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House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

Anti-War ProtestorsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have become inured to the odious images of anti-war protestors slurring elected leaders like Tony Blair and George Bush as butchers and Nazis because of their use of force as a last resort to protect international security, while not uttering a word of protest against Saddam's genocidal regime.

Indeed, a new poll shows that a third of Frenchmen hope that Saddam defeats our allies. Elements of the anti-war left, particularly in Europe, have shown ugly strains of bigotry and anti-Semitism, evidenced by the many recent desecrations of Jewish graves in France.

But now these purveyors of hatred have done the unthinkable. Last week the monument of the Commonwealth war cemetery at Étaples, France was desecrated by anti-war protestors with graffiti that read, “Dig up your dead”, “They soil our soil”, “Death to the Yankees”, and “Saddam will conquer and spill your blood”.

Mr. Speaker, 11,000 soldiers lie in that cemetery, including 1,148 Canadians who gave their lives to liberate France. Their sacred memory is disgraced. Shame on those who have done so, and shame on those who have inspired them.

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, U.S. military officials have said that Canadian sailors in the gulf region are involved in the search for Iraqi military and government officials. However, the defence minister said yesterday that Canadian sailors are not mandated to intercept, detain or transfer suspected Iraqi officials.

Is the defence minister saying that American officials are lying?

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for everything that appears in the media, but the truth of the matter is absolutely clear that we have not detained any Iraqi officials. The mandate of our task force does not include the capture, holding, or transfer of any such officials. Our task force is uniquely mandated to seek out terrorists and to turn those people over to the Americans in accordance with the war on terrorism.

In any case, our ships are miles and miles away from Iraq.

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us ignore for a second the different reports from the ground.

The government's current position is that Saddam's regime is guilty of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It now says apparently that he should face prosecution.

Is it the government's position that if Canadian naval personnel see Iraqi personnel, Saddam or his henchmen or whomever, they would just wave and let them go?

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I just stated as to the mandate of this task force. It does not include the seeking out, detention or transfer of officials of the Iraqi regime. That is because our mandate is to be involved in the war against terrorism.

As I have said many times in the House, the country and the government are absolutely 100% committed to the war against terrorism. That is the mandate of our task force and that is what our navy is assiduously doing at this moment.

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess the answer to my question about letting Saddam go is yes.

Let me follow that up. Coalition naval forces in the gulf are on high alert for suicide attacks. We know that Iraqi boats packed with explosives have been intercepted in the gulf.

Does the minister understand that if the Canadian navy does not help intercept Iraqi boats coalition lives could be lost?

IraqOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely an integral part of the mission of our task force to seek out those who would place mines or in any other way damage allied shipping and merchant ships in the region. Indeed, we have boarded ships suspected of carrying mines and the citizenship of individuals on those ships was of no consequence to our navy.

We are entirely engaged in this matter. Should we find any such mines or other damaging equipment we will deal with it. That is what our navy has been doing and will continue to do.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

April 3rd, 2003 / 2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former finance minister's company, Canada Steamship Lines, benefited from tax loopholes he helped to create. Those loopholes allow the former finance minister's company to transfer dividends back to Canada completely tax free.

Finance officials urged him to close those loopholes. A special taxation committee recommended shutting them down and the Auditor General said that these tax havens were unfair to other taxpaying Canadians, yet the former finance minister did nothing. He overruled their advice and plowed ahead with the same loopholes.

Why did the former finance minister maintain these tax loopholes when he knew that his shipping company would benefit from them?

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am informed that the matter of the tax treatment of international business corporations operating out of Barbados is a matter of tax treaty. A tax treaty exists between Barbados and Canada. There have been discussions between Canada and the government of Barbados with respect to the treatment of the income of international business corporations and the repatriation of that active business income to Canadian firms.

However, at the moment the provisions of the treaty continue to apply and it would not be a matter for us to deal with unilaterally.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in his first budget speech the former finance minister said:

Certain Canadian corporations are not paying an appropriate level of tax. Accordingly, we are taking measures to prevent Canadian-based companies from using foreign affiliates to avoid paying Canadian taxes.

The former finance minister conveniently failed to close the loopholes that help the flags of convenience.

Will the current finance minister move now to close the tax loopholes used by companies like Canada Steamship Lines from paying their fair share of Canadian taxes?

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member could be more precise about what loopholes he believes exist.

My understanding is that the matter respecting the treatment of dividends received out of active business income earned by offshore affiliates is dealt with under tax treaties. These are not changed unilaterally. They do require negotiation and I am sure he would agree with me that he would not take the rather remarkable step of cancelling it.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, even the United States has been critical of Canada's inconsistency. Canada says that it is against the war in Iraq, but only in words. In fact, Ambassador Cellucci said that with its ships in the Persian Gulf and its troops attached to foreign units, Canada was providing, and I quote, “more military support to this war in Iraq than most of the—countries that are part of the coalition”.

Given this comment, will the minister finally admit that Canada is taking part in the war in Iraq and that in order to be consistent with his statements, he should withdraw from the theatre of operations?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is true that Canada is making a very significant contribution in the gulf to the war on terrorism. There is a considerable philosophical difference between us and the Bloc Quebecois.

The Bloc Quebecois is not happy that we are making this contribution, but we, the government and myself, are proud of the fact that Canada is making a very important contribution in the gulf to the war on terrorism, and we are happy the Mr. Cellucci has recognized this contribution.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the greatest philosophical difference is that we are logical and that we tell the truth.

By way of its ambassador, the United States recognizes that Canadian soldiers and ships are helping the U.S. fight a war against Iraq. In fact, the only thing that the United States has not obtained is Canada's official support.

After George Bush's concept of pre-emptive war, has the Prime Minister not invented another new concept, that of unofficial war?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, these philosophical differences are not what the member inferred. Rather, for those of us on this side of the House, we view Americans as our best friends and allies. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the war against terrorism. That is why we are proud of our significant contribution to the war on terrorism, a contribution that Mr. Cellucci recently recognized, and we are proud of this.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American ambassador to Canada thinks that Canada's participation in the war in Iraq—not the war against terrorism but the war in Iraq—is good and even better than most of the 49 countries which support the war.

With such a positive report card from the ambassador, will the Prime Minister admit that his opposition in principle to the war in Iraq, for the purpose of pleasing the public, no longer holds water, since Canada's support for the war is being praised by the United States?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the issue of the war is not a philosophical issue. We have established our principles. We have stuck to our principles at the UN and these principles are still in effect.

The war has already begun and it is now clear that we want the war to be over quickly and that we want the Americans and their allies to be successful.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he can name a single sovereign nation, just one, which is officially against the war in Iraq and which has soldiers directly involved in the conflict on Iraqi soil, as Canada has in Iraq?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that among the ships in the Gulf there are some from France.

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister says that the Liberal policy on the war is a matter of principle. I would submit that the Liberals have principles they have not even used yet when it comes to the war. One of them seems to be their alleged principle against cluster bombs. Yesterday the Prime Minister was asked about the use of cluster bombs in the war and he said that we would have liked to have had a treaty against that, but we did not get one, so it is okay to use them.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister of National Defence. Would either one say that if it is okay to have an opinion on the war and it is okay to have an opinion on cluster bombs, what is the opinion of the Government of Canada with respect to the use of cluster bombs?

IraqOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this is a misrepresentation of the government's position. The Prime Minister made it very clear yesterday in the House that Canada sought to include cluster bombs in the ban covering landmines. We were unsuccessful in that regard.

However, the Government of Canada does not use cluster bombs at all, so we have our house in order. We sought, we tried hard, but we failed in the end to have that same regulation applied internationally. We have done our best on this issue and we have nothing to apologize for to the NDP.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Well it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, if one thinks something is wrong enough to have a treaty about it, one should think it is wrong when it is used.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. He indicated to an earlier question that the question of the tax treatment of dividends had to do with a tax treaty between Canada and Barbados. I am not sure if that is true, but given that the Minister of Finance is right, can he tell this House today whether he will be seeking to change those tax rules which permit flags of convenience to operate the way they do now in Barbados?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am informed that the matter is on the agenda between Canada and Barbados, and a text is under discussion on the proposed changes to the treaty.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister told the House that he had “not been informed” of any potential conflict of interest. The Prime Minister, of course, has a duty to inform himself.

Canada Steamship Lines has admitted that its move to Barbados was because of changes in Canadian tax rules that occurred when the company's owner was minister of finance. The ethics counsellor took part in discussions between the then finance minister and his private company.

Has the Prime Minister now received a full report of those conversations? And can the Prime Minister of Canada now say categorically that the then minister of finance had nothing to do with the decision on which his company acted?

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can inform the leader of the Conservative Party that the changes with respect to the treatment of dividends from Liberia resulted from the fact that there was no tax treaty extant with Liberia and therefore it was removed from the list of countries from whom active business income was received by way of tax free dividends. As I have explained, there was a tax treaty in effect in the case of Barbados.