House of Commons Hansard #125 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

March 21st, 2007 / 2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week, the Liberal leader suddenly took an interest in LNG tankers using Head Harbour Passage. This interest is surprising, given that he had the lead on the file in the previous government and did nothing.

In fact, the now Leader of the Opposition said in 2004 that his government had not received any information that required it to change the policy that would allow the passage of LNG tankers through Head Harbour Passage.

Could the minister advise the House what the government has done to indicate Canada's opposition to the use of Head Harbour Passage by LNG tankers?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, Canada's new government has indicated forcefully that we oppose the transit of LNG traffic through Head Harbour Passage. The Prime Minister has stated this. The veterans affairs minister has championed this. I have raised this with Secretary Rice. Ambassador Wilson has formally conveyed to the United States strong opposition to LNG tankers passing through Head Harbour Passage because of navigational, environmental and public safety concerns.

We welcome the flip-flop of the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps he will now see the light on a number of other files. He will recognize a government that is getting a job done where he failed and perhaps he will visit another New Brunswick landmark, the Reversing Falls.

Military Medals
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in Canada right now we are about to lose some cultural and historical artifacts.

Mr. Conn Smythe, the founder of the Maple Leafs in the NHL and a World War I prisoner of war and a World War II veteran, as well as F.W. Curzon, one of Canada's first war artists during the Northwest Rebellion, have something in common. Both of their medals are up for sale on the auction block on the Internet by profiteers who want to steal the valour of others.

I ask the cultural affairs minister, the heritage minister, to stand up in this House and tell Canadians that these very important Canadian historical artifacts will not leave our country.

Military Medals
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, military medals recognize the valiant service that our military provides to Canada and Canadians. Those medals are the property of the recipients or their heirs.

The government does not intervene when the medals are sold within Canada. If they are sold outside of Canada, then the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board will make a determination, and a reasonable and responsible process will be followed.

Military Medals
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is absolute nonsense. My parents were liberated by the valour of Canadian soldiers, airmen and sailors.

The medals they wear are not currency on their chests. They represent valour, honour, duty and remembrance to those who died and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Nobody should profit from the valour of other people.

I say to the government one more time, if it will not stand up and stop the sale of these medals, then it should stop these medals from leaving this country once and for all.

Military Medals
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, military medals are part of Canada's recognition of service by our armed forces.

Upon their passing, they pass to the heirs or the estates of those military personnel. We respect that the families and the heirs of these valiant men and women want to and should be able to choose how they either retain or dispose of these medals. We respect the family's decision, but we do have a process in place if they are to potentially leave Canada.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, after months of misleading Canadians, the defence minister wants us to believe that he only recently learned how wrong his statements were on the role of the Red Cross in Afghanistan, even though he and the foreign affairs minister received a personal briefing last September.

Now, access documents show that if he had bothered to read his own ministerial briefing books, he would have known since October that the Red Cross only has the right to visit detainees and is not responsible to monitor them.

How can the minister expect Canadians to believe his so-called distortion was not deliberate when his answer was at his fingertips for months?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, our government is committed to ensuring that detainees are treated properly in accordance with military law.

For that we have engaged the Afghan Human Rights Commission that will go into the Afghan system and check to see how the detainees are treated. It will report back to us if there is any maltreatment.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we have here is an incompetent minister who misled Canadians, who is not being transparent in these matters and whose excuses will not make one bit of difference.

We have a general who is incapable of reading his notes or understanding a two-page agreement that clearly explains the role of the Red Cross.

What we have here is a former arms dealer who is now in charge of decisions about what kind of military equipment our troops need, the kind he himself was trying to sell to the government.

Why should we trust him?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, all that blather is not going to change the fact that we will make sure that detainees are treated properly. We have engaged the Afghan Human Rights Commission. It will go into the Afghan system and report anything wrong with respect to detainees.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there are few things that are more important for the honour of a country than its duty to protect human lives, including war detainees. It is clear that the Minister of National Defence failed in his duty, even though he has often been briefed on this.

I have no other choice than to ask the Prime Minister to ask his Minister of National Defence to do the honourable thing and resign.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said in previous statements, my statements here in the House were made in good faith and based on the understanding that I had. I have taken action to ensure that our detainees are treated properly.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has to see that his minister was negligent and incompetent with respect to a very serious issue for a country like Canada: the protection of the human lives we are responsible for.

The Prime Minister cannot keep his Minister of National Defence, not unless the Prime Minister is telling us that it is not important for Canada to protect the human lives we are responsible for.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has provided a clear explanation to the House of Commons. As the member knows, this government was at the time operating under an agreement signed by the previous government. We have since entered into a new arrangement with the Independent Afghan Human Rights Commission.

I can understand the passion that the Leader of the Opposition and members of his party feel for Taliban prisoners. I just wish occasionally they would show the same passion for Canadian soldiers.

Saint-Hubert Airport
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Développement de l’aéroport Saint-Hubert de Longueuil, also known as DASH-L, is piloting an important project in partnership with Pratt & Whitney Canada, in order to allow that company to continue to test its new engine models in Quebec.

One possible solution for Pratt & Whitney is to concentrate all of its engine test flights in Saint-Hubert, but on the condition that the main runway is lengthened and repaired.

Does the Minister of Transport intend to respond favourably to DASH-L, by allocating the $70 million needed for the project?