Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Our party has never denied and no one in our party has ever denied the right of Israel to exist

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  

    Mr. Speaker, the coalition of the unwilling is on the march: unwilling to let members of Parliament do their jobs, unwilling to give them access to all of the documents that are necessary to be revealed, as per your ruling; and unwilling to get to the bottom of the role that was played by both Liberals and Conservatives in covering up what they knew about torture in Afghanistan.

 

 

    Is the Prime Minister not ashamed about having put together this coalition of the unwilling to prevent the truth from becoming known to all Canadians?

 

 

 

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the hard work of the Minister of Justice, the government House leader and their counterparts in the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois, an agreement was reached to deal with what has been a very difficult parliamentary question.

 

 

    My compliments go out to all three of those parties and, obviously, my regrets that the NDP has taken an extreme and irresponsible position on this matter.

 

 

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

    Mr. Speaker, this agreement between the Conservatives, the sovereignists and their Liberal partner is shameful. They are excluding important documents and muzzling committee members. The government has a veto that will paralyze the entire process. As a result, Canadians will not know the truth, the whole truth, about the torture in Afghanistan.

 

 

    The Prime Minister must be happy.

 

 

 

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

    Mr. Speaker, once again, the members of our party, the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois have worked hard for many weeks to come to an agreement. The NDP has taken an extreme and irresponsible position.

 

 

    However, this, unfortunately, is not the only kind of extremist and irresponsible position taken by the NDP. I am looking forward to seeing the leader of the NDP get up and unequivocally distance himself from the comments of his House leader and his deputy leader who have called Israel’s existence an occupation.

 

 

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP)

    Mr. Speaker, let me give an example of how the government and this whole–

 

 

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

 

 

The Speaker

    Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto–Danforth has the floor. We will have some order.

 

Hon. Jack Layton

    Mr. Speaker, our party has never denied and no one in our party has ever denied the right of Israel to exist. Let that stand on the record.

 

    Let me give an example of how the government is breaking your ruling, Mr. Speaker, with the coalition of the unwilling. The Toronto Star obtained a legal opinion produced by the JAG in 2007. This document is the smoking gun about this whole affair. However, this document and documents of its type will now be excluded from this process, never to be seen by any member of Parliament. It is a major flaw and we cannot agree with it.

 

    Why is the Prime Minister keeping the truth from Canadians?

 

Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC)

    Mr. Speaker, the only person hiding the truth here is the leader of the NDP, who has a deputy leader and House leader who says that Israel’s existence inside its pre-1967 boundaries is an occupation.

 

 

    This is a fundamental denial of Israel’s right to exist. It repeats the kinds of comments that were made by Helen Thomas on which she was forced to resign. The member of the NDP who said that should be forced to resign as well.