Adjournment Proceedings – Foreign Affairs

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the hon. parliamentary secretary, for his response.

Surely there is more that Canada can do. I agree that it is spectacular in our history that through the entire uprising of the Cuba Revolution, which led to Fidel Castro becoming president of Cuba, we never closed our embassy in that whole time. We maintained consistent relations. I think that is something of which many Canadians can be proud, and surely now we could be the country in the hemisphere that says, in agreement with most of Latin America, that the U.S. has this wrong and that it is time to say that Cuba should be part of the Summit of the Americas so that we can have the kind of dialogue that takes place on a regional basis.

I would also suggest to my hon. friend the parliamentary secretary that the way in which we are currently embracing China means that our forthright advocacy for human rights and religious freedoms in China is taking a back seat to offering them up our resources as we offer ourselves as a compliant resource colony instead of as a partner that pushes for human rights.

Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear to my colleague and friend on the other side: the policy that we have towards Cuba is made in Canada, not in the U.S.A. This is our policy.

The member is absolutely right that we have not closed our mission and we have not closed diplomatic relations with Cuba. Thousands and thousands of Canadians go every day to Cuba; Cuba is a destination of choice for many Canadians.

In reference to China, the member talked about human rights and the sale of natural resources that she is claiming we are going to be selling off. Let me be very clear that the government engages with China on all issues of human rights. Whenever we meet with them, we talk bilaterally about issues of human rights and bring them to the Chinese leader.

Again, engaging with the Chinese leader is more important. As far as the resources are concerned, let me be very clear: they will comply with the investment act of Canada, not the investment act of China. They will follow our rules, our regulations, and that would become a key element, should that happen.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to answer the questions.