House of Commons Hansard #16 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vote.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this agreement is working so well that the President of Afghanistan continues to state that torture does occur. And, as of yet, we have had no allegations that Hamid Karzai is a member of the Taliban.

Is the Prime Minister— who always waits for a new turn of events— waiting for Hamid Karzai to pull a Brian Mulroney and demand an inquiry on what happens to Afghan prisoners?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have an agreement that works. We take our international obligations and responsibilities seriously. Our soldiers respect these international obligations at all times.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, since I did not get an answer yesterday, I will ask my question again and I hope the Prime Minister will answer me. On the heels of the admissions by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, that there continues to be torture in Afghan prisons, Amnesty International is telling us today that there is indeed a risk that detainees will be tortured when they are transferred.

The Prime Minister cannot continue to deny the allegations of torture. There is ample evidence. Does he realize that his ineptitude and that of his Minister of Foreign Affairs is putting Canada in direct contravention of the Geneva convention?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday to the hon. member from the Bloc Québécois, I am pleased that he is here in this House and that he decided to stay with the Bloc Québécois and not join the Parti Québécois, as his colleague from Saint-Lambert did.

That said, we have signed an agreement with the democratically elected government of Afghanistan. We are respecting our international commitments and we are doing our best to support the duly elected Afghan government to respect these international obligations. This agreement is proof that the process is working. If there are allegations of mistreatment of Taliban prisoners, investigations will be held in due course.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Amnesty International is calling for the end of the transfers. This is no trivial matter. It also regularly reports allegations of torture. That is not trivial either. Mistreatment is still occurring and there are currently no effective guarantees to prevent such a thing from happening.

Out of respect for the detainees, will the Prime Minister announce today that he will immediately stop their transfer, as Amnesty International is calling for?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as a result of the agreement that was signed with this government, an agreement that is an improvement over the agreement with the previous Liberal government, the representatives of my department have conducted 32 interviews so far. A NATO spokesperson said:

“We have no evidence of systematic torture of detainees”. Yes, systematic torture.

We have the process in place and the process is going well. If we have evidence, the Afghan government will do an investigation.

Airbus
Oral Questions

November 14th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the endless saga of Conservative and Liberal scandals around here, the Prime Minister this time claims to want to get some answers. However, it is a lot like pulling teeth around here to get any action from the government.

The Prime Minister knows there is a whole series of steps that have to be followed to get this investigation underway and he is dribbling them out one at a time.

Let us get to the next one. When will we get the terms of reference for Dr. Johnston who will then set the terms of reference for the full public inquiry so we can get on with the job?

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has announced that Dr. Johnston will fulfill the role of the independent adviser to the government. His terms of reference have been released publicly.

Dr. Johnston has been given a wide mandate to propose, independently, terms of reference on a public inquiry or any other actions that he deems are necessary, and the government will follow those recommendations.

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this reeks of improvisation. When will we have a plan? This is really just improvisation. This is unacceptable. Where are the timelines? When will we have an answer regarding the inquiry? We hear all the noise being made by the gang here beside me. They are like little schoolchildren.

I have a question for the Prime Minister. When will we have an answer or a final decision from this inquiry?

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, clearly, improvisation is the specialty of the leader of the NDP. It is clear that this government can answer questions much faster than the NDP leader can ask them.

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, now that the government has decided on a full public inquiry, will the Minister of Justice, who has superintending authority under the Extradition Act, assure the House that the principal witness, Mr. Schreiber, will be present in Canada, whenever necessary, to testify before this inquiry?

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am actually surprised to be getting that question or that advice from the hon. member. As a former minister of justice, he would know that it would be highly inappropriate to make any comments on a matter that is presently before the courts.

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that but the issue at this point--

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Airbus
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Mount Royal has the floor and we have to be able to hear his question.