The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on September 24, 1992 · 13
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 13

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 24, 1992
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The Ottawa Citizen, Thursday, September 24, 1992 A13 The Op-Ed Page " I 1 r . I JOHN HAY Citizen staff McDougall learns lesson in patience at External Affairs "v arbara McDougall is calculating i in mis cast', calculating wneu we I might have to start killing "" B Bosnians to stop them killing , Q each other. V KTm As the external affairs minister de- l scribed it dnnng an interview in tier oi- ff '"" LJ fice tllis weel' il 's a Practica' question. I y And it demands a prompt, practical an- I Xf I swer. -MBm i .. . : .1 . I i one sun wuiiis iu give uipiumucy nine. This morning she had spoken to Cyrus Vance, the United Nations emissary in the Bosnian conflict; Vance had sounded encouraging on the phone. "I'd like to give this process a chance to work," McDougall says. But not forev er. "The next couple of weeks will tell that particular story. "But it is difficult," she concedes as she chases the problem further. "I mean, who do you go in and bomb?" With Bosnia's Serb, Croat and Muslim enemies all intermingled, it is a hard point. "Do you go in and bomb everybody?" Nor has she heard any appealing military suggestions from the generals Canada's or anyone else's. "And they're not, at this point, encouraging as to what the outcome would be." If this sounds like a a cool analysis, it is inspired by impatience. And if her famously controlled tone of voice betrays a certain frustration, McDougall has two good reasons. - In the first place, her boss wants action. Brian Mulroney was one of the first western leaders to urge United Nations intervention in the old Yugoslavia. Since which, the Bosnian war has grown worse while UN involvement has been marginal and mostly ineffectual. 1 And in the second place, McDougall does not show much tolerance for indecision, unreason or wasted effort. "I tend to be fairly interventionist by nature," she says. "I tend to be fairly hawkish, and I like to see results." Results: a key word in her vocabulary. A Bay Street financial analyst by profession, she did not go into politics for the fun of it or to promote some high-minded philosophy. Whether she has done nearly enough in 17 months at External Affairs is a matter of opinion. Liberal MP Christine Stewart, a member of the Commons external affairs committee, dismisses McDougall's record as "very lacklustre." : But Stewart allows that McDougall has been free to make foreign policy only within the closely-watched bounds set by the prime minister. And Mulroney, Stewart believes, "has been so concerned with ingratiating himself with President Bush" that McDougall has found little scope for innovation. Traditionally a male line of work It is fair to add (and Stewart agrees) that McDougall's political image at External is colored by another fact: She is a female in a traditionally male line of work You can say, of any country's foreign minister, that they are tough, clever and emotionally self-disciplined. It makes a difference, to some people, if you add that the minister is a woman. As for results, McDougall is concentrating this week on strengthening the interventionist authority of the UN. In a speech scheduled for delivery today in the General Assembly, and in a week full of meetings in the UN's hallways and lounges, she is carrying the cause of UN reform. ,. McDougall says she agrees with certain exceptions with the reform proposals advanced in June by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the secretary general. Setting up a reliable UN funding system is "the foundation of everything," the minister says. The Canadian Embassy in Washington has instructions to lobby U.S. legislators to make good the U.S. government's overdue UN contributions. At the same time, the UN must help itself by its own reorganization. "I think that Boutros-Ghali has done a good job at starting that, and I hope he continues." Finally, the issue of power giving the UN, and specifically the secretary general, the wherewithal to move quickly to prevent or stop a war. McDougall supports Boutros-Ghali's recommendation that countries keep forces on standby for ready use in UN operations. She does not support (and doubts UN members would approve) the establishment of a UN military staff committee to direct those forces. Above all these details is the change McDougall seems to want most: a recognition of UN authority to intervene even . where the local government objects. For months, she argues, the regime in Serbia has refused consent for a UN peacemaking effort in the disintegrating Yugoslavia. "We can't let that happen any more." But McDougall reserves a special sympathy for Haiti, "my , poor little Haiti." This might have something to do with the time, last October, when she came under fire at Port au-Prince airport during the visit of an Organization of American States mission. "I feel about Haiti the way the Europeans feel about Yugoslavia," McDougall says. "This is my hemisphere." In Haiti, too, the result of diplomacy has been frustration. The OAS "has tried very hard to stick to its agenda" of sanctions to reverse the coup of last September. But the OAS, wary of intervention, needs UN encouragement and McDougall suspects the UN will fail to give it. McDougall acknowledges that Die UN, after all these years, is a hard thing to change. But she calculates it is worth the attempt. Can she get results? Her reply is typically measured. "I'll tell you when I get back." McDougall Wants results 37 pxf,?? 7m I a mzB iff i b h m-J Stately: Wallis House, seen here at the turn of the century, is one of the oldest public buildings in Ottawa Citizen file photo Wh at aboot Walls House? Defence department should help save this heritage building By Richard Sanders Special to the Citizen Wallis House, the oldest public building in Ottawa other than the Parliament Buildings, has received a death threat from its owner, the Department of National Defence (DND). Most Ottawans have seen this majestic red-brick building on the corner of Rideau and Charlotte streets, but how many have heard its unique history and know the danger it faces? Finally, after two years, DND has allowed an environmental assessment of Wallis House to proceed. Public Works, the real estate agent for DND, had long delayed its promotion of the site pending this environmental study. The $'30,000 investigation will identify the sources and extent of "soil, groundwater or facility contamination." Following the study, the building will be publicly advertised but if it is not sold by the end of October, DND says they will demolish it. This amounts to a declaration of war on Wallis House. Robert Surtees, the architect of Wallis House, would turn in his grave if he knew DND plans to tear down his building. He would, however, be quite pleased that the other Ottawa building he designed, the old Daly Street courthouse, has been converted into a centre for the arts. With some tender loving care from the city and its citizens, Wallis House, too, could find a useful role, possibly as a site of non profit housing. The building could also house the Bytown Museum or become a centre for organizations concerned with heritage, the environment, peace and social justice. The Wallis House Conversion Project, a coalition of individuals and groups concerned with peace, heritage and housing issues, has been formed to protect this heritage building and return it to a civilian role useful to the community. During its colorful 120 years, Wallis House served as the region's first Protestant hospital, a training institute for nurses, a Catholic seminary, a women's barracks, a refuge for post-war squatters, city-leased low-cost housing, a Korean War recruiting centre, a service Citizen tile photo DND holds keys to building's future battalion headquarters and most recently as a storage depot for military weapons. In 19R9, with the Cold War melting, DND began to dispose of some of the bases and other facilities that make it Canada's biggest landlord. Their aim was to sell some of the 33,000 properties to make some cash for the purchase of the latest high-tech wargadgetry. But the profit to be made from demolishing this fine example of Queen Anne Revival architecture won't help buy those new war toys. When the Federal Heritage Building Review Office got wind of DND's move to declare Wallis House surplus, it was quickly designated heritage. The City of Ottawa placed it on their heritage reference list also. It is a shame that, despite the need for housing, Wallis House has been vacant since June 1990. Last year, the City of Ottawa and Centretown Citizens (Ottawa) Corp. offered a substantial sum to purchase the building for non profit housing. However, DND and Public Works displayed their contempt for Ottawa's history, saying they'd rather tear down this heritage landmark. The reason, they admit, is simply to turn a bigger profit by selling the land unburdened by what they call just "another old building." Knowing that heritage buildings are not easily torn down, DND turned to the old strategy of allowing it to become a dilapidated eyesore. DND didn't defend the building's security by blocking windows through which people have entered to light fires. Neither did DND heed the pleas of an architect last winter for minimal heating to prevent damage to the "building's fabric and foundations." DND should forgo its wasteful plans to purchase new weapons to fight a Cold War that is over. It should give something back to the communities and taxpayers who have supported it for so long. Instead of continually increasing the military budget, the government should provide affordable housing, universal day-care, improved health and education, alternative, clean sources of energy and environmental protection. DND could sell the building to the City of Ottawa for one silver dollar. Preposterous? In 1990, DND sold its 1,500-acre base at Summerside, P.E.I., valued at between $200 and $800 million (complete with airport, hangars, dormitories. 255 houses, a hospital and dental clinic, squash courts, hockey rink, indoor swimming pool, curling rink bowling alleys and tennis courts) to a business consortium with close Conservative party connections for $1 dollar. With government grants and tax writeoffs, this private Tory business group received about $22 million in public monies to convert the former base into an industrial park The Wallis House Conversion Project will do everything in its power to stop DND's wrecking ball from destroying this fine piece of Ottawa's heritage. To be successful, we'll need the strong support of concerned citizens who are willing to lend a hand in the struggle to preserve and convert Wallis House. (Richard Sanders is an organizer with the Wallis House Conversion Protect. For more information call 231-3076). Canada's political elites should learn the lessons of France's referendum f here are real similarities between the Yes iside in France's referendum and the National Canada Committee, which kicked off its national campaign Tuesday. In both, the establishment and the beautiful people were almost all saying yes. Look at the rostrum of the National Canada Committee. You have Yves Fortier, former ambassador to the United Nations, and four former premiers: Peter Lougheed, Robert Stanfield, Bill Davis, and Gerald Regan. And business tycoon Laurent Beaudoin of Bombardier, former man of the people Ed Broadbent, and Marc Garneau, astronaut. In France, defending the Maastricht Treaty, you had almost all the newspapers, a raft of movie stars, former president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former prime minister Jacques Chirac, as well as President Francois Mitterrand. In France, the Yes side was presumed to win at the start of the campaign. But the No, coming mostly from the grass roots and the parties on either fringe the Parti national of Jean Marie Le Pen and the French Communists surged so strongly that Mitterrand was forced to mount a big televised rescue campaign. So far, in Canada outside Quebec, the Yes side seems to be leading But that lead could dwindle. Elections Canada reported Tuesday on the seven referendum committees that have registered. Three support the Charlottetown constitutional agreement, four are opposed. The four opposed hardly look like mass movements. One. the Committee to Vote No on Oct 26 is headed by Hardial S. Bains. In the late '60s he 34 T WILLIAM JOHNSON NATIONAL AFFAIRS headed the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), a Maoist group noted for aggressive demonstrations and slogans such as "running dogs of imperialism." Preston Manning is actually listed as the leader of two committees, with the same address in Calgary and the same phone number, but different names: the New Canada Referendum Committee, and the Reform Party of Canada Referendum Committee. Canada for all Canadians is headed by constitutional expert Deborah Coyne, who served as Clyde Wells' adviser before and during Meech Lake, and published a book on the experience: Roll of the Dice. Coyne is no longer on the same side as Wells. He endorsed most of the Charlottetown agreement And she has been abandoned by most of the people who fought with her against the Meech Lake agreement under the aegis of the Canadian Coalition on the Constitution, which she was instrumental in founding. Coyne's group, which includes Manitoba Liberal Leader Sharon Carstairs, seems to be facing hopeless odds. But you never can tell, as the French referendum on European unity demonstrated. The Yes side in France won by a razor's edge. But it could be a Pyrrhic victory. The discontent it exposed at the grass roots in France, especially in rural areas and declining towns, is so strong that the monetary union endorsed at Maastricht last December might have to be reconsidered. Some of the same conditions that favored a revolt at the grass roots in France exist in Canada. The president of France is, like Brian Mulroney, very unpopular. There is recession there, as here, and it looks like it will go on forever, with high unemployment and insecurity. The eclipse of communism, by leading to the reunification of Germany, has unsettled the currencies of the countries in the European Monetary System. Germany, facing an enormous bill for rebuilding the former East Germany, has preferred to borrow rather than raise taxes. It has thus driven interest rates in Germany sky high, sucking money away from weaker economies, such as those of Britain and Italy, and worsening their recessions. In Canada, change has not been as dramatic as in Europe. But the Free Trade Agreement of 19JS8 has lessened the raison d'etre of the federal government as the defender of provincial interests in international trade. And the towering federal deficit leaves the fed eral government with less money to give the provinces in the form of shared cast programs, such as medicare, or the Canada Assistance Flan to support welfare, or equalization. And the federal debt is a drag on the economy in every part of the country. Both countries called their first na tional referendum in more than a generation. It has been 40 years since the last referendum in France, 50 years since the conscription plebiscite in Canada. Will the result be the same in Canada? It was easier to fight the referendum in France, a unitary state. In Canada, with 10 provinces, two territories and five or six regions, anything can still happen. (William Johnson is national affairs columnist for the Montreal Gazette. Francois Mitterrand A Pyrmic victory

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