House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the chaos, the confusion and the cover-ups continue. The only way Canadians can get honest answers is through affidavits filed in Federal Court.

At first, there was no report and then there was a report. Then the report showed up all blacked out and now Ms. Colleen Swords, an employee of Foreign Affairs Canada, testified that she has seen a written report prepared by the Correctional Service of Canada related to the abuse of detainees.

Will the Minister of Public Safety table this report in the House? Canadians want to know the truth.

Afghanistan
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, let us be very frank about what is happening here. The only confusion, the only misstatement of fact, the only deliberate attempt to distort what is going on here is coming from the opposition benches.

Let me read clearly from an affidavit filed by the vice-chief of the defence staff. He said, “Nothing in the circumstances described can lead to a conclusion that the individual was tortured and that CF members were aware of such torture”.

If members in the field were not aware of any allegations of torture or actual torture, how would any member of the government be aware?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government would not be aware because it is confused. It has been a week of chaos. It has been a week of confusion. It has been a week of cover-ups. Canadians really want to know the truth.

On Friday the foreign affairs minister told the House that there were more than two cases of alleged detainee abuse. Exactly how many cases of prisoner abuse is the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of? How many written reports have been prepared? When are those reports going to be made public? Canadians want to know.

Afghanistan
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, I repeat again, what we have done is clean up the mess left in place by the previous government. We have now an enhanced agreement that allows for unfettered access. It allows for private access. It improves the relationship between the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. It improves access available by the Red Cross.

What we have done is improve the situation to do our very best to ensure that the Afghan government has the capacity and the ability to do its utmost to protect detainees.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Afghan detainee transfer scandal has showcased the Conservative government's propensity for screwing up and covering up. The muzzled Minister of National Defence's deliberate confusion and lack of transparency are becoming more and more troubling.

I do not know whether the Prime Minister will let him speak today, but we would like to know why his vice-chief of the defence staff intervened this weekend. Was Colonel Noonan, who was on the ground, too transparent and too honest?

Who in his office is keeping such a close watch over this file as to prompt this weekend's updates?

Afghanistan
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, let me read for the member opposite so he will clearly understand. This is from the affidavit:

—as Colonel Noonan's affidavit indicates, there were no specific complaints received from CF members, humanitarian agencies, detainees or former detainees to the CF...

Therefore, it is very clear. What we are seeing consistently is an effort by members opposite to distort, to stir up, to misrepresent what went on. The invention of a scandal on the other side of the House is not cutting it. Canadians are not buying it, particularly from the member.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is no service at the number you have dialed.

Our brave soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan and the Conservatives in Ottawa are passing the buck. Foreign affairs denied existence of a report setting out allegations of torture. It is the lawyers' fault. The Minister of National Defence was contradicted by the Prime Minister about the existence of a new agreement. It is foreign affairs' fault. And do not forget the Minister of Public Safety who blames everybody except himself.

We have finger pointing instead of leadership, misleading instead of honesty. When will the Prime Minister put the troops ahead of them and clean up his own mess?

Afghanistan
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, unlike members opposite, we always put Canadian soldiers ahead of a government agenda. We put them first and foremost, central in our foreign policy, central in everything we do right now to ensure they get their work done. I want to credit the Minister of National Defence for having done his part to ensure that those men and women in uniform are getting the support the need.

When it comes to support, I want to quote the member opposite, whom I was with at a NATO meeting just last week, when he said in reference to the mission in Afghanistan:

I was part of the government when at first we decided to go to Kabul...and then we went to Kandahar...we support, of course, our government in that mission.

What happened to that support?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the French election campaign, Nicolas Sarkozy proposed a carbon tax on products from countries that do not comply with the Kyoto protocol. Yesterday, in his speech, France's new president confirmed that global warming will be his first priority.

Does the Minister of the Environment realize that by turning his back on the Kyoto protocol and helping big oil companies, he could end up penalizing all Canadian exporters, especially Quebec exporters who account for 40% of Canada's exports to France?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear: we have not turned our backs on the Kyoto protocol. We are still part of the Kyoto protocol and we will work very hard to reduce greenhouse gases.

I would like to congratulate France's new president. I do not know whom the opposition leader voted for, but we are all looking forward to working with the new president.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to a survey, 92% of Albertans believe that oil companies should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, 70% reject the Conservatives' intensity targets in favour of absolute targets. Quebeckers agree.

Is the government aware that the only ones who support his phony plan based on intensity targets are the oil companies and that the people, the scientists and the manufacturers are against his plan?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as I told my colleague from Quebec very clearly, we have absolute numbers for absolute reductions in greenhouse gases.

I know that having a government that wants absolute reductions is a new thing here in the House of Commons.

We are ready to act and we have a real plan to reduce greenhouse gases, which is something that has not happened since the Bloc Québécois first came to the House of Commons.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

May 7th, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Department of National Defence responded to Colonel Noonan's testimony, saying that the prisoner who was tortured and then recaptured had only been interrogated by Canadian soldiers in the beginning, but that he was arrested by the Afghan police. In short, Canada is tossing the hot potato, rather than assuming its responsibilities.

Does this admission by National Defence not illustrate the government's hypocrisy in the Afghan prisoner file, regardless of the conclusion of a new agreement?

There were, and still are, two kinds of prisoners: those transferred after being interrogated by Canada, and those transferred immediately to Afghan authorities.

Afghanistan
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, unfortunately, what the hon. member is saying is not correct.

What we have here clearly is a case of a detainee who was not in Canadian custody. He was arrested by Afghan police. Canadian soldiers did the responsible thing. They saw what was taking place. They acted in a humanitarian way to intervene, and he was later placed in Afghan custody again. This is something for which Canadian soldiers should be commended.

What we have in place now is a new system that will work better. It has been commended by others. It has taken the best of other countries' systems and incorporated them into one that will work extremely well to protect detainees.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government may say that this agreement solves all the problems, but its obligation, as the government, is to ensure that the agreement does so. There is a double standard here.

Does the government plan to take the necessary measures and ensure that, from now on, all prisoners are protected by the new agreement, in accordance with the Geneva convention, as they should be?