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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was security.

Topics

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know that some of the questions and answers generate a lot of enthusiasm but the Chair has to be able to hear the questions and so does the minister who has to give an answer. The hon. member for Port Moody--Coquitlam--Port Coquitlam has the floor. A little order, please.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, if Canadians already have the list of regulations and requirements that I listed, the country will be really surprised to know that we have a comprehensive air marshals program in this country. We do not. The United States does. It has had it since 1968.

It is interesting to note, about three weeks ago the president of the United States asked if the transport minister would put air marshals on routes into Washington, D.C.'s Reagan airport and he said sure. Then over 80% of Canadians said that they want air marshals and he said no. Who is his master? Is he writing legislation for the president of the United States or is he writing it for Canadians?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's theory seems to be when in doubt, fall back on the whole question of air marshals.

He talked about cockpit door enforcement. We have the authority already and we have done it. The training of flight crews; we have the authority. The so-called air marshals; we have the authority because we have them on the flights to Washington already. The 100% screening; we have the authority. Secure access to aircraft; we have the authority. The penalties for interfering with screeners; we have the authority. Co-ordinated security; we have the solid links.

Why does the hon. member not read the act as it is and he will understand what is in it and what is not in it?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only has the government not ensured the necessary balance between freedom and security in its anti-terrorism bill, but it has added to the democratic deficit with its public safety bill.

Without any debate in the House, ministers will be able to issue interim orders in a large number of areas if they feel that a security risk exists. Ministers will thus be conferring exceptional powers on unelected officials.

Will the Minister of Transport admit that, with his public safety bill, the government is getting ready to hijack democracy?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

That is not at all the case, Mr. Speaker. What we have in the bill right now is the groundwork for taking action in an urgent situation. I think that all Canadians want to see the government take effective action in an emergency.

There are provisions in the bill to protect the rights of parliament, to protect the rights of parliamentarians, and to protect the rights of Canadians as well.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised by the answer because the interim orders will be in effect for periods of three months to one year. This goes beyond the notion of emergency. At the same time, this is not nearly long enough for the scrutiny of regulations committee to see that they are not infringing the rights and freedoms of citizens unduly.

Will the minister therefore admit that interim orders will in fact, and not just in theory, be completely beyond the bounds of any parliamentary, any democratic, control?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in a situation of urgency and difficulty like we saw on September 11, Canadians want to know that their government can act. That is what Transport Canada did.

Transport Canada has the authority under the Aeronautics Act to close the skies, as did the FAA in the United States.

Where urgent regulations are made, there are safeguards. They must be gazetted. No one can be forced to pay a penalty or have harm come to them as a result of the measure not being gazetted. There are safeguards in the legislation.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, usually, ministerial orders are checked for consistency with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But in the public safety bill, the minister has removed this provision, with the result that there will no longer be such a check.

How can the government explain that a need for increased security in Canada means that there will no longer even be an effort to check whether ministerial delegation to officials is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I guarantee here in the House of Commons that all provisions of this bill are consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is vital to Canadian democracy.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister can say whatever he wants but if he is not familiar with his bill, and that is his problem not ours.

Clause 11.1.4 of the bill—which he wrote, not me—, says that an order is exempt from the application of certain sections, including the one requiring it to be consistent with the charter.

When it is written down in black and white, I would prefer to believe the bill and what it says than a minister who says whatever comes into his head.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the whole issue of regulatory power, not just for Transport Canada but for other departments, is so that the government can act in an urgent circumstance. I think Canadians would support that.

What Canadians also want is that their basic rights are protected under the charter and under other laws and that basic parliamentary procedures are followed.

If the hon. member reads the act carefully, he will see that all of that is there.

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, aid groups are desperately calling for help from the United Nations and specifically Canada to help get assistance to remote parts of Afghanistan. Over six million Afghan people are now in need. Aid groups say the situation is getting worse. Lloyd Axworthy has said that Canada should be taking a lead role in taking over an airport in the country so flights may distribute aid.

What action is the government taking today to ensure that the aid gets to those who need it before the winter turns the situation into a disaster?

AfghanistanOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, we are working with people on the ground at all times. The world food program in fact is getting food into Afghanistan, about 100,000 tonnes just in the last couple of weeks. There is some difficulty in some areas in the northern part. There is food getting in from some of the various countries as well.

There is some difficulty with respect to security but food is getting in to different parts. We need to improve that.

Minister of Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, on November 15 during a visit to New Brunswick, the Minister of Canadian Heritage made a public statement that the strength of spirit of Acadians had allowed them to survive, despite the English and the church.

The minister has a very poor grasp of Acadian history. Acadians know very well that the church was of great assistance to their survival, with schools, hospitals and so on.

My question for the Minister of Canadian Heritage is simple: will she apologize to the church and take back her statement?

Minister of Canadian HeritageOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I come from an Acadian family from Nova Scotia, and what I said was that in the Guthro family, when it came time to receive an education in the French language, it was neither the church nor the government that helped. French was taught within the family, which is how the Acadian language and culture survived.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

November 22nd, 2001 / 2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, under the government's new limitation on citizen rights, any judge reviewing any application can keep secret from the accused the reasons that person is called a terrorist. Sometimes that information may be provided by foreign governments whose democratic values are very different from ours, provided by China, by Russia, by Saudi Arabia.

Will the government table in parliament the specific criteria by which information from foreign states will be evaluated and the specific procedure by which the court will decide whether a Canadian citizen should be told why he or she is accused?

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the judges in superior courts and provincial courts in Canada have the responsibility to ensure that all accused before them have a fair trial. Where evidence is brought before a court that is deemed by the government under certificate of the solicitor general or otherwise to be highly sensitive, the judge will consider that evidence in private and decide whether it is necessary to go in summary form or not. If it is not and a fair trial cannot be maintained, then the accused will be dismissed.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, parliament has a right to defend the freedom of citizens. That right is denied by the government.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I know that hon. members are trying to be helpful but it is impossible to hear the right hon. member if we have this kind of help.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's latest attacks on the rights of citizens lets a solicitor general decide who is called a terrorist. The only way a citizen can get off the list is to go to federal court.

Lawyers cost over $200 an hour. These cases could drag on for months. The government has deep pockets. The PMO is already spending, so far, $152,000 to hide the Prime Minister's record from an officer of this parliament.

At the very least, will the government table in parliament the criteria--

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. solicitor general.

Anti-terrorism LegislationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, we have a process in place in order to put an individual or a group on a list. That information is provided by security intelligence, the RCMP or other departments. It is taken to cabinet. If an individual or a group is listed, it is a decision of the cabinet.

Airline SecurityOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, why would the Minister of Transport introduce a public safety bill that has no new provisions to screen baggage or cargo, that does nothing to prevent foreign nationals from leasing planes here, unlike in the U.S., and has no new penalties for interfering with airport security?

Could the minister explain how he can view his bill as a public safety bill when it does not meet the tenets of public safety?