House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was edc.

Topics

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is currently touring several Middle Eastern countries, where he is trying to convince everyone that we must first fight terrorism and then try to find diplomatic solutions to all the conflicts. I think this is the Canadian position right now.

Is there an immediate need for a debate in the UN General Assembly? I do not know whether this is necessary right now because the security council has already passed a resolution authorizing the activities of the American troops and of members of the coalition.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister as well.

Canadians want to understand Canada's role in shaping strategy for the current campaign in Afghanistan. For example, the U.S. is dropping cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are like landmines, a lethal weapon killing innocent civilians, particularly children, something that Canada has strongly opposed in the past.

Did Canada approve of the use of cluster bombs? Was Canada even consulted on the use of cluster bombs?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not expect the generals of the United States to call us every morning to ask us at what time they should go.

They are in a war operation at this time. They did not want to be there at all. If the terrorists who are hiding in Afghanistan had not done what they did on September 11 there would be no need for any kind of bomb. I hope that this leader will understand that.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do want to know what role Canada plays. They want to know whether the meaning of coalition is that every partner has a say. Is that not the point of a coalition?

Yet in Afghanistan it appears that the United States alone seems to be making the decisions about strategy, about tactics and about targets.

What is Canada's role? Does Canada have a say? Does Canada have any voice at all or are we just there to take orders?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think that it would be very naive to believe that every morning all the prime ministers and the leaders would have to consult and decide how many bombs would be dropped today. It does not work like that.

A coalition is not easy and it does not mean that they have to consult on every step.

It is kind of difficult to run a coalition. The member has only to look to the left of herself in the House of Commons.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the attorney general of the United States has deliberately warned that there could be more terrorist attacks this week.

Canadian police say that Toronto has been a centre for al-Qaeda activity and that as many as five followers of Osama bin Laden may be charged.

Does CSIS have any information confirming that there is a new potential for terrorist attacks in Canada over the next week? Has that information gone to law enforcement agencies across Canada and will the Prime Minister tell parliament the plan for co-operation among law enforcement--

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, no information of that nature has been received by CSIS and the RCMP at this time. We are not under any special threat at this moment. I think we are all the time on an alert basis because there is always a danger, but there is no specific threat against Canadians at this moment.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I assume the Prime Minister takes enough time to read the newspapers. He would have seen the report by the attorney general of the United States.

Did he ask for information as to whether or not the information that caused the attorney general to warn Americans about an attack this week is information that should cause Canadians to be careful about an attack this week?

If he did his duty, what is his government doing to protect Canadians from a potential attack here in Canada this week?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am very sorry to disappoint the leader of the coalition of the corner. There is no special threat against Canada at this time.

I am not going to be mad because Canada is not under a special threat, but I understand that the leader of the corner is mad all the time.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, President Bush is now taking steps toward a common security perimeter with Canada and Mexico. He wants greater harmony in customs procedures, including a shared database of foreign nationals entering each country. Such a system will give all three countries early warning of potentially dangerous travellers.

Will the minister assure the House today that Canada will fully co-operate with the implementation of such a plan?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I said many times in the House, we started to reform the customs system a long time ago in Canada. What we are looking at is putting in place a much better risk management system using more technology.

As I said, customs has to be seen as an economic development tool. It has to be effective and efficient for the Canadian population as a whole and businesses as well. We have started to co-operate with the states. I will be in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in order to increase that co-operation. We have started to harmonize in some places like the Nexus program which I visited yesterday.

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, in order for business in this country going south to be effective, security has to be a priority. The Americans have walked away from harmonization talks in the past but they have just put a plan on the table that is in the best interests of Canadian security and the Canadian economy.

Will the minister stop this political posturing and for once act in the best interests of Canadians by agreeing to President Bush's proposal?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member does not know what the customs action plan is all about.

As I have said many times, we are dealing with big volumes on a daily and yearly basis. In order to make sure we are able to fulfill our dual mandate, which is the protection of Canadian society and keeping the border open for trade, we need to use more technology. Using more technology will give us a safer society. We will also make sure businesses keep growing in this country.

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced that it would be supporting the Bloc Quebecois motion on increased international aid. As we know, assistance for the suffering populations must be an ongoing concern.

Can the Minister of Finance confirm that international aid is among his concerns and that he will be including funds for this in his coming budget?