House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was defence.

Topics

Government of Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said very clearly that he was concerned with the world not falling back into the situation we faced in the early nineties where we had huge deficits, high unemployment, raging inflation, and indeed, economic stagnation.

The Prime Minister is discussing with other world leaders how the world economy can proceed further. It is only sensible that he discusses the successes of Canada in this global economy.

Tourist Industry
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's comments are not isolated and not restricted to any one subject, but since the Prime Minister is apparently so interested in Canada's problems, let me ask about the serious problems in Toronto's tourism industry.

We hear today that the famous production of The Lion King is being cancelled because of the tourism downturn in Toronto. Yet, because of the Prime Minister's comments, we have a spokesman for the President saying on U.S. national television that Canada just does not get the U.S. experience on 9/11.

What steps is the Prime Minister taking to correct the bad impressions his comments have made on our American neighbours?

Tourist Industry
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has taken a number of steps, as has the government as a whole, to deal with the SARS issue. The essential issue is of course restoring confidence.

I would like to congratulate the Minister of Health, the minister of Health for Ontario, as well as all the health workers in Ontario, for the work that they did to ensure this matter was handled so well.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

May 29th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot even implement a questionnaire at Toronto's airport three months after the crisis started.

We have a huge beef industry that is on the verge of collapse if we do not get some cooperation from the Americans. Again, the Prime Minister has not helped. He spoke to the President and could not even remember if he had raised the subject with him.

While he is over in Europe has he yet had a chance to discuss this issue with the President? Can the government report to the House on whether there is any possibility of the U.S. administration lifting its ban on Canadian beef?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this is strange advice coming from a member who goes on Fox TV to embarrass Canada and has referred to Canada publicly as a second rate country.

The party's former leader did the infamous chicken little tour of the world in which he warned that the Canadian economy was in collapse. This is the party that consistently underrates Canada and its ability to surmount difficulties, and consistently downgrades Canada when it should be bragging about its successes.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

This party thinks that our Prime Minister is the underrated one.

Here is another thing the Prime Minister said overseas. He insisted that the SARS outbreak was under control. He is wrong. If we were to use the World Health Organization definition of SARS, then probable cases in Canada would rise.

Why did the health minister choose a definition for SARS that is good for public relations but no good for public health?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe what the hon. member who is a health professional is saying. In fact, Health Canada had a definition of probable cases of SARS reached in discussion, consultation, and agreement with chief medical officers from all provinces and territories.

That definition was in place before the WHO had finalized its definition. We have not changed that definition. However, because of recent discussions with the WHO, it is very likely that we will move to its definition of probable cases.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I might say that is a positive step. Let us now talk about the WHO's other recommendation. It recommended a departing interview with a couple of questions and a transfer to a health worker if those questions were positive.

Why will this minister not admit she was wrong, bring in that interview and prevent another travel advisory?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I resent the fact that the hon. member suggests the travel advisory by the WHO was put in place because of exportation. The travel advisory was put in place because of three factors, the most important of which was community spread. That is beside the point. That would be factual, and the opposition does not appear to be much interested in that.

Let me reassure the hon. member that we have ramped up our procedures over the course of the SARS outbreak for outbound passengers. At Pearson and Vancouver airports those departing have to respond to a series of questions at the check-in counter.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the public, the House of Commons, even the Liberals themselves, are divided on the U.S. missile defence plan, and yet we have the Minister of Defence announcing that the government will be negotiating Canada's participation in a defence system about which we know virtually nothing.

How can the government justify the negotiations that are beginning with the United States on the missile defence plan, when it has received no mandate in this connection, either from the House or from the public?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has held many discussions on this. There have been two parliamentary committees, committees in the Liberal caucus, three discussions in cabinet, two debates in the House of Commons. So, there have been plenty of discussions.

Now discussions are starting with the United States on this question, and there are good reasons for it. The government's decision to do so was a very good one.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, he ought to have listened better in committee, because the committee did not agree with the decision reached, far from it.

The United States will not be negotiating just for the fun of it. It is all very well for the government to say that no final decision will be reached without cabinet approval, but that argument does not hold up. Once these negotiations on Canadian participation in the missile defence plan are under way, this will mean that a decision has already been reached, and all that is left to do is set the terms. That is the real situation. A vote would have to be held here in this House before cabinet—

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The Minister of National Defence.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, Canada is going to start holding discussions with the United States on this. No decision will be made until cabinet has discussed the situation.

As I said this morning, however, there are good reasons to initiate discussions in order to protect the security of Canadians—and this is extremely important—and to continue to work together to defend our continent, as we have for the past 60 years.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois has been calling for a public debate on the consequences of the missile defence plan for months now. Right now it is impossible to get the information needed for an informed debate among Canadians and here in the House.

How can the government announce today that it is starting negotiations with the United States when we know that this project will restart the arms race and lead to the militarization of space?