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House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sexual.

Topics

IraqOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

IraqOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla will have a chance to ask a supplementary question in due course, but we have to be able to hear the answer to the first one. I urge all hon. members to pay some attention to the member who has the floor, in this case the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

IraqOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is one Iraqi diplomat in Canada today. Earlier in December of last year, we had a diplomat removed at our request. We will of course monitor the situation and make a decision in respect of Canada's interest and whether it is in the best interest in these circumstances to take that action.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. government seized $1.74 billion in foreign assets of Saddam's regime, money which will now be committed to the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. This type of action will ensure that neither Saddam nor his henchmen can run off with the money, the wealth of the Iraqi people.

Why will our government not show true compassion to the Iraqi people by seizing the assets of Saddam's regimes that may be parked right here in Canada? Why will it not at least do that?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we will not take any immediate action to do that because we already did it many years ago.

Canada has had it in place since 1990, if the member will listen to the answer, under the United Nations Iraq regulations which impose a freeze on Iraqi assets in Canada. Pursuant to UN security council resolutions, there is already a freeze on Iraqi assets in Canada.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the prompt restoration of peace in Iraq is legitimate, justified and desirable, as opposed to the war, which is not. In addition to the humanitarian dimension, we need to prepare for the post-war period now.

There will be a regime change, but Iraq must not become an American protectorate. It is up to the UN to set up a provisional administration.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell the House what diplomatic action has been taken by Canada to ensure that the reconstruction of Iraq will be carried out under the auspices of the UN?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously this is an extremely important question. Canada's position is that Iraq's post-war administration should be established by the United Nations.

We will be working toward this with all of the other countries involved.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the war in Iraq will not only be hard on Iraqi civilians, but it will poison an already tense situation throughout the entire Middle East.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us if Canada will support an international conference on the Middle East, as proposed by France?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a proposal. We are studying all of the proposals made by France with the respect they deserve.

Accordingly, we are considering whether such a conference would be appropriate in the coming days. However, obviously we have to study this kind of proposal very carefully. We will do so from the perspective that we have already mentioned in the House, in terms of international interest, with a view to resolving this crisis as soon as possible.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. has seized Iraqi assets in U.S. banks and has also decided to allocate this money to humanitarian aid.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs agree that it would be much better to leave it up to the UN to determine how this money should be used, rather than letting the U.S. be the sole arbiter?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that the freeze on Iraqi assets in Canada, which has been in place—as I just mentioned to the House—since 1990, is in accordance with UN regulations.

Naturally this will continue to be the case and we will handle any such assets in accordance with Security Council regulations and Canadian law.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, several organizations will join in the humanitarian effort in Iraq.

Does the minister agree that again, the UN is the best placed to coordinate all the humanitarian work in Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, obviously we intend to promote this point of view, namely that it would be appropriate and even preferable for the administration of humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Iraq to be carried out under an international mandate rather than the mandate of one single power.

We are trying to convince our American friends that it would be in their best interest to adopt a UN-type system. I think they will see our point of view.

IraqOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that Canadian ships are escorting ships involved in an illegal war, without authorization from Parliament. My question is for the Minister of National Defence. He has authorized Canadian ships to escort warships as far north as Kuwait, involving us in this war. Could he assure Canadians that our sailors have the same level of protection as the sailors they are escorting?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, one must always be extraordinarily cautious in releasing information that may involve the security of our men and women at sea. As they say, loose lips can sink ships.

However, I am able to inform the House that all of our sailors are equipped with protective equipment to defend themselves against biological and chemical attack. Not only that, but our ships have the capacity to seal themselves in the event of a biological or chemical attack. I am pleased to be able to inform the House of these facts today.

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadian surveillance planes are supplying data to the U.S. fifth fleet. Our ships are escorting warships. Yet supposedly Canada is not involved in Bush's war. To ensure that we are not involved, could the defence minister tell us where Operation Apollo ends and Bush's war begins for our 1,300 armed forces personnel in the gulf?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

I just mentioned security concerns, Mr. Speaker, and I am certainly not going to reveal to the world exactly where our ships are operating, but I would say that the NDP does not seem to get it. We had a resolution on this matter from the Bloc which was defeated overwhelmingly yesterday. The fact of the matter is that there is absolutely no way Canada is going to withdraw from the war against terrorism, to cut and run at a moment when our allies are at greatest risk. Indeed, we are fully committed to the war against terrorism and are proud of what we are doing in the gulf.

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, before last night the government was able to argue that Canada would not participate in Iraq at this time. Canada was as flexible as France. But the Prime Minister and his government last night voted in favour of a much more categoric resolution that absolutely shuts the door on any subsequent United Nations action. Either that vote means nothing or Canada is not now free to respond to Saddam's use of weapons of mass destruction. Which is it?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is not our view that the vote last night, which clearly was the opinion of the House, was that we should not be sending troops to be a part of this intervention. It would determine all future possibilities for all future time and no Parliament seeks to bind its government in such a way. The government will take its responsibility and take the actions that are necessary for the protection of the Canadian people and the establishment of international peace and order, as it has always done in the past and will continue to do in the future.

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister sucks and blows at the same time. That means that in his view the vote he cast last night means absolutely nothing at all.

I am pleased to hear that he is finally talking about reconstruction after ignoring that for the first several days of this debate. He knows that the United Nations has authority to deal with humanitarian actions but that it needs a new resolution to deal with reconstruction. Is Canada acting actively to have a new resolution drafted and, more importantly, to build the kind of consensus that would ensure such a resolution would be adopted by the Security Council?

IraqOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

To be fair, Mr. Speaker, I must say that I appreciate the hon. member's interest in the issue of reconstruction, but it is not correct to say we have taken no interest in this up until now. We have been extremely aware of it, but the question is, how does one act reasonably and in a way that is going to make a positive contribution to this issue?

The Prime Minister made it clear that before the intervention took place talk of reconstruction might have caused other political issues to arise. That is now there. We will do our part. We are acting at the United Nations. We agree with the members of the House that this would be best managed through a United Nations process and we will actively pursue that agenda.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

March 21st, 2003 / 11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, a new poll says that 52% of Canadians are worried about the damage to our relationship with the United States created by the government's self-indulgent anti-American ranting. Now even the cabinet is getting into the act.

Does the foreign affairs minister understand that the steady stream of poison coming from his own caucus cannot help but undermine our relationship with our best friends in the United States?

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have always taken the position and the government's position has always been that the United States is acting in these circumstances in a review of its own sovereign interest, the protection of its citizens and the establishment of peace and order as it sees it. We have chosen to take another path, but that does not mean that we criticize the path chosen by our American colleagues.

I accept what all members of the House accept, which is that we will act in this way, in a way to preserve the friendship with the United States, the access across the border and the best relations we have. I am confident that we will be able to do it. I urge the hon. members opposite not to envenom--

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Medicine Hat.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fish rots from the head down. What we have seen from the caucus across the way is the Prime Minister giving tacit approval to what some of his caucus members are saying by not taking them to task for it. Very often the Prime Minister will dress down his members when they hurt his party. When is he going to start to dress them down when they are hurting his country?