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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.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I find it hard to believe that the member would have the nerve to stand on his feet today after his party proposed amendments at committee that would make it more difficult for us to remove those who are criminally inadmissible and those would who pose security threats.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, as well as being a human tragedy, the events of September 11 have had an impact, not just in terms of security, but also in terms of the economy, as the thousands of job losses make only too clear.

By announcing the creation of a cabinet security committee, nothing less than a crisis cabinet, the Prime Minister is completely ignoring the new economic situation.

To facilitate the recovery, will the Prime Minister make sure that the economy is added to his committee's mandate?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of this crisis cabinet is to look after security in Canada, to put the necessary mechanisms in place in response to last Saturday's security council resolution, and to co-ordinate activities.

As for the economy, the Minister of Finance has said on several occasions that the mini budget and new economic measures we introduced this year are entirely appropriate.

These are measures which stimulate demand in Canada, and we hope that Canadians' confidence is such that they will continue to spend and to create jobs in our economy.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the situation has changed over the past year, even before the events of September 11. Those events made it worse.

President Bush is getting ready to announce a plan to boost the U.S. economy, a plan which would include measures to help laid off workers.

Since the Minister of Foreign Affairs is talking about reviewing the status quo, will the committee he chairs depart from the Minister of Finance's laissez faire stance and adopt a plan to respond to the new economic situation?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is doing a perfectly fine job and he had the wisdom to come up with measures which are stimulating the economy: the biggest tax reduction in the history of Canada; infrastructure programs, which are now kicking in; and successive reductions in interest rates, which will allow consumers to borrow money for the purpose of buying cars and houses.

These are all very positive measures to help the economy weather the recent difficulties.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, during his comments on the events of September 11 on Radio-Canada, the Minister of Finance made the following comment “These are extraordinary circumstances, and I believe our way of life has just been fundamentally changed.”

When questioned in the House, however, he tells us that there is no problem, and that his budget update of last year took everything into consideration.

How can the Minister of Finance be trying to convince us that these year-old measures are still workable, while himself admitting that today's extraordinary circumstances require equally extraordinary measures?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the tax cuts announced in the October mini budget continue: $17 billion this year. The hon. member voted against that.

The $35 billion drop in the national debt, which means a $2.5 billion saving yearly, continues month after month, year after year. The hon. member voted against that.

Looking at such measures as the infrastructure program to which the Prime Minister has referred, that is continuing, is in place, and we want it to be stepped up. As for the measures announced by the minister—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Americans did the same thing: they cut taxes and they paid off part of their debt, but they have stopped living off of their savings. They have stopped resting on their laurels and are taking action.

I am asking the Minister of Finance to act, and to table in the House, as soon as possible, budgetary measures to help workers and businesses through the economic slowdown. He needs to get off his laurels and act now.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member needs to look at the facts. Tax cuts introduced this year by the Government of Canada are four times greater than the tax cuts announced by the president of the United States.

Whether you look at measures we have taken to put our fiscal house in order, or investments in infrastructure, so far, the Government of Canada has acted more quickly and more substantially than the American government.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. The United States is parceling out to selective allies its evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the September 11 terrorist attacks. This reinforces the perception that while the coalition against terrorism is truly international the march toward military action is not.

Will the Prime Minister call upon the United Nations today to establish an international tribunal and call upon our American allies to place their evidence before an international body like the United Nations?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I had occasion to talk with the president not long ago. The evidence that is available to the leaders of nations is evidence that cannot be shared in public at the same time.

It is very confidential information that we need in order to make sure that bin Laden and his terrorists are punished for the terrible acts they have done. It is not the time to debate that type of information publicly. It is the time to do the job and get them to face justice.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are not asking that the Prime Minister telegraph the evidence into every Canadian household. We are asking that the evidence be brought before an international body.

The Prime Minister says that he is satisfied the evidence links Osama bin Laden to the terrorist attacks, but the evidence he is willing to accept has not been brought before Canada's cabinet, much less before the United Nations.

In view of that, how could the Prime Minister even consider asking Canadian families to sacrifice their sons or daughters?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not the time to make the type of speech the member is making. It is the time for all the people who want to fight terrorism to be united and defeat it . That is what we have to do now.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Ontario Premier Mike Harris has named advisers on security matters and has called for a common North American security perimeter. He has also moved to have the tax cuts for businesses and individuals effective immediately.

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has called for a national security perimeter and a common North American immigration policy. He has moved aggressively on lowering taxes and is reducing discretionary government spending by up to 50%.

Meanwhile the federal government has failed to produce a single piece of legislation to deal with security issues and it refuses to table a fall budget. Why is it that once against the provinces are leading the government on issues of national importance?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, if one takes a look at the facts, the Canadian government has cut taxes substantially more than the combination of all provinces put together. At the same time we have invested more in infrastructure. We have invested more in those things that will stimulate the economy.

In terms of Mr. Harris' tax cuts, I certainly hope that accelerating the cut by two months works. We wish them the best of luck. The fact is that each government must make its decisions.

Our decisions are related to the necessity of making sure that interest rates can continue to come down and that we can fund the national security projects we are trying to have done.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, no one is asking the Prime Minister to divulge official secrets. We simply want him to follow the lead of President Bush, Prime Minister Blair, Premier Harris and others to assure Canadians that their government will plan to combat terrorism.

Canadians will not benefit from a rehashed reannouncement of cabinet committees or bills coming out of a Liberal fundraiser. They want information on specific steps the government has taken since September 11.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House when we will see concrete plans for Canada's anti-terrorism measures and what will be the costs associated with those changes?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have been more active in Canada than anyone else. Now the member is talking about what is happening, that I have made speeches outside the House. The House was meeting here for the last two and a half weeks. In Great Britain parliament sat for one day and today the speech made by Mr. Blair was made in front of his party.

The reality is that we have been in the House. Questions have been asked every day of all ministers and we are acting more rapidly than anybody else.

National SecurityOral Question Period

October 2nd, 2001 / 2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the citizenship and immigration minister has now less than 90 days to implement UN security council resolution 1373, which calls for effective border controls and the issuance of identity papers and travel documents to prevent forgery or fraudulent use.

Bill C-11 is certainly not strong enough on that score. Will the minister use her administrative powers today to implement the United Nations resolution?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to tell the member once again that security is our number one priority. We have moved to implement that which is within our legislative ability in the area of security.

We have enhanced security at our borders. We have fast tracked a tamper resistant immigrant identity card. We have begun the training of our immigration officers for the security provisions of the new bill. We are updating the files of cold cases to ensure that we have the latest intelligence information available.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister talks about cold cases. We still have a PLO terrorist in Brantford for 12 years and the government has not been able to deport the individual. It sounds like the minister is in a fantasy bubble.

On the frontline today we know there is no tracking of visitor visa compliance, no tracking to enforce student visa overstays and no system to ensure deportation of failed claimants. When will the minister simply give us a date when these enormous holes can be plugged so at least we can begin to feel secure?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, it was this government that recognized the need to update our immigration laws. It has been 25 years since we have had a new law. It was that party that initially delayed Bill C-31 and voted against Bill C-11.

Many of the provisions the member has suggested are actually included in Bill C-11, which is now before the Senate. We are hoping to see royal assent this fall. We are ready to go, virtually ready to go with the regulations which have already been before committee. I look forward to his co-operation on implementation.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he met with U.S. Senate leaders, President Bush discussed support measures for workers affected by the events of September 11.

Here in Canada, the government has in its hands a unanimous report from members of all parties in the House recommending substantial changes to the employment insurance program.

What is the government waiting for to follow up on this report and help the thousands of workers who have already lost their jobs following the September 11 events?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we are not waiting. We have an employment insurance program that is sound and is there for employees when they need it. There is no doubt these are very difficult times for employees in the airline industry. That is why today I was pleased to meet with union representatives to hear about their plans and their suggestions for support for their employees.

First and foremost, they agreed with me that we need to sit at the table with the employers, with the union representatives and with the government to ensure that the employment insurance programs which are there for their workers can be accessed by them in an efficient way.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister asked people to travel this winter and to spend to support the economy. However the thousands who just lost their jobs because of the crisis do not have the means to travel south or elsewhere, and they are not interested in doing so either.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that he has a responsibility to help these people, and will he direct his minister to implement the recommendations of the unanimous report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development, which she has had for five months?