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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the member for the Bloc Québécois that CIDA has been praised by a senior official of the World Bank for the efficiency of its aid and its follow-up procedures for ensuring that the money actually gets to the people.

Alond with CIDA, we have put measures in place. We also increased our budget last spring so that alternatives can be offered to Afghan farmers, so that children can go to school, so that clinics and other infrastructure can be built in order to help the Afghan people take charge of themselves.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Defence mentioned the possibility of Canadian soldiers being stationed in Pakistan. In addition, we have learned that the USA was pursuing members of al Qaeda as far as Pakistan and that Canada would like to have a similar agreement with that country.

Can the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us whether the Canadian government is getting ready to alter the nature of the mission in Afghanistan so that soldiers can go as far as Pakistan, as a NATO source suggests? Is this something the government is considering?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the report that came out in the press which said that we said we were sending troops to Pakistan is totally false. What we were discussing was exchanging one liaison officer with the Pakistan army. We have no intention of changing the tasks or the activity within Afghanistan.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the Premier of Quebec, most Quebeckers want to keep the gun registry, but the federal government has already announced its intention to abolish it.

In light of the last week's tragic events in Montreal, will the government listen to reason and adopt the common-sense approach by keeping the gun registry?

In the fight against crime, prevention is at least as important as severe penalties—penalties that would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy we all deplore today.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I have said it before and I will say it again: we will keep the firearms registry for people who want to own firearms. We will also maintain a registry for people who want to own prohibited firearms, and we will maintain all laws pertaining to firearms security.

It must also be said that we want a more efficient system.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, registering firearms owners is not enough.

According to the Prime Minister, from now on, hunting rifles will no longer be registered, and psychologically unstable individuals will be able to acquire them.

Does the Prime Minister realize that if he allows hunting rifles to circulate unrestricted, there is no guarantee that unstable individuals will not get their hands on them and use them to repeat what happened at Dawson College?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is not easy to get a long gun. It is also important to note what others have said about this recently.

There was a recent statement by the Liberal member for Ottawa South that “it is important for all of us just to remember that no long gun registry system, no weapon registry system, can stop unfortunate acts like the one that happened in Montreal last week, so let's just get that on the record”.

We want to get on the record a safer, more secure system and that is what we intend to do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

September 18th, 2006 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence said that it is impossible to defeat the Taliban “militarily”. The chief of the defence staff confirmed this by saying that the winning strategy will be based on reconstruction, but the government has dropped the ball on the development package.

My question for the Minister of International Cooperation is very simple. How many CIDA personnel does she have on the ground working in Afghanistan generally and in Kandahar specifically?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, each reconstruction team is made up of 40 to 200 people, including civilian and military personnel. In Kandahar specifically, the number varies from 90 to 113 people. There are three people from CIDA specifically.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, most of those are members of our honourable and brave defence forces. They are the ones who are putting their backs into this. The reality is that the government has failed on its development package. It has failed on telling the Canadian public how it is training Afghan security forces. It has failed in dealing with the insurgency coming from Pakistan.

Again my question is simple. Since we are in charge of the reconstruction teams in Kandahar, how many clinics and how many schools have our PRT personnel built in Afghanistan specifically and in Kandahar also?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well that Kandahar is a fragile province where progress is very gradual. We are able to achieve results there by working collaboratively and because the Department of National Defence ensures the safety of our humanitarian workers.

I would like to know when the member opposite last met with soldiers who served there and listened to their success stories.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence recently stated that we cannot defeat the Taliban. This is a shocking statement, considering that last May, this same minister stated that the Taliban were losing the battle. The government previously said that it was focussing on the military aspect of the mission, at the expense of diplomacy and development assistance.

Was the Minister of National Defence misleading the House last May by concealing the fact that he felt victory was impossible, or has the situation in the field altered so drastically since May that he has changed his mind?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

No, Mr. Speaker, the minister was not wrong. The minister was explaining the concept that we have to tackle the Taliban from the point of view of military security, improving governance and development. The Taliban can only be defeated when all three operations are in synchronization, and that is what we are doing.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Prime Minister's office, the problem is that the Minister of National Defence forgot his text that day.

The real problem is that the government has to completely rewrite its text. The government promised that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of International Cooperation would report regularly to this House. Where are these updates? We are waiting. If we do not have these reports, is it because the ministers in question do not know what is happening or is it because the Prime Minister is afraid his ministers will contradict each other?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

No, Mr. Speaker, this minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are not making a mistake and we are not conflicting with each other. As was promised in the earlier debate on Afghanistan, at an appropriate time we will return to the House and give an update on Afghanistan.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, as all Canadians know, the government is fully committed to the success of our farmers and those in the agricultural industry.

Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food inform the House of his efforts over the summer and the accomplishments he has made for our producers?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, just last week I met with the American Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns. We discussed and made good progress on things like nematodes, BSE and border issues.

I appointed a new Canadian Wheat Board director. We have made good progress on marketing choice for prairie farmers.

We invested $10 million to get farmers started in biofuels. That is a good start.

The money is starting to flow from our cover crop programs.

We have extended compensation to the farmers affected by anthrax.

We accelerated the grains and oilseeds payment of $755 million and, more importantly, $2 billion will come into farmers' hands between now and the end of the year.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian women and men are being sent to Afghanistan to wage a war with no foreseeable end. Tanks and heavy armour have been ordered up even though the commander of the army said they would not be sent. The Minister of Foreign Affairs said we will be there until the Taliban is destroyed, yet the Minister of National Defence admitted there was no military solution to the insurgency.

When will the government refocus the mission and make strides toward peace and diplomacy, not war?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I find that really strange coming from the NDP, who want us out of Afghanistan. Only they and the Taliban want us out of Afghanistan. We will stay the course. We are committed in Afghanistan till the end of February 2009 and we will stay the course.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, international pressure is mounting around the world to end this unwinnable war. The minister is only going to be able to ignore our questions for a very short time.

The government should start listening to people like Captain Leo Docherty, a former aide-de-camp to the British, who said that “we've lost the hearts and minds before we've even begun” or to Greg Mills, a former adviser to ISAF, who argued last week that no amount of firepower will defeat the Taliban and their allies. It is time to support our troops by bringing them home. The only question is, when?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the absolute worst thing we could do is pull our troops, bring them back home and leave the Taliban to have Afghanistan. It is only a little while since the Taliban were there and they were carrying out a murderous regime of punishments on women, with no children going to school.

I find it hypocritical for the NDP to be asking us to pull our military out and replace them with the Taliban.

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are reports that former Conservative insiders are now profiting from their political connections as private sector lobbyists: at least 30 well-connected Conservatives, at least 327 contracts to influence public policy, the Prime Minister's director of communications, his director of strategic communications, his senior policy adviser and more.

The Conservatives promised to prohibit former staffers from using their previous positions as stepping stones to private lobbying. Why has that promise been broken?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in fact, not a single former assistant to the Prime Minister or any minister has accepted a job with respect to being a lobbyist. That is specifically something that is banned in the federal accountability act. We are raising the bar.

Let us look at an internal Liberal Party report that said, “Many estimate that, on just about every issue, the Liberal Party has absolutely no credibility in the eyes of the public”. Will the member for Wascana stand in his place and call on the Liberal Senate to finally pass the federal accountability act and clean up the mess?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can do without the smokescreen and all that false bravado. This is not about any previous government. This is all about that Conservative government. It all happened in the last six or seven months. The Prime Minister's former public affairs officer, his director of internal communications, his spokesperson on economic issues, and the list goes on: private profit from Conservative connections. Specifically what sections in the accountability act will henceforth prohibit that practice and will that be retroactive to January?

LobbyistsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, if the member for Wascana has a specific example of any law that has been broken or under our new federal accountability that would have been broken, I would encourage him to go the committee in the Senate and ask for an amendment. If the member opposite would like to show his true bravado, he should stand up and say that no Liberal ministerial staffer will be allowed to lobby, let the Senate make that amendment, let it be retroactive and then we will find out if he puts his money where his mouth is.