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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mission.

Topics

Public Sector Integrity CommissionerRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour, pursuant to section 38 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, to lay upon the table the report of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.

This report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Tlicho AgreementRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2005-09 progress report of the Tlicho agreement implementation committee.

Gwich'in Comprehensive Land Claim AgreementRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2008-09 annual report of the implementation committee on the Gwich'in comprehensive land claim agreement.

Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim AgreementRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2008-09 annual report of the implementation committee on the Sahtu Dene and Métis comprehensive land claim agreement.

Inuvialuit Final AgreementRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2008-09 annual report of the Inuvialuit final agreement implementation coordinating committee.

Supporting Vulnerable Seniors and Strengthening Canada's Economy ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-3, An Act to implement certain provisions of the 2011 budget as updated on June 6, 2011.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-211, An Act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (prohibition against oil tankers in Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound).

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to re-introduce my private member's bill to permanently ban transportation of oil by oil supertankers off British Columbia's north coast.

We must protect British Columbia's rugged northern coastline and coastal waters, the diversity of fish species and mammals, and the coastal communities that depend on a healthy fishing industry and a profitable ecotourism sector.

My bill would amend the Canada Shipping Act by prohibiting the transportation of oil in oil tankers along the north coast of British Columbia, specifically in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. A major spill on the north coast would be catastrophic to the ecosystem and would negatively affect the economy in this area. It simply is not worth the risk.

I encourage all members of this House to support my bill and legislate an immediate ban on oil supertankers off the north coast of B.C.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

June 14th, 2011 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-212, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (luring a child outside Canada).

Mr. Speaker, I rise again today to re-introduce legislation to strengthen the laws to protect children against child luring and abuse.

The legislation would make it illegal for any Canadian citizen or permanent resident to lure a child outside the borders of Canada.

The bill, if passed, would close a loophole in the Criminal Code. It would also make prosecution possible here at home.

I encourage all members of this House to support this bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-213, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (means of communication for child luring).

Mr. Speaker, I rise again to reintroduce legislation to strengthen laws to protect children against child luring and abuse. The legislation would expand the definition of “child luring” to include all forms of electronic communication, be it a cellular telephone or any other communication device. The legislation would provide law enforcement and the courts with additional tools to protect children from predators and would, again, close a loophole in the Criminal Code.

I encourage all members of this House to adopt the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to present a petition on behalf of literally thousands of Canadians from all across Canada who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has ever known. In fact, they point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than from all other industrial causes combined and yet they criticize the fact that the Government of Canada is still one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. They suggest that we are exporting human misery on a monumental scale.

The petitioners also point out that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry. These petitioners call this corporate welfare for corporate serial killers.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to ban asbestos in all of its forms and to institute a just transition program for asbestos workers who may be laid off as a result. They also call upon government to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad.

Finally, the petitioners call upon the government to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam Convention that is coming up later this month and which Canada consistently sabotages with teams of Department of Justice lawyers like globe-trotting propagandists for the asbestos industry. They insist that the Government of Canada stops this promoting of asbestos.

SeniorsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition on behalf of constituents and others who are, in essence, calling upon the government to increase support to our seniors in terms of pensions.

Canadians are very much aware, in terms of the policy direction of the government, of it prioritizing things such as corporation tax breaks while, at the same time, not providing the necessary funds in order for many of our seniors to have a decent lifestyle.

The petitioners are asking the government to look at ways in which it can increase pensions.

It was a pleasure to bring this petition before this chamber.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

moved:

That, in standing in solidarity with those seeking freedom in Libya, the House unanimously adopted a motion in the Third Session of the 40th Parliament on March 21, 2011, authorizing all necessary measures, including the use of the Canadian Forces and military assets in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973; and given that the House unanimously agreed that should the government require an extension to the involvement of the Canadian Forces for more than three months from the passage of the said motion, the government was to return to the House at its earliest opportunity to debate and seek the consent of the House for such an extension; therefore the House consents to another extension of three and a half months of the involvement of the Canadian Forces in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1973; that the House deplores the ongoing use of violence by the Libyan regime against the Libyan people, including the alleged use of rape as a weapon of war by the Libyan regime; that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Standing Committee on National Defence remain seized of Canada's activities under UNSC Resolution 1973; and that the House continues to offer its wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces who stand on guard for all of us.

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my formal remarks, I once again thank the people of Ottawa West—Nepean for their confidence and trust. I will work tirelessly on their behalf each and every day.

It is an honour to stand in this place and speak to the motion before us. It is an honour because I am proud of the part that Canada has played in the mission to protect the Libyan people from their rulers. It is a mission that is not over yet. The push for a more free and fair Libya is a cause that is not yet achieved, so Canada and its international partners must continue to show resolve, patience and determination to go the distance and help Libyans secure their future.

We must extend our military mission there, we must redouble our diplomatic efforts and we must continue to increase humanitarian aid. That is what our government proposes going forward. The hon. members who will speak for the government over the course of today's debate will elaborate on a suite of actions that we are proposing.

While the citizens of Libya contemplate and prepare for the establishment of a constitutional state, modern and respectful of human rights, Colonel Gadhafi, without the slightest concern for his country, is practising a true scorched-earth policy. We continue to believe that without the intervention of the international community and the adoption of resolution 1973, Benghazi, the home of the opposition who were within range of Gadhafi’s forces in March, would have been utterly devastated.

Remember the threat launched by Gadhafi himself: “The decision has been made. Get ready, we are coming tonight,” he said in an audio message sent to Benghazi and broadcast on Libyan television.

He promised to search “house by house” and to show no mercy. However, because of our decisive action, Benghazi today is a vibrant community that, through the strength of its partnership projects, is inspiring to all who observe it.

Canada has been vocal in condemning the targeting of civilians by the Gadhafi regime and the impact of that regime's actions on the hundreds of thousands of people who have been trapped in Libya or, worse yet, forced to flee its borders.

This regime has chosen to wage war against its own people. In the face of this blatant disregard for both human rights and international law, Canada has demanded that the regime halt its attacks against its own people and ensure that perpetrators of crimes are brought to justice.

We have been particularly disgusted by abhorrent reports that Gadhafi and his thugs are using torture and sexual violence, rape, as weapons against the Libyan population. Such actions are international crimes and may be war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Canada calls for a full and impartial investigation of these serious allegations, so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.

Canada has made significant contributions to humanitarian aid already, as my colleague will no doubt later detail. Let me say at this juncture that we are certainly prepared to do more. I am pleased to announce on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of International Cooperation, that Canada is prepared to commit an additional $2 million in humanitarian aid for Libya. A portion of this funding will go directly to support victims of sexual violence as a tool of war. I know this is something that all parties have called for and have supported. I appreciate their wise counsel.

On March 31, this House pledged, through a unanimous motion, its support for Canada's engagement in military operations in Libya. The men and women of the Canadian Forces, working under UN sanction, have helped to avert humanitarian tragedies in eastern Libya, and they have significantly limited the regime's capacity to launch indiscriminate attacks on the innocent civilian population in the east.

The Minister of National Defence will speak more to other achievements, but as important each of these victories is, they are only stepping stones on the way to ending, in a permanent way, the capacity of this regime to wage war against its own people. We must press on.

From the outset of this crisis in Libya, Canada has supported a swift and decisive international response to this crisis. Not only did we implement United Nations Security Council resolution 1970 quickly, but we extended it further under the Special Economic Measures Act, freezing regime assets, putting in place a travel ban on regime members, and an arms embargo.

We committed fully to the enforcement of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1973, which calls for an immediate ceasefire, an arms embargo, increased sanctions, and a no-fly zone to protect civilians.

Canada was among the first to call for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court and strongly supported the creation of an international commission of inquiry into violations of basic human rights.

The preliminary results of these inquiries have confirmed the seriousness of the crimes that are being committed. The report of the international commission of inquiry stated that these crimes are such as to indicate a policy directed by Gadhafi himself and his inner circle.

Colonel Gadhafi seeks to remain in power by committing crimes against the people. He needs to be stopped and he needs to be held accountable. He is a clear and present threat both to his people and to the stability of the region, including the emerging and promising democracies of Tunisia and Egypt.

I would note that Canada's end game is shared by our G8 partners as expressed at Deauville earlier this month. Canada's engagement has been the result of a concentrated whole of government effort. Abroad we have worked closely with international and regional partners, the League of Arab States, the African Union, and NATO partners and allies to press the regime to comply with its international obligation.

Canada has been a member of the Libya Contact Group since its inaugural meeting in Doha, Qatar in April. We participated in subsequent meetings in Rome and in Abu Dhabi last week where Canada was represented by my colleague, the associate minister of National Defence. The contact group is an organization of like-minded nations that is helping to provide leadership and to coordinate international efforts with regard to the future of Libya.

After three months of energetic diplomatic, military, and humanitarian engagement, the world's resolve to protect the civilians of Libya against attacks and threat of attacks from the Gadhafi regime, regrettably, has not faded. It is gaining momentum.

However, our work is far from over and so we must look at doing more in terms of humanitarian aid. We must continue our military assault on Gadhafi's command and control centres. We must also take a more robust and principled approach diplomatically if our mission is truly to succeed. Increasing our diplomatic efforts is what I would like to touch on here.

I am pleased to inform the House that Canada is embarking on an enhanced engagement strategy with the national transitional council of Libya, or NTC.

As part of this strategy, Canada will recognize the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people going forward. Our government will engage with institutions and representatives of the NTC. I will be seeking a meeting with my counterparts on the NTC, the vice-chairman and its ambassador to the United Nations. We will identify members of the NTC responsible for domestic issues and propose meetings with their Canadian counterparts.

We will also happily arrange meetings between NTC members and hon. members of this place. I know this was an engagement suggestion that was called on by my colleague in the Liberal Party, the member for Beauséjour.

We welcome the efforts of the national transitional council in defining core driving principles through its vision for a democratic Libya and its blueprint for building a post-Gadhafi Libya, the road map for Libya, outlining a transition process based on inclusiveness and based on balanced representation.

We will maintain an ongoing dialogue with the NTC to identify Libya's most pressing needs now and into the future. We will do all we can to link the NTC with Canadian expertise on governance and on civil society issues.

We hope this is the start of stronger ties between Canada and the Libyan people, and a brighter, better future for the country as a whole. The decision of this House to extend Canadian participation in the NATO mission should be accompanied by the steps outlined above, and more to come. By doing so, we will send a clear message that we are committed to fulfilling the United Nation's mandate and that we are willing to uphold our commitment to provide protection and assistance to those most vulnerable and to those most in need.

The Libya mission came out about in a unique set of circumstances. The threat to the civilian population, the threat of a massacre in Benghazi was real and imminent, coming from the mouths of the Libyan leaders themselves. The capability existed to intervene. Military assets were available and the geography made it possible. In regional terms, Libya represented and continues to represent a threat to the success of other nascent political openings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere.

That is why the Arab League had called for action. It is why the international community, including Canada, was compelled to respond. The track record of the Gadhafi regime, of over 40 years of unpredictability and interference in the affairs of the states of Africa and the Middle East, was cause for real concern for the future.

Our strategy is clear. By applying steady and unrelenting military and diplomatic pressure, while also delivering humanitarian assistance, we can protect the civilian population, degrade the capabilities of the regime, and create the conditions for a genuine political opening. At the same time we can bolster the capacity of the Libyan opposition to meet the challenges of a post-Gadhafi Libya and to lay the foundations of a state based on the sovereignty of the people.

In conclusion, the government understands the genuine concerns of Canadians who oppose the use of lethal force and of turning to military action to resolve the problems of the international community. I believe this is an instinct that all Canadians share and is a credit to us all.

At the same time, we have a responsibility to act when we can, when our objectives are right, when our objectives are clear, to protect and to assist those who share the values and would share the institutions for which many of our ancestors gave up their lives so that we could enjoy the benefits.

Since the Libyan uprising began in February, the world community has borne witness to the tremendous courage, sacrifice and dignity of the Libyan people, and of their determination to open a new chapter in the history of their country. The Libyan people are desperate to secure a brighter future. To help secure this future, Canada must play its part.

Let us all strongly reaffirm today that Canada, along with the international community, stands in solidarity with the legitimate and irreversible aspirations of the Libyan people.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his comments.

I want to preface my comments by thanking the people of Ottawa Centre for returning me to the House. I thank them for their trust in me.

There are a couple of things that the government said are important to note and I would like to ask the minister a couple of questions about the announcement that he has made.

Many are concerned about the status of the crisis in Libya and that it has become solely a military operation. I was heartened to hear the government say that this is absolutely about the UN resolution, strengthening diplomacy and humanitarian assistance.

I particularly want to ask about assistance to support victims who have suffered from rape and the investigation of those allegations. My question is not only with regard to support but what the government intends to do regarding prosecution and how that would work.

Could the minister give more detail to the House and to Canadians as to how the government will follow-up on the allegations of rape as a weapon of war?

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member from Ottawa Centre for the question and congratulate him on his appointment as critic of foreign affairs for the official opposition.

I think we all agree on the importance of this being a United Nations sanctioned effort. Yes, there is a very strong military aspect to it authorized by the United Nations. However, I think it goes without saying that we must take a diplomatic and humanitarian approach to the effort as well.

The government is committed to expanding its efforts diplomatically. This will be a major part of the solution and we acknowledge that. I certainly thank both opposition parties for their counsel on that.

With respect to humanitarian assistance, there is a real need as there is real suffering going on. Therefore, today we have announced $2 million in additional funds to support humanitarian efforts.

The issue of rape being used as a weapon of war I think is abhorrent to every Canadian. The government would like to put some effort not just on the social side of providing assistance to victims of this heinous crime but also at the International Criminal Court. We must send a message when this is coordinated as an act of war that the international community will hold those accountable. That is something every Canadian strongly believes in and which this government will work with the International Criminal Court to support.

The Minister of International Cooperation has recently put great effort into this issue. This is of significant concern to all members in the House and one in which Canada will put effort and focus.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, first of all, I was very pleased to hear the minister talk about some of the new initiatives the government is planning. I can tell that the government anticipates the amendments our party will be moving this morning to the motion. I think they will be entirely compatible with what is being proposed.

I want to make sure that the minister understands that to move forward on the diplomatic front, as he has suggested, to move forward with the recognition of the Libyan national council as a legitimate political entity, as a representative of the Libyan people, and provide governance assistance, as well as add our support to the International Criminal Court, that these initiatives have to be matched by funds.

On the governance field, in particular, I can tell the minister that one of the central problems is that neither his department nor CIDA have a clear mandate with respect to Canadian assistance on governance. This whole area of governance has fallen into a black hole between those two departments. I would plead with the minister to investigate this question.

If we are going to deal with governance, which in this party we strongly believe we have to, then we need to support those institutions in the country as well as within government in order to provide that governance assistance, in this case, to the Libyan national council, and there are many other examples where it needs to be done.

Adding to the humanitarian and diplomatic work of Canada is exactly the direction we have been urging the government to go. I very much appreciate the minister's comments today on that score.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, let me say to the leader of the Liberal Party, I appreciate his counsel and thoughts on this issue, both in this place and earlier, and also the engagement of the member for Beauséjour on this issue. I share his view that supporting good governance by the council will be important, and I will certainly take his counsel with respect to how that can best be supported by Canada, whether it is a whole of government approach or through other institutions in Canada or internationally. I will certainly take his wise counsel under advisement.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate the minister on his speech and for bringing this issue before Parliament, allowing us an opportunity to debate the relevance of and need to extend this mission by another 90 days.

I appreciate his comments that we want to make sure that we can provide support for governance, to help them mature the next government that comes into play, and to make sure that we address the issue of humanitarian assistance.

Really, what we are talking about is that the situation still requires some military action, because we have to make conditions right to be able to get the relief agencies on the ground to provide that humanitarian assistance and to put the diplomats in place, so that we can provide that instruction on governance in helping the Libyans transition as they go through this change, we hope, away from Colonel Gadhafi and his regime.

I want the minister to address that need and to talk about the leadership that Canada is showing in the NATO alliance, with the air strikes being orchestrated under the command of General Bouchard, and talk about the care that has been taken to ensure that we are targeting hard assets and Gadhafi's military.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, the member for Selkirk—Interlake is a leading member of the defence committee. I share his views that Canada is certainly punching above its weight in this effort.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Not above Deepak's weight.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Leave my friend alone, I say to the leader of the Liberal Party, Madam Speaker. The member for Calgary East is the best boss I have ever had.

Let me say this, that Canadians can be very proud of the leadership of General Bouchard, as the member for Selkirk—Interlake has said. He represents the very best of the men and women who wear the uniform in this country. As the motion states, we should acknowledge the great contribution of the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. They are doing a phenomenal job and I know all members in this place support their great efforts.

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Madam Speaker, there have been some concerns expressed lately about the fact that the concentration of the mission is being directed toward regime change. I want to put to the minister a quote from Lieutenant General Bouchard from Monday's Globe and Mail, where he talks about Colonel Gadhafi and the indiscriminate attacks he has made on neighbourhoods, et cetera. Then he went on to say, “but my job is not regime change”.

I want to emphasize that, because there have been comments made by some government people in Canada and some other countries. Would the minister confirm that in fact is the correct position and that regime change is not the role of the military mission in Libya?

LibyaGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I do agree with the member for St. John's East and the comments by General Bouchard.

Obviously, we have the UN sanctioned mission. It is to protect civilians. It goes without saying that at the political level, apart from military issues, all G8 leaders and most actors in the world believe that Colonel Gadhafi must go. He is now wanted by the International Criminal Court and, of course, he has to face the full consequences of his actions. There is a significant and real concern that as long as he holds political power in Libya, a vulnerable population, those seeking the rule of law, those seeking human rights and freedom and democracy, will be at risk.

However, I can confirm to the member that General Bouchard certainly does speak for the government in that regard.