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House of Commons Hansard #166 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was scotia.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is just more hypocrisy because the government's story changes on a daily basis.

Yesterday the defence minister said that neither the Americans nor other NATO forces in Afghanistan published their list of prisoners. He is wrong again. The fact is the U.S. issues a press release about every detainee it captures.

Why does the minister refuse to be as transparent as the U.S.? Why is he hiding behind the excuse of operational security? Most important, why is the government refusing to tell Canadians the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in Afghanistan each country determines its policies. In the case of Canada, the military has determined that the public release of information on detainees would be detrimental to its military operations.

The operational chain of command has a responsibility for deciding what type of information is releasable or not. It is a military decision, not a political decision. We do not intend to do anything to impede military operations in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that in April and May of 2006, there were 40 detainees. Thanks to our colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard, we just managed to find out that our concerns about the allegations of torture and abuse of Afghan prisoners were well founded.

The government's lack of transparency, its inability to provide accurate information and its ongoing desire to hide the truth simply confirm how deeply it is involved in this scandal.

I have two questions for the government. First, how many Afghan detainees have we transferred? And second, do they intend to take custody of transferred detainees who have been subjected to abuse and torture? No more cover-ups.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, this is an operational security issue. Our military has determined that it would be counter to its operations to reveal any information about detainees. We will not impede its operations. Therefore, no details with respect to detainees will be released.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, in April 2006, Canadians had 40 detainees. There was no security issue then.

Yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told us that there had been four allegations of torture since February. One of the detainees was in Kandahar and three were in Kabul. These detainees had been captured by Canadians.

However, in April, the Minister of Public Safety told us that two of the alleged torture cases had taken place in the Kandahar prison.

Once again, the information is unclear. Given that this government has already admitted to losing prisoners and to being unfamiliar with the role of the Red Cross, we have every reason to doubt what it says.

My question is simple. How many allegations of torture and abuse have there been, and where?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was at the committee yesterday. I am surprised he is still confused about this. What I said is that since the new agreement has been put in place, there have in fact been four allegations. They came to our attention very recently during visits to a Kandahar and Kabul facility.

We followed the process that we put in place as pursuant to this new agreement. This provides greater access and greater interaction with the Afghan government, as well as bringing into the fold the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Red Cross.

A report will be tabled back from that investigation. We will receive that information and act accordingly.

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CSN, the FTQ and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association have all said they are in favour of quick passage of the bill on wage earner protection, provided that the jurisdictions of Quebec and its Civil Code are respected. This morning, the National Assembly of Quebec also voted unanimously in favour of this.

In this context, should the Minister of Labour not change his position and table his bill to protect wage earners whose employer declares bankruptcy?

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.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 want to thank the hon. member again for her question.

I want to remind her that it was the House of Commons that unanimously passed legislation in the last Parliament to protect the wages of employees in bankruptcy situations. This House unanimously passed that legislation.

Then the Senate unanimously passed it as well after calling for technical changes to the legislation. That is what we tabled before Christmas.

Since then, the Bloc Québécois has been inconsistent. It is changing its mind and wants to amend the legislation.

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour is saying that he cannot table his bill because his colleague, the Minister of Industry, is opposed to the Bloc Québécois amendment. That is just an excuse. What is the purpose of this amendment? It is to protect the workers and the Civil Code of Quebec.

Why is the Minister of Industry opposed to such an amendment? What interests is he defending?

Wage Earner Protection Program ActOral Questions

2:35 p.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, this legislation is currently on track and the Bloc Québécois wants to derail it.

We are ready to fast track this legislation through first, second and third readings. We are prepared to include this morning's resolution by the National Assembly, as well as the suggestions by the Bloc Québécois, to bring everything to the Senate so that it may consider the point of view expressed by the National Assembly. If they want, we can proceed this very afternoon.

The DollarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to stiffer competition from developing countries and rising energy costs, the manufacturing sector is now grappling with the devastating consequences of a soaring dollar. The Prime Minister said that he would not intervene.

Is the Minister of Finance aware that the Prime Minister's statements have given the green light to a speculative increase in the value of the dollar and have thereby compounded the misery of manufacturing companies and contributed to job losses, according to experts?

The DollarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question.

The matter of monetary policy, of course, as the member knows, is the responsibility of the Bank of Canada. We recognize the challenges faced by manufacturers over the past several years. The Canadian dollar, more than any other currency, has borne the brunt of the depreciation of the American dollar.

That is why in budget 2007 we brought in a dramatic increase in the capital cost allowance for manufacturers, at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, a direct writeoff over the course of the next two years, so that they can acquire more efficient--

The DollarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup.

The DollarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, those measures are not enough.

According to a study by the Quebec Forest Industry Council, the dollar's 8¢ rise this year has cost the industry $1.2 billion and eliminated 15,000 jobs. The same thing is happening in other sectors. The Prime Minister has said that he sympathizes with people who have recently lost their jobs.

Isn't it time for this government to do better than offer sympathy, to abandon its laissez-faire attitude, and to implement a real plan to help the industry through this crisis? That is its responsibility.

The DollarOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the recommendations of the industry committee of the House were unanimous on this issue, and that includes the party of the member opposite who has asked the question.

That is why, because we are concerned about manufacturers and the health of the manufacturing industry, particularly in central Canada, in Quebec and Ontario, we brought in this dramatic change in capital cost allowance.

With respect to employment, since this government was elected there are more than 450,000 more jobs in Canada today.

AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 Canada's Liberal prime minister went to a G-8 meeting and promised to double Canada's aid to Africa. The 2005 Liberal budget actually doubled Canada's aid to Africa by spending $2.8 billion in 2009. That is on page 213.

However, the Conservative government has reduced that amount and is trying to tell the world that none of this ever happened. It is an absolute fabrication.

Will the minister admit that she is either unable or unwilling to protect all the money the Liberals committed to the world's poorest people in Africa?

AfricaOral 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 remind the hon. member that the Prime Minister made a commitment and confirmed that we are on track to double our aid to Africa, as stipulated in the 2005 agreement reached at Gleneagles.

AfricaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bob Geldof and Gerry Barr say the minister is wrong.

There is a simple fact. Canada made a commitment and these Conservatives want to walk away from that commitment.

Africa needs help to fight AIDS. It needs help to fight tuberculosis and malaria. It needs better governance. It needs more schools and it needs clean water. It needs micro loans. It needs economic opportunities.

What Africa really needs is for Canada to keep its word. Why will the government not show some respect for the world's poorest people and stop nickel-and-diming them?

AfricaOral 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, Mr. Barr was forced to issue a correction concerning the allegations he had made in the interview.

The base amount for doubling aid to Africa is $1.05 billion and we are on track to achieve that goal, as indicated in the Financial Times, which reported on June 5, 2007, that Canada is the only G-8 country that is on track to meet its Gleneagles commitments.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

June 7th, 2007 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are very concerned about the fact that the Prime Minister of Canada is always very quick to adopt the same positions as the President of the United States.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister came to the rescue of President Bush in his disagreement with Russia over the missile defence shield.

Based on the Prime Minister's attitude, are we to understand that he intends to reverse Canada's position and that he wants Canada to join Bush's missile defence shield?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member, and I thank for her concern, that clearly there has been no ask whatsoever to revisit this issue. We are not pursuing missile defence.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister always falls back on the same tactics when it comes to issues that are important to Canada: he creates confusion. In 2005, he said he was prepared to sit down again with the Americans on the issue of missile defence. Today the government tells us that it is waiting for an invitation from the Americans, but yesterday, the Prime Minister came to Bush's rescue concerning Russia.

Can the government be honest with Canadians and can someone clearly tell us, yes or no, whether the Prime Minister wants to be part of the missile defence shield?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, on the member's last question the answer is no, but in spite of the efforts to sow confusion, here is what we do know clearly from the Liberal Party's stated position. I am quoting from the Liberal Party's position:

We should indicate our willingness to be part of discussions within NORAD to determine whether such a North American ballistic missile shield is not only viable but also desirable.

That is from the Liberal Party of Canada's democratic society task force report on security. Those are its words.

International TradeOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a trading nation. Our economy and quality of life depend heavily on doing business with the world.

Earlier today, the Minister of International Trade announced that Canada has concluded a free trade agreement with the countries of the European Free Trade Association. This is Canada's first free trade agreement in six years.

Can the Minister of International Trade explain the significance of this agreement for Canada on the global stage?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Conservative

David Emerson ConservativeMinister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question from the hon. member for Chatham-Kent—Essex and I can announce today that we have reached a free trade agreement with the members of the European Free Trade Association.

As the hon. member said, this is Canada's first free trade agreement in six years. During this time, our competitors have been entering into numerous free trade agreements that are disadvantaging Canadian exporters. This is an important agreement of $22 billion in--