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英国首相布莱尔01系列演讲之Speech by the Prime Minister to the Canadian Parliament - 23 February

2006-05-30 16:34

  Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker of the Senate, Mr Prime Minister, Honourable Members of the Senate, Members of the House of Commons.

  It is a rare honour to be invited to address you today, here where the common bond between our two nations is symbolised.

  Of course ours isn't a relationship built only on shared history and sentiment. Canadian investment in Britain has grown by over 50 % in the last six years, making you the fourth largest investor in our country. Britain is the second largest investor in Canada. Last year alone, British companies committed more than C$13 billion here. The country Voltaire likened to "quelques arpents de neige" and Edward Gibbon to ancient Germany, is today for Britain a high-tech hub of the global economy. You are world leaders now in the new economy.

  But there are ties deeper than commerce alone can ever be.

  There is a famous photograph of Sir Winston Churchill in the Speaker's Office. He was here almost exactly 60 years ago. He addressed this Parliament in Europe's darkest hour. In that speech, he described how it had been confidently predicted that Britain would fall as surely as other nations before the Nazi advance.

  Times change. But some things remain constantly with us.

  I can pay Canada no greater compliment than this. All nations have their reputations. As Prime Minister I deal with many crises, often of an international nature. But I know and I bet I speak for most of the Prime Ministers of my acquaintance in Britain and abroad, that when we are told the Canadians are in on the act, whatever the forum for decision, there is a sense of relief, the clouds part a little, the confidence grows. People know your word is your bond. And what's more, what you do, you do well. It's not a bad reputation to have.

  Common Heritage

  The Atlantic brought Britain and Canada together. Ours has been a maritime history, trade its common thread.

  The story of our two nations began in 1497, when Henry VII funded an Italian adventurer to open a trade route to Asia by sailing West and instead he landed in Newfoundland. The following centuries were a tale of exploration, new frontiers.

  For Britons down the centuries, Canada has been and remains a land of opportunity. By 1870, British Canadians accounted for 2.1 million out of a total population of 3.6 million. British engineers and investors helped build the canals and railways that linked Canada East to West.

  In 1867, the British North America Act brought Canada provinces together in a Confederation. The first dominion and the first federal constitution in the British Empire. Britain and Canada still share a sovereign and the best traditions of parliamentary democracy. And our new Human Rights Act echoes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that Jean Chrétien pioneered as Pierre Trudeau's Justice Minister.

  But perhaps it is our shared experience of defending our freedom and our way of life that forms the strongest bond. Britons will never forget that Canada stood by our side throughout both world wars. Nearly 10% of the total Canadian population served in the First World War. Ypres 1915. The Somme - where the brave Newfoundlanders lost 730 out of 801 men in 30 minutes. Vimy Ridge 1917.

  Canada's record in the Second World War is no less crucial. Over a million Canadian men and women served in the armed forces. On the front line in the liberation of Italy, France and the Low Countries. Two Canadian battalions were lost in the defence of Hong Kong, and both Canada and Britain have recently announced compensation schemes to honour our Far East Prisoners of War. Roosevelt and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter on a warship in Newfoundland bay. And Mackenzie King hosted the two crucial Quebec conferences in 1943 and 1944 on the war and the shape of the peace.

  The presence of Canadian and British forces in continental Europe helped win the Cold War. They have also served together in Korea, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Sierra Leone.

  Shared Values

  It took a Canadian general to win the confidence of both sides in Northern Ireland over the most sensitive issue of all, the issue of arms decommissioning. I would like to pay tribute to General de Chastelain here in this place for what he has done, and what he and other Canadians including your Prime Minister Jean Chretien continue to do, for peace in Northern Ireland.

  Depuis les temps de l'empire, la Grande Bretagne et le Canada ont évolués. Le Canada a intégré deux grandes civilisations européennes à un pays bilingue enrichi par l'apport d'autres cultures, en premier lieu évidemment par celles de ses nations autochtones. Le Canada d'aujourd'hui se tourne de plus en plus, non seulement vers l'Occident mais aussi vers l'Orient, d'où sont originaires, tant du Pacifique que de l'Asie, la moitié des immigrants au Canada durant la derniére décennie. La Grande Bretagne aussi s'est diversifiée. Nos démocraties se transforment et s'adaptent, en utilisant la tolérance qui les caractérisent pour former des sociétés multi-culturelles et dynamiques.

  Des objectifs communs ont surgi des valeurs que nous partageons. Hier, j'ai lu votre discours du Trone du mois dernier et les reactions qui l'ont suivi aux Communes. J'ai été frappé par la similarite de nos debats politiques. Moderniser les services publics. La technologie a l'age de l'information et de l'education. L'environnement. Une croissance plus forte et plus d'emplois.

  We share something else. You are that part of North America closest in values and traditions to Europe. We are that part of Europe closest to North America.

  We both are part of and support strongly the transatlantic alliance, Europe and North America together.

  I have a belief, formed in theory, but now far more powerfully reinforced after four years practical experience as Prime Minister, that where the two sides of the Atlantic stand together, the world is a more secure, stable and prosperous planet. We have our disagreements - of course we do - but they simply evaporate in importance when put alongside our common interests and values.

  We know that what binds us together is a common belief in the values of institutionalised democracy, the benefits of the rule of law, the primacy of the market as the engine for growth, the belief in a strong and inclusive society to correct the market's injustices, the creative power of individualism, and the ultimate need to protect human rights. This is the core 'package' of our political canon. What separates us from others is that we believe in the whole package. We do not believe that you can have the market without society, or human rights separated from the rule of law, or anything less than all the attributes of democracy. And our experience tells us too that when people are given the opportunity freely to choose, this model of political organisation is what they choose.

  When we stand together, both sides of the Atlantic, either in situations of conflict, or of trade or in regulating the vagaries of global finance or indeed in issues of human rights, we most often prevail and we do so on the basis of what is right and just.

  Yet despite the evidence of history and our own present prosperity, some will question this.

  I speak to you first and foremost as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. British, proud to be so, truly ambitious for Britain, determined to see our potential fulfilled.

  I speak to you as a committed Atlanticist.

  I speak to you also as a European, unshakeable in my view that Britain's future is as a leading player in Europe, a powerful force for good, and a force for reform, in the European Union.

  There are those in my country who say it is not possible to be all these things. You can have Europe, or you can have North America, but you can't have both. Britain has to choose.

  It is an article of my political faith that I refuse point blank to do so. We will have the best of both worlds. We will give up neither relationship. We will make them both work. And we will make them work not just for Britain but for the alliance itself.

  United in Defence

  That alliance is most clear in defence. Our commitment to NATO is fundamental.

  We have had the good sense to adapt NATO to 21st century security tasks. The threat to our own territory has all but disappeared. But the threats to our interests persist - from turmoil within nations such as Yugoslavia, from terrorism, and from proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. NATO is our organisation of choice for dealing with these threats. No organisation is stronger, no military alliance more integrated. Nothing surpasses NATO's strength and effectiveness.

  Today Canadian and British peacekeepers work side by side, in the Balkans sometimes under a Canadian Commander, sometimes under a British one within NATO.

  NATO also reversed the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and set in train the events which led to Milosevic being ousted. On our own, Europe could not have achieved that. It took the combination of Europe and North America, acting together in NATO, to deliver on our goal.

  The initiative on European Defence should be seen in this context. It is limited to crisis management, peace-keeping and humanitarian tasks. It requires the sovereign decision of each nation to participate in each operation, as with the UN. It is not therefore a standing Army. There will be no separate EU military planning structures. And it applies only where NATO has chosen not to act collectively.

  It has, however, two potential benefits. First, it allows Europe - for example, in crises on or within Europe's border to act where the US does not wish to. Bosnia from 1992-95 is such a case. Second, it puts pressure on Europe to increase its defence capability, something long desired by our allies in North America.

  Done right it will strengthen NATO. And NATO will remain the cornerstone of our collective security.

  International Trade

  The other crucial area for the transatlantic alliance is trade.

  Round the world, there is simultaneously the desire for greater local autonomy and nations coming together for their common good.

  In the UK we have found a way through devolution to create a new partnership in the UK between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  Yet at the same time as greater devolution occurs within nations, countries are voluntarily coming together to form regional groups. The EU is the most integrated, but in North America you have NAFTA, in the South Mercosur, in Asia ASEAN and APEC and so on.

  In my view, these two trends are healthy and go together. Devolve where possible; integrate where necessary.

  The key is to ensure that these regional blocs do not become inward looking or closed. If we simply exchange the darker side of nationalism for conflict between blocs, we have gained nothing.

  The EU and NAFTA are the world's largest trading blocs and the world's biggest free traders. NAFTA is the EU's most important trading partner. In 1999 EU exports to NAFTA were ??137 billion and imports from NAFTA were ??121 billion.

  And yet relations are not as they should be. Proposals for a Transatlantic Free Trade Area in 1996 came to nothing. The Transatlantic Economic Partnership of 1998 has not been the success hoped for either. Despite ever closer economic links our trade relations have become bedevilled by disputes over issues like beef and bananas, and damaged both of our interests.

  We now have an opportunity for a new start. The EU is engaged in a radical programme of economic reform. We are committed to opening up markets, reducing the burden of regulation and encouraging enterprise and new technologies. The forthcoming summit in Stockholm will take this a step further forward. And we want to work more closely with our partners on this side of the Atlantic, including the new US Administration, to promote free trade.

  We need greatly to improve the EU/NAFTA relationship. I propose the following.

  We should agree an EU/NAFTA political declaration of intent on trade.

  98 per cent of our trade is trouble free. We cannot allow the remaining 2 per cent to sour trading relations in the way it has. We should aim to break the logjam by the June EU Summit in Gothenburg. We are pursuing this with our partners and the Commission and I will be discussing at Stockholm with my fellow leaders how we achieve this.

  This should then be reinforced by an EU/NAFTA commitment to go further within the WTO framework to break down non-tariff barriers. In areas like insurance and professional services, liberalisation is massively in our joint interests.

  At Gothenburg, we should also agree a statement of principles as a basis for launching a new WTO round, at Doha in November.

  We should agree a joint commitment to remove trade barriers for the least developed countries. That means duty free and quota free access for Everything But Arms. It is frustrating how long it is taking within the EU to bring this excellent initiative to fruition.

  And we should consider how we improve radically the forum for solving future transatlantic trade problems before full blown WTO litigation sets in.

  Finally, on trade, it's time we started to argue vigorously and clearly for free trade. It's the key to jobs for our people, prosperity and to development in the poorest parts of the world. The case against it is misguided and, worse, unfair. However sincere the protests, they cannot be allowed to stand in the way of rational argument. We must start to make this case with force and determination.

  Plus, la relation transatlantique ne doit pas être confinée à la sécurité et au commerce. Il y a d'autres défis - le crime organisé le terrorisme, l'environnement, les migrations - nous sommes tous affectés par les enjeux bons ou mauvais qui touchent notre planète. Une alliance transatlantique plus efficace nous aidera à trouver des meilleurs solutions. A nous d'y voir.

  So: the strength of our relationship, Britain and Canada, may originate with our history but does not depend on it. There are present, real and substantial bonds of mutual interest and endeavour that unite our nations. If these bonds deepen still further, it does not impact on us alone. It is greatly to the benefit of all. The world moves ever closer together. At least, for the most developed nations, prosperity and opportunity have never been greater. But the global threats are also growing: nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation, fundamentalism and the potential for financial collapse in one continent to trigger it in another. Both of us with the US, both of us with Europe, both of us in the Commonwealth and both also in the Pacific and Asia occupy a special place. We have an unusual network of relationships bequeathed by history. We should use our power and influence to further the transatlantic alliance. It is the rock on which our security and prosperity is based. It places a heavy responsibility on us. It is one we can justly discharge with pride.

  My profound thanks to you for this invitation. It is one of the proudest moments of my political life and long live the friendship between us both.

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