House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-37.

Topics

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general cannot hide behind the cover of saying that investigations are ongoing. Canadians are learning more about the current security crisis from the American officials, our own media and British websites than they are from the Liberal government.

When will the minister put aside his scripted answers and begin offering real information to Canadians about the threats here in Canada?

National Security
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cardigan
P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague does not like the answer, but it is pretty difficult for me to say there is not an investigation going on. The fact of the matter is, this is the largest investigation in the history of this world. Our RCMP and security intelligence agencies are working with other security intelligence agencies around the world to make sure that these people are brought to justice.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, before adding any sunset clauses to the anti-terrorism bill, the Prime Minister states that there must be a guarantee that “in three years there will no longer be any problem with terrorism”.

Such a guarantee is not necessary because with the sunset clauses even the most controversial clauses could be renewed if necessary.

Will the Minister of Justice admit that the Prime Minister's reasoning does not hold up and that sunset clauses are indeed necessary to protect rights and freedoms as much as possible?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and I have been quite clear that the preferred approach of the government is a review at the end of the three year period.

However, the Prime Minister and I have been equally clear that we are very interested in the advice and recommendations from both the House of Commons and the Senate committees. We will take that advice very seriously when it is provided to us.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if any guarantees are needed, they relate to rights and freedoms because the terrorist threat, as we now know it, could no longer exist in three years.

Under these circumstances does the Minister of Justice realize that sunset clauses offer the most important guarantee, the guarantee of better protection of rights and freedoms, our best weapon against terrorism?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, the government does believe that the three year review period is the appropriate guarantee and review mechanism. However, we have also made it very plain that this legislation needs to be carefully reviewed and studied by both the House of Commons and the Senate committees. We look forward to the advice and recommendations that both those committees will provide us.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United States, which suffered an unprecedented attack on September 11, and France, which has been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in the past, did not hesitate to include sunset clauses in their special legislation.

Why would Canada, which prides itself on being a model when it comes to protecting human rights, refuse to include sunset clauses to protect these rights over time, as other countries are doing?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, some democracies have sunset clauses, some do not. Our recommendation to the Parliament of Canada is a three year review clause.

I come back to the point that the Prime Minister and I have reiterated in the House that we are interested in hearing what the House of Commons committee and the Senate committee have to say. We will listen very carefully and study very closely the advice and recommendations of both committees.

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the tragic events of September 11, the government has been telling us that we must not give in to terror and that we must change nothing in our way of life.

Does the government realize that it has fallen into this trap itself by dangerously encroaching on civil liberties and by changing our way of life without giving any clear guarantees that this special legislation will only apply for a limited time period?

Anti-terrorism Legislation
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I categorically deny that the government, in its anti-terrorism legislation, is trampling civil liberties or fundamental freedoms. We believe everything in our anti-terrorism legislation is within the spirit of the charter of rights and freedoms and within those values of any free democratic society.

To go back to the earlier point, we have indicated our preferred option for a review mechanism. I understand that this is an issue on which reasonable people of good faith can disagree. Therefore, we look forward to hearing the advice and recommendations of the two committees reviewing this legislation.

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the world looks on with horror as the number of Afghanis threatened with starvation continues to grow. UN officials estimate that this could be as many as 5.5 million people. Food aid workers on the ground estimate it to be as high as 7.5 million.

At the very least will the Canadian government consider calling for a halt in the bombing to allow emergency food aid to reach the millions who will otherwise literally starve to death?

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the plight of the Afghan people. We have long been concerned. They have gone through years and decades of conflict. Every effort is being made to provide humanitarian aid.

The government, through CIDA and through my department, which is providing aircraft for humanitarian aid, is doing so. However, at the same time, we need to continue the counterterrorism plan to flush out the terrorists and to suppress terrorism so that the people in this country, in the United States and in the free world can feel safe and secure from the kind of terrorist activity we saw on September 11.

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, winter is closing in on starving Afghanis. UN food stock is down to a two week supply. Millions are threatened with starvation and only a halt in the bombing will allow the necessary food relief to get into Afghanistan. Oxfam is calling for the halt, so are others; Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Action Aid and UN officials on the ground.

Will Canada respond to this monumental human tragedy by supporting the call for a halt in the bombing?

International Aid
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of National Defence pointed out, it is not only possible but necessary to at one in the same time fight against terrorism and provide support for Afghan refugees.

This is our approach, this is what we support and this is what the free world supports.

Health Canada
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, respecting the drug Cipro, the Minister of Health has admitted that he gave his officials “the direction to stockpile the drug”.

When he gave that order, did the minister know his officials were contemplating a purchase that would break the Canadian law protecting patents? Did he seek advice from the law officers of the crown before directing his officials to break Canadian law?