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House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was iraq.

Topics

Question No. 134Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

For the fiscal years 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 et 2000-2001, from all departments and agencies of the government, including crown corporations and quasi/non-governmental agencies funded by the government, and not including research and student-related grants and loans, what is the list of grants, loans, contributions and contracts awarded in the constituency of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, including the name and address of the recipient, whether or not it was competitively awarded, the date, the amount and the type of funding, and if repayable, whether or not it has been repaid?

Return tabled.

Question No. 135Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

For the fiscal years 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 et 2000-2001, from all departments and agencies of the government, including crown corporations and quasi/non-governmental agencies funded by the government, and not including research and student-related grants and loans, what is the list of grants, loans, contributions and contracts awarded in the constituency of Wetaskiwin, including the name and address of the recipient, whether or not it was competitively awarded, the date, the amount and the type of funding, and if repayable, whether or not it has been repaid?

Return tabled.

Question No. 137Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

For the fiscal years 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 et 2000-2001, from all departments and agencies of the government, including crown corporations and quasi/non-governmental agencies funded by the government, and not including research and student-related grants and loans, what is the list of grants, loans, contributions and contracts awarded in the constituency of Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys, including the name and address of the recipient, whether or not it was competitively awarded, the date, the amount and the type of funding, and if repayable, whether or not it has been repaid?

Return tabled.

Question No. 138Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

For the fiscal years 1993-1994, 1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 et 2000-2001, from all departments and agencies of the government, including crown corporations and quasi/non-governmental agencies funded by the government, and not including research and student-related grants and loans, what is the list of grants, loans, contributions and contracts awarded in the constituency of Kelowna, including the name and address of the recipient, whether or not it was competitively awarded, the date, the amount and the type of funding, and if repayable, whether or not it has been repaid?

Return tabled.

Question No. 145Routine Proceedings

March 24th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

With regard to vehicles purchased for the use of the Federal Court of Canada and Supreme Court of Canada justices: ( a ) what type of vehicle is currently being utilized; ( b ) when were they purchased; ( c ) how much did each vehicle cost; ( d ) how many vehicles are there; ( e ) how many kilometers are on each vehicle; ( f ) is the Federal Court planning on purchasing new vehicles; ( g ) if so, for what reason(s) is the Federal Court planning on purchasing new vehicles; ( h ) is the Supreme Court planning on purchasing new vehicles; ( i ) if so, for what reason(s) is the Supreme Court planning on purchasing new vehicles; and ( j ) do Canada's commitments under the Kyoto Protocol have anything to do with the purchase or planned purchase of new vehicles for the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada?

Return tabled

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White Canadian Alliance North Vancouver, BC

With respect to the government's National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention, what are the results of the review or reviews, due to have been completed by November of 2002, which have been carried out in order to determine whether any of the 1,900 crime prevention projects funded since 1998 have produced the intended results, and whether certain types of programme are more effective than others, and can the government identify the programmes which have resulted in measurably different reductions in crime and improvements in community safety when compared with areas which have not used those programmes?

Return tabled.

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 39(5) to inform the House that the matter of the failure of the minister to respond to the following questions on the order paper is deemed referred to several standing committees of the House as follows:

Question No. 130, standing in the name of the hon. member for Calgary West, to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates;

Question No. 133, standing in the name of the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates; and

Question No. 136, standing in the name of the hon. member for Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you would find unanimous consent to return to motions to set a time tomorrow for the votes that are supposed to take place tonight.

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to return to motions?

Question No. 150Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceHouse Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think you will find unanimous consent that any votes that may take place after our opposition day today would be held tomorrow immediately following question period.

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Business of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

There are five minutes remaining in the questions and comments period for the hon. member for Regina—Qu'Appelle.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to quote a statement by Rev. Kenneth Joseph, a pastor of the Assyrian Church of the East who went to Iraq recently as a human shield. He said that his “trip to Iraq had shocked me back to reality”. He said that some of the Iraqis he had interviewed on camera “told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam Hussein's bloody tyranny”. Rev. Joseph said that the Iraqis convinced him that Saddam is “a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists”.

I wonder if the member could respond to those remarks of a former human shield in Iraq.

The member dwelt at great length on what he characterizes as the illegality of this war. I infer from that, and perhaps he could confirm, that he therefore believes that the current Baath regime in Iraq is a legitimate and legal one. If he does believe that in this reactionary attachment to Westphalian notions of national sovereignty which he seems to hold, is he willing to tell us that if the current regime in Iraq is deposed by force in the current military action, would he like this legal and licit regime to be restored? Will he be consistent? Will his position be that the removal of this regime is illicit, therefore the regime should remain in power? Is that the position he is taking, that the Saddam regime is a legal one that must remain in power because it is a sovereign government?

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could start off by quoting myself. This is what I have said publicly about Saddam Hussein.

Let me make it clear that Saddam Hussein is a dangerous thug and a brutal dictator. He is guilty of human rights abuses and atrocities against his own citizens. He rules the people of Iraq through fear and intimidation. He is a war criminal worthy only of our utter contempt. That is my position on Saddam Hussein.

However a couple of wrongs do not make it right. What has happened is there is a clear violation of international law by George Bush. Henry Kissinger who was the national security adviser to President Nixon, another Republican president, who is a right winger, a Republican, has said that what is happening today is an illegal war, it is a violation of international law. That is what George Bush is doing and that is what Tony Blair is doing.

Either we believe in the rule of law or we do not. The Alliance Party talks a lot about law and order, yet it is ready here to flaunt international law. Where do we stop?

It is Iraq today. There are many other countries that have dictators. In fact the majority of the world is run by dictators. Some of them are also thugs. Where do we go next? Is it North Korea? Is it Saudi Arabia? Is it Iran? Is it Libya? Where do we go next?

I remind my friend across the way that the Americans started off by supporting Saddam Hussein. It was Ronald Reagan who made sure some of the chemicals that were used in Iraq in terms of chemical warfare were allowed to be sold to Saddam Hussein. The Americans support many of the despots, dictators and thugs around the world. The list goes on and on.

I am so surprised that my friend from Calgary who is an intelligent man is so gullible to be sucked into this belief that George Bush is right on this one. He is wrong. He is violating international law. It is an illegal war. Tony Blair is wrong. If Tony Blair did not back George Bush, Bush would not have the legitimacy in the United States to conduct this war.

What is happening here is immoral, it is illegal and it is wrong. People, from Cronkite to Schwarzkopf to the Pope to most of the churches in the world, agree with that position.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, to be quite honest I just cannot believe it, having been in this place for nine years, listening to the ridiculous statements coming from the New Democratic Party to date just astounds me.

On one hand the member agrees with the Canadian Alliance that Saddam Hussein is “a dangerous thug, a dictator”, yet on the other hand the member is quite willing to let him continue to commit the genocide of his own people, to be a constant threat to the entire world, certainly to the Middle East, and do nothing about it.

If the New Democratic Party had its way, Saddam Hussein would still be in Kuwait because it would not do anything to remove this man.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thought the Alliance believed in some semblance of law and order. What he is saying here is that George Bush is a policeman of the world. What George Bush thinks is wrong, he attacks. Where does he go next, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Libya? Where does he go next?

We need the United Nations because it is an international body. What George Bush has done is violate international law. He has committed a wrong. Henry Kissinger and international law experts have said that. If the Alliance does not support the rule of law, if it believes in violation of international law, then it should answer to the Canadian people.

The last point is that people in Alliance ridings oppose this war. The Alliance is supposed to represent the grassroots of Canada and yet it stands up against its own people. I say shame on the Alliance.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, like everybody else who participates in this debate, I will say that it is probably a debate we would rather not have to participate in. However, the action is going on and that is why we are here to discuss such issues.

Having listened to the recent speeches from members of the New Democratic Party, I am wondering from which authority they are getting the idea that this is not a legal war. Our own Prime Minister, from whom we should be able to take direction, has said quite clearly in the House that the war is legitimate. The leader of our party, the right hon. member for Calgary Centre, has asked government for a legal opinion. We did not get one but yet the Prime Minister, just a couple of days ago, made it quite clear in the House that he and the government recognize the legitimacy of the war. To say that the war is illegal and that is why the NDP is against it does not hold water.

However, we have concerns about where the government stands on this. In the beginning, before the war had actually started, as questions, comments and debates raged in this House, most parties--and I am not speaking for the NDP or the Bloc--were in agreement when they said that they would support action if sanctioned by the United Nations. That would have been the ideal way to go about this. However, because of procrastination within the United Nations, it did not happen.

Let us look at what was going on in Iraq, and certainly everybody is aware of Saddam Hussein's past. We remember the Kurds he killed, the war with Iran, the invasion of Kuwait, and the slaughter of his own people. I could go on and on. For 12 years we have given him and his regime a chance to clean up their act, but they laughed at the efforts. Then we sent in a group to find the missiles or any kind of weapons of mass destruction. Did they find anything? To some degree, yes, but nothing of any great significance which would lead the other countries to decide to go in and take action.

We were not surprised that they did not find anything. As we watched the search it reminded me of the old days in Newfoundland outports when the Mounties came in looking for the moonshine stills. They knew someone was coming, where they were, what they did and what they were going to do today and tomorrow. Were they going to leave the evidence out in the open for them to see? The answer is quite obvious.

All of this led to the point where somebody had to make a decision. It was the United States and Britain, and let us remember 40 other countries, who decided it was time to take action. A few days ago we had a vote on a motion put forth by the Bloc. The motion read:

That this House call upon the government not to participate in the military intervention initiated by the United States in Iraq.

Let us make a couple of things clear. First, the action was not initiated by the United States but by Saddam Hussein and his regime a long time ago. Second, the government voted for the motion. It voted to call upon the House not to participate, that means to not get involved at all.

Yet the following day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was asked about Canada's stand. He said:

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.

In other words, what the minister was saying was that if the motion came up and if the government thought the people of the country might support it at any one given time, it would support it also, but if it wanted to do something else tomorrow it would not make any difference. What kind of leadership are we seeing? For weeks in the House we saw a government jump all over the place and we could not get a clear-cut idea as to where it stood on the whole issue.

The Prime Minister sits on the fence with his finger in the air wondering which way the wind blows. He waits to see what the people of the country say. He is a leader governed by polls. He is one of those who says, there go my people, I must follow them because I am their leader.

We need a leader who leads the parade and not one who sits on the fence and watches it pass. We need people in government who realize that public opinion at any one time is not necessarily reaction to the actual situation. It is reaction to the initial reaction, and broadcasting of any one situation. That is exactly what we are seeing here.

There is a motion before us today. If the government had any influence with the United States or with the United Nations we may not have to worry about either this one or the one with which we dealt on Thursday because we would be looking at an entirely difference scenario. There was a time when Canada led the fray in diplomacy. There was a time when Canada went to the United Nations and it was listened to. There was a time when Canada spoke to the United States or to Great Britain and it was listened to, and Canada offered a leadership role in democracy.

There was an interesting comment in the House this afternoon by the minister responsible for CIDA when talking about the government's involvement following the war. For days again the Prime Minister showed that the government had no idea at all of Canada's involvement following whatever happens in Iraq. Canada has always been a leader when it comes to refocusing and restructuring after world conflicts. Will we be a player this time? The government is now saying, after days and weeks, that Canada will be a player, but the comment today was probably the most applicable one. She said, “Canada will be there after the reconstruction”. She did not say we would be there for the reconstruction.

I know she probably got mixed up in her wording but if we read the blues, she said that Canada will be there after the reconstruction and that is probably what will happen because we are so far behind as a world player these days.

It is extremely unfortunate. Our friend and neighbour to the south who would be there if we were in any kind of a conflict, but we sit by and pay absolutely no attention to them. We do not know where we are actually because there has been absolutely no leadership. The government is saying no that it is not getting involved one day and then the next says it does not know, maybe it will.

When people ask us to follow what government says and to support the government stand, how can we support a stand when we do not know what the stand is, when the government itself does not know what the stand is?

Canadians were always proud participants on the world stage. Canadians, and Newfoundlanders before they joined Canada, in both world conflicts lived the fray. Who went in and helped clean up Europe? Who went in and saved France from the German onslaught. Twice it was Canadians and Newfoundlanders. Let us not forget Vimy Ridge.

To look at how we are wimping out of our part as a player on the world stage, we only need to look at the song that Elvis Presley sang that was taken from the Shakespearean play:

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

That is exactly what we are seeing from the government.

Canada should be a leader. All of us should be supporting a government and a country that plays a leadership role. In a conflict like this, we cannot sit back and let somebody else do it. We have to play our part and we should be involved.

I will go to parts two, three and four of the motion first. The second part expresses our support for the Canadian servicemen and servicewomen. Let us never fail to support our people who are involved in the conflict. Let us never fail to support the other nations who are there to protect the freedom of the world. If they had not been there in 1939 to 1945, what would it be like here? We would not have the freedom we have today to say whatever we want and to make the varying decisions that we make.

Part three states, “extend to the innocent people of Iraq its support and sympathy”. Many people in Iraq are just as glad as others that this is happening because they might have the chance to find freedom and peace in their country and in the surrounding countries.

Part four states, “urge the government to commit itself to help the Iraqi people, including through humanitarian assistance, to build a new Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbours”. That is the wish of all of us. Canada should play a leading role in the reconstruction, even if we did not have the forces. We all know how the government has let our defensive corps fall away to nothing, individually and in relation to the equipment that they must use. We at least could pledge our support and offer to help out as the reconstruction begins. We are not even listened to now. We are a joke on the world stage.

We talk about protest. It is not really hard to get a protest going. I also know there are people with varying views across the country, and I respect that right. However, I saw people in the Montreal Forum booing the American flag. That is unfortunate regardless of how we feel about the United States. Fortunately on Saturday night we saw a change when people in Toronto in the Air Canada Centre stood up and cheered when the American anthem was sung. Then we felt proud that we supported our neighbours. Whether we agree with the war, they are still our neighbours and we will be there to help them.

This is not the message that has been sent forth by the government. Backbenchers are making comments from which all of us distance ourselves. When frontline ministers start making similar comments, we wonder what is happening in our North American relationships.

It is about time that we as Canadians played our part in ensuring the world is a proper, peaceful place to live. We should be a leader in diplomacy. If we are not going to take that leadership role, then at least we should be able to support those who do.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I see one of my colleagues who would also like to ask a question. I will try to keep it short.

First, on behalf of the official opposition, I appreciate the approach of my colleague from the Progressive Conservatives to the motion we have tabled for debate today. I take it that at least he will support it, and hopefully his party and all its members present will support the motion when it comes to a vote tomorrow afternoon.

I take no pride in the fact that it is even worse than what the hon. member talked about during his remarks. It is not only because of the Liberal government decimating our Canadian armed forces, that we cannot play a role even if the government chose to so. Even with things such as the expulsion of Iraqi diplomats, which the American government has called upon our country to do, our government refuses to take that type of action. It refuses to seize Iraqi assets in our country. It refuses even those little diplomatic steps that it could take to show its support for this war on a brutal dictator.

I noticed in the news today that Australia, a country similar to ours in size and population, is there actively involved with our allies and will be actively involved with the United States in the clean up of debris in a port so humanitarian aid can be brought into Iraq to help the Iraqi people. Canada is nowhere to be seen. On all those fronts, Canada could play a meaningful role if only the government would act on behalf of the forces of freedom.

Could my colleague comment on those types of roles that Canada could play?

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I may have been remiss. I am not sure when I started if I mentioned I would be splitting my time with the member for South Shore. That is why I ended so early, which leaves me 5 minutes rather than 10 minutes for questions and answers.

In relation to the question from my hon. friend from the Alliance Party, I am sure the complete lack of leadership in the present government is no surprise to him, as it certainly is no surprise to me and it is becoming no surprise to the people of Canada.

We do not have to be warmongers. There is nobody who would love to see a peaceful solution to this present conflict more so than myself. However, to have peace in the world, there sometimes has to be war. If we did not have the great wars of 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945, we would not have the type of peace, protection and freedoms that we have in the world. There comes a time when dictators and people who prey on others have to be stopped.

However Canada, if it did not want to be directly involved in warmongering, it could have been heavily involved in the peaceful side of it, in diplomacy, in reconstruction and in preparation for reconstruction, as was mentioned.

I was in Australia just a short while ago and there were protests against the government. The conflict had not started but it was talking about getting involved. I think 90% of the population was extremely upset. That is not the case today. There is always this initial reaction. As I said in my speech, people react to the initial reactions that usually come from somebody who is against whatever issue. We always get those who are solidly against any decision at first and they colour opinion until people begin to stop, think and analyze it themselves and then make up their own minds. We can see the support changing in the United States, in Great Britain, in Australia, and I would say here in Canada, certainly from my own experience and from what we can see quite obviously on different television shows from the different arenas.

Yes, the performance of government has been abysmal. How can it change? Maybe if public opinion changes, government changes with it. Really, it is supposed to be the other way around. However, if we look at the government we are dealing with, I think that answers the question.