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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fish.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not, and I would caution the hon. member not to engage in such innuendo.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit , Hans Blix, the chief UN arms inspector, reported that Iraq's cooperation had been substantial, progress has been made and a few more months will be required to complete the political disarmament.

At a time when the inspections are working and peace needs time, will the minister admit that by proposing March 28 as a deadline, Canada is bringing us closer to a war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker. We are working on bringing two opposing positions at the Security Council closer together so that the Council can achieve a united stand in order to avert war, by getting Saddam Hussein to disarm in conformity with the terms of resolution 1441. This has always been our goal, and will continue to be our goal, and we will stand by our policy in this area.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a pretty odd policy. This is the same minister who told us, “We are opposed to a deadline”. Today, he is advocating it. He is a yes-man.

He is not bringing the two visions, the two strategies, closer at all. One is not to impose a deadline, and the other is to set a date. Would he not agree that what he is doing is helping the United States out, not trying to save peace but, rather, to save face for the United States? He is a follower. He has no strategy. He is a yes-man.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I still cannot figure out why this opposition party is trying to misinterpret our position.

Our position has been to provide the international community and the Security Council with a document to work on. It is up to them to set a date, and to set it on the basis of the observations made by Dr. Blix who, I will remind the hon. members opposite, has set a deadline with respect to the missiles. He has told Saddam Hussein that he had to destroy them by March 1. This goes to show that, from time to time, the chief arms inspector himself finds that setting a date is a good idea, and so do we.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister himself said that this cannot go on indefinitely and that consultations were continuing in order to set a deadline. While the United States wants to invade Iraq, thus confirming the logic of war, Hans Blix is asking for a few additional months, which is more consistent with a logic of peace.

By proposing a March 28 deadline, is Canada not confirming our apprehensions that its mind is made up and that it supports those who advocate a logic of war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as we said and as the Prime Minister repeated yesterday, Canada's goal was to focus the Security Council's attention on disarming Saddam Hussein within a set timeframe.

Of course, it is up to the Security Council, based on its consultations with Mr. Blix, to determine this period of time. That was our goal. Our goal was never to set a date for war, but to ensure a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is Canada playing into the hands of the United States by proposing a deadline, it is also siding with the Americans, who claim that resolution 1441 is, in and of itself, sufficient to invade Iraq.

Are this date and this message not yet additional proof that Canada is resolutely siding with those who are preparing for war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think that opposition members are really looking for war. What we are trying to do here is to set conditions, so that the Security Council can establish parameters that will help avert war.

Of course, there must be a limit as well as conditions. Everyone is looking for these conditions. Let us work together and try to find conditions that will both disarm Saddam Hussein and maintain the Security Council in place, in its present status, because this is very important for the future of our world.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Foreign Affairs through you that it certainly appears that the government should take seriously the charge that it is participating in the logic of war through this proposed resolution, which the United States has described as merely procrastinating, procrastinating in terms of when the war will start, not whether there will be a war.

I want to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will he share the Canadian resolution with this Parliament? The presidential spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, said earlier today, “Describe the Canadian resolution to me”, when he was asked. We ask the same question. Describe the resolution to us. Give us the details so we can make our own judgment.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the inconsistency of the hon. member was right at the beginning: that the United States accuses us of trying to procrastinate and at the same time he is trying to suggest we are playing the game of the United States. He cannot have it both ways.

We clearly are seeking, as the Prime Minister said in the House yesterday, in back channels, in the Security Council, as we are not members of the Security Council, to work with members of the Security Council to help them find clarity in a way in which we can keep the Security Council united and get Saddam Hussein disarmed without the necessity of going to war. We will continue those efforts.

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is not the opposition that is trying to have it both ways. It is the Liberal government that is trying to have it both ways when it comes to the possibility of a war in Iraq.

You will notice, Mr. Speaker, that the minister neither shared the Canadian resolution with the House nor promised to share it with the House.

So I ask him again, why do members of Parliament have to be in the dark with respect to what the Canadian government is proposing? Why can everybody else comment on it but we cannot because we do not know what it is? Will you share it with Parliament or will you give up on your own resolution--

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The Speaker has nothing to share. The hon. member, I know, will want to address the Chair at all times during his questions.

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, through you to the hon. member, I would say that my problem with sharing a resolution is that there is no resolution. The hon. member knows that. This was deliberately referred to in diplomatic parlance as a non-paper. It is therefore not a resolution. It is actually what the diplomats call ideas which are being circulated among other diplomats. If he wants to get an idea about it, which is all it is, he can read the various newspaper accounts, which have described it quite well.

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to be circulating in circles. Speaking of procrastination and uncertainty, listen to this: Canada's ambassador to the UN has proposed a plan that would set a deadline of March 31 to verify Iraqi compliance. Just last week, following the ambassador's speech to the UN, the Prime Minister told reporters that it was not Canada's policy to propose a deadline.

So as usual the Prime Minister has left great confusion and uncertainty. Does the Prime Minister agree or disagree with our ambassador? Will he confirm that Canada is proposing a decision date of March 31 and will he share it with the House?

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has always made it clear to the House that Canada is not on the Security Council at this time, that we are working with members on the Security Council who have asked Canada's opinion as to how we can bridge an important gap between the French and German position and the American, British and Spanish positions.

One way that this can be done is to allow everybody to understand, with Dr. Blix's help, what is a reasonable time for the inspections to be accomplished and what must be accomplished in the inspections. That was the purpose of the paper, no other purpose. It has been well received by members. They are discussing it. It has been helpful. Let us not look for--

IraqOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough.

EthicsOral Question Period

February 26th, 2003 / 2:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there certainly is a gap all right: between the minister's position and the truth.

While the former finance minister's so-called blind management agreement allows for the briefings on matters related to Canada Steamship Lines in exceptional circumstances involving an extraordinary event--pretty subjective--the member for LaSalle--Émard has refused to answer the question. But as the person responsible for enforcing the code of conduct for ministers, would the Prime Minister tell the House what was exceptional or extraordinary about a sweet deal in Indonesia that would have allowed the former finance minister to peek through the blinds?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the subsection of the agreement of the former minister of finance reads: “...at no time while this agreement remains in effect shall the Supervisors disclose to the Public Office Holder nor to anyone on the Public Office Holder's behalf any information respecting the Assets, other than such periodic information as may be required for the completion of the filing of income tax returns, or”--and I underline or--“as may otherwise be allowed by the Assistant Deputy Registrar General”.

These are the guidelines that followed the ones established by the Mulroney government in 1988.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Transport raised the idea of tolls, meaning a new tax. I see that the only thing the Minister of Transport knows how to do is introduce new taxes. The chair of the Société des transports de Montréal said that he had reservations about a new tax to access the downtown core. The mayor of Toronto said that this idea is, and I quote, “stupid”.

Why does the Minister of Transport not contribute anything new to the debate on transportation, except to suggest new taxes?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the hon. member has gotten it wrong.

The fact is we have a congestion problem in Canada's largest cities, including his own, the greater Vancouver area. Many of the cities are looking at innovative ways to deal with the congestion. Other cities around the world have implemented certain measures. They certainly should be regarded and perhaps considered by Canadian cities at some point in the future.

TransportationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on transportation, Canadians are getting ripped off: gas taxes, air taxes, no rail strategy and no infrastructure strategy. The transport minister's blueprint offered nothing but fluff. After failing in federal politics, he now wants to dictate to cities on what they should do. He likes what the city of London, England is doing. It is imposing a $12 toll to get into the city and now he wants Canadian cities to do the same thing.

Why is it that the transport minister has nothing to offer on transportation infrastructure except for the one, two punch of raising taxes and bullying cities?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member obviously has not read the document that I tabled yesterday, because if he had he would have had some meaningful questions about rail policy and about airline policy. This is the result of two years of consultation with stakeholders. He says there is nothing in it. He is reflecting on all the stakeholders we consulted with, members on both sides of the House and the Senate. What does this say about the opposition?

IraqOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the deadline suggested by Canada is so imminent that it could be rejected by those who are our partners, that is those who want peace.

That might mean the United States could decide to go to war solely on the basis of resolution 1441, supported by Canada, which means war in the very near future.

In this event, will the government commit to call back the House, since we will be off for two weeks, before any irrevocable decision is made?

IraqOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as far as consulting Parliament is concerned, the Prime Minister has made it very clear in the House that he would offer, at the first available opportunity, that an opposition day be designated, at which time the opposition could debate the theme of its choice, whether Iraq or something else.

During the recess, House leaders will consult if necessary, as we always do.