House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animal.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, international law, including the Geneva convention, expressly prohibits the transfer of detainees into situations of torture and inhumane treatment. There is clear evidence of such torture and inhumane treatment. Indeed, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has not only corroborated these allegations but has acknowledged that it cannot monitor, let alone protect, the detainees.

Will the Canadian government abide by its international obligations and cease and desist from these transfers, in the interests also of protecting our own soldiers, of protecting the integrity of our mission and of protecting--

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Afghanistan
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, obviously it is in everyone's interest that the Afghan government comply with its international obligations, with its own law, and with all obligations as they pertain to human rights. That is exactly what the Canadian government and in fact all NATO allies are attempting to do in working with the Afghan government to build the capacity, both in prisons and with respect to their Afghan national army and policing.

That does not happen overnight. That member, more than anyone, should know that the strides and progress that have been made in Afghanistan are extraordinary.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, international law not only prohibits the transfer of detainees to conditions of torture, but requires that the government take all necessary measures to protect detainees already transferred or to have them returned into our protective custody.

Since it is clear that those already transferred have been tortured and since the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has acknowledged that it cannot protect them, will the government secure their protection, or will it continue to be soft on compliance with international law, soft on detainee protection, and soft on protecting the rights of our own Canadian soldiers?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order. The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor. A question has been asked and he has the right to respond.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, members of the Canadian military are in constant communication with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and with their other counterparts in Afghanistan to assure themselves that the allegations the hon. member makes are not the case. We do that at other levels, at the level of corrections, and also at the level of foreign affairs.

Any suggestion that the hon. member or other members have that the Canadian military is deliberately violating the Geneva convention is false and without any foundation.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government claims not to have known about the abuse of detainees, dismissing them as Taliban rumours, but foreign affairs knew, Madam Justice Louise Arbour knew, the Afghan government knew, and Corrections Canada, with officials on the ground, knew. Even the Prime Minister's floor-crossing personal adviser to Afghanistan knew.

How is it that the only people claiming ignorance sit on the Conservative frontbench?

Afghanistan
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, as a member of the previous government, the hon. member would know that these reports are routinely returned to officials. These reports are used for the basis of determining what progress needs to be made, what areas are lacking, and how to go about building that capacity. These reports are done to gauge the advancements that are made in human rights and to find the shortcomings and then address them.

We have spoken directly with the Afghan government about this situation. We intend to have a full report back to us.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister has a history of misleading the House.

The government refuses to ensure international law is respected and it is putting Canada's international reputation at risk. When will the government admit that once again it has misled Canadians on the issue of Afghan detainees? When will the Prime Minister fire his incompetent Minister of National Defence?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, since the beginning of the mission, this government, like the previous government I would expect, has regularly raised concerns about capacity building and human rights issues. We continue to do that.

Reports such as this are used generally to make policy. The specific allegations here are being examined closely. They will be looked into in Afghanistan. They will be gauged for future consideration. This is an attempt by the government to point out its own shortcomings.

When we examine the fact that those members did not have an agreement in place on the transfer of detainees, they are trying to detract from their own shortcomings.

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

April 25th, 2007 / 2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its last budget, Canada's new government announced that $60 million would be made available over the next two years for events celebrating local arts and heritage.

Could the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women tell us what progress she has made with the implementation of this program?

Arts and Culture
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, the program does not yet exist. We announced our intent in the last budget, but it still has to be created. The criteria have not been established. All MPs are invited to provide input. The Conservative caucus received a questionnaire and all members of the opposition parties will receive it in the upcoming days.

The government wants to address the real needs of our communities and we will do it through a fully accountable and transparent process.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government failed the first time, so now it wants to try again with a new plan, but the targets are unacceptable. These targets will result in levels higher than 1990 levels. The lack of leadership is shameful.

Will this government have the courage to submit new targets in a bill and to put those targets to a democratic vote in the House?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we are excited about our plan and our initiative. For the first time ever, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

For years we saw inaction from the Liberal Party and now we hear the line “do as I say, not as I do”.

Canadians want a real plan. They want a real plan to see a better environment. They want a real plan to see a reduction in greenhouse gases. That is exactly what this government is going to deliver.