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 united.

Topics

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on this solemn occasion to contribute to this historic debate. I would like to start by expressing my sincere condolences to those thousands of victims and their families whose lives are forever changed as a result of the horrific and cowardly acts of terror.

The victims are from all races and creeds. They were all innocently going about their daily lives when the terrorists struck. I offer these condolences on behalf of the people of Edmonton--Strathcona whom I have the privilege of representing in the House of Commons.

As the only Muslim elected to parliament in Canada, I want to extend my condolences on behalf of the Canadian Muslim community. I feel a responsibility to clarify to the Canadian people what the religion of Islam is about. There are some Canadians who believe that the acts carried out by the terrorists were sanctioned or dictated by Islamic law. In reality these were criminal acts of political terrorism by cowardly extremists in direct contravention of Islamic law.

The term Islam means peace. Muslims around the world believe that peace and tolerance are the very essence of faith. The terrorists who attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center have violated the Holy Koran and Islamic values.

A common Muslim greeting, as-Salam-u-Alaikum , means may peace be upon you. The word jihad simply means that each individual must strive to be the best he or she can be.

For example, Muslims are in an internal struggle to prevent themselves from committing bad deeds. Jihad does not mean a physical holy war against other human beings as has been frequently said in the media. Therefore committing violent acts against the innocent is not part of jihad but rather is a sin against the Holy Koran. There is no mention in the Holy Koran about committing violent acts against non-Muslims.

Media reports have identified the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to be Islamic. However their motives were not in keeping with Islam. Timothy McVeigh was a Christian, but his attack on the U.S. government buildings in Oklahoma City was not motivated by Christian beliefs. Deranged people carried out all these deplorable political acts of terrorism.

In Muslim mosques across Canada and other countries prayers have been held for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack. Muslim groups across Canada such as the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and Muslims Against Terrorism have condemned the attack because it goes against our values of peace and harmony.

I implore all Canadians to unite in this time of crisis and fortify our strength of diversity. We are a multicultural nation, the envy of the world, and as such we must collectively fight terrorism by working together to protect our freedom.

Most of us in the House travelled from different parts of the country to get here. In the airports we witnessed a sense of uneasiness and vulnerability on the faces of those travelling with us. Canadians are looking to us, their elected leaders, for a response to the acts of atrocity. We need legislation to tighten up the loopholes that have aided the cause of terrorism on Canadian soil.

I am not here today to point fingers and lay blame. I believe that we must follow the example of our American neighbours and put aside partisan differences to address the immediate security needs of Canadians. The government opposite must address the deficiencies present in its national security policy. To do so is not admitting culpability but rather accepting the responsibility of protecting the lives and livelihood of Canadians.

Canadians watched in horror as the terrorist attacks were carried out on the United States. It struck at the heart of our sense of morality and freedom. However what amplified the horror was the possibility that some of these evil men had travelled through Canada on their journey.

This news is not surprising, given the numerous reports highlighting the presence of terrorist organizations in Canada and the ease with which they abuse our humanitarian initiatives to settle refugees. The Prime Minister's face saving response last week that there is no need to revisit our security policies was unacceptable.

As a newly appointed critic for Canada Customs and Revenue Agency I will address the role of Revenue Canada in the fight against terrorism. We are a trading nation. As a result of NAFTA over $1 billion a day crosses the U.S.-Canada border. This activity has fuelled our economy, sustained job growth and allowed Canadian families to prosper.

National revenues required to fund tax cuts, health care, education spending and debt reduction are contingent upon our trading relationship with the United States.

In what seemed to be a veiled message to Canada, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell stated last week:

--some nations need to be more vigilant against terrorism at their borders if they want their relationship with the U.S. to remain the same. For those nations thatwe believe can do a better job of policing their borders, of going after this kind of activity, we're going to work with them. We're gonna make it clear to them that this will be a standard against which they're measured with respect to their relationship with the United States--

One measure available to the U.S. is to implement section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. This initiative implements mandatory entrance and exit checks at the U.S. border crossings. In effect, all foreign nationals, including Canadians, would be required to register when entering and exiting the United States.

The U.S. has postponed implementing section 110 until adequate technology can be developed to expedite this process with minimal delays. This week commercial traffic attempting to enter the United States from border crossings in the Niagara region are experiencing 9 to 12 hour waits. These extreme measures may become the norm if the government does not take action to rectify our border security.

There was much ado this summer about an open border with the United States. This concept was being entertained by a desire on the part of the U.S. and Canadian industry to minimize the encumbrance of border security in order to maximize the efficiency of moving people, products and capital across our border. Yet from a national security perspective, we must ensure that those people, products and capital entering Canada are not economic, medical or criminal risks.

The growing success of the NAFTA relationship in conjunction with the emergence of e-commerce and the growing needs of just in time manufacturing have put increased pressure on our border crossings.

The Canada-United States accord on our shared border was signed in 1995. Its goal had four key points: to promote international trade, to streamline processes for legitimate travellers and commercial goods, to provide enhanced protection against drug smuggling and the illegal entrance of people, and to reduce costs for both governments.

One response to this accord is Bill S-23 which is about to be introduced in this House. Bill S-23 includes many electronic systems used to expedite and track cross border commercial traffic. I believe these initiatives can only be entertained once the integrity of our borders is ascertained.

Bringing to light the inadequacies of Canada's national security is a wake-up call in the midst of a nightmare unfolding on the east coast of the United States. Canadians may not be aware of our porous borders; however every terrorist organization, drug cartel and organized crime operation in the world is fully aware of these deficiencies and have been exploiting them for years. Canada's porous border is by no means a reflection of the men and women who serve as customs officers. It is the reality of naive and irresponsible government policy. A philosophical shift in Liberal policy is required.

In 1994 Bill C-7 moved customs from a security mandate to the Department of National Revenue. Its prime objective is to recover tax and duty revenue for the crown. We must give our customs officers the tools, resources and the mandate required to protect our borders from those who are intent on destruction. If Canada is not willing to increase its standard of national security, the United States will not be willing to jeopardize the safety and security of the American people by continuing an undefended border with Canada. Such a decision will have an incredible impact on our economy.

I believe that Canada must take the lead in implementing a continental security agreement among NAFTA partners, particularly with the United States. This must include shared intelligence, including exit and entrance data and criminal profiling. Such an agreement is not an erosion of our cultural identity or our national sovereignty, as some would have us believe. It would serve to protect our trading and diplomatic relationship with the U.S. thereby serving to stabilize our economy and protect our citizens.

The federal government must first of all admit that there is a problem of terrorist activity in Canada and resolve to work with the United States in a legitimate partnership to secure our borders and protect our citizens and economies from future attack. The government's only response to terrorism thus far has been Bill C-16 which states that those Canadian charities found to be financially aiding terrorist organizations will be stripped of their charitable status. This is a baby step in the marathon fight to eradicate terrorism. Canadians expect much broader and tougher legislation to follow.

In closing, I would like to repeat my appeal to Canadians to unite during this time of crisis and embrace the strength of our diversity. Our Islamic neighbours are bearing a double burden. Not only are we grieving over the horrendous loss of life, we are bearing the burden of misplaced blame upon our community.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, to be quite honest, I am really surprised at the rhetoric from the member for Edmonton--Strathcona in this debate. It was a rant against the government and tried to make the argument on porous borders. He talked a fair bit about the integrity of the border and how porous the borders were.

I would suggest in all seriousness that maybe the member opposite is a little like his leader who did not know which way Niagara Falls flowed. Could he lay out where he gets his facts? Is it not true that when people are going from Canada into the United States that they have to go through United States customs and border controls? If there is a problem in terms of people entering the United States, it is not Canada that is creating the problem, it is a problem on the United States border itself.

I am really surprised that the member would rise with that kind of rhetoric because that is not where the problem is.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am quite shocked to see the hon. member actually now starting to place blame at the feet of the United States. When I started my speech, what I said I would be doing was identifying potential problems that we have in our current system, especially at borders and where we can actually improve the situation to make sure that not only the lives and security of Canadians are protected but that also if we can, help our biggest trading partner, the United States.

There have been many reports here in Canada that have identified this problem. Even customs officials themselves are saying that they do not have the resources to be able to do the proper work to be able to check the backgrounds of many people coming into this country. In fact, when they come to this country and while they are here, there are numerous things that they can do to actually find the proper paperwork before they enter the U.S.

This is a major problem and I am shocked that the hon. member, instead of trying to find solutions as we have been doing here in the official opposition, now is trying to point fingers at the United States saying they are the ones to blame. It is just outrageous.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to see you again. First, I am in partial agreement with our colleague's comments in which he invites us to demonstrate tolerance and to accept the differences to be found in our society. I know that he himself is very open-minded. However, I am inclined to warn him, gently, about his comments regarding the need to tighten up our borders. There is a very fine and subtle distinction between a call for stricter border controls and a call to halt immigration.

I think our colleague will agree with us in saying that this problem does not stem from immigration. We must remind the government that this situation requires a global vision. There are a certain number of centres of tension around the world. If we cannot defuse these centres of tension, then there will be terrorist acts and many countries will have to deal with the consequences.

Will our colleague make a clear statement to the effect that he is not establishing a link between his wish to strengthen border controls and a wish to stem or stop the flow of immigration.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I would like to explain in clear terms that my party is very proud of immigrants and hopes that Canada will be able receive even more immigrants. However, there are some real security problems and other related problems that we must debate here in the House.

I want to be clear and say that the official opposition has always been pro immigration, pro refugee. Coming to this country as a refugee, I am very sensitive to that. In talking about tolerance, when I talked about the idea of the conflict that is taking place, the terrorism, the idea of trying to be tolerant of all communities is something I think Canadians exemplify to the world.

When it comes to immigration, I have been on the record as calling for even more immigration. I try to push that debate in many cases among my colleagues here in the House and elsewhere. But we do have to do the proper security checks. That is really all we are trying to say. There are people who potentially abuse our system. We need to put an end to it. By no means is that calling for restricting immigration, restricting refugees or anything along those lines. If anything, we would like to encourage it.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, among the family of free and democratic nations, the ties that bind the hearts of Canadians to the hearts of the people of the United States are among the strongest in the world. It is therefore entirely fitting that members of the House should meet today in response to the calculated and vicious terrorist attack on the people of the United States last week.

We join with our Prime Minister and all members of the House in offering our prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and our pledge of support for whatever actions are required to bring the terrorists and those who aid them and shelter them to justice.

My youngest daughter works in the financial district of the city of New York. For almost an hour after the first terrorist attack, our family waited frantically for that phone call to say that she was safe. Mercifully for us that call came, but we can only imagine the pain and heartache of those families, those moms and dads, sons and daughters and grandparents for whom the calls never came.

I have sat here all day and I have heard a great outpouring of feelings and words of sympathy for our American friends. The challenge for us is to translate our feelings and our words into decisions and actions that will make a difference in the days ahead. Almost all of us are agreed that something needs to change as a result of the enormous sacrifice of innocent lives on September 11. In fact we dishonour the memory of the dead and the suffering of the innocent if some fundamental change for the better does not occur as a result of these events.

What should these changes be and how should we ourselves change? It is self-evident that we in free and democratic societies must change our approach to personal, national and international security. A starting point for us in Canada, as many members have pointed out, will be to overhaul our system for screening persons entering our country from abroad, particularly those from countries known to provide a safe harbour for terrorists. A starting point for those responsible for security and intelligence systems in the free world will be to renew efforts to focus those systems on the new security dangers of the present and the future, such as international terrorism, as distinct from the security threats of the past cold war era.

The challenge in all of this will be to increase our capacity to anticipate, detect, deter and destroy the activities of international terrorists without in the process crippling or destroying the very freedoms and civil liberties we seek to protect and advance in the face of terrorism. However as we witnessed at the memorial services held last Thursday, in particular those held in St. Paul's Cathedral in London and the National Cathedral in Washington, there is a spiritual dimension to personal, national and international security which I feel we Canadians should not ignore.

It is my personal conviction that our response to the tragic events of September 11 will be transitory and incomplete if it does not result in a fundamental change in our attitudes and actions with respect to good and evil itself.

I know that by venturing into this ground, one is on dangerous ground in this country. We in this country and in the House shy away from publicly embracing the spiritual realities of life. In our secular and pluralistic society we seem incapable of even discussing, let alone taking direction, from Canada's spiritual heritage or clear standards of right and wrong based upon it. We are too fearful of being misunderstood and thereby dividing rather than uniting all people.

However, surely in the stark contrast between the black ashes of the World Trade Center and the light that shines from the efforts of thousands of ordinary Americans to aid and comfort the wounded and the grief-stricken, we can see and agree upon certain moral distinctives to guide us in the day ahead: that there is such a thing as evil in human nature and in our world, conditions and actions that result in the crippling and destruction of human life; that there is also such a thing as good in this world, even good that can come out of evil, actions motivated by love that result in the protection and nourishment of human life; and, most importantly, that good can triumph over evil. For that to happen we need to seek deliverance from its presence in our own lives and situations, resist its practice by others and pursue the good for ourselves and all mankind.

We have promised our American friends that our prayers are with them. We use that phrase very glibly. What should be the content of those prayers for this promise to be more than idle words?

Historically our nations, particularly in times of war and disaster, and that includes this nation, have sought deliverance from evil and the strength to do good through faith in the justice and grace of God.

My prayer is that the tragedy of September 11, 2001 will lead us to do so again, that our spiritual leaders will speak the truth in love or not at all and that our political leaders will be given the wisdom to fashion our response to terrorism and its roots in the light of the moral imperatives which this tragedy itself illuminates.

May we be delivered from the evils of false religion and indiscriminate revenge, inspired to new heights and depths of compassion for all those who suffer, while relentlessly pursuing justice for those who practice terror. So help us God.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Mississauga South
Ontario

Liberal

Paul Szabo Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, often today the suggestion has been made, as the member has just made in his speech, that one of the responsive moves that Canada should take would be to improve the screening of refugees seeking to obtain status in Canada.

The news reports today such as in the Globe and Mail, said there was no evidence of a Canadian link. In fact, there is no information whatsoever that would link anyone from Canada or that planned strikes came from Canada. None of that information has come forward.

Today I personally spoke with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and he confirmed to me, in communications with Colin Powell, that there was no link between Canadian persons and the bombings and the tragedy that occurred.

In light of the fact that there is no Canadian linkage demonstrated or declared, why is the member suggesting that the appropriate response here, among other things, would be better screening? How does he justify that statement?

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

September 17th, 2001 / 7:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is self-evident that if we want to protect the security of the North American continent, we have to look at the people who come here, particularly from countries that harbour, aid and abet terrorists. Whether the link is established in this case or not that is still a protection we have to take.

The other comment I would add is a more general one, but it is provoked by the hon. member's statement. Why do we always have to have a crisis before we exercise any leadership? Over 30 years ago, in 1970, Canada had the FLQ crisis with terrorism in Quebec. That was a miniscule crisis in relation to the one we are talking about, but the House brought into being the War Measures Act. The crisis was talked about as if it was war and we suspended the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Prime Minister Trudeau after that event said to the House of Commons that we ought to overhaul the Canadian Criminal Code in order to make it more effective in fighting systematic terrorism, which was the word he used, and that we had to introduce special legislation to deal with terrorism as part of the modern world. That was over 30 years ago. Yet we have followed up on none of that.

I suggest that maybe it takes this crisis to force us to improve our security in all the ways that have been suggested by members on this side of the House.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, some 30 years ago I was a member of this House when the War Measures Act was invoked. I remember the tremendous fear and tension at that time. I was one of 16 members who voted against the invocation of the act. My sentiment was that it was an overreaction at that time. The then leader of the opposition, Robert Stanfield, later on said that one of the mistakes he made was not opposing the invocation of the War Measures Act.

I condemn wholeheartedly the terrorism that took place in New York and in Washington. We must spare no effort to hold those responsible for that crime and bring them to justice.

We must also watch an overreaction. This is not a conventional situation and sometimes violence will breed more violence in terms of indiscriminate violence.

Does member who just spoke have some concerns about overreaction and indiscriminate bombing, and the loss of many more civilian lives in places like Afghanistan if we are not careful?

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Preston Manning Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think all members of the House are concerned about committing evil in response to evil, which hardly solves the problem of evil.

I suggest, and this is one of the historic teachings of the Christian faith, that if we take seriously our asking for a deliverance from evil in our own lives and situations, that itself is a restraint against going too far or committing evil against others.

That combination of being conscious of the reality of evil in our own society, in our own tendencies and in our own reactions and being aware of that, but also vigorously pursuing evil in others, can lead to justice which is what we are looking for in this situation.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:45 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, six days ago the most devastating attack ever against the free world rendered our world far less free. No longer are we free to fly without a credible fear of hijacking, no longer are we free to travel anywhere any time without extended delays at the border or security check-ins.

We are no longer free to presume that everyone who enters our country is here to pursue a better life. We are definitely no longer free to take for granted the role of our firefighters and police officers, some of whom from my region have gone to New York to help at the scene.

The United States has paid an enormous price for leading the free world. Thousands of people left for work last Tuesday worrying only about their job, the economy and family bills. Horror and death awaited so many who had no idea that they were at war. Thousands of family members wait and hope. Time is needed to mourn the dead and then the free world must act to protect the living.

The terrible tragedy and loss of life in New York has been called an attack on America, but Canada is far from immune to the virus of terrorism that is infecting the globe.

For the first time terrorism from the Middle East has drawn the blood of civilians in the United States. We have seen suicide attacks against civilian target groups in Israel, Egypt and in western Europe. We have even seen an Egyptian airliner take off from New York and then be driven into the sea by a suicidal pilot, again not that long ago. For some reason we thought we were safe in North America. Terrorism was viewed as a distant threat that was only raised by alarmists.

Today we realize that our security was an illusion. We were protected more by chance than by choice. Now, as Dick Cheney said yesterday, we would be absolute fools to not protect ourselves from the credible threat that we now know has always existed.

Canadians quickly understood that the threat against the United States could quickly find Canadian targets in range. I know that within hours of the attack at least one major Canadian company convened a meeting to discuss whether it might also be a target before continuing its Toronto operations. Simply remaining at work was now considered to pose enough risk that it was at least worthy of discussion at the highest levels.

Today Canadians are faced with a disturbing choice. We can defy the goals of the terrorists who resist constraints to our freedom, changes to our laws and stifling security measures. Alternatively, we can accept that our world has changed and our open and almost casual concept of national security is now a threat to our freedom and no longer its hallmark.

President Bush has repeatedly said that the United States is already at war, but this is a war where people are in fact the principal weapons. The men responsible for last Tuesday's tragedy brought only themselves to North America. Immigration would have found nothing in their bags or backgrounds to stop many from entering the country. Yet these men were the most dangerous of weapons, and efforts to keep them out of North America will be the top priority of U.S. law enforcement for the foreseeable future.

The restrictions on the U.S. border to Canada will likely be proportional to the laxness that Americans perceive in our entry requirements. With our country entirely dependent on the free movement of goods across the U.S. border, tougher border security could become the greatest trade barrier we have ever faced. If American plants cannot rely on Canadian shipments getting across the border on time, they will simply switch suppliers with immense consequences.

To prevent this hardship, Canada must demonstrate to the United States that it would be as hard or harder for a terrorist to get into Canada than to go directly to the United States. This inevitably requires changes to our immigration, refugee and visitor visa policies.

We know that the vast majority of immigrants and visitors to Canada come from countries where no realistic terrorist risk exists or has ever existed. We must make sure the current crisis does not restrict the flow of talent, skills and investment from new immigrants on whom we rely for so much of our growth. As well, we must not simply cut off Canadian citizens from their relatives abroad through the widespread denial of visitors permits.

We already have very restrictive visa rules when it comes to people who it is feared will stay and work in Canada. Among the targets of deportation in recent months was a Polish family who had come here, built a business, employed six people and never taken a dime from our social services. Their deportation, while devastating for the children involved, was also a loss for Canada as good, contributing business people were lost.

Conversely, a terrorist by the name of Ressam was never deported and would still be here were it not for U.S. border guards finding explosives in his trunk. We clearly need to change our focus.

It is more than apparent that air travel to Canada from overseas will need to be subject to meaningful security measures. The fact that people can arrive at Pearson airport without any documentation and claim refugee status is an indication of the level of security we impose overseas.

Clearly no one can now be allowed to board a plane bound for Canada without at least a cursory security check, and everyone will need documentation. We must now consider foreign airports as entry points into Canada and establish immigration security checkpoints, much like the United States has at Pearson airport today.

These measures will not make us safe. We cannot stop a determined person from getting to Canada or the United States, but at least it must be a robust and comprehensive effort.

The aftermath of the World Trade Center has brought into question the respect with which we treat our own emergency personnel. In many policy debates of late, firefighters and police officers have too often been treated as regular workers whose pay and pensions must be restricted because every other group of workers would expect the same.

In New York we saw that the job of police and fire crews is not like any other job. While people with other jobs fled down the stairs of the World Trade Center to safety, firefighters were racing up into harm's way and indeed their own deaths.

It is common to salute the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters and police at times of great crisis when their lives are lost in great numbers. I call on members of the House to demonstrate the same respect to the thousands of Canadians who have the courage to sign up to be the first at the scene of any disaster and whose willingness to risk all keeps the rest of us safe.

The attack on America touched every Canadian. We saw the trauma. We shared the fear. We shared the loss and we learned an important lesson. We learned that security that is taken for granted can be taken away.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is not a bad thing to have a bit of laughter or the occasional less than sombre moment in a debate, but unfortunately this is a very solemn and sombre occasion.

I appreciate very much the comments of the member from Mississauga who just spoke, especially with regard to the way we treat police officers and firefighters. All emergency response personnel, whether ambulance drivers, firefighters, police officers or anyone who is a first responder, take upon themselves a job where they do not know what to expect when they get up in the morning. They volunteer to work diligently on our behalf and save lives if that may be, but they do not volunteer to lose their own.

Our hearts immediately go out to those groups and their families. However more importantly, now that we are left with the result of this horrific event, what will we as a parliament do about it?

My question to the member is whether we have the resolve. This is not an easy task we have started upon. This is a hard and arduous trail. I do not think anyone in the House fully understands the extent and difficulty of the journey. Does the member think the government will have the clear resolve--

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

7:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The hon. member for Mississauga East.

Attack on the United States
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7:55 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. There is no doubt in my mind that the government must resolve to fulfill its commitment to eradicating terrorism. We heard earlier from the former solicitor general who said the government has a responsibility. We have heard from the parliamentary secretary to the justice minister who said there will be a comprehensive plan in place to deal with terrorism. I think the collective will of the House will forge the right policies for the country.

There is no doubt in my mind that Canadians have had an illusion shattered in recent days and will demand and expect a robust response from their government and their parliament.

Attack on the United States
Government Orders

8 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will use the two minutes left to draw attention, as the hon. member alluded to earlier, to fire departments, police departments and emergency personnel.

In the community of New Ross where I live there was recently a severe accident involving a fire truck. Four firefighters were seriously injured. One of those who was seriously injured, Lionel Russell, just got out of the hospital. That is the type of contribution that ordinary citizens and volunteer firefighters make to society and to Canada every day of their lives. They get up in the morning and do not know what to expect that day, but are willing to take on the unexpected if it is called upon. We take that too much for granted.

It is time we looked at ways to not only combat terrorism, which is what the debate is about, but to support our police officers and volunteer firefighters at home.