Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Darfur – Unravelling Peace Agrement

 

Mr. Glen Pearson (London North Centre, Lib.): Pearson.G@parl.gc.ca

 

"Mr. Speaker, international observers have recently stated that the peace agreement between north and south Sudan is now unravelling, threatening to engulf the Darfur conflict throughout the entire region. Humanitarian aid is no longer enough.

 

I leave for the region in three weeks. I would like to tell the leaders and the people of Sudan that Canada is now prepared to step up to the plate and finally provide the leadership for which they have been waiting.

 

What diplomatic and other steps is the government prepared to take to save the peace accord, to stop the genocide and end this conflict?"

 

[Translation]

 

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Bernier.M@parl.gc.ca

 

"Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, we are concerned about what is going on in Sudan and Darfur. That is why we are taking action. We have given $286 million in aid to the African Union and the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. Clearly, we are doing something to help the people of Sudan and Darfur.

 

In addition, we have helped more than 4.2 million people in these difficult situations by providing humanitarian aid measures such as food, medicine, or even just water."

 

[English]

 

Mr. Glen Pearson (London North Centre, Lib.):

 

"Mr. Speaker, I heard the Prime Minister earlier today talk about what the government has been doing in Darfur. I want to believe him, I really do, but the cries of the children of Sudan continue to ring in my ears and it is enough.

 

On the 50th anniversary of Lester Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize, the world is watching to see if we will step up to the plate on this file, and they are hoping we will.

 

Will the government honour the reputation and commitment of Pearson’s legacy to diplomatic efforts and save the struggling peace agreement of Sudan and the people of Darfur?"

 

[Translation]

 

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

 

"Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague mentioned that today is the 50th anniversary of Mr. Pearson’s Nobel Prize. We are proud of that and we are working to honour that legacy. We are taking action to promote and protect human rights around the world.

 

That is why we took a strong stand last November against the military regime in Burma. We imposed the toughest economic sanctions in the world. We also took action and are still taking action in Afghanistan together with the international community to promote human rights and help lift the country out of its misery.

 

We are taking action around the world. Whenever I talk with my colleagues, I take advantage of the opportunity to discuss situations-"

 

[English]

 

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Cotler.I@parl.gc.ca

 

"Mr. Speaker, yesterday was International Genocide Day. Today is International Human Rights Day. The one genocide in the 21st century is in Darfur. The number one international human rights issue today is Darfur, yet there was no reference in the Speech from the Throne to Darfur. Darfur is nowhere a priority for the government.

 

Will the government commit itself to combat the mass atrocities in Darfur? Will it commit to peace in Sudan as the number one human rights foreign policy priority of this government and this country?"

 

[Translation]

 

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

 

"Mr. Speaker, my opposition colleague seems to have developed a new passion. When he was in government, he was not quite that passionate about protecting human rights.

 

It strikes me as a bit strange to be so selective when it comes to promoting and protecting human rights. Right here in Canada, we want to make sure that aboriginal people can benefit from human rights like all other Canadians. The party opposite is doing everything it can to delay the process to ensure that aboriginal people can benefit from the same rights as all other Canadians.

 

That being said, we have allocated $441 million in humanitarian aid to help people suffering in Darfur."

 

[English]

 

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):

 

"Mr. Speaker, I had been speaking about Darfur even before I became a minister. Anything less than an international priority will not stop the genocide. It will not stop the culture of impunity where the Sudanese minister of humanitarian affairs indicted by the ICC is actually promoted by the Sudanese government.

 

Will the government engage in concrete involvement to stop the killing? Will it, for example, provide the necessary resources, equipment, logistical support, command and control assistance, air and transport assets, helicopters, force multipliers to effectively deploy the unified protective mission?"

 

Hon. Maxime Bernier (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC):

 

"Mr. Speaker, the problem with the previous government was a lot of talk but no action.

 

We are acting to promote human rights, the rule of law and democracy all across the globe. That is what we are doing.

 

We have a good report card. UN Watch said that we got 100% on the promotion and protection of human rights in the world. It is not us who said that, it is UN Watch who told us that and I believe them."