House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tribunal.

Topics

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, we do want some information about the government's position. It has now had the benefit of a debate in the House of Commons, a cabinet meeting yesterday, a predictable announcement. Could the Deputy Prime Minister now inform the House of Commons of the exact objective being pursued by Canada and of the rules of engagement?

Could he further elaborate by telling us under what conditions does he now see Canadian troops withdrawing from this conflict once we meet these objectives?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has made it very clear what our objectives are, to have Saddam Hussein comply completely with the UN resolutions, that he give up his efforts to manufacture and store instruments of mass destruction and allow full UN inspection.

This is our objective and that of other countries of the world under the auspices of existing UN resolutions.

As far as commenting on rules of engagement, it is premature unless it is determined that there has to be a military solution. We are working very hard to avoid that. The burden of avoiding that is on Saddam Hussein who must recognize that he has to obey the UN resolutions which he signed on to do nine years ago.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the UN resolutions were adopted in 1991. We do not need the government to tell us what resolutions were adopted by the United Nations.

I have a question for the government which, following a cabinet decision and a debate in the House, embarked on a great adventure that could lead to war, to military intervention.

What are the objectives pursued by the government if there is a military intervention? What are the rules of engagement for Canadians whose lives will be put on the line, and what are the conditions for the withdrawal of our troops, once the objective is attained?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I already mentioned our objective, which is to convince Saddam Hussein to give up manufacturing and storing weapons of mass destruction.

Until Saddam Hussein is prepared to comply with this requirement, why should we talk about withdrawing the forces of the United Nations, Canada or Great Britain? In my opinion, Saddam Hussein's cause will be helped if we start talking about the withdrawal of our troops before he makes it clear that a diplomatic solution is not in the cards.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bruce Starlight wrote to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development last fall a confidential letter alleging corruption on his reserve near Calgary. That private letter was leaked to the chief on the reserve who is now suing Mr. Starlight in court.

I just talked to the Starlight family before I came here and it confirmed that it has never received a response from this minister, not even an acknowledgement.

How is it that Mr. Starlight's letter got leaked to the chief but the minister never extended him the courtesy of a reply to his letter?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question because I did sign a letter of response to Mr. Starlight. If he has not received it I will have to investigate.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Starlight family confirms it never received even an acknowledgement. The only response Bruce Starlight has to date is a lawsuit by his chief. We know the minister has not contacted Mr. Starlight.

I have another question motivated by concerns that the minister may be trying to protect the chief who happens to be a prominent Liberal. The minister has not contacted Mr. Starlight. What contact has she had with the Liberal chief?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I have met with Chief Whitney on other occasions in his role as chief of the First Nations.

With regard to this particular issue we have not discussed anything.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

February 11th, 1998 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

Yesterday, we learned that the federal government is indeed involved alongside the United States in setting up the strike force against Iraq.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister justify the fact that Canada is already jumping with both feet into the upcoming conflict alongside the United States when most of Canada's international partners are still seeking a diplomatic solution to this conflict?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are also seeking a diplomatic solution. That is why the Minister of Foreign Affairs is in New York at the United Nations today.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister are singing from very different song sheets.

In 1991, he wanted military operations to come under the control of the UN. In 1998, he has changed his tune. Back in 1991, he wanted members to be able to vote on Canada's involvement. In 1998, that too has gone by the boards.

How does the Deputy Prime Minister explain this about-face between the fine words of 1991 and the government's actions in 1998?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are working together not just with the United States, but with Great Britain, Germany, Kuwait and Bahrain as well to find a diplomatic solution.

We are guided in our efforts by UN resolutions that go back many years and I wonder why the hon. member cannot accept the fact that there are UN resolutions still in force.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, grassroots Indians need to know that they can write to their minister in confidence about problems they are having. By leaking Bruce Starlight's letter back to a chief with strong Liberal connections, the minister seriously eroded the trust between her office and grassroots Indians.

Four weeks ago the minister appointed a bureaucrat to look into the leak. We still have not heard back from the investigator and the minister will not even tell us who it is.

How can Indians trust her so-called investigator when they do not even know who it is? Why will the minister not tell us the name?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions I have indicated to this House the importance I put on this very issue.

To me it was critical that we have an investigation done to follow the path of that letter. The letter is being tracked, the investigation is under way and I am looking forward to receiving direction from that investigation.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the minister's so-called investigation is starting to look a lot more like an exercise in damage control than a true fact finding mission. Indians on reserves everywhere want to know when this investigation will be completed.

Will she release a report in the House by the end of the week or will this drag on and be swept under the rug?