October 6, 2004

LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, our relationship with the United States is a fundamental cornerstone of our foreign policy. We mentioned it in the Speech from the Throne yesterday. Our government is absolutely determined to strengthen the relationship with the United States.

We will continue to have an independent voice in the world. We will want to increase Canada's influence abroad, but we will want to make sure that the North American continent that contributes so much to our prosperity and where we have built the best continent in terms of justice and human rights continues to be a thriving continent.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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CPC

Jason Kenney

Conservative

Mr. Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is thriving in the Liberal caucus is anti-Americanism. We need leadership from the Prime Minister to put an end to it.

The Prime Minister said that he would fix Canada-U.S. relations. Therefore, why is the member for Mississauga—Erindale sitting in his caucus? Why did his heritage minister say this summer that the United States constituted a menace? Why did he appoint to UNESCO an ambassador who bashes the United States and compares American foreign policy to that of the Third Reich?

If the Prime Minister is serious about fixing our economic relations with the United States, why does he not kick those people out of his caucus and stop tolerating the anti-American wing of his party which is hurting our economic interests?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Conservative Party and that member to get as outraged when sometimes some congressmen say outrageous things about Canada. Those things happen. Parliamentarians sometimes say things. They do not represent necessarily the view of our government. But they never get outraged when there are things said sometimes about Canada.

We will tell members one thing. Our government will continue--

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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?

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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The Speaker

Order. The minister has the floor. Members want to hear the answer he is giving. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has the floor. We will have a little order.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew

Mr. Speaker, this government is absolutely determined to continue to strengthen our relationship with the United States.

We have the best allies, the best neighbours. We will continue to build a strong North America. However we will want to make sure that all parliamentarians behave and we expect the same thing on the other side.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canada-U.S. Relations
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to understand how the government avoided publicly clarifying its position on the missile defence shield in the throne speech, unless that position was implied when the speech mentioned strengthening economic and security relations with the United States.

When the government says we must strengthen relations between Canada and the United States, are we to understand that they are announcing—indirectly—that they intend to join in the missile defence plan?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister clearly indicated that we are currently negotiating with the United States. We do not yet know what the conclusions will be, but as soon as negotiations are over, they will be submitted for cabinet approval. Then we shall consult the House, as the Prime Minister has promised. We will have an opportunity to discuss all the benefits and possible disadvantages.

Since the United States is our ally, it seems obvious to me that we should build strong relations with that nation, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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BQ

Claude Bachand

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is sincere in his desire to reduce the democratic deficit, will he agree to submit this plan to a vote, before any decision is made? I do not mean a take-note debate or consulting the House, but a real vote in the House of Commons.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Pierre Pettigrew

Liberal

Hon. Pierre Pettigrew (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, it has been a longstanding practice that international treaties are the responsibility of the executive in our system of government. However, we have already had discussions on this.

Our tradition is a long-established one. In Canada, international treaties are the responsibility of the government.

Still, it is obvious that these debates and discussions are now taking place in the House of Commons, and this practice will continue. It is obvious that parliamentary committees will also do their work. However, the responsibility for international treaties rests with the government.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

Rona Ambrose

Conservative

Ms. Rona Ambrose (Edmonton—Spruce Grove, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is collecting more taxes than necessary, while the provinces are no longer able to make ends meet. In the meantime, the Prime Minister continues to stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the existence of the fiscal imbalance and is forcing the provinces to tax their residents more.

Why is the Prime Minister denying the very existence of a fiscal imbalance?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have very serious and onerous responsibilities to discharge; so does the Government of Canada. We have very similar tax bases. Indeed the provinces have access to some tax resources that the Government of Canada does not. I think of royalties and lottery proceeds for example.

All in all, each of us within our own jurisdiction must discharge our responsibilities to the full extent of our fiscal capacity. I would point out that through health care, equalization and a number of other programs, we are transferring not just traditional amounts but substantially increased amounts of federal revenue to assist the provinces.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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CPC

Rona Ambrose

Conservative

Ms. Rona Ambrose (Edmonton—Spruce Grove, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, given that all of the provinces have demanded that the federal government resolve once and for all the fiscal imbalance issue, the Prime Minister's stubbornness speaks volumes about his lack of respect for the jurisdictions of the other levels of government.

Will the Prime Minister call together the provincial premiers in order to discuss this publicly, or will he not?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, there will be a very important discussion on issues related to equalization, for example, on October 26 in response to the request of the premiers. The Government of Canada was perfectly prepared to have that full discussion at the health summit a number of weeks ago, but it was at the request of the provinces that that discussion was delayed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Taxation
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LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Hon. Don Boudria (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Hurricane Jeanne has devastated the Caribbean and the United States, leaving in its wake thousands of fatalities and thousands of other people homeless and without food, particularly in Haiti.

What more is the Government of Canada prepared to do for the people of Haiti?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Cooperation
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LIB

Aileen Carroll

Liberal

Hon. Aileen Carroll (Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I extend my most sincere condolences to the victims of this disaster. As well, I wish to thank the Canadians who have generously contributed to emergency aid.

CIDA has provided $3.5 million for emergency aid in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Jeanne, in addition to aid in kind such as plastic tarpaulins, blankets and food aid. In addition, Canada will be providing over $180 million for the reconstruction of Haiti.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   International Cooperation
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CPC

Gordon O'Connor

Conservative

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that HMCS Chicoutimi had a fire at sea and is currently adrift. This is the most recent of a long list of problems plaguing the submarine fleet.

Will the Minister of National Defence confirm that the government will commit whatever it takes in terms of extra funds and effort to make the submarines fully operational and safe for our sailors?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from the hon. member.

I want to inform the hon. member and members of the House that I met with the chief of the defence staff and the chief of maritime command just before question period. The chief of maritime command reminded me that the purchase of these submarines was at the navy's request. These were submarines that the navy requested to deal with security issues off Canada's coast. They are the right submarines to do that. Of course we are going to work with our navy to make sure that these submarines are operational and are providing the strategic defence of our coast which is absolutely essential for this country.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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CPC

Gordon O'Connor

Conservative

Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of National Defence confirm whether HMCS Chicoutimi had the proper and complete sea trials before it was sent into the Atlantic Ocean? Was it dispatched with all the appropriate procedures?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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LIB

Bill Graham

Liberal

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I said, I met with the chief of maritime command who assured me that HMCS Chicoutimi left port under appropriate naval conditions and was proceeding to Halifax to enter into its trial run. That was what the submarine was doing under the command of the navy. He assured me it was done under appropriate procedures.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   National Defence
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October 6, 2004