Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Fry on the invasion of Iraq

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of the Environment.

I want to say very clearly that I support the opposition motion. War should only be used as a last resort after all other attempts to find a peaceful solution have failed.

Having said that, I am not naive enough to believe that wishing it so will make it so. It is obvious and very clear that Saddam Hussein needs to be disarmed. It is obvious and very clear that Saddam Hussein has a history of ruthless violence against his own people and surrounding peoples. It is obvious and clear that Saddam Hussein has violated United Nations resolutions. Therefore, let me be very clear that we are not suggesting that Saddam Hussein is a wonderful human being and that we should think kindly of him and trust him.

I believe war is a weapon of such violence that we need to be very clear about when we are going to use war. I believe war should only be used in two instances. When there is clear and imminent danger from a particular party that we are considering and when we have to defend ourselves. Let us examine that.

Is there clear and imminent danger? The last time, during desert storm in 1991, we bombed Iraq and it was left in rubble. Twelve years of sanctions have kept Iraq from ever growing and moving forward, or helping its people. We know from UNICEF and World Health Organization statistics that 4,500 children die every month from dehydration, malnutrition and water borne diseases. The 1991 desert storm bombing destroyed all Iraq’s ability to keep its water supply clean and now children are dying every day.

When we bomb Iraq who will we be killing? Do any of us believe we will kill Saddam Hussein? We did not get the al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan. We did not get Osama bin Laden. He has gone somewhere. Do we think that Saddam Hussein will sit and wait for someone to bomb him? We will only be harming a lot of children. Sixty per cent of those vulnerable in Iraq right now are under seven years of age.

Why will we be bombing Iraq? Will we be bombing Iraq because we want to detonate weapons of mass destruction? Does that make any sense to anyone? Will we be bombing it because we think it has weapons of mass destruction that it is prepared to use now? We found 11 canisters of chemical weapons. They are old and rusted. Were they there during the gulf war? Are they old, unusable containers?

If we really are concerned about clear and imminent danger we should look at North Korea, which not only has amassed those weapons and are getting ready to use them, but has said very openly to the United States that it is going to get it. Not only is it going to get the United States, but it has posters speaking about crushing the United States.

Where is the clear and imminent danger? I would say that we need to look to North Korea but we are looking to Iraq. We are looking to a country where its people are continually suffering. The whole concept of clear and imminent danger is one that I do not see fulfilled right now. Therefore I do not understand why we would want to bomb Iraq.

I suggest that we continue to look at what the United Nations is doing. We have had a Security Council resolution. Everyone has spoken to resolution 1441. We all know that Hans Blix will be reporting on February 14. Let us hear what his report says. Let us hear if there is clear and imminent danger. Let us hear what the United Nations Security Council decides to do. Even then I would say that Canada should consider what it does. We need to consider how we will disarm Iraq.

I do not believe, as I said earlier, that dropping bombs on Iraq will disarm it. Some countries in the world have floated ideas around. How do we disarm Iraq? Some people have said that if ground troops were sent in we could effectively disarm Iraq but only if we hear on February 14 that there is a concern that there have been weapons sitting there.

The second thing we may do is consider other ways of dealing with this issue. We only have to look at the International Criminal Court which Canada had a huge role in promoting. We could bring people, who have violated United Nations resolutions and who are seen to be horrible violent dictators, before this court. Let us take Saddam Hussein to the International Criminal Court.

How can we do that when the United States, which was opposed to the International Criminal Court for so long, only agreed to it on the condition that it have one year of a moratorium where it would not be examined at the International Criminal Court? We have clear tools that have been set up to deal with people like Saddam Hussein.

What will happen if we have a war? Will it resolve the problem or will it create an even greater problem? We have heard that Saddam Hussein has links to terrorism. In a recent report by the CIA called “Patterns of Global Terrorism” it states that in 2002 Iraq was a low risk mainly because there was no association with terrorists that it could find.

We heard from Mr. Powell’s presentation to the United Nations that there were al-Qaeda terrorists in northern Iraq. That area of northern Iraq is supposed to be under Kurdish domination and therefore Saddam Hussein has absolutely no authority over that area.

We have the United States itself and we have the knowledge of the geography of where those terrorists are to say that there are no terrorist links.

It is obvious to anyone that fear is a reasonable response to terror. As peoples of the world we should be doing two things: first, responding to terror; and second, creating an environment in which we do not have unilateral action from any country for a pre-emptive strike on another country.

Have we not lived through enough wars to have learned that we need to come together as nations and come up with a concerted plan of action, a clear strategy that we must undertake?

What kind of foreign policy do we need as a democratic nation of the world to develop to deal with the Saddam Husseins of the world? I must say that if we are talking about the violation of human rights, why are we only looking at Saddam Hussein? Why are we not looking at Indonesia? Why are we not looking at Israel? There are violations there.

It is clear from articles 41 and 42 of the United Nations charter that if there is a violation of United Nations conventions that no one country should take a stand to deal with that. It is up to the United Nations Security Council to deal with that.

We have a process. Let us work within the process. This process is not about suggesting that people hate the United States, or this is an anti-U.S. sentiment. It is not. It is about recognizing that we went to war many times and all those wars were supposed to end wars but that they did not. Because of that we set up a multilateral organization called the United Nations in which nations of the world could come together, do the checks and balances and form a concerted plan of action in which to deal with terror, with human rights violations and with pre-emptive strikes.

This is what we want to do because we cannot have two sets of rules. We cannot have a double standard. We cannot have only one country being allowed to make pre-emptive strikes. What is to stop China, India or North Korea from doing the same, or any country that possesses nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction?

Disarmament is obviously the only way for us to foster an environment of peace in this world. Let us deal with disarmament in a strategic manner. All countries should disarm, not some disarm and others not. Let us talk about how we move toward a plan for disarmament. Let us take a rational approach if we are not in clear and imminent danger and if we are very clear that we do not need to defend ourselves.

This is why we need to take the time. We need to work together. We need to come to a plan of action that will achieve the ends that we desire. Those ends are to disarm Iraq and get Saddam Hussein to justice for his crimes against humanity. We have the tools set up through the United Nations to do that.

We need to create an environment in which we value women and children in this world. By bombing we will not be killing the person we want to kill. We will only be creating new grounds for people to fear us and to begin to develop terrorism because they are so afraid of us and afraid of what we in the democratic world will use our might to achieve.

I would like us to discuss this. I support the motion. I say let Canada lead as it has always done in creating a world where peace and human security are achieved through viable and clear processes and means under the United Nations.

Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, there is lot of passion on the issue today, but I do not know if I have heard a lot of logic. The motion is about whether we need a 17th, I think it is, UN resolution on Iraq before “serious consequences” means serious consequences.