House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crtc.

Topics

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for how long?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for the leader of the official opposition to know that we detain an individual for as long as necessary. In fact, if we believe that individuals pose a danger to Canada there is a security certificate procedure now in place which, by the way, the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act actually streamlines and makes it easier for us to be able to remove those individuals.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, she did not answer the question. They are not detained for any great length of time.

The question is a simple one. Identification papers are required to board an airplane bound for Canada. Yet, every day, people arrive here without them.

Could the minister assure us that people who arrive here without papers will be automatically detained until it can be shown that they are not a security threat?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition would have us believe that all undocumented refugees who come to Canada are terrorists or criminals and should be detained under mandatory provisions. It is false that they are all terrorists or criminals.

Further, as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration I am not going to detain a woman who comes to our border with her children simply because she does not have documents. If she poses a threat, that is a different question, but for someone who does not pose a threat, no, sir, not in Canada.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was a smear and nothing but a smear.

Let me switch over to the justice minister. Yesterday in Vancouver a man who was wanted in the U.S. for being a purchasing agent for Hezbollah was released on bail. The justice minister has the power and the authority to extradite this individual so that he can face those accusations in the States. Will she do it?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that my lawyers were in court opposing the bail application and we argued against the provision of bail. I have to respect the decision of the court in that case. It did grant bail to the individual in question.

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously the answer is no.

Listen to the stuff this guy provided: mine detection and blasting equipment, aircraft analysis software, stun guns, photographic equipment, global positioning equipment. This is not the sort of fellow that I think we should have on bail in Canada.

This minister has the power to extradite. I ask again, is she going to do it?

Immigration
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should be aware this matter is before the court. In fact, I may well be called upon to make a final decision as to whether or not this person is extradited. It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this point when this matter is before the court.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the events of September 11, it was agreed that, in order to avoid proving terrorists right, a balance had to be maintained between the values of democracy, freedom and security.

If the government is serious when it says that we must be prudent and wise in dealing with the September terrorist attacks, does it realize that the signals it is sending to the public are very disturbing?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact as we have said on a number of occasions, we believe that we have struck the right balance in our legislation to deal with the evils of terrorism. We recognize that this is an important task. It is one that we take up very seriously.

It is also one that I look forward to working with our Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to, because in fact as I have said in the House on a number of occasions, I look forward to their advice and their recommendations to ensure we get that balance.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, whether it is the Access to Information Act, the Protection of Privacy Act, the Patent Act, the criminal code, the electronic surveillance legislation or any other act, we simply fear that rights and freedoms which, until now, we thought were sheltered from arbitrary decisions by the government, will now be vulnerable.

What message does the government want to send to the public, which is concerned about the use the government could make of the exceptional powers it is in the process of grabbing?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that what Canadians want is to be protected effectively and fairly from the scourge of terrorism. That is what we believe our anti-terrorism legislation provides.

However, I have already indicated that while we believe we have struck the appropriate balance, some of these issues that are implicated in the legislation are things on which reasonable people of good faith can disagree. That is why we have a parliamentary committee process. That is why we will hear from the committee. I look forward to its advice and recommendations.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in special legislation such as this one, definitions are of critical importance. The starting point for a fair use of these powers is undoubtedly the definition of terrorist activity.

All week long, the minister has been telling us that the terrorist activity that is targeted is the one that generates terror, but this is not at all reflected in the bill.

Will the minister confirm that the concept of terror is nowhere to be found in the bill's definition of terrorist activity?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact let me point out to the hon. member that what we are defining is terrorist activity. We are not defining violent activity. We are defining terrorist activity. Therefore I would ask the hon. member to keep in mind that is what we are concentrating on. That is what we are focused on in this legislation: those who would use terror to achieve their goals.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the term terror is not mentioned in the definition. Through her answer, the minister herself has shown that there is room for interpretation, even before the bill is passed.

How does the minister think that a police officer who has to implement the act a year from now will do so in the heat of the moment? If the minister, who drafted the bill, is interpreting its provisions, does she not think that the police officer will do the same and that things could get out of hand?

This is precisely what Canadians and Quebecers fear. They fear that the act may not be applied properly. My question is very simple: the word terror is not mentioned in the legislation.