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 #25 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that Rights & Democracy is an arm's-length organization run by its board of directors and that its staff are not part of the public service. The parliamentary committee is meeting as we speak, giving it the opportunity to ask the board of directors all the questions it likes. I invite my colleague to do so.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of Rights & Democracy's board of directors must account for their management to Parliament, and it is our duty as parliamentarians to get to the bottom of what is going on in that organization.

In the name of transparency, will the government hand over copies of the contracts they have granted, specifically to Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche? We want the contracts, their cost and the accounting reports.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that it was not the government that awarded the contracts. If she wants that information, she will have to ask the board of directors, who, as I said, have had an opportunity to appear before the parliamentary committee. And they will appear again if they are called as witnesses.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government refused to see that it was sending detainees to be tortured. Diplomat Richard Colvin's many reports were ignored. When Mr. Colvin suggested putting an end to the transfer of detainees who were at risk of being tortured, the government note-taker stopped recording what he was saying. She simply put down her pen. Every time Richard Colvin sounded the alarm, this government plugged its ears.

Will the government admit that its lack of transparency today is hiding the fact that the former practice was to deny the risk of torture in order to get rid of detainees as soon as possible?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false. When the government was able to look at allegations or when allegations were made, it took action. As members are aware, we have put in place a new system for transferring Taliban detainees to the Afghan authorities, who give us access at any time. In the event of a problem, we interrupt the transfer.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant-Colonel Sansterre was in charge of investigating the mistreatment of Afghan detainees. He stated that he took the word of the Afghan authorities, even though they were accused of torturing detainees. He even said he was not aware of the Federal Court ruling that detainee safety was threatened. It defies belief.

How can this government guarantee the safety of detainees when its investigator was given a political order—I repeat, a political order—not to bother the Afghan torturers too much?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, every time allegations were made, they were analyzed and investigated by Canadian army authorities.

We have put in place an improved system, better than the one the previous government had, that guarantees us access and allows us to verify any allegations that are made. And I want to remind the House that these are allegations.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, Richard Colvin told us previously and yesterday that there was actual knowledge at the highest civilian levels in the government of substantial risk of torture. Other memos and all other evidence, including evidence adduced at the Military Police Complaints Commission this morning, indicate the same. Yet the government deliberately set out to obstruct the ability of the Red Cross to monitor the detainees.

Do the Prime Minister and the defence minister not realize that, if true, this means the Conservative government has been in violation of the Geneva convention and the Canadian Criminal Code?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, these allegations have been made previously. There is nothing new in all of these stories. Every opportunity, every time there have been serious allegations we have looked into it.

I will remind the colleagues in the House that we are the government that changed the regime. We are the government that made it a better regime. We corrected the skewed regime that was in place by the Liberals.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the government benches that they are the government of cover-up and it is a continuing cover-up.

The fact is the unredacted documents of Colvin, other memos, including the evidence adduced at the Military Police Complaints Commission this morning, all indicate the government has been in violation of the Geneva convention and the Criminal Code by forcing our military to transfer detainees to a substantial risk of torture.

It is the government that has to be accountable. If the government believes it has nothing to hide and it is right, why not call a public inquiry and make full disclosure to Canadians?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have made all the documentation that is legally capable to be made. We have given it to the committee. We have given it every opportunity to question witnesses.

These allegations that have been put forward have always been looked at in a very serious manner. They have been investigated. There is no substantive evidence to what the colleague has said.

We have been quite clear. We are doing what needs to be done in the name of transparency.

HaitiOral Questions

April 14th, 2010 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Haiti are digging themselves out of the earthquake with their bare hands, with wheel barrels, with picks and shovels. The Minister of International Cooperation and I were down there last week. We could see it very clearly.

I would like to ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs this. Did the Government of Canada realize that when it withdrew the troops, the impact of that withdrawal would mean the withdrawal of heavy equipment, which is essential to deal with the impact of the earthquake?

HaitiOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I participated two weeks ago, on March 31 more specifically, in the donors' conference in New York.

I can tell the members of the House that Canada was applauded long and loud by other countries because of the work we have done there, particularly the Canadian armed forces and our civilian component. I hope the hon. colleague was able to see that, not only when he went to Haiti but when he was able to look at all the information available. People are very happy with what Canada has done.

HaitiOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, all governments and all Haitians have made an extraordinary effort, but the problem persists. UN representatives and the mayors of Léogâne and other Haitian cities have clearly stated that Canadian heavy machinery and bulldozers are no longer on site.

That is a huge problem for the Haitian people. I hope that the government understands that it has to go back to Haiti with bulldozers, not with vague intentions.

HaitiOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it would have been nice if the hon. member could have come to New York to learn more about the action plan proposed by the authorities—

HaitiOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

I was not invited.

HaitiOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

His colleague from Montreal was invited. He could have learned more about the action plan put forward by the Haitian government. He would have discovered that every community and all participating countries support the action plan. He is on his own with his own action plan. We support the Haitian government and the other countries that want to rebuild Haiti.

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

LaVar Payne Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today the Liberal leader lifted the veil on his high tax plans. On April 14, 2009, the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”. Whether it is a GST hike, talking up carbon taxes or proposing job-killing business taxes, the Liberal leader just cannot stop talking about raising taxes.

Could the Minister of Transport tell the House how the Liberal leader's high tax proposals differ from that of our Conservative government?

TaxationOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, last year, on April 14, the leader of the Liberal Party did very clearly tell Canadians that he wanted to raise taxes, and for the last year he has been planning how to raise these taxes on families and now on Canadian businesses.

Our government has been focused on the economy and on Canada's economic action plan. We are working on year two of the plan. We are seeing a fragile recovery take place.

The very last thing that would help the recovery would be a big tax increase brought forward by a man who self-describes himself as a “tax and spend Liberal”.

IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's decision to export raw bitumen means that this government will be exporting our jobs to other countries. Jobs in the refining industry are at risk throughout Canada. This decision also puts our energy security in jeopardy.

Why is the government forcing Canada to deal with all the environmental and social problems related to tar sands operations, but exporting the jobs?

IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the federal government will review Sinopec's bid, as it does with any other foreign investment. Under the Investment Canada Act, the acquisition of control by a foreign investor of a Canadian business with assets of $299 million or more is subject to review.

As the hon. member knows, the minister only approves applications where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada.

IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want a government that will stand up for our interests, not one that surrenders our natural wealth to every foreign investor that comes along.

The Prime Minister is breaking his own fundamental promise not to export raw bitumen to countries with lower environmental standards. He is exporting raw resources and Canadian jobs. He is helping triple the tar sands production and rubber-stamping more pipelines that will carry unrefined crude to the U.S. and China. Canada will be left with all the pollution and a government only interested in making friends in Texas and Beijing.

Why is the Prime Minister breaking his own promise to Canadians?

IndustryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the hon. member's rhetoric, any business, any company that operates in Canada operates under Canadian law.

I will reiterate that the minister only approves applications where an investment demonstrates that it is likely to be of net benefit to Canada. The review process is rigorous, involves consultations with affected provinces and territories and other key stakeholders.

EthicsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded earlier to a question about those who turned a blind eye to allegations of torture of Afghan detainees and did not take any action, since it was a matter of allegations. A little earlier, the Prime Minister told us that the Minister for the Status of Women had resigned following serious allegations.

Could the government explain its rationale? In one case of allegations it takes action and in another case it does not. Why the double standard?

EthicsOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois' logic is rather convoluted. I would simply say to my hon. colleague that we have taken action in every case.

I did indeed mention that there had been allegations concerning the transfer of Afghan detainees. We took action and the Canadian Forces verified those allegations. We did our job.