House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was table.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, General Natynczyk acted honourably. He admitted that he was not provided with a full account of a Canadian detainee abused in 2006. He wants answers.

No one in the government, including the Prime Minister, seems to have the courage, the honour, the integrity and the desire of General Natynczyk to get at the truth. I dare them to prove me wrong. Why would they not call a public inquiry?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, as the Prime Minister has said, in this instance and in other instances the actions of the Canadian Forces have been beyond reproach.

Every time we have had credible allegations or evidence, we have acted. We acted to improve the transfer arrangements, the inadequate arrangements, left by the previous government. We have acted to improve the situation vis-à-vis human rights in Afghanistan. We have invested. We have mentored.

We have the ability now to have unfettered access inside Afghan prisons. All of that happened between 2006 and 2007. We are in a better place today because of the actions of diplomats and soldiers, and we thank them and applaud them.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, now we know that the Minister of National Defence has been hiding the truth about Afghan detainees all along. The Chief of the Defence Staff has confirmed that in May 2006 an Afghan detainee had been transferred and tortured and that he was even photographed before being transferred because there were suspicions that he would be tortured.

Is the Prime Minister going to take the side of the Minister of National Defence or is he going to take responsibility and demand that the minister resign?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the leader of the Bloc is saying, it is clear that the Canadian Forces acted appropriately in this situation. When there was evidence, or if substantial allegations were made, the forces took action to correct the situation. They did the same thing in every case and the Chief of the Defence Staff's comments today confirm those facts.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces did not act improperly; the government did. This government has used the troops for purely political gains. It has shown utter disdain for the soldiers, their families, the diplomatic corps and members of the opposition. No one trusts this government any more.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing and call a public inquiry to shed light on this affair?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is clear: it is the opposition that is accusing our soldiers of committing war crimes. The government is not doing that. This government has always defended the actions of Canadian soldiers. General Natynczyk's comments indicated again today that the forces are acting appropriately in every situation.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the Prime Minister that we defend our soldiers and that we accuse him of creating a cover-up and abandoning the Afghan detainees.

According to the facts presented by the Chief of the Defence Staff, he has known since 2006 that Afghan detainees were tortured, as there is photographic evidence, and that there was a risk that detainees would be tortured if they were handed over to the authorities.

My question is for the Prime Minister, since we have lost all confidence in the Minister of National Defence. Will the Prime Minister admit that Canada did, in fact, violate the Geneva convention and that he should therefore demand the resignation of his defence minister?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, when evidence occurs, when evidence arises, we act.

With respect to this incident, as I said before, when we receive information, we act upon that information. In the case in question, the conduct of the Canadian Forces, which is the matter of this discussion, was beyond reproach. I have said it. I rely on information and advice from senior officials, from the military.

This issue came to my attention this morning after I spoke with General Natynczyk. He immediately went on the record to correct the record. He did the honourable thing. I accept what he has said today as the truth.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister accept his responsibilities, stop intimidating witnesses, stop smearing the opposition and diplomats, put an end to the disinformation, stop calling the opposition the friends of the Taliban and do the honourable thing? He must immediately apologize to this House.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, the Chief of the Defence Staff received this information this morning. He contacted me. The decision was made that he would correct the record, which is exactly what has happened. The general has indicated this information upon being brought to his attention. It was something that he wanted to go public and correct. I rely on his information and advice as I did during my time as minister of foreign affairs. I act on that advice.

Whenever there has been credible information and evidence brought forward, our diplomats, our professional soldiers have acted appropriately.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Chief of the Defence Staff confirmed today that Afghans captured by Canada have been tortured in Afghanistan. We repeat our demand from yesterday, that the Prime Minister must fire the Minister of National Defence immediately. The demand by the majority of members of this House for a public inquiry is now more legitimate than ever. The cover-up must stop. The disinformation must stop. We need the truth.

When will there be a public inquiry?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the facts of this case have been clear for a long time. In 2006, the Canadian Forces suspected the abuse of a Taliban detainee. They took steps to correct the situation in 2006. This is another indication that the Canadian Forces always do the right thing in such cases.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, will they stop already. The Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence cannot spin their way out of this one. The Chief of the Defence Staff just contradicted everything that they have been saying in the House time and time again.

The minister claimed there was no proof of abuse. He was wrong and he should take responsibility and resign and if not, the Prime Minister should demand it today.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the facts on the record today indicate exactly what the Canadian Forces have been saying. Three years ago they knew of a case of abuse. They took corrective action. General Natynczyk corrected the record on some points today, once again showing our forces act with the highest of integrity.

If the opposition thinks otherwise, it can say so. Otherwise, we will stay on course and continue to back our military.

The Environment
Oral Questions

December 9th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is clearly skating on this one.

Let me talk about what our Canadian winter Olympic athletes are saying about climate change. I am going to quote what they are saying, “Many of us—