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

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, they clearly do not want to—

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth has the floor. We will have a little order, please.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the fact is the pressure is increasing on the government to take action on climate change. It is global. Here is what our own athletes in the winter Olympics have to say:

Many of us are already seeing the impact of climate change on our beloved winter sports...We can't sit on the sidelines when solutions exist.

Does the government even realize that our winter sports are at risk because of climate change?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that was not the smoothest transition the leader of the NDP has ever done between subjects, but it is a serious question.

Canada has a large delegation at the Copenhagen conference and that delegation is working very hard to reach a good and all inclusive international agreement that would make progress on this very serious matter in the years to come. We remain optimistic that if all parties remain committed to working for an agreement, we can do something that will be good for the planet.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

December 9th, 2009 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, every time a courageous official stands up and reveals a truth, the government goes on the attack. A growing list of former ambassadors are outraged at the smears the government has launched against respected public servant Richard Colvin. That list may hit 50 diplomats by day's end. Today, the Chief of the Defence Staff himself corroborated Mr. Colvin's testimony.

Enough is enough. When is this charade going to end? When will we get a shred of truth from that dishonourable government?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 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 a number of times in the House, when we have received credible information, we have acted upon the advice of senior military officials and senior members of the public service. We have not discredited anyone. We have disputed evidence that was presented at a parliamentary committee. It has not been personal. It has been very much about the facts as presented at a parliamentary committee.

It is time to look at this thing in a dispassionate way. If the member wants to be political and partisan, she has the right to do so in this place. However, we will be at the parliamentary committee this afternoon. I will be glad to answer questions there in a factual way.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, ask Mr. Colvin who is being political. Our public servants do not just deserve the respect of their political masters. They need it to do their jobs effectively. If they do not have that respect and trust, they cannot serve Canadians to the best of their abilities.

Why do the Conservatives not follow the honourable example of General Natynczyk and tell Canadians the truth?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again, I rely on the professional advice of individuals like General Natynczyk and David Mulroney, who on this matter said:

I didn't agree with his assertion that everybody who went into the NDS was tortured, that the detainees were all farmers or probably all innocent. This is where I think he went from an observation to speculation.

A similar former diplomat, Paul Chapin, said, “I think that what set me back is how serious the allegations are and how flimsy the evidence is”.

These are senior, professional, dispassionate members of the public service who have commented on the same matter on which I commented. I have not smeared anyone's personal integrity.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, with the Chief of the Defence Staff's revelations this morning, the Conservative story on detainees has now been totally discredited. Every time the Conservatives come up with a new story, the truth comes out and they are forced to create a new falsehood to cover up the untruth of their last falsehood.

Story after story from the government is untrue. Answer after answer is total fiction. Why does the minister not finally come clean, stand up in the House and tell Canadians the truth?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, saying it louder with more feigned indignation does not make his question true. What happened here is obvious. The Chief of the Defence Staff received information this morning that reflected on his previous testimony he gave yesterday and a statement that he gave over two years ago. He then brought it to my attention.

The decision was made to issue a clarification. He has done that. We accept that. I would hope the House would accept that. That was the honourable thing. The soldiers have done the honourable thing. They acted responsibly in this instance as they have on any occasion where credible allegations or evidence have come forward.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, with the chief of the defence staff's revelations this morning, the Conservatives' story does not hold up. Every time the Conservatives try to cover up the story about torture in Afghanistan, the truth comes out and they are forced to create a new falsehood to cover up their last falsehood.

When will the minister stop fabricating stories on the fly, stand up in this House and tell Canadians the truth?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:40 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 a number of times, we act on information that we receive from senior members of the public service and senior military members. In this case, we have heard from a number of them who have testified before the committee.

We heard from those who were in charge of the mission and those who were on the ground, people like General Hillier, General Gauthier and General Fraser. We have heard from David Mulroney, a senior experienced member of the public service. All of them have given their testimony. The hon. member and members who have been in cabinet previously would know that all of them provide the information up through the chain of command and up through the public service. We act upon that information and evidence.

That is what has happened in this case. There has been a clarification. We accept that clarification.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has waged a smear campaign against diplomat Richard Colvin, who sounded the alarm about Afghan detainees. The government's attitude has been unworthy, or rather it has been worthy of McCarthy, the American senator who systematically lied and defamed his adversaries.

Will the government at least have the decency to apologize to Richard Colvin?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, more inflammatory and partisan rhetoric is not going to add anything to the examination of facts.

The fact is that we have questioned the credibility of evidence or testimony that was given on this matter. It has not been personal. It has been dispassionate. It has been about the facts.

We have heard from a number of witnesses, all of whom Mr. Colvin would have had access to, would have been in contact with. Those individuals have been consistent. They have been clear.

We acted on their information. We will continue to do so. That is the way it works. We are acting on credible information. We do the right thing.