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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-17.

Topics

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we would not in any circumstances of course disclose information of that sort, whether we had it or not, with respect to a particular individual.

Of course we raised issues regarding the consular rights of the individual involved, but in no circumstances would we confirm or make any comment on any information that we might have about an individual--

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he said he did not know. It would be nice if there were somebody here to actually answer a question on this.

While the minister participated in high level consultations to defend a suspected terrorist, it apparently took a trip by the U.S. Secretary of State for the minister to admit what he really knew.

Officials now acknowledge that they have had evidence on Arar's activities for weeks. Why did it take a newspaper article to correct the record? Why did the minister and the government not reveal these facts to the House before today?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is working with United States authorities on this issue to clarify the matter. We do not comment publicly on these matters related to international security.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will ask that minister. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was asked in the House of Commons about this file. He acted as if he knew absolutely nothing and said he was going to consult the United States because he had no justification or information.

The minister's department has an agency under him, the RCMP, which had that information. When was that information passed on to the Minister of Foreign Affairs?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is confusing the issue of a citizen's consular rights, that is, rights to consular support in any circumstance, and the issue of whether or not there was substantive information that concerned this particular individual in the possession of U.S. authorities.

In the former, of course we will intervene in order to ensure that consular rights are respected. In the latter, we will not be prepared to comment.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is time the Liberals told the truth: that their system of screening and security checks is pathetic. Arar was given dual Syrian and Canadian citizenship by the government. It did not pick up on his terrorist links and the U.S. had to clue it in.

How is it that the U.S. could uncover this man's background so quickly when the government's screening system failed to find his al-Qaeda links?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I point out to the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill that Mohammed Atta, the conspirator behind the September 11 destruction of the World Trade Center, received his visa from U.S. authorities six months after September 11.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government needs to take responsibility for what it is doing to protect Canadian security. The fact is that these Liberals were asleep at the switch.

Arar was not properly checked. Instead, the government ran around chastising the U.S. for sending Arar back to Syria, where he is also a citizen.

Why is it that the Liberal security system is so weak here that they overlook vital information that the U.S. picked up on a routine check?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Malpeque P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, if hon. members on the opposite side would listen, I want to make it very clear that we are on top of our game in terms of international security. The RCMP and CSIS are very much on top of their game in ensuring that we are protecting Canadian citizens against terrorism.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, who is the most serious aspirant to the job of Prime Minister, has just asked that ratification of the Kyoto protocol by Canada be postponed.

Despite the comments of the member for LaSalle—Émard, will the government respect its commitment and ensure that Canada ratifies the Kyoto protocol by the end of 2002?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard is also of the opinion that the vote in the House promised by the Prime Minister before the Kyoto protocol is ratified, should be postponed.

Despite the views expressed by the leadership candidate, who is the most influential member within the Liberal caucus, can the Minister of the Environment confirm the government's intention to hold a vote in this House before Canada ratifies the Kyoto protocol, in 2002?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, by openly defying the Prime Minister on an issue of such importance as the Kyoto protocol, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard has given rise to serious doubt regarding the Prime Minister's capacity to follow up on his own commitments.

Can the Deputy Prime Minister tell us whether the Prime Minister will impose a party line on all his members regarding the vote in the House?

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that, in the Speech from the Throne, the Kyoto protocol is a priority for our government, and we have pledged to adopt it.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the Deputy Prime Minister admit that the fact that the Prime Minister announced his departure 18 months before actually leaving is creating a serious leadership problem? Unfortunately, we will have to wait until long after his successor takes over to know the outcome of the major issues confronting us, including the Kyoto protocol.

Kyoto ProtocolOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the President of Mexico announces his leaving office six years before the fact, since he cannot run for another term. During his second term, the President of the United States announces his departure four years before leaving. Therefore, 18 months is not too long a period.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, when Colin Powell and our foreign affairs minister met in Ottawa last week, they led Canadians to believe that racial profiling at our border is no longer happening.

It is happening. Members of Parliament know from constituents' personal testimony that racial profiling is happening on a daily basis. Even on Canadian soil, Canadians are being harassed and intimidated by American customs officers at airport pre-clearance facilities.

When will the government acknowledge the truth and summon the American ambassador to say that enough is enough?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the recent meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Minister of Foreign Affairs consisted of very successful discussions on a number of issues.

In particular as it relates to this member's question, the NSEERS program was discussed. We were assured by the secretary of state that no one with a Canadian passport would have that program triggered because of their place of birth. We are confident that the secretary of state is very much on task with that.

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, those assurances clearly are not enough. We want some concrete action. What we have here is that Canadians are being harassed and abused because of their country of origin and the colour of their skin.

Windsor is the busiest crossing point in the country. There are thousands of people going across every day. Students, workers and families are suffering because of these discriminatory measures of U.S. authorities.

When will the government stand up and protect Canadians and demand that the U.S. cease this discriminatory conduct?

Border SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have made it very clear and have been responded to very clearly in return that Canadians' place of birth would not trigger NSEERS. Canadians have the option, if they choose, not to have their place of birth put on their passports, but if they do so they risk not being admitted to certain countries that will not allow this.

We are very confident that we are working closely with our American allies in this regard. We have asked and they have listened.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, four months ago DND received a report from the Defence Science Advisory Board which concluded that the provincial emergency response systems are doomed to fail due to the absence of an overarching command structure to coordinate efforts, and that there is no plan to protect civilian targets.

In light of the ominous message attributed to Osama bin Laden, could the Minister of National Defence tell Canadians exactly what has been done since receipt of that report to create such a command structure and to secure nuclear power plants, power grids and other critical infrastructure?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Markham Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the specific answer to the question is that the report has since been overtaken by events. The government, for example, has allocated an additional $69 million to protection from chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.

In general the government has allocated $7.7 billion over five years to increase the security of Canada. That money has gone to doubling the capacity of our special forces, investing with the provinces and municipalities to protect critical infrastructure such as power sources, and many other areas.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of events overtaking the Liberal government.

In the aftermath of September 11 the government deployed our fleet of CF-18 fighters across the country to better respond to potential terrorist threats. However last week we learned that the CF-18s were quietly called back to base in August.

Recent events, including the bin Laden tape, proved the terrorist threat is still very real yet the Liberal government has diminished our ability to respond.

If the threat of terrorism was real enough to deploy the CF-18s in the first place, what events did the government base its decision upon to bring those planes home?