Mr. Speaker, my colleague very eloquently put forward some very valid points. She was about to refer to a comment by the member from whatever that organization is, the coalition. I am having trouble keeping track. I think she was about to refer to a comment attributed to the leader of the fifth party in the House, in 1990, which I will paraphrase. He said, during a debate in this place on a decision with regard to the gulf war, that we cannot wait for deliberative bodies to deliberate and act before taking action.
The hon. member made numerous references to the responsibility of the government of the day to act within the constitution to either deploy troops or make substantive decisions that were in the best interests of national security. That was then and this is now. I appreciate the fact that the person I am quoting was at the time under a different understanding of what his responsibilities were.
Let me say first of all that I have been saddened somewhat, as we all have been, by the events of the past two weeks, but particularly saddened, in addition to viewing the tragedy that we have all seen, by some of the reactions of people both in this place and in the media. There is one group in this place that I think has acted responsibly. I have criticized those members in the past for some of their policies and actions but I will not at this time. In fact I congratulate them today because I believe they are acting in the best interests of all Canadians when they use their use their role as members of an opposition party. They are the members of the Bloc Quebecois. It is perhaps a surprise to many of us that this has happened. We might have expected it from other sectors or other people in this place, but in reality their responsibility has been shown by questions in question period, by speeches in debate that focus on the real issues here, the issues that Canadians are concerned and frightened about. They have not all been lobs by any stretch. They have not simply issued a blank cheque supporting the Prime Minister or the government to do as he or it pleases and it is appropriate that they do not.
We all know that the image Canadians have of parliamentarians standing and voting on whether or not to send troops into war is an image that we hoped would never happen, even if we were to agree with it. This is indeed an unusual time in our history, a time when calm resolution is being displayed by our leader and by the leadership of the entire government. What is interesting is that there is now a sense in this debate that the government might act too hastily.
Up until now we have heard particularly from the official opposition that the government is not acting hastily enough, that somehow we should be doing what the Pakistanis and the Afghanis are doing and mustering our troops on the border of perhaps the United States, packed and ready to go. This sense that the government is not taking action is purely partisan politics. What is sad about it is that we are losing the benefit of celebrating what Canadians have done by focusing on debates such as the one today and on comments made by people in this place and in the media. Members should think back to what happened. We closed our skies and our airports virtually immediately.
On the day it happened, after I witnessed the tragedy on CNN and was as dumbfounded as everyone about what I saw, I had a meeting at the Credit Valley Hospital at 11 o'clock that morning and I thought that I might as well go because I had to do something.
I was absolutely astounded to see that the hospital was in full emergency planning mode. So was Etobicoke General Hospital. The reason is that there was a rumour, white hot, at 11 a.m. on September 11 that at least one of the planes being diverted to Pearson international was a hijacked aircraft that could turn into a bomb or a missile. What did they do? These people reacted instinctively, calmly and professionally to ensure that all of their staff were aware of the problem and were capable and ready to take action in case of an emergency, in case injured people showed up at the emergency department of Credit Valley Hospital or Etobicoke General. That is a responsible way to act. That was not led by a government. It was under the leadership of Wayne Fysse and his entire team at Credit Valley Hospital.
We should be celebrating that instead of all the sniping and political posturing that is going on in what I can only say is an unfortunate attempt to hold somebody on this side of the House, aka the Prime Minister, responsible for all of this.
A member opposite accused someone over here of blaming the United States. I have heard members on all sides and I have heard and read media reports that actually blame Canada, actually blame our immigration policies. Our immigration system is not perfect. In fact there are members of the House who sit, or did sit on the immigration committee when we brought in Bill C-11. I recall the complaints from the official opposition critic that the bill was too tough, that we were violating civil libertarian rights and that we were taking away the rights of people to appeal a deportation order just because they were found to be criminals. I heard members from all parties. I expect the former opposition critic for immigration had moved on to another committee, but I am sure these were orders coming out of central party command on what they should be doing in relation to the immigration bill.
If members have heard the latest media report, that bill has been delayed. Why? We held hearings right across Canada on the immigration bill to tell people that it was time we toughened up our immigration laws to ensure that people who are criminals and people who are under deportation orders are actually deported.
The hue and cry from the Canadian Bar Association, propagated in many cases by members opposite doing their jobs as critics which I respect, was quite remarkable. Now those same critics sit here and somehow say, as they do every day, that it is awful that our immigration system is the cause of all this. That is the implication. Do we really mean that when we look all of the immigrants in the eye? Some of them are in this very place. Do we not recognize that immigration is indeed what has built Canada?
Should we be shocked that there are terrorist cells within our borders? Could someone please name one country where that is not the case? I doubt that they can. From what I have seen, Osama bin Laden's network is in some 30 to 40 different countries, and that is only one terrorist group. Of course there will be people within such an open, democratic, welcoming country as Canada who are not here for the benefit of you and me, Madam Speaker, and who are not here to try to build a nation. They are here to further their own interests whatever they may be. Whether they are based on religious fanaticism or political fanaticism, the bottom line is that we know it is fanatical.
The sad thing here is that we are missing the point. There will be debates in this place throughout the entire process. It will be a long, drawn out process to eliminate terrorism and attack terrorism around the world.
I am confident that our government will do what is right. I just wish that we could, like the Americans have done, pull together as one great nation, as one great political entity so that we know where the enemy is. The enemy is terrorism. It is not over there, it is not over here. It is in fact terrorism and we are committed to stand with the Americans to eliminate it from the world.