This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was states.

Topics

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated, we are speaking at this time of situations that are more or less hypothetical. Obviously, the necessary analyses are in the process of being done at National Defence. Once the situation with regard to our involvement in the broadest possible intervention is known—and this is still hypothetical—the necessary information will be given to the Canadian public and to the House.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, a diplomatic solution in Kosovo depends on the United Nations. The Minister of Foreign Affairs understands that. He must also understand that the same is true for consideration of the German plan and the uniting for peace resolution.

Since the success of the German plan is not guaranteed, what is Canada waiting for to present such a resolution to the security council?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, it is very important to continue with the negotiating process between all players in the Kosovo crisis, particularly the UN secretary general, the Russians and NATO members.

As I told the NDP members of the national defence committee at the last meeting, it is very important to look at all options. But, right now, the best option is to pursue the German proposals and to continue to encourage the interest of all players in the plan. This is a national priority.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we should not wait on the sidelines. We should not just be examining all options, we should be advancing all options. Canada should be working now to build support at the United Nations for UN sponsored solutions to the Kosovo crisis. While co-operating fully with other promising initiatives, why not advance the uniting for peace initiative? Why not ensure that every diplomatic avenue is being aggressively pursued?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the meetings held this morning between the Prime Minister and the Premier of China, the Prime Minister made a very specific point of raising the Kosovo issue and engaging the Chinese, who are important members of the security council, to gain their support for a resolution. The agreement was that we would work together to see how we could co-operate.

While we differ on the nature of the crisis and the response to it, I can report to the House that the Prime Minister's discussions with his counterpart from China were quite constructive. He has asked the two foreign ministers to maintain the dialogue on how we can work together in a co-operative fashion.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning, in testimony before the American senate committee, Hugh Shelton, chief of defence staff of the U.S. army, said that he had informed the American president that air strikes would achieve military goals and reduce Milosevic's military strength.

He also informed the American president that he doubted that air strikes would achieve the political objectives, which include, of course, the return and the safety of the Kosovars, in other words, humanitarian objectives.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree with these statements or not, and might it be that NATO is achieving its military objectives but failing to achieve its political and humanitarian objectives?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I must confess I do not know which official he is talking about. If it is an elected official from the congress, they can say just about anything.

The fact of the matter is that in recent discussions we have had with officials at the U.S. administration, they are very committed to the maintenance of the air campaign. They are very committed, as is well known, coming out of the NATO ministers meeting just last week, to ensuring that we have a consistent coherent policy in NATO that supports the campaign, but at the same time undertakes a dialogue and negotiations that are being followed at the present time.

That is the position of all NATO governments.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the minister's information, Mr. Shelton is General Baril's U.S. counterpart. He does carry some weight.

This American General Baril even spoke of inconsistencies between military and political objectives. In other words, whether there are 400, 700, or even 1,100 planes, as expected, or 6, 12, 18 and now about 20 for Canada, events seem to back Mr. Shelton up: the air strikes appear to be reducing Milosevic's capacity, period.

Can the minister confirm that the success of these political and humanitarian objectives therefore depends on sending in ground troops?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it makes sense to assume that whatever is said before a committee of the U.S. congress or by somebody in the United States to the press involves the decision making process in Canada. We make our own decisions based on our own assessment of the situation.

Certainly if requests are made for additional planes, they will be considered, but at this stage there are no decisions to commit additional planes.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, an internal e-mail from RCMP superintendent Terry Smith states: “We are bankrupt. We cannot afford to provide the service expected of us. The tools to accomplish the job are being taken away. This is only the tip of the iceberg”.

RCMP officers are unable to conduct investigations into organized crime, or even to fix their cars due to lack of funding. Why has the solicitor general gutted the RCMP to the point of bankruptcy?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP have a $1.2 billion budget. In the last budget the RCMP received a $37 million increase.

My hon. colleague is well aware a resource review is taking place with my department, the RCMP and Treasury Board, to make sure that the dollars are spent properly and that we are able to address organized crime in an efficient way.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the department's resource review is under way, the RCMP are telling us they do not have the resources to even investigate organized crime.

We have been after the solicitor general for six months to permanently fix the problem. Instead, his government continues to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on a gun registry that any beat cop is going to tell him does not work, and is spending billions of dollars on millennium parties and statues.

Will the solicitor general use what little influence he has in cabinet to increase the RCMP funding to a level that allows them to do their work?

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, we are addressing the problem.

We do have a resource review. My hon. colleague is well aware too that a very few months ago we did find $10 million to address a problem in E division. We did enact DNA legislation. We did put 13 proceeds of crime units in place. The proceeds of crime units are in place in fact to take the proceeds out of crime.

That is what the government is doing to give our police forces the tools to do their job.

KosovoOral Question Period

April 16th, 1999 / 11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, once peace accords have been signed for Kosovo, Canada will have a moral obligation to take part in the peacekeeping process, in humanitarian aid operations and in the rebuilding of a devastated Kosovo.

Could the Prime Minister guarantee that, when the time will come to rebuild Kosovo, the government will have earmarked the necessary funds and budgets to fulfil the commitments that it will have to make to contribute to this reconstruction process?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at this point, the Canadian government has allocated $15 million to provide assistance in Kosovo, and we are currently engaged in discussions over a plan of action for the Balkan region. This plan will include a number of initiatives relating to the reconstruction process, governance and assistance to support democracy.

Canada will actively participate in these talks, and once the Minister for International Cooperation has examined all the costs involved, there will certainly be a report to parliament.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that European Union members have already pledged to sign a solidarity pact for the Balkans which will include trade agreements and economic assistance totalling at least 250 million Euros to promote political stability in the countries of the region, can the Prime Minister tell us if Canadian assistance to rebuild Kosovo will be provided separately, or if Canada as a member of the OSCE intends to become a party to the larger pact proposed by the European Union?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we certainly endorse fully the proposal that to ultimately gain stability in the region we have to deal with the region as a whole.

The tragedy in Kosovo is a tragedy that has been experienced in many other parts of the region and by all peoples of that region. The time has come for us to try to address it in a comprehensive way. We fully endorse the notion of developing a broad based approach to the Balkans in economic development terms, governance terms and the support of democracy and civil society. I can assure the hon. member that Canada will participate.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's lax immigration policies are making news in Washington. It is so bad that a congress committee cited this Liberal government's immigration policies as a major threat to their national security.

Is the immigration minister proud of the fact that under her tenure Canada is known as a launching pad for terrorism and drug trafficking? Is she proud of that fact?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Reform Party member did not read the representations made by all the witnesses who testified before the U.S. Senate committee. The majority of these witnesses stressed the sustained co-operative efforts of both countries to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

This is why, here in Canada, there is very good co-ordination between the immigration department and my colleague, the solicitor general, who is responsible for the RCMP and for CSIS, and also our American partners.

There is no point in alarming the public. On the contrary, we are co-operating with—

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Dewdney—Alouette.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister would do more than actually read reports and take action in here, we might see this broken immigration system fixed. The minister has had four years to clean up her act and all we see is window dressing. When is the minister going to wake up, stop talking and implement concrete measures to fix the broken system which has become known as an easy mark to drug traffickers and terrorists?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, this is a vision of members of the Reform Party. When they speak about immigration policy or refugee policy, their first reaction is to speak about criminals instead of trying to help people, instead of trying to attract more immigrants to this country, instead of trying to protect more genuine refugees. This is the Reform Party's vision but it is not the vision of the Liberal government.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the week's events in Kosovo have been tragic ones: rapes, burned villages, tens of thousands of refugees forced to flee.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is refusing to hold a vote on a peace plan, refusing to hold a vote on sending troops, and releasing information in dribs and drabs.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. With this heavy-handed attitude, is the government not running the risk of stirring up dissension among the various political entities in Canada, instead of doing its best to avoid them, as is its duty?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to recent polls, the majority of the public are behind the government's policy. We had a very important debate in this House a few days ago.

The hon. member is referring to matters that are merely hypothetical. If the situation changes, it is very possible that the government will again consider the matter of a vote.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that the government's offhand attitude to Canadian parliamentarians is harmful to the consensus that is required between all Quebecers and all Canadians on our involvement in this conflict?