House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, this government has taken action and gave the Quebec government more money than it asked for. This is something that has never happened with the Bloc, here in Ottawa. We also gave real tax cuts. And what has the Bloc done, here in Ottawa?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nothing.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

It voted no. That is terrible.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

February 12th, 2008 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the issue of Afghanistan, it is now absolutely clear that there are two fundamental approaches.

There is an approach to extend the war for another three years, and that is an approach which is inherently going to take us toward more combat, or there is an approach that would launch us on a path toward peace by ending the mission.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his Chief of Defence Staff, who has said that the military presence in Kandahar must inherently include combat? Does he agree with the general, when he says that to say otherwise is illogical?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I obviously agree that Kandahar, in fact Afghanistan as a whole, is a combat zone, but let me remind the leader of the NDP why two successive governments and two parties have decided to be in Afghanistan.

We are there because we are under a mandate approved by the Security Council of the United Nations, supported by virtually the entire international community.

We are there at the invitation of a democratically elected government in Afghanistan, and our troops are protecting ordinary Afghan people who need our help.

We are there because we have young men and women who have put their hearts and souls into this. They believe and know we are doing the right thing, and we will succeed.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, former prime minister Lester Pearson said, “Of all of our dreams today, there is none more important — or so hard to realize — than that of peace--”.

It is clear that the Liberal Party has now abandoned that pathway and it is a sad day. It has chosen to follow the government in extending this war for another three years.

Will the Prime Minister at least agree that there will be a vote on this matter prior to the budget vote taking place, so we can know where the House stands on the prolongation of war versus the--

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are working on getting a consensus on a motion that can indeed pass the House of Commons, obviously uphold Canada's obligations and international reputation, and support our men and women.

It is not normally my habit to defend the Liberal Party, but the Liberal Party, for example, not only entered us into Afghanistan, but the Liberal Party directed this country through World War II. Parties that run this country understand that in a dangerous world, we sometimes have to use force to maintain peace.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the current approach to our mission is in need of a change. It is now clear that combat alone will not bring lasting peace to the area. Our mission must be one of diplomacy and development, assisting the Afghan people to build their own resources and capacity.

It is what Canada is known for in the world and something of which Canadians are very proud. That must be the focus after our combat mission ends in February 2009.

In light of the recent developments, is the government ready to endorse such a responsible and comprehensive approach?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the ultimate aim of our policy is to leave the Afghans with a country that is more secure, better governed and more peaceful. This is the aim of our policy.

I am pleased to hear that the member of the Liberal Party opposite wants us to do the same thing. I hope we will have common ground. I hope we will be able to have a consensus on the aim of the mission and why we are there for the Afghan people.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response from the minister. Up until now, ten times as much has been spent on combat operations as on development. The Liberal opposition has been proposing a more enhanced development model for Afghanistan for the past year.

Will the government now provide clarification of its recent statements by confirming that our combat mission will end in February 2009, and that it will change to one of development, diplomacy, and training?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

That is our mission, Mr. Speaker.

We are there for defence and for a more secure Afghanistan. We are helping the Afghan people so they can have a secure and peaceful country. Our diplomats and our development workers are there as well. We want to have a better coordinated approach. We will have a better coordinated approach. I also hope that the international community will have a better coordinated approach.

When I gave my speech at the UN in New York, I said that we needed a UN special envoy for Afghanistan and I hope we will have one.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

The problem with this government, Mr. Speaker, is that it avoids the truth like the plague. For two years now, the government has denied the facts, twisted the truth and misled the people of Canada concerning our mission in Afghanistan. There has been no transparency or accountability. That is unacceptable.

Does the Prime Minister understand why the people of Canada are now refusing to give him carte blanche for a never-ending mission?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to tell my hon. colleague that this government has doubled its development assistance funding for Afghanistan. We believe that, for the sake of security in the country, sustainable development should be ensured for the Afghan people, and that is what we are doing. We need the support of Parliament, and I hope that a common ground can be found in a motion, so that we can support our troops and honour our international commitment.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Minister of Foreign Affairs should listen to the question before answering.

For two years the government has denied and distorted the facts, and deceived the Canadian people about the mission in Afghanistan. No honesty. No transparency. Liberals are demanding it. Canadians deserve it.

Will the Prime Minister finally deliver it, and how?