This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

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.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, an important question that the opposition has failed to ask concerns Canadians who were In New York City at the time of the horrific tragedy of September 11.

My question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Could he advise the House exactly how many Canadians were affected and what the government is doing for Canadians and their families both in New York City and here at home?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, since the crisis began we have had consular officials in New York, in Ottawa and elsewhere around the world on a 24 hour a day service receiving calls from Canadians.

As of last evening about 13,000 calls of all sorts have been received. Happily I can report that the number of Canadians unaccounted for has been diminishing. Currently there are somewhere between 45 and 70 Canadians whose whereabouts are unaccounted for and who may have been in New York at the time of the catastrophe.

Our officials remain in very close contact with the family members and we appreciate the supply of information they are providing to our officials throughout the days and nights.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier in question period the solicitor general said that Canada would walk with the United States all the way. The foreign minister has said that we would give our undivided support to the United States.

I would like to ask the Prime Minister for his assurance that Canada, in any response to a request for assistance militarily from the United States, will insist that the response fully respects international law and avoids any further loss of civilian lives?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada will stand by our neighbour and friend, the United States. We are a member of NATO and will be discussing with our allies to make sure that an appropriate response is prepared.

There is no rush. We have to do it deliberately, with calm, and with the clear goal of destroying terrorism. When there is an adequate plan we will join our friends and allies, the Americans and the other nations of the world, to make sure we work effectively against terrorism.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, clearly we share the goal of destroying terrorism, but we do not want to destroy international law and innocent civilian lives in the process.

I would once again ask the Prime Minister a very specific question. Will the Prime Minister assure the House and assure Canadians, who are deeply concerned that he may be giving carte blanche to the United States in this incident, that any response Canada supports will fully respect international law and will avoid the loss of innocent civilian lives?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I gave an adequate response, but no one can guarantee to anyone that there will be no civilians who unfortunately might lose their lives in any operation. It would be naive to think so. When we are in a war we have to make sure that those who are guilty face the consequences of their acts.

We cannot promise that not a single life will be lost. Some soldiers and some civilians might be affected, but sometimes that is the price we pay to have peace and destroy the evil of terrorism.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the foreign affairs minister has said that in light of the horrible events of September 11 all security measures must be reviewed. Members of parliament are eager to participate in that review.

Will the Prime Minister ask the standing committees of the House of Commons to undertake, as our first measure of business, an immediate and urgent examination of the current security situation in airports, airplanes, ports, borders and security agencies so they can quickly provide the government with recommendations for improvements to the Canadian system and recommendations to better co-ordinate activities between Canadian agencies and their international counterparts?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, Standing Orders 108(1) and 108(2) of the House of Commons already permit committees themselves to generate an issue of business for further study. That is clearly accommodated for right now to the extent that the government can accommodate any reasonable request of that nature, and of course we would co-operate.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence. Is the government's commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans limited to humanitarian aid and North American security only, or will our armed forces be committed to possible attacks overseas?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to combating terrorism. We are committed to working with our American allies, our other allies in NATO and other countries of like mind, to combat terrorism whether it is on our own shores, in our own country and continent, or overseas.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the immigration minister. The auditor general says that people can come to our borders, tell us just about anything they want, and we have very little means to verify it. What is the government doing to close this big hole in our security system?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the protection of the citizens of Canada is a priority, particularly security threats. We are all concerned and want to do everything we can to fight terrorism.

I would say to the member that Bill C-11 which is presently before the Senate will give my department new and important tools. Just weeks ago members of his party said the bill was too tough. I hope he will agree today that we need it and that the Senate should pass it as quickly as possible.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, our leader rose in the House and was very critical of Bill C-11. Canadians are feeling very vulnerable. The auditor general says that people are admitted through our immigration system without assurances that they have not committed crimes abroad. That is what the auditor general says.

What has the minister done to close this absolutely huge gap in our security system?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the member's question is not accurate. Anyone who comes to Canada as an immigrant must have a full security and criminality screening before they come. That is a statutory requirement today.

I will say that Bill C-11 gives us important new tools to ensure that we are able to do things such as up-front security screening and to bar access to the refugee determination system for anyone that we believe poses a security threat to Canada. We need the bill. His party did not support it. I hope they have changed their minds and will encourage the Senate to pass the bill quickly.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of Quebec and Canadian nationals are at present in a high risk area around Afghanistan, and many are concerned.

Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs tell us what measures have been taken to evacuate these people should the worst occur?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, I thank the member for his question. We are currently advising all Canadians against visiting these areas right now.

Second, our ambassador and officials in the area can help Canadians get out. We are advising them to do so immediately.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have received calls from people currently in Pakistan or the Middle East. One Quebec woman, who works for an NGO in Pakistan, has asked for help.

Has the minister considered emergency measures to evacuate Canadians at risk?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our representatives in the area are currently making preparations.

The member could advise those involved to contact representatives in embassies or consulates as soon as possible to obtain information.

Airline SafetyOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, as a result of Tuesday's tragic events, U.S. transportation secretary Norman Mineta announced that FAA federal air marshals who are trained will be allowed on board aircraft, flying anonymously on select flights. Saturday's National Post reports that Air Canada is calling on the federal government to implement a similar program in Canada.

Will the government finance air marshal in Canada?

Airline SafetyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to pay tribute to all the workers in the transportation industry, the airlines, and the airports across the country for their Herculean efforts, and also the people of Canada who welcomed all of those stranded air passengers, in particular the people of Atlantic Canada who welcomed half of all the flights.

To deploy armed air marshals on flights is a radical suggestion. It poses severe logistical and financial implications and it is not the direction in which we are moving.

We are committed to providing enhanced security on the ground so we will not need air marshals on planes.

Airline SafetyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, there is understandable concern over air travel in Canada and Transport Canada's record of fast tracking security solutions.

Air Canada is taking care of its own employees and passengers by locking flight deck doors and examining whether or not the government should be implementing a similar security policy as is being implemented in the United States.

Will the Minister of Transport commit today to implement new safety measures such as mandating the installation of metal doors between the cockpit and passenger cabin and require that those doors be locked at all times during commercial flights?

Airline SafetyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are working with the FAA and ICAO and all the international organizations in reviewing all of our airline and airport procedures. To follow up on the hon. member's point, I am announcing that cockpit doors on all Canadian airline passenger flights, domestic and international, will be locked for the full duration of the flights effective immediately.

National DefenceOral Question Period

September 17th, 2001 / 2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

Canadian forces were on standby last week to offer humanitarian assistance to the Americans during that terrible crisis. Can the minister elaborate on the resources made available to the Americans by the Canadian forces?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as soon as we heard the tragic news, we were in immediate contact with the United States with respect to what we could provide from the Canadian forces, who in fact pre-positioned some of our disaster assistance response teams, some 200 strong, from Petawawa into Trenton. We put three naval vessels on high alert to be able to take humanitarian aid into the New York area as would be required.

Because of the outpouring of support that has come from New York and the immediate surrounding areas, they have not had to call on these assets. However, we have made them available. They know that they are available and will continue to be available. They are grateful for that response from the Canadian forces.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, although Britain and the United States have passed strict anti-terrorist laws, it is an international disgrace that Canada has none.

Our allies and security agencies are concerned that Canada continues to be a safe haven for terrorists.

Why has the minister failed to take these essential steps to protect the security of Canadians?