June 15, 1993

PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink

Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.


PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.


NATIONAL DEFENCE

LIB

Fred J. Mifflin

Liberal

Mr. Fred J. Mifflin (Bonavista-THnity-Conception):

Mr. Speaker, this is probably the last late show we will have in this session of the 34th Parliament. Probably it will be the last late show ever in this 34th Parliament.

I want to run through quickly the follow-up on a question which concerns the chronology of events in Somalia in the middle of March, which pertains to the question. The chronology of events essentially were these.

On March 16 a Somalian prisoner was found beaten unconscious in his cell and he later died in custody. On March 17 the Minister of National Defence was briefed by senior military personnel on the situation. The next day, March 18, the defence department posted a news release on this beating death 260 kilometres away from the incident in Mogadishu. The release said the man had been detained and had died in custody. No further details were offered. No Canadian journalist reported seeing the release and it was not passed to Ottawa for distribution. On March 18, the same day, a master corporal was arrested and placed under close custody in

June 15, 1993

Adjournment Debate

relation to this incident and three others were arrested on March 29 and 30, somewhat later.

The next chain in this event was on March 21 when two Canadian military investigators were sent to Somalia to investigate this death. On April 1 a reporter from a Pembroke newspaper reported the incident. The Minister of National Defence had not said anything up to that point in time. It is interesting that on March 19 reporters were not referred to the news release and indeed when questions were asked about the beating of this man by apparent military personnel there were no answers forthcoming.

The next event is that I questioned the government House leader in the absence of the minister on April 2. After the Easter break on April 19 I again questioned the Minister of National Defence and asked subsequent questions. On April 26 I asked another question on the same incident which essentially was: "Why did the Minister of National Defence not tell Parliament, the House of Commons and Canadians about this event?"

On April 28 the Chief of the Defence Staff in an interview stated that the Minister of National Defence knew that criminal intent might have been linked to the death as early as March 18. That is not surprising because on March 18 the incident had occurred. The man had been beaten to death. One soldier had been put in close custody related to the death. Surely there must have been some indication that there was something untoward. Indeed three others were arrested later in March, so the evidence was there. The minister was briefed.

I do not know what the minister was briefed on, but surely the minister must have been briefed on the detail of what happened. If nothing happened then, why on March 21 were special investigators sent over? I find it very disturbing and upsetting that in my question that I am following up here tonight of April 26, the minister in response to my question as to why she did not inform the House and why did she mislead and give inaccurate information, responded: "With respect to the event", to which I am referring here this evening, "to which the hon. member refers, I was briefed the next day that a death had taken place. It was not until March 31 that it was communicated to me that the death had been characterized-"

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBIois):

Order please, time has expired.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
PC

Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of State (Agriculture)):

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is pleased to ask a question on the last late show, I am pleased to answer in the last late show on behalf of the Minister of National Defence, soon to be Prime Minister of this country.

The hon. member has raised these questions here on numerous occasions and I will attempt to clarify for him the chronology.

First, the comments concerning the events that took place should be put in the context that Canada has received congratulatory messages from everywhere on the role our military-

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
LIB
PC

Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nicholson:

I think that should be put as part of the record.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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LIB
PC

Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Speaker, I hope that is added to the time because if I am being interrupted I want to be able to complete the answer if the member wants to know the chronology.

Some people have suggested that the minister and the Public Service neglected to publicly address the question. However in reality they have taken interest on many occasions in the course of action over the last couple of months.

Every incident that took place in Somalia was an object for investigation and in every case the Armed Forces advised the press. The details were made public and explained in a statement made by the minister in this House on April 26, 1993.

The member with all his military experience should realize that it is not the department's practice to report all incidents to Parliament. In this regard the incident that occurred on March 16 when a Somali citizen died while being detained by the Canadians. The minister stated in this Chamber that she was informed of this death on March 17.

On March 21 a team of investigators from the military police went to Somalia in order to investigate the facts concerning the death of the Somali citizen. Following this preliminary investigation on March 31 the minister was informed that a crime may have been committed. Charges were brought forward and the investigation of course continues.

As the minister stated she must take into account her double responsibility. One is to ensure the management

June 15, 1993

and direction of the Armed Forces and to assume the quasi-judicial functions within the military justice system. She had to counterbalance the necessity of informing the population and Parliament and the necessity of not bringing prejudice to the military justice. Conscious of her responsibility she requested advice on how best to treat her different roles and requested that the chief staff officer step up the commission of inquiry.

In closing I would like to remind the member, the House and all Canadians that the Armed Forces do an

Adjournment Debate

excellent job on behalf of this country and a job of which all Canadians can be proud.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Pursuant to Standing Order 38(5), the motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   NATIONAL DEFENCE
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The House adjourned at 7.45 p.m.



Wednesday, June 16, 1993


June 15, 1993