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House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in response to the WHO recommendation, we do have screening procedures in place. It appears quite clear that the screening procedures not only meet the requirements of the WHO but it has asked us to post those procedures so that other countries can learn from what we are doing and perhaps put in place similar procedures.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is not exactly what I was getting at.

The WHO asked us to screen passengers as they depart. It did not ask us to put posters on the wall. It did not ask them to self-diagnose.

My question for the health minister is straightforward. The WHO has asked us to screen passengers as they depart Toronto, just like we screen for our baggage contents. Why can Canada not do that, with this minister at the helm?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that is not what the WHO means by screening.

In fact, we have been in constant contact with the WHO. We have put in place procedures that certainly meet the requirements of this public health concern at this time. If in fact other steps are required we would take them.

However we are monitoring the situation and, to the best of my knowledge, as of 15 minutes ago the WHO believes the procedures we have in place at Pearson International Airport in relation to outgoing passengers meet its recommendations.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all very well for the Prime Minister to keep saying that Canada is not at war with Iraq, but international law on armed conflict is clear. In fact, according to article 2 of the Geneva Conventions, when soldiers of two countries confront one other, there is armed conflict between the two countries, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

Since Canadian soldiers are currently taking part in combat on Iraqi territory, will the Prime Minister finally acknowledge that, under international law, Canada is at war with Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when we respect agreements signed with other countries long ago, and when troops are assigned to another country, they act under the authority of that country.

Under such circumstances, the hon. member is not right in saying we are at war at this time. We have made it clear that we were not taking part in the war in Iraq.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence has acknowledged that there were Canadian soldiers in Canadian uniforms in combat zones. This seems clear to me, according to international law.

Is the Prime Minister telling me that, no matter what another country does, and even if we are not in agreement, if we have entered into an exchange agreement, our soldiers are going to go to war, even an unjust war, a war that has been condemned, a war in which we are not even taking part, a war that we have even condemned ourselves?

The Canadian position does not hold water.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry but, in military tradition when there are exchanges of this nature, such circumstances do arise. The military personnel on duty are fulfilling their duties as military personnel. I am sure that the few Canadians who are on Iraqi territory are fulfilling their duties with honour and skill.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of National Defence answered a question by saying that historians were looking into whether or not Canadian soldiers have ever taken part in a war while on exchange with another country's armed forces, without Canada officially being at war.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell us if they have found the answer to this question we have been waiting on for several days now?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can take any amount of muddle-headedness from the Bloc and the NDP but I wish the Alliance members would spare us their rank hypocrisy.

When they speak of us washing our hands of our troops or not supporting our troops, I take extremely strong exception to those comments.

Having visited Afghanistan in July and having been bowled over by the courage and performance of our troops, I have repeated this time and again in the House. It is the Canadian Alliance that is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of our soldiers.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, now the minister is indirectly answering questions from the Canadian Alliance rather than answering the questions that the Bloc Quebecois is asking him.

I asked him a question about historians. I have the feeling that the answer is that these historians have not yet done their job.

The Minister of National Defence will have to admit that there are Canadian soldiers who are in a combat situation in Iraq, without Canada taking part, officially, in the war. As far as we are concerned, this sets a precedent. This precedent demonstrates that the Canadian government is saying one thing about the war against Iraq and doing the opposite in reality.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, on occasion the questions from the Canadian Alliance provoke me a bit more than the completely repetitive questions that come from the Bloc Quebecois. Obviously the government did not make its decision based on historic precedents, because we continue to look for this type of precedent.

This decision was made for the reasons that I have explained a thousand times in the House. Does the Bloc Quebecois not have any other issues to raise?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister. The Prime Minister seems to be hiding behind the agreement that pertains to the exchange of troops between Canada and the United States. He also used the word tradition.

As I made clear in the House yesterday, the very agreement that the Prime Minister is referring to provides for the parent nation, in this case Canada, to withdraw its troops from a combat zone if that government so chooses. The Prime Minister cannot hide behind the agreement or tradition. It is a government decision.

Why did the Prime Minister decide to undermine his own very valid position by continuing to do this?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said and I will repeat that we have an agreement with the American government and the British government which we are respecting at this time. That does not mean we are participating in the war.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence admitted yesterday that we do have Canadians participating in the war. The agreement that the Prime Minister is referring to provides for the government to be able to withdraw. It would not be breaking the agreement to withdraw these 31 soldiers from the units in which they are.

I ask the Prime Minister this. Can he imagine in the past Pierre Trudeau or Lester Pearson opposing the war in Vietnam but having Canadian troops in the Mekong delta? I do not think he can imagine that. Why is he putting himself in that kind of position?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we clearly indicated two weeks ago that the troops that were with the Americans, the British and the Australians were to carry on with their duties. We made that declaration at that time and we informed everybody. We will respect the agreement we made with them.

HealthOral Question Period

April 1st, 2003 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. To this point, governments are relying on voluntary quarantines and voluntary compliance to limit the SARS outbreak. The Quarantine Act allows the government to enforce quarantines and compliance. It can be invoked at the minister's discretion. A Health Canada official is quoted as saying that would be “an extreme measure” in these circumstances. The minister must be considering this option to protect public health.

Under what circumstances would the government consider invoking the Quarantine Act?

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the Quarantine Act can be invoked in a variety of different circumstances. We have been monitoring the situation daily on an hourly basis. There is no necessity at this point nor has any particular situation presented itself that would require the invocation of the act.

If someone were to come in to Vancouver International Airport and there were reasonable cause to believe that they were ill and they did not submit to voluntary isolation, my quarantine officers on the ground could invoke the act to hold that person.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Transport said that government assistance to Air Canada would not come in the form of a cash bailout. He would not rule out any loan guarantees or other financial arrangements. Earlier today Air Canada filed for bankruptcy protection, and a related announcement by the Government of Canada is imminent.

Could the Minister of Transport outline what guarantees he has received from Air Canada that this most recent bailout will be effective? Has he asked to see a new business plan? Has he seen a restructuring plan?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am unsure as to what the hon. member is referring. I made statements in the House yesterday that the Government of Canada was not interested in participating in a cash bailout of Air Canada, but we would help in the restructuring process. I have nothing further to add at this time, nor will I comment upon speculation about what the company may or may not be doing.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada is filing for bankruptcy protection because it desperately needs to reduce its costs.

United Airlines, in a similar process in the United States, by May 1 will have a court imposed or negotiated solution for its financial crunch. American Airlines yesterday announced a $1.8 billion deal that will keep it flying. In both of these cases, these private sector companies reached their necessary agreements without government interference.

Will the Minister of Transport agree that offering any government assistance to Air Canada would be unfair to other airlines, and it would hurt taxpayers overall?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, at no time have we interfered with the operations of Air Canada, and I stand by my answer of yesterday.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, it is actually a bit ironic and perhaps poetic justice that today is the one year anniversary of the introduction of the $24 air tax and this is what we see with Air Canada.

What the Minister of Transport could do, which would be progressive, would be to reduce fuel taxes, eliminate the air tax and deal with the airport rent issue. Nothing has happened for the air industry from this government except that it continually increases taxes and hammers it into the ground.

Will the transport minister agree today that his responsible role is to lower taxes so the air industry can fly, and to get off its back and stop treating the air industry like the cash cow it is not supposed to be?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, not that long ago we brought down a budget which included a reduction in the air transportation security charge of over 40%. I would like to see that bill passed in Parliament as soon as possible but that party across does not want the bill to proceed. What is he talking about, Mr. Speaker?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rules governing military exchanges are clear: should the host nation become involved in hostilities in which the parent nation is not a party, the exchange personnel shall not engage in combat, enter a combat zone, or deploy with troops, pending direction from the parent force.

By agreeing to give such directions, will the Canadian government acknowledge that it went against its official position of opposing the war in Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government made its decision; the government considered the matter of these exchanges. The government has alliances and, for us, these alliances are extremely important, even crucial. If these exchange personnel are withdrawn, it could endanger the lives of members of allied countries. That is our decision, and we are not going to change it.