I do not often respond to ridiculous interjections but a Liberal member just said “what about forgiveness”. To forgive somebody who killed 3,000 people and send a message to him that, hey pal, it is not a problem, he will be up for parole; that is not forgiveness following that act, that is stupidity.
The bill does not make it illegal to be a member of a terrorist organization. Those who are thinking of fleeing to a country where they can still be a member of their terrorist organization though banned from doing so in other freedom-loving countries would be welcome here in Canada. That is ridiculous.
By saying “recognized terrorist organization”, I mean one that has met the burden of proof that is set out in the bill to be included in the list of entities. The minister maintains she has done this for the purpose of targeting terrorist acts and terrorist activity, but we are all aware that joining a terrorist organization has only one purpose: to participate in or to facilitate terrorist activity. That is the only reason for joining.
The minister has argued that banning membership may contravene the right to freedom of association. Surely our courts would rule that such misguided tolerance is an affront to the rule of law and abuse of the concept of freedom of association.
By far the most glaring omission of Bill C-36 is the minister's failure to deal with the issue of extradition. The Canadian Alliance long before September 11 had called for prompt extradition of foreign nationals who are charged with acts of terrorism. We will continue to ask the government to take steps to ensure that Canada no longer remains a safe haven for terrorists who come to Canada to escape the consequences of their actions in other countries. These terrorists should never be allowed to exist freely in our society and endanger Canadian citizens.
Canada quite rightly has earned a reputation of being welcoming to people from all over the world who want to come here to love and respect freedom and liberty, to pursue their hopes and dreams and see their children grow up to pursue and achieve their hopes and dreams. That is a reputation of which we are proud. But we also have a reputation of being a haven for those who do not respect freedom and liberties and for those who would tear freedom and liberty from others and those who would destroy life in the process and then would come to Canada knowing that our legislation would keep them from facing the consequences of their actions in other jurisdictions. That is ridiculous. That door must be slammed.
In addition to these shortcomings, unfortunately, the Liberal government has not yet allocated sufficient resources to the military, to police services or to the intelligence activities that we must have if we are going to properly fight terrorism.
It is no secret that the costs of fighting terrorism and organized crime are huge. These are huge costs. In a recent case that was prosecuted in Edmonton, it took $5 million to convict just three members of the Hell's Angels. Convicting terrorists will be no different. They will use every legal loophole and other means available to them to fight their convictions. The cost will be significant.
In a written brief submitted to the justice committee last spring, the Canadian Police Association wrote of the extraordinary fiscal consequences that the police face when they are investigating and prosecuting these kinds of crimes. They said that these fiscal consequences “defy any modern sense of efficiency or effectiveness”.
Although Bill C-36 will to some extent help to combat terrorism, this legislation in itself is not enough to effectively prevent terrorist activity on Canadian soil. Bill C-36 is only one piece of a very necessary puzzle. There need to be other issues addressed also, such as tightening our refugee determination system and giving powers to CSIS to operate overseas.
If we do not tighten our refugee determination system, then the genuine refugees, who should be here in this country experiencing freedom for the first time in their lives, will be jeopardized by those who continue to abuse the system and continue to be allowed to abuse the system because Bill C-36 will not slam the door on that abuse the way it should.
The legislation will be of no use whatsoever if we do not also have the resources in place to enforce it. Norman Inkster, the former commissioner of the RCMP, supports the bill's provisions that allow police to perform preventive arrest, as do we, but there have to be safeguards provided. He has said that other measures must be added, such as stepping up screening procedures at Canada's overseas missions and harmonizing border policies with the United States. He was clear on that and we are clear on that, as are many other associations and provinces.
Mr. Inkster believes it will be easier to deal with this issue offshore than it is to deal with the people when they are inside our borders and that makes ultimate sense. The former RCMP commissioner says that Canada should definitely be gathering information overseas and more important, Canada should be more diligent in whom we allow into the country in the first place.
Another RCMP officer, Sergeant Philippe Lapierre of the National Security Investigation Section, the counterterrorism branch of the RCMP, said at a conference on money laundering in Montreal that some people are sent here with a mission and some people come and are recruited, but once here, they all have the same modus operandi. Then he described what they do when they come here. These are the illegal ones who should not be here, who are allowed to get through and will continue to be allowed to get through by the gaping holes left in the legislation.
He also said that the first step is they claim refugee status, allowing them to remain in Canada as long as their claim is working its way through the cumbersome refugee determination process. He went on to say that the second step is to claim Canadian social benefits, applying for welfare and health cards, to ensure a stream of income. He said that the third step is to become involved in petty crime, such as theft and credit card fraud. Then he said that the fourth step is to launder their money through legal businesses that are set up as fronts. If we are to break this terrorist modus operandi, we must start at the front end and stop false refugee claimants who are security threats from getting into the country in the first place.
Every time we talk about the gaping holes in our refugee determination system, the government assures us that all will be well under the panacea of Bill C-11, but Bill C-11 was in the pipeline long before September 11. It is not a bill designed to deal with the clear and present danger of international terrorists coming into our country.
As a matter of fact, Bill C-11 creates a whole new level of appeals for refugee claimants. In some ways, it makes the matter worse. This vaunted front end screening the minister talks about simply means that we will begin security checks a few weeks earlier in a process that could take 18 months to complete just at the preliminary stage.
What is completely lacking in the bill is the kind of tough measures that are found in comparable U.S. and U.K. legislation.
If refugees arrive in the country on airplanes or on ships without documentation, they must be detained until it can be determined what their true identity is. That has to be checked against existing databases. Then and only then can a determination be made that they are not a security threat, because to have arrived here either by airplane or ship from an international destination, they had to have some kind of document or paper in their possession to get on that plane or that ship. That means somewhere in the process of coming over here, they destroyed their documents. They threw them overboard, tore them up, or did something to them. That automatically makes them suspicious. Those individuals need to be detained until they can be cleared totally of being any threat to security.
Nothing in Bill C-11 addresses these issues. Nothing in Bill C-36 and nothing in Bill C-42 addresses these issues.
In addition to dealing with potential security risks before people show up in the country, we need to provide more resources to the RCMP. The RCMP has served a vital role in the protection of Canadians over the years of our history. This national police force is a source of pride and comfort to Canadians.
Funding problems facing the RCMP during the last decade are well documented. The 2000 Conference Board of Canada report finds that in the past decade, the RCMP lost 2,200 positions and close to $175 million in funding. The report found the results of these cuts were heavy workloads, inadequate operating budgets in the field, loss of trust in senior management and officers who were overworked and demoralized.
Examples of the repercussion of Liberal funding cuts to the RCMP are all over the place. In 1999 in British Columbia the RCMP reported being understaffed and overworked. One 30 month investigation involved numerous hours of unpaid overtime due to an acute lack of financial resources. In RCMP A division, which operates in Ottawa, investigators were denied voice mail, cellphones and pagers. They were even told that they could not spend $20 for new business cards. That is no way to treat the men and women who are serving with their lives to protect Canadians.
In British Columbia the RCMP closed dozens of commercial crime files because there simply were not enough resources to investigate those files. Some officers were responding to calls with their own personal vehicles. This situation existed before September 11. Now post-September 11, we find a massive reallocation of limited resources to the fight against terrorism. What we do not see is a commitment from the government to provide long term, stable and sufficient funding for the force.
This piecemeal approach that the Liberals have taken does not address the severe shortage in human resources that is facing the RCMP. What is most disturbing however is the contradictory messages that we are receiving from the leadership of the RCMP and from those who represent the front line officers.
The front line officers have recognized the desperate situation. They are calling for action. RCMP Sergeant Mike Niebudek revealed that the new war on terrorism has put a severe strain on a force whose resources were already stretched to the limit. David Griffin, who is a Canadian Police Association representative, stated recently: “Before September 11, new squads were being created within the RCMP to deal with organized crime. That priority is being abandoned”. That is what he said. The priority of organized crime is being abandoned. That is simply unacceptable. We cannot simply drop everything that the RCMP was working on prior to September 11, but the funding situation is driving it in that direction.
Statistics Canada just released its statistics for homicide in Canada. It found that over the past five years gang related murders in Canada have more than tripled. The solicitor general must realize that the RCMP needs the resources not only for the fight on terrorism which is so important, but to continue to ensure that Canadians are protected from other threats. What will be done to ensure that in the effort to fight terrorism other responsibilities of the RCMP will not be dropped?
The RCMP has been chronically underfunded by the Liberal government. The Canadian Police Association has recognized this. It passed a resolution at its 2001 annual meeting calling on the federal government to increase funding. The resolution states:
Whereas the RCMP budget has been reduced to the point the force cannot meet its obligations in many parts of Canada,
Whereas RCMP officers are being removed from federal services to augment shortfalls in municipal and provincial complement, and
Whereas the Government of Canada does not adequately fund the RCMP budget as it pertains to areas of federal and national responsibilities, and
Whereas these responsibilities provide vital support to all police agencies in Canada.
The resolution concludes by saying:
Be it resolved that the Canadian Police Association, in co-operation with its member associations, implores the government--
Our police officers should not have to come on bended knees, begging and imploring the government. They are literally begging the Government of Canada “to provide adequate funding to the RCMP budget, to maximize the effectiveness of federal and national policing responsibilities”. The association passed that resolution before September 11.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 5,180 RCMP officers designated as federal in 1994. These officers handled criminal investigations involving organized crime, immigration fraud, money laundering and drug trafficking. Last year that number had dropped to only 4,341 personnel. That is a drop of 839 people through a period now of increased threats from terrorism and organized crime, not to mention an increase in the population.
The threats from organized crime, drug trafficking and immigration fraud did not go away after September 11. They are still here and perhaps even enhanced, yet we hear reports of up to 2,000 mounties being reassigned to investigate terrorist threats. Even Commissioner Zaccardelli has stated that the RCMP is curtailing some work as an effect of the reallocation of these human resources.
We hope the upcoming budget will address the crucial need for more resources for the RCMP. We will be watching very carefully to see that it does.
Another area where the government has shown great neglect, which the bill and actions taken by the government to date have done nothing to address, is CSIS.
Wesley Wark, a University of Toronto associate professor, who was speaking before the justice committee, said that we are at a crisis point in the evolution of Canadian security and intelligence. He believes that parliament has turned a blind eye in the past to security and intelligence matters.
I would only debate with him that parliament has not turned a blind eye to security and intelligence matters. The Canadian Alliance official opposition has had both eyes on that target. The federal government has turned its eyes away from these concerns.
The Toronto professor pointed out that while the United States spends $30 billion a year on intelligence collection and on analysis, Canada spends a laughable fragment of that sum on these matters. That is not acceptable. He also said that CSIS needs more money, something we have been pushing for a long time but to no avail. Even this expert said that money alone is not enough.
CSIS is on the front line protecting Canadians from terrorism. Over the past years CSIS has warned of the threat that terrorists pose to Canada and its allies. However, like the RCMP, funding cuts to CSIS have undermined its ability to operate effectively. According to its 2000 public report, financial resources were $244 million in 1993. In 1999 the figure was down to $179 million. The number of people working for CSIS went from 2,760 in 1993 to less than 2,000 in 1999. This represents a 40% decline in human resources for Canada's counterintelligence service. Today the budget for CSIS is only $194 million and it employs just over 2,000 people.
The lack of both human and financial resources has left the agency and its workers swamped with work, as are RCMP officers. Threat assessments are conducted in years rather than days according to the Security Intelligence Review Committee. The agency simply was not a priority of the government.
According to the solicitor general's 2001 estimates, funding for CSIS would decline further, unbelievably, to $169 million in 2002. This was despite the warning that the terrorist threat to Canada and its allies was at an all time high. This was before September 11.
Paule Gauthier, chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, says that the extra $10 million that was announced for CSIS will go largely toward new equipment. What is needed is long term, reliable funding that will enable this important agency to employ the human resources necessary to deal with the mountains of information that must be processed. Dealing with potential threats expediently and efficiently is what CSIS needs to do but it is unable to do that because of the resource cuts the government has hit it with over the last years.
It is the responsibility of CSIS to perform background checks on immigrants and refugee claimants. The Security Intelligence Review Committee reports that CSIS is so overloaded with work it can take years to determine if a person poses a security threat. That is simply not acceptable. The chair of the committee, Paule Gauthier, stated that the agency needed more resources and that it was stretched to the maximum. The screening of refugees and immigrants is one of the most important elements in this fight against terrorism and it requires adequate human resources.
The government's priorities simply must change. We all know the Liberal leadership race is on and the ministers seem to be funding their own pet projects to the detriment of Canada's security. We continue to hear, regardless of what is leaked out in the headlines, that the Minister of Industry wants $1.5 billion for broad band Internet access. Canadians already lead most other nations in the world in terms of personally making the choice to get on the Internet and to have their own personal computers at home. Canadians have done this on their own initiative and yet the minister wants $1.5 billion to enhance chat lines.
The Minister of Justice has asked for an additional $114 million to top up the over $500 million that taxpayers have had to pay out for a firearms registry system that simply is not working.
To put these costs in perspective, we must remember that the total budget for CSIS is under $200 million. We have been told that the accumulated cost of the firearms registry system, which is not working, will be $685 million this year. Where are the priorities? We ask people to think in these terms: $200 million for the war on terrorism and $685 million for the war on duck hunters. The government has to get its priorities in order.
The government must address CSIS funding if Bill C-36 is to be effective at all and not simply a paper tiger.
CSIS also needs, to quote Dr. Wark:
--talent and expertise, and, above all, highly-trained analysts to make sense of the information that is going to be collected by Canadian operatives and be passed to Canada, if we stay in the alliance game, by our allies.
That is absolutely necessary.
He went on to say:
--making sense of the information that comes into a security and intelligence community, putting the pieces of the puzzle together, analysing it well, packaging it in a credible way that will be read and understood.
It is equally and vitally important in Dr. Wark's perspective.
Dr. Wark also believes that there is an enormous deficiency in terms of the way in which intelligence gets to cabinet level for decision making. I feel like making an analogy about intelligence and cabinet level decision making but I am resisting. Dr. Wark ponders the idea of the creation of a cabinet level ministerial position responsible for national security and intelligence. I am not saying I am completely in agreement at this time with that proposition but I do think we need to bring together all the departments responsible for analytical issues in the security and intelligence field. That definitely has to happen.
Furthermore, concurring with the Toronto professor, I believe we need a foreign secret service capacity. Right now under the CSIS Act, CSIS has a restricted mandate for collecting foreign intelligence. That is not good enough today in the war on terrorism.
Dr. Wark goes on to say:
We need such a capacity for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to allow Canada to continue to play a role as an independent actor in the global intelligence business; and, in addition, to allow Canada to maintain its place at the allied intelligence table, which has historically been so vital to any of the successes it has had in that field.
If Canada is not there carrying the weight and carrying the freight, it will be excluded from a position of prominence around that intelligence gathering table internationally. We cannot afford that.
Former RCMP commissioner, Norman Inkster, and former CSIS deputy director, James Corcoran, believe that the CSIS Act requires a full overhaul and they have therefore urged the government to review that 1984 act, and we agree with them.
Under Bill C-36, the CSIS Act has received a minor amendment in that it adds the terms “religious or ideological” to the definition of a security threat. I do not see bin Laden and his troops shivering in fear when they read that.
Appearing before the Senate defence committee, both Inkster and Corcoran said “within Canada needs to be removed from the act to give CSIS a clear international mandate”.
So again, there are still large weaknesses in the powers that are given to the RCMP and to CSIS under the bill, and there is still no guarantee that the resources they will need to be effective, even with this somewhat weakened bill, will be there for them.
Nonetheless, there are provisions in the bill which we support, as I have said, and we will vote for the bill on third reading despite the shabby way the government has dealt with it in the House.
These elements are of grave concern to Canadians, especially in the area of supporting those security forces that need to be there for us.
In 1998, CSIS stated that some 50 international terrorist groups were operating in Canada and that the names included some of the most deadly enemies of peace and democracy in the world today. Some of the groups that were banned by the British terrorism act of 2000 and are known to have operated, and do operate in Canada, are the Babbar Khalsa, the International Sikh Youth Federation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Irish Republican Army.
The Kelly report, a recent report from the Senate special committee, stated in 1999 that Canada was a primary venue of opportunity to support, plan or mount terrorist attacks, contrary to what some people wishfully think.
What happened in New York City can happen here, perhaps even worse. Attacks like the New York City attack could be planned and orchestrated from Canadian soil by groups attempting to take advantage of the weaknesses of our legislation.
In 1999, Canada signed the UN international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism. We need to do more. We need to take extra steps in that regard.
If a government like the United States seeks people accused of terrorism in Canada, we must be convinced that there is reasonable evidence. This is a very important point.
I know some of our colleagues in the House have some sensitivity on this. If there is reasonable evidence, we should turn terrorists over, regardless of the fact that they may face a penalty in that country, for instance in the United States, that would not apply here. That move would require a change in Canadian law to send a signal to terrorists that they cannot take advantage of Canada to avoid facing justice for their crimes.
One can only imagine the outrage if one of the perpetrators of the acts in New York City and Washington, perhaps even the criminal mastermind who so carefully co-ordinated the flight schedules of the terrorists, found his way to Canada and we found ourselves unable to extradite such a person to the United States to face justice. Canadian law must address this possibility now because Canadian citizens will demand it.
Before concluding I must turn to address my friends in the Progressive Conservative/Democratic Representative Caucus Coalition. The Canadian Alliance was pleased that they supported our September 18 motion calling for tough anti-terrorism legislation. At the time and in the days immediately following September 11, they did seem to stand with us in supporting tough action on terrorism, but as the days went by various interest groups started criticizing the bill for giving Canadian police the same kinds of powers as those of police in the United States, Britain and Europe. The interest groups say there are valid concerns about information and privacy rights under the bill and say that we need parliamentary review.
We are pleased that the government has made some amendments in the area, but Canadians deserve tough anti-terrorism legislation to protect them. Our police deserve the powers and resources they need to break up terrorist cells in Canada. Our biggest concern is that the bill is not tough enough in some areas and does nothing to provide the resources that our police and security services need.
Very soon we will all have a fundamental choice. Our colleagues in the PC/DRC will have a fundamental choice. Will they stand with the lobbyists and special interest groups who do not believe in giving police officers the powers they need to do their job or will they stand up for the safety and security of Canadians and our allies? That will be the vital question that we will be asking today, tomorrow and in the days ahead.
We have asked for and received, not perfectly, some of the steps necessary to review the legislation in a proper way at a proper time. In a time of crisis, a time of war, we do recognize that certain liberties we may enjoy at a certain time may in fact be somewhat curtailed because of a crisis that is upon us. That should not be permanent, but it must be in place so that we can prevent the terrible acts happening that otherwise would were it not in effect.
That is why we support the government on the provisions it made. We deplore its complete lack of recognition of the gaping holes that it leaves unattended. We also recognize that there are provisions in place to, at a convenient and proper time, review the legislation and make adjustments if necessary.
The official opposition will continue to ask for the kinds of changes that we feel are necessary to restore confidence to our citizens, confidence in safety and security, confidence in the markets and confidence that we continue to grow both socially and economically.
However, the one thing we cannot afford is complacency. As Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. Changing laws alone will not stop terrorism. We are legislators and drafting and changing laws is what we do.
Let it not be said after the next horrific terrorist incident that it happened because the good men and good women of the House chose to do nothing.
There was an unfortunate incident that took place in the development and discussion of Bill C-36. It must be addressed. We were all dismayed when we learned earlier that the contents of the bill were actually leaked to the media before being tabled in the House. Our House leader raised it as a question of privilege.
The matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. What is disturbing is that the committee was too quick to give up. More disturbing was the fact that nobody on the government side took responsibility for this glaring act of abuse of the parliamentary process. When the minister leaked the contents of Bill C-15, she took responsibility.