House of Commons Hansard #135 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. When Canadian Forces personnel took prisoners in Bosnia, they sent a significant incident report to the National Defence Headquarters Operation Centre within 24 hours. We have been informed that this procedure is still in place. According to this, the minister would have been aware within 24 hours that Canadians had taken al-Qaeda prisoners.

Why did the minister not inform the Prime Minister about this immediately? Why did he wait eight days?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I was first informed about the detention of prisoners and the mission within 24 hours of when it actually occurred. At that point in time, I was travelling in Mexico City on government business. I waited until my return so I could further explore the full extent of the mission that was involved.

Upon receiving all the necessary information, and particularly last Friday seeing for the first time the photograph which turned out to be related to that mission, I then informed the Prime Minister and cabinet on Tuesday morning.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, apparently Mexico does not have any phones because he could have picked up the phone and called the Prime Minister.

Things do not add up here. We are supposed to have 50 Canadians at central command headquarters in Florida agreeing to Canadian participation in missions. Who do they report to?

Is the Minister of National Defence not the Minister of National Defence they report to, national defence headquarters or is it Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon? Will the minister table today the significant incident report of eight or so days ago that states Canadians took prisoners?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I receive briefings on a daily basis. Much of the information comes from the command centre in Tampa, Florida through Commodore Thiffault and his staff. It goes to the chief of defence staff and then it comes to me that same day.

The chain of command has acted properly. They have acted quickly and efficiently in providing all information.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the daily La Presse reports that our embassy in Tunisia is delivering visas to young Tunisians without even having met them. No security checks or financial audits are conducted.

Could the minister confirm whether these allegations are true?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. As I said yesterday, I have requested a report from the deputy minister.

This being said, the hon. member should know that the project in question was launched in early 1999 and ended on August 31, 2000. Therefore, this project no longer exists.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is completely unacceptable to Canadians that every time there is a problem with security the government wants to study the problem. Canadians demand more from the government. The government has failed them.

Canadians believe that people coming to Canada with visas have been thoroughly screened. The reports out of Tunisia raise many questions. With over 700,000 people a year travelling to Canada on visas, Canadians want to know if this minister knows how many visa applications have been thoroughly screened.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed. What kind of state does he want to live in? Does he want a police state? Does he want us to follow everybody? I think we have acted in good faith.

What the member should do is make sure that when people are here they are welcomed. We are putting in place some resources to make sure that everything is kosher.

I will not accept that statement saying that everybody is coming in and maybe some terrorists. It is a disgrace to say that kind of thing.

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

January 30th, 2002 / 2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister responsible for official languages said, “The government will continue to analyze carefully any situation and support linguistic minority communities when necessary”.

The minister can quote whatever part of his speech suits him, but will he acknowledge that the real message he is continuing to send to the francophone communities is “If you made less fuss, you would get more money for other things”?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Of course not, Mr. Speaker. Moreover, I defy the hon. member to quote a single passage of my speech in which I am supposed to have said that the government intended to pull out of its court ordered responsibilities in respect of language or anything else.

On the contrary, I have indicated that the Government of Canada, like all governments in this country, should follow the liberal and dynamic approach clearly indicated in the jurisprudence on language rights.

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has just become another member of the “I never said that” club.

He can say whatever he wants but can he deny that he is involved in a shameful blackmailing of the francophone communities in Canada by telling them “Quit making a fuss and you will get more money”?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have issued a challenge to the hon. member, with no response. This just proves he is trying to put words in my mouth.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, a former immigration official has said that department higher ups overruled frontline workers who wanted to detain 150 young Tunisian men who arrived in Canada a year and a half ago. He said “after interrogating them and discovering that they were not real tourists, we wanted to detain them, but the bosses said no, let them go, so we let them go”.

Why is the department not listening to frontline immigration officials who are clearly more concerned about public security than this minister?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bourassa
Québec

Liberal

Denis Coderre Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. I am the minister for immigration not minister of immigration. What we have to send as a message here is that before saying anything I will check the facts. I asked my deputy minister to give me some facts, some reports. When the facts are ready, do not worry, I will tell the House what happened.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, how much time does the minister need? This happened a year and a half ago. Surely someone in his department must know about it. If they do not, it is time for a housecleaning.

Why is this minister covering up an issue? Why is he stonewalling on an issue that is vital to our national security?