February 17, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)

LIB

Pat O'Brien

Liberal

Mr. Pat O'Brien

Madam Chair, I am not interested in being terribly partisan on this issue and I did not intend to attack anybody. However I did take umbrage and I will repeat the umbrage. When that member, the one the member mentioned, spoke earlier this evening he said that we had somehow come on board with the former Alliance position. That is patently wrong.
With all due respect, neither the member who just spoke nor the Conservative member who gave the speech were part of the SCONDVA hearings that I referenced earlier in 1999 and 2000. At that time the Alliance Party was clearly on record as saying that we should announce our full participation with the United States in BMD. That is not even yet the position of the government. The Prime Minister has not said that nor have any of the relevant ministers.
What we have said is that we want to continue to move further into negotiations with the United States to look at what our possible participation might be and to see if it is in the national self-interest of Canadians.
With all due respect to my colleague, that is quite different than saying we must definitely go ahead and participate in this missile defence system.
We have not come on board to the member's position. In fact, the Alliance Party's position, with all due respect, in my view, was premature. I understood where they were coming from but it was premature.
To this point the Government of Canada is not yet up to that position. We may well move in that direction and I may well feel that we should move in that direction but that is the purpose of the negotiations: to see if that is the decision the government will take in the self-interest of Canadians.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Ballistic Missile Defence
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