Mr. Speaker, in the last eight days we have witnessed with horror and heartache repeated acts of terrorism in Israel.
Today in the heart of downtown Tel Aviv a terrorist yet again carried out an attack against innocent individuals. Worse still, many of the casualties appear to be children.
All Canadians vigorously condemn these acts of terrorism. We are with the people of Israel at this tragic time. The Prime Minister has written to Prime Minister Peres. I have also written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Barak, to express our support.
Today, the Prime Minister of Canada asked the other heads of state meeting in Grenada to condemn the attacks in Israel and they agreed to.
Later this afternoon I will be meeting with members of the Israel committee to discuss their concerns. I will also be writing directly to PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to urge him to take all steps within his power to prevent further acts of terrorism.
I acknowledge very clearly, as we all must, that Canada must also do its own part. I will be speaking to my colleague, the solicitor general, and to other ministers to review what steps can be taken by Canada to ensure terrorists find no home here.
The issue of terrorist funding was raised in question period regarding the extent of the problem in Canada. We do not know how far, how modest or how great, but whatever the amount we know they can be important to groups themselves. Therefore we are committed to doing all we can to deprive terrorists of this funding.
We will also be discussing with our counterparts in the P-8 group of nations what further actions we can take to root out terrorism.
There is no doubt the terrorists who carried out these attacks had in mind one basic target, the Middle East peace process. It is tragic in today's world that the bad drives out the good and the extremists can force what was a positive, constructive development to turn this way.
We should remind ourselves today of all that has been accomplished in the peace process. Israel is at peace with its neighbours Egypt and Jordan. It has with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat found a partner. Now these partners must work together to defeat those who seek to destroy all the peace process has accomplished so far.
We think that the peace process must continue. It is the best response to terrorism.
Mr. Peres has carried on Yitzhak Rabin's peace efforts with courage and determination.
We have learned that there are people who believe they can achieve acts of change by the sword. I think all of us in the House are of the opinion that it really is through words, discussion and dialogue that peace is brought about. The events that so deeply penetrate our hearts, just as the shrapnel and weapons penetrated bodies, we have to continue to ask why such senseless acts. We are a generation that has witnessed far too many such acts of violence and terrorism and have seen so many cut down.
I am reminded of the words of Robert Kennedy when his brother was assassinated: "What has violence ever accomplished, what has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper or a terrorist is only a coward, not a hero. An uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people".
We are reminded this day of how fragile our societies are and how vulnerable to extremists, fanatics and true believers each of us really is. Even in our own country we receive some overtones of this.
We offer our great hope for the continuation of that peace process. We offer to the people of Israel and to all the Middle East a great hope that this terrorism can be brought to an end and that we can all work together to bring lasting peace and stability to this very tortured and troubled region.
It is my understanding that my parliamentary secretary has discussed matters with members of the opposition and they would be prepared to entertain a unanimous motion condemning the acts in Israel and offering our support for the peace process. We will circulate those for consideration during the period of motions. We ask the House to join us in expressing our deep concern.