Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on 
Foreign Affairs

Issue 3 - Evidence - Meeting of December 14, 2004


OTTAWA, Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs met this day at 4:02 p.m. to examine the Performance Reports for the period ending March 31, 2004, of: a) Foreign Affairs Canada; b) International Trade Canada; and c) Canadian International Development Agency, tabled in the Senate on October 28, 2004; and for a special study on Africa.

Senator Peter A. Stollery (Chairman) in the chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Honourable senators, it is four o'clock and I see a quorum so I think we can start our hearing. I want to welcome Pierre Pettigrew, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Minister, please give me two minutes to deal with something.

Honourable senators, I have a budget that I will circulate. It is quite a modest budget but I need the committee to approve it so I can take it to the Subcommittee on Budgets and have us able to operate in March. We are running out of money. I will distribute it and ask for your approval after the minister finishes. I think that may be in the interests of time and I know the minister has to go somewhere from here.

Minister, as you know, we are embarked on examining the performance reports. We have two references, the performance reports for the period ending March 31, 2004 of Foreign Affairs Canada, International Trade Canada and Canadian International Development Agency. That is all that appears on my agenda.

Second, I am sure you are aware that the committee agreed to a reference that has been approved by the Senate. We are ordered to examine and report on the development and security challenges facing Africa, the response of the international community to enhance that continent's development and political stability, Canadian foreign policy as it relates to Africa, and other related matters.

I do not want to have time taken up by my repeating what everyone knows. Minister, this is a fairly broad kind of hearing in terms of the questions.

The Hon. Pierre Pettigrew, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Honourable senators, I want to thank you very much for inviting me to meet with you today.

[Translation]

It is a pleasure to appear before the Senate Standing Committee today. I recently presented the 2003-2004 Performance Report of Foreign Affairs Canada to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade. As I told that committee two weeks ago, the Estimates provide us with an opportunity to look back at our efforts and accomplishment of the past year, while putting in place our international priorities for the year ahead.

This is no simple task. The day-to-day business of Foreign Affairs is to deal with the world at-large, and the world in flux. These are times of profound transformation in the international system and, in the midst of this change, I am continually impressed by the ingenuity and dedication of Canada's Foreign Service.

The Performance Report and the Report on Plans and Priorities provide a general overview of the impact made daily by our network of missions abroad, the expertise and professionalism of our employees, and the services the Department provides to Canadian at home and abroad.

In that world at-large — in this workplace of the Department — there is perhaps no more evident illustration of contemporary and impending change than the recent report of the UN High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes. Canada welcomes this report as a strong foundation for multilateral reform, particularly for the UN system. It is a reflection of Canada's desire to help shape a New Multilateralism — putting results ahead of process, and action ahead of rhetoric.

It supports the agenda Canada is promoting to ensure the international community takes more seriously five major responsibilities: to protect civilians from conflict; control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; advance human rights and cultural diversity, and preserve the global commons for future generations.

[English]

This is a report to which Canada contributed ideas and a vision for a more robust and responsive United Nations system. In September, the Prime Minister and I met with members of the High-level Panel on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. Canada also provided the panel with two papers containing suggestions on a number of important topics, including the emerging international norms surrounding the responsibility to protect, which the panel ultimately endorsed.

We made recommendations covering issues as diverse as counterterrorism, health, environment and measures to prevent state failure and to rehabilitate weak and failing states in order to further development and strengthen humanitarian assistance.

Many sections of the High-level Panel's report underscore the tragic fact that so many challenges we face as a community of nations impact especially severely on communities in Africa. Disease, poverty, conflict, the effects of environmental degradation, and the relationships between these, afflict populations in sub-Saharan Africa to an alarming degree.

In 2003, the region was home to 30 of the 34 lowest-ranked countries on the United Nations Development Programs Human Development Index. Thirty-six of the world's 49 least developed countries are in Africa. Canada's primary interest in sub-Saharan Africa is to help reverse the region's social, economic and political marginalization and to improve all indices of African development, peace and security, and governance.

When Canadians witness a humanitarian situation as dire as the one under way today in Darfur, they expect Canada to demand action from the international community and to lead by example.

I am glad Senator Jaffer has just joined us as I am speaking about Darfur, because I want to congratulate her on her excellent work on this terrible situation.

The Prime Minister visited Sudan last month to urge all parties in that country to respect human rights and humanitarian law and to end conflict both in Darfur and in the South, where a decades-old war is on the verge of resolution.

Continuing Canadian support for African stability and development branches off from commitments made at the Kananaskis Summit in 2002, where we led the G8 in placing Africa at the top of the international agenda. As we look forward to the U.K. presidency of the G8 in 2005, we are extremely pleased that Prime Minister Blair will again focus the G8's energy and attention on Africa and African issues.

For our part, Canada has made significant progress in implementing the G8 African Action Plan unveiled at Kananaskis. The $500-million Canada Fund for Africa is fully committed, providing practical support for peace and security, good governance, health, trade, investment, agriculture, environment and water. Our March 2004 budget conferred an 8 per cent increase on development assistance, of which half or more goes to Africa. This year we have added to our past contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, which afflicts as many as 27 million Africans, or 7 out of every 10 people living with HIV/AIDS in the world today.

We have contributed $100 million to the World Health Organization's initiative to provide anti-retroviral treatment to 3 million people by the end of 2005. We have doubled our 2005 contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by extending it with $70 million. We expect the Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act to come into effect in early 2005 to help provide more affordable generic versions of drugs to assist developing countries' efforts to deal with public health crises.

[Translation]

Before concluding, I would like to say a few words about Canada's strong and dynamic relationship with the United States. Our partnership with the U.S. is an essential building block of our international policy. Successful management of this relationship is key to realizing Canadian goals for security and prosperity in North America, as well as our shared commitment to promote democracy, human rights, prosperity and economic opportunity in the wilder world.

The New Partnership in North America announced by the Prime Minister and President Bush during the President's visit to Canada last month is an important foundation for enhanced cooperation.

It introduces an agenda to ensure that our countries continue to advance mutual objectives — for security, prosperity and quality of life — in North America and globally, while fully respecting each other's sovereign choices. I look forward to working with our partners in the United States to act upon and develop this agenda further, and I look forward to working with my fellow parliamentarians to maximize cooperation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Once again, let me thank members of the committee for the opportunity to address you here today. I am happy to take your questions.

Senator Corbin: Welcome. Minister, does Canada have an African policy?

Mr. Pettigrew: Yes. Over the last few years we have put great emphasis on Africa, at the Kananaskis Summit, when we were hosts to the G8. We brought the attention of our G8 partners to the issue. Prime Minister JeanChrétien made it a very significant priority. This is why I was so pleased that we brought forward Bill C-9, which allows for access to HIV/AIDS drugs. I think we could say that we have an African policy that is adapted to the various regions of the country. Of course, North Africa represents a rather different reality. During the last few years, we have mainly been focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

SenatorCorbin: Canada's initiative is rather ad hoc, is it not? That is to say you go to areas where there are conflicts in order to try and find a solution, and perhaps on occasion provide peace-keepers. You are making an effort in the fight against Aids and malaria.

I am trying to understand what the departmental perception is regarding the African continent. Overall, I am trying to find out if we have an African policy or not?

Mr.Pettigrew: We are very involved in productive activities, particularly our partnership with NEPAD. Africans are making considerable progress in terms of good governance of their continent. They assess each other. African governments will submit to a certain assessment amongst themselves. These are productive activities that are accepted in Africa now, and that the Canadian government also supports. So we do both.

Of course, when there are crises, we must intervene appropriately. But we always try to provide productive activities at the same time as ad hoc initiative such as improving the governance of that continent, which is the main obstacle to its development.

SenatorCorbin: Everyone does that. The Americans, the European Union and Japan do it. What specifically would characterize the Canadian effort in Africa? Do you have a particular mission? Let us leave aside the ad hoc initiatives for the moment. How do you see Africa?

Mr.Pettigrew: The leadership offered was the whole issue of NEPAD, which we had put at the heart of the Kananaskis program. But Canadian leadership was extremely useful at that time. The fact that the others are doing so as well means that we have found relevant and productive means with which to meet that continent's needs.

[English]

Senator Andreychuk: Minister, I want to welcome you to the committee and to wish you well in your portfolio. I believe it is one of the most important at this point in Canada's history.

I want to touch on a couple of things, but I want to start with the fact that in 1994, we were in the Senate portion of a joint committee to study foreign policy. I think it was significant work, and as I recall, one of the most influential parts of our report was that we said defence and security is more than the military. It involves the environment and the security of the state in broader terms than we had ever stated before. We also said that national policy and international policy are two sides of the same coin. I think that was significant.

We put human rights squarely on the table, saying that trade is important but it has to be balanced with human rights issues. Therefore, I think the work of the Senate and the House of Commons was significant at that time. We have heard, since Prime Minister Martin came to power, that there will be a foreign policy review. It was supposed to be before the election; now we are hearing about it after the election.

The Minister of Defence, I am told, invited our committee on defence to give him advice on defence policy. Will you be approaching this committee, either singularly or jointly with the House, to give the same kind of advice to you as it would appear that the defence minister is seeking from the Senate?

Mr. Pettigrew: Absolutely. When we table the international policy review, which is a statement very much along the lines of what you have described — that is, an integrated approach to international relations. It goes beyond traditional diplomacy and integrates defence, development, trade and the concerns of other departments, such as environment, natural resources, energy.

As you know, in Foreign Affairs, we have 15 departments in our missions, embassies and consulates abroad; 15 departments are represented there. Seventy-five per cent of our officers working in Canadian missions abroad come from departments other than Foreign Affairs. You will be pleased to see that our integrated policy review is very much along the lines of what you had established as the appropriate direction to date. We will value very much your contribution, and clearly the international policy statement will be offered to you for your views, and if you have any particular views on the diplomacy paper, that will be taken into account at Foreign Affairs. I will be very pleased to consider these views, with openness.

Senator Andreychuk: In that vein, I am not an advocate of separating international trade from foreign affairs. Could I have your perspectives on that at this time? I think that our trade opportunities are enhanced when they are combined with other aspects of foreign policy. We cannot possibly even consider trade in Africa if we do not understand the other dimensions and balance them appropriately.

We have had instances of companies from the West — where I am from — going into Sudan and then having to manage what I thought was Canadian foreign policy on the human rights and human issues, rather than a policy that would have integrated trade initiatives with other initiatives. Are you still an advocate of separating the two?

Mr. Pettigrew: The government made that decision last year, as you know. I believe it very much depends on the way it is implemented. I have been Minister for International Trade myself for almost five years, and I do realize how important it is to work closely with the political and diplomacy side, and the development side as well.

In my view, what we are discussing here, that is, how it is structured, is less significant or less important than how it is actually implemented. Trade per se has become very important, and I think that the Prime Minister wanted to send that signal; investment was extremely important and deserved a stand-alone department. I think it was to send a signal about its importance, but we have the responsibility to make sure that in implementing this decision, we do not lose the synergy, the cooperation and the complementarities of the work. My view is that the way we are working at it now, we will succeed.

Senator Andreychuk: I support your comments about the foreign service. We will not succeed, even with the finest minister, if we do not support the foreign service. Am I correct that there is a hiring freeze at the moment?

Mr. Pettigrew: No, there is no hiring freeze. On the contrary, we have been increasing the numbers in the last three or four years.

Senator Grafstein: I want to congratulate you, minister, and the Prime Minister. I think we have had a more activist foreign policy in the last year than in the previous five years in terms of the new initiatives that you and the Prime Minister have undertaken. I am sure you must be jetlagged, as some of us have been in following you around the United States and Europe. I want to congratulate you and the Prime Minister for turning a new page and opening up foreign policy.

I want to start with a simple proposition. As a student of foreign policy, my great hero, and perhaps, prior to you, my favourite foreign minister, was Mr. St. Laurent. In 1947, in a magnificent speech in Toronto, he laid down what he believed to be the post-war principles of foreign policy. Three words he used were democracy, liberty and freedom.

I take a look at your five major responsibilities as outlined by yourself on page 2 of your script, and you talk about protecting civilians from conflict, controlling proliferation of weapons, advancing human rights and cultural diversity, promoting democratic development and preserving global commons for generations. However, there is no mention in the text of democracy. Is that a different policy approach, since the Prime Minister just yesterday announced the meat of the concept of a Canadian corps, which would be promoting democratic mechanics around the world?

Mr. Pettigrew: No, clearly, I do not have the list of the five, but I am sure democracy, governance and other elements would certainly be part of one of those. I do not find it in my text.

Senator Grafstein: It is the third paragraph on page 2 of your text, under the heading “new multilateralism.”

Mr. Pettigrew: Whatever, democracy is certainly at the heart of our foreign policy precisely because we believe it is a key ingredient of development. They go hand in hand. The countries with democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights are the ones that prosper. There is no example to the contrary. That is something we have come to realize, clearly.

Our reactions speak for themselves. Look at what we have been doing on Ukraine, for instance, on our very active interventions in Haiti right now and across Africa; you can tell that we are very active on that front.

I am very pleased you mentioned Louis St. Laurent because he was an honourable citizen of my hometown. As a child, I was very impressed to see “Uncle Louis,” as we called him, in Quebec City, walking down the street. I was raised to admire that man very much myself.

Senator Grafstein: That helps clarify this. I give you this as a specific example: On Friday of last week there was an interesting forum on Africa — and this is part of the future exploration of this committee — and obviously, within Africa is the sub-Sahara; you mentioned that. I am most interested, as are some members here, in the Mediterranean basin. Last week in Rabat — and I have here the statements of the ministers that attended the meeting from the broader Middle East and North Africa — they talked about “democracy assistance dialogue.” That was the Forum for the Future that was the recommendation of the G8 summit that the Prime Minister attended last June.

Are we active on that front?

Mr. Pettigrew: I was there myself. I participated in the Forum for the Future. The G8 countries and the broader Middle East and Northern African countries and I played an active part. I had a number of bilateral meetings. I came back on Sunday night from Morocco.

Senator Grafstein: Can you give us a summary of what happened there?

Mr. Pettigrew: This forum was the first of its kind. It was co-sponsored by the United States and Morocco.

There will be follow-ups to this, including a meeting in Egypt in March. My view is that the very fact that it took place with the sort of participation we had is in itself an extraordinary achievement. There was substance. There were very good discussions. The exchanges were of a remarkable quality. The fact that it took place is already an achievement. As you know, it was a high priority for the United States because they were chairing the G8. They really wanted that, because they are losing the chair of the G8 to the United Kingdom. It was very good for Secretary of State Colin Powell. That is why I really wanted to participate in it myself.

Senator Grafstein: I have sent you my speeches on the same subject.

I have one question on the allocation of your overall budget. Canada is under-represented in the following places: Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. I have been to all of those places, and there is no Canadian representation. I believe — and this is a personal view — that Canada is over-represented in the old Europe, in France, Germany, Holland, and so on. I understand the budgetary restraints on your department. Can you give us some insight into whether or not objectives are shifting within the department, so that we can have more active representation in these transitional or developing areas of democracy that are vital to our future?

Mr. Pettigrew: Thank you for bringing attention to a number of these emerging countries. Now the Iron Curtain has gone, you are right that these are regions where we have to strengthen our participation. I am not sure that I would share your view that we are over-represented in Western Europe, because they are very important partners in so many ways. I hope we will eventually have bigger budgets to enable us to have more of a presence there rather than withdrawing, because there are so many more international activities. Canadians, individually or through their corporations, are so much more engaged in the world now that we need stronger representation across the board, including where we are already present.

[Translation]

SenatorPrud'homme: SenatorCorbin asked you a very specific question: do we have an African policy? Do we have a totally Canadian policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or is this policy dictated by certain cabinet colleagues who, unfortunately, are very much under the influence of powerful Canadian lobby groups. In my opinion, their primary interest is not Canada's international reputation, so hard earned since MacKenzie King or Mr. Pearson, not in 1956 but in 1957. Ms. Elizabeth McCallum was strenuously opposed to it. I hope that women at the Department of Foreign Affairs will read her biography. I am even prepared to build a monument to her courage and vision in1947 for the huge arguments that pitted her against Mr.Pearson, who at that time was the undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

Canadian responsibility is enormous in the MiddleEast. I gave notice yesterday that I intend to debate the subject in the Senate. This goes back to November29, 1947, when Supreme Court Justice, the Honourable IvanRand wrote a report on the subject.

[English]

Ivan Rand wrote a report suggesting that Palestine should be divided into two countries: one for the Palestinians and one for the Jewish people. Thank you very much, you may feel, if you are a Palestinian, about having an outsider dividing your land. The great provider of votes was Mr.Pearson. The vote was 33-13-10. Ihave followed always the good advice of Prime Minister Trudeau. I say it publicly: Never lose the spirit of what we did in 1947 at the United Nations. I am afraid, sir, that at the moment I wonder who really is influencing the judgment of Foreign Affairs, pushing Foreign Affairs officers, pushing you as the minister, because I conclude that it is not in Canada's interest. We are losing ground in the world. We have an excellent reputation as a fair broker.

The Chairman: Okay, senator.

Senator Prud'homme: I lost here. I did not want to study Africa. I wanted to study the Middle East, to revisit a report that I wish everybody would read, by Van Roggen, an esteemed member of this committee who was sabotaged by the committee at the end. That was my question.

The Chairman: I have been very liberal with you Senator Prud'homme. We need to give the minister a chance to respond.

Senator Prud'homme: I do not like you to editorialize. I can do without it.

[Translation]

Mr. Pettigrew: Canadian MiddleEast policy was developed over the course of the last 50 years, since 1947, as you have so well said. During the post-Arafat era, where Palestinian authorities have shown a great deal of discipline and a remarkable ability to move on, which is not obvious to them, one has to admire the events of the last few weeks, at a time where we look hopefully to a new opportunity.

It would not be in Canada's interest to change its Middle East policy. So we will remain faithful to our current Canadian policy. We will try to be as useful as possible. I met recently with Nabil Chaath, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Palestine in Morocco, at the Rabat meeting, which we were discussing with Senator Grafstein. I clarified Prime Minister Martin's offer to Palestinian authorities, to help as much as possible in the coming election and to assist with concrete projects in the post-election period in Palestine.

We will remain as committed as possible, with the rather remarkable role that Canada has developed for itself over the last few years. It is not always easy to maintain. I can assure you that our government's goal is to maintain this policy arrived at over the last few years. It gives us credibility on both sides and indeed will allow us to take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves over the next few months.

Senator Prud'homme: I have a supplementary question. Perhaps you could let your colleague Owen know that he is not contributing in any way to Canada's reputation in the Middle East when he makes statements such as the one he made naming all of the people who did not concern you.

[English]

I am quoting from The Western Jewish Bulletin, where he names everybody in cabinet who is influencing the policy, and he says, “You can rest in peace.” I will not, out of respect, name them all, but this has been read all across Canada. This is read outside Canada. It is like saying, ``Don't worry, be happy.”

[Translation]

It is the perception that worries me. It is important when we are trying to settle a problem. If we want to keep our Canadian role — I am not speaking as a Quebecer, I say it in French.

As a Canadian, I have an international sense of pride. Minister, if I seem aggressive towards you, it's because I have a great deal of respect for you. The more people are aggressive with regards to you, the better we will be able to help you in cabinet so that you can see that there are people across the country who are watching every word, not only on one side but on both sides, and they expect that Canada will remain what Canadians expect of it around the world. We are in the process of losing this reputation because of the actions of some people who feel they are more influential than others. I am acting positively on your behalf.

Mr. Pettigrew: Mr. Chairman, I want to assure the senator of our deep attachment to Canadian Middle East policy over the course of the last few decades, regardless of what one colleague or another may have said about comments made in Cabinet. I find it very surprising to hear comments of this nature about what was said in cabinet. I am the Minister of Foreign Affairs. My responsibility is to make sure that Canada will play the most active, the most useful and most constructive role in the niche opportunities that will be created over the next few months, with all of the credibility we have developed over the last 50 years. We will not sacrifice all the work we have done just when it might be so useful. We support the creation of a Palestinian State where people can live in security.

Senator Prud'homme: In the spirit of 1947.

Mr. Pettigrew: Exactly.

[English]

Senator Poy: I will start with a question about something on page 4 of your presentation. You mentioned the new partnership in North America that was announced when President Bush visited Ottawa last month.

Can you speak more concretely about the plans of this partnership, especially as it relates to Canadian prosperity? Can you comment on cross-border trade, especially in cattle and softwood lumber?

Mr. Pettigrew: I appreciate your interest in that matter, which I share very much. It would be a little indelicate on my part to go very far into the responsibilities of my colleague, the Minister of International Trade — especially as I was there for five years.

I want you to know that the Smart Border concept has been developed in the last four years on the basis of the solid NAFTA experience. We are well aware of how much the North American continent is at the basis of our prosperity. We have learned from NAFTA and the Smart Border experience and this declaration has tried to convey that maybe it is time to move beyond the present tools, to accentuate them, to lead to prosperity. However, I do not want to scoop my colleague, the Minister of Trade, who is working on these issues with diligence. I understand that Minister Peterson will appear tomorrow so you will have the opportunity to discuss beef and softwood lumber.

I am resisting the temptation because even though I have switched responsibilities, I deeply support my colleague who is trying to open trade on softwood lumber and beef.

Senator Poy: What countries would be in this L20 group that the Prime Minister proposed? Also, do you think that creating another international forum will improve the world situation today?

Mr. Pettigrew: As you know, The Prime Minister was involved in the G20 when he was finance minister. Putting that group at the leaders' level is intended to strengthen multilateralism. It goes beyond the G8, which has only the richer countries as members. The G20 integrates a number of actors that can contribute other points of view and bring other resources to the club.

The spirit in which the Prime Minister is promoting a G20 at the leaders' level is that of new multilateralism. We were very pleased that the United Nations High-level Panel has actually echoed the Prime Minister's concept of an L20. We were very pleased to see that the High-level Panel thought it was a concept worth pursuing and exploring.

We are not yet ready to identify the membership. We say “L20,” but it could be 19, or it could be 21 or 22. We are not ready to talk about the membership. We are talking about the concept and who should participate in order to make it useful. We are discussing the themes. Those themes include public health crises and terrorism, They would be issues of that nature, where the G8 needs others to engage in dialogue.

Senator Poy: How well would a group like that work under the domination of the United States?

Mr. Pettigrew: With an L20, you would have views other than just the American view. It would be complementary. If you get the views of India, China and Brazil, it ends up better reflecting the international community than the G8, which represents more the rich and developed countries of the planet.

Senator Downe: Minister, last week, the CIDA minister advised this committee that Africa was the top priority of her department. When we checked her budget, we found that her department was spending more in Afghanistan than in any African country. In your presentation today, you spoke about the importance of the United States, but the Mexicans have a much stronger presence in the United States through their consulates than we do. When will your budget allow you to not only match the Mexican government but, hopefully, exceed their presence?

Mr. Pettigrew: You are right that dollars should reflect the priorities. We have opened six new consulates in the United States in the last year, senator. We are now up to 22 missions across the United States. There has already been an improvement in the last year.

Sometimes, it is the way we work. The Mexicans have more of a presence, but are not as numerous in certain locations as we are. It is a choice that they made. We must continue to penetrate the American territory and go beyond Washington. I am very much on the same wavelength as you.

As to Afghanistan, many resources have gone there because it is a test of the international community's ability to turn things around in a country that had been dominated by the Taliban. The expenditure reflects the fact that we believe Canada had to be there.

We were pleased that at the inauguration of President Karzai last week, Canada had 2,000 soldiers present to contribute to the stabilization of Kabul. Hopefully, we will be able to reap the benefits of democracy in that country before too long.

Senator Downe: I totally agree with the minister. Afghanistan should be the priority. My point is the disconnect between what the department is saying and where they are spending the money.

You have established 22 new consulates in the United States. What is your final objective? Do you have a number in mind? Is it 40 or 50?

Mr. Pettigrew: We do not have any plans beyond those six at this time so we will see how it works. For instance, we now have a consulate in San Diego, which we did not before, and we will see how much that relieves Los Angeles. There is no other plan at this time, although we are not closing the door.

The Chairman: I remind everyone that one of the recommendations in our review of the Free Trade Agreement was to increase the number of consulates. We made the observations that you made so well, Senator Downe.

I have a short question on the ongoing foreign policy review. Although I have not finished it, I have read quite a lot of the book by Jennifer Welsh. I have found it extremely interesting and agreeable on many points. The rumour is that it will make an impact on the review. I understand that the review is not complete and so has not been released. Are the observations made in the book correct?

Mr. Pettigrew: I have to be careful with my response. I have read Ms. Welsh's book and it is very good. I am pleased that next Tuesday, at the University of Warwick, in England, I will be participating in a workshop with Ms.Welsh on international foreign policy. Ms. Welsh once worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs, in the international policy analysis branch, and is now at Oxford University. She is a talented person with a good mind. I have appreciated her book. I want to clarify that this is her book and these are her views, which may not necessarily be reflected in all parts of the international policy review. Our challenge in the international policy review, and which might explain the length of time it has taken, is that this is not only an international policy review but also an integrated international relations review. That review goes way beyond Foreign Affairs, where it has taken a great deal of dialogue and consultation with the 15 or 18 departments that conduct international activities. I am afraid I will have to ask you to be patient. We have had wonderful collaboration with the departments. It has been forthcoming, but it takes some time to crack certain issues. After the new year, we will be in a position to table this international policy statement.

The Chairman: I would recommend Ms. Welsh's book to anyone. It is well written.

Mr. Pettigrew: Even I understood it.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you, Minister Pettigrew, for taking time to be with us. I have a few cautions and some homework that I would like to give you.

First, last week, the parliamentary Africa association had a briefing on AIDS and recommendations are being compiled. Perhaps they are not going as fast as they could. You spoke about HIV/AIDS. They are saying it will be at the end of February, but anything you could do to hurry it along would be very much appreciated.

I want to ensure that the work on polio is not lost. We made a large contribution to polio in Africa at the meeting. I believe that $42 million will be donated to Nigeria on the issue of polio alone.

I have been urging the British not to take that off the list at their G8 meetings. I also urge you, as our minister, to ensure thatwe do not drop the ball at the next G8. As you know, polio is in Nigeria, Sudan and India; and there may be another country. We almost got rid of polio, so, minister, please make sure we do not drop that ball at the next G8, given the leadership our country has shown on that issue. I urge you not to drop that ball.

I would also like to draw to your attention the human security network fund, which is under review. Minister, the work done by that fund is very important. The Department of Foreign Affairs would not be able to do some of the things that it does without that fund. It is truly important that the fund stay in place. I urge you to please pay the utmost attention to that fund.

Mr. Pettigrew: As you know, this fund is sun-setting next year. I am already quite active, along with my department, in securing its replenishment. I appreciate your point of view and we will pass it on to the Minister of Finance. We do hope very much that that fund will be replenished when the sunset time comes around.

I appreciate your other contributions, Senator Jaffer. Last week, I was quite active on the polio file, expressing how much we need to remain vigilant because of the difficulties we have been having. I received a note on the report from the World Health Organization just in time for the NATO foreign ministers meeting and the Rabat meeting. I have been promoting it over the weekend. You probably have felt the effects of our commitment already.

On HIV/AIDS, I was the Minister of Health when I went to the World Health Organization's general assembly last May. Someone who has been at those meetings for 22 or 23 years told me that for the first time, he saw a country being applauded during the director general's report on the situation. Canada was applauded during the director general's report on the activities of the World Health Organization, not once but twice. That was the first time he had seen that happen in 22 or 23 years. There is the Jean Chrétien Act, to give Africa access to drugs. We are the first country to do that and we will implement the act in early 2005 — our contribution of $100 million to the “three by five” strategy. Our leadership has been appreciated there, but I am well aware that we need to keep the pressure on.

Senator Jaffer: I have also written to the Minister of Finance to explain why, when we want to work in Israel, we cannot do it without that fund. That is important. I have a great concern that I want to raise with you. How can we effect foreign policy in Africa when we have core funding? When Kenya was doing well after the election, we were not in place to support them in their good work because of our core funding. Minister, things have been set in place, but perhaps we need to look at regional funding. Your department has done good work and produced good reports on the Congo at this conference. I suggest that you need to look at regional funding for countries and not core funding. If you neglect Kenya and support Ethiopia, that area is still unstable.

Mr. Pettigrew: I will take that point of view and share it with Minister Carroll, who is responsible for CIDA. We have a fund for Africa in the amount of $500 million that is regional funding. I understand you are talking of the aid envelope beyond that. I will take it that you are promoting that point of view and I will share it with my colleague, Minister Carroll.

Senator Corbin: My point is more an organizational matter. As we begin this examination of the African continent, I wonder, minister, whether you could help this committee with how we should divide the African continent to make our study useful? I am not talking so much about all of the structural edifices that exist in terms of bureaucracy and varied approaches, but rather from a geographical point of view, community of regional interest, et cetera. Could you divide Africa into four or five parts?

Mr. Pettigrew: It is a risky operation, but I will give you my personal view. You have Northern Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Within sub-Saharan Africa you have East and West, with the West being francophone and the East being more anglophone. The Commonwealth-Francophonie, we cover them both as a country. Then you have the South, the cone, South Africa, with a lot more development. These are the four.

Senator Corbin: You have the Great Lakes.

Mr. Pettigrew: You have the Great Lakes, yes, you are right. That is an exception to the East Africa rule-of-thumb. Within East Africa you have the Great Lakes region, Burundi and Congo.

Senator Corbin: I thank you for that. It is pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking.

The Chairman: Honourable senators, I want to thank the minister on your behalf. It has been a productive meeting, with lots of interesting questions and we picked up some important information.

Minister, I am thanking you on behalf of us all. I will adjourn the meeting for two minutes so you can get out of here. I am asking members to remain because it is important that we get our operating budget passed.

Honourable senators, I would like to have our budget approved. I have spoken already to Senator Massicotte. Would someone like to move adoption of the budget?

Senator Corbin: I so move.

The Chairman: Which one?

Senator Corbin: The one for $28,000.

Senator Prud'homme: Okay to what?

Senator Corbin: I will make it a formal motion so everyone knows.

The Chairman: I will entertain a motion on number one.

Senator Prud'homme: I see the amount.

Senator Corbin: There is 28,000 dollars for the African study and the other one is the housekeeping budget.

The Chairman: We are running out of money.

[Translation]

Senator Prud'homme: I'm happy to move quickly but I do not see what the hurry is. I am not talking about you. You have proceeded correctly. I just wanted to know where the section is for transportation and communications.

The Clerk: It is back-to-back, the budget is printed on both sides.

Senator Prud'homme: These would be the estimated costs for which international conference? Do we know what they are in advance or is it unclear? We are voting on budgets for two international conferences. I agree completely with the budget, but what international conferences are we talking about? I have the estimated costs of two possible international conferences. I discussed this with you in private. I do not see why I would have a different version in committee.

It is possible there will be two international conferences before the end of this budget. I agree, but I like things to be clear. What do you foresee as international conferences? That is all. I know that we receive many invitations.

[English]

The Chairman: The fact is, Senator Prud'homme, we have had a policy here of  “in case of” a conference; that is important. We are the Foreign Affairs Committee. We do not send the committee off too readily because it is expensive. We are usually dealing with overseas issues so we give ourselves the opportunity, in case it comes up, of sending someone to a conference. We have done that for some time. There is no trick, no secret plan. It is straightforward.

Senator Prud'homme: Please, I did not have that even in the back of my mind, so do not use that vocabulary.

Second, it should not be because it was the way we proceeded before, it should be the way forever. We start fresh and new and I would like to contribute something positive to this committee. It is “in case” there is a conference. Will we be informed of these two conferences? Not that I want to go, not that I apply; I will not. I want to know, when you have one in front of you, if you will inform the committee of which conference. We had already budgeted “in case,” and the case has arisen, so therefore that is the conference, and I will say, fine.

The Chairman: I have no problem with that, Senator Prud'homme.

Senator Prud'homme: The clerk took note of that. We have no problem. We shall know about it.

Senator Andreychuk: I need clarification of something I do not understand. We have conference fees, and then we have two international conferences. Is it four, or are we saying conference registration fees of $2,000?

Mr. François Michaud, Clerk of the Committee: Senator, you are right. The first one is just about the registration fees, but the two conferences under “transportation and communication” are actually the same two conferences. That is the way budgets are divided for committees.

Senator Grafstein: I think Senator Prud'homme raises an important point. It is a question of being accountable, and not just who goes but what happens at these meetings. The practice we follow at the Canada-U.S. Interparliamenary Group, as he knows because he has seen those reports, is when anyone goes — sometimes a group goes, sometimes an individual, sometimes staff — the requirement is that it is approved by the group, subject to one condition, that a report is tabled and circulated. It allows every member to be informed about what everyone is doing, adds to our general knowledge and allows people most knowledgeable about that sector to participate in meetings in the United States. It has been successful, and I bore the Senate sometimes with those reports, but they are all tabled in the Senate after they are reviewed. We could suggest that if committee funds are being used, and however you choose to disburse those funds, whoever goes should come back with a report.

The Chairman: I have no problem with any of that. I cannot think of any reason not to agree.

I might add that I am not really anticipating anyone going anywhere. It is just in case.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: If I understand correctly, the Subcommittee on Program and Procedure, and not the full committee, will choose the members who will participate in such conferences.

[English]

The Chairman: Those things are normally done through the steering committee, Senator Robichaud.

Senator Corbin: Tell me, first, have budgets been set aside in the past for this sort of thing and have they been fully used?

The Chairman: Never.

Senator Corbin: In other words, if we provided for two or three trips, maybe only one would be used, and some years maybe none would be used.

Any member of this committee who has a special interest in any topic and knows of a conference that he or she wishes to attend can indicate that to the steering committee and ask that it be a funded trip. This has happened in the past.

The Chairman: That is correct, people would go to the steering committee and they had to make a case.

Senator Corbin: If there is an important NGO-type conference in Morocco that I would like to attend, then I come to this committee to ask it to provide for my expenses. Is that what this is for?

The Chairman: That is correct.

Senator De Bané: To the astonishment of my friend, Senator Corbin — what he said makes so much sense — a few years ago, I received an official invitation from the Parliament of Lebanon, which was inviting parliamentarians of Arab descent to attend a conference. I went to the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, and they said, “No senator can travel abroad. If you want to attend you go at your own expense; the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs can travel, but not one member.” Finally, I did go. The Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration says that no individual senator can travel abroad. Senator Corbin says that it makes a lot of sense for a senator who has an official invitation to an international conference in which he has particular interest to go.

Senator Corbin: It has to be linked to the work of this committee.

Senator De Bané: Therefore, it should be not only the steering committee that decides.

The Chairman: It has to be linked to the committee's work. We all know that people can come up with all kinds of conferences, so I cannot emphasize enough how tough this steering committee is. The Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs is the committee that never goes anywhere, because we are actually very tough about things like that.

Senator Prud'homme: I am following on from what Senator DeBané said. Very strangely, I was being received as an honorary citizen in that same country, Lebanon. I went to the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration and everyone said, “Yes, it is so unique and unusual.” However, one colleague started having doubts as to the wisdom of it, so I immediately cut him off and said, “Fine. Never mind. Thank you very much. I am going and I will pay.” Senator Robichaud and I always have fun about how quickly I change my mind. There is nothing wrong in having new avenues. The new avenues are simple. Let us say I am aware of a conference and that Senator Andreychuk would be a good candidate for the steering committee. I would think, Senator Corbin or Senator Downe, that it could go both ways. You inform us of any invitations to conferences that you receive, in your judgment decide those that may be interesting, and think of any senator that has a special affinity for the subject matter. Get in touch with me. Someone has to decide. I am disciplined on that. It is not a free-for-all. We have a steering committee. I have trust in them, as long as we are informed. To me it is clear. It goes both ways. If I hear of a conference that I think it is for the good of the committee and Canada, then I inform you, and then you inform members who is best fitted to go to this kind of conference. Is it worth it to use one of the two trips? In the reverse, you, Senator Corbin, and the other members receive a lot of invitations. You look into it and inform us. The issue is to be informed.

The Chairman: I think I have a motion.

Senator Prud'homme: That would be quite interesting in terms of new avenues.

Senator Corbin: I submit that it has to be linked to the current work of the committee.

The Chairman: Senator Corbin is a member of the steering committee, and I am another member, as is Senator Di Nino. We are a pretty tough crowd. We are not going anywhere if  I do not have a motion. Would someone like to make the motion?

It is so moved. Thank you. That is that one. Now, the second one is okay.

Senator Andreychuk: I so move.

The Chairman: All in favour of the legislative budget?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: Moved.

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: I have a question regarding tomorrow's meeting.

[English]

The Chairman: I first wanted to thank everyone for being a great team. It was an extremely good meeting for the hour it lasted. I am the one who sits and listens. Tomorrow we have Minister Peterson at five o'clock. We have permission from the Senate, I am told, Senator Robichaud. Is that your question?

[Translation]

Senator Robichaud: I was concerned because the Senate is adjourning.

The Chair: I was assured that the Senate will not adjourn today, as there will be Royal Assent tomorrow at 5 p.m.

[English]

That is what I wondered myself, so I would appreciate it if we could have a good turnout tomorrow. That will last until the end of February. We can work on the budget and we can start our Africa hearings in February. That is all we have at the moment.

Senator Prud'homme: Do you recall we said that we should invite the Ambassador of  Ukraine, and we were skeptical about whether he would accept? You reflected on helping the staff to choose four or five Africans from these regions that the minister has mentioned. I ask you — it is not a favour, I want to work — if we could not do it outside of the regular hours. I would even forgo the principle of having translation and all that, because it would be unofficial. It would be to have a longer discussion over coffee on a certain night in February, which is so long and dull in Ottawa. With a longer discussion, there could be a free exchange of views with four or five people that you could select as representative of the African regions Senator Corbin wants us to study. It is just a suggestion.

Senator Andreychuk: If we are planning to have hearings, they have to be in both languages, et cetera, and if we decide to have anything else, we can look at that.

I should remind you there is now a recognized Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association. We have some 50 members at the moment and we hope to increase the numbers by including all of those who have not joined yet. In early February, we will have a reception-dialogue with all the ambassadors of Africa. We are presently trying to find out from DFAIT whether it is 53 or 54, because one country is in dispute.

However, we will have them all there. It will be a good opportunity. I would think we could highlight our study there and the work that Canada-Africa is doing. They will all be there, and I would think since we are studying Africa, those ambassadors will be very happy to speak with us and to get our points of view.

The Chairman: We are making notes here, because as some of you know, the staff and I have regular meetings, and if someone has any ideas we are very receptive. We only received our reference 10 days ago, and we are working on it. We will have had all three ministers here, if all goes well, by tomorrow. We will certainly give all you say a lot of thought.

I have to point out that I found the Ukrainian ambassador very interesting, but that is exceptional. The only other time it has happened it was terrible. They do not want to say anything, for obvious reasons — they are representing their country.

At first, the Ukrainian ambassador did not quite know where he fit in, but he wanted to be here. In fact, he sat in on the hearings for some time. I just point out to you that we were very well served by this Ukrainian ambassador, but that is not something we can count on. We never know.

Senator Grafstein: I was in Bulgaria and did a report, which I will circulate to you if you are interested, about what happened at that meeting. I have been asked to be the deputy head of the Ukrainian election monitors, so I am back to Ukraine over the Christmas holidays.

I am one of the two drafters of the interim report. I will circulate it to everybody, because you will get an entirely different view from what you read in the newspapers about what is going on there.

The Chairman: It is very interesting. I always remind myself that “Ukraine” means “the border land,” with all that that implies.

Senator Corbin: I was not happy with the minister's reply to my first question; I thought he was skimming. Could you find out, or have your people find out, if there is someone in Foreign Affairs at the deputy, assistant deputy or directorship level with a responsibility for Africa? I would like to get that person before the committee to spill the beans.

The Chairman: That will be our first meeting in February.

The committee adjourned.