Debates of Oct. 2nd, 2001
House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was world.
- Environment and Sustainable Development
- Committees of the House
- Questions on the Order Paper
- Request for Emergency Debate
- Committees of the House
- Family Services Canada
- International Day of Older Persons
- Victims of Crime
- Communities in Bloom
- Robert Bourassa
- Éric Lucas
- Byelections in Quebec
- The Environment
- Byelections in Quebec
- House of Commons
- Quebec Byelections
- National Defence
- The Economy
- National Security
- National Security
- Employment Insurance
- National Security
- Canadian Airline Industry
- Human Resources
- The Environment
- International Aid
- The Environment
- Business of the House
- International Boundary Waters Treaty Act
- Nuclear Fuel Waste Act
- Canada—Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
- Export Development Act
- All-Numeric Dates Act
Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON
Madam Speaker, there is a temptation which I will avoid, to get somewhat impatient with some of the statements that are being made, particularly by members of the official opposition. I assume they are expressing concerns on behalf of their constituents and that they are genuine in those concerns.
I cannot help but think that had the Prime Minister of this great country made the same response as the previous speaker did regarding an all out attack in Afghanistan he would be accused of being soft on terrorism. That is what we have heard. It is frustrating to sit and listen to what amounts to partisanship attacks instead of trying to resolve a problem.
I give some credit to members of the NDP for putting forward the motion. While it is not votable and while we may not agree with all of it, it raises some very valid points and good suggestions.
The first part of the motion deals with the fact that there should be some application of international law, perhaps at The Hague as we are currently seeing with former President Milosevic from Serbia. It is perhaps an option that should be considered under the auspices of the United Nations.
For anyone to suggest that what happened on September 11 was simply and purely an attack on the United States of America is to miss the obvious. It may have even been in the plans to expand the attack base to Canada. There was a rumour on September 11 at 11 o'clock, as we closed our skies, that there was a very strong concern one of the planes that was being diverted to Pearson airport was indeed a hijacked aircraft and could have been used as a missile or as a bomb to cause some problems.
As I have mentioned before in this place, the Credit Valley Hospital and the Etobicoke General Hospital were on emergency alert as a result of the information that was being funnelled directly down to their administration.
It had the potential to go well beyond the situation that we so tragically witnessed with the twin towers and at the Pentagon. The plane that wound up crashing into a field was rumoured to be targeted for the White House. There are stories that there were at least two or three other situations. It resulted in the closing of the skies throughout all of North America and, might I add, that included Canada.
People asked how we reacted. What did we do? We reacted very quickly to close Canadian skies to anyone leaving and to accept all the aircraft throughout North America, as many as 500 planes in the air, between the hours of 9 and 11 in the morning. We accepted them in the various airports across the country and, I might add, at some risk. I could hear the howls, and perhaps justifiably so, if an incident had occurred at any of our airports or in any of our cities as a result of that decision.
We saw the calamity, the seriousness of the attack that was going on, and we recognized that this was not a time for dithering. This was indeed a time to make a decision to open up our airports and subsequently, as many Canadians did across the land, to open up our homes to the travellers who were on those aircraft to assure their safety and at least a certain modicum of comfort.
We did act. Is it now reasonable to suggest that we should simply storm the barricades, if we knew where they were? That is what we hear. It is not just in this place. We hear it in the media all the time, that somehow and in some way Canada should be doing something. No one quite knows what it is. No one can quite put a handle on it except that maybe we should be marshalling our troops or maybe we should be gassing up our aircraft and our ground equipment.
We hear cries for more money for CSIS, more money for immigration, more money for deportees, more money for national defence, more money for the armed forces. All these cries are from the same people in this place who for many years have said to cut money here, to cut money there, to slash and burn. The result has been a substantial reduction in government expenditures in certain areas. Yet we could point to the fact that recognizing the depth of the cuts that took place, our armed forces have received an injection of $3 billion in extra funding over the past couple of budgets.
Before returning to the NDP motion, Madam Speaker, I am sharing my time.
Let us assume that President Bush is sharing the evidence the CIA and people around the world have compiled against Osama bin Laden, evidence that has been requested not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan but everywhere, and that evidence is being released and shown in diplomatic courier packages. In Pakistan I understand the briefings are one on one with the American ambassador and that the ambassador will be briefing the president of Pakistan on exactly what that evidence is. That is a reasonable, prudent, sound thing to do.
President Bush has impressed me on how calm and resolute he has remained throughout this incredible tragedy. It would be quite easy to knee-jerk react. It would be quite easy to simply push a button or pick up a phone and launch an attack as retribution for that horrendous act we all witnessed on the morning of September 11.
Let us make no mistake that it was extremely difficult for the Americans to tolerate seeing the twin towers of the World Trade Center crushed, seeing the Pentagon itself attacked. For a country as strong, as free and as proud as the United States of America to witness that kind of travesty, it is hard to imagine the level of emotion, the fever pitch that must have been gripping the White House and all the advisers. It is only natural, a human trait, to want to exact revenge, to want to get back at the perpetrators, but President Bush has been methodical. He is attacking the sources of funds. He is working with Great Britain, which has frozen some $88 billion in funds. He is working with Canada where any terrorist funds that are linked to Canadian bank accounts have also been frozen. Those are prudent actions on the part of the president. That is not to say there will not be some form of armed aggression. I would be shocked if we did not see something, perhaps imminently.
However, to actually expect us to pass a motion which suggests that within 90 days the government set out a report detailing the steps that we are about to take, let us just think about it. Should we send that by Purolator to Afghanistan? Should we let the Taliban know exactly what we are going to do, exactly what we are going to spend, exactly what we are going to commit in terms of manpower and weaponry? It is so naive that it tends to damage the good ideas that precede this motion, such as looking at international law and working with the United Nations.
This is not about defending the justice system of the United States. This is about a worldwide co-ordinated action against terrorism right around the globe. It is critically important to understand that.
Looking at the parade of foreign leaders that have come through the White House, it is very clear that President Bush understands the importance of bringing everybody together to fight and to eventually put an end to this scourge called terrorism.
Jim Karygiannis Scarborough—Agincourt, ON
Madam Speaker, we live in a country where, as the Prime Minister said, 50% of our population is made up of people who have come here in the last 50 years.
There are four pillars in our community: the founding fathers, the French and the English; the native Canadians; and the pillar in our community which has blossomed over the last 50 years, the people from ethnic minorities, people of visible minorities. These people right now are reaching out to us and saying they are feeling a bit of heat in the comments made toward them. An individual called me today to say he was sent a racist remark by e-mail. He sent it to me. I read it and I was really saddened and mad that somebody had sent this e-mail to my friend.
I am going to ask my friend from the other side of Toronto, my colleague from Mississauga, if he can give us a vision of what he thinks Canada is. Can he give us a vision of what his community is telling him?
In my community, which is one of the most ethnically diverse ridings in Canada, people are telling me that they are here and they are Canadian. They are ready to fight for Canada. They stand united for Canada. It does not matter if they are from Afghanistan, from Pakistan, if they are Christian, Jewish, Hebrew, or Hindu. They are all united in saying that we need to defend Canada and exterminate terrorism.
Could my good friend from the other side of Toronto express what his constituents are telling him?
Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON
Madam Speaker, the first thing my constituents tell me is that we are not from the other side of Toronto. We are from the sixth largest city in the country. However, I appreciate the member's question.
People may assume that this was a setup, but I can assure everyone that I did not talk to the hon. member about this. I will share with the House a story told to me by my 26 year old son.
My son had been out for the evening and had occasion to take a taxi cab, being the good Irish lad that he is. He was sitting in the taxi cab on the way home from a party. The fellow that was driving the taxi cab was dark skinned. This was shortly after September 11. They started to talk about the attacks. It turned out that the cab driver was a Muslim. The cab driver complained to my son Chris about some of the abuse that he had been taking as a result of his skin colour and ultimately his religion. My son Chris had a very simple answer which to me is the vision of this country. This 26 year old young man said, “Just tell them to get lost. This country is as much yours as it is mine”.
Peter Adams Peterborough, ON
Madam Speaker, I also listened with great interest to what the member for one of the Mississauga ridings said.
This morning a member asked how we can make good from calamity, which I think is part of the exercise we are dealing with. I think there have already been some gains with respect to what was just discussed.
There is an awareness of what Canada is, an awareness of diversity. There is also an awareness that racism, even in good times, is just below the surface and is something we should be aware of here in the House of Commons. I have been to a number of church services. This has been well expressed. I have been to some schools in my riding. There too it is being discussed. I have noticed in the media it is being discussed.
My colleague was at Queen's Park before he was a member here. Does he have any thoughts on how we can take this heightened awareness of the awful side of racism, the heightened awareness of the strength of diversity and entrench it in future years?
Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON
Madam Speaker, that is a tall order.
First we have to recognize that while Canada is not a racist society, and I certainly would not want to suggest that, the spectre of the shadow of the dark side does exist in the country. At times it will come out in very unfortunate incidents but those incidents are in the minority.
I would say to my friend, who also was at Queen's Park with me for a time, that if there is anywhere that we must continue to support the nation by welcoming people from all over the world openly, freely and democratically, it is in the junior levels of our education system. We can go into any school in my riding in Mississauga and it is a united nations of faces that sits before us. These young people go home at night and talk to their moms and dads about the issues of the world.
I encourage all members to take the opportunity to go into their schools and talk to these young children. That is where we can begin to ensure for generations to come that the vision of tolerance, caring and inclusion of people from all over the world will continue to be what Canada is about.
Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member from the sixth largest city in Canada for splitting his time with me and for his very succinct and accurate commentary on recent events and how they have affected Canadians. Many of his comments I could not agree with more. I am sure I will be repeating some of them.
I rise today to speak to the NDP motion as well as to provide some of my own thoughts and those from my riding about the terribly horrific act which happened on September 11. I start by suggesting that it is a sad day not just for the House, the country and the United States, but all around the world. Parliaments, Canadians, citizens and countries all around the world are spending so much time, energy and money contending with such an incredible act of terrorism, cowardice and murder.
I would like to touch on three specific issues this afternoon that are linked directly to the incredible crime against humanity which was perpetrated on September 11. The first issue I would contend with is the shock and utter disbelief. As has been said in the media and around the globe, it was one of those moments that everyone for their lifetimes will remember where they were on September 11. It had that kind of impact on the global community.
I was on my way back to my riding from Ottawa when the events took place. I got back into my riding and the phone started ringing immediately. Constituents were feeling a sense of helplessness. Even more so there was a sense of rage not only that something like this could take place on North American soil but that the evildoers, the cowards and murderers, would take it upon themselves to kill thousands upon thousands of civilians, men, women and children, with absolute disregard for the quality of human life. We cannot lose sight of the fact that dozens of countries were represented in the twin towers when that unfortunate situation took place. Our hearts and souls pour out to them.
If there was a silver lining in the immediate aftermath, it was the overwhelming response we received from my riding. Many of the first questions were people asking what they could do to help. I am very proud to represent the riding of Simcoe--Grey. I thank the residents of Simcoe--Grey who have contributed emotional support. They have contributed financially and with any other means possible to support not just our neighbours, not just our friends, but our family. So many people in the House and across the country have relatives in the United States. My aunt, cousins and nieces live there. We were all touched in a very personal way by those terrible events.
When dealing with a crime of such horrific magnitude, one cannot help but feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness immediately after the fact and an incredible sense of anger and loss. However we cannot allow those first emotions to guide us in the weeks and months to come.
Immediately after that horrific event, Canadians, our government and our Prime Minister were there for the United States. We accommodated tens of thousands of travellers. We not only opened our airports, we opened our homes and hearts. I could not have been more proud when the Prime Minister offered his full support to the president and Americans to give them whatever they needed.
Some Canadians were killed in the building. Just last week we had the sad task of dealing with the death of one of our very own. A gentleman from my riding was in one of the towers when the plane crashed. Sadly he left behind a wife and family. This event has reached into every corner of the country, every corner of the continent, and for that matter around the world.
The Prime Minister spoke out immediately and in the strongest possible terms against these acts of cowardice and murder. He used the word terrorism. He summed it up best in the House a few days ago when he stated that the only way these terrorists and murderers could accomplish their end deed and achieve their goal was if they transferred the hate in their hearts into ours.
We can never allow that to happen. Members in the House, members of the other place and Canadians across the country will not allow that hate to be transferred into their hearts.
I had the privilege last Thursday evening of attending an event in Toronto organized by the Pakistani community. At the event my good colleague from Scarborough--Agincourt and I witnessed a large outpouring of emotion and disbelief. We had the privilege of not only addressing Toronto's Pakistani community but hearing its members articulate their absolute disbelief, sense of horror and, most important, lack of acceptance that these kinds of atrocities could take place in the world.
Members of the Muslim community were there. One statement that has stuck in my mind was made by Ms. Raheel Raza, a writer for the Toronto Star . It touched me because I know from newspaper, radio and TV coverage that some of the perpetrators of this evil, these malicious people whom it is difficult to describe in words, use the term holy war. The woman came to the microphone, announced her pride at being a Muslim and spoke about the Koran and Islam. One of the things she stated was that the term holy war was a direct contradiction. It is an oxymoron.
The Koran and the Muslim faith are totally opposed to murder. The sanctity of human life regardless of religion, skin colour or where one chooses to live in the world is the foremost thing they take into consideration. We cannot allow evil doers, regardless of skin colour, to twist religion and suggest this is a so-called holy war. To do so would justify the act. They are nothing more than callous murderers and they must be dealt with and brought to justice.
The coming weeks, months and sadly years will require a collective effort from countries around the globe. One country that has risen to the challenge is Pakistan. I tip my hat to the Pakistani leader, General Pervez Musharraf, for his full support in the fight against terrorism. His country and countries throughout the region have been experiencing similar acts of terrorism for decades.
Over the past days I have had reason to be concerned because the House does not seem to be coming together in the way that it should. I have felt utter disbelief listening to some of the statements that have been made.
I had the privilege yesterday of meeting with a visiting British opposition parliamentarian and we had a discussion about this. Yes, there are opposition parties in the U.K. that feel different approaches could be made. However these things will be worked out in time. One of the things he reinforced was that there is a need for all of us to come together.
We have heard some very rational comments on the issue by the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP. However some of the comments of the official opposition and the Conservative Party have been downright outlandish.
I sat here a few nights ago and listened to one member suggest he had the answer. He wanted to bring back capital punishment. I sat here and wondered if I should run over and check for a pulse. Capital punishment is not the answer.
My heart and prayers are with our American friends south of the border. My heart and prayers are with the family in my riding that has lost a father. I know my constituents will offer their full and unequivocal support to the government to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice, and that is exactly what the government will do.
Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC
Madam Speaker, the member mentioned that we will all remember where we were when the event happened. I had landed in Halifax a couple of hours before the incident and was unaware of what had happened. I found out when I was on the phone checking in with my staff.
I was at a camp ground in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and the person on the phone next to me was an American tourist. The individual was going through an address book to look up the phone number of a son or daughter who worked in the World Trade Center. Unfortunately I was not able to talk to that tourist who left before I got off the phone.
There is goodwill in this place at this time between all opposition parties and the government to work in a co-ordinated way to address the horrible event. We will co-operate not only to help our American friends but to fix systems that need to be fixed within our own country such as internal and border security, RCMP funding and other issues.
Actions speak louder than words. Would my hon. colleague ask his cabinet colleagues and the Prime Minister if they would be willing to take leaders of the opposition into the privy council during this time to explain to them in a non-partisan way what is going on and thereby gather support from the opposition parties?
Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comment. Knowing him personally I want to dispel any notion that I have something contrary to say about him. I know his heart and prayers are with all the victims and their family members.
What I am talking about more specifically is the partisan approach and knee-jerk reaction that have taken place in the House. I listened to the leader of the official opposition talk a few days ago about increasing funding to CSIS. The solicitor general stood and said the director of CSIS had publicly said the agency had enough money to fulfill its mandate.
The leader of the official opposition got back on his feet and asked if funding would be increased to CSIS. He was looking for anything he could hang on to. He said the government should send planes. Where should it send them?
I will be bringing a message to my cabinet colleagues, my caucus colleagues and the Prime Minister that as much information that can be disclosed within the House should be disclosed. However it should not be done at the cost of compromising our security and the way we bring the perpetrators of this evil to justice. We cannot compromise that.
Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK
Madam Speaker, paragraph (c) of the NDP motion seems to imply that the criminal code is deficient and our human rights commissions are not up to the task of dealing with the rising tide of intolerance and racism.
Could the hon. member for Simcoe--Grey perhaps enlighten us on that? Is the criminal code deficient in dealing with acts of racism, intolerance, hate and so on? My understanding is that there are ample provisions in the criminal code to deal with this sort of thing. Maybe he could comment on that.
Paul Bonwick Simcoe—Grey, ON
Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs could not have been more clear. They will deal with these issues in a most expeditious way.
The world changed on September 11. What was acceptable and what worked prior to then may need to be changed now. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have made a commitment to work with the U.S. and the coalition around the world to make sure these changes are made in the most timely fashion possible.
I hope the opposition will join us in making sure these bills get through the House in the most expeditious way possible. Canadians will feel a lot more comfortable if they know the House is united in the fight against terrorism.
Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK
Madam Speaker, I will pick up on a comment the member for Dewdney--Alouette made a minute ago. He suggested the leaders of the opposition parties should be put in the privy council so they could be briefed on some of the sensitivities of the situation. This was done during the gulf war by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. He appointed then NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin to the privy council, a move which was extremely useful at the time.
I will say a few words about the motion before the House today. Like everyone else I too condemn the violence that took place on September 11. It was a tremendous crime against humanity and a tragedy that struck families around the world. Let us not forget that this was the World Trade Center and the victims were not only Americans. People from nearly 60 countries around the world were killed in the tragic event, including a number of Canadians.
This tremendous international tragedy was perpetrated by a small gang of terrorists who struck at the heart of the civilized world. They targeted ordinary people who were going to work, travelling on business or flying as stewardesses or passengers on the planes that crashed into the two towers in New York City, into the Pentagon and into the field in Pennsylvania.
We condemn what happened in the most forceful way possible. It is important that Canada do whatever it can in the campaign against terrorism around the world. We should play our role and make our contribution in a concerted way. It should be done in a multilateral sense, preferably through the United Nations and in accordance with the principles of international law.
That is extremely important. The response should be multilateral and in accordance with international law. It should not be undertaken by one or two countries taking military action by themselves. That could make the situation worse and lead to more violence.
I do not think there would be indiscriminate bombing but it is possible. It has happened many times before. If that happened it would play into the hands of the terrorists and give them another group of people from which to recruit for future terrorist acts. That is a concern I have.
Canada has a great reputation which goes back many years. Lester Pearson and many other Canadians have contributed to Canada's positive role as a middle power which uses diplomacy and a multilateral approach to solve serious problems around the world. That is what we should be doing. We should be leading the way in trying to settle the issue through an international tribunal.
We heard this morning from the British prime minister and NATO about all the evidence concerning bin Laden. It would be useful if the evidence were turned over to an international tribunal. There would be no need for the tribunal to operate in public. It could hold a private hearing to examine the evidence. If the evidence convinced the tribunal it would give the world community legitimacy to go in and do what it must to capture bin Laden, his lieutenants and anyone else involved in the terrorist ring. That is how the world community should proceed.
We should do this in a proper way. Our country and our Prime Minister could use Canada's credibility to advocate a multilateral approach through the United Nations. This would be good for humanity and all concerned.
We should also look at the causes of terrorism. Some people will resort to terrorism no matter what the world community does because they have extreme, fundamentalistic or racist views that we could not possibly massage. Others who get involved in these movements do so because they have lost hope, are on the brink of starvation or live in abject poverty in refugee camps.
That is one role we can play again, trying to move toward the eradication of world poverty because extreme poverty breeds the conditions where people can be recruited for different terrorist organizations and terrorist groups.
It struck me that when the September 11 tragedy occurred, which was probably the worst terrorist act over that short period time in the history of the world, some 35,615 children died of starvation in the world that day according to the United Nations food and agriculture organization.
Yet we did not hear anything about this in the news media. We did not have any moments of silence for all of those kids who died of starvation. There were no great speeches made anywhere around the world. It was one of those things that happens every day.
When that kind of poverty and that kind of suffering are going on it creates the conditions where terrorist groups can recruit people to be part of their organizations to strike out at what they think is an evil and unjust world.
Once again Canada should be playing the leading role as a middle size country in trying to promote a real campaign of war against poverty in the world. In the months that lie ahead we should try to pick up the leadership of initiating a modern day Marshall plan to attack poverty in places like Africa, Afghanistan and many other poor countries around the world.
The Marshall plan helped rebuild Europe after the second world war. It led to a peaceful Europe and to the development of the Europe we see today in terms of getting people jobs, opportunities, education and health care systems. Our country should lead the way toward the same kind of initiative in the years that lie ahead.
There is lots of money in the world for that kind of initiative. I recall a motion that parliament endorsed two years ago. It was a motion that I presented to the House on what is called the Tobin tax, which is a small tax on speculation in currency around the world. Every day around a trillion dollars or more of currency is speculated on in the world.
The idea behind the Tobin tax by Professor Tobin in the United States was to place a very small tax of 0.1% to 0.5% on the speculation of currency for two purposes: first, to try to slow down the currency which distorts the economies of many countries and, second, to create a developable fund of billions of dollars a year.
The funds would then be used to tackle poverty and hunger and clean up the environment and all other conditions of inequality that we see in the world today.
After what happened on September 11 there may be an opening in the world to look at spending more of our collective resources on a modern day Marshall plan for the world's poorest countries in terms of relieving their debt, providing economic aid, and assistance in terms of education, health, agriculture and so on.
That is the way we have to go. That is the kind of vision our country should be promoting in the international community right around the globe. Those are a couple of extremely important points.
We must also be concerned about security at home. The finance committee is meeting at this hour. Later this week the committee will be hearing from the Department of National Defence, the Minister of National Defence, the RCMP, CSIS, the customs people and other organizations about what might be needed to improve security at home and what role we would play in terms of the campaign against terrorism.
We have to look at security at airports. A number of years ago there was a mad dash to privatize everything including Air Canada and security at the airports. Now all of a sudden when we have a crisis we have more people talking about the role of government being relevant once again and the role of public institutions being more relevant. We should make sure that we have a public institution like the federal government looking after security at airports.
If a lot more money is to be put into Air Canada, which may be necessary, it should be made a crown corporation. We can take out some equity in Air Canada or take a majority share in Air Canada.
This is a position being looked at by a couple of cabinet ministers across the way. If public money is to be used then let us make sure the public has the equity and shares in the company so that it has an eye on the inside and has some input into the direction in which this major airline would go. Those are some of the things that we will have to do as a country to come to terms with the new reality and the new world out there.
Finally we have to look at the economy. We were going into a real slowdown in the economy before September 11. The growth rates in Canada and in the United States were dropping before September 11. After September 11 the economy has slowed down a lot quicker. We will be into a recession, if we are not already into one, within the next few weeks.
It is important that we continue the downward push in interest rates at this time to try to stimulate demand. We should make sure we have a stimulus budget. The federal government should put more money into programs for people instead of putting more money into huge tax cuts which benefit wealthier people and large corporations for the most part. We have a human deficit. We have the largest household debt in the history of Canada; 98% of households are in debt.
We should be spending more money in terms of infrastructure programs, health care, the education system, housing and agriculture. If we do that we will be stimulating the economy and creating more jobs, thus creating more revenue for the federal government at the same time. That is the direction in which we have to go.
Recessions are caused by the lack of demand. When we have a situation like the one that happened on September 11 people are scared and they stop spending. They put off going on a holiday, renovating a house or purchasing a car.
If the federal government does not take the opportunity to make sure it invests in programs for people to stimulate the economy and create more demand, it is making a very large mistake.
I hope the Minister of Finance will bring in a budget some time in the next month or two and make a commitment that the role of the government will be more important.
The federal government's role now is smaller in terms of the percentage of the GDP than it has been at any time since the second world war. There has been a mad dash to privatize, deregulate and turn things over to the large business community. The move has been to shrink the government. This started to go fast forward with the 1995 budget of the Minister of Finance.
What we have across the way now is probably the most conservative government the country has ever seen. It is certainly the most conservative Liberal government in the history of the country compared to Pierre Trudeau's, Lester Pearson's and other Liberal governments in the past that saw a vision of a more mixed society. That is gone now with this mad dash to go to the political right. We have a chance to correct that move.
I was in Peterborough on Friday. I know the member for Peterborough is concerned about the right wing conservative drift of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. He cannot speak publicly about that because of our parliamentary system, but I know he is concerned about the conservative drift within the Liberal Party across the way.
This is the time to speak up. This is a time for my hon. friend to have the courage to speak out in the House of Commons for a more important role for the federal government and for public institutions in Canada.
Peter Adams Peterborough, ON
Madam Speaker, I do appreciate the endorsement by my colleague. I was enjoying what he said until the very last minute. It is true that he and I share some views but not very many. Particularly we do not share views on proportional representation.
Earlier in the day I asked one of my colleagues a question arising from a speech of one of his NDP colleagues this morning. In the vein in which he ended his speech, how could we take advantage of the heightened interest in the fact that Canada is a very multicultural, diverse and strong society and create a heightened awareness that racism is just below the surface? What can we do to make sure that in the coming years we remain conscious of the strength of diversity and the dangers of racism?
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)
Unfortunately there is no time left for an answer. It being 5.30 p.m., it is my duty to inform the House that proceedings on the motion have expired.
The House resumed from September 27 consideration of the motion that Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, be read the third time and passed.
International Boundary Waters Treaty Act
October 2nd, 2001 / 5:30 p.m.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)
The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-6.
Call in the members.
(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)