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What Pratt and Guarnieri said

(PoliticsWatch posted May 14, 2004) OTTAWA - PoliticsWatch has obtained a four-page quote file of what some Liberal MPs said during the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq last year. 

The following are selected quotes from Defence Minister David Pratt and Associate Defence Minister Albina Guarnieri.

"By removing the sword of Damocles that was hanging over the Middle East in terms of the Iraqi regime, the Americans, the British and the other coalition allies that were involved have done the world a great favour," said Pratt.
--Minister of Defence David Pratt, (Alaska Highway News, April 10, 2003)

Pratt said the damage is difficult to quantify but a firm in his Ottawa-area riding told him Thursday that a million-dollar-plus U.S. contract awarded in mid-March has been taken away in favour of an American firm. 

"They lost it because they are a Canadian firm. The company which was thinking of buying their product, all things considered, they decided they would rather buy American," he said, refusing to specify which firm had lost the deal.
Minister of Defence David Pratt, (Vancouver Sun, March 29, 2003)

I think we've got the most serious problem in Canada-US relations probably since Trudeau-Nixon and Diefenbaker-Kennedy.
Minister of Defence David Pratt, (CBC News, March 29, 2003)

"I think we made the wrong decision in not supporting them, and we're obviously encountering the fallout from that in terms of various aspects of Canadian-American relations, which is not healthy."
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Hansard, Mar 29, 2003)

"What right do we have to make any criticisms of American foreign policy when we don't accept the costs of pulling our weight?"
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Kingston Whig-Standard, January 17, 2003).

"As a country clearly within NATO not pulling its weight, yeah I think to a certain extent their concerns are bona fide." 
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Kingston Whig-Standard, January 17, 2003).

But David Pratt, chairman of the Commons defence committee, suggested it would be an "abdication of national responsibility" to leave the decision on war against Saddam entirely in UN hands.

"Our position should not be exclusively dictated by the United Nations," said Pratt. "What should guide Canadian foreign policy is Canada's national interest."
Minister of Defence David Pratt, (Winnipeg Free Press, January 16, 2003)

Calling Canada an "international freeloader" when it comes to security, he added it's time to focus on foreign policy as well as domestic affairs. 
"We have forgotten our foreign responsibility and what we owe to the rest of the world."
Minister of Defence David Pratt, (Calgary Herald, October 17, 2002)

"We were prepared to say, 'if the UN doesn't approve military action in Iraq then we're not going.' I think that's an abdication of national responsibility."
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Ottawa Citizen, January 15, 2003)

"We can't always hitch our wagon to the UN. We're a sovereign country and we have to determine what best serves our purposes." 
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Calgary Herald, January 16, 2003)

"We have probably one of the worst dictators in the world - someone guilty of some of the most horrendous human rights abuses in the world - and yet a good portion of the international community seems to have rallied against any effort to enforce the resolutions. The United States has done just an awful job at convincing the international community that intervening in Iraq is the right thing to do, but I think that the basis of the American and British position is the right one."
Minister of Defence David Pratt (National Post, March 18, 2003)

"On certain issues I think you really have to go with your instinct and do what you feel is right. And for me, this is the right thing to do." 
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Times Colonist, March 24, 2003)

"I think it's unfortunate that this is the first time where the Australians and the British and the Americans have been involved in a conflict that we haven't as Canadians. That's something of a precedent." 
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Times Colonist, March 24, 2003)

"I don't think we can be held hostage in terms of our foreign policy and our national interests by the exercise of a veto at the Security Council. If we set the precedent that Canada can only be involved in military action if there's United Nations Security Council resolution we have constrained our foreign policy in a very significant way."
Minister of Defence David Pratt (Times Colonist, March 24, 2003)

" I think we have to take sides (with the U.S.)," Guarnieri said. "Canada can't just opt out."
Albina Guarnieri, Associate Defence Minister (Leader-Post, March 7, 2003)

"In all likelihood just a few weeks from now I think our closest allies will be at war with a murderous regime that gases its own people and has weapons that threaten North American security. We are going to have to make a choice. Are we going to support our closest allies or are we going to give Iraq a vote of confidence by remaining neutral?" 
Albina Guarnieri, Associate Defence Minister (Hansard, Jan 29, 2003)

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