Mr. Speaker, thank you for granting me this speaking time.
On this morning of September 18 I am very happy to be back in the great democratic institution that is the House of Commons. I had an excellent summer. I struck a balance between work, activities, the office, and my family. My little six-month old son is becoming more and more aware of life around him. I am very happy to be back to discuss the many issues that concerned our offices this summer, as we saw in the media. Canada's official opposition and myself believe that, as usual, this government acted or reacted poorly to these many issues.
I also want to begin by extending my deepest condolences to the family of the hon. member for Scarborough—Agincourt. This is certainly a tremendous loss for the family. I have been a father for four years and I cannot imagine how painful this must be for his wife and children. We have also lost a great parliamentarian and hon. member here. It is a huge loss to Canadian democracy, but especially to his family. I wanted to say that and extend my condolences.
Today, we are discussing Bill C-21,an act to amend the Customs Act. I would like to get things started by explaining what constitutes a border for any country or administration. A border is not just something that goods, services, and people cross over. A border is also the ultimate symbol of our national sovereignty and the tangible presence of its protection. In our case, it is the sovereignty of the Canadian federation we are talking about.
This sovereignty is guaranteed by our institutions, of course, as well as by law enforcement, our democratic representatives, and Canadians who go to work every day. Before all of that, however, one can say that it is guaranteed by our borders. How does sovereignty benefit us? It ensures the security of Canadians, as well as their prosperity. Indeed, it is thanks to our sovereignty that we can make our own choices on political, social, and economic issues.
I respect the subject of the debate. In case there could be any doubt, that was my introduction.
Sovereignty guarantees the democratic space we need in Canada. I recently heard a philosopher talking about the importance of the sovereignty of today's borders. We live in an age where certain small groups would have us believe, through a narrow ideological vision, that national sovereignty should not exist, that it is a challenge that must be overcome, that it is in decline and that we live in an increasingly borderless world.
According to that philosopher, whose name escapes me, borders that ensure sovereignty definitely ensure our democracy because no rights of any kind can survive if they are not attached to the democratic institutions that enforce those rights. That is one of the reasons why, when it comes to international relations, it would be anarchy, pure and simple. No institution exists at the international level that has that authority and could enforce those rights. In Canada, however, our rights are guaranteed first and foremost by the House of Commons, the Supreme Court of Canada and by cabinet or the executive. If not for borders, none of that would be possible.
In his speech, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness criticized certain things that are in fact quite important. Some 400,000 people cross the Canada-U.S. border every day, which is a huge number, not to mention all the other nationalities. Two billion dollars worth of trade flows between Canada and the United States every day. Given that reality, we began putting this bill together. I hope to have the opportunity to tell the House more about it after question period.