House of Commons Hansard #195 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the time to speak to Bill C-55. I feel like calling my speech “Security vs. freedom”.

To begin, I would like to quote Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International. Members will recall that this is the organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977. Ms. Khan said that “the respect for human rights must encompass not only the universality, but also the indivisibility of all rights... There can be no trade-off between human rights and security, between justice and impunity”.

Incidentally, Bill C-55 is a recast of Bill C-42, and it is virtually a photocopy of the bill, because Bill C-55 still contains some of the most hotly contested elements from Bill C-42.

Having given some thought to Bill C-55 and fundamental freedoms, how can we not believe that the bill will go against these freedoms, when the ministers of transport, defence or health are able to intervene directly, without having to go through the House? Let us not forget that they have 45 days to table their orders here.

How can we leave it up to the new Minister of National Defence alone—and incidentally, I wish him good luck and my best wishes in his new position, I think it is fair to say that he will make a better minister than the former defence minister—to determine the reasonable dimensions of a controlled access military zone?

What are reasonable dimensions? Describe to me reasonable dimensions, Mr. Speaker. Your description will differ from mine, because your reason will never be the same as mine. We may come close on some issues. We may be close, but there will always be a nuance between your reason and my reason. I could never win by trying to argue that my reason is better than your reason, and vice versa.

Now this is will be up to one person. This person will be able to say “I am determining what the reasonable dimensions of this controlled access military zone will be”. I expect that if I step inside this zone, there are good chances that I will have my toes cut off.

So it is important for the House, the people sitting here in this chamber, to take part in determining controlled access military zones.

I would like to digress to let the House know how I feel. I do not want to condemn or moralize, but I find it very improper that our colleagues on the other side are remaining silent while we are debating a bill of this importance.

I feel our Alliance colleagues should participate a bit more in the discussion. Our friends from the NDP should get involved a bit more. Should we not all get involved in this debate?

This bill is of major importance and will have a direct impact on the freedom of people. But our colleagues are saying nothing.

In passing, I would like to commend the painstaking and very professional work of my colleague, the member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel. He made several presentations in caucus on this issue and did some wonderful work.

Another aspect of this bill bothers me, and it is the fact that while the government is bragging about wanting to co-operate with the provinces, talking with them and taking their opinion into account, this bill totally ignores the provinces. This bill says to the provinces “you are nothing, you are insignificant and we will not consult you. Even if we create a controlled access military zone in Quebec, Alberta or Ontario, the elected representatives of those provinces have nothing to say about it”. This is outrageous. They should at least talk with the provinces in question.

What assurances do we have that, in June, when the next G-8 summit will take place in Kananaskis, the whole area will not be declared a controlled access military zone? The bill would allow for the creation of ia controlled access military zone for reasons of international relations or international security, or for other reasons.

This is cause for concern. We are in 2002. As you see, I disagree with what the government is doing, but we must look at what other governments are doing.

If it were not for September 11 and what happened in the United States, some legislation would not have been amended. Would they have put military personnel at the border between Canada and the United States? The biggest problem I have with this bill is that it is hypocritical. The government wants to grab more power. But in every country there are laws to ensure the safety of citizens.

For example, here we have an act we owe to Mr. Trudeau, the War Measures Act. It is on the books and it had an impact on individual freedoms. I remember quite well, and I hope I am not mistaken, but the member for Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies was affected by this act. He was imprisoned for 30 days without knowing why.

Personally, at noon on a Friday, while I was in a tavern in Ville-Saint-Laurent with twelve of my colleagues, I was arrested and taken to Collège Saint-Laurent where I spent the weekend. Why? I do not know. Maybe they did not like the colour of my hair or the colour of my eyes, maybe they did not like my height, I do not know. During the whole weekend, I slept on a cot and I really do not know why I was arrested.

It might have been because we were speaking French or discussing the events triggered by the FLQ at the time. I really have to idea.

But this bill is worse. I believe we should adopt the motion put forward by the Progressive Conservative Party and toss out Bill C-55 and start all over again.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, that last statement pretty much sums up what a good number of us feel should be happening with the bill. It leaves no doubt as to what we think about it.

I am once again pleased to have the opportunity to speak on Bill C-55. I am not speaking on the amendment to Bill C-55 and this is what has been happening day after day. We are still on the original bill. The other amendment has not been put into place yet, so we will wait to see what happens. I too would like to see the amendment of my colleague from the Conservatives endorsed, because it would accomplish what we hope to do with the bill.

As many speakers have mentioned, the bill reflects a number of areas and as a result has created concern in that many prospective areas as well. I think it has also made it hard for the ordinary person to understand just what exactly the bill is intended to do. It would affect areas in: national defence, Canadian air transportation, marine safety, aeronautics, biohazards, hazardous products, the Food and Drugs Act, and exports and imports. It would affect numerous areas, but what still seems to be missing in the whole scheme of things is some real hardcore evidence that there would some real changes to security.

We have a situation whereby firefighters, for instance, attend most hazardous fires or explosions or different things that happen within our country and the government has done little or nothing to ensure that there is a program in place, that there is proper training, that there are emergency responses. Very little is happening in that regard. There certainly was an opportunity to have that addressed within the bill, but it was not done. Apart from the airport security agency itself, there are no real specifics as to how we will see changes in that security, apart from just collecting money to supposedly provide it but not really do that. There really has been nothing concrete to ensure the security of people in Canada.

One of the greatest areas of concern, and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you are well aware of this because you have spent a number of weeks hearing comments about it, certainly is the military zones that are suggested, the issue of privacy and freedom and democracy for Canadians. Numerous speakers and numerous Canadians in general have mentioned that they do not want to see their lives affected in such a way that they become the criminals. They do not want their rights infringed to the point that they are suffering more than the terrorists are.

I know that the solicitor general feels that these broad, sweeping powers for CSIS and the police are somehow supposed to improve things as far as security goes. He has had his little back and forth discussions with the privacy commissioner on this issue, but the general consensus out there is that this new legislation would impose a stronger degree of penalty on ordinary, innocent people than it would on the criminals. Innocent people would suffer more from this than anyone else.

We have rules in place now respecting search and seizure and investigation. We have good rules in place right now. There is nothing to stop the RCMP or CSIS from doing this kind of investigation. It is beyond me why we have to somehow give these broad, sweeping powers so that they could literally investigate anyone at will.

I have been cutting out clippings over the last number of weeks and I have with me just a small portion of those clippings about the concerns that are being raised. I just want to read a couple of comments to the House, which state:

By such all-inclusive reasoning, the government could justify anything that might conceivably boost public safety, such as random searches of cars and people, the opening of personal mail and unlimited access to personal bank accounts and computer files.

While this sort of thing just might catch a criminal or non-custodial parent trying to abscond with a child, it would be much more likely to fill police files with information about thousands of law-abiding citizens instead. It would also increase the likelihood that honest people with the same name as a suspected criminal would be detained and questioned by police.

The solicitor general's response to the privacy commissioner was to suggest that the privacy commissioner was overreacting. I want to read a comment made by the privacy commissioner in response to the solicitor general's comments. He said that since some terrorists did not have a criminal record and could be travelling under an alias or using forged documents, authorities needed access to all available intelligence to identify people who could be potentially violent or could have ties to terrorist groups.

In his letter yesterday, Mr. Radwanski, the privacy commissioner, said that these histrionics were deeply misleading since the sort of warrants covered by the bill could apply to more than 150 criminal code offences, including many such decidedly non-violent as fraudulently altering brands on cattle, taking possession of drift timber, unauthorized use of a computer, et cetera. He went on to say, more seriously, that he was not aware of any significant number of instances, if any at all, where wanted murderers, kidnappers or armed robbers had taken actions on board aircraft that posed a threat to security.

No one for a second has suggested that if we find a murderer or someone with a warrant out on them that they should not be arrested. However it is beyond comprehension to suggest that we should be able to check every public list of people to see if maybe there is a criminal among them. I mentioned this once before. Should the RCMP have access to the list of all hospital patients just in case they might find someone with an injury that they may be able to associate to something?

Those are the types of things that are at risk here. The freedom and democracy of all Canadians is what is at risk. Under no way, shape or form should innocent people be penalized more than the terrorists.

Numerous colleagues in the opposition have commented on the fact that we believe the situation on September 11 was handled with extreme professionalism and the areas of concern were addressed. It was not as if the ministers or the powers that be who were in place could not do what they needed to do after September 11. There was absolutely nothing to stop them. We have rules in place that give them the authority to check on criminals. We have rules in place to allow, on reasonable grounds, the issuance of warrants, searches or whatever needs to be done. No one would argue that.

What we have here before us is a bill that was intended quite frankly to pacify and somehow give a feeling that everything will be better, but it will not be better.

I am not convinced the legislation will do any good as far as security goes. Furthermore, as far as the sweeping powers that would be given to CSIS and the RCMP, the CSIS director himself has stated that he does not believe there would any more convictions under this legislation than there would have been otherwise.

Why on earth would we want to penalize innocent people and make them suffer, which would be the result if this legislation is passed, when ultimately we will not be able to convict the people we need to convict: the terrorists and the criminals? Under no circumstances should ordinary, innocent people be criminalized or put to any kind or harassment or intimidation as a result of the legislation.

All members of the House need to be greatly concerned about that. I am extremely pleased that a good number of opposition members have recognized that and have made a point of being here to speak to the issue.

Public Safety Act, 2002
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Chicoutimi—Le Fjord
Québec

Liberal

André Harvey Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-55. I think that the important thing is to approach it with the greatest respect possible.

Let us remember that a legislative committee was formed to study every aspect of the bill. Obviously, we are not necessarily claiming to have come up with the perfect bill. We are here to exchange views and discuss ideas. I think that it is particularly important to bring out certain points.

There is much talk about the bill violating various rights. I think that Canadians' most fundamental right is the right to live in peace. It is the government's responsibility to do everything it can, through Bill C-55 on public safety, to ensure that Canadians can lead a normal, peaceful life, with the government assuming its responsibilities.

On occasion, we have been known to exaggerate, as has the opposition. In our profession, moderation is not always our strongest suit. However, I am certainly going to try to bring out those features of the terminology which strike me as important and which have generated, I think, considerable confusion. It is not always easy to see things clearly.

The most important thing to understand is that our country, like most western countries, is facing an extremely vicious and ruthless adversary, namely international terrorism.

This bill affects almost every department. It will require us to amend approximately 20 statutes—no small number—and in particular the most important tool that our ministers, the government and the House of Commons will subsequently have occasion to use—interim orders.

Solely for the benefit of the House—and if other colleagues have anything to add which would help us better understand what Bill C-55 is all about, they are welcome to do so—I would like to make the following point about interim orders.

We are sometimes given the impression that all of Canada is going to be a controlled access military zone. In reality, this will not be the case. Controlled access military zones will mainly be connected with military equipment and troops, in a spirit of co-operation with all other countries.

The interim orders referred to in the bill merely allow ministers to speed up processes which already exist under Canadian law. They do not authorize them to do anything beyond what Canadian law permits. Interim orders allow us to speed up the process, which is a minister's privilege.

Interim orders, against which we have heard many members speak out, are necessary to allow a minister to immediately deal with a situation that requires an urgent response to protect Canada and Canadians as a result of a major threat to health, safety or the environment. Interim orders are simply designed to deal with circumstances that do not provide enough time to make regulations as legislation would normally require. Interim orders are aimed at providing a minister with the regulatory tools necessary to deal with a particular threat in a very targeted manner.

The accountability of parliament would not be diminished. Unlike regulations, all interim orders must be tabled in parliament within 15 sitting days. Interim orders are common sense emergency measures to accelerate our current process.

Interim orders are necessary to allow a minister to act immediately to deal with a major threat to health, safety or the environment. Interim orders can only be made in relation to powers that may already be exercised under an act of parliament for which the minister is responsible. This minister would not invent anything. The ministers must act in accordance with legislation passed by parliament. Interim orders are simply designed to deal with circumstances that do not provide enough time to make regulations, as legislation would normally require.

The confusion comes mostly from the distinction between emergency measures and interim orders. Interim orders and the Emergency Measures Act are used for different kinds of problems and in different areas of jurisdiction.

The Emergency Measures Act is a last resort and a far-reaching legislative measure. It is used in an emergency at the national level and only if it is determined that no other law in Canada can effectively resolve the issue and if the emergency is such that one province alone cannot deal with it or that it seriously threatens the capacity of the Government of Canada to protect the nation's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

The Emergency Measures Act applies--quite clearly--to four categories of emergency situations: disasters, public order emergencies, international crises and a state of war. In the two first cases, it is up to the provinces to react. In the last two cases, the federal government would exercise a planning function centered on the mobilization of national resources, with the help of provincial and territorial governments as well as the private sector.

By contrast, the interim orders provided for in Bill C-55 are more modest measures designed to deal with situations in areas of federal jurisdiction where regulatory changes are necessary and urgent.

All in all, what is essential is first to read the bill carefully. When dealing with Bill C-55, a major piece of legislation for the security of our fellow citizens, it is very important to examine all the elements we feel are a source of problems, such as providing the list of passengers. How, if we provide a list of passengers to U.S. security services, can we not co-operate with the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service? This is utter nonsense.

All the information provided must be destroyed within a week, unless it had been proved that this information is extremely important for national security reasons.

As for the controlled access military zones, the Emergencies Act is already in place. It is strictly an interim order allowing the minister to act swiftly within the current legislative framework. We will not designate all of Canada as a controlled access military zone. It is strictly for the purpose of protecting our own military equipment and personnel.

All in all, I am sure that the legislative committee, made up of extremely capable members with whom I am anxious to work on Bill C-55, will be able to give careful consideration to Bill C-55, which replaces Bill C-42 and is much more flexible.

What is important, as I said, is to make the distinctions with regard to three or four key elements: the provision of information, the interim orders made under the Emergencies Act, and so on.

I am sure that all my colleagues will easily understand the validity of this legislation. I am sure also that by avoiding exaggeration we will be better able to continue with consideration of this bill, which is extremely important for the security of all our fellow citizens and also to strengthen our co-operation with all the countries fighting against international terrorism.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, Canada's farming community is under threat. The United States farm bill certainly increases that threat but there are positive solutions. Farmers have developed an innovative proposal called the trade injury compensation program.

The Grain Growers of Canada proposal is based upon four principles. First, it would be a program designed to compensate grain and oilseed producers for the economic injury caused by subsidy to the EU and the United States. Second, the program would have a sunset provision which would terminate the program once the Canadian government achieved an international trade agreement that would level the playing field. Third, the program would be green and consistent with the WTO. Finally, the program would require a strong federal commitment of approximately $1.3 billion annually.

A trade injury program is urgent with the passage of the United States farm. All Canadians must be prepared to stand behind our farmers. We must commit.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his deputy object to anyone using the word corruption when we rise to question government ministers on their ethical lapses.

My wife has been watching the performance of the government in question period. Here are a few synonyms she came up with for corruption. I wonder which ones the Liberals would prefer that we use: laxity, iniquity, solecism, turpitude, banality, underhandedness, decay, deceitful, degradation, distortion, improbable, knavish, recreant, and putrescence. Here are a few more words that my constituents came up with on their own: sleazy, slimy, bottom-feeding, pork-barreling, slush funds, patronage, scandal, kickback schemes, and so on.

The Deputy Prime Minister blames the opposition and the media for destroying the reputations of ministers. It is their acts that are destroying their reputations, not the messengers, and causing Canadians to lose confidence in the government.

Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the government of Ontario announced that heart surgery programs in the cities of London and Ottawa will be terminated and children will be shifted to Toronto for treatment. Some parents now face a four hour commute to be near their critically ill children, adding even more financial and emotional strain on already challenged families.

These are parents who are struggling to keep jobs and businesses while trying to be at the side of a sick family member. The closure of these regional heart surgery centres is just the latest evidence that health services in Ontario are failing to give proper regard to the needs of patients' families.

I would ask our Minister of Health to register her objection to these closures and to investigate ways the federal government can ensure that Canadians are not kept at an unreasonable distance from critical health services.

City of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to announce that the City of Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier in the riding of Portneuf ranked second at the gala des Mercuriades. I wanted to share this with all my colleagues.

Selected from among 16 finalists from all over Quebec, Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier distinguished itself by its spirit of partnership and entrepreneurship, as well as the quality of the facilities it made available to the public in 2001.

In addition, its enthusiastic development of its recreational, tourism and industrial aspects will be showcased in the June issue of Commerce , which will also report on the success of the forestry and lumber technology school at Duchesnay, the Duchesnay ecotourism site, the Ice Hotel, Tibo Forest Products, and the corporation of artists and artisans of the Jacques-Cartier River and Catshalac.

These are all excellent examples of the dynamism and innovate spirit of the people of Portneuf. I wish to congratulate Mr. Marcotte on his appointment.

Fredericton
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and some timeliness that I rise today to inform the House that the new national survey of cities across Canada conducted by Canadian Business magazine found Fredericton, New Brunswick to be the best city in Canada to do business.

This comes as no surprise to me but it must come as a surprise to the leader of the Alliance Party. The entire Atlantic region has experienced solid economic growth in recent years, particularly in the knowledge based and resource sectors. Fredericton is one of Canada's top IT and engineering centres, home to two universities, offers excellent amenities and an unparalleled quality of life.

I would appeal to Canadians and businesses to ignore the unfortunate and uninformed opinion of the leader of the Alliance Party and take a good look at Atlantic Canada. They will like what they see.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, during debate on an Alliance motion on government corruption this week the Prime Minister promised to bring an ethical package in for ministers. The House is still waiting.

The government has turned the House of Commons into Dr. Seuss' “waiting place” from Oh, The Places You'll Go! Dr. Seuss warns against a most useless place, the waiting place, for people just waiting.

I give the House Dr. Seuss' House of Commons for Liberals in waiting:

Waiting to reward a political hack, to fill the senate, or receive a kickback, Waiting for the summer to come, for people to forget, to hide under the sun, Waiting for a leadership race--or waiting around for another disgrace, Waiting to hire a minister's ex-squeeze, the stench might go away if we create a good breeze, Waiting for a cheque to cash, a priest to pray, or a bigger stash - everyone is just waiting.

Canadians have waited long enough, and as the auditor general said, they deserve better.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, hockey is not the only reason Canadians are happy to turn on their televisions. There are continuing positive reports on the Canadian economy.

Our employment levels are among the best in the world. Statistics Canada reports that, as of April, the unemployment rate was down to 7.6% with 207,000 jobs created so far in 2002, most of them full time. That is nearly 2.4 million jobs created since 1993.

Canada is the only G-7 country expected to post a balanced budget this year. Further, the IMF and the OECD predict that Canada will post the strongest level of growth among G-7 countries this year and next. Moody's also has confidence in our future, giving Canada a triple A bond rating, the highest possible level. Canadians continue to enjoy very low interest rates. This means more savings for families renewing mortgages or making big ticket purchases and for businesses seeking loans.

It is very evident that the policies of the government have spearheaded this economic growth. Canadians can head on vacation this summer secure in the knowledge that our economy is in good hands.

Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the weekly newspaper, Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe , a veritable monument to the Quebec press, as the first French language newspaper to be published in America.

Of its many contributors, without a doubt one of the most illustrious was Honoré Mercier, a former member for Saint-Hyacinthe and one of the great premiers of Quebec.

In the past, all newspapers supported a given political party. This was the case for Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe until 1969, with the arrival of editor Pierre Bornais. From the moment he took over, he made it clear that the columns of the newspaper would be open to all ideas, regardless of the political party, as long as the truth and the readership were respected.

My congratulations to the Chartier family of Saint-Hyacinthe, third-generation owners of the newspaper, as well as those who make it what it is today, including editor Jean Vigneault. Thanks to them, this regional weekly continues to be one of the most lively members of the Quebec press.

Kidney Disease
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have presented scores of petitions on aspects of kidney research signed by tens of thousands of Canadians. Answers to them, tabled in this House, show that they have raised awareness in government and across the country of the importance of kidney research, especially research into a bioartificial kidney. These petitions were initiated by Ken Sharp of Peterborough who has required kidney dialysis all his adult life.

One of the special results of these petitions has been better communication between U.S. researchers engaged in bioartificial kidney research and researchers in Canada. As a direct result of Ken's efforts U.S. and Canadian scientists met and shared experiences. As a result there was increased awareness on both sides. These meetings also stimulated a documentary on CPAC, which has been shown nationwide several times.

I would like to call on all members to join me in thanking Ken Sharp and his friends and colleagues for their continuing efforts to improve the lot of those with kidney disease.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

May 30th, 2002 / 2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance has been raising questions in the House about the way the government conducts its affairs. There is an odour hanging over the cabinet and the Prime Minister. They are trying to paper over the mess, but Canadians are not buying it.

Sending one disgraced minister to Denmark does not provide any reassurances. Firing a minister for giving a contract to an ex-girlfriend does not do anything. Firing another minister for staying at the chalet of a contract recipient does nothing to reassure Canadians. It seems each day there is another incident of overwhelming incompetence catching up with a staggering lack of ethics. Canadians deserve better. Transparency must be the standard.

Here is what the Canadian Alliance has been proposing: an ethics commissioner responsible to parliament; clear, public guidelines for ministerial conduct; less dictatorship from the Prime Minister's Office; and a stronger role for parliamentarians.

The Alliance will continue to point out both the need for change and the way to change.

Millennium Scholarships
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation has distributed its awards of excellence for 2002-03.

One hundred and nineteen graduates in Quebec were awarded scholarships in recognition of their academic achievement, community involvement, leadership and innovation.

I would like to congratulate two young people from my riding, Christine Bergeron, a student at Collège Mont-Sacré-Coeur in Granby, and Julie Bergeron, a student at the Granby-Haute-Yamaska cegep, both of whom received awards of excellence.

Winning this award represents a unique moment in the life of a student. It is a reward which recognizes the academic achievement of our young people.

Created through the initiative of the Government of Canada, these awards represent a major investment in the future of our students. They are a fine way to promote academic excellence.

Once again, my congratulations to Christine and Julie. Canada enjoys great wealth in the promise of its youth, and they are a shining example.

Immigration
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, in April, the minister of immigration lifted the moratorium on Algerian nationals. As a result, all Algerians living in Canada who were denied refugee status will be returned to their country. Since then, more than 1,000 people have been living in a state of terrible anxiety as they await a deportation order.

The moratorium, which had been in place for five years, allowed them to escape Algeria's harsh reality, which resembles a civil war. Contrary to what the minister claimed, the situation in Algeria has not changed, and safety continues to be a big concern. Violence, torture and fear are part of the daily landscape, and there is little hope of a resolution to the conflict. Just recently again, 23 people, most of them civilians, women and children, were slaughtered.

The Bloc Quebecois supports the claims of the Algerians and asks that the hundreds of cases be examined with justice and compassion.