Charities Registration (Security Information) Act

An Act respecting the registration of charities and security information and to amend the Income Tax Act

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.

Sponsor

Status

Not active, as of May 1, 2001
(This bill did not become law.)

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Anti-Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 28th, 2001 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

I thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, whether we have a sunset clause or not, it does not change the fact that a three year period for an in-depth study of the consequences of this bill is way too long. Of course, reports on the investigations and on the preventive arrests will be prepared yearly by the attorney general, the solicitor general and their provincial counterparts.

However, this does not add any guarantee that would lead us to believe that the government will set the record straight if some slip-ups occur along the way. There could be three years worth of blunders before the government looks into the matter again. There again, nothing guarantees that this review will be made at all, because it is far from unusual to see deadlines not being respected and acts not being reviewed on time. Extraordinary legislation introduced in exceptional circumstances necessarily requires a more stringent control that the one the minister is suggesting.

As for wiretapping, on October 24, Allan Borovoy, adviser to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said before the committee that CSIS already had all the necessary tools to conduct wiretaps.

Mr. Borovoy also mentioned, although this was not his final conclusion, that new powers would not be needed, and that, before infringing on civil liberties, we should demonstrate that this will result in a significant improvement of existing security. Given that, according to this advisor, this has not been demonstrated, one must wonder why the minister is allowing the defence minister to authorize electronic surveillance without prior judicial approval.

After alienating the right of parliament to decide the reinstatement of this legislation, by refusing a real sunset clause, the minister is also taking away from the courts the right to authorize the electronic surveillance of communications. The political and judicial branches have become one.

Now, a word on preventative arrests and increased powers. These provisions could very well jeopardize the delicate balance between security and freedom. Under this bill, an individual could be detained for 24 hours on the basis of mere suspicion, even if the words “reasonable grounds” are used in the same clause. But reasonable grounds and suspicions are clearly quite different.

As a matter of fact, legal literature recognizes that mere suspicion does not constitute sufficient grounds for action that has to be taken on the basis of reasonable grounds. Besides, the Barreau du Québec has stated that under constitutional law, these two concepts are contradictory. It even went as far as saying that the concept of suspicion would introduce a discretionary leeway which could lead to arbitrary arrests. Moreover, in her opening speech at the inaugural meeting of the committee, the Minister said:

I remind my hon. colleagues that there are instances where, in other free and democratic societies like the United Kingdom and, most likely, the United States, once they have passed their new legislation, detention will be allowed for a period of up to seven days.

We could also remind the minister that no later than this morning, in reference to this measure and others, such as communications intercept, the questioning of target groups and possible trials before a martial court, the headline on the front page of Le Devoir read “Is the United States to become a police state?”

At one time, Moscow was much safer than several North American cities but those were the days of communism, when security was based on a political tyranny which was promoting terror. Surveillance was everywhere and denouncement was a way to survive. Are we prepared to pay such a price? As Alain Gagnon would say, to ask the question is to answer it.

The attorney general could refer any person to a judge whether or not this person is directly or indirectly linked to a terrorist group or activity. In a way, this provision is like giving a fishing license to the authorities. The bar association was also critical of this provision, arguing that it interferes with the right to remain silent, when no charges have even been laid yet.

The least we can say is that Bill C-36 gives the police outrageous powers which would not be tolerated in more ordinary times. These provisions remain hard to justify, despite the present crisis. One may question the relevancy of such measures in light of two recent events which got our attention.

Here is the first case. In mid-October, the media reported the story of an individual named Abdellah Ouzghar. To give some background, Ouzghar had been convicted in absentia to five years in jail, last April, by the criminal court of Paris. The charges were, among others, being part of a crime syndicate for the purpose of planning a terrorist act. Furthermore, Interpol had already issued two international arrest warrants against Ouzghar, and the warrants mentioned his address in Hamilton.

Under the Extradition Act, the RCMP was to proceed with the temporary arrest of this individual so that France could then apply for his extradition. Yet, it took more than one year after the issue of the first arrest warrant and also six months after his conviction in France for the RCMP to finally arrest him on October 12 of last year.

Here is another example. In early November, the media reported another no less commonplace incident involving an individual named Liban Hussein. The RCMP has candidly admitted that it did not take any step to arrest this Ottawa resident, whose name was on the list of people and organizations actively involved in the financing of Osama bin Laden's terrorist activities. Finally, it was only after the individual gave himself up that the RCMP arrested him.

In both cases, we doubt very much that this flagrant carelessness on the part of the authorities, especially the RCMP, can be justified by legal constraints. In fact, the authorities have all the tools they need to act effectively, but they do not know how to use them. Is it carelessness or incompetence? Whatever. It is absolutely pointless to give more powers to people who do not know how to use the ones they already have.

As for the procedure for establishing the list of terrorist entities or the list used to deny or revoke charitable status, I commented on it at second reading of Bill C-16 as well as at second reading of Bill C-36 and, nothing having changed since, my comments will be the same. Therefore I refer members to my two previous speeches.

In conclusion, Bill C-36 is just one more step toward an abusive centralization of powers that used to be reserved to entities that were independent from the government. Moreover, what is more serious is that this power grab eliminates any notion of impartiality.

I can only conclude that, with Bill C-36, not only is the government seriously infringing our rights and freedoms, but it is taking advantage of a crisis situation to compromise the principle of the separation of powers.

The headline on the cover of the latest issue of the Journal du Barreau read “Anti-terrorist Bill C-36: Legitimate Goal, Bad Vehicle”. This title summarizes the position of the Bloc Quebecois very well, and this is why we will be voting against this bill.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

November 26th, 2001 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, we had great hopes for this bill. We thought that it was possible to reconcile security and freedom. It seems that we were expecting too much from the government.

Following the sad events of September 11, we recognized that we had to change our way of doing things and moreover of seeing things. We realized that we had to take real action to reassure citizens. Obviously, it is essential to ensure the protection of every citizen against the threat of terrorism.

Following these tragic events, we also learned to appreciate what makes us unique, that is democracy and freedom. So, why in this case put aside democracy and freedom in order to compromise them? Why put aside these values, which are so precious, instead of reaffirming them and making them even more precious?

At second reading, we said we were in favour of the principle, because we thought it was necessary to have an anti-terrorism act. However, this bill is unacceptable for us. We tried to amend it but only one of our amendments was accepted by the committee. As far as the amendments made by the minister are concerned, they are really not enough to re-establish a true balance between security and freedom.

The government saw fit to grab broad powers in this bill to justify excessive control of our freedoms. It is inconceivable that in the society like ours one might think that we are gullible enough to accept such an approach. Enough is enough. Any reasonably intelligent person will speak up against this abuse of power.

We could never have imagined that one day the world would be changed for ever by a plane crashing into the World Trade Centre, just as we could never have imagined that one day our government would decide to sacrifice our rights and freedoms, as is the case today. Where are we and where are we going? The answer scares me.

The principle—security— is noble, but the approach is harmful and hypocritical. It makes even less sense when it is our political leaders who are acting this way. This is a golden opportunity for the government to grab limitless powers while having a legal reason to do so. This is where we are at and where our so-called democracy is at.

The government put forward many amendments, but it is too little too late. In spite of these amendments, it is still grabbing excessive power and unfortunately freedoms are being denied as a result. Do not tell me that these attempts at amendments are broad and positive, this is not true. Once again, it is only window dressing.

First, the Bloc Quebecois was asking for a sunset clause. A sunset clause was aimed at putting an end to the bill except for the part implementing various international conventions. The sunset clause would have caused the act to cease to be in force after three years. That is what the Bloc Quebecois wanted.

True enough, one must react to these unusual circumstances, but one must not panic and fall into the trap. This is why the bill must be limited in time.

The Bloc Quebecois' proposal would have allowed the government to face the terrorist threat without losing sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, our freedoms must prevail.

The request was rejected. Instead, the justice minister amended the bill to include a sunset clause coming into effect after five years and concerning only two paragraphs. It involved preventive arrest and investigative hearings. This is obviously not good enough. As a matter of fact, it does not amount to a sunset clause, because one only has to obtain a resolution from both Houses to be able to extend the application of those paragraphs.

Second, as far as the review of the legislation within three years is concerned, this period is much too long. The Bloc Quebecois suggested one year, which would immediately have allowed us to avoid risks of violating individual rights and freedoms. We have shown that this bill could really violate to several aspects of the charter, and the Barreau du Québec has also underlined that possibility.

Moreover, given the haste surrounding the drafting of the bill, the risk of errors and, consequently, the probability of violating individual freedoms are heightened. It would be wise to review this legislation after one year in order to adequately deal with its obvious flaws.

The government's reaction has been to refrain from changing the bill and to rely on ministers responsible for the enforcement of the law to produce reports on the number of arrests and investigative hearings. That is all, and that is not enough.

Third, the Bloc Quebecois condemns the fact that the attorney general can get around the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act concerning certain types of information. It is unbelievable that such a way of doing things is and can be proposed as being entirely justified and justifiable. The information and privacy commissioners must keep all their powers, rather than increasing those of the attorney general.

Fourthly, we also deplore the fact that Canada waited until such unprecedented tragedies took place before reacting and taking note of the two international conventions. This is something that ought to have been done a long time ago. While Canada is constantly boasting of what a lead role it plays, it is still clearly demonstrating that this is not the case.

A fifth point is that we protest the fact that this bill deviates from the appearance of justice, to implement provisions which, in fact, are a repetition of Bill C-16, the bill on the registration of charities.

Charities will not be able to believe in justice when evidence is given behind closed doors without the key parties even being present. The main question that arises here is this: how can one offer defence against something one does not even know about?

Sixth, the bill enables the governor in council to put entities on the list of terrorists without any legal authorization and without that entity having access to the evidence supporting its inclusion on the list. That is unacceptable. It is a reversal of the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt. What have we come to? It is easy to see where we are headed, which is why our present concerns are justified.

Seventh, it must be emphasized that the government did not consult the Quebec justice department. There is an emphasis everywhere on co-operation and collaboration. But this is a principle the Government of Canada seems not to grasp. It seems that advantage is being taken of the unusual situation to cast aside the constitutional provisions relating to exclusive areas of jurisdiction, such as the administration of justice. Looking around us, it is easy to see that co-operation is what will defeat terrorism.

Another point of concern to us is that the government has not seen fit to assess the costs associated with enforcement of this bill, if sufficient financial means to apply it properly are not in place. This is one more demonstration that this bill is triggered by the panic set off by the threat of terrorism. We can conclude that, if the means are not there, all of the objectives of this bill will be nothing but empty words.

Ninth, the Bloc Quebecois would like the Communications Security Establishment to be required to get an authorization from a judge before wiretapping. It is another example of appropriation of powers by the government, in this case the Department of National Defence, which will be able to intercept communications with a simple written note to that effect.

Finally, the Bloc Quebecois is concerned about the individual freedoms and the freedom of association because of the broad and sketchy definition found in the bill. Despite the justice minister's amendment, the potential for abuse remains and many protest groups could be included in the definition. The amendments we tried to defend and to promote in committee were defeated. This is totally unacceptable in a democratic society that is based on freedom of information.

In short, the merit of this bill rests on the necessity to respond to the terrorist threat. But the extent of the impacts on our liberties is inordinate.

While it is certainly a great thing to take action in the current context, care must be taken not to overreact and restrict democratically acquired rights.

Instead of promoting the development of our rights and freedoms, the government is withdrawing, figuring this should reassure the public.

What is happening is the complete opposite, with the government becoming more crafty, overpowering, controlling and disrespectful through this bill.

The government is giving itself the power to act arbitrarily and is openly showing total disregard for the charter of rights and freedoms, which it insisted on imposing and is now at the centre of our freedoms.

History has always shown the contrary. It is in countries where the respect for the rights and freedoms is highest that public safety and security is best ensured. As suggested by the Bloc Quebecois, our freedoms must be promoted. In other words, we have to promote who we are.

Anti-Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 17th, 2001 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very impressed at having the opportunity to speak to Bill C-36. When we were elected last year, we were all given the mandate to represent our fellow citizens. I do not think anyone here in this House expected to be carrying out this type of debate. We have a heavy responsibility in doing so.

This is the debate on second reading. It is important to bear in mind that, at second reading, the debate focuses on the principle of the bill, What is involved, then, is the balance between the battle against terrorism and the defence of human rights, between the security that must be in place and freedom, the respect of the right of citizens in this society to act, and their protection in their dealings with the machinery of government and the justice system.

This is, therefore, a very important substantive debate. It is also one that leads us to much consideration of the matter of good faith. Today the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice have both admitted that this bill may have been prepared a little hastily and that there may be some elements that will need to be looked at in the committee and report stages.

The bill includes elements of interest. We will have to listen very carefully to the witnesses who come to tell us what they think of this legislation. People such as members of the bar, for example, may deal with the bill's implications and impact, and with the protection of human rights. Others will also address the issue of security and the importance of having an anti-terrorism act.

In light of the September 11 events, I think we agree on the need for strong and decisive action. We must eradicate terrorism and one of the tools at our disposal is the proper use of legislation. We have a duty to ensure the protection not only of the public, but also of its rights. This is why the Bloc Quebecois has adopted a very responsible attitude.

Many aspects of this bill deserve to be examined very thoroughly. I am thinking, for example, of the definition of a terrorist activity. Because of the need to act quickly, we may have a definition that will lead to abuse. We will have to ensure that there a proper balance is struck between police forces' ability to act and the assurance that all honest citizens in our society will nevertheless be protected. This is a very important aspect that needs to be thoroughly examined in committee. This issue is not an easy one. We must give it very careful consideration.

Another very important element is the fact that we are faced with an exceptional situation. We would not want our society to have to take such strong action as a matter of course. We are faced with a urgent problem which we all hope will disappear over time.

Therefore, perhaps we should consider having an act that will be in effect for a limited time only. This would ensure that when the threat of terrorism no longer exists, when we are in control again and when public security is ensured, there will be a time limit so that the government will not use on a permanent and regular basis means that we do not wish to see used in our society. So, we should determine whether this bill could include specific provisions that would lapse over time and not be of a permanent nature. Are there others provisions that deserve to be of a permanent nature?

For example, numerous aspects of the international conventions that were signed should be maintained. However, there may be other elements for which this is not necessary.

For instance, if access to information mechanisms are retained, is what we are asking acceptable, if the government approves revocation of the powers of the privacy commissioner in order to take them over itself? I do not think anyone in the House would dare introduce such a proposal under normal circumstances. The question will have to be asked if the measure is to apply. Is it to apply to the medium term and is it renewable? The government should perhaps make sure that certain elements have a time frame in the legislation and that, as we have asked, there will be an annual review of the law.

The bill provides that the review will be at the end of three years. In this area, a lot of things can happen in three years. A lot of bad things can happen. I think the government would do better to pay careful attention, that is have an annual review.

The bill will be passed soon, this fall, before the Christmas holidays, and then, in the coming year, action may have to be taken. There must be follow-up in committee. Next year, when parliament resumes, we would have to assess whether we did what had to be done, whether government had gone far enough and whether certain things should be corrected. These elements are important.

I would also like to speak to the question of wiretapping. Today, in question period, it became clear that simply defining which laws cover this aspect is not clear. Things are not entirely clear. Does it mean issuing a blank cheque and permitting things, which, after a while, could be used for something totally different from terrorism surveillance? These questions must be asked. It is a matter of responsibility to do so; it has nothing to do with impeding the work of parliament.

In examining this bill, I believe that the Bloc Quebecois has had a very responsible attitude. We have not blocked the bill. We believe that we must take time to study the bill seriously and carefully. There are many elements to consider.

Perhaps it is of less importance, but Bill C-16 on charities, a bill with some substantive problems, has been integrated into the bill. We must use the opportunity to examine these issues carefully at committee in order to see if improvements can be made in this area.

Once again, this is extraordinary legislation for a society that should normally be able to function without this type of legislation. We agree that Canadians must know that steps are indeed being taken to fight against terrorism, but that we will ensure there will be a balanced approach at the same time.

Given all of these points, I think we must proceed with care. The committee must be allowed to do its work as well and as seriously as it can, and must hear advice and ensure balance at all times.

The debate at second reading is on whether or not this bill should be studied in committee. According to Marleau and Montpetit's House of Commons Procedure and Practice , and I quote:

--passage of the motion for second reading simply implied that the House had given preliminary consideration to the bill and that, without any commitment as to the final passage of the bill, it had authorized its reference to a committee for detailed scrutiny.

Particularly important bills such as this test the entire system. They test our parliamentary procedures. This is a bill which merits careful attention. It is a bill which asks us to consider the good will of the parties in the House.

The Prime Minister said that this bill deserved serious consideration. We expect that, when it returns from committee, there will be suggestions for amendments which could make it much more effective and bring it more sharply into line with the stated objectives.

When the committee has done its work, it will be up to us to say whether or not the new form it sends us is acceptable. We will also have report stage to evaluate the result of the committee's work and, finally, debate at third reading.

Throughout this process, the Bloc Quebecois considers it very important that it be possible to improve the bill at each stage in order to make it acceptable, useful and desirable to our society in the present special context. We must not forget that it is also a piece of legislation that may have an impact on human rights legislation for a long time to come.

The international crisis we are now experiencing will have repercussions not just on security, but also on the protection of rights for the future. We must devote whatever time and energy is necessary to make this the best legislation possible. We must be attentive to the requirements submitted so that we end up with a balanced bill.

This must be our objective: a bill that strikes the right balance between the fight against terrorism and respect for human rights. This is what I hope we will do together, with a minimum of partisan politics, so that ultimately we have an opportunity to produce an excellent tool to help in the fight against terrorism and the defence of human rights.

PrivilegeGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2001 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Hamilton West.

I appreciate the opportunity to consider the bill that is before the House. Rather than read through all the points that other people have said, I thought I would convey some of my thoughts about what I hope the committee members will look at when the bill is before them. They have a very difficult job looking at legislation and they do not have the vast experience of another context. This is a new context for all of us. It is a new context for the legislators, for people in our enforcement agencies, for the people who have drafted the bill and for all people who have anxieties.

We have to be calm and we have to be rational. This legislation will last longer than our fears. This legislation could last indefinitely.

There are provisions in the legislation calling for a three year review. I have already heard many people suggest there be sunset provisions, to use the common vernacular.

I have to think of the practicality. What would it mean if we were in the middle of a case and this legislation sunsetted based on provisions in the legislation? Perhaps the committee could consider sunsetting parts of the legislation, perhaps some of those provisions that are the investigative hearings or the preventative arrest, new procedures that we are coming to. Perhaps we could look at that. To see what are the practical advantages and disadvantages perhaps would be something worthy of attention by the committee.

Earlier I heard statements indicating that we will not be testing this at the supreme court for constitutional predisposition. It is not impossible but it is very difficult for courts without factual situations to deliberate on the constitutionality of a law. Usually individual cases have different levels of hearings from trial to appeals all the way up to the supreme court. They are heard on the basis of specific facts of whether a provision is inside or outside, constitutional or unconstitutional. If it is unconstitutional, it is void and we start over.

The bill before us today is new. It must have been incredibly difficult work for the teams of lawyers and parliamentarians around the cabinet table to look at this legislation and try to make it charter proof. Many of us would agree that some of these provisions are riding pretty close to what we would consider a normal edge.

All of us in this Chamber are concerned about the charter of rights and freedoms. We fought very hard in Canada to get that charter. We do not want to give it up lightly. It is our obligation as parliamentarians to closely scrutinize this bill. There is a need to get some appropriate legislation in place, but we do not have to be on the steamroller. We can take the time to ask questions, to do the work, to make the necessary examinations and to call a number of witnesses who are experts in their various fields. We also have to live with the reality of today. It is a different world after September 11.

Let me go back to before September 11. We think this is a new bill. I am a member of the finance committee and last spring we looked at Bill C-16, the deregistration of charities provisions. It has found a new life as part 6 of this bill. The whole bill in theory is under the auspices of the Minister of Justice. However part 6 is actually under the auspices of the minister of revenue and the solicitor general. That is the reincarnation of what was Bill C-16 except there have been a few changes.

One of the major changes is the inclusion of definitions of terrorism that were missing in Bill C-16 and which the committee had stated were needed. It also changes the period of potential inquiry into hearings from three years to seven years. That is quite an incredible increase.

What else is different about these parts? First let me speak to the parts that are specifically under the Minister of Justice and all the various provisions, whether they are changing other pieces of legislation or are new punishments, new crimes or new powers.

In large part society is leaning toward the acceptance of security over freedom, except we always have to take into account the proportionality test that any court would look at in a piece of legislation like this. Are the crime and the outcome related? Are they proportional? This is when section 1 of the charter comes into play.

Even though I have not gone through all of these sections in detail, I believe that a large number of people in Canada will come to the conclusion that even though these are unusual limiting provisions and procedures, they would be willing to go this far in these extraordinary situations. The proportionality is there, although it is not laid out in stone.

The proportionality test is different in part 6. Part 6 is not about criminal law. In criminal law there has to be mens rea. The person has to have thought about it. The person has to have knowingly done something wrong, it has be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it was wrong, and then there are consequences.

There are a lot of safeguards in that system. Beyond a reasonable doubt is a very high standard. It is difficult to prove and there is a good reason why it is difficult to prove. We have higher sentence structures in the bill. I agree with those structures.

Part 6 is an administrative procedure that is talking about the result of stripping a charitable status. That is the outcome of all of the procedures.

There are some provisions based on something we are already doing as a government in section 40 of the Immigration Act to set up a special procedure where there is a hearing before a judge. Under the Immigration Act it usually is the immigration minister and the solicitor general. In this particular piece of legislation it would be the solicitor general and the revenue minister, CCRA. They will take some evidence. The evidence they want to show is not evidence that would be revealed in a court. Why? It is sensitive classified material. Perhaps it puts at risk a personal information source.

The ministers have to take this on reasonable grounds. Basically this is the level of proof when someone is charged and there is an arrest. This is not beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not the civil balance of probabilities. There are different bars. It is a fairly low bar.

When we were examining this section, we were concerned with a series of potential problems that could have a very chilling effect on the charities in Canada. These charities have made their views known. The committee had not finished its hearings. In fairness to the government, it had not made its case yet.

Serious concerns were laid out. People can read our data in the finance committee transcripts of the hearings last spring. The government was aware of these. We thought the legislation would not go in the form it was in. We thought there could be changes. In fact, it came to us for our input because it was draft legislation.

It is here now and it is unchanged. Many organizations are fearful of the outcome of this legislation. I particularly want to say that this procedure under subsection 40.1(5.1) has never constitutionally been upheld in any court because it was excluded by the Attorney General of Canada in the Ahani decision on section 40.

I have made my concerns known to members inside the various departments here. I will have them give my concerns to anyone who is interested. There are many good areas which we have to look at carefully. I am supportive, as would all of us be, the doves and hawks, of getting the work done and dealing with terrorism.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2001 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be dividing my time with the member for London--Fanshawe.

I am pleased to speak about our national response, as embodied in the bill, to the events of September 11. In particular I want to talk about parts 1 through 5 as presented in Bill C-36 because I think Canadians expected, wanted and are supporting a toughening, a codification or a creation of a number of new offences that come as a result of a closer examination of terrorist activity in the world. The world is becoming a much more sophisticated place and the means of creating terrorism and chaos in our society, as we have seen, is happening in new and previously unimagined ways.

From that perspective I think Canadians would support us on parts 1 to 5 and at the same time would expect us to move in tandem with other countries, particularly the G-8 and under the banner of the United Nations, which collectively are moving to eradicate those who would create chaos and who in fact are terrorists.

I would refer to four objectives of the bill, particularly in parts 1 through 5, the criminal provisions of the bill. Those objectives include stopping terrorists from getting into Canada and protecting Canadians from terrorist acts. One is a corollary of the other. Of course to do that police and other security forces need the tools to identify, to prosecute and above all to punish those who would commit these acts.

The third objective would be to prevent the Canada-U.S. border from being held hostage by terrorists and impacting on the Canadian economy. As someone who represents a border community, I can say that what occurred on September 11 has had a very direct impact, and not only on our regional, provincial and national economies, but it has had a very tangible result in terms of lines at the border in both directions, outbound and inbound.

Of course the fourth objective is to work with the international community to bring terrorists to justice and, most important, to address the root causes of such hatred and venom as expressed by these people.

I think there is great support from the Canadian public for the bill, which would define and designate the terrorist groups and their activities. We would make it an offence to knowingly participate or facilitate the activities of terrorist groups. We would make it an offence to knowingly harbour or hide terrorists. We would create tougher sentences for terrorist offences and tougher parole provisions for terrorists.

Cutting off financial support and making that a criminal offence is a very important part of this. Of course as I said at the outset, moving in tandem with other UN signatories to certain provisions and conventions is very important. It is very important that it not be a unilateral action on the part of Canada but in fact a collective action of many countries.

Once again I will say that I think the public knows and expects that we have to make it easier in certain very specific conditions for authorities, those being police forces, the local forces or RCMP or CSIS or whatever, to collect the kind of evidence that is necessary. It is necessary to have electronic surveillance. It is necessary in certain very limited cases to compel disclosure of information that may be held by people. It is also necessary to amend the Canada Evidence Act so that we can collect information and not disclose it in a public forum that would be detrimental to the country.

Canadians are fully supportive of all of those provisions. I also think the bill contains an excellent provision, the three year review provision, because we are caught in the middle of a whole series of events which assume a particular state of mind both nationally and internationally. We do not know the nature, the extent or the duration of this matter, so we have enacted laws which are fitting and proper under the current circumstances. At the same time the three year review allows us to consider the effect of these laws and the conditions in three years' time so that we may determine then whether these laws are enough, too much or not enough. It is very important that laws be considered in a timeframe, both current and short term, but not entrenched forever. In that respect I know that Canadians are quite supportive of this, that they expect it and support it.

What I would now like to talk about is what is referred to as part 6 of the bill because we have heard a great deal of talk about balancing rights, a lot of talk about the charter and a lot of talk about rules of natural justice. I want to point out that part 6 is not about criminal law but civil law. It is about, in this international year of the volunteer, those people who have another element to them, that is, they wish to help others, whether in this country or in other countries. It is about the provision of charitable acts by people in this country to those both in and out of this country. Let us be clear about part 6. It is not about criminal law. It is about civil law and it is about charities.

We have heard a great deal of talk about the rules of natural justice, one of which is this one: Who is my accuser, who is making an accusation against me, what is being said specifically against me and do I have the right to question and to meet that person making the accusation? I point out to members present that part 6 was before the House prior to the summer recess. At that time it was called Bill C-16. It was referred to a committee of the House after first reading. I would point out, far be it from me to say, that it was widely rejected by that committee. It was not a question of one party rejecting it. It was a question of everyone on that committee being disturbed by it.

Some excellent points were made before that committee in terms of what part 6 is about, so as the bill proceeds from the House to the justice committee I would invite the committee to revisit what was said about part 6. All Canadians will support parts 1 to 5, but I think part 6 has some disturbing elements, the principal point being that when one examines that provision one sees that nobody would know who is making the accusation, what specifically is being said or in fact who is saying it. It would be fed through the sieve called CSIS, which would then provide a summary of perhaps what was said, or more properly, of what the allegations were, but little or no detail.

This would have dire consequences for those people in this country with a long tradition of helping others, and this is international year of the volunteer. Part 6 does not meet that fundamental rule of the rules of natural justice, that is, who is making the accusation, what is being said and do I have the right to meet that person and question them?

Finally, I would also point out that part 6 of this law imposes an absolute liability on a charity.

It has nothing to do with anyone's intention. One can imagine some very innocent occurrences where people believe they are doing the right thing when in fact, through misfortune or lack of attention, the money is diverted to somebody who has less than honourable intentions quite innocently by those paying it. Effectively, the result under part 6 would be the end of that charitable cause. That is unfortunate.

When the bill goes to committee, I would ask that the members pay very close attention to part 6 and all the provisions thereof.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

October 16th, 2001 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, as we all know we have been asking the minister to introduce legislation that will allow Canada to fulfill its international commitments in the fight against terrorism for some time now.

It is therefore understandable that since the events of September 11 we have been looking forward to this bill on terrorism. Now that we have it, the question is whether or not it lives up to our expectations.

First, we can only applaud the fact that the minister has finally introduced legislation that truly outlaws activities that finance terrorism. Whether it be for organized crime or terrorists, money is the lifeblood of war.

By starving an organization of its sources of financing, we greatly reduce its striking power. Furthermore, by adding seizure and freezing of assets, we can begin to take seriously the government's claim that it wants to wage war against terrorists.

Unfortunately, from part 6 on, the bill contains, word for word, Bill C-16, the bill on funding charitable organizations. What we thought we could call the late lamented Bill C-16, has risen from the tomb. Apart from a few cosmetic changes, it is to be found in Bill C-36 almost in its entirety.

On April 30 I summarized Bill C-16 in the following terms: suspicion, discretionary power, enigmatic proof, and lack of control. Six months later, I have no choice but to reiterate these same comments about part 6 of this bill on terrorism.

We do not deny that it is appropriate to protect the integrity of the charities registration system by preventing their use as a cover for terrorist organizations. What we dispute is the way the government wants to go about achieving its ends.

This spring we criticized the fact that it went against too many principles of justice for it to pass royal assent. To let this happen would constitute a dangerous precedent in terms of the violation of procedural guarantees. However, yesterday the minister slipped the same bill, give or take a comma, under our nose. Worse yet, the inquisitional procedure established by Bill C-16 now applies to a body that wants its name removed from the list of organizations involved in terrorist activities.

Now under the bill before us the governor in council will be able to establish by regulation a list containing the name of any entity that might be associated with terrorist activities.

What does that mean, exactly? In both cases, the entity and the charity appear before a judge who can reach a decision from evidence submitted in camera and without the party or parties being present.

In even clearer terms, let us suppose that a charity loses its charitable status following the signing of a certificate by the solicitor general or the Minister of National Revenue. The organization will be allowed to ask the judge to quash the certificate. However, it is possible that the judge will base his decision on information that the organization will never have access to.

The same goes for a group that wants to see its name struck from the list of organizations associated with terrorist activities. That group will have to go before a judge, who will determine whether or not to remove the group's name from the list. However, this could take place without the applicant ever knowing why his name first appeared on such a list.

By violating such fundamental and elementary rules of evidence as the disclosure of evidence, the government is ignoring the contradictory nature of our judicial system. All the more worrisome is the fact that the evidence adduced will be based on information provided primarily by CSIS. Knowing the practices used by CSIS and its difficulties in striking a fair balance between national security and rights and freedoms, this might be cause for concern.

With such provisions, we can legitimately ask two questions. Either the information is not circulating between ministers or else the government has simply decided to turn a deaf ear to the representations made by countless witnesses who appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance when it reviewed Bill C-16, which at the time was sponsored by the solicitor general.

Since it is hard to imagine that the Minister of Justice was not informed of what went on during the proceedings of that committee, the only plausible assumption is the second one. Considering all that went on with the young offenders bill, could this be a habit with the minister?

In the same vein, during the first sitting of the Standing Committee on Finance, which took place on May 16, the solicitor general and the Minister of National Revenue tried to explain to us why Bill C-16 did not include the definition of the term terrorist. The solicitor general said, and I quote:

If you are aware, the courts have indicated that it is not necessary to define terrorism.

He went on to say:

When you evaluate around the world to find an exact definition for terrorism, it is about impossible.

As for the Minister of National Revenue, he specified the following:

Merely coming up with a definition or defining parameters would basically, at the end of the line, end up taking away tools or options that we would like to have in this bill.

Yet, to cite just two examples, the U.K. terrorism act and the French penal code have successfully done what these two ministers felt was impossible at the time they were defending Bill C-16 before the committee. The British legislation reads as follows:

In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where:

The use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public and,

The use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

As for the French penal code, terrorism is defined as follows:

Certain criminal offences are considered terrorism when the acts are intentionally linked to an individual or group whose purpose is to cause a serious disruption of public order through intimidation or terror.

This is followed by a list of the criminal offences considered acts of terrorism. I will spare members that, however. We can see that there has been a sort of attempt in Bill C-36 to define the terms terrorist activity, terrorist group and terrorism offence.

Considering that the term was virtually undefinable, according to the two ministers, one might well think that the Minister of Justice has done nothing to simplify things. Bill C-36, instead of providing a definition along the French or British lines that states right off what is involved forces us to constantly jump from one reference to another, and we have almost forgotten what we were looking for by the time we get to the end of the chain of searches. Fortunately the basic content is there, but the form needs more work. In actual fact, there is no definition of terrorism, just definitions for act, action or omission.

In addition, as we have been seeing for some time now, law enforcement officials are demanding a considerable increase in their powers, but must the powers of the various government bodies responsible for security be increased in order to mount an effective campaign against terrorism? Well might one wonder. In the October 6 issue of La Presse , journalist Yves Boisvert wrote:

Nothing useful will be accomplished without effective information services and an intelligent police community.

What constitutes an effective information service? One thing is certain, that is, it is certainly not by keeping tabs on groups such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the Anglican Church, the United Church and the Raging Grannies that we are going to dismantle a major terrorist network. Yet considering that some fifty or so organizations and approximately 350 individuals are already being watched closely by CSIS as part of its anti-terrorist program, there is no lack of genuine terrorist threats. We may therefore conclude that if the resources and energies were concentrated in the right place, part of the problem would resolve itself.

Furthermore, in order to be intelligent, must the police be authorized to commit criminal offences as provided for in the organized crime legislation? By placing above the law those who are supposed to enforce it, such measures can only succeed in institutionalizing crime within law enforcement agencies.

Must we also bend the rules of evidence in order to compensate for deficiencies or errors in a case before the courts? Since a police investigation can have a tremendous impact on an accused, the work of law enforcement officers must be guided by rules imposing maximum rigour.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that the primary mission of police officials is to protect public safety. This is not some contest to make a maximum number of arrests leading to charges, particularly if these charges are the result of bungled investigations. Not only will the public not be better protected, but in fact it will be even more vulnerable to possible abuses of authority. This would be to replace one threat with another. If such guiding rules are limited, there is a good chance that corners will be cut.

Bill C-24 opened a door that will be very difficult to close and its long term impact could be catastrophic. By allowing a peace officer to detain a person following an arrest without a warrant, Bill C-36 just opens another door. If there are sceptics, just think of what happened during the October crisis with the War Measures Act: there were hundreds of arbitrary arrests and heavy handed searches without warrants, undoubtedly the worst case of abuse of power ever known in Quebec.

It is fine to introduce anti-terrorism legislation, but let us not forget that this is merely a legislative tool that cannot be effective in and of itself. The best legislation in the world is useless if there are not competent people with a good head to implement it and ensure compliance with it. This includes police authorities, intelligence services and customs officers.

In the case of customs officers, there is still a lot of work to do to change their approach, which remains much more focused on alcohol and cigarette purchases. I made a quick trip to the United States after the September 11 events and when I came back to the Canadian border, the only reflex of the customs officer was to ask me what I had bought that day.

This speaks volumes about the concerns of those who normally should be the first line of defence of our national security.

On the issue of possible abuse, the minister is also grabbing relatively extraordinary powers, since her bill gives the attorney general the authority to unilaterally suspend in a totally arbitrary fashion the application of the Access to Information Act, through powers usually reserved for the commissioner.

Once again, this type of political interference is a cause for concern, particularly since the government has been severely criticized recently, both here and elsewhere, for its policy of silence.

If we look at the amendments to the Firearms Act, we see that the governor in council can exempt any category of non-residents from the provisions of this bill.

According to information received yesterday morning from departmental staff, the amendments to the Firearms Act would apply solely to air marshals responsible for ensuring on board security on international flights.

If this is the objective the minister had in mind, it would be worth her while to say so clearly in her bill. Given the circumstances behind the creation of Bill C-36 and the government's policy of being reactive rather than proactive, we understand that this bill was drafted hastily. We hope, therefore, that we can count on the minister's co-operation when the time comes to propose the necessary amendments to fill in the gaps.

Given the urgency of the situation, the government must not be allowed to use the crisis situation as a pretext for sneaking its bill through. At any rate, the damage is already done, and the situation could hardly be worse, considering the state of psychosis that reigns just about everywhere

If we are to equip ourselves with such a significant tool, such a restrictive and invasive one as an anti-terrorist bill, then we might as well take the time required to make sure we have the best legislative framework possible. The committee stage must not be glossed over. We are certain that many people will want to be heard and we cannot afford to not take advantage of the valuable contribution of their expertise.

There is one more point we feel it is important to raise. At present, the bill specifies that a thorough examination of its provisions and application must be carried out within three years of its enactment. At this point, we feel it would be wise to reduce that three year deadline to one year.

Considering the fact that these are exceptional circumstances and that we are presently debating measures that are equally exceptional, we cannot afford to wait three years before reassessing this legislative framework that is taking us into uncharted territory. We must prevent any opportunities for mistakes and a shorter review period is the best way to make adjustments if the circumstances so require.

To close, as the Prime Minister so wisely stated, we must be vigilant and prudent in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

When it comes to mistakes of the past, we have no doubt that the Prime Minister knows what he is talking about, since he was a minister in the Trudeau cabinet during the October crisis of 1970.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to terrorism, as I have already said. At first glance Bill C-36 appears harsh and invasive. However, it would be inappropriate to remain passive in circumstances such as these.

Basically we will have to take the necessary time to ensure that this bill will allow us to fight terrorism effectively while minimizing the inconveniences to citizens.

In short, we must be sure that Bill C-36 will do more good than harm.

Business of the House

October 15th, 2001 / 11 a.m.
See context

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among House leaders this morning. I want to thank the House leaders for their excellent co-operation for the following motion which I am now prepared to move to be adopted without debate. I move:

That Bill C-16 be withdrawn;

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice, immediately upon the adoption of this order, a minister of the crown shall table a Notice of Ways and Means motion, which shall immediately be deemed to have been concurred in, whereupon the House shall proceed immediately to the ordinary daily routine of business, except for introduction of private members' bills, presenting petitions and questions on the order paper, which shall be taken up at 3 p.m. this day;

That private members' business shall not be taken up this day, but the House shall proceed directly to government orders; and

That, at the ordinary time of daily adjournment this day, the House shall continue to sit and shall resolve itself into a committee of the whole to consider a motion “That the committee take note of the international actions against terrorism”, provided that, during consideration thereof, (a) the Speaker may from time to time act as Chair of the committee, (b) the Chair of the committee shall not receive any quorum call or any motion except a motion “That the committee do now rise”, (c) after the first spokesperson for each party, no member may speak more than once or for more than ten minutes, (d) when no member rises to speak, the committee shall rise and (e) when the committee rises the House shall immediately adjourn to the next sitting day.

SupplyGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2001 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, security experts around the world expressed concern about some charitable organizations financing terrorist groups.

I noticed today in an English language newspaper that leaders of these charitable organizations, here in Canada, are opposed to Bill C-16, which revokes the charitable status of organizations that finance terrorism.

I would like to hear from my hon. colleague opposite on this issue.

TerrorismOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we see laws on the books but we do not see laws in force.

In April we came to the House with Bill C-16 and we said that it was not a terrorist bill but we were called fear-mongers. The fact is that provincial governments prefer their plan much more than the federal plan that does not exist.

The national counterterrorism plan has not been agreed to by the provinces. It is still not clear if the federal plan would prevail in times of crisis. Provinces are putting together their own plans in the absence of a commitment from the solicitor general to national security.

Will the solicitor general immediately put an end to this leadership vacuum?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

September 26th, 2001 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Madam Speaker, I will continue acknowledging that this is an important issue for all citizens, for all people of the world. If we do not stand clearly for people in other nations who are suffering, then people in our own nation could suffer. We must stand together and clearly indicate the things that must be done to protect people everywhere and to grant safety and security.

We cannot assume in a post-cold war world that we are beyond security threats. We cannot assume that just because we are thousands of miles away from the smouldering religious and ethnic conflicts of the Middle East and Central Asia that these conflicts will not affect us. Some 40 to 60 Canadians have already been killed by a brutal act of mass murder that may well have been planned in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban regime.

Parliament must address, and address it now, the security challenges which we face at home and abroad and the measures which we must take both to punish the terrorists who launched the brutal attacks in New York and Washington and to protect Canadians against the threat of future terrorist attacks. We can no longer delay putting the safety and security of Canadians at the forefront of the political agenda.

In 1938 Winston Churchill published his foreign policy speeches. He was lamenting British indifference to Hitler's repression and military buildup. He entitled those speeches “While England Slept”. This is how Churchill described the policies of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin at the time for his failure to act firmly in the face of Hitler's totalitarianism: “decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent”.

We cannot let this description stand as an epitaph for Canada which has proven itself unready to confront the challenge of terrorism. We have a history in the last century of being ready and willing and having the will to do so and that must continue in this century.

Unfortunately, in the two weeks since the horrific events in New York and Washington, the government has not been clear in terms of specific action to give us confidence that Canada is taking the war against terrorism seriously. The official opposition, our members of parliament, want to work with our Prime Minister and the government in the war against terrorism but we need something to work with. We need the specifics.

We have to consider what the government has done and what it has failed to do since the events of September 11. We need to consider its inaction in bringing in comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation. Other countries have it.

We need to consider the government's inaction in bringing forward safety and security measures to protect Canadians at the borders, at our airports and on airplanes. We heard again today the government absolutely ruling out air marshals on airplanes. It is time to restore consumer confidence in our airlines, yet almost without debate, something that could be positive was ruled out without discussion.

Let us consider the government's inaction in failing to commit more resources to the armed forces, to the RCMP, to CSIS and giving them a clear and broad mandate to act against terrorism, both at home and abroad.

Last Tuesday, one week after the terrorist attacks in the United States, the official opposition brought forward a motion which called upon the government to draft comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation, similar to what is found in other freedom-loving nations. In that resolution we called for the government to table anti-terrorism legislation forthwith similar in principle to the United Kingdom's terrorism act, 2000. We called for specific provisions to be included in such legislation, specific things, not just words, but action.

We called for the naming of all known international terrorist organizations operating in Canada. We called for a complete ban on fundraising activities in support of terrorism. We called for a provision for the seizure of assets belonging to terrorists or terrorist organizations.

Yesterday we had confirmation in the House of Commons by the Minister of Finance that some 27 organizations had their assets frozen, that action had been taken immediately. When we could not find evidence of that having taken place, we posed the question again today. Now we hear that possibly that was not done but the government will not tell us whether or not it was done.

As a matter of fact, two ministers are at odds with each other. The Minister of Finance is saying those assets were frozen immediately and the Minister of Justice does not know if they were and is not able to confirm that. We need immediate ratification of the international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism.

We called for the creation of specific crimes for engaging in terrorist training activities in Canada or inciting terrorist acts abroad from Canada.

We called for prompt extradition of foreign nationals charged with acts of terrorism, even if the charges are capital offences. We have also called for detention and deportation to their country of origin of any people illegally in Canada or failed refugee claimants who have been linked to terrorist organizations.

Those are pretty basic requests. The vast majority of Canadians stand shoulder to shoulder with us in making those requests. We were not requesting these things for political opportunism or advantage. We wanted to be flexible. We wanted to allow the government, and as many parties as possible, to embrace these proposals.

I moved an amendment to the resolution that would have allowed the government to table such legislation in draft form before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for its consideration. We were happy to have the government do that. We asked that it do that but even this was too much for the government. Instead it tried to propose that the committee simply discuss the concept of anti-terrorism legislation but was unable or unwilling to produce legislation itself even in draft form.

As I have said, we are trying to support the government and the Prime Minister but we need something specific to support. I find it hard to understand a week later what elements of our resolution the government found objectionable. It will not tell us; it will not tell anyone. Maybe it is reticent to name and ban specific terrorist groups that are known to operate in Canada.

In reply to questions from the official opposition on fundraising activities by a known front group for the Tamil Tigers, the solicitor general said in the House on June 2 last year under questioning by the member for Lakeland:

--it is important to note that CSIS does not provide a list of terrorist organizations and it does not provide a list of people or organizations that it is targeting.

The hon. solicitor general seemed to imply that the fact Canada does not name known terrorist organizations publicly was somehow a strength of Canadian law. That is not a strength. It is a weakness that needs to be strengthened.

Our friends and allies in the United States and the United Kingdom are ready and willing to name banned organizations. Many of these organizations are present in Canada as well.

We have named and gone through a list of these groups that have been named. We know them. There are also 27 organizations and individuals named on President Bush's list whose assets the United States have seized and frozen. Some of these groups are also operating in Canada, including al-Qaeda and other similar groups.

Why is the government so resistant to publishing an official list of proscribed organizations so that these kinds of terrorist groups can be publicly known? What is the problem with doing that?

We cannot get the answer from the government. Up until yesterday the Minister of Justice implied that she simply intended to follow the precedent of anti-gang legislation that would define criminal gangs. It is not simply defining them. It is naming them so that the public knows who they are. We have to name them. We have to prohibit membership in the organizations, named and known violent terrorist groups committed to the destruction of freedom and democracy.

In the view of the official opposition this would be a wholly inadequate response to the threat of international terrorism. Merely being a member of a group like al-Qaeda should be enough for police to take somebody into custody whether or not that person can be linked to specific crimes. The very purpose of al-Qaeda is murder and destruction. That is its stated purpose. If it is a restriction of freedom of association to ban such a group, it is most certainly a limitation which is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society. It is a group that is committed to murder and destruction.

We are sensitive to and well concerned about freedom, freedom of association, freedom of speech. We still can hear ringing in our ears the warning of another century where it was made clear that any time people were willing to give up a freedom for security, there was a risk of losing both. But the extreme element of this, to not address the most extreme attacks on our freedoms, also puts us at the risk of losing both freedom and security.

Freedom of speech is something we fiercely defend, but a person cannot walk into a theatre and shout fire. It would be harmful to the innocent people there. There are limits and we are drawing those lines.

Yesterday in the House the Minister of Justice indicated that she was considering a system which would include a list of proscribed groups. We in the official opposition certainly hope that she does listen to our appeals in that regard, but again we ask the question, what is she waiting for?

Along with our call for naming terrorist groups, which seems to give the government pause, we are calling for a complete ban on fundraising activities in support of terrorism and provision for the seizure of assets belonging to terrorists or terrorist organizations. The vast majority of Canadians are behind us on this issue.

Over the past few days the government has been extremely confusing on these points, as we have already indicated. On Monday the Prime Minister said in Washington that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions had already ordered the assets of bin Laden associates to be frozen in Canada the previous Friday. That is what the Prime Minister said. In fact all that had happened was that OSFI had sent a letter to financial institutions with the names of some of the dead hijackers and asked the banks to check to see if they had any bank accounts to assist the FBI with its investigation.

Yesterday the Minister of Finance indicated in the clearest of terms that if not on Friday, then at least yesterday they had in fact frozen the assets of bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all of the other terrorist groups, individuals and front organizations on President Bush's 27 name financial most wanted list. It is recorded clearly in Hansard . The finance minister said that those assets had been frozen. Today we find out that possibly that is not the situation, but we cannot get a clear answer.

Again, all that OSFI had done was send out an information circular containing the president's order and asked Canadian banks and financial institutions to co-operate in investigations. The only concrete measure that the government seems to have taken to seize and freeze assets is an order in council that was put in place back in February which implemented security council resolution 1333 and called for the Canadian assets of bin Laden himself, al-Qaeda and the Taliban to be frozen. That is the only action and that was back in February.

We certainly support that measure, but apparently not a single bin Laden or al-Qaeda dollar has been frozen in Canada since this measure was put in place in February. President Bush's list goes beyond just bin Laden and the Taliban. He targets 27 different groups and individuals, including the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, the Groupe islamique armé of Algeria, and a number of other groups.

The United States wants to crack down on the financial sources of terrorism around the globe. Despite protestations from the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions, the government has not brought forward a single regulatory or legislative change since September 11 that will help fight the financial war against terrorism. That is unacceptable.

Perhaps the government does not want to ratify the international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing. It had two years to do so. We have been calling on the government to ratify that convention, but it is still in limbo.

We were beginning to assume the worst. The Prime Minister was asked in Washington whether Canada would ratify the convention. He replied that legislation was before the House and that the opposition was blocking it. That is not acceptable behaviour for a Prime Minister who is asking for co-operation. We in the official opposition are offering that co-operation. We are offering to the government to bring in legislation under its name and to take all the credit for it. Yet the Prime Minister says that we are opposing it, which is simply not the case.

There is no legislation currently before the House that gives effect to the international convention. The government admits that Bill C-16 is only a partial step and does not meet the standards of the convention itself. Bill C-16 takes away the tax breaks from terrorist groups but it does not ban fundraising.

When it is explained to Canadians what steps the government has taken to fight the war against terrorism, they are told the government is suggesting that if someone gives to a terrorist group that person would no longer get a tax break. That is unacceptable.

Two weeks after the tragedy in New York the government has not implemented the international convention for the suppression of terrorist financing despite the fact it has been in the government's in box for two years. Perhaps the government is unwilling to create specific crimes for engaging in terrorist training activities in Canada or inciting terrorist acts abroad from Canada.

Our own Senate committee chaired by William Kelly stated in 1999 that Canada was a primary venue of opportunity to support, plan or mount terrorist attacks. There is a danger of terrorist attacks in Canada, but there is a greater danger of terrorist groups trying to conduct support activities or plan their attacks elsewhere, especially in the United States, from Canadian bases. That is a grave danger.

Anti-terrorism legislation should not simply ban terrorist fundraising but all kinds of terrorist support activities that may be undertaken in Canada. That would include training activities, recruiting and communications. Terrorist groups should not be permitted to use Canadian Internet web servers to promote their cause of destruction and murder. All of these kinds of support activities should be addressed by a new anti-terrorism bill.

The British legislation requires and creates new crimes for members of terrorist groups undertaking these kinds of support activities on British soil. Canada should do no less.

Perhaps the government objects to the prompt extradition of foreign nationals charged with acts of terrorism even if the charges are capital offences in the country where they were committed. Anti-terrorism legislation must change our laws regarding the extradition of suspected terrorists.

Terrorism knows no borders, so we cannot let Canada become a safe haven for those who would rely on the humanitarian compassion of Canadian laws to avoid justice in their own countries or the countries where they have committed their murderous crimes.

If a government like the United States seeks people accused of terrorism in Canada and we are convinced that there is reasonable evidence, we should turn them over regardless of the fact that they may face a penalty there that would not apply here. This would require a change in Canadian law to send a signal to terrorists that they cannot take advantage of Canada to avoid facing justice for their crimes in other countries.

One can imagine the outrage if one of the perpetrators of those awful acts in New York City or Washington, maybe even the criminal mastermind who so carefully co-ordinated the flight schedules of the terrorists, found his way to Canada and we found ourselves, as we would today, unable to extradite such a person to the United States to face justice.

Canadian law must address this possibility now. It is a very real possibility that those suspected of these horrendous crimes could be headed for, if not already having crossed, the Canadian border.

Some may say that is a hypothetical possibility. A Yemeni national whose flight to the U.S. was diverted to Toronto is currently being held for possessing false passports. He had Lufthansa uniforms in his possession even though he was not an airline employee. This person may have been involved in the planning of the atrocities that took place in the United States and may be charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Thanks to the U.S. supreme court decision concerning Burns and Rafay it is doubtful whether the government could extradite that person to face the consequences of the murderous actions in the United States. Most Canadians will not stand for that.

The government may have objected to our call for the detention and deportation to their country of origin of failed refugee claimants or others illegally in Canada who have been linked to terrorist organizations. Canada has a wonderful reputation for having open arms and an open heart to those people truly seeking safety and wanting to pursue their hopes and dreams in a nation that promotes freedom and democracy.

That is a reputation we richly have and deserve. We also have a reputation for being a haven to people of evil intent who are opposed to freedom and democracy, who do not mind the thoughts of planning mass destruction and murder. That is a reputation we need to shed and we can only do it with clear options.

Ahmed Ressam failed his refugee claim. He was under investigation by CSIS and he was arrested for theft in Montreal. Yet he could not be deported. Why? It is because Canada does not deport people to Algeria. This ridiculous policy means that Canada could become a haven for terrorists from any country whose legal systems are not perfect reflections of the Marquis of Queensbury rules.

This has to change because it is absurd. Somebody illegally in Canada from a country like Egypt, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, who has broken our laws, who has been linked to terrorism, who has possibly murdered our citizens, may be able to stay in this country with impunity and only asked to check in at an Immigration Canada office once or twice a month.

Nabil Al-Marabh, a failed refugee claimant, arrested for trying to enter the United States on a false passport was released by the Immigration and Refugee Board on July 11. He has since been arrested in Chicago as a possible suspect in the World Trade Center attacks. He should have been detained or deported to his country of origin and not allowed to roam free on the streets of Toronto and perhaps free to plan the horror that took place on the streets of New York City.

These were the common sense anti-terrorist policies rejected by the government when it rejected the Canadian Alliance motion on anti-terrorism legislation. Now the government, belatedly, is talking about bringing forward legislation of its own.

We are telling the government today that our motion is the standard to which we will hold it accountable. We hope that the government has the courage to swallow its pride and bring forward legislation that will satisfy all six of our provisions and satisfy what the majority of Canadians want to see. We want to give whole support to the government at this time in the war against terrorism, but the government needs to give us something to support.

Anti-terrorism legislation is just one part of an effective war on terrorism. We also need measures to increase the security of our borders, to improve safety in our airports and on our airplanes, and to ensure that our cities have effective emergency preparedness plans and that vital facilities like nuclear plants are safe.

We have seen little action on safety and security in the last two weeks from the government. We have seen the Minister of Transport move to order cockpit doors locked on airplanes and apparently airlines are replacing metal with plastic cutlery although we have not seen that happen yet.

However we have not seen the kinds of safety and security measures that Canadians are looking for. There is no government money for improved baggage screening. There is no provision for increased RCMP, customs and immigration enforcement presence at our airports.

Many Canadians are reeling over the layoffs at Air Canada. However, before the government rushes in with financial aid we should first look at where it has clear responsibility to act quickly to protect the safety and security of our airports and airlines. Let us restore consumer confidence in the airlines so that once again Canadians will fly with a sense of security in our skies. If we are to put taxpayer dollars to work, let us put them to work in security first.

Instead we have seen a complete rejection of the idea of air marshals despite the fact that El Al, the safest airline in the world, has had them for 30 years and despite the fact that the United States is now implementing them. What is the problem with air marshals on airplanes? It is one of the things that Canadians would like to see. If the government wants to increase the confidence of the flying public, providing air marshals would be one of the strongest confidence building measures it could take.

We need to protect the integrity of our border with the United States. Despite the Prime Minister's assurance that Americans had no concerns about the Canadian border, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft stated yesterday that the Canada-U.S. border “has become a transit point for several individuals involved in terrorism”.

Attorney General Ashcroft announced that enforcement on the Canadian border would be beefed up, a sentiment that may send chills up the spines of Canadians in places like Windsor and from coast to coast where a total of some $2 billion in trade flows each and every day.

If we want to avoid a crackdown in Canada on the U.S.-Canada border that would hurt Canada, we must do our best to show that we take the security of Canada and the United States seriously.

This is an issue of personal safety and security and of economic safety and security. In a time of uncertainty in the markets we need to send certain signals of security so that the markets will respond accordingly.

We have to consider creating a more effective border control and taking such measures as arming Canada customs guards with sidearms for the performance of their duties. Part of this is ensuring that we have identification systems that are not open to abuse.

We have seen how easy it was for Ahmed Ressam to obtain a Canadian passport with only a forged baptismal certificate. We know from Immigration Canada's own documents that the IMM 1000 permanent residence document is easily forged and frequently sold on the black market, but the government does not plan to bring in new security ID cards until 2003. We cannot wait; terrorists will not be waiting.

In the United States, next to the efforts to create an international coalition to fight terrorism, the most dramatic response has been to create a new office of homeland security under former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. He will be responsible to integrate the different domestic security and safety agencies that are operative in the United States.

We need to talk about this. We need a discussion to see if efficiency and reaction times to protect our citizens can be improved. We need to discuss how that might happen.

We are not saying this is the answer. We are not saying it is an answer. However we need to have at least a discussion to consider the possibilities. What is prominent in our minds is the safety and security of all Canadians. That issue should be foremost. It should get full consideration.

Finally I will return to where I began: Canada's international role in fighting the war against terrorism. There is much Canada could do at the international level, both diplomatically and as a provider of humanitarian aid, to improve the human condition and alleviate the excruciating pain of refugees and people in wartorn countries.

We must see that we do all we can. This should be a key focus, but it should be done without taking our eyes off the goal of doing all we can to fight terrorism.

Unlike the United Kingdom, Canada cannot be relied on to make a significant military contribution to a potential campaign against the Taliban or other possible state sponsors of terrorism. I want to say clearly that this is no fault of the brave, committed, courageous and dedicated people of our armed forces. They are committed to freedom and safety and to protecting it at any cost. We appreciate and respect that. We want them to be supported and given the resources to be able to do the job.

As we lose our ability to fulfill our international military commitments to our allies because of a lack of resources, our international diplomatic clout with our allies and others will decline accordingly. It has been doing that.

Britain has already provided troops to the U.S. led coalition. British SAS forces may already be engaged in action against the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. As a consequence the United Kingdom is taking the war on terrorism seriously. The British foreign secretary is visiting the Middle East and taking the initiative in firming up the coalition. Prime Minister Blair was invited to take a position of honour at President Bush's speech during which Blair accepted the president's compliment that the United States had no truer friend than Great Britain.

Britain's role on the world stage in this crisis is significant and secure because Britain is ready and willing to commit the resources necessary to make an important contribution to the war against terrorism.

Canada's ability to make a contribution is seriously in question. Under the terms of the 1994 defence white paper Canada is pledged to make certain military commitments to its allies.

In a crisis we are in a serious position. The 1994 document commits the Canadian forces to deploying overseas one brigade, which is approximately 5,000 troops; one battalion group, which is approximately 1,000 troops; and to do so within 90 days. The vanguard elements of the force must deploy within 21 days.

The white paper also says that Canada must be able to deploy one CF-18 fighter wing with at least two squadrons of 12 to 24 aircraft each; a naval task force consisting of four to six destroyers and frigates, one to two submarines and one support ship; an Aurora land based maritime patrol aircraft; and a supporting transport squadron with C-130 transport aircraft.

Almost every external expert on Canadian defence policy is highly doubtful about whether we can deliver on any of these commitments. It is not due to lack of desire. It is due to a lack of resources from the government to equip our troops to be there when needed.

I want Canada to make an effective contribution to fight this war. However there is an obligation to point out some of the serious shortcomings facing the men and women who serve in our armed forces. I will address some of the concerns about Canadian commitments.

As I have said, we are pledged to provide one fighter wing of between 24 and 48 aircraft to our allies. During the war in Kosovo, Canada deployed one reinforced CF-18 fighter squadron of 18 aircraft. This constituted a maximum commitment involving nearly all our combat ready CF-18 pilots. Unfortunately many of these pilots have since left the air force. We ran out of precision guided munitions or smart bombs and had to secure emergency supplies from our allies. We did not have a strategic refuelling tanker aircraft to support fighter deployments.

Much of the army's major equipment, such as Leopard C1 tanks and M113 armoured personnel carriers, is antiquated. The government will claim some of the equipment has been modernized. However the so-called modernization was criticized as inadequate by the auditor general's April 1998 report.

In other areas the army has no capability at all. It has no attack or heavy lift helicopters. For an army that stresses mobility this is surprising and saddening. Our inability to deploy ground troops overseas is poor. During Kosovo it took two months to deploy 800 ground troops to the region.

In an article in the Canadian Military Journal in the spring of 2000 the commander of task force Kosovo, Colonel Michael Ward, described the airlift for that deployment as a near catastrophe. That description came from one of our committed and dedicated colonels involved in the task force.

Our claim to be able to deploy ground units within the timeframe suggested by the white paper is dubious and for several reasons.

First, the army has not exercised at the brigade level for nine years. DND admits that if it deployed a brigade it could not sustain it for longer than six months. DND says deployment timeframes of 21 or 90 days are needed to assemble a formation and make it ready to move to the point of embarkation. Actual deployment and training in theatre would take additional time.

Second, our air and sea transport is in bad shape. Our air force has no heavy lift aircraft. It must rely on our allies, or incredibly it must rent aircraft. Nineteen of our thirty-two C-130 transports are about 35 years old and badly in need of replacement. The navy has only two support ships which must be used either to transport troops or to refuel and rearm ships at sea. Using the ships for one task means they would be unavailable for the other.

Third, the United States has quietly informed Canada that it will not accept a commitment of less than a brigade within its operational space for ground combat operations. A brigade sized unit is seen as the minimum because smaller units are not self-sufficient fighting formations.

Fourth, while our navy is probably in the best shape of all our forces even it has problems. The navy could probably assemble the task group it is committed to provide. However at present one of its four destroyers and seven of its twelve frigates are at reduced readiness. That means it would take some time to ready them for deployment.

The navy is short about 400 highly skilled technical personnel. This will make activating ships very difficult. In addition, not all our new submarines ordered from Britain have yet been delivered. The 35 year old Sea King helicopters are in terrible shape, as I mentioned earlier. They are often unable to get airborne due to breakdowns.

Why are our armed forces in such desperate shape? It is because between 1993 and 1999 the Liberals cut the defence budget by 30% in real terms. We are tired of hearing about a little bump upward here and a little bump upward there. It does not compensate for a 30% reduction in real terms since 1993.

Over the past 10 years the total number of military personnel numbers has fallen from about 90,000 to less than 58,000. That is a 35% drop. While the government claims the forces are more combat capable than they were 10 years ago, the facts tell another story. Some new equipment is beginning to arrive but it is not sufficient in and of itself to restore capability.

A parade of former officers, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and the auditor general have raised similar concerns about the combat capabilities of the Canadian forces.

The government put new money into defence in the year 2000, a move it constantly trumpets as a great success. However it has been assessed by many independent experts as insufficient to address the broader crisis, and it is a crisis, in the Canadian forces. Very little of the increase will go to equipment. Most of it will make up for shortfalls in the operational budget.

The auditor general has identified a potential funding shortfall in the equipment budget of $30 billion up to and including the year 2012. If Canada is to be taken seriously in the international war against terrorism we must act at once to rebuild our military. We must be capable of meeting our commitments in the white paper of 1994. We must take this matter seriously because we are no longer at peace. We are at war with terrorism.

As I said to the House last week, the war on terrorism is not what William James called “The Moral Equivalent of War”, the periodic moral and social campaigns against collective problems like the so-called war on drugs or the war on poverty. This is a real war and it will be fought, at least in part, with ships, artillery and airplanes.

The Minister of National Defence has emphasized that this will not be a conventional war, or perhaps not in whole. As we have said, the war against terrorism will be waged on a lot of fronts. It will involve intelligence work, law enforcement, domestic safety, security, diplomatic initiatives and humanitarian aid. However conventional warfare will undoubtedly be involved.

For 50 years NATO has existed as a purely defensive military alliance, possibly the most successful military alliance in modern history. NATO has never needed to intervene to protect one of its members from external attack because it seemed unthinkable that any aggressor would attack a country protected by the umbrella of the alliance.

All that changed on Tuesday, September 11, when an enemy attacked the largest city of the most powerful member of the NATO alliance. All that changed on September 11, when 6,000 innocent civilians were brutally murdered by fire from the sky.

On Wednesday, September 12, for the first time in its history NATO invoked its fundamental principle, article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all.

This is the time to stand by our friends, our allies and especially our neighbour to the south. We must leave no doubt whatsoever as to our commitment to them and to NATO. We have neither seen or heard from the Liberal government the same clear level of support offered by the government of the United Kingdom or even the government of Australia.

As I have said before, there are no rear guard positions in the war on terrorism. There are only frontlines. That is exactly where Canada should be. We should be standing shoulder to shoulder with other democratic nations that believe in, support and cherish freedom and democracy as much as we do.

I will reiterate our obligation under article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Article 5 in part states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them...shall be considered an attack against them all and...if such an armed attack occurs, each of them...will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith...such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force--

We are morally obliged to offer all assistance possible within our capabilities, up to and including military assistance, to the United States and our NATO allies if requested.

We must all stand together in a great coalition against this darkness and this evil of terrorism. But, if we are to do our share, as we hope the Prime Minister will commit to doing, we must rapidly rebuild our forces and make sure that procurement is improved.

We want peace, make no mistake about that, but we must remember that the best way of ensuring peace is to have a strong and committed Canadian forces.

In all the areas I have outlined, comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation, measures to increase the safety and security of Canadians, a clear commitment to strengthen national defence and to a Canadian military war against terrorism, and humanitarian aid, the government has fallen down.

As we face future threats of terrorism, whether they originate from Osama bin Laden and his allies and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, we will need to move swiftly and resolutely on all these fronts.

What we have seen over the last two weeks in terms of specific action, not glowing words or rambling rhetoric, has not been encouraging. We have seen a government that is relying too much on rhetoric and tiny baby steps, never doing by halves what it can do by quarters.

We want to support the government and the Prime Minister but we need something specific to support.

I have taken the time this afternoon to lay out our concerns in detail and to convey the seriousness with which the official opposition is taking in this war on terrorism. We also believe absolutely that we are reflecting the concerns of a majority of our citizens. We know that in a time of war the opposition has a special duty to support the Prime Minister and the government as far as conscience allows.

I have to say that immediately upon seeing, watching and hearing about these evil attacks on New York City, I was immediately in communication with our Prime Minister, immediately saying that we would be there to support, to stand side by side and to be with the government.

I have indicated a number of times in the last several days that we want to support. A number of times I have stood in the House and outside the House and, even for the small things the government has done, I have expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister. I have thanked the Prime Minister. I have said that we will support the Prime Minister. I have said those things many times.

All of us have watched with some dismay at the difference in response from the leader of the government as we watched where time and again in the United States the president of the United States takes the initiative, reaches out to members of the opposition, members of the senate majority and minority parties, and includes them in discussion on legislation, in discussion on what needs to be done. He even includes them in the memorial services.

We have seen nothing, not one of those things, from the Prime Minister or the government, and yet we continue to stand here and say that we want to support the Prime Minister and the government. We must give Canadians something specific to support in the war against terrorism.

TerrorismOral Question Period

September 25th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

That is not an action, Mr. Speaker.

The Prime Minister surprised opposition members yesterday when he told reporters in Washington that we were blocking legislation currently before the House that would ratify the international convention on terrorist financing. In fact, last week the government voted against the Canadian Alliance when we moved to ratify the convention.

Bill C-16 does not ban terrorist fundraising. It only takes away their tax receipts. To which bill currently before the House is the Prime Minister referring? Which bill will fulfill Canada's commitments under the international convention? Which bill was the Prime Minister talking about?

Canada-U.S. MeetingGovernment Orders

September 20th, 2001 / 10:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Chairman, it is with sadness but hope that I participate in this special debate this evening, as parliamentarians from all parties continue to express their sympathy, empathy and support for our friends and neighbours in the United States of America in the wake of the tragedy of September 11.

This debate is being undertaken to assist our Prime Minister as he prepares to meet U.S. President Bush next Monday and as the world readies its response to the terrible terrorist attack on thousands of innocent victims in New York City and Washington, D.C. I would point out that this debate is a result of the government implementing even better measures than past governments allowed for members of parliament from all parties, whatever level of the bench, to participate actively in assisting government to devise appropriate policies as we move forward.

I expressed shock for and support of the constituents of my riding of Algoma--Manitoulin who can hardly believe the events that have unfolded before our very eyes. We also pay tribute to the firemen, police and other rescue workers who have worked tirelessly to find those who may have survived these tragic events. We can hardly count the loss of family, friends and work mates. Shock waves will be felt for years to come.

I must admit to a great sense of pride, having seen the outpouring of pity and support for stranded travellers who landed at different airports in Canada, to those who have participated in the numerous memorials, particularly the wonderful and very spiritual ceremony on Parliament Hill last Friday, to those who have given blood or money.

I would like to point out that there was a very nice letter from a former CFL player, J.C. Watts, who is now a U.S. congressman. In his letter he thanked Canada for its support at this very difficult time. I recommend this letter to the editor in the September 17 issue of the Globe and Mail .

I also want to acknowledge the calls and e-mails from constituents who have expressed a variety of views but certainly a consistent view of support for our American friends and neighbours. I thank Susan Hare, Art Blackledge, Keith Hobach, Wayne Van Sickle, Larry Killins, Dean Anderson, Sandra Saxson, Robyn Kaufman and many others for taking the time to contact me and to help me and all of us come to the best solution at this difficult time.

Our task tonight is to try to imagine the Prime Minister in his meeting next Monday with U.S. President Bush and his closest advisors. I am certain, after expressing again the empathy, sorrow and grief of Canadians, that he will want to get on to the very important business of what do we do next? I suspect he will consider very seriously ideas and comments such as follows.

First, that Canada as a full NATO partner, recognizes that an act against one of our partners is an act against ourselves. It is an act against all those who hold democracy and freedom among mankind's loftiest goals. The Prime Minister might consider and I am sure he will exhort President Bush to continue to take the necessary time to fully understand, as much as possible, the challenge ahead.

We all want to eradicate terrorism from the world. It has been with us a long time. The solutions will take a long time.

This is clearly not a traditional war with agreements, protocols and conventions. It is a war with no rules. It is a war with an unnamed and unknown, and where do we find such an enemy? As one U.S. official said “this is a marathon not a sprint”.

The Prime Minister might also want to exhort President Bush to resist the temptation to see this war against terrorism as an act needing revenge. Nor should this war be seen as a battle between good and evil. Nor should this war be seen as a battle among religions.

We all know that the vast majority of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and those of all faiths, believe in reaching their higher goals through peaceful means. It is only the extremists, the few in all societies sadly, who wish to impose their self-centered, selfish and greedy views on others.

I see terrorists, like criminals everywhere or like biker gangs or drug lords, as those who profit from destabilizing society. I see them more like a disease. We must use measures that are unusual but effective, for in their attempts to diminish law and order, they increase their control in profit. Decent people everywhere loathe such behaviour, regardless of race, colour, creed and religion.

The Prime Minister will no doubt say that Canada is prepared to stand “shoulder to shoulder with our U.S. neighbours and friends”. The free world must act decisively and firmly together to reduce or indeed eliminate the threat of terrorism everywhere, not just here at home.

In offering Canada's military strength, a military of which we are very proud, we recognize that the traditional big gun approach will not likely work. This is a time for precise, well-considered, multilateral action that is both firm, forceful and accurate.

I caution the unnecessary creation of martyrs among the terrorist leaders, which may not serve us well over the long term.

I would like to point out for my opposition friends, particularly the previous speaker, that Canada has taken much action already, action started long before the tragic events of last week, actions such as signing all 12 of the UN counter terrorism conventions and actions such as allocating $1.5 billion in the year 2000 budget for the RCMP, CSIS and other departments related to public safety.

The government introduced Bill C-16 weeks ago, which deals with charitable organization registration and money being flowed to terrorist groups. This bill would put an end to it.

I could go on about other measures taken by the government.

I would like to come to the end of my remarks by asking whether, in offering Canada's full support to whatever extent all of NATO and our U.S. neighbours in particular require, we should also look at this as an opportunity that within this cloud there is a silver lining to find a degree of global co-operation and co-ordination, which we have never reached, and that, in taking a little extra time to get it right, this might lead to international co-operation on scourges beyond terrorism, scourges such as poverty, disease, pollution and others.

When all is said and done, I believe Canada needs to be there with its counter-intelligence, expertise, military resources, diplomatic resources, humanitarian resources and whatever we can offer, all the while remaining fully sovereign when it comes to making decisions that affect our security and our people. Canada has and will continue to be a beacon of light in the world, a beacon of peace but one prepared as a nation to act.

God bless the world.

SupplyGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2001 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my remarks to one narrow aspect of the motion before us and that is the part of the motion that calls on anti-terrorism legislation that should specifically ban fundraising for the purposes of supporting terrorism anywhere in the world. It is all very well to pass legislation like that but if there is not the ability to actually implement a ban like that then it falls far short of what is desired.

Mr. Speaker, you of all people will remember that for many years now I have been an active campaigner for the reform of Canada's charity legislation and regulations. You will know and remember, Mr. Speaker, that I did two reports in which I examined some 500 charities. I examined their financial information returns, compared them to the published financial statements that they put out and kept track of them in a general fashion.

Mr. Speaker, you will also remember that what I found was that Canada's $90 billion charity industry runs essentially without any kind of legislative oversight whatsoever. In other words, the money is being raised by big charities and small charities across the land and is being spent and no one knows how it is being raised or where it is being spent.

I am the first to say that there are many very good charities but the reality is Canada has become notorious worldwide for the ease with which a terrorist organizations and groups engaged in ethnic conflicts in various parts of the world use Canada's absence of meaningful not for profit legislation in order to raise money here in Canada and transfer those funds to support these conflicts abroad.

Mr. Speaker, I know you will find this hard to believe and many of the members in the House will probably be surprised to hear this, but the reality is that there are only guidelines for charities in Canadian federal legislation. There are no actual standards of financial reporting. There are no standards of corporate governance and we have a situation where a charity can raise a million dollars or so. A small charity with some ethnic ties abroad can raise this money and there is no mechanism at all for the federal government to determine how that money was raised because there is no requirement to keep receipts. The money can then be disbursed by third parties. It literally can be transferred out of the country and spent by a third party in ways that we will never know.

This is obviously an invitation to all kinds of abuse. This is not the time, in this particular sensitive time, to actually name the type of organizations or name the specific organizations that I have encountered that are engaged in very unusual activities.

However, let me give the House an example of what I discovered. I discovered, for example, a very large and well known charity that engages in overseas community project development which was receiving millions of dollars a year from the Canadian government to further these developments in third world countries abroad. When I attempted to get from the charity the names of these organizations, I could get brochures and beautiful pictures and all those kinds of thing, but the charity was never able to supply me with the names of the organizations, the addresses or the telephone numbers. In this particular case it was in India where it was actually operating. The irony was that in this particular instance the Canadian International Development Agency actually sent a team abroad to look at this particular development. They looked at it and made a report but two years later, even though it was still receiving money, there was no trace of it. We have to ask ourselves what this charity was doing with the money that it was actually receiving from the Government of Canada?

In another instance I found a charity that was not an ethnic charity at all. It was engaged in a certain activity abroad that was regarded in the public interest. I will not say what that activity was but it involved officials from the charity leaving Canada and going to various countries, generally in the Middle East. An audit was done on that charity by CIDA and it was found that the charity officials were carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash by airplane to the Middle East.

Mr. Speaker, I just leave it to your imagination what an organization, what individuals would possibly be doing bringing cash into the Middle East when I would point out to you that the Middle East is not the end of the world. It is possible to have proper electronic transfers of money to this part of the world so you have to ask yourself what is going on.

The numbers of instances of this kind of thing are, I am sorry to say, legion. I do not like to suggest even for a moment that all charities are engaged in this kind of thing but the reality is that we as a country, indeed we as a federal government, have failed absolutely in our responsibility to Canadians and our responsibility to ethnic Canadians, those people who have settled in Canada and taken out Canadian citizenship or just settled in Canada. Our responsibility to them is to guarantee that they are not subject to pressure from their homelands to finance conflicts that still exist in their homelands. This is not just a question about whether money is being raised in this country to finance terrorism abroad, it is a question of whether money is being raised in this country to finance the ethnic conflicts in the various homelands.

I have made many representations to government on this. About two years ago it did appear that cabinet was prepared to look at the not for profit sector and bring in some legislation and some rules that particularly pertain to the transparency in their financial dealings. I regret to say that because of, I think, a very strong lobby from the very large charitable organizations and the charity leadership in this country, the government backed off. I think the argument was that the charity industry, even though it is a very large industry, was not willing to accept the red tape that comes from keeping good financial books.

I should say in passing that under Canadian legislation a charity, no matter how large or how small, does not require a proper auditor to do its books. Basically anyone can do the books of a charity. The only reporting a charity is required to do is a financial information return to Revenue Canada. There is no law on the books that even requires the charity to fill out the lines.

The official opposition raised the point that the legislation that was introduced, Bill C-16, was designed to lift the charitable registration status of organizations that are suspected by the security services of raising money for illegal activities abroad. What I must point out is that this falls completely short of actually solving the problem or even coming close to answering the problem.

The reality is that because of the Access to Information Act we cannot see even the non-profit organizations' financial statements to government. In other words, the world police organizations have recognized that because of Canada's open or lack of legislation with respect to charities, we are the most backward of all nations with respect to legislation on charities. Because of that, we are a favoured nation for raising funds, not only for terrorism but for ethnic conflicts and, I fear, even for organized crime.

SupplyGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2001 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is also with a heavy heart that I address the House today. As many of my colleagues have already said, it is difficult to put into words the immense sorrow that has been caused due to the terrorist attacks carried out on the United States one week ago.

I wish to express my deepest condolences on behalf of myself, my family and the constituents of Surrey North to all the victims and their families and indeed to all the people of the United States.

At about 6:30 last Tuesday morning the phone rang at my home in Surrey, British Columbia. My wife answered it and it was my daughter calling from Vancouver. She had just turned on her radio and heard something about an aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center in New York.

I turned on the TV and sat there stunned at what I was seeing, columns of thick black smoke billowing from those two monoliths. Then came the video replays of the second aircraft smashing into the south tower.

Those of us who commute from the west coast do so on Boeing 767s more often than not. When I boarded flight 1138 on Sunday morning I realized that I would never look at a 767 in quite the same way again.

As the live coverage continued the north tower collapsed. I thought about the people trapped in that terrifying death plunge. My stomach knotted and I went numb.

There is only one time in my life that I can recall feeling what I was feeling during that brief moment which seemed like an eternity. That was nine years ago one month from today in a hospital emergency room when we were told that they were unable to resuscitate our son who had been stabbed. I never thought I could feel like that again, but that moment last Tuesday brought me as close as I ever want to get.

At some point during the following few minutes I came to another frightening realization. I had been so caught up in watching events unfold on television that I completely lost sight of the fact that my sister worked in Manhattan. About a very anxious hour later, just as I was leaving home for my office, the phone rang again. Thankfully it was my niece in Toronto calling to say that her mother, my sister, had managed to get a call out to let everybody know that she was all right.

I spoke with my sister on Tuesday evening. Her office is about a half hour's walk from ground zero. I spoke with her again the night before last and she told me that a relative of one of her co-workers was missing in the rubble. I went to the office and I suspect like most Canadians I was glued to the television for the rest of the day.

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The loss felt is very deep and personal to each and every one of us. Included among the casualties are several Canadians. As an elected member of parliament I offer my sincere condolences to those Canadian families directly affected by this senseless act of war.

I express my gratitude and pay tribute to the thousands of Canadians who have offered their help in the wake of the tragedy, from those who have given blood, to the rescue workers, doctors, nurses and emergency personnel that have aided in the rescue effort.

I want to mention members of the Vancouver urban search and rescue team. They finally received authorization to deploy to New York and were ready to go. My understanding is that there were two Canadian Forces C-130s in the air on the way to pick them up when for whatever reason U.S. authorities changed their minds and told them that they were not required. When I spoke with one of the team members I could sense the frustration and disappointment of not being able to go and help.

What is most troubling to me is that these were not simply acts of terrorism carried out against an individual nation. The attacks on the United States last week were an open declaration of war on all democracies worldwide. I would like to take a moment in the House, a symbol of Canadian freedom and democracy, to add my support to the government in taking resolute action against terrorism.

I take this opportunity to call on the Government of Canada and all Canadians to take action and lend whatever support and resources are necessary to eradicate terrorism and those who would threaten our free and democratic way of life.

As Canada's elected representatives we must ask many painful questions, not for political purposes but to ensure that everything is done to prevent such horrific tragedies as we have seen recently in the United States.

We must do this to send a signal around the world that Canadians are protectors of peace, freedom and democracy and that we will join the free world to help in relentlessly hunting down those who so viciously and in a cowardly way attack those foundations of the free world.

Some of the questions we need to ask are these. What will we need to do provide greater security at our borders and airports? How can we change our laws to prevent foreign terrorists from entering and living in Canada or using it as a fundraising centre? How much capacity do we have to offer Canadian military assistance to the United States and our NATO allies in forming an international coalition against terrorism and its sponsors?

At a very minimum I would urge the government to bring in long delayed anti-terrorism legislation in a manner that reflects the seriousness of the current situation.

A few years ago, a constituent of mine, Mr. Tara Singh Hayer, a respected Sikh newspaper publisher, was murdered in his driveway. A few years before that he had been shot at and was paralyzed. The most recent crime, his murder, remains unsolved, but extremists are implicated.

His daughter Rupinder spearheaded a 12,000 name petition in the Indo-Canadian community, calling on the government to tighten immigration laws and hunt down and deport terrorists hiding in Canada. To date nothing has been done.

Last year members of the Sri Lankan community in my constituency visited me. They were extremely critical of Bill C-16 in that it does not go anywhere near far enough to curb terrorism. They want support of terrorism to be made a crime. I have also had individuals from the Indo-Canadian community in my office who were extremely critical of Canada's immigration and refugee policies. These are members of the immigrant community themselves.

I am also compelled to speak of the need to stay united and focused against the enemy, those people who threaten our way of life through acts of terrorism.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

a) freedom of conscience and religion;

b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

d) freedom of association.

I feel it is necessary to remind all Canadians of the charter because at times like this some, and I repeat, some find it easy to feel anger against certain elements of our population. Let us not forget the lessons of the past when Japanese Canadians were detained and denied the freedoms outlined in the charter even though thousands of Canadians died during World War II to ensure that freedom and democracy could exist and that the charter could indeed be written and exercised in Canada.

This is why I am encouraging all Canadians to come together as a nation no matter what faith or religion they come from. We are Canadians first.

The reports of Muslim Canadians being harassed and made the targets of hate makes me sick. It is hard to believe that anyone could attribute the acts of barbarism carried out in the United States to any one particular faith. The perpetrators of these crimes are simply evil people who hide behind their religion as an excuse to perpetuate their evil.

To say the Muslim faith is responsible would be like saying that because Timothy McVeigh was a Christian all Christians were responsible for the bombing in Oklahoma City. I hope that all Canadians and people of the free world can appreciate this point and find tolerance in their hearts to work together. We must work together in order to eradicate our true enemy, those people who use terrorist tactics to take away our fundamental rights and freedoms.

In conclusion I can only reiterate the sentiment that has been expressed over and over: that speaking as one who understands the violent loss of a loved one, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with the victims and the families of these horrendous acts; that our resolve to wipe out terrorism has never been stronger; and finally, that as a strong nation united with our allies that uphold the cherished principles of freedom, democracy and justice, we can and will prevail against any evil that may try to take away from us our way of life.

Allotted Day--Anti-Terrorism LegislationGovernment Orders

September 18th, 2001 / 1:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was very moved by the comments of the member from the Canadian Alliance. She made some very good ones. I was very interested in listening to all the speeches, but I have to express myself and offer my comments as well.

I have listened to this entire debate while following what has been going on in the United States of America. When this barbaric act unfolded it was not republicans versus democrats. It was not a political issue. As much as I am encouraged and moved by some of the stories I am hearing, I certainly do not want to see it politicized.

I will explain what I am referring to. The member made a comment that nothing was being done. That is unfair because Canada did sign the international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism. Bill C-16 exists and we owe it to Canadians to make clear at least that Bill C-16 addresses that issue directly.

It is also very important to indicate that $1.5 billion in additional moneys was added. I am reaching out to the members of the Canadian Alliance and the Conservative Party, urging them that we do not politicize this system but that we put our heads together and move forward on it.