples of that region. We have discovered that we do have some things in common with the Russian people. With the disappearance of their repressive and expansionist system of government times have changed.
This time consideration of NORAD renewal takes place in an atmosphere underlined by a greater degree of international calm than at any time in the past. At a time when vicious little wars and the mass murder of prisoners and civilians have brought terrible suffering to the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda we in Canada face our own insecurities. We are safer now from attack from abroad than at any time since the second world war. This security is founded to a large extent on NORAD. Developments only this decade are helping to foster greater confidence that the world will not end in a nuclear holocaust.
This system is led by the UN and includes some important regional groupings such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of American States and many others.
The system that defends North America, European security and defence interests is that led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. On this side of the Atlantic the two NATO partners, Canada and the United States, are allied bilaterally under NORAD. NORAD defends the aerospace of the North American region of NATO. Canada is co-operating with a military and economic superpower in the defence of this continent.
It would be foolish to pretend we bring equal resources to this task. The U.S. is the senior partner. This is reflected by the fact that the NORAD commander in chief is always an American and a four-star U.S. air force general. His deputy is always a Canadian, a three-star general.
The U.S. is the one remaining military super power. As I indicated earlier, despite our differences of view on some important matters we have relatively few important differences on the defence of this continent.
We all know the cold war is over but we should remember there are still thousands of nuclear weapons in the world and thousands more people who would like to detonate them in this part of the world.
There is also a need to remain vigilant against terrorists and drug smugglers. NORAD continues to do this. We must continue to protect this continent from threats. There is no question that Canadians and Americans share the view that drug smuggling and terrorism are threats serious enough to warrant the use of NORAD's resources.
NORAD continues to symbolize the things Canada and the United States share. Consideration of NORAD renewal in 1996 takes place in circumstances quite different from previous renewals. This time there is a residual threat from nuclear weapons in addition to drug smuggling and terrorism, and there is a nuclear, biological and chemical threat combined with terrorism that flows from the existence of states that inhabit a place outside the intercourse of the civilized world.
These are the countries that work to gain control of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and at the same time striving to increase the capabilities of their rockets. Some of these weapons can now reach parts of North America.
Let us not forget China's continued testing of nuclear weapons and its present bellicose activities mere kilometres off the coast of Taiwan. These are countries that show no sign of changing their outlaw ways and there will continue to be a threat from them. NORAD will continue to scan North American aerospace as a defence against attack from this kind of threat.
Canada has benefited from its participation in NORAD and will continue to do so. There are practical benefits to be considered. In intelligence sharing with the United States, the leading nation of the free world, we are the first among equals when linked with this nation. We also have shared access to leading edge technology which alone we cannot even dream of being able to afford.
The operational value of Canadian forces interacting with U.S. forces in complex situations is most beneficial for our military. NORAD is simply a good deal for Canada when one realizes the cost to our country is a mere 10 per cent of the total budget while we receive a shared 100 per cent of the benefits attributable to this agreement. It is good value for our Canadian dollar.
NORAD also provides Canada an opportunity to develop space power. The exploitation of space for military purposes is inevitable. There is a new objective in the proposed agreement, one that is most welcome, enhanced environmental protection. NORAD activities will now be undertaken with the protection of environmental interests of both nations.
We have learned from the difficulties of the clean-up of the environmental harms done by the DEW line, whose clean-up will
be started this year. This is a step forward, as the previous agreement did not address the issue of environmental protection.
All these things serve to remind us of how much we have in common with the United States. There are times to celebrate differences and times to recognize shared values. It is a time to renew NORAD and to acknowledge our good fortune in having good neighbours.
Since 1958 NORAD has served the citizens of Canada and the United States as the first line of defence against an aerospace attack on our homeland. It has provided through its warning capabilities a clear deterrent to any aggressor. Through outstanding co-operation and cohesiveness this organization has proven itself in strengthening the security and sovereignty of Canada and the United States through its role of watching, warning and responding.
By adapting to a changing world and positioning itself to anticipate future challenges NORAD will continue to play a critical role in the defence of Canada and the United States. I urge all members of the House to support continued participation in NORAD.
Mr. Richardson: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There being no further speakers, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to call it 6.43 p.m., which I believe is the scheduled time of adjournment, and that we then move directly to the adjournment debate if members are present and ready.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais): Is there unanimous consent?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.
This major trade dispute should be settled come springtime. Is the Minister of Agriculture aware that Canada has a lot to lose in this dispute, more than 138,000 jobs? Should Canada lose before this NAFTA panel, 138,000 ``jobs, jobs, jobs'' will be in jeopardy.
Is the Prime Minister aware that he is digging his own grave? One hundred and thirty eight thousand jobs, that is enormous. Consequently, what measures is the Minister of Agriculture going to take to win his case before the panel? Could he guarantee this House that he will defend this case as if his life depended on it?
The uncertainty in the agricultural industry in Canada is the reason why so many of our farmers are worried; and considering what the Minister of Agriculture is doing, how can they not to be worried? The government is burying its head in the sand. Is the Canadian government convinced that it will win this fight?
We must not fool ourselves. We must face reality and not hide from it. Above all, we must not hide from the consequences of a potential defeat that would undoubtedly drive many of our farmers to bankruptcy.
I wonder if the minister of agriculture intends, for example, to compensate farmers for the financial losses related to the value of their production quotas. Will the minister of agriculture and his government again go so far as to agree to make concessions to the powerful Americans a few months before the presidential election, as they did with softwood lumber, durum wheat and sugar, for example?
Let us not forget that Canada agreed to make concessions such as setting export quotas and increasing stumpage fees to make our American neighbours happy.
In the conflict between Cuba and the U.S., the timid behaviour of the Prime Minister and his Minister for International Trade puzzles farmers. Is this what awaits us? One does not play with 138,000 jobs. The government's casual handling of this matter is unacceptable, and the Bloc Quebecois formally notifies this government that it will never forgive carelessness or a moment of weakness in this matter of import tariffs on supply-managed agricultural products.
In closing, the Canadian government has the greatest cause in its hands. Everyone agrees that the Americans will be defeated, so we must not make any concession. Do not blink.
Hon. Fernand Robichaud (Secretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food, Fisheries and Oceans), Lib.): Madam Speaker, I want to reassure the hon. member for Frontenac and say that Canada will not give up anything. Throughout the panel's proceedings, Canada will strongly defend its right to impose customs duties on dairy products, poultry and other American commodities.
The government worked in close co-operation with industry and provincial officials to prepare Canada's case, before it is heard by NAFTA's dispute settlement panel.
Canada and the United States have now submitted their briefs to the panel. In its document, the United States claims that Canada did not comply with its commitment, under NAFTA, not to increase its customs duties, adding that under the same agreement Canada must eliminate all such duties by 1998.
That position does not take into account-and I say it loud and clear-the fact that both the FTA and NAFTA clearly state that Canada retains the rights granted to it under GATT regarding agricultural commodities subject to a supply management system, including the right to apply WTO's tariff provisions to agricultural commodities of American origin.
In its brief to the panel, Canada insists that the tariff system it uses regarding these commodities is in full compliance with its international trade obligations under NAFTA and the WTO. When Canada agreed to have tariff provisions apply to Article XI, in support of products subject to the supply management system, it had obtained legal opinions expressly confirming the validity of its right, under GATT, the WTO and NAFTA, to impose resulting tariff equivalents to US imports.
We are convinced that our legal opinions are valid and we will vigorously defend the rights of Canadian producers before NAFTA's panel. We will not concede anything.
The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais): The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow, pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 5.43 p.m.)