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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works has been silent while his confused colleague at defence tries to explain away 10 years of Liberal foot-dragging on the maritime helicopter project.

Public works, as the contracting agent for the government, will be in defiance of Treasury Board guidelines and its own supply manual if it does not underscore best value in the upcoming helicopter contract documents.

Why will the minister not guarantee the basic principle of best value and that it will be followed in that procedure?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence made a major step toward the end of last year when he dealt with the bundling issue.

We are now at the letter of interest stage. We expect reactions to that very shortly and we will proceed as rapidly as possible according to each and every rule to ensure that every legal step is properly taken.

We will not fall into the trap of taking a misstep that could end this whole contract in a set of litigation that would last for 40 years.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gerry Ritz Canadian Alliance Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, there we have it, some more bungling of the contract right there.

For 10 years the Liberal government has used weasel words--and we heard some more--and confusion to deflect attention from its political interference. It debundled it to start with. Now it is taking credit for putting it back together. The Liberal government broke it.

We have now learned that there will be a prequalification process never seen before where a favoured hand picked contractor will be told what is wrong with the bid so it can be changed. That is insider trader. Is the public works minister prepared to put his job on the line when this politicized process hits the courts?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I will ensure that every step is taken according to procedure and according to law so that every rule is properly respected, and the end result will be in the best interests of Canadian taxpayers.

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is an outbreak of disease among animals, the federal government has a system for working with local authorities to contain and deal with the outbreak. Such tragedies are inevitably local.

My question is for the Minister of Health. In the case of an outbreak of an infectious disease among humans, do we have a similar plan for working with local authorities?

HealthOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, such emergencies begin at the local level. Health Canada works to ensure that all levels of government are prepared to respond in a coordinated fashion to local health emergencies and outbreaks of disease. In fact, since September 11, 2001, we have spent about $90 million to boost our capacity on the ground across the country.

There are now national contingency plans for specific illnesses, such as influenza or smallpox. Our surveillance system picks up information about local risks, and our centres for emergency preparedness and disease prevention work with provincial authorities to respond. Finally, Health Canada laboratories and scientists provide expertise and advice to provincial authorities to identify specific risks.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are reports today that the CBC pulled a story on Canada Steamship Lines because of pressure from Earnscliffe where much of the former finance minister's leadership team works. The CBC is supposed to be an arm's length agency that is supposed to be immune from this kind of pressure.

I ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage, what will she do to ensure that leadership candidates cannot just spike stories that they do not like?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, first, I will assure the hon. member that the pressure to spike the story certainly did not come from me. Second, may I please reinforce the fact that any decision in the newsroom of the CBC must be the exclusive decision of the CBC.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to hear the second part of her answer.

The CBC did plan to do an investigative piece on CSL and promoted it heavily. It did this in spite of the fact that the former finance minister's handlers over at Earnscliffe had a problem. There was no problem, just a couple of calls from Elly Alboim to his good friend Tony Burman, the editor in chief of CBC News. Suddenly, the story is yanked.

I want to know how CBC journalists can do their jobs when they know that kind of pressure can be applied to their bosses?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with the member. I do not think there should be any kind of pressure. That is why I would certainly not cause any interference or have any involvement in any news decisions that are made by the CBC. It is the decision of the CBC's news department, and so it should remain.

IraqOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the war has begun. Even if Canada is not participating in it, the government has a duty to take steps to protect itself against potential repercussions that could affect our country.

Could the Prime Minister tell us whether the special cabinet committee struck following the events of September 11 has planned any specific actions to deal with the current situation?

IraqOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the House that the committee the hon. member is referring to is carrying on its activities to ensure the safety and security of Canadians. We are not exclusively concerned with the issue of Iraq. Since September 11, 2001, we have introduced a wide range of measures to ensure safety in Canada, and will carry on our work in this area, in conjunction with all ministers responsible, to ensure the safety and security of Canadians.

International Day of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is International Day of La Francophonie in Canada. Could the Secretary of State for Latin American, Africa and la Francophonie set out the objectives pursued by Canada within the international Francophonie?

International Day of La FrancophonieOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Brome—Missisquoi Québec

Liberal

Denis Paradis LiberalSecretary of State (Latin America and Africa) (Francophonie)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by wishing a happy Francophonie day to all. Canada is a proud partner of la Francophonie. This pride is expressed more specifically, at the cultural level, through the active part we take in international network for cultural diversity of our colleague, the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage.

It is also expressed, politically, through the promotion of values that Canadians hold dear, values of democracy, human rights and good governance contained in the Bamako declaration.

Finally, we pay tribute to our friend, His Excellency Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the health minister has been less than forthcoming about the Joanne Meyer Ferrari contract of her predecessor. I would like to give her the opportunity today to answer that question. If she cannot, I would ask her for a commitment.

When will the minister get the report from the department and will she commit to present it here in the House.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, as I have said over and over again, my Health Canada officials are gathering the facts in relation to the contracting question. I expect to have that factual record presented to me in very short order.

International CooperationOral Question Period

March 20th, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday we learned that Canadian development money for Afghanistan was going to warlords from the northern alliance. However, we know that these warlords will hinder any improvements to the status for Afghan women. It is the northern alliance that is responsible for raping women and forcing them to wear the burka.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation assure us that money that Canada gives will, in fact, be used to improve living conditions for the people of Afghanistan, including women?

International CooperationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, on Monday we announced $250 million of new funding for Afghanistan in four priority areas: supporting rural livelihoods and social protection, managing natural resources, strengthening security and the rule of law, and providing continued support to the government of Afghanistan.

We are doing specific things to promote women's rights in Afghanistan. We have spoken out often about the human rights violations against women and about the rights that women and children in Afghanistan need to have. We support the courageous efforts of the many of the small Afghan NGOs that are operating and providing education in health to women in Afghanistan. We support the Afghan's ministry of women's affairs and we have contributed $1 million to the United Nations.

IraqOral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister who has said that he respects the decision of George Bush to launch this illegal and immoral war on the people of Iraq, a war that is criminal under international law.

If the Prime Minister will not condemn the war, will he at least agree that the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs would be inhumane and illegal? Will he call on both Bush and Blair not to use those weapons that have already taken such a terrible toll on innocent human lives in Iraq and elsewhere?

IraqOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it is appropriate for the Canadian government to pronounce on the use of certain weapons that have not been used. I do not think that we are in a position to direct the Americans as to how to prosecute a campaign that will be extremely difficult for them. I think it is appropriate for us to be respectful of their decision.

At the same time we are confident that the Americans will conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of humanitarian war to which they are obliged under the Geneva conventions and other conventions. Our American allies have always observed the rules of law and the rules of international law with respect to conflict and we expect that they would do so in this case as well.

National DefenceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the Minister of National Defence which requires a yes or no answer.

Do all Canadian troops on ships in the gulf have gas masks and chemical suits to protect them against potential chemical or biological attacks? Yes or no.

National DefenceOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I already answered that question for the colleague of the right hon. member. I do not think it is appropriate for me to deal with such issues in public, but given the right hon. member's past as a prime minister and his long service to Canada I would certainly be happy to have a private conversation with him and say more to him then than I can say in public.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Friday, March 21, is a special day around the world. In 1966 it was declared by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Would the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women tell the House what her department is doing to raise the awareness of Canadians about racism?

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is recognized in Canada. We know that the vast majority of Canadians strongly condemn racism and discrimination.

This is the seventh year of our campaign with young people, “Racism. Stop It!”. They have produced videos. They have worked in their schools and in their communities to make sure that they pass on messages of respect about their culture and messages that they share with each other.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to draw to the attention of all hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Elaine Taylor, Minister of Justice and Minister of Business, Tourism and Culture for Yukon.