Canadian Forces in the War on Iraq

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): ): Mr. Speaker, the government’s latest motion on the war is classic Liberal doublespeak. Only Liberals could ask Parliament to reaffirm non-participation while Canada is clearly participating. We have troops inside Iraq. Canadian ships are looking for Iraqi officials and escorting ships of war in the gulf. Canadians are serving on Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).

In light of all these facts, can the Prime Minister honestly say that Canada is not participating in Bush’s illegal war?

Hon. John McCallum (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this perpetual NDP complaining, anti-Americanism does get on one’s nerves after awhile.

The fact of the matter is that on this side of the House we take pride in our role in fighting shoulder to shoulder with the Americans against terrorism. We, unlike the NDP, are proud of the role that our ships play in leading a multinational coalition in the gulf against terrorism. We are proud of that and we do not apologize in the slightest.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am astounded to hear that the minister would think that somehow that is anti-American. The question here is what is Canada’s position. Maybe the Liberals need a new clarity bill to clean up their own act.

The Liberals used to call Bush’s war unjustified. Now they wish him well in his mission with no qualifiers at all. Even Tony Blair is saying that there is a limit and that the reconstruction of Iraq should be done under the UN. Yet the Liberal motion does not even mention the words “United Nations”. If they cannot be clear on war, could they at least be clear on peace. Is Canada’s position on reconstruction through the UN? Yes or no?

Hon. Susan Whelan (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear. We have said very clearly that the United States is one of our allies and partners and that we expect to be part of the reconstruction process. We intend to participate and we fully believe that the United Nations will play a role in this.