House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghanistan.

Topics

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. I would urge the hon. member for Pickering—Scarborough East and some of his colleagues on the other side to carry on their argument outside so the rest of us can proceed with question period.

The hon. member for Richmond Hill now has the floor.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, in March the government closed Canadian consulates in Italy, Russia and Japan. Now 19 more Canadian diplomatic offices are rumoured to be on the chopping block.

Would the minister explain how these closures during a time of massive surpluses will enhance Canada's diplomatic activity, and did his deputy minister explicitly recommend the closures or was this the minister's idea?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, once again the key word in the member's question was “rumour”. More quidnuncs from the Liberal Party.

What we have done is what previous governments have done. In fact the member opposite would know that during his time in government, the 13 years, the Liberals closed 31 missions abroad.

We are doing what all governments should do, reviewing the places where we could have the most important strategic presence, and we will make ongoing assessments as time goes by.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. minister that in fact when we closed consulates, we had inherited a $42.5 billion deficit and we then repaired the problem.

These closures are symbolic of how badly the government misunderstands foreign policy.

Could the minister tell this House why his government continues to downgrade Canada's relationship with countries around the world? Is it because the government lacks a vision and an understanding about Canada's role in the international community, or is it because the government just does not care about how we are perceived internationally?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, without going back to the time of Sir John A., I could remind the member opposite that it was a Conservative government that inherited a $38 billion deficit.

It is interesting to get a history lesson from the member opposite, the member whose government was very much involved in the difficulties suffered by Mr. Arar and Mr. Sampson, so we take no lessons from the member opposite on consular cases or the closure of consular offices.

Benamer Benatta
Oral Questions

April 19th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Benamer Benatta, an Algerian national seeking refugee status, spent nearly five years in a prison in the United States after being handed over without cause following the events of September 11, 2001.

How can the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration justify these actions, which look very much like racial profiling, on the part of the Canadian government?

Benamer Benatta
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, in 2001, under the Liberal regime, the man in question was deported to the United States. Now, he is asking for an appeal, and that is exactly what we are going to give him.

Benamer Benatta
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Vaudreuil-Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, even though the FBI cleared him of all terrorist links three months after he was incarcerated, this man spent 58 months in prison for no reason, trapped in a maze of procedures that have been severely criticized by human rights defence organizations and a United Nations committee.

How can the government justify Canada's flagrant failure to comply with UN agreements on the rights of refugees?

Benamer Benatta
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, it is true that three months after he arrived in the United States, he requested an appeal, but we were not the government at the time. I do not know why there was no appeal, but there will be one. We want to know why this happened.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the softwood lumber agreement, the Minister of International Trade has to reassure the forestry industry of Quebec because we have learned that the U.S. representative thinks that the Canadian softwood lumber industry is being subsidized.

Since the provinces had to consult the minister before implementing their programs, how can the minister explain that the United States is concerned that eight of the programs in Quebec went beyond what is allowed under the agreement?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the government is being asked about this agreement because it is a source of pride to us. Why are we proud? Because this is an agreement that meets the needs of the industry in Quebec and that also satisfies Quebec's unions.

More importantly, this agreement provides for negotiation and discussion between the governments. That is what we are doing in the interest of all Canadians.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the negotiations. At the time of the negotiations, did the Minister of International Trade provide guarantees to Quebec and the provinces that the existing programs were compliant with the agreement that he was about to sign with the U.S.?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. colleague that the agreement signed under the leadership of the Prime Minister was backed by Quebec.

The Government of Quebec is behind us, Quebeckers are behind us and the forestry industry is behind us. I do not understand the opposition and criticism from the Bloc Québécois. The Bloc Québécois seems to be bored in the House of Commons. One might wonder what its purpose is here.

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is meeting with U.S. representatives today to discuss Canadian forestry policies. Once again the U.S. is challenging Canadian forestry programs, including those of Ontario and Quebec, under the softwood lumber agreement. This has other provinces with a strong lumber industry, such as British Columbia, worried.

When will the government stop bowing to U.S. interests and really stand up for Canada, as the Conservatives promised?

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Macleod
Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, it is this new government that is indeed standing up for the softwood lumber industry. If it were not for this government, we would not have a softwood lumber agreement that provides us an avenue to consult. We would be back in litigation. Is that what the Liberals would have us do, 20 more years of litigation?