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37th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 086

CONTENTS

Wednesday, September 26, 2001




1400
V         The Speaker
V STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
V     Multiculturalism
V         Mr. Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, Lib.)
V     National Security
V         Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance)

1405
V     Festival international de la chanson de Granby
V         Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.)
V     Stream International
V         Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, Lib.)
V     Burlington
V         Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.)
V     Agriculture
V         Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance)
V     Air Transportation
V         Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.)

1410
V     Alain Forget
V         Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ)
V     Franco-Ontarian flag
V         Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Ottawa—Orléans, Lib.)
V     National Security
V         Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)
V     Health
V         Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.)
V     Taxation
V         Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP)

1415
V     Haroun M'Barek
V         Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ)
V      Yom Kippur
V         Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.)
V     Finance
V         Mr. Norman Doyle (St. John's East, PC/DR)
V ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
V     National Security
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1420
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     Terrorism
V         Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice, Lib.)
V         Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)

1425
V     The Economy
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     Terrorism
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

1430
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)
V         The Speaker
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark

1435
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice, Lib.)
V     The Automotive Industry
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)

1440
V     Terrorism
V         Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)
V         Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)
V     Air Canada
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V     Citizenship and Immigration
V         Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

1445
V     Terrorism
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     Airline Industry
V         Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)

1450
V     The Economy
V         Mr. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Foreign Affairs
V         Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR)
V         Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)
V     Citizenship and Immigration
V         Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)
V         Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)

1455
V     Employment Insurance
V         Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
V         Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ)
V         Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.)
V     Airline Industry
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V     The Environment
V         Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)
V         Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.)

1500
V     Agriculture
V         Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)
V         Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.)
V     Shipbuilding
V         Mr. Antoine Dubé Lévis-et-Chutes-de la-Chaudière, BQ)
V         Mr. Claude Drouin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.)
V     Health
V         Ms. Hélène Scherrer (Louis-Hébert, Lib.)
V         Mr. Jeannot Castonguay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Privilege
V         Notice of Ways and Means Motion No. 6
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, BQ)

1505
V         The Speaker
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier
V         The Speaker

1510
V         Mr. Yvan Loubier
V         The Speaker
V         Hon. Jim Peterson (Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Business of the House
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         (Motion agreed to)
V         Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance)
V ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
V     Official Languages
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V     Government Response to Petitions
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

1515
V     Interparliamentary Delegations
V         Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.)
V     Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Committees of the House
V         Foreign Affairs and International Trade
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

1520

1525

1530
V         Hon. Don Boudria
V         The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)
V         Mr. Stockwell Day

1535

1540

1545

1550

1555

1600

1605

1610

1615

1620
V     Bill S-23
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         Mr. Howard Hilstrom
V         The Speaker
V         (Motion agreed to)
V     Committees of the House
V         Procedure and House Affairs
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         (Motion agreed to)
V Government Orders
V     Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act
V         Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

1625

1630

1635

1650
V         Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon--Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg--Jacques-Cartier, BQ)

1655
V         Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)

1700

1705
V         Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, PC/DR)

1710

1715

1720
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)

1725
V         Miss Deborah Grey
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.)

1730
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
V     Sudan
V         Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance)

1735

1740

1745
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Ms. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke--Lakeshore, Lib.)

1750
V         Mr. Antoine Dubé Lévis-et-Chutes-de la-Chaudière, BQ)

1755

1800
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

1805
V         Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)

1810
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR)

1815

1820
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)

1825
V         Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V Adjournment Proceedings
V     [------]

1830
V     [------]
V         The Economy
V         Mr. Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest, PC/DR)
V         Mr. André Harvey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Lib.)

1835
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)






CANADA

House of Commons Debates


VOLUME 137 
NUMBER 086 
1st SESSION 
37th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 2 p.m.


Prayers


[]

*   *   *

  +(1400)  

[English]

+

    The Speaker: As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

    [Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]


+STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[S. O. 31]

*   *   *

[English]

+Multiculturalism

+-

    Mr. Gurbax Malhi (Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a headline in the Globe and Mail on Friday said “Tide of hate crimes rising in Canada”. Some people in their anger lash out against those who because of their dress, culture or religion remind them of the terrorists who did the evil act which must be condemned and punished in no uncertain terms.

    Our government is saddened by the fact that the terrorist attacks provoked actions against Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus in Canada. Every Canadian must affirm the values of multiculturalism and tolerance that are so much a part of Canada and make Canada respected throughout the world.

    I call upon the media to play a role in educating Canadians about the values of multiculturalism and tolerance. The media reach many people each day. Let them reach people with a message of decency and tolerance.

*   *   *

+-National Security

+-

    Mr. Rob Anders (Calgary West, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, last weekend I was talking to some of our border guards south of Montreal. I asked them what they needed to intercept incoming terrorists, criminals and drug smugglers. To my surprise they informed me that for the eight border crossings in Quebec we only have one sniffer dog, no extra manpower and no ion scanners to detect illicit substances.

    Instead of a quick verification by a sniffer dog, our border guards have to laboriously hand search each suspicious vehicle. They are hampered because they do not have the staff.

    This is a disturbing trend. The ministers say everything is fine but our people on the frontlines are crying out for help. Is it too much to ask for some cuddly new sniffer dogs for our boys on the border?

*   *   *

  +-(1405)  

[Translation]

+-Festival international de la chanson de Granby

+-

    Ms. Diane St-Jacques (Shefford, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on September 22 and 23, the finals of the Festival international de la chanson de Granby were held.

    This was the 33rd edition of the song festival, which has developed over the years into the most important and prestigious event for French song in Canada. For the participants, this may be the first step toward making their dreams come true, as Marie-Denise Pelletier and Lynda Lemay, among others, have discovered.

    The purpose of the festival is to encourage the development of our cultural industry by sustaining the influence of the francophonie on the international scene. Winnipeg's Edouard Lamontagne, one of the finalists, was awarded the opportunity to study at Astafford, France, where he will take part in workshops run by Francis Cabrel.

    Congratulations to the winners: Pierre Lapointe of Gatineau, in the author-composer-performer category, and Martin Roy of Cowansville, in the performer category. These rising stars treated us to dynamic and inspired performances.

    Congratulations to all those who contributed to the success of the 33rd festival.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Stream International

+-

    Mr. Rodger Cuzner (Bras d'Or—Cape Breton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the citizens of Bras d'Or--Cape Breton it gives me great pleasure to welcome to our island our newest corporate citizen. Stream International Incorporated, with the co-operation and support of various federal and provincial agencies, and in particular HRDC, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and the Cape Breton Growth Fund, recently announced the construction of a state of the art facility and 900 call centre jobs for Glace Bay.

    Stream International provides technical support and customer service for some of the biggest companies in the IT and e-business sectors. Identifying an immediate access to a highly educated and motivated workforce and the development of an excellent working relationship with our community college, Stream believes the Glace Bay operation has the potential to emerge as its flagship centre in its international operation.

    This is a good news story for the 900 new employees of Stream, for the community and for all of Cape Breton Island.

*   *   *

+-Burlington

+-

    Ms. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on Sunday hundreds of Burlington residents from all walks of life, all cultural and religious backgrounds came together at the Halton Mosque to send a very strong message to the world and to all Canadians.

    Muslims in Burlington and throughout Canada were equally shocked by the recent acts of terrorism. Islam is a religion of love and care for all human beings. The destruction and mass murder in New York City and Washington D.C.have no place in religion.

    As a community Burlington residents reject terrorism. Our gathering demonstrated that our values as Canadians, our respect for diversity and our fellow citizens cannot be shattered like those buildings in the United States. Terrorists have no place in our communities or in our country.

    All of us as individual Canadians and as members of the House must work hard to protect our diversity and to nurture our freedom and respect for others. As citizens of a civilized nation we have all been tested. Sunday's gathering in Burlington is evidence that we can meet that challenge. Burlington residents can be very proud.

    As the member of parliament for Burlington I extend my congratulations to the Halton Islamic Society.

*   *   *

+-Agriculture

+-

    Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we are nearing the end of summer. Many areas continue to be plagued by one of the most severe droughts in recent history. Canadian producers, and particularly producers in Saskatchewan and Alberta have not had enough rain this summer.

    The prairie grass has burned off. Dugouts and springs have gone dry. Ranchers have no choice but to haul water and feed to maintain their herds. Many ranchers are being forced to sell off their cattle. Ranchers have not asked for large government intervention but they are asking for consistency.

    Normally under these circumstances producers would be able to work with the PFRA to find new water sources or to install pipelines. However because the budget of the PFRA was emptied four days into the new fiscal year there are up to 500 of these projects on hold in Saskatchewan alone.

    The situation is desperate. When will the government act by reallocating money to the PFRA so that ranchers can get access to the most basic of resources, water?

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Air Transportation

+-

    Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, whereas the U.S. government, which is generally disinclined to provide government assistance to the private sector, has provided substantial support to its airline industry;

    Whereas Canadian airlines have been substantially affected by the tragic events in New York and Washington;

    Whereas air transportation in Canada is essential to the population, in remote regions in particular, and to our businesses; and

    Whereas the over 50% reduction in the activities of Canada's airlines is jeopardizing financial stability throughout our economy,

    Therefore, I invite my colleagues in the House of Commons, the Senate and in the government to provide assistance similar to the assistance provided by the U.S. government to its industry, both to preserve a Canadian infrastructure and to reassure the public in general and the workers in this industry in particular.

*   *   *

  +-(1410)  

+-Alain Forget

+-

    Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ): Mr. Speaker, every year since 1998, the last Sunday of September is recognized as the Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day.

    Next Sunday, on Parliament Hill, officers from all regions will meet to pay tribute to their colleagues killed while carrying out their duties.

    Last year, on August 28, following a robbery at the Caisse populaire in Laflèche, Constable Alain Forget of Saint-Hubert and his partner attempted to stop a suspicious vehicle by blocking the highway with their patrol car.

    Unfortunately, after their car was hit head-on by the oncoming car, Constable Forget did not have enough time to get out of the way, and was fatally hit by the patrol car.

    On the occasion of this National Memorial Day, I would like to pay tribute to Constable Forget as well as all others who have sacrificed their lives for the safety of their communities.

*   *   *

+-Franco-Ontarian flag

+-

    Mr. Eugène Bellemare (Ottawa—Orléans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday we celebrated the 26th anniversary of the Franco-Ontarian flag, which was first unveiled on September 25, 1977.

    Made up of the fleur-de-lys and the trillium, this flag is an emblem of Ontario's francophone community. It is a symbol that demonstrates the solidarity and cohesion that its members share.

    In Canada, after Quebec, Ontario is the province with the largest number of francophones. This pool of francophones is unquestionably one of this country's treasures.

*   *   *

[English]

+-National Security

+-

    Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, disrupting international trade in North America would be a victory for terrorism. Last week the U.S. trade representative wrote an article entitled “Countering Terrorism With Trade” in which he calls on U.S. leadership to promote international economic and trading systems.

    Free trade in lumber and maintenance of our just in time cross-border delivery system for much of our exports helps Canadians and U.S. economies, both of which are fragile at this time.

    The Minister of International Trade and the Prime Minister have another opportunity to benefit both countries by pursuing free trade and easing cross-border concerns with immediate anti-terrorist changes to national security.

    Yesterday the U.S. attorney general described the Canadian border as a transit point for terrorists and ordered tightened border security. The Canadian government must immediately implement specific anti-terrorist measures.

*   *   *

+-Health

+-

    Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa—Vanier, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last week the premier of Ontario and his minister of health and long term care issued a challenge to the rights of companies to patent individual human genes. I had many occasions to disagree with decisions of the government of Ontario but on this one I have to state my agreement.

    Getting a patent for a diagnostic test or process deriving from the applications of genes is fine, but to actually patent individual human genes and prohibit others from carrying research on those genes is not acceptable.

    It is tantamount to allowing companies to seek and obtain a patent on individual elements of the periodic table such as oxygen or hydrogen, and it is not a tenable situation.

    I urge our government to embark on a fight to disallow the individual companies around the country and anywhere else in the world to obtain patents on individual human genes. That is not the way of sharing information worldwide. The human genome belongs to everyone, not to individual companies.

*   *   *

+-Taxation

+-

    Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this week marks a victory for tax fairness. The loophole case is finally being heard before the federal court after five years of Liberal obstruction and appeals.

    In 1991 a Revenue Canada ruling allowed one of Canada's wealthiest families to avoid a $700 million tax bill by transferring $2 billion out of the country. The member for Winnipeg--Transcona began raising this issue then, and we in the NDP will not stop until justice is done.

    The Liberals clearly wish this issue would just go away, that a 10 year agreement with the family in question would run out and that they would be unable to collect the taxes owed. They have fought George Harris of Winnipeg every step of the way in his legal challenge on behalf of all Canadians.

    They promised legislation in 1996 to close the loophole, and here it is 2001 and only another revised draft of legislation has been released for comment.

    I urge the government to finally put these rules into law. Canada's tax system should treat all Canadians the same way. Let justice and fairness prevail.

*   *   *

  +-(1415)  

[Translation]

+-Haroun M'Barek

+-

    Ms. Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral (Laval Centre, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion and relief that on September 4, I welcomed Haroun M'Barek at Mirabel Airport.

    As members will recall, this is the Tunisian student who had been denied refugee status. In spite of the support of many groups, including Amnesty International, the Association des droits de la personne du Maghreb and Université Laval's support committee, Haroun M'Barek was deported to Tunisia on January 6, 2001. Upon landing there, he was arrested, jailed and tortured.

    Mr. M'Barek's return to Quebec is certainly a happy moment. The recent events that are jeopardizing international peace give their full meaning to the values that underlie the convention on the status of refugees and the convention against torture.

    We are convinced that, in the future, the lessons learned from Mr. M'Barek's tragedy will help the decision-making process regarding refugee claimants, because our attachment to democracy is measured by the notions of justice, fairness and compassion.

    We wish courage, and good luck to Mr. M'Barek.

*   *   *

+- Yom Kippur

+-

    Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, for Jews around the world, today's sunset marks the beginning of the celebrations of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

    Yom Kippur is a time for contemplation, reflection and meditation, and it is also one of the most important dates on the Hebraic calendar.

[English]

    On this Yom Kippur, 2001, I extend my warmest wishes to all those Canadians celebrating a day of prayer.

[Translation]

    It is at a time like this, following the tragic events in the United States, that Canadians can truly appreciate the need for reflection and renewal that is fundamental to the Yom Kippur celebrations.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Finance

+-

    Mr. Norman Doyle (St. John's East, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, Canada's current equalization program dictates that the lion's share of Atlantic Canada's resource revenues is claimed by the federal government under the current equalization clawback arrangement.

    The Minister of Finance knows the political importance of reducing the equalization clawback because he never fails to raise the issue when he is on the campaign trail. This summer the minister toured the Atlantic provinces in preparation for his leadership bid and he again raised the prospect of reducing the equalization clawback.

    Instead of just raising the subject to obtain delegates or votes, I challenge the minister to bring the equalization issue to the floor of the House where we can actually make changes instead of just talking about them. Atlantic Canada needs more than just rhetoric on equalization. We need action.


+-ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Oral Questions]

*   *   *

[English]

+-National Security

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, in Washington when reporters asked the Prime Minister if the president had asked about border security the Prime Minister replied that there was no expression of dissatisfaction with what we were doing.

    The very next day the attorney general of the United States said that the Canadian border had become a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism and that the United States was planning to toughen border security.

    Did the president not mention the border to the Prime Minister because the president already knew that U.S. security agencies were planning their own immediate crackdown on the Canadian border?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we discussed the border. The president and I expressed the desire to make sure that the present problem did not cause difficulties for the many trucks that travel south from Canada and north from the United States because they are very important for our economies.

    On the question of people crossing the border who cause problems, as I said to the president, half of the people who come to Canada and are rejected as refugees come from the United States. We probably do the same thing to them.

    Of course we have to work together with them because if they did not come from the United States to us we would not have to reject them and if they did not go from Canada to them they would not have to reject them.

  +-(1420)  

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): That is a tough one to figure out, Mr. Speaker. The U.S. ambassador to Canada, the former ambassador to the United Nations and other U.S. officials have raised the prospect of a Canada-U.S. security perimeter. In that way both countries would enforce security and screening standards and the entire continent would be better protected.

    However the Prime Minister has said that he would follow his own go slow approach and not feel pressured to change any of these things to address continental concerns.

    Will the Prime Minister abandon his go slow approach and move quickly to protect Canadians and to protect the billion dollars worth of trade a day that moves back and forth?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has replied to this question many times. We already have some bills in front of the House of Commons that will improve the situation. There will probably be a need to have other legislation and we are working on that.

    I said to the president that yes, we have to make sure that the terrorists do not come to the United States or Canada. We will do our job in Canada. They will do their job in the United States, but the laws of Canada will be passed by the Parliament of Canada.

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister defended his go slow approach to protect Canadians by saying that we move as fast as anyone. However the European Union moved faster than Canada to adopt joint anti-terrorist policies.

    The United Kingdom and even Australia moved faster on the issue of military support. The United States has moved faster in the area of seizing assets of some 27 terrorists and organizations.

    Contrary to what we were told yesterday by the finance minister, we have not moved to seize the assets of those organizations. Could the Prime Minister name one area in which Canada has moved ahead?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I know the problem of the Leader of the Opposition. He wants to criticize all the time, but there is the reality that two weeks ago he wanted to send planes and he did not know where. We wanted to know where the planes should go first before sending them.

    In terms of the last part of his question, the Minister of Finance was extremely clear on that. We were acting on that in February and we were acting on that again last Friday.

*   *   *

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday the justice minister advised that she was drafting legislation to implement the international convention to suppress terrorist financing while the Minister of Finance advised that he had already legally seized and frozen terrorist assets.

    Why does Canada need new laws if our Minister of Finance already has the power to suppress terrorist financing?

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is confusing two things. One is the situation under the United Nations Act dealing specifically with bin Laden and those directly or indirectly associated with bin Laden. We have the legal infrastructure clearly in place to permit the freezing of assets in relation to any organization controlled by bin Laden or associated with him.

    However the convention on the suppression of terrorist financing goes much further and that is why we are to amend the criminal code to ensure that we can implement the terms of that convention.

+-

    Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, everyone knows that to implement the international convention on terrorist financing Canada must pass the appropriate law. We have heard now from the Minister of Justice that it does not exist.

    Will the Minister of Finance advise us on what Canadian law he was referring to when he told the House that he seized and froze those assets of those terrorists?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I made it very clear that we were talking about freezing assets, as the Minister of Justice has just said.

    If he would like me to substitute for the research department of the Alliance, Mr. Speaker, I make reference to the Canada Gazette, part II, volume 135, No. 6. They should go read it.

*   *   *

  +-(1425)  

[Translation]

+-The Economy

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the economic impact of the attacks is that the talk is now not of a slowdown but of a recession. Air Transat is going to cut 1,300 jobs, Pratt & Whitney, 600, GM, 1,400 in Boisbriand, Air Canada, 9,000, and Bombardier, 3,900. Yet the Prime Minister says the economy is healthy.

    In the light of the loss of these thousands of jobs, which will affect Quebec especially, will the Prime Minister take the state of the economy into account and develop an emergency action plan?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned by the loss of jobs, following the events of September 11.

    Now, we are dealing with a period of terrorism. It is clear that it will take some time before the economy recovers. In the meantime, the government will do everything to help those who have lost their jobs.

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, compassion is all very well, but in the meantime, in the United States, Congress has made $40 billion available not only for defence and security, but to help businesses and workers affected by these attacks. The U.S. secretary of the treasury even added that a new set of measures would be announced shortly.

    Why is the Minister of Finance not levelling with us? What about the surpluses? What are they worth? What will he do? How will he do it? When will he do it? Will measures be announced soon?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, during discussions with the G-7 ministers of finance, the U.S. secretary of the treasury spoke of measures the American government had in mind, and I can say that they are the very measures we have already put in place.

    They involve lowering interest rates and personal income tax to stimulate the economy. This is just what we have already done.

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, a few days after the events of September 11, American authorities laid out a plan to curb the economic slowdown: $40 billion to be used for industry, including air transport, and for social transfers, defence and security.

    Will the Minister of Finance, who as of now has access to a surplus topping $10 billion, stop watching the train go by while layoffs are announced right and left and the economy takes a tragic turn for thousands of workers?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government has already said that, in the case of transportation, the Minister of Transport is reviewing the situation.

    As soon as that review is complete, the government will take action, if necessary. In the case of insurance, we have already done so. We have seen the Bank of Canada lower interest rates.

    When we look at U.S. spending on the military or national security, the government will eventually implement its plans. The bulk of the $40 billion is actually to rebuild the Pentagon and New York City, which were hard hit.

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, instead of letting matters drift dangerously close to what looks more and more like an economic crisis, could the Minister of Finance not just this once show some leadership and tell us immediately what measures he intends to take to curb the economic slowdown, and help the thousands of workers who will be laid off in the weeks to come?

    In short, he should drop his laissez-faire attitude, take action, and bring in a budget this fall. One is needed.

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have already said that spending or deep tax cuts, which could lead to a deficit, would never work as a means of curbing a global slowdown. Furthermore, this is precisely the position taken by the other G-7 finance ministers.

    We know what our responsibilities are. We lowered the unemployment rate from 11.5% to 7% and we will continue to assume our responsibilities.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Terrorism

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, evidence against alleged perpetrators of the criminal terrorist attacks in the U.S. has been presented to NATO members in Brussels. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that only the United Nations could give legitimacy to global action.

    In light of that, will the Prime Minister show some international leadership here? Will he use Canada's voice in NATO to urge that this evidence be placed now before the United Nations. If not, why not?

  +-(1430)  

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned this and I mention it too. The security council faced a problem on September 12 and it voted on a resolution at that time authorizing actions against those who perpetrated the crime in New York City and Washington.

    Already the United Nations has been very much involved. I was discussing what can be done with the secretary general of the United Nations yesterday. So far the actions of the United Nations are adequate.

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we are talking about leadership here. The Liberals did not deal with this properly in the international arena where it should be held. We also have concerns about leadership domestically.

    The Museum of Civilization has postponed an Arab Canadian art exhibition at a time when this country is crying out for greater understanding among different cultures. On Friday the House passed a motion calling for tolerance.

    Will the Prime Minister show some leadership here? Will he speak out forcefully against this decision by the Museum of Civilization?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I entirely agree with the leader of the NDP Party. I think the wrong decision was made. I have been informed that it wants to put on the exhibition in the month of March. If it is good for March 2002, it should be good for October 2001.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will find that kind of unanimity generally on issues relating to this question. Rarely in parliament have I seen such a willingness across party lines to build a common front against terrorism, yet the government is not capitalizing on that goodwill in this parliament or in this country.

    How can Canada have any credibility in helping build a coalition in the world if we will not even build one at home?

    Will the Prime Minister agree to put members of parliament to work against terrorism today in the committees of parliament?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when we had a motion on Monday the first person who started to criticize was the leader of the fifth party. When the leader of the conservative party in England saw the situation, he told Prime Minister Blair, “I am with you”. He and his members are not spending their time, like the opposition here, attacking their government. They are supporting their government.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, let us not play political games here.

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

+-

    The Speaker: Order, please. The right hon. gentleman has the floor and I know he will want to go to his question rather than make statements that might provoke more noise.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark: Mr. Speaker, let the Prime Minister come, as he should, and give a full report on his meetings in Washington to this House, not to a Liberal Party fundraising dinner. Let him understand that committees of this House are meeting right now on finance, on health, on the environment and on official languages. Let those committees deal with issues which deal with terrorism. That is what the Americans are doing and what the British are doing.

    If the Prime Minister needs our help, he has that help. Will he act today to let parliament help Canada fight against terrorism?

  +-(1435)  

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member wanted to know how to behave in the House of Commons in circumstances like that, he should look to the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP who have acted very responsibly over the last 10 days.

    The problem with the leader of the opposition is that he is just trying to be more offensive than the leader of the Alliance Party. He should do his homework. Yesterday he had not yet given the list of his members who would sit on the committees dealing with these matters.

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice has just said that we have the power to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations. Given that the United States has frozen the assets of 27 terrorist organizations, and yet our government chooses to give charitable status to same organizations, will the government tell the Canadian public which terrorist organizations' assets has it frozen?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, again my hon. colleague is asking us to release details of an ongoing worldwide investigation. I am sorry but we will not as a government compromise investigations.

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, that is a complete cop-out and the minister knows it. If the United States can do it so can we. In fact one of the groups on President Bush's list is Algeria's armed Islamic group which has used Canada as a base for theft and fundraising. The GIA ringleader is from Montreal and is currently on trial in Paris.

    What efforts has the government taken to freeze and seize any assets that the GIA currently has in Canada?

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, it is my understanding that if those organizations identified by President Bush on Monday have assets in this country, they have been or will be frozen.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-The Automotive Industry

+-

    Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, for 40 years the federal government has promoted the birth and growth of the automotive industry in Ontario, where 90% of Canada's automobile industry is located. GM announced yesterday that the sole plant in Quebec, the one in Boisbriand, would close in a year.

    The government of Quebec announced that it will do everything it can to try to find some other solution to prevent Quebec from being left out of the automobile manufacturing sector entirely.

    Could the Prime Minister assure us that his government will wholeheartedly support the efforts of the government of Quebec in this regard?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has always been a major player in the automotive sector. This is true for Canada as a whole and it is also true for Quebec.

    I point out that, recently, we invested in Kenworth. In the case of GM, we have followed the matter for the past three years.

    Economic Development Canada was the first department to invest in the support committee. My colleague and I met the people in Detroit. Unfortunately, the decision has been made and it is very sad indeed for the workers and their families.

    Next week, my colleague Brian Tobin and I—

    Some hon. members: Oh, Oh!

    The Speaker: I am sure the hon. minister will kindly refer to his colleague by his title in the House.

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon: My colleague, the Minister of Industry, and I will meet the support committee to develop a strategy.

+-

    Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in more specific terms, is the government prepared to provide financial support for the efforts of the government of Quebec to save the automotive sector in Quebec, as it has always done in Ontario?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we will be meeting the support committee next week. As I have already said—if he was following matters—that we were committed to hiring contact people to sound out businesses in the United States that would be interested in investing in Canada.

    In the government, however, we are looking to the future. While we see the change taking place at the moment in the automotive sector, Quebec still has a great future in the sector in the area of light metals, especially where aluminum and magnesium are concerned. There is room for research and development.

    This government has made a commitment. We will support the industry in Quebec.

*   *   *

  +-(1440)  

[English]

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Canadian customs officers have the responsibility to detain criminal code offenders, just like police officers, yet they lack the tools, such as sidearms and Kevlar vests. In fact it took the charity of New York state police officers to supply our officers with the much needed bulletproof vests.

    What specific resources is the minister prepared to give customs officers in order to protect Canadians and themselves in the war against terrorism?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I listened to the previous question with regard to the government moving slowly. If those people were concerned about Canadian security they would know that the Canadian customs is more than a year ahead with a major reform at customs here in Canada providing border protection and security to our communities, as well making sure the border works for businesses. Since 85% of our exports go to the United States it has to work.

    On the other hand, our customs officers have been provided with some tools. We have implemented what we call officer power. Of course we will keep working in other areas to ensure we have a fantastic customs system in Canada.

+-

    Mr. Rahim Jaffer (Edmonton—Strathcona, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the opposition is concerned about the safety of the customs officers, unlike the government.

    Attorney General Ashcroft announced an increase in border officials to enforce security at the Canadian border because the border has become, and I quote, “a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism”.

    The government has stated that Canada is providing adequate screening to keep potential terrorists out of Canada.

    If this is true, then why is the U.S. so concerned about individuals involved in terrorism going from Canada to the U.S.?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is very much concerned about the question of terrorism. As I said, if those members on the other side of the House were concerned about Canadian security they would know that Canada customs launched a reform a year and a half ago that is able to address the question of protecting commercial sites as well as Canadian society.

    With regard to equipment, we have implemented officer power and customs officers have been provided with the necessary equipment to fulfill their duties. As one of the components at the borders of course we have to work with the RCMP. We are not police officers.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Air Canada

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this morning, Air Canada announced that it would be laying off 9,000 employees because of the slowdown in its activities triggered by the September 11 attacks.

    Could the minister tell us what measure he intends to take to ensure that the cuts at Air Canada are directly connected to the exceptional situation of the past weeks rather than the result of poor management dating back far earlier than that?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the airline industry is in crisis, not just in Canada, but everywhere in the world.

    We are aware, for example, that the U.S. airlines are being offered financial assistance. Here in Canada, we are also analyzing the situation. If, however, there is financial help for the airlines, it must be fair to all and based on the facts.

+-

    Mr. Mario Laframboise (Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, BQ): Mr. Speaker, President Bush plans to meet with the stakeholders of the aeronautical industry in the United States. Quebec will be greatly affected by any downturn in the aeronautical industry, because that is where it is concentrated.

    Does the minister therefore intend to meet with all those who are connected with the aeronautical sector in order to inform them of a recovery plan, starting immediately?

[English]

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my preoccupation in the last week has been with this crisis in the air industry, and I believe Transport Canada has responded in an appropriate fashion.

    Tomorrow I will be meeting with the principal unions affected by the layoffs at Air Canada but they also represent Air Transat and the industry generally. I will also be meeting with the Association of Canadian Travel Agents.

    We certainly do not make light of this very difficult situation. We feel very strongly for all the people who have been affected by layoffs. The government will be announcing other measures as the days go ahead.

*   *   *

+-Citizenship and Immigration

+-

    Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Canadian immigration and refugee claimants are demanding the immediate implementation of a secure ID card. The minister says that she will fast track their deployment. How fast is the fast track?

    Will the minister kindly tell Canadians by what date she will fully implement these cards?

+-

    Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I answered that question yesterday. I was very clear that the development of a new fraud resistant, tamper resistant, high security, state of the art permanent resident card is a priority for the department. I have asked my deputy minister to see that it is fast tracked and that we have it as soon as possible.

*   *   *

  +-(1445)  

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when the finance minister was asked if he had frozen the assets of a number of organizations, he said:

    When the president set out 27 institutions or individuals and said that the United States would proceed to freeze their assets, Canada proceeded forthwith and those assets are now frozen.

    That statement was in yesterday's Hansard.

    Was the finance minister mistaken when he answered that question yesterday or has he indeed frozen the assets of all 27 organizations and individuals as he said. Did he make a mistake yesterday when he answered that question?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, given the rather arbitrary time limits which you impose on us, one will engage in shorthand.

    The answer is very clear. If there are assets in Canada within a few of the institutions, they have been frozen. Let me point out to the Leader of the Opposition that if those assets do not exist, it is pretty darn hard to freeze them.

*   *   *

+-Airline Industry

+-

    Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. Following the hijacking attacks on New York and Washington, the airline industry has been in a free fall with airline employees and airport workers facing unprecedented layoffs. Air Canada alone will lay off over 9,000 employees.

    My riding of Brampton Centre is home to many airline sector employees and many of the local industries will be affected by the severe downturn in this industry.

    Will the Minister of Transport inform the House what steps the government has taken to overcome the negative effects of the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, following on the earlier questions and answers, there is no question that we have acted very quickly in introducing new security measures across the country. We are trying to ensure that the application of all these new measures is in force. We are in the process of obtaining additional oversight resources in terms of personnel to ensure this.

    Yesterday I announced the purchase of explosive detection systems equipment in the short term, which we will be extending in the weeks and months ahead. I think the government is doing all it can in the security area at this time.

+-

    Mrs. Bev Desjarlais (Churchill, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the government did not make much effort to hold Air Canada to job guarantees. Is the Minister of Transport planning to let Air Canada off the hook by allowing it to abandon its commitment to small and remote communities? Is the government willing to ensure this service by taking an equity position in Air Canada?

    The minister abandoned airline employees. Is the minister from Toronto going to abandon rural communities?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the minister from Toronto is from a city where the largest number of Air Canada employees actually work and reside, so I do not need to be lectured by the NDP or anyone else.

    This matter is extremely serious. Last week Air Canada approached us with respect to the interpretation of Bill C-26. We agreed, after discussions with our lawyers, that the interpretation of no involuntary layoffs in Bill C-26 dealt with the merger of Canadian Airlines and not with the extraordinary situation with which we are now faced.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today airlines have announced that several thousand of their employees will be laid off.

    My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. Should the airline industry make such a request, would the minister be prepared to consider job sharing to help out the employees affected by the layoffs announced today, knowing that the EI fund is currently over $43 billion?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned about the layoffs and the terminations in the airline industry and the impact on the workers and their families. That is why my deputy minister met yesterday with officials from Air Canada to discuss precisely this fact; the programs and services that can be made available to the company and, most particularly, to its employees.

    The employment insurance program is strong and sound and is there for these employees. My department will work with the organization and with the unions to make sure that claims are processed as efficiently as possible.

*   *   *

  +-(1450)  

+-The Economy

+-

    Mr. Scott Brison (Kings—Hants, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, in addition to Air Canada's announcement today that it is laying off 9,000 employees, Bombardier is also laying off 3,800 workers. The Minister of Finance said in June that he would introduce a fall budget if the economy worsened. Since June, over 30,000 Canadians have lost their jobs. Today's IMF report is pointing to an even sharper economic slowdown globally.

    How much worse does the economic situation have to go before the finance minister stays true to his word in June that he would introduce a fall budget? The economy has worsened. Why is there no fall budget? What is the finance minister trying to hide from this House and from Canadians?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the very unfortunate events and the consequences that flow from them obviously are the result of the tragic events that occurred on September 11. Obviously, the government is very concerned. I have said that the government will act when all the information is in and we are in a position.

    The hon. member quoted the IMF. What in fact the IMF said in its report is “It is probably best to wait a little to see how events develop. Frantic, ill-focused actions to stimulate the economy risk being counterproductive”.

    We do not want that to happen. We want to make sure that Canada comes through this downturn and takes advantage--

+-

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester.

*   *   *

+-Foreign Affairs

+-

    Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, an all party group of parliamentarians has worked for many months to bring six members of the Israeli knesset and six members of the Palestinian legislative authority to meet with Canadian members of parliament in a modest peace forum in Halifax.

    The Palestinians and the Israelis have confirmed again, no later than last night, their intentions to participate but the government of Nova Scotia has asked that we not proceed at this time even though this is a parliamentary initiative.

    Will the Minister of Foreign Affairs assist the parliamentarians in saving this Canadian peace initiative by helping to move it to Ottawa?

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the member has noted, this is a parliamentary initiative. I believe the initiative was launched with a letter from you, Mr. Speaker.

    To the extent to which we can be of assistance, we have indicated we would endeavour to do so, remembering that this is a parliament to parliament initiative, and in the hope that parliamentarians can advance the cause of peace by their discussions.

    In the meantime there are positive signs in the Middle East, and we hope that perhaps this initiative that the hon. member, together with the member for Toronto Centre--Rosedale, has taken will be successful.

*   *   *

+-Citizenship and Immigration

+-

    Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Under existing lax refugee law, up to 80% of claimants at some border crossings fail to show up for their IRB hearings. We just do not know where they go.

    Could the minister tell us specifically what in her new screening process will fix this outrageous problem?

+-

    Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member is factually incorrect. The overwhelming majority of claimants show up for their hearings because it is in their interests to do so.

    Whenever immigration officers who do the initial interviews are concerned that individuals will not show up for their hearings, they have the powers to detain. When they believe someone poses a security risk, or they do not know the person's identity, they have the power to detain. When we have that evidence we do detain.

+-

    Mr. Paul Forseth (New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am told that only 15% are ever known to leave the country. The minister is announcing improvements that could have been made at any time in the past is there had just been some political will over there.

    U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft is now asking that surprise arrivals be detained until declared safe and legitimate. Will the minister do the same to stem the current tide of people being at large in Canada without any appropriate security checks?

+-

    Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the critic from the official opposition is either misinformed or just does not understand the law as it exists now. Whenever we have evidence that people pose a security risk to Canada, if we are concerned because we do not know who they are or if we are concerned they will not show for their hearings, we have the ability to detain, and we do. That is the law that exists today.

    Under Bill C-11, we have made those laws clear and we have enhanced our ability to remove by streamlining processes.

*   *   *

  +-(1455)  

[Translation]

+-Employment Insurance

+-

    Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in May the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development tabled a unanimous report in which it recommended concrete measures to reform the Employment Insurance Act.

    The government, however, prefers to continue to examine the report's recommendations, while the Minister of Finance admits that our lives will change, that companies are engaged in massive layoffs and that a large number of conventions are being cancelled.

    Will the minister agree that the time has come to adopt the committee's recommendations? The situation requires her to do so now.

[English]

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, let me remind the hon. member that the employment insurance system is sound and it is there for Canadians who need it. Let me also remind the hon. member that our government makes changes where there is evidence that changes need to be made.

    I remind the hon. member that we recently made changes in Bill C-2, and I remind the House and the hon. member's constituents that they voted against those changes.

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Monique Guay (Laurentides, BQ): Mr. Speaker, it is not just the aviation and the automobile industries that are affected. Other sectors that rely on these industries and that employ thousands of people will also be hurt, and not everyone will qualify for employment insurance.

    Again I ask the minister: Does she not agree that it is high time to adopt the committee's recommendations?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Jane Stewart (Minister of Human Resources Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that in our monitoring and assessment of the program, which is done every year, the program is indicated to work for those for whom it is intended; employees who are in paid employment. Eighty-eight per cent of that population will be eligible for employment insurance benefits if they need them.

    Again, we are prepared to make changes as necessary, where information warrants it, and our track record is clear in that regard.

*   *   *

+-Airline Industry

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, airlines are reporting a drop in bookings due to public uncertainty surrounding air travel since the attacks. In the United States air marshals are being put on more planes for three reasons: first, they have done it on international flights for 30 years and they know it works; second, to provide another level of security during air travel; and, therefore, third, boost consumer confidence in air travel.

    Given that Air Canada competes directly with U.S. carriers on many routes, why has the minister not moved to implement air marshals in Canada?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what is important is the degree of security, how it is implemented and how it is enforced. The United States is taking a certain measure of action. Having armed personnel on planes, whether they are pilots or air marshals, is not a road we will go down.

    As I have said consistently in the last week or so, we believe that with very strict measures on the ground we do not need armed personnel on airplanes.

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport is repeating what he has said before. When I asked principally the same question last week, he said this was a “radical suggestion”. He then said “We are committed to providing enhanced security on the ground, so we won't need air marshals”.

    Four days after he said that, a Calgary businessman boarded a plan with a dozen razor-sharp blades and two box cutters in his carry-on baggage.

    Given the reality of human error and the fact that weapons are still getting on the planes, despite what the transport minister says, why is he ruling our air marshals as a radical suggestion?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt the severity of the measures that we have put in place require very strict guidelines, consistency across the country and strict enforcement. I admit there have been examples where the rules have not been followed. When hon. members have such examples, I encourage them to let us know, so that Transport Canada can crack down on the particular individuals and those offering the service.

    I hope the hon. member offers these examples in a constructive way, not to make political points.

*   *   *

+-The Environment

+-

    Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, given the trends and impacts of climate change, could the Minister of Natural Resources indicate why in Winnipeg federal-provincial energy and environment ministers were not able to reach a substantive agreement on the Kyoto Protocol?

+-

    Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Natural Resources, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the meeting in Winnipeg was a useful meeting. We did make progress. In fact we were able to report on measures that would get us about half the way to our Kyoto targets. We are obviously working on the work program to go forward, including such things as domestic emissions trading and targeted measures and new technology.

    We hope to be in a position by the end of the first quarter of next year to meet with the provinces once again for a further meeting of energy and environment ministers, all to position Canada with the information necessary to take an appropriate decision with respect to ratification sometime later on next year.

*   *   *

  +-(1500)  

+-Agriculture

+-

    Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, CSIS and the solicitor general's department have reported that Agriculture Canada is unable to deal with terrorist attacks in our livestock sector. The government's slow response to the foot and mouth outbreak in Europe earlier this year demonstrates clearly that Canada is unprepared.

    Why has the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food done nothing since September 11 to enhance protection of Canada's food supply?

+-

    Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, prior to and as soon as the events of September 11 happened, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had policies and programs and approaches in place to ensure to the best of anybody's ability that the Canadian food supply would continue to be safe.

+-

    Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on April 5 Dr. André Gravel, executive vice president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, stated that the threat of bioterrorism “is a real threat and clearly a real possibility”. That threat of course is more serious now than ever before.

    It is time that this minister stood up and gave us some specifics about what his department and the CFIA are doing to counter this terrorist attack and the potential that it has on Canada's food supply.

+-

    Hon. Lyle Vanclief (Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member answered his own question. A number of months ago the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency recognized this. Policies and considerations are in place.

    Like other security measures we do not talk about them in the House of Commons or in public, but the work is there and the security is there.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Shipbuilding

+-

    Mr. Antoine Dubé Lévis-et-Chutes-de la-Chaudière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, the Minister of Industry told Davie Industries officials that he could not do anything to help their company until the proposals made to the government are accepted.

    Could the government pledge to quickly adopt the proposals of the Minister of Industry regarding the shipbuilding industry, so as to avoid the closure of another company and, more importantly, the loss of jobs?

+-

    Mr. Claude Drouin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government of Quebec and Investissement Québec reviewed Davie's proposal and rejected its call for help.

    We agree with the decision of Quebec's minister of finance, because the proposed plan is not realistic.

    The Minister of Industry met with Davie Industries officials on Thursday. It goes without saying that we are concerned about the need to preserve jobs at the shipyard.

*   *   *

+-Health

+-

    Ms. Hélène Scherrer (Louis-Hébert, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. First, let me congratulate him on his appointment.

    Over the past two days, the Minister of Health has been meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts. The ministers wrapped up their meeting a few hours ago.

    Could the parliamentary secretary share with us the results of this meeting?

+-

    Mr. Jeannot Castonguay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, obviously they had a very full agenda. I cannot outline all that was discussed, but I might indicate that one of the items of discussion was the high cost of pharmaceuticals.

    The ministers agreed to establish a common evaluation process, so that instead of each province conducting its own evaluation, it would be done at the national level, and the results would be shared. Each province would then decide whether or not to include it on the formulary listing.

    They also discussed the importance of home care and community health care. Clearly, this is an important issue, because these days, there is much work being done in the community. There are a great many things that I would like to share, but—

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

+-

    The Speaker: Order, please. This concludes oral question period for today.

    The Chair has received notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot.

[Privilege]

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Privilege

+Notice of Ways and Means Motion No. 6

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, BQ): Mr. Speaker, there are some strange goings-on in this parliament and a fortiori in this government.

    On September 18 of this year, the Minister of Finance tabled Notice of Ways and Means Motion No. 6. This was a notice of ways and means motion amending the Income Tax Act so as to allow taxpayers, and particularly the government, to better manage the money that government receives.

    However, eight days after this notice of ways and means motion was tabled, we are still trying to find out which minister, which department and which officials are responsible for it.

    When we ask the Minister of Finance who is responsible for this notice of ways and means motion, he refers us to the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions.

    When we contact officials in the office of the secretary of state responsible for financial institutions, they are surprised and completely taken aback: it is the first time they have seen this notice of ways and means motion, and they refer us to the Department of Finance.

    At the Department of Finance, we are told that it is the Minister of National Revenue, not the Minister of Finance, who is responsible. The Minister of National Revenue tells us it is the Minister of Finance.

    Eight days after the notice of ways and means motion was tabled, we still do not know which minister is responsible for this important notice, the effect of which is to introduce new provisions for managing the billions of dollars received from Canadian and Quebec taxpayers.

    Second, our efforts to obtain this information from departmental officials have not been any more successful. When we call the Department of Finance and speak to officials, we are told that this is not their responsibility but rather the responsibility of officials working for the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions. When we speak to officials working for the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions, we are told that department of revenue officials are responsible.

    In short, after eight days, officials are still wondering which minister is responsible for Notice of Ways and Means Motion No. 6, which department is responsible for this notice of ways and means motion, and which official can provide any sort of answer to our questions regarding the billions of taxpayer dollars managed by the government.

  +-(1505)  

+-

    The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member indicated that he was rising on a question of privilege. I heard nothing about a question of privilege, and I trust that he will come to that immediately.

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier: Mr. Speaker, I was just getting to it.

    Yesterday afternoon, there was a suggestion of the possibility of voting on this notice of ways and means motion. We were asked at that time, as members of this House, to vote on a kind of shapeless thing, a UFO, unidentified flying object. We were asked to vote on a motion whose ins and outs no one was able to explain to us.

    According to Montpetit Marleau, we have privileges as members of this House. We have the right to know what we are voting on and to have replies to our questions from the ministers responsible or from public servants. We find ourselves in a situation where responses are not forthcoming and we are being threatened with a vote. This is clearly contempt of this House. Clearly, our privileges as members of parliament are being breached by this government. I am calling upon you for a ruling on this breach according to Montpetit-Marleau.

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there is no question of privilege involved here, as we all know. If the hon. member is asking us for the assurance that someone will give him an information session before I, as leader of the government in the House, call for a vote on this motion, of course we will.

+-

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, very briefly.

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier: Mr. Speaker, there is truly an attack on our privileges. In Marleau and Montpetit's House of Commons Procedure and Practice, it says on page 50, and I quote:

Parliamentary privilege is the sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively... and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their function.

    It is impossible for me to discharge my function of Bloc Quebecois critic on finance, since I am not getting an answer from the government. We do not know which minister, department or officials are in charge. For the past eight days, we have not been able to get answers--

+-

    The Speaker: In spite of the hon. member's arguments in support of his point of view, there is a problem here for the Chair. This ways and means motion was tabled on September 18. It is recorded in the notice paper; therefore it is in the order paper of the House, and a copy was tabled with the clerk of the House.

    I know that I myself often cannot understand these documents, but this is not a question of privilege. Sometimes, these documents are very difficult to understand, because they are very technical.

    I fully sympathize with the hon. member and I appreciate his difficulties in finding someone to provide explanations, but we heard the hon. leader of the government in the House say that he will find someone somewhere who can do it.

    This is not, in my view, a question of privilege, because the document is here. I realize that these documents can be very technical, but this is not, in my opinion, a question of privilege.

    Some hon. members: Oh, Oh!

    The Speaker: I believe that I heard enough on this issue. I would like to move on to other issues.

    Mr. Yvan Loubier: Mr. Speaker, please--

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot has the floor for a brief comment. Then I will hear the hon. Secretary of State.

  +-(1510)  

+-

    Mr. Yvan Loubier: Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of respect for the Chair. The problem is not one of understanding. Since the ways and means motion was tabled, I have been looking for the minister responsible. I am being sent from one minister to the next, from one department to the next, and no public servant can answer our questions on this ways and means motion. This has been going for eight days.

    This is the first time that such a thing happens. Usually, we can find the public servant and, more importantly, the minister responsible.

    If there is no violation of my privileges as a member of parliament--

+-

    The Speaker: Order, please. It is not a matter of finding an official who can answer the questions. There are ministers here in the House to do that.

    The Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions is in the House. He has the floor if he wishes to contribute to the discussion.

+-

    Hon. Jim Peterson (Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will ensure that someone gets in touch with the hon. member.

+-

    The Speaker: I believe this ends debate on this question of privilege for now.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Business of the House

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There has been consultation among all parties in the House in relation to the disposition of Bill C-15. If the House agrees I would like to offer the following motion to be adopted without debate. I move:

That Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts, be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights;

That the committee be instructed to divide the bill into two bills, the first containing the provisions of Bill C-15 respecting protection of children from sexual exploitation, criminal harassment, disarming or attempting to disarm a peace officer, home invasions, allegations of miscarriages of justice and reform and modernization of criminal procedures, and the second containing the provisions of Bill C-15 respecting cruelty to animals and the Firearms Act; and

That the committee be instructed to report the first bill no later than October 31, 2001 and the second bill no later than November 30, 2001.

+-

    The Speaker: Does the hon. government House leader have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I thank the government House leader for a doing a job on which opposition House leaders have been working for a long time.

    It is a difficult job to get the Minister of Justice to change her mind and we thank him for that. All Canadians will thank him because what we have done today is good for all Canadians.


+-ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Official Languages

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 109 it is my pleasure to table, in both official languages, two copies of the government's response to the report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages, “The Broadcasting and Availability of the Debates and Proceedings of Parliament in both Official Languages”.

*   *   *

+-Government Response to Petitions

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 10 petitions.

*   *   *

  +-(1515)  

+-Interparliamentary Delegations

+-

    Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group and pursuant to Standing Order 31 I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report on the meetings held in Canada from May 17 to May 21.

    Never in the history of the House has the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group played such an important role. It will continue to play that role in the future.

*   *   *

+-Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada Act

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-34, an act to establish the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

    (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

*   *   *

+-Committees of the House

+-Foreign Affairs and International Trade

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a report expressing concern over the situation in Afghanistan, presented to the House on Wednesday, May 30, 2001, be concurred in.

    At the time that this report was tabled in May, the tragic situation in Afghanistan was a matter for concern and compassion, but few Canadians, and in fact few people anywhere, would have thought at that time that Afghanistan would loom so large in world politics and certainly in Canadian politics just a few months later. However the world is a much smaller place than it was before September 11, 2001, and events occurring half a world away are now matters of vital public concern which may directly affect the safety and security of Canadians.

    The report was spearheaded by one of the members of the Canadian Alliance caucus, the hon. member for Calgary East, who is our CIDA critic and deeply concerned with human rights and international security, as all of us are. At his initiative the committee tabled this report, expressing its concern over the repressive policies of the Taliban regime. In particular, the hon. member was shocked at the edict of the Taliban requiring that members of Afghanistan's Hindu and Sikh communities, the minority communities, wear a yellow patch on their clothing to publicly identify themselves.

    Afghanistan's Hindus and Sikhs are a beleaguered minority whose numbers have fallen from about 50,000 in the 1970s to around 500 today after decades of civil war. The Taliban claims that this measure is to allow police to protect the Hindu and Sikh minority, but this repressive measure is eerily reminiscent of the Nuremberg laws and other repressive Nazi laws against the Jews, which in 1939 required all Polish Jews to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing.

    Not surprisingly, at the time this repressive edict was released, spokespeople for the Canadian Jewish community reacted strongly. Canadian Jewish Congress national president, Keith Landy, said the following:

This is an edict that should be condemned by all who support religious freedom and the rights of minorities. The Taliban regime has demonstrated its lack of respect for human rights in the past. This is but one more gesture to return Afghanistan to the Middle Ages.

    He went on to say that Jews and other minorities have often been subject to such discriminatory dress edicts, most recently during the Nazi domination of Europe. This is a chilling reminder of those times and the fact that such laws are never passed for the benefit of the minority affected. This is the kind of so-called protection that minorities have to be protected from and serves mainly to make them targets either of the authorities or of populations incited to hatred. We must stand against this.

    Mr. Landy went on to say:

We urge the Canadian government to convey to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan the horror of all Canadians at such clear discrimination against religious minority and to call for this odious measure to be rescinded immediately... We must also continue to press for UN action against a regime which has shown a blatant disregard for all international human rights norms.

    This edict of May 22, 2001, against the Hindus and Sikhs was simply one of a number of repressive measures the Taliban has taken which have drawn worldwide attention and worldwide condemnation. In March of this year, the Taliban destroyed two historic statues of the Buddha at Bamiyan. These statues were respectively 38 and 53 metres tall and had stood there for 2,000 years.

  +-(1520)  

    In August, eight American, Australian and German aid workers with the Christian charity called Shelter Now were arrested and accused of proselytizing in favour of Christianity, a crime which can carry the death penalty in Afghanistan. The whereabouts of those young aid workers are now unknown.

    Of course most horrifically of all, on September 11 terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization, whom the Taliban have given shelter and support, murdered some 7,000 people in the ruthless attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    Many Canadians who have paid little attention to the events and the problems in a far-off land are now wondering how such a murderous and barbarous regime could have possibly come about.

    Afghanistan's traditional monarchy was overthrown in 1973 and was eventually replaced with a pro-Soviet government. This led to the 1979 Soviet invasion which was heavily resisted by tribal militia known as the Mujaheddin. In 1989 the Soviet invaders withdrew. In 1992 the Mujaheddin finally took over Kabul and ousted the Soviet backed regime. The different factions within the movement could not work together and quickly fell to infighting and corruption. In the midst of all of this chaos, a group of young, reform minded Sunni Muslim students, or Taliban, arose in southern Afghanistan and in religious schools in Pakistan.

    They swept to power by 1996 and put in place a radical Islamic regime. While there was initially hope from the people that the young and so-called idealistic Taliban would bring about economic and political reform, these hopes were quickly dashed as the government brought in more and more repressive measures, such as killing minority Shiite Muslims and banning women from all work and education.

    One of the forces driving the Taliban into adopting ever more radical and extremist interpretations of the law was Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, a Saudi multimillionaire, helped support and fought with the Mujaheddin against the Soviets in the 1980s. He returned to Saudi Arabia where he quickly turned against his own government when it accepted American and western military assistance, including Canadian, in the gulf war against Iraq.

    Bin Laden began to orchestrate terrorist acts against American soldiers in Saudi Arabia and other American assets abroad. Eventually he left Saudi Arabia for the Sudan to help that country's new radical regime. When in 1996, under Saudi and American pressure, the Sudanese expelled bin Laden, the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan offered bin Laden refuge.

    Welcoming bin Laden turned out to be a deal with the devil for the Taliban. Bin Laden provided funding and military advice to the Taliban which unfortunately it gratefully accepted, but he also used Afghanistan as a base for his al-Qaeda organization which became a university for terror groups from around the world.

    Terrorists from dozens of countries, including some who came from Canada, have gone to Afghanistan to train in the al-Qaeda camps. They have done this with the full knowledge of and support from the Taliban. Meanwhile bin Laden and al-Qaeda have driven the Taliban into ever more extremist and radical interpretations of the law, including such barbaric measures as the destruction of the Buddhist temples, as I have referred to, or forcing the Hindus and Sikhs to wear yellow tags on their clothing, as I have already mentioned. These measures instigated by bin Laden and his global band of extremists and implemented by the Taliban regime have turned Afghanistan into an international pariah state.

    At the time of the third report of the standing committee, the members called for increased Canadian action against the Taliban through the United Nations. While we should continue to use the United Nations process to condemn the brutal acts of bin Laden and his Taliban supporters, the events of September 11 must force us to consider more direct responses to the threat of terrorism.

  +-(1525)  

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair said only yesterday that the Taliban is “a regime founded on fear, and funded largely by drugs and crime”. He said clearly and unequivocally that the Taliban must surrender bin Laden and his associates or face the military wrath of the civilized world.

    Prime Minister Blair said:

--if they stand in the way of bringing bin Laden and those associated with him to account, then they are every bit as much our enemy as bin Laden himself...they will be treated as an enemy and their regime will be treated as an enemy.

    He also stated:

--military conflict there will be unless the Taliban change and respond to the ultimatum that has been so clearly delivered to them.

    In a speech to the United States congress last Thursday, President Bush spoke in similarly forceful terms. He said:

In Afghanistan, we see al-Qaeda's vision for the world.

Afghanistan's people have been brutalized--many are starving and many have fled. Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a television. Religion can be practised only as their leaders dictate. A man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.

    He went on to state:

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan--after all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid--but we condemn the Taliban regime. It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists. By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.

    That night he went on to say:

--tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to authorities all of the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating...These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

    The Government of Canada and members of the House such as the member for Calgary East have indeed condemned the outrages against human rights and the international order that have been perpetrated by the Taliban. However, as the words of Prime Minister Blair and President Bush illustrate, the time for UN resolutions is quickly giving way to the need for a military solution to the problem of the Taliban regime and increased domestic security measures to prevent terrorist groups, whether Taliban backed or not, from jeopardizing the safety and security of Canadian citizens at home.

    We have not heard words as strong condemning the Taliban from our own Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We are simply asking the question why. Unlike the United States and the United Kingdom we cannot credibly threaten the Taliban regime with the military response which it so richly deserves and which is justified, incidentally, under article 51 of the United Nations charter granting nations the right to individual and collective self-defence.

    The lesson for Canadians from September 11, 2001, is that we cannot take our safety and security for granted. We cannot assume that in a post-cold war world all threats to our national security have vanished. They have not vanished and we cannot afford to run our military into the ground.

  +-(1530)  

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I apologize for cutting off in midstream the discourse of the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

    As he knows earlier today there was an agreement among parties, the purpose of which was to end the stalling tactics in the House of Commons that have gone on over the recent days and to proceed with the agenda.

    The hon. gentleman has just made a speech about rights. Today we have a bill before the House about the rights of our aboriginal citizens, which inevitably will not take place unless this debate is adjourned.

    Would the hon. Leader of the Opposition agree to adjourn the debate pursuant to the all party agreement that we have concluded so that we can continue with the agenda, including aboriginal rights, that was scheduled for--

+-

    The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos): I believe that is not a point of order but a request. Does the hon. Leader of the Opposition wish to continue?

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day: Madam Speaker, I will continue acknowledging that this is an important issue for all citizens, for all people of the world. If we do not stand clearly for people in other nations who are suffering, then people in our own nation could suffer. We must stand together and clearly indicate the things that must be done to protect people everywhere and to grant safety and security.

    We cannot assume in a post-cold war world that we are beyond security threats. We cannot assume that just because we are thousands of miles away from the smouldering religious and ethnic conflicts of the Middle East and Central Asia that these conflicts will not affect us. Some 40 to 60 Canadians have already been killed by a brutal act of mass murder that may well have been planned in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban regime.

    Parliament must address, and address it now, the security challenges which we face at home and abroad and the measures which we must take both to punish the terrorists who launched the brutal attacks in New York and Washington and to protect Canadians against the threat of future terrorist attacks. We can no longer delay putting the safety and security of Canadians at the forefront of the political agenda.

    In 1938 Winston Churchill published his foreign policy speeches. He was lamenting British indifference to Hitler's repression and military buildup. He entitled those speeches “While England Slept”. This is how Churchill described the policies of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin at the time for his failure to act firmly in the face of Hitler's totalitarianism: “decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent”.

    We cannot let this description stand as an epitaph for Canada which has proven itself unready to confront the challenge of terrorism. We have a history in the last century of being ready and willing and having the will to do so and that must continue in this century.

    Unfortunately, in the two weeks since the horrific events in New York and Washington, the government has not been clear in terms of specific action to give us confidence that Canada is taking the war against terrorism seriously. The official opposition, our members of parliament, want to work with our Prime Minister and the government in the war against terrorism but we need something to work with. We need the specifics.

    We have to consider what the government has done and what it has failed to do since the events of September 11. We need to consider its inaction in bringing in comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation. Other countries have it.

    We need to consider the government's inaction in bringing forward safety and security measures to protect Canadians at the borders, at our airports and on airplanes. We heard again today the government absolutely ruling out air marshals on airplanes. It is time to restore consumer confidence in our airlines, yet almost without debate, something that could be positive was ruled out without discussion.

    Let us consider the government's inaction in failing to commit more resources to the armed forces, to the RCMP, to CSIS and giving them a clear and broad mandate to act against terrorism, both at home and abroad.

    Last Tuesday, one week after the terrorist attacks in the United States, the official opposition brought forward a motion which called upon the government to draft comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation, similar to what is found in other freedom-loving nations. In that resolution we called for the government to table anti-terrorism legislation forthwith similar in principle to the United Kingdom's terrorism act, 2000. We called for specific provisions to be included in such legislation, specific things, not just words, but action.

  +-(1535)  

    We called for the naming of all known international terrorist organizations operating in Canada. We called for a complete ban on fundraising activities in support of terrorism. We called for a provision for the seizure of assets belonging to terrorists or terrorist organizations.

    Yesterday we had confirmation in the House of Commons by the Minister of Finance that some 27 organizations had their assets frozen, that action had been taken immediately. When we could not find evidence of that having taken place, we posed the question again today. Now we hear that possibly that was not done but the government will not tell us whether or not it was done.

    As a matter of fact, two ministers are at odds with each other. The Minister of Finance is saying those assets were frozen immediately and the Minister of Justice does not know if they were and is not able to confirm that. We need immediate ratification of the international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism.

    We called for the creation of specific crimes for engaging in terrorist training activities in Canada or inciting terrorist acts abroad from Canada.

    We called for prompt extradition of foreign nationals charged with acts of terrorism, even if the charges are capital offences. We have also called for detention and deportation to their country of origin of any people illegally in Canada or failed refugee claimants who have been linked to terrorist organizations.

    Those are pretty basic requests. The vast majority of Canadians stand shoulder to shoulder with us in making those requests. We were not requesting these things for political opportunism or advantage. We wanted to be flexible. We wanted to allow the government, and as many parties as possible, to embrace these proposals.

    I moved an amendment to the resolution that would have allowed the government to table such legislation in draft form before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for its consideration. We were happy to have the government do that. We asked that it do that but even this was too much for the government. Instead it tried to propose that the committee simply discuss the concept of anti-terrorism legislation but was unable or unwilling to produce legislation itself even in draft form.

    As I have said, we are trying to support the government and the Prime Minister but we need something specific to support. I find it hard to understand a week later what elements of our resolution the government found objectionable. It will not tell us; it will not tell anyone. Maybe it is reticent to name and ban specific terrorist groups that are known to operate in Canada.

    In reply to questions from the official opposition on fundraising activities by a known front group for the Tamil Tigers, the solicitor general said in the House on June 2 last year under questioning by the member for Lakeland:

--it is important to note that CSIS does not provide a list of terrorist organizations and it does not provide a list of people or organizations that it is targeting.

    The hon. solicitor general seemed to imply that the fact Canada does not name known terrorist organizations publicly was somehow a strength of Canadian law. That is not a strength. It is a weakness that needs to be strengthened.

    Our friends and allies in the United States and the United Kingdom are ready and willing to name banned organizations. Many of these organizations are present in Canada as well.

    We have named and gone through a list of these groups that have been named. We know them. There are also 27 organizations and individuals named on President Bush's list whose assets the United States have seized and frozen. Some of these groups are also operating in Canada, including al-Qaeda and other similar groups.

    Why is the government so resistant to publishing an official list of proscribed organizations so that these kinds of terrorist groups can be publicly known? What is the problem with doing that?

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    We cannot get the answer from the government. Up until yesterday the Minister of Justice implied that she simply intended to follow the precedent of anti-gang legislation that would define criminal gangs. It is not simply defining them. It is naming them so that the public knows who they are. We have to name them. We have to prohibit membership in the organizations, named and known violent terrorist groups committed to the destruction of freedom and democracy.

    In the view of the official opposition this would be a wholly inadequate response to the threat of international terrorism. Merely being a member of a group like al-Qaeda should be enough for police to take somebody into custody whether or not that person can be linked to specific crimes. The very purpose of al-Qaeda is murder and destruction. That is its stated purpose. If it is a restriction of freedom of association to ban such a group, it is most certainly a limitation which is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society. It is a group that is committed to murder and destruction.

    We are sensitive to and well concerned about freedom, freedom of association, freedom of speech. We still can hear ringing in our ears the warning of another century where it was made clear that any time people were willing to give up a freedom for security, there was a risk of losing both. But the extreme element of this, to not address the most extreme attacks on our freedoms, also puts us at the risk of losing both freedom and security.

    Freedom of speech is something we fiercely defend, but a person cannot walk into a theatre and shout fire. It would be harmful to the innocent people there. There are limits and we are drawing those lines.

    Yesterday in the House the Minister of Justice indicated that she was considering a system which would include a list of proscribed groups. We in the official opposition certainly hope that she does listen to our appeals in that regard, but again we ask the question, what is she waiting for?

    Along with our call for naming terrorist groups, which seems to give the government pause, we are calling for a complete ban on fundraising activities in support of terrorism and provision for the seizure of assets belonging to terrorists or terrorist organizations. The vast majority of Canadians are behind us on this issue.

    Over the past few days the government has been extremely confusing on these points, as we have already indicated. On Monday the Prime Minister said in Washington that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions had already ordered the assets of bin Laden associates to be frozen in Canada the previous Friday. That is what the Prime Minister said. In fact all that had happened was that OSFI had sent a letter to financial institutions with the names of some of the dead hijackers and asked the banks to check to see if they had any bank accounts to assist the FBI with its investigation.

    Yesterday the Minister of Finance indicated in the clearest of terms that if not on Friday, then at least yesterday they had in fact frozen the assets of bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all of the other terrorist groups, individuals and front organizations on President Bush's 27 name financial most wanted list. It is recorded clearly in Hansard. The finance minister said that those assets had been frozen. Today we find out that possibly that is not the situation, but we cannot get a clear answer.

    Again, all that OSFI had done was send out an information circular containing the president's order and asked Canadian banks and financial institutions to co-operate in investigations. The only concrete measure that the government seems to have taken to seize and freeze assets is an order in council that was put in place back in February which implemented security council resolution 1333 and called for the Canadian assets of bin Laden himself, al-Qaeda and the Taliban to be frozen. That is the only action and that was back in February.

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    We certainly support that measure, but apparently not a single bin Laden or al-Qaeda dollar has been frozen in Canada since this measure was put in place in February. President Bush's list goes beyond just bin Laden and the Taliban. He targets 27 different groups and individuals, including the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, the Groupe islamique armé of Algeria, and a number of other groups.

    The United States wants to crack down on the financial sources of terrorism around the globe. Despite protestations from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions, the government has not brought forward a single regulatory or legislative change since September 11 that will help fight the financial war against terrorism. That is unacceptable.

    Perhaps the government does not want to ratify the international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing. It had two years to do so. We have been calling on the government to ratify that convention, but it is still in limbo.

    We were beginning to assume the worst. The Prime Minister was asked in Washington whether Canada would ratify the convention. He replied that legislation was before the House and that the opposition was blocking it. That is not acceptable behaviour for a Prime Minister who is asking for co-operation. We in the official opposition are offering that co-operation. We are offering to the government to bring in legislation under its name and to take all the credit for it. Yet the Prime Minister says that we are opposing it, which is simply not the case.

    There is no legislation currently before the House that gives effect to the international convention. The government admits that Bill C-16 is only a partial step and does not meet the standards of the convention itself. Bill C-16 takes away the tax breaks from terrorist groups but it does not ban fundraising.

    When it is explained to Canadians what steps the government has taken to fight the war against terrorism, they are told the government is suggesting that if someone gives to a terrorist group that person would no longer get a tax break. That is unacceptable.

    Two weeks after the tragedy in New York the government has not implemented the international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing despite the fact it has been in the government's in box for two years. Perhaps the government is unwilling to create specific crimes for engaging in terrorist training activities in Canada or inciting terrorist acts abroad from Canada.

    Our own Senate committee chaired by William Kelly stated in 1999 that Canada was a primary venue of opportunity to support, plan or mount terrorist attacks. There is a danger of terrorist attacks in Canada, but there is a greater danger of terrorist groups trying to conduct support activities or plan their attacks elsewhere, especially in the United States, from Canadian bases. That is a grave danger.

    Anti-terrorism legislation should not simply ban terrorist fundraising but all kinds of terrorist support activities that may be undertaken in Canada. That would include training activities, recruiting and communications. Terrorist groups should not be permitted to use Canadian Internet web servers to promote their cause of destruction and murder. All of these kinds of support activities should be addressed by a new anti-terrorism bill.

    The British legislation requires and creates new crimes for members of terrorist groups undertaking these kinds of support activities on British soil. Canada should do no less.

    Perhaps the government objects to the prompt extradition of foreign nationals charged with acts of terrorism even if the charges are capital offences in the country where they were committed. Anti-terrorism legislation must change our laws regarding the extradition of suspected terrorists.

    Terrorism knows no borders, so we cannot let Canada become a safe haven for those who would rely on the humanitarian compassion of Canadian laws to avoid justice in their own countries or the countries where they have committed their murderous crimes.

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    If a government like the United States seeks people accused of terrorism in Canada and we are convinced that there is reasonable evidence, we should turn them over regardless of the fact that they may face a penalty there that would not apply here. This would require a change in Canadian law to send a signal to terrorists that they cannot take advantage of Canada to avoid facing justice for their crimes in other countries.

    One can imagine the outrage if one of the perpetrators of those awful acts in New York City or Washington, maybe even the criminal mastermind who so carefully co-ordinated the flight schedules of the terrorists, found his way to Canada and we found ourselves, as we would today, unable to extradite such a person to the United States to face justice.

    Canadian law must address this possibility now. It is a very real possibility that those suspected of these horrendous crimes could be headed for, if not already having crossed, the Canadian border.

    Some may say that is a hypothetical possibility. A Yemeni national whose flight to the U.S. was diverted to Toronto is currently being held for possessing false passports. He had Lufthansa uniforms in his possession even though he was not an airline employee. This person may have been involved in the planning of the atrocities that took place in the United States and may be charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.

    Thanks to the U.S. supreme court decision concerning Burns and Rafay it is doubtful whether the government could extradite that person to face the consequences of the murderous actions in the United States. Most Canadians will not stand for that.

    The government may have objected to our call for the detention and deportation to their country of origin of failed refugee claimants or others illegally in Canada who have been linked to terrorist organizations. Canada has a wonderful reputation for having open arms and an open heart to those people truly seeking safety and wanting to pursue their hopes and dreams in a nation that promotes freedom and democracy.

    That is a reputation we richly have and deserve. We also have a reputation for being a haven to people of evil intent who are opposed to freedom and democracy, who do not mind the thoughts of planning mass destruction and murder. That is a reputation we need to shed and we can only do it with clear options.

    Ahmed Ressam failed his refugee claim. He was under investigation by CSIS and he was arrested for theft in Montreal. Yet he could not be deported. Why? It is because Canada does not deport people to Algeria. This ridiculous policy means that Canada could become a haven for terrorists from any country whose legal systems are not perfect reflections of the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

    This has to change because it is absurd. Somebody illegally in Canada from a country like Egypt, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, who has broken our laws, who has been linked to terrorism, who has possibly murdered our citizens, may be able to stay in this country with impunity and only asked to check in at an Immigration Canada office once or twice a month.

    Nabil Al-Marabh, a failed refugee claimant, arrested for trying to enter the United States on a false passport was released by the Immigration and Refugee Board on July 11. He has since been arrested in Chicago as a possible suspect in the World Trade Center attacks. He should have been detained or deported to his country of origin and not allowed to roam free on the streets of Toronto and perhaps free to plan the horror that took place on the streets of New York City.

    These were the common sense anti-terrorist policies rejected by the government when it rejected the Canadian Alliance motion on anti-terrorism legislation. Now the government, belatedly, is talking about bringing forward legislation of its own.

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    We are telling the government today that our motion is the standard to which we will hold it accountable. We hope that the government has the courage to swallow its pride and bring forward legislation that will satisfy all six of our provisions and satisfy what the majority of Canadians want to see. We want to give whole support to the government at this time in the war against terrorism, but the government needs to give us something to support.

    Anti-terrorism legislation is just one part of an effective war on terrorism. We also need measures to increase the security of our borders, to improve safety in our airports and on our airplanes, and to ensure that our cities have effective emergency preparedness plans and that vital facilities like nuclear plants are safe.

    We have seen little action on safety and security in the last two weeks from the government. We have seen the Minister of Transport move to order cockpit doors locked on airplanes and apparently airlines are replacing metal with plastic cutlery although we have not seen that happen yet.

    However we have not seen the kinds of safety and security measures that Canadians are looking for. There is no government money for improved baggage screening. There is no provision for increased RCMP, customs and immigration enforcement presence at our airports.

    Many Canadians are reeling over the layoffs at Air Canada. However, before the government rushes in with financial aid we should first look at where it has clear responsibility to act quickly to protect the safety and security of our airports and airlines. Let us restore consumer confidence in the airlines so that once again Canadians will fly with a sense of security in our skies. If we are to put taxpayer dollars to work, let us put them to work in security first.

    Instead we have seen a complete rejection of the idea of air marshals despite the fact that El Al, the safest airline in the world, has had them for 30 years and despite the fact that the United States is now implementing them. What is the problem with air marshals on airplanes? It is one of the things that Canadians would like to see. If the government wants to increase the confidence of the flying public, providing air marshals would be one of the strongest confidence building measures it could take.

    We need to protect the integrity of our border with the United States. Despite the Prime Minister's assurance that Americans had no concerns about the Canadian border, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft stated yesterday that the Canada-U.S. border “has become a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism”.

    Attorney General Ashcroft announced that enforcement on the Canadian border would be beefed up, a sentiment that may send chills up the spines of Canadians in places like Windsor and from coast to coast where a total of some $2 billion in trade flows each and every day.

    If we want to avoid a crackdown in Canada on the U.S.-Canada border that would hurt Canada, we must do our best to show that we take the security of Canada and the United States seriously.

    This is an issue of personal safety and security and of economic safety and security. In a time of uncertainty in the markets we need to send certain signals of security so that the markets will respond accordingly.

    We have to consider creating a more effective border control and taking such measures as arming Canada customs guards with sidearms for the performance of their duties. Part of this is ensuring that we have identification systems that are not open to abuse.

    We have seen how easy it was for Ahmed Ressam to obtain a Canadian passport with only a forged baptismal certificate. We know from Immigration Canada's own documents that the IMM 1000 permanent residence document is easily forged and frequently sold on the black market, but the government does not plan to bring in new security ID cards until 2003. We cannot wait; terrorists will not be waiting.

    In the United States, next to the efforts to create an international coalition to fight terrorism, the most dramatic response has been to create a new office of homeland security under former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. He will be responsible to integrate the different domestic security and safety agencies that are operative in the United States.

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    We need to talk about this. We need a discussion to see if efficiency and reaction times to protect our citizens can be improved. We need to discuss how that might happen.

    We are not saying this is the answer. We are not saying it is an answer. However we need to have at least a discussion to consider the possibilities. What is prominent in our minds is the safety and security of all Canadians. That issue should be foremost. It should get full consideration.

    Finally I will return to where I began: Canada's international role in fighting the war against terrorism. There is much Canada could do at the international level, both diplomatically and as a provider of humanitarian aid, to improve the human condition and alleviate the excruciating pain of refugees and people in wartorn countries.

    We must see that we do all we can. This should be a key focus, but it should be done without taking our eyes off the goal of doing all we can to fight terrorism.

    Unlike the United Kingdom, Canada cannot be relied on to make a significant military contribution to a potential campaign against the Taliban or other possible state sponsors of terrorism. I want to say clearly that this is no fault of the brave, committed, courageous and dedicated people of our armed forces. They are committed to freedom and safety and to protecting it at any cost. We appreciate and respect that. We want them to be supported and given the resources to be able to do the job.

    As we lose our ability to fulfill our international military commitments to our allies because of a lack of resources, our international diplomatic clout with our allies and others will decline accordingly. It has been doing that.

    Britain has already provided troops to the U.S. led coalition. British SAS forces may already be engaged in action against the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. As a consequence the United Kingdom is taking the war on terrorism seriously. The British foreign secretary is visiting the Middle East and taking the initiative in firming up the coalition. Prime Minister Blair was invited to take a position of honour at President Bush's speech during which Blair accepted the president's compliment that the United States had no truer friend than Great Britain.

    Britain's role on the world stage in this crisis is significant and secure because Britain is ready and willing to commit the resources necessary to make an important contribution to the war against terrorism.

    Canada's ability to make a contribution is seriously in question. Under the terms of the 1994 defence white paper Canada is pledged to make certain military commitments to its allies.

    In a crisis we are in a serious position. The 1994 document commits the Canadian forces to deploying overseas one brigade, which is approximately 5,000 troops; one battalion group, which is approximately 1,000 troops; and to do so within 90 days. The vanguard elements of the force must deploy within 21 days.

    The white paper also says that Canada must be able to deploy one CF-18 fighter wing with at least two squadrons of 12 to 24 aircraft each; a naval task force consisting of four to six destroyers and frigates, one to two submarines and one support ship; an Aurora land based maritime patrol aircraft; and a supporting transport squadron with C-130 transport aircraft.

    Almost every external expert on Canadian defence policy is highly doubtful about whether we can deliver on any of these commitments. It is not due to lack of desire. It is due to a lack of resources from the government to equip our troops to be there when needed.

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    I want Canada to make an effective contribution to fight this war. However there is an obligation to point out some of the serious shortcomings facing the men and women who serve in our armed forces. I will address some of the concerns about Canadian commitments.

    As I have said, we are pledged to provide one fighter wing of between 24 and 48 aircraft to our allies. During the war in Kosovo, Canada deployed one reinforced CF-18 fighter squadron of 18 aircraft. This constituted a maximum commitment involving nearly all our combat ready CF-18 pilots. Unfortunately many of these pilots have since left the air force. We ran out of precision guided munitions or smart bombs and had to secure emergency supplies from our allies. We did not have a strategic refuelling tanker aircraft to support fighter deployments.

    Much of the army's major equipment, such as Leopard C1 tanks and M113 armoured personnel carriers, is antiquated. The government will claim some of the equipment has been modernized. However the so-called modernization was criticized as inadequate by the auditor general's April 1998 report.

    In other areas the army has no capability at all. It has no attack or heavy lift helicopters. For an army that stresses mobility this is surprising and saddening. Our inability to deploy ground troops overseas is poor. During Kosovo it took two months to deploy 800 ground troops to the region.

    In an article in the Canadian Military Journal in the spring of 2000 the commander of task force Kosovo, Colonel Michael Ward, described the airlift for that deployment as a near catastrophe. That description came from one of our committed and dedicated colonels involved in the task force.

    Our claim to be able to deploy ground units within the timeframe suggested by the white paper is dubious and for several reasons.

    First, the army has not exercised at the brigade level for nine years. DND admits that if it deployed a brigade it could not sustain it for longer than six months. DND says deployment timeframes of 21 or 90 days are needed to assemble a formation and make it ready to move to the point of embarkation. Actual deployment and training in theatre would take additional time.

    Second, our air and sea transport is in bad shape. Our air force has no heavy lift aircraft. It must rely on our allies, or incredibly it must rent aircraft. Nineteen of our thirty-two C-130 transports are about 35 years old and badly in need of replacement. The navy has only two support ships which must be used either to transport troops or to refuel and rearm ships at sea. Using the ships for one task means they would be unavailable for the other.

    Third, the United States has quietly informed Canada that it will not accept a commitment of less than a brigade within its operational space for ground combat operations. A brigade sized unit is seen as the minimum because smaller units are not self-sufficient fighting formations.

    Fourth, while our navy is probably in the best shape of all our forces even it has problems. The navy could probably assemble the task group it is committed to provide. However at present one of its four destroyers and seven of its twelve frigates are at reduced readiness. That means it would take some time to ready them for deployment.

    The navy is short about 400 highly skilled technical personnel. This will make activating ships very difficult. In addition, not all our new submarines ordered from Britain have yet been delivered. The 35 year old Sea King helicopters are in terrible shape, as I mentioned earlier. They are often unable to get airborne due to breakdowns.

    Why are our armed forces in such desperate shape? It is because between 1993 and 1999 the Liberals cut the defence budget by 30% in real terms. We are tired of hearing about a little bump upward here and a little bump upward there. It does not compensate for a 30% reduction in real terms since 1993.

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    Over the past 10 years the total number of military personnel numbers has fallen from about 90,000 to less than 58,000. That is a 35% drop. While the government claims the forces are more combat capable than they were 10 years ago, the facts tell another story. Some new equipment is beginning to arrive but it is not sufficient in and of itself to restore capability.

    A parade of former officers, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and the auditor general have raised similar concerns about the combat capabilities of the Canadian forces.

    The government put new money into defence in the year 2000, a move it constantly trumpets as a great success. However it has been assessed by many independent experts as insufficient to address the broader crisis, and it is a crisis, in the Canadian forces. Very little of the increase will go to equipment. Most of it will make up for shortfalls in the operational budget.

    The auditor general has identified a potential funding shortfall in the equipment budget of $30 billion up to and including the year 2012. If Canada is to be taken seriously in the international war against terrorism we must act at once to rebuild our military. We must be capable of meeting our commitments in the white paper of 1994. We must take this matter seriously because we are no longer at peace. We are at war with terrorism.

    As I said to the House last week, the war on terrorism is not what William James called “The Moral Equivalent of War”, the periodic moral and social campaigns against collective problems like the so-called war on drugs or the war on poverty. This is a real war and it will be fought, at least in part, with ships, artillery and airplanes.

    The Minister of National Defence has emphasized that this will not be a conventional war, or perhaps not in whole. As we have said, the war against terrorism will be waged on a lot of fronts. It will involve intelligence work, law enforcement, domestic safety, security, diplomatic initiatives and humanitarian aid. However conventional warfare will undoubtedly be involved.

    For 50 years NATO has existed as a purely defensive military alliance, possibly the most successful military alliance in modern history. NATO has never needed to intervene to protect one of its members from external attack because it seemed unthinkable that any aggressor would attack a country protected by the umbrella of the alliance.

    All that changed on Tuesday, September 11, when an enemy attacked the largest city of the most powerful member of the NATO alliance. All that changed on September 11, when 6,000 innocent civilians were brutally murdered by fire from the sky.

    On Wednesday, September 12, for the first time in its history NATO invoked its fundamental principle, article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all.

    This is the time to stand by our friends, our allies and especially our neighbour to the south. We must leave no doubt whatsoever as to our commitment to them and to NATO. We have neither seen or heard from the Liberal government the same clear level of support offered by the government of the United Kingdom or even the government of Australia.

    As I have said before, there are no rear guard positions in the war on terrorism. There are only frontlines. That is exactly where Canada should be. We should be standing shoulder to shoulder with other democratic nations that believe in, support and cherish freedom and democracy as much as we do.

    I will reiterate our obligation under article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Article 5 in part states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them...shall be considered an attack against them all and...if such an armed attack occurs, each of them...will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith...such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force--

    We are morally obliged to offer all assistance possible within our capabilities, up to and including military assistance, to the United States and our NATO allies if requested.

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    We must all stand together in a great coalition against this darkness and this evil of terrorism. But, if we are to do our share, as we hope the Prime Minister will commit to doing, we must rapidly rebuild our forces and make sure that procurement is improved.

    We want peace, make no mistake about that, but we must remember that the best way of ensuring peace is to have a strong and committed Canadian forces.

    In all the areas I have outlined, comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation, measures to increase the safety and security of Canadians, a clear commitment to strengthen national defence and to a Canadian military war against terrorism, and humanitarian aid, the government has fallen down.

    As we face future threats of terrorism, whether they originate from Osama bin Laden and his allies and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, we will need to move swiftly and resolutely on all these fronts.

    What we have seen over the last two weeks in terms of specific action, not glowing words or rambling rhetoric, has not been encouraging. We have seen a government that is relying too much on rhetoric and tiny baby steps, never doing by halves what it can do by quarters.

    We want to support the government and the Prime Minister but we need something specific to support.

    I have taken the time this afternoon to lay out our concerns in detail and to convey the seriousness with which the official opposition is taking in this war on terrorism. We also believe absolutely that we are reflecting the concerns of a majority of our citizens. We know that in a time of war the opposition has a special duty to support the Prime Minister and the government as far as conscience allows.

    I have to say that immediately upon seeing, watching and hearing about these evil attacks on New York City, I was immediately in communication with our Prime Minister, immediately saying that we would be there to support, to stand side by side and to be with the government.

    I have indicated a number of times in the last several days that we want to support. A number of times I have stood in the House and outside the House and, even for the small things the government has done, I have expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister. I have thanked the Prime Minister. I have said that we will support the Prime Minister. I have said those things many times.

    All of us have watched with some dismay at the difference in response from the leader of the government as we watched where time and again in the United States the president of the United States takes the initiative, reaches out to members of the opposition, members of the senate majority and minority parties, and includes them in discussion on legislation, in discussion on what needs to be done. He even includes them in the memorial services.

    We have seen nothing, not one of those things, from the Prime Minister or the government, and yet we continue to stand here and say that we want to support the Prime Minister and the government. We must give Canadians something specific to support in the war against terrorism.

*   *   *

  +-(1620)  

+-Bill S-23

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have consulted with all the House leaders and I think you would find consent for the following motion:

That the House now proceed to orders of the day and that Bill S-23 be deemed carried at second reading on division and referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

+-

    Mr. Howard Hilstrom: Mr. Speaker, could you clarify for me on the orders of the day that if we did that we would be moving without considering emergency debates?

+-

    The Speaker: That would be the effect of the adoption of the motion.

    Does the government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

*   *   *

+-Committees of the House

+-Procedure and House Affairs

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place between all parties with respect to membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and I believe you would find consent for the following motion. I move:

That the membership of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be amended as follows: Peter Adams for Derek Lee; Jay Hill for Rick Borotsik; Pierre Brien for Stéphane Bergeron.

+-

    The Speaker: Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)


+-Government Orders

[Government Orders]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act

+-

    Hon. Robert Nault (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.) moved that Bill C-33, an act respecting the water resources of Nunavut and the Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House on Bill C-33, the Nunavut waters and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal act. Bill C-33 would address a number of outstanding commitments made under the Nunavut land claims agreement signed in 1993.

    It is also consistent with our commitments in the Speech from the Throne to strengthen Canada's relationship with aboriginal people and to bring the benefits of prosperity to all communities including the remote Inuit communities of Nunavut.

    Bill C-33 would provide the legislative framework for two institutions of public government in Nunavut: the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal.

    The certainty created by the act will encourage investment. These institutions will ensure that residents of Nunavut have a say in decisions about the use of water resources, the deposit of wastes and access to lands throughout the territory. Their role will be to balance the interests of many stakeholders while ensuring protection of the fragile Arctic environment. They will operate with fairness, openness and integrity based on known and consistent rules.

    Preliminary versions of the Nunavut water Board and Nunavut surface rights tribunal were created under the authority of the Nunavut land claims agreement. The agreement requires the government to set out by statute the powers and duties of the two institutions.

    By way of background, the members of the Nunavut water board and Nunavut surface rights tribunal were appointed in 1996. This was a requirement of the Nunavut land claims agreement and the institutions are now exercising all the powers and duties described in the agreement.

    However, the absence of legislation is contributing to a great deal of uncertainty in Nunavut. This legislative void is a major drawback that must be addressed. For example, concerns have been expressed in Nunavut about the appropriateness of the water licence issued to the capital city of Iqaluit. Officials at the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Iqaluit have found the licence to be difficult to enforce, a problem that can be traced to the lack of ground rules setting out the jurisdiction of the Nunavut water board.

    Uncertainty about surface rights is a challenge faced by all stakeholders in Nunavut. Hon. members are well aware of the mining boom that is taking place north of 60. Several mines have recently opened and hundreds of prospectors are now combing the north for new mineral plays.

    Bill C-33 would ensure that Nunavut has water and surface rights management regimes similar to those that exist in other jurisdictions in Canada. At the same time, it addresses the requirement in article 6 of the Nunavut land claims agreement for the government to name a person or fund to assume liability for damage to wildlife caused by shipping activities. This has not yet been done which could put the federal government at risk for damages in the event of a marine accident.

    Bill C-33 would provide clear mandates for the water board and surface rights tribunal and certainty for all stakeholders in Nunavut; certainty of access for the resource industries, certainty in water licensing processes and certainty for members of the water board and the surface rights tribunal whose decisions in the absence of legislation, which is extremely important to bring to light, are open to legal challenge at any time. This is particularly true of the water board.

    The Nunavut land claims agreement does not adequately describe the water management regime for the settlement area. It is silent on the issue of enforcement which is an integral part of any water management regime. As well, there is a lack of certainty respecting the jurisdiction of the new board in relation to the existing Northwest Territories Water Board.

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    Bill C-33 would fill a legal and regulatory void by fully describing the powers of the Nunavut water board. I would like to quickly review those powers for hon. members who are here in this place and for those who are in Nunavut and across the country, so they will better understand the importance of this piece of legislation.

    The board will have responsibilities and powers equivalent to those of the Northwest Territories Water Board, which means essentially the authority to licence the use of water and the deposit of wastes. Licences will not be required to use water for domestic purposes or for emergency purposes, such as fighting fires or controlling floods.

    Bill C-33 also sets out clear rules for granting, renewing, amending or cancelling water use licences. These rules will provide greater certainty for industry and ensure the protection of the eastern Arctic environment. It will also ensure that the interests of all water users are taken into account in the licensing process.

    The Nunavut water board will be given a broad range of powers to fulfill its mandate, including the authority to consult the public on any and all licence applications. The board will also have the authority to establish strict licence conditions. The maximum proposed penalty for offences is a fine of $100,000, imprisonment for up to one year, or both. This is consistent with similar water management regimes in other parts of Canada.

    I am pleased to inform the House that the water board will have the authority to order compensation for water users who suffer adverse effects as a result of a licensed activity. The board may also require that a licensee make a security deposit with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

    Although Bill C-33 would place a great deal of decision making authority in the hands of northerners, and in particular the Inuit of Nunavut, the governor in council would retain the authority to make water management regulations.

    Bill C-33 also sets out the powers, functions, objectives and duties of the Nunavut surface rights tribunal. Unlike the water board, the tribunal is not a licensing body. Its role will be to resolve access disputes between landowners and those who want and need to use the land.

    The Nunavut land claims agreement has provided certainty of land ownership and paved the way for resource projects and other economic development activities across the eastern Arctic. However, to support economic growth and job creation in Nunavut, we must ensure that processes are in place to allow developers to exercise their subsurface rights in a reasonable and responsible way.

    At the same time, we must safeguard the interests of those who live on the land. The need for economic growth must be balanced with the rights of landowners to fair and reasonable compensation. It must also be balanced with the rights and desires of the Inuit to protect and preserve their land and the livelihood it supports.

    Bill C-33 would achieve these objectives. It takes into account the interests of all parties, whether they be government, industry, Inuit organizations or the private individuals themselves. It would establish clear rules for exercising surface access rights on all occupied private lands, including Inuit owned lands throughout the territory of Nunavut.

    On occasion, disputes of access will arise between landowners, developers and other interests in Nunavut. Bill C-33 would require the parties to try to negotiate an agreement before turning to the surface rights tribunal. In the event that the two parties could not come to an agreement, the tribunal would have certain powers to resolve the matter.

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    These powers are modelled on the regime currently used in the western provinces and in Yukon, and include the establishment of terms and conditions of a right of access to private lands, including Inuit owned lands.

    Dispute resolution will be much less costly and time consuming than dealing with issues through the courts. Under Bill C-33 the Nunavut surface rights tribunal would be required to deal with applications as informally and expeditiously as possible.

    If a dispute relates to damage to wildlife, the tribunal would have the authority to determine who was liable and the amount of compensation to be awarded to aboriginal harvesters. Under this proposed legislation an order of the tribunal would be final and binding subject to a review by the Federal Court of Canada on limited grounds, such as bias or lack of procedural fairness.

    As I noted a moment ago, Bill C-33 also fills a significant void by clarifying who is responsible for damages to wildlife in Nunavut caused by marine transportation.

    The bill names the ship source oil pollution fund, which is administered by the Department of Transport, as the fund that would be liable for damages from oil spills. When the damage caused by a ship is not related to an oil spill, the shipowner is named as the person with primary liability. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development would have secondary liability only when all other sources of liability had been exhausted.

    There are a number of other elements of the proposed legislation that I would like to bring to the attention of hon. members. First, the powers and authority of the two Nunavut institutions will be extended to the entire territory rather than just Nunavut settlement lands.

    It is critical that we have uniform regimes for water management and surface access rights throughout Nunavut. This will be more cost effective, consistent and easier to manage than a patchwork of regimes and will reinforce the certainty needed for economic growth and environmental protection.

    Bill C-33 would also ensure accountability of the water board to elected officials for major decisions regarding water licences. Such decisions can have significant impacts on the environment, the economy and the quality of life in a community. It is absolutely essential that an appointed water board be accountable for these major decisions to officials elected by the public. This accountability to the minister also exists in the Northwest Territories Waters Act and its predecessor, the Northern Inland Waters Act.

    Initially, the water board will be accountable to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In the government here and I am sure in the north, it is our hope and we anticipate that over time the water management function will be transferred to the new territorial government, along with the political accountability of the Nunavut water board. This will further strengthen local decision making and accountability in Nunavut.

    Some hon. members may recall that this is not the first time this proposed legislation has been tabled in the House. It died on the order paper on two previous occasions. The same hon. members will also be aware that a tremendous amount of work has gone into developing Bill C-33 as we see it today.

    In fact Bill C-33 contains more than 100 amendments to the government's first legislative proposals related to the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal. These amendments were developed by the government in co-operation with the stakeholders, particularly Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated.

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    Since 1996, departmental officials have consulted widely on the Nunavut elements of the legislation. Although agreement was not possible on all issues, the bill reflects an excellent balancing of interests and is consistent with the Nunavut land claims agreement.

    Bill C-33 is an important step toward providing the basic legislative framework that needs to be in place for any jurisdiction. It will establish clear rules that will not only protect our precious water resources, but also encourage economic development in a part of Canada where jobs are at a premium.

    I am therefore seeking the support of all hon. members on both sides of the House to refer the bill to committee for review. I look forward to listening to members on all sides speak to a void that has been a long time coming to the House, and that is the legislation that we speak of today, Bill C-33.

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    Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon--Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance): Madam Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to speak in respect of Bill C-33. My party will be watching the bill very closely in committee. We will scrutinize and vigorously question the witnesses to see if it is workable. We hope it is for the people of Nunavut.

    The minister mentioned that at least on the surface the bill would implement the provisions of the 1993 Nunavut land claims agreement relating to the management of waters and the creation of a surface rights tribunal for the territory of Nunavut.

    It is my understanding the bill is similar to what is operating in the territories and elsewhere in the country. As mentioned, versions of this bill were before the House of Commons in two previous parliaments; in 1993, Bill C-51 and in 1996, Bill C-62.

    What could be better than promoting the conservation and utilization of water, as well as waste disposal, through a licensing system, which would be overseen by a board consisting of people from that part of the country?

    Our party will raise in committee the issues of the powers of the minister, the terms of reference of the board, the length of terms for board members and so on. We notice that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development maintains the right to appoint and release board members. We do not know if they can have indefinite terms. We probably would want to see some limits in respect of that. We will be pressing that in committee.

    The minister has the power to issue and rescind licences, as well as to expropriate land. There is a lot of power in the hands of the minister. We will want to know exactly what the checks and balances are in respect to that.

    We have been told that the arrangement is similar to the arrangement with other territories. We will be looking more closely at this and no doubt there will be amendments to improve it, to add to it and to increase the value of the bill when it comes before committee.

    As a general principle, the Canadian Alliance endorses efforts to decentralize the decision making process, taking it closer to the people, at local level of government, and allowing them to make decisions that affect in this case their water resources. Our intent will be to ensure that the past concerns about the bill have been addressed.

    If we go back through the Hansard record and the committee discussions and so on, some of those may in fact have been addressed, but other ones that may require further examination.

    Bill C-33 would amend a portion of the Nunavut Land Act. It is not a secret to anyone that our predecessor name, the Reform Party, expressed concern over some of the financial costs and the duplication of services that were involved in the establishment of Nunavut. It is a known fact, and it is on the record, that Nunavut receives $580 million in annual transfer payments. It is projecting in this fiscal year a $12 million deficit. Nunavut receives federal transfer payments of approximately 90% of the territorial budget.

    All these matters need to be watched carefully and closely. We believe that if people pay for their own resources through tax dollars and in support their governance, the more they will hold their government accountable because of that vested interest of dollars.

    Because of the remoteness of Nunavut, costs of providing a lot of the services are excessive. Some people have criticized this, but fair minded people in the provinces, territories and particularly in the House should ask whether we have too much government in some of these places. We want to be careful and watchful because sometimes there can be over governance, which is not good for any territory or province.

    We notice the Nunavut water board will have eight appointed members, plus a chair for a population in the range of 24,000. There is a bureaucracy of some 930 civil service jobs, as set out in the 1992 Coopers and Lybrand report on the establishment of Nunavut, plus 705 public service which were transferred from Yellowknife.

    We notice that there will be eight members on the Nunavut water board. We will be questioning whether that is necessary. In comparison, the entire Northwest Territories water board currently consists of four. It can go up to nine, but it is normally four. The Northwest Territories has twice the land and twice the population.

    Various groups of people in the north have said they want those additional board members to guarantee representation for different population groups, including the Inuit of Nunavut and the Inuit of northern Quebec. We will have to look carefully at those claims and try to get some sense of whether that is merited.

    Also a couple of things that have been raised by members of the House thus far and questions will need to be addressed to provide us some assurance. Some have asked if Bill C-33 will affect the water quality and a safe drinking water supply. As we understand it, Bill C-33 refers to water quality, but does not define those water quality standards and regulations. As was mentioned by the minister, they will be developed by the water board.

    We would like to know what are the parameters for those regulations. Will they be as good as any other regime or place in the country? Hopefully so or better. Will they be similar to the Northwest Territories regulations?

    Also another important question for the economic development of Nunavut is will regulations be cumbersome and stand in the way of sustainable development? Jobs are an important part in all places, especially in Nunavut. Will these regulations stand in the way of sustainable development? We want to be environmentally sensitive, but there needs to be economic development. Frequently, we have heard that some the regulations in the territories and Yukon do stand in the way of seemingly feasible sustainable projects.

    Our concern is that we set some parameters. When they set these regulations, the regulations should not hurt the economic opportunity and the development of job opportunities for the people of Nunavut.

    A question was raised about the sale of water. We need absolute assurance that, as far as this particular act is concerned, it is a federal jurisdiction. These days there is some controversy around the issue of the sale of bulk water and whether there needs to be some further definition under NAFTA or whatever. We would also want assurances that that is a federal jurisdiction and not something that can be trumped by the Nunavut water board.

    Another question is does Nunavut have control over coastal and seabed resources? Our understanding is that Bill C-33 deals with freshwater resources and waste water disposal. We need absolute confirmation and assurance that Bill C-33 does not refer to coastal waters or mineral resources on or under the seabed and that the federal government has control over those coastal waters.

    In principle, there are caveats in respect of this, but the intent of local governments making decisions on issues that are of a regional or local nature that is supportable by the Alliance Party, but we want it to be cost effective as well. This is one of the caveats we throw in there. We believe in that.

    This is under the purview of the federal bureaucracy, but it may be of a benefit to have it under Nunavut water board. Careful consideration will be given to this in committee.

    The Canadian Alliance Party will scrutinize carefully and vigorously query those who present to the committee, so we can hopefully improve and make this better legislation for the people of Nunavut.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg--Jacques-Cartier, BQ): Madam Speaker, I am one those who believe that “what is conceived well is expressed clearly” to which I would add “and briefly”. I shall, therefore, be brief on Bill C-33.

    Bill C-33, the Nunavut waters and nunavut surface rights tribunal Act, represents no more and no less than the implementation of certain elements of the land claims agreement between the Inuit of Nunavut and the Government of Canada.

    The bill currently before the House is therefore complementary to that historical agreement. The agreement, the treaty per se, was ratified and implemented on July 9, 1993 through the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act.

    Since its creation, the Bloc Quebecois has strongly supported aboriginal land claims. It sees itself as the ally of the first nations of Quebec and of Canada. The favourable position of the Bloc on Bill C-33, which we are discussing today, is part of that positive attitude, one I would describe as reaching out to the first nations--since the Bloc Quebecois favours maximum self management and accountability for the various aboriginal communities.

    I think it unwarranted for us to oppose the quick passage of this bill, because it is consistent with the expectations and objectives of the nations and communities involved, which is, everyone will agree, what matters most.

    In 1996, a similar version of the bill was introduced, the House will recall. It was strongly opposed by the Inuit of Nunavut-Tungavik, because it respected neither the letter nor the spirit of the treaty signed in 1993. The present version of the bill seems, however, to have been corrected and better reflects the aspirations of the Inuit of Nunavut.

    It is important to point out at this time that I have certain reservations, which could, however, be addressed more exhaustively at committee stage so as to clarify certain elements of the bill which do not, at least upon initial examination, appear to be fully consistent with the real aspirations of the Inuit.

    Similarly, I am convinced that, with other committee members, we will find common ground regarding the power of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to appoint members to the Nunavut Water Board.

    Knowing the Liberal government's almost pathological propensity for appointing to key positions individuals closely linked to power, we will need to be on the lookout in order to protect the interests of Nunavut's inhabitants.

    I repeat, it will be possible for us to consider the bill in depth and to hear the observations of the groups concerned at committee hearings which, I hope, will begin soon, be constructive and, I also hope, will take place in an atmosphere of co-operation among the various parties represented in the House of Commons, and with the communities that appear before us.

    In conclusion, the Bloc Quebecois is prepared to work with the government and move quickly to meet the entirely legitimate governance aspirations of the Inuit of Nunavut.

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[English]

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    Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Madam Speaker, in the spirit of co-operation, I too will try to be brief.

    The NDP caucus understands that Bill C-33 is omnibus legislation regarding the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal and that these organizations are necessary under the 1993 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. The implementation of Bill C-33 is the fulfillment of the obligation to complete those requirements.

    I agree with the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development when he said that the bill was an important step forward as we continued to meet our obligations to build capacity in the new territory of Nunavut. It is our hope that these institutions will guarantee that residents of Nunavut will have more say in decisions about the use of water resources, the deposition of wastes and access to lands throughout their territory.

    We believe the roles of the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal should have the effect between balancing the interests of the many stakeholders, while ensuring protection of the fragile Arctic environment.

    I think I speak for all members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs when I say I look forward to the further input from northerners in this legislation process as the bill goes ahead to the standing committee and ultimately through the various stages of the House of Commons and the Senate.

    This piece of legislation has been conveniently divided into two parts for us. We understand that part 1 of the enactment would implement provisions to the agreement related to the management of waters, a very timely and talkable theme and a necessary issue as we recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Nunavut.

    We also recognize the right for them to control the use of their waters and the many all-encompassing issues that fall under that category, be it development issues, water use for domestic purposes, the deposition of waste and sewage treatment and, as was raised by previous speakers, the well-being of the marine passageways in the event of an oil spill or damage to marine life.

    We further note that the new board would have the authority and the power to not only give permits and licences, but also to regulate and to impose fines, if there was a violation, and to order compensation, if compensation becomes necessary due to the misuse of water rights that may have an impact on those downstream.

    I am very sensitive to this issue partly because I spent much of my formative years north of 60 working in Yukon. I can say from experience that the history of water use and land management in our north has been abominable. It has been lacking in many important ways. This is all the more reason why the people of Nunavut, in the rightly negotiating process that led up to the creation of the new territory, asked for, deserved and were adamant that they be in control of the water management and the land surface, land use management in their area.

    I have seen firsthand some of the cavalier and irresponsible attitudes toward water use in the Yukon Territory. I will give a couple of examples of mistakes that we do not want to see repeated; a legacy of abuse.

    My home near Dawson City was built up the Dempster Highway on the road to Inuvik in the heart of the Klondike goldfields. There is a lot of history about the Klondike. A lot of people had a romantic idea about the taking gold from the Klondike, but what they did was dredge the entire area. They were huge dredges as big as this Chamber. They worked their way down the creek beds, the Klondike and all the historic creeks like Bonanza Creek and Hunker Creek, chewing up the riverbeds. They absolutely gobbled it up at one end, processed it in a huge floating dredge and spit it out the back end.

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    These dredges worked their way up and down the waterways of Yukon relentlessly for 30 to 50 years. Salmon streams were chewed up in the pursuit of gold by those who did not have a vested interest. They are now long gone but the damage remains.

    I will give an example from my home province of Manitoba. When it became necessary to divert the Churchill and the Nelson rivers into one massive river system for hydroelectric dam purposes they flooded South Indian Lake in a very cavalier way. There was not a great deal of thought that went into the fact that it was an existing functioning town with a fish marketing co-op.

    People had their livelihoods there. They simply backfilled the whole valley and flooded out the town of South Indian Lake. They flooded the tree line 40 feet deep without recognition that when land like that is flooded arsenic, mercury and other toxic material leech from the soil as natural products that exist there.

    It was another example of water rights and water management practices under our current system that were negligent and abusive.

    Another example comes to mind. I had a job in Yukon going around the Richardson Mountains, the Ogilvie Range and the Tombstone Range picking up fuel depots the American military had left behind. It used to cache aviation gas in huge deposits all over the north. Forty years later many of the barrels had rusted through and all the aviation gas was flowing into the delicate tundra ecosphere.

    It was an incredibly negligent and cavalier attitude toward water quality in the north. Due to the fact that the area is so massive it seemed that nothing we could do would ever damage it. Now we know different.

    The last example deals with hydroelectric power. We have examples like Notigi diversion, Kettle Rapids dam, Jenpeg dam, Long Spruce, Waskahigan, Limestone, Conawapa, the James Bay Grande Baleine project and Site C at Fort St. John. All these hydroelectric projects were done with very little environmental impact studies and very little recognition of what occurs downstream.

    I do not blame the people of Nunavut for being adamant that they wish to have more input into water rights and water use. That is more than we saw in Yukon when water rights were under federal jurisdiction. The Yukon territory did not have jurisdiction of its own water rights because it was operated from Ottawa, to no one's interest.

    We are comfortable that Bill C-33 would do as it is intended, that is to finish the job of the creation of the territory of Nunavut along with the transfer of jurisdictions that goes along with it and the ultimate goal of bringing greater benefits to all communities in the north.

    The NDP caucus recognizes that the south has benefited greatly from the resources harvested in the north. We welcome any opportunity to recognize that the northern communities and people who live there deserve the right to share in the great wealth and prosperity of the nation largely drawn from the resources in the north.

    We will be recommending an amendment dealing with the water board's ability to grant licences for water use. The board would be able to renew or cancel licences as well as assign penalties in the case of abuse of water rights.

    The maximum fine, as contemplated in Bill C-33, is $100,000. Given the ongoing mining boom in the Northwest Territories and in parts of Nunavut and the types of user group that might be affected by it, we find $100,000 to be a paltry amount of money. It is really pin money to a large mining interest that might be in the north. We know what a mining operation can do to the water quality in whatever area it is in.

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    There used to be a myth that we could do anything to a river as long as it ran for three kilometres and after three kilometres it would run clear again. We now know that was an absolute misconception, a myth that was created by the user groups that were polluting the rivers. It is just not true. We think that the $100,000 fine is paltry when it comes to any kind of a penalty. Even if it is coupled with the full compensation of those who may be affected downstream, or hunters or fishermen who may lose their livelihood as a result of the irresponsible action, we still think the $100,000 penalty is paltry.

    There are a couple of other things we wish were in Bill C-33. We are going to be seeking to include them at committee stage, but I will register them here.

    The one thing that comes to mind is that this bill, even though it transfers the rights to make these decisions to the newly founded territory of Nunavut, it does not specifically make any reference to the bulk sale of water. Given that this has become such a timely subject, and that by the minister's own admission the original bill that was introduced has been amended over 100 times to make it more timely and to plug little loopholes, we wish that the bill specifically barred whoever is in charge of water in Nunavut from the bulk sale of water because it contradicts what we in the House of Commons have already decided is in the best interests of Canada.

    We also wish it were more specific on an issue that will become topical very soon, that is, the ownership of the icebergs which are created by the breaking up of the polar ice cap. I am not talking about the bulk sale of water, but this is something we need to contemplate soon. Are we going to allow foraging or salvaging rights like we do in our shipping lanes within the 200 kilometres Canadian limit? Will we allow people to come into our waters to harvest and salvage floating bulk water? These things need to be contemplated any time we talk about the bulk sale or the management of our precious freshwater resources.

    To keep the speech brief, I will simply say that the NDP looks forward to Bill C-33 going to committee. We plan on being active participants at that stage. We look forward to further input from people who actually live in the north and the people of Nunavut. We wish them well as they take this next step toward true independence and charting their own destiny.

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    Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-33 which deals with the Nunavut land claims agreement of 1993 and ensuing and enabling legislation from that with regard to the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal.

    I am very pleased to see the member for Nunavut in the House today. I would have appreciated her viewpoint on this issue and hopefully we can still get it. I would be very interested to hear her views. I know she will be giving good advice in committee. It will be a good viewpoint from someone who lives there and understands the place and the culture and the impact of this legislation far better than I.

    It is interesting to note that this legislation has gone through many lives. This is the third round at it. The bill comes from other legislation from previous parliaments. The Nunavut water board has been operational since 1995 and we are playing catch-up six years later to get it implemented into law.

    The Nunavut water board will consist of nine members appointed by the minister. Half of them will be nominated by the designate in a reorganization. One-quarter of them will be nominated by the territorial minister responsible for renewable resources or other designated territorial ministers.

    When any board or tribunal is struck, it is important that its members know what they are doing and that there is ultimate accountability. I know government members and opposition members would agree with that as well.

    It is interesting to note in the bill that adequate public notice will be given of applications to the NWB. Public hearings on applications will be held as the board deems necessary. When one sees that it is when the board deems it necessary, that raises the alarm bells. It should be brought to the attention of the board that it is probably necessary quite a bit of the time. It would not be wise for the board to say that public hearings were unnecessary and shuffle off the applications. It is very wise to have more rather than fewer hearings when people have concerns. They should not just say "By the way there will be a meeting tomorrow night", or whenever. Great distances are involved. It is very important that adequate public notice be given. When the applications are being studied and ruled upon, the board should be keenly aware of how important it is that the process be made absolutely transparent.

    The Nunavut surface rights tribunal has been operational since 1996 but the legislation will establish that tribunal as required under the Nunavut land claims agreement which took place in 1993.

    The tribunal will resolve disputes regarding subsurface rights and sand and gravel on Inuit owned land and losses to Inuit from damage to wildlife. I speak here of oil spills for example as they are entirely possible. I think back to the week after I was elected to parliament in the spring of 1989 and the Exxon Valdez crisis and the long term ramifications which occurred from that. This is something we need to deal with seriously and have proactive, organized methods in place to deal with these things before they happen so that when they do occur, we are prepared.

    The surface rights tribunal also establishes terms and conditions of right to access to Inuit owned lands and can determine liability, and an amount of compensation due to Inuit in case of damage. It is very wise that this be put into place beforehand rather than face crisis management. The September 11 crisis affected all of us. We saw how important it is to be organized and ready for disasters rather than wondering the day one happens what could have been done to deal with it.

    The surface rights tribunal consists of a chairperson plus two to 10 other members appointed by the minister, two of whom must be resident in Nunavut. There will always be an odd number of members on the tribunal and that is very wise. If I had to ask any questions about it in such a vast territory as Nunavut, I would have to ask why only two members would come from there.

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    The tribunal can only hear applications where an individual has first attempted to negotiate an agreement with the other party. In other words, people cannot go to the tribunal first. This makes sense. In many instances, differences or problems can be worked out. In many respects it is like us as members of parliament. People have tried to work with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, Revenue Canada, the CCRA, Agriculture Canada or who knows what and they come to us, their members of parliament. They say they are having problems and they need us to facilitate or mediate or who knows all the things we do in our offices.

    That is what the tribunal is set up to do. It would hear the applications. People would have attempted to solve the situation first, but it was at a stalemate and they would go to that body.

    There are some pros and some cons to the bill. I would like to look at a couple of the positive things and then bring some concerns to the table with the hope that we are able to deal with those more fully in committee.

    The Nunavut water board and the surface rights tribunal assure the Inuit greater control over the affairs of their region, and what a region it is. It is a huge land mass with a fairly small population. It is concerned about the thing that is probably of most concern to us, or certainly should be as Canadian citizens, water.

    Some of the things we have seen over the last couple of years across the country have caused great alarm. Many reserves are having problems with water. It is important for all of us to say that water is essential. We need to make sure that it is as clean and as safe as possible. The bill is good because it gives the Inuit more control over the affairs of their water.

    Both the water board and the surface rights tribunal would be subject to an annual audit. The water board would be audited by the board's auditor and at the direction of the minister, the auditor general. If the minister thinks there is something of concern, he can pass that on to the auditor general. I do not think we could ever go wrong by asking the auditor general to step in and ensure that the books are above board. That is a good step.

    The surface rights tribunal will be audited automatically by the auditor general. Again we think that is a good thing. I am sure the tribunal and the water board themselves know there is safety in being audited by someone. They know they are clean, absolutely above board and under the protection of that. They can operate with a clean conscience and a clean bill of health because they have been given the okay and that is a very good feeling for everyone.

    The legislation improves on its predecessor, Bill C-62 in its last incarnation, by removing the $20 million limit of liability for developers. This change was supported by the Inuit groups. Twenty million dollars sounds like quite a pile of cash to me and probably to most of us in the House, but think of the Exxon Valdez. I do not know what the cleanup costs were for that, but in that kind of enormous cleanup operation, $20 million liability is not a lot. It certainly could be higher. The $20 million limit was removed from the bill and that is a good thing.

    One of the concerns that we do have is the whole idea of ministerial power. It is a pity to have to say it but politics enter everything in life. It is not just here in the political arena, but we see so much of it in community groups, churches, schools and businesses. It does not matter what it is, but politics creep into everything and that is the way it is. We want to make sure that the minister puts people on the board because of merit and merit alone, not just because they were a candidate or gave money or whatever. That is good advice for all of us, just to make sure the minister does not have too much power. He appoints the boards and can dismiss members after consulting with designated Inuit organizations.

  +-(1715)  

    I know of an organization that will probably be doing some consultation over the next short while. It will, it is sad to say, consist of one phone call and then it will be said that consultation took place. There is probably nothing healthy about that. The minister needs to make sure that he or she, or whoever the minister will be over the long haul in this business of consulting, puts some parameters in place and makes sure that real consultation takes place.

    The issuance, amendment, renewal and cancellation of licences are subject to the approval of the minister. We should make sure that there is not too much power attached to the minister. If we listen with only one ear and not the other, whoever the stakeholder is, we may get a skewed view of things.

    Like every good parent, teacher, or manager we should listen to all sides and then step back for a short while and weigh the consequences before a decision is made. We would encourage the minister to do that.

    We have concerns that the federal government is trying to manage from afar. There are incredible distances in Canada. It is a very long way from here to the west and from here to the north. Although we are unbelievably connected and wired, this is still a huge country. We need to be careful not to make Ottawa the centre, the be-all and end-all. That would probably not be wise.

    There is the idea of having a minimum of two members appointed from Nunavut to the surface rights tribunal. It would be wiser to make sure that there are more than that because people at the ground level always know far more about what is going on. The more distant the level of government, the more distant the actual intimate knowledge of issues.

    The best example is the city council and the aldermen of my city of Edmonton. They get many more phone calls at home if sewers back up than I do as a federal legislator, because constituents know their aldermen. They know me too but I cannot do anything about the sewers. They will talk to me about taxes or whatever. The more distant the level of government, the more distant the personal communication.

    I am sure my colleague from Nunavut would agree that it would be very wise to have as many people as possible operating at ground level in Nunavut. Given that surface rights and land access issues are very important to Canada's north, the majority of the tribunal should be individuals who reside in and fully understand the issues of Nunavut.

    I do not claim to understand the issues there. I hope to learn a whole lot more about them. I would be very nervous if I had to tell them that I was from the government, just appointed to the surface rights tribunal, and there to help. They may be a little nervous about anyone coming in with that kind of attitude.

    We should make sure that the tribunal works on a practical basis. It should not be a group that is set up to just have meetings. If there is supposed to be a dispute settling mechanism, let the tribunal do it and do it well.

    We also have concerns regarding the streamlining of regulatory processes. Are they needed? Are they too slow? Are they too complicated? We need to make sure when we address this issue in committee that those are the things we look at and that it is the best tribunal it can possibly be.

    Our position is that we would support the bill at second reading. I look forward to getting it into committee. I am hoping that we are able to hear from some excellent witnesses because all of us want to learn more about it. If this place is about making practical legislation so that people's lives are a little easier and better at the ground level in terms of claims, damages, liability or loss, those are the things we need to look at in a practical vein.

    This piece of legislation seems fairly lengthy and substantial. However there are some good things in it. I have reiterated some of the positives about it and some of the concerns about it.

  +-(1720)  

    The member for Nunavut should be able to tell us from the ground level some of the practicalities of it. I will give the hon. member for Nunavut a hint. Even though there are good things in the legislation, I am sure there are concerns held by her family members, her constituents and stakeholders, whether they are private landowners, have businesses or operate on crown land.

    When the issues are addressed that to me is practical. I do not want to hear just one side of the story. I want to hear from her, not just in the House but also in committee, what some of the positive things are. I want her to tell us in her own words and from practical experience some of her concerns.

    There are always two sides to every story and I would be pleased to hear some of her concerns or hesitancies because we want to get them fixed. I am sure the minister wants to get them fixed as well. If she has waited this long, I am sure that like the rest of us she wants to get it right. I would love to hear her concerns about it.

+-

    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we are dealing with Nunavut and I am sure our fellow colleague will give the most eloquent and knowledgeable information about it. Nunavut is an area that has had profound troubles for some time. It is an area with some 24,000 people. It has an extraordinarily high suicide rate. Sexual abuse rates are very high and it has unemployment rates of 20% to 40%. Federal moneys are being put in at a rate of about $24,000 per person.

    What solutions should have been put in the bill to address some of the profound, tragic and underlying social problems the people of Nunavut have been suffering for far too long?

  +-(1725)  

+-

    Miss Deborah Grey: Mr. Speaker, I do not have all the answers. In some of the considerations I brought forward we want to make sure that ministerial powers are not too strong. It is a good thing that this gives more autonomy to the Inuit, but my colleague and I share the same view. We want to make sure there are good homes, clean water, health care and education.

    I know he has been a proponent of the head start program. These are practical and good things that we can work on. I am looking forward to hearing from my colleague from Nunavut.

+-

    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I know I do not have time to address everything today because of time constraints, but I am very honoured to be able to speak to Bill C-33, the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act.

    On April 1, 1999, the map of Canada was redrawn for the first time in 50 years. I was here when that happened and I am very proud to be part of that history. I see this act as another stepping stone in achieving what we wanted to achieve.

    The Inuit of the Eastern Arctic effectively achieved a public government framework in that legislation. As a result we have more opportunities for employment, for establishing new businesses, for social development and for protecting the ways of the past while we embrace what the new economy has to offer.

    I assure the House that these are exciting times for the people of Nunavut but they are also very challenging times. We have many barriers standing in the way of economic growth and self-sufficiency in Nunavut. As well, a great deal of work must be done to ensure that the new territory has the legislative and regulatory framework needed to function effectively.

    Bill C-33 will provide an important part of that framework. As legislators we must do our part to support the new territory by dealing with the proposed legislation as quickly as possible.

    Hon. members have been informed that Bill C-33 will establish in statute the powers, duties and functions of the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal. The former will be a quasi-judicial body that will license water uses and the deposits of waste in Nunavut. The surface rights tribunal will resolve disputes that may occur between land owners and those who need access to the land.

    Both of these are institutions of public administration arising out of the Nunavut land claims agreement, instruments of good and efficient government across the entire territory. They will ensure uniformity and certainty throughout Nunavut on issues related to resource management.

    Certainty is a theme that will run throughout my remarks today, because it will be perhaps the single most important outcome of the Nunavut elements of Bill C-33. By providing the legislative underpinnings for the Nunavut water board and the Nunavut surface rights tribunal, Bill C-33 will provide certainty that the decisions made by these institutions have a solid basis in law.

    Members of the Nunavut water board wrote to a previous minister of Indian affairs and northern development some time ago to request passage of legislation to address the current ambiguities about its role and powers--

  +-(1730)  

+-

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. It is 5.30 p.m. and she will have 17 minutes left when we resume debate on Bill C-33.

    It being 5.30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.


+-PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Sudan

+-

    Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) condemn the Sudanese regime for the recent attacks on civilian populations and humanitarian agencies working in Southern Sudan and its denial of urgent humanitarian assistance to specific needy civilian populations; (b) review its policies and relationship with the present regime in Khartoum; and (c) make it clear that the continuation of such crimes against humanity against identifiable groups of people constitutes genocide, and that these abuses must end immediately.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, the recent attack on the United States has focused a lot of attention in the past two weeks on extremist governments that support international terrorism. The U.S. state department lists seven countries as supporting terrorism and that list includes Sudan.

    Sudan has offered safe haven to members of various groups, including associates of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. Bin Laden himself received safe haven in Sudan from 1991 to 1996. Together he and the government entered into numerous mutually lucrative enterprises in construction, banking and agriculture. He also developed the elaborate terrorist training bases in the country with the government's thorough knowledge. Even though bin Laden is no longer based in Sudan, U.S. officials say they think he still has backers and financial support there.

    Sudan's role in promoting international terrorism became clear during the trial this year of terrorists accused of bombing American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 in which 224 people were killed and thousands were injured. A detailed picture emerged of the national Islamic front regime's support for and financial interactions with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

    This support of terrorism by the national Islamic front goes back at least as far as 1993 when the regime was directly implicated in the previous attack on the World Trade Centre and in foiled plots to bomb other targets in New York.

    I raise this issue of the Sudanese government's support of international terrorism because it is relevant to the motion before us today. This regime's supporters of international terrorism are themselves practising terrorism toward their own citizens. The same brutal disregard for human life and civil society that is found in the minds of terrorists like bin Laden is the kind of brutal mindset that we encounter in the current regime in Sudan as it prosecutes its civil war. The regime has declared, in their words, a jihad against the people of southern Sudan, including civilians, in the same way that in the past it has supported a jihad against the United States.

    To illustrate how civilians are being targeted by the government, let us consider its bombing methods. The air strikes by the government of Sudan consist of massive shrapnel loaded barrel bombs being rolled out the back cargo doors of Antonov cargo planes flying at very high altitudes. They are without anything approaching the precision that would be needed to strike directly at opposition military assets. The only purpose of these crude but immensely destructive barrel bombs is civilian destruction and terror.

    It is impossible for me or for most Canadians to fully grasp the magnitude of the agony, destruction and devastation that has existed in Sudan for a number of years now. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told congress last spring that “there is perhaps no greater tragedy on the face of the earth than Sudan”. Numerous studies and reports have illustrated what Powell was talking about. For example, an exhaustive study by the U.S. committee on refugees showed that civil war and famine in Sudan have displaced some 4 million persons and have resulted in the death of over 1.9 million persons since 1983. Since that study was completed, the numbers have risen to 2 million dead and over 5 million people displaced.

    The devastation to human lives in Sudan has been occurring in the context of a civil war that has ravaged that country since 1983. The extremist national Islamic front regime in Khartoum militarily deposed an elected government in 1989. This extremist regime has waged a continuous and brutal war against the people of southern Sudan and other marginalized areas. It is not its military attacks against opposition troops that we are talking about today, but its deliberate attacks against the civilian population in southern Sudan.

    Let me repeat that the government of Sudan has targeted civilians on a massive scale in its prosecution of the war. The national Islamic front is engaged in atrocities in a very systematic way. It is using forced starvation and is systematically bombing hospitals, churches and other religious centres in the south, the east and also in the Nuba Mountains. It denies food aid to starving people as a weapon of war and it is abetting trade in human slavery by its militias.

    These human rights abuses are neither wild rumours nor flimsy accusations. They have been systematically documented and reported by UN special rapporteurs, the U.S. state department, human rights organizations, journalists from Europe and North America and Christian humanitarian groups including the Vatican.

  +-(1735)  

    Canadians as well, among them members of parliament, representatives of NGOs and representatives of church organizations, have firsthand knowledge of the situation in Sudan and have confirmed what others are saying about the despicable horrors there.

    I have introduced the motion on Sudan, which you read previously, Mr. Speaker, and I will read it again for the sake of our viewing audience and for all of us. It states:

    That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) condemn the Sudanese regime for the recent attacks on civilian populations and humanitarian agencies working in Southern Sudan and its denial of urgent humanitarian assistance to specific needy civilian populations; (b) review its policies and relationship with the present regime in Khartoum; and (c) make it clear that the continuation of such crimes against humanity against identifiable groups of people constitutes genocide, and that these abuses must end immediately.

    In the text of the motion I refer to the human rights violations that I mentioned earlier as genocide. One might say that is awfully strong language, and I believe it is, but it is quite well documented. Various authorities that are the on record, experts on Sudan and others, are using that precise term to describe what is going on there.

    In Sudan, the Arab rulers in the north, with racism as a key motivating factor, are targeting the black African populations in the south for mass destruction. Tribes like the Dinka and the Nuer are being targeted, as are the various people groups in the Nuba Mountains.

    To look at this more closely, let us begin by defining genocide because I know members here may have a concern that the language is too strong. In fact we find the relevant definition comes from the 1948 United Nations convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. The document states:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily harm or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction, in whole or in part;--

    According to this UN definition, very clearly what is happening in Sudan is indeed genocide. Those are not my words. Black Africans are being targeted by the Arab government, which is killing them, terrorizing them, in other words constituting mental harm as understood by the UN convention, and keeping them from humanitarian aid, which has caused massive numbers of deaths.

    Accordingly the U.S. house of representatives has decisively concluded that the national Islamic front government in Sudan is guilty of genocide. On June 15, 1999, and I have here on my desk the House concurred resolution No. 75, the resolution deliberately and repeatedly uses the term genocide to describe the activities of the Sudanese regime. That resolution passed in the house of representatives in the U.S. by a stunning margin of 415 to 1. If we could only get a motion with that kind of overwhelming support passed in the House of Commons in Canada.

    In the resolution we find the following kinds of statements which are repeated throughout the resolution:

--the National Islamic Front (NIF) government's war policy in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains and the Ingessena Hills has brought untold suffering to innocent civilians and is threatening the very survival of a whole generation of Southern Sudanese;--

--the National Islamic Front government is deliberately and systematically committing genocide in Southern Sudan...the government's self-declared jihad (holy war) against the predominantly traditional and Christian south;--

--the Congress (1) strongly condemns the National Islamic Front government for its genocidal war in southern Sudan--

    This resolution, so overwhelmingly passed in the house of representatives in the U.S., after it heard exhaustive testimony from NGOs and officials in the U.S. state department, states the belief that the terms of the definition of genocide laid down in the UN convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide have been met and that this really is genocide in the case of Sudan.

    In addition, a UN research agency has made a significant contribution to the issue of genocide in Sudan. The UN Research Institute for Social Development recently released a paper entitled "Race, Discrimination, Slavery and Citizenship in the Afro-Arab Borderlands". The paper's release was timed to coincide with the UN conference on racism in Durban, South Africa. Sudan and Mauritania were singled out for practising slavery and racial discrimination in a study of countries on the Afro-Arab borderlands.

  +-(1740)  

    The paper states that possibly nowhere in the Afro-Arab borderlands is the problem of race, class and citizenship in such a high state of tension between Arabs and Africans or possibly Arabized Africans and Africans as in the Sudan and Mauritania.

    The study comments that fundamentalist Islam and Arab fanaticism play a very important role in this tension. In many accounts of the war in Sudan the factor of racism has not often been taken sufficiently into account. Until that factor is understood, little progress will be made in the direction of peace negotiations.

    This UN study is on racism, not genocide, but the case for using the term genocide is not complicated. It has been made by many agencies and organizations and the U.S. house of representatives. As the UN has confirmed, the national Islamic front is targeting populations based on their race. Second, they are targeting civilians rather than keeping to military targets. Third, they will go on bombing and causing mass starvation for the mass destruction of these groups.

    Very briefly I will touch on something of which I think we should be aware. We do have differences within the House and maybe even among people speaking to the resolution today and possibly even the seconder of the motion. It has to do with a Canadian connection. I think it needs to be noted at this point with respect to these crimes that occur and what some have termed and authorities have indicated is genocide in Sudan.

    It is common knowledge that the government of Sudan is financing its war against the populations in the south with profits from the oil industry in Sudan. An oil consortium exists in Sudan in which the Sudanese government has a 5% stake. Malaysia is involved, China is involved and a Canadian company, Talisman Energy of Canada, has a 25% stake. This means that a Canadian company is responsible, we could say, and I do not know how anybody could deny it, for large amounts of money from oil revenues flowing to the National Islamic Front and indirectly then of course to the genocidal war machine.

    Some have argued that if a Canadian company does not partner with this corrupt regime in oil development then another oil company would do it anyway so it might as well be a Canadian company. I personally believe, and there are others who would definitely be of this view, that it is a pretext for moral irresponsibility. If Osama bin Laden is making money from participating in an agricultural consortium in Afghanistan, would we find it acceptable for a Canadian company to be operating in Afghanistan as a part of that consortium? We would say obviously not. The difference is that in one case the blood of black Africans is flowing while in the other case American lives have been lost. We need to be consistent. These are people of the human race. They have a different skin colour, but they are precious people and people who deserve the right of protection in basic human rights as well.

    In addition to Talisman's assistance in funding genocide, it has been proven that the Sudanese government is using a scorched earth policy toward civilian populations living near the oil fields so that they are cleared out for the work of this oil production, so that with respect to the Canadian company Talisman's presence there, it has contributed directly to the deaths of many Sudanese in these areas.

    When Talisman went to Sudan it was fully briefed on the civil war and asked the Sudanese government for protection for its oil fields. It had to have realized that it was in effect asking the government to kill to protect it, to kill if it came to that, on its behalf in these regions.

    In its public relations efforts, yes indeed, Talisman has been shown to put some money into some things and so on. However, I would still insist and I would press them and Dr. James Buckee: I think that for the most part there is not the conscience that ought to be shown. They are bereft of conscience for the most part. We need to have something of a desire to participate to alleviate the ills and some of the suffering of this part of the human family.

    Talisman has made some token gestures of social spending to justify its presence in the country. However, most people have seen through that. Even Lloyd Axworthy, the former foreign affairs minister, acknowledged that on CBC radio after leaving politics. He said of Talisman that it has not lived up to its obligations and called the company's behaviour deplorable.

    The latest disgraceful display came this week when Talisman spokesman David Mann was quoted as saying in the National Post that the U.S. might not remove Talisman from the New York Stock Exchange in the near future and that talks between the Sudan and the U.S. government show that Talisman's policy of constructive engagement is in fact working. That is complete nonsense.

    I also want to point out that $57.3 million of Canadian money has been invested in Talisman by way of the Canada pension plan. It is at arm's length, but nevertheless our moneys are being invested in that. In closing, I simply feel that something significant needs to be done.

  +-(1745)  

    I would ask for unanimous consent that this item be made votable so that we can deal significantly with the issue of Sudan.

+-

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): Is there unanimous consent?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

+-

    Ms. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke--Lakeshore, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, often there are subjects addressed in the House that are very difficult to debate because of their content and because they affect the lives of human beings. Motion No. 246 is such a motion.

    I want to commend my colleague across the way who has put this motion on the floor of the House because of the content of the issue that he is raising in order to ensure that we discuss this and continue to discuss Sudan.

    The civil war in Sudan is, without a doubt, one of the ugliest conflicts festering in the world. The simple rendition of statistics cannot begin to depict the misery that has been visited upon the people of Sudan. The truly tragic aspect of this war in common with most other contemporary conflicts is that civilians are the main victims.

    The roots of this conflict run deep. Some say they go back centuries. As with many conflicts spanning generations, there are emotional scars that make dialogue with those who wish to promote peace a fragile process.

    There is little doubt that the government of Sudan has waged this war in a manner that deserves international condemnation. According to the United Nations, nearly two million people have died since 1983 and over four million have been displaced from their homes.

    The hon. member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin refers in his resolution to attacks on civilian populations. He also referred to the denial of urgent humanitarian assistance to specific civilian populations. We believe the hon. member has appropriately identified the Sudanese government actions as being worthy of harsh international criticism.

    In a conflict of this dimension, there are no easy answers. The sad fact is that on both sides, rhetoric has taken the place of a genuine commitment to negotiate and compromise. The international community has heard both sides in this conflict repeat over and over again that the war cannot be won militarily and yet both sides continue to fight as though this was their only strategy.

    The basis of Canada's Sudan policy is support for a negotiated settlement to the conflict. Let us be clear. Canada is saying that peace is the only way of addressing the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Sudan. Peace has to be durable and the only way for a peace settlement to be durable is for it to be negotiated in good faith by the parties to the conflict.

    This is one of the key points that causes us not to be able to support the specifics of the motion. Both sides have committed offences in this war. Both sides have used much needed humanitarian aid as a weapon. Both sides acknowledge that the war cannot be won by military victories, but both sides continue to pursue the war with vigour at a very considerable cost to other responsibilities to their constituents. If Canada's Sudan policy is based on supporting a negotiated settlement, we cannot then single out just one party to the conflict for condemnation.

    Canada has taken a number of measures. Arms sales from Canada have been banned since 1992. Bilateral development assistance has been terminated, though not humanitarian aid targeted at suffering individuals continue but that aid is not channelled through government conduits. Canada does not promote trade with Sudan.

    To date in 2001 the Canadian International Development Agency has provided $4.2 million in food aid to residents of Sudan, as well as $2.7 million in other humanitarian assistance.

  +-(1750)  

    Since 1990 CIDA has provided well over $100 million in such assistance through the UN's Operation Lifeline Sudan and the Red Cross. Since 1999 CIDA has committed over $2 million to peace related projects for Sudan, as well as $300,000 for the peace talks secretariat. We are involved in peace talks, in that negotiated peace in Sudan.

    Canada is working with many other countries. A regional organization in the Horn of Africa, the inter-governmental authority for development, known by its acronym IGAD, has taken responsibility for managing the peace process in Sudan. It has successfully negotiated the declaration of principles, a document that outlines the basis from which negotiations can be staged. This is, by the way, the only document of this type recognized by the major parties to the conflict.

    A number of donor countries have formed the IPF, which is the IGAD partners forum, to support the peace process. Canada is involved there both financially and diplomatically. There is strength in numbers and strength in commonality of purpose. The motion before us would isolate us from the concerted position of our partners and prevent us from playing an effective role in support of the peace process.

    Another difficulty with the resolution concerns its use of the term genocide, although I know my colleague was very specific in his explanation.

    We must sympathize with the motion of the hon. member but we realize that we must not let emotions that are legitimately generated by this grisly conflict obscure our real goal. Our real goal is peace. Our real goal is to assist the process. Our real goal is to ensure that the peace process in Sudan continues and that there is some alleviation to the situation for the people of Sudan.

    I am in empathy and I do support a number of the concerns expressed by my hon. colleague but I think it is important to put the Canadian perspective on the agenda.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Antoine Dubé Lévis-et-Chutes-de la-Chaudière, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I rise in the debate, but I point out right off that I am no expert in the matter. I wish to express here the opinion of our critic, the hon. member for Mercier, who is out of the country, as well as that of my party, which is that there can be no military solution to the war in Sudan, except through the annihilation of the people of the south.

    The member said “Let us stop funding this war and put our weight behind the peace plan of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. First, the Special Economic Measures Act must be amended to give the government the power to act and the credibility it needs to advance the peace process”.

    I listened carefully to the member who proposed the motion before us, and he touched on a number of important points. I congratulate him on introducing the motion in the House, because the situation in the Sudan is really untenable. I thank him as well for putting this issue before all members.

    Perhaps when he introduced the motion, he did not suspect it would be so relevant. I clearly understood the presentation of the specific context, on the subject of terrorism. This motion is really relevant, and I congratulate him on it.

    However, I regret he did not get the unanimous support of the House to have the motion be a votable item. It is all very well to debate in the House, but if the motions are not votable, how can we identify the opinion of the various parties here? Personally I gave the Bloc's approval for it to be votable.

    I have, however, some reservation with respect to the word “genocide”. We must rely on the reports coming out of the UN commission on human rights. I also noted that the American congress voted 415 to 1 to condemn the Sudanese regime's continual human rights violations, its support for terrorism and its participation in a genocide.

    In the reports by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, the word genocide was never used. I am maintaining a degree of reservation on it therefore, although it is fairly obvious that what is happening at this time is that one group has assumed a dominant position. The group in the south is placed in a virtually untenable situation. I believe that it might be advisable to again look into the use of the word genocide, but I have reservations about using it because the reports we have date back a few months.

    The hon. member has merit in presenting a motion that criticizes, perhaps we should not go so far as to use the word condemn, Canada's lack of any real position.

    It is easy to take refuge behind a multilateral commission, as the hon. member has just done, but if no actions are forthcoming as a result, this comes down finally to tolerating a situation in which human beings, civilian populations, are being killed and attacked in all manner of ways.

  +-(1755)  

    In my opinion, this is position that is hard to sustain. I would prefer to address the position of the Government of Canada. Not to go too far back in time, I have read in the reports that the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Axworthy, whom we can now name because he is no longer in parliament, said the following on October 26, 1999:

If it becomes evident that its activities are exacerbating the conflict in Sudan, or resulting in violations of human rights or humanitarian law, the Government of Canada might consider applying economic and trade restrictions under the Export and Import Permits Act, and the Special Economic Measures Act, or other sanctions.

    I neglected to clarify that this was in connection with the role of Talisman, the oil consortium, which is now effectively financing the war and the present Sudanese government.

    Until then, both sides were more or less equal. The war went on, and they had no funding. But with the economic upturn, 25% of the government's income now comes from oil revenues. This, then, is the money that is being used to continue the war between the government and the other community in the south. There is, therefore, a very direct link.

    Three weeks after Mr. Axworthy's statement, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published a report. Minister Axworthy responded that he was deeply troubled by the report.

    He decided to send two people to Sudan, Senator Wilson, I think she can be named, and John Harker, to study the impact of oil related activities on human rights violations and on the intensification of the war. The Harker report was presented in February 2000 and its conclusions were in line with the previous reports.

    Questioned again, the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Mr. Axworthy, responded that he would take no action against Talisman or Sudan. He explained that there was no legislation that would allow the Government of Canada to act. The Export and Import Permits Act was not applicable in the case of Sudan, and the Special Economic Measures Act could only be used in a multilateral context.

    This was back in February, 2000, over a year and a half ago. We cannot help but notice that the Government of Canada has taken very little real action, other than simply saying that this requires multilateral action.

    I do not want to needlessly prolong my comments. I know that I have one minute left, and so I would like to conclude.

    Once again, I would like to thank the member for moving this motion. I would have liked to have had a vote on this so that we could take action on this motion, and so that it could be studied by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and presentations could be heard, especially given the new context since September 11. We are now in the context of a war on terrorism and I think that there have been links made to the groups that are currently being targeted.

    I too would like to ask for unanimous consent to have this motion made votable.

  +-(1800)  

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): I clearly heard the terms of the motion by the hon. member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

    Is there unanimous consent to make this a votable item?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

  +-(1805)  

[English]

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    Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party to speak in support of the motion put before the House today by the member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin.

    I commend the hon. member for his ongoing commitment to peace and justice for the people of Sudan. I cannot imagine a situation which cries out more for the world community to act in the name of peace and justice than the terrible tragedy that is occurring in Sudan.

    There has been extensive documentation of the horrors being inflicted by the Sudanese government on the people of southern Sudan. In addition to military attacks, people throughout the region must confront the unimaginable horror of widespread famine. I hope the world food program and others will be in a position to respond to the terrible crisis.

    I will give members a brief historical background of the situation, as my colleague has done. The extremist national Islamic front regime in Khartoum, which militarily deposed an elected government in 1989, has waged an ongoing savage war and scorched earth policy against the people of southern Sudan and other marginalized areas.

    In the most recent phase of the civil war more than two million human beings, overwhelmingly civilians, have died in the south. Another five million or so have been uprooted or internally displaced or have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. There are concerns about slavery and about children being forced into military campaigns.

    The war conducted by Khartoum is a war of terror. It has involved widespread indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets throughout the south, the denial of food aid to starving people, the abetting of a ghastly trade in human slavery, and scorched earth warfare in the oil regions located primarily in the south.

    We must understand clearly that Canada is complicit in these actions to the extent that it allows Talisman Energy Inc. to continue to fund and fuel the terrible assaults on the people of Sudan. John Harker, who conducted an independent inquiry into the situation in Sudan, made it clear that if evidence is made available of a direct link between oil revenues and the war being conducted by the government of Sudan, Canada should take steps to ensure Talisman does not carry on its business in that country.

    The evidence is clear, powerful, overwhelming and compelling, yet the government has done nothing at all. The former foreign affairs minister promised to impose tough sanctions if a link were established. That has not happened.

    Recently we learned that the Canada pension plan, as my colleague from Saskatoon pointed out, has invested some $57.3 million of Canadians' retirement funds in Talisman Energy Inc. I do not believe the vast majority of Canadians would want one cent of their money invested in a company which is contributing to such bloodshed and violence.

    Not only are Talisman's funds contributing to and fuelling the scorched earth policy. We know with certainty that some of Talisman's oil fields at Heglig are being used by the Sudanese military.

  +-(1810)  

    A few months ago a Canadian-British team returned from Sudan. The team was made up of Georgette Gagnon, a Canadian human rights lawyer and member of the original Harker assessment mission, and John Ryle, a London based Africa specialist and expert on Sudan. These people were in the oil concession areas of southern Sudan for about three weeks in April of this year. I have a copy of their report, but unfortunately I do not have time to read it in the House.

    The key finding of these two respected observers is unambiguous. Talisman's greater Nile concession airstrips are being used for offensive military purposes, not just occasionally but on a regular basis.

    This was reinforced by the findings of a Canadian political officer in Khartoum, Nicholas Coghlan, who reported in February of this year:

For the past month there have been two Hind gunships stationed at Unity Field, and interlocutors told me they had been flying sorties almost every day, taking on large amounts of ammunition, and unloading none. Talisman has indicated to the Government of Sudan its unease at this situation and has sought assurances that the Hinds' presence is purely defensive.

    The Harker report in January 2000 stated that helicopter gunships and Antonov bombers of the government of Sudan had armed and refuelled at Heglig airstrip and from there had attacked civilians. This is totally incontrovertible.

    What more evidence do we need? What more evidence does the government need before it will finally take action? The government says it cannot act under the existing provisions of the Special Economic Measures Act. However it could show moral leadership. It could change the legislation to make it clear to Talisman that Canadians are appalled and ashamed by its conduct in Sudan. It could make it clear that Canadians want Talisman out of that country and do not want it fuelling the war any more.

    I would be interested to know the position of the member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin with respect to amending the Special Economic Measures Act to facilitate this important step.

    In response to my question in the House in May of this year the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that if evidence were brought forward by NGOs that Talisman airfields were being used for offensive purposes by the government of Sudan, the government would take action. How many months ago was that? There has been no action whatsoever.

    I will point out something that occurred in the United States in last few days. The Bush administration, tragically, has decided to back away from the Sudan peace act.

    The Sudan peace act is an important piece of legislation. It would have required the delisting of shares in Talisman and any other oil corporation operating in Sudan. It was an effective measure. It was adopted by a vote of 422 to 2 or something of that nature. The U.S. senate adopted similar legislation but the Bush administration is now deciding to back off. That is shameful.

    Unfortunately we are seeing the one potentially effective tool to put pressure on Talisman being abandoned by the American administration just as it is lifting sanctions against Pakistan to get it on board in the so-called war against terrorism. The price being paid here is too high.

    I appeal to the government to abandon its current policy of discussion and constructive engagement with the Sudanese government. It should pursue international measures to hold the government of Sudan accountable for its human rights violations. It should push for strong new legislation and a strengthened Special Economic Measures Act to deal with militarized commerce and hold Canadian companies accountable for contributing to armed conflict. As well, the Canada pension plan investment fund should clearly divest itself of its shares in Talisman.

    Having heard the eloquent pleas of colleagues in the House such the hon. member from the Bloc Quebecois, I hope the House might be persuaded to give unanimous consent to allowing this important motion to go forward to the foreign affairs committee. I seek unanimous consent of the House to allow that to occur.

+-

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): Is that agreed?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

+-

    Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I cannot say that it is a pleasure to stand to discuss the situation that we have been discussing this evening. It is a matter that is foreign to us in Canada, the discussion of the brutality and victimization of civilian populations in the Sudan.

    I certainly commend the member for Saskatoon--Wanuskewin for bringing the matter to our attention. Just the fact that we are discussing it here helps to improve our awareness of the terrible disaster that is going on there. It is hard for us to even imagine what is happening in those countries.

    For the last two weeks we have been discussing acts against the civilian population in the form of airplanes crashing into buildings in North America. It has brought us to attention and created a new level of concern. It has changed much of the way we operate and many of the things we took for granted we are no longer able to take for granted. However, these are some of the things that go on in foreign countries such as the situation we are talking about today. It is completely foreign to us how governments and populations can act the way they have in the Sudan.

    I commend the previous speakers, especially the last speaker, for the way they have outlined many details of the grievous acts against the populations. There is no question about the brutal tragedy in Sudan.

    I just read through a resolution from the United States house of representatives that was provided by the member who moved the motion. The resolution outlines a fearful description of the situation there. I will go through a few of the paragraphs that they raised for public awareness. They condemn:

the National Islamic Front (NIF) government for its genocidal war in southern Sudan, support for terrorism, and continued human rights violations, and for other purposes.

    The resolution reads:

Whereas according to the United States Committee for Refugees (USCR), an estimated 1,900,000 have died...

    In the U.S. in the last two weeks we saw a horrific accident that took 6,000 or 7,000 lives, which is beyond our imagination. Just take that further to 1.9 million people, mostly civilians, who died over the past decade due to war, war related causes and famine, while millions have been displaced from their homes.

    The resolution goes on to say:

Whereas the National Islamic Front (NIF)government's war policy in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains...has brought untold suffering to innocent civilians and is threatening the very survival of a whole generation of southern Sudanese;

Whereas the people of the Nuba Mountains and the Ingessena Hills are at particular risk, having been specifically targeted through a deliberate prohibition of international food aid, inducing manmade famine, and by routinely bombing civilian centers....

Whereas the National Islamic Front government is deliberately and systematically committing genocide in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, and the Ingessena Hills;

    That is a motion in the American house of representatives which is very descriptive and gives us an idea of the opinion and the feeling in the U.S. about the situation.

    We are just getting over the attack a couple of weeks ago on civilian populations in our continent. It has been a tough two weeks. For many people, even those who were not directly affected, their whole way of life has been challenged and shattered, and especially for those who had relatives who were direct victims of the terrorist acts in the United States.

    Civilians in the U.S., as they are in the Sudan, were the main victims. The victims in the Sudan are from direct military action and also from the manmade famine. Can anyone imagine a manmade famine that has left millions homeless and nearly two million have died?

  +-(1815)  

    As previous speakers have said, both sides say the military cannot resolve the issues. What is the role of Canada? Should we look the other way or should we play a part? In this case I believe the government has failed to provide direct leadership and a consistent, effective policy to indicate our abhorrence for the actions and the events in the Sudan.

    Canada should have a proactive solution or proposal for a resolution. We in our country have an obligation to do that, I believe, because of our standard of living and the protections we hold so dear in our standards of life. Once again Canada can play a role because we are seen to be in a very unique position in the world. We are seen as objective and fair and we could help a lot more than we have.

    Our party has had a long history of condemning attacks on civilian populations in any country, not only in the Sudan as has been brought to light in this motion. I simply call on the government to finally establish a comprehensive, firm, clear, consistent and effective policy by using economic, diplomatic and even military tools to bring it into the civil war of famine and terror in that country.

    Some speakers have outlined the confusion of the Canadian government with respect to dealing with the Talisman Energy issue, where one minister says one thing about the company's involvement in the country and another minister completely reverses it. That is why I say we need a consistent, effective and clear policy from the government. It is time that it was made available. It is time the government took steps to address this.

  +-(1820)  

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    Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I compliment my colleague for bringing up this issue. Because I have only three minutes I will work on dispelling some myths about this conflict and proffering some solutions.

    I was in Khartoum earlier this year. The following are my observations. First, this war is less about religion and has everything to do with economics. It is about control of the White Nile, control over timber resources, gold, mining and other resources.

    Second, there is a lot of proxy war going on right now. The Ugandans are supporting the SPLA in the south to fight their own internal war with the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda. That is a significant contributing factor in all of this.

    Both the SPLA and the government in Khartoum feel at this time that they both have tactical advantages on the ground. In my view neither are actually fully honest in their desire to pursue peace. There are as we know at least three peace endeavours. One is the IGADD process, another is an Egyptian-Libyan process and the third is a Kenyan process.

    I would encourage our government to do the following. First it should apply pressure to those governments that are using the Sudan as a proxy conflict. Pressure should be put on the Ugandan government of Mr. Museveni to stop supporting the SPLA. To the international groups and organizations that I believe have been misled into believing that this is a religious war between the Christians in the south who are being beaten up by the Arab-Islamic people in the north, let me say that is a complete misnomer. They should stop supporting the people in the south until the various factions of the SPLA make an honest effort to produce peace.

    Second, international communities must tell the government in Khartoum to stop all bombings, engage in an immediate ceasefire, allow relief shipments to go into the south freely and support a peace process among groups in the south that are fighting each other. There is a massive amount of internecine conflict between and among the Nuer and Dinka tribes in the south. It is an issue that is not brought up as often as it should be.

    Third, peace and relief operations from the south must be allowed to get into the south free of charge. No longer can the SPLA in the south charge moneys to international NGOs to relieve the suffering. As my colleagues mentioned, almost two million people are poised to die in the next few months. The FAO has said that this is a massive humanitarian crisis. Imagine what would happen if two million people were going to die in North America or in Europe. Yet the international community has largely turned a blind eye to this and allowed this bloodletting to continue. It cannot continue.

    On the issue of Talisman, it is the best of a bad situation. If Talisman is removed from the equation the small amounts of resources that are put in for the people on the ground for primary health and education would evaporate. Another country like China would take it over and all the primary health and education in the south would disappear, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of other people.

    I bring that to everyone's attention. On my website www.keithmartin.org there is actually a complete peace solution to this which I have distributed widely. I thank my colleague for bringing this important issue to the floor of the House.

  +-(1825)  

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    Mr. Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, as I was not quite able to conclude before about the wealth of information I have on some of the shameful and evil events that have gone on in Sudan, I would like to remind the House again that a minister of the House, Lloyd Axworthy, the former foreign affairs minister, acknowledged on CBC radio that the situation in Sudan was in respect to Talisman. He said that Talisman had not lived up to its obligations at all and he called the company's behaviour disgraceful.

    I referred as well to the Canada pension plan premiums. We could poll every Canadian and I am sure they would say that it was abhorrent that their Canada pension plan funds were being invested in Talisman to the tune of $57.3 million and that this investment was like blood on their hands. Canadian money is being invested in a company that is complicit in one degree or another.

    Although it operates at arm's length from the government, directors of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are appointed by the government on the recommendation of the Minister of Finance. Ultimately the government is responsible for CPP premiums investments. The government failed to include ethical guidelines for investing when it established the board in 1997.

    What has our government done to address the horrors in Sudan and the problem of Canadian involvement there in exacerbating the problems in that country? Nothing of significance. We all know this has dragged on many years. Others have suggested the SEMA should be brought to bear in this situation.

    Some have talked about IGAD. Although it is an honest attempt by people who are trying to broker peace, it is not working. In fact there are individuals who try in the midst of this to use what I would call the moral equivalence argument in respect to the situation in Sudan. They say that because the SPLA, which is involved, has done some bad things. Therefore, because it is bad on this side and bad on that side, we cannot blame the Sudanese government.

    As a father, if two of my kids were involved in a scrap and one came over with a baseball bat to do some damage on the other because the other had pushed him or something like that, there would be no moral equivalence. I would not say that because one pushed the other that justified knocking the other over the head with a bat.

    Moral equivalence is a fallacious kind of argument that is often used by the government; because the SPLA does something wrong, it justifies the Sudanese government doing something wrong. Both have done something wrong, but the blame is far more on the Sudanese government in this situation.

    The Liberal government has taken a somewhat disappointing, almost a who cares approach, to the tragedy in Sudan and to the Canadian complicity in that tragedy.

    The U.S. Congress has come up with two different versions of the Sudan peace act, but it takes the human rights abuses in Sudan seriously. This has gone on far too long. Three weeks ago President Bush appointed senator John Danforth as a special envoy to Sudan to try to work for peace.

    What is Canada doing? The Minister for Foreign Affairs, when pressed on his response to attacks on Talisman's oil concessions, said that the Sudanese were making efforts to secure the oil fields so that Canadians working for Talisman would be safe. I want all people there to be safe. Lives have been taken in this horrific, evil situation that has gone on far too long.

    My colleague, the member for Etobicoke--Lakeshore of the Liberal Party, has worked on this issue for eight long years, and I commend her for that. Others in the House have as well, for longer than I have been here. That just points out the fact that something of significance needs to be done. I commend all those others in the fight. We will stay at it.

    I ask one last time and appeal to the members across the way to allow this bill to go forward by giving their unanimous consent for it to be votable, so we can take it on to committee.

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    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): Is there unanimous consent to make this item votable?

    Some hon. member: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

-Adjournment Proceedings

[Adjournment Debate]

*   *   *

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    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

*   *   *

  +-(1830)  

[English]

-

-The Economy

+-

    Mr. Greg Thompson (New Brunswick Southwest, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, about a week ago I asked a question of the Minister of Transport regarding Air Canada and its request for bailout money. On that day I made the point that many sectors of the economy have suffered as a result of the September 11 tragedy in New York City which obviously has had an impact on the entire free world. Not only are airlines hurting, every sector of our economy is hurting.

    We now know that Air Canada is asking for $4 billion in compensation. As a reminder, $4 billion is exactly 4,000 $1 million bills. It is a lot of money. The government has to consider a number of things before it even remotely entertains this proposal.

    First, it is important to note that Air Canada has been losing money steadily since the merger. It had nothing to do with the September 11 tragedy. Obviously there are real costs associated with that tragedy and we understand that but every transport business in the country suffered as a result of the September 11 tragedy. Every manufacturing business in the country suffered as a result of the September 11 tragedy. It is only Air Canada that the government is listening to at this time.

    I will make a couple of suggestions. I am sure my colleagues next to me will support them. Before any consideration is given to Air Canada's request for money, the government should demand an external audit of Air Canada in terms of its management practices and a financial audit. Aside from that, Air Canada has a lot of explaining to do in terms of how it manages itself.

    Air Canada has a 14 member board. Each of those board members receives $37,000 a year to sit on that board. Mr. Speaker, if you think your job is a good one, listen to this. The board members get $1,000 a meeting. Last year there were 42 board meetings. In addition to the $37,000, they got $42,000 as a result of the 42 board meetings. It is $1,000 a pop. In addition to that they get free travel and expenses.

    When the cuts come at Air Canada, and they are coming because some were announced today, let us look at the management of Air Canada. How many people at the top are going to be cut?

    It is time Air Canada looked inward to find out why it was not making money prior to September 11. Air Canada owes the Canadian public an explanation.

    We do know there are direct costs resulting from the September 11 tragedy, but let an external audit be conducted. Allow us to do that so the Canadian taxpayer will know exactly what happened within the walls of Air Canada prior to September 11.

    On that I rest my case. I hope the government does the right thing and demands an external audit before it gives the request the slightest consideration.

[Translation]

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    Mr. André Harvey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for New Brunswick Southwest for sharing his parliamentary experience with this House. I think he deserves our full congratulations.

    He was right to point out that, before acting too quickly in financial terms, we must exercise caution.

    Reference to lost jobs is a generality. Jobs have been lost in a number of industrial sectors. I think that in the airline industry, the analysis must be very detailed.

    In response to what my colleague said a few days ago, the federal Minister of Transport, who has always been wise and circumspect in his interventions since the beginning of this crisis, was quite right in saying that we should not put the cart before the horse.

    We must take time to carefully assess the scope of the upset and the damage, and we must make no mistake, it is considerable, before we examine the facts and decide what it would be appropriate to do. This is just one part of the transportation industry.

    Indeed, I think that the Minister of Transport has shown the way. We must exercise caution, because, at the moment, all sectors are affected by the crisis.

    The terrorist attack changed all the parameters in our civilization. Our economy, our society and our whole network require us to think more deeply about what corrective measures should be taken, about more comprehensive safety measures.

    The minister should be commended, as the hon. member pointed out, for showing patience, for looking at the issue from a proper perspective and for not jumping into financial commitments which, I believe, would not necessarily be justified.

    I thank the hon. member for expressing his view. He can be assured that his comments will be taken into consideration in the global reflection that we must make, not only with regard to the transportation industry, but all the industrial and tourism sectors, and also the whole economy.

  -(1835)  

-

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

    (The House adjourned at 6.36 p.m.)