Madam Speaker, I think the last question posed to the parliamentary secretary shed a lot of light on the particular problem which is basically this whole idea of diplomatic immunity. Over the last five years we have had 76 crimes committed in Canada in which diplomats have been charged. We have some pretty egregious examples. I have laid out one.
The parliamentary secretary likes to claim that her government has a policy of zero tolerance on crimes committed by diplomats in Canada. Yet we have all sorts of examples, 76 of them, ranging from impaired driving, where there was a six week interval between two different incidents for the same individual, to sexual assault and interference, invitation to sexual touching, offences in relation to prostitution and criminal harassment. To me there is one that take the cake in terms of the so-called zero tolerance policy of the government, which I would claim does not exist. I think diplomatic immunity is abused. There are 8,000 individuals in Canada right now who enjoy the privilege of diplomatic immunity and over the last five years up to 13,000 people have enjoyed this type of privilege.
Let us look at some of these examples. One of the most egregious ones I can find is that of somebody who was charged with attempted murder in Canada and applied for a waiver of diplomatic immunity. It makes sense, I guess, if somebody is guilty as charged and realizes there is wiggle room to get out. Maybe that person's government allows the person the privilege of applying for diplomatic immunity. However, how can this parliamentary secretary can get up in her place and claim there is zero tolerance when the government grants the immunity? It is one thing for the government of a criminal to ask it but quite another for this government, which loves to claim it has zero tolerance, to grant it.
One might ask, then, what happened? Indeed, the criminal appeared in court and the case was dismissed. What is even more egregious is this policy of zero tolerance. Not only did the government grant the person the waiver of diplomatic immunity, but this person is still in Canada after having been charged with attempted murder and the woman across the way has the gall to stand in the House today and claim with a straight face that she has a zero tolerance policy with regard to criminals and diplomatic immunity. Shame on her.
I will go on to some of the problems I see in the bill. We have a situation where we have just recently had two terrible and tragic terrorist bombings in the United States. It is not as though Canada is immune. When Ahmed Ressam was interviewed by reporters previous to his capture in Seattle he was on his way, from Canada, to bomb the Los Angeles airport, planning what he was doing out of New York, which the Mujahedeen cult, for example, uses as a staging ground. Ahmed Ressam claimed there were 60 individuals like him who were trained in the preparation, delivery, et cetera, of bombs just for his particular proclivities and cause, never mind all the other terrorists that may choose to use Montreal or Canada generally as a base from which to stage operations. This was just for Ahmed Ressam alone. He claimed there were 60 other individuals like him residing in the Montreal area who were in favour of his cause and the government has the gall to extend and expand diplomatic immunity privileges.
Since the member across the way sees fit to heckle today, I will retort in terms of what he is talking about. I will explain to him why extending diplomatic immunity is bad in cases just like that. He is burrowing his head in his books and so he should.
The reason the diplomatic immunity extension is particularly bad in those cases, if the member happened to be reading about or paying attention to any of these things, is that at least a half dozen if not a dozen countries have misused diplomatic immunity over the last decade or two. They have abused the privileges of safe houses. They have abused the privileges of travel documents, visas and passports. They have abused the privileges with regard to money transfer in the country.
Does the member across the way not happen to remember that his own finance minister had to be accountable for the abuse of money transferring privileges in the country? Now of course someone has left the Chamber. The heat was a little too hot in the kitchen, I think.
It is egregious to consider that the government will go ahead and open up this Pandora's box of diplomatic immunity after it has gone ahead and restricted freedoms on Canadian citizens. Instead of going after the culprits, the ones who dare to actually plan bomb attacks against citizens in North America, no, instead of going after the people who purport these things and the governments who actually fund these activities and train these terrorists in their vicinities, instead of going after the people who come to Canada with allegiances other than our own, the government is going after our own citizens. It makes no sense whatsoever.
The parliamentary secretary across the way, with her elitist out of touch attitude this morning, sits guffawing and wonders why Canadians are upset. She cracks down and votes proudly for those things that would restrict the freedoms of Canadians, but would go ahead and happily and gaily stand up this morning and talk about how she will extend the diplomatic privileges for foreigners in the country when I have given her perfectly good examples of people who have abused diplomatic privileges in the country. Does she not understand? It is egregious.
A number of events will be coming up in our country. In my backyard we are to have the G-8 summit. It will be held in Kananaskis. I hope it goes off without a hitch and I hope the government provides all the necessary resources it is supposed to provide, which it still has not coughed up for Quebec City in terms of the costs of some of the meetings held there. Even though that event will be taking place, what do we have happening? The government wants to extend more diplomatic privileges for people, whether it is for a summit, for example, with diplomats from China, a known human rights abuser, coming to our country, or for an APEC summit, and we all know the Prime Minister's fondness for pepper spray and whether he has it on his plate too and all the rest of the fine quotes that man mumbled with regard to the whole APEC inquiry and the cover up involved with that.
With these meetings coming up we will have a lot of diplomats visiting the country. Instead of trying to limit the amount of immunity given out for potential crimes coming up, and we certainly know there are a whole raft of those as I have a document detailing 76 of them just in the last five years, instead of curtailing that in light of the terrorist attacks, the government, in its top-down wisdom, in its elitist pronouncements, has decided to go ahead and extend diplomatic immunity in this circumstance rather than place restrictions on it.
I will give the House some of the gruesome details because I think it is very important that people know about them. The gruesome details include, for example, that in committee when this came up, and I am hoping the parliamentary secretary was there because I will be able to judge by her face today whether or not she was by her reaction to this, the opposition, not just the Canadian Alliance but indeed all the parties in the opposition, put forward an amendment that would have kept the current reporting procedure in place. The current reporting procedure is that there actually has to be a ministerial permit and every year there has to be an annual report to parliament in terms of accountability.
Under Bill C-35 the Liberals wanted to get rid of it so that it would not be subject to the part of the Immigration Act we are dealing with. Opposition members in all parties put forward an amendment to keep the standard reporting practice in place so that there would have to be a ministerial permit and an annual report. The Liberal members across the way, the governing majority that has had no plan since the terrorist attacks in the United States and that has been coasting on cruise control, voted down an amendment by the opposition parties to keep the ministerial permit requirement in place and to make sure there was an annual report to parliament.
I see a former reporter across the way. I am sure that somewhere deep down it disturbs him that he will be asked by his government to vote for a restriction to the freedom of information given to the press and to people across the country. I ask the member to keep that in mind in terms of his vote. He has approached me personally in the past regarding matters of public record. I wonder how he feels about this matter of public record.
Not only that, there was an amendment that dealt with the entrenchment of the minister's promise in law. I guess the Liberals across the way do not like promises, because they break them and they certainly do not like entrenching them in law, and once again the Liberal majority voted against the provision, against very wise and astute amendments put forward by all opposition parties, I might add for the parliamentary secretary.
The third egregious point in terms of the nitty-gritty details of the bill is that it totally ignores the recommendation of the Hughes report with regard to the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. We well know that Jean Carle, the Prime Minister and some others were involved in trying to tamper, tinker and interfere with the APEC summit. I am not sure why, because frankly some of the henchmen and violators of human rights who came into the country fully deserved some of the protest coming their way. However, our Prime Minister tinkered with that particular process for the APEC meeting and of course an inquiry resulted. Rather than listening to the Hughes report which was done as a result of the whole APEC situation, they have ignored it.
With what I have seen from the government over my last five years as a member of parliament, I cannot be that surprised. What often happens is that if there is a wrongdoing the government will create an inquiry of some sort, or a royal commission which is even nicer because it has a nice title. It will then shut down the inquiry the minute it gets a little too close to implicating the government with some of the problems and fire a couple of bureaucrats or someone else who had to carry out its orders, perhaps ending the careers of some fine RCMP officers who had to obey their political masters, in this case the Liberal Party of Canada. Conveniently the government will then shelve the report and, just like the parliamentary secretary did today, stand up as proud as a peacock and tell us it is in favour of a bill that will go against the Hughes report. Is that not special? We have another example of that happening here today.
As well, because of the Hughes report there was a third amendment that all opposition parties supported. It would have made political interference in RCMP operations at international conferences an offence. It was pretty clear. The RCMP's duty is to serve and protect the Canadian public. We want the RCMP to carry out that task without political interference from the Prime Minister's Office or any of the other Liberal henchmen across the way, including the parliamentary secretary. Instead of supporting an amendment that was supported by all opposition parties, the Liberal majority on the foreign affairs committee voted it down. Surprise, surprise.
We introduced an amendment for greater accountability that was backed by all opposition parties. The government killed that chance for accountability. We submitted a second proposal for the government to put some accountability back into the bill. It was put forward and proposed by all opposition parties, and again the government voted against accountability.
We did it a third time with regard to the RCMP, the people who are supposed to enforce the law and not the Liberals across the way. A third time we asked for greater accountability according to the Hughes report that the government said it would listen to. What did the government do? A third time in a row, three strikes and you are out, accountability went down again. That is the record.
We have a sad situation today. The government across the way is only too willing to go after websites created by Canadians. The government wants to expunge any of the material there and put Canadians through a laborious appeal process for which they do not get any specifications in terms of timelines. The government is willing to do all these things to restrict the freedom of speech of average Canadians because it is worried about terrorism.