Speaking Out on the War on Iraq

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): ): Mr. Speaker, yesterday George Bush said the "game is over". War in Iraq is not a game. Hundreds of thousands of lives are at risk, and Canada has no position.

What about the so-called proof as presented by Colin Powell, proof the Alliance wants to go to war over? The Liberals have yet to disagree.

Is the Prime Minister aware of reports that the U.K. intelligence dossier, praised by Powell, is copied from three articles, including a graduate student's? This is the evidence? Surely we're not going to go to war over this.

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is always enlightening to be in the House where one party across the way thinks that we should agree with the United States even if the United States is wrong, and another party thinks we should disagree with the United States even if the United States is right.

We have expressed a very plain and principled position in this matter which is based upon the crucial role of the United Nations. The UN has adopted a strong resolution in 1441. The inspectors have reported once, somewhat disagreeably, on Iraq, even the hon. member must agree. There is more work to do.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): ): Mr. Speaker, if there's a principled position, we've yet to hear it.

Canadians don't want this war. The world doesn't want this war. Will the government say nothing to stop George Bush from beating the drums of war without proof, without listening and refusing to rule out the possible use of nuclear weapons? Even U.S. senators are sounding the alarm bells.

If the Liberals won't tell Bush he's wrong on the war, will they at least say he's wrong to refuse to rule out the use of nuclear weapons? Will the government at least go that far and say that?

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the only principle that the New Democrats seem to follow is that they do not like the United States.

I think it is important to look at the very words of the inspectors, Mr. Blix and his group, with respect to their visit to Iraq. It is important to consider the evidence, not just the recent evidence but the evidence of behaviour over a long period of time with respect to the conduct of the dictator in Iraq.

Canadians do not want war. The world does not want war, but the absence of conflict is not necessarily peace. The responsibility of the government in Iraq is to respond to the UN.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on February 7, 2003