House of Commons Hansard #126 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scotia.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

March 22nd, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House we once again saw that the Prime Minister will say anything and do anything to win his never ending election campaign. It is clear that this is a Prime Minister who thinks that no attack is beneath him, no shot is too cheap, and no smear is too unbecoming.

If the Prime Minister really cared about the troops, really cared about human rights, and really cared about the success of the Afghan mission, he would replace his incompetent minister.

Will the Prime Minister stop putting election politics before everything else and replace the Minister of National Defence immediately?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, Canadians see a pattern of behaviour from the Liberal Party. It neglected the military for 13 years. The Liberal defence critic calls the military names. He calls the Chief of the Defence Staff a prop.

The defence minister, a brigadier general with 32 years of distinguished service, is sneered at as the arms dealer. This is from the Liberal Party whose advertisements insulted the military by speaking of its horror at “soldiers in our streets”.

Those are the disrespectful deeds, words and ads of the Liberal Party and no, we are not making this up.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, members on that side of the House do not seem to understand they have no monopoly on patriotism, no monopoly on support for the military, and no monopoly on support for our troops in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister is blinded by ambition and Canada is hobbled by his arrogance. By putting into question Canada's duty to uphold the Geneva Convention, the Prime Minister has jeopardized our international reputation.

When will the Prime Minister put Canada's interests ahead of his own?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the government corrected an agreement originally entered into by the Liberal government on this very issue in order to ensure Geneva Convention protections are provided.

Yesterday, the Liberal defence critic told the media: “The answer of the Prime Minister today is a disgrace. To ask us to make a choice between the Taliban detainees and our troops--”. On this side we do not find it hard to make a choice between our troops and the Taliban. We stand behind our troops.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and again today, the government asked the Canadian people to make a ridiculous choice by telling them that anyone who believes prisoners of war should be treated according to international law does not support our troops. That is a ridiculous choice.

Does the Prime Minister believe that the Geneva Convention is optional? Does he think that our treatment of prisoners can differ according to what we think of them? Why is he tolerating an incompetent defence minister and when will he replace him?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the irony drips. This is from the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore who said that torture is justified when dealing with terrorists.

We have been seeing a pattern of behaviour from the Liberal Party. It does not respect the men and women in the military, suggesting they are a threat when they are allowed on the streets in Canada.

The Liberals spent the past month saying that police officers are not fit to participate in panels that review traditional appointments, something that the Liberal government entrusted to Liberal candidates and Liberal Party executives.

Why does the Liberal Party have a problem with the Canadians who put their lives on the line to protect us?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his disgraceful reaction to the issue of Taliban prisoners of war yesterday in the House, the Prime Minister once again tarnished Canada's reputation on the world stage.

I would like to remind him that there are now four Taliban fighters back in hiding who will surely attack our men and women at the earliest opportunity.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that his disgraceful conduct yesterday sends the wrong signal to the international community that Canada does not respect the Geneva Convention? Does he not know that taking this position could put the lives of our soldiers in great danger by inflaming our enemies and turning the Afghan people against us?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we would send the wrong signal if we said, like the Liberal Party, that we do not stand behind our troops. We will stand behind our troops. We will ensure that they have in place what they need to protect themselves and ensure that they are protecting Afghan detainees under the Geneva Convention.

That is why we are pleased that under this government an agreement was negotiated with the Afghan independent human rights commissioner in order to allow access to detainees and to report back on that to the Canadian government if there is any evidence of any mistreatment.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only do we have an irresponsible Prime Minister, but we also have an incompetent, negligent Minister of National Defence who is incapable of handling matters transparently, who is incapable of fulfilling his duties, and who has deceived the people. I have here the Canadian Forces' code of honour, which talks about duty, loyalty, integrity and courage, and, most importantly, about honour and duty with honour. This is the military ethic, the warrior's honour.

Will the Minister of National Defence practice what he preaches, act according to his military ethic, and prove that he still has a sense of honour by resigning?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I think I do follow that code and that is why I take responsibility.

However, let me remind the member that we will protect detainees within the Afghan prison system. We have recently made an arrangement with the Afghan Human Rights Commission. It has undertaken to supervise the treatment of detainees and that will give us some degree of comfort.

Quebec Election
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister once again involved himself in the Quebec election campaign. In response to a question from the Bloc Québécois asking for tax fields to be transferred to Quebec to resolve the fiscal imbalance, the Prime Minister said: “To have such fiscal relations with the provinces, it is necessary to have a federalist government in Quebec—”.

Is the Prime Minister going to apologize for this gross interference in the election campaign and is he going to make a commitment to Quebeckers that he will respect their choice, whatever it is?

Quebec Election
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure my honourable colleague: on this side of the House, the Prime Minister and the government he leads have always been very firmly committed to reforming Canadian federalism. Time after time, in recent months, we have seen how far this reform of federalism has benefited not only Quebec, but all of Canada. The Prime Minister and the government are in fact going to continue in that direction so that Quebec can once again be strengthened within a strong and united Canada.

Quebec Election
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has just shown us that he has no sense of honour. If he had the least sense of honour, he would apologize today. Yesterday, what they said was that it was necessary. After wanting to choose journalists, immigration board members and judges made in his own image, now the Prime Minister would like to choose the next premier of Quebec. This is blackmail. The least he can do is do his duty as Prime Minister properly and say that he will respect the choice made by Quebeckers, because respecting the premier of Quebec means respecting all Quebeckers.

Quebec Election
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac
Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reassure my honourable colleague that on this side of the House it is very plain that we are going to respect the choice made by Quebeckers next Monday night. That being said, however, we are going to continue, we are going to go ahead with reforming Canadian federalism so that Quebec is able to grow, and grow stronger, within a better and united Canada.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister made another blunder. In response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition, he criticized the opposition leader for being concerned about the safety of Taliban prisoners and suggested that he should be more concerned about the safety of Canadian soldiers, as though the two were mutually exclusive.

Instead of adopting a George Bush attitude and suggesting that those who do not agree with him are his enemies—that is how the Prime Minister is behaving—should he not be showing his disagreement with the one person really responsible for the government's problems, namely, the Minister of National Defence?