Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak on this important issue tonight. I want to thank the member for Bourassa for bringing forward this issue on Haiti.
Haiti is in our hemisphere and a very important development assistance partner for Canada. As a matter of fact, Haiti is the second largest recipient of Canadian aid, and Canadians have been generous in addressing many of the severe crises that have taken place in Haiti, including the earthquake, the cholera outbreak and other issues of good governance, violence and so on.
Canada has been engaged in Haiti for a very long time. As a member of the foreign affairs committee in the last Parliament, I did a special report on Haiti with my colleague from Edmonton East, who spoke earlier on this issue. This issue was brought up in the last Parliament because of the concern about what was happening in Haiti. Subsequently, of course, other tragic events took place after the earthquake, such as the cholera outbreak and the violence.
Tonight in this debate we have heard from every party. The Minister of Foreign Affairs informed us of the initiatives and other things that Canada has done, including today when he met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the secretary of foreign affairs of Mexico. As well, the Minister of International Cooperation laid out what Canada has done as part of its humanitarian assistance, including rapid response for the cholera outbreak.
We just heard from the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas about the total diplomatic initiative and other initiatives that Canada has taken toward addressing many of the tragedies that are taking place in Haiti. We also heard from the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women and my colleague from Edmonton East.
This whole evening we have been speaking on this matter, which is of grave concern. Listening to the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP, we hear that most of the concerns that have been expressed are universal on both sides. That is not to say that there is no unanimity on how to address this issue. As a matter of fact there is. All parties agree. Tonight all of us have talked about this not being a partisan issue, and we have highlighted many of the issues and strong actions that the Government of Canada is taking, has taken and will continue to take in addressing many of the issues.
I could continue, but I would be rehashing the same old facts and problems by saying what has already been stated in the House. I myself have been asking a lot of questions, but I would rather give my opposition colleagues the opportunity during this period of time to ask me questions of relevance, which they think they need to address and that I would be more than happy to answer.
A couple of very good points have been made in reference to tonight's debate. One of them, of course, was raised by a Liberal member who talked about the approach the U.K. has taken toward humanitarian assistance.
One key point I want to make is that the Minister of International Cooperation began a new initiative about three weeks ago working with the Red Cross. This is now bringing health experts together under one umbrella so we can send a rapid response team, which will basically be made up of medical personnel, to areas where it is needed, for example, the cholera outbreak in Haiti. This is similar to DART, except that it is not run by military personnel but by Red Cross NGOs, which I believe is an excellent initiative taken by this government to address many of the humanitarian issues.
If the opposition has any questions, I would be more than glad to answer them on behalf of the government.