House of Commons Hansard #17 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was voters.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, what we did and what I did personally this morning was I called my counterpart in Afghanistan. He assured me that this government and his government will do an investigation, a full, complete investigation, and he is going to keep our government involved in that.

The agreement that we signed is working. We are dealing with the Afghan government. We want to be sure that they respect their obligation and we want to help them to respect their obligation if they need to.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, somehow I do not think a phone call is going to cut it.

The government should not be proud of the fact that it is reporting cases of abuse and torture. It should be ashamed that we are not doing the job that we are obligated to do under international agreements we have signed.

Right now, Canadian policy is to hand over detainees to the Afghan authorities and hope they do the best they can. I am sorry, I am truly sorry, but the men and women of the Canadian Forces deserve better from the government.

Why does the government continue to place our--

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are doing our work. We did 32 interviews with Taliban prisoners. We have a full and complete process, an open process. We released yesterday all of the details about what we are doing right now and what we did in the past. It is very clear. It is very transparent. We are working with the Afghan government on this.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we learned yesterday about another specific case of torture involving a prisoner in Afghanistan. Let us be clear: this is torture.

Canada has a responsibility to take these allegations seriously. When will Canada show some leadership? When will it stop transferring prisoners to Afghan authorities? When will it make it clear, once and for all, that torture is simply unacceptable?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we signed an agreement that allows us to improve upon the previous agreement signed by the previous government, an agreement that was not the best of all NATO countries.

What we now have is an agreement that meets the highest standards. We are working with the Afghan government to ensure that, when Taliban prisoners are transferred, the agreement is respected. As I said earlier, there is now an investigation under way in Afghanistan into the treatment of prisoners.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect us to take a leadership role in this issue, not take a page out of the Republican handbook when it comes to the use of torture.

These are specific allegations that the government is specifically choosing to ignore. The Prime Minister likes to cite the existence of an agreement, but he surely cannot be satisfied that the matter is therefore closed.

Allegations of torture continue. Despite the agreement, is the minister not concerned about the mounting specific cases of torture? Or is he content to sit idly by as more detainees are tortured?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, here is what the Globe and Mail said about the agreement we signed, the improved agreement: “The new deal transforms Canada into the standard-bearer for all foreign countries in the monitoring of transferred prisoners in Afghanistan”.

We have a good agreement. We are following it. We have a process. We are in discussions with the Afghan government. It is doing an investigation there and will keep us informed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

November 15th, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, extremely disturbing video footage has been released in the case of the man tragically killed by a taser in the Vancouver International Airport last month.

Canadians want answers now before more lives are lost.

Is it standard operating procedure for the RCMP to use tasers when there is no obvious physical threat?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, any of us who watched that video footage can certainly understand the shock and the grief experienced especially by the mother of the deceased individual. Our hearts go out to her.

I can also say that the RCMP is doing an investigation of this and the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is also doing an investigation. There is a coroner's inquest. I have also asked for a review in terms of the use of tasers. We want to make sure that things are maintained, that public safety is maintained and the answers are found on this particular issue.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Liberal critic for public safety called for public hearings into the overall use of taser weapons.

We on this side of the House are taking action on this case. In the public interest, will the minister support the Liberal call for public hearings on taser use?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, before the Liberal call on this, I had asked for a review related to the use of tasers.

In terms of this particular very tragic incident, we have the RCMP doing its investigation, but also, the chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP is looking into the matter with an investigation. There is a coroner's inquest going on.

There are other reviews going on relating to the use of tasers. The province of Quebec has just completed one that has valuable and helpful information. This will continue.

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, a study by the World Economic Forum suggests that the gender gap has an impact on the competitiveness and economy of countries. The larger the gender gap, the lower the competitiveness. According to the same report, Canada slipped in world rankings on gender equality from 14th to 18th.

In light of this, does the minister intend to act and take tangible action for women, by adopting proactive pay equity legislation for instance?

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent
Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, of course, the Bloc Québécois member has failed, as usual, to mention the following facts. We did look at the report she is referring to and we are continuing to examine it, but it is important to understand that Canada has not regressed. It is simply that other countries have taken more proactive measures.

That said, the same report states that Canada has been maintaining good practices to promote gender equality in the country.

Status of Women
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former heritage minister ignored advice from her own officials, cautioning against changing the objectives and funding criteria with respect to the Status of Women program, and we know what disastrous results that has had.

Does the current minister intend to be more receptive to advice not only from her own officials but also from organizations like the World Economic Forum, women's groups and all the opposition parties, which are telling her that she is on the wrong track?