House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was foreign.

Topics

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Before continuing with questions and comments, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Oshawa, the Automobile Industry; the hon. member for Charleswood St. James—Assiniboia, Health.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Pickering—Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Dan McTeague Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for La Pointe-de-l'Île for her comments. She is the Bloc Québécois critic for foreign affairs.

I am aware, as I indicated previously, that she and the hon. member for Halifax went to the Middle East with the official opposition. I am glad they have returned. Their points of view on the world and on that trip are, in our view, very encouraging.

I want to respond very quickly to the comments by the member for Halifax who suggested that I was going to suggest there were polls done demonstrating the will of Canadians. What I was merely pointing out was that the hon. member used both the tsunami and BMD and she was very categorical in her support: four to one, for those who were strongly against the idea of our participation; nevertheless an issue reflecting Canadians' concerns about foreign policy, as was expressed when they voted with their pocketbooks on the subject of the tsunami. However both those issues are quite separate and independent from international trade.

I listened closely to the comments by the hon. member from the Bloc Québécois opposite. I understand her position when she says there were relations. Of course, trade relations have existed for a long time. Still, I also think that if we look a little further, we can also see that there are relations with respect to our foreign affairs. There are also immigration issues and it is important that we discuss these and reach agreements with other countries and not only with the United Nations.

She also touched on the question of human rights. This is something that is often raised in our meetings. She also mentioned consular issues and environmental issues that affect us in all our communications and meetings with other countries.

There are questions of defence and aid. How should aid be distributed? How should other countries be helped? There are major issues of security in a time of terrorism. These are obviously all considerations we must face in the present context.

Although I do not like the Bloc Québécois's decision not to support this bill at second reading, I understand it. It may be a fixation on some sort of philosophy. Still, we must be realistic; we must understand that the world has changed.

We on this side of the House find one thing interesting. The Bloc Québécois is against dividing a department into two, but has nothing against dividing our country. I find that not very interesting. But that is Bloc Québécois policy. All sorts of other factors have to be taken into consideration.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Finally, they got up. I have given them food for thought.

All our efforts with various countries have put us in a position where we there to ensure that the values shared by all the regions of our country are understood by everyone, and this in the current context.

The hon. member wants to vote against the bill anyway. There have been many changes, and she was involved in making these changes a few weeks ago and again last week. Would she not agree that the Bloc Québécois could support this decision to ensure that the Department of Foreign Affairs can now focus on broader human rights issue, such as the environment?

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I found some of the parliamentary secretary's remarks amusing and I could say that they were incomprehensible, but I would not do that.

I will, however, point out that what he has said justifies my criticism. In this era of increasing globalization, every country needs a strategy that covers all aspects. Immigration ought to be coordinated as well, if that were possible. It needs to be done. This policy needs to include it, or so I would hope.

As for foreign affairs, we have someone here who was an excellent Minister of Foreign Affairs. He headed the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as a very large number of studies addressing foreign affairs, international aid, human rights and international trade. He could back me up on this: not one of those studies would have been possible without all four aspects. We would have had a wobbly table with one important leg missing. That is what is being proposed to us.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts (fiscal equalization payments to the provinces and funding to the territories) be read the third time and passed.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Before continuing our deliberations, I would like to briefly revisit something that occurred earlier today. The question on the motion at third reading of Bill C-24, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts (fiscal equalization payments to the provinces and funding to the territories) was put. There was some confusion at that time.

In order to clarify the situation, after discussion among the parties, I wish to inform the House that the division on that motion now stands deferred until after government orders on Tuesday, February 15, 2005.

I thank hon. members for their cooperation in this matter.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, an act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

February 14th, 2005 / 4:55 p.m.

Pickering—Scarborough East
Ontario

Liberal

Dan McTeague Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is quite interesting. Members of this party are ready to get all worked up over international issues as they relate to airlines and the aeronautic industry. They really want us to support this industry. I can understand clearly why they want to lump this in with foreign affairs issues.

I have just one question for the hon. member, since my colleague wants to ask a question too.

Since our government includes 15 departments that have an international involvement or presence, should I infer from the remarks she just made that all these departments should be consolidated into a single department?

Am I crazy about this? It does not make sense. What the hon. member is now proposing is that any department that has anything to do with international relations or foreign affairs should now become part of foreign affairs.

The policy she is advocating here makes no sense. Either she wants the foreign affairs department to keep its non-trade mandates, or she wants all our departments to be consolidated into one because they have something to do with foreign affairs. She cannot have it both ways.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will not say that this is the dialogue of the deaf, it would still be too much.

What I said was that there needs to be coordination. The closest coordination must include this foreign policy, which involves a relationship with the other countries and closely encompasses trade issues, international aid and human rights and even immigration, if possible. I say “if possible“ because as soon as we go to another country, all the policies we adopt regarding visas, quotas etc. are automatically thrown at us.

My colleague pointed out the fact that I had been, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the Middle East visit. I would remind him that this is not the first mission in which I was involved. However, I had the opportunity to see that in this Minister of Foreign Affairs' mission, the most important meeting was within a meeting of the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce. It was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He went to talk about trade because it was a good way to meet people.

During these missions, I often had the opportunity to see that, when the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or perhaps the Minister of National Defence meet people in another country, they meet business people. They necessarily talk about trade as well. It is important for policies to be understood and coordinated. This is only what I am saying.

I would hope that, despite his firm denials, my colleague opposite will understand and report these statements. When we go on a mission, we deal with these aspects as a whole. It is impossible not to deal with them. If we do so, these aspects must be coordinated. When we think about the future and the treaties that are being negotiated, from NAFTA to FTAA, through a social fund, a foreign affairs aspect and an international trade, an international aid and a development aspect are always connected.

When we, the committee members, analyze the bills or the studies that we undertake to guide the foreign policy, we must take these aspects into account to make recommendations on human rights, international trade and so on. Let us take the example of the study on the relations between Canada and countries of the Muslim world, a study that was greatly appreciated. When we examined the issue, we studied all aspects of it and we made recommendations on each. Indeed, a way to help countries is to trade with them. However, we do not trade under any conditions. One of these crucial conditions is implementing human rights.

In short, foreign affairs is all the relations that we have with governments of foreign countries.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Boulianne Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Allow me first, Mr. Speaker, to congratulate the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île. Her expertise is important. Her work is valued and we are quite fortunate to have a person like her. A while ago, we heard the member opposite talking nonsense. If he were the only person we could rely on to develop a foreign policy, we would have problems.

I would like to raise an important point. The member spoke of it. This has to do with human rights. For her, protecting rights is something major, especially in the context of international trade and of foreign policy. Indeed, she mentioned it several times. She also said—and it is important—that her knowledge of this file helps not only Quebec, but also Canada. We need people like her to advocate points of view. She also talked of priorities and of slippage, as well.

I want to come back to human rights. In the current context—I would like to hear her opinion on that—will human rights be protected? Will we have the necessary tools for it? Is there a force to protect human rights?

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raises an excellent question. Indeed, international trade is a way to work for respect for human rights. When a country which purports to have values, can say to another that would like to establish closer relations with it that there undoubtedly will be trade, but that it should pay attention to this and that issue in terms of human rights, it clearly demonstrates that these elements are linked.

I thank my brilliant colleague for his brilliant question.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is the House ready for the question?

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act
Government Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The vote is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?