House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the deputy leader of the Liberal Party says that Canada should stay in Afghanistan, I am convinced that is indeed his position.

I think that should also be Canada's position. We undertook important obligations to the Afghan people, to the international community and to our NATO allies.

A report, put together by a panel of experts, including the former deputy prime minister of the Liberal Party, has indicated that we need additional help. Our government is clear that with that additional help we are prepared to move forward with our allies.

These are never easy decisions to make or communicate but one needs to be on one side or the other.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we learned that the Prime Minister intends to introduce a motion about extending the mission in Afghanistan. Last week, I asked the Prime Minister if, out of respect for our NATO allies, he would commit to putting his motion to the vote before the NATO summit so that he could go there with a clear mandate from the House of Commons about the future of the mission. He refused to answer.

Will he answer my question today?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government will soon introduce a motion to extend the mission in Afghanistan. The motion will set out the important conditions that we want from NATO.

I hope that this motion will be the subject of debate not only here in the House but also in the committees. I encourage the Bloc members and other opposition members to take the time to study the Manley report in their parliamentary committees in the weeks to come.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a little strange. One of the recommendations in the Manley report is greater transparency, and the Prime Minister cannot even give us an answer about whether the vote will be held before or after the NATO meeting.

I would also like to know if this vote will be held before the budget is tabled. Such a decision will, inevitably, have financial repercussions, and we should have the opportunity to vote on the budget with full knowledge of the facts so that we do not commit to military expenditures for a mission that may not be renewed.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the last time we had a debate on Afghanistan here, the leader of the Bloc complained that the debate was too short. Now he is complaining that the debate is too long, even though it has not yet begun. We intend to give the members of the Bloc and the other parties ample time to debate this very important issue.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the truth about the fate of detainees captured by the Canadian army. The ministers have two contradictory stories.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has told us that detainees are not being transferred because of known cases of torture. His colleague, the Minister of National Defence, has stated that we should envisage the possibility of building a Canadian prison in Kabul. There is widespread confusion.

Given that detainees are not being transferred and the prison is not ready, can someone in this government tell us what is happening to these prisoners in the meantime?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this question has been asked and answered many times but the answer remains the same. What I would really like to hear discussed is not potential crime or alleged crime in Afghanistan, but perhaps the Liberals could get their Senate colleagues to do something serious about tackling violent crime and do something serious for crime in Canada.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we have to keep asking these questions, it is because we keep getting this sort of answer, an answer that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

The Minister of National Defence said that detainees were kept in a certain location. Could his parliamentary secretary tell us who is guarding this location? Is it the Canadian army? Is it the American forces? Or the Afghan police?

It is time for this government to end its culture of secrecy. We want to know and we are entitled to know what is going on.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the same question. I would point out again that we have a supplementary arrangement that is working very well, which is why this one case that has come to light has been dealt with by the Afghan authorities. They have taken action against the individual involved.

The authority for detaining or not detaining, or transferring or not transferring rests with the Canadian Forces. We trust General Hillier to make the right decisions. We trust his people on the ground to make the right decisions. We will always back them up. We will not override their authority as the other parties would have us do.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has proposed a path to peace in Afghanistan. The Conservatives have proposed continued war. Evidently, the Liberals have chosen to side with the Conservatives. It is the wrong choice for Canada and it is not leadership.

On a related matter, will the Prime Minister call on the Auditor General to examine the accountability mechanisms of CIDA and the contracts with the recipient organizations of Canadian aid in Afghanistan to ensure that money is going to the people who need it in Afghanistan and not into Swiss bank accounts?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham
Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the House that CIDA's contributions to its work anywhere in the world is very robustly studied. The accountability in Afghanistan is triple-fold. We work with reputable organizations that monitor themselves. CIDA people are visiting sites and monitoring. We receive reports and we also have external observers and auditors looking at every program and every scrip that we provide.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not acceptable. There are problems with contracts, accounting and accountability. At least $740 million has been paid out by CIDA in Afghanistan without audit. The minister just said so. Canadians want assurances that their money is going where it is needed.

Will the Prime Minister ask the Auditor General to report on this to Parliament? Where has the money gone? How much money has been spent? Are we getting our money's worth with these projects?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the minister has answered the question. CIDA has many processes to ensure that our money is properly spent. The Auditor General audits all government departments.

Finance
Oral Questions

February 6th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister still has not said that he is sorry for illegally paying a Conservative friend $122,000 to write his budget speech.

Does this sentence, costing taxpayers nearly $600, constitute good value for money?

From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the rugged shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, many of the most beautiful places on earth are in Canada.

For 600 bucks, could they not check an atlas to see that Canada does not end at the Rocky Mountains?

Finance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite thinks that Canadian geography ends at Steeles Avenue in the GTA but it is not so.

Many people in Canada disagree with the member for Markham—Unionville when he says that he wants to raise the GST by two full percentage points, when he talks about saving the GST and restoring the GST. If he actually cared about Canadians from coast to coast to coast, he would not advocate raising the GST, raising taxes on Canadians.