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

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would not want the member to think I was smiling and nodding because I agreed with him. That would be a distortion that would get carried away.

Let me point out however, in reference to the member's first point about not criticizing the ambassador to the United Nations, I quite agree. I was not suggesting that. My point was this. Does the member think the ambassador was flying solo? That is exactly what I said. Does the hon. member think that our ambassador to the United Nations was not in touch with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on a regular basis, with the Prime Minister, and with officials in the government in an attempt to put together a compromise?

When it was not members here it was members of the fifth party who were actually saying that the Prime Minister did not contact the presidents of France or China or whatever. He does not know that. The appropriate channel for that kind of work to take place is at the United Nations. That is where we were working diligently and I believe we gained tremendous respect on the world stage because we made those efforts.

Let me address the other point which I am sure people would rather I did not address. For members to stand here and suggest that there are ministers, plural, and members, plural--it is a small minority who make unfortunate comments. Those comments, I quite agree, are inappropriate, but does anybody talk about the comments that are made on a regular basis, such as those that I have made here about the position that this country has with the United States, about the longstanding relationship this country has with the United States?

I stood in this place and even said “God bless America” because I was trying to counter those negative comments made by certain individuals. It is not the government or the Prime Minister or the Liberal Party. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, more than a small minority making inappropriate comments, and I think the member should recognize that.

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address this critically important topic. I wish to thank my hon. colleague from Mississauga West for splitting his time with me. As I sat here and listened to his relevant remarks regarding this crisis situation we are facing internationally right now, I cannot help but take a certain amount of pride in many of the members who are sitting on this side of the House.

Many of these comments may be repetitive in nature, whether they are coming from this side or from some of the parties on the other side of the House, but the real issue here is that members like myself from Simcoe—Grey feel a responsibility to voice their support for the government and the Prime Minister's position. If that means repeating some of the facts that are out there, I think it does us well to do so.

I would like to take the time to congratulate the vast majority of my colleagues. The vast majority of my colleagues right up to the Prime Minister have taken a leadership role not only here in Canada, but a leadership role that is being recognized within the international community that is second to none.

We have a long history in this country of making our domestic and foreign policy decisions here in the House. We do not accept economic pressures or the perceived economic pressures to sway us one way or the other. We are a country that has a set of values. We are a society that believes in multiculturalism and multilateral support for various countries. That is exactly what we have been trying to do. I hear from some members on the opposite side as well as read in some of the stories in the media that there is flip-flopping and confusion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Certainly, my constituents and I have had a clear understanding of where the government is coming from since last year. The Prime Minister could not have been more clear. He said that we want to work through the United Nations. He believes it is important as a representative body of the planet that we work through that organization, that we source out consensus, and that the number one priority must be to exhaust all possibilities prior to going to war.

Hans Blix and his inspection teams were in Afghanistan suggesting that they did not have the unfettered or unencumbered access that they should have had. They reported that back and there was increased pressure put on Iraq. Then they reported back again saying that Iraq was becoming more open and giving them less fettered access to the places that they wanted to go. They were saying to the Security Council and General Assembly that this might work, but to give them more time.

President Bush, and I certainly understand his position based on some of the absolute tragedies the Americans have had to face in the last couple of years, made a comment along the lines that it was difficult to ever secure success because there were small numbers of people inspecting a country about the size of the state of California. Why then did he support these inspection teams going into Iraq in the first place? The international community is thinking that it was window dressing.

What Canada and other members of the international community suggested was that if the inspection teams felt there was an opportunity for success, if they required more resources and we had to double, triple, quadruple whatever the number might be to get the arms inspectors on the ground to pursue that option of success, did we not have a responsibility as political leaders to pursue that avenue prior to war?

The Bloc brings forward a motion by way of opposition day asking that we as a Parliament say we will not engage in war in Iraq. The Prime Minister has said all along that until such time as we are a signatory member of the UN General Assembly we would back whatever the Security Council said. There is rhetoric coming from the other side about how this will have such a massive impact on our relationship, friendship and trade with the United States. That is hogwash.

Let us look at the history. Let us look back and truly appreciate the relationship Canada has with the United States. I must say that I have cousins, aunts and some great friends in the United States and certainly I am there to help them whenever they need that help, but it is not unconditional. Let us look back in time to September 11, when that terrible tragedy and heinous act took place by way of al-Qaeda attacking the United States and the twin towers. What country was there first? It was Canada. What country was recognized by the United States over and over again? Canada. In my own constituency we had a condolences book as well as donations coming in from all across the riding and, for that matter, from all across the country. We had emergency service personnel, fine Canadians who dedicate their lives to the safety of Canada, volunteering their time to go to New York and help their brothers and sisters south of the border.

It was appreciated. I was in Washington this past July. I met with several members of Congress in one on one meetings and had the opportunity to meet with a couple of senators as well. Let me say that Americans do appreciate the relationship that they have with Canada. They do know that we are there for them and they know we have been there for them in the past.

Then we listen to the rhetoric coming from the other side as to how this will have a longstanding impact and longstanding consequences for the Canadian people because we choose a direction on international policy that is different from what the United States chooses. Nothing could be a more foolish statement than that. The United States does not buy from us because we do or do not support their foreign policy. The United States buys from us because we are one of the best manufacturers and one of the best producers in the entire world. We have one of the most competitive workforces in the entire world. That is why they buy from us. That is why so much of our product goes south of the border. Certainly proximity plays a significant role, but we have one of the most competitive workforces in the entire world. That is why the American people buy our product over other products around the world.

If anything has taught us in the House about how small the planet is with regard to accessing products or information, it is the last five years. Why is Canada the single largest purchaser from the United States? Because in turn the Americans make great products. It is not because we consider ourselves a big family. It is not because we consider ourselves best friends. Those things may be true. The reality is that business operates on both sides of the border. We are each other's largest purchaser because it is best for business.

I will say this, having been to Washington and having met with members of Congress. If any members in this House believe that the United States, the executive branch, Senate or Congress, is going to do anything to further disrupt its economy because a country such as Canada has chosen a different direction, I would suggest that they go and spend some time with our friends south of the border, because that is simply not the case.

In closing, I will say that the men and women in our military are playing a role in Afghanistan, and there are few countries as committed to fighting terrorism as Canada, but we have to put things in perspective when we are talking about this war on terrorism.

I mentioned this to my colleagues in Congress when I was in Washington in July. When we announce $5 billion in homeland security spending, it does not necessarily resonate very well down there, but when we start talking about extrapolating that to the tenth, that is $50 billion in the United States by the size of their economy. That is a huge investment on behalf of the taxpayers of Canada to ensure that our country is as safe as it can possibly be.

No party, no government, has a bigger responsibility than the security of its citizens and I am here to tell hon. members that the government, the Prime Minister and my caucus take that very seriously. We have demonstrated it by the significant amount of tax dollars we have invested in homeland security. We have demonstrated it by tightening our ties with the United States to rationalize the services that we will be receiving.

Regardless of the rhetoric that is going to come across from the gun-toting Alliance, I am here to say that the Americans clearly believe we are their best friends.

CIS Hockey
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to remind the House that the University of New Brunswick, Canada's oldest university, will be hosting the 2003 Canadian intercollegiate sport hockey championships this weekend in Fredericton. This is the first of two consecutive years in which UNB will host this prominent intercollegiate event, one of the biggest on the CIS calendar.

The tournament features the University of Alberta, York University, Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières, Lakehead University, St. Francis Xavier, and the host UNB Varsity Reds. The Varsity Reds are the Atlantic conference champions and are ranked third in the nation.

This event is made possible thanks in part to municipal, provincial and federal support, including $25,000 from the Government of Canada. I wish to express my thanks to the ministers of public works and sport.

I extend best wishes to the UNB Varsity Reds and wish good luck to all the teams in this event, which I am confident will be a national success and will leave a significant legacy of student scholarships.

Iraq
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, in these most serious of times, Canadians have no comfort in knowing that this Prime Minister cooks up foreign policy the same way one would flip a pancake.

In the January 31 edition of the Charlottetown Guardian , the Prime Minister said, “Resolution 1441 will authorize action” to disarm Saddam Hussein. On Monday of this week, he finally stood up and told the Canadian people that he wanted Canada to wimp out and not support our traditional allies.

Thank goodness he finally took a position on Iraq, but it was based on polls and going down the middle of the road, not on principles. Unbelievably, he made his statement only five hours before he knew that the President of the United States was going on the air, thereby undercutting the president and throwing up more obstacles for our allies. What is most shameful is that he made his statement without even having the common decency to inform the president of Canada's position.

This Prime Minister is leading Canada down a blind alley of mediocrity and irrelevance and I say shame on him.

Democracy and Human Rights
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, while we are understandably occupied with the war in Iraq we might miss an inspiring and indeed historical development that has taken place in the Middle East.

I am referring to the judgment just handed down by Egypt's highest court, the Cour de Cassation, acquitting Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the leading democracy activist in Egypt if not all of the Arab world, of a series of trumped up charges which were utterly devoid of any legal authority or evidence. Indeed, the whole prosecution was an attempt to quarantine Dr. Ibrahim and intimidate the fledgling Egyptian democracy movement.

As one who had the privilege of acting as Professor Ibrahim's international legal counsel, I regard this judgment as a landmark event. In the words of Professor Ibrahim upon hearing the judgment, “I am grateful and hope that no other intellectual will go to prison because of his opinions. It is a victory for democracy and human rights”.

I would like to express my appreciation to the foreign affairs minister, the secretary of state for the Middle East and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for their support and assistance in this case.

Pond Hockey
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the second World Pond Hockey Championships were recently held in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, and what a success they were. I wish to congratulate the organizers on their tremendous efforts.

Drawing media attention and interest from hockey enthusiasts around the globe, this 64 team tournament raised $18,000 to help fund a new local arena. This is double the number of entrants from its inaugural year, and proceeds more than tripled.

Played on a postcard perfect lake and river, this puck party is pure Canadiana, recreating fond memories of open air matches from childhood. This tournament is a shining example of community spirit and Canada's passion for our national sport.

Again, I extend congratulations to everyone involved. The World Pond Hockey Championships have become an important annual tradition on the Tobique River and have put Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, on the map.

Energy Innovation
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Norwest Precision Limited, a business in my riding of York West that has registered as an industrial energy innovator under Natural Resources Canada's program for energy conservation.

The president, Sam Falcitelli, has made a long term commitment for his company to be an energy innovator and to support Canada's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through greater energy efficiency.

With the participation of Norwest Precision, the number of firms listed as industrial energy innovators has increased to 330.

Please join with me in applauding Norwest Precision Limited for its commitment and efforts to become part of the solution to address climate change. Its responsible contribution to support Canada's implementation of the Kyoto accord can only benefit the environment and all Canadians.

Terrorism
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, security experts have been quick to point out that the Prime Minister's decision to break ranks with the United States will have a direct impact on Canada's intelligence gathering capabilities. Effectively, this country will be cut off from the world intelligence network we are so dependent on, given that CSIS has no power to operate abroad. Canada is the only G-8 country without a foreign spy agency.

Security experts are warning that without the United States to depend on, the likelihood of Canada being used as a staging ground for terrorist attacks against the United States increases.

Just this week, even one member from the backbench across the way recognized that there might be a growing United States reluctance to share information with us.

I therefore call upon the government to immediately seek to increase the power of CSIS to operate abroad to prevent terrorists from planning and launching their deadly attacks against our neighbours from Canada.

Racial Discrimination
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On this occasion we recognize the success Canadians have had in building an open and culturally diverse society based on tolerance and respect.

However we also know that too many of our fellow citizens still experience the sting of racism. That is why the Government of Canada sponsors initiatives designed to foster awareness and understanding of cultural diversity.

The “Racism. Stop it!” national video competition for students is one such initiative aimed at raising awareness about the harmful effects of racism in our society.

I am proud that of 10 teams from across Canada chosen as winners this year, one is from Norwich High School in my riding of Oxford.

I congratulate Jamie Jacques, Jeremy Gear, Adam Buck, Steve Wilkinson and their teacher, Mr. Jeff Overeem, on this special award. They are in the gallery and I welcome them.

International Day of La Francophonie
Statements By Members

March 20th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, we are celebrating the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie. United by their shared desire to promote the development and expansion of French and continue the dialogue of cultures within the Francophonie, 56 states and governments are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. They have adopted a shared policy framework aimed at establishing cooperation between member states.

On March 13, the Secretary General of the OIF described the Francophonie as a force for good.

Today, let us celebrate this and not lose sight of the urgency of showing the political will to use our solidarity as francophone states as a means of continuing the Francophonie's efforts to, among other things, defend human rights, oppose threats to democracy and ensure respect for cultural diversity.

Karine Dumouchel and Karine Vaudeville
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to welcome to Ottawa two young women from my riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry, Karine Dumouchel and Karine Vaudeville, of Louis-Cyr high school in Napierville, who won a contest organized by the Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie).

This contest was aimed at French-speaking high school students in Quebec, including the ones in my riding, and its purpose was to promote the importance of French literary writing.

Today, as part of the Journée internationale de la Francophonie, these young women have been invited to take part in a ceremony highlighting the importance of French around the world.

I congratulate them on their participation and their desire to promote the beauty of the French language through writing.

Member for Calgary Southwest
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, a year ago today the member for Calgary Southwest was elected leader of the Canadian Alliance.

As the year has unfolded we have discovered just some of the skills our leader possesses. He can multi-task; he is already dealing with his second prime minister and the first one has not even left office yet.

He loves media relations; just ask the press gallery.

He is known as serious, cerebral, a straight talker. On top of all that, he is a family man and a true blue Canadians. If we want to get him really excited, we should ask him how his son, Ben, is doing in hockey.

During the past year the member for Calgary Southwest has been the principled voice for Conservatives and Reformers across Canada.

He is the only leader to stand up against the Kyoto accord. He is the only leader to challenge the wheat board monopoly. He is the only leader who has called for an end to the firearms registry. Finally, he is the only leader willing to stand with our allies against the tyrant, Saddam Hussein.

Under our leader and with our team, the Canadian Alliance is strong, united, debt free and ready to provide the principled leadership Canadians so desperately need.

Comité des jeunes de Rosemont
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Liza Frulla Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing fawning about my motion.

As the Liberal member responsible for the riding of Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, I am pleased today to highlight the 50th anniversary of the Comité des jeunes de Rosemont, a hockey organization that does exceptional work with young people.

For half a century, thousands of volunteers have allowed more than 15,000 young people to participate in their favourite sport. Indeed, these volunteers have allowed people to make their mark in national and international hockey. Pierre Lacroix, Michel Bergeron, Richard Sévigny, and even Caroline Ouellet, of the national women's hockey team, are but a few.

In closing, I cannot neglect to mention the involvement of the founding president, Mr. Jean Trottier, whose dedication has been an extraordinary source of inspiration for the next generation.

Thanks to all the volunteers, and long live the Comité des jeunes de Rosemont.

International Day of La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, today Canada is celebrating the Journée internationale de la Francophonie with 56 other states and governments that also use French.

I would like to welcome His Excellency Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the Secretary General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, who is on Parliament hill for the Journée internationale de la Francophonie.

March 20 is a day to renew this pride in the French language as an element of identity and solidarity. Several Canadian provinces have used this day as an opportunity to declare their own Semaine de la Francophonie, punctuated with a number of activities to showcase this francophone pride, but also the francophone vitality that exists in our country.

I urge everyone to take part in the activities organized for the Journée internationale de la Francophonie. Get out and discover this rich and exciting world.

Happy Journée internationale de la Francophonie to francophones and francophiles everywhere.

War in Iraq
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the stomp of blood-stained boots in the sand has drowned out the calls for peace. Why did the drums of war win out over the pleas of marchers around the world?

We cannot shape the world as we see fit. Shaping the world is supporting humanity in all of its beauty and fragility. Shaping the world requires us to temper our authority with generosity and openness, to promote our mutual desire for harmonious relations. It is a right we must earn.

There is a future for our world. This future belongs to children, the children of Iraq, the children of the United States of America, the children of Canada and Quebec, the children around the world that belong to us all.

To shape the world is to plant a garden of hope where we will allow our child at heart to lead the way.

Our prayers and tears are the reflection of our hope that love and peace will take root.