That this House
(a) condemn the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, as crimes against humanity, and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice in accordance with international law and within the framework of the United Nations;
(b) endorse the objectives of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) and call upon the government, in accordance with this resolution, to deliver a report to the U.N. Security Council Committee, within 90 days, setting out the steps Canada will take to implement resolution 1373, and further direct the government to table this report in the House; and
(c) direct the government to table in the House, within 90 days, a report setting out the steps Canada will take to implement an action plan, including detailed budgets and timetables, to fight the rising tide of intolerance and racism, directed against Arab and Muslim Canadians, in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Mr. Speaker, it is with apprehension and alarm over a new wave of violence that is about to sweep over humanity that I rise today to introduce the NDP opposition day motion, seconded by the member for Winnipeg--Transcona.
The motion condemns the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11 as crimes against humanity and we reiterate our call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice in accordance with international law and under the auspices of the United Nations.
We also call for the government to endorse the objectives of the United Nations Security Council resolution No. 1373, which calls for the Canadian government to report back to the United Nations within 90 days on its progress in implementing a wide range of anti-terrorism measures.
We ask that our government simultaneously table Canada's 90 day report in the House.
Mr. Speaker, I neglected to say at the outset that I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg North Centre.
Finally, our motion directs the government to also table within 90 days a report setting out the steps that Canada will take to implement an action plan, including detailed budgets and timetables to fight the rising tide of intolerance and racism directed against Arab and Muslim Canadians.
The New Democratic Party, along with a wide range of voices, have been calling for the United Nations to be the primary body through which we direct the global response to terrorism.
Indeed, international law, under the auspices of the UN, is the only legal way that we can proceed. The United Nations charter is clear that no country or coalition of countries, no matter how broad, can take the law into its own hands. Put more simply, for very good reason it is illegal for anyone to act as judge, jury and executioner. Countries that flout international law must be on notice that military intervention is an option open to the international community but how we reach any such decision is critically important.
As we know, the world is in the process of establishing a world criminal court but the United Nations already has the means to establish international tribunals. We must therefore proceed with the sure moral footing of an independent tribunal, one that can assess the facts and determine the punishment in an open and democratic manner. To proceed otherwise is to descend to the lawlessness we abhor, to risk creating a new generation of martyrs, of terrorist fanatics, and to risk expanding the cycle of revenge that breeds the terrifying violence visited on the United States three weeks ago.
The United Nations is willing and able to accept its responsibility. The most recent UN Security Council resolution reaffirms its unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attacks and it unanimously adopts a wide ranging comprehensive resolution with steps and strategies to combat international terrorism.
The security council recognizes that we need to do more than just talk. We need verifiable action. The requirement that countries report back within 90 days on the progress they have made is something the New Democratic Party supports. Today we call on the government to show the same respect to the people of Canada and table that same report here in the House of Commons.
We will no doubt have questions. We will undoubtedly have disagreements on some specifics of how the security council resolutions are implemented in Canada but we support its main thrust.
The third aspect of our motion today is the most immediate to the many Canadians who have felt the backlash of discrimination and scapegoating since the September 11 tragedy. Many are Canadian immigrants and visible minorities from the Arab world and from Central and South Asia.
I want to briefly tell the House of an experience I had last week, a meeting with representatives from that community.
On very short notice in Toronto, about two dozen Arab Canadian community leaders came together to share their experiences of the last three weeks with myself and Ontario NDP deputy leader Marilyn Churley. These are people, some of whom have been here for generations and others more recent arrivals, who are fiercely proud to be Canadians, people who have often risked their lives to get here and people who are working hard to build this country. Yet, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack, they are people themselves under attack for no other reason than their race, religion or ethnicity.
One father described his 12 year old son. His first name was Osama. It was heartbreaking to hear about that little boy begging his parents to change his name to Michael. We heard the account of another child, a 7 year old, whose name was also Osama. Sensing the backlash and the growing tide of intolerance, his teacher suggested that from now on he would be called Sam. We need Canadians to know that Osama is a Canadian name, that Mohammed is a Canadian name and that worshipping in a mosque is a Canadian tradition.
I was deeply moved by the depth of the pain that these new Canadians expressed for the victims of the terrorist attacks in the United States, but also the pain they expressed for the backlash that they and their families had experienced, the backlash that has been visited upon them and their communities since September 11.
Many of these people have been victims of violence in their own countries of origin and yet their response has not been to demand vengeance but rather to express sympathy, peace and to search out deeper understanding among all Canadians and all members of the human family. We must learn from their experience, and today we call upon the Canadian government to develop a detailed action plan that brings citizens together in a dialogue for tolerance. We must reinforce the best of Canadian values and strengthen the bonds of tolerance.
We must let all Canadians know that prejudice is not a Canadian value and that racism will not be tolerated. I urge all members of the House to join with the New Democratic Party today in embracing Canada's multicultural reality, our commitment to internationalism and our commitment to the rule of law.
In conclusion, I will be splitting my time, Mr. Speaker, with the member for Winnipeg North Centre.