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House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yukon.

Topics

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister can count on us making a presentation to that committee.

The former finance minister's proposal for avoiding conflicts of interest, though, is to simply excuse himself from cabinet. When his businesses and personal holdings are directly affected by almost every government department, he will certainly be spending a lot of time in the hallways. Will the government commit to ethics guidelines that prohibit the Prime Minister from having personal control over his holdings? Yes or no.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that the hon. member seems to be a bit under weather. I could not catch the full purport of his question, but I would say that the matter to which he refers about whatever happens at a Liberal leadership is hypothetical and we will not enter into those discussions.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think it is the former finance minister that is about to be under the weather. The former finance minister had a special supervisory deal and has now asked for yet another tailor-made arrangement. Entrepreneurs in cabinet have only two options: to divest themselves of their assets or to put those assets into a true, and I emphasize true, blind trust. Will the government now admit that the only way to remove the perception of a conflict of interest is to have ministers divest themselves of private holdings as they do in the United States?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Again, Mr. Speaker, I will take this as representations. The hon. member should really be making these kinds of suggestions at committee.

Again, to repeat, the former minister of finance followed all the rules. He conducted himself in an exemplary fashion while he was in cabinet. The issue of the meetings and what was discussed at the meetings has been reported on by the ethics commissioner, who said that there was no cause for concern in any of the meetings which he attended.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, the only reason the former finance minister was able to follow all the rules is that they were so loose he could drive one of his ships right through them. The former finance minister received numerous private briefings from the Liberals' very own ethics counsellor. How many and on what issues, both of them refuse to say. Why is it the job of the ethics counsellor to protect the wannabe Prime Minister from public relations embarrassment?

EthicsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am very surprised that the hon. member is casting aspersions on a very highly reputable public servant, Mr. Wilson, who has done an outstanding job in the last number of years dealing with a number of difficult issues. I hope that the hon. member would reflect upon the kinds of accusations he has made against Mr. Wilson.

The fact is that for any discussions that have gone on, and these meetings are for Mr. Wilson or the former minister of finance to talk about publicly, we are assured that all of the rules were followed.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Mexico, the Prime Minister expressed concerns that a unilateral decision by the United States might lead to a split within the United Nations Security Council. Regardless of those concerns, the Prime Minister is proposing a deadline that has led the New York Times to conclude this morning that Canada is moving closer to Washington.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs explain to us how proposing a deadline can prevent both a split within the Security Council and war?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out yesterday in the House, the Canadian proposal was, clearly, designed precisely to avoid the need for war. There must be clarity in order to demonstrate to Saddam Hussein that he must disarm by a certain date. A deadline must be set, and the Americans and the others must be kept in the Security Council as well.

I believe our proposal has been well received by the international community. It has therefore made a positive contribution, and we continue with our policy to resolve this matter and get through this crisis without having to resort to force.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Germany's ambassador to the United Nations has totally rejected the Canadian position, and Russia has not rejected the possibility of using its veto against the American proposal.

Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs realize there is a growing consensus for peace, and that, by setting a deadline, Canada is ultimately helping support the pro-war camp?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I do not realize that, nor do I support that premise. As we have always said, the best way to avoid war under these circumstances is for Saddam Hussein and Iraq to clearly understand that they need to comply fully with resolution 1441.

We have made our proposal and it has been accepted, in that it has been examined by other members of the Security Council as a way of avoiding the use of force. We continue to work to that end.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the minister said, we still do not know who is supporting it, but the Franco-German memorandum proposes three things: a clear action program for inspectors; increased inspections; and a timetable for inspections and assessment.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what exactly Canada does not like about this proposal?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we proposed, a specific timetable, with certain dates and activities for inspectors so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.

However, we have to recognize that there are parties other than the German government involved. There are also the Americans, the British and others who are threatening to go to war without the Security Council. We must examine the German proposal, but also what we can do to bring the Security Council together, and that is the purpose of our proposal.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs says that he is proposing the same thing as the Franco-German memorandum.

Will he rise and say clearly that he supports the Franco-German memorandum as proposed?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I said that the principles are the same. It is a matter of knowing just how, and by which dates things must be done. That is the current crisis. Some want things done immediately, others say that we need to give inspectors more time.

Our proposal gives a reasonable time for inspections to be done in order to keep the Security Council united on this issue. That is why Mexico and Chile are so interested in our proposal. We will continue to work for peace with similar countries.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the same minister. As the war in Iraq is looming on the horizon, it seems to me that we have two superpowers that now hold the fate of millions in the world in their hands: George Bush's government on one side and global public opinion on the other side.

George Bush and his hawks such as Tony Blair want war. Global public opinion now wants peace and wants it massively. I would ask the minister across the way, which side is his government on, peace or war?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government, ever since the Prime Minister met with the President of the United States back last fall, has been acting within the United Nations in a way which is the best way to guarantee peace.

We continue to do that with our recent proposal, because our proposal is one which enables the Security Council to come to grips with the problem of how to disarm Saddam Hussein within a time limit that will be satisfactory to all the powers, not just the great powers, and that is where we will continue to make our efforts.

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, clearly the government is waffling. It is sitting on the fence and getting slivers. It is rushing to the mushy middle.

I want to ask the minister whether or not it will stop waffling, whether or not it will stop running toward that mushy middle? Will it support the position of France and Germany, and support the position of increasing the number of inspectors and giving them adequate time to finish the job? Will it support the French-German position or not? Or will it continue to waffle until the cows come home?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think waffle was the name that was applied to the NDP some time ago so the member should know what he speaks of.

We have not been waffling. We have been clear in supporting the inspection process. We support Dr. Blix and a clear, credible process by the United Nations. Everybody in this country and other foreign countries understand that. I am sorry that the opposition cannot understand that.

I reject the idea that we are waffling. On the contrary, we have had a clear position and will continue to maintain it in the interest of peace.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor has assumed the role of scheduling assistant to the member for LaSalle—Émard. Yet, under the law, as the law is, that ethics counsellor reports only to the Prime Minister. The code stipulates that the Prime Minister has a personal responsibility to ensure that ministers obey the code.

The member for LaSalle—Émard had regular meetings with his giant shipping company.

Did the ethics counsellor provide regular and detailed briefings to the Prime Minister on those meetings? If not, how did the Prime Minister honour his personal obligation to enforce the--

EthicsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

EthicsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, discussions between the former minister of finance and Mr. Wilson, the ethics counsellor, were private conversations. No one is entitled to know what was going on unless either of those two gentlemen made the information public and spoke about the process.

The Prime Minister put in place a code of conduct based on a code of conduct developed by the government of which the right hon. member was a member of and the recommendations of the Parker committee. All the rules were followed.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that last allegation is false. But if he believes it is true, he could always table the documents on the floor of the House of Commons that prove its veracity.

I have a question for the foreign minister.

The New York Times reports this morning that the Pentagon is preparing contingency plans for a possible U.S. attack on nuclear power stations in North Korea.

Can the foreign minister confirm that the Government of Canada has information to that effect? Will he indicate whether the Government of Canada is aware of such plans? Will he outline what Canada's position will be?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the reports to which the right hon. member makes reference, but I cannot verify them from a direct contact with the United States government. I can tell the right hon. member, however, that the situation in North Korea remains a preoccupation for us, of course.

I had a long conversation with the foreign minister of China last night. We spent a long time trying to work together to see how the international community can bring the United States and North Korea together, and how we can diffuse this. I find it difficult to believe the United States would be contemplating anything which would disturb the delicate equilibrium there, but we will continue to work with all parties to ensure this crisis is diffused peacefully.

National DefenceOral Question Period

February 28th, 2003 / 11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will soon be back from Mexico. I am sure he will be red-faced, but it probably will not be from a sunburn. His face should be burning with embarrassment as a result of the Sea King crash yesterday.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal government have put Canadian lives at risk by cancelling, 10 years ago, the EH-101 contract and delaying the purchase of Maritime helicopter replacements. Now we face international embarrassment because our allies cannot even rely on our 40 year old equipment.

Why does the Prime Minister continue to put saving face before saving lives?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Beauséjour—Petitcodiac New Brunswick

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Maritime helicopter procurement project has been a priority for the Minister of National Defence and for the government. We have said that our goal is to obtain the best aircraft as quickly as possible.

To simply make outrageous allegations about unsafe aircraft which simply are not true does not help the confidence of the men and women of our Canadian Forces. At no time do we operate unsafe aircraft.