House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

Topics

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

The Government of Canada does not make decisions regarding employees of a crown corporation.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is really scary is that when it comes to Afghanistan and the war against terrorism, the government cannot even commit 1,000 troops who have trained together. It cannot sustain operations. It cannot even get our troops there because 11 of the 32 Hercules aircraft are not ready to go. The government is obviously not ready for this conflict.

Will the Prime Minister commit today to a new white paper so that he will have the military ready for the next conflict?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, now it is a white paper for next year when the troops perhaps will be leaving in a couple of days.

I just want to tell the hon. member one thing. Whenever the troops were asked to go somewhere, either Africa, the former Yugoslavia, the Golan Heights or elsewhere, they have always been able to get there in planes. None of them were forced to walk from Canada to there.

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the troops are always ready and willing to go. That is the way they are.

The government has been caught flatfooted. It is totally unprepared for this. Since it has been in power, it has allowed the military to become a shadow of its once proud self. It will take a real commitment to our military to get it back on track. Our men and women serving in the forces deserve better than what this government has given to them.

When will the Prime Minister begin the process to develop a new white paper so that our troops will get better?

Terrorism
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister of defence is doing an excellent job in handling the files of the Department of National Defence. In the last eight years the United Nations, NATO and so on have asked Canada to participate in every mission and we have been there.

A few weeks ago, when the secretary general of NATO was in Ottawa, he complimented me for the effective work the Canadian troops had done in that area, especially in Macedonia when they were asked to go at the last minute to help disarm citizens.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, history is not an exact science and historians admit that it is open to various interpretations.

But now, journalist Normand Lester has just been suspended by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for publishing Le Livre noir du Canada anglais , a book which contradicts the view of Canada's history propagated at a cost of millions by this same crown corporation.

Since the CBC should really be encouraging diversity of opinion, does the Prime Minister think it is right for a journalist to be suspended for having criticized, off the air, the version of Canada's history that his government wants to impose as the official one?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage answered clearly earlier.

These decisions, which were taken by Radio-Canada management, have nothing to do with the government. We were not consulted. It is an internal disciplinary decision, which will be analysed.

It has grievance procedures and so forth, and there will eventually be a decision. The government is not responsible for this situation.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the House will recall, however, that when, in the wake of September 11, the Canadian Museum of Civilization considered postponing an exhibit of Arab art, the Prime Minister made his views very clearly known. The message was heard and the museum reversed its decision.

Without telling Radio-Canada how to run its affairs, will the Prime Minister stand in his place and denounce the suspension of Normand Lester for what it is: censorship?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the member is not asking us to interfere in matters having to do with hiring practices in a crown corporation.

It is quite the opposite because, if a government were to interfere in this, it would have to step down.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who is responsible for reporting to the House of Commons on the conduct of crown corporations under her authority.

In 1998, Don Cherry insulted Quebecers on the CBC. Nothing came of it, because apparently the opinion he expressed was his own.

Why does Radio-Canada all of a sudden feel the need to suspend Normand Lester, who offers a different view of Canadian history? The minister is accountable? Then let her provide an accounting here.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada was not involved in either case, as should be the case.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, acting like a hypocrite and washing her hands of the matter is no way for the minister to assume her responsibilities.

Robert Guy Scully offers his interpretation of Canadian history, and the government approves it and provides financial support. Normand Lester offers his, and he is reprimanded and suspended.

Why is history all of a sudden so distressing to Radio-Canada when it provides another perspective?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the member has said we provided funding to Robert Guy Scully. The government also provided funding for Normand Lester's book.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

November 20th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Anxiety is mounting over the possibility that the war in Afghanistan will spread to other countries. The U.S. has many countries on its hit list, with no known evidence that they are linked to the September 11 attacks.

Today the Minister of National Defence is in Washington, so I would like to ask the Prime Minister: Will the defence minister express forcefully today in Washington Canada's opposition to the war being extended beyond Afghanistan?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our position has always been that if there is no clear evidence the war should not be expanded elsewhere. We made that view known very early in the process. Remember that right after September 11, some people in Washington were urging that troops be moved into Iraq. I said publicly then, and I say it today, that it was not advisable to do that. The terrorists were protected in Afghanistan. Troops had to go there to try to get the terrorists. The Taliban refused to return them, so they had to face the consequences.