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House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was general.

Topics

LandminesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Mines Action Canada Coalition's landmine awareness week begins today.

Canada is strongly committed to eliminating landmines. It worked with non-governmental organizations and showed leadership to ensure the adoption of the Ottawa convention. It was also the first to ratify the convention.

Today, Canada is still involved in de-mining activities and the destruction of mine stockpiles, and is providing assistance to victims. The number of persons affected by landmines is estimated at tens of thousands annually. This shows how serious this problem is. Those who do not die immediately are wounded and traumatized. They experience physical, psychological and socio-economic difficulties.

I salute the Canadian government's commitment to landmine victims and encourage it to continue investing in this campaign.

National SecurityStatements By Members

February 24th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, on December 24 the U.S. registered RoRo Great Land reported an unknown ship 25 miles west of Vancouver Island on a course that would take it into the isolated and protected waters of B.C.'s central coast.

On December 26, the U.S. registered container ship, APL Philippines , reported passing a northbound ship displaying no lights 45 miles west of Vancouver Island. When the intruder was asked to identify itself, it replied, “Do you think I'm stupid?”

Neither vessel was ever identified or heard from again. These are not isolated incidents. Intruders such as these routinely arrive at our shores and we cannot track them or their cargo. These guys will not be carrying the automatic identification device the minister boasted about the other day. They do not want to be identified. The Coast Guard lacks the radar, ships and aircraft to protect our coasts from such intruders.

How can Canada convince our neighbours that we are in control of our borders if mystery ships can come and go off Vancouver Island, perhaps loading and unloading contraband, as they please?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today the United Nations Security Council will be discussing what to do about Iraq. Some nations, France, Germany and, reportedly, Canada as well, believe in a timeline of some months. Others, the Americans and British, apparently believe a deadline of a matter of weeks should be set, perhaps as little as two weeks.

Does the Prime Minister have a view on how much more time Saddam Hussein should be given to disarm?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a debate is going on at this moment among the different people. This situation cannot last forever. I think some weeks should be given to Saddam to comply very precisely with resolution 1441.

The United Nations will be holding votes on these issues. The debate is starting today. The French, the Germans and the Russians have made some propositions for some elements for a framework for discussion. I also understand that the Brits, the Americans and the Spaniards will have a resolution. I do not know if there will be a time limit on that because I have not seen the resolution.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said weeks rather than months, I suppose so we are creeping toward a position here.

Resolution 1441 states that there must be full compliance or Saddam Hussein will face serious consequences. The common interpretation of these consequences is military action.

What is the government's interpretation of serious consequences? Is it military action or is it anything else?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the debate is going on at this moment at the United Nations Security Council. We of course are all pushing, as much as we can, on Saddam Hussein to comply.

Neither the Americans, the British, the Spaniards, the French, the Germans nor the Russians want a war. We all hope for peace and we are all working to achieve peace. War has to be the last resort.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move to the question of military action.

The HMCS Iroquois has been sent to the Persian Gulf to join other Canadian ships. The defence minister admitted yesterday that these ships could be double hatted for both the war on terrorism and operations in Iraq.

Will the government admit that it has already agreed to contribute to military action in Iraq through back channels?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, at a meeting with state department officials in Washington on February 6, I was informed that some 16 working groups, including exiled Iraqis, U.S. officials and others, were optimistically preparing for transition in Iraq.

I took that information to our foreign affairs committee on February 11 and asked for a response from the minister's office on whether Canada had been invited to take part. It has been two weeks and I still have no answer.

Would the Prime Minister tell us if Canada has been invited to join with these groups of exiled Iraqis, U.S. officials and others who are working toward a freer and more democratic Iraq? Have we been invited to these or not?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are participating in many discussions with our Washington allies and other allies. We are not involved in specific negotiations with specific groups in Iraq.

We will, however, be working, as we have been consistently throughout this process, to make sure we get a peaceful resolution in this matter, not by working with Iraqi dissidents in the process.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, people who have been exiled from Iraq, people who want peace and democracy in Iraq, are not dissidents.

Will the Prime Minister just give us a straight answer? Last week, after talking to high school students, the Prime Minister's handlers came back the next day saying that there was still no direct answer on Iraq.

Why has Canada been left out of the loop? These groups are planning now for peaceful transition and for democracy in Iraq. Canada has been left out. Why?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the last that I read about this matter, the United States had made the point that it intended to administer Iraq after and that it did not intend to turn it over to the very people who have the hon. member so exercised.

We continue to work with everyone to make sure we bring this to a peaceful conclusion. We will continue to do that.

To try to pretend that Canada has been cut out of what we are doing in our mission in this, because we are not going to one meeting or another, is to mislead the Canadian public and to mislead the House.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the situation with Iraq, there are those for peace, those for war and then, seemingly in the middle, there is Canada.

France is proposing a schedule for continued inspections, and Canada says it supports this. The United States and Great Britain, for their part, want a resolution authorizing military intervention, and Canada is sending the Iroquois to the Gulf possibly to participate in the war on Iraq, according to the Minister of Defence.

Despite all his wonderful speeches, will the Prime Minister admit that, as far as actions are concerned, and actions are what count, his government is preparing for war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker.

At this time we are taking on a larger role in Afghanistan and the decision to send a ship to that region was taken several weeks ago, as part of our efforts to establish peace and rebuild a civil society in Afghanistan.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Shediac, the Prime Minister declared that Canada will only go to war with the United Nations' approval. However, according to reporter Ann McIlroy, the Prime Minister told his caucus that resolution 1441 was enough for going to war against Iraq.

Will the Prime Minister admit that regardless of his verbal hedging, the Government of Canada has already taken sides and has chosen war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have always said that we want a second resolution.

Look at the French government. For a long time, France was for a second resolution and now it says this is not necessary. We believe a second resolution is useful.

The Americans did not want to go before the Security Council and now they want a second resolution. Have all these people changed their minds?

From the outset, we have always said that Canada will not go to war without the Security Council's approval. This has been Canada's position for months.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, by stating that the UN must prove its relevancy, President Bush and “President Blair” have basically given the UN Security Council an ultimatum.

Should the Prime Minister not advise his counterparts that such an ultimatum to the UN is unacceptable? He would then be taking a stand as a spokesperson for peace, instead of as a spokesperson for war.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the easiest way to achieve peace is for Saddam Hussein to simply comply with the terms of resolution 1441.

If he does not want war, all he has to say is, “These are the weapons I have; I am destroying them. There will be no war”.

We are saying that resolution 1441 must be complied with by Iraq, and we want to avert war. This has always been our position. While the Americans did not want to go to the UN, we have always clearly stated that there had to be a Security Council resolution; that was resolution 1441, and there will apparently be another one shortly.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Chicago, the Prime Minister appeared to be supporting the United Nations unconditionally, but at the same time he authorized the deployment to the Persian Gulf of a flagship, whose mission could change very rapidly, according to the Minister of Defence.

Does the Prime Minister realize that by his ambivalent behaviour, he is partly responsible for the situation we find ourselves in, which is one of getting conditioned for war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with resolution 1441, we are clearly telling Saddam Hussein that if he does not comply with this resolution, there will be very serious consequences. There is no doubt that if Saddam Hussein sends the inspectors packing and fails to comply with resolution 1441, there will be consequences. That is why resolution 1441 was adopted.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want the Prime Minister to stand firm for peace. Instead, he is doing Bush's bidding and that of the Canadian Alliance, who seem hell-bent on war.

The defence minister admits that Canadian troops dispatched today to the gulf could be double-hatted and deployed in what he calls a hypothetical war against Iraq.

Is the Prime Minister not simply ensuring that our troops become participants in Bush's war whether Canadians like it or not?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are accepting responsibilities in Afghanistan. We were one of the first to be there. We have had ships in the area for more than a year now doing their job. We are working to build a civil society in Afghanistan and to make sure terrorists do not operate in that gulf. It is the role that our ships and the Canadian army have at the moment and we were vested with more responsibility by the participants last week.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the defence minister talk about a hypothetical war in Iraq. There is nothing hypothetical about dispatching HMCS Iroquois from my home port of Halifax with its recent communications refit, making it interoperable with the U.S. naval forces.

Is this how the Prime Minister plans to justify Canada's participation if Bush bullies his way to war? Is the Prime Minister not simply dragging Canada into Bush's war through the back door?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the hon. member realizes that there was a unanimous resolution of the United Nations. Resolution 1441 told Saddam Hussein that he had to conform; otherwise there would be consequences.

Of course the NDP members do not want to be citizens of the world. They think a good singsong will solve all the problems.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister changed the rules on blind trusts for ministers. The ethics counsellor claims that was the advice of Mr. Justice Parker but the Parker report described the loophole the Prime Minister used as undesirable. He said “Instead, hard decisions must be made. Those assets that have to be divested should truly be divested”.

Before the Prime Minister decided to change the rules for his cabinet, did he ask the member for LaSalle—Émard to make the hard decision and truly divest his assets, that is, to choose between his private company and his public duty?