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House of Commons Hansard #48 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Tackling Violent Crime ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the 39th Parliament comes to an end, the member for Wild Rose will retire, sadly, bringing to an end an incredible political career.

The member for Wild Rose has devoted his career to making our streets and communities safer. The age of protection component of Bill C-2 is tribute to his many years of hard work on the justice file.

This brings us to day 74 of Senate obstruction on Bill C-2, the tackling violent crime act. Last week, while our government stepped up the pressure on the unelected, unaccountable Liberal Senate, Liberal senators struck back with stunning defences for their inaction.

Let us consider the comments of Liberal Senator Carstairs, who apparently believes that passing the new age of protection component of the act may force 14-year-old and 15-year-old prostitutes underground, preventing them from getting testing for HIV and STDs.

She should want to stop this sexual exploitation. Bill C-2 does that.

I stand here today and join my government in demanding that the Senate stop obstructing Bill C-2 and in thanking the member for Wild Rose for his tireless efforts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

February 11th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for a year we have said that the government should notify NATO that the timeline of February 2009 must be respected and that NATO should secure a replacement for our troops in Kandahar.

It is only now that the government is seriously engaging NATO, and NATO seems surprised and unprepared for this sudden request from Canada.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that Canada, NATO and Afghanistan would be in a much better position today if he had acted responsibly a year ago?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.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 can assure the Liberal leader that no one at NATO was surprised. It has been very engaged with questions of Afghanistan, as are we following on the Manley report.

We are putting a question to Parliament that the House of Commons is going to have to decide. The question is a very simple one: do members support the military mission in Afghanistan or do they wish to see the troops withdrawn?

We know that the NDP has a clear position. It wants the troops withdrawn. We know that the Manley panel and this government have a clear position. We support our troops.

The time is coming for all parties to pronounce on that question.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the problem. The government did not take the February 2009 deadline seriously. How could we expect NATO to take it seriously and prepare for it?

Will the government admit that it is making the same mistake with its motion and that by announcing a simple change to 2011, and not setting a firm deadline, provided we get another 1,000 troops, that what it is proposing to Canadians is nothing less than getting bogged down in a never-ending mission?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the motion is clear. It talks about the end of 2011. The question all parties of the House must answer is simple: do they support the combat mission or do they believe the troops must be withdrawn? The NDP position is clear. It wants the troops to be withdrawn.

We support the troops. All the parties will have to vote on this motion.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is not the wording of the motion. He should read his own motion.

For two years, the Prime Minister and his ministers have used inflammatory language, accusing anybody who questions the mission of being unpatriotic, but recently the government has said that this mission needs to change. Otherwise it must be stopped.

Can the government tell us what has changed to make it change its mind, because we certainly would not suggest that its patriotism has changed?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the government looked very seriously at the question of Afghanistan and asked a former Liberal deputy prime minister, John Manley, and a bipartisan panel to engage on the issue and examine with experts the best way forward.

I think the deputy leader of the Liberal Party set the right tone when he said this:

This is the most important thing Canada's done in 50 years. We are anxious to work with the government to find a respectable, honourable compromise that serves the national interest.

I believe the Manley panel has set out the parameters for exactly such a way forward. We hope that all parties will look at this very seriously.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the government tabled its flawed motion on Afghanistan, but the motion begs a host of questions.

The most important of these is this: when the government speaks of extending Canada's combat role to 2011, is this a withdrawal date or a renewal date? Which is it: a limited mission or an endless war?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, again we are quite clear. The motion speaks to a date at the end of 2011 and, over the time up to that date, an effort to train and transition responsibility to the Afghan National Army for security in its own country. Obviously our objective is to achieve that. We are not going to tie the hands of a future Parliament. It will be able to review that, but we believe that is an achievable question.

What we have to decide in this Parliament now is what we do until 2011: do members support the mission in Afghanistan or do they want the troops pulled out now? That is the question we will be deciding.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's motion on Afghanistan does not raise just one question. It raises three.

What is to say that 1,000 soldiers will be enough? When will combat end and training begin, as the government suggests? The third question is more important: when will the mission end? In 2011, will troops be withdrawn or will the never-ending war be renewed?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.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 quote the person who said this:

We don't know what success looks like in Afghanistan, but we sure know what failure looks like: the Taliban take over, civil war restarts, the girls who are going to school don't go to school, the women who get health care as they deliver their children don't get health care, [and] we slide back. Victory is not clear, but losing this is pretty clear to me, and I don't think we want to lose.

The person who said that is the deputy leader of the Liberal Party. I hope he will provide leadership to his party on that question.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to his press secretary, Premier Jean Charest took advantage of his recent meeting with the Prime Minister to remind him that his aid package for the manufacturing and forestry industries is simply not enough. Not only does the Premier of Quebec find the Prime Minister's aid package inadequate, but the Premier of Ontario, the unions, the industries, workers in the regions and the Bloc Québécois do as well.

Will the Prime Minister finally listen to reason and improve his aid package in order to help the workers and regions affected by the crisis?

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend, the leader of the Bloc, knows full well that the government has taken action and has already begun putting measures in place to support Canada's economy. A few weeks ago, the Minister of Finance introduced the economic statement here in this House and managed to get it passed. It contained measures to help businesses in Quebec deal with more complicated situations.

In addition, I would remind my hon. friend that he voted for the measure last week.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we agreed with putting an end to the despicable blackmail that consisted in tying the aid to the next budget, but that was not our only condition. The government has a $10.6 billion surplus in relation to the current budget. The economic situation is cause for concern, especially given what is happening in the United States. We agree that some money needs to go to pay down the debt. Three billion dollars would be enough. But putting the full $10.6 billion on the debt would mean ignoring the needs of workers and the regions.

Could the government not grant another $3.5 billion, not in the next budget, but out of the current surplus, to help—

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have taken action. I have already spoken about the measures in the Minister of Finance's economic statement. We worked on resolving the issue with the community development trust. We also took action on the fiscal imbalance and through the new formula, Quebec received an additional and unexpected $406 million. This government is concerned about this problem and that is why it is in the process of implementing these measures.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the premiers of Quebec and Ontario denounced not only the inadequacy of the federal assistance, but also its distribution. Indeed, the distribution of assistance based on population rather than based on the number of jobs affected, and $10 million in base funding for all the provinces regardless of needs—this all means that Prince Edward Island will received $99 per resident, while Quebec, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis, will receive only $28 per resident, barely a quarter of that amount.

How can the Prime Minister or the government justify this distribution, which is so unfair and illogical for Quebec?

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Bloc would like to paint the most miserable picture possible of the situation, but I would remind them that, according to the most recently released statistics on employment, Quebec now has the lowest unemployment rate that it has seen in 33 years, namely, 6.8%. For Canada overall, that rate is 5.8%. Those statistics say it all.

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, when Alberta was hit with the mad cow disease crisis, logically, that is where the bulk of the assistance went. However, when a crisis hits Quebec primarily, the Conservatives opt for a distribution that will give rich Alberta more than Quebec, where the majority of manufacturing jobs have been lost.

How can the government explain that it is so difficult to help Quebec when it needs assistance and so easy to help Alberta, whether it needs help or not?

Manufacturing and Forestry IndustriesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the formula is quite straightforward. It is based on population distribution. That formula is fair and reasonable. Passing that legislation even prompted the Premier of Ontario, who rarely gives accolades to this side of the House, to say that the Government of Canada had taken positive action for Ontario.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs made a horrible prediction, saying that there will never be democracy as we know it in the western world in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister has said repeatedly that the purpose of this war was to share Canadian values with the Afghan people. This seems no longer to be the case.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his foreign affairs minister? Does he believe that establishing democracy in Afghanistan is impossible?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, Afghanistan now has a democratic government. Elections have been held and, in my opinion, Afghanistan is a democracy.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, when will the government realize, and the official opposition for that matter, that when it comes to Afghanistan, it is not a question of combat or combat light or extending the war with our eyes open or extending it with our eyes closed?

There are two paths in front of us in Afghanistan: one is to prolong the war, the other is to begin to build a path toward peace. There are two choices: war or peace.

Which side will the Prime Minister choose? Which path will he take?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.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 agree with the leader of the NDP that there is a clear choice of two paths. The choices are not the ones he lays out. It is the choice of whether we support a continued military presence and mission in Afghanistan, or whether we wish the troops to be pulled out now. We know where the NDP stands. Those members want the troops out now.

As for peace, we know from experience, and if those members review the Manley report it is quite clear, that we cannot have peace and security in that country until we advance the objectives we have of delivering that peace. Sadly, and unfortunately, sometimes that takes a military commitment.

We are prepared to make that military commitment and Canadians are proud of that military commitment.

Government ContractsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has admitted he broke the rules when he issued a $122,000 untendered contract to a Conservative friend.

In fact, that same friend received another contract worth only $350 less than the limit for sole sourcing.

Who did the minister hire to write his budget speech this year? Did he play by the rules this time?