House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

Question No. 918
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

With regard to Recreational Infrastructure Canada projects in Quebec: (a) in which federal riding is each project located; (b) what is the description of each project; (c) what is the expected cost of each project; and (d) what is the expected completion date of each project?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 919
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to programs and grants provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the settlement of new immigrants: (a) what are the names of the organizations to which the government has provided funding in the years 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2011-2012; (b) what were the program guidelines in each of the years identified in (a); (c) how much funding did each organization receive in each of the years identified in (a); (d) where are the agencies that received funding located; (e) how much of the budgeted funds was not spent and, in the case of 2011-2012, what is the amount that has not been committed; (f) what was done with the unspent funds; (g) how many people did each of these agencies serve in each of the years identified in (a); and (h) what were the performance targets in each of the years identified in (a), identifying the agencies that met and failed to meet those targets?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 920
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Employee Innovation Program: (a) how many submissions have been received since the launch of the program; (b) what recommendations were made; (c) in which departments were the submissions made; (d) what is the status of these submissions; (e) how many of these submissions have been acted on by the government and, in each case, how has it been acted on; (f) how much money has the government saved because of this program; (g) have any of the adopted initiatives put forward through the program cost the government more money than the costs that would have been incurred had the changes suggested by the initiative not been adopted and, if so, what were those initiatives and their costs; (h) how many different employees have made submissions; (i) how many employees currently work on this program and what are their titles, roles and responsibilities; (j) what is the cost of this program for each of the budget years for which it has been announced; (k) how much did the program cost to set up; (l) does the government plan to extend the program; (m) who will review the program; and (n) what is the evaluation process for the program?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 921
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

With regard to the Public Appointments Commission: (a) what has been its annual budget for each year from 2006-2007 onwards; (b) how much of this money has actually been spent; (c) what has happened to the remaining funds; (d) how many employees work directly for the Commission; (e) how many employees work on the file in the Privy Council Office; (f) what is the breakdown in expenses for each of the years since its creation, including, but not limited to, staff, office space, travel, contracts, hospitality, etc.; (g) how many Commissioners does the Commission currently have; (h) who are these Commissioners; (i) how much are the Commissioners paid; (j) what is the breakdown for the Commissioner’s office budgets, travel expenses (transportation, hotels, per diems) and hospitality expenses for each year since the Commission’s creation; (k) what is the mandate of the Commission; (l) who does the Commission report to; (m) when was the last review of the Commission; (n) what are the roles, responsibilities and titles for each of the Commission’s employees; (o) what are the names of companies that the Commission has entered into contracts with since 2006; (p) what were these contracts for; (q) how much are these contracts for; (r) were any of these contracts tendered and, if not, were they sole-sourced; (s) how much has the Commission spent for telecommunications devices since 2006; (t) how much has the Commission spent for long distance calls since 2006; (u) what are the deliverables for the Commission; and (v) is there an evaluation process for the commission and, if so, what are the results of that process for each year since the Commission has been in operation?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(House in committee of the whole on Government Business No. 12, Mr. Andrew Scheer in the chair)

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

moved:

That this Committee take note of the March 17, 2011, United Nations Security Council resolution approving immediate action to protect the civilian population in Libya and Canada’s contribution to international efforts to enforce that resolution.

Mr. Chair, thank you for spelling out the parameters of the debate, and colleagues, let me begin by stating how grateful I am that the members of this House have made it a priority to consider the important matter of Canada's ongoing military contributions to helping the people of Libya.

The government has been actively monitoring this situation since it erupted last month when, as part of a popular uprising, a wave that has spread across the Middle East and to North Africa, the Libyan people began their protest against Colonel Gadhafi's brutal regime.

At that time it was certainly our hope, along with others, that following the examples of Tunisia and Egypt, Colonel Gadhafi would submit to the will of the Libyan people and that positive change would be brought about peacefully and without foreign intervention.

It was hoped that he would heed the clear signals that came from the people of Libya, of their desire for change and to simply step aside. Unfortunately, as we are all now painfully aware, that did not happen. Colonel Gadhafi chose instead to ignore the legitimate demands of the Libyan population and to wage war on his own citizens.

Using the armed forces that are under his control, tribal militias loyal to him and even foreign mercenaries, Colonel Gadhafi has launched ground attacks and air attacks against rebel forces and defenceless civilians alike.

In response, Canada initially joined the international community in expressing its outrage, condemning these actions and calling for their immediate end, and I commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs for his leadership in that regard.

On February 26, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970 in an attempt to halt Gadhafi's actions without resorting to armed intervention or threat of force. These resolutions froze the assets of Colonel Gadhafi, his family and top associates. It also imposed a travel ban on Mr. Gadhafi himself, an embargo on a shipment of arms to Libya and called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the possible commission of crimes against humanity by Libyan leaders.

The day after this resolution was passed, the Canadian government followed suit and in fact went further. We acted under the Special Economic Measures Act to institute a freeze on Libyan government assets in Canada and a ban on financial transactions with the Libyan government or any of its associate institutions or agencies.

Unfortunately, just as he had ignored the pleas of the Libyan people, Colonel Gadhafi boldly rejected the demands of the international community and pressed on with his bloody campaign. As the violence escalated and the situation grew increasingly unstable, this government sought to secure the safe evacuation of Canadian citizens from Libya. To do so, it called on the capabilities of the Canadian Forces, who responded quickly and professionally, launching Operation MOBILE in support of whole-of-government efforts led by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In all, two C-17 Globemasters, two C-130J Hercules tactical transport aircraft and approximately 80 total Canadian Forces personnel deployed to Malta. Operation MOBILE saw the safe evacuation of 191 people from Libya, including both Canadians and citizens of other nations.

I visited Malta last week myself to personally thank the Maltese prime minister, the Maltese government, and citizens for their co-operation and assistance in this exercise, which without their assistance would simply not have been possible.

As it turns out, these evacuation efforts were only the beginning of the Canadian Forces response to the Libyan crisis. As the violence between Colonel Gadhafi's forces and the Libyan opposition continued to escalate, resulting in the senseless deaths of many Libyans and the needless suffering of many others, the international community then began to debate the possibility of some form of humanitarian intervention.

At the same time this government took steps to ensure that it was in a position to make a meaningful contribution to any UN sanctioned action and to forward deploy for any eventuality. To that end, on March 1 the Prime Minister announced the deployment of HMCS Charlottetown, and only a day after Commander Craig Skjerpen had her on her way from Halifax to the Mediterranean, taking with her a crew of 240 officers and sailors, as well as a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and an air detachment.

Charlottetown has since reached the Mediterranean, where she has joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, and working alongside with her NATO counterparts, Charlottetown is conducting surveillance, presence patrols, and stands ready to assist the international effort as required, including, if necessary, further enforcement of sanctions.

As we are all well aware, since Charlottetown's deployment, the UN Security Council has passed resolution 1973, authorizing all necessary action short of occupying Libyan territory to protect citizens in civilian populated areas.

Canada is an active member of NATO and supporter of the United Nations, and has responded quickly.

On Friday, March 18, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft—along with the necessary supporting personnel—to the Mediterranean region. Within mere hours of the announcement, fighter jets from 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron—or the Alouettes as they are known—were on their way, led by Colonel Alain Pelletier and supported by approximately 140 air force personnel from Canadian Forces bases Bagotville and Trenton.

These jets have since arrived in Trapani, Italy, and will very shortly be ready to join our allies and partners in the conduct of the operation—now dubbed ODYSSEY DAWN—to enforce resolution 1973. Between the presence of HMCS Charlottetown and the deployment of the CF-18s, Canada is in a strong position to play an active role in protecting the lives of Libyan civilians and enforcing both the no fly zone and the arms embargo mandated by the Security Council.

This is a sizeable operation, but certainly not one without precedence. The House will recall that Canadian CF-18 pilots enforced a similar no-fly zone during the Kosovo air campaign of 1999. In that mission, as part of NATO's Operation Allied Force, Canadian aircrews flew 678 sorties and logged over 2,600 flying hours from March to June of that year. They carried out a full 10% of NATO's strike missions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during that campaign.

It is safe to say the Canadian Forces are experiencing a similar challenge, but bring to task the experience having conducted this type of operation in the past, one similar to that which they are about to join. In fact, they already have very much established the reputation for conducting these types of operations extremely well.

Canada is not a country that seeks out violent confrontation. In fact, we have never invaded or attacked another nation in anger or without provocation. Canadians certainly do not like to see their sons and daughters put in harm's way. However, this government, along with the international community, cannot stand idly by, even now.

With nearly the entire world turning on him, Gadhafi continues to boast of his intent to continue his brutal campaign and his regime is simply not through, labelling any opponents as traitors and directing his forces to bomb and shell civilian population centres without mercy.

In this situation, we are compelled to intervene, both in a moral duty and by duty of NATO and the United Nations, which, as members would know, are two institutions that we helped found. In this situation, deploying the Canadian Forces is the right thing to do and I expect that Canadians and members of the House clearly recognize that fact.

Canada is very fortunate to be in a position to be able to respond. We are fortunate to have a well-equipped navy that can assemble the necessary crews, such as the Charlottetown, and set sail the day after it is called. We are fortunate to have an air force with capabilities at CFB Bagotville, Trenton, Cold Lake and others, and an air force that takes mere hours to deploy six highly-sophisticated fighter aircraft and the necessary support to depart for a theatre of operations nearly 7,000 kilometres away.

However, we are certainly fortunate, first and foremost, to have the dedicated professional men and women in uniform who are prepared to step forward and to step up, inspiring all Canadians. These individuals receive official notice of their deployment in many cases just hours before departure. It is their culture and their sense of duty.

This is why, working with all members, we hope to have a very inclusive and informed debate here. I want to thank our men and women in uniform, of course, and wish them a safe return. No one wants to see our personnel in harm's way any longer than necessary. Therefore, as this operation continues in the future, we will do our best to support them in every way possible.

We ask all parties of the House to support the Canadian Forces in this mission and join us in pursuing all measures necessary to ensure a quick resolution of the current crisis.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to say that we support the troops. Canada had a duty to participate in this mission. However, I do have some questions for my hon. colleague, the Minister of National Defence.

Obviously, Canadians are watching us and are thinking of the people of Libya who are suffering greatly right now.

We have seen human shields being used. Canada has carried out its first operation but there were no ground attacks. There were ground attacks by other countries. For example, France made 55 ground attacks.

What is Canada's position on human shields? When we adopted the resolution, Benghazi was already under siege. Must we carry out a military operation when the primary rebel stronghold is under siege? Will air attacks be enough? Does the government plan on sending in ground troops?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I should first indicate that, like all members here, we condemn any use of human shields and any other actions which are tantamount to war crimes that abuse and put at risk civilians in Libya or any other theatre of operation. It is fair to say that Mr. Gadhafi and his regime are on full warning as to the accountability and measures that will be taken to hold him personally accountable for any such actions.

With respect to the operations themselves, as the member would know having previously served in government, any and all measures will be taken to protect civilians on the ground. That was the case, certainly, during the Kosovo campaign. Suffice it to say that since 1999 there have been advances in technology that allow for greater fidelity, that is to say a greater understanding of the situation and the strategic targeting.

We, of course, will be working closely with our allies to share information and to see that this mission is carried out with the least possible impact to innocent civilians while at the same time enforcing that no-fly zone.