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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

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, may we know how much money Canada has committed to giving? In the case of Afghanistan, Canada made public its participation right from the start. We must not forget that Iraq has a population of 23 million, 50% of whom are under the age of 15, and there are already one million chronically malnourished children.

Does Canada intend to pay its share and urge the rest of the international community to do the same?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Essex Ontario

Liberal

Susan Whelan LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I think Canada's commitment in Afghanistan very clearly shows its commitment to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance when it needs to be there. So far in Iraq we have provided up to $40 million since 1990 in humanitarian needs for the refugees, the children and the people of Iraq who have required humanitarian assistance.

We are in the process of reviewing the proposals that are in front of us. There are many appeals that will be put in front of us. The first one arrived today, the Red Cross appeal. We are looking at that very carefully and I will have further news in the coming days.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has talked of respecting the American decision. What we would like of the Prime Minister is that he respect his own decision, the Canadian government decision enough, to ensure that it is not undermined or violated in any way by Canadian forces in the gulf participating either directly or indirectly in the war on Iraq.

Could the Prime Minister tell us, because there has been speculation to this effect, whether or not JTF2 is involved in any way in the war on Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not involved in the war in Iraq.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that approaches the kind of clarity we look for from the Prime Minister more often. Could he also tell us whether any Canadian frigate is escorting any vessel involved in supporting the war on Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the NDP should understand that while Canada and the United States have reached a different conclusion on Iraq, it remains as true today as it was a week ago that the United States is Canada's strongest friend and ally.

This means that our commitment to jointly defend the continent is unchanged. It means that our commitment to ensure that the border is never a security risk for Americans is unchanged. It means that our commitment to the war on terrorism is as strong as ever.

Therefore the last thing we wish to do is that when the risk of terrorism gets higher we take our ships away. That is not what the government is doing.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has decided that Canada would not commit troops to the war on Iraq, but he remains silent on the legitimacy of the military intervention.

Is it the position of the Government of Canada that the military action taken by the United States, the United Kingdom and others is legitimate under international law?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am not here to debate the legality or illegality of a situation.

The Americans have decided that they have the right to do what they are doing, and we decided that we would not participate. This is the legality for us. We are not participating because we said at the beginning, a year ago, that we would participate if we were to have the support of the Security Council. It was not achieved, so we are not participating and our position is very legal.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, so the Prime Minister has taken a position on principle, he just does not know what the principle is.

Yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs told reporters that Canada was working with the U.S. State Department to determine what would be required to rebuild Iraq.

My question for the Prime Minister is this. In those discussions, is Canada insisting that the United Nations and not the Pentagon lead the reconstruction effort? Could the Prime Minister tell the House what Canada is doing to vest the United Nations with the power to lead the reconstruction effort? I am talking here not just of humanitarian aid but of reconstruction which requires a new mandate.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I hope that every country in the world that can do it will participate. I am very surprised that the leader of the Conservative Party is objecting to the Americans repairing Iraq. Of course they will be part of the program and we will be part of it. We will do it in collaboration with them and under the umbrella of the UN.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, in the past 24 hours, France has said that if Saddam Hussein uses biological or chemical weapons against the American forces in Iraq, it will then support the U.S. efforts to remove Saddam Hussein.

If biological or chemical weapons are used, will Canada finally decide that enough is enough and join the effort to remove Saddam Hussein?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it has been very clear from the beginning that what we are trying to do here is to achieve a way in which we can work our way through this, with an international consensus as great as possible for not only the peace, which we now are unfortunately seeing erode, but for how we will come out of this.

I do not think it would be appropriate for the House or for a government at this time to pronounce on eventualities of how we might intervene in a military intervention which we have decided at this time and in these circumstances is not appropriate for us to participate in.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, forethought in crises is probably a good idea.

France has said that it may back away from its opposition to war. The House is supposed to have a vote tonight on whether the House believes that the Canadian government should support the war in Iraq.

Will we have a vote tonight or is the government going to back away from that scheduled vote on the war in Iraq so it can leave the door open over the weekend to change its mind to possibly support a war in Iraq like France is doing?

IraqOral 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, it is not the time to explain the rules of the House to the hon. member during question period but I am pleased to inform him that the motion today is indeed a votable motion.

As we all know, whips confer about these things and decide at what time the votes are to be taken. These are the rules of the House of Commons. They have existed for a long time, even before I was here and that is a very long time.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the war in Afghanistan, we learned after the fact that the joint task force 2 had, without our knowledge, taken an active part in the war. We learned of this fact when it took prisoners.

Can the Minister of National Defence confirm for us that this special unit will not take part in the conflict in Iraq, either now or in the coming weeks?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister just said, the JTF2 is not there. The special force is not there. I think that should answer the question.

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is so much secrecy surrounding this force that last time, we had to wait for a photo on the front page of The Globe and Mail to confirm that the unit was in Afghanistan.

Is the answer given by the minister not the same thing? Is he saying that we will have to wait until we see a photo on the front page of The Globe and Mail for him to confirm that the JTF2 is in Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the NDP House leader just congratulated the Prime Minister for being so clear on this. I do not know how we could be any clearer. It is a fact that the JTF2 is not there.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

March 20th, 2003 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, when his communications director insulted the American president, at first the Prime Minister defended her. Two weeks ago when one of his members expressed her hatred for Americans and then joked about it on TV, he defended her. Now his energy minister has insulted again the elected leader of our principal ally and the Prime Minister has not yet reprimanded him.

When will the Prime Minister stand in his place and make it clear that these damaging anti-American remarks are completely unacceptable from members of his government?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister issued a communiqué clarifying his position. I was very happy that he did clarify it.

In the caucus yesterday I said to all the members of my caucus that it was not the time to have any remarks of that nature. I am sure that the great majority of them will understand that we have to respect the decision of the Americans, just as they respect our decision.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, is that the same kind of clarification we got from the member for Mississauga Centre which was to joke about it?

The energy minister's remarks came after that caucus meeting. Why is it that his own members and ministers do not take him seriously when the Prime Minister disavows these anti-American slurs? Is it possibly because he engages in them himself in his own caucus meetings?

Why will the Prime Minister not stop his members from damaging the economic and strategic interests of Canadians with these uncalled for slurs against our closest friends at a time of great urgency?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the relationships between Canada and the United States are perfectly capable of strategic, economic, family and other unities that will withstand many remarks by many members.

I am confident that our relations are so strong we will even be able to withstand the slurs that the Alliance Party is constantly concocting, saying that Canadians are anti-American. They are creating this climate, not us. Why do they not stop their slurs?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Defence confirmed that Canadian military personnel integrated with the special units under an agreement with other countries were under the command of American or British officers and, consequently, no Canadian officers were required.

Does the Minister of Defence not think that Canadian troops in such a context might once again end up being required to violate international rules, as they were in Afghanistan in connection with the treatment of prisoners?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois ought to understand, along with the NDP, that regardless of the fact that the U.S. and Canada have reached different conclusions with respect to Iraq, it is as true today as it was a week ago that Canada and the United States are the best of friends and allies.

We are therefore still working with the Americans as far as continental defence and the war against terrorism are concerned, including the one currently—

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval.