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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

The Government of Canada does not make decisions regarding employees of a crown corporation.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, what is really scary is that when it comes to Afghanistan and the war against terrorism, the government cannot even commit 1,000 troops who have trained together. It cannot sustain operations. It cannot even get our troops there because 11 of the 32 Hercules aircraft are not ready to go. The government is obviously not ready for this conflict.

Will the Prime Minister commit today to a new white paper so that he will have the military ready for the next conflict?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, now it is a white paper for next year when the troops perhaps will be leaving in a couple of days.

I just want to tell the hon. member one thing. Whenever the troops were asked to go somewhere, either Africa, the former Yugoslavia, the Golan Heights or elsewhere, they have always been able to get there in planes. None of them were forced to walk from Canada to there.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the troops are always ready and willing to go. That is the way they are.

The government has been caught flatfooted. It is totally unprepared for this. Since it has been in power, it has allowed the military to become a shadow of its once proud self. It will take a real commitment to our military to get it back on track. Our men and women serving in the forces deserve better than what this government has given to them.

When will the Prime Minister begin the process to develop a new white paper so that our troops will get better?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister of defence is doing an excellent job in handling the files of the Department of National Defence. In the last eight years the United Nations, NATO and so on have asked Canada to participate in every mission and we have been there.

A few weeks ago, when the secretary general of NATO was in Ottawa, he complimented me for the effective work the Canadian troops had done in that area, especially in Macedonia when they were asked to go at the last minute to help disarm citizens.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, history is not an exact science and historians admit that it is open to various interpretations.

But now, journalist Normand Lester has just been suspended by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for publishing Le Livre noir du Canada anglais , a book which contradicts the view of Canada's history propagated at a cost of millions by this same crown corporation.

Since the CBC should really be encouraging diversity of opinion, does the Prime Minister think it is right for a journalist to be suspended for having criticized, off the air, the version of Canada's history that his government wants to impose as the official one?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage answered clearly earlier.

These decisions, which were taken by Radio-Canada management, have nothing to do with the government. We were not consulted. It is an internal disciplinary decision, which will be analysed.

It has grievance procedures and so forth, and there will eventually be a decision. The government is not responsible for this situation.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the House will recall, however, that when, in the wake of September 11, the Canadian Museum of Civilization considered postponing an exhibit of Arab art, the Prime Minister made his views very clearly known. The message was heard and the museum reversed its decision.

Without telling Radio-Canada how to run its affairs, will the Prime Minister stand in his place and denounce the suspension of Normand Lester for what it is: censorship?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the member is not asking us to interfere in matters having to do with hiring practices in a crown corporation.

It is quite the opposite because, if a government were to interfere in this, it would have to step down.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who is responsible for reporting to the House of Commons on the conduct of crown corporations under her authority.

In 1998, Don Cherry insulted Quebecers on the CBC. Nothing came of it, because apparently the opinion he expressed was his own.

Why does Radio-Canada all of a sudden feel the need to suspend Normand Lester, who offers a different view of Canadian history? The minister is accountable? Then let her provide an accounting here.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada was not involved in either case, as should be the case.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, acting like a hypocrite and washing her hands of the matter is no way for the minister to assume her responsibilities.

Robert Guy Scully offers his interpretation of Canadian history, and the government approves it and provides financial support. Normand Lester offers his, and he is reprimanded and suspended.

Why is history all of a sudden so distressing to Radio-Canada when it provides another perspective?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the member has said we provided funding to Robert Guy Scully. The government also provided funding for Normand Lester's book.

National DefenceOral Question Period

November 20th, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Anxiety is mounting over the possibility that the war in Afghanistan will spread to other countries. The U.S. has many countries on its hit list, with no known evidence that they are linked to the September 11 attacks.

Today the Minister of National Defence is in Washington, so I would like to ask the Prime Minister: Will the defence minister express forcefully today in Washington Canada's opposition to the war being extended beyond Afghanistan?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our position has always been that if there is no clear evidence the war should not be expanded elsewhere. We made that view known very early in the process. Remember that right after September 11, some people in Washington were urging that troops be moved into Iraq. I said publicly then, and I say it today, that it was not advisable to do that. The terrorists were protected in Afghanistan. Troops had to go there to try to get the terrorists. The Taliban refused to return them, so they had to face the consequences.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, nevertheless, the American rhetoric toward several other countries is escalating and people are deeply worried. The British government has already signalled clearly its opposition to expansion of the war outside of Afghanistan.

When will Canada do the same in unequivocal terms? Will Canada tell the U.S. president that solid evidence before the United Nations, not escalating rhetoric through the media, would be needed before Canada would even consider any possibility of military engagement in some other country?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP should have listened to me. I just said a few seconds ago that we said that it should not be expanded. Of course her supplementary question was ready, but she had already received the answer.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. Yesterday the Minister of National Defence acknowledged that the Sea Kings, which Canada sent to Afghanistan, cannot protect themselves against enemy missiles or radar or laser tracking. He said that was okay because “they are not going directly into battle”.

Osama bin Laden blew up the USS Cole . He flew murderous planes into the Pentagon and the twin towers. Those targets were not directly in battle. What kind of dream world is the Prime Minister living in that he sends into a battle zone against terrorists Sea Kings that are more poorly equipped now than they were 10 years ago?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the helicopters are equipped with the instruments needed for the tasks with which they are confronted. The leader of the fifth party in the corner is trying to scare people, while brave soldiers are getting on these helicopters. They know they are in a dangerous position. They need the support of the opposition, not scaring the families like the leader of Conservative Party is doing at this time.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is not a national secret that the Sea King helicopters should have been replaced some time ago. Everyone in the House of Commons knows that, as well as that they require preventive maintenance and major overhauls to keep them flying.

On September 21, 1998, the minister of defence told the House that the upgrades to the Sea King communications systems were “under way”. Could the Prime Minister now confirm that the upgrades have now been completed and is he prepared to say that reports published by Jane's Defence Weekly , the international military journal, to the contrary are absolutely false?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let me make it very plain that the Sea Kings we have employed in Operation Apollo are appropriately equipped to defend themselves against any probable threats in the current situation.

Anti-Terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are surprised to learn that those convicted of acts of mass murder under the anti-terrorist legislation are eligible for parole in 25 years. Why does the government have so little regard for human life that mass murderers are free to kill as often as they choose without being denied parole eligibility? Why are mass murderers eligible for a discount on justice?

Anti-Terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my hon. colleague is not indicating to the public that these individuals would be released into society. The fact of the matter is they are eligible for parole. If they have a life sentence, life is life.

Anti-Terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the question is why that is true. Bill C-36 also fails to criminalize membership in proven terrorist organizations. Even though a court has in fact found that an organization's goal is to promote terrorism, there is no prohibition against joining that organization.

Could the minister explain why Canadians should tolerate membership in organizations whose only purpose is to destroy freedom and democracy in our country?

Anti-Terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, what is important here is the conduct. What is important are the actions carried out by these individuals. That is why we have taken the approach of defining that conduct as facilitation, participation, a wide range of different kinds of conduct that strike at the very heart of that which we want to get at, which is terrorist activity. It is conduct that we must make sure is dealt with and is an offence and is criminalized.