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