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House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have said repeatedly that Canada's combat mission will end in 2011, in accordance with the motion adopted here in the House in March 2008. As we transition out of the combat mission, we will continue to provide aide and focus on development. A non-combat training role will ensure that the progress made by the Canadian Forces to date continues.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are still waiting for clear answers to detailed questions. For example, how many trainers will there be? Does training exclude combat? Where will the training take place? Will it be within a secure area? Would the trainers be in Kabul?

These are all important details. Canadians cannot be content with the government's vague proposals. They demand clarity. When will the government give us that clarity?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as members know, Afghanistan remains Canada's top international security priority. The government is reviewing Canada's development and diplomatic efforts post-2011. Regardless of the results of that review, Canada will continue its development activities and maintain diplomatic relations in Afghanistan through the Canadian embassy in Kabul.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, those answers are genuinely absurd. We are five days away from the Lisbon summit and the government is unable to stand in the House and tell us exactly what the post-2011 combat mission looks like.

How can the government explain this silence? How can it explain its improvisation? How can it explain its secrecy? How can it explain its lack of transparency with the Canadian people?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have been repeatedly clear on this particular issue. In accordance with the parliamentary motion that was adopted here in March 2008, Canada's combat mission will end in 2011. As we transition out of the combat mission, we will continue to provide aid and focus on development in Afghanistan. As I mentioned before in French, a non-combat training role will ensure that the progress made by Canadian Forces to date continues.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, I could try again and ask a very specific question of the minister.

Could the minister tell us how long he expects the training mission to last, how many trainers he expects to be there and how much he anticipates this training mission will cost on an annual basis?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister responded to the question in terms of length and indicated that this role would go until 2014.

As well, as we speak we are still reviewing the role that Canada will play. When we have completed that, we will be able to inform the House.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's spokesperson, Mr. Soudas, who was one of the spokespeople last week, said there were options for training, for assistance and for development. I therefore have a very simple question for the minister. The time has come to make decisions. What exactly is the plan for assistance, for development and for training? Those are very clear questions, and the answers should also be clear.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I understand my colleague's impatience, but as I said, we are reviewing Canada's development and diplomatic efforts. When the time is right, we will be able to make the appropriate announcements.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions, the Prime Minister and other government members have stated that no Canadian soldiers would be present in Afghanistan after 2011. On January 6, 2010, the Prime Minister even said, and I quote, “we will not be undertaking any activities that require any kind of military presence, other than the odd guard guarding an embassy.”

Does the Prime Minister realize that by announcing the extension of the military mission until 2014 while Parliament was not sitting he has broken a promise made to the people?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Not at all, Mr. Speaker. We have said on a number of occasions that Canada's combat mission will end in 2011. We have always been very clear about this and have stated that we will comply fully with the motion passed by Parliament in March 2008. As I mentioned earlier, we are obviously reviewing a number of things. This review, which I referred to a few moments ago, is continuing. When we are in a position to make announcements, we will do so.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs should stop playing with words.Since the Prime Minister's announcement, it appears that 600 to 1,000 soldiers would remain in Afghanistan as part of a mission that is most definitely military in nature. And yet the Prime Minister promised that after 2011, this mission would become strictly civilian.

Yes or no, will the government keep its promise to withdraw Canadian troops, no later than the end of 2011?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, assuming a non-combat training role obviously will ensure that the progress made by the armed forces to date will continue. I would like to remind my colleague that the sacrifices of brave Canadians have made it possible to build a safer, more stable, more prosperous Afghanistan, which is not a haven for terrorists.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims that he does not need the House to vote on sending 600 to 1,000 soldiers to Afghanistan. But in his 2005-06 election platform he said, “A Conservative government will...make Parliament responsible for exercising oversight over the...commitment of Canadian Forces to foreign operations”.

Will the Prime Minister admit that by announcing that he is extending Canada's military mission in Afghanistan without consulting Parliament, he is reneging on an important election promise?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, not at all, and it is important to make that distinction. In situations that require legitimacy, for example, when the Government of Canada commits to sending soldiers to combat, it makes sense for the government to obtain the support of the Canadian Parliament. However, I will remind my colleague that just recently, at the beginning of January, when we sent Canadian Forces to provide assistance in Haiti, we did so without first having the approval of the House.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only did the Prime Minister promise in his election platform that Parliament would be consulted before any military mission, but on May 10, 2006, in response to a question from the Leader of the Bloc Québécois, the Prime Minister also reiterated his promise of “holding votes on new commitments”, a promise that came up again in the 2007 throne speech.

Does the Prime Minister realize that he broke his promise by announcing that the military mission would be extended without consulting Parliament?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech, the Prime Minister indicated that at the end of our military mission in 2011, our effort would focus on diplomacy and development. We are in the process of reviewing the situation, and we will inform the House once that review is complete.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised to bring our troops home from Afghanistan next July and to put military deployments before this House for a vote. That makes two broken promises. Instead of listening to Canadians, the Prime Minister is taking his advice from the leader of the Liberal Party.

Why do the Conservatives refuse to submit to the democratic process of a parliamentary vote?

Why such lack of accountability?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction. In fact, the Prime Minister indicated in this House that the combat mission would be ending at the end of 2011 and that we would make sure to adhere to and fully comply with the motion passed in this place in March 2008. That is what were are doing.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, anyone who goes around saying that the deployment of troops in Afghanistan does not entail great risk is sorely underestimating the intelligence of Canadians. That is the truth of it.

I would like to read a quote that states:

The Prime Minister made a sincere commitment in an election campaign to allow parliamentarians...to vote on whether our troops should be deployed abroad....

Who said that? It was the government House leader. Does the government House leader still believe his own words?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for this government and for parliamentarians, our Afghan mission remains extremely important. It is a top international security priority.

We continue to make considerable sacrifices and devote significant resources in the interest of helping Afghanistan, as well as the Afghans themselves, to become a more stable and self-sufficient country and state.

As I mentioned before, we are reviewing Canada's development and diplomatic efforts in post-2011. When we have completed that we will be able to make the House aware of that.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was evident in the easygoing exchange back and forth between the Liberals and the Conservatives a few minutes ago that they are working side by side to extend our military mission in Afghanistan.

Are the Conservatives also learning from their new Liberal friends about arrogance, flip-flopping and avoiding accountability? How far is the training going?

If the government really believes what it often says when it extols the virtues of parliamentary democracy, why is it allowing a mission costing billions and three more years of danger for our troops to go ahead without a vote?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, as well as the government, has been very clear. If we are going to put troops into combat, into a war situation, for the sake of legitimacy the government has made the practice of asking the support of Parliament. We have done that and we were the first government to have done that.

The point that I am making is that, for instance, our recent deployment of military personnel to Haiti following the earthquake in the month of January is a perfect example of deploying troops in a non-combat role without requiring a vote of the House of Commons.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

November 15th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, when the government dumps documents on a Friday before a break, we know it is to cover up an embarrassment.

When it comes to the G8 and G20 spendfest, it reveals an addiction to lavish spending.

Why did the government saddle taxpayers with a $1,900 bill for frosted glasses, and over $16,000 for opulence catering? With this excessive spending, is it any wonder the minister of opulence over there has run up a record $56 billion deficit?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as host nation of unprecedented back to back G8 and G20 summits we are proud of their success.

As we have said all along, the majority of the costs for the summits were security related. Approximately 20,000 security personnel were tasked with safeguarding both summits.

Disclosing the full to date details of the costs of these summits is further proof of our government's commitment to transparency and accountability.