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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

We still do not have an answer, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister is isolated not only from his own caucus but also from the rest of the world.

Today, a huge multilateral coalition of nations announced its support for the coalition that includes Australia, Great Britain and the United States to disarm Saddam Hussein. This new coalition includes Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to admit that his policy, which consists of waffling, isolating and embarrassing Canada on the—

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in preparing for question period, I noticed that the Leader of the Opposition, who in the House in question period poses as someone who is committed to some firm action, seems to change his mind from time to time, apparently. Last night, under questioning from my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, about whether he was committed to war, he said, “We will make our judgments on the facts at that time”, after Secretary Powell and Hans Blix make their reports. Talk about consistency.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, on behalf of the Bush administration, the U.S. Ambassador to Ottawa sent a clear message to the Canadian government: the Bush administration wants Canada to take part in a war against Iraq even if there is a veto in the Security Council. That is what he said yesterday.

I am asking the government what Canada will do. Will it say yes to the United States under these conditions, under these circumstances, or will it respect the United Nations?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well that we are following the United Nations process. We support the resolution and the process led by Mr. Blix. That is the position of this government.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's position is far from clear. What I am asking is, if the veto power is exercised, will the government respect this veto power or will it override it to answer the call of the United States.

The public is worried and has the right to know the position of the government. It should assume its responsibilities and tell us it will stand by the United Nations and there will be a vote in this House. What will the government's position be?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are waiting for the end of the inspections process led by Mr. Blix. We are waiting for his report and then we will make a decision.

It is clear that we are following the United Nations process. We respect the international process and I hope that the Bloc Quebecois will support the leadership of our party and our government.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government House leader. Including the war of 1914-1918—we are talking about quite some time ago, this was the first world war—Parliament has always voted before sending soldiers to take part in a war, and this was the practice until the Liberals arrived in office in 1993.

How does the government explain that it still stubbornly refuses to allow us, the representatives of the public, to vote before asking our soldiers to take part in a conflict in Iraq, when this tradition dates back to 1914?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, prior to this Prime Minister and this government coming to office, there was no formula that existed for debates of this type. We are the ones to have instituted one.

We hold regular debates on the deployment of troops and even on possible troop deployments, such as last night's debate. Even though troop deployment is not imminent, we held a debate last night on the subject of Iraq.

I believe this is quite an acceptable formula to allow everyone to participate on behalf of all Canadians and to express our opinions.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, we do not want to debate this issue forever. We want to vote. The strength of Parliament lies in the fact that it allows the people's representatives, members of Parliament, to take a position, to say yes or no. That is the strength of Parliament and that is what we are demanding. We want to vote on Canada's participation in the war. Our participation in the war is just as important an issue as the Kyoto protocol or political party finance reform. We want to vote.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think the member has to recognize a fact, and I know that he does. He recognizes that parliamentarians are participating in this debate. He recognizes that the House votes on the budget estimates and on other measures. He recognizes that there are votes at all levels on these issues. He knows it as well as I do.

Today, he claims that in the past, there have always been votes like the one he is requesting. That is not the case. He also claims that the previous system was better than what we have today. I beg to differ on that; I do not share his opinion.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, “there is anxiety in the Canadian people today...They do not know exactly what is going on”. Those are not my words, although I agree with them. They came from the Prime Minister in 1991 when he was speaking about the gulf war. He said then that it was embarrassing for Canada not to have a position.

It is more than embarrassing now. It is shameful that Canada is hedging its bets on a war on Iraq. There is a choice here. Will the Prime Minister say that it is wrong to invade Iraq and Canada will have no part of it?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there is a choice and we have made the choice. We will follow and respect the process of the UN and its resolutions.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, from the debate last night that we heard in this House, it is very clear that the government is hedging its bets.

I believe that Canadians want to see leadership on this question. Why is there not an aggressive campaign for peace? I urge the Prime Minister to listen to his own words, not the official opposition. He said in 1991, “Why this war? What are our national interests in this war?”

Let us begin by having a democratic vote in this House. Never mind all the talk about formulas and what the history was, we want a democratic vote in this House. That is why we are here and that is what Canadians expect us to do. What is the government afraid of?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, no one wants war and no one wants the availability of weapons of mass destruction. We are following a process that will allow the UN inspectors to see whether or not the evidence exists that requires further action.

We have been consistent in our approach. We will continue to take this approach and let the UN process work out.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the acting prime minister. It is about the joint statement of the heads of government of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom, outlining a common position on Iraq. I am sure the Deputy Prime Minister and his officials have read the statement. Would Canada have signed that statement?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre, who has had some experience in this House and who has been through difficult times earlier with the gulf war, should know that we have to be very prudent in what we say and in what we do.

We take this matter very seriously. We believe that the United Nations and its resolution must be respected and we want the inspectors to have time to do their job before we take any action that certainly may lead down a different path.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between prudence and invisibility. On issues of great international import, the government is invisible. Parliamentary rules do not allow me to characterize it otherwise.

The Prime Minister has spoken of his influence on the advice Prime Minister Blair has given to President Bush. The Prime Minister has not been invited to Camp David, where Mr. Blair is going today.

In the interest of ensuring that Canada and this Parliament have the most current information and assessments available, would the Prime Minister invite Mr. Blair to stop over in Ottawa and make himself available for a discussion on Iraq with this Parliament?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we will take that as a representation from the right hon. member and I am sure that the Prime Minister, who is not here today, will look at Hansard and think about the request that has been made.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, proposals by the U.S. Congress to double softwood tariffs have taken the Canadian government by complete surprise and the trade minister's response is timid. Canada's single largest trade dispute is submerged in Liberal government indifference and incompetence.

There is no goodwill coming from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Congress or the U.S. lumber lobby. The minister should insist that Canada withdraw from the one-sided softwood talks in Washington now. When will he do that?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, there are always a lot of similar initiatives before Congress, and this is absolutely not the kind of initiative that will distract us from the very important work that is being done right now. That is being done with the executive, with the United States government. We are working very well with Don Evans and Mr. Aldonas has proposed a very good report. I am telling the member that on that basis there is a dialogue that is being re-established. We have a good case before the WTO and NAFTA and we--

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Island North.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. The U.S. strategy in the current softwood discussions is loaded with hardball tactics, not diplomacy.

Last year the trade minister said there would be no progress with the U.S. Department of Commerce unless countervail and anti-dump tariffs were both addressed, but the talks in Washington only addressed the countervail.

Why is the minister allowing these incomplete talks to continue?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have always made it very clear that any long term policy resolution that Canada is seeking at these talks would have to address the dumping situation as well. I reiterated that to the Secretary of Commerce, Don Evans, last week in Davos. I will do the same thing when I go to Washington next week with an all party delegation precisely to maintain this very solid support for our Canadian industry. That is our objective here.

Privacy CommissionerOral Question Period

January 30th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his annual report, the Privacy Commissioner reaffirms that Canada is not immune to abuses by the state and points out that the security measures taken in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, might constitute an unprecedented attack by the Liberal government on the fundamental right to privacy.

How can the Minister of Justice remain unmoved by the alarm being raised by the Privacy Commissioner, who continues in one annual report after another to speak out against this potential abuse?