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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

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, that minister does not know much more about that subject than he does about the definition of a statesman.

The director general of the WTO issued a statement saying that it was a great disappointment that negotiators missed the deadline on agriculture. Canada contributed to the breakdown of talks due to its rejection of the Harbinson. In short, Canada sided with the developed countries such as the EU against the developing countries in Africa and South America.

Will the minister explain his rejection of the liberalization of trade in agricultural products and why is he standing with the European Union and not with the developing countries?

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the member just does not have his facts right on this issue. We did not reject the Harbinson modalities. Some parties in the House were asking us to reject them and we did not.

We continued to promote Canada's interest. We want major, serious reform in the international trade routes for agriculture. We want the elimination of export subsidies. We want a substantial reduction in the production subsidies and the domestic subsidies. That is our agenda and we will pursue it at the WTO.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is just typical of the government. There is lots of talk but very little action and no positive results.

Producers and producer groups across Canada desperately need a successful round of negotiations. The minister has fumbled the ball at the WTO and now with Canada's diminished influence on the world stage, how does the government expect to make Canada relevant again in these trade issues? Just agreeing with France on everything will not cut it.

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member has been following very closely the role that Canada has been playing at the WTO, whether it was at the last ministerial in Doha, Qatar, where everyone commended Canada's contribution to the successful launch of a round.

We have been leading since Seattle all efforts that have been made on the implementation working group. We have been contributing to the transparency of the WTO, giving a lot more credibility to the whole trade negotiations around the world. Canada is a leading country.

Last week we tabled our services offer in all transparency. We are active and proud at the--

AgricultureOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny.

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board promised us that March 31 was the deadline, that no delays would be accepted in applying the Official Languages Act and that all senior public officials would be required to comply.

How can the President of the Treasury Board justify that the President of Canada Post came and told the committee yesterday that of the five cases that do not comply with the act at Canada Post, two of the individuals would be retiring in the next few years—so he was not doing anything about them—and the other three individuals in question would soon be registering for French courses? Is this the President of the Treasury Board's solution?

Official LanguagesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois member should know that Canada Post, as a crown corporation, is not subject to the same employer policies as the Treasury Board. I would think that he should be aware of this, given how long he has been a member of Parliament. Canada Post is required to have its own policies to fulfill its obligations, based on the Official Languages Act.

Perth—MiddlesexOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament are elected to represent their constituents. Is the reason that the government is afraid to call a byelection in Perth—Middlesex because it knows the voters will turn the election into a plebiscite on the government's billion dollar gun registry fiasco?

Perth—MiddlesexOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thought there was only one member across the way with a morbid fear of Brian Innes, Liberal candidate, soon to be MP for the riding of Perth—Middlesex. However it is now noted that this is a widespread affliction across the way, soon to be cured by the byelection and subsequent victory of the Liberal candidate and future MP.

Chambord PlantOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the stakeholders in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region are about to apply for federal government assistance to purchase the dairy plant in Chambord. They are seeking an endorsement from the federal government to cover part of the acquisition costs.

The Secretary of State in charge of Economic Development made a commitment in this respect at the time of the byelection in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay. Does he still intend to respond positively to this request and act quickly so that the community can purchase this plant within the allotted timeframe?

Chambord PlantOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin LiberalSecretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, from the outset, we told producers and processors that we would be there for them and that we were prepared to cover the costs of a study. This offer still stands. Our regional office is following this file very closely, and we will be monitoring the situation and applications by promoters. I can assure the House that Canada Economic Development will continue its work in that region, as in every other region of Quebec.

InfrastructureOral Question Period

April 3rd, 2003 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation. The evidence seems to be mounting to suggest that the border infrastructure file has changed hands from the Minister of Industry to the Minister for International Cooperation.

It has come to our attention that the minister was a participant in a so-called secret meeting in early March with a number of Windsor area councillors to discuss border infrastructure funding.

What role did the minister's office play in facilitating this secret meeting?

InfrastructureOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell LiberalSecretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, the investments that we intend to make in border infrastructure are critical to our trade. We are having discussions with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that the investments we make are the rights ones done in the right way.

That is the commitment of the Minister of Industry. He continues to work on this file, with the widespread support of all members of Parliament on this side, including the member from Windsor.

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister referred specifically to several submissions which led to keeping open the Barbados tax loophole which proved so attractive to Canada Steamship Lines.

Would he table those submissions that he mentioned so specifically and would he indicate to which minister they were addressed?

TaxationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member will know that we are talking about events that occurred eight years ago.

Certainly if the submissions are in a form that can be made available to him, I have no hesitation in allowing him to have access to them.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would love to ask the government House leader about the business for the rest of this week and next week. I would also ask him when he is going to bring in the legislation so that murderers will not be able to vote in the byelection in Perth—Middlesex that we are so looking forward to because we expect that Marian Meinen--

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I was afraid the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast might resurrect question period. This is of course the Thursday question and I know the government House leader will want to resist going off on tangents and will deal with the question of the business of the House.

Business of the HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the continuing fear of Liberal candidate Brian Innes is duly noted, but this afternoon the House will continue with the opposition day motion on the war in Iraq. There are discussions going on with regard to this subject which may continue today and otherwise.

As previously ordered, the House will not be sitting tomorrow.

On Monday, pursuant to what I just stated, we will return to consideration of Bill C-13, the reproductive technologies legislation, followed by report stage of Bill C-9, the environmental assessment legislation.

I am also looking forward, with the usual cooperation of all hon. members for an appropriate time and hopefully very soon, to resuming the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-10, the Criminal Code amendments.

Thursday of next week, in other words a week from today, shall be an allotted day.

In the event that there are additions or other changes to this business, I shall communicate with other House leaders through the usual channels.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to continue on with my comments to the government House leader that Marian Meinen, our candidate for Perth—Middlesex, will certainly enjoy the speech I am making. I know she is looking forward to being in the House with all of us and she knows how important this debate is today.

All Canadians have seen the motion that we put before the House and will not understand if there is even one member who votes against this motion because it is such an important part of what is happening in Canada today.

Canadians are understandably confused as to why it should be necessary for the official opposition to endeavour to tell our American friends that the vast majority of Canadians want to remain friends. It worries Canadians that the present Prime Minister, as lame a duck as he is, is still capable of throwing more strain upon our enduring friendship.

Canadians are as bewildered as they are confused. They are wondering why the former finance minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, is not speaking out against those who hurl insults at our American friends and their administration in Washington. We all know he so desperately wants to be Prime Minister that he will say anything anywhere if it will win him one more delegate vote. He will promise anything to anybody and then hit the dirt when the controversy arises. Canadians wonder why he will not at least speak out on the way his party has turned its back on our American allies. Is becoming leader of that party just too important for him to find the courage to speak out?

The member for LaSalle—Émard reminds me of a recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine. I believe the caption beneath the cartoon describes perfectly the former finance minister's approach to politics. The caption reads, “It could go badly or it could go well, depending on whether it goes badly or well”. It sounds like something the present Prime Minister would say. Does that not capture in a few words the former finance minister? For that matter, would it not be an appropriate caption to stick under a photo of the present Prime Minister?

All of us in this party believe that the reckless statements of certain members of the House have strained our relations with the United States and we regret that. We can assure our friends to the south that the rabidly anti-American New Democratic Party does not speak for or even draw the attention of the majority of Canadians. I think they should know in the United States that the majority of voters in ridings held by Liberals are not rabidly anti-American; it is only their Liberal members of Parliament who are.

I do not think Americans have to be reminded, and the Liberals and New Democrats should remember, that in World War I 35,000 Americans joined the Canadian army. They joined before America entered the war in 1917. Again in World War II approximately 30,000 Americans joined the Canadian Forces before the U.S.A. entered the war. They came voluntarily because they wanted to do what was right. They wanted to fight for freedom against fascism. They wanted to help their good friends and neighbours who were going overseas to fight for democracy and freedom.

No matter how controversial it was and became, there were Canadians who went south to join the American military in the war in Vietnam. And who will ever forget what Canadian diplomats did to help six Americans escape from Iran? Ambassador Kenneth Taylor received the congressional gold medal for that from the president at the time, Ronald Reagan.

We know how the present Prime Minister likes to boast about how he takes no nonsense from the Americans. We just wish he had waited until he was long gone from office. Surely he could have spent his retirement years boasting instead of doing it now in public when some media still listen to what he says.

Here is another question for the member for LaSalle—Émard. The Prime Minister and so many of the member's leadership supporters in caucus believe that the Bush regime is illegitimate. Does he agree or does he disagree? It is time the former finance minister came out of the closet. Is he anti-American like so many of his supporters and the Prime Minister? Or does he agree with us that the Americans are not just our closest neighbours by virtue of our geography, but also our closest friends and allies by virtue of our history?

Mr. Speaker, I should mention that I am splitting my time with my colleague.

One would think that the ancient mariner might find time to let Canadians know what he thinks. If he ever does become prime minister, Canadians might like fair warning so they can develop new investment strategies. They will need those new strategies if the rabid and venomous anti-American rhetoric continues to spew from his supporters.

I think we want him to clear the air so we know that he has at least one opinion on our relations with the United States. Surely it is not too much to ask of a man who wants to be prime minister to have at least one opinion.

Then we have the incredible hulk of the New Democratic Party. He is one who thundered that the American administration is killing babies. We thought that party had decided to give that sort of foolish rhetoric a rest back in the 1960s. Of course, that is a party that never really left the 1960s and most of its members do not know there have been a few new books written since then.

Why are we concerned on this side? We think supporting our allies in a fight against brutal tyrants is the right thing to do, but we are also concerned abut the impact that Liberal anti-Americanism will have on Canadians and Canada.

Anecdotal evidence is coming in already. We are hearing of conventions being cancelled or preliminary discussions on conventions being halted. We are hearing of small businesses that do business in the United States getting the cold shoulder from longtime clients and friends.

We hear that hunting and fishing lodges are either getting cancellations or far fewer inquiries from the United States than in previous years.

We hope Canadians will remember it was the Liberals backed by their kissing cousins in the New Democratic Party who did not care what the economic fallout might be. They have vowed they will never join our allies and will continue hurling insults at them.

We hope Canadians employed in the auto manufacturing industry remember it was the Liberals and New Democrats they will have to thank for the disappearance of their jobs.

In my beautiful province, people involved in the softwood lumber industry are already feeling the pain and are wishing the Liberals and the New Democrats would zipper their lips.

Of course there are others, the victims of Saddam Hussein who are trying to understand why Liberals and New Democrats are siding with him instead of those who would run that brutal tyrant out of Iraq.

The business community is wondering why the natural resources minister is still in cabinet after his criticism of President Bush. They are certainly wondering why there has been no apology.

If the Liberals just once in their history would listen to Albertans, and I know that would be difficult for them, they would hear how much the comment of the natural resources minister concerns them. It was totally inappropriate and the Prime Minister knew it and knows it now. His problem is he does not have any other loyalists left to elevate to cabinet. It must be embarrassing for the Prime Minister just as it is for all Canadians. It would embarrass anyone to have to admit that they could not demote a cabinet minister because they did not have the talent or the loyalty in the rest of the caucus to produce a replacement.

We should also let the parents of the brave sons and daughters who are with the American military in Iraq know that Liberals and New Democrats do not speak for all Canadians. We in the Alliance share the worry and the grief of those American parents and our hearts go out to them. We cannot forget either that there are Canadian parents with children in the American military. Our prayers and thoughts are with them as well.

It is unfortunate that the present Prime Minister and the ones who aspire to replace him all share the same anti-American sentiment. It is not just unfortunate, it is shameful.

We have done our utmost on this side to let our American neighbours know that the anti-Americanism is not as rampant on this side of the border as the government would paint. We want them to know that it is only rampant among Liberal and New Democratic Party members of Parliament.

We apologize for that on behalf of all Canadians who cherish our friendship with the United States. We apologize to them as well that one of those parties has already elected an anti-American leader and that all of the candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party are anti-American.

We insist that Americans understand one thing and bear it in mind: Canadians are not anti-American. It is only Liberals and New Democrats who are and we hope Canadians will remember that and remedy it in the next election.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments by my colleague, the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast. In particular I wish he would highlight a concept.

As the former Speaker of the B.C. legislature, he understands well the difference between disagreeing with people and disagreeing with people in an irresponsible and destructive way. The member from Mississauga called the Americans bastards and the former communications director to the Prime Minister called President Bush a moron. Those kinds of comments are completely irresponsible. Reasonable and honest dissent in a diplomatic and healthy way is certainly appropriate between democratic nations that respect free speech. However that kind of destructive behaviour is completely intolerable.

I wonder if the member could briefly talk about our specific issue in British Columbia, the issue of softwood lumber, and how this is hardly a helping hand.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly agree with my colleague that the comments made by the assistant to the Prime Minister, comments made by a backbench Liberal, comments made by a Liberal cabinet minister have not helped Canada-U.S. relationships. I think my colleagues on the other side would agree with that also.

Governments can take positions and they may be tough ones but certainly the words that were used by members of the House and the leader of the New Democratic Party to attack Americans are unacceptable. The Americans are our friends. They are our allies. They are our traditional friends who joined with us, as I said, in the first world war and the second world war. Many Canadians joined them in other wars, whether it was Korea or Vietnam. We have let that slide in the House. That is unfortunate and it is causing problems.

No matter how anyone wants to put it, the members on the other side try to blame us because we are bringing the issue up. Do they expect us to stay silent? We are here to defend freedom of speech certainly, but not careless speech in the House of Commons.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Madam Speaker, I was interested that the hon. member spent most of his speech talking about the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard. Even in his speech he questioned whether or not that member had the courage to speak out. I thought it was inappropriate.

Even the motion before us today is calling into question members who make offensive and inappropriate remarks. I think it is inappropriate to question the courage of an hon. member of Parliament.

Indeed the member for LaSalle—Émard did speak out. I would like to quote what the member for LaSalle--Émard said in regard to the Iraqi situation. He said to the media in a public scrum that in these delicate times, Canada should speak with one voice and that is the Prime Minister.

Does the member agree with that statement?

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Madam Speaker, that Canada should speak with one voice traditionally is a position we would all take, but in this situation the Prime Minister has made a decision that is not good for Canada and is not supported by a majority of Canadians anymore.

If we look at Prime Minister Blair who fought all the odds, at one point 10% of the people supported his position and now a majority support his position because he had the strength to deal with and treat his allies as friends, neighbours and supporters.

The member for LaSalle--Émard is a friend of mine. He is a member of the House. He wants to be prime minister of the country. Canadians have a right to hear him speak in this place to see if he has the same opinion as the Prime Minister and the government of the land. He is not a member of the government inside the cabinet anymore. He is a private member. We have a right to know what he thinks, what he would do if he were prime minister of Canada to cure these sad relations that have been created by the government, the worst we have seen in many years between us and our American neighbours.

We are proud to say that we support President Bush and his troops in Iraq. We are proud to say that we support Tony Blair and his troops in Iraq and all the other coalition partners. We are not trying to hide.

We have troops in that war and the government tries to hide behind technicalities. How many lawyers has it hired to give it the right answers so it is not misleading us about what is going on? We are in the war. We are active in that war. We support those troops. We support those families in this country who are supporting those troops. The government is hiding behind technicalities. It should be ashamed of itself for getting into this position.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

You are not answering the question.