House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sex.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa--Vanier.

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

February 5th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, francophone communities in Canada have recently won major legal victories with respect to education in Prince Edward Island, municipal affairs in New Brunswick, and health, here in Ottawa, with the Montfort decision.

Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs please tell us where the Government of Canada stands with respect to these decisions, particularly the decision regarding the Montfort hospital, which is in the heart of the riding that I have the honour of representing in the House?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:40 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, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier has mentioned a series of impressive legal victories for official language communities, particularly the Montfort case in his riding, a case he worked hard on himself.

We must express our delight and congratulate all of those who worked for this victory, particularly Ms. Lalonde, not only on behalf of the Montfort hospital and Franco-Ontarians, but for all official language communities.

The Government of Canada, which was an intervenor in this case, will not hesitate to serve in this role again, each time it is necessary in order to enable Canada's linguistic duality to flourish.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. His colleague, the Minister of National Defence, has suggested that the Geneva conventions were outdated, but the legal director of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that we have had new types of conflicts as well as classic wars, but the fundamental rules are the same.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs knows that one of those fundamental rules is article 12 of the Geneva convention which states that we cannot turn over prisoners of war unless we are satisfied that they are being treated under the provisions of the Geneva convention.

In view of the Deputy Prime Minister's statement that there is doubt about that now, will he assure Canadians that no prisoners will be turned over until that doubt has been fully resolved?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this matter has been discussed in the House at length. The policy of the government is clear, which is, we respect international law. It was correct for us to turn prisoners over to the United States and it will be as long as we have its engagement that it is respecting the terms of the Geneva convention, which engagement it has given us.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister just said a few minutes ago that we do not have that engagement. In his words, there is doubt that a process is in place. As long as that doubt is in place, how can we say we are respecting the Geneva conventions and article 12?

Why is the government showing such contempt for Canadian law and international law?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I will try to be clear on this. We are seeking clarification of some statements that have been made by U.S. authorities. I have also cited the most recent one in which Secretary Rumsfeld confirms that the Geneva convention is being applied. Nevertheless, we would like full clarification in view of some things that have been said.

Let me be perfectly clear. Canadian soldiers are doing their job in accordance with their instructions, including turning prisoners over to U.S. authorities. If necessary, they will continue to do so until we conclude that the U.S. is not respecting the Geneva convention.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier today in question period the Minister of National Defence said that we have assurances from the U.S. that the U.S. will respect the Geneva convention. Then he went on to say that the U.S. considers these prisoners not prisoners of war but simply terrorists. In other words, the Geneva convention does not apply because the U.S. has already determined that it does not apply.

The question is, is this acceptable to the Canadian government? Does the Geneva convention apply only when it is convenient for someone or does it apply to everybody?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member does not understand the Geneva conventions and the law of armed conflict or he would understand that in fact there are provisions both for prisoners of war and for unlawful combatants within their provisions.

What the United States is saying is that it is not interested in prisoners of war. It is only interested in the terrorists who are unlawful combatants and that is the basis on which it is detaining people.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

It is kind of important, Mr. Speaker, to determine how that determination is made.

Yesterday when asked what assurance he could give the House that the tribunals would be in place to determine the status of prisoners taken in Afghanistan, the Minister of National Defence said “we have had the assurances of the United States government”. Yet later in the day the Deputy Prime Minister stated “Some comments out of Washington have suggested that there's no need for” tribunals and “We don't agree with that, and that's what we're trying to work around”.

I ask the defence minister, which is it? Are there tribunals in place, as he assured the House yesterday, or do we have a concern for the process, as the Deputy Prime Minister said?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

We do have a concern about the process, Mr. Speaker. We want to make sure that the United States continues to abide by international law in dealing with this matter. It assures us that it is, that it is in fact only detaining unlawful combatants and making a determination as to their status.

We are pursuing the matter with the United States because there are provisions for competent tribunals if there is any doubt as to the status of any of these detainees. There is a question, however, as to whether that is in question or not and that is the current point of discussion with the United States.

Grants and Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, last March Magellan Aerospace of Toronto won an $8 million loan from the Technology Partnerships Canada program, but Canadians know nothing about this because the government has not told them yet.

Yesterday a TPC press conference was cancelled because the local Liberal MP backbencher was called back to Ottawa for the vote on closure.

I would like to ask the Minister of Industry, what is more important to the government, informing Canadians where their tax dollars are going or photo ops for its Liberal MPs?

Grants and Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, despite uninformed commentary to the contrary, Technology Partnerships Canada is an important source of investment for emerging and growing industry in the country. If it were not for Technology Partnerships Canada, Canada would not have given the world the BlackBerry, which is known throughout the globe as an important Canadian innovation and is used by many members of the House. These investments are good for the economy and they are good for Canada.

Grants and Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, that all may be, but it is completely irrelevant to the question I put to the minister.

This is not an isolated incident. The Magellan deal was just one of six government loans worth more than $328 million approved during last year's March madness. Yet they have not been announced by the government because TPC has not seen fit to do so. TPC has been criticized nationally and internationally for being secretive and has promised to be more transparent.

I ask the Minister of Industry, why do Canadians have to resort to access to information to find out about a loan ten months after the fact? What is the government trying to hide?

Grants and Contributions
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Industry

First of all, Mr. Speaker, these are not loans. They are investments and, by the way, they are investments that pay dividends to the Canadian taxpayer.

Second, we do want Canadians to know about these investments because we want them to realize that public funds are being used for the good purpose of encouraging, building and broadening industries that create jobs and bring prosperity to the country.

We are proud of the program and of what it has achieved.