House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence must realize his explanations lack clarity. I will ask him again: Is the minister telling us that he considers it perfectly normal, in the name of friendship, for Canadian soldiers under American command to violate international rules, as they did in Afghanistan in connection with the treatment of prisoners? Does he think that is all right? That is what I am asking.

Canada-U.S. Relations
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been having troop exchanges with our allies, be they British or American, for decades. It is completely normal for soldiers of one country to remain under the command of another in such circumstances. However, their own country, Canada in this instance, reserves the right to order its soldiers home, should it so choose. Since these are good allies and the soldiers are not in a direct combat role, Canada has decided to leave them where they are.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, border delays are increasing and the United States has no patience for a Canadian government that is openly hostile to it. Business leaders are showing their concern and are worried that the increasing border delays will shut down Canadian exports. Even Brian Tobin has said, “Our special relationship with the United States is by far our most important and vital one”.

What steps is the Prime Minister taking to ensure our trading relationship with the United States is not threatened by recent events?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should be aware that we have been working very closely and cooperatively with the Americans for many months to develop contingency plans and have been planning in case of alerts such as we have now.

We have regular and ongoing reports which tell us that non-commercial traffic is moving smoothly and that there are some delays for commercial traffic. But let me quote someone who the member might be familiar with, someone from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, “It is a problem, but it is manageable at this point”. That is from Perrin Beatty who is the head of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is no surprise Canadians are worried about potential damage being done to our trade relationship. The same person the minister quoted, Perrin Beatty, the CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, has added his voice on behalf of industry.

Some $1.5 million worth of goods are carried across the border every minute. That is 14 million trips a year and one crossing every 2.5 seconds. That means 90% of our trade may be threatened by a slowdown at our borders.

What concrete steps is the government taking to curb the hostility against the U.S. and protect this special relationship?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the only hostility that is trying to be created is by the member and his party opposite. In fact they have been part of the blame Canada crowd trying to tell everyone that our borders do not function, while we have been working with the Americans to ensure that they do, because that is in the interests of both American business and Canadian business. We are working together to keep our borders open and functioning during these stressful times.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment, myself, the Caribou Commons Project and the Gwich'in people have lobbied hard for years about not drilling in the 1002 lands of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

There was an important vote in the United States senate yesterday. Could the Minister of the Environment please report to us on this very important vote in the United States senate?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report to the House that the United States senate, in a 52 to 48 vote, eliminated the authority to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the draft budget resolution.

I caution members this may not be the end of this issue. I would like to say the Canadian government remains determined to ensure that the views of the Gwich'in people and the people of Yukon are put before the lawmakers in Washington and that we pursue this as hard as we can.

I would like to end by thanking the hon. member for his consistent work on this issue which has been so effective, both here and in Washington.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

March 20th, 2003 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there is no justification in law for George Bush's war. The majority of international legal experts agree on that. Article 51 of the UN charter is clear. So is Kofi Annan. Pre-emptive strikes are not in conformity with the UN charter and therefore are illegal.

Does the Prime Minister share this view, and if so, why is he so timid about saying so?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States and the United States administration have made it very clear that they are taking steps in self-defence which are authorized under United Nations resolutions which they have cited as legal reasons in support of their position.

The Prime Minister has made it very clear that Canada's decision was made both on the basis of analysis of the legal situation and also the right political climate in which intervention is appropriate in the circumstances.

We have made our decision. They have made their sovereign decision in their right to make their decision about their self-defence. We respect that and we respect the fact that they consider the decision we make is our sovereign decision.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the question is about the illegality of this war.

Even Henry Kissinger agrees that pre-emptive strikes are not permitted under international law, but not our Prime Minister and not our foreign affairs minister. So much for being the great defenders of the United Nations.

Thirty-one Canadian professors of international law, the UN Secretary General, and Henry Kissinger for heaven's sake, have no hesitation about saying that the war in Iraq is illegal. Does the government agree, yes or no?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this government made its decision based upon whether or not it was appropriate for us to participate in military intervention in Iraq in circumstances where we considered all legal and all political considerations, including those about the preservation of the Security Council system which we consider appropriate and important. We considered all matters in which we could make a helpful contribution to the preservation of peace in the world.

That is what guides us, not a discussion of legal principles. Those are very important. We regard our legal principles as key, but they are a part of an important process whereby we make decisions in terms of Canada's interests and Canada's sacred--

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint John.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, now that our ships tasked to Operation Apollo are in fact operating in a theatre of war, our forces are at risk and deserve the chance to protect themselves from being the target of hostiles.

Will the Minister of National Defence advise whether these troops have been given permission to take pre-emptive action against any and all threats within their sphere of operations?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I share entirely the hon. member's concern for the safety and security of our troops in the gulf. We are defending our allies against terrorist attacks. The risk of terrorist attacks has gone up in recent days and we are definitely very concerned about their safety and security. Without getting into operational details, I can inform the hon. member that they do have robust rules which will allow them to defend themselves against a number of conceivable attacks.