This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, during the last two years, while the Liberal Party completely reversed itself and decided we should suddenly pull out of Afghanistan, the government was working with our allies to strengthen that mission.

We have seen important contributions from many countries, including an additional contribution from Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. These contributions are very important.

We will continue to press for additional contributions from NATO because we think those are important. However, we do not think there is cause, if NATO is willing to give us what we need, to abandon our commitments to the Afghan people.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, as usual, the Prime Minister gets it more than wrong. The party over there wants to pull out of Afghanistan, not this party.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Etobicoke--Lakeshore has the floor to put a question. We need to have some order because I cannot hear a word that is being said. The hon. member for Etobicoke--Lakeshore has the floor.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister spends more time talking to foreign politicians like Messrs. Sarkozy, Brown and Bush, than to his own citizens. He should start by telling the truth about the choices we have.

When will the Prime Minister show some respect for Canadians and establish an open and honest dialogue with them about the mission in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the deputy leader of the Liberal Party says that Canada should stay in Afghanistan, I am convinced that is indeed his position.

I think that should also be Canada's position. We undertook important obligations to the Afghan people, to the international community and to our NATO allies.

A report, put together by a panel of experts, including the former deputy prime minister of the Liberal Party, has indicated that we need additional help. Our government is clear that with that additional help we are prepared to move forward with our allies.

These are never easy decisions to make or communicate but one needs to be on one side or the other.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we learned that the Prime Minister intends to introduce a motion about extending the mission in Afghanistan. Last week, I asked the Prime Minister if, out of respect for our NATO allies, he would commit to putting his motion to the vote before the NATO summit so that he could go there with a clear mandate from the House of Commons about the future of the mission. He refused to answer.

Will he answer my question today?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government will soon introduce a motion to extend the mission in Afghanistan. The motion will set out the important conditions that we want from NATO.

I hope that this motion will be the subject of debate not only here in the House but also in the committees. I encourage the Bloc members and other opposition members to take the time to study the Manley report in their parliamentary committees in the weeks to come.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a little strange. One of the recommendations in the Manley report is greater transparency, and the Prime Minister cannot even give us an answer about whether the vote will be held before or after the NATO meeting.

I would also like to know if this vote will be held before the budget is tabled. Such a decision will, inevitably, have financial repercussions, and we should have the opportunity to vote on the budget with full knowledge of the facts so that we do not commit to military expenditures for a mission that may not be renewed.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the last time we had a debate on Afghanistan here, the leader of the Bloc complained that the debate was too short. Now he is complaining that the debate is too long, even though it has not yet begun. We intend to give the members of the Bloc and the other parties ample time to debate this very important issue.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the truth about the fate of detainees captured by the Canadian army. The ministers have two contradictory stories.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has told us that detainees are not being transferred because of known cases of torture. His colleague, the Minister of National Defence, has stated that we should envisage the possibility of building a Canadian prison in Kabul. There is widespread confusion.

Given that detainees are not being transferred and the prison is not ready, can someone in this government tell us what is happening to these prisoners in the meantime?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this question has been asked and answered many times but the answer remains the same. What I would really like to hear discussed is not potential crime or alleged crime in Afghanistan, but perhaps the Liberals could get their Senate colleagues to do something serious about tackling violent crime and do something serious for crime in Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we have to keep asking these questions, it is because we keep getting this sort of answer, an answer that has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

The Minister of National Defence said that detainees were kept in a certain location. Could his parliamentary secretary tell us who is guarding this location? Is it the Canadian army? Is it the American forces? Or the Afghan police?

It is time for this government to end its culture of secrecy. We want to know and we are entitled to know what is going on.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the same question. I would point out again that we have a supplementary arrangement that is working very well, which is why this one case that has come to light has been dealt with by the Afghan authorities. They have taken action against the individual involved.

The authority for detaining or not detaining, or transferring or not transferring rests with the Canadian Forces. We trust General Hillier to make the right decisions. We trust his people on the ground to make the right decisions. We will always back them up. We will not override their authority as the other parties would have us do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has proposed a path to peace in Afghanistan. The Conservatives have proposed continued war. Evidently, the Liberals have chosen to side with the Conservatives. It is the wrong choice for Canada and it is not leadership.

On a related matter, will the Prime Minister call on the Auditor General to examine the accountability mechanisms of CIDA and the contracts with the recipient organizations of Canadian aid in Afghanistan to ensure that money is going to the people who need it in Afghanistan and not into Swiss bank accounts?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the House that CIDA's contributions to its work anywhere in the world is very robustly studied. The accountability in Afghanistan is triple-fold. We work with reputable organizations that monitor themselves. CIDA people are visiting sites and monitoring. We receive reports and we also have external observers and auditors looking at every program and every scrip that we provide.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is not acceptable. There are problems with contracts, accounting and accountability. At least $740 million has been paid out by CIDA in Afghanistan without audit. The minister just said so. Canadians want assurances that their money is going where it is needed.

Will the Prime Minister ask the Auditor General to report on this to Parliament? Where has the money gone? How much money has been spent? Are we getting our money's worth with these projects?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the minister has answered the question. CIDA has many processes to ensure that our money is properly spent. The Auditor General audits all government departments.

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister still has not said that he is sorry for illegally paying a Conservative friend $122,000 to write his budget speech.

Does this sentence, costing taxpayers nearly $600, constitute good value for money?

From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the rugged shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, many of the most beautiful places on earth are in Canada.

For 600 bucks, could they not check an atlas to see that Canada does not end at the Rocky Mountains?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite thinks that Canadian geography ends at Steeles Avenue in the GTA but it is not so.

Many people in Canada disagree with the member for Markham—Unionville when he says that he wants to raise the GST by two full percentage points, when he talks about saving the GST and restoring the GST. If he actually cared about Canadians from coast to coast to coast, he would not advocate raising the GST, raising taxes on Canadians.

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, apart from that GST nonsense, I have not heard anything so geographically challenged since the public safety minister told Canadians that the Niagara River flows south.

I have heard that the Prime Minister's two favourite words are “discipline” and “consequences”.

Why was this minister, who broke the rules, not disciplined, and why did he not suffer the consequences of his violations? Will the Prime Minister at least apologize to Canadians?

FinanceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite says that the GST is nonsense. He ridicules Canadians and the taxes they pay by saying that the GST is nonsense.

The GST is a permanent tax reduction for Canadians, a $12 billion per annum tax reduction for Canadians. He would raise it. When he was asked about the GST, the member for Markham—Unionville said, “It's an option. All I can say is that it is consistent with our approach”.

The Liberal approach is to tax and spend and raise taxes.

EthicsOral Questions

February 6th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are increasingly seeing the government for what it is: vindictive, dishonest and incompetent.

There is no better example of the dishonesty of the Conservatives than their in and out scheme. Elections Canada caught the Conservative Party in the act breaking the law. For seven months, the government has refused hearings on this issue and now has resorted to simply shutting down the committee.

Clearly, accountability means little to the Prime Minister when it is about his own party's ethics and it is under the microscope. Why?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 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, for the Liberal Party all it is about is hijacking the institutions of Parliament for partisan purposes. The Liberals do that all the time. They have done that with the procedure and House affairs committee by seeking an investigation into election spending of one party while steadfastly resisting any investigation into their own activities and using their majority as opposition party to ensure that happened.

That is called partisan hijacking of parliamentary committees. They did that with the foreign affairs committee to block any debate on the Afghanistan Manley panel and it is what they have done over at the Senate where they are blocking the tackling violent crime bill that this House voted for as a confidence matter.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was the Chief Electoral Officer who said that the Conservatives breached the law. Every other party in this House followed it.

For months we have been trying to get to the bottom of this scheme. The Conservatives have no shame about using their dirty tricks manual to shut down our committee. Rules are simply thrown out the window when the PMO directs what is happening in committees.

Why is the government so afraid of allowing Conservative candidates to testify before the parliamentary committee? What have the Conservatives got to hide?