House of Commons Hansard #170 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was defence.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian lumber industry has been given a window of opportunity to take action against a 29% countervail duty and anti-dumping charges by the United States on Canadian softwood lumber exports.

For many months we have called on the Minister for International Trade to establish a national bargaining position but he has resisted this strategy from the very beginning. Now that Canada has been given this window of opportunity it is amazing that it is not the Canadian government but the British Columbia government that is calling for a national strategy meeting on softwood lumber stakeholders.

It is time the Canadian government showed leadership. It is time for the minister to bring the stakeholders together, listen to them and finally develop and follow a national strategy on softwood lumber.

International Development
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise and draw the attention of the House to an essential initiative supported by Canada.

With support from the DFAIT human security program, Alternatives, a Montreal based NGO, hosted a series of public, civil society and government consultations from April 6 to 9 in Montreal and Ottawa. The discussions engaged over 700 civil society and government representatives as well as interested members of the public on the difficult topic of the role played by energy politics in the conflict in Afghanistan.

Alternatives has been supporting peace building efforts in south Asia for over a decade by working with various civil society organizations in the region. This necessary dialogue has helped promote a better understanding of the social and political conditions in south and central Asia through a discussion of the risks and outcomes of the conflict in Afghanistan, particularly the issue of oil and economic development. The participants welcomed new perspectives on how to deal with this many sided crisis, with the aim of assisting the people of Afghanistan in the complex task of reconstruction and peace building.

Issues critical to conflict and peace building in central Asia, such as the role energy politics play in conflict and how to preserve the independence and economic viability of the central Asian republics without triggering economic and political upheaval, are crucial to human security. By continuing to work together we can build lasting peace and stability in a volatile region.

I congratulate Alternatives on this successful conference.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this morning U.S. secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, announced that the United States is forming a northern command for the U.S. military. The command will have responsibility for the defence of the United States, Alaska, the Caribbean and Canada.

What consultations did Canada have with the United States prior to this announcement?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there have been ongoing discussions since last fall. Initially we wanted to ensure the preservation of our bi-national command, Norad. That has been preserved in terms of this announcement.

In addition to that, we have engaged in discussions with our counterparts in United States with respect to how we can further co-operate in practical ways dealing with terrorist threats. These are all things that are in the exploration stage.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Minister of National Defence to be very clear to the House. This is crucially important to Canadian sovereignty.

What input did the Government of Canada have into the decision announced today by Secretary Rumsfeld in the United States? What part did we take in that decision? Did we know about it? Are we part of this whole North American security?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, not all the details have been worked out on this plan. Essentially, it is a change with respect to the United States military command structure. We wanted to make sure that we had input into that matter inasmuch as there are common issues of concern in the defence of our respective countries. We wanted to make sure that Norad's high level as a bi-national command was maintained. It has been maintained with this announcement today.

We will continue to explore ways that we can co-operate together in terms of our mutual interests in defence of the people of our country as they work in defence of the people of their country.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the Minister of National Defence read that in the New York Times .

Let me quote from a story in the Toronto Star dated January 12, 1991 about the gulf war and Canada's involvement. It quoted the then Liberal leader of the opposition as saying:

Mulroney has committed our troops there because he likes to be friends with George Bush...I don't want to be friends with George Bush.

Will the Prime Minister assure us that he is friendly with this George Bush Jr. and that Canada will work with the United States to make sure that North America has one command working together, not separate from the United States?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are two sovereign countries. We will continue to act in ways that are in our mutual interests.

The command of Canadian forces will be under the command of the government, under the command of the chain of command, but we will work together in a co-ordinated fashion for what is in our mutual interests for the safety and security of our citizens in Canada, their citizens in the United States and in our shared continent.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Canada has been left out of this unprecedented military command structure that affects our country as well as the entire continent. I want to ask the minister this. Was Canada ever invited to participate in the northern command and, if not, why not?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the northern command is a United States military command. The same person will be double hatted as the commander of Norad. That is the same as it is now except that person has another command, the space command, under his or her control. This is a very similar kind of situation. Norad will continue to be a bi-national command reporting to both countries.

When I saw Mr. Rumsfeld last fall I indicated to him that we should continue to have that arrangement. That arrangement in fact is in the plan today that has been unveiled.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government had cleaned up its act and made a serious investment in our military we would have been offered a role in the northern command instead of having the U.S. in our backyard doing it for us.

We have heard continuous warnings from the U.S. ambassador, the NATO secretary general and countless Canadians that our military is in crisis.

I ask the minister this. Does not the real threat to Canadian sovereignty come from the erosion of our military because of what the government has not provided them?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the only crisis around here is in the Alliance Party. It is certainly not the case with this government or its forces.

We have sent a team of people to work and to talk with them about ways we can best co-ordinate our efforts in terms of defence of our respective countries. We can do that while maintaining all of the sovereignty that is important to be maintained by Canada.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

April 17th, 2002 / 2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for most Quebecers, April 17 is the sad anniversary of the unilateral patriation of the constitution, a constitution which was imposed on Quebec and which all Quebec governments have refused to sign. And this will continue to be the case, because no Quebec government will ever deny the existence of the Quebec nation.

Given this state of affairs, will the Prime Minister admit that he is the head of a country in which almost one-quarter of the population will not allow their government, the government of Quebec, to sign the Canadian constitution?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian constitution is a Canadian law which used to be a British law.

I am very proud that we are no longer legally a colony of Great Britain and that we are here, in Canada, in a country which has its own constitution, which was approved by the Parliament of Canada and which serves all Canadian citizens, myself as a citizen of Quebec included.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is a nation and, in this connection, I would like to offer the opinion of a Quebec politician who proposed as a solution to Canada's ills that the constitution be drawn up anew, not among ten provinces, but between two nations. This proposal was made by the current Prime Minister during his first nomination meeting in 1963.

Since the Canadian constitution recognizes the existence of one nation only, the Canadian nation, will the Prime Minister admit that, since the unilateral patriation, he has deviated from the task he assigned himself in 1963?