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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

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the hon. member will agree with me that the Prime Minister's comportment in this matter has been very careful and very wise. This is not a wisdom that comes from anything except a respect for our United States colleagues, a respect that he owes President Bush, that I owe Secretary Powell, that the Deputy Prime Minister owes Mr. Ridge, and right through the system to Mr. Ashcroft and the good relations we have both with the administration and the American people.

I promise the House that the government will continue to be guided in that light. We have good relations with the United States. We will continue to have good relations with the United States.

IraqOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the war in Iraq began, the Minister of National Defence keeps saying that maintaining Canadian troops in the Persian Gulf region is essential to the fight against terrorism. Yet, yesterday in the House, he confirmed that the Canadian ships escorting the allied ships would have to respond if any of them were attacked.

Does maintaining troops in the region not contradict Canada's stated anti-war position?

IraqOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I said that the NDP does not get it, and it seems that neither does the Bloc Quebecois. What happened last night is that the Bloc's amendment, seeking to pull out our ships, was very soundly defeated. As I said several minutes ago, we are proud of the role our ships continue to play in the Gulf in the fight against terrorism. We are proud that we are there to protect our allies from potential terrorist attacks.

IraqOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence must realize that his message is extremely ambiguous. On one hand, he talks about working for peace, and on the other, he says that he will defend his belligerent allies if they are attacked.

How can the Minister of National Defence reconcile two such contradictory approaches?

IraqOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Bloc Quebecois says, our message is extremely clear, and it is based on two principles.

First, we respect the right of the United States, but we also have the right to decide for ourselves. That is what we have done in deciding not to participate in the war. But the second principle, which is just as important, is that Canada has been a full partner in the war against terrorism since September 11. The risk is greater than ever before, and our efforts continue.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the defence minister dismissed the concerns of Sea King crews about the danger of flying Sea Kings without proper night vision equipment while at the same time he is looking at buying a new building for head office staff.

Good government is about setting priorities, about knowing what is important and what is not as important. Does the minister think it is good government to purchase a new building for headquarters staff while he will not buy night vision equipment which could improve the safety of our Sea King crews?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I did not dismiss the concerns of helicopter pilots yesterday. I dismissed the unwarranted comments of the member across the way. Indeed, I said that I had received assurances regarding safety from the Chief of Defence Staff, a former helicopter pilot, and I had spoken to three helicopter pilots myself in the morning who assured me of the safety. It is also the case that we have equipment to provide night vision. Our new helicopters will have superior equipment and we are in the process of developing improvements in that area.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, post-9/11 the downtown Ottawa Department of National Defence headquarters location became a security risk, according to the minister, yet the minister is insisting on moving the Emergency Preparedness College from Arnprior, outside Ottawa, where it was designed to serve an alternate disaster operations centre, to Ottawa. Since the national capital has been identified as a potential target for terrorists, why is the government moving the logical alternate command centre site from Arnprior to ground zero?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I must say I have a little difficulty following that convoluted logic, but my first responsibility is to ensure the preparedness of first responders to potential terrorist attack. That responsibility has if anything augmented as a consequence of events in Iraq and, as the member well knows, the facilities in Arnprior were not appropriate to carry out those fundamental responsibilities of the government. It is for that reason that the decision to move was taken.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to yesterday's Toronto Star , the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is preparing to make some major changes to the Immigration and Refugee Board. It would appear that he is, in fact, contemplating replacing the board members, currently appointed by the governor in council, with Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials.

Can the minister explain why he wants to abolish an independent system and replace it with one in which public servants would be simultaneously judge and jury?

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brampton Centre Ontario

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member read the article like everybody else. The minister did not propose anything. He just suggested ways to improve the deal we had in 1989. Anything that can improve on that system I think is a job to look forward to. I hope in the future the hon. member supports the streamlining of refugees so we can make it easier, faster and cheaper.

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its 2000 election platform, the Bloc Quebecois proposed replacing the present political appointment process for Immigration and Refugee Board members with a transparent appointment procedure based on candidates' professional qualifications and experience.

Can the minister explain to us why he has not gone with an option that would ensure an appointment process based, not on political connections, but professional qualifications and experience?

Immigration and Refugee BoardOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brampton Centre Ontario

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the assumption is totally wrong. Every appointment the government has made in the last nine and a half years has been fantastic, based on the ability of the person, nothing more, nothing less.

Child PornographyOral Question Period

March 21st, 2003 / 11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government may talk about protecting children, but it does exactly the opposite.

Prominent human rights lawyer David Matas has recently stated that Bill C-20, the proposed child pornography legislation, goes in exactly the wrong direction. Instead of narrowing the defence of artistic merit, indeed it broadens the defence.

When will the government finally find the courage to protect children, rather than siding with the interests of child pornographers?

Child PornographyOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Northumberland Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of child pornography, clearly we have brought forward a bill that we believe will be very effective in dealing with the concerns that were raised by the Sharpe case. We believe that eliminating the artistic merit defence will in fact be in the best interests of the children of our community. We are very interested in maintaining the priority of children as part of the government's process of making sure that children are safe within our community.

Sex Offender RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the snail's pace at which the national sex offender registry bill is proceeding through the House speaks volumes about the priority the government places on the safety of our society and of our children. At this speed, it is very likely that we will not have the sex offender registry before next Christmas, or even before the next election.

I ask the Solicitor General, will he immediately ensure that Bill C-23 is made a priority and is brought before the House sooner rather than later?

Sex Offender RegistryOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, maybe the member has not looked at the projected order of business, but the fact of the matter is it is before the House today.

First, we had to bring the provinces on side in terms of the sex offender registry. We have done that. We are pushing it with due haste. If we get the right kind of cooperation from the members on the other side rather than playing games, we would get the bill through the House so it can do what it is intended to do, which is to protect children in this country.

Child CareOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Human Resources Development successfully negotiated Canada's first ever national child care program. Her provincial and territorial colleagues agreed to her plan to allocate some $900 million to regulated child care spaces across the country.

Can the minister tell the House what this means in practical terms for working parents?

Child CareOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, last week I was thrilled to reach agreement with provinces and territories on a national plan to improve the quality and accessibility of regulated early learning and child care in Canada.

Provinces and territories have agreed to invest the $900 million announced in the recent federal budget to create new spaces in regulated child care centres, private homes and nurseries, to increase subsidies that assist parents in meeting the costs of this care, or to increase compensation for givers of regulated care.

This is another example of the Government of Canada's commitment to make sure that our youngest citizens have the very best possible first start in their lives.

IraqOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister is very good on so-called sovereign decisions, but not so hot on international law, judging by what he said yesterday and reiterated again today in the House. Yesterday in speaking about Bush's war, he said, “We have made our decision. They have made their sovereign decision. We respect that”.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, that too was a sovereign decision. Surely the point of international law is to stop sovereign decisions that are illegal.

I ask the minister again, does Bush's war violate international law, yes or no?

IraqOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am not in a position to give a legal opinion on behalf of the United States of America, but Secretary Powell and the British government have been saying that their intervention in these circumstances is fully justified under a series of Security Council resolutions, terminating with Security Council resolution 1441.

We would have preferred a different political solution, but I think that is an interpretation which we have to respect and recognize that it is in their sovereign right to take action based on their analysis of the legal opinion such as they see it.

IraqOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister should take a refresher course at law school.

Yesterday he said, “They are taking steps in self-defence which are authorized under UN resolutions which they have cited”. Clearly the UN has not authorized Bush's war. It is in fact pre-emptive and not self-defence.

Mr. Bush can cite whatever he wants. The very simple question is, does the minister think that his citations are correct, yes or no? Is the war legal or illegal in the minister's view? Why will he not answer that question?

IraqOral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I read the declaration of the attorney general of the United Kingdom. I read the legal opinion and listened carefully to what Secretary of State Powell said. They referred to a series of resolutions. Those resolutions I believe were correct, the resolutions they referred to.

The fact that the hon. member draws a different conclusion from them, maybe she and I and all of us should go back for refresher courses at law school.

I think what we are trying to achieve here is a political issue which is of great importance to the future of the world. This government will continue to be motivated by its determination to work in the best interests of Canada and of Canadians and the world in finding the right solutions.

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, while an all party committee from Newfoundland and Labrador was developing a plan to make sure the cod fishery in the region was maintained and enhanced, the federal government was planning also. Instead of assisting the province, the federal government, without the involvement of DFO, was having HRDC and ACOA make plans to address the fallout of another fishery closure through EI extensions and make work programs.

Why did the government go behind everybody's back and pull the rug out from under its own fisheries minister and the all party committee in Newfoundland and Labrador?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Liberal

Robert Thibault LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the member should go back and talk to the government of his province. It would indicate to him that in discussions with the provincial government, it was agreed that we would get together federally and provincially to see what the impact of potential closures would be and to see what kind of measures we could take at the federal level and at the provincial level to assist those communities in the event of such an action.