House of Commons Hansard #90 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was terrorism.


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October 2nd, 2001 / 3:05 p.m.


Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to comment on the motion before the House and indicate that from the beginning the government has condemned and deplored the horrific acts on the United States that occurred on September 11.

Former President Clinton identified terrorism as:

--the greatest security challenge of the twentieth century...we cannot have economic security in a global economy unless we can stand against those forces of terrorism. The United States will lead the way and we expect our allies to walk with us hand in hand.

The Prime Minister stated in the House on September 17:

--so let us be clear: this was not just an attack on the United States. These cold-blooded killers struck a blow at the values and beliefs of free and civilized people everywhere. The world has been attacked. The world must respond. Because we are at war against terrorism and Canada—a nation founded on a belief in freedom, justice and tolerance—will be part of that response.

A special Senate committee on security and intelligence, the Kelly committee, found that “to be effective the fight against terrorism must be through a united international front”.

Canada has reaffirmed that it will not be a bystander in this important struggle. We must win the struggle against terrorism both at home and abroad. We must shoulder our international responsibilities in the days ahead.

The Government of Canada is fully committed to resolution 1373 of the United Nations Security Council, which was unanimously adopted on September 28. The resolution reaffirms the unequivocal condemnation of these terrorist acts on the international community.

In terms of the existing framework of the United Nations, it is difficult to condemn these horrific attacks as crimes against humanity and bring the perpetrators to justice. The current international system does not have the necessary infrastructure, such as a special tribunal on terrorism or the International Criminal Court to implement this.

To recognize that international law exists is, however, not tantamount to asserting that it is as effective a legal system as the national legislative systems are. More particularly, it is effective at regulating and retaining the struggle for power on the international scene.

International law is a primitive law because it is almost completely decentralized. The decentralized nature of international law is inevitably the result of the decentralized structure of international society. Domestic law can be imposed by the group that holds a monopoly of organized force, that is the officials of the state.

It is an essential characteristic of international society, composed of sovereign states, which by definition are the supreme legal authorities within their representative territories, that no such law giving and law enforcing authority can exist there.

International law owes its existence and operation to two factors both decentralized in character: identical or complementary interests of individual states and the distribution of power among them. Where there is no community of interest nor balance of power there is no international law. Whereas domestic law may originate in and be reinforced by the arbitrary will of the agencies of the state, international law is overwhelmingly the result of objective social forces.

Clearly in the fight against international terrorism, there appears to be a strong broad consensus on the need for the international community to respond with one voice.

In terms of the United Nations it has established two international criminal tribunals in the Hague; one, for the atrocities committed in Rwanda; and the other for the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia. Canada has clearly indicated to the United Nations that if it establishes a separate international court for terrorism, we will support it.

Canada signed the 1998 convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism and was one of the first countries to sign it. We will meet our commitment to ratify that.

We signed all 12 international conventions against terrorism and have already ratified 10 of them. The Minister of Justice has indicated we will ratify the other two very shortly.

Canada ratified the ICC Statute of Rome in July 2000 and was the first state to adopt a comprehensive implementing legislation; the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act on June 29, 2000. Canada has been a strong supporter of the ICC at every stage of its development and will continue to be involved as the ICC moves closer to becoming a reality. However, It should be noted that the ICC statute, which will eventually establish the ICC, does not recognize terrorism as a crime against humanity.

The Prime Minister has stated that if there is a need to amend the treaty Canada will always be a participant because at the beginning of this system Canada was one of the initiators.

It is important to mention the role of world public opinion in the struggle against terrorism. World public opinion is obviously one that transcends national boundaries and unites members of different nations in a consensus with regard to at least certain fundamental international issues.

This consensus makes itself felt in spontaneous reaction throughout the world against whatever move on the chessboard of international politics is disapproved by that consensus. The events of September 11 have galvanized world public opinion.

Canada recognizes that the international legal system does not have the ability to deal effectively with international terrorism. The world community would welcome anything that Canada and other states can do to strengthen the international legal system. International law does not even provide for agencies and instrumentalities for the purpose of its enforcement part of the agencies of national governments.

In the Law of Nations Brierly describes the following situation:

The international system, has no central organ for the enforcement of international legal rights as such, the creation of any such general scheme of sanctions is for the present a very distant prospect...This absence of an executive power means that each state remains free to take such action as it thinks fit to enforce its own rights. This does not mean that international law has no sanction, if that word is used in its proper sense of means for securing the observance of the law; but it is true that the sanctions which it possesses are not systematic or centrally directed, and that accordingly they are precarious in their operation. This lack of system is obviously unsatisfactory, particular to those states, which are less able than others to assert their own rights effectively.

UN security council resolution 1372 not only condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States. It also laid out wide ranging strategies to combat the threat of international terrorism. It established a committee to monitor the implementation of its resolution and called on all nations to report within 90 days on actions they had taken to do so.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance announced the implementation of tough new regulations aimed at suppressing financing in Canada of terrorism and freezing the assets of listed persons. The regulations implement a critical measure in United Nations resolution 1373. The freezing of assets is an important tool in combating international terrorist financing.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs stated:

This UN resolution is an important milestone in the fight again terrorism and is a critical tool for international action. The regulations will enhance Canada's ability to shoulder our international responsibility to combat terrorist activities and to co-operate effectively with our international partners.

The regulations provide the government with the authority to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations or individuals in terrorist activities and the movement of these assets.

The measures include the prohibition of terrorist funding, the prohibition of the collection of funds to listed persons; a new listing provision which establishes a list of any persons and organization that have committed, attempted to commit or participated in a terrorist act or facilitated the commission of a terrorist act; the freezing of assets which will not permit any person in Canada or a Canadian outside the country to knowingly deal directly or indirectly with any asset owned or controlled by a listed person; a new reporting requirement that requires any person who deals in assets they believe are owned or controlled by a listed person to report this information to the RCMP and to CSIS; and a new compliance regime for financial institutions which requires that financial institutions must determine if they have any assets that belong to a listed person.

Federally regulated financial institutions must confirm their compliance with this requirement and disclose the results to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions while provincially regulated institutions must report their information to their provincial regulator or supervisor.

The appointment of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to chair a special cabinet committee on security is a co-ordinated approach to dealing with these issues in terms of the implementation of the UN resolution. The government is moving forward to ensure that Canadians will be protected and that our rights will be secured for a time to come

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3:15 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, before beginning my speech, I wish to inform the Chair that I will split my time with the hon. member for Saint-Jean.

Just three weeks ago today, the world fell into a state of horror. By striking the very symbols of American supremacy, the September 11 terrorist attacks changed forever the quiet certainty that had until then given us the illusion of security, if not invulnerability.

The motion presented by the New Democratic Party on this opposition day reflects the public's concern about the future.

Governments have heavy responsibilities, and this is true for the Government of Canada. Managing a crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing is not an easy task. There are major international concerns relating to political and economical security and stability, and the greatest danger remains worsening the current crisis.

This is why it is essential to find the evil minds who are behind the September 11 terrorist attacks, while keeping in mind the need to reduce to a minimum the impact on civilian populations.

The September 11 attacks targeted the United States, but they hurt the whole international community. While Washington may be the main accuser, all the democratic states have cosigned the indictment.

The heinous nature of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in no obviates the need for appropriate justice. Those responsible for these crimes must answer for their actions to an international court. Unfortunately, such a court does not exist.

In 1998, the nations of the world met in Rome for the purpose of creating a universal and permanent international criminal court, whose job it would be to judge the notorious criminals of our world. This court had been created because it was necessary to find a solution to the inadequacies of the ad hoc tribunals created in the wake of the events in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.

Unfortunately, the coming into force of the status of the international criminal court is subject to 60 ratifications. These 60 ratifications have not taken place and the international court therefore does not exist.

For the international community, the emergency situation calls for action. An ad hoc international court must be set up, for even the most heinous crimes must be judged in accordance with the principles of law and justice.

In light of recent events, how many nations are sorry that they relied on trust and a sense of non-urgency and did not put their signature at the bottom of a document which would have made an international criminal court a reality.

Let there be no mistake. What happened on September 11 was a crime against humanity and, to use the wording of the motion before us, the perpetrators must be brought to justice in accordance with international law and within the framework of the United Nations.

On September 11, thousands of people lost their lives and thousands of families entered a long period of mourning in which sadness and anger were mixed. On September 11, the world's economy was hit by a cataclysm the aftershocks of which are still being felt.

There were victims of the earth shaking events of September 11 in Canada and Quebec as well as in the U.S., France, England, Italy and around the world. The members of the Arab and Muslim community are caught in a very difficult situation.

For three weeks, these men, women and children have felt the weight of looks of reproach and distrust. Sharp and disrespectful remarks and aggressive behaviour have been directed at them. These people, who considered themselves Canadians before, have, in the space of a few hours, become foreigners in their own land.

Going to the mosque to attend services has become difficult. Taking the subway or the bus or driving a taxi becomes an exploit. Their shops have been abandoned by customers. Even school yards and public places are to be avoided.

A week ago, I met a dozen representatives of the Arab and Muslim community of greater Montreal. I listened a lot to what they had to say and I know they have a lot to say.

Like all of us, they condemn the attacks of September 11, but they are going through something we are not. They are feeling that people consider them guilty.

Terrorism knows no religion nor law. It has no borders, country or people, because terrorists are blinded and deafened by the fanaticism that drives them. They come from no country, people or religion, because any they might claim serves as nothing more than a pretext for hatred and violence.

We all fail to misinterpret looks, words or silences. The sensibilities of our fellow citizens in the Arab and Muslim communities may be exacerbated, and we understand that entirely. What we do not want is to have insignificant gestures some find meaningless pave the way to intolerance, xenophobia and racism.

It is in this spirit that the motion before us today calls for measures to fight intolerance and racism, the social consequences of the September 11 attacks. The measures proposed must ensure support to the traumatized communities. They must help educate in order to prevent behaviour that can lead to misunderstanding and ultimately injustice.

We believe the Government of Canada will act on this motion. It is true as well for humanity and for balance in our society.

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3:25 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario


Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for speaking so eloquently about the terrible circumstances and the victimization by hateful acts of Canadian Muslims and other minorities. These despicable acts are not Canadian acts.

Canada is a country of immigrants and Canadian Muslims across the country, and indeed all other people who suffer such indignities, should know that we are with them. Parliament unanimously supports them in their rights to enjoy the fruits of Canada.

The member concluded her speech by calling on the government to embrace the motion before us. She would know that the movers of the motion have called for peaceful solutions to the September 11 incident. Canada was with NATO and its UN allies in the gulf war. We were again with them in the war in Kosovo which she mentioned.

Would the member think that it is somewhat a contradiction for us not to be with our NATO allies and respect the decision of the UN resolution that was passed? Does she not feel that we should also be part of this coalition? We do not wish to be part of a vengeance campaign but rather a campaign to protect ourselves and to defend the values of democracy and freedom.

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3:25 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for his comments and his question. The entire response issue depends particularly on what measure we put in place.

I am certain that my colleague heard perfectly my reference to the necessity to find the terrorists, while at the same time minimizing the dramatic consequences for innocent populations.

I believe the United Nations most certainly gives precedence to applying a large dose of wisdom to the selection of actions to be taken. I also believe that NATO will understand and will choose to tell itself that, very often, military action is not necessarily what yields the best results. We can recall to mind the strikes against Iraq, and the fact that Saddam Hussein is still there.

There are, therefore, lessons to be learned from recent events, and prior to September 11, but it must always be kept in mind that we, as citizens, have the responsibility of protecting the weak, the poor and the exploited, who should not be made to pay for a horrible act. Those responsible must be found, but the very many who are not must be protected.

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3:25 p.m.


Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, when my whip called me to say I would be speaking this morning in connection with an NDP motion, naturally I told him I would like to read the motion. Before expressing an opinion on a motion, of necessity, one must read it.

I found that the motion was divisible into three parts, because it is made up of three paragraphs that address different concepts.

As far as the first paragraph is concerned, we need not debate very long about the need to condemn the attacks of September 11. There have not been many who have applauded them. What I have mainly heard is people, the majority and virtually unanimously, condemning them. One need only have witnessed the attacks, even if only via television, to realize it is not all that hard to condemn attacks of this type, if airplanes are hurled into towers where thousands are working, attacking a regime through its civilians.

Today, my honourable colleague from Saint-Hubert showed me the magazine Le Figaro , which contained some absolutely disgusting photos, heartrending photos, showing people who chose to throw themselves out of the buildings rather than wait for a slow death.

I do not think there is any problem with the condemnation part. I believe that all members of the House of Commons condemn the September 11 attacks.

The second paragraph of the motion provides that we should also endorse UN security council resolution 1373, which was adopted in New York on Friday.

This resolution has the great merit of being very broad in scope. It deals directly with terrorism and its funding, and it deals directly with the actions to be taken regarding many other aspects on which I want to elaborate. It is primarily for this reason that the Bloc Quebecois and myself will support the motion.

First, it provides for greater co-operation and the integral application of international conventions on terrorism, but there is a problem here. It must be realized that not all nations have signed these conventions. The international community should work to convince all the nations of the planet to sign such conventions.

However, it is not enough to merely sign conventions and adhere to them, we must also implement them. Sometimes, there are governments that are in no hurry to do so.

I believe that the resolution adopted by the security council is an urgent matter. All those who have signed it must implement it, and we must also urge those nations that did not sign it to do so. This should not be a problem.

It is very clear that the international community will not tolerate a nation, whether it has signed the resolution or not, that harbours and protects terrorists.This is a very strong resolution and, we should make no mistake about it, the United States probably manoeuvered quite skillfully to ensure that this would be the resolution adopted. Some of the terms used were probably suggested by the United States.

I clearly remember the speech of the U.S. president that first evening, when he said that they would go after the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.

In my view, this resolution is similar. It means that not only will the perpetrators of these terrorist acts be pursued, but that the nations harbouring them will have to pay a price. So the resolution is acceptable to us so far.

In addition, it reopens the whole issue of how terrorism is financed. In the first days after the attacks, people observed that a lot of money must have been behind them. Many people have money.

Many terrorists have money and their access to it must be limited. Assets can be frozen and so forth. As recently as today, the Liberal government took measures to freeze many of these assets. I think that this is entirely the right thing to do. Of course, it may be necessary to go further. I am one of those who is not convinced that bank secrecy will not apply before the UN resolution, or before the position taken by the government. I do not know how the banks will react, but generally they are fairly touchy about their secrecy.

The whole issue of tax havens also needs to be raised. We have long been saying that there are tax havens and that important figures in Canadian society are going to put all their money in such havens. There are certainly also groups who want to shelter their money in tax havens. This is something that must also be addressed.

The motion says that terrorists must be refused asylum. This has often been heard in connection with such things as hostage taking incidents. The practice used to be to offer asylum to terrorists in order to bring such incidents to a successful conclusion. Now, the UN security council resolution prohibits such offers and, in my view, this is the right approach.

The motion stresses border control. We all understand the concept of fortress North American or a North American security perimeter. We will have to react to this, I think. Just last week, I wrote a letter to my American counterparts in New York State and Vermont to warn them. The U.S. must not, with nitpicking measures, block off or close their border or slow down road and commercial traffic between the two countries. We have to watch out for this, because it could happen if we go too far.

There is also a danger looming before the Prime Minister over the sovereignty of his country. In talk of a North American perimeter, it is clear that the Americans would like us to change our immigration laws to match their own. They would also like us to invest the same percentage of our national budget as they do in defence. This holds true as well for the perimeter and the fortress.

The Americans feel that our immigration, national defence and justice could all be considerably tightened up. We must be careful, however, because restricting the Canadian concept of individual freedoms is dangerous. We must not end up with an exact copy of American policies.

As to the question of increased exchanges of information on operations, what is generally called intelligence, the motion is headed in the right direction as well, namely that there should be more discussion among the police forces upholding the laws of the various countries. While it is difficult, because the operational jargon used by intelligence forces such as the RCMP, CSIS, the FBI and the CIA, each with their own jargon, can be hard to understand, well I think we better work on sharing more intelligence on these terrorists.

As for refugee claims, the motion calls for them to be somewhat restricted. Canada will need to examine its conscience about this. It has probably been far too welcoming. I do not mean that Canada ought to stop letting anybody in, on the contrary. I think that people who come here make a contribution, through their rich cultures, to the entire Quebec and Canadian community. Some examples have been raised, however, of people who have got into this country, settled here, and are now threatening our freedoms. There will therefore be some caution required.

Finally, I conclude with the question about calling upon the government to allocate budgets for tolerance. I do not think the Prime Minister is the only one who has to set an example in this. I too am interested in setting a good example. In the next few days, I am going to give instructions to my office to make arrangements for me to attend ceremonies in Montreal mosques. I believe it is not just the PM or even just the party leaders who have to do this, but all MPs, in order to demonstrate that these people have no connection whatsoever with terrorists who chose to meet their deaths by taking tens of thousands of people with them.

Members of the Arab and Moslem community have made contributions to Canada, to Quebec and to Montreal. I believe this is an example we need to set: to reach out to their culture at a time when people are wanting to distance themselves from it.

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3:35 p.m.


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

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

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

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

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3:40 p.m.


Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously there are all kinds of charitable organizations. Even in my riding, people tell me that they would like to create a charitable organization in order to be able to benefit from tax deductions.

The answer is not to get carried away and put an end to all charitable organizations and foundations. Rather, there must be an investigation to find out what any given charitable organization does, and where the money goes.

If there is the slightest doubt that there may be ties with terrorist organizations, the government must refuse to recognize their charitable status.

Nor should we make this into a witch hunt. There may be some cleaning up to do, and I would urge the government to do that, to clean up without launching a witch-hunt.

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3:40 p.m.

Mississauga South Ontario


Paul Szabo LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, part of the resolution calls for the perpetrators of this terror to be brought to justice in accordance with international law and “within the framework of the United Nations”.

My briefing notes show that the UN has two tribunals set up in The Hague, one for Rwanda and another for Yugoslavia. However, there is no international court set up for terrorism. In view of the fact that the UN has no instrument, no vehicle set up to actually deal with what is being proposed in this resolution, how does the member intend to vote?

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3:40 p.m.


Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is a good question, and I thank the member for asking it. It is perhaps a point that I did not have time to raise in my speech.

I think that the hon. member for Laval Centre was quite clear on this. Ratifications are required for an international court and these have not taken place. Also necessary is a desire by the entire international community to establish such a court. Even if it were to be created, I am not sure that the Americans would agree that terrorists, if captured, should appear before it. We must remember that the acts were committed on American soil.

There are obstacles to the creation of an international criminal court or tribunal. There are those who challenge the legality of such a court. I think that if we form coalitions to respond to terrorist attacks, it follows that these people must be tried when they are captured, and not just by one nation. If it is felt to be a crime against humanity, then they must be judged by humanity. Even if it is difficult to establish an international court or tribunal, that is the goal we share here and which we are pursuing.

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3:40 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario


Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, last Friday the UN Security Council passed a landmark resolution, UNSCR 1373. This resolution acts on a range of issues related to terrorism, from financing to travel documents to intelligence sharing. Canada supports the resolution entirely and will take immediate steps to implement them.

All three of those categories are obligatory. It triggers a response of member states that they must comply with. We are well prepared with many pieces of legislation to do so. Some of the other aspects are non-obligatory, but at the same time Canada takes those very seriously and will be engaged in an appropriate response.

The security council resolution recognizes the right to self-defence and calls on all states to co-operate in bringing terrorists and their sponsors to justice. To emphasize, the right to individual and collective self-defence is enshrined in the UN charter. Canada supports efforts to build a broadly based effective coalition in support of the U.S. in responding to terrorist attacks.

Yesterday NATO invoked article 5 of its charter. It did so by accepting that the evidence that had been brought forward met the bar of NATO and they had therefore complied with the United States in its request that article 5 be invoked.

The statement by NATO which relies on article 5 was immediately conveyed to the UN in conformity with the UN charter. Lord Robertson, the secretary general, announced that the U.S. has delivered sufficient evidence to satisfy that Osama bin Laden is the primary perpetrator of the September 11 terrorist acts.

We have discussed today with respect to our hon. colleague's motion that there is a need on our part to look other than to NATO, which is how I am reading the member's request, how to respond to the horrors of September 11. It is important to accept that an institution such as the international criminal court, the ICC, which Canada was instrumental in initiating and bringing forward first of all is not an appropriate venue because it is not yet fully in place. There have not been 60 ratifying nations. It is also important to note that it is not able to reach back. Once the ICC is in place it will not umbrella or grandfather past events. However much it may be seen as an appropriate vehicle in response to what has happened in the United States, it simply does not have the jurisdiction to meet that bar.

Last week I had the opportunity to be in Strasbourg as part of a Canadian delegation. At the Council of Europe there were parliamentarians from 44 nations. The discussion, an emergency debate on the terrorist attack on the United States, was front and foremost. As a Canadian it gave me the opportunity to be removed from the emotional response that seemed to pervade everywhere in our country, perhaps because of our historical alliance with and geographical proximity to the United States.

It was an opportunity to step away and listen to the views of parliamentarians from 44 nations and to hear the commonality of concern, the desire to be there as allies and friends of America. There was a noted difference in approach. It was mentioned during question period today that there was a desire again to move the response mechanism to within the ICC and that the ICC perhaps set up a special tribunal. This may be a more typical response, but at the same time there was great agreement with NATO moving as it was moving and an understanding of the limitations of the court.

There was a concern about the definition of the word war. Interestingly enough in the final resolution there was reference to what had happened as a great crime. There was a reticence to use the word war. Perhaps it was a different sense or interpretation of the event. Perhaps it brought a great historical perspective to the issue that we in North American do not share. We had not seen world wars on our territory until perhaps what happened in New York.

It is interesting that people in countries throughout the world are shocked and determined to stand together to do whatever is necessary to fight the horrors and the evil, as our Prime Minister has said, that this represents. At the same time I saw the commonality with my European colleagues. I have been tremendously proud of the Prime Minister. He stood firm in the face of those who would have us race forward without stopping to consider what was the appropriate response, at the same time knowing he had to balance the values of our country and the people we represent. I sensed that at the Council of Europe and I had a feeling of sharing that.

It is very important that we come together as a nation and as parties in the House to determine where Canada will go and how we will muster our resources to be the ally our allies want us to be. I would hope that we could step away from some of the emotions that seem to have infused in the last couple of weeks.

That remark is very personal. A number of people in Barrie have called me. They were terribly anxious that President Bush had not included Canada when he mentioned a number of nations. Others who called were upset that the Prime Minister had not raced immediately to New York. My advice for both was that although these are very intense and frightening times it is important that we recapture the Canadian posture of staying a little laid back, to use Mr. Trudeau's words, la raison avant la passion, to reach back to our ability to analyze and reason. We should not come out of the starting gate with an emotional response. That will not bring intelligent reaction. It does not help us as public policymakers to sift carefully, intelligently and analytically through the responses we need to make and how best to be allies with our NATO partners, allies to the United States.

It is not easy at times like this when we feel fear, horror and empathy, and when we see all that Canadians have done throughout this whole tragedy, not to get caught up in an emotional treadmill. It is very important we resist that, or having done that, now try to step back and look at the realities.

Today our Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned a couple from Maryland who wrote about the hospitality they had been shown in Halifax. It was one of many letters he has received. That is how Canadians respond most typically. Although I am very proud to be the member of parliament for Barrie--Simcoe--Bradford, I am a native Haligonian and I was very proud to learn of all they did.

There was the story of a couple from Britain. They were engaged and were flying to Los Angeles to be married. Like so many other fellow travellers they had to stay in Halifax. All their luggage, including the wedding dress, was left on the plane. In the end they were married in the backyard of their hosts in Halifax. A wedding dress and food for the feast was provided and they had new friends as their wedding guests. A story that will always be told in that British family will be the wedding that took place in Canada and the Canadian hospitality which facilitated that event.

There are wonderful examples of what we are as a nation and what we should be very proud of. We can be proud too as we muster our resources, our armed forces and our intelligence capabilities, all that we have within this public administration to bring to the task.

It is important to be very realistic, to look at something like the ICC as being the appropriate venue some day but not now, to try to sort through all of these various venues and work with our NATO partners, and finally, to resist a constant emotional response and stand up and be just exactly the kind of nation we are. I am not sure that I can add anything further to that, but I would be more than pleased to respond to questions. I thank my colleagues for their attention.

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3:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I commend my colleague for her speech and her balanced response. I would like to ask her about something that has been brought up in debate a bit today and in previous debates on this issue, that being the rush into military action.

There are some who have made the claim that we need to take our time, to have a measured response, which I would agree with, and not rush into any emotional act of vengeance against perceived perpetrators of this crime against humanity. At the same time I would submit that to all appearances to date there has been a measured response. There has not been a rush to military action by the United States, which has suffered this great blow. There has been the building of an international coalition. There have been consultations and to this point there have been no military strikes.

I would submit this question to my colleague. While it is time for action and we need to be considering these questions, would the hon. member agree to bring to her colleagues in the government the notion that in Canada right now there is an opportunity to work together as members of parliament in a fashion that we have not seen before? I believe there is an opportunity to drop down the partisan walls, to come together to fashion a Canadian response to how we would help our American friends and colleagues, with both support and, perhaps, military intervention. Would the member take the message back to her colleagues on the government side that there is a time for action and it is now, that there is input required and that there is the goodwill among all members of the House to roll up their sleeves and get at this in a measured way? Would she be able to do that?

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3:55 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his very balanced and responsive question. I would undertake to do what he has asked, but I think members are doing that. I think they are in many ways inputting into the process. All of us in parliament engaged in the take note debate last Thursday night.

I will assure the hon. member that unlike those in Britain we have come together and we have discussed this. Sometimes we argue more than we discuss, but we have been very much engaged in this process, as the Prime Minister said, since the horrors occurred on the September 11 and the House reconvened. Members should be assured that there is a great deal happening and that there is a willingness and openness here to bring to the House all that we can. The ministers on the front benches have tried to convey that.

At the same time, as I am, all members are students of history. The leader from that corner of the House, having been a former minister of foreign affairs and a former prime minister, knows only too well that one cannot bring information into an open forum, however venerable this forum is, that might in any way endanger people who are trying to put together the very response that we are all anxious to see formulated.

Those who form the government must balance the democratic values of openness and provision of information with the onus of the task that is ours, which is to develop, frequently in a military setting, the response that will be coming.

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3:55 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that bothers me about the motion before the House are the words “rising tide of intolerance”. Everyone in my riding is of ethnic origin. There are people whose ancestors are from western Europe, eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. I do not experience, among all these ethnic groups that exist in my riding, a wave of intolerance to Muslims as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center. There have been a few incidents of fear, but not a wave of intolerance.

I wonder if my colleague could comment on that. Is she experiencing a tide of intolerance in her riding?

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4 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comment and I would say very frankly that the emotional responses which I was attempting to calm people about are related very much to the comments I mentioned earlier, the belief about President Bush's omission or our Prime Minister not going to New York. I had no negative response concerning Canadians of Arabic or Muslim origin.

We have all read about some examples of that. All of us on all sides of the House have made it very clear how utterly unacceptable that is. We are appalled by it. I do believe that these incidents are few and far between. The media has managed to make a big fuss about them, just like the media, if I may make a horizontal shift, made a great fuss about whether or not the perpetrators of this deed came from Canada. That has done a wonderful job of spinning into the American press that Canada has all of these loopholes and difficulties with security when in fact all 19 of the accused perpetrators came from countries other than Canada. None of them came from this country, but this does not seem to get picked up in the press.

I found that there was total awareness among European colleagues that the perpetrators had either been in the United States or had come from the countries of the parliamentarians with whom I spoke. Europeans do not seem to get their knickers in a knot on these issues the way we Canadians tend to do, and whether that comes from our sense of ourselves needing to gain more confidence I do not know. As has been mentioned by my colleague, it is disappointing to see that kind of coverage enhancing a few incidents.

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4 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11 was an attack on all people of the free world. There are no adequate words to express the horrors we have seen unfold. Americans are our closest friends and allies. The Canadian government stands in solidarity with them.

Terrorism has irrevocably changed our world and has presented us with several difficult and contentious issues to address. First we must decide on the best way to bring to justice those who carried out that despicable and cowardly act. We must also develop a plan to protect ourselves from the ongoing threat posed by terrorism to the safety of our people and our national security. We must work toward defusing the suspicions and anger being directed at members of some ethnic minorities in our country. Finally, we must come to an understanding of what causes terrorism and how it can be stopped.

We must be careful at this time that our response is measured and appropriately based on international law. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. Having identified the terrorists and their network, we must actively seek the co-operation of the countries where the terrorists are harboured. If their help is not offered, Canada, acting in concert with our allies, must and can bring great pressure to bear through the use of economic boycotts, military blockades and political and diplomatic isolation to force them to relinquish the terrorists. If military action is ultimately required, it will be military action, but we must make every effort to prevent the creation of new innocent victims.

North Americans share a common history and language and a similar overall cultural perspective and world view. That is not to say we are the same as our American friends; rather, we share similar interests and have the same concerns for our national security and the safety of our people. The tragedy that took place could have happened here.

I would like to propose that we in North America look at enacting an agreement similar to the Schengen agreement of the European Union, an agreement regarding our external borders, those borders exposed outwardly to other countries of the world. A system of this type would allow for the continued free and open border with the United States and would expand on areas of co-operation that already exist between our countries. It would enhance our national security.

Further, if we fail to clearly understand why this tragic and horrible event took place, we in the free world will be engaged in a long and bitter struggle that will involve the loss of many more innocent lives. We have entered a new reality, one that Marshall McLuhan defined when he spoke of us living in a global village, a place where the media allow all people to become instantly aware of events as they occur anywhere in the world. The information thus transmitted allows everyone to see the impact these events have on their lives.

In order to understand the origins of terrorism, we must understand this reality. Even the poorest have access to television and can look through this window on the world and see how they are faring in the global village. They cannot help but realize their disadvantaged economic position, the discrepancy between their poverty and our affluence.

Through the media, the people in the Third World are aware of how environmental pollution and global warming does and will increasingly have a negative impact on their lives. Those living under undemocratic regimes see how advances in military technology and the other means for exerting social and political control that are at the disposal of their governments leave them less able to hope for a chance for freedom and to have any power in effecting positive changes in their lives.

Worse, the west is perceived as a supporter of the regimes that oppress them.

To eliminate terrorism, we must ultimately address the need to change the conditions that breed terrorists. That is a long term project and will involve significant changes in how the west is viewed by others in the global village, to what extent we are willing to share our affluence and how involved we will become in helping create and secure democracy in other countries.

Canada, like the United States, is a free and open society, made up of people from all parts of the world. Our tolerance and inclusiveness is being tested. We have many fellow Canadians who are Muslims, Christians and Jews who are from the Middle East or are of that ancestry and other Canadians who look like they might have come from there.

It is important to remember that Judaism, Christianity, Islam and all other religions abhor the terrorism that has taken place. The act was carried out by a small group of fanatic extremists. We must fight any expression of xenophobia by reaching out to our fellow Canadians and speaking out against hate and intolerance.

Ten years ago during the gulf war members of Canada's ethnic communities came together to discuss how they could work together to promote tolerance and inclusiveness. Today more than ever this kind of action needs to be taken across our land. We must ensure ethnic minorities in our communities are not subject to acts of intolerance.

The terrible events of September 11 have offered us an opportunity to show the world we have learned our lessons and will not repeat our errors from the dark periods in our history when acts of exclusion, expulsion and discrimination marked our reaction to people who were different. The Prime Minister was right when he said that terrorists win when they export their hatred.

The events surrounding the evil acts of September 11 showed the worst and best of humanity. The worst was the unfolding of the tragic events and the slaughter of thousands of innocent people. The best is the unprecedented coalition that is forming between NATO and the United Nations to combat terrorism and bring to justice the perpetrators of these horrendous acts.

The best is the outpouring of support from people the world over who have donated blood, financial assistance and moral support. The best is the thousands of volunteers working around the clock to assist in the cleanup and search for victims. The best is the 100 police officers and 15 emergency workers who gave their lives in the line of duty. The best is the 300 firefighters who gave their lives rushing up the stairs of the towering infernos to assist people.

To put these numbers in a local perspective, the 300 firefighters who died represents the total number of firefighters in my community of Kitchener--Waterloo.

The horror and pain of this tragic event must not be repeated. The Prime Minister stated in the House:

Our actions will be ruled by resolve but not by fear. If laws need to be changed they will be. If security has to be increased to protect Canadians it will be. We will remain vigilant--

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4:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to offer condolences on behalf of the people of my constituency of Yellowhead to the families in Canada and around the globe who have felt the loss of the September 11 tragedy in the United States.

In one day the tragedy brought the entire world closer together. On a typical day we come to this place to conduct the business of the nation and represent the views of our constituents. We are often divided in our vision of the country we love. I admit that our actions as members of parliament are sometimes less than parliamentary.

However in the big picture this place symbolizes all that is good and right in the democratic Canada we love and try to protect. By standing in this place each and every one of us is taking the first step in the stand against terrorists who look to cast fear and chaos into democratic society.

The terrorist acts in the United States have been forever etched in our minds and will be the lens through which we look at our duties and live our lives.

Our young nation was built on the sweat and ideas of people who came from all across the globe for a better life, people who wished for democracy, freedom and peace. The horrifying acts of September 11 were committed outside our borders but their violence against the symbols of democracy and freedom was an attack on all western democracies.

The deplorable actions of faceless fanatics have challenged the fundamental principles of free and democratic nations around the world. On September 11 a cancerous faction of evil attempted to tear down the ideas we have come to believe in as Canadians. However the terrorists have underestimated the strength of our beliefs and our resolve to bring them to justice.

I support the sentiments of the NDP motion. There is no question that we must condemn the September 11 attacks on the United States. We should look to international law at this time. We must also acknowledge that the United Nations has provisions for collective and individual security.

The second point of the NDP motion speaks to the general attitude of the Liberal government. We should not need to debate whether the government will table its action plan within 90 days. The Prime Minister needs to return power to the people of Canada by making parliament relevant again. We want to be part of the solution. Canadians should not have to listen to Larry King Live or pay $600 a plate at a Liberal fundraiser to hear the government's action plan.

I have received countless calls and e-mails from constituents looking for action from the government. We have seen nothing but delays and assertions that the U.S. idea of security and immigration goes against our sovereignty. I am not sure where that comes from.

The reality is that we share the world's longest undefended border with an economic giant. Canada needs to open its border with the United States. We need to open the border for the sake of our economy. That is what is potentially at risk.

Sharing common immigration and security philosophies with the United States would not go against our sovereignty. It would reaffirm our sovereignty and power by showing the world we are a trusted and influential friend of the United States.

The NDP motion raises a third point to which I will speak. Intolerance and racism toward any Canadian is unacceptable. We should have a zero tolerance policy against any such action.

We must not take an alarmist attitude in our response to terrorism. There is not a rising tide of racism in Canada. Canada is a tolerant society. Canadians have become closer to one another. They have a sense of solidarity with and tolerance for all who seek to build a better Canada. Isolated incidents do not warrant panic but are a reminder that we need continued vigilance against intolerance.

The terrorists attacks have given rise to the bigger issue of holes in our laws and our defences. They are obvious to anyone who lives in Canada or south of the border. The sense of security we have been lulled into over the past 50 years has been shattered. We have had the luxury of living peaceful lives on Canadian soil far removed from the wars and conflicts that have become a daily occurrence in many places around the world.

Canadians have a long history of defending democracy and freedom around the globe. Our fathers and forefathers hoped their sacrifices would be the last. Unfortunately the tragic events of September 11 have shown that there is a new evil out there. It is not a single enemy but one that lurks in the shadows and is too cowardly to show its face.

The terrorists hiding throughout the world have gone against the civilized world's rules of war and deliberately attacked innocent civilians. The attack on September 11 has forever changed the meaning of war. It was not an attack to win treasure or land. It was an attack against the ideas that have made us strong.

In this war there will not be a battle line drawn in the sand. There will be no decisive battle to force the enemy into submission. The rules of war have changed but the sacrifices of war have not.

As in previous generations the call to arms has been issued and we must answer. Our sense of security in living next to the most powerful nation in the world has ended. The reality is that we are vulnerable. Terrorists know no borders.

I am not one to make sense of the events, but I have a responsibility to ensure that the government is prepared to protect the interests of Canadians. In times of crisis Canadians look to their leaders. They look to their words for reassurance and to their actions for confidence. Canadians have received neither from the Liberal government.

We must ask why we have waited for evil to strike North America before acting. Closing its eyes and hoping problems will go away is an alarming trend of the Liberal government. Perhaps it is a defining characteristic of the Prime Minister's reign.

Whether with respect to stronger laws to root out terrorism or legislation to ban human cloning which we have been waiting for since 1993, why does the government wait until the genie is half out of the bottle before it is prepared to act on behalf of Canadians?

We have known for years that terrorists have seen Canada as a safe haven to carry out fundraising and planning for their organizations. Canadians are no longer willing to support such activity on our soil. It is time we as the people's representatives took the initiative in defending democracy.

I encourage the government to use all reasonable measures to protect our citizens. Let us strengthen our borders and stop evil before it lands on our soil. Let us find the strength in our justice system to root out the evil we know is there. Let us build the nation's forces and intellectual organizations to defend against this evil. This war will need to be fought with different weapons and tools.

We know our military forces will never be the strongest. However Canada can do its part with intelligence and technology, a field in which we have led for years. We must shore up our commitment to CSIS and our technological resources to fight this new battle. I call on the government to immediately table anti-terrorist legislation and increase resources to our military and police forces to fight terrorism.

As a nation and in tandem with our allies we must fight the evil that threatens the values of freedom, safety and democracy on which Canada was founded. The dollar cost will perhaps be significant. However we must spare no reasonable effort to ensure Canada remains a safe place for Canadians and for our neighbours to the south.

I call on Canadians to continue to support our American friends and neighbours who are feeling the emotional ripple of the attack that was levelled against them. We should think about them because the attack and the victims are not something one gets over quickly. Let us ask God to protect our nation.

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4:20 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased that my colleague opposite expressed the sentiment that there was no rising tide of intolerance. There are some isolated incidents that we all deplore but I would also make the comment that these incidents arise from ignorance and fear. I would observe that this is precisely what the terrorists wanted.

The idea of terror is to spread fear and I would suggest to my colleague opposite that the fear that the terrorists wanted to generate was not just the fear of safety in travelling in aircraft, but to generate fear against their fellow Muslims. My own view is that the target of terror is to create intolerance. I would hope that we as a country are one of the strongest to resist this type of terror.

I wonder if my colleague would like to comment on that.

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4:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do agree that the battle is about fear and terrorists are great at it, and fear is their motive, absolutely. We are in a different war, a war we have never seen before, because of that.

Most wars are fought over land, property or value or power. This is not about that. This is a different war altogether. It is about causing fear not only to America but to the free world and the world as a whole.

What we have to face as Canadians is the tightening up our immigration system and our justice system so that we can create a safer Canada. We must start by putting more dollars and more emphasis on our military, on CSIS, our intelligence agency, and on the RCMP. While we are doing that we must also recognize the danger in fighting for our freedom and loosing the things for which we are fighting, such as our fundamental freedom.

We are fighting a different battle and, as I mentioned in my speech, we must use different weapons.

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4:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the act of terrorism is a disregard for the rule of law. That is an important point to make in respect to this particular motion. The motion also makes some assumptions that I would like to address.

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4:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We do not have quorum in the House and it is the government's job to make sure there are enough members in the House to proceed.

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4:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I will ask the clerk to count the members present.

And the count having been taken:

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4:25 p.m.

The Speaker

We have quorum.

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4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will address a number of important assumptions contained in the motion.

The first assumption, which is that if we had some international court in place that somehow the terrorists, the 30 cells thought to be in Germany and the people living in caves in Afghanistan, would just surrender to authorities and come to the international court of justice to be dealt with, is a fairly naive assumption. That will not happen. It flies in the face of historical experience.

I remember a person in about 1939 coming back from a meeting with Adolph Hitler in Munich. He waved a piece of paper around saying “peace in our times”. Thousands and thousands of people applauded him and said that it was a great accomplishment and that he was a man of peace.

However there was another man, Sir Winston Churchill, who said that appeasement never works with evil and terrorism. These people cannot be negotiated with. They have no respect for the rule of law.

I think we are dealing with the same sort of factor in this day and age. I have a lot of problems with the assumption built into the motion on that basis.

The other assumption I think could be very wrong is the assumption that nations under international law do not have the right to deal with criminals who have caused criminal harm in their territories. I think that is an age old international law and a law of the United Nations that nations have the right to take whatever legal action is required to protect themselves from criminal actions by individuals, and this is certainly a criminal action.

The fourth assumption is that the U.S. would be dealing with the criminals if it apprehended them and that somehow they would not get a fair shake in the American justice system. I have some problems with that assumption as well.

Anyone who is tried in the U.S. justice system has certain fundamental legal rights. People are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They are entitled to be represented by council. They are entitled to a full disclosure of the case in detail. They also have the right to determine how they are going to be tried, if by jury, to select who is on those juries. They have a concept called due process. A lot of people would say that gives the criminal element an advantage but the U.S. is one of those societies that believes it is better to err on the side of innocence. They also have a very elaborate appeal system.

The assumption is that maybe other people have a superior system and that an international court would be better. I wish the motion pointed to some real problems in this area. What about the Taliban justice system? Why does the motion not address the horrible justice systems we have in this world, such as the Taliban system where there is not really a rule of law.

The other implication suggests that the U.S. and its allies will use some very brutal, terroristic methods to deal with this matter. We are heading into week four on this matter and I have not seen a single bomb, rocket or anything fired into Afghanistan. The U.S. is taking its time. It is building a coalition. I believe it has virtually every civilized country in the world on side.

The U.S. has consulted with them and are working as a team to deal with this problem. Dealing with the motion that has been presented, the United States is working through the United Nations just as it did during the Bosnian and Serbian problem, and the gulf war.

There is an implication that the Americans will work outside of our international system. That is not the case. They are working with it.

Something I am concerned about in this area is the British. The British 1999 social democrat government, led by Prime Minister Blair, passed anti-terrorism legislation that brings them squarely within the 13 resolutions that the United Nations has passed dealing with terrorism. It does not have any problems bringing itself up to snuff with the resolutions that the United Nations passed. It fits squarely within that.

The only reason I am raising that issue is that two weeks there was a motion in the House to at least study the British anti-terrorist legislation. Members who presented the motion in the House today voted against that motion. Now they want to see action by this government to comply with United Nations resolutions. There was a way to really fast track that if they wanted to do it but they chose not to.

I want to deal with the subject of intolerance and racism. I think everybody in the House realizes that the best protection against excessive intolerance and racism is an open, democratic society where the rule of law does prevail and people are judged on the basis of their character, their individual attributes and so on, and we do not get into the business of judging people on the basis of arbitrary things, such as race, religion or some other characteristic.

I think those are the basic values of American and Canadian society. In some ways, and I think this has been said before, the very attack on the twin towers in New York City was an attack on those concepts. Our best protection against racism and intolerance is to have an open society.

The converse would be the Taliban. That would be a society where people would have legitimate concerns about excesses in terms of racism and discrimination based on religion. They execute people in that country for having a different religion.

The media in this country have some responsibility in this area. Certain town hall meetings put on by the people's network during this crisis were not conducive to bringing forward better relations between communities. I thought those town hall meetings were an attempt to reinforce some stereotypes that were not so good, the stereotypes that hate-mongers like to seize upon and use to their advantage. I thought some of those town hall meetings were not very good. They were not just toward Arabic and Muslim people, they were also with respect to attitudes toward the Americans.

A lot of closed societies in this world that do not have a strong history of respecting individual freedoms would be well advised to look at the systems that we have in the United States and Canada as a beginning point for reforming their societies.

My NDP colleagues make much of getting to the root cause of things. Maybe one of the solutions to root causes of things is the rule of law and respect for individual rights and democracy. Some of these countries have been preoccupied with dictatorial types of government where they have no respect for these sorts of things. They use scapegoats.

Someone else is always to blame for their problems. Perhaps they should look inward to their own societies to start finding the solutions from within and look at some of the success stories.

I will put on record that militant Islamic fundamentalism is a dangerous force in our world today. We are not talking about a small, insignificant element. It is a powerful and dangerous force in the modern world and goes much beyond Osama bin Laden. If we do not recognize that in the west, particularly in countries like Canada, we are doing it at our own peril.

SupplyGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Cumberland--Colchester, Taxation.

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4:35 p.m.


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

Madam Speaker, I really respect the speech given by the member for Prince Albert, but in his concluding remarks he made one statement that I would like him to elaborate on.

He deplored fanatical Muslim fundamentalism. Would he not agree that any kind of religious fundamentalism that leads to fanaticism, whether it is Christian, Hindu or any of the other great religions or even minor religions, is something to be deplored and regarded with caution? I am a little nervous that he cited Muslim fundamentalism because Muslims are not the only people who have extremists in their group.