House of Commons Hansard #138 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

2:25 p.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the hon. member that this government considers climate change to be one of the greatest threats facing the world today.

I also want to make it very clear that Canada, under this government, remains committed to the principles and objectives of the United Nations framework on climate change and the Kyoto protocol.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that setting 2006 as the reference year means that his plan is based on the polluter pay principle? Does he realize that by setting intensity targets instead of absolute targets, he is condemning future generations by endangering the environment because, even if oil companies pollute less per barrel, they will increase their production, thereby polluting more and destroying the environment?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Langley
B.C.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking specific questions on our framework announcements which will be coming out shortly. I encourage him to wait. The announcements on those targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be coming out very shortly.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the revelations concerning torture victims in Afghanistan are positively appalling and Canadians are very concerned about this. The NDP raised this issue a year ago. Afghan authorities use torture in order to mentally and physically break their victims.

Will the government finally do the right thing, which is to immediately put an end to the transfer of prisoners, launch a public inquiry and dismiss the Minister of National Defence today?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, we take these rumours seriously. We are asking our officials to investigate this with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and with the Afghan officials.

I might remind the member for Toronto—Danforth that we recently had an agreement with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. It has promised to advise us if any of our detainees are abused.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, a moment ago the Prime Minister was enumerating the responsibilities of the Minister of National Defence. He forgot to mention that one of his responsibilities is to ensure that Canada is abiding by international law.

The fact is the minister has, by his own admission, misled the House. He stated himself that it was his responsibility to ensure that transferees were handled properly at our end and at the Afghan end.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and instruct his Minister of National Defence to stop the transfer of prisoners now and get a full inquiry going, and then ask for his resignation?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission which has the authority to go into the Afghan system. It will advise us of any abuses. We said that we would provide any logistics support it needs to carry out that function and that is our stand.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to be back.

The Minister of National Defence recently said that Canadian troops could stay in Afghanistan for over a decade. Additionally, last week he confirmed that cabinet has not even discussed this issue.

For months the government has given confused and conflicting messages about the Afghanistan mission. Will it now be clear with Canadians and support the Liberal motion that establishes 2009 as the end of our combat role in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member alleges things that I never said. I said that the current military commitment is at the end of February 2009.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians and our allies deserve a clear and honest answer on when Canada's combat duties in southern Afghanistan will end.

Tomorrow there is a vote on the Liberal motion that gives the government an opportunity to be straightforward for a change and yet all we hear from the minister is rhetoric.

The question is not one of support for our troops. We all support them and their good work. The question is, will the minister do the right thing and commit to end Canada's combat role in Kandahar in 2009 and inform NATO allies of this deadline immediately?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I just want to take the opportunity to welcome the hon. member back. We are all delighted to see that he is looking in good health.

As I said last week in answer to this question, the government's position is clear. Our allies, the international community, the Afghan government, nobody is asking us to make a decision on 2009 this week.

I have to say that only the Liberal Party would consider a clear position to be a position that we must withdraw two years from now right away.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this minority Conservative government has never been clear about the mission in Afghanistan and has never bothered to think about when or how this mission will end.

The Minister of National Defence now says that the Canadian Forces could pull out on the condition that the Afghan forces double their size, which seems very unlikely to occur by 2009.

Will the minister finally admit that he has no intention of pulling the Canadian Forces out of Afghanistan in 2009?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our position is that the military commitment is until the end of February 2009. At an appropriate time our government will discuss any possible changes to that commitment.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to be completely inconsistent when it comes to Afghanistan.

The minister says one day that we are not at war and then says the exact opposite the next. One day, he says we are in Afghanistan to exact revenge, and the next day, he says we are there to beat the Taliban. In the past, he has said that we would not beat them with military force.

Given that the equipment recently purchased will not arrive in Afghanistan until a few months before 2009, will the Minister of National Defence finally admit his secret intention to extend the mission in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills
Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, if we want to talk about flip-floppers, they are over there. The Leader of the Opposition voted against the extension in Afghanistan; now he supports it. Members over there are flip-flopping all the time. They are the ones who have no consistent position. That party has had three positions in the last year.