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House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was national.

Topics

Minister of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the rules of engagement for the JTF2 were signed off on before they went into the theatre of operations in Afghanistan by the CDS, who consulted with me on them. By and large, they are mostly the same typical rules of engagement that we would use, but they are adapted to the specific situation.

The rules of engagement to which he have referred has to do with the PPCLI battle group that now has its rules of engagement as it is entering Afghanistan.

Minister of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, we got an answer on that. The minister said that he signed off on the rules of engagement. The minister has also said that the Prime Minister has to sign off on any mission that the JTF2 goes on overseas.

When the Prime Minister signs off on those missions, does he also sign off on the rules of engagement?

Minister of National DefenceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister fully understands on what basis our troops are going over there. That kind of authority is sought. I consult with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister any time a mission is contemplated and on the rules and the basis on which the mission will be conducted.

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of the world social forum in Pôrto Alegre, representatives of the civil society adopted a proposal that seeks to create an international instrument to protect and promote cultural diversity.

Could the Minister for International Trade tell us whether he intends to support the idea of creating this instrument to protect cultural diversity?

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as we know, when it comes to cultural diversity, this government has always worked very closely with the Quebec government and with governments which, on the international scene, share our commitment to support cultural diversity.

We worked very closely with the French government. I am pleased by the progress achieved through this concept of cultural diversity in countries other than ours and France. It is very important to get the support of Central and Latin American countries.

It is extremely important, because this is a fundamental issue in this era of globalization, and we must be able to preserve and promote our individual cultures.

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, still in the context of that forum, the Quebec government put forward an amendment “to exclude culture from the principles of liberalization and merchandising”.

Could the minister make clear whether he is prepared to pledge in this House that culture be excluded from WTO negotiations, so that it never becomes a merchandise?

Cultural DiversityOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member probably knows, in 1999 the cultural SAGIT recommended to the Minister for International Trade that we take culture outside of the general trade instruments. As a result of that, our Minister of Canadian Heritage started the International Network for Cultural Policy. At that time there were 18 countries. Now that number is 45 countries.

They decided at their last meeting in Switzerland that we would be part of the working group drafting that agreement which will be ready when the countries meet again in September.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

February 5th, 2002 / 2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am moved that my Liberal friends missed me but do not despair, I promise them I will be coming back.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Obviously the member is very popular but we do have to get on with question period.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

I know their memberships are in the mail, Mr. Speaker.

On Sunday Condoleezza Rice said that Chairman Arafat needed to deal with the terrorist in his midst. She went on to say that he knew that the Karine-A affair, which was the shipment of arms purchased from Iran and shipped through Hezbollah, was a violation of the Oslo accords. Yet Canada, through CIDA, is one of the largest sponsors of the Palestinian authority and even gave $250,000 to the Palestinian coast guard.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs commit today that no more Canadian taxpayer dollars will go to fund the Palestinian authority until Chairman Arafat clearly takes action and not words against terrorism?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can commit to the House on behalf of the Government of Canada to maintain our policy to ensure that all acts we take in the Middle East are those which ensure a movement toward peace and establishing peace in that very troubled region.

The helping of Palestinians and the helping of those who are in trouble is part of what Canada is about. We will continue our policies to ensure that we stop terrorism, but at the same time enable people to get on with their lives.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, we would like to see a policy of funding the Canadian coast guard instead of the Palestinian coast guard. Not only is Canada funding Yasser Arafat, we are also playing footsie with Hamas and Hezbollah.

Others recognize Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations. Yet amazingly the foreign affairs spokesperson said that these organizations perform many legitimate functions and enjoy widespread popular support. They are not too popular among the people whose family members have been destroyed by these organizations.

Does the minister believe--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member has been campaigning in the Gaspé and he may have missed a few things. Many weeks ago Hamas and Hezbollah were listed as terrorist organizations by the Government of Canadian.

I would also like to point out to him that Canadian overseas assistance does not go to the Palestinian authority, not a dime of it. We do support programs that assist Palestinians, but not the Palestinian authority.

These are important distinctions. The hon. member should know better than to suggest--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa--Vanier.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, francophone communities in Canada have recently won major legal victories with respect to education in Prince Edward Island, municipal affairs in New Brunswick, and health, here in Ottawa, with the Montfort decision.

Can the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs please tell us where the Government of Canada stands with respect to these decisions, particularly the decision regarding the Montfort hospital, which is in the heart of the riding that I have the honour of representing in the House?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier has mentioned a series of impressive legal victories for official language communities, particularly the Montfort case in his riding, a case he worked hard on himself.

We must express our delight and congratulate all of those who worked for this victory, particularly Ms. Lalonde, not only on behalf of the Montfort hospital and Franco-Ontarians, but for all official language communities.

The Government of Canada, which was an intervenor in this case, will not hesitate to serve in this role again, each time it is necessary in order to enable Canada's linguistic duality to flourish.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. His colleague, the Minister of National Defence, has suggested that the Geneva conventions were outdated, but the legal director of the International Committee of the Red Cross has said that we have had new types of conflicts as well as classic wars, but the fundamental rules are the same.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs knows that one of those fundamental rules is article 12 of the Geneva convention which states that we cannot turn over prisoners of war unless we are satisfied that they are being treated under the provisions of the Geneva convention.

In view of the Deputy Prime Minister's statement that there is doubt about that now, will he assure Canadians that no prisoners will be turned over until that doubt has been fully resolved?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this matter has been discussed in the House at length. The policy of the government is clear, which is, we respect international law. It was correct for us to turn prisoners over to the United States and it will be as long as we have its engagement that it is respecting the terms of the Geneva convention, which engagement it has given us.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister just said a few minutes ago that we do not have that engagement. In his words, there is doubt that a process is in place. As long as that doubt is in place, how can we say we are respecting the Geneva conventions and article 12?

Why is the government showing such contempt for Canadian law and international law?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I will try to be clear on this. We are seeking clarification of some statements that have been made by U.S. authorities. I have also cited the most recent one in which Secretary Rumsfeld confirms that the Geneva convention is being applied. Nevertheless, we would like full clarification in view of some things that have been said.

Let me be perfectly clear. Canadian soldiers are doing their job in accordance with their instructions, including turning prisoners over to U.S. authorities. If necessary, they will continue to do so until we conclude that the U.S. is not respecting the Geneva convention.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier today in question period the Minister of National Defence said that we have assurances from the U.S. that the U.S. will respect the Geneva convention. Then he went on to say that the U.S. considers these prisoners not prisoners of war but simply terrorists. In other words, the Geneva convention does not apply because the U.S. has already determined that it does not apply.

The question is, is this acceptable to the Canadian government? Does the Geneva convention apply only when it is convenient for someone or does it apply to everybody?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member does not understand the Geneva conventions and the law of armed conflict or he would understand that in fact there are provisions both for prisoners of war and for unlawful combatants within their provisions.

What the United States is saying is that it is not interested in prisoners of war. It is only interested in the terrorists who are unlawful combatants and that is the basis on which it is detaining people.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

It is kind of important, Mr. Speaker, to determine how that determination is made.

Yesterday when asked what assurance he could give the House that the tribunals would be in place to determine the status of prisoners taken in Afghanistan, the Minister of National Defence said “we have had the assurances of the United States government”. Yet later in the day the Deputy Prime Minister stated “Some comments out of Washington have suggested that there's no need for” tribunals and “We don't agree with that, and that's what we're trying to work around”.

I ask the defence minister, which is it? Are there tribunals in place, as he assured the House yesterday, or do we have a concern for the process, as the Deputy Prime Minister said?