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House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crtc.

Topics

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

October 19th, 2001 / 11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday I will be visiting the proposed site of the American based Sumas 2 energy plant along with the coalition leader, the member for Fraser Valley.

Emissions from the planned Washington border location are expected to compound existing air quality problems for the Fraser Valley. The site is located in a sensitive air pocket that traps emissions, making it difficult for area residents to breathe.

The Fraser Valley has one of the most stressed air spaces in Canada, due mostly to the cumulative effect of the pressure that air pollutants have and the effect they have on human health.

Health officials, environmentalists and many other individuals are saying that the site of power generating plants is absolutely paramount. The municipality, the provincial Liberals and the MP for Fraser Valley have all expressed concerns about the planned site. The only ones who have not so far are the environment minister for British Columbia and the environment minister for Canada.

When will the federal Minister of the Environment join with other individuals in British Columbia and stand up for the people in the Fraser Valley?

National SecurityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the events of September 11, I noticed an escalation in the fears of Canadians. Security is certainly one of our main concerns.

I am pleased to see that our government is committed to making sure that we can live according to our values and beliefs. The measures it has put in place are reassuring.

I would mention a number of examples: border post security has been increased; a new citizenship card has been announced; a cabinet committee on security has been formed; and a new bill to protect us against terrorism is now before this House.

I believe that our government is responding satisfactorily to the concerns of Canadians. It is responsible and it is vigilant.

Airline IndustryStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the transport minister has said that he does not favour air marshals on planes because airports can be made totally secure.

That would be fine except last Sunday in Toronto an airport worker was observed going around the security measures, obviously a friend of someone who was doing that screening. If pilots, passengers and janitors must go through then so too should airport workers. That is not very comforting. This was reported to Transport Canada and no action has been taken yet.

Air marshals would make passengers more comfortable. They would not carry weapons that would puncture the fuselage of a plane but a specific weapon that would take out a terrorist. I believe the use of air marshals would be sensible and I believe most Canadians share that feeling.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, despite the sometimes overheated rhetoric and reply of the minister of immigration, no one in the House is talking about wanting to build penal colonies for refugees who show up here without identification papers.

We are simply asking the minister to put in place a system that would detain persons who arrive here without papers until it can be proven they are not a security risk. It is simple. What problem does the minister have with that?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what exists today. When people arrive at a port of entry and make a claim, they are fingerprinted, photographed and an extensive interview takes place. If there is any concern that they may pose a security risk to Canada, whether they have documents or not, but especially if they are undocumented, then they are detained.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for how long?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for the leader of the official opposition to know that we detain an individual for as long as necessary. In fact, if we believe that individuals pose a danger to Canada there is a security certificate procedure now in place which, by the way, the new Immigration and Refugee Protection Act actually streamlines and makes it easier for us to be able to remove those individuals.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, she did not answer the question. They are not detained for any great length of time.

The question is a simple one. Identification papers are required to board an airplane bound for Canada. Yet, every day, people arrive here without them.

Could the minister assure us that people who arrive here without papers will be automatically detained until it can be shown that they are not a security threat?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the official opposition would have us believe that all undocumented refugees who come to Canada are terrorists or criminals and should be detained under mandatory provisions. It is false that they are all terrorists or criminals.

Further, as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration I am not going to detain a woman who comes to our border with her children simply because she does not have documents. If she poses a threat, that is a different question, but for someone who does not pose a threat, no, sir, not in Canada.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, that was a smear and nothing but a smear.

Let me switch over to the justice minister. Yesterday in Vancouver a man who was wanted in the U.S. for being a purchasing agent for Hezbollah was released on bail. The justice minister has the power and the authority to extradite this individual so that he can face those accusations in the States. Will she do it?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House that my lawyers were in court opposing the bail application and we argued against the provision of bail. I have to respect the decision of the court in that case. It did grant bail to the individual in question.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, obviously the answer is no.

Listen to the stuff this guy provided: mine detection and blasting equipment, aircraft analysis software, stun guns, photographic equipment, global positioning equipment. This is not the sort of fellow that I think we should have on bail in Canada.

This minister has the power to extradite. I ask again, is she going to do it?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member should be aware this matter is before the court. In fact, I may well be called upon to make a final decision as to whether or not this person is extradited. It would be inappropriate for me to comment at this point when this matter is before the court.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, following the events of September 11, it was agreed that, in order to avoid proving terrorists right, a balance had to be maintained between the values of democracy, freedom and security.

If the government is serious when it says that we must be prudent and wise in dealing with the September terrorist attacks, does it realize that the signals it is sending to the public are very disturbing?

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact as we have said on a number of occasions, we believe that we have struck the right balance in our legislation to deal with the evils of terrorism. We recognize that this is an important task. It is one that we take up very seriously.

It is also one that I look forward to working with our Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to, because in fact as I have said in the House on a number of occasions, I look forward to their advice and their recommendations to ensure we get that balance.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, whether it is the Access to Information Act, the Protection of Privacy Act, the Patent Act, the criminal code, the electronic surveillance legislation or any other act, we simply fear that rights and freedoms which, until now, we thought were sheltered from arbitrary decisions by the government, will now be vulnerable.

What message does the government want to send to the public, which is concerned about the use the government could make of the exceptional powers it is in the process of grabbing?

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that what Canadians want is to be protected effectively and fairly from the scourge of terrorism. That is what we believe our anti-terrorism legislation provides.

However, I have already indicated that while we believe we have struck the appropriate balance, some of these issues that are implicated in the legislation are things on which reasonable people of good faith can disagree. That is why we have a parliamentary committee process. That is why we will hear from the committee. I look forward to its advice and recommendations.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in special legislation such as this one, definitions are of critical importance. The starting point for a fair use of these powers is undoubtedly the definition of terrorist activity.

All week long, the minister has been telling us that the terrorist activity that is targeted is the one that generates terror, but this is not at all reflected in the bill.

Will the minister confirm that the concept of terror is nowhere to be found in the bill's definition of terrorist activity?

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in fact let me point out to the hon. member that what we are defining is terrorist activity. We are not defining violent activity. We are defining terrorist activity. Therefore I would ask the hon. member to keep in mind that is what we are concentrating on. That is what we are focused on in this legislation: those who would use terror to achieve their goals.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the term terror is not mentioned in the definition. Through her answer, the minister herself has shown that there is room for interpretation, even before the bill is passed.

How does the minister think that a police officer who has to implement the act a year from now will do so in the heat of the moment? If the minister, who drafted the bill, is interpreting its provisions, does she not think that the police officer will do the same and that things could get out of hand?

This is precisely what Canadians and Quebecers fear. They fear that the act may not be applied properly. My question is very simple: the word terror is not mentioned in the legislation.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, what I find interesting is listening to the hon. member who is always very quick to criticize that which we on this side are trying to do, but not when called upon for constructive recommendations to help us.

I indicated yesterday at committee that we believe the definition of terrorist activity is sufficiently precise and clear. However, I made it plain to the committee that if it can help us in terms of language that will achieve what I hope are shared objectives I will be very interested in hearing that advice. So far all the hon. member does is--

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the United States has confirmed that American troops are now on the ground in southern Afghanistan and certainly Canadians have reason to believe that our own soldiers who are part of the joint task force two might also be deployed there in the near future.

In every military operation there is a set of clear goals and objectives to be attained. My question for the defence minister is quite simple. What are the victory conditions?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times, obviously the suppression of terrorism is our goal. Obviously we want Canadians, Americans and all people in the free world to be able to live without fear of the kinds of attacks that were experienced on September 11. To be able to flush out these organizations, to break them up, to cut off their funding, to cut off their recruitment, to cut off their communications with each other, these are all part of the objectives. That has been made clear right from the beginning.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, attacking the root causes of terrorism is an action. It is not a victory condition. Canadians really want to know when this war will be over. It is a legitimate question and I hope the minister would agree.

What is there to be achieved? Is it arresting bin Laden, overthrowing the Taliban, destroying Afghanistan's infrastructure? What is it? What are the conditions before all Canadian troops can come back home?