Mr. Speaker, I will share the time allotted me with one of my colleagues.
I would like to add my voice to those of the Prime Minister and my colleagues in expressing my condolences to the American people, the family and friends of the victims of the horrible terrorist attack that took the lives of an overwhelming number of innocent Americans, as well as Canadians and persons from other countries.
Let us make no mistake. Whether it involves a handful of people swept away by some ideology or other, a group of unbalanced individuals or a large or small country, all acts of terrorism are to be condemned. The acts perpetrated in the United States on September 11 rightly elicited universal reprobation. Terrorism is a violent rending of the fabric of humanity and a direct affront to all attempts, to dialogue and to the construction of harmonious and strong international relations.
Canada's position has been clear in this regard, as was the speed with which we offered our friends and neighbours all the help they might need at this difficult time. Our solidarity found particular expression on the day of national mourning, last Friday, an initiative that expressed the depth of feeling of the government and the people of Canada for the victims of the attacks and their families.
On the other hand, voices are being raised just about everywhere calling for revenge for this attack, far worse than the attack on Pearl Harbor, for those responsible for it, and their accomplices, to be punished without mercy, taken back into the stone age in fact.
We know that the U.S. government wants to use NATO to mobilize the international community against what it terms an act of war against the United States but also against democracy and the rights and freedoms of all civilized countries.
There is one major question remaining, however: identification and location of the guilty parties. Was a network of individuals involved? Did these individuals receive the support of a state or states, or did they not?
Much reference is, of course, made to the billionaire bin Laden and his network, or to the Taliban of Afghanistan. In both cases, these are people well known to the U.S. and to the CIA because they have supported them, armed them in fact, to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. According to specialists in the Arab and Muslim world, these are monsters of the Americans' own making.
I am certainly in favour of the U.S. finding a way to break with their former allies, if they are found responsible for the events of September 11. However how can this be done without the murder of other innocents, this time far away from U.S. cameras, but people who are just as real and just as important as those whose met their deaths on September 11.
I personally am far more in favour of the motion before this House, which states that the House:
--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--
I believe that the true solutions to these problems of terrorism and international security must be sought through the building of peace rather than the constantly increasing, and often blind, use of brute force.
These solutions lie in the strengthening of international and multilateral institutions that can promote health, education, human rights, democracy, the environment and international co-operation.
They also lie in the respect of international law and the search for sustainable political solutions, which will stabilize the international context. Specifically, in the event of regional conditions that have become intolerable, I believe the international community would be more secure and more stable if it were to force a sustainable and equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ensuring the Palestinians of their full political rights over their own territory including a fair settlement of Jerusalem and refugees' right of return, and thus of the security of Israel.
We, the international community, would do well to ensure that Iraq be reintegrated into the normal circuit of international relations and institutions, rather than continuing to pursue a policy of exclusion and aggression towards this county, a policy that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent and young people without weakening the regime that is being targeted.
Everyone in the House and in all democratic parliaments, I expect, agrees that we need to work together to eradicate terrorism and stop those who would perpetrate acts of terrorism, but I would add that it is even more important to address the causes and circumstances that often trigger such acts.
With regards to this, I think that we must approach the problem in a rational manner even though emotions run high, to try to find long-term sustainable political solutions despite the fact that using force may prove tempting.
What we need to do is organize a response that is vigorous yet democratic, based not on a simple polarization between good and bad, based not on so-called wars between civilizations, but instead on solutions that would affect the economy, safety, international relations and institutions, based on measures that are more inclusive of populations, zones and states that are currently marginalized in this era of frenzied globalization.
In conclusion, I would like to express two wishes. First, that our government, as an ally of the United States, uses all its influence in order to persuade our giant neighbour to join forces with the international community in order to do something about the situations at the root of terrorism, rather than limit its action to reprisals which will result in other innocent victims and do nothing to improve security. Canadian support must not be a carte blanche for military adventurism without a lasting positive outcome. Instead, it should encourage action characterized by wisdom and patience, as the Prime Minister suggested today.
My second wish is that we fight against and prevent any intolerance and aggressive behaviour directed at any cultural or religious community living in Canada, especially the Arab Muslim community. Pointing a finger of blame at any component of Canadian society for the acts of terrorism committed in New York on September 11 would be tantamount to engaging in our own form of terrorism within Canada. Any such action must be denounced and repressed in the name of those same values which we are defending internationally as well as at home.
Over the past 50 years, Canada has won international respect for its participation in dozens of peacekeeping missions. If we have a few hundreds of millions of dollars to devote to an international effort following the events of September 11, I would like to see us continue to invest in peacebuilding.
The UN has declared 2001 the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. What has just happened in New York City and what might happen any time from now shows the extent to which our greatest problems may well arise not from too much such dialogue internationally but from profound shortcomings within our international, political and financial institutions, which are now preventing the establishment of a new international order based on transparency and equity.
Eradicating terrorism is about more than wiping out a network of terrorists. It is about creating new conditions so that wealth is no longer concentrated in the hands of a few and so that the living conditions of the majority improve over the next few decades. It is our duty as Canadians to base our solidarity with the Americans on such a vision, which I believe corresponds to the deepest Canadian values vis-à-vis fairness and international co-operation.
It is our duty as Canadians to demonstrate our solidarity internationally according to our Canadian values.