Bob RAE

RAE, The Hon. Bob, P.C., O.C., O.Ont., Q.C., B.A., B.Ph., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Toronto Centre (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 2, 1948
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Rae
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=98af71e6-be2b-40e8-9501-4e5c27ebbbf5&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer

Parliamentary Career

October 16, 1978 - March 26, 1979
NDP
  Broadview (Ontario)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
NDP
  Broadview--Greenwood (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - March 2, 1982
NDP
  Broadview--Greenwood (Ontario)
March 17, 2008 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Toronto Centre (Ontario)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
LIB
  Toronto Centre (Ontario)
May 2, 2011 - July 31, 2013
LIB
  Toronto Centre (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 497)


June 12, 2013

Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I think that if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That this House condemns the arrest and detention of two CBC journalists, Sasa Petricic and Derek Stoffel, in Turkey, and calls on the Turkish authorities to release them immediately.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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June 11, 2013

Hon. Bob Rae

Mr. Speaker, the government is taking the concept of interoperability and an interpretation of what that means and then basically saying that the implication of the principle of interoperability is that we essentially have to do whatever the United States or other countries with which we are serving want us to do.

With great respect, Canada fought long and hard for greater independence in the conduct of our troops in two world wars. In two world wars, we had substantial arguments that had to be made to ensure that Canadian troops, the Canadian approach and the Canadian way of engaging were in fact given a degree of recognition and independence. The Conservative Party is now saying that interoperability means that we simply have to do whatever our allies want and tell us to do, whether it is the Americans, the Brits or someone else, and I am saying that if we sign a treaty like this, that is in fact not true.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
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June 11, 2013

Hon. Bob Rae

Mr. Speaker, let the record show that I probably was as strong an advocate with respect to Canadian engagement in Afghanistan as any member in the House, including members of the Conservative Party. I leave that as a clear statement.

I think what the hon. member is not coming clean on is we know that within the government and within the public service of Canada there was a substantial internal debate about how this legislation should be brought forward and what should be in that legislation. We know the people who were negotiating this treaty never had any concept that this level of exceptionalism would be introduced into the legislation and that this kind of escape clause would be introduced into the legislation.

What we continue to object to is that the government has taken an interpretation of this treaty and made a mockery of it in the way in which it has been interpreted and the way in which it has been put forward. That is something that everyone in the House needs to realize. This is not something that came forward without any discussion or debate within the Government of Canada. There was a substantial debate.

I am sorry that when we look at the legislation, the broadest possible exceptions have been built into the law that has been brought forward by the Conservative Party.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
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June 11, 2013

Hon. Bob Rae

Mr. Speaker, I hesitate to borrow a phrase, and the member may be somewhat dumbfounded when I say this, but I actually knew Dean Acheson and he was a friend of mine. The hon. member is no Dean Acheson, I can say that right now.

I do not mind being called whatever by the hon. member, but to his question I would simply put another question. How is it possible that 20 other NATO countries have managed to sign the convention, have signed the treaty and have not adopted the kind of escape clause to which Canada is now committing itself?

What the Government of Canada is now saying is that Canada has no independent foreign policy, we have no independent defence policy and we have no capacity to make our own moral judgments with respect to what weapons we will use and what weapons we will not use. It is the old Conservative position: when the imperial power says “Aye”, they say “Ready, aye, ready”.

From our perspective, we want Canada to be able to say “We believe in a treaty, we take a treaty seriously and we will observe the letter and the spirit of that treaty when we pass our legislation right here in Canada”.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
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June 11, 2013

Hon. Bob Rae

Mr. Speaker, Canada's ability to speak directly about the humanitarian impact of the use of these bombs is entirely compromised by the position the Government of Canada has taken.

The Conservative Party's position is such that we find ourselves in a situation in which we claim to be opposed to the use of these bombs, which are being used in Syria, but we say that there will be exceptions and they will continue to be used.

The Canadian public would be surprised to know the current position of the Government of Canada. As the parliamentary secretary said, the principle of interoperability clearly means that Canada is no longer independent with regard to its military decisions or the conditions in which it does its job and fights. Furthermore, if a conflict arises, Canada must agree to fight alongside the Americans. Ultimately, we will have no choice as to how we do our job.

That constitutes an infringement of Canada's sovereignty, which I find utterly unacceptable.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Prohibiting Cluster Munitions Act
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