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37th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 094

CONTENTS

Monday, October 15, 2001




1100
V     Business of the House
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         (Motion agreed to)

1105
V     Ways and Means
V         Notice of Motion
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         (Motion agreed to)
V Routine Proceedings
V     Anti-terrorism Act
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Adoption des motions; première lecture et impression du projet de loi
V     Fight Against Terrorism
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

1110
V         Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance)

1115
V         Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ)

1120
V         Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR)

1125
V     Interparliamentary Delegations
V         Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V Government Orders
V     Supply
V         Allotted Day--Terrorism
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)

1130

1135

1140
V         Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC/DR)

1145

1150
V         The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)
V         Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP)

1155
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne
V         Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, PC/DR)
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)

1200
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne
V         Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

1205
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)

1210
V         Hon. Art Eggleton
V         Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)

1215

1220
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Maria Minna
V         Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP)

1225
V         Hon. Maria Minna
V         Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance)

1230

1235
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)
V         Mr. Brian Pallister
V         Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

1240
V         Mr. Brian Pallister
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)

1245

1250
V         Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Leon Benoit

1255
V         Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC/DR)
V         Mr. Leon Benoit
V         Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ)

1300

1305
V         Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)

1310

1315
V         Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby--Douglas, NDP)
V         Ms. Francine Lalonde

1320
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

1325

1330

1335

1340
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

1345
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough
V         Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR)
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough

1350
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR)
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough

1355
V         Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC/DR)
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough
V STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
V     Michelle Greiver
V         Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.)

1400
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance)
V     Research and Development
V         Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)
V     Renovation Month
V         Mr. Andy Savoy (Tobique--Mactaquac, Lib.)
V     Week Without Violence
V         Mr. Lynn Myers (Waterloo—Wellington, Lib.)
V     Breast Cancer
V         Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance)

1405
V     World Skills Competition
V         Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.)
V     Décision'elle
V         Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ)
V     Volunteer Work
V         Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine, Lib.)
V     Softwood Lumber
V         Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance)
V     Operation Apollo
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.)

1410
V     International Aid
V         Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP)
V     Kofi Annan
V         Mr. Yves Rocheleau (Trois-Rivières, BQ)
V     Kofi Annan
V         Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.)
V     Citizenship Week
V         Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River, PC/DR)
V     Arctic Winter Games
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.)

1415
V     Veterans Affairs
V         Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance)
V ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
V     Terrorism
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         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

1420
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     National Defence
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1425
V         Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V     Terrorism
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1430
V     National Security
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)
V         Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.)
V     Anti-Terrorism Legislation
V         Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)

1435
V         Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Ind. BQ)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Ind. BQ)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V     National Security
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V     Anti-terrorism Legislation
V         Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ)

1440
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ)
V         Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.)
V     Terrorism
V         Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V         Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V     National Security
V         Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V     Terrorism
V         Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP)

1445
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.)
V         Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)
V         Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West--Nepean, Lib.)
V         Mr. André Bachand (Richmond—Arthabaska, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.)
V         Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.)

1450
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     International Aid
V         Ms. Diane Bourgeois (Terrebonne—Blainville, BQ)
V         Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)
V         Ms. Diane Bourgeois (Terrebonne—Blainville, BQ)
V         Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)
V     Terrorism
V         Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance)

1455
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.)
V         The Speaker
V         Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.)
V     Organized Crime
V         Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.)
V         Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.)
V     Customs and Excise
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)
V         Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance)

1500
V         Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.)
V      Terrorism
V         Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ)
V         Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.)
V     International Aid
V         Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP)
V         Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)
V     Presence in Gallery
V         The Speaker
V         The Speaker
V         The Speaker

1505
V     Privilege
V         Computer Access--Speaker's Ruling
V         The Speaker

1510

1515
V         Bill C-36
V         Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance)

1520
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

1525
V         Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP)
V         Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ)

1530
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR)
V         Hon. Don Boudria

1535
V     [------]
V         Speaker's Ruling
V         The Speaker
V         Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance)
V         (Motion agreed to)
V     Points of Order
V         Oral Question Period
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR)
V         The Speaker

1540
V ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
V     Divorce Act
V         Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Canada Elections Act
V         Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.)
V         (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
V     Petitions
V         VIA Rail
V         Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.)
V     Questions on the Order Paper
V         Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

1545
V         The Speaker
V Government Orders
V     Supply
V         Terrorism
V         Mr. André Bachand (Richmond--Arthabaska, PC/DR)

1550

1555
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Mr. André Bachand
V         Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR)

1600
V         Mr. André Bachand
V         Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey--White Rock--Langley, PC/DR)

1605

1610
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Ms. Val Meredith
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR)

1615
V         Ms. Val Meredith
V         Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.)

1620

1625
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)
V         Mrs. Marlene Jennings
V         
V         Mr. Grant McNally
V         Mrs. Marlene Jennings

1630
V         Mr. Grant McNally
V         Mrs. Marlene Jennings
V         Ms. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.)

1635
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR)

1640
V         Ms. Anita Neville
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)
V         Ms. Anita Neville
V         Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance)

1645

1650
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Mr. Reed Elley
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)
V         Mr. Reed Elley

1655
V         Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance)

1700

1705
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR)

1710
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         Mr. Paul Szabo
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)
V         

1715

1720
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Mr. Grant McNally
V         Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR)
V         Mr. Grant McNally

1725
V         Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR)

1730
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

1735
V         Mr. Bill Casey
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR)
V         Mr. Bill Casey
V         Mr. Serge Marcil (Beauharnois--Salaberry, Lib.)

1740

1745
V         Mr. David Pratt (Nepean—Carleton, Lib.)

1750

1755
V         Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC/DR)
V         Mr. David Pratt

1800
V         Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert, BQ)

1805

1810
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ)

1815

1820
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)
V         Mr. Pierre Paquette
V         Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds--Dollard, Lib.)

1825

1830
V         Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)
V         Mr. Bernard Patry
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR)
V         Mr. Bernard Patry
V         The Deputy Speaker
V         (Amendment agreed to)

1835
V         The Deputy Speaker

1905
V     (Division 148)
V         The Speaker
V         
V     International Actions Against Terrorism
V         (House in committee of the whole--Mr. Milliken in the chair)
V         Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)
V         Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.)

1910

1915

1920

1925

1930
V         Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance)

1935

1940

1955
V         Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier--Sainte-Marie, BQ)

2000

2005

2010

2015
V         Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

2020

2025
V         Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie--Bathurst, NDP)

2030

2035
V         Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR)

2040

2045

2050

2055
V         Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

2100
V         Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance)

2105

2110
V         Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

2115

2120
V         Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ)

2125

2130
V         Mr. Tony Valeri (Stoney Creek, Lib.)

2135

2140
V         Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance)

2145

2150
V         Mr. John Harvard (Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, Lib.)

2155
V         Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP)

2200

2205
V         Mr. Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough--Agincourt, Lib.)

2210

2215
V         Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River, PC/DR)

2220

2225
V         Mr. Jerry Pickard (Chatham—Kent Essex, Lib.)

2230

2235
V         Mr. Art Hanger (Calgary Northeast, Canadian Alliance)

2240

2245
V         Mr. Clifford Lincoln (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.)

2250
V         Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, Canadian Alliance)

2255

2300
V         Hon. Bill Graham (Toronto Centre—Rosedale, Lib.)

2305

2310
V         Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, BQ)

2315

2320
V         Hon. Jean Augustine (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.)

2325
V         Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR)

2330

2335
V         Mr. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.)

2340

2345
V         Mr. Howard Hilstrom (Selkirk—Interlake, Canadian Alliance)

2350

2355
V         Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.)

2400

2405
V         Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Carleton, Canadian Alliance)

2410

2415
V         Mr. Mauril Bélanger (Ottawa--Vanier, Lib.)

2420

2425
V         Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR)

2430

2435
V         Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.)

2440

2445
V         Mr. John Cummins (Delta—South Richmond, Canadian Alliance)

2450

2455
V         Hon. Andy Mitchell (Secretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario), Lib.)

2500

2505
V         Mr. Keith Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, Canadian Alliance)

2510

2515
V         Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.)

2520

2525
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP)

2530

2535
V         Mr. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)

2540

2545
V         Ms. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.)

2550

2555
V         The Chairman
V         The Deputy Speaker






CANADA

House of Commons Debates


VOLUME 137 
NUMBER 094 
1st SESSION 
37th PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, October 15, 2001

Speaker: The Honourable Peter Milliken

    The House met at 11 a.m.


Prayers


*   *   *

  +(1100)  

[English]

+Business of the House

+

    Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among House leaders this morning. I want to thank the House leaders for their excellent co-operation for the following motion which I am now prepared to move to be adopted without debate. I move:

That Bill C-16 be withdrawn;

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice, immediately upon the adoption of this order, a minister of the crown shall table a Notice of Ways and Means motion, which shall immediately be deemed to have been concurred in, whereupon the House shall proceed immediately to the ordinary daily routine of business, except for introduction of private members' bills, presenting petitions and questions on the order paper, which shall be taken up at 3 p.m. this day;

That private members' business shall not be taken up this day, but the House shall proceed directly to government orders; and

That, at the ordinary time of daily adjournment this day, the House shall continue to sit and shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider a motion “That the committee take note of the international actions against terrorism”, provided that, during consideration thereof, (a) the Speaker may from time to time act as Chair of the committee, (b) the Chair of the committee shall not receive any quorum call or any motion except a motion “That the committee do now rise”, (c) after the first spokesperson for each party, no member may speak more than once or for more than ten minutes, (d) when no member rises to speak, the committee shall rise and (e) when the committee rises the House shall immediately adjourn to the next sitting day.

[Translation]

+-

    The Speaker: Does the hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons have the unanimous consent of the House to present this motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

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

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

    The Speaker: Accordingly, private members' business is dispensed with this day and the item to be debated today is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence. Is it agreed?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

*   *   *

  +-(1105)  

+-Ways and Means

+Notice of Motion

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to a special order of this House, I wish to table a notice of ways and means motion relating to the Registration of Charities Act under the Income Tax Act.

+-

    The Speaker: Pursuant to order adopted earlier this day this motion is deemed adopted.

    (Motion agreed to)


+Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Anti-terrorism Act

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-36, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities, in order to combat terrorism.

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

*   *   *

+-Fight Against Terrorism

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I have presented to the House today, legislative measures that seek to strengthen our national security. This legislation is part of the government's anti-terrorism plan.

[English]

    We have carried out our work in recognition of the following considerations. We believe that people everywhere are entitled to live their lives in peace and security. We believe it is the responsibility of government to ensure that peaceful existence.

    Terrorist acts like those that occurred on September 11 constitute a substantial threat to domestic and international stability. The challenge of eradicating terrorism requires co-operation among the community of nations and a strengthening of our capacity to suppress, investigate and incapacitate terrorist activities. To achieve this we know that Canada must work with other nations to combat terrorism.

    Furthermore, we believe that parliament must act to combat terrorism while continuing to respect and promote the values reflected in and the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Finally, we believe that legislation is one part of a comprehensive government response against terrorism.

[Translation]

    These are the considerations that motivate our legislation and they are reflected in its preamble and in its contents.

[English]

    The legislative package we are introducing seeks to amend not only various portions of the criminal code but also a number of other federal statutes, including the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Official Secrets Act and the Charities Act, just to name a few.

    The three main objectives of the new measures are: to suppress the very existence of terrorist groups; to provide new investigative tools; and to provide a tougher sentencing regime to incapacitate terrorists and terrorist groups.

    There are also measures that make general improvements to our ability to respond to terrorism and threats to national security. Other measures would enhance the Canadian values of respect for diversity and of preventing hatred and discriminatory actions fostered on the basis of race, religion and other unacceptable grounds.

    I would like to say a few more words about Canadian values. These values receive an important part of their legal expression in the charter of rights and freedoms. Charter rights have been considered and preserved against the objectives of fighting terrorism and protecting national security. I assure everyone in the House and all Canadians that we have kept the individual rights and freedoms of Canadians directly in mind in developing these proposals.

    The government is steadfast in its resolve to combat terrorism and its commitment to democracy is stronger than ever. As the Prime Minister stated last Sunday “I cannot promise that the campaign against terrorism will be painless but I can promise that it will be won”.

  +-(1110)  

+-

    Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add a few comments on the record at this time. I certainly echo the remarks of my leader earlier in stating that our party and members stand with the Prime Minister in fighting terrorism and ensuring that Canadians are secure. I also echo many of the statements that the minister made with respect to the fact that people everywhere were entitled to live their lives in peace and security and that it was the responsibility of government to ensure that peaceful existence.

    The bill that has been tabled today is an important step forward and reflects many of the issues that the Canadian Alliance Party has been raising in the House, unfortunately to little avail until the very tragic events of September 11. We even moved a motion in the House that asked the government very recently to take steps to name all known international terrorist organizations operating in Canada and to not only take away the charitable status of these terrorist organizations but also to have a complete ban on fundraising for activities in support of terrorism and provisions for the seizure of assets.

    We wanted immediate ratification of the suppression of financing of terrorism. We asked for the suppression of terrorist bombing, two very important conventions that the government neglected to put into place to the detriment of the security of the people of Canada.

    We raised concerns about the abuse of our immigration and refugee systems. We are all very mindful of the important role that immigrants and refugees play in Canada, yet we are also very mindful of the concerns that criminals abuse those systems.

    Every time we raised these issues we were called racist and worse. That was very disturbing, especially when it came from ministers of the crown. We were concerned about the very issues that the minister has now raised, but the government voted against the motion we brought to the House. Now, having woken up, it realizes the very grave situation. Hopefully the government has got past name calling.

    It was very difficult to stand and express concerns about issues and then be called racists for our efforts. The intentions of members on this side certainly were honourable, yet that was the standard defence of government. It was unfortunate that we could not have moved much quicker in dealing with these issues.

    We let down our American allies who suffered a terrible tragedy in New York City. It is one thing to say now that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans, which we do, but it is quite another thing to not have come to that realization that it was our obligation to do that prior to the horrific events of September 11.

    The bill is a complicated one. The National Post tells us it is approximately 150 pages long. We look forward to reviewing that in the House and in committee. I would urge all members to ensure that we move quickly and work overtime in the House to get this matter to committee, hopefully by Thursday.

  +-(1115)  

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues who spoke before me mentioned, it is clear that such a bill deserves our undivided attention, and we must seriously consider whether or not we need this type of legislative tool.

    When it comes to the safety of Canadians and Quebecers, we require legislation that is functional and effective. Democracy and the future of nations are at stake. This is critically important. Terrorism will not be tolerated on our respective territories and we must fight against it with all of our might.

    What concerns me this morning and concerned me last week, however, is that terrorism existed prior to September 11. In Canada, information has been collected by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, by the RCMP, by Canada Customs, and in airports. We knew that there were things happening on Canadian and Quebec territory. This information was funnelled, I hope, to Canada's solicitor general, and to the justice minister. They waited until September 11 to act.

    Obviously, it is never too late to do the right thing. However, it would have been nice if Canada had set an example to other countries by introducing a bill on terrorism, given the information that the government has had for a long time now, by reacting in time with the required legislation.

    This is a very lengthy bill, and one that I am sure is also very complex. Nothing is simple when it comes to terrorism, criminal gangs and the like.

    I would like to tell the minister at the outset that the Bloc Quebecois will act responsibly and support the government, as we have always done on this issue.

    As far as provincial consultation is concerned, I would hope that the government did consult them, since a bill as complex as this will have to be put into effect by the provinces. I would also hope that the government has an estimate of the costs involved in implementing the bill. They tend, on the other side of the House, to introduce bills and then look at the cost of them afterwards, knowing full well that the administration of justice is a provincial matter. The Quebec nation will support it for Quebec's part, and Quebec and the provinces will foot the bill in the end. I would hope that the government has given thought to the implementation of the bill and to consulting the provinces in this regard.

    Canada has signed international treaties. We have heard this said in recent weeks. Canada has signed at least two international treaties. They were signed a long time ago. Why has Canada not implemented them? I can understand that it wants to make up for lost time. It will probably include them in the bill the House will be considering. I would also have liked to see this bill introduced prior to the events of September 11.

    I feel things were improvised a bit in all that. I would hope that the bill will not reflect this improvisation. The government reacted to an event. Bills such as C-16 are currently before the Senate. What will the government do about them in connection with the one before us now? I can hardly wait to see.

    Once again, there is a feeling of improvisation, but we will co-operate as best we can with the government in order to have a bill that is important both to Quebec and to Canada. We will be there when it counts.

  +-(1120)  

[English]

+-

    Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, perhaps we should first take note of the fact that we are using a new procedure here that comes from the modernization report, which gives us an opportunity to comment, however briefly, on legislation. I say briefly deliberately because it is a very large bill and in some senses very complicated. Certainly we would want to reserve our final judgment on the bill until we have a chance not only to study it ourselves, but to hear from various elements within Canadian society as to what they think of this bill.

    I think everyone would agree that something needs to be done. There is no disagreement there. The status quo is not acceptable. On the face of it, the very fact that we have not yet ratified these UN conventions is something we could argue about when it should have been done. However, we certainly do not want to argue any more about whether it should be done. The fact that the government is moving to do this is welcome.

    At this point I would say that the approach of the NDP will be to examine the bill with a view to making sure that the legitimate rights of Canadians to domestic political dissent are not in any way threatened or curtailed. That is to say, that rights to peaceful dissent are not curtailed in any way. That would be the guiding principle in our examination of the bill, and we will be interested to see what other Canadians have to say with respect to that concern as well.

+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have an opportunity to respond initially to a new piece of legislation, perhaps one of the most comprehensive we will see in this parliament.

    I want to begin by commending the minister, her department and all departments that have been involved in the process of drafting what is a very comprehensive, somewhat complicated but an extremely important piece of legislation.

    We will obviously have an opportunity on the part of the coalition and on the part of members of the opposition to review this at the committee level. We will hear from experts and from those who may very well raise concerns about civil liberties. However, I believe an initial reading of the bill indicates that it sought to strike a careful balance between civil liberties and the protection of Canadian citizens, which is certainly very much the backdrop to Bill C-38 before us.

    There are concerns with respect in particular to the preventive arrest provisions of the legislation. This, I suggest strongly, will have to be coupled with training and with follow up from municipal, RCMP and military police to ensure that there is no abuse of this element of the legislation. As well, I suspect there will be resources attached to this type of legislation. Clearly there has been an indication on the part of the government that this is forthcoming.

    The Conservative coalition is tentatively supporting the legislation. We look forward to participating at the committee level to look at some of the gaps that the legislation seeks to fill. Other countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union, have taken steps in this direction to comply with international conventions and to comply with this new threat that came to fruition on September 11, but has been with us for a long time.

    The minister, in quoting the Prime Minister, stated in regard to the legislation that the campaign against terrorism would not be painless but would be won. We take them at their word, but it will take time. Obviously this type of legislation goes a long way toward giving our law enforcement community, our defence and internal security the tools they will require to embark on this lengthy and in many cases extremely dangerous venture to combat international terrorism.

    The bill itself has safeguards for parliamentary review. Some have suggested that a sunset clause of sorts might have been preferable. However, a parliamentary review in three years certainly gives parliamentarians and Canadians an opportunity to try the legislation on.

    We share the sentiment of all Canadians that the preservation of peace, order and good government is the primary objective behind this type of legislation. We in the coalition very much attach ourselves to the comments of the minister in that regard.

    We look forward to reviewing, as I said, elements of the arrest provision. Investigative hearings is another element that is some cause for concern. We will look at the investigative tools themselves to see how far they will go and how far they might be carried out in the pursuit of curtailing terrorism in this country.

    We look forward to working with the government and with all members of the opposition in the pursuit of this very lofty but extremely important activity which we are undertaking at this time to combat terrorism in this country and abroad.

*   *   *

  +-(1125)  

[Translation]

+-Interparliamentary Delegations

+-

    Hon. Charles Caccia (Davenport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held in Strasbourg, France, from June 25 to 29, 2001.

[English]

+-

    The Speaker: Before I call orders of the day, I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement government orders will be extended by 19 minutes.


+-Government Orders

[Supply]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Supply

+-Allotted Day--Terrorism

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR) moved:

That this House reaffirm its condemnation of the terrorist attacks against our NATO ally, the United States of America, on September 11, 2001, and affirm its support for Canada's courageous men and women in the Canadian Forces who are responding to defend freedom and democracy in the international military coalition against terrorism; and

That this House hereby order the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to sit jointly to hold frequent meetings with ministers and officials of the government and the military.

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague, the hon. member for Saint John.

    Five weeks ago Canadians lived in a world which felt much safer and more secure than it does today. The terrorist attacks of September 11 literally changed our lives forever.

[Translation]

    These attacks took place on American soil, but they resulted in the death of Canadians. These assaults against freedom and order, which are values that are dear to Canadians, put an end to an illusory feeling of invulnerability that may have been more deep rooted here than in the land of our super powerful neighbour.

    This attack was also directed against us, against who we are and what we believe in. It is our duty to react, not out of vengeance, but to protect our communities, to comfort and help our friends for whom any feeling of safety is gone, and to prevent a repeat of such terrorist acts.

  +-(1130)  

[English]

    I commend the Canadian government for now playing a more active role, including a military role, in the common front and common fight against terrorism.

    The motion has three purposes. First, we will vote today to reaffirm our condemnation of the terrorist attack.

    Second, we will vote to affirm our support for the courageous men and women of the Canadian armed forces who will be joining the international military coalition to fight terrorism and defend free and orderly societies.

    Third, we will vote to order the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to meet jointly and frequently to hear and examine ministers and officials of the government.

    September 11 was a turning point in all our lives, an event marked by cruel losses, grotesque images, fear, anger, sleeplessness and helplessness. We have seen the looks on the faces of children who comprehend the anxiety better than we may think and wonder when their lives can be normal again.

    This is Canada today. It is a country alert to a profound threat and consumed by an unaccustomed fear and sadness. It is a country that does not often ask for leadership, but Canada wants leadership now.

    All of us in the House share responsibility for that leadership. We need leadership both in the short term, in playing Canada's full and unequivocal part in the common front against terrorism, and in the longer term in ensuring Canada has the military strength to meet its responsibilities. In concert with our allies, our intelligence services must be strong enough not to be taken by surprise again. We must ensure that Canada again assumes a leading role in international development.

    As my colleague from Saint John will argue, we have let our military capacity run down dangerously and we are paying a price for it now. If public opinion is against military spending we need to change public opinion. Working for peace but planning to fight when necessary is decidedly better than planning for peace and hoping others will defend us when we are in trouble.

    No one wants to imagine the kind of situation we would be facing in the world today if the United States had shirked its military responsibilities the way we have tiptoed around ours.

    Let us be clear about our immediate obligation. It is to find, fight and stop the September 11 terrorists. The country of Afghanistan is not the target. The ravaged people of Afghanistan are not the target. That is why military strikes and humanitarian aid are being sent simultaneously. The target is the terrorists whom the Taliban regime cultivates and protects. The purpose is to cause the Taliban to surrender the terrorists.

    The first attempts were diplomatic. That is why the coalition was so carefully built. That is why Prime Minister Blair was in Pakistan playing the last diplomatic card. We all knew the only argument that might persuade the Taliban was the threat of force, and one does not threaten force unless one intends to use it.

    From the public statements of al-Qaeda we can only assume that the terrorists plan future attacks against the men, women and children of North America. The Government of Canada would know because it has access to intelligence assessments of the question, assessments the Prime Minister has refused to share with the House or with Canadians generally. However other governments have been more open with their assessments of the threat we face and they believe it is real.

    I have always argued that one of the distinguishing assets of Canada in the world is a moral authority. If we have a moral authority we must use it or risk losing it. In these circumstances our language and our actions must be strong, clear and unequivocal. There is no moral justification for the statements and actions of the al-Qaeda network and Osama bin Laden.

  +-(1135)  

    I have been to refugee camps in the Middle East and in Peshawar. I have been to ground zero in New York. The horror of one does not justify the horror of the other. No serious student of the modern world would dispute that poverty, desperation and envy are spawning grounds for terrorism.

    There can be no doubt at all that Canada and other democracies have let our commitment to international development and justice falter. That commitment must be renewed in the interest of populations who suffer and in our own interest.

    However let us not confuse the conditions which spawn terrorism with the cynical, calculated, cold blooded and deadly determination of an Osama bin Laden to exploit those conditions. These terrorists are professional, well trained, well funded killers. It is clear who they are. They are terrorists. Spreading fear and terror is their motivation. Terrorism is their only real religion.

    On September 11 Osama bin Laden and his followers killed Muslims, Christians and Jews. He killed men, women and children. He killed rich people and poor people. He asked for nothing. He made no demands. He put forward no agenda. He accepted no responsibility. He and the killers he recruited and shaped deserve scorn, not understanding. No one in the House or in the country should confuse the conditions which might nurture terrorism with the cold blooded criminal intent to exploit those conditions.

    The urgent task now is to catch and stop the criminals whose weapon is reckless terror. That is why it is right and necessary for Canada to play a full and active military role. The motion calls on the government to keep parliament and Canadians informed about the crisis in the same way parliament and Canadians were informed during the gulf war. We propose the same procedure that members of the government argued for and used so constructively during that crisis.

    At other times I will argue that the government has a general obligation to inform and involve Canadians. What I will argue today is that informing and involving Canadians is an opportunity to enlarge the contribution Canada and its citizens can make to the campaign against terrorism. Parliamentarians and private citizens must plan responses to the attacks. We need the most basic information about the government's analysis of the threat.

    I understand fully the need for confidentiality on sensitive matters. My diplomats moved hostages out of Iran. I briefed the House and its committees fully during the gulf war. What is at issue here is not a matter of national security. It is about the practical value of facts and the advantage of information in helping to mobilize and reassure a free society. That reassurance is important.

    Ordinary Canadians are more concerned about their safety and their children's safety than they have been in decades. Each new report of anthrax, crop dusters or outrageous statements by Osama bin Laden and his followers increase that anxiety.

    Ignorance feeds fear. Secrecy feeds fear. Facts fight fear. One reason to tell Canadians the truth is that it would help offset the worries that secrecy inspires. Another powerful reason is that getting the facts out would help mobilize the information and insights of Canadians outside government who know things the government does not know.

    Let us be realistic. Osama bin Laden did not plan his attacks on a computer or communicate by Internet. The plots began quite literally in some obscure corner of the world which most Canadians do not know and which our security services do not know well enough. They have not kept up to date in Canada or among our allies.

[Translation]

    On the other hand, there are Canadians who work in that part of the globe and who know the language, culture and anguish of its inhabitants.

    For these reasons, the government should agree to share with parliament and Canadians more of the information that it has.

  +-(1140)  

[English]

+-

    Mr. Dennis Mills (Toronto—Danforth, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my question for the right hon. member deals with the second part of his speech. He was very clear on the fact that we must continue to act. The first statement made was that we would be there with military support, with our national armed forces, et cetera. My question is on the last point that the member was dwelling on: the human intelligence that we must develop in order to participate and have the knowledge that Canadians want in a more effective way.

    What specific recommendations does he have for the House on how the human intelligence can be improved through our spy systems, et cetera?

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark: Mr. Speaker, I will try to be very brief. First, I think it is clear, and it is not meant as a criticism, that the capacity of our security and intelligence services and that of our allies has not kept up with the kind of world in which these plots are developed. A lot of money needs to be put into those services immediately. We need to bring back people who are experts in those fields and gather that information.

    However, there is another aspect in the country, this most international of countries. We send people out every day into the far corners of this world where these plots are conceived. They do not go out with their computers. They go out on the ground. From my own city of Calgary geologists and other oil workers go out every day. They work in the far places of the globe. They sit down at night with people who might be tempted to be drawn into these kinds of plots.

    Again, let us look at all the non-governmental organizations that work on Canada's behalf, going to places where children are in need, where women are in need, where there is desperation that must be addressed. Those people dig themselves deeply into the communities. They understand the culture. Our intelligence networks do not understand the culture from which these plots come.

    What we need to do is draw upon the information that exists in the grand public. The best way to do that is for the government to say “Here is what we know. Tell us what you know.” I believe that kind of partnership between private Canadians who know things and the public would be very productive.

    However if the government stays silent, it will not release the information that could be so helpful for us in understanding not only what caused the attacks last month but also what threats might emerge or exist for Canada in the future. That is why information is so important. This is a place for information and that is why we have proposed a regular reference for the standing committee, as was so successful during the gulf war, to ensure that the maximum amount of information is made available to people who may return in kind with information that the government and the country desperately need.

+-

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the House and my right hon. colleague for allowing me the opportunity to speak to this important motion.

    I have come to believe that in every generation Canadians are tested, both by foreign and domestic events. In these trying times our commitment to the basic principles of equality, diversity, tolerance and justice are tested. How we conduct ourselves in the face of danger and adversity is what defines our national character. I am proud of the determination and compassion shown by the Canadian people in the aftermath of September 11. It is with that spirit of confidence and pride in the people of Canada that I stand here today.

    When I first considered the motion I was struck by the need for the House to maintain the important balance between the duty to be accountable to the Canadian people and the duty to ensure our national security. While our rich military heritage has afforded us a number of precedents for how to accomplish this task, I believe that perhaps we should look to our charter of rights and freedoms for guidance.

    Section 1 of the charter states that we should always guarantee the basic principles of fundamental justice “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

    I believe, and I hope my colleagues here today would agree, that our duty to remain accountable to the Canadian people in times of war, as in times of peace, should be limited only by what can be justified in a free and democratic society. Without question the government must not disclose any information that might place our armed forces, or indeed those of our allies, at even greater risk. The purpose and effect of the motion before the House does not in any way suggest that we compromise national security. What is expressed in this motion is the desire of the Canadian people to have their government remain as accountable as is reasonable under the circumstances.

    The concept of a joint committee of the standing committee on national defence and the standing committee on foreign affairs is based on the fundamental truth that the government is never completely excused from its duty to inform parliament of its actions. If this is the truth we hold in times of peace, it is that much more crucial in times of war. The joint standing committee would serve two basic principles. First and foremost it would ensure that parliament has at its disposal the most current information as to the status of the ongoing campaign against terrorism. Second, it could serve as a vivid reminder that the Canadian government remains a government of the people, even in the most pressing and difficult of times.

    Each and every conflict our nation has faced in its proud history has been substantially different from any other. However, it is not an exaggeration to suggest that this current war against terrorism is a new type of conflict, novel not only to Canada but to mankind as a whole. In the past our ocean borders have served to protect us from the many horrors of war. For this reason, in the last century our nation has been spared much of the civilian death and destruction that has ravaged so many other continents.

    On September 11 we were taught a vicious lesson and were shown that evil will strike whenever and wherever it wishes. If we remain idle the battlegrounds of the 21st century could well be our cities. We have received notice in the cruellest of fashions that we are now targets. We are targets because we value a free and democratic system of government. We are targets because we do not discriminate on the basis of gender, religious faith or ethnic race.

    In short, we are targets for the very reason that makes us Canadians. Therefore if we change our system of government, if we alter our way of life from free to secret, from overt to covert, in effect we are giving the terrorists what they want most. The greatest proof that their attacks have failed and that their future attacks would be futile would be for Canada and our government to continue with these fundamental principles of justice and freedom that have served us so well since 1867.

  +-(1145)  

    We in the House are extremely fortunate that we have been allowed to make our stand against terrorism from inside the security of the Chamber. From this sheltered House we have sent our most courageous citizens into the path of danger.

    To prove that we are worthy of this power, the power to wage war and the power to order Canadians in the prime of their lives to serve their country in the most dangerous place on earth, we must make the case for it each and every day. We must prove to the nation and to the families of our men and women in uniform that what we have done and what we continue to do is just and right. Each and every one of us has a duty to support without condition or moderation our Canadian men and women in uniform. We also have an equal duty to honour our commitments to our nation's allies, to NATO, to NORAD and to the United Nations.

    Since Confederation our country has sent its most courageous citizens to fight injustice and tyranny on almost every continent. To that end, Canadians have offered their lives in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Ours is a proud military heritage forged both in times of war and in times of peace. Ours is a reputation earned through a constant commitment to the highest principles of mankind and an unwavering faith in the just equality of the world's people.

    I take great personal comfort in knowing that our Canadian forces personnel will stand on the frontlines of this campaign as they have stood on the front lines of every significant campaign of the last century. There is no question that our freedom is as safe and secure as it can be when it is in the protective care of the Canadian military and our men and women in uniform.

    I have always said and will always continue to say that in any discussion of our armed forces we must leave politics at the door. I want to appeal to all Canadians to support our military in these difficult times. I want to appeal to the government to ensure that from this day forward our military will receive the funds it requires to get the tools it needs to do its job.

    There has been a great deal of concern expressed in the country about the status of our military equipment, perhaps most notably the dependability of our Sea King helicopters. I have the utmost confidence in the pilots and the crews of our Sea King fleet, but like all Canadians I am well aware of how unreliable the Sea Kings have proven to be in recent years. The minister of defence himself has indicated that the Sea Kings are near the end of their operational life and yet no replacement has been chosen, let alone purchased or delivered. If the government had not cancelled the EH-101 and had left politics at the door in 1993 we would have new helicopters for our pilots.

    Let there be no mistake. We have seen the reality of our post-cold war country. We continue to live in a vicious and dangerous world where threats are not always obvious and risks are rarely clear. We must therefore always take seriously our responsibility to maintain a robust and effective armed forces, knowing that many of the threats we will face in the future will now be unpredictable. The attacks of September 11 have given us ample proof that we must always be vigilant in the defence of freedom.

    Being vigilant means being ready. Being ready means having an effective armed forces and giving it the tools and capabilities it needs to meet every imaginable challenge. While I might not be convinced that our military has all the tools it needs to complete those complicated tasks we assign them, I can say without hesitation that person for person we have the best military in the world.

    The motion before the House today affords us another opportunity to justify our presence here in the House. It allows us another opportunity to condemn the cowardly terrorist acts of September 11 and also to take positive action to secure our system of government.

    In closing, it is crucial that the courage and compassion of the Canadian people be reflected in the actions of our government. It is vital that in the exercise of our parliamentary duties we adhere to the same principles of open accountability that we did before September 11. I therefore urge all members to support the motion. I feel so strongly about the merits of the motion that I move:

    That the words “jointly to hold frequent meetings” be substituted by the words “frequently, including joint meetings”.

  +-(1150)  

+-

    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair): The amendment is in order.

+-

    Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Saint John said she believed that we have competent people in the armed forces but that she had concerns regarding the Sea King helicopters. She felt that she did not want to get into politics and that the government missed the boat in 1993.

    If she does not have any confidence in the Sea Kings, would she recommend to the Government of Canada to keep them in Canada and not send our armed forces to sea with them, particularly if they are not in good shape? I would like her opinion on that because she said she wanted the safety of our people to be primary but at the same time she made the comment that the Sea Kings were not in acceptable shape.

  +-(1155)  

+-

    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Mr. Speaker, I would have liked to have seen our EH-101s there, but that will not be the case. We have committed 2,000 personnel to assist Great Britain and the United States to bring about peace in the world. We have to rise above the situation in Afghanistan and the terrorists.

    I am hoping and praying, as is the minister of defence, that our Sea Kings will be able to do the job while they are there. A lot of repairs and changes have been carried out and the situation is being monitored.

    We have to make sure that our borders are safe. For that reason we need to keep some of the Sea Kings here, and we will. We are not sending all of them over there. That is not what is happening. One of our frigates that is in the Mediterranean will be going to the Persian Gulf and the rest will be leaving on Wednesday.

    We have been fighting for the replacement of the Sea Kings and we will continue to do that. I pray that the minister is accurate when he says that our men will be all right with the Sea Kings at the present time.

+-

    Mr. Chuck Strahl (Fraser Valley, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her comments about the military. She has a well deserved and well earned reputation for being concerned not only about the military capabilities of our armed forces but its equipment needs as well.

    She talked about how to depoliticize the armed forces issue and how it was time for the country to consider a new way of looking after our military. We are all proud of it. We send our military into harm's way around the world and yet it ends up being a political football. It is affected by budget cuts, political decisions like the EH-101 and closures of army bases. It is all political football.

    Funding is allocated in other countries for the military on a long term basis. They give their military a chunk of funding and say what they want done. They ask what is needed in terms of budget and in turn they do not politicize it. The military is left with that budget for a long term.

    Does the hon. member think that it may be a way to depoliticize the military because there have been far too many examples of this in recent times?

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Mr. Speaker, I believe everyone is aware of the report tabled by the Canadian Defence Association called “Caught in the Middle”. It was prepared by approximately 600,000 retired personnel including colonels and generals. It stated that we have to put $1 billion in the budget every year for the next five years to stabilize our military and after that we have to put in more billions of dollars.

    I say to the minister of defence that we will support him when he goes to cabinet and tells the Prime Minister that he needs billions of dollars for the military. We will support him fully on that, and I hope that is what he will do.

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    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I ask the defence critic for the Conservative Party to comment on the statement she made on the weekend that the Sea Kings were unsafe and that they would fall out of the sky. Could she clarify for Canadians, and particularly the families of those who will be flying the Sea Kings, that in fact that is not the case and these helicopters will not fall out of the sky?

  +-(1200)  

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne: Mr. Speaker, I did not say they would fall out of the sky. It was a member of his party who said they would fall out of the sky. I have had major concerns with regard to the replacement of the Sea Kings ever since a pilot was killed just outside my riding of Saint John. Others as well have had a difficult time.

    We have been informed in the last 48 hours that they have been working on the Sea Kings to make sure they are safe and sound. I pray, and I want everyone else to pray, that this is the way it will be for our Sea Kings until the pilots come home safely.

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    Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Beaches--East York who is also the Minister for International Cooperation. I rise to support the motion before us today but not all the rhetoric from the sponsors of the motion. The motion of the right hon. member for Calgary Centre is worthy of the support of the House.

[Translation]

    Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Canadians have been unwavering in their support for their greatest friend, their closest neighbour and their best ally.

[English]

    This support has not only been in words but in deeds. Last week the Prime Minister reiterated Canada's commitment to the international coalition against terrorism. In so doing he joined a chorus of nations with a pledge to stand up to the evils of terrorism and to protect the values and the way of life of their people.

    The Canadian forces are making a strong and meaningful contribution to this United States led coalition against terrorism. HMCS Halifax, which was serving with the NATO standing fleet in the Atlantic, is currently on its way to the gulf region. We are contributing a Canadian naval task group that will be comprised of two frigates, a destroyer, a supply ship and Sea King helicopters. Another frigate, HMCS Vancouver, will be integrated into a U.S. carrier battle group off the west coast.

    Altogether six naval ships have been provided, twice as many as were provided at the time of the gulf conflict. In addition our air force will be providing surveillance and airlift support, three Hercules, two Aurora aircraft and one Polaris airbus. It will help deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, a role that is eminently suitable for Canada.

    A component of our joint task force 2 to counter terrorism has been requested and will be participating. All together our commitment will include more than 2,000 members of the Canadian forces. These men and women have gained an international reputation as being among the most highly trained professional forces anywhere in the world. As they prepare to deploy on this new mission, their dedication and commitment should be an inspiration to all of us.

    When the United States requested military assistance from Canada it did so knowing that the Canadian forces was highly interoperable with its own forces. Last month two of our frigates, the Charlottetown and the Winnipeg, returned from the gulf area where they had been helping enforce the United Nations embargo against Iraq over the past five years. There they operated as fully integrated members of the U.S. carrier battle groups.

    The Canadian navy is able to attain a level of interoperability with the United States navy that is second to none. We have seen the importance of being able to operate seamlessly alongside our allies in the gulf and again in the Balkans. It will no doubt be critical to our success in the current campaign to combat terrorism.

    Canada's military contribution to the coalition is not limited to the 2,000 men and women that are part of Operation Apollo.

  +-(1205)  

[Translation]

    As an active and committed member of NATO, Canada is also taking part in the collective fight led by the alliance in response to the attacks against the United States.

[English]

    Following a decision by the North Atlantic Council, NATO has begun deploying five of its airborne warning and control systems aircraft, AWACS, from Europe to the United States. These aircraft will operate in support of NORAD, thereby freeing up United States aircraft to deploy elsewhere.

    Canada is the third largest contributor to AWACS both in terms of personnel and funding. Over 120 members of the Canadian forces are currently serving with AWACS, many of whom will no doubt be an integral part of NATO's deployment. That is over and above the 2,000.

    Canada's overall military contribution to the international coalition demonstrates our commitment to stand with our American friends and exercise our right to a collective self-defence that is preserved in article 51 of the United Nations charter.

    However this is only part of the response to September 11. Over the past five weeks the government has taken decisive and practical measures to enhance our capacity to deal with the ongoing threat.

    This morning the Minister of Justice tabled a legislative package that would strengthen our abilities to combat terrorism. An important component of the package involves amendments to the National Defence Act, particularly those that relate to the operations of the Communications Security Establishment known as CSE. The amendments would provide a means of authorizing the CSE to collect communications at the very moment when they have the most direct impact on Canada's interests, that is when terrorists or those who support them are communicating with someone in Canada.

    This is a new authority that would be exercised within strict boundaries. However even within these boundaries it would allow us to enhance our intelligence gathering capacity as a contribution to the intelligence alliance we have had for a number of years with the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

    Domestically we are being proactive on a number of other fronts. The Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness continues to provide national leadership on the issue of critical infrastructure protection.

    The Canadian forces have a nuclear, biological and chemical response team. It is capable of working with the RCMP as part of a joint response effort. It can give advice and technical assistance throughout the country at the provincial and municipal levels during a nuclear, biological or chemical emergency.

    Joint task force 2, even though some of its personnel will be going overseas, continues to stand ready to respond quickly to any terrorist act that may take place on Canadian soil.

[Translation]

    With today's motion, we are drawing, and rightly so, the attention of all members and Canadians to the courage and the dedication of the men and women in the Canadian forces.

[English]

    As they sail from our harbours and take off from our runways they can be assured that the thoughts and prayers of all of us are with them and with their families.

    Prime Minister Mackenzie King once said “If a great and clear call of duty comes, Canada will respond”. I say to the House today that the call of duty has come again. Canada will step up to the challenge as she has on so many occasions before.

    I have no doubt in the long months ahead and through the difficult campaign that awaits us that members of the Canadian forces will do us proud. The responsibility they carry on behalf of all Canadians is enormous. Please join me in ensuring them of our support.

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    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his presentation today. He knows that he has the full support of the official opposition with regard to Canada's commitment. It is a reasonable commitment, given what we have available in our forces. I congratulate the minister on that commitment.

    I have a question regarding homeland defence. We know that there are only two supply ships in Canada. One will be sailing soon with the task force, which leaves only one supply ship for two coasts that are an awful long way apart. Could there be a problem resulting from that in terms of homeland defence?

    Does the minister have any plans for putting in place on an urgent basis another supply ship so that we have one available off each coast in case a need arises?

  +-(1210)  

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    Hon. Art Eggleton: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments and his expression of support.

    With respect to homeland defence, contrary to something I read in the newspaper the other day that about a third of our navy was involved, actually less than one-fifth of our navy is involved. We still have a substantial navy to protect our country and to patrol our waters.

    The Canadian forces, particularly the chief of defence staff, has indicated that a supply ship can be provided and there will still be adequate protection within Canada. We must bear in mind that it is more than just the navy that will be part of homeland defence. We also have the army, which does not have a very large number of people involved in this particular mission at this point, the regular army, the regular reserves and other components of the air force. These forces serve for the protection of Canada as they have demonstrated in past natural disasters. In any possible disaster, natural or man-made, they would stand ready to serve the people of this country. The primary concern of the Canadian forces is to ensure the security of Canada and its people.

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    Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I welcome the debate on a motion that raises some very important points for our country's response to the current global situation.

    The terrorist attacks in the United States were horrific acts which have changed our world forever. Canada has a role to play in fighting terrorism on many fronts. My heart goes out to the victims of the attacks.

[Translation]

    The terrorist's objective is to destabilize and destroy by spreading fear not only at the national level, but at the individual level.

    Consequently, our response to the global threat of terrorism must focus on the individual as well.

    Human security must go beyond the traditional concept of physical security as a result of conflict.

    My definition of human security includes the elimination of poverty, ensuring access to basic education and health services, the protection of children, the promotion and protection of human rights, the eradication of disease and the preservation of the environment.

    These basic elements, which are at the very core of human security, are key development objectives. To achieve long term stability, we must address the root causes of conflict: poverty, economic disparity, exclusion and social injustice.

[English]

    Terror and horror exist in other parts of the world and it has existed for a long time. In our fight against the fanatics who terrorized the American citizens, we must also wage a war against poverty. Young people or people who have absolutely no hope and are marginalized in our world are easy prey for fanatics and for those who would exploit them in different parts of the world where there is terrorism going on as we speak, such as in Sierra Leone, in our own hemisphere in Colombia and elsewhere.

    It is important to remember that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan did not begin on September 11. Before the terrorist attacks in the United States, millions of Afghan people were already leading lives of desperation, the legacy of 20 years of conflict and 3 years of severe and persistent drought. Millions of Afghan people had already fled their homes leaving behind their livelihood, their belongings and, in many cases, their hopes and dreams.

    Canada has been there for Afghanistan. Over the past decade, working with multilateral institutions, Canadian non-governmental organizations and grassroots organizations, Canada has contributed nearly $150 million in assistance to the Afghan people, assistance that provided emergency food and shelter, that addressed the special needs of girls and women, that helped to rid the towns and countryside of deadly landmines, that helped to fight the spread of disease, that helped refugees and internally displaced people, that helped to educate children, especially girls, and that helped to plant the seeds of peace.

    My department, the Canadian International Development Agency, has been helping CARE Canada organize community based schools in Afghanistan, educating over 10,000 children and over 40% of them are girls. In fact I am delighted to report that even in today's desperate situation some of these schools are still operating. This is one example of true partnerships with the people of Afghanistan, not outside interventions. Brave and dedicated Afghan women and men help in food distribution, teach the children, work in bakeries to feed their communities and risk their lives in the dangerous work of demining.

    We are supporting ordinary people doing extraordinary things just to survive and give their communities a sense of hope. They are working for the future of Afghanistan and we are concerned about the safety and security of these humanitarian workers as well as that of the population.

    Canada was there for Afghanistan before September 11 and, in the aftermath of those tragic events, we will continue to be there.

    I would like now to briefly recap Canada's response to the current crisis in Afghanistan. Ours has been a measured response evolving as events unfold in and around Afghanistan. Most important, we have worked with our partners to identify the most strategic uses of Canadian assistance. I am proud to say that Canada was one of the first countries to respond to the crisis. On September 18 we contributed $1 million to the call of $6 million from the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    On September 29, following the meeting with UN secretary general Kofi Annan, the Prime Minister announced $5 million in addition to the initial $1 million. Once again these funds were targeted at the emerging needs of Afghan refugees in the region and internally displaced people within Afghanistan.

    Our recent $6 million commitment is on top of the $12 million in humanitarian assistance we already provided to Afghanistan this year. Canada's total contribution so far is $18 million in 2001.

    The crisis is obviously affecting countries surrounding Afghanistan as well. Given the influx of the refugees into Pakistan, we have acted to lighten the burden on that country. On October 1 we announced that Canada would convert up to $447 million of the debt owed by Pakistan to the Canadian International Development Agency. This means that instead of making debt payments, Pakistan will be able to put the money into education and other social programs, some of which will benefit Afghan refugees as well.

    Last night I returned from meetings in Geneva with Jakob Kellenberger, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Ruud Lubbers, the UN high commissioner for refugees. After reviewing the situation in and around Afghanistan, we discussed the most effective ways to help the population on the ground.

  +-(1215)  

    As we know, because of the unrelenting drought, crops have failed. Millions more people are now on the move and winter is fast approaching. That is a deadly combination that puts millions of people at extremely serious risk. Let me assure everyone that the government will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with the Red Cross movement and the United Nations.

    Right now getting food into the country to those who need it most is paramount. That is why Canada will work with the UN and its World Food Program in particular to help with the logistics. We are already considering the next steps, including peace building activities, because humanitarian assistance should be now versus later. If we want peace to take hold, we must work for it now.

    As a recognized leader in the field, Canada will pursue a wide range of peace building initiatives with our local partners at the same time as we help Afghan men and women rebuild their lives piece by piece. We must look ahead to the third phase of our assistance. In the event of the arrival of a representative, internationally recognized government in Afghanistan, Canada will, along with other members of the international community, look to support the Afghan people's long term transition, reconstruction and sustainable development effort. Future considerations will include setting up a transitional bilateral assistance program with Afghanistan.

    Before September 11, Canada had been quietly supporting Afghanistan over the past decade. Once the cameras pack up and the world's attention is turned elsewhere, we will still be there responding to ongoing emergency needs, planting seeds for peace and looking for ways to help the Afghan people build a brighter future of hope for themselves.

  +-(1220)  

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    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I have two brief questions for the minister. First, will she be supporting the motion tonight in the House? Second, what concrete measures can she give and can she assure the House that the aid dollars she has indicated will go to Afghanistan will be directed to those who supply the aid in a way where it can be monitored so that it does not fall into the wrong hands, so to speak?

    I know she mentioned briefly some of those details. Could she give us a little more specific detail as to what the government's plan is in that particular area?

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    Hon. Maria Minna: Mr. Speaker, as always when we provide programming in any country, whether it is on an emergency basis, a reconstruction basis or developmental programs, Canada always works with executing organizations, such as the Red Cross, OXFAM, UNICEF, as well as internationally renowned Canadian non-governmental organizations that work on the ground in partnership with the country with which we are working.

    We make explicit contractual arrangements with organizations to do specific types of work. If we are working in the health field and providing health care, health services and rebuilding the health care system, we will work with organizations that have that kind of expertise. We would have a contractual arrangement and CIDA would pay out the money as the work is done. We monitor our programs very closely. That is an example of how we would conduct a program.

    The same would apply in the areas of education, food supply and so on. We work on food emergency with the UN World Food Program, which again would receive some funding from us and we work very much in partnership with the multilateral organizations as well.

    CIDA does not give money to governments. Certainly it does not recognize the Taliban and it never has. If or when a provisional government is established in Afghanistan, obviously it would be some time before we would be in a position to work with it on a bilateral level as it stabilizes. Even then we would still be working with partners on the ground as we have traditionally done and continue to do.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie—Bathurst, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the minister, but first I will make a comment.

    If we believe in a democratic country, which we consider Canada to be, and if, in 1989, it was a good thing for the Liberals in opposition to ask the government in office to hold a vote before sending our people off to war, it is still a good thing today.

    Last week, the Prime Minister announced that our troops would be going to war, without recalling parliament in Ottawa. He therefore gave us no chance to vote democratically in this regard. He simply called cabinet to an emergency meeting last Tuesday.

    I would like the minister's opinion. Does she agree with that? In 1989, was it improper for the leader of the Liberals at the time to ask the House for a vote? Was it not important? Should the Conservatives of the day have refused the request? Should we not today have the same respect as was given in 1989 and be given, we who have been democratically elected here to represent our ridings, the opportunity to vote before our men and women go off to war and to be given the respect we are due in the House?

    An hon. member: Good question.

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[English]

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    Hon. Maria Minna: Mr. Speaker, first, we have had 35 hours of debate in the House before this decision was made. With respect, this parliament is probably one of the most active. I hope the hon. member was part of that debate. Today there will be ongoing debate on the reaction and I also hope the hon. member will participate. There has been ample time to participate on this issue.

    I remind the member that it is not just the military action we have to look at. We sometimes forget that there are innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and in other parts of the world. What I would like to talk about is the issue of eradicating violence in our system and around the world so we no longer have to deal with this kind of terrorism.

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    Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of the resolution of my colleagues from the Progressive Conservative Party. I thank them for bringing it forward. Also, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Lakeland.

    The climate of freedom is peace. In Canada we have become complacent about our freedoms and have taken our peace for granted. Others fought for that peace. Most of this generation did not, until now.

    A few days ago our Prime Minister announced that Canadian forces would be deployed in support of our great ally, the United States of America, in the initiative against terrorism in Afghanistan. This commitment of courageous Canadian men and women is just. It is the right thing to do for several reasons.

    First, it is our obligation to our allies, both in NATO and in a broader sense to all those nations who value liberty and security. It is of necessity that we stand with those who oppose terrorism and against those whose perverted fanaticism dehumanizes and imperils western civilization, and has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Those victims include hundreds who practise the true Muslim faith, a faith that values peace.

    However, it is our obligation as well to stand against those whose sole purpose is to strike fear into the hearts of all of us and our friends. The presence of fear erodes the sense of freedom within us. At this time in our history, Canadians may well support numerous public policy initiatives that sacrifice personal liberty for public security.

    The continued presence of a real terrorist threat compels us in the House to advocate for thoughtful changes that respond to these fears. What could be more important than safeguarding the domestic security of Canadians?

    However our response to the terrorist threat to our freedom must not imperil that very freedom. We must not respond to a fear of losing our personal liberty by legislating it away. That truly would be a victory for terrorism. That is why it is so critical that we address the root cause of these threats in co-operation with and in support of our allies at its source, rather than simply reacting and responding to it domestically.

    I recall another time in which the freedom of Canadians and all North Americans was threatened by fear. It was almost 39 years ago in 1962. I was eight years old. The principal told us that we had to go down to the basement of our school and that we had to lie down. He said it was just a drill, something about Cuba, something about a fallout. It made quite an impression. I suppose I never felt quite as safe after that day in my little country school.

    Many Canadians share that memory of almost three decades ago. Unfortunately many Canadian children are forming the same memories today.

    It has been almost four decades since the Cuban missile crisis and post-cold war period. Many of us were beginning to feel safe again until September 11. The horror, the insanity and the hatred of those violent acts has changed that. Those acts are based upon a belief system bent beyond straightening, a system that trains young boys to believe that the way to their God's right hand is the suicidal and merciless slaughter of the defenceless people they call infidels. Could there ever be a God like that?

    How did we feel on September 11? Certainly we felt powerless, but Canadians responded. We offered help. We gave blood. We expressed genuine sympathy. Good for us, we cared. We shared the pain and fear and now we will share the burden. However we also feel guilty. Loudly we said that we were sorry it happened. Silently somewhere within us we were glad it was not us.

  +-(1230)  

    We must understand that it could have been us. We must understand that it may yet be us, as hard as that is to accept.

    The government must accept the fact that its belated acceptance of our culpability as a soft touch for terrorists will not erase the hurt that the government has caused the country's reputation among our allies by its previous inaction. Nor will it change the fact that the same measures that it has lately trumpeted in response to its polling have been the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative proposals, which it dismissed as fearmongering just weeks or days ago. Neither this Prime Minister nor this government will likely be remembered for their foresight. Rather they may be remembered as those under whose watch our country let its guard down and, as a consequence, damaged our global reputation.

    Although it is well understood that we have a diminished military, it is essential that we contribute to the campaign to extinguish the threat of terrorism at its source. Our allies may accept a lack of strength on our part but they will not accept, nor should Canadians accept, a lack of will. We support the government in its decision to demonstrate that Canadians have such a will.

    John Stuart Mill once stated:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The ugliest is the man who thinks nothing is worth fighting and dying for, and lets men better and braver than himself protect him.

    That would truly be an ugly thing.

    What good can possibly come from this war or any war? Certainly, we pray for the safety of our men and women overseas and for the safety of our allies. We desire the apprehension of the guilty. We pray for the safety of innocent civilians. Let us understand that this is a conflict of beliefs. It is our willingness to defend our beliefs that gives the greatest proof to them as our beliefs.

    Canadians believe in freedom. Canadians believe in equality. Canadians believe in standing up. Our heritage as a people is that we defend what we believe in.

    All of us in the House hold those who fought for the freedoms that we have enjoyed in the past in the highest regard. We hold those who now risk their lives to regain those freedoms in equally high regard.

    Canadians are not a boastful people. We are as proud of our nation as any people on this earth. We are proud to be lovers of peace. We are proud to be keepers of peace. However now, as we have before, we must also be proud to fight for peace.

    We know that, as Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The terrorist attacks of September 11 were the worst of injustices. The threat of more such atrocities destroys the climate of peace. That climate of peace is essential for freedom to survive.

    We will not surrender our freedom. We will not stand idly by as peace is destroyed here at home or as peace is destroyed next door. That would be un-Canadian. We will do our part. That is truly the Canadian way.

  +-(1235)  

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    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member which has to do with some comments that the foreign affairs minister made I think last week. He said something to the effect that we could not just run to the bathroom and our NATO allies would come calling.

    It seems to me that the foreign affairs minister is saying clearly to the government that we have to beef up security forces in this country. It also seems clear that he was saying that we had to beef up our foreign affairs department and our military, along with our other security forces.

    Could the member respond to what the foreign affairs minister said, which I think was a strong statement? I would like his interpretation of it.

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    Mr. Brian Pallister: Mr. Speaker, the contradiction between the position that has been taken publicly by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and many of his colleagues is apparent and it is growing more apparent to Canadians with every passing day. We on this side must compliment the Minister of Foreign Affairs for being more in touch with the views of Canadians on the security issues than many of his colleagues appear to be. He has decried the absence of a strong military capability. He has decried the absence of a strong defence and intelligence component to that capability. He has done so publicly and he has done so repeatedly.

    I encourage the minister. I know he has onerous responsibilities now as the chair of the new committee. We all know a committee has the potential to be a cul de sac where ideas are lowered and then strangled to death. We want to make sure that is not the case with that particular committee. We want to make sure that the committee is able to influence in a positive way a reinvestment in the higher priority areas of government that have been so drastically ignored in the last number of years.

    After the end of the cold war many countries cashed in their peace dividend. They took it for granted that they were secure. Countries stopped investing in their defence capabilities, but arguably none more so than this particular government. In this case I believe we are second only to Luxembourg from the bottom of the list of NATO countries that invest in their military. That record does not speak proudly to our heritage as a nation that stands up for the things we believe in. We have taken it for granted.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs has noted that we take it for granted. I know he believes that. I only hope we can convince him and support him to convince his colleagues to feel the same way. It is true that in our history some of the most important components of government have been the security components and not just in wartime but in peacetime as well. Our defence, intelligence and foreign affairs agencies have all been vitally important. They have been seen as the first line of defence for us around the world.

    It is critical that our foreign affairs and defence capabilities are such that we can stand up for Canadian values at home certainly, but at least as importantly abroad.

    Members of the Canadian Alliance have been saying this for some time. It is with mixed emotions that I now see that a member of the government is adopting our position. In retrospect I wish he had adopted that position and publicly said so some years ago. I am pleased to see him speak up now. It is better late than never. I would say to any of my colleagues on the other side of the House, that it is better late than never they embrace the vision for the future of this country that we in this party have been advancing for a long time.

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    Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will only take about a half a minute to actually deal with reality.

    The member mentioned Luxembourg. Luxembourg spends $90 million on defence. It has no army, navy or air force. I believe it has a bit of anti-aircraft homeland defence. Luxembourg is a great place to visit which I would recommend to anyone.

    In actual fact Luxembourg is the same size as the city of Oshawa and has about the same population. I do not know how it could possibly compare because Canada does spend $11.9 billion on its defence and it is the seventh largest in NATO. We should look at actual spending and $11.9 billion versus $90 million is hardly a comparison.

    I wonder if the member could comment on the fact that he keeps bringing in something that is not a reality. Could we deal with the reality that Canada is the seventh largest spender in NATO?

  +-(1240)  

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    Mr. Brian Pallister: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that we are the second lowest in NATO. We are ahead of a country which is equivalent in size to the city of Oshawa as the member said, but that is nothing to take pride in. The reality is we used to be considerably higher. We used to invest as a nation in our own defence and security. We do not any more. The government is guilty of cashing in the peace dividend. It is guilty of taking our security for granted. The member opposite knows that and he should not try to make excuses for it.

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    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to the opposition day motion as the senior defence critic for the Canadian Alliance.

    Our role in debate in the House and in what happens in this country is an important one. As the official opposition it is our job to point out the weaknesses in the government program. It is my role as the defence critic to point out the weaknesses in our defence department but also to point out the strengths; to say when we see the government headed in the right direction, but to make it clear as well when we think it is headed in the wrong direction or is simply not doing enough.

    In that role, I will start by commending the government in the commitment it made to our allies on the war against terrorism. The commitment made in the announcement last week is very reasonable under the circumstances. In other words, with what Canada has available and with the state of our military, that commitment is a meaningful and substantial one. It is the best commitment Canada could make under the circumstances. I commend the government for evaluating what we have and do not have and making a very appropriate decision.

    We have committed about 2,000 men and women, mostly from the navy but with a substantial contingent from the air force, in a way that will truly help our allies. I would like to express a show of support for the government. I fully support the government and what it has done in this case.

    The motion condemns the attacks on our NATO ally. We have heard all kinds of statements of condemnation for what the terrorists have done. None of us can find the appropriate words which are strong enough to express how we feel about the attack not only on our friend and ally the United States, but also on democratic and free nations. I do not think there are words that can properly express that. Of course, we all feel the harm that was done by that attack. We see it as a great injustice. We all support whatever action is necessary to deal with the situation and to try to ensure that it does not happen again. We have to focus on bringing the people who committed that heinous act to justice and to ensure that it does not happen again. There is a lot that we should do and can do in that regard.

    I have to say I was quite shocked by the statement of the Minister for International Cooperation. In answer to a question less than half an hour ago she made the shocking statement that if we would deal with poverty, then we would not have to fear terrorist attacks in the future. I was shocked by that statement.

    In her role as a minister of the government, the minister ought to know by now that poverty has precious little to do with those terrorist attacks. Many of the terrorists come from very wealthy backgrounds. They have a lot of money. It has nothing to do with poverty. It has to do with evil. If the government does not recognize that it is evil pure and simple that has to be dealt with and if anyone in the government continues to make excuses that poverty has led to this, then we have no hope of dealing with it properly and effectively.

    I call on the Prime Minister to make it clear to Canadians that he does not agree with the Minister for International Cooperation and that he does not believe that poverty is what led to this terrorist attack. It is important to hear that from the Prime Minister. I hope he will clarify that for Canadians before the end of the day.

    The motion goes on to talk about support for the men and women in our forces, for the courage they have and for the great service they perform for our country. I stand here today and say I am so proud of the men and women who serve in our forces. I cannot state strongly enough how proud I am.

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    The men and women in our forces are excellent and do a great service on our behalf. They are willing to do whatever has to be done to protect Canada, the citizens of our country and our allies from these terrorist deeds and any kind of action against our country or the citizens of our country. I cannot express in strong enough terms the pride I feel. I thank them for what they have done in the past and for what they are doing for us right now in terms of protecting us in service to their country. I am proud of them and take pride in what they do.

    Some of the best people in the world are in our forces. They are as good as any in the world. They are good people. They are well trained. At an individual level we would not find people that are better trained. There is a lack of training in larger group levels and that is something the government has to deal with but that is no reflection on the people themselves. I am proud that we have the best.

    The motion says that we want to show support for the men and women in the armed forces. The armed forces is our country's largest security force and it should be recognized.

    I welcome the government's strong words of support for the military because looking at what has happened over the past 30 years, those strong words of support have not been there. There has been a lack of government commitment to the Canadian forces and our military for 30 years. That has a lot to do with the ever decreasing number of men and women serving in the forces and with the lack of commitment to our forces in terms of spending, up to date equipment and everything else.

    If a government does not believe that we need a strong military, then surely it will not deliver one. That is what has happened for too many years. So it is refreshing to hear strong words of support from some ministers for the men and women serving in our forces and for the military itself. That is quite a turnaround by the government and a welcome one. I hope it is an indication of better things to come.

    Seeing those words is a good first step but it is not enough. We have to see proper funding from the government. The defence minister always says that we spend more than all but seven of our NATO allies, but look at the size of those countries. They have populations of four million, five million, and less in most cases. What he has not said is that in terms of a percentage of gross domestic product, which is the measure of wealth in this country, the government spends the second lowest in NATO. On a per capita basis, which is another useful measure, we are way below average. A country as wealthy as Canada being way below average in terms of military spending is not acceptable. Spending money is not everything but it is a starting point.

    As well as adding the money the political interference has to be taken out of the military. That political interference shows itself in many ways. Hiring has to be based on merit alone, where we hire the very best available and turn a blind eye to race, religion, gender and all of those other things. Political interference has taken us away from that in the past few years and that political interference has to be removed.

    As well, political interference has to be taken out of procurement, out of purchasing equipment. We can all point to the example of the replacement of the Sea King helicopters. The political interference in that replacement process stems directly from the Prime Minister. This is political interference such as I have never seen before and everyone I have spoken to says they have not seen that kind of interference before. The government cancelled the former Conservative government's commitment to buy EH-101 helicopters to replace the search and rescue and marine helicopters. In cancelling the commitment it cancelled the best and most capable helicopter and the best value. That kind of interference has to stop.

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    I fully support the motion. I support the men and women serving in our military. I am proud of them and Canadians are proud of them. I support any movement on the part of the government to beef up our military so that the men and women who serve know they are going into dangerous situations with the best equipment the country can afford rather than what we have now.

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    Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I compliment the member for Lakeland. He is doing an excellent job as defence critic. He is with the program, as the saying goes, in complimenting members of the Canadian armed forces. I commend him for that.

    I want to allay some fears and misconceptions that may exist regarding the budget of the military. In the last three federal budgets the government has raised military spending by $3 billion to bring Canada up to seventh in NATO.

    I know members do not want to hear it but if we talk about military spending in actual dollars Turkey spends $7.7 billion and Greece spends $3.3 billion. Luxembourg spends $90 million, as members have said. These are the barometers we are using.

    Let us compare GDP, which is always nice if there is nothing else to compare to when looking for something to find fault with. The second in GDP is the United States. The U.S. has the largest military budget in the world at $343 billion. When comparing budgets and numbers we should bring it into real dollars.

    Does the member recognize that Canada is seventh out of 19 NATO countries in military spending in actual dollars? Does he recognize that the military is the federal government's largest budget? Does he know that it is the largest employer in the federal government and the holder of the most assets?

    The member may realize that people sometimes see the military as an easy area in which to make cuts, but he should recognize that the government has elevated military spending by $3 billion in the last three budgets.

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    Mr. Leon Benoit: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. The government must admit to the situation as it is and as the whole country knows it is. Until it says it has not committed enough and must do better there will be no hope of getting anywhere in terms of improving our military.

    I wish the member would admit that we have not committed enough to the military. The most common measuring stick when talking about spending of this type is percentage of GDP. In this respect we are the second last of the NATO countries.

    The member is so desperate to find a place where we stack up fairly well that he compares us to countries like Norway which has three million to four million people and Denmark which has five million to six million people. These are extremely small nations yet he compares our total military spending to theirs. It is a meaningless comparison.

    Percentage of GDP is a completely valid measurement. Another interesting measurement is spending per capita. How much do we spend on the military for every man, woman and child in the country? Canada is well below average in that regard. By any meaningful measuring stick Canada has failed in its commitment to the military when it comes to spending.

    I beg the hon. member to admit that. He should start by admitting that yes, we have not done as well as we could. I would not attack him for that. I would support him. He should then say we will do better and show how we will do better. This should include committing more money because we cannot do it without money. Money is not everything, but we need more money committed to our military and we need it quickly.

  +-(1255)  

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    Mr. Loyola Hearn (St. John's West, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, would the member comment on the response from the parliamentary secretary who talked about how much the government is spending and how much extra it is spending? Is the government spending enough?

    I hope September 11 was a wake up call for the government. How prepared are we to defend ourselves if we have to do so? How prepared are we to play our part in the international protection game to protect the countries we have always protected and need to protect in the future? Are we spending enough? Would the member comment on that?

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    Mr. Leon Benoit: Mr. Speaker, the answer is clearly no. The Government of Canada is not spending enough when it comes to our military. That point can be made in many ways.

    The government's commitment was laid out in the 1994 white paper. It is not meeting its own commitment. We can start by that measuring stick. The government is falling well short in terms of the number of people and in terms of funding. It has reduced military spending by 30% in real terms. It put a bit back in but the figure of $3 billion is terribly exaggerated. We must have a meaningful increase in military spending along with other changes. I think Canadians would support that.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Claude Bachand (Saint-Jean, BQ): Mr. Speaker, let me begin by pointing out that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Mercier.

    I agree with all those who spoke this morning that, since September 11, things have changed and are continuing to change at a rather astonishing pace. We have witnessed the entire range of human emotions. In the days since September 11, we have seen the worst and the best of humankind. One month after the attacks, we are still trying to find the most measured course of action. That course of action must also be as humane as possible.

    The day of the attack brought images of people in despair, people who were disorganized and could never have imagined what was happening to them. This was followed by a shift toward rage and a desire for revenge. Two or three weeks later, when the attacks on Afghanistan began, the response was a bit more tempered.

    Now, we are at another crossroads. After eight or nine days of intensive bombing of Afghanistan, I think that it is time to take stock in the House of Commons.

    The motion before us contains three main elements. First the House reaffirms its condemnation of the terrorist attacks against our NATO ally, the United States, on September 11. We have been hearing this condemnation for a month now; people have continually denounced these attacks, which I think will probably have the distinction of being one of the most heinous crimes ever committed. Fifty or 100 years from now, I am sure that the world will still be talking about the fateful date of September 11.

    We condemn these terrorist attacks but, as I mentioned, we are now at a crossroads; we are trying to refocus our response. There are still some matters of concern. The situation is evolving and now there is increasing talk of bioterrorism, with cases involving anthrax multiplying in the United States and elsewhere.

    The September 11 catastrophe was like a detonator and the world is realizing that the impact could turn out to be greater than it thought. That is why I think it important that we consider a motion such as the one before us today so that we can refocus our response.

    The second element of the motion mentions courageous Canadians. I would add that there are certainly some very courageous Quebecers in the contingent going to Afghanistan or to the region.

    I would also like to add my voice to those who say that Canada is up to the job that is being asked of it. I have no doubt that the Minister of National Defence is in contact with the American Secretary of Defence. The latter is certainly not about to ask Canada to offer up its entire naval fleet, air force and land forces, as he knows that this is something we could not do.

    I do not wish to sound like a hawk, but when something like the events of September 11 happens, we come to the realization that our military is sadly lacking. In parliamentary committee, the minister answered me that Canada's defence budget is the sixth or seventh largest of all 19 NATO allies. However, this is not how a country's efforts are measured. Participation is measured by the percentage of GDP spent on defence.

    From this perspective, Canada is second last in the class. Only Luxembourg invests less than we do in national defence. All of the other countries invest more. They may have smaller budgets than Canada's budget; if their economy is smaller than Canada's, then obviously their budget will likewise be smaller. In other words, there may be countries smaller than ours that will invest proportionally more than Canada.

    However, the troops we are deploying abroad are setting out with the capabilities at their disposal. It is essentially a naval support operation, the way things look. As for the battle group, we would not want to discuss it too much, since indeed, it involves assault and gorilla troops that will enter without warning. It would be difficult to say how many people we are sending, because that would be akin to revealing our game plan to the terrorists. I understand the government's reluctance about this, but it must be said that the contribution being asked is not a huge one. We are being told that these men and women are being sent to defend democracy.

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    This is true and perhaps it is time Canadians and Quebecers realized that, considering such events, it is important to invest a little more money, so that if another event takes place, we will not be unprepared as is now the case. So, the Bloc Quebecois supports the second part.

    Let us now talk about the importance of convening committees. As far as we are concerned, this is a first step but, as the government knows, we are asking for more than this. Canada is about to send 2,000 troops to an extremely dangerous theatre of operations, yet no vote will be held in the House. We know how our democracy works: there is the executive branch, which is the cabinet; then there is the legislative branch represented by us members of the House of Commons; and finally there is the judicial branch. Right now, everything is strictly in the hands of the executive branch.

    The government will tell us that we are allowed to debate the issues, but the role of a member of parliament is not merely to debate, but also to vote. We represent the public in the House and we listen to what the public is saying. People tell us that they want this or that. In the current context, many are talking to us about what is going on. We do not want to merely come here and talk about what is going on. We want to take a stand for our constituents: we want to vote.

    I am very pleased that we are having a debate, but this debate will not end with a vote. This evening we will vote on a motion, but we would rather vote on the sending of troops, of naval forces. Statements made in the past by Liberal members were very clear.

    At the time, the Deputy Prime Minister said “Liberals insist that before Canadians are called upon to participate in any offensive action, such participation must first be brought before parliament and voted on here in the way it was done at the time of the Korean conflict”. It is clear that when it formed the opposition, the Liberal Party wanted the same thing that we want.

    The 1993 red book says:

A Liberal government will also expand the rights of Parliament to debate major Canadian foreign policy initiatives, such as the deployment of peacekeepers--

    We are in the process of deploying 2,000 troops. We can express our opinion, but we cannot vote.

    A similar statement is found in the 1997 red book:

An independent, effective Canadian foreign policy cannot be achieved without the active participation of Canadians, through public and non-governmental organizations. Under this Liberal government, Parliament and committees of Parliament are offering Canadians more opportunities than ever before to participate in the formulation of foreign policy.

    Clearly, we would like a vote to be held. Clearly, we support the three elements of the motion before us.

    The troops have not yet left, they are getting ready. What we really want is a vote in the House. I do not see what the government is afraid of, it already has a majority in the House. It already has the support of almost all of the opposition parties. On the whole, we agree with the government's approach until now, as regards the commitment. Why not go that extra step by saying “We are listening, we are allowing debate, and now we will ask you to vote on this”?

    Other parliaments are setting the example. France is now saying that before sending troops, they will definitely ask the National Assembly to decide if they will go or not, and how many will be sent.

    Yes, the world has changed. Yes, we are at a crossroads. The Bloc Quebecois has said yes to the three elements on three occasions. We would probably say yes to this motion 38 times. I think that if the government were to tell us that there would be a vote prior to sending troops, the Bloc Quebecois would support that. These people are going to be putting their lives at risk and this decision has an economic, political and military impact. The House of Commons must decide on whether or not we will be sending troops, and if so, how many. We must take part in this decision.

    The Bloc Quebecois supports the PC/DR motion. I hope that the government will listen to reason and allow the House of Commons to vote on our participation in this international conflict before the troops leave.

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    Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the horror of the events that took place in New York and Washington on September 11 has shaken not only the western world, but the whole world.

    For North Americans, Americans, Quebecers and Canadians, these events marked the end of a belief, the belief that our own territory was unassailable and impregnable. I say “our territory”, because Montreal is just 500 kilometres away from New York. A number of Quebecers were affected by these events. Indeed, over 120 of them were in New York to prepare an event called Quebec's spring. Instead of working on the first floor of the World Trade Center, these people could have been on the 80th floor. So, they were directly affected.

    As time goes by, we are becoming increasingly aware of the scope of the crisis that has been triggered and, more than ever, we must recognize that the fight against terrorism must be an international effort and that the UN must play a key role in it.

    The Bloc Quebecois made a number of statements to the effect that a response, which should be targeted and which should spare military personnel, must not be dictated by revenge. The UN security council gave its approval, but only for Afghanistan. The Bloc Quebecois said that this operation must not be an act of vengeance and must not pit one civilization against another, whether Arab or Muslim.

    The fight against terrorism concerns everyone and it leaves no country indifferent. This is primarily true of democracies, but also of all countries. And this is why there is a commitment, albeit one that varies from country to country.

    Security measures are indeed required, but we must not sacrifice freedom in the name of freedom. Yes, we do need anti-terrorism legislation based on the international conventions that we have already signed and that we will have to ratify and, yes, targeted strikes are also necessary. However, we would completely miss the boat and we would be seriously mistaken if we thought that this is enough.

    We must use the situation to understand the extent to which the growing disparity between the have and have not countries plays into the hands of those who reject democracy and freedom, human rights and the rights of women. If we are to continue to defend a world of rights and freedoms, we must make sure that that does not mean poverty for some and wealth for others, because that will not work.

    We must use the situation to express the importance in globalization, in trade policy, in Canadian foreign affairs policy. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted to focus more on trade, but he now, I think, understands that this is not possible. We must, I say, focus on the fact that the millions of young people living without hope, often in Arab or Muslim countries, will be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism if they do not receive a strong signal, if they do not have hope of development and of schooling, health and culture, culture that is drawn on their own rich deep cultural heritage.

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    We must do more than just pay tribute to the courage of the young men and women setting out. It is necessary because nothing is certain. However, if their sacrifices, should there be any, are not to be in vain, we, for our part, must do everything in our power to ensure that this world is less unfair, that it is a place where there can truly be conditions conducive to the development of democracy and of equal rights for women, to children's education and health.

    I do not think that it was mere coincidence that the first countries to stand side by side with the United States were Great Britain, with its labour, social democrat government, and France, another social democrat government, which also has a long tradition of defending rights and freedoms, and whose prime minister and president said that there was no question of supporting anything but this campaign targeting Afghanistan. Also on side was Germany, another nation with a social democrat government.

    This is interesting because it is a matter of concern today, after all these years of thinking that the only use of the Canadian army, which includes many Quebecers, would be to participate in peacekeeping missions and disaster relief or humanitarian assistance to civilians. But we have come to the sudden troubling realization that it could be called upon to take part in yet another sort of mission.

    A point I wish to reiterate has to do with the UN's role, which includes proclaiming and ensuring that justice means international justice. That is why the Bloc Quebecois has repeatedly called on the government to commit to ensuring that bin Laden, who has pretty much admitted his responsibility—that is my understanding anyway—is tried before an international court.

    Citizens from a great many countries lost their lives at the World Trade Center. The terrorists' action is international in nature. It is of a sort to be of concern to all democratic nations.

    It is essential that the international criminal court to be formed be asked to deal with crimes of terrorism but, until that court is formed, a special international tribunal must be created, under the aegis of the UN, through the security council, to hear those responsible for this terrible attack and their accomplices.

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    Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby--Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the remarks of my colleague, the member for Mercier, for whom I have a lot of respect. We work together on the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.

    I have to say I see a serious contradiction in her position. She says it is vital that the UN play the lead role, that there be an international court to bring those responsible for the attacks and crimes against humanity of September 11 to justice. And yet she says that the Bloc supports the motion and, worse, that the Bloc supports the American and British strikes.

    She speaks of a targeted campaign. But she knows full well it is not a targeted campaign. There are a lot of innocent victims, like the UN mine clearance workers, and those killed by another bomb; they speak of computer error.

    How many innocent victims are there? How long will the United States take the law into its own hands, with Britain, of course, and a few other countries, including Canada? But they are not the United Nations. The U.S. did not show the UN the evidence they showed NATO.

    I therefore ask the member for Mercier how the Bloc can support American strikes when it knows they create more innocent victims and more martyrs while failing to bring the guilty to justice?

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    Ms. Francine Lalonde: Mr. Speaker, I could say that my colleague, with whom I often work and am often in agreement, also appears to be in contradiction.

    I would appreciate his support in calling for the United Nations to play a more important role. I would like him with us as well, with European socialist colleagues. They are not saying “No, we are letting bin Laden off”. The international community must take a stand, but there must be action at two levels, in two different directions.

    This is how we will be strong, much stronger than if we were to say the UN should not be involved and we refused support that was in fact recognized by the security council. It did not tell the Americans they did not have the right. The UN security council told the Americans they had the right--

    Mr. Svend Robinson: No, that is not right.

    Ms. Francine Lalonde: I am sorry, you look at your papers, I am looking at mine. In the Council of Europe, it was included in the resolution. The council is very concerned about compliance with international treaties. Obviously, it cannot speak for individual countries, but the elements of its resolution contained this point.

    What is important is that there be a targeted response with the United Nations. I deeply regret the death of the four humanitarian workers and the villagers. Our information is that they died following the strikes. It is terrible indeed, but the international community had to react. And the response could not only be military, it could not only be a question of a country's domestic security, it could not only be anti-terrorism legislation.

    This response must also be the one I mentioned, the vital signal in connection with the increase in poverty and the disparity between the wealthy and the poor countries.

    Tomorrow we will have the opportunity to talk further on this, because it is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. I hope my hon. colleague will agree with me on this matter.

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    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in today's debate.

[English]

    I welcome the fact that we are today having a debate on the continuing challenges we face as a result of the absolute horror of the September 11 atrocities that visited our shores, that were visited upon thousands and thousands of people in three different parts of the United States and of course resulted in the deaths of people from 60 different nations of the world.

    I want to deal very briefly with the motion itself. Then I want to expand somewhat upon what I, my party and my colleagues in the House of Commons feel very strongly is the need for a far more comprehensive response to the horrendous challenge we face as a result of the terrorism crisis that literally exploded on the world scene on September 11.

    Briefly then, there are three parts to the motion before us. The first part calls upon all members of the House to once again condemn the atrocities committed on September 11. Let me say that my colleagues join again with all members of the House in doing exactly that. As we know, all five parties had an opportunity to be put squarely on the record in expressing their condemnation on the very first day the House sat after the September 11 events.

    Whatever differences we might have about what the nature and extent of the response should be to the September 11 atrocities, no one should pretend that any member of the House is counselling turning the other cheek or advocating a policy of appeasement or a policy that says we will just go on doing what we are doing. That is simply false.

    In 1916 the famous Irish poet Yeats wrote that all was changed, “changed utterly”. That says it all for us as it relates to what happened on September 11, as it relates to a call to each and every responsible citizen of the world and as it relates to us as parliamentarians to provide leadership in the appropriate response to the horrors of September 11.

    Let us also be clear that the atrocities committed on September 11 were indeed a crime, a horrendous crime, a crime against humanity. It is very important that we be clear about that because that fact must guide us in our response to the atrocities of September 11. We know that when we are dealing with crimes a response to criminality is required and that we must use every single means at our disposal around the world to bring the perpetrators of those horrendous crimes to justice.

    The terrorism of September 11 is also a terrorism that is now recognized as a global crisis, so our response to these crimes must also be a truly international response. As people understand the implications of what we are faced with the number of voices is growing as people call for a response based upon the rule of law which is truly international, understanding that we are dealing with crimes against humanity. That is why we have consistently advocated and argued for a special international court to be established, a tribunal under the auspices of the United Nations similar to those that have been set up to deal with the horrors of what happened in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia and in the Lockerbie bombing.

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    Those situations are not at all the same, but the mechanism, the moral and legal authority to deal with these crimes against humanity that are literally a global crisis, must reside with the United Nations. It is the one truly international body that exists for the purpose of dealing with an international crime and dealing with the kind of threat to peace and security around the world that is reflected in what happened on September 11.

    What would such an international tribunal do? Such an international tribunal would do what we do when faced with horrendous crimes. It would indict. It would apprehend. It would try and it would punish the perpetrators of those horrendous crimes. To decide to give any nation or any coalition of countries, no matter how broad, the right to act as judge, jury and executioner when dealing with horrendous crimes is simply not acceptable. No country or coalition of countries can take the law into its own hands, because if we allow that to happen we descend into lawlessness and the implications for the future peace and security of the world are truly terrifying.

    Let me be clear: I am not among the fainthearted and my party is not naive. The use of force may indeed be necessary to bring those perpetrators to justice, but let us make sure that the moral and legal authority for acting to bring them to justice, including if necessary the use of force, is carried out within the rule of law and under the auspices of the United Nations.

    We simply cannot choose retaliation and military strikes over international justice. Many people with far more experience in the realm of international law, international relations and international diplomacy have pleaded this case. Let me quote one. Geoffrey Pearson, a distinguished diplomat, son of a distinguished prime minister who knew and understood this argument, and today the president of the United Nations Association in Canada, cautions that “Such action will only escalate the cycle of violence and is likely to create a new generation blighted by hatred and despair”.

    Canadians were profoundly horrified by the 6,000 senseless deaths in the United States on September 11. We simply cannot remain indifferent to the deaths of more innocent people, to the deaths of more men, women and children in some other part of the world. We cannot and will not remain indifferent to casualties among innocent civilians simply because they happen to be in another part of the world.

    Nor clearly can we accept, and I want to be very clear about this, that the horrendous crimes of September 11 are in any way, shape or form justifiable. There is no cause and no grievance sufficient to justify the crimes against humanity that happened on September 11. That is why the New Democratic Party has been very clear about distancing itself from any who would argue that somehow the past wrongs of one nation, in this case the United States of America, would explain and justify the September 11 atrocities. They do not, they cannot and they never will.

    Just as all nations of the world must come together under the auspices of the United Nations with the moral and legal authority that only that body and that body alone lends to this fight against terrorism, it is also absolutely essential that the United Nations takes the lead in the campaign against terrorism, and it is doing just that. When the leaders of the political parties accompanied the Prime Minister to New York, it was the morning after the United Nations had grappled with the specific initiatives needed by every government and every nation of the world to put in place appropriate anti-terrorist measures.

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    We are now to debate the legislation introduced today. While I hope there will be some improvements that we will all probably contribute in that debate, I also hope that we have not killed democratic debate and responsible dissent in this parliament or in this country. The fact is that we do come together and I think that we absolutely must support the call from the United Nations for every single country of the world to bring forward within 90 days the concrete measures that we plan to take to combat terrorism here at home.

    Nobody has made the case for a truly global response to what happened September 11 better than the United Nations secretary-general himself. Let me quote quickly from one of the many very important statements he has made since September 11, in which he said that it is essential that the global response to terrorism be truly universal and that it not be divisive. He said:

To defeat terrorism, we need a sustained effort and a broad strategy to unite all nations, and address all aspects of the scourge that we face.

    Every nation and every people have a responsibility to contribute to the fight against terrorism by ensuring that differences in disputes are resolved through political means and not through violence.

    I would say that it was a beacon of hope for a world torn with tensions and terrified about the escalating violence occurring that Kofi Annan was awarded, together with the United Nations, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday of last week.

    We have a motion before us in which the Conservative Party has called on all members to express our support for the families of and the men and women in the military who are called to duty, who are being assigned to duties in regard to the horrors of September 11. Let me say again that the New Democratic Party absolutely stands behind those men and women who are carrying out the duties to which they have been called. We have done so previously in parliament. We have done so publicly on numerous occasions. As one would expect I have done so, as have all of my colleagues with military men and women and their families in their own communities, because when our military men and women are called to service they are responding to the call to serve their country.

[Translation]

    We must support our military men and women, and also their families which are all too often forgotten. Whether they take part in a peacekeeping mission or in an operation such as this one, they serve their country by putting their lives on the line. For this, they deserve our respect and support.

[English]

    We have some concerns about some of the notions buried in the second aspect of the motion. There is an implication in the motion that is simply not accurate; that there is a truly international coalition that has come together to fight terrorism. Until the nations of the world conduct themselves within the rule of law and under the auspices of the United Nations, it is simply inaccurate and misinformed to call it an international coalition. We have concerns about the way in which this resolution reads.

    It could not be better expressed than in some of the messages I have been receiving from people literally across the country and in many other countries, particularly the United States, but from some others as well. Let me quote from a couple of those messages that I have received. I am sure every member has received messages from people saying that they want their parliamentarians to take into account what is really happening here and what the implications are of their actions.

    One very interesting message and one I suspect went to all members was eight Nobel peace laureates who came together to put out a statement which read in part as follows:

The response of the United States and its allies should not be driven by a blind desire for vengeance, but rather a renewed determination to work for a peaceful and just world. The single great evil that must be opposed is not one group of people or another, but rather the fear and the hatred that continue to find root in human hearts.

    We must always keep in mind that we are not talking about one nation fighting another. We are not talking about one religious group or one ethnic group fighting another. We are talking about the human family worldwide coming together to pave the path to peace and security, and let us never forget it.

    The third part of the motion calls upon the government to respect the traditions of parliament and make full use of parliamentary committees. Let me say how easy it is to indicate our support for that. We have called for that on numerous occasions. One of the shameful and disappointing things that the government has not seen fit to do is to put all of us as parliamentarians to work on finding ways to deal with this crisis. We do not have a problem with that aspect of the motion.

    It is disappointing that the Conservative Party did not bring forward a far more comprehensive motion than the one before us, one that would be worthy, and I say this sincerely, of the very considerable skills and achievements of the current leader who served very capably as the foreign affairs minister in a previous government in this country. It is disappointing that the motion is rather paltry and shrunken down. It really lacks the clear alternatives and concrete measures and actions for which I think people are looking in response to this terrorist crisis that the government has failed to lead on. We now see very little in the motion today that would suggest the Conservative Party has any suggestions to make in this regard.

    The inadequacy of this motion is apparent to people. I have to say that I am genuinely disappointed that I and my colleagues find it impossible to support that motion, for some of the reasons I have already mentioned, but particularly because it falls so short of the kind of comprehensive response that is needed from parliament today.

  +-(1335)  

    I want to take a minute to read into the record a more adequate response and one that I feel very proud to stand behind. The federal council, the international affairs committee and the federal executive of the New Democratic Party met over the weekend. They adopted a resolution that sets out in a more comprehensive way a more adequate response than the motion we have before us.

    Let me very quickly read the elements of the motion. First, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the crimes against humanity and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice through an international tribunal under the auspices of the United Nations, as we have said.

    Second, we support the men and women of the Canadian armed forces who have been assigned to undertake their missions. We support them with a view to returning them safely home, as well as supporting their families who have remained behind in Canada.

    Third, we call upon the federal government to bring this issue before the United Nations General Assembly under the provisions of article 35 of the UN charter, with the objective of seeking a peaceful, diplomatic resolution that would bring the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks to justice.

    Fourth, we condemn the federal government's decision to commit military support in the U.S. led military action without first having scheduled in the House of Commons a full debate and vote. We insist that such debate and vote take place before any further deployment of military resources, particularly given the U.S. indication that it may be prepared to expand its attacks to other countries behind Afghanistan.

    Fifth, we reaffirm our policy to oppose offensive military intervention that is not sanctioned by the United Nations. We call for an immediate end to the U.S. led military action in Afghanistan and an end to Canadian participation in this action.

    I do not have time to read the full contents of that motion but it is available and we will be speaking to it again.

    In conclusion, there has never been a bigger challenge to those of us who aim to serve our nation and to make this a more secure and peaceful world. I hope it is recognized that there are many people who do not support a militaristic response to the challenge we face. We are proud to stand in the House and represent the voices, views and values of those many people across the country who stand with us in that position.

  +-(1340)  

+-

    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when the leader of the New Democratic Party spoke on this issue about two weeks ago she was very specific in the choice of her words. The theme was peaceful solutions. I remember asking one of her colleagues whether or not she thought peaceful solutions would be appropriate with people like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic or Osama bin Laden.

    The member called for a comprehensive response. I think she characterized the situation very well by saying that these are crimes against humanity. Her definition of international puzzles me because she seems to define something as not being of an international context if it does not involve the UN, period, notwithstanding that the coalition involves countries from all over the world.

    She calls for the UN to set up an international tribunal. The UN, which represents countries all around the world, including some of the countries involved in this conflict, has not taken any steps whatsoever to initiate this tribunal, which has been advocated by many groups for years and years.

    I would like the member to clarify. She cannot support the military and then condemn the government for putting the military into service if it is not under the auspices of the UN. I think it really comes down to not having it both ways. The New Democratic Party has to be clear that it does not support retaliation, which is what she characterizes it as, but rather the protection and defending of Canadians and all democracies around the world.

  +-(1345)  

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, let me try to respond to the very first question which is when a peaceful solution is appropriate when we are dealing with terrorists. Peaceful solutions are always appropriate, especially when we are dealing with terrorists and with the instability of many countries in the world whose response to escalating violence and greater military assaults is truly terrifying in terms of what it means for the peace of the world.

    Let me quote briefly an American by the name of A.J. Muste who said, when debating how Canada will participate in the war, “There is nothing more courageous than a stance for peace”. Let us never forget that.

    Second, on the question of what would be an international auspices, it is about the moral and legal authority and about who should bring this matter to justice.

    I received an e-mail message from a young lawyer in my riding stating that there was an international coalition to be built, the UN would be the obvious forum for that purpose. The e-mail went on to state that having the U.S. convene the coalition would leave the broader world community without a real voice.

    That is one of many such messages that people have sent, pleading for all of us not to fall prey to the notion that there are only two responses to this crisis: we are either for bin Laden or we are for bombing.

    Do we seriously think those responses, that we are either for terrorism or for the bombing and killing of innocent civilians, are the only choices available? Many people in this country do not believe the world is that black and white and if we are to truly solve the problem that it serves us well to divide the world in those terms.

    Finally, I quote from someone who has written the following words:

Bombing is unworthy of us.... Militarism is not the answer to terrorism. The building of an international legal system that promotes social justice is. The world must move beyond the tears, grief and anger of September 11 and finally establish a just and stable foundation for true international peace and security.

    This was written by Senator Douglas Roche, who has written, studied and devoted most of his adult life to building a political agenda for social justice.

    Many other countries in the world are devoted to that political agenda for social justice. We need to be working together under the auspices of the United Nations but we also need to be working together with middle powers that are making progress in this direction. It is through those kinds of deeds that we will find a true solution to the terrorism that rocks the world as a result of the events of September 11.

+-

    Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. leader of the NDP represents approximately 1,000 sailors who have been sent to play Canada's part. Do those 1,000 soldiers think they are doing the right thing or do they support her position and the position of the NDP?

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, I have to say in all honesty that I am truly astounded by this fact, but I will share it. As a result of my candour and being frank, I suspect that I will now receive a great many messages from people who are called to military service. If I were to hear from a good many of them, I would understand if they said they were shaken about my having reservations about the military approach being taken by the government.

    However, it has been a whole month since the horror of the September 11 atrocities. I represent thousands and thousands of military personnel and their families. In the 20 years since I was elected, I have always had military bases in my riding. In that month I have received only three such calls to my offices asking me why I am standing against a military assault on Afghanistan. However, I have been flooded with thousands and thousands of messages from people directly and indirectly saying the opposite.

    Let me read what one of them said: “When will we learn that we don't stop someone from hitting us by trying to hit them harder? Please continue to stand against the pressure to conform. Please continue to express your views and ours”. I take pride in that.

    It is a pathetic notion of what our duty is in the House to badger one another by asking members if they are afraid they will lose votes if they stand up to be counted and if they stand up to represent the concerns and the fears of people about where a military response will lead us. I do not accept that. It is not worthy of what we as parliamentarians are called to do in the line of service to Canadians.

  +-(1350)  

+-

    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, to go back to another era, perhaps Neville Chamberlain should move over and the hon. member for Halifax should sit down because they are both standing in the same place. This is not the time nor place in Canadian history to try to stand on both sides of a line. We very clearly have drawn a line here and now is the time to take a stand.

    The hon. member for Halifax does represent a number of Canadian military personnel. Other members of parliament represent them as well. However, what we have is a person trying to justify a position with which the individual is not comfortable. If we listen to the speech, we cannot take a stand that is not a stand. There is an old Yiddish word schlemiel, which is someone who falls on his or her back and breaks his or her nose. I realize it is not necessarily a parliamentary phrase but it is a very important phrase.

    I challenge the member for Halifax to represent Canadian military personnel, the men and women in her riding whom she represents, and to make sure that when they go into battle to represent Canada's forces on the world stage that they know they have the support of every parliamentarian here, including the member for Halifax.

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear about where I and my party stand. We stand on the side of justice. We stand on the side of internationalism. We stand proudly to represent military men, women and their families all over the country, but particularly in Atlantic Canada.

    Let me say that there have been many voices that are counselling against plunging into military duty. It may be of some historical interest to remember that although Canada entered the second world war in 1939, the United States did not enter that same war until December of 1941, 27 months later.

    The point is that many people are pleading with us to not rush into a military escalation when there are many more things that we can do and we must do to advance peace and security.

    Let me quote again from someone in my riding who wrote: “I know that any level of opposition to the bombing campaign may be politically dangerous but it is the right position and I do not believe that public opinion is as unified in support of military assaults as some would have you believe. There is clearly not unanimity on this issue”.

    Another person wrote “There are many people who believe that a reasoned approach that seeks justice rather than retribution is required”.

    We stand proudly to represent that point of view because we believe that that is the path to the peace and the security that all members of the human family would want and deserve if they are going to survive as a human family on this planet.

  +-(1355)  

+-

    Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I would like to make two points.

    First, I do not concur with the position that the NDP is taking on today's motion with respect to the heinous crime which took place on September 11. With that kind of disregard for human life, I think the vast majority of Canadians believe that event just cannot go unchecked.

    Second, I would make this comment to the hon. member who is a strong defender of social justice issues and as a humanitarian. We have an immense obligation to ensure that we do not read in the history books that we allowed 400,000 individuals to die of starvation on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

    If she wants to move forward with respect to the UN building this coalition, I would ask her to move beyond what I believe is her position and encourage the international community to supply those individuals with bread to ensure they do not go unnourished and risk human life. That is where she should be putting her social justice energies.

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough: Mr. Speaker, the member should have referred to a couple of other provisions of the comprehensive motion adopted by the federal council of the New Democratic Party yesterday morning. It called upon the federal government again to contribute generously to an international humanitarian campaign to assist Afghani refugees fleeing Taliban persecution and U.S.-led bombing, including the offer of both significant aid and assistance in relocating refugees.

    Canada's response along humanitarian grounds has been pathetic. It is an embarrassment. It is an impoverished response compared to many other countries in the world and compared to what the government, apparently with the support of every other opposition party, stands ready to do by way of pouring billions of dollars into military solutions and very little into humanitarian and peace building solutions.


+-STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[S. O. 31]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Michelle Greiver

+-

    Mr. Bryon Wilfert (Oak Ridges, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, today I would like to commend my constituent Dr. Michelle Greiver who won the Pfizer Investigator in Practice Award from the North American Primary Care Research Group and a Janus Research in Education Scholarship from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

    By combining the convenience of a handheld personal digital assistant with the accuracy of clinical software, Dr. Greiver created a software program to help family physicians care for patients who have chest pain. Her program allows family physicians to determine if the patient's chest pain is angina without unnecessary tests or waiting a long time for an appointment with a cardiologist.

    A pilot study involving family physicians from the North Toronto Primary Care Research Network will start in November. This six month study will determine if there is a more effective and efficient approach to the management of patients with chest pain.

    I have had the honour of meeting Dr. Greiver and her family, and I am sure Eric and Sarah would join me in congratulating her on this outstanding achievement.

*   *   *

  +-(1400)  

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Ken Epp (Elk Island, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is unconscionable to send our troops into combat situations without adequate equipment. A case in point is the helicopter fiasco.

    Talk of replacing the Sea Kings began in 1975. Now, in 2001, our dedicated members of the armed forces are still using these increasingly unreliable 40 year old machines. At best we can expect the new ones only four years from now.

    It cost about $500 million to cancel the contracts when the Liberals were elected in 1993. It took $50 million to upgrade them at that time. The Sea King maintenance for the last 10 years is at least $750 million. In other words, the total cost is greater than it would have been to just take the EH-101s in 1993.

    As a member of parliament representing a large contingent of our armed forces, I am outraged that our faithful and dedicated armed forces personnel have been so let down. Shame on the Liberals for this total mismanagement.

*   *   *

+-Research and Development

+-

    Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I strongly urge that the government boost and co-ordinate its northern research efforts. Programs like the northern science training program, NSTP, and the polar continental shelf project, PCSP, have proven track records both for training students in polar research and supporting established researchers. They have earned our support. A boost in support of such programs is well deserved.

    At this time there is a particular need to focus the activities of the federal government in northern research. Departments like NRCan, Fisheries and Oceans, Heritage Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, Environment Canada and Justice do a great deal of valuable research in the north. Effective co-ordination of their efforts would make this work even more worthwhile and would release funds for further research.

    A strong federal research and development presence in the north is a benefit to northern Canadians including those in the territories.

*   *   *

+-Renovation Month

+-

    Mr. Andy Savoy (Tobique--Mactaquac, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to announce that October is Renovation Month, an annual event put on by the Canadian Home Builders' Association to provide consumers with information on home renovations, as well as showcase the building industry's professionals and their products and services.

[Translation]

    As the federal body responsible for housing, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation supports this event and plays a key role by providing Canadians with valuable information to help them make the right choices and decisions regarding the renovation and maintenance of their homes.

[English]

    This fall CMHC is helping Canadians who are planning renovations by providing them with free renovation information like the “Before You Renovate” guide and “About Your House” fact sheets on projects such as windows, roofing, kitchens, bathrooms and more.

    CMHC is the most reliable and objective source of housing information in Canada. In this, and in many other ways, CMHC is committed to helping improve the quality of life for Canadians and communities across the country.

*   *   *

+-Week Without Violence

+-

    Mr. Lynn Myers (Waterloo—Wellington, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is once again time to bring awareness to an important campaign that has specific significance in the wake of recent tragic events. The Annual YWCA Week Without Violence begins October 14 and ends October 20. In its sixth year, the campaign promotes the eradication of violence in all of its forms.

    Created in 1995 by the YWCA of the United States, over 50 countries and their respective YWCAs have since joined this campaign and have become part of an international commitment to eradicate violence.

    Since its establishment, the YWCA Week Without Violence has imparted the messages of anti-violence to more than five million Canadians. Through organized school and community group activities and local and national media coverage, this number continues to grow.

    Our participation and support during this week speaks to our longstanding commitment to eradicate violence in all its forms in our society and builds upon Canada's continuing effort to ensure violence-free communities for all Canadians.

    From October 14 to 20, I hope all members will join me in making a commitment to ensure a safe and peaceful future.

*   *   *

+-Breast Cancer

+-

    Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each year more than 19,000 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 5,500 die from this dreaded disease.

    Most of us likely know family members, co-workers or friends who have suffered from breast cancer. One of my close neighbours has been fighting a long and difficult battle with this affliction.

    Thankfully, there is good news regarding the fight against breast cancer. Since 1985, breast cancer deaths have declined 25% among women age 50 to 70 and by almost 14% overall.

    Various screening techniques are a good defence against this disease. There is exciting research on the side of prevention which shows that physical activity will decrease the risk of breast cancer by up to 30%. More work needs to be done both on the treatment and prevention sides.

    What affected my neighbour could affect neighbours or loved ones of others. Please make a donation and help fight against breast cancer.

*   *   *

  +-(1405)  

[Translation]

+-World Skills Competition

+-

    Ms. Raymonde Folco (Laval West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in September, I travelled to Korea to attend, on behalf of the Minister of Human Resources Development, the 36th Compétition internationale des compétences/World Skills Competition. The Canadian team that was entered in that event won two medals and achieved nine international standards.

    This international competition provided an opportunity to Canadian students who had already won at the national level to test their skills against teams from 35 countries. Some of the winners and coaches on the Canadian teams, which took one silver and one bronze medal, are residents of Laval.

    Again, the Canadian know-how and talent were honoured during that international competition. I congratulate all those who contributed to this success.

*   *   *

+-Décision'elle

+-

    Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): Mr. Speaker, on September 7, Décision'elle, an organization created to promote Quebec women of Haitian origin, held its gala award ceremony.

    With the support of the Secrétariat à la condition féminine du Québec and of the Montreal Urban Community, Décision'elle holds coffee meetings at which are discussed such issues as running a business, entrepreneurship for women, autonomy, leadership and strategic alliances women must form in order to crack the power structure.

    I am proud to mention the tribute paid to Myrlande Pierre, chair of the Bloc Quebecois's citizenship committee, who received the award Femme, politique et société for her community involvement and participation in political structures.

    During her acceptance speech, she recalled that the full participation of women of immigrant origin was dependent on the exercise of citizenship and their awareness that they are also an integral part of the Quebec people.

    Bravo to all these Quebec women of Haitian origin.

*   *   *

+-Volunteer Work

+-

    Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is the International Year of Volunteers and Women's History Month.

    Since the 18th century, where native women acted as volunteer intermediaries in the fur trade, women have been actively volunteering to make a difference in Canadian society.

[English]

    More than four million women age 15 and over participate in formal volunteer activities. That is over one-third of all Canadian women. Over twice that number participate in informal volunteer activities outside their homes whether it is helping others with housework, child care or caring for the sick and elderly.

    On average Canadian women spend 136 hours per year on voluntary activities. My hat goes off to all Canadian women who volunteer.

*   *   *

+-Softwood Lumber

+-

    Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the minister has abdicated his responsibility in the softwood lumber dispute. The U.S. is now negotiating directly with the provinces in a divide and conquer arrangement.

    The minister said that we could win the softwood lumber dispute on its merits. Why is he allowing the provinces to negotiate against themselves on stumpage, tenure and forest policy while U.S. officials put forth nothing?

    The consensus developed between Canadian stakeholders and U.S. consumer groups is being put at risk. A cooked up backroom deal will inevitably go sour. The minister will then no doubt say the industry and provinces made him do it.

    Canadians must know what is being proposed. It is time that the minister called a national stakeholders meeting.

*   *   *

+-Operation Apollo

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Halifax West, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Halifax has long been a centre of military and particularly naval activity. It is no surprise that the bulk of Canada's substantial contribution to the actions in Afghanistan is coming from Halifax.

    This Wednesday frigates, destroyers, a supply ship and support aircraft will be leaving Halifax. Along with them will go nearly 2,000 members of the armed forces. Their dedication to their country is a source of pride for all Haligonians and indeed all Canadians.

    Canadians from coast to coast know the tremendous sacrifice that these brave men and women will make. Many will leave behind spouses and young children.

    I ask all members of the House and all Canadians to join with me in thanking these brave men and women and wishing them Godspeed. I look forward to seeing them all back in Halifax very soon.

*   *   *

  +-(1410)  

+-International Aid

+-

    Ms. Wendy Lill (Dartmouth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we have all been horrified and outraged by the events and huge loss of life on September 11. No one is questioning Canada's commitment to protect the lives of innocent civilians as a matter of policy, but there is a gap between government rhetoric and government action.

    If we are really concerned about protecting the innocent we would be looking at how to save the hundreds of thousands of civilians who are at risk of death by starvation in Afghanistan this winter.

    Canada should be following the lead of countries like Norway and Sweden that have made a real commitment to humanitarian effort, headed by the world's newest Nobel laureate, the United Nations.

    Our country has offered a token $6 million which is less than a tenth of that offered by our smaller NATO ally Norway. Canada should be looking beyond the language of war to the needs of the innocent for food, medicine and life. We should be proudly following in the footsteps of Nobel laureates such as Mike Pearson and using the United Nations as a tool for peace and humanitarian aid.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Kofi Annan

+-

    Mr. Yves Rocheleau (Trois-Rivières, BQ): Mr. Speaker, in receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Kofi Annan's crucial role as world leader and secretary-general of the United Nations has been endorsed.

    During his first term, Mr. Annan focused on rebuilding the organization to enhance its influence and effectiveness.

    His second term, which lasts five years, will be most difficult. His leadership will be put to the test during the debate that will no doubt accompany this international fight against terrorism, and contributions to humanitarian assistance to populations ravaged by war and hunger.

    This Nobel prize will strengthen Mr. Annan's influence among the UN's 189 member states. We can only hope that this influence will be strong enough to establish a new world order that is more balanced, fair, peaceful and just.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Kofi Annan

+-

    Mr. Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me today in congratulating UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who was awarded the Nobel peace prize last week.

    The UN is at the forefront of the international struggle for peace, security and freedom. This award recognizes the personal and professional commitment of Kofi Annan to the shared values of human dignity and global security.

    The world is facing many challenges right now that will test the fabric of our global society. This award recognizes the achievements of the United Nations in facilitating resolutions to conflicts around the world and striving toward a better quality of life for all.

    I congratulate the international community for persevering in the struggle of ever changing issues that confront us. I congratulate Kofi Annan and all Canadians whose work with the UN all over the world makes such a difference for all mankind.

*   *   *

+-Citizenship Week

+-

    Mr. Inky Mark (Dauphin—Swan River, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to acknowledge that October 15 through October 21 is Citizenship Week in Canada. The theme this year is “Canada: We All Belong”.

    This year the theme has particular importance. The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11 has brought with them a fear for those of Arab descent. I was shocked and dismayed to read of a 15 year old boy in Ottawa who was severely beaten shortly after the attack, simply because he was Arab.

    I heard the stories of Muslim women who were fearful of leaving their homes and letting their children play in their own yards because they had been harassed.

    Canada is a tolerant nation and tolerance of all races needs to be maintained and promoted at every turn. I hope people throughout Canada will take the time during Citizenship Week to get to know their neighbours' cultures and customs. Knowledge is a great tool in dispelling the fears of what we know little about.

*   *   *

+-Arctic Winter Games

+-

    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this coming Friday the city of Iqaluit will celebrate the grand opening of the Arctic winter games complex. The building of this important complex in Iqaluit is a direct result of co-operation between the city of Iqaluit and the territorial and federal government.

    A very significant aspect of the completion of this important complex is the contribution of volunteers. The invaluable donation of material and hard work from volunteers made all the difference.

    The Arctic winter games will take place in Iqaluit in March 2002. This new complex will be at the heart of many of the activities at that time. However the arena and the youth centre will be at the heart of Iqaluit for years to come.

    I look forward to the grand opening on Friday and touring the facility. I am proud of the contribution of the Government of Canada and extend congratulations to all involved.

*   *   *

  +-(1415)  

+-Veterans Affairs

+-

    Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased the claim by Canada's merchant navy vets has been largely resolved. However I believe that this file cannot be closed without addressing the concerns of some 300 merchant navy vets or their widows who applied too late for benefits.

    The government was able to get the message out to the merchant navy vets on how to apply. Yet there were a few vets or their widows who for one reason or another did not find out about the government payout until it was too late. Many of them are widows and I might say they were not fully informed of their husbands' eligibility.

    Since there are such few cases remaining the government should for compassionate reasons open the final 300 files to determine their eligibility. Only then should this file be closed permanently.


+-ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

[Oral Questions]

*   *   *

[English]

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the official opposition supports the Prime Minister's difficult decision to commit Canadian forces to join the international coalition against terrorism.

    Three weeks ago the official opposition also joined with the government to oppose a motion that would have tied the hands of the Canadian military by insisting that the whole House vote before any military action at all was set in motion. We knew that a delay might have lost the element of surprise for a coalition response to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Could the Prime Minister clarify why he felt it necessary to commit troops even before the House of Commons reconvened?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the support he has offered to the government on that issue. Before the Americans decided to launch the campaign against terrorism we were asked on the Friday if we could contribute certain elements.

    I had a discussion with the minister of defence and I authorized him to tell the planners in Washington where we had some Canadian generals who had been in consultations there, to agree and to inform. The president called me on Sunday morning and asked me if we would participate in the form that had been asked and I said yes.

    In fact it is the responsibility of the government to make this decision because the government is the executive of Canada and we have the confidence of the House. However I have kept opposition leaders as informed as possible and I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his support.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the Alliance strongly supports the deployment of our forces in Afghanistan, but they must be given the resources they need to defend us.

    Experts are saying that our armed forces need an additional $1 billion annually just to maintain the status quo, and a lot more to build our army.

    Will the Prime Minister finally promise to table a budget that will give an additional $2 billion minimum to our forces immediately?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would first off point out to the Leader of the Opposition that the government increased the budget of the Department of National Defence by $3 billion over the past three years and that it is probably the department with the greatest increase among government departments. The hon. member has asked us to increase the budget even more. We look at the situation every day.

    I would like to say to the hon. member that, when I received the secretary general of NATO, he confirmed that, every time Canada has been required, it has been there and every time with the equipment necessary to get the job done.

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, we need a budget.

[English]

    The Minister of National Defence said this weekend that Canada was in all the way when it came to dealing with the problem of terrorism. He implied that Canada was prepared to consider supporting action in countries other than Afghanistan if necessary.

    Iraq has been identified as a state sponsor of terrorism. Iraq refuses to let inspectors verify whether it is making biological weapons of terror. There were also contacts between Iraqi intelligence and the September 11 hijackers.

    Will the Prime Minister confirm, if the government has reached a decision to support action against Saddam Hussein, if evidence is produced linking Iraq to recent terrorist attacks?

  +-(1420)  

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is an absolutely hypothetical question. There is no such plan at this moment and there is no such request.

*   *   *

+-National Defence

+-

    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, no matter what the minister of defence says about the Sea Kings being safe, they are unreliable. They are not able to perform their missions on a regular basis.

    Will the minister rethink the bid criteria for the Sea King replacement by eliminating the split contract and recontract based on acquiring the best helicopter for the job with the earliest possible delivery date?

+-

    Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, a procurement is under way with respect to replacement of the Sea King, but no matter how fast we can make that procurement process, and we are doing everything we can to speed it up, it will not affect the current mission of operation.

    It is not true to say that they are unreliable. There has been a $50 million upgrade with new engines and many new components in the Sea Kings. The people who fly them say that they are reliable to fly. They are prepared to go out there and to do their missions, which they state can be done.

+-

    Mr. Leon Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the record of the Sea Kings speaks for itself. The fact is the Minister of National Defence has said again and again that it is unnecessary to purchase the helicopter with the longest range to replace the Sea Kings. He argues that will represent cold war thinking.

    Now we are sending our Sea Kings into a hot war in the Indian Ocean. Will the minister reconsider the bid criteria to ensure that we get the best helicopters with the longest range possible?

+-

    Hon. Art Eggleton (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we will get the best. The statement of requirements was written by the military based not on the cold war but on contemporary and future needs with respect to these helicopters, which is different from what it was in the days when the Soviet Union was the enemy and when open warfare in the high seas against submarines was considered to be the number one concern.

    Things have changed and as in past cases a lot of the activity in the gulf is in and around the shoreline. All these matters were taken into consideration in writing the statement of requirements. That is what the military has asked for. That is what we will provide.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, last Monday, the Americans informed the UN that actions might be taken against countries other than Afghanistan to fight terrorism. Moreover, the Minister of National Defence is now saying that Canada is prepared to go all the way with the United States.

    Can the Prime Minister, who has been advocating patience and wisdom since the beginning of this crisis, guarantee that Canada will ask for solid evidence before taking part in military actions against countries other than Afghanistan?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence did not say that we would be there under any circumstances.

    I just told the leader of the official opposition that, at this point, no request has been made to take action against other countries. The military operation is against the terrorists who are currently in Afghanistan and we intend to continue to pursue the same policy.

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence was quite categorical and he hardly qualified his statement. By contrast, Tony Blair is asking for evidence and the secretary general of the United Nations is concerned about the possibility of an escalation. In fact, Kofi Annan's efforts to enlist all the countries in the fight against terrorism could be jeopardized.

    In order to avoid unjustified attacks against other countries, does the Prime Minister agree that the UN is the body that should assess the evidence that the United States, or any other country, will have to provide?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, at this point we have no intention to take part in any attack other than the one that is currently taking place to try to eliminate terrorists where they are hiding. We know that the camps where bin Laden is are in Afghanistan. This is the government's policy.

    It goes without saying that we have always demanded to see the evidence as to who the terrorists are and where they are hiding. At this point, we know that this terrorist group had camps and is hiding in Afghanistan.

  +-(1425)  

+-

    Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has just indicated that he was prepared to go along with the United States unconditionally, including extending the conflict to countries other than Afghanistan.

    My question is for the Prime Minister. If Canada wants to play a useful role--and we agree that it should--should it not instead use its proximity and its role as an ally to urge the United States to recognize the need for involving the UN in forming and directing the international coalition against terrorism?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, following the attacks of September 11, the United Nations Security Council clearly stated on September 12 that the United States had been attacked and that it was entitled to defend itself against attacks such as those that had taken place at that time.

    This is precisely what the United States is now doing. It is basing its action on the September 12 security council resolution. It has called on certain countries to provide assistance and that is what Canada, along with France, Great Britain, Germany and Australia, is now doing.

+-

    Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the United States has said that it saw a role for the United Nations in Afghanistan, but after the conflict.

    Would the government not be well advised to intervene so that its ally recognizes a major role for the UN starting now in the war against terrorism, which we know will drag on for months, possibly years? Was this not what Lester B. Pearson did, when he dared to go against the tide of opinion of other allies so that the UN could play its vital role?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said, the leaders of the various parties were with me when I met with the UN secretary general. He answered all the questions put to him when we were in New York City, two weeks ago.

    Everything is proceeding with the necessary authorizations from the United Nations. There is no question of the United Nations directing the campaign at this time. It is the United States which was attacked and it is the United States which has assumed the responsibility of seeking out and destroying the elements which caused the horrific events in New York City and Washington on September 11.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Terrorism

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The defence minister said that Canada would participate without reservation in the U.S. led military response to the September 11 terrorist crimes. “We are in all the way”, he said. What does all the way mean? How far is Canada prepared to go into how many military theatres without UN auspices?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the interpretation of what was said by the Minister of National Defence, as mentioned by the leader of the NDP. He said:

There's no determination about any specific military operations beyond what we've committed to at this time but certainly all of those matters are reviewed as we go.

    He had more nuance than the leader of the NDP when he gave this explanation. We have a commitment now, and if we have to face a new commitment we are ready to make a decision as an independent country.

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Canadians would be very grateful but this is not a without reservation kind of commitment. Let us be clear, and this is what is of great concern.

    We know that the United States has a hit list and up to 30 countries, maybe 60 countries, may fall in the crosshairs. Before the death and destruction spread further beyond Afghanistan we need a broader international auspices.

    Will the Prime Minister go all the way, instead, in supporting a truly international response under the Nobel peace prize winners, the United Nations and Kofi Annan?

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have had discussions with the secretary general and he has spoken publicly. He is in agreement with the way we are operating at this time. Of course these terrorists could be elsewhere. If they were in Canada we would not need the United States to come and arrest them. We would do it as Canadians on Canadian soil. It would be our responsibility.

    These terrorists can be in many countries and every country will do the same thing. I do not think that Canada will need the American army to do what we have to do.

*   *   *

  +-(1430)  

+-National Security

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport first said there would be no air marshals in Canada. On Friday he reversed himself and said that armed RCMP officers would be on flights to Reagan airport. Talk about a made in America policy.

    Why are not Canadians who are flying to Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver or New York receiving the same protection as passengers to Washington? Will the minister now agree to have air marshals dispatched randomly to protect Canadian flights and Canadian flyers?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member will remember that I have talked in the House about improving security at Canada's airports so that we would not need armed personnel on aircraft.

    However the issue of Air Canada returning to Reagan national airport is a special case. Air Canada is treated as the only foreign airline that has domestic status. That was hard fought in the open skies agreement. All we have said is that if this is a precondition for Air Canada returning to that airport we will allow the RCMP to be on board.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, let me try the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The minister of immigration has announced that she would protect our borders with her new magic cards. She admits these magic cards will not be ready until June next year and will not be fully operational for at least two years.

    During the gap between now and June how will the country stop illegitimate asylum seekers from entering Canada and staying here?

+-

    Hon. Elinor Caplan (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, at no time did anyone suggest that there is a magic wand or a simple solution to stopping world terrorism. What I have said is that we are introducing a new permanent resident card for all landed immigrants. It is to replace the Imm-1000, which we have all recognized is in need of replacement.

    This new card is tamper resistant and fraud resistant. It is state of the art. I think it is an important addition to increasing the security that all Canadians will feel about those who enter our border showing proper documentation.

*   *   *

+-Anti-Terrorism Legislation

+-

    Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the anti-terrorist legislation introduced today is a step in the right direction. It provides for the public naming of terrorist organizations operating in Canada, yet membership in these organizations is not prohibited. Why another half measure? Why has the government failed to do what is needed and indeed ban membership in terrorist organizations?

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, this is a debate we had in the context of Bill C-24 on organized crime. I believe that the approach in the anti-terrorism legislation is much more effective. Membership is sometimes hard to prove, but what we have done in this legislation is criminalize a range of actions, including participation, contribution, facilitation, harbouring and concealing. We believe this legislation will be more expansive and more effective.

+-

    Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, terrorist organizations act through their members. Membership should be banned.

    The new terrorism bill also appears to allow a terrorist to commit multiple murders and still be eligible for parole after serving a sentence. In light of the fact that terrorists often try to take as many lives as possible, can the minister assure us that there will be no parole for multiple murderers? There should be no free murders given to terrorists.

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is probably aware the legislation as proposed does deal with a wide range of things, including parole ineligibility in relation to certain offences. If the hon. member is asking whether this legislation amends or repeals existing provisions in section 745 of the criminal code, it does not. I will be very interested in hearing the hon. member's view in committee on that very point.

  +-(1435)  

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Ind. BQ): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister clearly stated that the anti-terrorism act should in no way interfere with our rights and freedoms.

    According to this bill, the Attorney General of Canada may suspend the Access to Information Act at any time for reasons of national security.

    Does this not completely eliminate the information commissioner's role of monitoring citizens' rights?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the hon. member that any amendments to either the Access to Information Act or the Privacy Act are what we call consequential amendments. I hope the hon. member understands that there may be limited circumstances in a judicial proceeding of some sort where there is evidence or information that affects national security. Therefore, we would like to ensure in appropriate circumstances that evidence or information is not made readily available to the public. It could affect Canada's allies. It could affect the well-being of informants and others.

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, Ind. BQ): Mr. Speaker, this bill contains a provision whereby preventive detention without a warrant will now be possible in the context of the fight against terrorism.

    Does this not interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms, in addition to being completely at odds with the intentions expressed by the Prime Minister?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member refers to a concept called preventive arrest. Let me reassure the House that we have reviewed this provision very carefully. First of all, any officer would have to reasonably believe that a terrorist act would or will take place and in addition have a reasonable suspicion that the individual involved would participate in that particular act.

    Consequently, we do believe that with those two protections, the requirement for reasonable belief and reasonable suspicion, this does not impact on the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

*   *   *

+-National Security

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the government can say what it wants about the legislation tabled today, but the fact remains that experts tell us Canada needs at least 5,000 more law enforcement personnel now, that Canada needs frontline people in the RCMP now, that Canada needs border patrol now, and that Canada needs more port police and immigration enforcement now. Will the solicitor general tell us where the funding is to meet these requirements?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if my hon. colleague had been listening last Friday, $64 million was announced in Regina in order to address the immediate concerns over what has taken place. This will fill any of the gaps that have been created and provide for new RCMP officers and will also include better technology in order to make sure that they are able to do the job better.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general says that the government is committing $64 million now. Other reports say $250 million. That is one-third of what the government has spent registering the shotguns of duck hunters across Canada.

    The minister calls this a balanced approach in fighting terrorism. Terrorism is on the rise. The times are urgent. When will the government get serious and fund our frontline law enforcement people and let Canadians know that it is serious about the security of this nation?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague should be aware that including and since the last budget the government has put just under $2 billion into the public safety envelope to make sure that this country and its citizens remain safe.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Anti-terrorism Legislation

+-

    Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, given that this anti-terrorism bill provides police with greater powers, proposes the suspension of the Access to Information Act at the request of the Solicitor General of Canada, and even provides that arrests may be made without a warrant, things could get out of hand and certain fundamental freedoms could be at risk.

    Will the Minister of Justice acknowledge that the review period of three years provided in the bill is much too long and could she promise now to reduce that period to one year?

  +-(1440)  

[English]

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will not make that commitment, but the hon. member is right to point out that there is a three year review period in the legislation.

    I have no doubt that the hon. member, being a member of the justice committee, will have the opportunity to engage me and other ministers when we appear before committee in discussion around whether or not that review period should be three years or some other period of time. I will be happy to entertain those discussions.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, according to the bill, jurisdiction over criminal procedures is shared, and everyone in this House knows that the administration of justice is the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. Yet, no provincial justice department was consulted, and neither was that of Quebec.

    In a situation where co-operation among provinces is vital, can the minister explain why her department is going it alone?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Anne McLellan (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have not decided to go it alone. My deputy minister this morning talked to most deputy ministers. What we hope to do is receive the input and advice of our provincial colleagues, just as we hope to receive the input and advice of parliamentarians and Canadians before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

*   *   *

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, Ahmed Al-Kadr was named by the United Nations as a terrorist. He is a close associate of Osama bin Laden. He is a suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

    Mr. Al-Kadr is now in Afghanistan allegedly working for a Toronto based group called Health and Education Project International. Human Concern International, Mr. Al-Kadr's former front organization for terrorist fundraising, has had its assets frozen not by this government but by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Why has this government not frozen the assets of either of these organizations?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): What takes place, Mr. Speaker, is that CSIS, the RCMP or other government agencies supply me with the information of whether an individual or an organization should be on the list. After evaluation, that is taken to cabinet and is approved or not approved. That is how the process works.

+-

    Mr. Brian Pallister (Portage—Lisgar, Canadian Alliance): A speed-reading course, Mr. Speaker, is a soft touch for terrorism in this country. The government had intelligence indicating that the Tamil Tigers were a front for terrorists when the finance minister dined with the group. The government knew that Ahmed Ressam was an undesirable years before he tried to blow up the Los Angeles airport. It did nothing in case after case.

    The government's lack of intelligence is surpassed only by its lack of will. Will the government break its trend of inaction and freeze the assets of the groups connected to Ahmed Sa'id Al-Kadr?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would certainly not comment on any particular organization.

    The government has taken major steps forward today. If information is supplied to me on any group or organization, it will be evaluated and taken to cabinet. The assets of these individuals or organizations will be frozen.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-National Security

+-

    Mr. Claude Duplain (Portneuf, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, last week several ministers made statements on Canada's security.

    Could the Minister of National Revenue elaborate on this issue and explain how the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency intends to contribute?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as we know, customs play a leadership role in Canada's security.

    We went ahead and we are implementing a reform project that will allow us to have a balanced approach using technology, but also relying more and much more effectively on human resources. In June, we announced that $12 million would be earmarked for additional technology and for the recruiting of new customs officers.

    Last week, we also proceeded with a new $21 million plan to hire 130 new officers and buy new technology. All these measures will allow us to implement our reform, ensure a smart and dynamic border--

+-

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

*   *   *

[English]

+-Terrorism

+-

    Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, every day the threat of bioterrorism becomes more real. There is a report just out of an anthrax scare at a post office in Toronto. Last week an incident in Winnipeg revealed serious shortcomings in our system. Just yesterday news from Calgary showed that it is taking days, not hours, to test for suspected anthrax.

    What is the Minister of Health doing to ensure immediate turnaround of testing of suspicious substances and to have emergency response teams trained to deal with bioterrorism set up in every major centre in Canada?

  +-(1445)  

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Health Canada has been working closely with my colleagues in cabinet to adjust these objectives. We are building on the strength of the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response which was opened at Health Canada in July 2000.

    We are focusing on strengthening our capacity for surveillance so we can find out early if something is going on out there and respond quickly. We are also strengthening the network of laboratories across the country, anchored of course by the world class facility in Winnipeg. We are stockpiling appropriate pharmaceutical products.

    The government is working hard to make sure we are ready for anything that might happen here in Canada.

+-

    Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker my question is either for the government House leader or perhaps the government whip in her capacity as a spokesperson for the Board of Internal Economy.

    Members will no doubt be aware that this morning there was a letter opened in the office of U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle in which there was anthrax. I am sure this confirms anxieties in the minds of many members about the safety of our staff and people here on the Hill. I wonder whether or not the government is considering measures with respect to increasing the security of staff here on the Hill with respect to the opening of mail, et cetera. Indeed, something may already have happened here but we do not know what it is exactly.

+-

    Ms. Marlene Catterall (Ottawa West--Nepean, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the House leader for the New Democratic Party is well aware, increased security measures have been put in place on Parliament Hill to protect the safety not only of those working here and those of us in the House, but the public who come to visit here in great numbers every day.

    With respect to the anthrax scare and the concerns about that, all mail is checked off site. However, there has been an incident since question period started. A section of the hall has been closed off. Appropriate action has been taken to determine what substance was involved. All measures are being taken to protect the safety of anybody in the building.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. André Bachand (Richmond—Arthabaska, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health stated last week that all we had to fear was fear itself.

    But the fear of bioterrorism is mounting. The number of cases of anthrax is increasing. Today, it was the turn of the American Senate majority leader .

    Are Canada's ministers prepared to deal with this real threat? Is there a real plan and will it be made public, or will people have to continue living in fear?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I already indicated in response to another question here in the House of Commons, Health Canada is currently working closely with our provincial partners and with the network of resources available to Health Canada across the country.

    We have also increased our inventory of pharmaceuticals. We have enhanced our capabilities for co-ordinating and communicating with other partners in the system and we are currently working to ensure that Canada is prepared to deal with threats.

[English]

+-

    Miss Deborah Grey (Edmonton North, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, regardless of and in spite of what the minister says in trying to reassure Canadians, his own health and rescue officials tell us that there is not enough medicine, equipment or facilities anywhere in Canada to protect or treat people in the event of an attack. The government must make sure ahead of time that every precaution, protocol and plan is in place ahead of time lest this occur.

    When will the minister establish a 1-800 number to allay the fears of concerned Canadians?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to tell from the member's question that her concern is allaying fears. I would say that Health Canada and other government organizations have through their websites and all other respects made information available to Canadians over these past many weeks.

    I made it clear that we are working with provincial partners and medical officers of health. Chief medical officers met in Ontario last week to discuss responses and co-ordination. We have been working with provinces and municipalities to make sure that we can respond quickly to whatever may happen. That is the focus of our work.

  +-(1450)  

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, on September 17 the Minister of Transport dismissed our air marshals proposal as a radical suggestion. This weekend it was announced that CF-18 fighter jets have been stationed at CFB Trenton and are equipped to “shoot down a hijacked commercial airliner”.

    Speaking for myself, I quite frankly would rather have an air marshal diffuse a hijacker than be shot down by a CF-18 Hornet.

    If the minister is willing to put armed fighter jets in the skies to combat terrorists on commercial flights, what is wrong with putting air marshals on planes to prevent the hijacking in the first place?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member heard my answer to the right hon. member for Calgary Centre. We said that was not a direction in which we wish to move. We wanted to improve security on the ground.

    However one special case has arisen with respect to Air Canada being allowed back into Reagan national airport, which is why we made the announcement on Friday to permit the RCMP to go on those flights should Air Canada be permitted by the U.S. government.

+-

    Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, if Air Canada has requested it and the transport minister has the authority to do it, why is he not doing it?

    The transport minister has constantly said that he believes in a seamless security regime in this country but he has now created a seam by putting armed RCMP officers only on flights to Washington, D.C.'s downtown airport.

    Why is the minister not keeping his commitment to a seamless airport security regime by not putting air marshals on planes?

+-

    Hon. David Collenette (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I should remind the hon. member that the FAA has requested foreign airlines to re-enter the U.S. market but has made no request for them to have any armed personnel on board. The one exception would be for Air Canada, which is treated as a U.S. domestic airline under the open skies agreement, to go to Reagan national. That means Air Canada and other airlines are allowed to fly into the U.S. without armed personnel on board as are foreign carriers from overseas.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-International Aid

+-

    Ms. Diane Bourgeois (Terrebonne—Blainville, BQ): Mr. Speaker, when it comes to humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, Canada is not living up to its claims, as our contribution is a mere $6 million.

    Other countries with smaller populations have been considerably more generous. For example, Norway has given $81 million in Canadian; Sweden, $50 million; the Netherlands, $44 million; and France, $47 million.

    Will Canada live up to its claims and announce additional humanitarian assistance to the Afghan population in the very near future?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Canada was the very first country to respond when the initial call came through and immediately announced $1 million. After discussions with people working on the ground, at the borders and the humanitarian specialists from my department, we increased the amount to $6 million. I had discussions with them again about three or four days ago. We are keeping in touch with all the organizations. We are monitoring the situation. I will increase the amount as soon as it is absolutely necessary.

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Diane Bourgeois (Terrebonne—Blainville, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the minister understood my question properly.

    There are several aspects to Canada's action in the fight against terrorism, one very important one being the provision of humanitarian assistance to populations affected by this war.

    Given that the Minister of National Defence has stated that he supports the United States all the way in their fight against terrorism, is the government prepared to go as far when it comes to the innocent victims of this war, and does it intend to fulfill its responsibilities and increase humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan?

[English]

+-

    Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I should point out to the hon. member that Canada has been working in Afghanistan for quite a long time. In fact over the last 10 years $150 million in assistance have been given to the Afghani people who already were being oppressed by the regime.

    We just recently announced a $447 million conversion of debt to social programs for Pakistan, which was dealing with not only assisting the refugees within Pakistan but also its own situation. I am in contact with my officials on the ground, at the border and with other organizations and we will be increasing the amount.

*   *   *

+-Terrorism

+-

    Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the sergeant-at-arms has just informed us that an envelope opened by a staff member in the journals branch in this building contained some type of substance that caused a rash on her arms. We know that in the U.S. there has been one death from anthrax and 11 others have tested positive. The U.S. government says that it has enough medicine to treat up to two million people but here in Canada, health and rescue professionals say that there is not enough medicine to save more than about 2,000 people from an attack.

    Is this the health minister's idea of doing a good job for Canadians?

  +-(1455)  

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first, there is a plan in place for events just like the one described by the member. Authorities are available to take such a package away, test it, find out what it is and respond quickly. I am sure that will be done.

    We have been stockpiling pharmaceutical products and we will continue to do that. Far more is required in terms of action. We also have to co-ordinate our efforts with local and provincial authorities. We have been doing that.

    Two days after the September 11 attacks, Health Canada sent to health authorities across the country a description of what they should look for on the front lines in terms of surveillance. Health Canada is on the--

+-

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

+-

    Mrs. Diane Ablonczy (Calgary—Nose Hill, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I know the minister is intending to do his best but the fact of the matter is that our own professionals in health and rescue are sounding the alarm and have been for some time. They are saying that we really do not have the resources to treat a serious biochemical attack. We all hope there will not be one and maybe there will not but we have to be prepared.

    If we only have enough preparation to treat 2,000 people that is not enough. What will the minister be doing about it?

+-

    Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I responded by saying, and I repeat, that we have purchased more pharmaceutical products, and we are continuing to do that.

    I fully agree with the member. We do need to be prepared. This was not number one on anyone's agenda before September 11 but now it is. Eighteen months before that, Health Canada opened a Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response. We are becoming even more prepared by working with our provincial partners and by doing what is required to put in place the surveillance and the response capacity to deal with whatever might occur.

*   *   *

+-Organized Crime

+-

    Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, when the justice committee studied organized crime we learned that money laundering is the lifeblood of organized crime. Organized crime uses the latest in technology and all the advantages of the global economy to launder its ill-gotten gains.

    Could the solicitor general tell the House what the government is doing to combat this scourge of money laundering and stop this flow of funds?

+-

    Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Solicitor General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government is working on a number of fronts to combat money laundering. The Proceeds of Crime (money laundering) Act is a very important strategy.

    Beginning next month Fintrack will be responsible for reporting and analyzing financial information.

    A very important conference is being held in Montreal on international money laundering. Over 45 countries are participating. I wish them all the success in the world.

*   *   *

+-Customs and Excise

+-

    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, the auditor general last year reported that much of the information customs uses is out of date. The current customs database is not hooked up everywhere with the RCMP database and there have been reports that information coming from immigration Canada is up to four months old.

    Will the minister implement immediately a real time hookup in which information is shared instantaneously at every crossing, whether it is land, marine or airport?

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member were aware of what is taking place at customs he would know that at the land border, at the primary inspection lines, customs officers have access to the data banks of both immigration Canada and Canada customs. At the secondary, as well, we have access to other data banks that we are using as a tool.

    Second, if the hon. member were informed about what is taking place and what is going on at customs, he would know as well that last week we announced a package of technology and more human resources. In that package there is an amount of money in order to upgrade the computer system that we have for the primary inspection line.

+-

    Mr. Myron Thompson (Wild Rose, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, this member has been at the border crossing. He knows what it is going on. I find it unacceptable that some customs officers in remote ports across Canada have no access to computer systems.

    The customs officers in Victoria presently do not have a single computer at the main terminal. They are operating out of a 35 year old trailer and are still using lists on 30 year old clipboards.

    With more than a million people passing through that port a year, how can a clipboard with lists do the job properly?

  +-(1500)  

+-

    Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the customs officers have been provided with the necessary tools to fulfill their work. If members would look at the announcement made last week, we will upgrade the computer system at the land borders, at the airports and at seaports.

    If members were aware of the bill pending in the House of Commons, Bill S-23, they would know as well that we will put in place one of the best customs systems in the world. When we talk about technology at customs at the land border, we talk about Canada customs.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+- Terrorism

+-

    Mr. Robert Lanctôt (Châteauguay, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the fight against terrorism involves concerted action on the part of all countries to freeze the assets of terrorists and block the sources of funds for their activities.

    Does the Minister of Finance not find it a bit of a paradox that the Canadian government is involved in the fight against terrorism and is also refusing to denounce its agreement with Barbados, a renowned tax haven, facilitating the financial activities of international terrorists through Canada?

+-

    Hon. Paul Martin (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member knows very well that Canada has taken the lead of all countries by putting a method in place to freeze the assets of terrorists.

    I would like to congratulate my colleagues, the Minister of Justice, and the Solicitor General of Canada for their initiatives in this area.

*   *   *

[English]

+-International Aid

+-

    Mr. Svend Robinson (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the people of Afghanistan are facing the worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda with four million to five million refugees fleeing at the borders.

    Canada so far has given $6 million while Norway has contributed $80 million and Sweden has contributed $50 million. The executive director of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has said that Canada's lack of action is a disgrace.

    The Minister for International Co-operation said earlier that we will increase our aid as soon as it is absolutely necessary. Will she increase that aid now to meet this crisis?

+-

    Hon. Maria Minna (Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as I said before, Canada was the first to respond to the first call.

    Second, Canada has been there from the beginning. We have spent about $150 million over the last 10 years. We have also forgiven $447 million for Pakistan to convert its debt to social programs for the country but also to assist Pakistan with the crisis of refugees on the border.

    In addition to that, I have just come back from a meeting with the head of the Red Cross in Geneva. We discussed extensively the problems within Afghanistan because the difficulty is getting food inside, not the money. He has assured me that we will be working together to get assistance to the people inside Afghanistan.

*   *   *

+-Presence in Gallery

+-

    The Speaker: I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Her Excellency Mona Sahlin, Minister of Industry, Employment and Communications of Sweden.

    Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

+-

    The Speaker: I also draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of members of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Canada, led by the Honourable Robert Sturdy.

    Some hon. members: Hear, hear.

+-

    The Speaker: Further, I wish to report to the House that on October 8, I met in Ottawa with Mr. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America.

[Translation]

    During this meeting, Speaker Hastert presented me with a book of thanks from his colleagues in the House of Representatives in Washington.

[English]

    The book containing the messages of thanks from the U.S. House of Representatives to the people of Canada will be available for hon. members to look at.

[Translation]

    I invite members to look at this book, which will be on a lectern in the antechamber inside the main entrance off the south corridor.

*   *   *

  +-(1505)  

[English]

+-Privilege

+-Computer Access--Speaker's Ruling

[Speaker's Ruling]
+-

    The Speaker: I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Edmonton North on September 27 concerning the alleged unauthorized access to the hon. member's computer files.

[Translation]

    I would like to thank the hon. member for bringing this matter to the attention of the House. I would also like to thank the hon. whip of the official opposition for the information he provided on this question.

    Let me say at the outset that I was greatly troubled by the hon. member’s allegations. I asked for and have now received a complete report on the circumstances surrounding this case.

    If the House will bear with me, I would like to explain the chronology of events in this case so that we can understand what has happened here, identify where things went wrong and take steps to ensure that such errors are not repeated.

[English]

    I believe the hon. opposition whip put his finger on a central problem in noting what he called “the relative newness of the information age”. In organizing their work members rely on their own staff, the staff of the party to which they are affiliated, and on the staff of the administration of the House of Commons.

    Often the details of how work is organized particularly with regard to technology, for example how local area networks operate or how a server is configured, are left in the hands of the staff.

    The member's primary concerns are to use the time in Ottawa most efficiently and effectively and to serve the constituency in the best way possible, and the staff is trusted to make the arrangements to make that happen. Ironically it appears to the Chair that it is precisely in trying to meet those concerns that this problem arose.

    This saga began in March 2000 when the hon. member for Edmonton North became acting leader of the Canadian Alliance. At that time the information services directorate received a request to move the data from the MP server in the hon. member's office to the Canadian Alliance caucus server.

    This was done, that is the hon. member and her assistants were given a special section on the Canadian Alliance CA server under the group title CA leader. The files thus transferred were password protected and so could be said to belong to the hon. member for Edmonton North, being accessible only to her and to her staff.

[Translation]

    In September 2000, the hon. member stepped down as acting leader. In the normal course of events, one might have expected that the hon. member’s files--still being resident on the Canadian Alliance server--would have been transferred back to the server in her MP’s office. However, this did not happen.

[English]

    It is important to note that while the information services directorate operates as a centralized integrated service, members and caucuses enjoy the usual autonomy of clients in how they organize their affairs. Information services is in this regard reactive rather than proactive. Beyond establishing certain standards through recommendations to the Board of Internal Economy, the directorate does not dictate how or where a member or a caucus will organize or store its data. Nor does the directorate point out anomalies or inconsistencies.

    Thus it was only in May 2001 that the Canadian Alliance network administrator raised with information services the anomalous presence on the Alliance server of the files of the hon. member for Edmonton North. Information services was informed that consultations with the whip would be undertaken by the Alliance administrator before any specific instructions on the matter would be issued to the directorate. However no such instructions were given to the directorate and all remained as it had been since March 2000.

    The situation remained that way until September 20, 2001, when one of the hon. member's assistants requested that information services grant her access to a number of the standard functions, for example electronic forms, available to a member's office usually resident on the MP server. When information services granted the requested functionality the assistant's connectivity to the Alliance server was severed.

    On discovering that she could no longer access her files in the usual way, the assistant called the information services help desk. This call gave rise to a number of further telephone exchanges between and among concerned parties, with the final result that the matter was raised here in the Chamber by the hon. member for Edmonton North on the afternoon of September 28.

    As I understand it, the competing claims in this situation may be summed up this way. On the one hand, the hon. member for Edmonton North contends that the documents and data she and her assistants stored on the Alliance server in a group named CA leader that was password protected are hers and should be returned to her.

    On the other hand, Canadian Alliance officials claimed that the server where the files were resident was the Alliance server; that the files were found in a directory called CA leader, which position the member no longer held; and that the Alliance had a legitimate right to ensure that no caucus documents would be included in the files to be returned to the hon. member for Edmonton North.

  +-(1510)  

[Translation]

    Information services, as a matter of policy, takes no action related to files on a server without the express authority of the member or caucus whose server it is.

    Thus, information services, faced with these competing claims, determined that it could not adjudicate the dispute and suggested that both sides negotiate a mutually acceptable solution to the impasse.

[English]

    It is regrettable that a consensual solution between the two sides could not be found. Then, as the opposition whip explains, an Alliance official, having been advised that there was no impediment to his doing so, requested that information services grant him access to the disputed files. On the request of his whip the officer proposed to review and make a determination on the appropriate disposition of the files.

    Information services had also been advised that if a request were made by the Alliance for access to files held on the Alliance server, such a request could not be refused. As a result of this advice information services, acceding to his request, granted read only access to the Alliance official.

    It is here that the Chair finds cause for disquiet for I must conclude that the parties have not been well served by the advice they received.

    I refer the House to a decision by Mr. Speaker Fraser on February 9, 1988. I quote from pages 12761 to 12762 of Debates where he said in a case similar to this one:

I am satisfied that what has occurred in this case was done innocently. However, the point made by the hon. member for Thunder Bay--Atikokan that electronic information should be treated no differently from “hard copy” material is well taken.

    This error may well have been an honest mistake but the fact remains that the action taken in good faith as a consequence of that error can be viewed as potentially damaging to the hon. member's ability to represent her constituents.

    It is true that the data on the Canadian Alliance server might in the ordinary scheme of things be considered to be under the unquestioned control of the Canadian Alliance, but this is not an ordinary situation. I would liken it to a person with a locked suitcase stored in the locked trunk of someone else's car.

    Can the owner of the car, asked to surrender the suitcase, unlock the trunk, retrieve the suitcase and ask a locksmith to unlock the suitcase so its contents could be examined before the suitcase is returned?

    This analogy may seem somewhat oversimplified, but I believe it can be helpful in finding a way through the technological labyrinth that is unfamiliar territory to many of us. The files of the hon. member for Edmonton North were in her own private compartment on the server in a form accessible only to her. I am therefore directing that the remaining disputed files that are still being held on the Alliance server be returned forthwith to the hon. member for Edmonton North.

    Further, I have directed information services to establish new protocols to ensure that files and data belonging to an MP are, even in the case of caucus officers, kept as originally planned on MPs servers and not on caucus servers.

    There is little doubt that the case before us features many unique ancillary factors that have complicated what might have been a more straightforward situation. The Chair believes that all members involved in trying to resolve this situation have acted honourably.

    I also believe that staff both in the members' offices and in information services, acting on the direction of hon. members, have carried out their duties responsibly. I trust that the remedial steps I am directing to be taken immediately will resolve this particular case and will ensure that this kind of situation is not encountered again by any hon. member or caucus. I trust this settles the matter and I thank hon. members for their attention.

*   *   *

  +-(1515)  

+-Bill C-36

[Privilege]
+-

    Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver--Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege with regard to Bill C-36 which was tabled earlier today. Bill C-36 was drafted to address security issues facing Canadians as a result of the attack on the United States on September 11. It is particularly unfortunate that the security of the very bill designed to protect the security of Canadians has been breached.

    On the weekend the National Post reported the contents of Bill C-36 and indicated that it was briefed by officials from the Department of Justice. The article published on October 13 entitled “New Bill to Pin Down Terrorism” described the bill in detail and quoted officials from the department. For example, the article declared:

One official described the list of terrorist groups as an “evergreen document that can be updated fairly regularly” with names being added or deleted as circumstances change.

    This official is quoted extensively throughout the article. I do not know of any member of the opposition who has been given this type of briefing prior to today. Two of my members who were at the briefing said they could have got all they wanted out of the National Post.

    Even if a member had received such a briefing, I draw attention to the case of Bill C-15. As you are aware, the Minister of Justice and her department have been down this road before. As you are also aware in the case of Bill C-15, the House was very lenient toward the minister considering the severity of this type of disrespect for the role of the House of Commons and its members.

    On March 15 the Speaker ruled on the question of privilege of the member for Provencher regarding an incident whereby the media were briefed before members of parliament on Bill C-15. The Speaker indicated there were two important issues in the case: the matter of the embargoed briefing to the media and the issue of the access of members to information required to fulfill their duties. In your ruling you said:

In preparing legislation, the government may wish to hold extensive consultations and such consultations may be held entirely at the government's discretion. However, with respect to material to be placed before parliament, the House must take precedence. The convention of the confidentiality of bills on notice is necessary, not only so that members themselves may be well informed, but also because of the pre-eminent rule which the House plays and must play in the legislative affairs of the nation. To deny to members information concerning business that is about to come before the House, while at the same time providing such information to media that will likely be questioning members about that business, is a situation that the Chair cannot condone. In this case it is clear that information concerning legislation, although denied to members, was given to members of the media without any effective measures to secure the rights of the House. I have concluded that this constitutes a prima facie contempt of the House.

    This matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee concluded:

--the protocol of the Department of Justice whereby no briefings or briefing material should be provided with respect to a bill on notice until its introduction in the House of Commons should be adopted as a standard policy by all government departments. We believe that such a policy is respectful of the House of Commons and its members. It recognizes the legislative role of parliament, and is consistent with parliamentary privilege and conventions of parliament.

    The committee noted that the adoption of such a policy should not be viewed as preventing the provisions of courtesy copies of government bills on a confidential basis to opposition critics shortly before their introduction. The committee went on to say:

--this incident highlights a concern shared by all members of the committee: apparent departmental ignorance of or disrespect for the role of the House of Commons and its members. Even if the result is unintended, the House should not tolerate such ignorance within the government administration to undermine the perception of parliament's constitutional role in legislating. The rights of the House and its members in this role are central to our constitutional and democratic government.

    The committee heeded this warning:

Failure to adopt appropriate measures could lead to a reoccurrence of this problem in which case the House would have to consider using its power in a more severe way. The acceptance of an apology will not necessarily be considered a sufficient response.

    With respect to Bill C-36 it is clear that members of the media were told of the contents of the bill on the weekend ahead of members and before its introduction in the House.

  +-(1520)  

    It is also clear that no effective measures to secure the rights of the House and its members were put in place. Like Bill C-15, the minister and her officials have shown contempt for the House. If you rule this to be a prima facie question of privilege I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I agree with many of the things that the hon. member has just said. I do not agree with all of them, and I will discuss some of the differences between this issue and that of Bill C-15. However I agree with many of the underlying themes and I would invite the hon. member to allow me to explain.

    There were administrative errors made with Bill C-15. I will not say that there were no errors in judgment made by whoever committed the act of deliberately or negligently giving information to the media before the House. Whoever did this did not have my approval or the approval of any minister on this side of the House. What was done was wrong.

    The difference between this and Bill C-15 is the following. People with good intentions saw fit to provide a briefing to the media while neglecting to make the same offer to members of parliament and, even worse, gave the information under embargo without taking the precaution of having a lock up so that members of the media could leave the environment in which the briefing had been given.

    They then proceeded to breach the embargo which had been made available to them and proceeded to interview members of parliament who had not received the information. That is a very big difference. This does not take away from the gravity of what the hon. member has just said, but it is not analogous to the other situation.

    Measures were put in place since Bill C-15. The hon. member has correctly referred to the work of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I congratulate the committee and all its members for their work.

    Measures were taken and a cabinet directive was issued. Summaries of the cabinet directive were made public. It gave instructions to public servants and others that when briefings were given to the media they had to be given in a lock up environment and in virtually all cases they had to be made available to members of parliament.

    This morning I personally organized a briefing for members of parliament. Therefore I know it was held. As is the case, members of parliament were permitted to leave the briefing before the introduction of the bill. However staff members could not leave. They were in lock up until the introduction of the bill. On that issue I personally took all precautionary measures available to me.

    Last Friday afternoon I received a copy of Bill C-36. As is my role as Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, I do what is known as a review of the bill. I took precautions then and earlier with the minister and all of her staff to ensure that the bill was not in any way given to the media or otherwise. I was given that assurance by everyone I spoke to.

    On Saturday I saw extracts from the bill in the media. They were not all factually correct but enough of them were that it caused me to be as concerned as the hon. member when raising this question in the House.

    I cannot say much more other than to apologize on behalf of whoever is guilty of this. I use the word guilty because that is what comes to mind, given the respect that I have for this institution. Anyone who breaches that respect is guilty of an offence in my book. The problem is that we do not know who it is.

    Notwithstanding what occurred I take this opportunity to congratulate all House leaders, regardless of the offence which occurred, for the courtesies that were given to me, to the Minister of Justice and to the government this morning for the purpose of the introduction of the bill. The gesture was even more courteous, given what occurred presumably between Friday and Saturday. I am afraid I have no other remedy than another apology on behalf of whoever the culprit is that committed this.

  +-(1525)  

+-

    Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, after listening to the government House leader there is certainly little to say in the way that would be critical of the government House leader. He should recognize, however, that this is getting to be a bit on the boring side, having to stand in our place time and time again to complain about various ways in which the House is held in contempt either by the government, which in this case it is debatable, or some individual in the minister's department who was “speaking on background” and was prepared to divulge the nature of the legislation to the media before it was divulged to the House.

    However we have a pattern here both in terms of the details of legislation being revealed to the media before it is revealed to the House and other things which are not relevant to any point of order. Yet it is relevant to the ongoing contempt of parliament that is shown by the government such as the Prime Minister making announcements at Liberal fundraising dinners, et cetera.

    That is not relevant to this point of order, but it is part of a larger pattern that all members of parliament should be concerned about. I hope the government House leader or you, Mr. Speaker, would undertake to find out who did this, who briefed the media.

    The article said that it was a senior official speaking on background. This was not a leak. This was a deliberate act by a senior official. Some senior official of the government showed contempt for the House by briefing the National Post. It was done in a way that showed contempt for the decisions that you have made in the past with regard to the respect that should be shown to the House in these kinds of matters.

    I ask that you use whatever powers that are available to you to determine who did this and perhaps bring that person before the bar of the House to explain the contempt of this Chamber.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Michel Bellehumeur (Berthier--Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I take note of the apologies of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons but, again, it is not the first time that this has happened. Perhaps this is not exactly what happened with Bill C-15, but it did occur with this bill.

    I can also think of the Young Offenders Act. This is often forgotten, but the media had been informed. Large parts of the young offenders legislation were published in the newspapers before the opposition had even dealt with it.

    Today, it is Bill C-36. It is as if whenever a bill could generate controversy, an attempt is made to inform or provide information during the weekend, when members are in their ridings. The result is that the newspapers make mention of the major points of these bills and the public begins to form an opinion on an issue before parliamentarians deal with this issue.

    I know that the House leader is sincere. I take note of his remarks and apologies, but this is not enough.

    Will the House leader ensure that there are clear rules for his ministers, for cabinet, to prevent such leaks, so that the media do not get information before the members of this House have had an opportunity to deal with it?

    This is the first thing that the House leader should do. Will there be clear rules to ensure that this never happens again? Second, who is the smart aleck who gave that information, it is not the secretary who typed this, but someone who had access to privileged information? Will that person be disciplined for what he or she has done? This is a serious attack on the work of parliamentarians. The public official who did this has no respect for the work of parliamentarians in this House.

    I would like the House leader to rise and to tell us very clearly what he intends to do to find the guilty party and provide all cabinet members with very clear rules so that this never happens again.

  +-(1530)  

[English]

+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I attach myself to many of the remarks that have been previously made. I share the indignation of the government House leader that this has once again burdened the House with this ongoing saga of information being released in advance of members of the House being given the opportunity of due respect that they deserve in reviewing legislation, particularly legislation of such great importance.

    I think the House leader for the official opposition stated that there is a great deal of irony in the fact that this information deals with secrecy and security, yet the government is still unable with all of its resources and powers of persuasion to prevent this from happening.

    I take the government House leader at his word that he will go back to cabinet and once again reiterate the importance to the ministers themselves, to the deputy ministers and to their staffs associated with those offices that this information is to be held privileged until such time as members of the House of Commons are given the opportunity to review it.

    I also would look further for some form of an undertaking that the minister will himself look into this particular matter and see if he can ascertain the source. It was a senior official. I do not know what powers of investigation he has at his disposal, but we would hope that he would try to suss out the individual, the culprit who was involved in the leaking of this information.

    Finally, we hope that there will be a strong admonition from the Chair itself expressing the concern and the outrage that the House and the Chamber has for this type of leak because there is a pattern. This is not the first time. We have seen time and time again information being sent out to journalists in advance of this place. Surely the lust of journalists to have this type of juicy information should not outweigh the necessity and indeed the respect that should be held for the Chamber to in the first instance have an opportunity to see, digest and debate this type of legislation.

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria: Mr. Speaker, colleagues have been very patient and I thank them. They have asked that I respond, which I would like to do now.

    I believe the House leader for the Conservatives referred to this as privileged information. Actually it is more than that. It is secret, secret in the very sense of government secrecy. The hon. member will know to what I am referring.

    This is not only a breach of our rules in parliament, it is a breach of government security in addition to that. It is wrong twice, if I can refer to it that way, just to strengthen what the opposition House leader said.

    There is no doubt that in all of this, much information had previously been made public. For instance, in my statement to the House some days ago I referred to some of the main components of what the bill would have, not nearly to the degree that we find them in this newspaper article obviously. It is also true that the Minister of Justice, the Prime Minister and others have referred to in speeches of what the new legislation would contain.

    I will not use that as a defence either because I know this article goes beyond that as well. Still I want to state it because these things should be known by people generally.

  +-(1535)  

[Translation]

    I have been asked if I would make a commitment that the rules would be clear. In fact, the rules are clear. A lack of clarity in the rules is not the problem, it is compliance with these rules or sticking to them, if you will. As far as the rules are concerned, it is already secret. That is clear. Everyone takes an oath of office and so on. That is clear.

    Second, on rules for information sessions, briefings as they are called, where there was a problem—and this is not what happened today—the rules were also clarified. As to the measures I myself can take to investigate, members will acknowledge that I do not have a lot of resources in this regard. I can assure members that cabinet is aware of what has just been said in the House and will act on it. I will do everything in my power—and I am sure my colleagues will do likewise—to prevent the recurrence of such things.

    In closing, I reiterate to the House that I regret this incident. I will not say what I would do if I had the guilty party by the neck.

*   *   *

+-

+-Speaker's Ruling

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair is prepared to make a ruling on the matter now before the House. I wish to thank the hon. House Leader of the official opposition, the hon. member for Berthier--Montcalm, the hon. government House leader, the hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough and the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona for their opinions on this matter.

[English]

    I have to say at once this appears to be similar to the issue raised earlier before me with respect to Bill C-15. In my opinion it appears that there has been again a breach of the privileges of the House in relation to this piece of legislation.

    The hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona in his remarks tried to assist the Chair by suggesting that it was for the Chair to investigate the matter and come up with the name of the culprit and so on. I respect his opinion of course in all matters, but in this matter I think his view is perhaps wrong. There is a body that is well equipped to commit acts of inquisition, and that is the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which has a fearsome chairman, quite able to extract information from witnesses who appear before the committee, with the aid of the capable members who form that committee of the House.

    Accordingly, in my view this is a matter which ought to be sent to the committee. I am sure the hon. House leader of the official opposition will want to move a motion, which the Chair is prepared to entertain at this time, as a motion following upon a breach of the privileges of the House.

+-

    Mr. John Reynolds (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, Canadian Alliance) moved:

    That the matter of the media receiving information on the contents of Bill C-36 before members of parliament and before the bill is tabled in the House of Commons be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

    (Motion agreed to)

*   *   *

+-Points of Order

+-Oral Question Period

[Points of Order]
+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I rise on a separate point of order. It came to the attention of members of the House during question period and some further information has been elicited with respect to the foreign substance that was found within the precinct of parliament.

    You as custodian of this place, Mr. Speaker, I am sure share the concerns of members of parliament, staff, personnel and members of the public who are on the Hill.

    There is still a sense, and I choose my words carefully not to sound alarmist, of panic among many as to what steps are being taken. There are ambulances outside the Chamber now. One staff member has been evacuated to be cautious. There is a need for information as to the closure of the post office and whether there will be further closures of offices on the Hill.

    There is a need to know if there is a contingency or emergency security plan for other buildings outside the precinct of parliament. There is an urgent need, I would stress, that some information be shared with the Chamber. I would strongly urge the Chair or the government House leader to be forthcoming with that information as soon as possible.

+-

    The Speaker: The Chair was advised of the incident to which the hon. member refers during question period. I have been monitoring the situation very carefully. I believe all steps, which are appropriate to be taken in accordance with established protocols for this kind of emergency, are being taken at the present time.

    I am unable to report to the House at this stage about the nature of the problem in terms of exactly what substance may or may not have been in a package which apparently was opened.

    I assure the hon. member that perhaps when we have further information it will be communicated to hon. members through their whips or through some other method. I am personally monitoring the situation very carefully and will continue to do so in the course of the day. I thank the hon. member for raising the matter.


+-ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

*   *   *

  +-(1540)  

[English]

+-Divorce Act

+-

    Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-400, an act to amend the Divorce Act (limits on rights of child access by sex offenders).

    He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce what I will be calling Lisa's law.

    The motivation for this is the visit of two young girls of five and six to Bowden prison to visit their father because of a court order. At that point, I never wanted that to happen again to any Canadian children. I feel these kids are psychological victims and are continuing to suffer because of that judgment.

    I know that this will receive all party support. A great many members have talked to me about it. It is my pleasure to introduce it at this point.

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

*   *   *

+-Canada Elections Act

+-

    Mr. Janko Peric (Cambridge, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-401, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (proxy voting).

    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce my private member's bill, an item in the Canada Elections Act, proxy voting. The proposed amendments would permit eligible voters, who on polling day are unable to vote due to illness or accidents in their electoral district or who cannot meet special boundary requirements, to cast a ballot during a general election by appointing a proxy voter to vote on their behalf.

    A similar provision existed previously, but was replaced by a special ballot for which voters must apply in advance of election day.

    During the last federal election many of my constituents lost their right to vote because they were unexpectedly taken ill or were required to be away on business after the deadline for a special ballot had already passed.

    I would encourage all members in the House to support this bill.

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

*   *   *

+-Petitions

+-VIA Rail

+-

    Mr. Peter Adams (Peterborough, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present two more petitions from citizens of the Peterborough area who are keen to see VIA service re-established between Toronto and Peterborough. This petition has support in eight federal ridings, including Haliburton--Victoria--Brock.

    The petitioners point to environmental advantages, reduction in greenhouse emissions, reduction in traffic congestion and accidents and an improvement in the business environment of the greater Toronto area.

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Questions on the Order Paper

+-

    Mr. Geoff Regan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

  +-(1545)  

+-

    The Speaker: Is that agreed?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[English]

-Government Orders

[Supply]

*   *   *

[Translation]

+-Supply

-Terrorism

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.

+-

    Mr. André Bachand (Richmond--Arthabaska, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I wish to begin by thanking the Chair for its ruling on the point of order raised by the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough. I much appreciated its sensitivity.

    I also wish to advise the Chair that I will be sharing my time with the Coalition member for South Surrey--White Rock--Langley.

    When it is decided to move a motion during an opposition day, various topics are examined and an effort made to raise something topical.

    However, the day is going by quickly, and things are going on within our walls. Right now, things are going on outside, on the Hill. Is it fear? Is it madness? One way or another, it is linked with what happened on September 11.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that parliament will be called upon to play a role. Parliament can be a victim too. However, strictly speaking, parliament, opposition members and the majority of government members are not being called upon by the governor in council, by the Prime Minister, to do anything.

    Let us look at what happened last week, while the House was not sitting. It was decided to send men and women abroad. Let us proceed minister by minister, and considering what has happened today on the Hill. We hope and everybody hopes that it is not what we think, that it is not anthrax.

    Members will recall that the Minister of Health came out of a cabinet meeting with a large smile on his face, to say “There is no problem”. He quoted a U.S. president. He himself is far from being a U.S. president; he is not even the leader of the Liberal Party yet. He said “The only thing that Canadians should fear is fear itself”.

    I can assure you that, during question period, the minister changed his tune. It is this arrogance that is harmful. “Everything is under control”. This is not true. Members of parliament are not informed of what is going on.

    Tomorrow, my colleague from the NPD will move a motion before the Standing Committee on Health. The Minister of Health should come and see us in committee so that we can find out what is really going on. What is the action plan of the Department of Health regarding the threat of bioterrorism? We are not living in a banana republic. We have a parliament, we are living in a democracy. We have sent 2,000 men and women abroad to fight for democracy. Should we not be practising what we preach? This is the Minister of Health. I tell you: he has changed his tune.

    Furthermore, the immigration minister talked about the famous photo ID card, which will solve all problems. The landed immigrant photo ID card with a chip will not be in force before June of next year and perhaps even not before two years. One year. Two years. This is not planning. And, again, this measure was discussed and announced while parliament was not sitting.

    Maybe we could speed up the process if parliament was involved. But the government does not want that.

    As for the Minister of Transport, he says “No, we will not put armed personnel aboard airplanes; we are not in the United States”. His American colleague then says “Well, Reagan airport in Washington was just reopened. It could be a target. Could you see to it that there is an armed guard aboard that particular flight?” “Sure, no problem”.

    What message does that send to terrorists? It means that they can take all other flights from Canada to the United States, all domestic flights, all flights to Europe, and they can be sure that there will not be any RCMP officers on board, except on the flight to Reagan Airport in Washington. It is a joke, a real joke. He changed his mind again. Why did he not discuss this at the transport committee?

    The motion before us today calls for joint sittings of all committees dealing with matters that may be related to the events of September 11.

    I would like to tell the Prime Minister that he may look for allies all over the world, but his best allies are those people around him and those who sit opposite him in the House. Those are the people who should be kept informed.

  +-(1550)  

    The best ally of the government is here in the House. Until the government realizes it, it simply will not work. Cabinet ministers are constantly improvising. They have no action plan. They are asking us to support them. The government members do not even know what is going on. We do not know what is going on. It changes from one week to the next. When a problem arises, they look into it. This is a piecemeal government with no vision, which controls everything. A handful of people control everything.

    Yes, we are willing to support people who will be deployed in the Persian Gulf; that is not a problem. But the government should substantiate its position further if it wants more support from our side and from its own backbenchers, who are left in the dark. Even cabinet ministers do not know what is going on.

    The motion presented today is simple. It is three pronged. First, it condemns terrorism; everybody agrees with that. We support that part of the motion. The second part calls for support for our servicemen and women. This is normal, we must stand together in these difficult times. Third, since we know the government, particularly the Prime Minister and his inner circle, use should be made of parliamentary committees.

    That is what we are asking for, simply that parliament work and that the government make use of parliament. The people in my riding, my province and my country need to know that some people, men and women, are dealing with this country's urgent problems. That is not being done.

    Moreover, this motion is votable. An opposition day is needed to corner the government and make it understand that we will vote on the subject. It will find all kinds of reasons to say “Oh, we do not like this or that part of the motion”. We are asking for a vote. A parliament expresses its will through votes, not through speeches such as the ones we will be hearing in tonight's debate.

    We can imagine this government's lack of credibility in this parliament. It is being offered, on a silver platter, a vote on a simple motion that does not condemn the government. That could be done, and I am doing it now. We are telling it “Listen, we will have a vote; the House will stand together on this issue”. To this, the government answers “No, we will still have a debate tonight”. Two debates will be held during the same day.

    The government is lacking both in credibility and efficiency. This is an allotted day and we have been debating this issue since 11 a.m. What opposition parties do is of no importance to the government. It says “We will have a debate, but no vote”.

    A parliament needs to vote on things. It is as if we are told that we will be making legislation but without having an opportunity to vote for or against the bills. “You have debated it. Everyone is in agreement, so there will be no vote”. It does not work like that. It shows a total lack of respect. There are a few hours left in this debate. I hope things will work out and everyone will co-operate to ensure that all members on the government side and in opposition will vote in favour of this motion.

    Between you and me, Mr. Speaker, instead of showing up at 7 p.m. or 7.15 p.m. to make a speech, the Prime Minister could have been in the House this morning, around 11 a.m., or this afternoon, at 3.15 p.m. or at 4.30 p.m. He would have been more than welcome. Why knock down a supply day dealing with the exact same issue that will be debated tonight? Why not make parliament more credible since we are actually doing something worthwhile? This may be a great opportunity to stand tall together and find out what is going on.

    This is why I appreciate the comment made by the Chair. I just wanted to say it again because I think it is important. I refer to what my hon. colleague from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough has done and want to point out how open the Chair has been about the various circumstances and our concerns.

    On the issue of bioterrorism--and I remind the House that I am the health critic for my party--I hope some government members will come before the committee to tell the public what is going on and that they will put aside their mockery and arrogance in the interest of co-operation and information.

  +-(1555)  

    I would like to take this opportunity to say that I hope the person who was reportedly infected—I hope she has not been—will recover very quickly. I think my colleagues of the House would agree to wish that what she has is minor, that this is not what we think. We wish her well and offer our moral support to all her family and her friends.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member will know that we had a debate in the House on September 17 when the House resumed. Subsequently we have had at least three debates and opportunities for members to speak. Indeed all the leaders of the parties have made clear statements of the party positions. All the parties, save for the NDP, have been supportive of the government's actions and have supported the military action on the public record. Notwithstanding that, Canadians have also spoken clearly on that.

    I am not sure where the member is coming from in saying that we need to do something here. In fact the motion before the House says that we condemn the terrorist atrocities and support our military. Talk about wishy-washy. If they really were serious about it, the wishy-washy members of the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Coalition would come up with a motion that was substantive.

    My question has to do with the Reagan national airport issue. It was asked during question period. I am wondering whether the member was here during question period and whether he heard the answer and understands that no marshals have been authorized, yet if it is a requirement of the U.S. government that any aircraft going into Reagan national airport have marshals that we do enter into agreements and treaties with countries to conform to their requirements. The minister said we would permit Air Canada to have marshals if it wanted to resume service to Reagan national airport. Did the member hear the answer to that question?

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. André Bachand: Mr. Speaker, once again, the minister did not answer the question clearly. He said “If the Americans ask us. Perhaps; we do not know. We will wait to see what the United States asks us and then we will decide on our policy”. This is what the Liberals did.

    I would like to ask the member who read the motion and who asked me if I was here whether he can read. There are three parts in the motion; he has read two. There is a third major part, which deals with the work of parliament. Perhaps he should read the entire motion. He would understand that there is a major parliamentary aspect here.

    We recognize that parliament is important. When my leader, now the coalition's leader, was a minister, when he was on the government side, he was not afraid to hold a vote, he was not afraid at all. Members know very well that parliament expresses its will by voting. The power of the legislator is to vote. This is important.

    The member should stop reading the notes he was given, should stop saying that this is important, that there were so many debates. This is blabbering. I invite the hon. member to ask for a vote and to support the coalition's vote tonight.

    If the government wanted to build an international coalition, it should have started by building one here, in this House.

[English]

+-

    Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I have access to the report “Road Map for National Security”. A bipartisan independent commission was appointed by the United States to look at national security issues. The commission sat for over two years and presented a recommendation and report in January of this year.

    When the events happened on September 11 the Americans were ready because they had someone independent from government researching whether or not their country was ready and what it had to do to be ready.

    Does my hon. colleague from Richmond--Arthabaska believe that maybe what the committee should be doing is looking into the future as to Canada's readiness to deal with such issues?

  +-(1600)  

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. André Bachand: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks, this government has a piecemeal approach. People remember that the Prime Minister said in 1993 that he wanted to govern this way: bring him a problem and he will solve it or at least try to. What kind of vision is this?

    We can give the government all the background we want. We can put forward any vision with supporting arguments. It has unfortunately shown up to now that it did not have the right ideas.

    Here is another example concerning national security. How many calls have been made to municipalities and to provinces? The Minister of Health has said that the provinces had been consulted. I am not so sure. We did not hear much about this.

    With the present anthrax scare in North America, what is the position of the government with Canada Post? Will we get information about this? Will various committees of the House be involved in finding solutions and informing the public?

    That is where we should begin, I think. Once again, a government's best ally is its parliament.

[English]

+-

    Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey--White Rock--Langley, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, although I agree with the comments my colleague made on the lack of real debate, real decision making and the lack of sharing of information in the House, I want to deal with the issue of whether or not we should be supporting our troops as they head overseas.

    This is the third time I have spoken in the House about deployment of Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen into potentially dangerous situations. My maiden speech was on Bosnia. Two years ago I spoke on Kosovo and today I am speaking on Afghanistan.

    The most significant decision we can make in the House of Commons is about sending our military into combat zones. We have to remember that every one of those 2,000 individuals being deployed is someone's child. In many cases they are leaving spouses and children at home. We have to ask ourselves, is the war on terrorism justified? Is it a just war? We have to ensure that the war into which we send our troops is a just war.

    While the war on terrorism is like no other war in the past, it is a war nevertheless. War has evolved over the ages. The wars fought by the Romans were very different from the Napoleonic wars, as those wars differed from World War I which in turn differed from World War II.

    In the past wars were fought by rules, by army against army and navy against navy, but on September 11 the rules changed. The cowards behind these terrorist attacks recognized that they had little chance of confronting the mighty American military so they attacked innocent civilians instead. Even with their attack on the Pentagon, the war machine of the United States, they had to use a plane full of innocent citizens to accomplish that task. That flight, American Airlines flight 77, had at least five children under the age of 12 aboard but the terrorists had no problem with murdering these children to carry out their objective, which was to kill as many people as possible.

    So while we are at war with the terrorists, we are not fighting honourable soldiers who are prepared to fight and if necessary die for their country. We are at war with cowards intent on murdering as many innocent people as possible. Therefore, is this war just? Of course it is, because we are fighting a group of murdering criminals without honour who will continue to kill as many innocent civilians as possible.

    As we prepare to send our troops to the combat zone we must recognize that the Americans and Britons have been there for weeks. For over one week they have been attacking the Taliban and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan. There is little doubt that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are behind the attacks. If there is any doubt one just needs to review the threat made by a spokesperson for the al-Qaeda over the weekend to anyone who takes an airplane or who works in a skyscraper. There is little question that the Taliban government in Afghanistan has aided and abetted al-Qaeda in its terrorist campaign. It has provided a safe haven for this group for years and acknowledges that it could turn over Osama bin Laden if it chose to. By refusing American demands to surrender bin Laden and others the Taliban has made itself a legitimate military target.

    Therefore, for over a week the Americans and Britons have destroyed much of Afghanistan's military infrastructure. Yes, there have been civilian casualties, including children. What is the difference between the hijackers murdering innocent civilians and children and the American military killing innocent civilians and children? The answer is simple. It is intent.

    The terrorists intended to kill innocent children and civilians and they tried to kill as many of them as possible. On the other hand, the Americans have gone out of their way to avoid killing civilians and children. For the most part the American and British military have used precision, guided munitions.

  +-(1605)  

    Unfortunately, while this type of munitions may be accurate 99% of the time, it means that one bomb in a hundred will go astray. On the weekend one such bomb went astray because someone input one digit incorrectly on the guidance system. However, the reality is that allied personnel place themselves in greater danger by this means of attack, by using this type of munitions in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

    This is the difference. While the terrorists intend to kill as many civilians and innocent children as possible, allied military personnel do their utmost to avoid these types of casualties.

    Now we have the Canadian military en route to join their allies. Some would say that we are ignoring Canadian values and traditions by sending our troops into war. They say we are abdicating our traditional role as peacekeepers, not fighters. While I, like most of the members in the House, am very proud of Canada's role of peacekeeping, it is wrong to suggest that Canada does not have a military tradition. Canada's soldiers, sailors and airmen have a proud tradition of honourable military battles. We have fought against tyranny for decades. We fought in many of the great battles or major wars in the last century. In World War I, World War II and Korea, Canadians fought bravely. In fact in the two world wars the United States fought for only a total of five years whereas Canadians fought for a total of ten years.

    Could anyone in the House suggest that it was wrong to fight Hitler and his Nazis? Hitler was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent civilians and children and would have killed millions more had he not been stopped. Does anyone doubt that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda would kill millions if they had the means and the opportunity to do so? While peacekeeping is a noble pursuit, there must be peace to keep, and Canada has an honourable tradition of fighting against terrorism and tyranny and for democracy and peace.

    In April 1999, Václav Havel, president of the Czech Republic, addressed the House. While speaking of the Kosovo conflict he stated:

This is probably the first war ever fought that is not being fought in the name of interests, but in the name of certain principles and values. If it is possible to say about a war that it is ethical, or that it is fought for ethical reasons, it is true of this war.

    I believe that President Havel's remarks could also apply to this war on terrorism. This is not a war against a country. It is not a war against a religion. It is interesting that in the deployment of Canadian troops in Bosnia and Kosovo we were there to protect the Muslim civilians who were under attack. We went there because it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do then and it is the right thing to do now. This is a just war, a moral war and an ethical war.

    While my Coalition colleagues and I support the use of Canada's military in this conflict, it is a shame that the state of our military preparedness has dropped to its current status. It is a shame that our country is not prepared for the terrorist activities that may happen on our own soil. While there is no doubt that our troops are first rate, the government's cuts to military budgets have made them less effective than they should be. Outdated equipment, much of it older than the soldiers using it, should be a concern. Lack of proper training should be another. While I am sure that Canada's military will represent this country well, it will be in spite of government policies and not because of them.

    As Canada's military personnel depart for another campaign, it is important that they know they have the support of the people of Canada. The House can send them that message today and I encourage all members to do so.

    The House needs to send another message today, not to our military but to the Canadian people. It is unfortunate that it took a horrific event like September 11 to get the government's attention, but it would appear that the government has finally woken up. I hope that everyone in the House is now aware that there are some people in the world who are intent on doing harm to us, to our friends and to our allies.

  +-(1610)  

    We will not let that happen again. We will be prepared and we will do what is necessary to protect our families, our friends and ourselves. We will fight evil wherever it exists and we will prevail, because we must.

+-

    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member indicated she was planning to talk about the military side. She used the word war a fair bit. I know that there has been some debate about whether or not there is a war going on because on the other side of this there is not a country involved. In fact someone has characterized terrorism as more a matter for the police than for the military.

    Notwithstanding that, I am surprised that the member did not comment on the broader picture of Afghanistan if in fact she wants to characterize this as a war on Afghanistan. I am surprised that she did not say that: there are 25 million people in Afghanistan, a country the size of Ontario; the life expectancy of an Afghani is about 46 years of age; the birth rate there is about four times higher than it is in Canada; less than 10% of the land is arable; Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, or at least it was until it was recently shut down; and there is all this money that did not go to the people there but obviously went elsewhere.

    These matters are a very important part of the job that has to be done by Canada, not just through the military but through taking care of and doing our share with regard to the innocent Afghani people and dealing surgically with the terrorists who are there. Perhaps the member would like to comment.

+-

    Ms. Val Meredith: Mr. Speaker, I think the motion today is about the openness of information sharing with the government and about how our government, through its committees, should be doing more to protect Canadians from acts of terrorism than what it appears to have been doing or has done.

    The issue of the resettlement of Afghanistan and other areas that find themselves in this situation of impoverishment and criminal activity has to be an item in the future, but right now we cannot ignore the fact that we are in a war. He may not like the use of the term but I would suggest that it is appropriate. We are using military might to try to ferret out the terrorists. If we do not, then we will continue to be afraid in our country.

    I think that what we are trying to show Canadians is that if the government would share information, if the government would show that it had some plan on how it would protect Canadians, if it would have an independent commission set up or committees put in place to deal with how we protect Canadians on our homeland as well as helping countries that find themselves in need of foreign aid, that would be fine. I think what Canadians are concerned about is that there seems to be a complete lack of planning and a complete lack of foresight on the part of the government in dealing with any of the problems, be they on the home front or in foreign affairs.

+-

    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I have a point for the hon. member. The issue as I see it is quite simply exactly this motion and I am surprised that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence did not speak to this himself.

    Because the government has not been forthcoming with information for members of parliament and the various committees of the House, we have had to put forth motions to force it to come forth with information. A prime example of this of course would be the fact that it committed troops to a war zone and did not recall parliament and debate that in the House, as was done in Britain and in other parliaments in the world.

    My final point is that the NDP had a great showing of discussion here about the democratic process and a lot of talk about the UN, yet it failed to even mention article 51 of the United Nations charter, which gives any country under the charter the right to self-defence.

  +-(1615)  

+-

    Ms. Val Meredith: Mr. Speaker, the concern Canadians have also expressed, at least in my riding, is in regard to the fact that the government seems to have completely ignored the role that parliament should be playing in this matter and in regard to the fact that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration are making announcements outside the House. It concerns Canadians that the Prime Minister might pick a fundraising dinner to make some kind of pronouncement when he should be doing it in the House of Commons with his colleagues.

[Translation]

+-

    Mrs. Marlene Jennings (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, before saying anything about today's motion, I would like to inform you that I will split my time with the member for Winnipeg South Centre.

    I would like to take this opportunity—it is the first for me since September 11—to join in with all Canadians who condemn the September 11 terrorist attacks against our NATO ally, the United States. I would also like to congratulate our government and our Prime Minister for the wisdom and the control they have demonstrated in this context.

    I would now like to make a few comments on the motion, particularly on the armed forces’ contribution to the fight against terrorism.

    I am very proud to have the opportunity to address the House today to talk about the Canadian armed forces’ contribution to the fight against terrorism. Canada goes through a historic moment each time it sends its troops to participate in an international operation like this one.

    By doing so, we unequivocally reaffirm our firm commitment to protect peace and security in the world as well as the values that define us as a country and as a community.

    Indeed, need I remind members that the attack of September 11 was also an attack on freedom, justice and democracy, values that are dear to all Canadians.

    Given the current situation, Canadians are in favour of sending Canadian troops to support the international community's efforts.

    This desire to play a role in international affairs has become a tradition of which we can be proud, a tradition that is deeply rooted in our culture and that moulds our commitment. It is how we express our values and our interests abroad.

    Canada has long had strong links to the international community through culture, economy and families.

    As a great trading nation, we prosper in a stable international context, and any instability has a direct impact on us. Our security depends on peace and stability in the world, and it is in our interest to help maintain and restore them.

    This is why Canada is a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and of the United Nations and why we belong to many other international organizations.

    It is also why, during the 20th century, thousands of our fellow Canadians fought courageously and served their country, Canada, in the name of freedom and democracy.

    During World War I, over 600,000 Canadians were directly involved in various battles, and 60,000 of them never came home. During those four years, our soldiers fought in some of the most horrible battles of the war. Ypres, the Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele, these are some of the names that have marked the history of our country forever.

    The bravery and courage of these young Canadians have been recognized by our allies. Today, monuments honouring these soldiers stand tall in the middle of European battlefields.

    In 1939, Canada answered the call again. During World War II, one million Canadians joined the fight for freedom and democracy. They played a crucial role in the allies' victory.

  +-(1620)  

    From Hong Kong to Monte Cassino, from the ice cold waters of the Atlantic to the flooded polders of the Netherlands, in the skies over Great Britain and Germany, to the beaches of Dieppe and Normandy, some 43,000 lost their lives far from home—our country, Canada—and their loved ones.

    Barely five years later, 26,000 Canadians volunteered to defend the values and ideals of the UN in Korea. Over 500 of them made the supreme sacrifice. Since then, Canada has not hesitated to take part in peace missions under the aegis of the UN or NATO.

    In fact, during the past 50 years, over 100,000 Canadians have taken part in peacekeeping missions around the world. During this period, men and women of the Canadian armed forces have endured the difficult conditions of military life, including long separations and the difficult job of peacekeeping.

    Through their commitment and devotion, they have maintained ceasefires, helped the warring parties find common ground, helped distribute humanitarian aid, rebuilt schools and hospitals and brought hope to thousands the world over, including in Asia, Europe, Africa and Central America.

    I would also point out that Canadian forces have taken part as well in peacekeeping missions in Muslim countries or countries with a significant Muslim population. Here are a few examples.

    Nearly 530 members of the Canadian forces helped monitor the ceasefire and withdrawal of troops along the Iran-Iraq border between 1988 and 1991. Over 2,700 members of the Canadian forces helped liberate Kuwait in 1990-91. Canada made a significant contribution to this, which included battleships, medical units, an infantry unit, CF-18 fighters and a flying tanker.

    Between March and December 1999, the Canadian forces helped bring stability to Kosovo and an end to the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing waged by Slobodan Milosevic, and so on.

    In August 1999, the DART unit, the disaster assistance response team, went to Turkey to help Turkish authorities following the terrible earthquake there.

    And today, there are members of the Canadian Forces in the Golan heights, between Israel and Syria, as part of the UN force observing the withdrawal operation. They are in the Sinai desert with the multinational force of observers. They are also part of the UN body overseeing the truce in Lebanon, Syria and Israel.

    These examples speak for themselves. They show that Canada has a long tradition of supporting and helping Muslim peoples.

    It is important to note that, because we must keep reminding everyone that the present campaign is not against Afghanistan or against Islam. Canada, like its allies, has only one purpose, which is to eradicate terrorism. I repeat: our sole purpose is to eradicate terrorism.

    I urge all members of the House and all Canadians to affirm and reaffirm our support for the Canadian forces, for our men and our women who will take part in this campaign against terrorism and who are the proud heirs of a tradition built on the courage and sacrifices of those who wore the uniform before them.

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    Today they are about to celebrate this tradition by joining our allies in order to stand for liberty, democracy, and justice. I hope that we will give such support for our men and our women in the Canadian forces.

[English]

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    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, we on the opposition side support our armed forces and the great job they do. They perhaps do not have all the tools they could have to do their job even better, but we know they work hard.

    I have one short question for my colleague. She asked us to support the military. We have indicated our support for the military. Will she be supporting the motion being debated before the House today that was put forward by the PC/DR coalition?

[Translation]

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    Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Mr. Speaker, the motion speaks for itself. First, I support men and women in the Canadian forces who will take part in this campaign to eradicate terrorism.

    Second, standing committees of the House are already examining this issue. In my opinion, that speaks volumes. The motion is a bit like motherhood and apple pie.

[English]

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     Who could be against motherhood and apple pie?

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    Mr. Grant McNally: Mr. Speaker, the member alluded to her earlier speech in which she said we should support the military. I indicated that we support the military and she indicated that as well.

    I do not think the hon. member directly answered my question so I will put it to her again. Will she be supporting the motion that the PC/DR coalition has brought to the House today, that the committees work on having joint meetings for informing members and the public about what is going on? Will the hon. member support the motion, yes or no?

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    Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Mr. Speaker, I can only assume the hon. member was not listening to my response. First, I said that I have asked the House to support our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and brothers and sisters in the armed forces who will be participating in the campaign to eradicate terrorism.

    The second part of the motion is already happening, as I stated. The standing committees are already meeting on these issues. They have been doing so and will continue to do so. Asking whether I will vote in favour is like asking if I support motherhood and apple pie.

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    Mr. Grant McNally: Mr. Speaker, it is a simple question and it has been asked twice. I will try a third time. The member says she supports the first part of the motion. She indicates that this is a motherhood issue that we should all support but seems reluctant to indicate either a yes or a no.

    Will she stand in her place tonight when we have the vote and support the motion? It is a simple and direct question which can be answered with a yes or a no.

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    Mrs. Marlene Jennings: Mr. Speaker, my family has told me I am not a simple person but a difficult person.

    My answer on both occasions to the same question was quite clear. It seems there is only confusion in the mind of the member who has now asked the question three times.

    I will repeat myself a third time. I hope the hon. member will listen carefully. Perhaps it will dissipate the clouds that seem to be floating between his two ears.

    First, I asked that the House and Canadians indicate support for our men and women in the Canadian forces who will be participating in the campaign to eradicate terrorism. They have done so.

    Second, the second part of the motion is already taking place. It is a fait accompli. I repeat once again that it is like asking if I am in favour of motherhood and apple pie. Perhaps I should say it in Italian. The member does not seem to understand my response in either official language. I am a mother, so I am obviously in favour of motherhood. I like dessert, so I guess I like apple pie.

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    Ms. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to stand in support of the motion moved today by the right hon. member for Calgary Centre, just as I am pleased to support the government's firm condemnation of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, its resolve to stand up in the face of terror, and as the Prime Minister said on Thanksgiving weekend, its refusal to be dictated to from the shadows as well as its balanced, integrated and timely responses to the emerging challenges.

    Indeed we stand squarely with our friends and allies in our determination to rid the world of the plague of international terrorism. In keeping with this commitment, the Canadian forces are now a fully involved and integral part of the international campaign with ships, aircraft and personnel ready to join it outside North America.

    As many men and women in the forces prepare themselves for this latest mission, the motion we address here today leads me to speak to a commendable record of support of the Canadian forces by this government.

    From its basis in the policy of maintaining a multi-purpose combat capable force capable of defending Canada and North America in co-operation with the United States and contributing to international peace and security, to the injection over the past several years of more than $3 billion into defence spending, the government has successfully sought ways to support the Canadian forces and ensure their ability to carry out the missions they are assigned. Reform, renewal and modernization and new investment have been intently and successfully pursued.

    Among other things, the minister and his team have advanced recruitment and retention goals, taken critical quality of life initiatives, improved leadership and education programs and largely implemented an ambitious capital program.

    Like most professional militaries in competitive societies, the Canadian forces face the challenge of attracting and retaining skilled people. Months before the attack on the United States, the forces launched a massive public campaign to recruit new people to the military. They have been making progress in doing exactly that. The Canadian forces have also been working hard on quality of life initiatives for the past several years, significantly improving the working and living conditions of personnel and their families. I know this has been an important priority of the current Minister of National Defence and with the government's support, it has enjoyed considerable success.

    They have improved pay and allowances, accommodation and support for military families and have undertaken major health care reforms. The Canadian forces have also been working to maintain and build upon their proud tradition of strong and effective leadership. They are enhancing officer education and training through a broad set of initiatives as well as offering new opportunities for all members of the Canadian forces through various learning initiatives.

    Improved education, training and skills development are essential if the Canadian forces are to meet future challenges. But the forces also need the tools to do the job we ask of them so the Canadian forces have been working to acquire new equipment and to upgrade what they already have.

    The air force's fleet of CF-18 fighters and Aurora maritime patrol aircraft are being upgraded. New search and rescue helicopters are being delivered. The navy, which already has state of the art frigates and destroyers, is acquiring new submarines. The army is benefiting from sophisticated armoured vehicles such as the Coyote and the LAV III, both built right here in Canada. New communications systems, improved combat clothing and associated equipment are being developed. They are also investigating options to improve global deployability such as strategic air, sea lift and air to air refueling capabilities.

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    All these initiatives will work to deepen and strengthen the foundation of our armed forces and enable them to make the most of the tasks they are assigned by the government, including this very difficult struggle against terrorism.

    Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence have clearly stated that this campaign will be fought on a broad front. It will include not only a military dimension, but also humanitarian, financial, legislative, diplomatic and domestic security initiatives and intelligence. The government is working hard on all fronts to win the struggle and to maintain the safety and security of all Canadians. This is an unequivocal priority.

    Throughout this effort however long it may last, the Canadian forces will be doing their part both at home and abroad. The forces are filled with talented, dedicated and courageous professionals, men and women who are ready to be part of that campaign effort. Let us support them and their families in every way we can and keep them in our thoughts and prayers over the coming months. It will not be an easy time.

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    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's words. To be frank, what came to my mind was that it was a canned speech supplied by the office of the Minister of National Defence. To say that the government has had a balanced and committed approach to the challenge, I would categorically disagree.

    A committed and balanced approach in a leadership role would have indicated that the government would have recalled parliament immediately after the events of September 11, that it would have immediately taken certain measures to change things within the Ministry of Transport regarding the safety of aircraft, that we would have put our troops on some type of military footing expecting they could be committed to the operation. Most of all parliamentarians would have had an immediate debate in the House on whether or not we will commit our troops to war.

    Does the hon. member think Canada should do what the government has done and that it has been correct in committing our troops to war without approval and parliamentary debate?

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    Ms. Anita Neville: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my remarks which are my own, I believe the government has responded in a balanced, thoughtful, timely way. It has responded to the challenges as they have emerged. Parliament has had significant opportunity to debate the issue. Parliament has been kept informed as we have moved along. I believe the government has responded appropriately.

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    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for her comments.

    I will put the same question to her to which I was very unsuccessful in getting an answer from her colleague just moments ago. It was a question I had to ask three times and to which I never did receive an answer. I received some personal insults from the member, but that is the cut and thrust of what goes on in this place sometimes.

    I will ask my colleague from the governing party whether or not she will be standing in her place tonight when the PC/DR coalition's motion comes to a vote and showing by her actions that she supports the motion. Will she be voting yes to the motion tonight?

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    Ms. Anita Neville: Mr. Speaker, I am tempted to reply as my colleague did before with ditto, but I do not want to get into the analogy of apple pie and motherhood. I do believe that this is a motion that addresses the concerns of all Canadians. As my colleague across the House has said, stay tuned, I think he will be pleased.

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    Mr. Reed Elley (Nanaimo—Cowichan, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I want to advise the House that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Prince Albert.

    It is a pleasure to join in today's debate. Unfortunately as some other members have already stated, I do find the motion from the Conservative Party fairly innocuous. It is a bit of a motherhood statement, things we can basically all agree on, but it really gives us very little substance to debate. However it is before the House and I am prepared to debate it. The motion calls for several things and I will take them in order.

    The first is that the House reaffirms its condemnation of the terrorist acts against our NATO ally the United States of America. Like many in this Chamber, I have gone on public record stating my abhorrence of the September 11 acts of terrorism. The horror we all felt at seeing these particular acts committed against a democratic nation will be etched in our minds forever.

    Many have stated, and I agree, that our world has changed since that day. Some have said that the western world lost a sense of innocence. Others have said that there was no way for us to anticipate such an attack. Whatever our thoughts on this, all reasonable people would condemn these acts of terrorism and I would certainly urge the House to continue to do so.

    The motion continues with support for Canada's courageous men and women in the Canadian armed forces who are responding to defend freedom and democracy in the international military coalition against terrorism. I am pleased to note that currently around 200 members of the armed forces live in my riding of Nanaimo--Cowichan, representing perhaps 200 families and many more people. I am honoured to represent them as their member of parliament because I know they in turn are proud to serve their country especially at this time of international crisis.

    It is with pleasure therefore that I support the Canadian men and women who are moving to protect our freedoms. The commitment and challenges they face are enormous. We all recognize the challenges that are faced on the military side. Consider for a moment the challenges which they face at a personal level. On the home front with moms and dads away for extended periods of time, there are lots of changes in the family unit. Hockey games and dance recitals will be missed. Birthday parties and holiday events will only be celebrated through pictures and letters. We see these men and women make a commitment to this military effort which many of us do not have to face and I thank them for it.

    I would offer a challenge for those of us who remain at home. Let us look around us and support those families who have a loved one on duty during this current conflict. Take a youngster to a hockey game. Support the moms and dads who tend the home front.

    Since September 11 we as a nation have felt a stronger level of support for one another than for many years past, so let us not lose that sense of community. We are indeed our brother's keeper so let us reach out to those who need our support.

    As a nation Canada has a long and proud military history. In the past we have done what other armies were not able to do. In many ways we became a nation during World War II when we first sent our finest and bravest to the front as a cohesive unit under Canadian authority.

    Therefore I support the action of our armed forces being a part of this international coalition to fight terrorism. I must confess however that at the same time I feel this great pride in our armed forces, I am also somewhat concerned. I am concerned that the government has not given them the equipment necessary to perform their task in the most effective and safest manner possible.

    I shudder to think that we might send troops into war zones with those old Sea King helicopters. Yes, the Sea Kings have served us well, but let us face the fact they are 40 years old. I am 50 and I know how I feel at times. We have all heard the horror stories of Sea Kings that have either not lifted off the ground or have gone down in some cases with a loss of life. I am told they need 30 hours of maintenance for every hour of flight time. Is this really the best the government can do for our military?

    In 1993 the Prime Minister campaigned to cancel the EH-101 contract put in place by the previous government. Here we are almost 10 years later and we are still using the Sea Kings and there are no new helicopters in sight. While I have a lot of pride for the members of our armed forces, I am ashamed of a government that has failed to best equip them to do their job.

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    When the real numbers are looked at since the government took power between 1993 and 1999 Canada's defence budget was reduced by 30%. My hon. colleagues in the Conservative Party must also share some of the blame as these cuts came on top of two successive defence budget cuts by the Conservatives in 1989 and 1991.

    The net effect has been a reduction of our forces personnel by some 35%. The latest numbers tell us that we only have about 50,000 men and women in our regular forces and even less who are combat ready.

    It is not just partisan rhetoric when we talk about budget shortfalls for our forces. We note that most of the 2000 budget increases will go toward pay increases and quality of life expenditures. While these are long overdue they do nothing to assist with equipment. The auditor general has stated that the equipment budget faces a potential shortfall of $30 billion by the year 2012.

    The last part of the motion would order the Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and National Defence and Veterans Affairs to meet jointly to hold frequent meetings with ministers and officials of the government and the military. That is another nice bit of apple pie rhetoric. Perhaps we should also add the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to the list because of Canadian concerns that our lax immigration policy can allow terrorists to come into our country.

    There is no question that we need to increase our communication levels in times of national and international crisis. It is also important that our citizens be kept up to date as to how their government is handling such a situation. There is sensitive information which cannot be passed along to the general public, but all Canadians would want me to say to those who are in our military and government that while we give them the power they should not abuse it to the detriment of our own personal civil liberties.

    What I have noticed in the way our American neighbour has been handling the situation is the frequency of President Bush's television interviews and briefings to the general public. It is this up close and personal relationship of a leader to his people which helps to draw a country together in times of crisis. May I suggest that our Prime Minister and his cabinet do what they can to make the same thing happen in Canada.

    Those who make our laws, especially those of us who are opposition MPs, should not be hearing of pending legislation in the newspapers long before it is tabled in the House. If the government cares about that it should show the courtesy of briefing all MPs long before legislation is tabled. The Prime Minister only shows his disdain for parliament when he makes decisions for all Canadians yet fails to consult and seek approval from those who represent them.

    I offer my support for this motion and will closely review the legislation that the justice minister has brought before the House today. I applaud and commend these men and women in our armed forces who enter into conflict in an effort to ensure that elected officials and all Canadians have the right to speak freely. I can think of nothing greater than seeing these same rights and freedoms being extended to those living all around the world, for this is indeed a fight for freedom.

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    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the issue of the Sea Kings has come up often in the House. It is quite unfortunate that the commentary with regard to the condition of the Sea Kings serves no useful purpose other than to raise the anxiety of the families of those who have to fly them on behalf of Canadians.

    I want to correct for the House the language that has been used very clearly. I confirmed moments ago with the Minister of National Defence and the staff that the statement of requiring 30 hours of maintenance for every one hour of flight is incorrect. In fact it is 30 man-hours per hour of flight. If there are six people servicing a Sea King and they work for a five hour period, that amounts to 30 man-hours.

    I would also like to advise the House that the maintenance referred to is not rebuilding the engine or cleaning a carburetor. It includes refuelling, washing, touching up paint and general maintenance. The majority of the time on maintenance has to do with normal standard checking procedures that would be necessary even for brand new helicopters.

    I wanted to clarify that for the member because the families of our servicemen and women who fly them should know the truth about the Sea Kings.

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    Mr. Reed Elley: Mr. Speaker, the only thing I would say to my hon. colleague is that if he had a choice between having a brand new Porsche in his driveway and a 40 year old car that he has to take to the garage every time he uses it, which would he choose?

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    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I agreed with many of the things my colleague from the Alliance had to say, but there were a couple of things that disturbed me a bit. He said that the motion added little substance to the debate. Then he went on to make many very good points about the reason we need to be debating this issue.

    He made some valuable contributions when he mentioned the impact this military action would have on the lives of individuals within his own riding and on the lives of the families affected. He made some very good points about that. He also went on to say that the motion is apple pie rhetoric and then went on to say that he would be supporting it.

    I appreciate the member's support for the motion brought forward by the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative coalition. How can he on the one hand support the motion and at the same time use rather inflammatory remarks about those that he agrees with?

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    Mr. Reed Elley: Mr. Speaker, I have a great deal of esteem for my hon. colleague. I compare the substantive motion we in this party brought to the House a week after the events of September 11 which outlined point by point the things we felt the government needed to do.

    We will support the motion because it is all good stuff. It has little substance and adds nothing more to the debate up to this time, but I believe my comments are accurate and valuable.

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    Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick (Prince Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this matter. We were talking about the age of cars. Under the Liberal government we cannot really afford Porsches. It reminds me of the Cuban situation where they are driving 1957 Plymouths and so on.

    We are dealing with a new type of war against a new, different and formidable enemy. There is no doubt that the enemy is eminently evil. Where should we be going at this stage with this type of war?

    Much has been said over the last month and quite frankly a war of words will not win the war. This war will be won by action.

    The Progressive Conservative Party understands the need for Canada to co-ordinate this war of action. We do not have the luxury in this war of having departments build their own little empires, barriers and not co-operating.

    I heard no end of answers during the last session when we were talking about the Amodeo situation where departments were passing the buck. We cannot afford that. Departments have to work and co-operate, and the gist of the motion is to get everybody working on the same plan and strategy.

    However, as soon as I read the intent of the motion I had problems with it because it seems the war involves just about every department of government. Can we ignore the area of immigration and refugees? We have approximately 26,000 people in Canada who are not supposed to be here and are subject to deportation orders. The government does not have the resources to know where they are or how to even track them down and get them out of the country. It is a serious matter.

    We have heard about the Ressam situation. It is a very disturbing scenario. We knew he was a dangerous terrorist who was in our country. We decided we could not send him back to his home nation of Algeria because the Canadian way looked at the Algerian legal system and concluded it would not be compassionate. It would not be the Liberal way of dealing with somebody to send a dangerous person back to the country that should be dealing with him.

    There is another important area. We are dealing with dangerous people in the war on terrorism. We need a strong and powerful intelligence agency in the country that has the tools and equipment to deal with it. That involves the solicitor general's branch.

    Transportation has been the first target of the terrorists either directly or as a means of bringing about terror. How can we keep transportation out of the discussion?

    We could refer to a lot of departments. The justice department deals with criminal law. We are talking about an omnibus bill brought forward by the justice minister to deal with acts of terrorism. The more one thinks about it, the more we are talking about every branch of government.

    One would think that there are no barriers between government departments in the war on terrorism. However I am quite sure there are many. The Senate had a look at the whole area of terrorism in 1989. It found numerous examples of government departments working at odds with one another.

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    These obstacles must be eliminated. The barriers must be knocked down. One example is that CSIS had its own legislative definition of a security risk. The immigration department has another definition. Other departments have other definitions. This must stop.

    If we brought together all the committees of the House to deal with the matter we would be bringing 301 MPs into the House of Commons to deal with it on an ongoing basis. The motion underscores something that is becoming obvious to me: We need a new special minister whose job is solely to co-ordinate the war on terrorism.

    In all fairness, in the war against terrorism a lot of us must set aside our partisan ideology and points of view. There is a report that says the Bruce nuclear reactor does not comply with recognized international safety standards. My reading of the report suggests the reactor is way off the mark. Does that mean we should privatize the existing system as an alternative to public ownership of the Bruce nuclear reactor? Nonsense, that is not the problem. The challenge is to put in a good system and good management and make sure we get the results we want.

    We have 26,000 people in the country who should not be here. Many of them are dangerous. They are the product of a poor immigration and refugee system. Should we privatize the immigration system because it has all these flaws?

    I am raising these points because I have heard people from other parties suggest that the problems we have at airports are because we have private security people there. They say that making them all public servants would be the solution. That is not the solution. We need quality programs with good management and then we will get the results we want.

    Another requirement in the war on terrorism is the need for resources. It is truly shameful to look at the results of years of neglect by the government in terms of our military, our immigration and refugee system and our intelligence community. It is an embarrassment for Canadians to be sending Sea Kings and other military relics into the combat zone. It is shameful that we only have about 250 or 260 special forces people trained to deal with hijacking and terrorist activities. It is even more shameful that a lot of them will be leaving Canada when they are badly needed at home.

    To provide the resources without going back into a deficit situation, something I do not think most members want, the government will have to start looking at some of its sacred cows, programs that have limited benefits but use a lot of money. I will quickly list some of these.

    First, we have spent $600 million on a gun registration system whose benefits are still arguable. We will spend another $100 million a year to administer the program once it is finally set up.

    Second, there are mountains of interest groups who collect money from the government. We went through that last week with one of the ministers and the embarrassment that resulted from that.

    Third, HRDC and the Department of Industry still believe welfare capitalism is the way to make the economy grow.

    A lot of these sacred cows will have to be put to the side and the funds will have to be used for national security where they are needed.

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    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member raised the issue of the Sea Kings, as did the prior speaker. It is not helpful to our military personnel who fly the Sea Kings or to their families to continue to talk about them in that manner.

    The member knows the Sea Kings have been totally retrofitted. He knows the U.S. has many Sea Kings it still uses. They are used for the president of the United States of America. When we see pictures of the helicopter landing at the White House, that is a Sea King. They can fly safely when they are properly maintained.

    The member did not comment on the last part of the motion which calls for a joint foreign affairs-national defence committee to hold “frequent meetings with ministers and officials”. The House did so during the gulf war but this is quite a different matter. The current war may go on for an extended period of time, maybe even years.

    Would the member have a problem with frequent meetings of a couple of standing committees on a matter which may not evolve as quickly as the gulf war?

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    Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Mr. Speaker, I do not have any objections to walls getting knocked down and committees working together for a common purpose. That is only common sense. However I made the point that we are getting into health areas. If there is a terrorist attack with anthrax the Minister of Health will get involved. If nuclear material or other things get into the situation we could have environmental repercussions.

    I do not know where to stop or where to start. I seriously think we will need to consider a minister of homeland defence to co-ordinate activities and make sure we get a total co-ordinated effort.

    In terms of the Sea Kings, I will mention another point since the member raised it. The former chief of staff would not fly on a Sea King while his troops were stationed in East Timor. He would not do it. He decided this on the basis that they were not safe. However I am not the person responsible for equipping our armed forces.

    In terms of secrecy and so on, I accept that in this conflict the government should hold some things back. I was amazed to open the Globe and Mail today and see on the front page that the Department of Transport has announced to the whole country that it has not put baggage checking equipment on our airplanes. I find that disturbing. On the front page of a newspaper we are telling every terrorist in the country that we have a hole in our transportation security system.

    The government will not answer questions in the House because of secrecy and security yet the Department of Transport leaks information on the front page of a national paper telling everyone we will not have baggage checking security until next spring. I find that amazing.

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    Mr. Gerald Keddy (South Shore, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I would like to give the hon. member for Prince Albert another opportunity to answer the question raised by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

    The parliamentary secretary has stated in the House twice if not three times that it is somehow a mistake to criticize the government and the fact that it cancelled a helicopter contract and is forcing our men and women in the armed forces to fly choppers that are 38 years of age. He says this somehow heightens tension for their families and causes them aggravation and grief.

    That is utter nonsense. The men and women who fly the choppers, their families and their extended families are only too happy to see the issue raised in the House of Commons. They are thanking God someone is finally saying something and trying to get them better gear.

    Would the member for Prince Albert comment on that? The parliamentary secretary--

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    The Deputy Speaker: I know the hon. member for Prince Albert wants to respond and he will do so succinctly and briefly.

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    Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick: Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the government has been for the last three or four months. David Harris, former head of CSIS, has said we have major problems in the intelligence area. I think everyone in the House respects former general Lewis MacKenzie who has made a lot of disturbing comments about the state of our military and our defence. We do not need to take judicial notice of the fact that our military is in pretty sad shape. When I see what we are sending over to this combat arrangement I am quite embarrassed about it. We have 1960 Leopard tanks. We have--

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    The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

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    Mr. Paul Szabo: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During debate the member mentioned a CDS that refused to fly on a Sea King. That maligns all CDSs in the military. It is incumbent on the hon. member to--

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    The Deputy Speaker: Respectfully, this is not a point of order.

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    Mr. Grant McNally (Dewdney—Alouette, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to join the debate on the important motion that the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative coalition has brought forward in the House today.

    I would again rebut the earlier comments of my colleague from the Alliance who said this was a motion of little substance. She said it was some kind of apple pie rhetoric. It is far from that. The motion gives us the opportunity to debate an important action that we can take together as members in the House.

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     I want to focus my comments very directly on the motion. I want to look at the second part of the motion because this is the part where many members today have taken issue. I will read the second part of the motion into the record:

That this House hereby order the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to sit jointly to hold frequent meetings with ministers and officials of the government and the military.

    That is a very important part of this motion. It is a part that has been dismissed by some members in the House as being motherhood or apple pie. I think it sends a message. It gives us an opportunity of a concrete step that can be taken. I think it can be endorsed by all members from all parties in this place and can provide the opportunity for us to have an outlet to share information.

    Look at what is happening in the United States in the case of this crisis. Members of congress are being briefed on many of the details surrounding the responses of the United States, its military response and responses in other ways. Yet in many ways there continues to be a vacuum of information here.

    We understand that there is certain information that cannot be shared. An idea was brought forward by the leader of our coalition who said why not bring the party leaders into the Privy Council for this period of time so they can be briefed with confidential information and bound by confidentiality. That would be a good thing. It would send a message to all Canadians that we are all members of the House working in a non-partisan way for a very important reason, which is to get on with dealing with the serious issues before us regarding the events surrounding September 11.

    I reject the notion that this is simply an apple pie motion. The motion has been crafted in a way to elicit support from all members of the House, not just members of the Progressive Conservative Democratic Representative coalition, but support from our colleagues from the Alliance, the Bloc, the NDP and the government.

    I have not heard one argument today that has been a good argument to reject the motion before us. It would be our hope that tonight we would see members rise in support of this motion because it takes a concrete idea, moves it forward into practical application in a way that we can show Canadians that we are able to break down some of the partisan walls that have developed over the years in this place and to put in play something where we can come forward and have regular briefings of two different committees with government ministers and other officials of the government and the military.

    I do not think it is a huge thing to ask. It should garner the support of all people in the House. It was with that intent that this motion was crafted in that way to break down those partisan walls.

    As I have said in the House many times since September 11, it is time for us, as leaders of the nation in the face of the crisis before us in terms of the events of September 11, to start to do more than just talk. We must take action and show by our actions that we mean business. We must include all voices of all regions of the country by eliciting the support and the involvement of all members of parliament. We must share the information that can be shared. We must allay people's fears by sharing information about what our government is doing and what concrete steps we are planning to take.

    The Minister of Transport outlined some details, and we are thankful for that. We think there is more that he and his department can do. They are taking steps and have made some announcements.

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    Other government departments have taken some concrete steps, but there needs to be more. There needs to be involvement of not only members of parliament, but the Canadian public.

    When information goes unchecked, it can lead to misinformation. Why do we not take the opportunity to lead by example by supporting this motion and showing to the people of Canada that we have moved forward from a partisan divide, which we have so often here, to one where we are breaking down those walls in the best interests, not of our political parties but for our country? This way we can reflect on what people are telling us in the ridings we represent. We can bring their message to Ottawa where we can have an impact as a nation to address the concerns before us.

    It is my belief that if we are able to support this motion tonight we will see a change in a small way, but it will be a concrete change. It will be a change that will provide more information sharing. There will be a coming together of two parliamentary committees where we can reaffirm our support for our military and the tragic events of September 11.

    If we do that, we would then be able to take further steps in future days,weeks and months in this place. People across Canada are waiting for us to move to that model of governance in our nation, where it is not one team against the other, but where it is what is in the best interest of our country.

    A crisis can bring opportunity. The opportunity before us now as members of parliament, as leaders of the nation, is to come together to find solutions and to stand for the freedoms that we have built this nation on so they will not go unchallenged by those who would attempt to use fear and tragic acts of violence to intimidate our freedoms in Canada.

    A generation ago in this very House there were many debates about Canada's participation in World War II. The parliamentarians of that day took bold action when they moved forward. The cost was great but the price that was paid led to the freedoms that we have today. We must safeguard those freedoms that were won by those in the generation before us. They have given us so much so we can move forward as a nation and as a world to combat the terror before us and continue on as a free and great nation, contributing to that freedom around the world.

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    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the member raised a good point when he talked about the second part of the motion. The first two parts are fairly straightforward and I think will be embraced by the House as important statements for us to make.

    The second part with regard to the joint meetings of the foreign affairs and national defence committees seems to be somewhat problematic or is trying to emulate something that was done back in 1993 with regard to the gulf war where there was some sort of joint committee which actually produced reports.

    The motion is not sufficiently specific with regard to the undertakings of any joint committee. I find that problematic because it does not give sufficient direction from this place, and I am not sure why.

    Would the movers of the motion be amenable to splitting the motion into two parts, being the two paragraphs that are before the House? I suspect that an amendment has already been made not allowing further amendments. However, if it were the will of the House to split it that might be helpful, in the event the member concurs that the second part of the motion lacks any specificity that would guide the committees.

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    Mr. Grant McNally: Mr. Speaker, it is a good motion as it addresses the concerns that the member brought up. It is my understanding that the government is supportive of this motion.

    As I outlined in my speech, it is a concrete action that we can take together as members from different parties to show that we can come together, in a way that has not been done very often before, in this time of crisis and share information. That is a positive thing. It is my hope that all members will support the motion this evening.

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    Ms. Val Meredith (South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, does my hon. colleague feel that it is not only time to have a joint committee structure put in place, but that it may be time for the committees to be given greater responsibilities and that the partisan nature of committees and government control be removed so that committees can operate freely and openly and have a meaningful role to play in the parliamentary system?

    Is this perhaps a good time not only to address joint committee meetings, but also address making committees relevant?

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    Mr. Grant McNally: I agree, Mr. Speaker, with my hon. colleague's comment that we can encourage committees to do good work. When we bring people together in a less partisan way, we exchange ideas and make recommendations and reports that actually can be implemented by the government.

    So often we spend a lot of time on parliamentary committees and come to an agreement in a good working relationship with members from all parties. Then, as the report is being written, many times a group comes in from the government side and votes against all the things that the committee agreed on, thereby making a farce of the process.

    Look at other models of government around the world and how their committees work, such as the United States. Their committee system works. Their committees have real power and the ability to make change. We have the same ability to do that here if there were a change in attitude and direction. I believe there is a willingness of all members of the House to engage in that kind of process within committees so that we can make concrete positive change.

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    Mr. Bill Casey (Cumberland—Colchester, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, once again I rise to talk about this awful subject.

    When the terrorist attack first happened, a lot of people, including myself, said that things have changed dramatically and that the world will never be the same. As I came up to the Hill a few minutes ago I saw that the East Block was cordoned off with fire trucks and ambulances. Apparently there was another bioterrorism scare in the East Block, the second one today on the Hill. Mounted police are scanning the underside of all vehicles with mirrors as they come up the Hill. These are things that have never happened before. The world has certainly changed.

    Last night, when I was scheduled to fly back to work, our plane was delayed because of a bioterrorism scare in Toronto. It held up all the planes across the country as Toronto is the hub for all the activity.

    The September 11 attack has also had quite an impact on my own province of Nova Scotia. All air travel in Halifax as well as at a lot of other airports in Atlantic Canada was cancelled.

    We now have scanners in our offices and we are scanned before we go into our offices. Visitors must go through scanners. Certainly everything we do now seems to be affected by terrorism.

    As our leader of the coalition has said many times, it is really important for Canadians to know what is happening. We cannot tell Canadians that everything is okay, that everything is great and that we can carry on as we always did.

    On the other hand, there is no reason to be fearful of everything but certainly many things we do in our everyday lives have changed. We need to address these issues. We need to help the public and parliament understand what is going on. It is really important that we all have the information with which to work.

    As our leader said in his motion, we reaffirm the condemnation of terrorist attacks on our NATO ally, the Untied States of America, on September 11. The attacks were against the United States but they have certainly affected all of us and continue to affect us.

    We should not be fearmongers but I really believe Canadians deserve to know exactly what is going on, what steps are being taken to protect them and what steps are being taken to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice. I believe that Canadians are entitled to know what the government is doing on all these issues so they can better understand what we are doing and how to react themselves.

    People are seeing their whole retirement investments and their RRSPs collapse before their very eyes. Because of some of the things that have happened, some of their investments have deteriorated badly just in the last little while.

    On the other hand, I do not think we should be totally focusing on this. We should be focusing on positive steps that Canada can take. Canada is in a unique position to take steps to help in a lot of different ways that perhaps other countries cannot.

    There has never been any connection between the Palestinians or Israelis and the terrorist act of September 11 in the United States. The only connection has been to Osama bin Laden who said that there will never be peace in the western world and that there will never be peace in the United States until there is peace in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

    I think Canada can play a role in taking that excuse away from Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists who use that conflict, that ongoing difference, as an excuse for terrorism. It is not a justifiable reason. It makes no sense, and we cannot make sense of terrorism, but it is used as an excuse. I think Canada can help address those issues by helping the Palestinians and the Israelis to come to terms, find common ground and resolve their differences. I believe the will is there to do it. The hurdles are huge and the problems are almost insurmountable but they must be overcome.

    Osama bin Laden has drawn that conflict into the argument even though the Palestinians and the Israelis are not associated with the terrorism at all.

  +-(1730)  

    However, by dragging them into it, it is incumbent upon us and the rest of the world to help resolve that issue now, not only that one but others that give the terrorists an excuse.

    Canada is in a unique position to help. That was made clear by the Palestinian diplomats and the Israeli diplomats to Canada when they agreed to a very modest peace forum that was proposed here by parliamentarians.

    We had invited parliamentarians from the Palestinian legislative council and parliamentarians from the Israeli knesset to come and meet with Canadian parliamentarians to discuss an appropriate or possible role for Canada. That modest peace forum was supposed to start today but because of the September 11 incidents, the volatile situation and many other aspects in the Middle East, they were not able to come today. However we are all working together now to try to establish a new date as soon as we can.

    The Israeli knesset changed its dates of operation and opening. In fact today is the first day the Israeli knesset is sitting. It was not supposed to be today but because of September 11 it rearranged its opening day schedule which happened to coincide with our forum. Also, due to the volatility and uncertainty of travel arrangements and everything that is happening in the Middle East, we did delay it but we will not delay it very long as everyone is committed to finding a new date.

    I want to wind up by saying that we certainly want the House and the government to reaffirm their condemnation of the terrorist acts. It is important for all the committees to work together. We have a great deal of strength. We have 301 members of parliament with different backgrounds and from different parts of the country. They come from different trades, different professions and different areas of expertise. We should be calling on the abilities of all 301 members of parliament to help find our way through this.

    We have not seen the end of this at all. No one can predict where this will go, what the reaction to the retaliation will be, whether there will be more retaliation, which other countries will be involved and so on.

    As our motion calls for, we urge the government to allow the committees to come together and to work together frequently so that everyone has a share in this and can contribute to developing the policy of the United States in this very troublesome time.

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    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am becoming a little concerned about the insinuation that is being attributed to the second part of the motion, which is that the standing committees on foreign affairs and national defence hold joint meetings with officials and ministers, et cetera.

    The fact is that committees have been operating. In fact, ministers have met with their respective committees.

    The Minister of Transport was before the transport committee to talk about important issues like airline and airport safety. The Minister of National Defence and all his staff were before the national defence committee. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was before the foreign affairs committee. The Minister of Health has already dealt very quickly with other aspects. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has been before that particular committee.

    The House has been working. The committees have been working.

    The genesis of this particular part of the motion comes from something that happened during the gulf war where parliament did establish a couple of joint committees that met on a daily basis with the military.

    The membership should clearly understand or maybe admit that this is not a war against another country that will be over in a period of time. This is a campaign against global terrorism that could take years.

    Although I think everyone can agree with the first paragraph, which is, first, to condemn the terrorists and second, to support our military, the lack of specifics about these committees meeting frequently with military and ministers and tying up these people over an indefinite period of time, which could be years, gives me great concern.

    I hope the member could at least put on the record what the intent is so that should I vote in favour of this I understand what the intent of a very wishy-washy second part is.

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    Mr. Bill Casey: Mr. Speaker, as the member spoke I just made a few notes here. I am sure I am missing some.

    This issue deals with immigration aspects. It deals with the ministers of immigration, customs and revenue. It deals with health. It deals with the military. It deals with the Minister of Transport. To deal with these in isolation is wrong.

    Yes, the committees have met. We have met for an hour with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He has agreed to come back and I am sure he will come back. The Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot help us to understand the aspects of transportation, immigration, customs and revenue and all of these things.

    The motion has an amendment in it. If the member read the amendment or listened to the amendment today it states that the committees can meet separately but it would also not rule out the fact that we could meet together. The advantage of these committees meeting together is that we could all contribute and share ideas.

    The member should not be concerned. These are good ideas which should alleviate his concerns. It is only appropriate and it would happen in any other walk of life.

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    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, to add a further point to the comments made by my colleague in the coalition, the amendment very clearly states that the committees will meet frequently and it opens the possibility of committees meeting jointly. The hon. member is not accurate in saying that somehow this would tie the hands of the committees, government or personnel by binding them to meet jointly. They can continue, as the member has alluded to. They have met and we are hoping they will meet more frequently.

    We are living in heightened times, certainly emergency times in many instances. The purpose and the motive behind the motion is to ensure we are doing everything possible, everything that should be and is expected of us in this time of heightened awareness of terrorism in the country. It would include of course having the committees meet together where there would be specific references to justice, health, immigration or defence. All these committees can on occasion meet together and I think that has now been made very clear.

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    Mr. Bill Casey: Mr. Speaker, the first speaker raised the concern that our proposal was based upon the gulf war. Well the gulf war strategy worked. I do not understand why will the Liberals not accept a strategy that works. To question it does not make sense to me because it is a proven strategy. It worked and was very successful. Everyone learned more and everyone won.

[Translation]

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    Mr. Serge Marcil (Beauharnois--Salaberry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will split my time with the hon. member for Nepean—Carleton. I would like the Chair to notify me two minutes before the end of my 10 minutes.

    We keep saying that democracy and freedom are fundamental values in which Canadians sincerely believe, and which our government vigorously defends. These values were attacked on September 11.

    As a member of this House, I appreciate every opportunity that we have to express our views on issues that are of interest to our society. Since we came back, since these attacks took place, we have had the opportunity to express our sorrow in light of these events, and also our views as to what our government should do.

    Today, members of the Progressive Conservative Party, the Canadian Alliance Party or the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative caucus coalition—I no longer know how to identify them—are back with a motion whose content looks like déjà vu.

    It is said that the opposition has so little to contribute that it must come back with issues that have already been dealt with the House since September 11.

    Here is an example. The first part of the motion asks:

That this House reaffirm its condemnation of the terrorist attacks against our NATO ally—

    But since September 17, the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and almost every member in the House have repeatedly condemned these attacks and they have discussed these events on several occasions.

    The second part of the motion provides that this House:

—affirm its support for Canada's courageous men and women in the Canadian forces who are responding to defend freedom and democracy—

    Again, the Prime Minister made a statement to that effect. So did the Minister of National Defence. Since the beginning of October, most ministers and members of parliament have stressed the efforts of our people, of our men and women in the Canadian forces, and their role in this situation. That part of the motion is also unnecessary.

    The third part almost questions the role of the House. It provides that this House hereby order the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to sit jointly to hold frequent meetings.

    I think we have to distinguish between the executive and legislative branches. Also, the Prime Minister already announced the creation of a committee that is known as a war committee, where all of these departments and others are represented, specifically tasked to co-ordinate and better target the actions of the Government of Canada in the fight against terrorism, and to improve the protection of Canadian citizens. Therefore, this motion comes a bit too late. It is as though they wanted to kill time.

    However, on the issue of striking certain committees, I would also like to remind members of the House, and opposition members in particular, that the House of Commons already has a set of standing committees. I quote:

Standing committees shall be ... empowered to examine and enquire into all such matters as may be referred to them by the House—

—to send for persons, papers and records—

When a witness has declined an invitation to appear, a committee may issue a summons to that witness by adopting a motion to that effect. If a proposed witness fails to appear when summoned, the committee may report the fact to the House. The House then takes any action it deems appropriate.

    Another quote reads:

Committees are not empowered to summon members of the House of Commons. Should a member refuse to testify when requested to do so by a committee, the committee can report this to the House.

[Standing committees shall be... empowered] to sit jointly with other standing committees—

    And another quote reads:

It is left to each standing committee to decide the extent to which it will exercise the powers granted to it by the House.

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    So, instead of bringing forward motions to set up new committees or new commissions, it would be better to ensure that members of parliament fully exercise the powers they already wield within existing committees.

    However, we cannot ignore the current world crisis. No one could have imagined what has happened. Some would argue that it could have been prevented. Were there indicators that such acts could be carried out? Not many members in this House, especially in the opposition, are wondering how we can fight terrorism, why we have ended up in this situation, but mostly how we can prevent terrorism.

    I think that one way to deal with terrorism would be to establish an international coalition against poverty. Canada could provide some leadership in this area. In the long term, the most serious problem that the international community will have to face to make this world a better one will be to eradicate poverty and promote social inclusion throughout the world.

    This has become a matter of great urgency since, because of the terrorist attacks, growth will slow down in developing countries, which means that millions more will live in poverty and tens of thousands of children will die of malnutrition, disease and destitution.

    There are over 39 million refugees on the planet today. That is more than Canada's population. Several millions of them have lived in refugee camps for years. And we can now add to that three to four million new refugees from Afghanistan.

    Poverty in itself is not a direct source of conflict. However, extensive studies show that, even if ethnic diversity is usually blamed, civil wars have often been the result of various factors, poverty being a key factor. Countries that are torn by conflicts become havens for terrorists.

    It is easier to turn the poorest people on the planet into terrorists when they have nothing to lose. One just has to look back in history to see how the communist movement took hold in certain countries. Most of these countries were facing difficulties.

    There are also on this planet, more particularly in western countries, over 500 million people living a comfortable life, as opposed to over five billion people living in poverty. This means that wealth can be created but that it remains in the hands of a minority. It is not shared. Our common goal must be to eliminate poverty and to promote social justice so that all those who are marginalized can be integrated into our global economy and our global society.

    Increasingly, I have come to think that Canada can play a leadership role in this area and probably take advantage of its membership in the G-8 to try to rekindle the discussion on James Tobin's famous proposal for a tax on financial transactions.

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[English]

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    Mr. David Pratt (Nepean—Carleton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to have an opportunity to address the House on the aftermath of the attacks of September 11. I think it is important to once again reflect on the magnitude of the monstrous crime that was committed. Over 5,000 lives were lost: mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, small children, aunts, uncles and grandparents, all were lost to humanity.

    Once again my thoughts go to the heroism of the emergency workers, the firefighters and the police that were involved. I do not think we will ever forget those images as long as we live. It is worth mentioning that these attacks were not simply on the United States but on all free and democratic societies that value human rights and human life. The World Trade Center was not just a symbol of the financial power of New York and the United States but a symbol of the global village we live in. The 60 or so nationalities represented among the dead are a testament to that.

    With respect to the motion before us, I do not think anyone disagrees with the first part of the motion. I think we all support what the hon. member for Calgary Centre has said in the motion. However, I must say that I was disappointed and concerned about the fact that the hon. member for Calgary Centre did not bother to consult with the chairs of either the foreign affairs committee or the defence committee. As chair of the defence committee I would have thought that the hon. member would have taken the time to perhaps give me a call and ask what the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs is doing.

    Let me tell the House what our committee is doing. It is involved very extensively right now with a study of counterterrorism. We are looking at some of the long range or mid range issues that flow from the whole issue of counterterrorism in terms of the potential role of special forces, Canada's emergency preparedness from the standpoint of critical infrastructure, and the whole issue of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare and our level of preparedness in that area. In terms of responding to terrorist threats internationally, there is the whole issue of long range lift capability.

    These are some of the issues we expect to deal with in the coming weeks and months and I expect that as well we will be able to put together a report on these issues for the House to consider. I am hoping very much that the government will take that report very seriously, because what we have been doing on the issue of counterterrorism relates as well to the whole issue of military preparedness and the operational readiness of the Canadian forces, which is something we have been studying for a number of months.

    Getting back to the terrorist attacks on the United States, there has been a lot of discussion both nationally and internationally on the proper response to these attacks. Of course we are now engaged in a military confrontation with terrorism that is part of a multi-faceted and multi-dimensional campaign to rid the world of this terrible scourge. As a direct result of this campaign there has been some criticism among peace groups that the military assault currently taking place is both illegal and immoral.

    First, the decision to commence hostilities against a foe is by any measure the most important decision that a government or a leader is called upon to make. To put the lives of the armed forces in harm's way, that potential life or death decision, speaks to the most important role any state has, that is, to protect the lives of its citizens. The decision is one that in my view must be taken with the utmost care and must, at least in a democratic society, meet significant moral and legal criteria. It is my view that the responses of the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have met the test of being both moral and legal. It is important to keep in mind as well that the terrorists we are fighting are not bound by any such considerations or restrictions.

    Let me briefly review for the House some of the events that have occurred thus far in terms of the international community's response.

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    One of the first things the international community did was to pass resolution 1368 at the United Nations. The resolution talks about the need to bring to justice the perpetrators. It expresses sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families and the people of the United States of America. Most important, it also talks about recognizing the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence in accordance with the charter of the United Nations.

    A couple of weeks later on September 28 the UN passed a comprehensive resolution, resolution 1373, which mapped out a strategy that states should employ to deal with the scourge of terrorism. Most important, it reaffirmed the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence as recognized by the charter of the United Nations and as reiterated in resolution 1368.

    What does the United Nations charter have to say about attacks against a particular state? Article 51 of the UN charter states:

Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.

    By virtue of that article the United States has a responsibility to contact the United Nations when it has been attacked and when it is in the process of taking action itself. That is precisely what the United States did on October 7.

    In a letter dated October 7, 2001 from the permanent representative of the United States of America to the United Nations addressed to the president of the security council, Mr. John Negroponte enumerated all the reasons why the United States was responding and by doing so fully complied with article 51 of the United Nations charter.

    A lot of people have talked about the role of the United Nations. Some people have said that the United Nations should be playing a greater role. I think the response of the United Nations was very clear in terms of some comments made by Kofi Annan in his statement of October 8. He said:

Immediately after the 11 September attacks on the United States, the United Nations Security Council expressed its determination to combat by all means threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The Council also reaffirmed the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.The states concerned have set their military action in Afghanistan in that context.

    The United Nations said very clearly that the United States has the right of self-defence. It is pursuing its interests on that basis. That is very important from the standpoint of the legal aspect of the United States' actions thus far.

    There is a lot more I would like to say about this issue but time is limited. In terms of responding to these attacks, the United States has taken military action on the basis of a very serious military threat that exists within al-Qaeda. Some people have been thinking that perhaps al-Qaeda is a small group of terrorists who get together to plot these horrific actions. It is in fact a substantially large military organization that needs to be stopped. The military actions that the United States is taking along with Great Britain and Canada are in that respect absolutely necessary under the circumstances.

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    Mrs. Elsie Wayne (Saint John, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, our colleague from Nepean--Carleton mentioned the fact that the hon. leader of the PC Party did not get in touch with him, he being the chair of the veterans affairs committee and I being a member, before we brought forth today's motion.

    I think that when the right hon. member for Calgary Centre brought forth the motion, it was not to be a political one. It was a motion to say that all those involved here must come together just as was done in the United States. When President Bush spoke, it should be noted that all the Democrats got up. They were all together. No one was condemning anyone else. They came together. We must bring all of our committees together that are dealing with this horrendous situation. They can work on and I am sure bring forth policies that are going to make our national security safer for all people.

    I have great respect for the hon. member as chair of our veterans committee, I truly do. He works extremely hard. I feel that my colleague wants to do what is right for all Canadians. Does the hon. member not feel it is better to bring all representatives of those committees together so they can share all the information they have and then come forth with policies that are good for all people from coast to coast?

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    Mr. David Pratt: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her very kind and generous comments. We do not disagree too often in the defence committee, but from time to time there are a few points on which we part company.

    With respect to the issue of the committees being involved, I think this motion would have been just fine if it had stuck with the first paragraph dealing with condemnation of the terrorist attacks and support for the Canadian forces involved. What rankled somewhat was the implication in the second paragraph that somehow these committees were not doing their jobs.

    I think the hon. member knows that we have been working hard on the issue of operational readiness of the Canadian forces in the past. Everyone agreed at the steering committee as well that we should pursue the issue of the study of counterterrorism. I think there is a lot of agreement there.

    However, I would not want to leave members with the impression that we should be involved on a day to day basis with respect to the operational issues that confront the government. I do not think that is the role of committees. The role of committees is to develop longer term, mid range or long range policies that will help the government deal with the operational issues at some point in the future and the larger issues that loom on the horizon.

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[Translation]

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    Ms. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Joliette.

    I am pleased to take part in this debate on the motion moved by the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative caucus coalition for their opposition day.

    As might be expected, terrorism is once again at the heart of this debate. The topic is as much in the news as ever and it is obvious that the events of September 11 have had a considerable impact on the daily lives of the public not just in North America, but throughout the world. There is no doubt about the motion's relevance.

    First of all, I wish to reaffirm that the Bloc Quebecois and the people of Quebec condemn unconditionally the attacks which took place on September 11. Furthermore, by deciding that article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty applied, a priori, to the terrorist attacks on the United States, NATO decided to implement a mechanism of military solidarity according to which an attack against one member is considered an attack against all. Of course, we already had a moral obligation to support our neighbours to the south in our anti-terrorist crusade. Now, NATO's political initiative has made this a legal obligation as well.

    Our support of the United States should not be unswerving and unconditional; we should not grovel before the Americans and accept measures imposed on us unilaterally which are contrary to the system of values on which our society is built.

    This caveat is entirely justified because, last Thursday, when he announced new airport security measures, the Minister of Transport perhaps went a bit too far with his statement that Canadians were prepared to make concessions with respect to their freedoms in exchange for greater security. Furthermore, on this same occasion, the minister repeated that he rejected the idea of law enforcement officers in the skies, saying that he felt that the tightening of airport security measures was enough. One day later, the same minister finally gave in to the pressure from Washington and announced that there would be armed RCMP officers on Air Canada flights headed for the American capital.

    It may perhaps be useful to remind the Minister of Transport, and indeed the entire government, that following the attacks, the Prime Minister told the House that there was no question of taking measures contrary to the values Canadians hold dear.

    Notwithstanding the respect we have for Americans, we must acknowledge that our values differ from theirs. Or at least the values of Quebecers differ from those of Americans. As an example, the October 9 issue of La Presse described Tom Ridge, the newly appointed head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, as being the new key figure in the American fight against terrorism. The paper portrayed him as a fierce supporter of the death penalty who is regularly criticized by civil rights groups that reproach him for his sometimes zealous methods and heavy-handed repression of protests. This speaks volumes.

    What is more, the CIA has already announced that it too will be less scrupulous when it comes to respecting rights and freedoms in its investigations. We understand that Americans have been shaken to the core by the September 11 attacks, and that they wish to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

    However, are we to sacrifice our own democratic values because of this? We would change from a constitutional state to a police state. The answer is a categorical no. By reacting in such a way, we concede victory to terrorists. Our way of life cannot be dictated in any way by a handful of fanatics who hold western values in contempt.

    In 1982 Canada created a charter of rights and freedoms that recognizes the rule of law. Indeed, section 8 of the charter guarantees a right to protection against abusive searches or seizures.

    In a 1988 ruling written by Justice La Forest, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled:

The restraints imposed on government to pry into the lives of the citizen go to the essence of a democratic state.

  +-(1805)  

    Although the current context justifies putting certain extraordinary measures in place, the solutions chosen must ensure a balance between security and individuals' right to minimal intrusion by the state into their private lives. Measures taken to calm the feeling of panic experienced by the public could in the long term do more harm than good.

    I do not want to be too negative, but there is the saying that man will do what man will do. Human nature being what it is, abuse does not need much encouragement. No more than a little is needed. I am not saying anyone is acting in bad faith, but it is clear that the events of September 11 could serve as an excellent pretext for certain groups to call for increased powers and funding.

    We are aware that there is no miracle cure for terrorism. It is no simple virus a good antibiotic can knock out. However, shooting wildly all over the place is not an appropriate solution. This sort of behaviour simply raises public anxiety and just about totally discredits the administration of justice.

    On the other hand, the Bloc Quebecois feels that intelligence services and police forces should focus on the groups that are a real threat to our society and our security, instead of harassing peaceful groups that protest democratically to voice their opposition to government policies.

    Moreover, the information gathered during these investigations should regularly be transmitted to decision makers in positions of authority, rather than get lost in the bureaucratic maze, as often seems to be the case.

    Finally, adding to these two possible solutions anti-terrorist legislation that, for example, criminalized certain acts, such as funding activities and plotting leading to such terrorist acts, would be a step in the right direction. All this could be done with a minimum of intrusion by the state in people's lives.

    In short, there is no doubt as to whether or not we must condemn the September 11 terrorist attacks. We have not stopped condemning them and we will continue to do so.

    However, as for the support that we should give to the United States to fight against this scourge, we must not let Washington unilaterally impose rules that go against the fundamental principles of our democracy.

    In order to do that, the government will have to show much stronger leadership than it has so far. Make no mistake about it: right now, the government's strategy has much more to do with improvisation than with careful planning.

    Essentially, we must not panic. To do so would be tantamount to conceding victory to terrorists. Public security is not necessarily at greater risk than it was before September 11.

    Moreover, these events have made us realize that we are vulnerable. Therefore, we must act intelligently and show good judgment to take actions that will be effective and beneficial in the long term, while imposing a minimum of constraints.

  +-(1810)  

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have taken part in a debate on the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the American people and to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died.

    Violence is always unacceptable. It is all the more so when it is directed at civilians. This is true in the United States, and it is true elsewhere. We all agree that terrorism must be fought with close international co-operation. As has been repeatedly observed, democracy was attacked on September 11 and it is up to all democracies to rise up against terrorism.

    Since it was also democracy that was attacked, we must all be above reproach democratically speaking. That is why, since the House returned, the Bloc Quebecois has repeatedly called for a vote in the House on any major military, diplomatic or financial decision, just as the Liberal Party of Canada did when it was in opposition.

    It will be recalled that in 1990, during the gulf war, there was a debate involving the responsibilities of the Canadian government. Interestingly, the current leader of the Progressive Conservative Party was the Secretary of State for External Affairs at the time.

    The motion he moved read as follows:

That this House, noting that the Government of Iraq has not complied with the United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning the invasion of Kuwait and the detention of third country nationals, supports the United Nations in its efforts to ensure compliance with Security Council resolution 660 and subsequent resolutions.

    At the time, November 28, 1990, the now Deputy Prime Minister moved an amendment. This amendment read as follows:

—that this support shall not be interpreted as approval of the use of Canadian Forces for offensive action without further consultation without further consultation with and approval by this House.

    The then critic for the Liberal Party of Canada, now the Deputy Prime Minister, said:

Liberals insist that before Canadians are called upon to participate in any offensive action, such participation must first be brought before parliament and voted on here in the way it was done at the time of the Korean conflict.

    Obviously, the motion by the current Deputy Prime Minister was put to a vote and rejected, and that of the current leader of the Progressive Conservative Party was put to a vote and passed.

    It is interesting to see that, almost 11 years later, we find ourselves in a similar situation. The resolution of the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Caucus Coalition also shows the relevance of involving parliamentarians in important decisions.

    I will focus on the third part of the motion, which seems to be going along the same lines as what the Bloc Quebecois has been saying over the last few weeks, namely that the House should vote on any major decision concerning the fight against terrorism.

    The third part of the motion reads as follows:

That this House hereby order the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs to sit jointly to hold frequent meetings with ministers and officials of the government and the military.

    We think that this part of the motion, as well as the rest of it, if it were implemented, would be a step in the right direction. It seems to me that the Liberal government would be well advised to show some openness to really involving parliamentarians in the whole decision making process at this crucial time, which requires co-operation and co-ordination among all parties.

    We will support this motion. Personally, I must say that I support the third part of the motion in particular. I hope that it can be implemented and that we will be able to pursue the debate so that the House and parliamentarians are indeed called upon to vote on all major decisions on the military, financial and diplomatic front.

    It is clear that, when talking about close co-operation, one must refer to the United Nations and the UN charter. We think this is extremely important.

  +-(1815)  

    This issue has been debated a number of times. To be effective, this international coalition must, as much as possible and whenever appropriate, be placed under the auspices of the UN to avoid falling in the trap set by the terrorists, namely presenting this fight against terrorism as a war between cultures.

    I believe it is critically important, especially in view of the fears created in the Muslim world by the air strikes in Afghanistan, that the UN be called upon to play an increasingly important role. Canada must lead the way to ensure the UN plays the role it should, especially if we are told, as was the case these past few days, that military retaliation might encompass countries other than Afghanistan.

    We have said it over and over again but it bears repeating: It is not against Islam, it is not against the Arab world, it is against terrorism that we are at war. This is why the UN must be called upon to plan a much greater role than the U.S. government seems to be willing to consider for now.

    This is also why it is essential for leaders in every circle in Canada and Quebec--I do mean every circle, not only political, but also social and religious circles--to remind people that in no way, shape or form should the attacks of September 11 be attributed to any given ethnic of religious group.

    In this respect, I very much appreciated the statements by the Bloc Quebecois leader and the Quebec premier, especially when the Bloc Quebecois leader told the House that Allah or God should be left out of human conflicts and when the Quebec premier said “Let us not sow hatred where the terrorists could not sow death”.

    Any act of intolerance must be denounced and condemned both by parliamentarians and those in our communities who are in a position to play a leading role and influence public opinion.

    As was pointed out earlier--and the Bloc Quebecois agrees on this--the United States and their allies need to retaliate against these terrorist attacks, but their response has to be well targeted and not affect civilians unfairly.

    After a week now of air strikes, we have every reason to be concerned about the impact on the civilian population, especially the people of Afghanistan. Drought conditions have existed there for five years now and an almost permanent state of war has been in effect for more than 20 years.

    There are currently five million people at risk. In addition to supporting the Americans, we should make it a priority to help out the people affected by this world crisis. Let me remind the House that the people of Afghanistan did not elect the Taliban and did not invite the terrorists to seek refuge in their country.

    So, it seems that Canada should be doing a lot more in terms of humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. At $6 million, Canada's spending on these operations is totally laughable, compared to what Norway, a much smaller country in terms of population, is spending. I hope the government will announce more spending in the hours and the days to come.

    We also need to work harder to build a fairer, more secure world for everyone. As we all know, terrorism is not totally but primarily fed by injustice and poverty. I think Canada must take the lead and ensure that the globalization movement already under way is at the service of the people, which has not been the case, so far, as we saw, for instance during the summit in Quebec City.

    Canada must provide the example in humanitarian aid. Canadian humanitarian aid is at the lowest level it has been in 30 years. We must be consistent. This consistency could begin today with an example of symbolic value in the Muslim world, namely, the lifting of sanctions against Iraq on everything not related to military products. It seems to me that in this regard Canada could score a few points and show itself to indeed be a leader, as it was a few decades ago, so Quebecers and Canadians can work toward making the world a better place to live.

  +-(1820)  

[English]

+-

    Mr. Paul Szabo (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wanted to again make the comment in regard to having some concern with the enthusiasm for the second part of the motion with regard to the joint committee issue and the amendment which basically broadens attending committee, only from the standpoint that committees already have the authority and the right to have joint meetings at any time. In fact, we have on many occasions. I do not see how this is terribly relevant, but I am sure that the overriding mood will be with regard to the first part of the motion on condemnation of the terrorists and, second, support for our military.

    However I think it is important to put on the record that we have had our ministers and their senior departmental officials at committee many times already. The Minister of Transport came before the transport committee. In fact the transport committee will be at Pearson airport this week to look at airline and airport security and safety in order to be able to report to Canadians.

    We have had the Minister of Foreign Affairs before the foreign affairs committee and the finance committee. We have had the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration before committee. The Minister of National Defence has been before the defence committee. The RCMP and CSIS have already reported before committees. There has been substantial consultation for MPs and there have been opportunities to ask questions of virtually every minister and every departmental official related to the issue to ensure that all the information is on the table.

    Canadians should be aware that MPs have been very active and involved. I hope the member will well understand that it would be very problematic to have joint meetings when in fact specific meetings, whether on a health issue or whatever, would be much more focused and probably much more helpful to committee members, by having meetings of the committee with the ministers who are available to committees at any time they are requested to be there.

    Perhaps the member would like to comment on the efficacy or the effectiveness of having broad based joint meetings.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Pierre Paquette: Mr. Speaker, the members of the majority in the House, the Liberal Party of Canada, support the elements of the motion, since they are already in effect, in their opinion. They talk of condemning the attacks, of expressing our support for the Canadian military and, finally, of encouraging committees to work with ministers. There are two ways of looking at this. Either they agree with that, and I see no reason why the Liberals would not vote for the motion in that case, or elements of the motion irritate them.

    Up to now, I have not understood which, apart perhaps from the fact that they feel--this is a matter of perception--that to reaffirm these things and to insist that standing committees work with ministers are things that might be implicit criticism of what they do.

    I have no problem reaffirming with the House the fact that we condemn the terrorist actions of September 11. We wish to pay tribute to the courage of the Canadian military. We think the committees, the ministers and all parliamentarians must work together until the House is called to vote on major decisions on military, financial and diplomatic questions relating to this fight against terrorism.

+-

    Mr. Bernard Patry (Pierrefonds--Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if there is still some time left at the end of my speech, I will share it with the member for Mississauga West.

    I am pleased to speak today on the opposition motion of the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Coalition. To start with, my comments will deal with the motion but they will mainly be a reflection on the tragic events.

    For many of our compatriots, including Americans, the present times are very difficult. I support wholeheartedly the position of our government, which has decided to take an active part, within our means, in the eradication of terrorism.

    I refer to eradication of terrorism and not to a war against Muslims, and even less to a clash of civilizations as some have already called this conflict. The expression clash of civilizations, which we often hear, comes from the title of a book written by an American academic, Samuel Huntington. According to him, the west has become a favourite target because of its behaviour, its materialism and because it has replaced old colonialism by a new form of colonialism by which it regularly intervenes in the culture of other countries. One can easily be seduced by this kind of theory, but the reality is quite different.

    In order to try to understand the events of September 11, if it is at all possible to understand such an act of barbarism, one has to go back and, in this case, read history. As a matter of fact, history teaches us, among other things, that kamikazes do not commit suicide in the name of religion but rather for a cause, an ideology.

    We only have to think about the ideology of Japanese kamikaze pilots, who were not Muslims, during the World War II, and closer to our time to the Tamils, who are not Muslims either, who act as human bombs and commit suicide to protest against the government of Sri Lanka.

    We must understand, after analyzing the issue, that the present problem finds its source in Islam. The present war is not only a war between the west and fundamentalists like bin Laden, but also a religious war inside Islam itself. As North Americans, we tend to see in that a resurgence of the crusades. It is not at all the case. The answer is much closer to us, to our time.

     This extreme violence, this intolerance and this fanaticism have their origins in Saudi Arabia at the end of the 18th century. It is Wahhabism, a political and religious movement that bears the name of its founder, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. This movement is based on the principle of one god whose instructions must be followed blindly. Wahhabites are known for their rigid moral standards. They condemn music, poetry, tobacco and alcohol. Their goal is to create other states that adhere to their puritanism. It is the most extreme form of fundamentalism. It should be noted that all the September 11 kamikaze belonged to that group.

    Bin Laden, who was born in Saudi Arabia, is a Wahhabi. Those responsible for the assassination of President Sadat in Egypt were Wahhabis. Those responsible for the attacks against tourists in Luxor, Egypt were also Wahhabis. In Algeria, this political and religious movement is responsible for over 100,000 deaths. Moreover, it should be noted that all those killed in Algeria were Muslims.

    The same thing is happening in Kashmir, where the Wahhabis kill Hindus. It is also the same thing in Chechnya. There is always a common denominator and that common denominator is Wahhabism.

    So what must the western world do? What must Canada do? Currently, there are over six million Muslims in the United States, and theirs is the fastest growing religion. According to some sources, 80% of mosques are under the control of Wahhabi imams and these mosques are funded by Saudi Arabia. Moreover, whether in the United States or elsewhere, the vast majority of these imams preach extremism. This is certainly not to say that the Muslims who go to these mosques all accept the views of their imams.

    But the fact remains that we must act. So, what are we to do? What action should we take? The issue is much more serious, much deeper than bin Laden himself. The first question to ask ourselves is how to help Muslim groups resist fundamentalism. The United States undoubtedly have to do some thinking, considering who they supported in Pakistan and in Afghanistan during the cold war with the former Soviet Union.

  +-(1825)  

    Second, if bin Laden were to disappear somehow, would this mean the end of the bombardments and the climate of terror? The answer is obvious. Could it mean the end of Wahhabism? Surely not. So, who are we going to discuss and negotiate with?

    Professor Seyyed Vali Reza Nash of the political science department of the University of California at San Diego, the author of a book on the extremists in Pakistan, believes that Saudi Arabia alone is capable of resolving this impasse.

    In conclusion, although engaged in this necessary fight against terrorism, Canada must try as well to play the role of peacemaker, facilitator, be it within the UN or other bodies. Canada must help Islam find a solution, because, in the long term, the solution has to come from Islam.

    I conclude by reiterating my full support for and solidarity with our Canadian forces, who are coming to the defence of liberty and democracy as part of an international military coalition. I will be pleased to support the opposition motion.

  +-(1830)  

[English]

+-

    Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the member's statement. I would like to know more about his feelings on Saudi Arabia being part of the solution, if I heard him right, to the problem that exists within the Islam community. I wonder if he could expand on that a little for the House and explain to us the connections among Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and the other areas that are in conflict in regard to the Muslim faith and Islam.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Bernard Patry: Mr. Speaker, the problem is very complex and the solutions do not come easily.

    We must remember that around 1979, during the east-west cold war, the former Soviet Union with its president, Mr. Brezhnev, decided to invade Afghanistan. One reason for this decision was an attempt to have access to the Arabian Sea. At the time, the Soviet Union had access to the North Sea, which is blocked by ice in winter, and to the Black Sea, where traffic is controlled by Turkey.

    So in order to have a military base so they could establish a fleet on the Arabian Sea the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and failed.

    However, to offset the Soviet attack on Afghanistan, mercenaries arrived from Saudi Arabia and some of the Maghreb states. They were all Wahhabis. This is one reason for the tinder box in this part of the world, especially in Afghanistan.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC/DR): Mr. Speaker, I have a very quick question for the hon. member opposite. He has displayed a unique and very historical understanding of the situation in the Middle East and in Afghanistan in particular.

    I am wondering if he would agree that there may be a unique opportunity for us at this time to call upon members of the Islamic and Muslim communities who have a distinct understanding of the situation there. If we are to try to infiltrate terrorist cells both at home and abroad, we will need that type of specific and very specialized knowledge. With the new budget that will be allotted by the solicitor general's department, I am wondering if this is something we should be doing, that is, recruiting CSIS agents from within the Islamic-Muslim community.

+-

    Mr. Bernard Patry: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. I think the hon. member is completely right. If we want to do a great job we need to understand that part of the world properly. The only way to understand that part of the world is to understand the vision of these people, not through the eyes of North Americans but through the eyes of the people who have the knowledge.

+-

    The Deputy Speaker: It being 6.34 p.m. it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.

    Is the House ready for the question?

    Some hon. members: Question.

    The Deputy Speaker: The question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Amendment agreed to)

  +-(1835)  

+-

    The Deputy Speaker: The next question is on the main motion, as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    Some hon. members: No.

    The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

    Some hon. members: Yea.

    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

    Some hon. members: Nay.

    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.

    And more than five members having risen:

    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

*   *   *

  +-(1905)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

(Division No. 148)

YEAS

Members

Abbott
Ablonczy
Adams
Alcock
Allard
Anders
Anderson (Cypress Hills--Grasslands)
Assad
Assadourian
Augustine
Bachand (Richmond--Arthabaska)
Bachand (Saint-Jean)
Bagnell
Bailey
Baker
Bakopanos
Barnes
Bélanger
Bellehumeur
Bellemare
Benoit
Bertrand
Binet
Bonin
Bonwick
Borotsik
Boudria
Bourgeois
Bradshaw
Breitkreuz
Brien
Brown
Bryden
Bulte
Byrne
Caccia
Calder
Cannis
Caplan
Carignan
Carroll
Castonguay
Catterall
Chamberlain
Chrétien
Clark
Coderre
Collenette
Copps
Cotler
Crête
Cummins
Cuzner
Day
Dion
Doyle
Dromisky
Drouin
Duceppe
Duhamel
Duncan
Duplain
Easter
Eggleton
Elley
Epp
Eyking
Farrah
Finlay
Fitzpatrick
Folco
Fontana
Forseth
Fournier
Fry
Gagliano
Gagnon (Québec)
Gallant
Gallaway
Gauthier
Girard-Bujold
Godfrey
Goldring
Gouk
Graham
Grey (Edmonton North)
Grose
Hanger
Harb
Harris
Harvard
Hearn
Herron
Hill (Prince George--Peace River)
Hilstrom
Hinton
Ianno
Jackson
Jaffer
Jennings
Johnston
Jordan
Karetak-Lindell
Karygiannis
Keddy (South Shore)
Keyes
Kilgour (Edmonton Southeast)
Knutson
Kraft Sloan
Laframboise
Lalonde
Lanctôt
Lavigne
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lee
Leung
Lincoln
Longfield
Lunney (Nanaimo--Alberni)
MacAulay
MacKay (Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough)
Macklin
Mahoney
Malhi
Manley
Marcil
Mark
Marleau
Martin (LaSalle--Émard)
Matthews
McCormick
McGuire
McKay (Scarborough East)
McLellan
McNally
McTeague
Meredith
Merrifield
Mills (Red Deer)
Mills (Toronto--Danforth)
Minna
Mitchell
Moore
Myers
Nault
Neville
Normand
O'Brien (London--Fanshawe)
O'Reilly
Owen
Pallister
Pankiw
Paquette
Paradis
Parrish
Patry
Penson
Peric
Peterson
Pickard (Chatham--Kent Essex)
Pillitteri
Pratt
Price
Proulx
Provenzano
Rajotte
Redman
Regan
Reid (Lanark--Carleton)
Reynolds
Richardson
Ritz
Robillard
Rock
Roy
Sauvageau
Savoy
Scherrer
Schmidt
Scott
Serré
Sgro
Shepherd
Skelton
Sorenson
Speller
Spencer
St-Jacques
St-Julien
St. Denis
Steckle
Stewart
Stinson
Strahl
Szabo
Telegdi
Thibault (West Nova)
Thibeault (Saint-Lambert)
Thompson (Wild Rose)
Tirabassi
Toews
Tonks
Torsney
Ur
Valeri
Venne
Wappel
Wayne
Whelan
Wilfert
Wood

Total: 212

NAYS

Members

Blaikie
Davies
Desjarlais
Godin
Lill
Martin (Winnipeg Centre)
McDonough
Proctor
Robinson
Wasylycia-Leis

Total: 10

PAIRED

Members

Anderson (Victoria)
Asselin
Bennett
Bergeron
Bevilacqua
Bigras
Cardin
Carignan
Charbonneau
Comuzzi
Cullen
Dalphond-Guiral
Desrochers
Dhaliwal
Discepola
Dubé
Gagnon (Champlain)
Girard-Bujold
Goodale
Guarnieri
Guay
Guimond
Harvey
Lastewka
Lavigne
Loubier
Maloney
Marceau
McCallum
Ménard
Murphy
O'Brien (Labrador)
Pagtakhan
Perron
Pettigrew
Picard (Drummond)
Plamondon
St-Hilaire
Tremblay (Lac-Saint-Jean--Saguenay)
Tremblay (Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis)

Total: 40

+-

    The Speaker: I declare the motion, as amended, carried.

+-

     Pursuant to order made earlier this day the House shall now resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider the international actions against terrorism.

*   *   *

-International Actions Against Terrorism

[Government Orders]

    (House in committee of the whole--Mr. Milliken in the chair)

+-

    Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.) moved:

That the Committee take note of the international actions against terrorism.

+-

    Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, a few weeks ago I led a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians to a place of horror, a grave for 6,000 innocent souls, a place called ground zero. It is impossible to look upon the ruins of the World Trade Center and not be moved, by disbelief, by sympathy for the victims, by outrage at the criminals and by a desire for righteous punishment, but above all by a firm resolve to stand up and be counted, to stand up for our people, for our values, for our way of life, and to send a clear message to the cowards in the shadows who planned this crime against humanity that their days of being able to run and hide are coming to an end.

    If the attacks of September 11 are a shameful benchmark for the dark side of human nature, the deliberate and forceful manner in which Canada and the world have marshalled their resources against the forces of terror will be remembered as a proud benchmark of global courage and common purpose, from the wise and measured response of President George Bush, to NATO speaking as one, to the rapid formation of an unprecedented multinational and multi-ethnic coalition, a coalition in which the principal adversaries in the cold war, the United States, Russia and China, are now making common cause.

    Here at home Canadians have been fully engaged and all governments have matched their engagement with helpful actions and proposals by mayors and the provincial premiers and with the around the clock work of public servants, for which they have the thanks of all Canadians.

    Up to now we have had substantial debate in the House, more than 40 hours, and substantive discussions in our committees. Protecting innocent citizens against terrorism was a fundamental priority of civilized nations before the awful events of September 11. For our part, Canada had already pioneered ways of preventing terrorists from exploiting our country as a base of operation and attack, including the screening of air passengers abroad before they fly to Canada. Proposed changes to the Immigration Act and the Customs Act currently before parliament anticipated many of the security and economic concerns that have been given renewed prominence in recent days. I urge all parties to work together urgently to pass these bills.

    Since September 11, our border crossings have been on a high state of alert and security measures were immediately increased at our airports, but in the days since then it has become clear that the scope of the threat that terror poses to our way of life has no parallel.

  +-(1910)  

    We in North America have been extraordinarily fortunate to live in peace, untouched by attack, but that has changed. Additional action is required from Canada and all nations, domestically and in concert with each other, for there to be a truly effective and truly global offensive against terrorism.

    Accordingly I am pleased to update the House on the specific steps the government is taking as part of a comprehensive action plan on Canadian security, a plan whose goals are to protect Canadian citizens, keep our borders secure, protect our values, sustain our economy and defy the threat that terrorism poses to free and civilized nations everywhere.

    Our action plan entails both immediate action and new legislation. It is measured and focused. It equips Canada to be an aggressive international partner in the coalition to destroy, root and branch, the shadow networks of supply, finance and penetration that allowed the terrorists to carry out the mass murder of September 11.

    Above all our plan will reassure Canadians that even in the wake of September 11 we can live our lives on our terms, according to our values, not on terms dictated from the shadows.

    However, as I told the NATO parliamentary assembly last week, we must be clear in our minds that this is a new kind of struggle against a new kind of enemy and we must not allow ourselves to be trapped by the rhetoric or experiences of past wars to define our tactics or measure our success. The twisted calculus of success for our adversaries is not territorial gain but the extent to which they can, through terror, rip at the very fibre of our societies, disrupt our economies and set community against community, faith against faith or citizen against citizen.

[Translation]

    In this new struggle, conventional military power will, of course, play a role. I have authorized the execution of Operation Apollo, the largest deployment of Canadian armed forces since the Korean war, involving over 2,000 men and women.

    Our naval ships, air transports and air surveillance planes have been assigned vital tasks in connection with the ongoing international military action that is being carried out against Osama bin Laden, his Al-Qaeda network and the renegade Taliban regime of Afghanistan which provides them safe harbour.

    In joining this action, we have made it clear that we have no quarrel with Islam but with a cadre of extremists, whose goal is to terrify and disrupt nations, whose acts of mass murder have unjustly smeared a great world religion, Islam.

    Nor do we have a quarrel with the people of Afghanistan. Indeed, there is a worldwide effort to provide assistance to the Afghan people. Our dispute is with the Taliban regime.

  +-(1915)  

    There is no more solemn decision for a Prime Minister than that of sending Canadians into military action.

    I know that all members, and all Canadians, understand the gravity of this decision. And I have been moved by the strong words of support that I have heard from all sides of the House for the men and women of our armed forces and their families. I want to particularly thank the leaders of the opposition parties for their co-operation.

    While the world is transfixed at this time by the images of military action, we must never forget that military action will only be a part of the struggle. Our enemies have no fixed home or address. So military action will only be effective in concert with precise and accurate information.

    Moreover, Canadians rightly expect us to do more than just retaliate against acts of terror. They expect us to help prevent them from being carried out in the first place.

    This will only be possible through the determination, ingenuity and common purpose of police and security forces and intelligence agencies around the world.

    The challenge all nations face is to ensure that investigative agencies have the tools they need to accelerate their frontline efforts to protect citizens, frustrate terrorist schemes and ensure that terrorists are brought to justice.

    In our action plan, we have already taken strong steps. We have approved new expenditures to support tougher security measures and enhanced investigation capacity.

    Security is being stepped up at all border points: land, sea and air, and for all modes of transport, especially air travel.

    The number of RCMP, immigration and customs officers at border points is being increased. State of the art security technologies are being quickly brought on line, both for use in detection and to facilitate information sharing.

    Next week, we will announce new measures in the field of intelligence gathering and emergency planning.

    Today, the Minister of Justice introduced new legislation to aid in our struggle against world wide terrorism.

    Canada has traditionally fought terrorism through the criminal code. For such acts as hijacking, attacks on aircraft and murder, it is an important tool. Of course, it will remain available for prosecuting acts committed by terrorists.

    But September 11 has shown us that we need an even stronger, more focused approach to our laws to find ways to incapacitate terrorist groups before they can attack by striking at their organization and financing.

    Under this legislation, it will be a crime to participate in the terrorist activities of a terrorist group. It will also be a crime to finance terrorism. The legislation will fully and effectively implement the UN Convention on Terrorist Financing and UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

    In developing this legislation, we have paid close attention to what other democratic countries are doing in the fight against terrorism.

  +-(1920)  

    It is important that we act in a way that is consistent with the approach of other democratic nations and in conformity with international law.This comprehensive package of legislation meets our international obligations.

[English]

    A free and open society never lightly increases the powers of law enforcement authorities. Our challenge in developing this legislation has been to respond in a way that reflects and protects, for the long term, our core values of freedom, democracy and equality.

    Canada is a free nation, a just nation, a nation of laws. It is also a land of immigrants, a place where people from almost every nation and faith on earth have come to find freedom, respect, harmony and a brighter future. These values are the very bricks and mortar of our society. Terrorism seeks to undermine the rule of law and the preservation of human rights. The real test of our values is how they guide us in times of crisis. Quite frankly, as a country we did not always pass that test in the past. We must be vigilant today to make sure that we do not repeat past mistakes.

    As the minister of justice, it was my privilege to introduce the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I am deeply committed to it. I believe that the legislation we have introduced today is essential to preserving those very values. In the drafting of the anti-terrorism act, we have taken great care to protect these rights and freedoms. It provides meaningful protection of individual rights through the inclusion of due process guarantees. It provides for a parliamentary review after three years to re-examine the necessity and effectiveness of these measures. I understand that today the minister said if it is needed earlier it will be earlier.

    However, we all recognize that the legislation has of necessity been prepared quickly. Therefore, the role of the justice committees of the House and Senate in scrutinizing the bill will be of particular importance. It must examine the bill through the lens not only of public safety but also of individual rights.

    I can assure the House that the government will pay close attention to the findings and recommendations of the committees. I want the committees to give the bill a thorough study, while obviously taking into account the need to pass legislation as quickly as possible.

    Since September 11, some groups and individuals have been the target of racial and religious slurs and even violent attacks. There is no place for this behaviour in Canada.

  +-(1925)  

    The anti-terrorism bill contains measures that will strengthen the protection of religious freedom and counter hatred based on race, religion and ethnic prejudice.

    We must never forget that the ultimate goal of terrorists is not to capture us by the force of arms but by the force of terror. They do not want to occupy Canada. They want to shut Canada down. This government, this House, this nation will not let them.

    Even as we continue to take strong action to address the immediate security concerns of Canadians, we will also proceed with our longer term agenda to build a more prosperous, more inclusive Canada.

    Canadians have never been a people to live life looking over our shoulders. Ours is an open, prosperous society. Our action plan is about doing what we have to do to allow Canadians to get on with their lives,secure in their safety and to allow our businesses to get back to business, secure in the knowledge that the flow of goods and services across our border with the United States, the anchor of Canadian prosperity, will continue unrestricted.

    At home, our government will continue to follow economic and fiscal policies that will enable business and consumers to continue to make their plans with optimism and confidence. We will also work with our partners in the G-7 to ensure the stability of the global economy.

    I would add that if we expect Canadians to get on with their lives, we must be an example to them by getting on with our job, the job of building our future.

    The security of our country is dependent not only on the protection of our borders and our airports and not only on the power we give the law enforcement agencies. It is also dependent on the prosperity of our economy, the health of our environment, the inclusiveness of our society and the strength of our voice in the world.

    On September 11, 2001, the world changed. A global struggle began, the first great struggle for justice of the 21st century. But if we face a new enemy, the role of Canada and the struggle ahead is not new. As always we have not picked this fight. As always Canada is on the side of justice and right.

    In the struggle ahead there may be no unconditional surrender or victory parades. However, there will be countless victories, the quiet victories of everyday life, victories that in the end will be won by our reliance on the single most effective weapon that free and civilized nations have always had in our arsenal: the spirit of our citizens.

    Our enemies have made a fatal miscalculation. They have mistaken our freedom for weakness. They have mistaken our openness and generosity for lack of spine. They have mistaken our values for a lack of resolve. They will be proven wrong on every count.

  +-(1930)  

    The road ahead will be long but our victory will be complete.

+-

    Mr. Stockwell Day (Leader of the Opposition, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chairman, I thank the Prime Minister for his thoughtful remarks. I also thank him and the government House leader for giving members of the House the opportunity in this debate to express their views regarding military action and support from Canada.

    We have all acknowledged that the world changed on the morning of Tuesday, September 11. We have talked about it at length. We have talked about how terrorists transformed passenger planes into fuel laden bombs to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    The world changed again last Sunday, October 7, when many of us, with Thanksgiving dinners cooking in our kitchens, heard the news that American and British forces had begun bombing al-Qaeda and Taliban positions in Afghanistan. We then learned from our Prime Minister that he had committed Canadian forces to the coalition war effort in one of our largest deployments since Korea.

    There is probably no more difficult decision for a prime minister or a government to make than to send their own citizens into harm's way. It was a difficult choice but the Prime Minister made the right decision. The official opposition stands with him in making it.

    Since the beginning of the crisis the official opposition has spoken of the need to commit our forces and provide them with the resources they need to be able to do their jobs.

    However this is only one of a number of areas where the Canadian Alliance has been at the forefront in suggesting things that need to be done. I have addressed and will continue to address other areas requiring action such as anti-terrorism legislation, resources for our armed services and security services, and humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid cannot stop at the end of the conflict but must continue getting to refugees from Afghanistan and other places after the immediate part of the conflict is over.

[Translation]

    Since September 11, we have all been trying to find legislative and political solutions so that such terrorist acts never occur again.

    I am particularly proud of the work done by the official opposition, which has been proactive in suggesting concrete measures to fight terrorism. We have also strongly supported the government's tough decision to commit our armed forces to this war against terrorism. Canada is fighting for freedom alongside its American ally.

    Our role, as the official opposition, is also to make our policies known and to encourage the government to adopt them. While we may not agree with the Liberals on the best means to strengthen our criminal legislation, to secure our borders and airports, to better fund our armed forces or to deal with those who abuse our immigration and refugee system, we will take a constructive approach to criticism. The war must not be fought between the parties represented in the House of Commons, but rather where terrorists are.

  +-(1935)  

[English]

    When the crisis began some people, including members of the government, said the war against terrorism would not be a conventional war. They said it would be war only in a metaphorical sense and that conventional forces would play a relatively small role. We learned on October 7 that these statements were far too simple.

    Undoubtedly the war against terrorism will involve more than conventional military action. It will involve intelligence, police work, financial monitoring and humanitarian aid in a multi-faceted effort to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. We are confronting groups which operate on an international level, which are proficient at using weapons of war and which are trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Frozen bank accounts and good police work alone will not defeat such an enemy.

    It is clear that conventional military forces will need to play an important role in eliminating the terrorist threat. Clearly the war against terrorism will involve military action. The question facing the House is what role Canada will play in what may be the defining struggle of the early 21st century.

    The Prime Minister and the government, as we have already said, made the right choice in committing Canadian troops to the first phase of this military action. It is likely and possible that an even deeper military commitment will be required before the fight is finally won.

    I will address two questions which have been asked in the media, around coffee tables and in the House since September 11. First, is a military response in Afghanistan justified morally and under international law? Second, should Canada be involved militarily or should we restrict our involvement in the war against terrorism to policing, humanitarian aid or peacekeeping operations?

    Once I have addressed the question of the justness of the war and the necessity of Canadian participation I will examine a third area: the need to provide better resources to help our troops do the job. The official opposition believes the military action which commenced a week ago Sunday is a just and proportionate response to the events of September 11.

    The events of September 11 were not merely criminal acts but acts of war. They deliberately targeted large numbers of civilians to advance a narrow cause. These acts of war apparently enjoy at least the tacit support of the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 of 2001, passed in the hours after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, acknowledges that under article 51 of the UN charter the United States has the right to individual and collective self defence against the perpetrators of the attacks once it has identified the parties responsible. As the days went by it became more and more evident that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization, aided and abetted by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, was indeed behind the attacks.

    Had the Taliban responded in the wake of September 11 by handing over Osama bin Laden and expelling his al-Qaeda terrorist organization from Afghanistan, perhaps the diplomatic and legal route alone would have been the best course to take. Perhaps we would be here debating the role of the International Court of Justice in The Hague rather than that of NATO. Perhaps we would be debating sending peacekeepers and international monitors into Afghanistan rather than the SAS and the Delta force.

    The Taliban responded to pressure from the international community, including its former ally Pakistan, with deception and denial in the face of evidence that al-Qaeda orchestrated the murderous attacks. The Taliban gave bin Laden and his cohorts time to hide and secure themselves and perhaps plan further deadly terrorist attacks. To address the clear and present danger of further terrorist attacks against civilians the United States and its allies had little choice but to take military action against al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts and sponsors.

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    The coalition must work to minimize civilian casualties as far as is possible. It is tragic that last week at least one bomb went astray and killed innocent civilians. We must work to rebuild a stable government and civil society in Afghanistan after the conflict has ended. It appears that the United States and the coalition is making every effort to hit military and terrorist targets and not civilians, and to get food and aid to the suffering Afghan population. This must continue.

    Canada should play a bigger role in responding to the humanitarian dimension of the crisis. However if we do not take military action against the Taliban we will leave intact the greatest support network and training ground for global terrorism. It is not a matter of retaliation. It is a matter of self-defence to ensure the bases and their sponsors are eliminated.

[Translation]

    Consequently, since it seems to us that this war is a just cause and that the means used are morally reasonable and in accordance with international law, there is no doubt in our minds, our military commitment is warranted and deserves our full support.

[English]

    I will address another argument against the legitimacy of the war that I find particularly specious. Some have suggested that the attacks of September 11 while unfortunate were the inevitable results of American foreign policy and that further military action will only inflame the situation.

    It is outrageous to suggest the attacks of September 11 were some kind of response to American foreign policies or to global trade agreements like the WTO. There is no moral equivalence, nor can there ever be, between terrorism and legitimate foreign policy.

    It is ethically improper to compare diplomatic positions, trade deals or even legitimate military actions undertaken in accordance with international law to the bloodthirsty massacre of more than 5,000 innocent civilians.

    We must also reject the views of the former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. She and others in circumstances where the innocent are abused would never tolerate the blaming of the victim. It is ironic that a person who purports to speak against violence, particularly violence against the innocent, a person who quite rightly in other situations would utterly reject the notion that the abused are inviting the abuse, would now survey the slaughter of 6,000 innocent women and men and dare to blame the victims.

    We all support freedom of speech, even the freedom of speech exercised by this individual. That freedom, incidentally, was paid for by the blood of Americans and Canadians in the first and second world wars.

    With that same freedom we must stand and utterly reject these spurious, erroneous, incorrect and unintellectual suggestions. The expression of these kinds of views, though the freedom is there to express them, should never carry the legitimacy of government sponsorship and subsidies.

    People around the world, including Canadians, may quite reasonably disagree with U.S. policies but we must never condone barbarism as a response. The September 11 massacre was not a political act. It certainly was not a religious act. It was an act of pure destruction. It was an attack on democracy and the ideas of freedom, justice and reason.

    Osama bin Laden is a multi-millionaire whose millions of dollars would be far better spent helping his own people who live in poverty because of the destructive policies of the Taliban. They are instead being used to slaughter innocent thousands who believe in freedom of religion and all the freedoms that come with living in democratic nations which support the individual rights of others.

    Osama bin Laden and his supporters are hijacking the historic religion of Islam. They are perverting and distorting its teachings to justify their murderous ideology, an ideology every bit the threat to the safety and security of the 21st century that communism and fascism were to the 20th.

    No compromise or bargaining is possible with this kind of terrorism. We cannot split the difference. There is no halfway point between this type of good and evil. U.S. President George Bush asked every nation in the world to choose which side they are on. There is no middle ground here. To Canada's great credit and to the credit of the government we have chosen the side of freedom and civilization.

    Canada's support for the American and coalition effort should not be limited to passive approval but should include active participation. Canada's participation in this military action is necessary to show solidarity with our allies. Some who recognize that the United States had to act militarily still question why Canada, a traditional peacekeeping nation, needed to be involved on a military level rather than limiting its participation to humanitarian aid and diplomatic measures.

    However Canada, while a peacemaker, is not a neutral power. Canadians answered the call in the first and second world wars. Let us consider the first world war. With a population of eight million people, roughly half of whom were men, 625,000 men answered the call to combat.

    Let us consider the second world war, the Korean war and the gulf war. Despite the fact that Canadian lives and interests were not directly at stake in any of these conflicts, Canadians were there. Assisting our allies and honouring our international obligations was reason enough then and it is reason enough now.

    How could we fail to respond to an attack on North American soil that took, among others, Canadian lives? We are a founding member of the NATO alliance, the most successful military alliance in modern history. Article 5 of the NATO charter says that an attack on one is an attack on all. On September 11 NATO invoked this principle for the first time in its history and authorized a collective response to the attacks on the United States. When the United States asked for our assistance we had a moral obligation to provide it.

    The Prime Minister was correct to answer yes when the United States asked for our support. The government made the right choice to engage in this action and we support our troops. However supporting our troops means more than words. We must also support them by giving them the tools they need to do a difficult job. They do not have the tools they should have. We must face this squarely with the facts clearly before us.

    This is not a partisan commentary. This government and the government before it consistently cut and underfunded our military. This has taken place over a generation and not just over the last seven years, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has admitted. We have seen brutal cuts to defence over the last generation. While Canada's serving personnel are among the best trained and most dedicated and courageous in NATO, they do not have the resources or equipment to play certain vital roles in this combat.

    Our forces are stretched so thin that it would be difficult to send troops to the Middle East, participate in further peacekeeping and defend the domestic front at the same time. It is unfortunate that due to the government's delays in replacing our helicopters we must send our navy equipped with aging Sea King helicopters that require 30 hours of maintenance for every hour in the air. It is unfortunate that the one military unit which may have been able to make a significant contribution on the ground, the Canadian Airborne Regiment, was broken up by the government in a fit of political correctness.

    Instead we have only the highly skilled but much smaller JTF2 unit to offer for potential ground action. It is unfortunate that our CF-18s were not equipped with the anti-missile systems that would have been needed in the early sorties over Afghanistan.

    In the past few weeks and over the past year and a half or more when the Canadian Alliance has voiced its support and appreciation of our troops by raising the issue of underfunding and poor equipment, we have been accused by some in the government of insulting our serving men and women. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the cut in resources to our armed forces over the years that has been an insult.

    Before September 11 many would never have guessed that Canada would be engaged in military combat this year. We are now sending our forces into danger, and this is just one campaign in a war against terrorism which may go on for years.

    Why are our armed forces in such poor shape? It is because in past years the government has cut the defence budget by some 30% in real terms. These are the simple facts. Over the past 10 years, with two different governments, the total number of military personnel 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 to restore the combat readiness of our forces to previous levels. A parade of former officers, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and the auditor general have all raised concerns about how the lack of resources has affected the combat capabilities of the Canadian forces. The auditor general has identified a potential funding shortfall in the equipment budget of $30 billion up to and including the year 2012. This must be addressed.

    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 independent military experts as insufficient to address the broader crisis in the Canadian forces. If Canada is to be taken seriously in the international war against terrorism we must act at once to rebuild our military in a significant way.

    We must be capable of meeting our commitments of the white paper of 1994. We must take the matter seriously because we are no longer at peace.

    Even for peacetime purposes Canada's military funding has been inadequate. In the last election we called for an increase to the national defence base budget of $2 billion per year. A few weeks ago the Conference of Defence Associations, Canada's leading research and advocacy group on behalf of our military, said an extra $1 billion would be necessary to maintain the status quo let alone increase and improve the strength of our forces.

    Now that we know we will need to restore the strength and morale of our forces in what may be a long military effort, we call on the government to commit to a budget that will give our military the resources and equipment it needs. We hope the government will heed this call, table the budget and table it soon. This is the minimum that will be required if we are to participate fully in the war against terrorism and live up to the 1994 white paper commitments of the government.

    We have stood with the government today and supported its decision. We now ask it to show support for our troops by tabling a budget that provides them with the resources, equipment and manpower they will need to play an effective frontline role in the campaign against terrorism.

    The Prime Minister alluded to our visit to ground zero. I have stood in the World Trade towers in years past while someone explained to me how they were able to resist large earthquakes. As we stood at ground zero we could hardly identify where the two proud towers had once stood. The hundreds of people working in the rubble that day did so slowly, methodically and quietly. They worked mainly without talking. While watching them we realized we were not only standing in a place where the heart of the city had literally been ripped out. We were standing in a massive graveyard.

    We met with Canadian families who had lost loved ones. We talked with them privately and without media, which was appropriate. We heard stories of heartbreak; of fathers, brothers and loved ones who would never be seen again. In my own heart, and I believe in the hearts of the Prime Minister and other leaders who were there, a resolve was formed to do what had to be done so that never again could such an atrocity happen on either Canadian soil or the soil of our allies.

    That is why we are committed to the actions we have spoken of today. That is why we are committed to the call for resources to the armed forces. That is why we are committed to analyzing the anti-terrorism legislation over the days ahead. It is for our freedom. It is for democracy itself.

  +-(1955)  

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier--Sainte-Marie, BQ): Madam Chairman, since September 11, the world has changed; everything has changed. The world is no longer the same, nor will it ever be the same again. We are facing consequences to date unsuspected. The shock waves have hit us, are still hitting us and will continue to hit us.

    Foreign affairs, defence and security have become priorities not just in the House, but also in the press and among members of the general public. Our economy has been shaken and the full extent of the impact is still unknown.

    Who could have foreseen on September 10 that Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney would find themselves in such a situation? Or that Swiss Air and Sabena would suspend flights for a few days? No one could have predicted this state of affairs.

    Citizens are quite rightly preoccupied about their personal safety. In our societies, men and women are worried and their worries cannot be ignored.

    We must also take note of the anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East and in Asia, which we do not approve of, but whose existence we cannot ignore, making the cohesion of the international coalition against terrorism all the more difficult.

    I conclude from this brief overview that the UN is definitely the best placed to ensure a broad coalition of countries against terrorism, including, and especially in my view, the predominantly Muslim countries. But the UN is not sufficiently involved.

    I wish to remind the House of a number of positions taken by the Bloc Quebecois in the House since the beginning of the crisis. We invoked, and still invoke, the need for a broad international coalition, as broad as possible, under the aegis of the United Nations.

    The fight against terrorism must not be associated only with western nations, or with rich or powerful nations. Terrorism is a scourge affecting all countries. It has no nationality. Muslims or Arabs are not the enemy. Neither does democracy have a nationality.

    We said, and we still maintain, that we must respond to terrorism efficiently and in a measured way and seek out those responsible for the attacks. Of course, before responding, we must review all options. We must make every possible effort to keep civilians from paying the price of the response.

    The first victims of regimes such as that of the Talibans are the populations like the Afghans. Women and children are the first to suffer from those insane and inhumane regimes. We must not forget that. Democracy and freedom have nothing in common with ignorance, blackout, violence, religious fundamentalism and fanatic behaviour.

    That is why we must uphold the necessity of an international justice system. Terrorist attacks are attacks on the international community; it should therefore logically be up to the international community to bring the perpetrators of such attacks before an international court of justice.

    To date, the international community has given itself 12 treaties in order to fight terrorism, but the judicial aspect of the issue is not covered. There is no international court of justice. Terrorism must be added to the terms of reference of the future international criminal court.

    However, the fact that this court does not exist should not preclude the establishment of an ad hoc court to judge the actions committed on September 11. It was done for Rwanda and for the former Yugoslavia.

    The first international court probably was the one convened in Nuremberg. Victims of different countries and nationalities go together to judge those responsible for crimes committed during the second world war.

    The casualties of the September 11 events were of various nationalities. Such a court could hear the cases in New York, at the UN building, an American territory which is neutral in the case of international agreements.

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    We must strive for an ad hoc tribunal that would judge those responsible for the attacks of September 11 if we want democratic countries and all nations to trust a tribunal that would be called upon to judge those responsible for these attacks and not consider, should the tribunal be strictly American, the United States, or Canada, to be judge and jury.

    I believe that the biggest strength of our democracies is the unity among democratic nations as a whole. They must stand together and demand that those responsible be prosecuted by such a tribunal.

    We must also address the root causes of terrorism. A military response is not enough, nor is it satisfying, albeit necessary. No army will be able to defeat suicide bombers. The threat of the death penalty is of no value against people who are willing to die for an unjustifiable cause.

    Destroying bin Laden is one thing, destroying terrorism is another one all together. We must address its root causes, namely poverty, lack of democracy, dictatorship, and the crass ignorance which stems therefrom. These causes cannot in any way justify the kind of fanatism we have witnessed. However, we must realize that these causes are the fertile ground in which fanatism and terrorism flourish.

    We attacked Saddam Hussein in 1991. We did not get rid of the Saddam Hussein problem in 1991. As long as we do not deal with the root causes, other forms of fanatism will emerge.

    Such was the case in Germany after the first world war. This is what gave us Hitler. As long as international agreements prevent us from addressing these causes, fanaticism will rear its ugly head decade after decade. We must recognize this.

    Therefore we are faced with a new international situation. As parliamentarians, it is our duty to work with the government--in a critical way, of course--in order to respond to the immediate concerns of the people, deal with immediate security problems both at home and abroad, and deal with the current crisis with a view to eventually getting back to normal.

    Because this is just the beginning of a new international context, we must take it into account when contemplating the future. It concerns every country, every government, every people.

    In response to the current situation, the government has introduced an anti-terrorism bill. We support the principle behind this bill. We need to balance the need to protect our civil liberties and security against trade imperatives. It may not be easy, but it is absolutely necessary. The best response to terrorism is the quality of our civil liberties. The best weapon against terrorism is the example democracy can set.

    At first glance, there seems to be some flaws in the government bill. For example, in terms of access to information, the attorney general has the power to prohibit the release of information. Of course, I know that some information needs to be kept confidential. That is not what I am worried about. However, I think it would be better for the information commissioner, and not the attorney general, to determine what information is confidential. As judge and jury, the attorney general would create uncertainty--to say the least--or generate a great deal of distrust for any decision he might make. This would not be the case if the decisions were made by the information commissioner.

    Our second concern about this bill is the three year review period it provides for. Without being denied, a number of our civil rights are being altered or diluted. Hence, it is our most basic duty in a democratic society to ensure that the legislation be reviewed every year.

  +-(2005)  

    There is also a flaw in the fight against money laundering. We have to be consistent in our approach and not sign special conventions with certain tax havens that make it easier to fund terrorist groups.

    Nor is there a dialogue with the provinces, which are responsible for the administration of justice. The minister told us that she phoned provincial governments this morning. This is somewhat like saying “Listen to me on RDI or on Newsworld. I will be on the air in the next five minutes”. This is not consultation.

    At this point, and I am not making a constitutional battle out of this, we need the greatest possible dialogue between the various stakeholders. There is a flaw in the process and there is still time to correct it.

    As for our military commitment, there is the need to take part in a response against those responsible for these attacks and to provide logistical support, but above all humanitarian assistance. The role of the Canadian army must be clearly defined. We will never be the police of the planet and thank goodness for that.

    So, we must define the role of the Canadian army before approving budgets. We can act quickly in terms of logistics and humanitarian assistance, but if we look at the longer term—and we should, because as the Prime Minister, President Bush and all the others have said, this war against terrorism will last more than a few months—we must define the role of the Canadian army in that context.

    Humanitarian assistance, logistical support, participation in peacekeeping missions: these are the priorities that would allow the Canadian army to play a useful role at the world level. This means investing in equipment that is appropriate for the missions and priorities that we set for ourselves. There is no need for nuclear submarines. It might be better to invest in so-called smart ships or in versatile ships that can play a role in peacekeeping missions. This would also put our shipyards to work because, as we saw with the economic shock that we just experienced, everything is interrelated.

    Another point is that the government should let parliament vote. We are told that the executive branch makes decisions. Of course. The executive branch make decisions and parliamentarians legislate. We vote here on any number of acts, on regulations—

    The Right Hon. Jean Chrétien: We voted earlier.

    Mr. Gilles Duceppe: I know we voted earlier, but I think that parliamentarians have a duty to make decisions on the sending of troops. The government has enjoyed very strong support.

    In fact, this is the same Prime Minister who, in 1991, before troops were sent off during the gulf war, asked that parliament express its will by voting. I think the debates we are holding are certainly useful, but nothing precludes us from exercising our right to vote, as parliamentarians, to implement a proposal made by the government. This is exactly what the Liberal Party, which was the official opposition in 1991, was calling for. The Prime Minister was calling for the same thing. I see him smile, I understand him.

    In the last few days, the possibility of strikes in countries other than Afghanistan has been raised. I believe that we must maintain this approach of patience and wisdom that the Prime Minister has told us about, that we must intervene only after the evidence has been deemed solid by the United Nations. There should be no haste. This is the time to have the United Nations play their leadership role in this broad international coalition.

    We must draw conclusions from the September 11 events. We are certainly in favour of the broadest international coalition as possible, of an increased role for international justice tribunals. We must deal with the causes of terrorism, clarify the role of international institutions and increase humanitarian aid, which has been clearly inadequate to this day.

    We said this before the events and this is all the truer since September 11: there are deficiencies in humanitarian aid. Without humanitarian aid, we are providing the ground that I was talking about earlier, in which fanatism and terrorism can flourish.

    Involving the UN is very significant in such a context. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan received the Nobel peace prize a few days ago. I believe all parliamentarians will join me in congratulating him. The awarding of the Nobel prize to Mr. Annan increases the moral authority of the UN and their secretary general, an authority that will be reinforced.

  +-(2010)  

    Let us not forget the reasons for the creation of the UN at the end of the second world war to replace the League of Nations. Its aim was to fight war. I read from the preamble to the UN charter:

To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.

    There has been no third world war, but since 1945, there have been regional wars, wars of independence and wars of imperialist domination both in the east and in the west. These wars continue, and still today, there are regional wars, not only the war on terrorism, but wars being waged in Africa, Asia and South America.

    In this context, we believe the UN has a vital role to play. Parliament must reiterate its support for the UN. We must all ensure that the UN plays the greatest role in this context of international crisis, a role in keeping with its mandate to co-ordinate.

    I was disappointed today at the response the Prime Minister gave to a question from my colleague from Mercier “There is no question of the United Nations directing at this time”. I want that noted. It seems to me that Canada must push in this direction to ensure the United Nations plays this role of co-ordinator, bringing together as many countries as possible, aware all the while that some will intervene more directly in military terms, whereas others will intervene in other areas, including diplomatic and providing support for humanitarian aid or non governmental organizations.

    The government must demonstrate leadership with respect to the role the United Nations will play in the future. The security council has the wherewithal and the mandate to intervene with the international coalition. We must demand that Ossama bin Laden be handed over to the UN for trial before a court, an international tribunal.

    As I was saying earlier, let us establish ad hoc tribunals as was done for Rwanda, for the former Yugoslavia and, originally, in Nuremberg after World War II. The UN must be called upon to oversee the establishment of a new government in Afghanistan. Every one knows that the northern alliance does not offer the greatest guarantees of democracy. Mistakes were made in the past. To solve one problem, another problem was created.

    It seems to me that President Bush was right last week when he talked about the role the UN will have to play once Afghanistan has been rid of the Taliban. But the UN and its member countries also have a role to play right now in terms of supporting international aid to the people of Afghanistan.

    With the leadership of the United Nations, the international coalition will be able not only to solve the problem with the Taliban, but also to prevent the emergence of new terrorist cells by addressing the underlying causes of terrorism.

    It is a win-win situation for the people of Canada and Quebec. It is a win-win situation for the governments that have to deal with such crises. It is a win-win situation for the people who are the first victims of such crises, particularly the people of Afghanistan, who will certainly benefit from the intervention of the largest possible coalition working on all fronts, not only in terms of military action but also in terms of humanitarian assistance and in terms of preparing the future of a country that has been rid of the Taliban.

  +-(2015)  

[English]

+-

    Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP): Madam Chairman, I will be dividing my time this evening with my colleague the member of parliament for Acadie--Bathurst.

    When it comes to characterizing our reaction to the horrific attacks that took place in the United States on September 11, there is a sentiment which is shared by all members of the House and I believe overwhelmingly by all Canadians that bears repeating and that is that no cause, no grievance can ever justify the murderous crimes that took place on September 11. These were crimes that were carried out in the United States to be sure, but they were also crimes that were conducted against all humanity.

    The greatest losses were suffered by our closest neighbours to the south, but it is also true that 60 nations lost citizens in those horrendous attacks on September 11. The magnitude and the heinous nature of those crimes threatened and destabilized the peace and security of the entire human family in every corner of the world.

    Accordingly, there must be a strong, unequivocal and determined response to track down and punish the terrorists who committed those crimes against humanity. In bringing to justice those prepared to sacrifice their own lives to murder other citizens and wreak havoc around the world, let us be clear that the use of force may indeed be necessary. In the immediate aftermath of such grotesque violence, it is understandable that some would be driven to seek retaliation and revenge. Humankind has been plagued with this response from earliest times but surely we must and can learn. A violent response cannot become an end in itself.

    While we oppose the violence that breeds violence, we recognize that force is sometimes required to stop in their tracks those hell bent to destroy lives. However, let us remember that if, how and when the decision to use force is made is critically important. In any use of force our moral and legal authority must be maintained.

    That is one of the reasons that we, the New Democratic Party members of this House, have consistently argued that any decisions must be made under the auspices of the United Nations. Otherwise we descend into lawlessness and surely will be responsible for creating a new generation of terrorists, would-be martyrs and fanatics.

    We must treat these mass murders as crimes against humanity for which there can be no justification. Those who brand those horrifying events as America's new war and argue that war is the appropriate response feed into the repugnant argument that somehow these terrorist acts were inevitable. We categorically reject that. With crimes against humanity, there can be no moral equivalency. Those who advocate war as the appropriate response fuel the morally reprehensible notion that somehow those terrorist acts can be characterized as payback for misguided foreign policies or collateral damage in theatres of operation. That cannot be permitted.

    There is a growing international consensus against terrorism. This consensus we consistently advocate and will continue to try to persuade our government must be put to work in support of the role of the United Nations.

    It is heartening, in fact it is a beacon of hope in these dark days that the UN secretary general and the United Nations itself have been singled out and awarded the Nobel peace prize.

  +-(2020)  

    Tonight we are embarked on a debate about international actions against terrorism. It strikes me and my colleagues that there is something a little ironic that this is a debate chosen and entitled by the government whose greatest failing in the response to the crisis that we face has been the failure to provide leadership to ensure a truly international response. One that is carried out within the rule of law is the response that characterizes both our Canadian reaction and the way in which we handle this crisis on a worldwide basis.

    Let us for a moment remind ourselves of the words of Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the UN when he stated “If we are to prevent such crimes from being committed again, we must stay united as we seek to eliminate terrorism. In this struggle there is no alternative to international co-operation”. He went on to say that “the United Nations is uniquely positioned to serve as the forum for this”.

    Earlier today, with heavy hearts, members of the New Democratic Party reluctantly were not able to support a motion brought forward by our colleagues in the Conservative caucus because a failure of that motion was the total omission of any kind of international response, any genuine global response to this world global crisis. As opposition parliamentarians, members of the New Democratic Party take seriously our role in improving the government response to this crisis in questioning, debating and putting forward alternatives and demanding accountability.

    The government decision to commit Canadian troops to military engagement in Afghanistan without seeking the approval of the Canadian parliament and without ensuring that our forces would be operating under the auspices of the United Nations is not only wrong in principle but it is also tactically flawed. It is strategically unsound.

    Ironically the Prime Minister made precisely those arguments in 1991. He stated one decade ago the extreme reluctance of the Liberal official opposition which he led at the time to give any nod of approval to a declaration of war. He was right. As quoted in the Toronto Star in mid-January 1991, he stated “I don't think this government has the moral authority to bring Canada into war today. The Prime Minister is rolling the dice with the lives of young women and men without giving a real chance to peace”.

    I do not know what has changed when it comes to such a sound argument that was put forward at that time. We have concerns about the government's chosen path compromising the integrity and the safety of our forces by placing them in possible conflict with international law.

    Make no mistake about it. These are difficult questions especially at a time of heightened national security and mass apprehension. But it is precisely at these times that we must rely on democratic debate, on our being prepared to air our differences, to demand accountability and to listen to the many sound arguments that are being put forward by a great many Canadians for the need to get on a clear international path based on the rule of law.

    Some have said that questioning the government's direction somehow undermines support for our troops. I absolutely reject that idea. Questioning government direction cannot and must not be confused in any way with questioning our commitment to the men and women of the armed forces. We have unflinchingly supported and we will continue to support our soldiers, sailors and airmen as they respond to the call of duty to serve their country. We support their families in their desire and our desire to see their loved ones return safely to Canada.

    Just as New Democratic members of parliament are unreserved in our support for the families and the military, we are absolutely in support of the fight against the stereotyping, the victimizing of Arab Canadians, Muslim Canadians and other visible minorities in the aftermath of this horrendous crisis.

  +-(2025)  

    I finish by saying that I too was absolutely moved by the experience of visiting New York City, but the thing that has seared my heart and soul forever is the pleading of the families of the Canadian victims who said that they did not want the senseless murderous deaths of their loved ones to be avenged by the victimization and the killing of other innocent civilians.

    We need to keep that first and foremost in our minds as we figure out how to get on a path of genuine peace and security that will serve the world.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Yvon Godin (Acadie--Bathurst, NDP): Madam Chairman, I am pleased to rise in the House this evening to speak about the events of September 11, which rocked the world.

    Today, Canada is no longer the same. This is clear today, in light of what happened on the Hill, and in Montreal and Toronto, and in light of people's terror.

    I must say that what is happening in our country, in the United States and throughout the world is completely unacceptable. Shortly after the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as soon as the media had reported the event, I am sure that the entire world was shaken. It was as though we were watching a movie; what was happening was unreal.

    I think we need to step back and reflect on what has happened. I must say that I was disappointed in our Prime Minister. I know that the decision to send our troops into battle was not an easy one for him. But I am disappointed that on Sunday he announced that our troops were heading off to combat, that he was going to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday, but that parliament would not meet until October 15. I found that disappointing.

    I was elected by the constituents of Acadie—Bathurst. I think that it is my role in this country, in this parliament, to rise and speak about what is going on in our country, and to be able to vote and be judged on my performance by my constituents.

    As a parliamentarian in this democratic country, I should have the right to vote. I am disappointed in our Prime Minister because, in 1991, that is what he wanted from the Conservatives. He got what he wanted, for it was a sign of respect towards parliamentarians.

    I would like to quote someone who made a speech in the House of Commons in 1991. I will read a few passages from the speech. It was given on January 15, 1991, at 12.20 p.m.:

We said that military action is premature. We said that military action at this moment is unwise. It is very dangerous for long-term security in the Middle East and for the viability of the UN.

I would like to say to the Prime Minister that it is very, very easy to start a war, but it is very difficult to stop a war.

    I will not read the entire speech, but I will ready passages from it.

Military action, so soon after we decided to take the course of sanctions and embargo, endorses the view that military action can be an instrument of preference and of early resort and not, as it should be, of last resort.

Why this war? What are our national interests in this war? When I listened to the debate which took place in the United States Congress over the weekend, the Americans were not talking about the United Nations, as I said earlier. They were talking about American interests. Senators and members of the House of Representatives spoke and they were divided very closely on this issue. I am sure that, if there had been no ultimatum and if the president had not taken such a firm position, it is probable Congress would not have acquiesced to the resolution presented to it.

    That person continued in the House on January 15, 1991, saying the following:

I say that the national interests of Canada are very different from the national interests of the United States.

    And some members in the House applauded.

Our national interests have been peacekeeping, a voice for stability and a voice for independence in war, peace and stability.

  +-(2030)  

    Let me continue:

We have always said that embargoes, sanctions and diplomacy are preferable to bullets. We have to look back at what has happened in our history.

    Then that person said the following:

When war broke out in Korea, we did get involved but under the flag of the United Nations. That is a basic distinction from the position now taken by the Prime Minister. The Security Council did not set up a United Nations contingent. It authorized countries to go to war with Iraq, but it did not ask any country to go to war with Iraq.

    I continue with the quotations because I find them important in today's context. I think the person I am quoting recognizes the words that were said because that person is in the House today:

Let us give a chance to sanctions. Let us give a chance to the embargo. Let us give a chance to peace diplomacy. This is the role which the government should play now. I am afraid, however, that the government made commitments a long time ago and now has to pay the price. Canada's position is and must remain an independent one. If one day all these recourses should prove inadequate, if there must be a war, a war under the aegis of the United Nations, Canada will assume its responsibilities and support the United Nations.

Today, this would not be a war under the flag of the United Nations, but a war waged by an unknown number of countries, and Canada took the position in 1956 that we shall not be involved in a war if it is not under the flag of the United Nations.

    I would like to congratulate the person who pronounced these words on January 15, 1991, because he was saying the same thing that the New Democratic Party is saying today. Perhaps he was closer to the NDP in those days; he has forgotten his beliefs and moved too far to the right. I am not sure what happened to that person, but he said:

—if it is not under the flag of the United Nations.

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat in English what I said in case some people did not understand.

    This was a serious person addressing parliament in 1991. This person wanted everyone to understand, in both languages. So, this person repeated it in the other official language. I continue to quote:

We are opposed to this war at this moment. Canada has taken the position since 1956 that we shall not be involved in a war if it is not under the flag of the UN. It might be under the flag of a very friendly neighbour, but it will not be the flag of the UN. The time has not yet come for the UN to move in a war situation. Let us give peace a good chance.

    This person is the leader of the Liberals, today's Prime Minister of Canada. I would like to congratulate him for his words in 1991.

    But today, I cannot congratulate him, because the steps that have been taken in this war, if we can call it that, should have been taken under the aegis of the United Nations and not under the aegis of a country that will be victim, judge and executioner all at the same time. Give peace a chance. Give us a chance to solve the problem.

    It is not easy for the New Democratic Party to be the only party in the House of Commons to oppose the government today. We are the only political party in Canada doing so. But we are doing what has to be done. Let me conclude by reading a short excerpt from the editorial published yesterday in L'Acadie nouvelle. Here is what Michel Duceppe had to say about the NDP leader:

When she says that bombing the poor will not help to eradicate terrorism, she is voicing what millions of Canadians will come to realize a bit too late. The fact that she is crying out in the desert says a lot about the political climate in our country.

  +-(2035)  

Just like Ed Broadbent did before her, she hangs on. She knows that what she says will not help her in the opinion polls—because, you see, war does not take opinion polls into consideration—but she still stands her ground. This is what courage is all about, a notion that is being abandoned at a time where traditional parties would sell their souls to get more votes, if it were not already done.

    I urge the Prime Minister of Canada to reconsider his decision, to reflect on what happened in 1991, to do some soul searching and to hold a vote in this House in order to give parliamentarians the opportunity, in keeping with our democratic traditions, to speak for Canadians and to do the right thing, which is to get involved under the aegis of the United Nations, not of the United States.

+-

    Right Hon. Joe Clark (Calgary Centre, PC/DR): Madam Chairman, I must point out that there was a vote today. I cannot comment on what parties do in the House, but the proceedings will show which parties supported Canada's action in the fight against terrorism.

[English]

    I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative coalition. I note that we all say our world changed on September 11 but sometimes people repeat phrases without really believing them.

    The reality is that when those planes were driven deliberately into crowded buildings in North America with the deliberate purpose of killing as many innocent people as possible our world changed as surely as Japan's world changed at Hiroshima and eastern Europe's world changed when the Berlin wall came down.

[Translation]

    The terrorist attacks of September 11 have marked Canadians forever. That day everything changed because since then we have no longer been able to believe in our invulnerability. That day terrorists stole our innocence. They took away the feeling we had in Canada that no matter what havoc was wreaked abroad, here in Canada and in North America we had nothing to fear, we were safe.

    In a flash, the massacre in New York City and Washington showed us how poorly prepared we were to face the terrorist threat.

  +-(2040)  

[English]

    As a country and as individuals we are on uncharted ground. Until now we did not think how we might tell our children there might be anthrax in the mail. No government prepared a defence against passenger planes that might be used as weapons of mass murder and despite the warnings of our intelligence agencies, most Canadians and most members of parliament assumed that terrorists attacked other continents. That has changed now and our way of thinking must change also.

    Our coalition believes that Canada must deal with two different basic changes. First is the new threat of a terrorist network that is disciplined, professional, absolutely ruthless, and a network about which far too little is known. When this country was called to conflict before we knew much more about the enemy. Today we do not know the motives, the conditions which formed these terrorists or the targets they might choose next.

    Second is the assumption that terrible things do not happen in Canada, not in this wealthy, privileged and insulated society. We are thankfully still a long way from a war zone where every step is a hazard. We must not exaggerate the dangers which ordinary citizens face but neither can we deny the reality that Canada is less safe than we thought and that the underlying confidence of Canadians has been eroded by doubt and fear.

    One of the reasons I plead so strongly with the government to be as open as possible with the people of Canada is because honest information is the only answer to doubt and fear. Secrecy feeds fear; facts fight fear.

    I ask the government to trust the people, to trust this parliament, and to publish as much as it can about the threats to health and how Canadians can protect themselves. Assessments carried out by our intelligence agencies about the methods and the motives of terrorist groups that we know to be operating here should be made public.

    Let me suggest to the Prime Minister why openness is so important now to this government's ability to lead the country. There is a sense among Canadians, who have supported the government in too many consecutive elections, that it has become disconnected from the country it governs. Its political success is due more, I regret to say, to the disarray on this side of the House than it is to any sense of purpose which Canadians draw from the government.

    In a crisis such as this one the government needs more authority than that. It can count on the support of most of the members of the House in the hard measures it has to contemplate and propose but it also needs the confidence of a shocked and troubled people. The only way it can win that trust is to show trust itself and not hide the facts which Canadians need to know.

    I am the only member in the opposition benches who sat in cabinet and decided whether our country should take up arms. As the Prime Minister said, it is the hardest and most serious of decisions which governments must take. It directly and profoundly affects the safety of our people and the reputation of our country. We learned a decade ago that governments in these circumstances need all the help they can get.

  +-(2045)  

[Translation]

    It is in this context that Canadians are now turning to their government, and rightly so. People as a whole want to be reassured, to be shown that the situation is under control and that every effort is being made to stop the terrorist threat today and tomorrow.

    In a crisis situation, the government must play such a role quickly and unequivocally. It is its duty.

    Therefore, I must voice my support for the government's decision to be actively involved in the international military coalition. I did so this morning by introducing a motion in the House in support of the involvement of Canadian forces in the efforts of the international military coalition. I am doing it again this evening.

    Moreover, I applaud the efforts made by the government to finally bring in an anti-terrorism bill. In principle, this legislation is a good start. Of course, it will need to be properly scrutinized since in certain respects it could have an impact on our fundamental rights. But it is a useful tool, which should be supported as swiftly as possible.

    However, in order to really reassure people, the governement must show that things are under control, that it has an action plan. It must keep the people informed so that they are not plagued by uncertainty.

[English]

    Let me raise four areas where the government can do more than it appears to be doing. The first area concerns information and intelligence. The al-Qaeda network and its allies work beyond the range of the traditional intelligence services of Canada and our allies. We do not know enough about them and as things now stand we are not in a position to learn.

    Over the last seven years the government has cut the budget of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service by 37%. Our intelligence agencies have little capacity to speak the languages or understand the cultures of the world in which these terrorists work, plan and recruit. Working with our allies we must repair that weakness urgently.

    We have an advantage in this diverse and international country in that so many of our private citizens work in the languages and understand the cultures where we need help. I hope the Prime Minister would come to parliament and spell out funding and hiring initiatives for our intelligence agencies which would markedly improve our ability to understand how and why these terrorist networks have grown and how they might be broken.

    As important as it is for us to secure our borders we must recognize that these terrorists are highly professional. They do not sneak in the back door. They use their skill, knowledge and wealth to come in the front door of countries like Canada. That is what happened with the pilots who turned the hijacked planes into weapons in the United States. We need the best intelligence to know about their networks.

    The second area concerns traditional diplomacy. This morning I spoke about the need to enforce and enlarge our defence budgets. My colleague from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough has just handed me a relevant quotation from Winston Churchill from another time but the point is valid:

The Army is not like a limited liability company to be reconstructed, remodelled, liquidated and refloated from week to week as the money market fluctuates. It is not an inanimate thing, like a house to be pulled down, or structurally altered at the caprice of the owner; it is a living thing. If it is bullied, it sulks; if it is unhappy, it pines; if it is harried, it gets feverish; if it is sufficiently disturbed, it will wither and dwindle and almost die; and when it comes to this last serious condition, it is only revived by lots of time and lots of money.

    That was true then; that is true now. What was also true then and now is an effective defence must be married to an effective diplomacy. I have written the foreign minister urging him to take initiatives within the Commonwealth where Canada's reputation is strong and whose other members include countries like Pakistan, Nigeria, India and others whose knowledge and co-operation would be invaluable to the coalition against the terrorist threat.

    The same capacity exists in la Francophonie and in Canada's other connections with a world that may be more comfortable working with us than it is with a superpower or a former colonial power. I hope the Prime Minister would outline in detail what diplomatic steps Canada is taking.

    The third area is domestic. We need tough and effective measures to stop terrorists if they get here precisely because they are so professional. The bill introduced by the Minister of Justice today is a step in that direction.

    Now that airliners have become weapons the government will not be taken seriously and the public will not feel safe until the Prime Minister puts air marshals in Canadian skies.

    Finally, we need to hear from the Prime Minister about Canada's plans for the period when the attacks have stopped in Afghanistan and when we have more knowledge and control of al-Qaeda and the other terrorist networks. Canada did not seem well prepared for the attacks.

    Other nations led the response which we have now joined. However Canada has a unique role and responsibility in building the systems and standards that come after these attacks. That will involve a major commitment to international development, where Canada's contribution under the government has fallen from .49% of gross national product in 1994 to .25% this year.

  +-(2050)  

    This is an area in which Canada has a unique opportunity to lead. I would hope the Prime Minister would spell out the leadership he intends Canada to take.

    We would all like to say to Canadians that we will soon emerge from this period of anger, sorrow and fear. We would like to tell them that Canada faces no direct threat, that the rest of the world will protect us from harm, but none of that is true or certain.

    What is certain is that our public life, our political life, must change. We in politics must be more vigilant, must challenge the status quo and must shape opinion rather than simply trying not to run afoul of it. We must present a more coherent view of the world and of Canada's role in it. We must build support for our views and we must argue strenuously against views we think are wrongheaded. We must defend the Islamic faith against prejudice and attack and recognize that its worst enemy right now is the al-Qaeda network.

    At a time when the United States of America has had the courage to lead, we must stand beside the United States, support her people, work with her government, share her risks and join in the responsibility to limit the suffering of the innocent Afghani people. To do less or to do differently at this moment in time would be to dishonour the tradition of Canada with which we have been entrusted.

    As the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have both noted, party leaders 12 days ago visited the site called ground zero in New York City. The media pictures could not convey the silence and the size of the disruption, this inanimate pile of what had been so full of life, so full of energy.

    A friend of my daughter had been staying near the site. She e-mailed that night to say “We all say we're fine, but we're not. None of us is fine”.

    Well, Madam Chairman, we are not fine, but we are strong. There are reasons we believe in free and orderly and modern societies. Part of our response must be to put panic aside and deny the terrorists the psychological victory they seek. We must demonstrate that free societies can recover quickly from the most brutal shock and organize ourselves to assert the civilized values that were so deliberately challenged. In meeting that challenge this House stands united.

  +-(2055)  

+-

    Hon. John Manley (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Madam Chairman, it is now just over a month since the September 11 attacks. New York's mayor, Rudy Giuliani, said last week that sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes it feels like a year ago. I think many of us will share that sentiment, but however devastating the impact of those attacks, time did not stop on that day. The world has responded comprehensively, definitively and in solidarity.

    Canada too has responded. We are a peaceful country, but as I have said before, make no mistake, we will do whatever we must in order to defend the rights of our citizens to live in security, in peace and in freedom.

[Translation]

    Previous generations of Canadians fought for that right at Vimy Ridge, in Normandy, and in Korea.

    They have also protected that right in other countries for nearly 50 years through peacekeeping missions.

    Today a new generation is called upon to defend our values, but this time it is against the scourge of terrorism.

[English]

    It is time for us to stand up for what we believe in. Haile Selassie, who led the Ethiopians in their struggle against fascist invaders in the 1930s, once remarked:

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

    It is not easy to understand why people would crash an aircraft into civilian buildings, taking their own lives and the lives of thousands of innocent victims. It is not easy to understand why people would dedicate their lives to hatred and destruction.

    Terrorists, though, do not deal in rationality but in violence. They do not want to negotiate or discuss. The al-Qaeda network most certainly does not seek to promote the peaceful values and teachings of the Islamic faith. They want to kill. They want to destroy.

    How do we defeat terrorism? There is no simple answer to that question nor will there be a quick solution.

[Translation]

    We have said clearly that the international fight against terrorism involves several aspects.

    Military action, which means exercising our inherent right to self-defence under article 51 of the UN charter, is one of them.

[English]

    We have also of course activated article 5 of NATO, which is directly linked to the UN charter. Implementing the collective defence clause of the NATO charter is an historic event. This measure is a testimonial to solidarity in the face of terror. It is an affirmation that countries stand together side by side in strength and determination.

    Canada is doing its part in international skies and waters and here at home in Canada. Our government has recently announced a $280 million anti-terrorism plan with an extensive package of new national security measures. Some of these have been announced in recent days by various ministers and we will continue to hear more as the initiatives are readied to be announced.

[Translation]

    So far, these measures include, for example, increasing the number of customs officers, purchasing new airport security equipment and allocating new resources to police and intelligence agencies for anti-terrorist work.

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[English]

    My colleagues, the Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General of Canada, have now introduced the anti-terrorism act containing a series of measures that we have already heard much about in the debate today.

    Canada has already taken steps in accordance with security council resolution 1373 to starve terrorists of their sources of funding.

    We have implemented regulations under the United Nations Act to prevent anyone from dealing with goods belonging to terrorists, effectively freezing their assets.

    However, there is much more work to do. The safety and security of our citizens must remain the top priority of the government, as it has always been.

[Translation]

    We must also note the humanitarian aspect of this campaign against terrorism. On September 29, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would provide $5 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees and displaced people in the region.

    One million dollars had already been promised on September 18. These contributions are in addition to the $150 million already provided by Canada in humanitarian assistance over the last ten years.

[English]

    The needs of the Afghan people, with its more than three million refugees living in neighbouring countries and perhaps as many as one million internally displaced persons, will no doubt grow and will require further support during the coming months.

    Canada must remain vigilant during the coming weeks and months, but we must also get on with our lives. We must go on with our work and our school, get on airplanes, go out with our families and go about our daily business. Not to do so, to alter our way of life, would be tantamount to a victory for the terrorists.

    As we speak, members of our armed forces are preparing themselves for their mission to strike back against international terrorism. Speaking in Montreal last week, I stated that the decision to send Canadian soldiers into dangerous terrain has been taken by this government with the utmost gravity. No one ever wanted to see this day, but then no one ever wanted to see a day like September 11 either.

    Now we have had to take that decision to commit military forces. We have done so in support of our allies, in support of what is right and in support of what must be done, because when we strip away the mask from Osama bin Laden what we find is the face of evil. Civilized societies have learned many times before that there is only one way to deal with evil. We cannot reason with it, we cannot negotiate with it and we cannot buy time to find a better solution. The only way to deal with evil is to strike at its root, to destroy it and to move on.

    I hope that this House will join together in expressing its pride in the men and women of our armed forces and give them our thoughts and our prayers, along with our applause.

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    Mr. Bob Mills (Red Deer, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasure to speak this evening about this terrible subject that has changed our lives from the time it happened on September 11.

    All of us know that this war against terrorism has to be fought and it has to be won. We need to make it very clear that it is a war against terrorism. It is not a war against the Muslim religion or against any religion. It is a war against people who do such evil as we saw on September 11.

    I once visited Islamabad and talked to Muslim scholars at the university. We asked them how terrorism fits within the Koran and within their religion. After many hours of talking about this issue, it was very clear that anybody can interpret any book any way they want if they want to put forth a cause as we have seen with Osama bin Laden. This is not about religious and we need to make that very clear.

    That moment in history has changed all of us. I was in the U.S. when it happened. I was amazed at how the American people responded. I was amazed at the number of people lining up at blood donor clinics, giving donations and holding candlelight vigils on the same evening the incident happened. The response was overwhelming and one that could not have been imagined by the terrorists who killed themselves and the innocent people earlier that day.

    We must also give our condolences to all the people who lost their lives, all the families who have been affected and all the memories that are there. We need to give the government our full support. It is important that we come together as a nation to fight terrorism and wipe out these terrorist groups.

    While I was thinking about what I was going to say in the debate I jotted down some comments of what I think terrorists are like. First, I do not think they are of any particular nationality or religion. They have no real conscience about who they are killing. Someone like Osama bin Laden is not a religious cleric. He is a cult leader. He has nothing but bad in his heart.

    I then thought back to my visits to Bosnia, Kosovo and Kashmir, all of those visits in a war situation. One of the things I did in a lot of those places was to go into schools and ask kids what they thought about the war. Eight year old kids could tell me about the hate they had for this religion or that group of people or whatever. That level of hate was built into them. We in North America do not understand that sort of thing. We have to counter that feeling that is built right into these little kids.

    I have 16 pages of notes written by 10 year olds about what it is like to be in war. Some of the kids would tell me tales about 1942. Some of the Serb kids even told me about what it was like when they were attacked by the Ottomans back in 1589. We have to understand that level of hate and that is partly what we are dealing with.

    I also must bring to the House the message that I got from my riding about this whole issue, and it is important that we focus on that. My constituents told me that the CBC town hall meeting was not representative of Canadians. They told me they did not think that way. They have responses about the Prime Minister. They feel his response was somewhat lackadaisical and insincere.

    When the war started last Sunday I could not help but notice that we listened to Bush on television, then to Tony Blair, then to Chirac, then to Schroeder and finally, two hours later, we heard our Prime Minister tell us what we were going to do.

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    I and many of my constituents were very disappointed by that sort of reaction.

    We have been told over and over again that we need to deal with the immigration system. When I was in the camps in Macedonia we put refugees onto planes without even checking their health or their background. If we even bring one terrorist into our country, it is not worth it. We have to check them out. We value and welcome those refugees to our country but we need to make sure they are legitimate.

    We obviously need better training at the U.S. border and at our airports. Our military has declined to a point where many Canadians are wondering if we are really sending these people to do a mission for which they will be proud and one which they can do. The problem is not that they are not good people or well trained. The problem is that their equipment is just not there.

    This is a time when I want to be united. I want to support the government on this sort of thing. I have travelled for over 30 years around the world. Canada has slipped dramatically. We have to be conscious of that. Our profile is not what it was and we need to work on that. This is an opportunity for us to do that.

    Let me read sections of a letter I received from a senior flight attendant on the Delta flight that left London on its way to Atlanta but which was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland. I thought the letter probably summed up some of the best of what Canadians are and how we can work together.

    At 11 a.m. on September 11 the Delta flight got the message that it needed to land immediately and that U.S. airspace was closed. The flight was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland and 40 minutes later it landed. Fifty-three international flights landed at Gander.

    The Delta flight landed in Gander at 11 a.m. At 6 p.m. the passengers and crew were told they would overnight on the plane, that they would be able to get off at 11 o'clock the next morning and that they would be held somewhere in Newfoundland. They were then taken from there to Lewisporte which is 45 kilometres from Gander. I think this is important because this is really what it is all about. These people were then taken to the community hall where bunks were set up with various kinds of mattresses and so on.

    The following is a description of their stay. During the days the passengers were given a choice of excursion trips. Some people went on boat cruises on lakes and harbours. Some went to see forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for guests. Food was prepared. They had their laundry done in the laundromat. People brought in special baking and so on . When the passengers got back on board their flight two days later it was like they had been on a cruise. Everybody knew everybody else by their name. They were swapping stories of their stay and impressing each other with what a great time they had. It was mind-boggling.

    Just to summarize what happened on that flight, one of the passengers got on the PA and said “I'm taking up contributions to set up a scholarship in Lewisporte”. They collected $20,000, which was then matched by one of the passengers. A scholarship has not been set up for a high school student in that town.

    That is a true Canadian story which makes all of us feel good. It is the sort of thing we have to put forward as we deal with this terrible crisis that we are in now. We need to work together.

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    Mr. John O'Reilly (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the question of Canada's military contribution to the campaign against international terrorism.

    One of the most significant issues that has arisen in the weeks since September 11 is that of our bilateral relationship with our American allies. Almost every aspect of this most complex of relationships has been somehow engaged in the aftermath of the attacks on the United States last month. Among the most important is that of our bilateral military relationship.

    In speaking to the motion before us, therefore, I will discuss the issues against the background of this excellent relationship, one that has served us so well for so many years.

    We know quite well just how extensive the links we share with the United States are. Our cultures, while not homogeneous, are closely linked. Our economies are interdependent. We share a common border. And there is a constant flow of Americans and Canadians across this border, as our neighbours venture north to see the sights from Quebec City to Peggy's Cove to western Canada, as we venture south seeking a taste of the American way of life from Florida to New Orleans to New York.

    In addition to cultural, economic and personal connections, there is our military connection. Simply put, the United States is our most important ally and defence partner.

    To give members an idea of how well established our military relationship is, consider that our two countries currently share over 80 treaty level defence agreements, more than 250 memoranda of understanding between the two defence departments and approximately 145 bilateral fora in which defence matters are discussed.

    Members should also consider that there are 600 Canadian Forces personnel currently serving in the U.S., mostly in Norad related assignments. As well, over 20,000 defence related visits to the United States are conducted annually by the Canadian government and industry representatives.

    In addition to the agreements governing our defence relations, there are, as I mentioned, a number of bilateral defence fora. Among them is the Canada-U.S. permanent joint board on defence. Established in 1940, it is the highest level bilateral defence and security board. It provides a vital forum for co-ordinating our many bilateral agreements, addressing areas of common concern and fostering interoperability between our forces.

    Another important forum is the North American Aerospace Defence Command known as Norad. For over 40 years Norad has provided Canada and the United States with effective aerospace defence capabilities. Norad benefits from a binational American-Canadian command. With a Canadian officer as the deputy commander in chief, Norad provides a concrete example of how well our personnel work with the U.S. side by side.

    Another way in which our two countries' militaries work seamlessly together is through the provision of joint training opportunities. By promoting interoperability, these arrangements help foster exactly the kind of operational effectiveness the current coalition effort requires. Joint exercises are held regularly both here in Canada and at American military facilities.

    With ties as extensive as these, it is not surprising that Canada acted quickly to assist the United States after the horrific events of September 11 took place.

    Three Canadian warships were put on a heightened state of readiness to deliver humanitarian aid, including medical supplies, transportation and communications equipment into U.S. ports had they been called for or needed.

    At the same time, members of the disaster assistance response team were put on active alert in Trenton, Ontario. They were prepared to move to New York by road if necessary.

    During and immediately following the events, Norad increased its alert readiness measures. In response, we put additional CF-18s at the disposal of Norad to patrol North American airspace.

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    Meanwhile Canadian forces personnel were recalled to their bases and put on high alert. This provided a visible signal to Canadians that we were engaged and prepared to deal with the developing situation.

    The Canadian forces also responded quickly to the demands that the rerouted planes placed on communities across our country and worked closely with local airports, Transport Canada, Red Cross workers and countless volunteers. At the same time members of the Canadian forces were assisting local authorities in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Manitoba to accommodate thousands of displaced travellers.

    Organizing the assistance relief was a significant undertaking. The federal government's new Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness played a key co-ordinating role. Within hours of the attack, officials compiled an inventory of resources available in Canada for humanitarian assistance to the United States. This information was communicated to their counterparts at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    They also worked closely with the provincial emergency measures organization and the private sector to assist in co-ordinating the support and resources necessary to help local authorities accommodate the air travellers that were stranded in Canada.

    These actions demonstrate just how able and ready the Department of National Defence and the Canadian forces are to respond when called upon. And their actions did not stop there.

    On October 8 the Minister of National Defence announced further Canadian military support to the United States led campaign against terrorism. Our objective is to make an effective and meaningful contribution to the overall military campaign and to ensure that Canadians, their interests and values are defended and that this lengthy campaign is a success.

    The Canadian forces are becoming an integral part of the overall international campaign. A Canadian frigate, the HMCS Halifax and some 230 personnel have been directed to the Arabian gulf. A Canadian naval task group will be deployed from Halifax. The task group will comprise two frigates, one of which will be the HMCS Halifax, a destroyer, a supply ship and six Sea King helicopters. An additional frigate from the west coast, the HMCS Vancouver, will also integrate into a U.S. carrier battle group. The air force will deploy surveillance and airlift support to the region. Humanitarian assistance will also be provided to the Afghan people. As well, a component of our specialist force, joint task force 2, will contribute to the overall effort. In total, some 2,000 Canadian forces men and women will participate in the operation.

    The government has underscored that this will be a long campaign. As the Prime Minister has said, it will be fought on many fronts, not only military but also humanitarian, financial, legislative and diplomatic, on as many fronts perhaps as there are varied and complementary dimensions to our bilateral relationship with our American friends. Only by working together can we ensure the long term security of both our countries.

    In closing, I would like to echo the call made by others to be mindful of the difficult challenges facing the many Canadian forces members participating in this campaign as well as those challenges facing their families at home. We have every confidence that they will do us proud as our country stands united with the United States and our other allies.

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[Translation]

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    Ms. Francine Lalonde (Mercier, BQ): Mr. Chairman, it is my duty to take part in this debate. This evening, my party and myself would have liked to have a debate that would have ended with a vote on the participation of the Canadian forces, on the participation of men and women from Quebec and the rest of Canada in the American response, a response which we would like to see more closely co-ordinated by the United Nations.

    This evening, I would have liked us to have a vote to express our commitment, because 2,000 men and women, Quebecers and Canadians, are leaving or have already left to go and play some unknown role in the American response in Afghanistan. It may seem like an ordinary measure, resolution or recommendation by the House. But in fact, the government made that decision, even though it is parliament that should have assumed this responsibility, and a serious one at that.

    We are living in times that, just two months ago, we would never have imagined. We are living in times when the territories of the United States and Canada are no longer what we always thought they were, that is inviolable. We are living in times when fundamentalism has generated dormant cells, that is groups of men--there are no women--joined by an objective born of and structured in a disorganized fashion in all the countries where no security measures were able to prevent them from settling. These groups are currently a threat about which parliaments may get agitated, but they are there.

    Do these groups have claims? In one of his most recent television appearances, bin Laden claimed to want to avenge the death of millions of children following the sanctions against Iraq. The figure was really too high, but it is nevertheless the reality. Bin Laden never cared about these children before. Similarly, he had never shown any concern for the Palestinian cause, but he now supports the Palestinians in their extremely difficult fight to regain their territory.

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    What does he want? He wants the attention of the millions of young people in Arab countries, in Muslim countries, who have no hope and see the endless humiliation of the constantly revived defeat of the Palestinians in sealed off territories. Bin Laden is politicking.

    This man, who is being protected by the Taliban, wants the Sharia, as applied by the fundamentalist government that we see at work in Afghanistan, to become the norm in as many places as possible.

    The Taliban government makes women live in cages. Women are denied access to health care. Young girls are not entitled to education or to health care. Finally, women have no other function than to reproduce.

    You saw, as I did, on the weekend, the terrible picture--not just among the Taliban, but among the Afghani of the north, those who could replace the Taliban, if we are not careful--of donkeys bearing men and their children, while the women, women in their cage wearing long white robes, walk beside the man and their children.

    I speak as a woman and a mother this evening. I would have liked to vote on a motion. As much as the war disgusts me, I understand why countries like Canada react. If Quebec were a country, something I keenly want, I would want it to react too, not out of vengeance, but out of a need to say that what happened in New York City and Washington, the September 11 attacks, are totally unacceptable.

    I am not saying the United States and the west are perfect. I am not saying that the situation in the Middle East--or Near East--the situation of the Palestinians enclosed in an ever smaller space in their territories is acceptable. I am not saying the sanctions against Iraq, which cause the death of thousands of children each month, are acceptable.

    Those who instigated these demented attacks in New York City and Washington had no claims. Their aim was to bring down a democratic government. What they want is a fundamentalist government on a world scale. We cannot agree to that.

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    We must, however, make sure that it is not just through security measures, anti-terrorist legislation and strikes that we will fight this seriously, but rather by ensuring that there is hope that this world will become less unfair and less illegal. And this will require the House to take draconian measures.

[English]

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    Mr. Tony Valeri (Stoney Creek, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, it is certainly no exaggeration to say that the events of September 11 changed the way we look at the world. Terrorism has existed for decades, yet it remained for most of us something we watched on television, something elusive and distant.

    The events of September 11 changed all of that in a moment. Terrorism has certainly touched our souls. Canadian lives were lost. Our mourning for them and all the victims continues.

    I had at least one constituent fortunate to survive the attacks in New York City on that day. I would like to thank the rescue workers at ground zero and in Washington, D.C. for their determination.

    United in our sympathy and concern for the situation, the local community acted in the best traditions of charity and human solidarity. Money was donated in staggering amounts. Planes were diverted to the Hamilton airport, a mirror of the situation in airports across the country. Our hospitals stood ready to accept victims. Blood donations were described as overwhelming, with donors lining up for hours to do their part for those in need.

    However, there have been indefensible and senseless acts in my local area as well. Local mosques and Muslims have been targeted for abuse and a sickening attack on a local Hindu temple demonstrated the level of ignorance which was deeply shocking.

    In fact, locally people pulled together to support one another in an outpouring of generosity. It was clear that there was no place for this behaviour in Canada. Local building trades will donate their efforts to the construction of a new temple and residents are working to make sure that those affected feel safe and accepted.

    It is clear that our perception of the world around us has changed. The question, and what we are discussing this evening, is where do we go from here?

    While protecting citizens from terrorism is a fundamental priority and the safety and security of Canadians is a top priority, the process of eradicating terrorism starts at the local level. It started immediately after the attacks and it will continue until we rid the world of this savagery and hatred. I was heartened to see my community united, not just in grief but in resolve and rising to this challenge.

    The challenge for western governments, like Canada, is to reduce the space in which terrorists can operate by promoting effective international co-operation between police and intelligence services. We must stop terrorism. All nations must ensure that they have the necessary investigative powers. At the same time, we must support the development of economic, legal and political institutions which cannot only contain and channel dissent, but give individuals a real stake in defending democracy and social justice.

    It is a major challenge to which the world's leading industrial nations must respond in a co-ordinated and effective fashion. Canada has a key role to play in this respect and will continue to do so. We have played that role.

    The reality of international terrorism demands a comprehensive approach from the government. We have acted on many fronts. We have acted on the legislative front with new legislation introduced this morning by the Minister of Justice. We have acted on the security front at airports and at our borders. We have acted on the financial front, freezing the assets of terrorist groups as a vital step in eliminating their capacity for activity. We have acted on the military front with our most significant contribution since the Korean War, and we join our allies in addressing this aspect of the conflict. I know all members will join with me in supporting our military personnel as they go off and fight terrorism.

    We must act as well on the diplomatic front, working with our allies to keep the all important lines of communication open for constructive, positive action between nations. Canada can play an important role here with groups such as la Francophonie and the Commonwealth. We are uniquely positioned to act against terrorism. We have the internal diversity and strength to draw upon our actions moving forward. Our objective must be to guarantee our continued security and stability.

    There must be a level of predictability, for without it we have no viable economic foundation for the functioning of civil society, for the freedom that makes Canada such an attractive place to live. The freedoms of religion, assembly or movement, for example, presupposes this very stability.

    Living with a sense of security and safety is a necessary first step in getting back to the business of the nation and defeating those elements in the world which seek to undermine our freedom. That is why I am supportive of the government's measures against terrorism.

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    Law-abiding Canadians have nothing to fear from our specific actions which are designed to root out terrorists and other criminals. Terrorists want to shut down the country. They will not. Our actions, the actions of this parliament, must allow Canadians to get on with their lives.

    Terrorists have attempted to smear the Muslim religion. They will not. Islam is about peace; it is not about violence. Terrorists have attempted to pit community against community, faith against faith. They will not succeed.

    We as parliamentarians must unite, as Canadians are doing right across the land. We must come together to work and protect our way of life, to ensure that freedom, the freedom of assembly, the freedom to practice our faith, the freedom that we have enjoyed as a result of the Canadians who gave their lives in wars that have come before us, is protected. That is why the government has come forward with a legislative package. That is why we will continue to work to eradicate terrorism. We will continue to ensure that Canadians can play a leading role in the fight against terrorism.

    As a government, as parliamentarians, we must ensure that we can protect our way of life. We must ensure that we continue to protect the strong foundation that we have in the country, a foundation which will allow us to continue to build our future for generations to come.

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    Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Chairman, it is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to rise in my place and debate the issue now before the house.

    As members of the House may or may not be aware, my riding of Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke is the home of Area Support Unit Petawawa, formerly base Petawawa, which was a fully occupied army base in Canada's most populous province until it was downgraded to an area support unit, with the base commander being reduced in rank from colonel to lieutenant colonel. Until 1995 it was also home to the Canadian Airborne Regiment.

    Canadians know that when it comes to defence policy, there are two topics the Liberal government is afraid to talk about: helicopters and the Canadian Airborne Regiment. However, the sweep of history in the events of September 11 have overtaken the government and it is time to revisit both of these issues, as they are intertwined.

    In the case of the helicopters, the political decision to cancel the EH-101, at great cost to the Canadian taxpayer in the $600 million to $700 million range, and then to finally purchase an off the shelf version, the Cormorant, which is the same helicopter without the industrial spinoff for Canadian industry, for $500 million to 600 million, has to be one of the best examples of what has gone wrong with defence procurement policy since 1993. The purchase of the Cormorant is the admission that the decision to cancel the EH-101 contract was wrong. Hopefully needless deaths can be avoided by retiring the 40-year old Sea King helicopters that should have been scrapped with the Chinook helicopters years ago.

    Now it is time to look at the other great mistake of Liberal government defence policy in concert with the helicopter scandal, that is, the decision to disband the Canadian Airborne Regiment.

    In committee on October 12 the Minister of National Defence stated several things that cannot go unchallenged. The minister made reference to helicopters being used to deliver troops, or what is referred to as being air mobile, with the inference that helicopters make the airborne obsolete. That might have been partially true if Canada had opted to purchase a helicopter like the Black Hawk, which is what, as the Minister of National Defence made reference to, makes the U.S. forces more air mobile with the use of helicopters.

    For the record, the Americans still operate with a parachute battalion, refusing to put all their eggs in the helicopter basket. This decision was made with a failed helicopter attempt in mind, the one to rescue the American hostages seized by Iranians in 1980 during the American hostage crisis in the dying days of the Jimmy Carter presidency and the loss of life of American soldiers when their helicopters crashed in the desert.

    Currently, the helicopter that would be available to deliver troops to Afghanistan is the Griffon.

    If Canada is committing the entire complement of our domestic specialist task force, Joint Task Force 2, or JTF2, that could translate to 250 troops. A Griffon can transport eight soldiers, though this number may be less with full kit. So 31 helicopters would be needed if our involvement is to be on the ground with our allies in Afghanistan.

    Choppers cannot fly from Canada all the way over there, so each Griffon would have to be individually disassembled, loaded into a Hercules transport plane, one per trip, flown to a base within mission range and then individually reassembled. This would have to be done 31 times. These 250 troops would also require at minimum 93 support staff. This preparation would take weeks.

    Now compare this to sending in the airborne, which would require four C-130 Hercules transports, which carry 50 soldiers per plane. This would be accomplished with 16 support staff.

    Best of all, in less than 48 hours, as Hercs can refuel in the air and fly non-stop, troops would be in and on the ground, shoulder to shoulder with our American allies, as opposed to weeks later using the Griffons.

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    I purposely omitted the reliability of the aging C-130 Hercules aircraft though out of a fleet of 32 planes it should be easier to put four in the air than engage the entire fleet to transport the disassembled Griffon helicopters to Asia. It should be obvious to anyone listening that the reason Canada did not commit with the British is that we have nothing to commit for that type of contribution.

    The minister has used the term which we hear so often, for reasons of security, to hide the fact that we will have to rely on others to make a contribution on the ground.

    The Minister of National Defence was not being entirely clear with the Canadian public as he danced around the question in committee in responding to my comments about the need for a unit like the Canadian airborne. A cold and hard critical analysis of the facts is required. There is a need for a public debate on this issue as we all have a stake in the outcome.

    I would like to talk about CSAS, the Canadian special air service. The minister stated that there was no longer a need for an airborne regiment. However there is a need for a general purpose quick response light infantry for deployment in Canada's interests at home and abroad. Such a formation must have an air assault and air transportable capability with sufficient mechanization in armament to fight and sufficient logistics to maintain it. Elements of such a force should be parachute capable and be able to be transported by war fighting combat helicopters and land vehicles like the LAV.

    The Minister of National Defence stated that these capabilities exist in our armed forces. Now is the time to put this force together and play a role in current or possible land operations. The SSF or special service force which was a pre-1994 light brigade had all of these capabilities. The SSF was a parachute battalion with very limited sustainment capabilities but the brigade as a whole had all the combat, combat support and combat service support to allow it to be fully operationally capable and sustainable.

    It is time to put on the table a discussion that revolves around the formation in the Canadian armed forces of a specialized regiment with air capability. I propose that the minister base the regiment at CFB Petawawa and call it the Canadian special air service. This group would share a number of equivalencies with the British SAS and the U.S. delta force.

    The forming of the CSAS would be in direct response to the need for a highly specialized unit within the Canadian armed forces. Its role would include the defence of Canada and domestic operations such as responding to the threat of terrorist attacks. It would train regularly in anti-terrorist measures. This group would represent a body of men and women that would effectively increase the size of the army component of the Canadian armed forces at a time when our troops are seriously overtasked.

    I had the privilege of being the guest of 3RCR battle group from CFB Petawawa during Operation Palladium in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I can personally attest to the professional job of the men and women who proudly wear in public the uniform of a member of the Canadian armed forces.

    The majority of the Canadian peacekeepers are not navy or air force. They are army and that is where the government should focus a rebuilding effort within our military. The Canadian government spent a peace dividend that never existed. The events of September 11 have demonstrated the need to never relax our vigilance against those who oppose our enjoyment of peace and democracy.

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    All this shows how important our armed forces are to Canadian sovereignty, international esteem, influence and our commitment to democracy at home and abroad.

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    Mr. John Harvard (Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, this debate is no pleasure for me. It is a crucial debate that is needed. It is about Canada's involvement in an armed conflict, but there is no joy in it for me. I would prefer to participate in debates on such issues as health care, taxes and even poverty.

    I am not a pacifist or a promoter of violence. Violence is a primitive form of settling accounts. It has been necessary at times in the past when there was no other choice. Fighting the Nazis in World War II is a good example of that although different policies and strategies in the 1920s and 1930s might have thwarted the Nazis and averted that terrible war.

    The use of violence and killing people to settle disputes has a sorry record. The last century was filled with wars, both big and small. If war were what it is cracked up to be, peace would have broken out years ago. Unfortunately that is not what happened in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Rwanda, Algeria, Uganda, Angola, Sri Lanka, and sadly the list goes on.

    The September 11 attacks on the cities of New York and Washington require a military response. A full range of responses is required but military action is necessary. It should not be driven by the need for retribution as nothing will mitigate the pain of losing 6,000 innocent lives.

    The military is required to get at the government in Kabul which is responsible for supporting the terrorists who carried out the September 11 attacks. The Taliban government needs to be brought down as swiftly as possible. Its repression of women alone is enough cause for its removal, but its complicity in hiding Osama bin Laden and his gang of evildoers makes its removal imperative, and the sooner the better.

    This is not only important for western democracy but for Arab and Muslim countries as well. Afghanistan is out of sync with its neighbours and the whole world. A way must be found to help it join the family of nations. Canadians understand this and that is why they strongly support our involvement in the current campaign.

    Our Prime Minister understands this. He has shown that he is in tune with the Canadian people. He understands better than anyone that now is the time for commitment and strong leadership. This is exactly what the Prime Minister has provided since September 11. I am comforted that he is in charge. We can count on his experience and innate ability to lead.

    Canadians should not enter this military campaign against terrorism with their minds and eyes closed. We should not believe for a moment that soldiers, sailors and airmen can do the whole job alone. The fight against terrorism will be a protracted one and will require work not only on the military front but also on better security of our borders, bolstering homeland defences against bioterrorism, intensifying diplomatic efforts and cutting off sources of funds to the terrorists. Work on all these fronts is critical because this is not a conventional conflict.

    This is not a shootout at the O.K. Corral where the last one standing is declared the winner. This is a different kind of campaign where we see little of the enemy who hides in caves or goes unnoticed in large crowds. Moreover the enemy might be very well educated and trained in the latest technologies. This enemy may carry oppressive outdated values but knows how to use 21st century weapons.

    Worse still, the enemy is full of hate and is on a mission. That mission may well be to remove the presence of westerners from Arab lands or from all Muslim lands. Let there be no doubt that we are up against a fanatical movement.

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    We should also state clearly that this is not a fight against Islam. The vast majority of Muslims around the world make it clear that Osama bin Laden does not speak for them. He is a terrorist who embraces a twisted fundamentalism, and that is not what Islam is about.

    During a crisis people become worried about their country's security and what the future might bring. It is quite normal for men and women to rally around the flag and express a love of country. That is expected as we have our own values to uphold and we have a duty to support our friends and allies.

    That is not to say we should not be asking questions. In a time of crisis we need more than ever to ask questions. We owe it to ourselves, to our friends and to the people of the world. We must not forget that we live in a democracy and that a democracy without questions, discussions and debate is not a democracy at all. That is why we are here tonight in the highest court of the land debating the most important issues to face Canadians in several years.

    We should not be afraid to ask tough questions. It is a sign of democratic strength. It is a sign that we want to learn more and prepare for what is ahead of us.

    Our justice minister brought in the government's anti-terrorism bill today. It would give Canada more tools to fight terrorism. However I want parliament to examine the bill and make possible improvements. We owe it to Canadians.

    Our former foreign minister, Lloyd Axworthy, wrote an excellent article a week ago in the Globe and Mail. He raised pointed questions about how the use of force would reduce the terrorist threat, the consequences of the broader goal of instituting an international legal order and what Canada might offer beyond our commitment to provide military personnel in the fight against terrorism. He also raised questions about an international strategy involving diplomatic humanitarian and financial efforts, how Canada might fit into those efforts and how effective our voice might be in devising a strategy of that kind. Mr. Axworthy is asking the right kinds of questions.

    Without compromising our own security or jeopardizing any military operation Canadians must have the information to fully understand what is being asked of them. They must have the opportunity to participate in the ongoing debate. They must be made to feel that they are full partners in the fight against terrorism. Our government is ready to provide the leadership that it has done since September 11. The Canadian people must be brought along in solidarity with those people who have the awesome responsibility of executing the national will.

    As we debate the issues that come along we will have our ups and downs and that comes with the territory. I say that we should hold on to our seats. People may ask some unpleasant questions and that too comes with the territory. I say to let that be as we need tough questions.

    It may make us feel uncomfortable or wonder about the loyalty of those raising some of the questions but this is a necessary part of democracy. Everything must be on the table and nothing should be spared. That is a robust democracy.

    Let there be no doubt that nothing justified the heinous attacks on the cities of New York and Washington on September 11. We put the terrorists on notice that we are coming after them and their destruction is our goal. After that is over we must get at what is behind this terrorism and how to help effect changes that will make the planet a safer place to live and bring dignity to the lives of millions who are homeless and starving.

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    Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Mr. Chairman, I congratulate you on keeping very good time and I certainly will keep within the time limits myself. This is a take note debate on international actions against terrorism and the previous speaker says it is a crucial debate. In fact I do not think it is a very crucial debate at all. If it were a crucial debate there would be more than about 10 people in the House. This is a little gabfest in a very large room.

    I would like to see more international action against terrorism. I would like to know why it is not the United Nations leading this international war against terrorism and why it is basically the United States, ostensibly under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; it is NATO, with 1