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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was life.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, here is the evidence that was presented to us: satellite pictures; intercepted phone conversations; and information that there are mobile labs producing anthrax. That information is good enough for our closest allies.

Just what evidence would it take before the government would finally get off the fence?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think what it will take is exactly what it will take for Secretary Powell, for the United States administration, for the United Kingdom government and for others, and that is to hear Dr. Blix when he takes this to Saddam Hussein and says that he must conform with this or else, and brings an answer back to the Security Council.

No country in the world is anxious to declare anything before that happens. We are all working in conformity. Why does the opposition not work with the team instead of just trying to throw sand in the wheels of it?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, they all said, very plainly, that Iraq was in material breach. Why will we not?

Canada has a strong democratic tradition. When the decision to deploy troops is made, Canadians expect their representatives to have the opportunity of doing more than just talk.

Will the Prime Minister allow a vote on the action against Iraq, yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral 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 already explained House procedure yesterday. Furthermore, unless I am mistaken, the opposition has already informed the Chair of its intention of introducing a motion. No doubt, the opposition will have the patience to wait for the results of its own motion before anticipating the outcome.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the information presented by the U.S. Secretary of State to the Security Council was far from sufficient to justify a war against Iraq.

Given that Colin Powell himself acknowledged that he had no solid proof that Iraq had violated resolution 1441, will the government finally assume its responsibilities on the international stage and clearly state that a second resolution is needed to make any military intervention against Iraq legitimate?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am hearing all kinds of different views from the other side of the House. The only consistent position has been on this side of the House. Our policy is that the rules set out in resolution 1441 must be respected. The process is established. Secretary of State Powell demonstrated this morning that the situation is very serious and will require a response from UN inspectors. This response will be given on February 14.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister is hearing any clear views on this issue, it is that of the Canadian Alliance, which supports military participation alongside the United States without UN approval. He also hears the view of the Bloc Quebecois, which is that there should be absolutely no intervention in Iraq without the approval of the United Nations. However, from the government side, we are hearing nothing about their position.

Will the minister at least say that we will not participate in a military intervention in Iraq unless there is a second resolution from the Security Council? Will he tell us that? That would be clear, for once.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has always said that if the United Nations gives its approval, Canada will do its share. He said it from the outset and he explained it to President Bush.

This is the basis of our policy, which has always been to work with the United Nations and the Security Council, and to maintain this position. It is a good policy, one which has produced results. Let us then stick to this good policy established by the Prime Minister and the government.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, these are serious times and things are happening quickly. The government may very soon have to make decisions about its participation in a possible conflict with Iraq.

Before sending troops, does the government intend to allow a vote and seek the opinion of the House?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, it seems that answers often need to be repeated.

A few minutes ago, I clearly indicated to another member that a motion is apparently before the House to be debated tomorrow on this specific issue.

Yesterday I was asked if there would be an opposition day for the party in question, namely the Bloc Quebecois. An opposition day has already been scheduled for Monday. They can choose the topic for debate that they deem appropriate.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very reluctant, and Quebeckers even more so, to become involved in a war against Iraq.

Regardless of the decision it makes, does the government not realize that it has to seek support by a vote in the House of Commons? It should know it needs this.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, unless I am mistaken, you are going to announce a little later on a motion that has already been made public about tomorrow's debate on this matter. The hon. member is asking us to indicate today how we will vote tomorrow. That is not how it works.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today Colin Powell gave so-called evidence that the U.S. should have given the UN inspectors from the outset, which raises the question: Why was the U.S. stalling?

I think today the answer is clearer. To his declassified photos, Powell could only add “We don't know precisely what Iraq was moving”.

Does the Prime Minister believe that this is the proof, or will the proof be the proof when it is proven?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I strongly recommend to the hon. member that she read resolution 1441. Article 4 of resolution 1441 imposes obligations on Iraq to co-operate fully with the United Nations inspection.

I think Secretary Powell demonstrated clearly this morning that Iraq is not co-operating fully with the inspection regime as required by resolution 1441.

That is where we are. Iraq now has a chance to bring itself into conformity when the inspectors go back into Iraq. That is the process we have established, the process we will follow and the process that will work.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, France, China and Russia, all permanent members of the Security Council, remain unconvinced of the need for war.

Powell says that the UN is in danger of becoming irrelevant, and he is right. If countries like Canada remain silent or even ambivalent in their defence of UN inspections, the UN will become irrelevant.

Will the Prime Minister and the foreign minister, with one clear voice, join France and Germany and commit Canada's unequivocal support for the UN inspectors' ongoing work?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are not joining France and Germany. We are not joining the United States. We are representing the voices of Canadians.

Canadians want a chance for the UN system to work and, if possible, for Iraq to be disarmed with peace, and we continue to work toward that goal.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

It now appears that the Prime Minister's offer of new health care money to the provinces includes money that had already been pledged to the provinces, including funds going as far back as September 2000.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister explain exactly how much of the federal offer is new money? Could he tell the House why the federal government pretended it was investing so much more money in health care than it actually was?

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is complicated to say that we would want to indicate how much was being increased on an annual basis in transfers to the provinces, and that includes increases that had been previously promised. That of course will be expended by provinces, we would hope, on health care, together with additional funds that we will make available. That to me is entirely sensible.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

February 5th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, earlier today the Australian senate passed a motion of non-confidence in Prime Minister Howard for having sent troops to the gulf without parliament's approval.

On a similar motion, Australia's lower house supported the government. Both houses in Australia's parliament had the opportunity to vote. That used to happen here in this House of Commons.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Was the Liberal Party of Canada wrong to insist on a vote on sending troops to the gulf 10 years ago?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think it is clear that any decision taken by the government to engage Canadian troops and put them in harm's way in a situation of conflict is a serious matter. If the House lacked confidence in the government, then that evidence would be quite rapidly forthcoming. It would be a crucial decision on which the House's confidence would be needed.

HealthOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's health care system is in disarray and it has been for years. Today the premiers are meeting with the Prime Minister to bring quality and timely access back to the system.

Will the government commit today to provide the necessary money, let the provinces do their job and restore the core of Canada's health care services?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think we share common objectives with the provinces in respect of health care, and that is to produce a system that meets ever better the needs of Canadians. That includes important issues that we have raised in the draft accord which the first ministers are discussing at the present time.

I do not think it is a question of who is accountable to whom. I think it is a question of the services being available to Canadians and that governments need to be accountable to Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was always told “build the foundation strong and the house will stand”, but according to some estimates, the Prime Minister's last offer to the premiers was to allocate 80% of the new funds to new promises. That leaves only 20% for the existing core.

How will Canadians get the relief for the long wait list or the shortage of doctors and nurses when the Prime Minister is focused on the promises outside the core?

HealthOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, is access to primary care fringe, or is it not a core requirement of the medical system? Is the fact that sometimes the cost of pharmaceuticals becomes catastrophic for some individuals not an important element?

What we are looking for is better results for Canadians, and this is what we have heard from Canadians from one end of the country to the other. This is what they want. This is what they expect. This is what they are seeking to achieve.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the Minister for International Trade's visit to Washington with regard to the softwood lumber crisis, the papers are giving two contradictory versions, one anticipating a truce with the United States through the imposition of an export tax, and the other saying that no agreement was reached and that Canada is maintaining its position.

Can the government confirm that it does not intend to agree to any compromise that will be detrimental to workers and companies, and that its position is, indeed, to restore free trade?