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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, again, whenever specific substantiated evidence has been brought forward, this government has accepted its responsibilities. We have had the opportunity over this past week, down the hall, to hear testimony from some of Canada's leading generals and public policy leaders. They all have said the same thing, that no substantiated allegations have ever been proven on any detainee transferred by a Canadian soldier.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, true to form, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities are attacking all forms of opposition. Today, they said that those who call their government irresponsible because it failed to prevent torture are actually criticizing our soldiers' work. Nothing could be further from the truth. Guess who that reminds me of. It reminds me of George W. Bush, who, when speaking of the axis of evil, said that he was going to separate the good from the bad. That is who they remind me of. It is ridiculous.

Instead of attacking the opposition, will the Prime Minister reveal the extent of his government's negligence on the torture issue?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear, again. The senior leadership of the military and our senior civil servants in charge of the mission in Afghanistan have rejected allegations of torture. That was what they said in their testimony before the committee. We acted, of course, on the advice of those same people.

The hypocrisy and the cynicism of the members opposite to say that they accept the advice of the military and the senior civil servants but reject the actions of the government points to the real failings of what they are doing.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to its refusal to give us the documentation in its possession, the government is trying to shut Richard Colvin and the opposition up by portraying us as Taliban allies. How nice. There is just one goal behind this crude strategy: covering up the government's failure to take action and its decision to turn a blind eye to the torture of Afghan detainees.

When will there be a public inquiry to reveal the extent of this government's violations of the Geneva convention?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as usual with the member, nothing could be further from the truth.

We have and we will continue to disclose documents in keeping with the vetting process that has always been applied with respect to national security, the Canada Evidence Act. This is the job of the Department of Justice. We act upon that advice, as we act upon the advice of the senior military, the senior public service. We accept that professional non-partisan advice.

The members opposite, again, are demonstrating hypocrisy and cynicism saying that they accept that advice but not the government's actions.

Here is what the Globe and Mail had to say: “No one with a lick of sense would expect that Afghan prisoners would live in comfort or ease”. This is what the Globe and Mail

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, by dismissing the call from the United Nations Secretary-General for more ambitious emission reduction targets, the Prime Minister is demonstrating a sad lack of leadership on this critical issue.

To deal with climate change, we have to be bold and we have to be serious. What does the government come up with? It says that it will tweak some of the details, details of a plan that nobody has even yet seen.

Instead of trying to set things back, why will the Prime Minister and the government not listen to the Queen, the UN, world leaders and set bold, tough action targets on—

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Transport.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, what this country needs and what the world needs is a plan that is bold, that is strong, that is effective, but also one that is realistic.

That is why the government has come forward with an ambitious plan to regulate big industry, the big polluters. We are working hard to play a constructive role for an effective outcome at Copenhagen. We are pleased that the Prime Minister will attend Copenhagen. We are pleased with the great leadership that the Minister of the Environment has given this file over the past year.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, far from ambitious, the targets that have been set are far below Canada's previous international commitments. It is laughable. No wonder other governments are criticizing us. In fact, the government still wants to rely on these intensity targets, which virtually everybody else has rejected, including the United States.

If the Prime Minister is intending to go to Copenhagen to simply put the brakes on change and try to convince other leaders that they should not act boldly, perhaps he should not go. All he will get at this rate are a bunch of fossil awards.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it was under the previous government where Canada ran up a record number of fossil awards at international conventions.

What people on the international stage want to see is real action. When Canada signed on to Kyoto in 1997, it marked a 10-year race to reduce global emissions. When that starting pistol went off, Canada began to run in the opposite direction.

We are committed to playing a constructive role to set bold, effective and far-reaching targets, but those targets have to be realistic and they have to be achievable. That is the kind of leadership the Prime Minister is providing.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Prime Minister is reluctant to go to Copenhagen. If the American and Chinese presidents had not announced their attendance, he would not be going.

Why? Because the government refuses to show a modicum of leadership when it comes to the environment.

Why? Because the Prime Minister has chosen the almighty dollar and the oil sands over environmental action.

On the international scene, why must Canadians count on Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia to take action, but they cannot count on their own federal government?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment and the Prime Minister have signalled that they are prepared to work constructively, as we have over this past year with the Obama administration. We are pleased with the proposals the Obama administration put forward. They almost go as far as the commitments that Canada has made.

We believe in real reduction. Intensity does not cut it. That has been the policy of our government for a number of years.

AfghanistanOral Questions

November 30th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Wall Street Journal, chief prosecutor Ocampo of the International Criminal Court is examining allegations surrounding the issue of torture in Afghanistan.

There is a consensus that Canada continued to transfer detainees to Afghan jails at risk of torture, damaging Canada's reputation. The government's continued refusal to hold a public inquiry just makes it worse.

I would urge the ministers and the Prime Minister to face the truth and call a public inquiry so Canada's reputation can be made whole again.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, let me quote somebody a little closer to the source, and that would be the commander, General Gauthier, who was on the ground in Afghanistan during the time in question. He said, “I can very safely say there is nothing in any of these 2006 reports that caused any of the subject matter experts on my staff, nor, by extension, me, to be alerted to either the fact of torture or a very high risk of torture, nothing”.

Mr. David Mulroney, who testified as well, said, “I can say that we have no evidence that any Canadian-transferred detainee was mistreated”.

I will take their word over the individual opposite.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a suggestion that no monitoring, no tracking policy on detainees in 2006 and 2007 was deliberate, emanating from the highest levels of government in the country. It simply destroys any shred of credibility that the government has left on this issue.

How is the Prime Minister going to face the Chinese government on its human rights record when he will not face the truth at home with the detainee issue hanging over his head? Why will the Prime Minister not do the right thing and announce a public inquiry before he leaves for China?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, more evidence that the member opposite and his party continue to try to politicize this issue.

That is the same individual, the member for Vancouver South, who said on national television just yesterday that the general's testimony was morally weak and legally flimsy. That is the same individual who, in committee, made a veiled reference to the actions of the Canadian Forces as being tantamount to war crimes. That is morally reprehensible.

The member should stand in his place and apologize to the Canadian Forces for those allegations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner has expressed great concern about the flow of information to the public about the war in Afghanistan.

Reports show that the foreign affairs and the defence departments consistently fail to live up to the rules on ATIP responses. The commissioner said,“Canadians want to know what's going on in Afghanistan. There has to be a flow of information to Canadians”.

When will the government stop picking and choosing who gets what information and when?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, if the member opposite was paying attention, she would know that this government has quarterly reports on Afghanistan. We testify before parliamentary committees regularly with respect to requests from the Auditor General. We obviously answer questions daily in the House with respect to the Afghanistan mission.

This government has been more transparent, more forthcoming with information about Afghanistan than her party was during its time in office.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have a right to know what is going on in Afghanistan. The government has closed the doors and blocked any real access to information to the public. The Information Commissioner is just the latest to call for more information from the government on the mission.

Will the Prime Minister take the Information Commissioner's advice, or will he attack her as a Taliban sympathizer, as he has so many others who have questioned the government's actions?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I have stated a number of times, we continue to co-operate with investigations that are arm's-length. We continue to support the efforts that are undertaken at the parliamentary committee with information. We have quarterly reports. We have press availabilities. We answer questions in the House. We respond to the Auditor General.

I will tell the House what we will not do to inform Canadians about the mission. We will not do ten percenters, trying to raise money on the backs of the Canadian Forces. We will not do that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, while scientists have observed a worrisome shrinking of the arctic ice pack, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is calling on the Prime Minister to do more for the environment. While the international community is calling for drastic measures, the Prime Minister is proposing only minor adjustments in his strategy.

Does the Prime Minister realize that, by doing as little as possible in the fight against climate change, Canada is becoming a global laughing stock?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, we announced another target two years ago. President Obama also announced his target last week. The two targets are almost the same. They are quite similar. We have been working closely with the United States, as well as with other countries.

We will pursue our efforts to harmonize our policies and emissions exchange regulations with the United States. The Bloc Québécois should support our efforts.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister wanted to harmonize with the United States, he would adopt absolute greenhouse gas reduction targets instead of intensity targets, as he is doing.

Last week the House of Commons passed a Bloc Québécois motion that shows the government the way when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the government waiting for to respect this House's decision and show some responsibility by doing its part in the global fight against climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, anything that has been put forward by the Bloc in this House and supported by the other opposition parties would lead ultimately to isolationism by this country and economic damage. Let us be clear about that.

President Obama announced his targets last week. They are virtually identical to the targets that were announced by the Conservative government in this country almost two years ago.

We will continue to work together internationally. We will continue to work together with the United States. We both want to see a binding agreement that applies to all major emitters. We want to see continental progress and a cap and trade system and harmonized regulations. That is what we will continue to do. That is more than we have ever seen in this House from any other government.