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 troops.

Topics

Brian Mulroney
Statements By Members

April 19th, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I witnessed a wonderful moment in Canadian history, as the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney was awarded the Order of King Yaroslav the Wise, the highest honour the Ukrainian government can bestow. At the same time, he also accepted the Shevchenko Medal, the most prestigious honour awarded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was the first recipient of this honour in 1961.

As the Prime Minister said at the event, “[Fifteen years ago] under Mr. Mulroney's leadership Canada was the first country in the west to recognize Ukrainian independence”. For that fledgling nation, for the 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian origin and for all freedom-loving people, it was a great moment.

Our country has been shaped by waves of immigration that have enhanced its vitality and reputation. More than ever, Canada must continue to welcome immigrants in order to remain prosperous and defend freedom here and elsewhere in the world.

Mr. Mulroney, ardent defender of freedom, we congratulate you on this important honour and thank you for making us so proud to be Canadian.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our soldiers in Afghanistan are engaged in a dangerous mission in dangerous conditions. Their courage does honour to our country, and all the members of this House stand firmly behind them. But our troops and all Canadians have the right to demand clarity from the government regarding the mission.

Will the Prime Minister promise to end our combat mission in Kandahar in February 2009 and notify NATO immediately?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, NATO is not asking for our decision right now. The Leader of the Opposition keeps on changing his position. In October, he said he supported the mission, because he was convinced that most of the people of Afghanistan wanted our protection.

They still want our protection, and we will continue to provide that protection.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I said until February 2009.

But what the Prime Minister said is that he would continue our combat mission until at least 2011, and that we would stay until the progress made is irreversible, and that we might leave by 2010 “if certain conditions are met”, which is exactly what President Bush said about his war in Iraq, where the Prime Minister wanted to send Canadians.

Will the Prime Minister end our mission in Kandahar in February 2009 and inform NATO now?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the mission in Afghanistan, unlike Iraq, is supported by the entire international community. NATO is not asking us for a decision today.

I note that the Leader of the Opposition has had about a half dozen different positions on this over the last year. One day he is for it, then he is against it, he wants to leave now, he wants to leave later, and he wants to stay.

He said this: “I'm supporting the mission because I'm still convinced that most of the people of Afghanistan want our protection”.

They still want our protection. What has changed to cause the Leader of the Opposition to change his story yet again?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have not changed my position. I said until February 2009. I believe that our allies and the Afghan government need clarity from our government. Canadians do as well. They expect the mission to end in February 2009. The government has said that it has ordered tanks and helicopters worth billions of dollars for the Kandahar mission, and this equipment will not be delivered until shortly before February 2009.

Is this a poor procurement decision, or is it a sign that the Prime Minister has already decided to extend the combat mission?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are making military purchases for the long-term rebuilding of our Canadian Forces. These purchases are not linked to the mission in Afghanistan; the government has made a decision to rebuild our country's military pride.

Also, I have to say this. We did not hear a lot about this in the last few months because Canadian troops had not suffered casualties. We see some unfortunate casualties and those members are back to attacking the mission. The Leader of the Opposition likes to talk about what is unfair. That is unfair to the men and women in uniform.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we indignantly reject the idea that we are concerned about this because of casualties. We are concerned about this because we want our citizens to be properly informed.

It is not too much to ask the government to replace ambiguity with clarity. It is not too much to ask the government to replace rhetoric with honesty.

It is not too much to expect a defence minister and a Prime Minister to have one clear position, which is whether they will commit today to end the combat mission in Kandahar in February 2009. It is a straight question. Let us have a straight answer.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, today in Kandahar the men and women of the Canadian Forces are doing us proud. They are protecting the Afghan people. We will stand by them and we will provide whatever equipment they need to do the job.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, in February 2009, Canada will have been in Afghanistan for seven years. We will have served in a combat role in the most dangerous part of the country for three years. This will have been one of the longest combat missions Canada has ever engaged in.

Will the government promise today to honour the February 2009 date, which the government itself set for the end of our combat operations in southern Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, today in the Panjwai and Zari districts life is returning to normal. Families are returning by the thousands because the Canadian Forces are providing security. They are training the army, they are delivering aid, and they are making life better for Afghanis. It is what the Afghan government wants.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment would have us believe that enforcing the Kyoto protocol would bring the apocalypse upon us. The minister must know, rather, that it is the manufacturing industry in Quebec that will suffer financially if no absolute targets are set. France, for example, plans to levy a green tax on all products from countries that have not set absolute targets.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, by refusing to establish absolute targets, he is showing favouritism for western oil companies, which will continue to turn a profit while polluting, and damaging the manufacturing sector, which will pay a heavy price?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the targets that this government will set for industry will apply to all industries in Canada. For the first time, we will have national, mandatory targets.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his report, the Minister of the Environment refuses to acknowledge that, without absolute targets—and I mean absolute targets, not intensity targets—it is the manufacturing sector that will be penalized, an industry that is very important in Quebec.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, if he wants the manufacturing sector to remain competitive, he must immediately establish absolute targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases in accordance with the Kyoto protocol?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our government's policy is obviously different from that of the other parties of this House. Our policy is to achieve real reductions in greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, while preserving jobs and ensuring the health of the Canadian economy.