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38th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 055

CONTENTS

Friday, February 11, 2005




1000
V ROYAL ASSENT
V         The Speaker

1005
V Government Orders
V     Department of Foreign Affairs Act
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)

1010

1015

1020

1025
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette

1030
V         Mr. Maka Kotto (Saint-Lambert, BQ)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette

1035
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)

1040

1045

1050
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

1055
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
V      Reverend John C. Holland Awards
V         Ms. Beth Phinney (Hamilton Mountain, Lib.)

1100
V     Agriculture
V         Mr. Barry Devolin (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, CPC)
V     Women's Artistic Gymnastics
V         Mr. Marc Godbout (Ottawa—Orléans, Lib.)
V     The Environment
V         Mr. Guy André (Berthier—Maskinongé, BQ)
V     Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
V         Mr. John Maloney (Welland, Lib.)
V     Manufacturing Industry
V         Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)

1105
V     Black History Month
V         Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Horticulture Week 2005
V         Ms. Denise Poirier-Rivard (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, BQ)
V     Smoking
V         Hon. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Lib.)
V     Bowl for Kids' Sake
V         Ms. Bev Oda (Durham, CPC)
V      Tlicho First Nation
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.)

1110
V     International Development
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V     Northeastern Alberta
V         Mr. Brian Jean (Fort McMurray—Athabasca, CPC)
V     World Aquatics Championships
V         Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)
V     Middle East
V         Mr. Ted Menzies (Macleod, CPC)
V     Leader of the Opposition
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso, Lib.)

1115
V     Agriculture
V         Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)
V ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
V     Sponsorship Program
V         Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Jay Hill (Prince George—Peace River, CPC)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     Taxation
V         Ms. Rona Ambrose (Edmonton—Spruce Grove, CPC)

1120
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Ms. Rona Ambrose (Edmonton—Spruce Grove, CPC)
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V     Child Care
V         Ms. Monique Guay (Rivière-du-Nord, BQ)
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V         Ms. Monique Guay (Rivière-du-Nord, BQ)
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les Patriotes, BQ)
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les Patriotes, BQ)

1125
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V     Treasury Board
V         Hon. Ed Broadbent (Ottawa Centre, NDP)
V         Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)
V         Hon. Ed Broadbent (Ottawa Centre, NDP)
V         Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)
V     Aboriginal Affairs
V         Mr. Jim Prentice (Calgary Centre-North, CPC)
V         Hon. Roy Cullen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)
V         Mr. Jim Prentice (Calgary Centre-North, CPC)
V         Hon. Roy Cullen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

1130
V     International Trade
V         Mr. Jeff Watson (Essex, CPC)
V         Hon. Jim Peterson (Minister of International Trade, Lib.)
V         Mr. Gary Goodyear (Cambridge, CPC)
V         Hon. Jim Peterson (Minister of International Trade, Lib.)
V     The Environment
V         Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)
V         Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)
V         Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)
V         The Speaker
V         Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)

1135
V     Gasoline
V         Mr. Yvon Lévesque (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, BQ)
V         Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V         Mr. Yvon Lévesque (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, BQ)
V         Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V     Telecommunications
V         Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)
V         Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V         Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)
V         Hon. Jerry Pickard (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V     Post-Secondary Education
V         Mr. Peter Van Loan (York—Simcoe, CPC)

1140
V         Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, Lib.)
V     Equalization Program
V         Mr. Rob Moore (Fundy Royal, CPC)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale
V     Fisheries
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton—Canso, Lib.)
V         Hon. Geoff Regan (Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Lib.)
V     Canada Labour Code
V         Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP)
V         Hon. Joe Fontana (Minister of Labour and Housing, Lib.)
V         Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP)

1145
V         Hon. Joe Fontana (Minister of Labour and Housing, Lib.)
V     The Environment
V         Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, CPC)
V         Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)
V     Natural Resources
V         Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, CPC)
V         Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)
V     Canada Labour Code
V         Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)
V         Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)
V         Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, CPC)
V         Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

1150
V     Tobacco Farming
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)
V         Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)
V         Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.)
V     Canadian National Railway
V         Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC)
V         Hon. Joe Fontana (Minister of Labour and Housing, Lib.)
V     Tsunami Relief
V         Mr. Ted Menzies (Macleod, CPC)
V         Hon. Paddy Torsney (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)
V     Foreign Affairs
V         Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)
V         Hon. Jacques Saada (Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie, Lib.)

1155
V     Agriculture
V         Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC)
V         The Speaker
V         Hon. Wayne Easter (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Rural Development), Lib.)
V     Sport Canada
V         Mr. Gary Schellenberger (Perth—Wellington, CPC)
V         Hon. Jean Lapierre (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V     Arts and Culture
V         Mr. Maka Kotto (Saint-Lambert, BQ)
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V     The Environment
V         Mr. David Smith (Pontiac, Lib.)
V         Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of the Environment, Lib.)
V      Housing
V         Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)

1200
V         Hon. Joe Fontana (Minister of Labour and Housing, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     National Defence
V         Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)
V         Hon. Reg Alcock (President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)
V     Foreign Affairs
V         Mr. Roger Clavet (Louis-Hébert, BQ)
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
V     Order in Council Appointments
V         Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V     Criminal Code
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

1205
V     Corrections and Conditional Release Act
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Criminal Code
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Petitions
V         Foreign Affairs
V         Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, CPC)
V         Autism
V         Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, CPC)
V         Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

1210
V         Marriage
V         Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.)
V         Autism
V         Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, CPC)
V         Hepatitis C
V         Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, CPC)
V         Age of Consent
V         Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, CPC)
V         Autism
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         Child Pornography
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         Bread
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, CPC)
V         The Deputy Speaker

1215
V         Mr. Myron Thompson
V         The Deputy Speaker
V     Questions on the Order Paper
V         Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V Government Orders
V     Department of Foreign Affairs Act
V         Mr. Paul Szabo
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.)

1220

1225
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V         Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj

1230
V         Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, BQ)

1235

1240
V         Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.)

1245
V         Mr. André Bellavance
V         Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj

1250
V         Mr. André Bellavance
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         Mr. André Bellavance
V         Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V         Mr. André Bellavance
V         Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

1255

1300

1305
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V         Mr. David McGuinty

1310
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais
V         Mr. David McGuinty
V         Hon. Keith Martin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

1315
V         Mr. David McGuinty
V         Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

1320

1325

1330
V         The Deputy Speaker
V Private Members' Business
V     Gasoline Prices
V         Mr. Yvon Lévesque (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, BQ)

1335

1340

1345
V         Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)
V         Mr. Yvon Lévesque
V         Mr. Robert Bouchard (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, BQ)
V         Mr. Yvon Lévesque

1350
V         Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.)

1355
V         Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC)

1400

1405
V         Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)

1410

1415
V         Hon. Paddy Torsney (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)

1420

1425
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         Hon. Paddy Torsney
V         Mr. Robert Bouchard (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, BQ)

1430
V         The Deputy Speaker






CANADA

House of Commons Debates


VOLUME 140 
NUMBER 055 
1st SESSION 
38th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 10 a.m.


Prayers



+ ROYAL ASSENT

[ Royal Assent]

*   *   *

  +(1000)  

[English]

+

    The Speaker: Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

February 10, 2005

Mr. Speaker,

    I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Marie Deschamps, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy Governor General, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bill listed in the schedule to this letter on the 10th day of February, 2005, at 5:40 p.m.

    Yours sincerely,

Barbara Uteck

Secretary to the Governor General

    The schedule indicates that royal assent was given to Bill C-14, an act to give effect to a land claims and self-government agreement among the Tlicho, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada, to make related amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts,


+-Government Orders

[Government Orders]

*   *   *

  +-(1005)  

[Translation]

+Department of Foreign Affairs Act

     The House resumed from February 10, 2005, consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, an act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, once again, I am pleased to rise to address Bill C-32, as I did Bill C-31, to condemn this totally unacceptable operation on the part of the government, which consists in splitting the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade into two entities, namely the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

    I am pleased to do so, because I really feel that I am fulfilling the role of the Bloc Québécois, which is to protect the interests of Quebec and also to show Quebeckers how a sovereign Quebec would promote its values and political interestsand to use its trade policy to meet these objectives.

    Unfortunately, Quebec's interests are still being defended by Canada. Therefore, we must ensure that Canada has the necessary means to adequately protect Quebec's political and economic interests at the international level. However, this will not be the case with the splitting of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

    We often hear from the Liberals, and I imagine the same is true for the Conservatives and the NDP, that Canada's foreign policy and commercial policy must promote great Canadian values. I agree with this. As a Quebecker, I hope that in a sovereign Quebec, the Quebec nation will base its foreign policy, commercial policy and international representation on promoting the values of Quebec society.

    Unfortunately, I think the proposal being put forward by the government does not meet these objectives. Accordingly, as defenders of Quebec's interests and promoters of Quebec's sovereignty, we will oppose this bill.

    As I was saying, this bill, which is associated with Bill C-31 totally lacks transparency, and I would even describe it as anti-democratic. I will come back to that. It is totally backward and goes against Canada's approach to foreign policy for the past 30 years whereby commercial policy was used as a lever in Canadian foreign policy and aimed, in an awkward and inadequate way, I agree, at promoting the great, so-called Canadian, values of democracy, social justice, fairness and social and economic progress.

    It is a decision that will set us back 30 or 40 years. It is illogical on every level. I will come back to that. Finally, this decision to split the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is harmful to Canada's economic and political interests and likewise to Quebec's interests.

    Obviously, faced with something so undemocratic, non-transparent, backward, illogical and harmful, the Bloc Québécois will vote against Bill C-32, just as it will vote against Bill C-31.

     I want to remind hon. members that on December 12, 2003, the Governor General in Council passed an order in council under the Public Services Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, separating the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade into two departments: Foreign Affairs Canada, and International Trade Canada.

    What is extraordinary is that this order was handed down the same day the current Prime Minister was sworn in. I have said it before, but I want to say again that we are a little surprised by the speed with which the new Prime Minister was able to make such an important decision about splitting a department that, since the early 1970s, had merged these two missions: foreign affairs and international trade. We are not used to having the Liberal government act with such speed.

    I can give the example of changes to the Employment Insurance Act. Since 2000, the Liberal government has been announcing, in election campaign after election campaign, a major overhaul of employment insurance to take into consideration the difficulties facing unemployed workers in seasonal industries who experience the black hole. Women and young people are not eligible for EI because they have to accumulate 910 hours of work before they can get benefits. The benefit level is insufficient, thereby creating child poverty, which the federal government is constantly condemning.

  +-(1010)  

    However, child poverty exists because parents are poor. And who made the parents poor? The current government did.

    The government has been announcing an overhaul of EI since 2000, and we are still waiting. Obviously, we hope that, in the February 23 budget, the unemployed will see some solutions to their problems. However, this is the year 2005, and the decision still has not been made.

    The same goes for the aerospace industry. During the election campaign, the government was able to announce a half a billion dollars for the auto industry, which is primarily if not almost entirely located in southern Ontario. A policy for the aerospace industry, which is primarily located in the greater Montreal region, is still under consideration. Without a decision, there can be no such policy.

    The list goes on and on, and includes areas such as the clothing and textile industries. In April 2003, the Standing Committee on Finance tabled a report containing numerous proposals. The government waited until December, when there was a crisis that led to the closure of six textile mills in Huntingdon, before following up on this report. However, since June 28, the government could have taken the necessary actions to help the clothing and textile industries, which are currently experiencing a very important transition.

    What is more, the measures announced in December are clearly not enough. From the questions we asked of the Minister of Industry, we have the clear impression that the government has no intention of doing any more than it announced in December. The Canadian Textile Institute itself feels these measures were inadequate and incomplete. We are still waiting for action.

    The same goes for what we are discussing today. In two throne speeches, February 2004 and October 2004, new directions for foreign policy were announced. We are still waiting for them. The Minister of Foreign Affairs told the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that he planned to do so in December. Here we are still, nearly mid-February, with no indication as to when the minister or the government plans to make these foreign affairs directions public.

    This of course has an impact on the work of the committee, and in fact we are incapable of planning our work in any useful way for the coming months. We will need to consult Canadians and Quebeckers on these directions, which I repeat have been announced in two throne speeches by this government.

    The Prime Minister reached a fast decision, the very same day he was sworn in. Whom did he consult? We do not know. Certainly not the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, nor the major organizations concerned by such issues, such as those involved in international solidarity or international cooperation, nor even the major coalitions of exporters or groups concerned with defending economic interests. So we are told, anyway. Who, then, was consulted that the government moved so quickly to try to split up Foreign Affairs and International Trade?

    The Minister of International Affairs has given us a few ideas. When we asked him what the decision to split up the department was based on, he could not come up with an answer. Between you and me, the minister is not too thrilled with this decision by the PM. He was probably not consulted either.

    Nonetheless, because he is a good soldier, the foreign affairs minister said, and I quote:

    Consultations are still going on. The government has always kept communications open with large associations of exporters and other representatives of economic groups.

    Later on, he added:

    This time, after discussing the issue with various people, the Prime Minister decided otherwise.

    What the minister is telling us is that consultations are always held. Each meeting or chat the foreign affairs minister or the international trade minister has with somebody probably qualifies as a consultation. I guess this is the kind of discussion we are dealing with here.

  +-(1015)  

    As I mentioned earlier, these are certainly not structured consultations. We are being told the Prime Minister has discussed this issue with various people, probably in his own entourage, and probably even before he was sworn in, since he has been able to move very quickly.

    The foreign affairs minister's remarks are quite interesting. He said that, after discussing with various people, the Prime Minister decided otherwise. It means that even people in his inner circle advised him against splitting the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He had made up his mind, but on what basis? We do not know. This decision has no analytical or political basis whatsoever. It is probably a concept that is dear to him for whatever obscure reasons that, to this day, we do not know, and that nobody has been able to explain. This is not a transparent and democratic decision. It did not draw on the usual parliamentary mechanisms.

    We find ourselves faced with a fait accompli. This order in council in December 2003, followed by the tabling, a year later, of Bills C-31, An Act to establish the Department of International Trade and to make related amendments to certain Acts, and C-32, An Act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, is an attempt at setting a done deal in front of Parliament, namely the partition of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of International Trade into two separate entities. That is profoundly anti-democratic.

    I would like to remind the House that Jeffrey Simpson of the Globe and Mail was calling out for Hercule Poirot, that great detective and character invented by Agatha Christie, whose books you have probably read, imploring him to come to Ottawa to investigate whose absurd idea it was to slice up the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. It is a non-democratic, non-transparent and unfounded decision.

    It is a step backwards, which is my second point. I would like to quote once again, because I think it is not well enough known by the public and the media, a letter to the chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, dated December 8, 2004, from the president of the Retired Heads of Mission Association. The first paragraph says it all:

    Our Association, which is composed of approximately 270 former Canadian Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consuls General, is deeply concerned about the future of the Canadian Foreign Service. Recently, we have had to come reluctantly to the conclusion that our Foreign Service is being gradually dismantled. One clear manifestation of this happening is the recent decision to split the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

    I am not the one who says this: it is the association of retired heads of mission. The letter concludes with this:

    As former diplomats and officials of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Commerce, Immigration and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), our members have personally experienced the difficulties of integrating coherently these two crucial sectors of Canada's foreign policy. Thus, we believe that the decision to partition DFAIT is unfortunate and a step backwards.

    These former representatives of Canada around the world came to this conclusion based on their experience.

    So, why is this backward? Why are these 270 former foreign affairs officials raising this? It is because this improv decision, until proven otherwise, the government was not able to explain the basis of this decision to us, goes against the past 30 years of integrating all elements of Canadian foreign policy within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

    Let us recall that in 1971, under Pierre Elliott Trudeau, we started integrating functions of an external nature within the Department of Foreign Affairs. Then, in 1982, trade commissioners were included, over a ten year period. There was reflection and consultation, even though Mr. Trudeau cannot be said to be the greatest democrat in the world. It was concluded that trade representatives had to be included in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Thus, since 1982, we have had the functions of foreign affairs, international trade and everything relating to immigration, particularly to refugees, and international trade.

  +-(1020)  

    All that was overseen by the department, and they struggled to find a measure of consistency, synergy. Besides, retired diplomats also mention it. Indeed, it is difficult to achieve consistency and synergy in all those missions. That vision of things was maintained under the Mulroney and Chrétien governments.

    Of course, this is the source of a problem, because the Department of Foreign Affairs and of International Trade has not developed harmoniously, in a straight line and free of problems over the past 30 years. It had problems. These problems were due less to administrative issues, and to the fact that four missions were combined, foreign affairs, international trade, foreign aid and immigration, particularly refugee matters, in one department. They have more to do, since the beginning of the 1990s, first with the Conservatives, then with the Liberals have cut the resources of the Department of Foreign Affairs and of International Trade.

    The present Prime Minister, when he was finance minister, is one of the people primarily responsible for this operation. Clearly, since there was not enough funds, choices had to be made. Officials tried to maintain the essential missions of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. They set aside or relegated the issues pertaining to foreign aid, immigration and refugees in favour of matters of foreign affairs and international trade.

    Therefore, the solution, and Jeffrey Simpson shares this analysis, is not to split a department which is trying to ensure consistency in all of the functions of Canada's foreign policy, but rather to reinvest the resources necessary for this department to be able to assume its various responsibilities.

    So, this is a backward decision. It is also illogical, that is the third point, because it puts the cart before the horse. The past two throne speeches have announced a review of Canada's foreign policy. Why then proceed with the administrative partition of a department as important as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade before even debating the basis of the policy directions.

    Normally, and Napoleon would agree, strategic, political decisions are made, and logistics follow. In this instance, the opposite occurred. A decision is made, and then a discussion is held on what should underlie an administrative decision. This is totally illogical. A decision is made and presented to Parliament as a fait accompli, if possible, and then a discussion of the broad directions in foreign policy will be announced.

    The administrative split of the mandate of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will taint the debate. This brings us to the other point: the fact that this decision will be harmful to Canada's economic and political interests, because separating foreign affairs from trade policy is not possible.

    I will remind the hon. members that today is the 15th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release, in 1990, which spelled the end of apartheid in South Africa. I remember very well that it did not happen out of the blue. First decisions were made by civil society, and later by governments, to boycott products from and investments in South Africa. I remember clearly that my father would not buy wine from South Africa at the Quebec liquor board. The liquor board, which might have undergone a name change during that time, was forced to stop buying wine from South Africa. I also remember a boycott on Shell to get it withdraw its investments in South Africa. These trade policy pressures, combined with diplomatic pressures, of course, paved the way for Mandela's release and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

    How can we separate the two elements? When the Prime Minister recently went to Asia, whether in Japan or in China, he discussed both trade policies and foreign affairs. You cannot go to China and only speak of international trade without addressing the human rights issue. When he went to Japan, the Prime Minister discussed the upcoming G-8 summit on climate change. This and the Kyoto protocol are linked both to foreign affairs and to international trade.

    Splitting the department in two will weaken both Canadian foreign policy and trade policy at the same time. The ambassadors will only be accountable for their diplomatic performance. They will no longer be accountable to the Minister of International Trade. Indeed, Canada will lose on both fronts, economic and political.

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    For all these reasons, you will understand that we cannot support this kind of hare-brained improvisation, which will ultimately be detrimental to the interests of Canada and, consequently, those of Quebec.

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    Hon. Dan McTeague (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am happy to ask a question of the hon. member of the Bloc Québecois, who finds that there is no reason to split the department in two. I find that interesting, not to say daring, for a party that seeks to split up our country. He is here to work himself into a state and to make sure that there is no separation between departments.

    I will find a few examples, because he feels that this decision was a step backwards. I know that the member is not aware of all the things that have been done recently but, in the case of the tsunami, it was not a question of international trade, but of foreign affairs. We recognize that we live in a global world. Large countries are currently increasing their potential and broadening their policies. I am thinking about China, Brazil and India. Those are examples that show that the world has changed a lot.

    We must also take into account the fact that, in foreign affairs, policy considerations differ from those pertaining to trade.

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: Unbelievable, reactionary.

    Hon. Dan McTeague: If I have heard correctly, the hon. member has just said that there are no differences and that both fields must be paired.

[English]

    When we want to talk about human rights or, as this hon. member knows, consular affairs, what in the name of goodness could that have to do with commerce?

    The reality is that in many respects we have to judge the changing and evolving world, which that party simply does not get. The reality, however, is that there are other dimensions to our foreign affairs policies, and they deal with defence, of course, and immigration, as the hon. member has just discussed. Let us not lose sight of what the bill