House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was harbours.

Topics

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked to learn of this weekend's arrests in Toronto.

All Canadians, I am sure, will join members in congratulating our security and intelligence services, and the extraordinary work they have done in this case involving sensitive investigations going well back into last year.

Obviously, the cooperation between CSIS, the RCMP and local police authorities is instrumental for the successful completion of this type of operation.

Will the Prime Minister please advise the House as to the present status of this matter?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the House will know, there were 17 individuals arrested on Saturday during an investigation which has been going on for some time and which, I gather, is still proceeding.

Obviously, I am not at liberty to comment beyond that, other than to echo the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Opposition.

Over the past several years, efforts have been made by governments on both sides of the House to ensure that our police and security forces are working more cooperatively. We have strengthened our laws. The last budget also strengthened resources toward police and security.

We have a lot of confidence in the job the RCMP, CSIS and our police and security forces are doing in this country.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I echo the Prime Minister's comments about the increased security measures in place since 2002 and the great efforts that Canada has made in terms of border security and international cooperation, supported by all members of the House.

Some American legislators, unfortunately, and inflammatory media commentators have described Canada as a haven for terrorists, with a large al-Qaeda presence. For this, they blame Canada's immigration system, the very system that has helped us build the country that we are proud to serve in today.

What actions, would the Prime Minister tell the House, is the government taking to respond to these inaccurate attacks on Canada's immigration policies?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first, I had the occasion to speak with some American governors last weeks; the matter did come up briefly.

As the hon. member will know, we have been screening all immigrants to this country. There is a preliminary screening. If that turns up anything for possible further enquiry, there are complete screenings done to all people who immigrate to this country.

I think that is one of the reasons why the RCMP and others were able to tell me that in the course of this investigation, they have received support and assistance from members of communities, cultural and religious communities of all backgrounds, in ensuring that this country is safe.

I know, also, that our ministers have been in touch with our colleagues in the United States. The American administration has been very helpful and cooperative. The American media generally has covered the story accurately, and we will deal with the inaccuracies that are being perpetrated in some circles.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister referred to community actions. Unfortunately, this weekend, a Toronto mosque was vandalized.

The members of this House condemn all acts of aggression against a religious group in our country. We must never allow terrorist threats to compromise our values of tolerance, openness and respect for others.

What will the government do to reassure Canada's Muslims, who simply want respect, tolerance and peace?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously this government is against any act of vandalism against any religious group in this country.

I should add that police officers have informed me that they have the support of all cultural and linguistic communities in their investigation of this occurrence.

These terrorists remind me of the 1930s. They may use symbols of a faith and a culture to justify their actions, but in reality, they represent nothing but hatred.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, community groups, such as the Canadian Arab Federation and CAIR Canada, have been calling on the government to work collaboratively with them for the benefit of all Canadians. Specifically, they are asking the government to have a serious discussion with them to identify the causes and minimize the effects of radicalization.

In light of this weekend's event, what plan does the government have to work with Muslim community groups to assure them that it takes their offer seriously?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I know the Minister of Public Safety will be having meetings. As I say, police and security people have also regularly met.

Let me just say this. I will say what I said a minute ago once again. We know, if we look back to the 1930s, that those who have extremist ideologies or practise terrorism love to use the words of culture and of faith to back their actions. The fact of the matter is this is a country that welcomes all cultures and all faiths. The terrorists and the people they represent stand for nothing but hatred. People of goodwill of all cultures and all faiths in this country will oppose those kinds of actions.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will try another question.

We have seen some unfortunate incidents over the weekend where irrational and hateful actions have been directed at Muslim Canadians and their institutions. Aside from meeting with the cross-cultural round table, what concrete measures is the government taking about promoting calm, protecting minorities and cooperating with community stakeholders?

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my hon. friend raised the issue of the cross-cultural round table. In fact, I met with that group this morning. Some of them are here with us today. That is one example of Canadians who have banded together, dedicated Canadians from all walks of life, ethnically diverse. They work right across the country with community groups, ethnic groups, religious groups and cultural groups holding symposia and meetings in order to advance and enhance the very notions that the Prime Minister has just reflected on. They also meet and advise our security forces, be it CSIS, the RCMP, or local police forces.

This is just one of many initiatives that go on across the country, especially at moments like this, to assure our Muslim friends that we stand with them and beside them, especially related to these acts of terrorism, which are not Canadian values and we do not support that.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week Jacques Derome, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill University, said, “How can an environmental plan that does not want to respect Kyoto be better than Kyoto? That is a bit hard for me to grasp”.

How can the Prime Minister explain his insistence on wanting to axe the Kyoto protocol at all costs, when 800 climatologists were in agreement with one another last week on the importance of saving it?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said repeatedly, we are developing an effective plan. The budget has just promoted renewable fuels and other measures for improving the environment.

The Minister of the Environment is working with her international colleagues to ensure the development of an effective international protocol and she is doing her job within the Kyoto protocol.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a majority of provinces support the Kyoto protocol. A majority of municipalities support the Kyoto protocol and today we learn from a survey that the majority of Canadians and Quebeckers also support the Kyoto protocol. But the government is trying to keep the oil companies happy by trying to renegue on its Kyoto commitments.

Are we to understand that the Prime Minister governs in accordance with the interests of the oil companies rather than listening to Canadians and Quebeckers?

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the surveys indicate that the Kyoto protocol is popular, but they also indicate that a made in Canada plan is popular.

We welcome any ideas for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we welcome the proposals of the provinces and the municipalities, even those of the Bloc Québécois, and we are seeking ideas to improve our own performance as a country in this area.

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last government budget allocated $2 billion for the government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So there would be enough money to cover the cost of agreements with the provinces that believe in Kyoto, such as Quebec.

Might the government end up agreeing to negotiate a bilateral agreement with Quebec, along with a financial contribution that would enable Quebec to implement the Kyoto protocol on its territory?