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House of Commons Hansard #178 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry but the Prime Minister could go and he knows it.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask the hon. member to go to her question, please.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

I would love to, Mr. Speaker. Only after 24 hours of badgering did our chief of defence staff now come forward and say “Well, it was our fault”.

Why is the Prime Minister—

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

We are going to hear the question right now.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, why is the Prime Minister soiling our military's reputation to try to save his own?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that I do not want to blame anybody. I said I wanted to go there and I could not make it. I said je suis désolé. I repeat, I am sorry, and in case that is not enough, it is written.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members not to use props.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we now know that the military could have placed the Prime Minister in Jordan for King Hussein's funeral. Everybody now knows that the Prime Minister is blaming the Canadian forces for his bad judgment. He continues to stubbornly stick with that unbelievable explanation.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will he immediately table the flight logs and other pertinent correspondence between the Prime Minister's Office and the Department of National Defence to back up his story?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, General Baril made a statement and I made a statement. There is nothing to add. We all wanted to make sure that the Prime Minister of Canada would be there. Between the time that it was known that the king was dead and the time that the funeral was to start, there was not enough time for the Prime Minister to be there so the Government of Canada and the people of Canada were represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

There were a lot of other leaders that could not be there. In fact, from the Americas, only the President of the United States could go there.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, one hour ago I witnessed a humiliating scene over at the Department of National Defence, the Prime Minister using the chief of the defence staff as his fall guy for the Prime Minister's own flawed decision.

I do not believe the Canadian forces are to blame here. The Prime Minister has a responsibility to clean the air.

I am asking the Prime Minister again if he will table in the House the logs and the correspondence that existed between his office and the Department of National Defence now?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have clearly explained the situation. There was no flight for the Prime Minister. There was one that took the Minister of Foreign Affairs and some members of parliament to the funeral. They represented Canada very well.

These are the facts. I do not want to blame anybody. I am sorry. I wanted to be there. I said that to my staff and to everybody last week, but I could not make it.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Prime Minister has found a scapegoat. In the case of the GST, it was the Minister of Canadian Heritage. For APEC, it was the RCMP. This time, it is the Canadian Armed Forces.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, in his haste to ridicule the forces and their commander in chief in order to cover up his errors in judgment, he is undermining the credibility of institutions such as the armed forces and, in particular, the office he himself holds?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. I indicated clearly that the decision to go there had been taken last week.

The Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the PMO did everything they could, but it was physically impossible for me to get to Amman. That is why the Minister of Foreign Affairs and members of the House represented me and Canada at King Hussein's funeral.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by saying that he had not anticipated an urgent requirement, did General Baril not reveal that neither the PMO nor the Prime Minister had informed him of the need for possible urgent action, because an early return from Vancouver was possible. I imagine that, if the entire world knew that King Hussein was on the verge of death, so did the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister apparently did not. He did not say there was an urgent requirement. Is this believable? Can this be?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not have to tell the Canadian Armed Forces what to do. They are capable of acting on their own, and it is their responsibility to ensure that I can get places when I wish to do so.

It was indicated clearly last week that the Prime Minister wished to go to Jordan. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence were informed accordingly. A PMO team had already gone on ahead to Amman to prepare the way. Unfortunately—

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of being part of the Canadian delegation to the funeral of King Hussein of Jordan.

According to my calculations, from the time the PMO was notified until the start of the ceremonies, and taking into account the nine hours of flight time between Ottawa and Jordan, there was still nine hours leeway.

How can the Prime Minister explain that, with nine hours to spare, he could not have got from Vancouver to Ottawa, when a flight normally takes about four and one-half hours?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the information provided by the Canadian forces, it was impossible.

I do not know how the hon. member does his calculations, but I know that I needed two hours to get to Vancouver, another five to Ottawa, and then thirteen to get to Amman, plus the seven hours of time change. All together that makes considerably more than the 22 hours there were between the time the King died and the start of the ceremonies.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will explain my calculations.

I was at Repentigny at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday when I was told I had to be in Ottawa for 11 a.m. to get the flight out. That being physically impossible for me also, I asked if the flight could be held until 12.30 p.m. I was told it could. And I am not the Prime Minister.

How can the Prime Minister explain that it did not occur to him to have the flight held for another hour or two to allow him the time to get to Ottawa to join us, since our flight arrived at Amman a good three hours before the start of the ceremonies.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my office was informed that it was impossible to make the necessary arrangements Sunday morning to allow me to get from where I was in British Columbia to Ottawa in time to catch the flight to Amman.

The decision was not mine. This is what was decided by those who were responsible, who acted in good faith. They concluded that it was impossible, and I could not get to Amman. It is as simple as that.

HomelessnessOral Question Period

February 10th, 1999 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we had a very serious situation on Parliament Hill today. The Prime Minister refused to meet with a delegation of Canada's homeless. He preferred a more heavy-handed approach: the homeless need shelter, throw them in jail; the homeless need help, bring on the riot squad.

Why did the Prime Minister refuse to meet with homeless people? Why was the RCMP brought in instead?