House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was must.

Topics

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will try to keep my comments short to allow others an opportunity to speak as well.

This is a sad time for everyone everywhere, not just in the U.S. and Canada. The whole world is crying over the terrible terrorist attack that happened last week. Our hearts go out to the United States, to our American friends and neighbours. I am sure all of us have friends living somewhere in the United States and are worried about what is coming today or tomorrow.

Our hearts go out especially to those who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind. The TV coverage that was so extensive over the last week showed many sad people in tears, people who had lost their children or firefighters and policemen who had lost their colleagues. The images were so explicit that no matter how tough some people might like to think they are, I do not think there was anyone in our country or in the world who did not shed a tear while watching them.

Death and destruction are never pleasant, but what happened last Tuesday was extraordinarily disgusting. Wanton killing, the murder of innocent people, destruction of property and terrorism have no place in the civilized society we all cherish in our country.

What took place in America's airways in New York City, Washington and western Pennsylvania was inexcusable. Those who planned, perpetrated and carried out the acts must be found and punished. Those who harbour them, give them comfort and offer them assistance are equally guilty and must be punished as well. God willing, they will be.

This is our resolve. Canada is a democracy. It is a constitutional, fair and free society. It opens its doors to offer hope and opportunity to everyone. However our values and hospitality must not be abused, and they have been. As a result Canada, along with the United States and free people everywhere, has been cast into a worldwide struggle against the forces of darkness. It is a battle from which there is no turning. There can be no alternative but absolute victory.

Let us therefore renew our commitment to respect others, our commitment to peace, order and the rule of law. Anything less diminishes all of us.

We also have work to do here at home. We must tighten the rules of entry into our country. We must ensure that our borders, so accessible for so long, serve as a barrier too.

Bill C-11, our new immigration bill, would do much of that. It was started long before the acts of terrorism last week. Changes are in the making but they need to happen sooner rather than later. We must screen out those who wish us ill and who use Canada as a staging ground for terrorism. We must be more focused on identifying illegitimate entrants. We must find a way to speed up the process of ridding our country of those who we have determined have no right to be here.

Bill C-11 would do exactly that. It would allow people to come here who legitimately apply and who have a right to come to our country. It would make sure that those who have no right to be here are removed much faster. We must deny charity status to groups that fund terrorism. We need anti-terrorism legislation and we will all be working in the committee to ensure it happens sooner rather than later.

We must make it a special priority to work together with our great neighbour and dearest friend, the United States of America, to counter this scourge. We must be certain the Americans can absolutely depend upon us not to be a conduit for terrorists or for any individual or group bent on illegal or criminal activity.

At this time of reflection and making of resolutions we must also be alert to, and act forcefully against, unfair treatment of those whom people consider different. The openness of our society has brought the widest diversity imaginable to our population. We celebrate that diversity because it reflects our true values.

I am fortunate in York West to represent a riding that comprises about 120 different cultural groups. All of them live together in peace and harmony in my riding and in our city. As I stand here and speak about what is coming tomorrow, they are all worried. As worried as they are about what is coming from outside, they are worried about what will come from inside. I urge all members to think deeply about the people in our country who are Canadians and who want to live in peace and hope. We must all ensure that it happens and that we live that way together.

The opportunity given to all of us who share in the bounty of this land, who were fortunate enough to be born here or immigrate here, must be that we work together to ensure that discrimination is eliminated and equality prevails. There could be no better monument to this terrible tragedy than to ensure that justice, decency and fairness to all are the hallmarks of the Canadian people and our way of life. We must fight for that as energetically as we battle the forces of darkness.

When I was entering the House a little while ago a group of people outside with placards and signs was playing music, singing and asking us to make sure that peace reigns in our countries. We must not underestimate our immense responsibility here today and in the upcoming decisions that will be made. It is imperative that we represent the views of all our citizens and ensure that safety is the number one priority. We must protect our citizens and not make snap decisions. We must use all possible influence to ensure that justice is done, but it is not done by killing millions of people.

The people in my riding of York West are worried, including my family. My husband Sam, my daughter Cathy and her husband Graziano, my other children Deanna, Lou, Sam Junior and Claudia and my four wee grandchildren are all worried. Yesterday when I said I was flying to Ottawa my grandchildren asked why I could not drive. I said I was tired and that it would be easier to take a plane. They were worried. They wanted their nona to come back.

For those of us who were born here, who have never experienced war and who have children or grandchildren, when we banter this word around it is very frightening. We must be careful about the decisions we make. We must do what is right and in the interest of society and all the people.

When we pick up a newspaper such as today's Toronto Star , the second paragraph on the front page reads:

New terrorist attacks could target “every subway, every port, every ship, every crossroad, every large gathering of human beings,” U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said.

People who have lived in a safe country all their lives are now living in fear. It is an awful feeling for many people. It makes us all stand back and think about whether we are at peace with ourselves. Have we made sure to thank our families and friends and tell them we love them? The people who got on those planes or went to work in the World Trade Center thought they were on business or vacation. They did not expect to never have the chance to call their families and say they loved them.

One thing we should all be trying to do as members of parliament is make sure we are leading our communities in being at peace with ourselves, with God and with each other. I look forward to working with all my colleagues as members of parliament on behalf of our country.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my riding of Saint John, New Brunswick, there was a special ecumenical prayer service at our Roman Catholic diocese. The first person to speak was a gentleman representing the Muslim community. The second speaker was a very dear friend of mine from our Jewish community. The third was a Baptist minister and the fourth was Roman Catholic Bishop Faber MacDonald.

We were at the cathedral with two-thirds of our firemen in their uniforms, along with members of our police department. When the gentleman representing the Muslims got up to speak, it tugged at my heart and I cried. I cried because he said, like all of us here today, that somehow we have to find peace. He said that the majority of the people in his community is not in favour of terrorist attacks. This is not what they want. He asked if we could all work together to bring peace around the world.

As my hon. colleague has said, we in the House of Commons must all work together for this is truly the most serious situation since the second world war. On behalf of all the citizens of Saint John our deepest sympathies and prayers go out to all those families and to those who lost their lives in New York City.

I was in Washington just one week prior to when the attack took place. I have two brothers who have families, children and grandchildren, who live in the United States. I have been in touch with them. My oldest brother asked me to make sure that Canada and the U.S.A. work together to bring peace so that this never happens again either in Canada or in the U.S. We must work together.

This is not a political statement, but I will say that I hope and trust that the government will be able to provide more money for our military, the RCMP and CSIS. We are all here to do what is right for our people.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be appropriate to leave the last word to my colleague as a token of how we will work together on behalf of all people in Canada.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is a time when people in the world will have to take a stand. It is not a time for riding the fence. There will be a lot of bleeding hearts around. All I can say is let them bleed because it is more important to provide public security and safety than to worry about a few weak knees.

I am sure my colleagues on the other side of the House know where that paraphrase came from. It came in the midst of the FLQ crisis. However, with all due respect, the events that happened last Tuesday are far more immense and serious than the FLQ crisis.

The question I have for my colleague from York West is whether the government has the willpower, the resolve and the backbone to deal with this extraordinary event and to take the action that is necessary in much the same way as the prime minister did some 31 years ago. I would be interested in hearing her response to that question.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I talked about justice. What Canadians want is to see justice done. To have another injustice will not help the situation.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to take part on behalf of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party and to express first our deepest sympathies to the families of those who died and those who disappeared and whose whereabouts are unknown.

We acknowledge the profound sense of tragedy and numbness that all of us felt as we witnessed the horror of what took place on September 11. I know many of us have personal stories.

I listened with sadness to the comments of the member for Mercier, who spoke of her son.

We all have our personal stories of close friends and family members whose whereabouts we did not know and the fear, the anguish and the uncertainty that all of us faced. In some cases we know that they died in that terrible tragedy.

I want to pay particular tribute to the firefighters and the police officers who put their lives on the line for the rescue and the attempted rescue of the victims of this terrible tragedy. As a Canadian, I was very proud of the response of Canadians in this time of anguish and pain.

Canadians opened their hearts and their homes from coast to coast to coast to receive those who had been stranded in aircraft. They made a huge difference by donating blood and contributing funds through many different organizations.

The Vancouver emergency measures team was ready to contribute, and I thank the federal government for its support of that very important team.

We owe it as well to recognize that among those who died, those who assisted in the rescue, those who supported the ongoing struggle to recover bodies, were many Muslims and Arab Canadians.

As my leader and my colleagues on all sides of the House have said, it is incredibly important that we recognize that their community was affected just as profoundly and that the terrorists in this instance were not in any way representative or reflective of a particular faith community or religion. Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, spoke very eloquently of this when he said:

The reality is that Canadian Muslims are grieving as deeply as everyone else. In fact, we grieve a double tragedy. For even as we mourn the loss of lives on Tuesday--including people of all faiths--we are also forced to look over our shoulders. After Tuesday's terrorist attacks, we live in fear of being found guilty by association because of North America's prevailing ignorance about our faith.

I was very pleased to hear the Prime Minister and the leaders of all parties in the House making a very powerful plea for an understanding that no faith group in any way should be targeted, least of all the Muslim and Arab Canadian group.

It is incumbent upon us after we grieve, and of course we continue to grieve, to decide how to respond effectively to this profound tragedy as a nation that is a close friend of the United States, as a neighbour that also lost citizens ourselves and as a member of the community of nations.

At the domestic level I agree with the leader of the Conservative Party, or whatever it is called these days, the progressive conservative democratic representative caucus. I agree completely that parliament must be fully engaged and examine a number of key issues that have come up in the wake of this tragedy that include border screening and the whole question of airport security.

My colleague from Sackville has pointed out the importance of restoring a strong federal government role through Transport Canada in airport security. We New Democrats say that is long overdue and it must happen now.

Unfortunately we are seeing the results of an era of privatization and deregulation not only in Canada but in the United States as well with respect to airport security.

We must not yield to the call of some that we harmonize our policies with the United States with respect to immigration and refugees or least of all our foreign policy.

Our grief and anger must not in any way lead us to a diminution of the most fundamental and most important civil liberties and human rights. Those who flee from terror themselves tragically must not be victimized now by the call from some, including those in the official opposition, to implement draconian new measures on immigration or refugee policy. As Tom Berger has said “our freedoms are fragile indeed”.

It is precisely at times such as this, when we respond in anguish and deep grief, when we must be most careful. We have heard the parallel of Pearl Harbor. Let us never forget what followed Pearl Harbour: the internment of Canadians and Americans of Japanese origin and the use of the ultimate outrage, the atomic bomb.

In 1970, in response to terrorist groups, the War Measures Act was used, which represented a powerful threat to civil liberties with over 300 Quebecers arrested and imprisoned.

We must be particularly vigilant at this time not to allow in any way our most basic and fundamental rights and freedoms to be trampled on in the name of the fight for security or against terrorism.

However, the most important issue I want to address in the few minutes that remain to me is the question of Canada's response, the government's response, to a possible request by the United States or NATO for military action. We have heard what I think are deeply troubling words from the solicitor general and the foreign affairs minister today during question period. I was pleased with the tone that the Prime Minister set in his comments today, but disturbed by the suggestions of some of his colleagues that we are indeed prepared to walk every step of the way with the United States. I believe that is what the solicitor general said. I do not believe that Canadians are prepared to give our government that kind of carte blanche.

I have been disturbed by the talk of war. I would appeal to our government to resist that talk. As the Belgian foreign minister and the Norwegian foreign minister have both said clearly, this is not war, with all of the horrible consequences it brings. So too must our government take that position. Retaliation is the call, but it must not lead to the death of innocent civilians. There must be full respect for international law. The Prime Minister was not yet prepared to commit to that.

Any response that Canada makes must be in the context of a multilateral response respecting international law and not simply within the framework of NATO. Part of that international response involves the whole issue of extradition. We must attempt to strengthen the International Criminal Court as well. We must also recognize that we have to deal with the root causes that lead desperate people. As Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, said “Why do they hate us so much?”

We must recognize that the causes of hopelessness and despair, for example, must be addressed, particularly in the Middle East. We must not allow this to lead to Canada supporting national missile defence, which would have had absolutely no impact whatsoever in this context. We must appeal to the government of Israel in particular at this time not to in any way exacerbate the situation there, to return to peace dialogue, to respect international law, to stop the attacks on Ramallah and in the occupied west bank and to end the settlements and respect international law.

Finally I suggest that we listen to our children. In closing I want to quote from a letter which I received from a young constituent. I am going to just take a minute here, with the indulgence of the House. She sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to the Prime Minister. Kimberly Peabody, a high school student, said she was very worried about the future of the world right now, and she wrote:

President Bush said “We will hunt down the people who did this and make them pay.” That is completely the wrong way to react to this. He shouldn't be reacting in this “we'll get them back” way. He should be thinking about what he did to make them so mad... Besides if he keeps thinking about “getting them back”, you know more innocent people are going to die. We were always taught in elementary school not to fight back right away but to take a few minutes to calm down and that way you will act more rationally.

In closing I appeal to our government to respect international law, not to add to the toll of human suffering and martyrdom. Let us do whatever we can to bring the perpetrators of this outrage to justice, but in a way that respects and reflects the Canadian values that are so precious and so dear to all of us.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to have to stand today to ask a question of my colleague. I think it was an extremely good intervention. As we have seen, an extraordinary turn of events in the past week has also affected us as Canadians in so many ways. Perhaps none of us ever imagined that such a day would come, that on the first day back after a period of time off we would be deliberating on an issue that has affected our families, our friends, our neighbours and our brothers and sisters, not just here in Canada and around the world, and most important, there are the efforts of our brave firemen, policemen and those who have suffered as ignominious victims of this brutality in New York.

As chair for several years I have tried to bring to parliament a realization of the awareness of what Islam and the Muslim faith are all about. I am encouraged by the comments made by so many of my colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the leaders in the House, to ensure that no revenge is sought. I too have a letter from constituents, young Muslim girls who are worried about retaliation. Events this week throughout my region and throughout Toronto have suggested that there is a great deal of tension, perhaps much of it misguided.

The hon. member's comments with respect to ensuring that we do not respond or act in a vengeful way and that we guard what we are doing, that we wait to see the outcome of this, interest me. I too am interested in looking at that as a viable option because of the modernization of evil, conventional forces and all the thinking, the missile defences and all these wonderful ideas we have had in the past to combat this problem. The social problems that are behind it cannot be ignored.

I would like to ask in the spirit of goodwill, the spirit of ensuring that God does indeed have a presence in this world and that evil also has a presence in this world, if the hon. member could give us an illustration of what he would like to see, perhaps with respect to Bill C-11, the immigration act. Are there ways in which the hon. member would have a willingness to co-operate to ensure that Canada plays a role to ensure that terrorism is at once snuffed out, but at the same time that the war takes a different form and that we wage war against those who wage war against peace?

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:30 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his intervention. Perhaps the best response to his comments is to quote from the statement made by Project Ploughshares, which said:

Crimes against humanity cannot be redressed through actions which themselves circumvent the law and due process; nor is it possible for states or communities to individually build fortified islands of safety based on their own power or unilateral actions.

I think we have to be particularly vigilant in the coming days to speak to our friends and allies in the United States with respect to their response. I was troubled and alarmed when George Bush suggested that “We will rid the world of evil doers” as part of this mission of response, because when we look at those who have been defined as the evil doers historically by the United States, whether it was in Chile, where the tragic irony is that September 11 is also the anniversary date of the overthrow of the democratically elected Allende government there, whether it is the devastation and the genocidal impact of sanctions on the people of Iraq, whether it is the targeting of Cuba as a terrorist state by the United States, I think all of us have to be particularly vigilant to ensure that what guides us in our response is the quest for justice and not the quest for retribution and revenge.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join with my colleague from Burnaby--Douglas in speaking on behalf of the NDP at this time, of course following upon the comments of our leader earlier in the debate.

First of all I would like to extend on my own personal behalf, but again on behalf of my colleagues, as the member for Burnaby--Douglas did as well, our condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims, whether they be Canadian families, American families, British families or families from all around the world, because we understand that there were victims in the World Trade Center from literally dozens of countries around the world. We join in expressing our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, particularly when it comes to the victims who have yet to be found and who may never be found in a way that permits the kind of closure that is ordinarily available to families.

I also want to second the comments of the hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas with respect to emergency workers, the firefighters, the policemen and the other emergency workers. The people who were working at the World Trade Center were there by virtue of their work, by virtue of the chance that it was where they happened to work. It seems to me that it is something especially worthy of admiration when we imagine those firefighters and policemen going into that building and knowing, as many of them must have at a certain point, that they were literally marching to their own death. They died not so much from chance, but from doing their duty. I think that this is something that should be especially noteworthy and it certainly is something that has moved me. That is why I want to make particular mention of it.

I am also reminded in my own province of the way in which Manitobans have responded and lined up at the legislature in Manitoba to sign the books of condolence there and to express their solidarity with our American neighbours.

In the limited time I have I want to talk more about parliament and the response of parliament to this tragedy, this act of terrorism, because I think this event will test our maturity as a parliament. It will test our maturity as parliamentarians. It will test our maturity as a democracy in regard to just how we deal with this and what we say to each other today, tomorrow and in the coming days and weeks ahead as we try to sort out among ourselves what the appropriate Canadian response should be.

I would urge upon all hon. members a certain tone. There has been a lot of rhetoric about freedom and democracy, and one of the characteristics of freedom and democracy is that debate is permitted. Differences of opinion are permitted and expected when it comes to dealing with difficult problems.

I would certainly urge all hon. members to refrain from the temptation to caricature the arguments of those we do not agree with. I heard somebody earlier, for instance, talking about bleeding heart, weak-kneed Liberals. This is not the kind of rhetoric we need, any more than we need talk about other people being warmongers, bloodthirsty or whatever. We need to refrain from using these kinds of words to describe each other because we are in an entirely different situation.

There has never before been this kind of situation. There has never been terrorism on this scale. The hon. member talked about the fact that parliament has never opened with this kind of an event on its plate, so to speak. I recall parliament coming back in the fall to debate the shooting down of a Korean airliner in perhaps September 1983. That, we thought, was a tremendous tragedy, but it pales in comparison to what we have before us today.

All I am saying is that the government should take parliament into its confidence. We should have the kind of discussion that all parliaments should be able to. That will require not just an initiative on the part of the government and not just the willingness of the government to do that. That will require of all of us that we conduct ourselves in a certain way and that we refrain from some of the habits that we have developed over the years and which we enjoy so much because some issues simply do not permit that kind of behaviour.

One of the things we want to know from the government, and I think justly so, perhaps not today or tomorrow but when the time is ripe, is what is it that is being asked of the government. As members of parliament, we have a right to know what is being asked of the government by the United States or by NATO and what are the boundaries that the government has set in its own mind as to what it will do.

One of the boundaries that we suggested today in the questions asked by my leader in question period and by the member for Burnaby--Douglas and myself is the boundary of international law. If we want to respond to this in a way that creates respect for law and in a way that has more of a chance of being a long term solution, the kind of long term solution that the Prime Minister talked about, the kind of long term effective solution and not just something which feels good in the short run but which actually adds to the situation, then perhaps respect for international law is one of the boundaries that the government might want to commit itself to.

I hope at some point the government will answer that question because it did not today. It may have its own reasons for not doing so. There was not a commitment today to act within the boundaries of international law. We will be pressing the government on that point because we think it is important and we think Canadians want to know.

One of the anxieties that Canadians have when they are calling our constituency offices is, how far does this thing go. Is anything permissible? Are we like Raskolnikov in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment ? Is everything permissible, or are there limits to what as a Canadian government we are prepared to do in this pursuit? That is a very difficult question to ask because the quite natural emotional thing to feel at this point is whatever it takes. I think, yes, whatever it takes, but whatever it takes within the boundaries of international law, within the boundaries of what will actually work and what will not in its own way destabilize the climate and create the possibility for a much larger tragedy than anything that we have before us at the moment.

So, yes, we understand the rhetoric. We understand the rhetoric insofar as it emerges from the emotion and the outrage, but I think we need more clarity from the government as to what are the boundaries of that rhetoric. In that respect we probably need less rhetoric about war and more rhetoric about long term solutions and more reflective rhetoric.

I only have two minutes left and I have a few more things I want to reiterate, such as the need not to repeat the mistakes of the past and persecute minorities that are associated with perpetrators of such acts. The hon. member for Burnaby--Douglas did a good job of stressing that so I will not dwell on it.

We need to see that at these moments there is a need for reflection. Our leader said we need to reflect on why it is that so many people outside the west hate the United States and hate the west. We use the language of freedom often but we need to reflect on why they do not see as freedom what we see as freedom. They often see it as the imposition of a foreign way of doing things, particularly economically but not just economically.

That is why earlier today I talked about the need to make the distinction between fundamental values such as democracy and human rights, and ideological preferences which are sometimes held up as fundamental freedoms and which are not.

It is that confusion which is sometimes at the heart of the conflict between the United States and the people who find themselves at odds with it.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was following the hon. member's comments very closely. My question is, after everything is said and done and we retaliate and eliminate Mr. bin Laden and his followers, will that be the end or does the member see some other venue to follow, a plan a or a plan b that will bring an end to this kind of terrorism that will take away innocent lives from society forever?

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think the answer is quite simple. Although it may well be exactly what we would like to do to bring the perpetrators of this particular crime, whoever they may be, to justice, after that is done that will not be the end of the problem.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments in his speech today as I have on a number of occasions. I have to ask him a question and maybe he can clarify something for the good old average hardworking Canadian who may not understand a lot of the lingo that comes out of this particular area.

The member may know that I lived in the United States for the first 35 years of my life before immigrating to Canada, which I have never regretted. I have deep roots and I love that country a great deal.

I have often asked myself over the years why it is that the Americans are hated to such a degree. I remember the Marshall plan, the Truman policies, the billions of dollars that went into rebuilding countries throughout the world with dollars that were never repaid. There were no complaints from American taxpayers in regard to helping build the railroads through India. I remember those days even though I was very young. I sat by the radio with my family when Pearl Harbor was bombed and I listened to the tragic events, not fully understanding them. I saw my oldest brother and many of my other relatives go off to war. I was a little older when they came back and unfortunately I had to attend some funerals. The price of freedom is not cheap.

The member and members of his party talked about the need to observe international law. Did Iraq observe international law when it took over Kuwait? Was international law being addressed with the gulf war? What about some of the other great battles that took place where Canadians sacrificed great losses?

I would like to remind the member who spoke before he did of a simple statement. When we talk about who causes crimes, try saying criminals to see if that answers it to some degree. Who causes these terrorist events? Terrorists, crazy people with absolutely evil minds. Admit it right up front. Rather than talking about the root causes and that this would not happen to the United States if it were more giving or more helpful to the rest of the world. I have seen it sacrifice billions of dollars to no end.

Would the member please address to the rest of the Canadian public just exactly what it means when his party insists that international law rule the day as we address this extremely serious problem?

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member ranged over a wide area of questions and I do not have the time to address everything.

We would want to talk about international law because we believe in the kind of things that we were taught when we were kids, that two wrongs do not make a right. I wonder how many times the hon. member, as a teacher in a classroom, said that two wrongs do not make a right.

The member referred to World War II and presumably World War I and other wars where there is an identifiable nation and there is a declaration of war. These are different kinds of situations than the ones we face today. It is certainly not clear to me or any other Canadian at this point that we face a situation like that. The government has not said that is so. It uses that kind of rhetoric but it has not said that is so in any way that we could identify concretely. Mixing those images is probably not appropriate.

I concur with the hon. member with respect to the generosity of America after the second world war and the way it went about it with the Marshall plan and through the rebuilding of Europe and Japan. None of that is in question. At a certain point I would say to the hon. member there came this perception. It does not justify this action of terrorism.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. I regret but in the spirit of fairness to try to give as many people the opportunity to speak, resuming debate, the hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents of Ottawa Centre, I offer my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and our heartfelt support to the American people.

Mr. Speaker, before I continue I would like to indicate that I will split my time with the hon. member for Fredericton.

Our sorrow and sadness is shared by all Canadians, many of whom have attended services like the one held here on Parliament Hill.

September 11, 2001 marks the first time in history that we have seen people from different countries and different religious backgrounds perish innocently and without knowing their enemy or the cause. September 11 will go down in history as the day when people from all countries, all religions and all cultures were united in their grief, united in their sadness, united in their anger and perhaps most of all, were united in disbelief and shock.

I deplore violence and I condemn it.

I watched with shock and horror the images of this tragedy. I reacted with anger and disbelief along with millions around the world. My heart went out to the families and the loved ones of the victims who perished in this senseless act of terror.

As people go back to their daily lives, I feel sad that the pain and suffering of the victims' families and friends will continue regardless of what governments might do.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the only undisputed superpower around the world. This new global order created a number of challenges and opportunities for the United States, including shouldering the greater burden of responsibility for preserving international peace. Yet along with this power came a lot of responsibilities.

Being the most powerful does not provide one with the chance to sit back and watch from the sidelines. Being the most powerful means many more demands to break up fights, to mediate, to make compromises and above all to be continuously engaged. Being the most powerful means dealing with the risk of becoming a target, a magnet and an outlet for grievances, attacks and, unfortunately, a crisis like the one we have just seen.

In this context the United States has the experience of being involved in numerous complex and difficult situations all of which require diligence and hard work. Yet being the only superpower means more pressure from different parts of the world, different interests and different needs. Being the most powerful means that short term and long term policies must be continually updated and focused to meet the new role of being the only judge in town.

We must therefore ask ourselves if NATO and other regional security arrangements have policies that reflect this new era. Today we can no longer rely simply on a strong military to ensure our security. Today as governments around the world prepare for action, we as Canadians must join in and do what is necessary to prevent this from ever happening again. We must remain vigilant and keep a watchful eye on the international scene to protect not only our own country but also to protect all of our neighbours around the globe.

We must also ensure not to confuse and discriminate against our neighbours just because of their religious background or place of origin. We must remember that most of our recent immigrants from that part of the world are here because of fear of violence and war. They are here to build a better future for their children. They too are feeling the pain and suffering of the victims and their families.

As Canadians we must continue our tradition of helping those in times of need wherever and whenever disaster and tragedy strikes. We must also encourage all nations to do the same and to pursue foreign policies that build on international co-operation.

The strongest and most powerful nation must take the lead and confront the cruel reality that we witnessed on September 11. None of us, not one single government, not one single country, can afford to sit on the sidelines any longer. We all must stand up and confront terrorism in all of its forms.

Decision makers around the world must update and adopt policies and long term plans to prevent events similar to those we witnessed on September 11.

The most powerful government must accept responsibility for maintaining peace and security on a global scale. This burden requires bold leadership and a determination to succeed, no matter how long it takes.