House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreement.

Topics

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should understand that the issue is not about taking part, but about supplying answers. That is what we would like.

We learned this morning, for example, that President Clinton was asked by the Pentagon to call up 33,000 reservists. If, in the States, they are asking the President to call up 33,000 reservists, does that mean they are getting ready for an invasion in the Kosovo area soon?

Something is on the move. Does this have implications for Canada? We would like to know.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States is fully responsible for whatever decisions he takes within his own country, just as we take our own sovereign decisions in this country.

As we said in the House, there has been no decision by NATO on any activation of ground forces other than for peacekeeping purposes. We have made no decision within this government. As the Prime Minister has said, we will consult with parliament before any decision is made.

The Americans are doing that to support whatever activities they may be doing. But I can give the hon. member every single assurance that what we have said about the Canadian position still stands.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, President Clinton has informed Americans on the cost of their involvement in Kosovo. It seems to us that Canadians would be entitled to the same information and to know how much this operation is likely to cost them.

Without questioning the necessity of our participation, might we know what budget envelope the government has set for its present operations in Kosovo?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what I said earlier is still relevant. It is too soon to determine the overall cost of military operations, including our support for humanitarian activities. These figures are being developed. They are being looked at in light of issues such as the length of the air operations.

As further information is developed we will be providing it through the Minister of National Defence to the House. At this stage, to have definite information depends on certain hypothetical assumptions which have yet to be tested.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again yesterday we learned that NATO had requested additional participation by Canada. We also learned that the war could last a number of weeks, if not months, more.

Would it not be appropriate for the government to announce, after 23 days, what the extent of our financial involvement in the conflict is and what projections have been made, so that our commitment for the coming months may be assessed?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated, we are speaking at this time of situations that are more or less hypothetical. Obviously, the necessary analyses are in the process of being done at National Defence. Once the situation with regard to our involvement in the broadest possible intervention is known—and this is still hypothetical—the necessary information will be given to the Canadian public and to the House.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a diplomatic solution in Kosovo depends on the United Nations. The Minister of Foreign Affairs understands that. He must also understand that the same is true for consideration of the German plan and the uniting for peace resolution.

Since the success of the German plan is not guaranteed, what is Canada waiting for to present such a resolution to the security council?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, it is very important to continue with the negotiating process between all players in the Kosovo crisis, particularly the UN secretary general, the Russians and NATO members.

As I told the NDP members of the national defence committee at the last meeting, it is very important to look at all options. But, right now, the best option is to pursue the German proposals and to continue to encourage the interest of all players in the plan. This is a national priority.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we should not wait on the sidelines. We should not just be examining all options, we should be advancing all options. Canada should be working now to build support at the United Nations for UN sponsored solutions to the Kosovo crisis. While co-operating fully with other promising initiatives, why not advance the uniting for peace initiative? Why not ensure that every diplomatic avenue is being aggressively pursued?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the meetings held this morning between the Prime Minister and the Premier of China, the Prime Minister made a very specific point of raising the Kosovo issue and engaging the Chinese, who are important members of the security council, to gain their support for a resolution. The agreement was that we would work together to see how we could co-operate.

While we differ on the nature of the crisis and the response to it, I can report to the House that the Prime Minister's discussions with his counterpart from China were quite constructive. He has asked the two foreign ministers to maintain the dialogue on how we can work together in a co-operative fashion.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning, in testimony before the American senate committee, Hugh Shelton, chief of defence staff of the U.S. army, said that he had informed the American president that air strikes would achieve military goals and reduce Milosevic's military strength.

He also informed the American president that he doubted that air strikes would achieve the political objectives, which include, of course, the return and the safety of the Kosovars, in other words, humanitarian objectives.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree with these statements or not, and might it be that NATO is achieving its military objectives but failing to achieve its political and humanitarian objectives?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre
Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I must confess I do not know which official he is talking about. If it is an elected official from the congress, they can say just about anything.

The fact of the matter is that in recent discussions we have had with officials at the U.S. administration, they are very committed to the maintenance of the air campaign. They are very committed, as is well known, coming out of the NATO ministers meeting just last week, to ensuring that we have a consistent coherent policy in NATO that supports the campaign, but at the same time undertakes a dialogue and negotiations that are being followed at the present time.

That is the position of all NATO governments.

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the minister's information, Mr. Shelton is General Baril's U.S. counterpart. He does carry some weight.

This American General Baril even spoke of inconsistencies between military and political objectives. In other words, whether there are 400, 700, or even 1,100 planes, as expected, or 6, 12, 18 and now about 20 for Canada, events seem to back Mr. Shelton up: the air strikes appear to be reducing Milosevic's capacity, period.

Can the minister confirm that the success of these political and humanitarian objectives therefore depends on sending in ground troops?

Kosovo
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it makes sense to assume that whatever is said before a committee of the U.S. congress or by somebody in the United States to the press involves the decision making process in Canada. We make our own decisions based on our own assessment of the situation.

Certainly if requests are made for additional planes, they will be considered, but at this stage there are no decisions to commit additional planes.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

April 16th, 1999 / 11:30 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, an internal e-mail from RCMP superintendent Terry Smith states: “We are bankrupt. We cannot afford to provide the service expected of us. The tools to accomplish the job are being taken away. This is only the tip of the iceberg”.

RCMP officers are unable to conduct investigations into organized crime, or even to fix their cars due to lack of funding. Why has the solicitor general gutted the RCMP to the point of bankruptcy?