House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Energy Security Initiative
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Egmont.

Prince Edward Island
Statements By Members

February 7th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, last week, Prince Edward Island dodged a bullet. Another hour of freezing rain would have catapulted the province into total disaster.

The response to the crisis by Maritime Electric workers, who worked around the clock, the Red Cross and volunteer fire departments, mitigated a situation that could have been much worse. They have the gratitude of all Islanders.

The P.E.I. ice storm showed the absolute necessity of having contingency plans to deal with natural disasters developed by people who know how to organize a proper response.

Something governments could do for starters would be to implement a tax credit for people to purchase gas generators so households could at least function with heat and hot food.

It is an expensive proposition to wire a home for a generator and purchase the machine. A tax credit would encourage this essential step.

Again, our gratitude goes out to all the volunteers who helped to avert a major crisis on Prince Edward Island.

Aluminum Industry
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 1, aluminum giants Chinalco and Alcoa acquired a 12% interest in the British group, Rio Tinto.

Once again, uncertainty reigns in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region and in Quebec. Workers and the general public are worried that foreign companies will buy up our companies and our natural resources bit by bit without offering any guarantees with respect to processing or employment in the aluminum industry.

Alcan's recent acquisition of Rio Tinto showed that we cannot count on the Conservatives to protect our assets or our jobs. This government's laissez-faire policy gives foreign companies free rein and asks nothing in return.

With the entry of new players in Rio Tinto Alcan's operations, Quebec and my region will lose even more control over their own development. Quebeckers will not forget the role the Conservative government played by failing to take action.

International Humanitarian Assistance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada has an important responsibility to the poor of this world to whom it sends assistance. It has a responsibility to make sure that the aid it sends to international agencies will be distributed fairly and transparently, so that those who need it most can take full advantage of it.

Bill C-293, which was adopted in this House by all the members except the Conservatives, has this very objective.

However, since the bill was passed, it has been blocked in the Senate by the Conservative senators, who are engaging in an orgy of obstruction and disinformation. Yet this bill was supported by numerous petitions and demonstrations.

Once again, the Conservatives are being hypocritical by talking about transparency and accountability but refusing to walk the talk. This shows a serious lack of leadership on an issue that affects millions of people and Canada's international reputation.

The poor of this world deserve better from this government.

Afghanistan
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, we see yet again more confusion and division on the part of the Liberal Party when it comes to our mission in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party insisted that the Liberals want to stay in Afghanistan. He stated, “The party over there wants to pull out of Afghanistan, not this party”.

Yet the leader of the Liberal Party wants to continue to stick to his line that Canadian soldiers should not be allowed to engage in a combat mission in Afghanistan, but only to do training. Of course, he has no problem with invading Pakistan.

Perhaps the deputy leader of the Liberal Party could explain to his leader what the independent panel said on this kind of plan:

One variant would have Canada end its combat mission completely in February 2009. This Panel did not judge this to be a viable option.

The deputy leader of the Liberal Party said recently, “do it right or don't do it at all”. That is what he should tell his leader.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last April, the House voted on a Liberal motion to affirm the end of our combat mission in February 2009 and immediately inform NATO of the need to find replacements for our troops.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister, supported by the leader of the NDP, rejected that motion. A full year after this huge mistake, will the Prime Minister realize that Canada, NATO and Afghanistan, all of these, would be in a much better position today if he had not wasted a full year?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Manley panel of independent experts said, the previous government chose Kandahar in 2005. We undertook important obligations to the Afghan people in Kandahar whom we are protecting, as well as to the broader international community.

Obviously, we had an extension of the mission, voted on in Parliament, to February 2009. NATO is aware that is the case. NATO is also aware that this government is willing to extend that commitment if we can get certain conditions fulfilled by NATO countries.

The choice for all parties in this House will be clear: to support the military mission or not to support it.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is now saying that the mission as originally conceived must change or be ended. If that is true today, it was true a year ago. He has not been doing his job for the past year. He did not inform NATO that we could not continue the mission as originally conceived. He made everyone—NATO, Afghanistan and Canada—waste a whole year.

Will he admit that if he did so it was because ultimately what he is proposing is a never-ending mission?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, NATO has been informed several times of the political situation in Canada, the fact that Parliament extended the mission until February 2009 and that the government has to make a decision after that.

We accept the recommendations of the Manley panel, namely that we should extend our mission if NATO provides more troops and equipment.

The choice for all parties in this House will be difficult but straightforward: support the military mission or oppose it.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve the truth from the Prime Minister. He must be honest about his plan for a never-ending mission. He should also end the mismanagement and confusion: ministers contradicting each other, ministers misleading the House.

How can Canadians have any trust in the Prime Minister with his plan for a never-ending mission, a prime minister who controls everything but runs nothing?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government established a panel of independent experts consisting of people from both partisan backgrounds, including and led by the former deputy prime minister of the Liberal Party.

The recommendations of that panel, I think widely accepted, are very clear, that we have a choice. The choice is to do and in fact to strengthen the military mission, or to not do the military mission and to abandon those commitments. On that fundamental question, those two choices, Canadians deserve the truth from every political party.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we go into a national debate about Afghanistan, the government owes Canadians a clear explanation of its position.

The Prime Minister has said that he will not extend the mission unless he receives 1,000 additional troops from NATO.

If this is the policy, the Prime Minister ought to answer three basic questions. Why did it take him so long to pick up the phone? What assurances can he give Canadians that they will actually find the troops in time? And most important of all, what evidence does he have that 1,000 will make any real difference?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have accepted the recommendations of an expert independent panel that on behalf of the government has consulted widely.

In terms of the additional troops and equipment that the panel identified as necessary to training, to long term success and exit, we have discussed those recommendations with the chief of the defence staff and the military. They are in agreement with those recommendations.

Once again, the question for every party in the House is, do they support the extension of the military mission, or do they not support it?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, hiding behind the Manley report is not the answer. An additional 1,000 soldiers could turn into a simple political gesture or a symbolic presence, but our troops need help and reinforcements immediately.

I will ask the question again. Where will these 1,000 soldiers come from and what exactly will they do to help us? Canadians need an honest answer from the Prime Minister. Does he have one?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the recommendations are quite simple: we need 1,000 NATO soldiers and some major equipment to help us in our military mission in Kandahar.

This government is clear: we accept this recommendation. Without a response from NATO to these requests, Canada will not extend the mission in Afghanistan. We are nonetheless prepared to do so if NATO gives us the help we have asked for.