House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was united.


Order Paper

11 a.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform the House that in accordance with the representation made by the government pursuant to Standing Order 55(1), I have caused to be published a special Order Paper giving notice of a government motion. I now lay upon the table the relevant document.

Board of Internal Economy

11 a.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that Pierre Brien, member for the electoral district of Témiscamingue, has been appointed as a member of the Board of Internal Economy, replacing Stéphane Bergeron, member for the electoral district of Verchères--Les-Patriotes.

Business of the House

11:05 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among House leaders and I would like to seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any standing order or usual practice, the House shall proceed directly to consideration of government orders now and immediately after the conclusion of oral questions later this day;

That, at the conclusion of this day's sitting, the motion in the name of the Prime Minister under government orders, government business No. 10, as printed in the order paper, shall be deemed to have been adopted; and

That the Speaker shall convey the said motion with the names of every member of the House appended thereto, to the Congress of the United States of America.

Business of the House

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. the government House leader have unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Business of the House

11:05 a.m.

Some hon. members


(Motion agreed to.)

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister


That this House express its sorrow and horror at the senseless and vicious attack on the United States of America on September 11, 2001;

that it express its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the American people; and

that it reaffirm its commitment to the humane values of free and democratic society and its determination to bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack on these values and to defend civilization from any future terrorist attack.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

In light of the terms of the motion, might I suggest that hon. members rise to observe a moment of silence.

[Editor's note: The House stood in silence]

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the leaders of all parties in the House of Commons, indeed all members, for their co-operation in organizing this historic debate.

In the sad and trying days since the awful news came from New York and Washington, it has been clear that the civilized nations of the world have a solemn duty to speak as one against the scourge of terrorism.

Under these urgent circumstances, Canadians will be pleased to see that their elected representatives have come together in the spirit of unity and resolve to make this debate our first order of business. I look forward to hearing the views of members on the role that Canada should play in shaping a firm and just global response to an unprecedented global threat.

There are those rare occasions when time seems to stand still, when a singular event transfixes the world. There are also those terrible occasions when the dark side of human nature escapes civilized restraint and shows its ugly face to a stunned world. Tuesday, September 11, 2001, will forever be etched in memory as a day when time stood still.

When I saw the scenes of devastation, my first thoughts and words were for all the victims and the American people but there are no words in any language whose force or eloquence could equal the quiet testimony last Friday of 100,000 Canadians gathered just a few yards from here for our National Day of Mourning. I was proud to be one of them and I was equally proud of the Canadians who gathered in ceremonies right across the country. It was a sea of sorrow and sympathy for those who have lost friends and loved ones: Americans, Canadians, citizens of many countries. Above all, it was a sea of solidarity with our closest friend and partner in the world, the United States of America.

As always, this time of crisis brought out the very best in our people: from prayer meetings and vigils to the countless numbers who lined up to give blood, from a flood of donations by individuals and businesses to patience in the face of delays and inconvenience. We were all moved by the sight of Canadians opening up their hearts and homes to thousands of confused and anxious air travellers who had no place to go.

When I spoke to President Bush last week, he asked me to thank the Canadian people. I ask all members to carry his message back to their constituencies.

The president also told me that he had been told many times by his officials about the tremendous co-operation and assistance they were receiving from the agencies and departments of the Government of Canada in responding to the immediate emergency of the attack and in the investigation that would bring to justice those who committed this crime against humanity.

Indeed, I am proud of the speed and co-ordination that has characterized our response: assessing and pre-positioning disaster assistance supplies, so that we could respond in a timely and effective manner when called upon; seeing to the safety of stranded air travellers; working to protect the safety of Canadians; sharing information with investigators; and responding to calls for information about loved ones.

The relevant ministers will inform the House in detail on what their departments have done, and are doing, on behalf of Canadians. But I want to express my appreciation to our public servants for their round the clock effort.

The House must also address the threat that terrorism poses to all civilized peoples and the role that Canada must play in defeating it. To understand what is at stake, we need only reflect on the symbolic meaning of the World Trade Center towers. In the words of their architect, the towers were:

a representation of our belief in humanity, our need for individual dignity, our belief in co-operation and, through co-operation, our ability to find greatness.

So, let us be clear: this was not just an attack on the United States. These cold-blooded killers struck a blow at the values and beliefs of free and civilized people everywhere. The world has been attacked. The world must respond. Because we are at war against terrorism and Canada, a nation founded on a belief in freedom, justice and tolerance, will be part of that response.

Terrorists are not attached to any one country. Terrorism is a global threat. The perpetrators have demonstrated their ability to move with ease from country to country, from place to place, to make use of the freedom and openness of the victims on whom they prey, the very freedom and openness that we cherish and will protect. They are willing, indeed anxious, to die in the commission of their crimes and to use innocent civilians as shields and as tools.

We must prepare ourselves, and Canadians, for the fact that this will be a long struggle with no easy solutions, one in which patience and wisdom are essential.

Let us not deceive ourselves as to the nature of the threat that faces us and that this can be defeated easily or simply with one swift strike. We must be guided by a commitment to do what works in the long run, not by what makes us feel better in the short run.

Our actions will be ruled by resolve but not by fear. If laws need to be changed they will be. If security has to be increased to protect Canadians it will be. We will remain vigilant but will not give in to the temptation in a rush to increase security to undermine the values that we cherish and which have made Canada a beacon of hope, freedom and tolerance in the world.

We will not be stampeded in the hope, vain and ultimately self-defeating, that we can make Canada a fortress against the world.

Finally, I want to make another very important point. Canada is a nation of immigrants from all corners of the globe, people of all nationalities, colours and religions. This is who we are. Let there be no doubt. We will allow no one to force us to sacrifice our values or traditions under the pressure of urgent circumstances.

We will continue to welcome people from the whole world. We will continue to offer refuge to the persecuted. I say again, no one will stop this.

I have been saddened by the fact that the terror of last Tuesday has provoked demonstrations against Muslim Canadians and other minority groups in Canada. This is completely unacceptable. The terrorists win when they export their hatred.

The evil perpetrators of this horror represent no community or religion. They stand for evil, nothing else. As I said, this is a struggle against terrorism not against any one community or faith. Today more than ever we must reaffirm the fundamental values of our charter of rights and freedoms: the equality of every race, every colour, every religion and every ethnic origin.

We are all Canadians. We are a compassionate and righteous people. When we see the searing images of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, many of them Canadian, wandering the streets of New York looking for their missing loved ones, we know where our duty lies.

We have never been a bystander in the struggle for justice in the world. We will stand with the Americans as neighbours, as friends, as family. We will stand with our allies. We will do what we must to defeat terrorism.

However, let our actions be guided by a spirit of wisdom and perseverance, by our values and our way of life. As we go on with the struggle, let us never, ever, forget who we are and what we stand for.

Vive le Canada.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are only six days from the morning of September 11, 2001, a new date which we all know will live on in infamy. On that day, in a few harrowing hours, the world was changed forever.

None of us will ever forget where we were in the moments we first heard that planes had struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but for many people, including hundreds of Canadians, that awful moment will never end. There will always be a missing daughter or son, husband or wife, or mother or father who will never return.

It is to the victims of these barbaric acts, to their families and to their loved ones that our hearts, our minds and our prayers must go first. We must let these families know, those who have suffered these losses, that we are with them, that this parliament is with them and that Canada is with them.

Last week's horrific attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania have shocked everyone in the civilized world. These mass hijackings and suicide attacks were more than a crime; they were barbaric acts of war. They were aimed straight at the heart of our society. I say society because these attacks were not aimed just at New York or even just at the United States. They were aimed at everyone in the world who believes in democracy and freedom. They were aimed at everything we hold dear here in Canada also.

Our first thoughts must turn to those who were lost in this horrific attack and to their grieving families: the passengers and crew of those airplanes, the men and women working in the office towers, the pedestrians below those towers, and the brave firefighters and police who rushed in only to be killed themselves. Our thoughts are with these brave souls. They died because they lived in freedom and freedom was targeted for attack.

The very next day following the awful attacks in New York, the people of New York, hurting and feeling great pain, returned to their jobs. Many opened their shops, some of which were covered in ashes, and with their hearts aching but their heads held high they said to a watching world “We are bruised but we will not be broken”.

Let us join them in that spirit to do what must be done to stop the forces of terror and tyranny and to keep open the doors of freedom and peace.

Our hearts go out to all our brave neighbours in the United States, that great beacon of hope and freedom to the world, our greatest ally and our closest friend. When Canada has needed it in the past the United States has been there for us. When the world has needed it, the United States has been there. Along with Canadians, the brave men and women of the United States crossed the Atlantic and Pacific in the second world war and stopped tyranny. Their determined valour was exceeded only by their friendship in the peace that followed.

Now is the time for Canada and Canadians to stand by our great friends and great allies as never before.

I want to thank the Prime Minister and the foreign affairs minister for their words of solidarity toward the United States. During this crisis it is important that MPs from all parties put forward a united front. I will do that. Others will do that.

Today I know that every member of parliament from every party would call himself or herself a Canadian, an ally, a friend, not just a member of a particular party.

The Prime Minister has my full support as we stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States.

I would also like to pay tribute to the thousands of Canadians, from RCMP officers and customs agents to airport personnel, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and citizens who donated blood, who responded with such compassion and concern in this crisis. They have shown that Canadians will stand with the United States, our greatest friend and ally, in its hour of need.

On behalf of Canadians, the Prime Minister called for a national day of mourning last Friday. We deeply appreciated that opportunity to express our sorrow and show our unshakeable support for our American neighbours and for Canadians who suffered loss. In a great show of Canadian solidarity and support on Parliament Hill last Friday and in similar ceremonies across the country, Canadians sent that message. The only element missing from that ceremony was the acknowledgment, in this time of sorrow and heartbreak, of our Creator, because in the days ahead it is only with divine wisdom, grace and understanding that we shall overcome.

As we join with the people of the United States and especially with the families of the victims to remember the dead, let us now dedicate ourselves to protecting the living. The events of September 11 were not merely tragic, like a train wreck or an earthquake. They were evil, as the Prime Minister has said. We must make sure that this kind of evil shall not prevail.

President Bush has rightly called this struggle the first war of the 21st century. Make no mistake. The war on terrorism is not merely the moral equivalent of war, like a war on drugs or a war on poverty. This is a genuine war, which can only be won, as Sir Winston Churchill said of another long struggle, with blood, toil, tears and sweat. Canada, in invoking article 5 of the NATO charter, has joined with our allies in declaring that this attack on the United States is an attack on ourselves, the first such declaration in the 50 year history of NATO.

This is not just an American struggle, for the terrorist war is aimed not only at America nor is it being fought only in America. It is being fought throughout the world, including here in Canada. The suicide bombing of the World Trade Center is an attack on Canada as well. Terrorists have declared war on the entire free world and the entire free world must declare war on terrorism.

This is a war not with ghosts but with real people. Osama bin Laden has been publicly identified as the prime suspect behind these murderous acts. He has been sheltered, if not aided and abetted, and time will tell on that question, by the Taliban regime of Afghanistan. The free world must tell all states that no matter what their ideology, supporting or condoning terror against civilians will never, ever be tolerated.

However, while bin Laden's al-Qaeda movement or other radical groups from the Middle East may be guilty of these infamous acts, we know that the overwhelming majority of Arabs and Muslims here in Canada and around the world deplore and abhor these attacks as strongly as we do.

I have discussed this matter with my colleague, the member of parliament for Edmonton--Strathcona, whom I believe is the only Muslim member of the House. He has told me of the sensitivity of this issue in Canada's Muslim community at this difficult time. The true meaning of Islam is surrender to God. The religion of Salaam, or peace, is diametrically opposed to these kinds of evil acts. The Islamic beliefs in peace and brotherhood are among the elements which make our Canadian communities strong and caring places in which to live. At this hour of darkness, let us reach out in a special way to our peaceful Arab and Muslim friends and neighbours here in Canada and let us reject any backlash against the innocent even as we strive to bring the guilty to justice.

The true teachings of Islam are diametrically opposed to the terrorists' interpretations of them. I am therefore calling upon the public to reach out to our Arab and Muslim friends here in Canada and to reject all forms of discrimination toward innocent individuals.

Let us not allow the barbarism of a few extremists to taint an entire community or religion. There must indeed be justice, but only for those who are guilty.

Canadians do not dwell often on thoughts of war. We are thankful for having enjoyed a long season of peace. When we consider our role in the world, we are more likely to think of Canadians keeping peace than waging war.

Some in this country have already begun to say that talk of war is overblown and irresponsible and that we must instead address the root causes of terrorism. This is true. Root causes must be addressed, but it is sheer folly, let there be no mistake, when we say that the root cause of terrorism is the terrorists themselves. The hatred that moves them to massacre the innocent can never be negotiated with or reasoned with.

It is not a matter of shades of grey when it comes to these barbarous acts of evil. It is set in black and white. This is not a time for moral ambiguity. It is a moment of moral clarity. As Canadians, as subjects of this peaceable land, we did not seek this conflict, but however much we might tell ourselves that we are not targets, that we really are not involved and that this is not our war, the reality is that we cannot avoid it. As I said last week, there are no rearguard positions in the struggle against terrorism, only front lines. Canada is on the front line whether we want to be there or not. In the words of Prime Minister Blair:

People of all faiths and all democratic political persuasions have a common cause: to identify this machine of terror and dismantle it as swiftly as possible.

In the past when summoned to action in World War I when we were a nation of only some eight million people, 625,000 soldiers went into action from Canada. In World War II we again made a huge effort, especially in relation to the size of our population. As well, in Korea and in the gulf, Canada proved itself ready. We joined with our allies and did our share, sometimes at great cost.

Now it is no different. The war on terrorism will require real sacrifices and new priorities. Now we must face the difficult question of whether Canada is ready to face this new struggle. Canada is a free and democratic society. It is precisely because we are a free and democratic society with values and desires to protect our way of life that we cannot avoid the awful responsibility of joining the war on terrorism.

The form of democracy we are privileged to enjoy is the Westminster parliamentary system. In our historic form of democratic government it falls to the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to ask difficult and at times painful questions and to pose alternatives as to what the government should do.

In my address today and in the speeches from Alliance and other opposition members of parliament, we will pose important questions as to whether Canada is sufficiently prepared to face this challenge that has been thrust upon us. For several years the official opposition has consistently raised issues of border security, the integrity of our refugee identification system and the need for more resources for military, security and intelligence purposes. We have drawn attention to terrorist activity within Canada. In our view the government unfortunately has not always responded as fully as it should have to these concerns, but the world has changed since September 11, 2001, and what was an important if sometimes overlooked concern before September 11 has now become an absolute moral imperative since September 11.

Addressing these issues of national security must now become the single highest priority of the Parliament and the Government of Canada.

Today, the official opposition does not wish to rehash the past, to dredge up past mistakes by the government; instead we wish to propose concrete and constructive solutions for the future.

The official opposition does not want to fix blame. We want to fix the problem.

Today I would like to propose three important changes that would better equip the Canadian government to engage in its battle against terrorism.

First, we must equip ourselves with anti-terrorist legislation.

Second, we must ensure that we have secure borders and airports, by protecting ourselves against professional terrorists.

Third, we must provide our army, police and security intelligence service with the needed resources to engage in this battle as well as a clear mandate.

If Canada was inadequately prepared in some of these areas before September 11, the question before us now is how to respond adequately, now that we know we cannot avoid this fight.

In 1996, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, the United States brought in comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation in the form of the anti-terrorism and effective death penalty act signed by President Clinton. In Canada the interdepartmental intelligence policy group reviewed the U.S. legislation but concluded “that the need for such a scheme or its potential effectiveness could not be established”.

In 2000 the United Kingdom, which already had strong anti-terrorism legislation on its books to deal with the threat of the IRA, brought in new sweeping anti-terrorism legislation to deal with international terrorism operating within the U.K.

The official opposition has pointed to the British terrorism act 2000 as an example of the kind of effective legislation that we feel Canada needs to deal with the threat of terrorist groups operating within our borders.

Both the U.S. anti-terrorism act of 1996 and the British anti-terrorism act of 2000 took concrete steps to name and outlaw specific terrorist organizations operating within those countries and to ban any fundraising or other support activities on their behalf.

Yet in Canada the government has avoided the approach of naming and banning specific terrorist organizations and their front groups. This is a step that no longer can be put off.

Canada is a signatory to and indeed helped to draft the 1999 United Nations international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism, which calls for a complete ban on all forms of fundraising for terrorist organizations. Unfortunately Canada has not ratified this convention and has not yet tabled legislation to give it force and effect.

Bill C-16 which allows the government to strip charitable status from groups raising funds for terrorism is a first tentative step, but it falls short of an outright ban on terrorist fundraising.

Bill C-16, which is being debated in this parliament, would make it possible for certain groups financing terrorism to be stripped of their not for profit organization status.

This is a step in the right direction, but we are still a long way from having true anti-terrorist legislation that would ban the financing of terrorism in Canada and eliminate such groups from this country.

We know that terrorist groups such as Babbar Khalsa, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Irish Republican Army have all raised large amounts of money in Canada and continue to do so. Indeed in 1998 CSIS reported that there were some 50 terrorist groups operating in Canada. In testimony that year before a Senate committee, CSIS Director Ward Elcock said:

As only a partial list, individuals and groups here have had direct or indirect association with: the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, suicide bombings in Israel, assassinations in India, the murder of tourists in Egypt, the Al Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia and the bombing campaign of the Provisional IRA.

He went on to say that we cannot become, through inaction or otherwise, what might be called an unofficial state sponsor of terrorism. We cannot allow that to happen.

Giving the solicitor general and the CCRA the power to strip charitable status from these organizations and their front groups is not good enough. Governments must name these groups, define them, publicly outlaw them and ban all fundraising on their behalf.

The government should have the power to freeze and seize the assets of terrorist organizations and their front groups. We look forward to more input in this particular area of legislation and we look forward to the government response in this particular area. We must deal with this issue.

The second broad area I will address is the security of our borders and airports and how we can better screen people arriving in Canada to prevent possible terrorists from reaching Canada in the first place.

The security of Canada's borders and airports is a vital national and international security issue, but it is also a vital economic issue. Canada relies on a billion dollar a day flow of trade to and from the United States as a linchpin of our economy. Last week's airport and border shutdowns and delays will likely cost our economy tens of millions of dollars.

The fact that our two countries share the world's largest undefended border is not a right but a privilege. If we expect to maintain the kind of access to the United States and it to us that we have enjoyed in the past, we must now take steps to show our American neighbours that we are every bit as concerned as they are about maintaining security and preventing terrorism and organized crime.

We remember the threat posed to the Canadian economy by the illegal immigration reform and immigrant responsibility act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1997. It was only significant and hard lobbying by the Canadian embassy and others that won changes to the legislation to exempt the Canadian-U.S. border. Will that be the case after September 11, 2001? We must work in this regard with all diligence.

What kind of measures may be necessary to ensure security at our points of entry? Our critics in that area have been working diligently with security forces and others to help identify the things that must be done. We will consider the various ideas being brought forward and suggested, whether it is increased implementation of electronic passport screening or the idea of air marshals and other steps that must be taken to grant security on our airlines.

At our land borders Canada customs officers should be issued the right training and equipment to deal with the increased security that will be required there. Our critics in that area will bring forward specific items related to those areas.

There is no question that these steps and others will cost more money. The United States Congress has already authorized $40 billion in spending as simply a first instalment on clean up measures and anti-terrorist activities.

The official opposition will support new spending in these areas, even if it means going beyond certain current spending plans, as long as we are assured that other spending in low and falling priority areas is carefully pruned.

Most of these changes can be done through a reallocation of resources and an attack on wasteful spending. This type of scrutiny is difficult with a government which has refused to table a full budget, but that will be the subject of another day. We are focused on these issues. We are focused on solutions.

We also must look at tougher screening systems being put in place to keep people who pose security risks to Canadians and others from entering the country in the first place. For those currently in the refugee identification system who have not yet received landed status or citizenship we need better tracking to make sure we are able to locate possible security risks. To do that rapidly this should be an immediate priority. We need the resources and the will to do that.

We are known as a country which welcomes with open arms refugees who are seeking freedom and democracy. Unfortunately we are also known somewhat to be soft in not identifying and dealing rapidly with those who are a risk. Refugee claimants who break the law or people who enter this country illegally, especially where there are concerns about security risks, should be immediately detained or deported, not simply asked to check in at an Immigration Canada office once or twice or month.

We must take the proper steps in this regard. We need to do this and we need to do it with all diligence.

Bill C-11 which is currently before the House does not address many of these concerns. It represents in some ways a step backward from the previous Bill C-31 which died on the order paper before the last election. Bill C-11 should be amended to include broader measures to ensure the security and integrity of our refugee system and should be returned to the House.

As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has pointed out, the war against terrorism in which we are now engaged will be unlike other wars. The enemy is both at home and abroad. They do not take openly to the battlefield but hide in shadows. While this effort may involve conventional warfare against states who harbour or sponsor terrorist cells, we must recognize, as has been identified, that they are also present inside Canada and the United States.

Fighting the multi-headed monster of terrorism means attacking all its operations and doing it simultaneously. We will address in detail the area and concerns of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service which has lost 28% of its personnel in the last decade. We will address the areas of the RCMP and its situations related to lost resources. Of course the largest infusion of resources will have to go to the beleaguered Canadian armed forces.

Over the last year the Canadian forces has declined from 90,000 to 55,000 personnel and is on track for further declines. This is a dereliction of our duty. We must support our armed forces and send that message to our NATO partners around the world.

Last week NATO invoked article 5 for the first time in its history. President Bush made it clear that he is building an international coalition to combat not only terrorist cells but their state sponsors. We must work with and be part of that coalition. Unfortunately the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has resorted to belligerent rhetoric about its support for Osama bin Laden rather than co-operating with the United States. The prospect of a conventional military campaign is not remote.

If and when the need arises for military action, the United States and NATO will expect Canada to provide a commitment. We must be willing and prepared to provide it. It is for this reason that I am asking the Prime Minister to be crystal clear regarding our commitment to the United States and NATO up to and including, if necessary, military involvement within our capacity to do so.

NATO is perhaps the most successful military and political alliance in history. Its decisions on military action are made with both care and deliberation. We are obliged to be part of that. Now more than ever Canada's voice and vote of commitment needs to be heard in the clearest of terms, both in the camps of our friends and the hidden dens of our enemies.

This weekend we have heard the menacing threats. We have heard warnings against freedom loving nations not to assist the United States in any military action. Our government must be clear. It is not the time to give any signal to the barbaric enemies of freedom and democracy that we will do anything less than stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends, the Americans and our NATO partners, in the face of this insidious threat.

This is not a time for half measures. It is not a time to bring forward previously announced initiatives and relabel them as anti-terrorist measures. There are some positive elements in current proposals like Bill C-16 and Bill C-11, but they do not go far enough. We must carry them forward. We must do everything that is within our power and will to do.

We will continue to bring forward constructive criticisms and suggestions. They will be put forward in a spirit of unity and solidarity with the Prime Minister and his cabinet as we enter this first war of the new century.

I hope the Prime Minister will accept these constructive criticisms and suggestions in the spirit in which they are given: for the furtherance of our common goal to defeat terrorism at home and abroad.

Over the next few weeks there will be times to discuss and debate whether we are moving fast enough or far enough in certain areas. There will be times to debate whether Canada could have or should have been more prepared. However today is a day to show unity and resolve.

We show unity in standing with our American neighbours, especially the families of the victims of these horrible attacks. We show unity in mourning our own Canadian dead. We show resolve in facing the enemy of international terrorism and announcing that terror in all its forms will not be allowed to stand.

Last week the world saw the face of evil. However good may yet be able to arise out of the evil if the citizens of the free countries of the world rise as one, say that this evil shall not stand, and work together to eliminate it from the earth.

In closing, I would like to say that I am proud to join with the government in supporting this motion. I trust it will be first of many actions we will take together as parliamentarians and as Canadians, united in this war against terrorism.

In these next days and weeks may God grant wisdom to our Prime Minister and to this parliament. God save our Queen. God keep our land glorious and free.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders



Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have just gone through terrible times and we are still feeling their effect.

On September 11, the International Day of Peace, what an ironic coincidence, New York City and Washington were the focus of a deadly demented terrorist attack.

Our first thoughts go to the men and women, the victims of this terrible attack, to their families, spouses, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers and to the rescuers who also died attempting to save their lives, as well as to the Canadians and Quebecers who perished in the attack.

On behalf of the members of the Bloc Quebecois and the people they represent, I offer my condolences to the families and to the American people.

Last week and still today we have seen the worst and the best of the human condition. The worst, in the fanaticism of the terrorists blinded by hate, and the best in the solidarity of the rescuers and of the people of the United States, Canada, Quebec and the whole world.

On Friday, the day of mourning, we were all New Yorkers. We support this motion. We want it to be given effect in a debate of calm. We must provide the best leadership we can, calmly, serenely, peacefully, remembering that anger is legitimate. It most certainly is legitimate, but it is not to be trusted.

We must analyze the situation calmly, realistically, clearly and determinedly. We must remember always that we are the defenders of freedom and democracy. This fact must remain at the heart of all our concerns.

We must make brave decisions but weigh the effect of these decisions on the future of our society, of democracy and of the world.

We must remember that the attack on September 11 is an attack not only on the United States, but on democratic values, on freedom and on every country that defends these values. It is an attack on all peoples of the world who aspire to justice, freedom and democracy and especially those living under the yoke of tyrants and cranks, such as the people of Afghanistan, who face the totalitarian terror of the Taliban daily.

We must remember that the attack on September 11 is not the work of Muslims or Arabs but of terrorists. Terrorism knows no nationality and neither should democracy.

Terrorists have attacked our democratic values. If we radically change the way we live, then we are playing right into their hands. We must find the right balance between security measures designed to protect people, obviously, and the central role of freedom in our society. The choices that we need to make are about security, yes, but first and foremost, they are societal choices.

A response is required. Terrorists must answer for their acts, as must those who sponsor them. They must be brought to justice, as the motion states, and I support the motion for this part, among others, of the resolution at hand. This must be done within a framework of the largest possible coalition of countries that live by democratic values, and in granting a greater role to international institutions, such as the UN or the International Criminal Tribunal.

I support the fact that Canada adheres to article 5 of the NATO Treaty; however, this does not mean that we should give carte blanche to any and all measures. Parliament and our democratic institutions must always debate issues, be consulted, and decide on them. This is the democratic example that we must set to the rest of the world.

The response must reflect and respect our democratic values. We must not fall into the trap of a civilization or religious war. Let us be respectful of God and Allah. Let us not get them involved in the wars of men. This is not a war between good and evil. We must avoid this reasoning, which only serves the bin Ladens of this world too well. Too often, we resort to evil to justify the empire of the good. But empires can never serve the good.

I know that terrorism is horrible, that religious fundamentalism is despicable and that fanaticism generates evil. As democrats, we must see that those responsible are punished but, more importantly, we must promote democracy, because only peoples living under a reign of terror will be able to put an end to the fanaticism that stifles them. Great democracies such as the United States of America, the first democracy in the history of mankind, Canada, Quebec, the European Union and all the countries guided by democratic values must act.

Fanaticism develops in a fertile ground, just like mushrooms thrive on rot. If we want to eliminate not only bin Laden but others who may manifest themselves, we must tackle the rotten situations that allow fanatism to develop, including poverty, the absence of democracy and dictatorship. Such is the challenge we must meet.

We must also avoid falling into blind pacifism and reacting to effects rather than to causes. The pacifists of 1939 were wrong and we ended up with Hitler. In 1991, we went to war against Saddam Hussein. He is still in office, his people are still suffering and he taking advantage of the situation like other despots who are leading countries in a dictatorial fashion while being billionaires.

This is a turning point for our democracies, which are threatened directly at home, not far from here. However, this is not the first war of the 21st century. Since the beginning of the year 2000, wars have been going on in the Middle East, in Chechnya, in Angola and in several other locations around the world.

However this is a new kind of war where civilians are not only attacked, but also used in a cowardly, inhuman and insane fashion.

We owe it to all those who died to be responsible, vigilant and determined. We have a duty to make freedom and democracy prevail, as well as their underlying values, so that the death of these people will not have been in vain.

My party will support the motion.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.


Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join with all Canadians, who are still in a state of shock and who are trying to deal with overwhelming feelings of anger, disgust, pain and rage.

The horrific events experienced by our neighbours to the south last week are unbelievable.

I want to begin by reaffirming that the New Democratic Party joins with citizens around the world in demanding that the perpetrators of these heinous crimes be tracked down and punished.

The statement I issued after the ghastly events of last Tuesday was couched in the strongest language I could find to express all of the revulsion felt by my colleagues and myself.

I also call for reflection and restraint in our response. Today I want to reinforce that plea, the plea that the same values that cause us to be outraged and repulsed by these acts of barbarity must guide us all and particularly world leaders in their response.

I think our Prime Minister, on behalf of all Canadians who share those sentiments, rose to the occasion and provided very sound words and wise counsel to that effect.

In these extremely dangerous times it is essential that we reaffirm our commitment to pursuing peaceful solutions to the tensions and hostilities that breed such mindless violence in our world.

In the immediate aftermath of the horrific death and destruction, people were driven understandably to demand instant, massive military retaliation to these terrorist atrocities. However, as freedom loving citizens have grasped the complexity and magnitude of what has happened, the imperative of a more measured response, more multilateral response and more informed response must form the basis of our actions. “Not to respond would be unthinkable: it would diminish and demean American leadership and would surely invite further attacks”, wrote Charles G. Boyd, a retired air force general, in Wednesday's Washington Post . “But to react excessively or inaccurately,” he wrote, “would put us on the same moral footing as the cowards who perpetrated yesterday's attack.”

Canadians know that we have a very special relationship with the United States of America and we value that relationship with our neighbour to the south but we also have a special role internationally. If there were ever a time that both our neighbours to the south and the world needed to hear the voice of Canada, it is now.

Our neighbours were thrown into a state of shock last week. As the depth and breadth of the personal tragedies come to grip their collective soul, the cry of vengeance from many quarters will surely grow louder. As America's closest neighbour and friend, we owe it to them to listen and to support but we must also give them the benefit of our understanding of the events.

A true friend lends a guiding hand when someone is blinded by grief and rage.

The cry from America today and from around the world is that this can never be allowed to happen again. We must resolve to see that this can never happen again but if we pursue the path of blind vengeance, the path of the clenched fist, we are guaranteeing that this will happen again. Military strikes, while they may satisfy an understandable desire for vengeance, will solve nothing if thousands more innocent people are victimized in some other part of the world.

A survivor of the '93 World Trade Center bomb blast said:

As I silently remember my friends and co-workers who have perished, I know only this: If we fail to wage peace instead of war, if we do not learn to value all life as fervently as we value our own, then their deaths will mean nothing; and terror and violence will remain our dark companions.

In the House three decades ago the first leader of the New Democratic Party, Tommy Douglas, stated “our task is to understand the forces at work in our society and to seek to influence them toward constructive ends. We need to ask ourselves some hard questions”.

It seems to me that at a terrible time like this we could do well to ask ourselves what wise counsel Lester Pearson might offer.

In the wake of these terrifying events, we need to reflect on the kind of international community we have created, where the images of mass destruction in the United States last week saw some Palestinian children actually dancing in the streets, where an international community can allow 5,000 children a month to die of malnutrition in Iraq, or hunger and preventable disease can claim the lives of thousands and thousands of children in the too many impoverished nations of the world.

We have to ask ourselves and consider what it means. What kind of political leadership funds and trains the likes of the mujahedeen and Osama bin Laden to overthrow the Afghanistan government and then gets caught out when these same people turn their evil skills on their former supporters?

Unless and until we base our policies and our allegiances on long term values, as the Prime Minister said this morning, and not on short term strategies, we will continue to create the monsters that come back to haunt us.

We need to tell the world that in the eyes of Canada the wanton destruction of life and property is absolutely unacceptable. Whether it is in the United States or in Rwanda, whether it is in Washington or Beirut, Baghdad or Bosnia, we need the world to know that we practise what we preach in Canada. We need Canada to know the work of Tommy Douglas who said “the means we use largely determine the ends we achieve and that resorting to violence destroys the goals that we seek before we even reach them”. He spoke of a standard by which we must all judge our actions.

Let me be clear. I am not advocating pacifism or appeasement in the face of aggression. The international community must spare no effort in bringing to justice all those responsible for these atrocities and rid the world of the scourge of terrorism.

However this response must be carried out in accordance with the principle of the rule of law. As many as 100 Canadians may have died in this crime. Along with the United States' loss of thousands, as many as 40 other countries have lost sons and daughters. This is a crime against humanity and an international court should mete out the punishment. No country should be called upon to be the judge, the jury and the executioner, least of all the country that has suffered the greatest loss.

Supporting foreign invasions, assassinations and the abandonment of our values will raise the level of violence, lessen our security and diminish our capacity to advise our closest friends at a time when they are most in need of wise counsel.

We have seen the results of ever increasing levels of violence in other parts of the world. Indeed, this act is not an isolated incident directed at America alone.

If the initial assumptions about culpability or inspiration about this attack are true, this is the latest gruesome chapter in an ever expanding cycle of violence that has already claimed cities, countries and whole generations. How does it increase our security to bomb countries into the stone age?

I would like to address very disturbing developments over the course of the past week where visible minorities have been targeted by people looking for scapegoats, both here in Canada and abroad. Other leaders have addressed this issue as well.

The very ugliest and most horrifying incident was surely the fire bombing of a mosque in Montreal, but we have all heard about other incidents. The Canadian Council for Refugees in its statement of September 14 wisely reminded us that many Canadians came to this country to escape from violence and persecution on the basis of religion, race or nationality. Refugees and immigrants are as horrified as anyone by the events and condemn the violence. Canadians need to work to ensure that our country is a haven from hatred and discrimination.

In the coming days we will surely hear arguments that we re-examine our immigration policy and procedures. We have already heard some. We in the NDP agree that much needs to be done to overhaul our immigration system but with an eye toward greater compassion, security and efficiency.

As we debate this issue, I invite all members of the House to remember that their words and the passions that they excite can have very real repercussions on the many new Canadians and visible minorities that make up the diversity and the beauty of our great land.

It is reassuring that so many voices have been heard; political leaders, community leaders and ordinary citizens counselling against doing anything to create a backlash and to create prejudicial attitudes and actions directed toward innocent Canadians.

Let us extend that same concern and consideration to other countries. A wise, elderly woman, Muriel Duckworth, who has been a lifelong friend of peace said to me over the weekend that there was surely a lesson for us to learn and hear in our own words. If we are absolutely in agreement that we must stand against any scapegoating of innocent civilians in our own country, then surely the same consideration and concern has to be extended to innocent civilians around the world.

The coming debate will lead us into other areas of domestic concern such as whether or not we are to participate in the proposed national missile defence. There could be no clearer example of the redundancy of such a system than the terrorists' atrocities that were committed in the United States last week. The brutal and simple logic of what we have witnessed is that immense damage can be caused without a single missile ever being launched. We live in an age where weapons of mass destruction can be transported in suitcases or commandeered with a knife.

As Shimon Peres of Israel last week stated:

Up until now, the entire world was organized into armies and enemies. Today, the classic armies remain, yet the classic enemies have practically vanished. In their place, there are now new threats, which were unknown to us--primary among them is the threat of terrorism. Strategy, tactics and organized forces have yet to be developed against terrorism. The fundamental and true conclusion is that a strategy must be developed, and military and security organizations must be established, which will prevent terrorism.

Canada must be a leader in searching out these solutions. We need to call upon our earlier traditions of having a more independent foreign policy. We need to always think in terms of multilateralism. We need to use our special relationship with the United States to represent all progressive and peace loving countries that want to build lasting solutions to the conditions that breed such horrendous violence.

We surely can do no better than to heed the words of John F. Kennedy when he stated that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to take part in this debate on behalf of my colleagues in the parliamentary coalition.

Six days and a few hours ago the world we knew changed brutally and forever when hijacked planes were flown deliberately into crowded buildings with the explicit purpose of killing innocent people and breaking the confidence of societies built upon freedom and order. Our hearts go out to the individuals and families, including far too many Canadians, who have been struck directly. The shock and the losses that engulf those families are almost beyond belief.

This atrocity was unexpected as well as brutal. The victims started their day Tuesday, as we all did, expecting the ordinary. Suddenly, without warning, without reason, their precious lives were taken by a terrible, premeditated strike against order and humanity.

My young nephew, Scott Delaney, worked until very recently on the 51st floor of the World Trade Center. He was scheduled six days and a few hours ago to go back there for a job interview. Another obligation intervened and he did not go. That chance decision saved his life, just as the deliberate decision of the terrorists stole the lives, the futures and the hopes of thousands of sons, daughters and friends from around the world.

Last Tuesday's tragedy shook the entire world. On that day, all of us became victims, victims of acts of horrific cruelty aimed at creating upheaval in public order and all of humanity. The world we live in today is far different from the one we were living in only six short days ago. On September 11, 2001 the face of the world changed and it, and we, will never be the same again.

Words will never be enough to express our sadness or our support for those who have lost family members or friends. However, as well as extending our thoughts and prayers, we also wish to express our determination to make sure that, despite the tragic and murderous consequences of terrorism, free societies will never give in to terrorist acts and that the values we hold so dear will continue to prevail.

We can never grieve enough for those victims, for their families, for the futures that were torn away. We must offer them more than our grief, more than our sympathy and more than our prayers. We owe them our determination to ensure that while terrorists can take lives, they cannot destroy free societies.

I want to echo very strongly a sentiment expressed by other leaders in the House; that an essential element of our free society is that we judge people on their character and accomplishments, not upon where they come from, not upon their colour and not upon their faith.

The people who committed this atrocity are extremists. That is who they are. We must be very careful that in responding to this crisis that we do not create new victims or blame whole communities for the acts of people who in any society would be judged extremists. To be clear and for the record; all of us in the House know that no one is more shocked or more offended by this atrocity in the United States than members of the Canadian Arab and Muslim communities. No one is more offended than they are.

If we in this parliament seek to be fair, so must we be forceful. Our response must be effective, focused and strong. This is a challenge in which Canada must play a leading role. We are not neutral on issues of terror, freedom and order. They reach to the heart and the core of our nature as a nation.

The Prime Minister said that Canada should not become a fortress against the world. That is true. However, Canada should be a fortress in the world, a nation known by our friends and allies to be strong and reliable. That is the challenge for Canada in the months to come.

At our best, Canada's role in the world has been to ensure that freedom and order prevail and prevail together. We have done this in times of war and we have done that in times of peace. We have earned a reputation as a nation that stands on the frontline of defending and advancing free societies. That is where it must stand now.

I congratulate the Prime Minister for the firmness he finally showed on Friday. This nation, our people, our traditions, our parliament and government can play leading roles in shaping the world's response to this new terror. That is what Canada does in this difficult world. We put our values to work. We did that when NATO was formed, when peacekeeping was established, when new treaties of trade were framed and when apartheid was fought. We must do that now with our closest friends next door and with our allies against terror around the world.

The place to start is with one stark and simple fact. Our world changed profoundly Tuesday morning. People and places that once felt secure, now feel exposed. Systems of protection and prevention, which on Monday night seemed adequate, were proven Tuesday to be brutally inadequate.

We must rebuild that sense of security. Indeed, free people themselves are already doing that. What we are seeing in the long lines of volunteers at blood banks and in the people going back to work in places that so recently were targets is more than just compassion, or courage or defiance.

It represents the strength of the values which we have always claimed free systems nourish: the optimism, the activism, the balance in resisting a rush to judgment and, most of all, the palpable sense of personal and community responsibility in such a material and self-indulgent world.

One sometimes wonders whether those values will erode. Now they have been put to a shocking test. They are robust and resilient, rational and responsible.

Those attacks also demonstrate how much the world has changed. How wrong it would be for us to pretend that old ways work and how urgent it is to deal with the real threats of Tuesday, of today and of tomorrow.

We must rebuild the feeling of security Canadians enjoyed, whether rightly or wrongly, until last Tuesday. This time, however, we have an obligation to rebuild it on a solid foundation, to immediately undertake all necessary steps to ensure that such a tragedy does not take place ever again.

The government must imitate the speed with which Canadians moved into action. After this massacre, the Canadian people immediately moved into action with all the vigour of a friend or family member.

We parliamentarians have an obligation to follow their example of prompt action, to not abandon them, to take indepth actions immediately, to ensure that the necessary changes are made without delay. In these days of mourning and deep distress, our leaders have a duty to console Canadians, and the only concrete action possible will be to ensure that this is done.

This is work in which the whole nation should be engaged and certainly work in which all the nation's representatives assembled here in parliament should be engaged.

The government has come to parliament with a resolution, that the House of Commons, representing all of Canada, can do much more than resolve. We can be and we should be an active instrument of Canada's response to this terror.

With agreement, which I am sure would exist, the government could act today to authorize the committees of the House on transport, immigration, justice, foreign affairs and other relevant matters to begin immediately to gather evidence and to gather advice in public on what changes we need to make our nation more secure.

These issues are too important to be left to ministers and public servants meeting in secret. The changes that may be required may be too radical to leave to the custodians of the status quo.

If the government is serious about an honest analysis of our system, let it trust parliament to help in that work. Let parliament reach out to the people who elect us so they can be reassured in this time of doubt.

The government cannot close its mind in advance to changes in any area or policy related to security. It must be prepared to reconsider funding levels to CSIS. It must be prepared to examine immigration policy, airport security, aircraft security, border security and the activities of groups that might be associated with terrorism.

Even before Tuesday's tragedy the government was warned of weaknesses in our security arrangements. The Leader of the Opposition has mentioned several actions which Canada could have taken.

In that spirit, let me quote from the CSIS report released on June 12, 2001, less than three months before planes ploughed into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center towers:

Terrorism in the years ahead is expected to become more violent, indiscriminate and unpredictable...There will likely be terrorist attacks whose sole aim would be to incite terror itself. A hardening attitude, and a willingness on behalf of certain terrorist organizations in North America, reinforce the belief that Canadians, now more than ever, are potential victims, and Canada a potential venue, for terrorist attacks.

That was the warning given by CSIS to parliament, to government, less than three months before the attacks of Tuesday. Let me quote from the auditor general's report of 2000, which said the Department of Immigration:

—could also improve the way it collects criminal intelligence information...gathered by various stakeholders.

It said that information is not systematically exchanged because computer systems are not compatible and data are not always shared among the Department of Immigration, the RCMP and CSIS.

That was a warning more than a year ago by the Auditor General of Canada about our capacity to deal with people who might be seeking to come here to wreak terror on this continent, elsewhere in the world, or here in our home.

Those are only two examples among many of the warnings that were given and not acted upon. They are clearly areas where the government can act now, immediately, to strengthen the security of Canada and of the world.

Parliament should be given a detailed description of what the government now knows about the Tuesday attacks. Parliament should be told what changes the government is now contemplating, what reviews of policy it plans, what military, intelligence or other role Canada can play in a campaign against the terrorists.

If some of that information is confidential then let the government give that information to parliamentary leaders on a confidential basis.

This is a Canadian concern. This is parliament's concern. This is not a matter reserved to those who sit in the secrecy of the Privy Council Office. To rebuild the trust of the public, to rebuild the trust of our allies, to rebuild the trust of financial markets, parliament must be fully informed and advised.

The Tuesday attacks have obvious economic implications, implications for growth, for revenues, for spending priorities. This government has yet to present a full budget to Canadians.

We know the minister's revenue forecasts were wrong before the attack. Parliament and Canadians have a right to know what the facts are now. We need to know the costs of the projected new spending the government has proposed.

As those new figures must be known within the government which authorized the spending, let the public know so the public can be heard in deciding whether these priorities are more important than the priority of making our nation secure.

It is not often that we recognize a turning point in history, but we are a different world than we were a week ago. However let us bear this in mind. The technology of terror did not change. Nor did the purpose of terror, which is and always has been quite precisely to explode the order and the confidence which are the bases on which most of us live our lives.

What changed was the audacity of the terrorists. They have warned us that the threat runs wider than it did before. That means that our response must change, must be broader, tougher, itself more audacious.

This was a calculated attack upon the kind of open and safe society in which Canadians believe so profoundly. It was a direct attack on us, on all of us, and we must be prepared to respond directly.

We must deny the terrorists the psychological victory they seek. We must organize ourselves to protect and assert the civilized values that were so deliberately attacked. No nation has a greater stake in that response than Canada, and we must play our full part.

Our grieving will continue for days, months and years to come, but today, immediately, we have a duty to act to ensure that the values we hold so dear, the values that characterize us, prevail.

In the next few days, months and years we will grieve, but now we must also act to ensure that the values we hold so dear prevail.

That will involve hard decisions. It will require us to apply our values in the context of a new, changed, real tough world. The world needs an active Canadian government and at a time when democracies are under scrutiny an active Canadian parliament.

We have an opportunity to shape this new world if we are prepared to look at these issues, open to new realities, determined to play a role of leadership. The world needs Canada's leadership and strength now and this parliament, I am confident, would be prepared to support a government that showed that kind of leadership.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario


John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I will be dividing my time with the solicitor general. As others have observed, last Tuesday the world changed for Canada, for everyone. Our friend and close ally was viciously attacked. Thousands of innocents were murdered and all of humanity grievously wounded.

All Canadians, both inside the country and abroad, were deeply affected by these events. Our lives will forever be marked.

Last Friday, 100,000 Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill to share their grief.

I was flying over the Atlantic when the crew discreetly took me aside to inform me of the tragic events that had just occurred in New York, in Washington and in Pennsylvania.

It is difficult to describe how it felt to have this terrible knowledge which could not be revealed to the several hundred people sitting with me on the Air Canada 747, not to mention the sense of unreality that the circumstances provoked.

We share the loss, suffering and pain of the people of the United States. We also grieve for the Canadians who have been affected in very direct ways. At this time some 40 to 75 Canadians are still unaccounted for, presumed victims of these acts of cowardice.

Our sorrow is deep; our sympathy is heartfelt; our solidarity is complete and so is our resolve. Each Canadian has responded in his or her own way by volunteering, offering flowers and cards at embassies and consulates of the United States, and seeking consolation in assemblies of worship.

Words like random and senseless have been used to describe the attacks which are believed by many to have been provoked by simple hatred.

Unsettling in its organization and shocking in its execution, this was a cold hearted, calculated attack upon our civility and way of life. It was an attack upon democracy. Our core values, our most elemental principles and most crucially our people have been violated. It offends the very essence of everything Canadians hold dear and precious.

This is what the terrorists have sought to destroy but can never be permitted to destroy within our society, the NATO alliance and the global community of just, democratic nations and law-abiding, tolerant peoples.

We are now at war against terrorism, but it is unlike any war we have fought before. We must be precise, even clinical, in our actions. We must be prepared to use all the tools, diplomatic, legal, financial as well as military resources, at our disposal to combat this evil.

In our determination to punish the perpetrators we must ensure that we root out the evil without enabling the creation of a new army of dedicated extremists. This outrage must and will be answered. Our answer must be sober and well judged but resounding and resolute.

The terrorist attacks on the United States have profound implications for Canada's security and prosperity, for the way we govern ourselves and for how Canadians will lead their lives from now on.

However we will not live in fear. Nor will our actions and responses be dictated by it. We are a nation of principle. Our foreign policy and practices will remain rooted in principle, but we cannot for one moment deceive ourselves that life can go on as it was before.

In the days and weeks to come, we will have to try to see beyond these horrible events and their traumatic consequences to try to understand what all this will mean from now on for our country and for the whole world.

For our democracy, the most pressing issue is to know how to achieve, under the new circumstances, a balance between individual freedom, which is a pillar of our democratic society, and our duty to protect citizens.

Our reaction will impact on all aspects of our lives.

Our security, in its broadest possible political, economic and military senses, is inextricably linked to the United States of America. This is not just because of NATO or NORAD and not just because we share a common border or the world's most important trading relationship. Our common values and political ideals bind us. It is our willingness to defend these very ideals, indeed our very societies, that unites us.

The government and the people of Canada have demonstrated our solidarity with the United States, whatever it takes. Our commitment is total. We will give our undivided support to the United States.

We have, together with our closest allies, moved to invoke article 5 of the NATO charter for the first time in the 52 year history of the alliance. This step indicates the iron resolve of all alliance members to act in self-defence against this evil. The perpetrators of this terror and those who abet or harbour them will be held accountable.

The United Nations and the UN security council have underlined this point in their forceful condemnation of the attacks. There is no doubt that the issue will also figure highly on the G-8 agenda for the coming year when Canada assumes the presidency. This is the path of multilateralism.

It is critical that members of the international community act as one. Words alone in support of a world in which the rule of law prevails will not be enough. There must be consequences for those who violate the most basic standards of human behaviour.

This is at its heart a human crisis. Our most immediate priority in its aftermath has been to provide assistance to Canadians caught up in these tragic events. Our consular staff in New York, Ottawa and elsewhere have been working literally around the clock to respond to their concerns. I am also grateful to members of parliament and senators for their assistance on behalf of concerned constituents.

The response of all Canadians to these events has been a source of pride for all of us in the House. Whether giving blood, volunteering their services or opening their towns and even their homes to the more than 40,000 stranded and worried travellers diverted to Canada last week, Canadians have lived their values. President Bush, Secretary Powell and Prime Minister Blair have thanked Canada for this.

This is a defining moment for Canada and for the world in which we live. The response to this unprecedented tragedy will require a sound judgment, strong conviction and extraordinary courage.

The time has come for all Canadians to reflect on what this terrifying event means for Canada and all nations around the globe. It is time to reaffirm our values, our obligations and our most important alliance. It is time to act to ensure that the guilty are brought to account and that the world emerges a safer, more secure and more peaceful place.

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12:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I compliment the minister on his remarks and for acknowledging the response of Canadians. Before I get into my question I will mention a small group of incredible firefighters from a little community in my riding called River Hebert that went immediately to New York with no indication as to whether or not their services would be accepted. They volunteered to go and take whatever action they had to. They are down there now.

The minister referred to the most important alliance we have. About two weeks ago the leader of our parliamentary coalition, the member for Calgary Centre, led a small group of us to meet with the vice-president of the United States. He proposed two actions to the vice-president. One was that the vice-president send officials from the department of defence and the department of state to Canada to brief parliamentarians on their missile defence system. The vice-president seemed very open to the idea.

Another suggestion he made to the vice-president was that the Canadian and American governments re-establish regular quarterly meetings of key ministers such as the foreign and finance ministers with their U.S. counterparts and alternate the location of the meetings between Canada and U.S. Such meetings used to be in place but were discontinued.

He also proposed a series of biannual meetings between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States.

Considering that things have changed dramatically in the last week, could the minister express his opinion on those two proposals? Would he consider extending an invitation to the U.S. to send a contingent to Canada to present Canadian parliamentarians with its actions, positions and plans with respect to the missile defence system?

With respect to American plans to counteract terrorism in the world, would the minister also consider the proposal by the leader of our coalition to re-establish ongoing regular meetings between the ministers and the leaders?

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12:55 p.m.


John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, all information on any subject that the U.S. authorities wish to make available to parliamentarians would be welcome. I encourage the hon. member to use the House committee structure to invite whatever authorities he feels are appropriate to come and provide information, either formally at a hearing or informally. I assure him that not only would I not object to it but that, if asked, I would encourage the U.S. to do so.

On the matter of regular meetings, they were established when the secretary of state was George Shultz and the minister of external affairs was the hon. Allan MacEachen. They were discontinued when the current leader of the Conservative Party was minister of external affairs.

I have raised the matter of regular meetings between the foreign minister and the secretary of state with the U.S. authorities. We will see whether it is something that is practical and can be conducted.

Quite apart from whether they are scheduled, I can assure the hon. member that we are in regular and frequent contact at the ministerial level and the prime ministerial level with our counterparts in the United States. That has been especially the case during the last six days.

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12:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister said during his speech that there are profound implications for Canada in what happened last week.

Could the minister tell the House some of the things the government is planning in the weeks to come? What type of legislation or laws are we looking at to protect all Canadians? What is our involvement in the whole situation?

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.


John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is undeniable that the events of last Tuesday force us to review all our practices and policies and consider whether a response is necessary. I do not think it should be hasty. I do not think it should be ill-considered. However it needs to be firm and resolute. We will take the action that is required.

The hon. member will appreciate that if I were to offer a set of options today they would not be well thought out. They would be too hasty. The government will need to take time, with the assistance of members of the House, to consider what responses need to be given to the threat which now becomes more evident to us than it was before.

Attack on the United StatesGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.


Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, indeed the world has changed. Nobody will forget where they were on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when these vicious attacks took place. We witnessed and suffered a tragedy that changed our landscape forever. Our hearts go out to the victims, the families and the whole nation.

As the Prime Minister said, terrorist acts are an offence against the freedoms and rights of all civilized nations and cannot go unpunished. We must now come together as a nation, as a continent and as an international community to take the strongest possible stand against the evil of terrorists.

Canada and the United States share a very special relationship. We are bound not only by geography and history but by the democratic values that form the bedrock of our societies. Canada has no better friend than our neighbour to the south. No two countries work closer together.

As the House will know, I have pledged my complete co-operation with the U.S. authorities investigating these monstrous attacks. Canadian officials, volunteers, law enforcement and security officers are still working around the clock with their American counterparts. My officials are in constant contact with their U.S. counterparts to reinforce my pledge of support. They have assured me that our agencies are providing any and all assistance to our American friends.

As I have said before, all leads will be followed and no stone left unturned. Our pledge to support the United States through this difficult time reflects our commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with it on this great continent which remains, in Churchill's words, “united and undaunted”.

Today I want to assure the House that our excellent working relationship with the United States in law enforcement and security and intelligence matters will continue and grow stronger because by doing so we will improve the safety of all our citizens.

It has been said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. The horrific events of the past week have made one thing crystal clear: stopping terrorism is something we absolutely must do. And we will, make no mistake about it.

A great deal of work has already been done to deal with transnational crime. Public safety has been the number one shared priority directing these strong partnership efforts. We have put mechanisms in place to deal with issues relating to our border, to crime and to terrorism. We have brought together agencies and departments from both sides of the border to fight terrorism.

For example, the Canada-U.S. cross-border crime forum is an achievement that is unique in the world. Its creation, followed by an agreement between our Prime Minister and the President of the United States, was truly a turning point in our cross-border relationship.

The forum is led by myself and the attorney general of the United States. It is unique because of its success in increasing the effectiveness of our joint efforts in cross-border security and law enforcement issues. It brings together over 100 senior law enforcement and justice officials from both countries. We have seen concrete results from this group including full FBI and RCMP access to each other's databases for seamless co-operation on cross-border issues.

As much as this progress serves us in our joint resolve to fight terrorism, we all know that terrorism is a global problem. That is why the departments and agencies of customs, immigration, transport, CSIS and the RCMP are constantly on alert for terrorists or other individuals who might pose a threat to Canadians.

The Government of Canada is dedicated to taking all the necessary steps to make sure we remain safe and secure. We are firmly committed to working closely with all our public safety partners at home and around the world. We do this on an ongoing basis to meet this fundamental obligation to Canadians.

We continue to make investments to enhance Canada's ability to fight terrorism. We have already seen a practical example of how strong and effective our working relationships are with our allies on counterterrorism. We only need to look at the Ressam case. Close co-operation and information sharing between Canadian and American authorities prevented a potential disaster and produced a conviction in that case, as Mr. Ashcroft noted when he was here in June.

The investigation also showed us that no system is immune. Canada, like many countries, has to continually adapt to deal with new and emerging terrorist threats and new methods of operation. The Ressam case showed the nature of the challenge that law enforcement authorities around the world must deal with: highly motivated, highly skilled individuals with access to technology, resources and support networks that allow them to change their identities and locations, use expertly forged documents and elude authorities.

The important point is that we have learned a valuable lesson. Canada has taken strong action of its own in the aftermath of the case, doing its part to secure the border and to protect its citizens from threats to their safety.

We have tightened up a range of procedures, from passport granting, to extradition requests, to more rigorous border inspections by customs and citizenship and immigration. Above all, as I said, we have and will continue to take steps to ensure information sharing is complete, timely, and as effective as possible.

For example we have made investments in public safety with the addition of $1.5 billion to the public safety envelope. We have created new agencies, such as the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, where CSIS and the RCMP play key roles.

We have introduced legislation to keep out or to remove serious criminals and others who threaten the public safety of Canadians. We have sponsored a bill, now before the House, to curb terrorist fundraising under the cloak of charitable giving. But this is just one small step.

We have a solid partnership with the Americans. We have increased our investment in public safety and we have introduced new mechanisms and legislation. Canada has signed all 12 of the international conventions on combating terrorism. We have ratified 10 of them and we will be taking the measures needed to ratify the remaining two as quickly as possible.

The world has changed and we need to do more. Canada has pledged its support to fight against terrorism, but the problem is global, and so must be the solution.

Millions of people around the world paused last week, and last Friday over 100,000 were here on Parliament Hill, in grief and support for those whose lives were horribly cut short or changed forever. That tremendous outpouring of grief, support and resolve was a message to our American friends. It must also serve as a message to all of us here in this Chamber; a message that terrorism will not be tolerated, that we will do whatever we can to fight it right here and around the world, that we will protect our citizens and the values that define us as a people: democracy, freedom and justice.

The government will continue to work to protect those values we hold so dear. We owe it to our citizens and we owe it to our friends.

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

Mr. Speaker, over the last week, people across the country have been asking many questions.

After the initial numbness, followed by pain, mourning and anger, we are now coming to grips with the idea that we need to do something to correct the situation. True, terrorism is an extreme and unacceptable reality, but it is also a terrible manifestation of frustration in our universe.

Does the Canadian government intend to take a leading role in having an international investigation into the causes of the situation in question, so that we might not only prevent terrorist attacks, but also eradicate the problems that lead to them?

Should not a global strategy, as Mr. Colin Powell stated, include an attempt to put an end to conflict in the Middle East as soon as possible in order to ensure that any action we take will get to the root of the problem rather than simply dealing with the terrible problems and consequences witnessed last week?

Is the government ready to play its own role, to be true to itself, even more so than the Americans, whose rage we can understand, and to take a leadership role on the world stage to ensure that this fight will be waged on all fronts, instead of simply dealing with the tragic events that took place last week?

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Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my hon. colleague.

In fact the whole world this day is struggling with how to attend to this massive problem. As the Prime Minister indicated quite clearly, we will be with the United States every step of the way. This country will make whatever changes need to be made to make sure that we continue to have the safest place in the world in which to live.

What happened last Tuesday was devastating to all free society around the world. We did learn a lesson but we will also do what needs to be done to make sure that we continue to live in a country that is safe. We will also work with other countries to make sure that democracy continues to thrive in the world.

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Canadian Alliance

Art Hanger Canadian Alliance Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the comments of the solicitor general.

Terrorism, organized criminal activity and organized illegal activities have been on the front burner for this party for some years.

It concerns me that up to the present time there has not been a real strong move to close the doors on many terrorists and their activities. Not only here but other countries too are facing the same dilemma.

Our neighbours, the United Kingdom, have brought in an anti-terrorism act in response to this. Is the solicitor general prepared to consider a comprehensive anti-terrorism act as are our brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom as well as the United States?

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Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my hon. colleague.

Yes indeed all countries, including Canada, are struggling with how to deal with this issue. As has been stated before in the House, we will not make decisions immediately. We will make decisions to deal with the issue that is before the world today. It is a global problem. We will deal with it effectively and we will make the changes that are needed in order to make sure that we continue to live in a safe country. We cannot do it today. It has to be done with a lot of input to be sure that we do it in co-operation with America and Britain, as the hon. member has indicated, and all other countries around the world. This is a global issue. The Prime Minister has indicated that we will walk with them every step of the way and we will make the changes that need to be made.

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The Deputy Speaker

Before debate is resumed, I want to remind members that they must be in their own seat to seek the floor. People are moving a little from time to time today, which is fine. It is wonderful to see so many members in the House participating in the debate with such interest. However, I caution members to be in the appropriate assigned seat when seeking the floor.

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Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to inform you that the members of the Canadian Alliance will be splitting their time throughout the rest of this debate.

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Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of my constituency of Portage--Lisgar to offer my profound condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the horrifying terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The events of the last week have made an indelible impression. The harrowing images of death and destruction will forever scar our memory. But it is the heroic qualities, the compassion, the courage, the faith that emerged in response to this horrible cruelty that strengthened each and every one of us.

Through the compassion of others not just in North America but also around the world we are reminded of our own humanity, of the trivial nature of the things that divide us and of the importance of what we share. We recognize that we are tied together. We recognize that we are bound to one another in the pursuit of freedom.

As we, who are colleagues in the House of Commons offer our words today, I am reminded of the old adage, love is more than words; love is deeds. Our words, though sincere and well meaning, can do very little to undo the horrific events of last week. It will be our deeds which will reveal the genuine depth of our true compassion. It will be our actions which will demonstrate our unquestionable commitment to the prevention of future such tragedies and our very real love of freedom.

These devastating events have awakened us in many ways. The anesthetic of complacency has worn off and a painful awareness grips all of us as we acknowledge the piercing sense of guilt that we all must feel. We ask ourselves the question: Could I have done more to prevent this? The unavoidable answer is yes.

There can be no plausible deniability for Canada's leaders on the issue of whether we are complicit in terrorist operations. Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition has been urgently pointing this out for some time. The Ressam case, and far too many others, provide growing substantiation.

In January 1999 a special Senate committee on security and intelligence stated very clearly that Canada is a venue of opportunity for terrorist groups. Several former senior government staff members have expressed concerns. For example, former CSIS chief of strategic planning David Harris referred to Canada as a “big jihad aircraft carrier for launching strikes against the United States”.

The evidence is clear. Canadians are not interested in finger pointing. They know, as we do, that the clock cannot be turned back. Neither will they accept continued inaction. Canada must not be a bed and breakfast for terrorists.

It is natural for policy makers to be defensive of the status quo but I was very pleased today to hear the comments of the Minister of Foreign Affairs that all security related issues should be on the table for discussion. I offer my encouragement to him and my encouragement to other government members who, along with my Canadian Alliance colleagues, are committed to the pursuit of necessary changes.

No issue is of greater urgency than North American perimeter security. On the farm we do not strain the grain to find rats; we reinforce the walls to keep them out. Our walls must be reinforced. Our entry and exit security must be improved.

By threatening the openness which we have enjoyed along the Canada-U.S. border, we jeopardize billions of dollars of trade and tens of thousands of Canadian jobs. Our very standard of living is at stake. Over 87% of our trade is done with the United States.

Those who argue that the adoption of stricter perimeter entry policies will sacrifice Canadian sovereignty are either arguing for decreased security or increased unemployment. Neither of these is a laudable goal.

In terms of immigration, those who argue speciously that the strengthening of screening approaches is anti-immigrant are profoundly mistaken. Our immigration policies must be generous but they can be rigorous as well and they must be. We can no longer have a policy of admit first and ask questions later.

Canada has signed the United Nations international convention for the suppression of the financing of terrorism. We must uphold our commitment. Other signatories, such as Great Britain, have taken decisive action. They have adopted legislation which would make it a criminal offence to raise and provide funds in support of a terrorist organization. They have legislated such harsh penalties as banning from the country any group which participates in terrorist activities.

Many of my colleagues will be presenting proposals in the near future which, once adopted, will assure Canadians of our commitment to combat terrorism. Inaction on our part increases the speculation among our allies that our word will not be kept. We must show them that Canada is not on the sidelines in the battle against terrorism but where it belongs on the frontlines.

We believe that in order to break down the machinery of terrorism we must strengthen our security and intelligence commitments. The Prime Minister has acknowledged that international terrorism is a growing threat, yet a Liberal led Senate committee found that operating funds for federal agencies with a security or intelligence role fell by approximately 30% in the 1990s.

The struggle against terrorism is a global one. It is diplomatic. It is legal. It is political. It relies profoundly not on problem solving but on proactive strategies for prevention. What is required is information and intelligence gathering. Coalition building is essential. Canadians have a valuable contribution to make, but resources must be taken from lower priority areas and made available.

In the near future we will be enunciating specific suggestions on how this goal can best be attained.

Much more than its allies, Canada has cashed in its so-called peace dividend. Since the end of the cold war, Canada's diminished military capability has had an erosive effect on our world reputation.

Our NATO allies rise to the challenge of battling global terrorism and our Prime Minister hesitates. The Prime Minister's indecision is understandable, given the rusty and overstretched Canadian military machine as it exists today. The restoration of our defence capabilities is an important component of restoring Canada's reputation in the world.

When our house is in flames we want our neighbours to come running with a bucket today, not a card of condolence tomorrow. When the roles are reversed and our friends yearn for our assistance, we must not be hallmark allies offering pity but little else. Canada must seize the opportunity to assist in deeds not only as we do today in words. We cannot do everything, but we must not let what we cannot do prevent us from doing all that we can.

Today we have an opportunity to grieve together and to be angry together, but more than that to commit our hearts and minds to action together. We in the House are bound together by the task that stands before us. We are bound together in our desire to see the world become a place where all children can grow up free and strong.

Ours is not the first generation of Canadians to face the challenge of fighting for freedom. I will close by reciting the inscription on the soldier's tower at the University of Toronto:

Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity can only be for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.