House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

Presence in GalleryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

New MembersRoutine Proceedings

January 27th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer certificates of the election and return of Roger Gaudet, member for the electoral district of Berthier—Montcalm and Sébastien Gagnon, member for the electoral district of Lac-St-Jean--Saguenay.

Roger Gaudet, member for the electoral district of Berthier—Montcalm, introduced by the Mr. Gilles Duceppe and Mr. Paul Crête.

Sébastien Gagnon, member for the electoral district of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, introduced by Mr. Gilles Duceppe and Ms. Jocelyne Girard-Bujold.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last month the Prime Minister stated:

If the United Nations says there shouldn't be a war, we in Canada never went to war without the authorization of the United Nations.

This past weekend he said:

If the Americans or the Brits have great evidence that Saddam Hussein--who is no friend of mine--is not following the instruction of the United Nations... of course Canada will support an activity in there.

The Prime Minister has said both that Canada will take action only with the United Nations and without the United Nations. Which of these two statements is the government's position?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were one of the first countries to ask the United States to go to the United Nations last summer. The position of this government was that there should be no action in Iraq without a resolution of the United Nations. Resolution 1441 was adopted unanimously and now we are in the process of following the instructions given to Iraq in resolution 1441 in November.

Once we have received the report from the inspectors who were sent there we will report the results to the public.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the United Nations inspectors said that Iraq was not fully complying. The United States, Britain, Australia and the allies have been clear, as is UN resolution 1441, that non-compliance by Saddam Hussein must have consequences. The government has not been clear on that point, as have some others.

Is the government today working with the British-American allied coalition to ensure that all possible steps are being taken to ensure that Saddam Hussein complies with the UN resolution?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is in the interest of the world that Saddam Hussein comply completely with resolution 1441. We have been working on that since the beginning. We have sent messages over and over again asking Saddam Hussein to respect the UN resolution. In doing so, he will avoid a war that will be very devastating for the population of Iraq.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government has not been working closely with the allied coalition. After September 11, 2001, the Canadian economy suffered a significant blow as border traffic was negatively impacted.

Given the mixed signals Canada has sent the United States on this issue, how can the government assure Canadians that our borders will remain open in the event that the situation with Iraq escalates?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the Leader of the Opposition has followed the excellent work that the Deputy Prime Minister has done over the last year working with Governor Ridge of the United States.

We are collaborating with the United States and it is collaborating with us. The border between our two nations is functioning very well at this moment, which is the reason for our success. The reason the Canadian economy keeps performing very well is that we have taken care of that type of problem very diligently.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians never want war but they do recognize the need to be prepared for it.

The government has neglected Canada's military to the point where it may be unable to use, threatened or real, military force to remove the threat posed by tyrants like Hussein. No matter what the government's actual position is on Iraq, what is the Canadian military ready and able to contribute to international efforts to make Saddam Hussein disarm?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the performance of the Canadian military in Kosovo was firstclass. The Canadian presence in Afghanistan has been very good. The American general in charge reported publicly many times that he was very impressed by the quality of our soldiers, the discipline they have shown with the equipment they had. That is exactly the way we want to treat our soldiers. We on this side of the House respect the quality of the Canadian military.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian military performs well in spite of the government, not because of it.

This week, officials from the foreign affairs and defence departments are heading to Washington to discuss missile defence. The foreign affairs minister is opposed to missile defence but the defence minister says that the government has yet to determine what role, if any, it wants to play in defending Canadians from missile attacks. This is just another foreign affairs issue on which the government is confused.

Which Canadian position, if any, will the government be taking to Washington?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, perhaps we should wait until we receive a request for participation before we give an answer. That is the attitude of the other side of the House. If they were to receive a telephone call from the Americans, they would say “Yes, hello”.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the UN inspectors have called for more time in order to determine whether or not Iraq does have weapons of mass destruction. They feel that the evidence gathered to date is insufficient and we must conclude the following: the information available at this time does not justify war against Iraq.

In order to do away with any ambiguity concerning his government, will the Prime Minister make it clear that it is up to the Security Council alone to determine by a second resolution whether intervention in Iraq is justified?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, resolution 1441 is very clear. It states that it must be clearly demonstrated that the government of Saddam Hussein is not complying with the obligations set out in the resolution. The inspectors are making their interim report today. We hope there will be others forthcoming in the weeks to come. We will make a statement once we have studied the opinion of Mr. Blix and his associates.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in other words, the Prime Minister is telling us that resolution 1441 is sufficient on its own for us to get involved in a war, while France and Germany are telling us that a second Security Council resolution is required.

Is the Prime Minister in the process of getting Quebec and Canada involved in a war without a second resolution, as a faithful servant of the United States?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were the first, as far back as last summer, to clearly indicate that the United Nations procedures absolutely had to be followed. At this time, the UN process is clearly set out in resolution 1441. Before proceeding, we need to see the inspectors' report. We need to comply with exactly what was passed unanimously by the Security Council.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, already last week, France and Germany had a very clear position on possible military intervention in Iraq: it is no to war, unless there is a second resolution.

Since Quebeckers and Canadians are better informed of the French and German position than the Canadian position, I am asking the Prime Minister to state clearly whether or not a second resolution is necessary before we go to war against Iraq.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the hon. member to read resolution 1441, which makes it very clear that we must wait for the inspectors' report before passing judgment. We will pass judgment, as requested in resolution 1441, after the inspectors have tabled their report.

At this point, it is useless to answer purely hypothetical questions on such a serious issue.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the Prime Minister that the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany are not answering hypothetical questions. They are taking a clear position. This is what we expect from the Prime Minister. It is his responsibility to do so.

Will the Prime Minister behave like a head of state, like the President of France, like the Chancellor of Germany, and tell us clearly whether or not he will only go to war with a second resolution, and not at the whim of the United States? Is he a henchman or a head of state?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada's position has always been very clear. Our position is based on resolution 1141 and, at this point, we are waiting for the inspectors' reports. One report was tabled this morning, but it is not conclusive, it is not adequate. We are waiting for the other reports before taking a stand.

However, we were the first ones to tell the United States that Canada demanded that they go before the Security Council, something they were reluctant to do in August, but agreed to do in October.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister, it seems to me, owes the Canadian people clearer answers than he has been giving in the last few weeks so I will ask this question: Does the Prime Minister agree with the request for more time that the weapons inspectors have clearly made today? We would like an answer to that. We would also like an answer to the question: Do you or do you not foresee the need for a second security--

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I think he meant does he or does he not. I think that is what the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona intended. The right hon. Prime Minister, though, may choose to respond.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

First, Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to the hon. member for the valiant effort he made.

To reply to his question, yes we do think the inspectors need more time to present a report to the United Nations Security Council. When they present their report we will be in a position to advise on the second one.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question.

Does the Prime Minister not think that it would be appropriate for the Security Council to make a judgment on that subsequent report that he now says he wants and not just the United States of America?

I wonder if he could also tell the House whether he will commit to a vote, not a take note debate but a vote, in the House of Commons before Canada participates in any military action, UN sanctioned or otherwise?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always followed the procedures and we always have debated in the House of Commons on that.