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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we love our country. We are concerned with the government that is running it down.

This terrorist applied for refugee status in England. He was turned down. He applied for refugee status in Germany. He was turned down. He got into Canada. When we found out he was lying, when we found out he had a huge record, what did the appeal board here do? It granted him another refugee hearing.

When will the government clean up its act and stop with these ridiculous insults about who loves Canada?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. friend's indignation is not based on the facts. The government did not accept him as a refugee and that is the fact. We acted the same as the other countries.

The hon. member ought to recognize that Canada is acting vigorously in support of the security of its people, and the hon. member has no business running down our agencies in a totally unjustified manner.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

We are running this government down, Mr. Speaker. Other countries refused him. We took him. When he failed his application, we gave him another one. Do not tell me that we are doing as other countries do.

The FBI revealed that Samir Mohamed, a member of the same terrorist cell as Ahmed Ressam, in Montreal, not only intended blowing up certain sectors of Montreal, but as well that others were probably working for him at the Canadian passport office.

How can the Government of Canada convince the public that there are no spies working in the passport office?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the hysterics of the Leader of the Opposition do nothing to inform people of the facts. The facts are that this is old news. Many investigations are underway. The allegations that the Leader of the Opposition is making are clearly wrong.

Canada and the United States are working very closely together. Whenever we identify individuals who pose a security threat, we keep them in detention and take appropriate action. That is exactly what is happening in this case.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us look at our record in terms of capturing and prosecuting terrorists. Who caught Ahmed Ressam? It was U.S. customs. Who warned us about this Montreal bomber? It was the FBI. Why is our record in capturing and prosecuting terrorists just so dreadful?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the opposition just wishes to condemn our RCMP and security intelligence agencies.

Let us remember the Canadian police and security agencies played an important role in ensuring the conviction of Ressam.

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the RCMP and every officer in this country who has stood for them while the government cut their funding. The Canadian Alliance stands for them. We hear that the new budget will only have $600 million per year for CSIS and the RCMP.

Will the solicitor general show his power at the cabinet table and get the proper resources for CSIS and the RCMP?

TerrorismOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I will defend the RCMP and CSIS because it is not a very big job. They are one of the most respected security and intelligence agencies in the world.

Also, it is important to note that including and since the last budget the government has put just under $2 billion into the public safety envelope. Not only do we promote but we make sure they have the financial support and the technology available and secured, so we ensure we have the safest country in the world in which to live.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

November 30th, 2001 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the definition of a military security zone varies from one day to the next. After saying that these zones served to protect military materiel, the minister has acknowledged that, at the Quebec City summit, they could have included the city itself and the National Assembly. He then added that such zones could encompass Kananaskis, and, even, a nuclear plant.

Instead of getting stuck in a slough of ever more contradictory versions, will the minister acknowledge that the only solution for him is to withdraw his bill right now and do his homework first.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it does not change on a day to day basis. It is in writing in the bill; it can be seen. They can analyze it. They can come to the committee. They can make some suggestions, if they think it needs to be better clarified or improved in any way. The government is very open to looking at the suggestions of any members of the opposition or the public.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know what the government has done with suggestions from the opposition up to now.

The minister says it is not his intention to transform an entire province into a military security zone and continues to say we are exaggerating. I remind him that the judges will be interpreting the law and not his intentions and that, moreover, the minister cannot guarantee that his intentions will not change one day.

I again ask the minister why he is not withdrawing his bill, which reeks of improvisation?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government put the bill forward for the safety and security of Canadians. We have no intention of withdrawing it.

We want to make sure, though, in putting these provisions forward that we properly safeguard the rights and freedoms of Canadians, while at the same time bring about better security. If the opposition or the public have some suggestions on how we can improve on that, the Prime Minister has quite clearly said that we are quite receptive to looking at those possibilities.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government said the same thing about Bill C-36, but did not listen to anyone. We are not naive.

The Bloc Quebecois has been saying since the beginning that, when faced with exceptional situations, we must strive to maintain a balance between freedom and security. However, the minister's bill does not meet this requirement, and the extemporaneous nature of the legislation is obvious.

Does the Minister of National Defence realize that, with his bill, he is falling into the trap of terrorists by forgetting that our best weapons to fight terrorism are democracy, human rights and freedom?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, more exaggeration from the opposition. The bill codifies and clarifies responsibilities which fall to the Government of Canada already. The bill does not violate the charter of rights and freedoms. The government is as interested and as concerned with ensuring that we take into consideration the rights and freedoms of Canadians, together with their safety and security.

It is this government that brings about a balance. It is this government that amended Bill C-36 and listened to the various representations which were made. We are prepared to listen to representations again.

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the worst thing to do would be to undermine our values and curtail our freedom, because we would then play into the hands of the terrorists.

Does the Minister of National Defence realize that if he does not withdraw his bill, he will fall into that trap?

Public Safety ActOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. I agree with exactly what the Prime Minister said. That is what we have taken into consideration. All of this is subject to proper scrutiny and review. Judicial review can certainly determine whether there is any need for tightening up any of the provisions in terms of where we apply this law. However it requires that we be reasonable and be confined to dealing with that which is in fact lawful and in the jurisdiction of the Government of Canada and the Canadian forces.

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there has been an interesting development. We have learned that the government is actually considering a second budget for the spring.

After two years, surely the government realizes that it is time to bring in a full budget that includes a stimulus package. Surely it knows that Canadians cannot wait for the spring.

Will the government ensure the House that there will be only one budget on December 10 to deal with both security issues and the current recession? Could the government do that?

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, certainly we are facing great challenges in terms of the global economic turndown and its impact on Canada. We also facing threats to our national security.

The member is quite right that these issues will be addressed in the budget which will be presented to the House at 4.00 p.m., on Monday, December 10.

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear a clear answer about whether there would be one budget on December 10 or twin budgets. When will the government start reinvesting in Canadians?

Mike Harris and the Prime Minister are playing the blame game right now. It does not hide the fact that both are guilty of privatizing health care while Canadians are caught in the crossfire.

The government should stop blaming Mike Harris and make him shut up by doing its job. Will the government do that by putting money back into health care in the upcoming budget?

The BudgetOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to see this epiphany. All of us will follow it with a great deal of interest in the days ahead.

Having said that, let us look back about 13 or 14 months to the historic accord that was reached by the Prime Minister with the premiers of all provinces and territories to increase health care funding by over $23 billion over five years. This shows that our confederation can work.

Bill C-42Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, under Bill C-42 the government is dramatically changing the rules of our democratic society. Ministers will have the power to act unilaterally without checks or balances.

The only other time this kind of power can be exercised is under the Emergencies Act. Even then, quite properly, the decision to use that power has to come back before parliament for debate and approval. If coming before parliament is good enough for the Emergencies Act, why is it not good enough for Bill C-42?

Bill C-42Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not done his homework. He does not fully understand the provisions of the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act is designed for a broader long term emergency. Certain procedures are prescribed, including the devising of the order in council and consultation. All of that is provided for in the statute.

When there is a localized one time emergency ministers need to act quickly. That is what happened on September 11. Had there been further terrorist attacks and the country was in a state of apprehension then obviously the Emergencies Act would have been invoked.

Bill C-42Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we have no problem with ministers acting to protect Canadians. We just want parliament to have a role in knowing what is going on.

Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minister claimed that Canadians need not worry, that ministerial decisions taken under Bill C-42 were subject to judicial review. That is simply untrue. There is no judicial review in the bill. There is no oversight committee and there is no role for parliament.

Bill C-42 gives absolute power to the ministers and we all know what absolute power does. Why would the government once again bring forward legislation that compromises the rights and freedoms of Canadians and belittles the role of parliament?

Bill C-42Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend had better take his questions back to the drawing board. I have been advised that there is authority for judicial review under provisions outside the proposed bill and that it does not have to be specifically mentioned in the bill.

My hon. friend's accusation is totally wrong. If he has any decency, he will withdraw it.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, for eight long years we in the Canadian Alliance have been calling for improvements to Canada's immigration and refugee system, changes like stopping economic migrants from claiming refugee status, common standards in co-operation with the U.S., ending refugee claimants from safe countries like the U.S. and hiring more frontline immigration officers.

The minister of immigration has personally attacked us for calling for these things, but now the Liberal chair of the immigration committee is calling for exactly these changes. Will the minister of immigration just admit she is wrong and make these changes?