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House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crown.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in light of the government's obvious desire to maintain the culture of secrecy and given the Prime Minister's clear contempt for the Afghan prisoners, will the government make a commitment here today to report to this House on a regular basis regarding the implementation of this new agreement?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I would like to continue.

—the Government of Afghanistan will investigate allegations of abuse and mistreatment and prosecute in accordance with national law and internationally applicable legal standards and the Government of Afghanistan will inform the Government of Canada, the AIHRC and the ICRC of the steps it is taking to investigate such allegations and any corrective action taken.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House leader just does not get it. What this House wants to know is when the Minister of National Defence, the Prime Minister and the other ministers, who have repeatedly stood in this House and said that they did not know anything about torture in Afghanistan, knew about this. This is not about protecting our troops. This is about protecting themselves.

We again ask the Minister of National Defence to stand in this House and tell us when he knew about the torture. Colonel Noonan made it very clear that he passed that information on. When did the minister know? Why did he not tell the House?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am befuddled as to why the opposition is unhappy with what is a good news story. It is a story about Canadian troops in the field who saw something inappropriate and immediately took action to protect a detained individual and ensure that the detainee's human rights were respected. I thought that was how those members wanted things to work.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we want is for the government to admit that it hid from the House and from Canadians the fact that torture was going on, that it knew about it and that it did nothing about it.

When Colonel Noonan was being cross-examined on Wednesday he brought out the fact that it would have been a simple situation for us with our allies in Afghanistan to build a facility to hold prisoners. It would have held 200 prisoners. It would have taken a very short period of time to construct. The reason he gave for not doing it was that they thought they might be creating another “Abu Ghraib situation”.

Is the reason that we have done nothing about the torture that has been going on simply for PR reasons for the government?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I am stunned that a party that is calling for the immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan now wishes us to build permanent Canadian facilities as if this will be a permanent Canadian occupation with Canadian prisons in Afghanistan.

I know the leader of the Liberal Party mused out loud about doing that or about bringing Taliban prisoners to Canada, but even he, on reflection, saw that was a bad idea. The Globe and Mail even agrees. It states:

Canada cannot get into the business of warehousing suspected Taliban, and the prisoners should not be transported to this country.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has now been asked 11 times this morning to reveal when it learned about the specific incident that Colonel Noonan testified to before the Federal Court about a specific incident of specific abuse of Afghan detainees and it has refused, systematically, to tell Canadians the truth.

The government still will not tell what it knew about the incident. It will not release the medical record. Canadians cannot trust the minority Conservative government on the Afghan issue.

When will the government--

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, in spite of the feigned indignation of the member opposite, who constantly mixes facts and fiction, we should be applauding the actions of Canadian soldiers in the field. What they did was totally appropriate. They saw something happening, they acted decisively and they ensured that the abuse ended right there.

In each and every instance that we are aware of, Canadian soldiers have acted appropriately in conjunction with Canadian values and international law in the treatment of detainees.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that has not acted with honour. It is this government that is trying to cover up the facts.

We knew that this government had never trusted our courts but it cannot ignore such serious allegations.

What is disappointing is that Canadians can no longer trust their government to tell them the truth. They have to rely on affidavits presented in federal courts to get the full story.

Will this government finally admit that it would have done nothing if not for the case before the courts and—

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Minister of Foreign Affairs.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Imagine, Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy involved in a member of the former Liberal government standing up, a member who was in government when the sponsorship scandal took place, talking about hiding facts.

What we have done is acted decisively. There was a shortcoming as a result of the agreement signed by the previous government with respect to detainees. We fixed it. We moved ahead. We took decisive action to see that the new agreement now in place meets the bill.

That was appropriate. That was decisive. That is the action that is taken on this side of the House, not by members opposite.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Colonel Steve Noonan filed an affidavit confirming that at least one detainee was beaten while in the custody of the Afghan police.

Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs, his secretary of state or the Minister of National Defence now jump out of their seat and accuse Colonel Noonan of supporting the Taliban? I hope not.

Why did it take the Afghan government to begin the initiative for a new deal? When did the Minister of National Defence know about these allegations?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, let me repeat what has been stated a number of times now.

The actions taken by the Canadian Forces were totally appropriate. They were taken in response to a situation that they saw developing. They acted decisively and stopped the mistreatment of the detainee.

Consistently we have heard stories of the bravery and the actions of our Canadian soldiers in the field working to defend Canadian interests and Canadian values. That is what should give us all a great source of pride, not casting aspersions, as the member opposite is trying to do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want the government to follow the proud example of our soldiers.

The Minister of National Defence has gone absent without leave and now we clearly know why.

Both the minister and the Prime Minister need to be told that denial is not a river in Afghanistan.

Is there anyone over there who is taking human rights seriously and the protection of our soldiers seriously?

Will someone finally tell the Minister of National Defence that his incompetence is just too much to bear and he must resign?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, like the soldiers in Afghanistan, our Minister of National Defence wore the uniform of the Canadian Forces for over 30 years. He is a man of great honour and great respect.

With respect to the new arrangement, as it is now described, when Canada is informed of the mistreatment of detainees and the transfer of detainees to an Afghan prison, Canadians will then notify Afghan authorities, seek their intervention to stop the mistreatment and take corrective measures.

That is what the arrangement is set up to do and we will ensure that works for all detainees.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

May 4th, 2007 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Saint-Hubert airport made the front page of The Gazette this morning. According to the newspaper, Pratt & Whitney will be forced to transfer its international engine testing operations to the airport in Plattsburgh.

How can the government sit back and prevent the creation of 400 jobs, including 100 high tech jobs, just because the Department of Transport's bureaucracy refuses to adapt the criteria of a program to the needs of the Saint-Hubert airport?

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the program managed by the Department of Transport, the ACAP, is designed to improve security and safety. It is not intended as an economic development program.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Plattsburgh airport, which bills itself as Montreal's U.S. airport, has been upgraded with American government funding. Here in Canada, 400 jobs are at risk because the ministers have no initiative.

I ask the Minister of Transport to join forces with the industry and regional development ministers to review the criteria of the program in question and do what has to be done to invest the $70 million needed to save high level jobs in Saint-Hubert.

Saint-Hubert AirportOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to remind my friend that in December, minister Michael Fortier announced $350 million for Pratt & Whitney. I understand that today, Pratt & Whitney would like $70 million to rebuild the runway at the Saint-Hubert airport.

Our officials have met with authorities from Aéroports de Montréal and Pratt & Whitney. We are looking at various solutions, but you will appreciate that the overall amount is too large for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec. Nevertheless, we are working with the parties.

Agriculture and Agri-foodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's recent announcement that it would allocate an additional 8.7 million kilos of poultry to the imports already allowed has outraged poultry farmers in Quebec, who recently held their annual general meeting. This decision would bring market access to 8.4%, in an industry where access is already 7.5%.

Since the Conservative government boasts about maintaining the supply management system, how can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food explain the decision to allocate 8.7 million kilos, when we know that Canada, with 7.5% access, is already among the world's 10 largest chicken importers?

Agriculture and Agri-foodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc should be thanking us. After 13 long years, we finally have a government in this country that will stand up for farmers.

This is the government that is bringing freedom to farmers across Canada. We have just given another $1 billion to western Canadian farmers. We are looking after their interests internationally. The Bloc should be standing up and congratulating us for representing our farmers as well as we are and we will continue to do that.

Agriculture and Agri-foodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, just because it is Friday does not mean we do not deserve serious answers.

As with dairy products, it is possible to get around tariff quotas by processing the chicken. Does the minister plan on meeting the urgent demand of Quebec's poultry farmers that imported products containing more than 20% chicken be subject to tariff quotas? Does he plan on invoking article XXVIII of the WTO to correct the situation, as was done for dairy products?

The Bloc rises to ask real questions. It expects real answers.

Agriculture and Agri-foodOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, if the Bloc were serious about agriculture, it would ask questions on a day other than Friday as well.

This government is prepared to represent farmers 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and we are doing that around the world. We will protect our farmers. We just brought forward another $1 billion in farm support for farmers. The minister has been clear on his support for supply management in this country and I think the Bloc should be thanking us for that.

Government PoliciesOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a government that has raised income tax while repeatedly saying that it is doing the opposite. It breaks its equalization agreements with three provinces and it breaks its income trust promise to all Canadians. That is dishonesty.

It is a government that turns advantage Canada into disadvantage Canada and it turns tax fairness into tax unfairness through a black comedy of unintended consequences on income trusts.

What is worse, blatant dishonesty or utter incompetence?