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Canada
Foreign Minister John Manley
Address to the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association
Ottawa, Canada
September 18, 2001

I expected to be debriefing you this evening on a pleasant and successful trip to Europe. We have, of course, far more urgent topics at hand that have implications for Canada and the overall North American relationship with Europe, and most significantly for the future political, security and economic construct of this, our own continent. We spoke a great deal about this in our special Parliamentary debate yesterday, and I have no doubt that these issues will captivate our nations for a long time to come.

I will provide you with a quick recap of my talks in Europe -- as promised -- and some of the key interests and themes in play within that relationship. But from there, we can direct tonight's conversation to the overriding issue of where Canada will go -- as a nation, as a member of the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Alliance, and as the most important partner of the United States -- after the terrible events of September 11.

Like nothing else, a crisis forces us to focus on the things that matter most. Over the past week, we have seen this, of course, on a personal level, played out through thousands upon thousands of tragic human dramas. But we have also witnessed this taking place on a political level.

In recent years, the North America-Europe relationship has had its share of strains, from trade disputes and differing views on various aspects of some of today's key global issues, to concerns over a possible slippage in priority as both continents explore new spheres of regional interest.

But nothing has driven home so powerfully the enduring strength and the primal importance of the transatlantic alliance as have the events of this last week. We have rallied. We have made our solidarity and our common resolve clear.

For the first time in the 52-year history of the NATO collective defence alliance, we and our allies have moved to invoke Article V. That this would happen, not in direct defence of Europe, but rather in response to an attack on North America, may have been unthinkable to those who drafted the NATO Charter in 1949. It is a new world, but our oldest friendships remain as vital today as they did all those years ago.

Let me be clear on what the NATO Alliance is all about, and what Article V means: an attack against one is an attack against all. As each of our nations counts our dead and missing -- right now, some 40 to 75 Canadians remain unaccounted for; other nations, like Germany and Britain, may have lost many more -- as we count our own victims of these vile acts of terrorism, that phrase holds a painful resonance for all of us.

The NATO statement of September 12 means that, if it is determined that this attack was directed from outside the U.S., and if the U.S. requests the assistance of its allies, then we will all be there. Nothing has been decided at this time. We need a plan, and we need more information. But, at the end of the day, we will fulfill our NATO commitments, consult with our Allies, and offer our support to the U.S.

Both inside and outside of the Alliance, Canadian and European leaders -- from London to Moscow -- have expressed very strong support for the United States. In Canada, we have done so quite simply because our interests as a nation and our values as a people have been challenged and we must respond.

The EU Heads of State and Government stated last week that, "these terrible terrorist attacks were also directed against us all, against open, democratic, multicultural and tolerant societies."

Those very values -- our common commitment to democracy, freedom, tolerance, justice and to societies founded upon respect for the rule of law -- provide the bond of our unbreakable alliance. It is what binds our ongoing peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans, and what motivates new, emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe to join the Alliance and the EU as well.

And those very values, as well as the progress and prosperity that they have allowed, are what the terrorists have sought to destroy, but can never be permitted to destroy.

Some may have felt that transatlantic relations have been taken for granted from time to time. If this is so -- and I don't believe that it is -- it would be because that relationship is so stable, so strong and so fundamental to our sense of self. It has always existed, and it always will. This year we mark the 25th anniversary of the framework for Canada-Europe co-operation, and have chosen this time to make clear that Canada and Europe -- like North America and Europe -- are important to each other, if it even needs to be said.

Transatlantic relations were the overriding theme during my talks in Paris and Berlin, as well as in my visits to London and Riga, covering a range of transatlantic interests from NATO and European security issues, to Canada's forthcoming leadership of the G-8. But we also devoted considerable discussion to global affairs, and the leadership role that North America and Europe need to play in order to advance the causes of peace, development, prosperity and justice across a wide range of issues, in every part of the globe. We cannot fail to provide that leadership now, above all.

I will briefly list some of the key elements of those discussions, but I will leave the details for our question-and-answer session later this evening. In all areas, however, I wish to emphasize the key role to be played by parliamentarians in building co-operation and leading public dialogue. Parliamentarians are the eyes and ears, as well as the voices of their nations, and have an irreplaceable role to play in presenting Canada to Europe and to the world.

Some of the key issues on the table during my visit included:

• increasing our trade and investment relationship, both through the WTO liberalization process and by seeking freer transatlantic trade;

• deepening the broader aspects of our relations, including the justice and home affairs arena, scientific co-operation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people linkages;

• our role in the Balkans, as well as new developments in Macedonia and the prosecution of Milosevic in The Hague;

• the G-8 Action Plan for Africa, which Canada is leading, which will be a priority for our presidency of the G-8 in 2002;

• the unabated crisis in the Middle East. The Prime Minister and I continue to speak directly to the parties, urging them to end the violence and return to the negotiating table. And finally,

• the Durban conference on racism -- where Canada made it clear that the Middle East issue had no place in that discussion. For that reason we disassociated ourselves from the final text of that meeting.

The hatred and manipulation that we saw displayed in Durban discouraged many of us. What should have been a forward-looking discussion on eradicating all forms of racism and discrimination became instead a divisive debate that drove differences ever deeper. Making the world a better place for everyone -- and this is our vocation -- requires courage, as well as conviction.

What we saw last week in New York, in Washington and in Pennsylvania was terrorism. Just terrorism. Efforts to explain it, to rationalize it, to intellectualize it are in vain. This is evil. Nothing more. We will not allow those who seek to perpetuate hatred and terror to use these events to build false divides between countries and governments, or peoples and cultures.

We need to identify and punish the terrorists, as well as rout out the sources of terrorism to eliminate this evil.

As Prime Minister [Jean] Chrétien declared yesterday, and as President [George] Bush has vowed to the American people, we are now at war against terrorism. It will be unlike any war that we have ever fought, and we will have to be prepared to deploy every tool at our disposal -- diplomatic, legal, financial and military -- to combat this evil. The most powerful weapon in our hands, however, must be the solidarity and clear resolve of a united international community. We have already seen this at the United Nations and the UN Security Council, and among G-8 nations. I also note that the EU plans to hold an extraordinary summit on terrorism, on September 21.

This is a time both for reaffirmation and for re-evaluation.

We reaffirm the principles and values that make us a free, a just and a tolerant society, and commit ourselves to defending them at all costs.

We stand by our obligations, entered into freely and in respect of the rule of law.

We reaffirm the fundamental importance of NATO, and of the critical bonds and mutual commitments that underpin the Alliance. And we echo the words of the United Nations Security Council, which declared that the perpetrators of terror, as well as those who abet or harbour them, will be held accountable.

But we shall also have to re-evaluate how we achieve these goals, and take a hard look at the strategies and tools that we are going to need to promote and protect the best interests of our citizens in this new world.

The phrase we keep hearing -- "life will never be the same" -- will apply very directly to this continent and quite likely to the everyday lives of all Canadians. We are only beginning to assess the scope of what this may entail. We will have to look at border management, immigration, the security of airports and airspace, intelligence gathering, defence and security policies and, most broadly, how best to assure our common security.

But the whole of the international community must be engaged in this work.

You may be aware that it now appears likely that the General Debate portion of the annual United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for next week, will be postponed. This decision, which we anticipate will be made in the next day or two, is to spare the City of New York the security and logistical burdens that this unwieldy event would impose -- a massive undertaking even at the best of times. And these are far from the best of times.

But, we can be sure that leaders, ministers and their diplomatic and military representatives are continuing to conduct their business and will meet in a hall of nations at the earliest feasible moment. The multilateral system, our global community of just and democratic nations remains strong. We are resolute, and we will not be diverted from our common purpose.

The media have raised the question of the future of summits and international gatherings, including of the security of political leaders at such events. These are questions that may be brought even more sharply into the fore by the events in the U.S. But terrorists do not determine if and when democratic leaders shall meet.

Canada and other free nations are not going to let their agendas be dictated by terrorists, nor their actions and responses to be curtailed by fear. The work of democratic governments goes on.

The Atlantic community of nations provides a central foundation upon which global order stands. If ever we needed reminding of the importance of the transatlantic relationship, and of why we must act together to promote and defend that which we value most, then the horrific events of last week have provided evidence that no words can express.

Thank you

END


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©2001 Government of Canada.