House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was poetry.


Conflict Diamonds ActRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.


David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-402, an act to prohibit the importation of conflict diamonds into Canada.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to introduce into the House the conflict diamonds act, an act to prohibit the importation of conflict diamonds into Canada.

Specifically the bill would prohibit the importation of rough diamonds and jewellery containing diamonds from countries that do not have a system of import and export controls.

This is an important issue and it deserves more public debate in Canada. I hope my bill will add to the important global discussions currently taking place through the Kimberley process.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia


Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members


Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order that has its origins in something that happened in the House on Tuesday when we were voting on private member's bills. There was a procedure followed or a certain kind of behaviour allowed by the Chair at that time which I would like you to consider and rule on.

I will refrain from using any analogies that pertain to the political dimension of what happened and how it might have to do with sheep losing track of the shepherd, trained seals missing the cue from the trainer or anything like that. Far be it for me to indulge in such metaphors. However, I am concerned that members were allowed to vote after they had already taken a position; that is to say, after they had already abstained.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, on private members' motions we vote from the back. However what happened, I am sure by coincidence, on the government side was that people in the back row voted and then subsequently all the way down to the front row, and certain people abstained. They must have known that their row was voting. People on either side of them were rising to have their names recorded. They abstained and then, although I am not sure of the reason, there was a look of dismay on some people's faces in the fifth, fourth, third and perhaps even the second row when people in the first row voted in a way that was perhaps unexpected. Subsequent to that, after the vote had been taken, we had a somewhat appalling display of obsequiousness. People rose in their places to say that they meant to vote a certain way. Perhaps they were just daydreaming or mentally absent in some other way when the vote was taken.

That is fine but my concern is that those votes should not have been counted. Those people had a chance to vote. They abstained and their vote should not have been recorded. I believe it was recorded. I would certainly want to urge you, Mr. Speaker, to make a ruling or whatever it is in your wisdom you choose to do in order to make sure that kind of thing is not tolerated again.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The Chair had the advantage of having a brief opportunity to consider this matter because the hon. member did give me notice of his intention to raise this point of order before the House. I appreciate his references to lost sheep and so on.

The Chair has taken due notice of what has happened here. Sometimes in voting in the House members do forget to stand at the appropriate moment and miss the vote. We had for example the hon. the Deputy Prime Minister the other day stand up and indicate his intention to have voted for a government motion and the House gave its unanimous consent to allow his vote to be recorded. It was sought and obtained and the hon. member says it should be sought. Yes, in most instances I think it is, but not always.

The Chair, in anticipation of this question, last night made arrangements for words to be added to the instructions that were read out to the House before the vote was taken on private members' business last evening and I should perhaps read them for the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona and for the benefit of all hon. members. These words were added:

May I remind all hon. members that if they intend to vote, they must stand when their row is called.

I added again:

All members must stand when their row is called if they intend to vote.

Those words were added to those pious statements used by the Chair before a vote is called on private members' business. These are read out as instructions for all hon. members and I am sure they will be well heeded in future. If we run into this problem and the hon. member for Winnipeg--Transcona has to raise this kind of issue again, I feel confident that he will be able to make his point more quickly and perhaps ensure that if members are allowed to vote after their row has been called that the consent of the House is obtained first to permit that.

I notice that in this case, even if all the persons who stood and asked that their votes be recorded after the vote had been taken had been taken out, the result in terms of yeas or nays would have remained the same. In one sense I think the point of order is somewhat academic.

I know the hon. member is keen to stamp out this kind of wickedness. I know that effort is appreciated by all hon. members.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.


Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I would like to clarify something. I understand that the words were added, but what about the future?

Still, even if the words are read, they do not introduce a peremptory order; so, will you allow the vote of members to be recorded after the taking of a vote, as it was done? I think we need some clear guidelines on that point.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The idea is to ask that all members stand when their row is called if they intend to vote. If a member in the row being called does not stand at the proper time and later wishes to vote, that member will have to seek the unanimous consent of the House to do so. That is all. I hope this clarifies the issue for everybody.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.


Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

It is very clear.

The House resumed from October 17 consideration of the motion that Bill C-36, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act and other acts, and to enact measures respecting the registration of charities in order to combat terrorism, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, we return today to speak on Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism legislation that the government has brought forward. Members of the Canadian Alliance have made it clear that we will support every effort to put in place legislation that is effective, efficient and does the job of reducing and containing the threat of terrorism in the country.

We know the effects are widespread. Today on the lawn in front of the House of Commons we have Air Canada employees at a special rally dealing with the tremendous impact that the terrorism has had on our airline industry. The Air Canada employees are seeking answers and solutions from the government. They not only want to know about the safety and security of the airline industry, they also want to know about their jobs and the impact on their families.

I will speak for a few minutes about Air Canada.

The government pushed forward the merger of the two airlines. Every time the government tries to do something in the area of running a business and making business decisions, it always seems to come back and bite it in the back end. What has happened this time is that Air Canada's debt is so massive and it has so many problems, partly resulting from the merger, that it could possibly result in bankruptcy.

In addition, when the government became involved, Air Canada ended up signing an agreement with their employees guaranteeing no layoffs for four years. No business would sign agreements like that except one that is tied in with the thinking that the government will forever take care of things. That is crazy.

My last point before I go directly to Bill C-36 is the situation with the Air Canada pilots. I have many Air Canada pilots living in my riding. They have pointed out that they have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of merging the two pilot lists. It is totally unfair to the Air Canada pilots who have developed their careers and signed to work under certain situations, then, as a result of government actions, find it has been to their disadvantage.

I point this out because the terrorist acts have had a negative impact which has exaggerated the miscues of the government in that key sector of our economy.

I have a major concern with Bill C-36 is terrorists living in Canada. Certainly CSIS and the RCMP should provide intelligence gathering information on potential terrorists and make arrests at the appropriate time. There is a problem though.

I have noticed when Mr. Elcock has appeared before a committee, his position has been that he is an advisor to only the government and not to committees or anyone else. I find it strange that CSIS takes this position. Why can he not be more forthright with members of parliament who are also responsible for this anti-terrorism legislation?

Another area I have a concern with is the issue of the extradition of terrorists who are wanted in other countries and what the response of Canada will be to this, particularly when there is capital punishment in the country in which the terrorist has been charged.

The legislation does nothing to remedy the current extradition situation resulting from the Supreme Court of Canada decision referred to in the Burns v Rafay case. Since that decision, Canada has become a safe haven for criminals, including terrorists, who would seek to avoid the death penalty. The legislation is really needed to address this issue.

I do not know if the government fully appreciates the seriousness and the level to which we are open to terrorist attack in Canada. We have seen it around the world. Some countries have been living with it for years with events such as car bombings. These are the kinds of things terrorists do.

I do not know if the government is concerned to the point of bringing in legislation that is really required. Dealing with the issue of extradition is one on which we have to be black and white. A terrorist is a terrorist. If the evidence and charges are in another country, Canada should extradite the terrorist to stand trial, no matter what the penalty is, including the death penalty.

The legislation also has problems in guaranteeing reliable and long term funding for frontline workers in the war against terrorism. The frontline workers are the security people at our transportation points such as airports, railways and buses. We also have many people in the intelligence services of CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

I noted this morning that in the United States, and it may not be a terrorism issue, a bus was hijacked.

The second thing I would like to talk about briefly is Canada's food supply. I am the chief agriculture critic. This perhaps has not been spoken about to this point in any great depth, However, in the fight against terrorism, the United Nations FAO, food and agriculture, recently stated that it would put in place a rapid response type team to assist countries to immediately respond to bioterrorism in the world's food supply. This is not just for individual countries. Canada has the food supplies for our population. However, there are some countries that are not as fortunate. Whenever we have asked the agriculture minister what he is doing, we get a non-answer, and Hansard refers to that.

I will bring up the issue of our federal veterinarians, and I am sure the agriculture minister is listening to this. They have gone for years without a contract. If we have a bioterrorism attack against our livestock industry, has the government done anything about arranging for an agreement with veterinarians in the cities, who have cat and dog type services, to go where the main terrorism act would probably take place, and that is on the livestock industry?

These are questions that are not security sensitive in the sense that they cannot be released to the general public to reassure them that the government is taking good and proper action and is prepared.

It is time that the government was more forthright with Canadians and members of parliament on this whole terrorism issue.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I get at the heart of the matter, I want to say that our thoughts, our prayers and our wishes for peace are with the Afghan women and children who are trying to find refuge at the moment in various countries—we saw this on television this morning. In many places, the borders are closed and they are unable to find refuge. My thoughts are with these women and children. I sincerely hope that they find refuge, food, shelter and, most important, decent care through this terrible crisis.

I believe we must be very realistic about Bill C-36. The winds of panic have blown around the world and I think we as legislators and elected representatives must spread a message of calm and logic in all this. It is true as well that we would never have thought of having to pass legislation on terrorism but we have to deal with the situation.

However the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, must not change the principles guiding the way we live and do things. This would be the ultimate victory for the terrorists because we would have given in to terror.

We must, in our reactions, strike a balance between heightened security and freedom, which occupies a central and vital place in our society. We must protect ourselves, that is true, but to sacrifice our freedom would be to capitulate because freedom is something completely different. Our choices will not be about security. They will be about our society too, and it is in the context of this balance that we must analyze the bill.

We agree on the principle behind C-36. However, we have asked and continue to ask the government not to rush the bill through committee. It is an exceptional bill. It is new to the House, although we regularly vote on bills, but this one is not like the others and must not be treated like the others.

Yes, we must pass anti-terrorism legislation to deal with this crisis situation. However, we must also be logical. We must be sure that we are not violating the democratic rights of other groups. Let me give an example. If Greenpeace decided to stage a protest during an international conference taking place in Ottawa, and this law affected its democratic right to do so, and protesters were arrested based on provisions in Bill C-36, then it will not work. We must continue living in a democracy as we have done for years.

Yes, we must take exceptional measures, but once again we must respect the democratic rights of people, of the men and women who are here and who are law-abiding.

This being said, we are calling for a sunset clause. We want this legislation to be reviewed every year, if possible. Things will evolve. We do not know how the situation will change. We cannot tell what will happen tomorrow. We do not know if there will be biological attacks. We do not have any idea. There is a wind a of panic blowing right now.

Clearly, everyone is becoming a bit paranoid. However, I believe that in time, calm will return. We must be careful. We do have to deal with the situation. However, this bill must not be carved in stone. A war should not last 100 years. I expect, I hope this situation is temporary. I hope we will find some solutions.

We are asking that the legislation be reviewed every year and that after three years it be brought back before the House for review and amendment, if need be. Things may evolve in a way that we cannot imagine today. Legislation such as this must not be left on the books indefinitely.

There could be a change of government. All sorts of things can happen. Therefore the act should automatically be brought back before the House so we can review it and make improvements, if necessary.

As we know, when we pass an act it is not always perfect. It is when we implement it that we can see whether it works or not. Therefore, we must make sure that we do not adversely affect the rights and freedoms currently enjoyed by people and groups of people.

In other words, we must continue to live normally while also protecting ourselves. If we have reasonable doubts concerning an individual or a group of people, we must be able to stop them before they commit terrorist acts.

I fully agree with that but we must also not go to the other extreme. A degree of balance is necessary and it could be achieved through a specific act within a well defined framework.

I suppose we will conclude second reading today and then the bill will be referred to the committee. What is worrisome is that the minister is already prepared to appear before the committee, this afternoon I believe, to discuss the legislation. Witnesses will be invited to submit briefs on this issue, but these people have not really had any time to prepare for this.

We know that preparation is important and that this is an exceptional act. It is unusual for us to make such decisions. We must give witnesses and the public time to properly examine the bill, and we must make the necessary amendments to protect the public and to protect democracy, because this is very important in a country like Canada or in a province like Quebec. We must absolutely be able to continue to live freely, while also making sure we can react quickly to terrorist groups or to specific terrorist acts.

I noticed in today's edition of Le Devoir that some Liberal members are also concerned about this bill.

We must be careful. Objections are already being raised, even on the government side. Members do not necessarily object to the bill, but there certainly is some resistance to it.

The bill should be amended and I hope that, for once, the government will listen to members, to its experts. These people know what they are talking about, many of them being lawyers, people who know the law. They say that we need a sunset clause because there is a concern. The bill must be in force only for a set number of years. Again, we must make sure not to carve this in stone. We must be able to react rapidly, to make changes.

Consequently, if many government members are prepared to put forward important amendments to the bill, the government may have no choice but to finally listen.

In conclusion, I hope that this bill, which seems to be unanimously supported in the House, will be much improved and that the proposals made by the Bloc Quebecois will be taken into account, because they are crucial to democracy and freedom.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the events of September 11 will forever be engrained in our minds. The lives that were lost will be mourned and remembered for years to come. Lives of entire generations have changed. Innocence, peace and security have been shattered. These terrorist acts need to be answered. To do nothing is to give these organizations the right to repeat these horrendous acts.

The United States has begun attacks on al-Qaeda training camps, communication stations and other known terrorist strongholds. I agree with its efforts as it seeks justice for the 5,000 plus men and women who died on September 11. Those lives must be remembered and their killers brought to justice. Canada must support the United States and its allies as they fight for freedom from terrorism for the whole world. Part of the struggle against terrorism must begin here at home.

A recent motion put forward by the Canadian Alliance made several key points. Those points were not extremist or discriminatory. We are not racists or bigots for asking questions on behalf of Canadians. Those points were put forward because this is a war like no other. There is no clear target or country. We are fighting against a militant and radical idea of extremism that seeks to destroy the freedom we so enjoy. This is a highly skilled effort that will see the terrorist element sought out and destroyed.

As Canada sends in troops and equipment, I commend those men and women of the Canadian armed forces for their involvement and offer our sincere thanks and gratitude for their dedication to our country. Their patriotism and devotion must be applauded. We must stand behind these brave men and women as they risk all to ensure the safety of others. Our thoughts and prayers are with those Canadians who have joined the allied forces in this most important battle against terrorism and the evil that has invaded our world.

The citizens of Canada are upset and concerned about their role and place in this traumatic situation. How will we get through this war as a country? Will we ever feel safe again? My constituents and all Canadians want to know if the armed forces and our protective service agencies will be adequately funded. If our armed forces were properly funded, there would be no need for personnel to stand in line at food banks or have wheels fall off trucks.

The government has yet to make a definite financial commitment to this fight against terrorism. Without proper funding the proposed legislation does little to ensure the safety of Canadians. A budget must be presented. Legislation in other countries requires the commitment of funding for security measures. The government remains unwilling to make this a priority.

Why does the government insist on being secretive about the economic state of our country? The United States and Great Britain have put forward comprehensive anti-terrorism plans. The United Kingdom bans terrorist organizations and provides a list of 14 banned organizations. Canadian legislation does neither. In the U.K. compensation is provided where private rights are interfered with, property is taken or damaged and the owner is not convicted of an offence. Canadian legislation has no such provision. The United Kingdom legislation limits the power to grant bail to certain higher court judges, thus limiting instances in which bail will be given. Canadian legislation does not close that loophole.

The government must continue to implement policies and procedures that would ensure the safety of Canadians such as safety at border crossings, airport terminals, in the air and on our streets. Known terrorists in this country must be found and detained.

Currently customs agents in Canada lack the training and means to help the fight against terrorism. If they are suspicious of a particular person crossing into Canada, they are told to let that person in and contact the RCMP. Since the customs agency has been amalgamated with Revenue Canada into the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, it would appear that the focus of the agency has shifted.

Customs officers in the United States act as law enforcement officers. In Canada they seem to be mandated to act as revenue collectors for the government. Are we to continue to allow terrorists entrance into Canada as long as they pay the duty on their purchases?

Our entire mindset must change. Life can no longer continue as it did before the events of September 11. Security measures must be put in place immediately, such as requiring secure identification for re-entry into Canada by all citizens and landed immigrants. All finances and assets of terrorists must be seized. Deportation procedures must be reviewed and improved. We Canadians must do our part to keep North America safe and secure.

The United States anti-terrorism legislation places emphasis on deportation. The Canadian legislation seems to ignore this aspect. Current deportation practices in Canada are inadequate. They are, however, beneficial to terrorists who enjoy residing in Canada. Canadian deportation laws will continue to make Canada a most desirable destination for evil if the laws are not amended immediately. With 27,000 deportees currently unaccounted for, how can the government ensure the safety of Canadians? How are we to know the future of deportations and if they will be effective?

My constituents asked me many questions last week about the war on terrorism and our country's involvement. Today I will ask the Liberal government the same questions.

With the expected expansion of the new war on terrorism, Canadians deserve an accurate accounting of the state of the nation's finances. When will the finance minister bring in a budget? Will the government assure Canadians that conscription will not be used as recruitment for the armed forces? Did the Prime Minister rule out conscription when he talked with President Bush?

Why is the government not supporting agriculture in Canada when we depend on farmers across the country to feed our people and our forces? How are we to feed our people when we are losing farmers every day? How can we look after Canadian food concerns when we are not doing this properly?

Do we have definite emergency plans for biological attacks? When will vaccines and preventive medicines be made available to Canadians? Will the RCMP and CSIS get enough funding to be able to hire the necessary personnel to provide Canadians the safety and security they need?

Canada must do its part during the crisis, but all Canadians deserve answers. On behalf of the citizens of Saskatoon-Rosetown--Biggar I ask for definite answers from the government.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, normally I always say that I am pleased to rise to speak but today I am not because war is hardly a cheery topic.

A little while ago I was speaking with the member for Repentigny in the Bloc Quebecois caucus about the work of MPs, and for no particular reason I said to him that it must be quite something to be a parliamentarian when there was a war going on. I had absolutely no idea that I would find myself in that very situation in two weeks' time.

Naturally, such a topic arouses many emotions in us, particularly because I am one of those who felt there were already quite enough problems. I was very worried about the direction in which the world was headed. I questioned many things that were going on in this society and I think I was not alone in doing so. Now, we find ourselves in a situation where the huge social, environmental and democratic problems we had have all been set aside so that we can focus on another matter, which has nothing very constructive about it.

When I hear President Bush say that we are going to win, I do not agree. I think that we are all losers; we have all already lost. We have the proof today, with this debate about a bill which deprives us of certain freedoms. I am not saying that I oppose the bill but I do have certain concerns about our freedoms. I am concerned for us but also about those now living in fear of being bombed.

I know that I have had my breakfast this morning, that I will have my lunch at noon, and that I will eat again this evening, but there are a great many people who are not this lucky. And there were already many many such people. The images we are now seeing on television are terrible. The only interesting thing, and it is something very disturbing, is that this whole business has brought to light the scandalous treatment of women in Afghanistan and throughout the region. The lack of respect accorded women by men in this part of the world is, in my view, a crime against humanity.

If we can find something positive in current events, it would be a greater awareness of the situation there. But will that be enough to solve the problem? In my view, it is essential that we should be aware of this situation.

We must find the means to fight against terrorism and the bill before us aims at fighting terrorism. The government is telling us that its goal is to keep terrorists out of Canada and to protect Canadians from terrorist activities, to provide the tools to identify, prosecute, convict and punish terrorists, to prevent the Canada-U.S. border from being held hostage by terrorists, impacting on our economy, to co-operate with the international community to bring terrorists to justice and deal with the root causes of the hatred that motivates them. This last point is most important.

I will endorse my party's position, which is to co-operate to have this bill passed. We are ready to listen to what will be said in committee. This will be a crucial stage that should not be rushed. It is important that we get a sunset clause. I think we need a clause that would allow the legislation to remain in force for three years only, unless the House provides otherwise.

The definition of terrorist activity is very broad and there is a risk of excesses against groups of people who are not terrorists. This is quite a challenge. We should define what a terrorist is. What I fear is that, with the media excesses these days, people could be singled out as terrorists when they are not.

For example, two years ago, young people stirred up public opinion with regard to the multilateral agreement on investment. They went so far as a commit what was, to a certain extent, an act of civil disobedience by demonstrating peacefully but clearly to show their concern. Would these people be considered as terrorists today? I, myself, one day walked out of this Chamber with my chair, which is certainly not something people normally do. Could that have been considered a terrorist act? There are many disturbing questions like that, involving restriction of individual freedoms.

This is why I say yes, we must go ahead with this but we need safeguards to ensure that we can regain control if things get out of hand.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada will be able to withhold information normally accessible under the Access to Information Act and no safeguards have been provided for.

The Minister of National Defence will be able to intercept international communications simply by sending a written request to the centre. He will not even need a judge's authorization.

This bill includes all the provisions found in the bill on the registration of charities, which is a bad one.

Certainly many provisions lend themselves to criticism, but this does not mean that we are against taking measures to stop terrorism. However, as far as the fight against terrorism is concerned, I believe that the bill does so in a repressive way. If we want to be serious and to really get to the heart of the problem, we also have to look at measures to prevent terrorism.

What causes such actions? What brings people to go so far? Therein lies a great challenge for humanity. Even if we have the best security systems in the world, our freedom will be affected. That is not the type of world I want to live in. What I want is to turn to those people who hate the United States and the western world so much. I want to understand countries like Afghanistan where people live in a terrible state of destitution.

Social problems are the breeding ground for fundamentalism. Over there, young girls and some boys too are not allowed to go to school, people cannot lead a fulfilling life, have no access to some degree of wealth and cannot satisfy their basic needs; it is not surprising that the powder keg explodes at some point.

I have always thought like that, probably after reading about what Nelson Mandela said “Security for the few is insecurity for all”. I think this was proven right on September 11.

As far as access to education is concerned, I for one believe that education is the antidote to the problems of this world, to poverty and terrorism. I am a fervent supporter of education.

The other aspect is the religious one, and I will speak to that in a future speech because, unfortunately, my time is up.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the bill before us. We do want to get it into committee so that we can have it addressed there and move things along.

I will remind both our viewing audience and other members here, who are probably well aware of it, that the bill picked up on some good ideas from other parties, some from our Canadian Alliance. I think that is the way parliament should work. Many of the recommendations were made by the Canadian Alliance on our supply day not so long ago, recommendations such as providing for the naming of terrorist organizations, the ratification of the international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism and a ban on fundraising activities in support of terrorism. It is great when the House works that way and we are able to bring the pressure to bear on the party in power such that we get some of the legislation, some of the good stuff in there. I believe the bill is a direct result of that kind of pressure that we have been able to bring to bear on the government.

The minister emphasizes that the bill meets the reasonable test of the charter of rights. We feel that the emphasis should be on whether the legislation protects Canadians from terrorism. As the minister says, it should meet the reasonable test of the charter of rights, but more important, it should actually and practically do something to protect Canadians from terrorism with very concrete and specific measures rather than just offering feel good assurances.

As a caveat, the legislation will be of little value if the Liberals do not provide the adequate resources to our frontline forces in the fight against terrorism. It might be so much fine rhetoric and look good on paper, a nice piece of legislation to have sitting there, but we cannot actually do anything with it without resources. We cannot implement it and follow through if in fact we do not have the resources applied. There are plenty of areas where there is waste and squandering of money and those dollars could be set aside and prioritized for this very crucial fight against terrorism.

The Liberal government failed to ratify both the suppression of terrorist financing convention and the suppression of terrorist bombing convention until now. We have been after them. We were saying prior to this that it should have been done. It is regrettable, in a sense, that it took a tragedy of this proportion to finally get to the point now where these have been ratified and we are moving on to other things in the fight against terrorism.

If government had listened to frontline workers, to those who are out there day by day and know what kind of threats we face, if it had been listening to those workers who protect Canada from the terrorist threat and have over the years, but without adequate legislation and without the proper tools, this type of legislation would have been enacted quite some time ago. The United Kingdom legislation was enacted in July 2000. There is a good democracy in the world that often we follow when we see what good things it is doing. We should have been much quicker on the uptake.

Unfortunately, the legislation does not ban membership in terrorist organizations. We are basically hearing minister and others say that as long as people are not too active they can have a membership, that they can even acknowledge that they have a membership, but as long as they keep inactive and not do it a lot, then that is quite okay. However we believe that if these are known terrorist organizations membership in such bodies should be banned outright.

We have called on the government to put in place laws which would ensure that criminals are extradited promptly and without reservation to countries that respect the rule of law. We are talking about countries that honour rule of law as we do. There may be some things that we can quibble about in terms of their laws being written slightly differently or even in terms of things like capital punishment and so on, but that should not be a reason not to extradite to those countries.

Bill C-36 does nothing to address that problem. As a result, Canada is now being regarded internationally as a safe haven for criminals, even though members on the other side may protest. It is a known fact that many people regard Canada this way, especially as our laws in respect of these things are not as tough as those of some of our neighbouring countries. Canada would be the place of refuge or the haven to come to as they plan and prepare for terrorist acts.

Another concern we have and which we want to have pursued and addressed in committee is that it seems the minister and her department have been sneaking in provisions limiting access under the Access to Information Act. This is of concern. We often have complaints because we are denied certain information that in our role as members of parliament we want to get at and need access to. That is bad enough, but it is especially bad when it comes to this area as to why the government cannot proceed or move on something. We would be denied access to the information by way of some of the provisions limiting access that have been snuck into the bill.

Compared to some other jurisdictions, Canada's bill simply falls short. The United Kingdom legislation provides a list of names of banned organizations. We think that should be done. Canada does not do it. It is a little too open, general and generic. We should providing at least a starting list of names and it could be filled out, amended or have additional names added to it by regulation along the way. We think our legislation should be that specific and that it would be more helpful for law enforcement and those who will have to be on the front lines in the fight against terrorism.

The United Kingdom legislation also provides for compensation where private rights are interfered with or property is taken and an owner is not convicted of an offence. Canada does not do that. We believe that is a safeguard. Authorities may with reasonable grounds pursue a threat with respect to terrorism and yet it may be found out in the aftermath that they overreached and did not have a thorough enough basis, so we think there should be something of an offset or compensation or way of making it up to those who have been in some way unduly interfered with. The process would be better if compensation or recompense could be given to those people. Canada's legislation does not do that and we like to hold up the example of the United Kingdom legislation which has that provision. We think is a reasonable one.

The United States legislation places extensive stress on deportation issues and Canada has long been lax in this. Canada has not addressed the reality that it has become a safe haven for those seeking to avoid the death penalty. People may commit some very heinous crimes, but by getting up into Canada quickly afterward they are out of reach of these other countries where the crimes may have been committed. We do not think that is right. If there is the general rule of law with good standards and so on, we should not forbid or prevent extradition to those countries.

The American legislation also requires the administration to commit resources. I mentioned that before. I think any reasonable common sense person would say that if we have some fine sounding words and rhetoric on paper and yet there is no backup, no follow through and no resources then it is so much wind. It is just that, rhetoric, and it does not actually create the result that we want. We believe that the Liberals need to make a concrete and specific commitment in terms of resources and actually follow through and get some of this stuff done. It may sound very good on paper but does not amount to much if in fact there are no resources.

In the days ahead it will be the bounden duty of the Canadian Alliance, the official opposition, to point out those shortcomings. We will be pressing in committee to try to get a good piece of legislation so that we can combat and defeat terrorism. We should do it together. I am grateful for the comments that other members have made and we will as a party press these issues and point out those shortcomings to in the end improve the legislation.

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10:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will open my remarks by saying I am disappointed that I have to stand in the House today to speak to this piece of legislation.

We know, and it is a well worn phrase unfortunately, that since September 11 our lives have changed, our country has changed and our freedoms since then have changed as well. It is a reality, unfortunately, that we have to look at ways of being able to protect ourselves, ways of being able to put forward laws and legislation that would prevent these types of things from happening in this great country of ours.

Prior to September 11, I think we took for granted the rights and freedoms that we had in this great country. We took for granted our ability to travel not only throughout the country but throughout the world. As of September 11 that has changed. We had a splash of cold water thrown on us, one that we have to deal with.

However I would also with some caution suggest that there is a balance in how we as Canadians react to the circumstances of today. We should react to it, absolutely, as we have, and I will talk to Bill C-36, but we also should be cognizant of the fact that we cannot overreact. There is still a life that we have to live, that my constituents have to live, that my family and members' families have to live and we should make sure that we continue to be able to practise those freedoms that we have. There is a fine balance, not only in our own lifestyle but also in the legislation before us now.

The events of September 11 dealt with and have made us focus on quite a number of areas that perhaps we did not focus on. Earlier I mentioned security, not only that of our own families but of our nation. We have heard about immigration issues in the House many times and we do know that there is immigration legislation coming forward. We know that now the focus has also been put on food security, something that we have taken for granted in our country in the past. Now we look at food security as a very major issue. It is something that we have to look at not only as parliamentarians but certainly in our own lives.

Trade has been impacted substantially. We recognize now in the global world we have, and I know in my field of some expertise with respect to agriculture, that without having open, globalized trade, our producers would not be able to produce what they do at the present time. They would not be as successful as they are. That trade has been impacted because now we have some issues with respect to open trade and open borders.

We have talked about customs services in the House. It has been impacted, with the focus placed on border crossings that I have in my constituency, that others have in their constituencies which have been closed or if not closed certainly impacted to the point where the access to those borders has been lessened.

I do not have to mention air travel in the House. The majority of members here travel from their constituencies to Ottawa on a fairly regular basis and I know that they have recognized and certainly have identified certain issues with respect to travel, whether it be by air or even by other modes of transportation that have been impacted by what happened on September 11.

To say the least, there is the impact on the economy. Every day now since September 11 when we turn on a television set or look at any of the markets around the globe we recognize that there have been impacts on the economy, on businesses and on the employees of those businesses.

The point is that there are a lot of issues that have now come into a very clear focus because of what happened, but as I said earlier we must put it all in balance. Part of that balance is the legislation we have before us today, Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism legislation that has been brought forward.

First, I congratulate the government in bringing forward the legislation. I think that Canadians must recognize that there was a substantial amount of effort put forward by the government and the staff of the department in order to bring the legislation to the House today in the form in which it has been presented.

This does not just happen. Literally hundreds of people and thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of man hours go into the presentation of this type of legislation. It was done on a fairly limited timeline. Perhaps we should have had a more extended term but we did not have that luxury. It had to be done and brought forward on a fairly concise timeline. Because of that there are certain areas we must look at fairly carefully before we send this piece of legislation through the House and Senate and make it law.

Let us talk about Bill C-36. It is 175 pages. I am not a lawyer, thankfully. However there are a number of lawyers in the House and elsewhere who will help us wade through the legislation. It is 175 pages and it affects 28 acts. I have never seen such an omnibus bill. In my experience, which has not been terribly extensive, I have not seen a bill of this nature come before the House. We must tread carefully and softly with it.

My colleague in the opposition coalition, the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough, is an accomplished individual. He is a lawyer and he is responsible for making our coalition cognizant of the issues in the legislation. I have a lot of faith in and respect for the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough. I will be taking his lead as to where we in the opposition coalition should be heading with the legislation.

Canadians and parliamentarians know that after the debate and second reading the bill will go to committee. There will be an opportunity for members of parliament and all individuals in the country to come before the committee as witnesses to put their views forward. This will be absolutely mandatory. The legislation would impact on our rights and freedoms. That must be brought out. We must know what we are dealing with in the legislation.

A pre-study is going on in the Senate which will look at all the nuances of all the clauses in the bill's 175 pages. It will look at how Bill C-36 would interact with the 28 other acts being affected and how that may or may not impact Canadians.

I talked about the need for balance. Let us not overreact to the point where we cannot live our lives the way we did prior to September 11. We not only need balance in our lives, we need balance in the legislation. As Canadian citizens we must make sure we are protected but we must also make sure our rights are protected.

I suspect there will be charter challenges. The Minister of Justice has already indicated that she believes the legislation will be able to withstand any charter challenges. That is yet to come and we will wait to see.

There are still questions which will need to be raised by my colleague and others. One of them is what the definition of a terrorist is. There is no real definition of terrorism in the legislation. There are clauses that indicate what cannot happen with respect to the terrorism component. It is important that we look at those.

Under Bill C-36 the Minister of Justice would be given absolute power with respect to the Access to Information Act. I have concerns about this because I use the Access to Information Act. Some ministers are unfortunately not terribly forthcoming with information. The Minister of Justice would have absolute power. There would be no opportunity for anyone else to adjudicate. Canadians run a severe risk by putting such power into the hands of one minister. This in itself would be difficult for the House to do.

I agree with the bill's preventive arrest measures. Perhaps I do not understand them as well but I know there are safeguards. We must make sure those safeguards are in place and that ability to extend detention from 24 to 48 hours has safeguards with respect to judicial access. That clause is important.

In closing, I thank the House for bringing forward this piece of legislation and ask all Canadians to please take a deep breath. We will get through this as we should. We Canadians offer all the people of the United States, particularly in New York City, our best wishes and sympathy for the events of September 11.

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11:10 a.m.


Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too cannot say that I am pleased to speak to this bill this morning.

Truly, it is with a heavy heart that I rise this morning. I am fully aware that we must fight against terrorism. When I say fight, I am using a metaphor, meaning that we must counter terrorism. However, I would like to draw the attention of the House to what women think of this legislation.

As members know, I am the status of women critic for the Bloc Quebecois. As a woman and a critic, I believe it is my duty to draw the attention of the House to what women think of this issue and to their ideas, all the more so since they came to meet with us this week.

A number of Canadian women came to Parliament Hill to meet the party leaders and members. They came with suggestions, as they too are fully aware that we have to take action against terrorism.

This morning, I saw pictures of Afghan women and children in places where there is practically no water and no food, being bundled trucks to be sent back, sent away. Very often, those people have no food, they have no education and they have been living in dire need for 20 years.

For 20 years now, the Afghans have been fighting to go return to their lands and enjoy some freedom. This is heartbreaking. I think we have every right to ask why there are people living in such conditions? And this situation is not new.

What happened on September 11th—and I will once again use a metaphor—only lifts the veil on an area of the world where life is full of violence.

That said, on this day commemorating the date on which women became persons under the law—on October 18, 1929 the Government of Canada recognized women as persons—I say to myself, seeing all the women and children who know nothing but poverty, who are living in hovels, or even in vehicles, that they are not being treated like persons. They are living like animals.

When the women came to see us this week, they told us that they agreed there should be an anti-terrorism law. They are fully aware that the present situation is a highly exceptional one. They passed messages on to us, but they also spoke of the need for balance, prudence and co-operation with the international community, in order to deal with the causes of this terrorism.

The Bloc Quebecois has heard and understood their messages. That is why, like my party and like these women, I agree with the principle of the bill we are debating today. There are, however, certain elements of it which require the prudence and balance to which they referred.

When the root causes of terrorism were mentioned, my colleague for Lac-Saint-Jean--Saguenay spoke of poverty and of education. This bill could perhaps include what those women asked us for, namely an aspect relating to co-operation with the international community on the aid to be provided.

I will move on to a few points that I will try to touch on quickly. What the women did not like about this bill was that it will be re-examined only in three years. That is too long a time. They are cautious and wonder what could happen in the next three years. What could happen during that time? The law could lead us to certain prejudicial actions. It could, perhaps, be revisited yearly, but this would be up to the parliamentarians to do so, by seeking a certain consensus and holding discussions with the public. Women are present in all segments of the population, and in particular in areas concerned with people's welfare.

This bill has been criticized by charities because of the secrecy of the legal procedure and the evidence provided by CSIS, which could avoid saying exactly why an individual was being imprisoned or why someone was considered a terrorist. Women that do not normally go on strike, such as nurses, for example, could do so, chant slogans and defy the law. According to this bill, they would be considered terrorists. This is what women are criticizing.

As concerns Quebec, women there were upset—as they told us clearly on Monday—that the bill was not drafted in co-operation with the government of Quebec. This government, it will be recalled, has social democratic policies. The women of Quebec believe that their government could have some power and direct the work of the minister in terms of international co-operation to fight the causes of terrorism.

Women did not just realize yesterday that actions were needed. But they do not like actions to progress. They want to be careful and tend to favour a certain balance. They want discussion and a public review of the law within a year only. They want a democratic and transparent process and to take part in the debate.

This reminds me of a story. I do not know whether those watching us know the story of Lysistrata. Aristophane wrote a play 2,411 years ago, in which Lysistrata was the central character. She was the wife of an important citizen of Athens, who, tired of finding herself alone in the house educating the children, cleaning and serving as general factotum, while the men were constantly at war, mentioned it to some of her women friends. They spoke of it to the women in the village. She had an idea. People are going to laugh. It is a bit of a comedy. Her idea was not to—

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11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I would have loved to hear the conclusion but unfortunately I must interrupt the hon. member.

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11:20 a.m.


Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this very important debate on Bill C-36. If we were to poll members of the House and ask them if they would want to ensure that at the end of the day we have struck an appropriate balance between eliminating terrorist activities and the protection of civil liberties, the vast majority of members on all sides of the House would say yes. In other words there would be no substantial disagreement on that point.

However there would probably be some difference of opinion between where we find the appropriate balance between ensuring that Canada is doing everything that it needs to do to keep the undesirable terrorist elements out of the country while protecting the liberties that we have come to enjoy, respect and expect in our country.

I heard in the last few minutes some things that would suggest the balance might be difficult to find. I heard concern from the member from the Bloc Quebecois about the need for parliament to examine this law earlier than three years, which is what is being proposed.

I heard concern from the Conservative Party that the Minister of Justice would be the one responsible for dealing with all elements of access to information. I believe that raises a bit of caution. My colleague from Saskatoon--Wanuskewin repeated yet again that Canada is known around the world as a safe haven for terrorists. It was noteworthy this morning to have heard Ward Elcock from CSIS saying before the immigration committee exactly the opposite, that it was not only unhelpful but untrue to characterize the country as a safe haven for terrorists.

I suspect the balance will not be all that easy to find and some of the critics of the bill have not been shy about coming forward and saying that this is a gross overreaction to the situation we have. They point to things such as preventive detention. While it is not as draconian as some, it moves Canada well along that road.

When I walked over to the House today I noticed the large demonstration that was taking place on Parliament Hill by Air Canada employees who were concerned about their future, partly in the wake of September 11 and partly by the problems that existed well before September 11.

One wonders whether in the future and after the bill becomes law those kinds of protests would be able to take place as freely and as openly as we would want to see happen and should happen.

I would be concerned for farmers, who have publicized their concerns about what has happened to the farm economy over the last few years by taking up protests and slowing traffic down on highways. Is that something that will continue to be allowed?

We have also had roads blocked in rural parts of Canada by environmentalists preventing lumber companies from going into the forests. One has to be concerned about the balance and how far the legislation would go. I am not trying to get people excited but we do have to be cautious. Other people are being very good in pointing out some of those potential concerns.

The definition of terrorism or terrorist activity, because terrorism is not defined in what is proposed, is both vague and impossibly broad. It states that any action taken or threatened for political, religious or ideological purposes that causes property damage or disrupts an essential service facility or system would be considered a terrorist activity, and the police would have the power to arrest or detain anyone it believes may have information. This is a significant change from where we are now and where we have been for many years in this country.

It has been stated that the potential for abuse is high. For example, a former employee of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada was released after September 17 because he had the same first and last names as those suspected in either the terrorist attacks of September 11 or was on an FBI or Interpol list. That individual has not been reinstated. The company is not talking at all to the media or to anyone else. These are the kinds of problems we need to be very concerned about.

Bill C-36 suggests that police and other law enforcement agencies in Canada do not have sufficient powers to arrest. The civil libertarians who are speaking out against the bill remind us that is simply not true.

Will the curtailment of certain civil liberties win the fight against terrorism? I would point out that recent history is not particularly kind to those who hold that view. I reference the experience of the British and the Irish Republican Army in the mid-seventies and thereafter when the forces against terrorism continued in ever increasing amounts but the bombing continued.

It was only after the government went on a different course of action to find a political solution that it began to find a better solution to what transpired over the last 25 or 28 years in Northern Ireland and the U.K.

I consider myself to be a civil libertarian. There have been highly emotional and charged times when certain citizens in Canada had their civil liberties curtailed to a very large degree. I am speaking of the Ukrainians after the first world war; the Japanese Canadians before, during and after the second world war; and the militants in Quebec in 1970.

I was at an event in Toronto in 1970. Then Solicitor General of Canada Jean-Pierre Goyer demanded that the audience, who was very hostile to the introduction of the War Measures Act, name one person outside the province of Quebec who had been detained or had his or her civil liberties infringed upon as a result of the introduction of the War Measures Act.

There was no question that there were many thousands of people in the province of Quebec whose civil liberties were definitely violated at that time. We were able to point out to the solicitor general that there were indeed people in Ontario and other provinces who had problems in that area.

Whether they are Ukrainians, Japanese Canadians or Quebecers, as Tom Walkom from the Toronto Star pointed out yesterday:

In all cases the general public applauded these actions at the time. In all cases the general public decided later that the country had made a terrible mistake.

It is important that the bill go now to committee and be appropriately studied to make sure that at the end of the day we have a bill which protects the country and Canadians against terrorist activities but at the same time guards our civil liberties to the greatest extent possible.

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11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-36. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom as Thomas Jefferson once said. Members are correct to be concerned about the implications this legislation has for civil liberties.

I will point out that over 6,000 people died in the attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and flight 93 which crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. This means that as legislators we should be prepared to take steps to ensure that Canada is not in any way open to those sorts of things in the future. We must do whatever we can to stop the scourge of terrorism in the world.

We are happy to see that the government has reacted in some way to some of the issues that the Canadian Alliance raised in the past. Government members will acknowledge that the Canadian Alliance on many occasions pressed some of these issues. We have made known our concerns about the lax screening of refugees and the inability of the government to keep track of what was happening to refugees who were denied refugee status in Canada. After raising these concerns we were roundly condemned and people accused us of having all kinds of motivations that simply were not true.

We pointed out that Canada had an inadequate military to protect its own sovereignty or our allies. This is what is happening now. When we raised these issues many people said they were unnecessary. It would be irresponsible if I did not point out that we have already raised these concerns.

We suggested that if these concerns were not dealt with they could have an impact on our ability to trade with our American neighbours. This is a very important relationship for the prosperity of Canada. Eighty five per cent of our exports go to the United States and NAFTA. This accounts for approximately 33% of our total wealth as a country and our trade relationships around the world.

If Canadians are to feel secure in allowing our border with the United States to stay open then they want to know we are doing a good job on the perimeter. The government has to ensure that people with malicious motives do not get into Canada and use our country as a launching ground for attacks on the United States.

These issues were pointed out in the past and were dismissed by the government. I am willing to overlook this, but I expect that from now on when we raise these concerns they will not be dismissed. It should not be suggested that we have other motives for raising these issues.

I take issue with some of the comments made by the previous speaker from the NDP. He mentioned that he was a civil libertarian. He should know that civil libertarians do not believe that one should be cast in chains and sent to prison for the crime of selling one's own wheat. That is what the NDP believes. It believes that upholding the wheat board is more important than upholding the individual rights of people to sell their own property. I point out that inconsistency which my friend raised a few minutes ago.

The civil liberties concerns are real. I am a member of a party that believes in individual freedom. We believe in the long history of common law and the establishment over a period of 900 years of some very basic and important rights such as habeas corpus and property rights. We have to raise some of those concerns and point out that while we may feel we are in a time of emergency it does not mean that the government has carte blanche to trample over individual freedoms.

The member from the NDP pointed out some examples that we have seen in the past where the government has gone too far in trying to protect the public, to the point where it has trampled individual liberties and has gone over the line.

I acknowledge that it is always difficult to know where the line is but I am personally concerned about the idea of preventive 72 hour detention without the usual protections afforded in law. I think we should try to find some way of going to a judge ahead of time and having to meet some kind of evidentiary standard in order to get a judge to give us the go ahead to make those kinds of arrests. It is a 15 minute process, that is all, but it would ensure that someone outside the political system, outside the police, makes a judgment about whether or not somebody's fundamental rights are being trampled on. I am concerned about that. I raise that and want the House and the government to note it and take it into account so that when we go into committee those sorts of things can be addressed.

Other people have suggested sunset clauses for certain components of the legislation so that when this period of crisis has passed and things have settled down we can revisit whether or not that 72 hour preventive detention aspect of the legislation is completely necessary.

Because the legislation was drafted quite quickly, we may find other problems within the legislation. It may overstep the bounds of individual liberty. If that is the case, then I think the government should be prepared to revisit the legislation and take away some of the more odious aspects of it. We probably will not know that for some time because it was drafted very quickly and we have not seen all the consequences of what is entailed in the legislation.

Having said that, I also want to point out to members of the Bloc and NDP who have been pretty reluctant about some aspects of Canada's involvement in what amounts to a war in Afghanistan, that it is critical that Canada stand by its ally, the United States, and do what it can to support it in this war against terrorism.

That does not mean we should rubber stamp every decision that the United States makes with respect to going to battle or its own security. Not at all. I do think we have an obligation as right thinking people to stand by the U.S. in the face of an attack on its country. We need to root out people like Osama bin Laden and, frankly, the Taliban people who support him. We must send a powerful message that this cannot happen again. That means devoting some of our own troops to the cause. We know that in the past the Americans have stood by us, going back to the second world war. We know they have stood by us when we have needed them. We have to be with them in their hour of need.

There are reasons beyond just the moral imperative for doing this. We also have a huge trade relationship with the Americans and they have to know that we will be with them all the way, no matter what. They need to know that we are prepared to secure our borders so that people who come to North America with the intent of reigning terror on the continent cannot just waltz through lax security at the Canadian perimeter. If the Americans have that assurance then this very profitable trade relationship that we have with them can continue.

If it was not for our ability to trade with the U.S., Canada would be in dire straits indeed. It is because we have this wonderful relationship that Canada is a relatively prosperous country. We must not forget that.

I say to the government and the foreign affairs minister that they should not be so dismissive of the idea of having a secure perimeter. They should not call it simplistic. It may not be sufficient but it is necessary.

We need to have a secure perimeter, one that has laws similar and harmonious to those of the United States, if we are going to keep that border between Canada and the U.S. open.

In closing, I will simply say that the official opposition supports these efforts of the government but with the caveats that I have mentioned. I encourage my friends in the NDP and the Bloc to be mindful of our moral obligations to our friends within the NATO alliance and certainly below the Canada-U.S. border.

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11:40 a.m.


Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, from the outset I would like to say that, when I got elected in June 1997 and when my constituents renewed their confidence in me in November 2000, I never expected that, as a member of parliament, I would have to take part in a debate on the security of Canada and Quebec.

On September 11, the terrible attacks on the United States have changed the worId. Since that tragic day in our contemporary history, the people on the North American continent and those of the major allied countries involved in the fight against terrorism are worried. American media broadcast 24 hours a day images and news programs reporting on the fragility of world peace.

Here, in parliament, our work has changed. We now have to devote more time to House proceedings. On that subject, I have been very clear with the people of my riding of Lotbinière--L'Érable, when I told them that the time split between my riding and Ottawa had changed in response to that historic situation.

As a federal member of parliament, I find it important and even essential to take part in all proceedings, to debate and vote on every decision taken here in this House to combat terrorism.

First, I want to reiterate the position of our party following the September 11 events. The leader of the Bloc Quebecois said, and I quote:

We must remember that the attack on September 11 is an attack not only on the United States, but on democratic values, on freedom and on every country that defends these values. It is an attack on all peoples of the world who aspire to justice, freedom and democracy, and especially those living under the yoke of tyrants and cranks, such as the people of Afghanistan, who face the totalitarian terror of the Taliban daily.

He also said:

A response is required—

The response must reflect and respect our democratic values. We must not fall into the trap of a civilization or religious war.

Already back then, our party was saying that a response and some measures were required. It asked the government to legislate to combat terrorism.

Our party also supported the efforts made by the federal government to freeze the bank accounts of groups or individuals directly or indirectly connected to the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups supported by bin Laden.

The Canadian government, like the governments of all the countries affected by the September 11 events, just introduced a bill, Bill C-36, which seeks to provide tools to fight terrorism more efficiently.

I want to say that I will support the principle of the bill at second reading. However, there are several irritants in this legislation.

First, can anyone say how long this conflict will last? The bill sets a rigid three year period, and this is dangerous. At a time when the situation is changing by the day and even by the hour, it is very important that parliament legislate with a degree of flexibility, so as to adjust to the daily or monthly changes of events.

We are currently in a crisis and we know that. However, Bill C-36 must not go against everything that was done to protect the fundamental rights that relate to individual freedom.

I am very concerned about this issue. This morning, I read in the newspapers that arrangements are already being made to ensure that the Senate begins its review of the bill at the same time as the House of Commons.

A special Senate committee was formed yesterday, before the Minister of Justice had even appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice. This is a departure from the normal procedure in the passage of a bill. It is a sign that the government means to move quickly.

I realize that this is an urgent situation, but the legislator should not take advantage of this context to make amendments the ramifications of which we will have to live with for years to come. I get very worried when I see that the Senate has already begun looking at the bill. There are fewer and fewer agreements reached with the other side of the House and now we see the federal government fast-tracking. I know that legislation is required. But we must take the time to analyze the situation.

There are a number of irritants in this bill. However, the best thing would be if we began right now by at least saying that we will introduce this bill for one year. At that end of that period, it will be brought back to parliament, analyzed and the necessary amendments made.

As I mentioned earlier, no one knows how long this conflict will last. Could the present strikes and the economic action being taken against terrorist movements produce results more quickly? If they could, so much the better, but the Canadian parliament will be stuck with a rigid piece of legislation cast in stone for three years. It makes no sense to proceed in this way.

Furthermore, according to this morning's edition of Le Devoir , there was even dissension on the other side of the House. The newspaper reported that:

--the member for Mount Royal, an ardent defender of human rights, expressed certain concerns about the new powers of investigation the legislation will confer: “Preventive detention and mandatory court hearings are two of my concerns, and perhaps a sunset clause is needed for provisions such as these--”

That is where the hon. member for Mount Royal stands. Some members opposite have at least enough courage to speak out. We are proceeding too fast with Bill C-36. While being fully aware that this is a matter of urgency, we must take the time to listen to experts and to ensure that we are not giving too much power to the Minister of Justice and this government.

If the bill, as drafted, is ever passed at third reading, history will deal harshly with Canada, and its parliament, because it will be said that, contrary to other countries, in order to benefit from an exceptional situation, it sacrificed some vested rights to protect Canadian citizens.

I was a reporter for 16 years and I know how important it is to know the meaning of the words we use. But I am very nervous when I look at the present definition of terrorist. It is so vast that it makes no sense. Right now, Bill C-36 does not have a clear definition of terrorist.

This is why the political party I belong to is supporting Bill C-36 in principle, but has serious reservations about several irritants that are included.

In conclusion, let me say that once we have studied and debated this legislation, we will have to deal with what is at the root of terrorism.

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11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, once again I rise to talk about certain aspects of the terrorism circumstances we find ourselves in these days. Today we are talking about Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism act which affects, among others, seven laws: the Criminal Code of Canada; the Official Secrets Act; the Canada Evidence Act; the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act; the National Defence Act, the Access to Information Act; and the Registration of Charities Act. It is hard to determine the impact on all those acts just by referring to Bill C-36. It is very complicated and it is going to take quite a while to go through it.

When I first learned of the reaction of the government by bringing in the bill, I was pleased with the idea and I still am. It is the right thing to do. But the bill is very complicated and it appears that the government moved a little too hastily in drafting it.

All of us recognize the very definite need to balance civil liberties with terrorism actions. In certain circumstances specifically, it seems that the government really missed the boat on the bill with respect to restrictions on civil liberties. Ordinarily I would probably be arguing the other way, that there is not enough attention to controlling terrorism and the criminal code directions and changes. In this case, some things are quite alarming and disconcerting to me. I am not a lawyer but I can read and I do find things in Bill C-36 which I do not like.

As a member mentioned previously, the definition of a terrorist activity is “an act or omission that is committed in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public” and so on.

It is far too broad. I can think of lots of circumstances which are legitimate protests, demonstrations and actions by people that sometimes may be cumbersome and a nuisance, but they are part of our civil liberties and part of our right as Canadians to speak our mind and raise concerns.

Under the Canada Evidence Act changes, the bill states:

A minister of the crown in right of Canada or other official may object to the disclosure of information before a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel the production of information by certifying orally or in writing to the court, person or body that the information should not be disclosed on the grounds of a specified public interest.

That means the minister can say that evidence cannot be made available because it affects a specified public interest. That could be anything from a political interest to a government agency or even a golf course. That is one clause we will be looking at to have changed and to focus on more closely in committee.

Under the Firearms Act, one of the clauses states:

Subject to subsection (4), the governor in council may exempt any class of non-residents from the application of any provision of this act or the regulations.

Canadians are required to comply with the Firearms Act but that clause says that non-residents may be exempt based on whatever reason they may come up with. I take exception to that.

With respect to the Registration of Charities Act, I get involved with this quite a bit. There are a lot of charities in all of our ridings that apply for special tax exemptions and incentives to attract donations to charitable organizations. This really homes in on the charitable organizations and certain things about it make me uncomfortable. It says:

The certificate and any matters arising out of it are not subject to review or to be restrained, prohibited, removed, set aside or otherwise dealt with--

That is a scary statement. Another clause states:

Notwithstanding subsection (2), the applicant or registered charity may apply to a judge for an order directing that the identity of the applicant or registered charity not be published--

If someone objects to a charity, that charity cannot even find out who is making the application to stop it from being a charity. I do not think that is the way we do things in Canada.

Another clause states that an order is not “subject to appeal or review by any court at the instance of a party to the application” and that the Minister of National Revenue may hear all or part of that evidence or information in the absence of the applicant and any counsel representing the applicant.

So many aspects of the bill seem to be secret and there is no opportunity to contradict or defend the statements that are being made. The decisions are not subject to appeal. The information is not subject to access to information. People who are challenged cannot find out who put forth the challenge and they have no access to the information afterward. It seems a lot of the information and regulations are contradictory to our way of thinking.

The bill states that the determination of the court is not subject to appeal or judicial review. The other day I read that the Canadian Bar Association said that the failure of legislatures to guarantee any review of circumstances and processes is unprecedented, unnecessary and inconceivable.That is exactly what this does. Over and over again the bill says that these decisions are not subject to review, not subject to appeal or any other avenue of reconsideration.

There are a lot of aspects about Bill C-36 about which we do not approve. Although it has obviously been rushed into existence, I am glad that the government has acknowledged that it has to go to committee. It will be reviewed there and perhaps the government will be more open to amendments than in the usual cases. It is important that issues dealing with civil liberties be addressed and protections be included for people who are challenged by unknown parties, unknown countries or unknown individuals.

Our position is that we support the concept of the bill. However, it will take a lot of work to amend it and we are glad it will be going to the justice committee.

Other aspects of the terrorism response by Canada concern me. One is that until recently the government continually stood and said that we have not yet been asked to participate, that we have not yet been told what to do. The government actually said that.

The government should be deciding what to do. The government should not be waiting for the Americans to tell us what to do. It should not be waiting to react. We should be a part of the plan. We should have been in on the planning from the beginning. Instead we got this incredible response by the Prime Minister who said that we have not yet been told what to do. To me the government has made a fundamental mistake in not being involved with the planning of the response to the terrorist actions on September 11 right from the very beginning.

The bill will be followed by another bill focusing specifically on transportation. That will have to address a lot of different aspects of our borders, our transportation, our safety and everything to do with our relationship with the United States in particular. We look forward to that bill to complement the bill that is before us today.

In any case, when this bill goes to committee we will ensure there is a balance between protection of civil liberties and an appropriate response to terrorism and that our law enforcement officers are given the appropriate tools to work with. We look forward to that.

Anti-terrorism ActGovernment Orders


Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-36 is a groundbreaking bill which potentially will radically change the face of Canada, our rights and our security.

I want to discuss what September 11 was and what it was not. September 11 was an act of urban terrorism on a grand scale. The war in Afghanistan, although necessary to go after the cells of al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, is more for domestic consumption in the United States to show that something forceful is being done. That had to happen. Only a military option is going to be effective in going after the terrorists who have said that they are not going to negotiate, that they are going to blow up the negotiating table. That is what they have done.

Let us also deal with some myths. Was this an issue of American foreign policy? Those who claim that are dead wrong. American foreign policy was not responsible for what took place on September 11. It was an act of murder by people who are interested in power. It is true there are religious overtones to it but that is not what Osama bin Laden and his groups are after. They are after the removal of western influence from Arab states and Muslim dominated states. They want to ensure that those countries become in what their vision is nirvana, which would be a country like Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Under the Taliban the people are worse off than they were before, even under the horrible conditions the Afghanis have endured for many years. The fundamentalist Islamic regime as supported by al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, as represented by what happened under the Taliban in Afghanistan, represents the worst that possibly could happen and the worst perversion of the Islamic faith in a country. That is what he wants to do. He wants to make sure it happens in Arab states.

This was not an issue of poverty. Osama bin Laden is a man with millions of dollars. The Taliban is a corrupt group that has been raising money with drug profits from the sale of heroin for years, furthering their efforts and guerrilla warfare.

We also have to understand that the most pervasive element of the war on terrorism is not what is happening in Afghanistan. The most important war is the war on urban terrorism. That is the insidious war we are faced with. This will be a long war and that is why the bill is important. The long war on terrorism is a war on urban terrorism.

We know that 11,000 people have been trained by bin Laden and his groups in the art of mayhem, anarchy, bombings, killings and maimings. We know that those people have been installed all over the world. Mr. Ressam, who was caught with bombs to blow up Los Angeles airport, spent four years in Montreal before being called up. The bombers in Kenya and Tanzania had been installed underground in those countries for years before they were called up. The terrorists have been imbedded into societies all over the world to be called up at a moment's notice to kill innocent civilians and create chaos in the hope of influencing the foreign policy I mentioned before. They hope to remove western influence from Arab states and I might add, turn moderate Arab states to the fundamentalist vision they hold so dear.

We cannot allow that to happen. It violates the basic principles of humanity. We also have an obligation to protect Canadian citizens. The bill goes a long way toward that but we have significant concerns. The bill must strike a balance between our individual freedoms and our security. If necessary we must tilt toward security and the protection of life. If that is necessary, then an infringement on our personal securities to the minimum extent necessary will be required.

The problem with the bill is it does not provide the parliamentary and judicial oversight required to ensure the bill does not go too far, that the pendulum does not swing too far in the imposition and restriction of human rights. People have given their lives to ensure we have those rights in Canada today, rights that set us apart from draconian countries like Afghanistan under the Taliban.

We must protect those rights but we must do it judiciously and with the understanding that the right to human security and life is of paramount importance. We want to ensure that the bill does not impede or impose on our individual rights.

How do we defeat terrorism on a larger scale? We have to give CSIS and the RCMP the tools to do the job. They must have the resources and powers to investigate, engage in surveillance and apprehend those individuals within our midst today who would commit terrorist activities.

We must also give our defence forces the resources to engage in the domestic and international obligations we have. Unfortunately our defence forces have been gutted by political interference, mismanagement, neglect and the removal of budgets. The government has been warned about this problem since 1993. The Canadian Alliance has warned the government about cutting the number of soldiers and military personnel down to 53,000 and about the cuts to the budget. Our soldiers no longer have the tools to do their job and cannot fill their international and domestic obligations.

The Canadian public would be interested to know that our military today cannot meet or muster the forces necessary to help us if we have a significant domestic emergency. That is a serious problem.

On a larger scale, our foreign policy effort, as a country we must work with our partners in a new era of foreign policy. I firmly believe that today we are in an unprecedented state of building a new and more secure world.

After World War II there was a chance to build peace or to make the world less secure. The allies chose the peaceful path by introducing the Marshall plan that brought a Germany that was on its knees into the fold so that it could engage and integrate with western civilization peacefully. We have the opportunity today to bring the Arab world closer to the west. We have the opportunity to diffuse a nuclear threat in Pakistan and to influence it to engage in peace talks with India.

We know the war in Kashmir, which has the potential of spiraling out into a nuclear conflict, has been going on as a serious conflict for decades. Even now it is actually spiraling up.

While we have Pakistan leaders as a partial ally in the war on terrorism, we must work with them and put coercive pressure on them to diffuse the conflict.

The Arab world must also take responsibility. No longer can Arab leaders turn a blind eye to the egregious moves by their own brethren. They cannot turn a blind eye to Saddam Hussein who kills marsh Arabs and Kurds in the north. They cannot turn a blind eye to Islamic fundamentalists who murder innocent civilians in Algeria and assassinate Anwar Sadat in Egypt. They must speak out against this because the threat of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism is a threat against modern Arab states. They cannot let blood be thicker than water. They must side with human rights, peace and the right thing for their people.

In the building of this coalition, if we build diplomatic initiatives, economic ties through the removal of trade barriers and debt for many of the countries, integrating conditions upon the debt removal and in diplomatic initiatives, then we can build a more secure world. Never has Canada had a greater chance to take a leadership role than it has now in the year 2001. We must not let this slip through our fingers. We must take the bull by the horns carpe diem and begin to build the bridges while we have the opportunity.

If we can do this, a more secure world is before us. If we fail to do this, then a less secure world is before us.

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12:10 p.m.


Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are here to debate Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism act. I want to make it clear that the Bloc Quebecois agrees that we need anti-terrorism legislation, but it must respect our freedoms and our democracy.

What the terrorists most want is to destabilize our free and democratic society. They have managed to do so with base and bloody acts of destruction. However, in legislating, we should be able to respect the very foundation of our society, which is freedom and democracy.

With respect to Bill C-36, which goes back to the very definition of the expression “terrorist activity”, the Bloc Quebecois is advocating that this legislation include a sunset clause. This is a very serious situation, and the legislation we are adopting, the anti-terrorist act, has been conceived for such a serious situation. The Bloc Quebecois proposes that it apply for three years, as is the case in the United States, where similar legislation was passed by the American Congress.

Let us not allow the terrorists to do what they set out to do, namely to destabilize our freedoms and our democracy. We are also proposing that this bill be reviewed on a yearly basis.

What is incomprehensible is that the minister who tabled and approved this legislation is acting as though she had hidden motives to appropriate certain freedoms granted to the citizens of Canada by the Constitution of 1982.

Quebec has the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, Canada has the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and this is the type of society in which Quebecers and Canadians want to live, a free and democratic society.

Every time there is the slightest risk of threat to the rights of the citizens of Quebec and Canada, it is our duty to take a reasonable period of time--not unlimited or indefinite--but a reasonable amount of time to hear from all of the groups, associations and interest groups, whether it be the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, all interested groups that have questions on the content of the legislation.

We repeat that, in order to pass anti-terrorism legislation quickly, and to have some control on this legislation to ensure the respect of our free and democratic society, we hope and wish for a three year sunset clause. This is why it is called a sunset clause. This legislation absolutely must be reviewed every year, to ensure that those who are responsible for its enforcement are not abusing the situation to settle disputes or to interpret it for purposes other than those for which this legislation was drafted.

Finally, this leads me to quote the definition of terrorist activity that will be covered by Bill C-36. It says:

--is committed for a political, religious or ideological purpose and threatens public or national security.

So, an act committed for political, religious or ideological purposes that threatens public or national security would now be called a terrorist activity and would be liable to criminal sanctions, whether this activity involves killing, of course, or causing serious bodily harm or endangering a person's life, causing substantial property damage that is likely to result in serious bodily harm or to cause serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system.

In this regard, I go back to the question asked by my colleague of Terrebonne--Blainville: could some nurses who decide to defy regulations or legislation for the purpose of making union demands be charged with terrorist activities, since they are causing interference with or disruption of essential services? This is what the bill before us implies.

This leads me to the comment that we ought to reread section 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which guarantees rights and freedoms, and section 2, which gives the fundamental freedoms in this country, namely freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief and opinion, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. These are the fundamental freedoms of Canada, and of Quebec, because they are also to be found in the Quebec charter of rights and freedoms.

Section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees these rights and freedoms to be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

It is a cause of concern to be told by the Prime Minister “If you are ever dissatisfied with the way Bill C-36 as introduced is being interpreted, all you have to do is challenge it before the courts, right up to the Supreme Court”.

We know very well that, with section 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the legislation that will be passed justifying a free and democratic society, this will give judges all the reasons in the world to tell anyone wishing to challenge Bill C-36 once passed that the procedure is ultra vires, as is the case with the municipal mergers in Quebec and elsewhere. This week again we have seen municipalities trying to bring before the courts an act that gives full authority to the provinces to determine the fate of Canada's municipalities. They are doing this because the Constitution allows them to.

We always have the right to challenge, and to spend the money that it takes, but the result is always the same. That is how it was 30 years ago, that is how it was 20 years ago, that it how it was 10 years ago, and that is how it is today. A court challenge is possible, but it is a lost cause, because the Canadian constitution allows the provinces to adopt standards or to govern the municipalities, just as the Canadian Constitution enables the government to pass an anti-terrorism bill that could endanger the rights we enjoy under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Section 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, gives government the authority to draft such legislation. It will allow the government to tell those who want to challenge the validity of Bill C-36 before the courts “Section 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, gives us the authority to enact laws subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by Canada law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

We think that the definitions of terrorist and terrorist activity must be revised so that we can protect the rights of our citizens, the people of Canada and Quebec. Once the bill is passed, it will be too late.

Those who have to enforce the law, for example the police, the RCMP, the intelligence services and all those who have to carry that burden, will be able to invoke BillC-36 and, since they often apply laws more liberally than literally, they could infringe upon the rights of some people who, by virtue of their right to freedom of association, are entitled to make claims, give their opinion and go out on to the streets to protest or speak out. We could be jeopardizing this freedom we now enjoy.

I repeat that the Bloc Quebecois supports the anti-terrorism bill. All we want is a sunset clause that will put an end to it three years from now, and the possibility to review it every year to make sure that we do not lose and the terrorists do not win because, once again, all they want is to destabilize our free and democratic society. Let us enact legislation that will end at one point in time and let us review it every year to protect the freedom of every citizen of Quebec and Canada.

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12:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to add to what is becoming a rather lengthy debate. A lot of things have been said by different members of the various parties in the House on this bill. It is a bill which of course is very important.

I will briefly underline a few things which I think are very important and necessary for us to combat terrorism in the country. I also want to add a bit of a personal perspective to this whole debate.

I would first like to say that the government has taken a necessary step in the right direction. I commend it for that. I listened with interest on numerous occasions to the Prime Minister and other ministers who said that this was an issue far beyond politics and that we should put political considerations aside. I agree with that.

In passing, though, I find it strange that when members of the finance committee, and I will not mention which party it was because I want to be non-partisan, put forward a motion to get this thing underway, the government used very strange tactics to prevent that motion from being put. Then it used strange tactics again for that motion not to be carried and, again, used strange tactics for it to come forward.

I would venture to say, and will do so as kindly as I can, that there was a lot of politics in the way that was handled in our committee. I really regret that. I believe that was a moral failure on the part of the government at the time. This is a time when, more than ever in the history of this parliament, parliamentarians ought to be able to act on behalf of their constituents and on behalf of all Canadians.

It is really quite interesting, and I will put it that way, that the government voted against our motion the second day parliament sat after the atrocities of September 11, but some two or three weeks later came forward with legislation that largely included those things for which we had asked.

What I want to do today is have the members on the government side actually respond to the conjecture in my speech as to why they voted against it at that time since it was very urgent, but I am not sure if they will. However, at the same time I would like to commend the government for taking action, fairly expeditiously, to move legislation forward.

I would also like to thank the government for including in this legislation the right to create and publish a list of known criminal activity with respect to terrorism. I wish the legislation in Bill C-36 were a little stronger requiring the government to publicize these names instead of just giving them the right to make a list. I feel that is a little weak but certainly a step in the right direction.

I remember when the finance committee was studying this Bill S-16, which originated in the Senate. It proposed to remove charitable organization status, and hence the right to issue tax receipts for charitable donations, from any charity which directly or indirectly raised funds for terrorist organizations. That would indirectly mean that collectively the taxpayers of this country would then be funding terrorism.

A motion was brought forth regarding this proposal in committee. I spoke against that motion for the very simple reason that I was opposed to only removing the charitable organization status from any charitable organization found to be funding terrorism. It was too soft.

I am pleased to see that fundraising for terrorism, directly or indirectly, is an illegal act under Bill C-36, which is what I proposed in the committee. This is a very good measure. Probably this has been mentioned in some of the debates when I was off the committee, but I have not heard that one in the House before. I wanted to emphasize that. With the passing of the bill, that type of fundraising would be banned.

Echoing some of the concerns that have been expressed with respect to the human rights and freedom that we have come to enjoy, I also emphasize that we need to be very diligent and not indict organizations that are unwittingly drawn into the trap.

For example, one can argue that benevolent organizations which collect money to provide food for those who are starving reduce the costs of the governments in foreign countries where they work. Indirectly then, they could provide that government with more money for the production of arms and tools of terrorism. That is stretching it. I hope we are very judicial in how we apply that law to charitable organizations. However, where there is a clear and direct link, they will face criminal action, and rightly so.

I also congratulate the government for finally affirming what it should have done a long time ago, and that is that it will ratify the international convention on the suppression of the financing of terrorism. That should have been done automatically and immediately when it was presented here. The government dragged its heels on that.

Finally, on the plus side, the legislation provides that it would be a crime to participate in any terrorist training or inciting terrorism. Again, that is moving in the right direction. It is incredible that it was not done years ago. It should have always been on the law books of Canada.

I remember many years ago when it was against the law to counsel someone to commit suicide. How come we did not have anything that said it was against the law to counsel an act of terrorism?

There are a couple of things that I think the government should have done.

First, there should be a prompt extradition of foreign nationals who are charged with acts of terrorism. That is not in this bill. I think I know the reason for this. I am only guessing, though, because I do not have any Liberal friends close enough to me who actually told me why they voted against this. I think most of them did so because it was a Liberal whipped vote. You may recall the day that you were the whip, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps the Liberals through their whip would give such an instruction.

In any case, I think this is probably the nub of the reason for why the Liberals voted against it. Our motion on September 18 recommended that any foreign national charged with an act of terrorism should be extradited forthwith, even if that foreign national faced, in his designated country, a possible death penalty.

The Liberals cannot bring themselves to recognize that under certain circumstances there is not a penalty severe enough. I would put into that category the individuals who knowingly helped to train and motivated the people who hijacked those airplanes on September 11, and who caused so much havoc, pain, death and damage. Those individuals are clearly guilty. If we were to find some of those individuals in Canada, who aided and abetted that action, and if there were another country somewhere that said to extradite them because they were their nationals, not Canadians, that they belonged in their country, not Canada, and that in their country they would face the death penalty, then I would say, off they go.The bill fails to provide for that.

I greatly regret that my time has elapsed because I have several more points to make. I am looking forward to the bill going to committee. I hope the amendments we make will be given due consideration by the government.