House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yukon.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that the hon. member is casting aspersions on a very highly reputable public servant, Mr. Wilson, who has done an outstanding job in the last number of years dealing with a number of difficult issues. I hope that the hon. member would reflect upon the kinds of accusations he has made against Mr. Wilson.

The fact is that for any discussions that have gone on, and these meetings are for Mr. Wilson or the former minister of finance to talk about publicly, we are assured that all of the rules were followed.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Mexico, the Prime Minister expressed concerns that a unilateral decision by the United States might lead to a split within the United Nations Security Council. Regardless of those concerns, the Prime Minister is proposing a deadline that has led the New York Times to conclude this morning that Canada is moving closer to Washington.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain to us how proposing a deadline can prevent both a split within the Security Council and war?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out yesterday in the House, the Canadian proposal was, clearly, designed precisely to avoid the need for war. There must be clarity in order to demonstrate to Saddam Hussein that he must disarm by a certain date. A deadline must be set, and the Americans and the others must be kept in the Security Council as well.

I believe our proposal has been well received by the international community. It has therefore made a positive contribution, and we continue with our policy to resolve this matter and get through this crisis without having to resort to force.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Germany's ambassador to the United Nations has totally rejected the Canadian position, and Russia has not rejected the possibility of using its veto against the American proposal.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs realize there is a growing consensus for peace, and that, by setting a deadline, Canada is ultimately helping support the pro-war camp?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I do not realize that, nor do I support that premise. As we have always said, the best way to avoid war under these circumstances is for Saddam Hussein and Iraq to clearly understand that they need to comply fully with resolution 1441.

We have made our proposal and it has been accepted, in that it has been examined by other members of the Security Council as a way of avoiding the use of force. We continue to work to that end.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the minister said, we still do not know who is supporting it, but the Franco-German memorandum proposes three things: a clear action program for inspectors; increased inspections; and a timetable for inspections and assessment.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what exactly Canada does not like about this proposal?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we proposed, a specific timetable, with certain dates and activities for inspectors so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.

However, we have to recognize that there are parties other than the German government involved. There are also the Americans, the British and others who are threatening to go to war without the Security Council. We must examine the German proposal, but also what we can do to bring the Security Council together, and that is the purpose of our proposal.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he is proposing the same thing as the Franco-German memorandum.

Will he rise and say clearly that he supports the Franco-German memorandum as proposed?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I said that the principles are the same. It is a matter of knowing just how, and by which dates things must be done. That is the current crisis. Some want things done immediately, others say that we need to give inspectors more time.

Our proposal gives a reasonable time for inspections to be done in order to keep the Security Council united on this issue. That is why Mexico and Chile are so interested in our proposal. We will continue to work for peace with similar countries.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the same minister. As the war in Iraq is looming on the horizon, it seems to me that we have two superpowers that now hold the fate of millions in the world in their hands: George Bush's government on one side and global public opinion on the other side.

George Bush and his hawks such as Tony Blair want war. Global public opinion now wants peace and wants it massively. I would ask the minister across the way, which side is his government on, peace or war?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government, ever since the Prime Minister met with the President of the United States back last fall, has been acting within the United Nations in a way which is the best way to guarantee peace.

We continue to do that with our recent proposal, because our proposal is one which enables the Security Council to come to grips with the problem of how to disarm Saddam Hussein within a time limit that will be satisfactory to all the powers, not just the great powers, and that is where we will continue to make our efforts.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government is waffling. It is sitting on the fence and getting slivers. It is rushing to the mushy middle.

I want to ask the minister whether or not it will stop waffling, whether or not it will stop running toward that mushy middle? Will it support the position of France and Germany, and support the position of increasing the number of inspectors and giving them adequate time to finish the job? Will it support the French-German position or not? Or will it continue to waffle until the cows come home?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think waffle was the name that was applied to the NDP some time ago so the member should know what he speaks of.

We have not been waffling. We have been clear in supporting the inspection process. We support Dr. Blix and a clear, credible process by the United Nations. Everybody in this country and other foreign countries understand that. I am sorry that the opposition cannot understand that.

I reject the idea that we are waffling. On the contrary, we have had a clear position and will continue to maintain it in the interest of peace.

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor has assumed the role of scheduling assistant to the member for LaSalle—Émard. Yet, under the law, as the law is, that ethics counsellor reports only to the Prime Minister. The code stipulates that the Prime Minister has a personal responsibility to ensure that ministers obey the code.

The member for LaSalle—Émard had regular meetings with his giant shipping company.

Did the ethics counsellor provide regular and detailed briefings to the Prime Minister on those meetings? If not, how did the Prime Minister honour his personal obligation to enforce the--

Ethics
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.