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House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the time for stalling is over. There are two proposals on the table and they are not hypothetical. They are known proposals. The government has to make up its mind.

Before he leaves for Mexico, will the Prime Minister tell us which option he intends to advocate with other world leaders? Will it be forceful disarmament or peaceful disarmament of Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we favour peaceful disarmament. I am sure that even the United States and Great Britain would like peaceful disarmament. No one wants war. Everyone wants peace. But for there to be peace, Saddam Hussein has to assume his responsibilities and assure the international community that he will comply with resolution 1441, which was unanimously adopted at the Security Council a few months ago.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the Prime Minister will be off to Mexico to meet President Fox and no doubt to discuss the important issue of Iraq with him.

Which position will he be putting forward: the one set out in the memorandum presented by France and Germany, or the one in the resolution proposed by the United States and Great Britain?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, both of these proposals seek the same thing, but by two different means. They both want Saddam Hussein disarmed.

Some feel this will take longer than others. At this point, however, the final proposal has yet to be determined and work still needs to be done on it. I will have an opportunity to discuss this with President Fox tomorrow and the day after. I trust that, working together, we will all be able to find a solution that will preserve peace and not lead to war.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, one wants disarmament, even at the cost of a humanitarian catastrophe if necessary, while the other wants to avoid that. Which of these two positions is Canada going to defend?

Canada and Mexico are the two immediate neighbours of the United States and its two main trading partners.

Is the Prime Minister going to suggest to President Fox that they go together to meet with President Bush in order to argue in favour of peaceful disarmament and of respecting the UN?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, President Fox wants peace, as I do, along with everyone else. That is what we will be discussing.

As to the best means of achieving that peace, it does not necessarily mean fancy speeches or making claims of one kind or another. It is a matter of working discreetly and effectively, as our ambassador to the United Nations is doing, and as I intend to do myself.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

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

Yesterday, George Bush presented a resolution to the United Nations. Can the Prime Minister tell us whether, in his opinion, that resolution authorizes the invasion of Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member reads resolution 1441 carefully, he will see that it says Saddam Hussein must comply with the conditions set by the United Nations or face serious consequences.

Serious consequences mean more than just a little parade. That is why I keep saying that Saddam Hussein is the one who can avoid war, by complying with resolution 1441, and by showing respect for the United Nations and all the countries that have voted in favour of the resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the Security Council.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister put down the power of song. We would stop singing if he would start answering our questions.

He did not answer my question because I asked him about the second resolution, the resolution that has been put down by the U.K., the U.S. and Spain, but the Prime Minister seemed to say that 1441 in itself was enough to authorize an invasion of Iraq. Could he please tell us whether he feels that 1441 in itself authorizes an invasion of Iraq, or does the second resolution do it, or does any resolution now before the UN authorize an invasion of Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said many weeks ago that it would be preferable to have a second resolution. I am happy that the Americans are proposing a second resolution. What is surprising is that some countries some weeks ago wanted to have a second resolution. France and Germany wanted a second one and now they are saying they do not need a second one. The Americans say there will be a second one.

Let us wait for the debate. I am happy there will be a debate. After 1441 there will be a realization by the members of the Security Council whether Saddam Hussein is in conformity or not with the resolution that was passed unanimously.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

February 25th, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Minister for International Trade said the softwood lumber talks have now broken off completely because U.S. lobby groups made excessive demands that Canada was not willing to meet.

Does this mean the government accepts the 27% duty now being charged? Why did Canada not take the 19.7% offered last April?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I understand exactly the member's question.

Canada has never accepted the 27% tax on Canadian softwood lumber. We have been saying for a long time that we believe it is a punitive tax that should not have been applied. This is why right now we have six cases before the WTO and NAFTA. We challenged the American right to impose that tax on us. However we tried to find a long term policy based resolution. Mr. Aldonas did a great job trying to identify what policy reforms in our provinces could bring relief of that tax. Unfortunately, the negotiations this morning met a stopping point.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the government about a high level meeting, to which Canada was not invited, on post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq. The minister said, “We are concentrating at the time on ensuring a peaceful resolution”. Everyone hopes for that.

If war occurs, there will be an urgent need for reconstruction. Canada has the experience and reputation to play a leading role. Would the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree to make a detailed statement in the House before we rise on Friday outlining specific measures Canada is taking or planning to respond to the ravages of war in Iraq or beyond?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are, like all nations, working on two things. We are working on trying to make sure that we get our way to peace but that Saddam Hussein disarm, as the Prime Minister has said, and also that the United Nations system retains its integrity. That is where this government has been helpful in recent days, in trying to bring the parties together to ensure that that resolution can be obtained in that way.

We also are aware that there is a potential for conflict in the region. My colleague the Minister for International Cooperation and I are examining how we can be of help to the people in the region, as Canada always has done in the past and always will do in the future.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that blind trusts are blind so that the public does not know what is going on. Blind trusts are supposed to keep the minister from knowing what is going on in his corporate life.

When the ethics counsellor found out that they had been pumping oil into the Halifax harbour, what was the first thing he did? He got on the phone and called the former finance minister to do what, to save him from a corporate meltdown? No, he did it strictly to save political face for the minister.

Does the Prime Minister really think it is the role of the ethics counsellor to help ministers simply save political face when their corporation is in trouble?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not have to comment on that. The rules are there. They have been followed by the minister. The Registrar General decided according to the agreement that it was a case to inform the owner of the company who happened at that time to be the minister of finance. It was a judgment of the Registrar General. He made that decision, not I. It would have been known within hours anyway. When we talk about CSL, anybody who knows anything about shipping would probably know that the former minister of finance was the owner.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, according to the rules of the agreement, whenever there is an extraordinary corporate event, the minister may intervene and apply his corporate role within that company. An extraordinary corporate event is not defined. So far we know that whenever one of the ships pumps oil into the harbour, that is an extraordinary event, apparently. When they want to do deals with Suharto and ship coal to his family, that apparently qualifies as an extraordinary event. They have also named ships after the minister's wife and his father.

What does not qualify for a special corporate event for the minister?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we could speculate on everything until we died. The reality for me is that an oil spill is a pretty serious incident.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American President has harsh words for the UN and the role of the Security Council. He is even questioning its relevance by stating that the council is risking its credibility if it votes against the British-American resolution.

Can the Prime Minister tell us if he shares President Bush's assessment of the relevance of the Security Council and the UN?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, clearly, this government has always worked to guarantee the credibility and viability of the Security Council within the UN system. The Prime Minister has personally taken action in this matter. The entire government, myself included, is devoting its efforts to reach various goals. First, to disarm Saddam Hussein through peaceful means if possible, something that greatly depends on him. Second, to ensure that the credibility of institutions that we have built together since the second world war is strengthened and not weakened as a result of this crisis.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, is the UN's relevance not obvious since its role is to maintain peace and ensure that Iraq is disarmed through peaceful means?

Will the Prime Minister recognize that the UN is fulfilling its intended role and that, by not taking a clear stand, Canada is helping to undermine that role?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, Canada, in supporting the UN process, is at the same time supporting the system the hon. member is referring to. This is our system. Our role has been clearly defined by the Prime Minister, namely to support the system and process within which the Security Council operates. That is our role. We are acting to preserve the Security Council and the UN by our actions, and we will continue to do so.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act indicate that officials from Revenue Canada and the Treasury Board decided to change the way losses related to GST credits are calculated in the public accounts. It seems that Parliament and the public have never been informed of these changes.

Why did the minister make these changes and then try to keep Canadians in the dark?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, in fact the opposite is quite the truth. I told the member and members of the House that we were working with Treasury Board and that we would be reporting to committee in a way that would be as open, as transparent and as understandable as the committee would like.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister has a responsibility to Parliament and she seems to forget that. The revenue minister has kept Parliament in the dark. We still do not know the true amount of GST fraud losses. The minister says, “It is $25 million; wait a minute, $50 million; no, hang on a second, I think it is $100 million”.

Canadians want to know how much GST fraud is costing taxpayers. When will the minister do the right thing and give a full accounting of GST fraud to Parliament?