House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is more. On April 23 diplomats told Ottawa that the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission was “unable to monitor the condition of detainees as per their agreement with Canadians...”. The very next day, the former defence minister told the House that the “Commission has assured us that it will report any abuse of prisoners”. He said, “It is able to monitor all the prisoners”.

Is the government finally willing to admit it has been caught? Is it willing to admit that it is in violation of the Geneva Convention or do the Conservatives believe the Geneva Conventions are simply a suggestion list?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that question is ridiculous. Canada abides by the Geneva Convention. The primary responsibility rests with the democratically elected government of Afghanistan. It is obliged to abide by the Geneva Convention. We brought forward an arrangement in May of last year that is superior to the one that was in place previous to that. We are abiding by all measures. We are abiding by all requirements.

For the member to suggest that somehow Canada is negligent or criminal in this is absolutely absurd and he ought to be ashamed of himself.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada violated the Geneva Convention in Afghanistan. Even worse, by setting out to hide the truth that it has known since the start, this Conservative government has deliberately violated the convention. It must immediately stop the transfers and repatriate the prisoners who have already been transferred.

In the meantime, I would like to ask the pathetic Minister of Foreign Affairs whether he agrees with the Afghan Governor of Kandahar, Mr. Khalid, who said that it was acceptable to beat prisoners if it helped fight against insurgents.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, and that is more of the same. The challenges highlighted in the recent reports just indicate that Canada is required to be there to continue helping the Afghan authorities to build their judicial system, to build their prison system, to build their governance systems, to rebuild their country and give them back the country that was stolen from them, and to give Afghan women, children and men back their lives.

We are not abusing anybody's rights. We are working together with the Afghan authorities to ensure that those rights are sustained under the Geneva Convention and every other agreement we have entered into.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada is in standing violation of the Geneva Convention. Even worse, Canada is in knowing violation of the Geneva Convention. For months the government tried to hide specific reports on torture. Those reports of torture are now confirmed.

Canada must stop the transfer of detainees or it will continue to violate the Geneva Convention. When will these transfers stop?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is confirmed here is the standing violation of common sense in this House from the member. Again, to suggest that Canada is in violation of the Geneva Convention is absolutely absurd.

It is really easy to be sanctimonious in the warm, cozy comfort of this place or fantasy island off on my right, but there are thousands of Canadian women and men in Afghanistan now helping to rebuild that country, part of which is the judicial system, part of which is the prison system, all the governance systems. We are giving the Afghan people their country back.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

November 16th, 2007 / 11:45 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the disturbing footage released in the case of the man tragically killed by taser last month in Vancouver does not show a man that is out of control as stated by the RCMP. At the time of the incident, the RCMP claimed that it was necessary due to his erratic behaviour but the video footage does not show this.

Why did the RCMP try to cover up this information? Does the minister responsible for the RCMP think that this kind of withholding of the tape for a month is acceptable?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians and most people in this House watched that video. It was a tragic, disturbing and grievous event that took place. A number of investigations are ongoing to determine what exactly happened and what series of circumstances could have led to such a disastrous conclusion to that particular matter.

We want to get all those answers and surely the member opposite is not suggesting that we judge the matter based on watching the video alone. There are a number of inquests that are ongoing. We want to find out what took place there.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, websites around the world were inundated yesterday and revolted by the footage of Mr. Dziekanski's death. One said, “I'm ashamed to be a Canadian”. Another said, “Mere words cannot convey my disgust I feel towards the RCMP”. Others called it a “sickening display and an ugly stain on the RCMP”. The reputation of the RCMP and our nation has been damaged.

Will the minister responsible for the RCMP finally take seriously our call for a national review of taser use?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, a number of investigations, quite rightly, are going on. The RCMP has a process itself and it has involved other police agencies in that.

Further to that, the complaints commissioner has also taken up this concern, which we all share, and he has launched an investigation into this. There is also a coroner's inquest.

Just a few days after this tragic incident took place almost a month ago, I asked for a review in terms of tasers themselves. Other reviews are ongoing. We want to get this information to ensure something like this never happens again.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, to address the problem of cigarette smuggling, we proposed seizing the vehicles of smugglers who buy cigarettes illegally, so as to deal with supply as well as demand.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety stated in this House that such seizures would be illegal. Yet the Excise Act, 2001, provides for such seizures.

Instead of spreading misinformation, will the parliamentary secretary wake up and see to it that the RCMP finally takes action?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I never said it was illegal to seize vehicles whose owners break the law. This does not go against the bill. That is not true. There is a bill designed to allow the police to seize the owners' effects.

In addition, last year, there was an increase in interventions by the RCMP and other police forces to deal with the illegal tobacco situation. This is a huge problem, and there are—

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Jeanne-Le Ber.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister may not have said it, but his parliamentary secretary did. They should get their act together.

Earlier this week, when he was invited to form an interdepartmental committee to deal with tobacco smuggling, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety said that the Canada Border Services Agency had received additional resources and funds and that an integrated team was enforcing the law at the border—in short, that everything was fine. However, clearly everything is not fine, because this approach is not working. Smuggling continues unabated. Experience has shown that an interdepartmental committee can make a difference.

Why is the parliamentary secretary stubbornly rejecting this solution?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to say that it is not acceptable for a member to say that the minister said something and, in his second question, to say that the minister did not say it. It is important to state the facts, the truth.

The truth is that we have given the police more funding and more resources to deal with illegal tobacco. In 2005, the value of illegal tobacco was $250,000, and we have seen—