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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

His insinuations do not deserve a reply.

I repeat my question. Will the Minister of Justice listen to the chief justices of our country, or will he get up in the House and say that they are wrong?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the country knows, including many in the media who do not normally support this party, that the Liberal Party supported these anti-terrorism measures. Everyone knows that the entire frontbench of the Liberal Party supported those measures until two weeks ago when the leader of the Liberal Party started playing caucus games with the safety and security of Canadians. He should be ashamed of himself.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's allegations are simply beneath contempt. The Prime Minister has attempted in the House to impugn the character and the reputation of an hon. member of Parliament. That is absolutely unacceptable.

Does he know if the newspaper story was correct or incorrect? Has he followed due process in making the allegations that he was proposing to make? Will he simply withdraw that character slur against a member of the House and live up to the basic decent standard of a prime minister?

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member—

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

We will have some order, please. We are wasting a great deal of time today. We will have a little control in here.

The right hon. Prime Minister has the floor to answer the question asked by the member for Wascana.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member in question can take up the facts of the story with The Vancouver Sun if he likes. However, everybody knows that the Liberal Party has done a complete flip-flop on an issue that is of vital concern to the safety and security of Canadians without explanation. It is inexcusable. It should reverse its position and get back to doing the right thing.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has just confirmed that, to him, partisan advantage is everything. The truth does not matter; it is the allegation that counts. Never mind what the facts are in the final analysis. He just proved his devious and deceitful behaviour and he does not pay any attention to the consequences to any Canadian.

Will the Prime Minister withdraw those allegations and apologize to this House?

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. I would remind hon. members that this is question period. It is not for allegations particularly. We are supposed to be asking questions and getting answers, and we are getting them on both sides, it would seem to me.

The right hon. Prime Minister.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party can choose to ignore, if it wants, what is in the newspaper. The Liberals can choose to ignore what they want from this party. What they should not be ignoring is the fact that even the Air-India families are saying that the position they are now taking will jeopardize the police investigation into the Air-India terrorism act.

The Liberal Party has no excuse for that position. It is an irresponsible position and it should change that position.

BiosafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the biosafety protocol has been ratified by 139 countries. Its purpose is to develop a legal framework for determining to what extent multinationals and local growers are responsible when seed or non-GMO species are contaminated with GMOs. Neither Canada nor the United States has ratified the protocol, and neither country is willing to pay for damage caused by GMOs.

How can Canada, which is one of the world's four largest GMO producers, justify its opposition to developing a legal framework unless it is because the government refuses to recognize the polluter-pay principle?

BiosafetyOral Questions

2:35 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, the Government of Canada signed the biosafety protocol in April 2001. To signal our support for that objective, we have actively participated in the three meetings of the parties to the protocol as well as a number of technical task forces. We continue to work with that group to address the legal and technical questions that the protocol has raised.

We have not ratified this protocol yet due to the concerns regarding this lack of clarity. As these working groups put this clarity together and answer those technical questions, we look forward to continuing to support that protocol in the days ahead.

BiosafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government refused to apply the polluter-pay principle to big oil companies, and now it wants to shelter GMO-producing multinationals from exposure to legal action.

Is the government's refusal to ratify the biosafety protocol further proof that when it comes to GMOs, it intends to put the interests of multinationals ahead of those of farmers and consumers?

BiosafetyOral Questions

2:35 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, as the hon. member has pointed out, Canada is one of the largest users of GMO products and those are not used by multinationals. Those are used by our farmers from coast to coast.

We want to ensure that the regulatory regime that comes forward from this biosafety protocol addresses the technical issues, the safety issues and the regulatory issues so when we sign on to this protocol, we will be able to do so with confidence, and our Prairie farmers and Quebec farmers will be able to say that they can continue to do business after we sign on.

National DefenceOral Questions

February 21st, 2007 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government committed to ensuring that Afghan prisoners would not be tortured and that they would be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention until their transfer to Afghan authorities. Amnesty International deplores the lack of compliance with that convention.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell us why Canada refuses to follow the example of the Netherlands, which obtained the right to follow up on prisoners transferred to Afghan authorities, in order to ensure that they are treated humanely, that they are not tortured and that their rights are respected?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the current arrangement for detainees was made by the previous government. In that agreement, the International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated to visit and monitor detainees to ensure that they are treated in accordance with the standards of the Geneva Convention. The arrangement also recognizes the role of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission with respect to human rights and detainees.

Last fall the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said that Canada was scrupulous in notifying the Red Cross when it took prisoners and handed them over. We are satisfied with the current arrangements.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to Amnesty International, Louise Arbour, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that cases of extortion, torture, prolonged imprisonment without trial, and the systematic violation of the rule of law are frequent. The U.S. Department of State has reached the same conclusions.

Given these worrisome findings, what is the Minister of National Defence waiting for to put an end to his wilful blindness and immediately emulate the approach taken by the Netherlands with respect to the transfer of prisoners to Afghan authorities?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are in Afghanistan in support of the Afghan government. When lawbreakers come into our hands, we hand them over to the proper authorities. As I previously explained, they are handed over with all the protections of international laws on prisoners.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have been part of this Parliament for 11 years. I have never seen anything as low as what the Prime Minister tried to do against a member of this House.

It is unbefitting a prime minister. I am asking the Prime Minister to apologize and retract his comments.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government is trying to follow through on anti-terrorism measures adopted by a Liberal government and supported by the Liberal Party until a few weeks ago, a few days ago in fact. Because of the actions of the Liberal Party, police investigations are in danger. It is the Liberal Party that should apologize and offer an explanation to Canadians for its irresponsible positions.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, at that time, some members of the Conservative Party voted against these two dispositions. They voted for the sunset as well.

That is not the point. The point is the Prime Minister tried to tarnish the reputation of a member of the House. It was so low. Many of us have never seen it in 11 years in Parliament. The Prime Minister must withdraw and he must apologize.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition said that some members of the Conservative Party voted against something about four or five years ago.

It seems to me that those members have a lot of explaining to do when they told the Canadian public, in the last election, that they wanted to get tough on crime and they wanted to increase mandatory minimum sentences. What have they done? They have fought our attempts to get rid of house arrest for serious crimes. They have fought our attempts to increase mandatory minimum sentences. They want to weaken terrorism laws. The only thing they have been consistent about is they have been complaining about police officers every day for the last three weeks.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a prime minister is supposed to represent all citizens in this country, all Canadians. We expect a prime minister to behave like a head of state. Today, the Prime Minister uttered words unbefitting a prime minister.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!