House of Commons Hansard #151 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was driving.

Topics

Monia Mazigh
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Canadians heard Maher Arar's heart wrenching testimony about his 374 days of torture and hardship. His ordeal would have been even more horrendous but for the efforts of his courageous loving wife, Monia Mazigh.

Today we pay tribute to this remarkable woman. She has inspired Canadians with her unrelenting efforts to raise awareness of what happens when the rights of citizens are trampled in the name of so-called national security.

In her typically humble way, she insists that the credit belongs to her mother and to Mr. Arar's loving family, calling them true heroes for their support while she struggled against incredible odds to bring Maher home to safety, to justice and to his family.

Monia Mazigh dared the unknown forces who violated the rights of her husband and for 374 days robbed her children of their father.

We are all deeply indebted to Monia Mazigh for her devotion in fighting for the rights and freedoms that her family should enjoy and that all Canadians prize so dearly.

Toyota Training and Development Centre
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, the HRDC minister, Conestoga College president Dr. John Tibbits and Toyota Motor Manufacturing president Ray Tanguay officially launched a new training and development centre in my riding of Cambridge.

Toyota's new 6,000 square foot centre introduces workers to TMMC's world famous production system and provides training in computer skills, vehicle functionality, core manufacturing skills, use of hand tools, safety training and other work related skills.

Conestoga College courses or any other accredited Canadian college or university course can also be taken.

To create an innovative country, we need to produce innovative approaches to training. The partnership between an industry leading company like Toyota and a world class educational institution like Conestoga College is a good example of efforts that all levels of government need to encourage in order to make Canada a leader in innovation.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, watching the Liberal caucus goings-on this morning, I thought the Prime Minister might not have a seat but I am glad to see he has found a place to put himself. However, I do have a serious question.

Maher Arar was imprisoned and tortured in a Syrian prison. Canadian officials may have been involved in his deportation. Yesterday in an all party committee of the House, members of all parties basically unanimously demanded that the government hold a public inquiry into this situation.

Why is the government refusing to have a public inquiry to lay to rest some of these allegations?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think it is completely unacceptable and deplorable what happened to this gentleman who is a Canadian and who was sent to Syria rather than to his country of Canada. We have protested. This morning I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister to get in touch with their counterparts. A few minutes ago Secretary Powell said that he would try to find out if there is in reality one Canadian involved in that. The name will be given to Canada if there is one and we will act accordingly.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is completely acceptable that we would get the facts from other countries but we should be getting the facts from our own government of its role in this case.

Consular officials visited Mr. Arar in New York and Syria, yet somehow the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Solicitor General all refused to accept any responsibility. What is the government hiding? Why does the government refuse to disclose all of the facts of its role in this case?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have revealed all the facts that we know about it. There is nothing the government knows that has not been made public.

I find it very hypocritical from the opposition because on the 18th of November, 2002 the Leader of the Opposition criticized us for having “participated in high level consultations to defend a suspected terrorist”. The same day the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill criticized us for “chastising the U.S. for sending Arar back to Syria”. What a bunch of hypocrites.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on this side we are prepared to have a public inquiry to get to the bottom of the truth. The government should be prepared to do exactly the same thing.

Mr. Arar, members of the opposition and members of the government are asking for a public inquiry. The Prime Minister's own whip says that no stone should be left unturned. I believe the Prime Minister's successor will hold a public inquiry if he does not, so will the Prime Minister, for the benefit of all of us--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is just another fishing expedition. The people who are responsible for the deportation of the gentleman to Syria are in the government of the United States, not the Government of Canada. I cannot understand why the opposition wants to blame the Government of Canada for the actions of the Americans. This gentleman should have come to Canada. He should not have been sent to Syria.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the investigations of allegations of wrongdoing and Canadian complacency in the Maher Arar case are very troubling. Evidence warrants a full and open public inquiry which would include the Department of Foreign Affairs, CSIS and the RCMP. A public complaints commission will not have a wide scope, nor will it be transparent, nor does it preclude a full public inquiry.

Given the widespread support on both sides of the House, before the Prime Minister steps out of public life, will he step in and initiate a full public inquiry into the Arar case?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not one who would presume that some Canadians are guilty of something in that like the opposition. The fact is that this gentleman was deported from New York to Syria by the government of the United States, and the government of the United States should have informed Canada before acting.

We have complained to the government of the United States. We want to know the name of the Canadian person who might be involved. Secretary Powell said to the Minister of Foreign Affairs that if such a name exists, it will be given to Canada.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is fine, but there may be more than one name.

Authorities in the United States have admitted that the Arar case fits what CIA officials have termed extraordinary rendition, the practice of turning suspected terrorists over to foreign intelligence services which are known to torture prisoners.

Were the Minister of Foreign Affairs or the Solicitor General aware of this practice of extraordinary rendition? Has this happened in the Arar case? If the minister is aware of this practice, will he report on those findings to the House?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, to begin with, I completely reject the suggestion that we have not been active in bringing back Maher Arar. We worked on bringing back Maher Arar. I spent a great deal of time on it. As the Prime Minister pointed out, the party opposite criticized me and criticized the Prime Minister for the work we were doing on behalf of a Canadian citizen.

To say now that we are going to be responsible for the policies of another government and what it does is again an attempt by the opposition to blame the government for what another country does.

I have raised it with Mr. Powell. We have raised it with the American authorities. We have heard the American ambassador speak about this issue.

We act on behalf of Canadians and we will continue to do so.

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

November 5th, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cat is out of the bag. With one hand, the federal government will be paying Quebec and the provinces the promised $2 billion for health care, while with the other, it will be taking away $2.4 billion in equalization payments, something the Quebec finance minister has condemned.

With a shortfall of $400 million in federal funding for 2003-04, does the Prime Minister realize that, despite his promise, Quebec and the provinces will be even less well equipped to deliver quality health care to patients, although his government is trying to conceal this?

Equalization Payments
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the last budget we transferred billions of dollars, in accordance with our agreement with the Government of Quebec and the other governments.

We had made a conditional promise of $2 billion, and now we have changed the formula in order to ensure a greater chance of having that amount at year-end.

As for the equalization payments, these are covered by a federal law that has been in place a long time. We take a look at demographics and government revenues, and reach a conclusion. Some years, the provincial governments get more than expected and, other years, they get less, but this is governed by federal legislation.