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House of Commons Hansard #154 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

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1:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, just a supplementary to that question: With respect to the level of security that currently exists, or, one might say, the lack thereof, it became very obvious in the study put forward by the Senate, but other inquiries into the issue of security on the ports revealed that many private security companies, port authorities, stevedores and, as he mentioned, unions, had a disproportionately high number of employees with criminal records. That is not to suggest that anybody who has a criminal record is a security threat. However, it certainly highlights the need for a certain standard to be applied, and I would suggest nationally.

The concern here was that many of those individuals might also be susceptible to intimidation because their criminal records could be used against them or subsequently they may have had past affiliations with organized crime. I know that in the port of Montreal this is particularly acute, as we have seen in other ports as well, including those in my home province of Nova Scotia.

I would suggest that municipal police and the RCMP can and do play an active role in background checks, but does my colleague agree that a national standard has to be put in place with respect to background checks to ensure that for those who are working on the ports, whether they be in that capacity for the port authority or for the company, there has to be some standard applied to ensure that those individuals, because of their past affiliation with criminal activity and their links to organized crime, are not vulnerable either to being brought into the process of theft on the port or to becoming complicit and simply being paid not to be at a certain point at a certain time?

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1:05 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Madam Speaker, I will repeat what I said earlier.

We must always keep in mind that, at ports and airports, there are people responsible for security and then there are people who do other jobs. If the hon. member is asking whether we should ensure that the employees responsible for security are honest and do not have a criminal record, I say that there should be a committee or a national standard to ensure that all those involved in security—we know what the QPP, RCMP and other police officers must go through—at ports and airports should also be required to show that they have a perfect record.

We must always keep in mind what these men and women do. Therefore, it would be normal, in the case of those who are responsible for security, to have such a process, and we would agree with that.

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1:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on behalf of the NDP caucus today.

I begin by saying, with respect to the controversy earlier today about whether or not this motion by the Conservative Party should be votable, that one wonders whether or not, as someone who contests whether or not the motion should be votable, we will in fact actually vote.

However the matter before us is the motion and, I would say, without prejudice to whether or not we should be voting on it, that the motion is far too general to elicit the kind of support that I think perhaps the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough might have been looking for from all opposition parties.

While there are certainly things for which we would want to be critical of the government and criticisms that we might well share with the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough, there might be other criticisms that we do not share. The member cannot simply ask us to sign on to a general condemnation of the government for its failure to implement a national security policy to address the broad range of security issues when we do not know the list of issues that the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough wants the government to address. I realize that he outlined some of those things in his speech but the motion, as it reads and if it were to be passed or, for that matter, approved by any party or individual, would be open to interpretations.

For instance, the NDP was critical of the government, not for its failure to implement a particular security policy when it came to anti-terrorism legislation but for, in our judgment, going too far when it came to anti-terrorism legislation. Therefore it would be difficult for us to support the motion because it seems to imply that, with respect to a broad range of issues having to do with security, the government has not gone far enough.

When Bill C-36, the anti-terrorism legislation, was before the House, one of our criticisms was that we felt the government had gone too far. We also felt that way with respect to Bill C-35 and we feel that way with respect to Bill C-42, which now seems to be on the back burner but which is nevertheless still on the order paper. Is it the position of the Progressive Conservative Party that Bill C-42 is part of the government's failure, that it does not go far enough?

These are all the kinds of interpretations that could be attached to support this particular motion because it is in fact so general. It is one of the reasons why I do not see how we could support this particular motion as it stands.

Because it has come up in debate, is the motion intended to refer in some codified way to the Senate report on security? If that is the case, perhaps a motion saying that we adopt the recommendations of the recent Senate committee on security would have been in order. At least we then could have debated what was in that particular report.

Having listened to the debate a bit today, it seemed to me from time to time that we were vicariously debating the report that was brought forward in the Senate with respect to security. The allusion in the motion to ports of entry and borders, for instance, is clearly a reference to a subject matter of concern that the Senate committee report addressed itself to.

Having said that, with respect to ports and security matters having to do with ports, I would like to put on the record once again that the NDP felt at the time and feels still that the privatization of ports and the elimination of the national harbour police were serious mistakes.

Addressing whatever security concerns there may be with respect to our ports would be to reinstitute a police force dedicated to port security, instead of having the municipal police and the RCMP trying to do a job that in our judgment should be done by a police force dedicated to that particular purpose.

To me, it always makes sense to have people who are vocationally attached to a particular task. I think that is the way the members of the national harbour police worked when they were in existence. They were not municipal police who might be looking after port security this year, looking after the vice squad next year and looking after something else the next year. Their job was port security and they were there for the long haul.

However it has become a fad in the last 10 to 20 years to do away with dedicated services of any kind and to turn everything over to--I am not sure what to call it, but nobody ever does anything for the long haul any more. They are just in there for the duration of a contract when things are privatized, or in the case of what we are talking about here in terms of ports police, we do not have a police force dedicated to port security but we have a number of police officers in various police forces who are assigned from time to time to port security. This is not a criticism of them. They are put in a very difficult position and, as the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough and others have said and quite rightly, are often asked to do the job without adequate resources.

We cannot have security on the cheap. Yet in some ways we are reaping now what was sown over the last 10, 15, 20 years whereby governments, through various public policy initiatives, generally in the way of deregulation, privatization, contracting out and doing away with things that were directly funded by government, tried to do things on the cheap that they used to do in a dedicated way and they used to do by way of paying whatever it cost to get the job done and to have the job done well.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. It was fine as long as, to put the obvious, everything was fine, but now that things are not fine we find that there are all kinds of holes in the system.

It will not do, while we are alluding to the Senate report, to impugn the integrity of a lot of people who work at the ports.

There seems to be an underlying theme in the Senate report that is of concern to us and I think of concern to many others that somehow its the workers in the ports who are the problem.

A very good article in the Province by Christina Montgomery talks about some of the things wrong with the Senate report. She highlights, for instance, the disbandonment of the ports police which I have already mentioned. She also takes issue with the way in which the report implies that somehow its the unions that are at fault for whatever security problems there may be at our ports. I would like to put that on the record.

Returning to the matter of resources, the fact is that a lot of our ports are underpoliced. Whether we return to a national harbour police, a national ports police or however we do it, we will need a lot more resources at our ports, along the borders. Others have spoken of the longest undefended border. It is undefended and that is part of the problem. It is undefended from a lot of things.

I do not, and I do not think anybody does, want to see the border become a difficult place for ordinary Canadians and Americans to go back and forth and for commerce to transpire. The fact is that we have been under-resourcing our security personnel wherever we find them, whether we find them at customs, in the ports, in the RCMP or wherever Canadians are called upon to engage in security tasks for the public there has been a pattern of underfunding and under-resourcing these tasks for a long time and it is coming home to roost.

If the government is serious about security, I would urge it to get serious about funding security. Its only major initiative so far, which I think was wrong, has been to bring in the anti-terrorism legislation which I think, in some respects, goes beyond targeting terrorists to making it possible to make life miserable for legitimate, democratic dissent in this country.

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to meet at a forum with the United Steelworkers of America which has many thousands of members in the security industry. The United Steelworkers were saying to the Deputy Prime Minister, who is in charge of security, that they wanted to sit down and talk about the security industry and talk about national standards for training, certification and pay.

One of the problems in the security industry, particularly as it pertains to the private security industry which guards much of our infrastructure, which we are now told we should be worried about in terms of possible terrorist attacks, is that a lot of that infrastructure is provided on a private for profit basis. It is also not necessarily the best kind of security that we could ask for. People in the security industry know that. They would like to see higher standards, better training and the kind of pay that would create in that industry people who would be dedicated to that particular task. If they were paid well enough they would stay at it and do the job properly. They would not feel that they had to move on because of an offer of a better paying job somewhere else.

All these things are on our mind as we reflect upon the Tory motion that we have here today. We cannot support the motion as it is. We reiterate our contention that part of the solution for addressing the security problems at our ports is the reintroduction of a dedicated national harbours or ports police.

We agree with others who say that the resources are a great part of the problem and that there is a need for the government to make sure that our police and security forces, in the broadest possible sense of the word, have the resources to do the job that they are being asked to do.

The NDP cannot support the motion because we find it to be too general. We do not want to condemn the government holus-bolus or support the government holus-bolus on this. It has done some things right and some things wrong. Simply to have a motion which condemns the government without saying what it is it is being condemned for does not provide the opportunity for the kind of detailed debate that we would like to have in the House.

I remind hon. members that even though they might not have supported the NDP motion during the week before we broke, there were 12 things that we thought the government should be doing. Members could get up and disagree with those 12 things but they knew what we were talking about. We do not have a similar kind of motion before us here today.

With respect to the final phrase in the motion calling “on the government to reassert Parliament's relevance in these and other public policy issues”, I am not entirely sure what the member means here. If this is a general call for parliamentary reform, which would restore parliament's relevance in these and other public issues, of course we support that. I would say that as an individual member of parliament I have supported this kind of effort all the time I have been here.

However I am not sure whether this final phrase was supposed to entice people to vote for the rest of the motion, in spite of the fact that it had so little content, out of our love for parliamentary reform, or what effect it was supposed to have on us. In any event, we certainly would like to see parliament's relevance reasserted in these and other public policy issues.

With all due respect to the members of the PC/DRC coalition who are in the House now, and I know none of them were here when what I am about to speak of happened. One of the reasons why parliament suffers from a lack of relevance in these and other public policy issues is because of what was done to parliament between 1984 and 1993 when the Conservatives were in power.

Much of what we now experience in opposition, the frustration and powerlessness, the feeling of being left out of decisions taken in the Prime Minister's Office and elsewhere, a lot of these trends, if not begun, were solidified and consolidated under the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party between 1984 and 1993.

What is of course tragic, ironic and, in the final analysis, despicable is that the party that in its days as official opposition that opposed these measures has now been in power for nine years and has done absolutely nothing to undo the damage that it so loudly protested at that time.

I certainly join with members of the PC/DRC in calling once again on another government, in another time, in the same place, to reassert parliament's relevance in these and other public policy issues.

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1:25 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I always listen with great interest to my colleague from Winnipeg--Transcona. He always adds a lot to the debate in the depth and wisdom that he has.

We are in a period where the opposition is in disarray. It cannot seem to get its act together, and leadership contests may be interfering with it. This type of motion by the PC/DR coalition is probably one of the failures of the opposition because it is so broad that one could actually get up and talk on almost anything, as the member so rightly said.

When will we talk about addressing security issues? No one, to my knowledge, other than perhaps the member for Saint-Jean, has indicated anything about defence. This is where a lot of our responses to the terrorist activities are taking place.

We should be very proud of our response. We were one of the first nations to commit to the American coalition. We committed five ships, four transport aircraft, two patrol aircraft, an element of JTF2, a battle group and a fifth ship, the HMCS Ottawa , currently en route to the Arabian Sea, and more than 2,500 men and women from the Canadian forces deployed in Operation Apollo.

We are putting our deeds into action. The government has made it clear that Canada will stand with its allies in fighting terrorism. We are making progress in that mission to identify and defend against terrorists. We are degrading their network, bringing them to justice, and working to improve humanitarian situations that exist in Afghanistan.

Could the hon. member take some time to comment on that because that is something that all Canadians want to know about and all Canadians are very proud of.

Although there was no military involvement in the terrorism, it was a matter of hijacking aircraft and crashing them into buildings that set it off, it was an act of terrorism. In response to that, a lot of the good work that is being done by Canada is being done outside of Canada. Our military involvement is something that we should be proud of. I wonder if the member could comment on that.

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1:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, first of all I take issue with the general description of the opposition that the hon. member offered, that the opposition is in disarray. It may be that some opposition parties are in disarray. We may be small but we are not in disarray. I ask that the hon. member not attribute characteristics which are obvious in some other opposition parties to all opposition parties. It is a generalization that is unwarranted in the circumstances. However, I agree, as he suggested, that this motion in its generality may reflect some form of disarray in the caucus from which it originated.

The hon. member alluded to what Canada is doing to fight terrorism in the military sense in participating in the American led international coalition in Afghanistan against Al-Qaïda and the Taliban. The member knows how we feel about this. I am not sure why he wants to turn the debate, which is about national security, into a debate on Canada's involvement in that particular coalition.

In spite of whatever disagreements we might have in the House about how we came to be involved and about the terms and conditions of our involvement, that all of us are proud of the dedication, the work and the courage of Canadian men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces who have been asked to do a particular job by their government and from all reports are doing it well. We wish them well and we wish them all home safe. Particularly as somebody from Winnipeg, where members of the PPCLI recently deployed for Afghanistan, I am very mindful of all the families in Winnipeg and friends who are concerned about their loved ones who have been sent off into a very dangerous situation.

I am not sure if this is what the member was looking for. We can certainly disagree in this place whether certain things should take place, whether certain decisions should be taken and under what auspices they should happen. Certainly there is a disagreement between us and the government as to the extent that things should happen under the auspices of the United Nations and not simply under the auspices of the White House.

This is a disagreement which may extend in the coming weeks and months if the government decides to back an American action against Iraq without the approval of the United Nations security council or without engaging the United Nations on it, but it does not take away in any way from the respect and the view that we have of Canadian men and women who are involved in the Canadian Armed Forces and doing what their government is asking them to do.

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1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Madam Speaker, prior to six months ago, whenever members would stand in the House to call on the government for increased security and better national defence, they were told that they were alarmists. That is what we were if we asked for anything for our defence. We were told in no uncertain terms that in the post-cold war world there was no need for the kinds of precautions we were advocating. How wrong they were.

Only six months ago we were shown in the cruellest fashion imaginable the cost of not being diligent. The hon. member who just spoke asked about our defence and whether or not it has the equipment it needs to do the job for security. I can tell the House that we do not have the tools. Our military does not have the tools to look after our harbours at both ends of the country and all across the nation.

The vice admiral has spoken out that he does not have supply ships and he needs them right away. We have been up in the House since 1993, at least I have, asking for replacement of the Sea King helicopters. What has happened to the Sea King helicopters? They are outdated. Some of the pilots have lost their lives. They cannot look after our harbours out there. In Newfoundland they cannot fly out to the 200 mile limit and look after the situation at that end of the country. We know that in B.C. they cannot look after the borders there either. This is a disgrace.

In 1999 I was told that CSIS came to the government and asked for an increase in its budget because it thought there were 350 terrorists in Canada. It needed to hire more people. What did the government do? The government cut its budget and did not give it a penny. What did the government do in the last budget? It turned around and gave CSIS money but not enough money.

I just had the representatives of the Canadian Police Association in my office. They said they and the RCMP need more money. They did not come in for themselves. They said that if Canadians are going to have safety and security in the country then the police must have the tools to do that job.

When I was mayor of Saint John, New Brunswick, I fought tooth and nail to save our port police. When I heard that the government was going to take out the port police I could not believe it was going to happen. Having been the mayor of a port city and now the representative of a port city, I know exactly what is needed for security.

Police departments, with the cuts they have had because of cuts in the transfer payments to the provinces which are then downloaded onto the municipalities, have had to make cuts. Instead of having men and women looking after the security of the ports, they have a drive-through once or twice a day. That is it for security.

Let me tell the House something. I want Madam Speaker and the rest of my colleagues in the House to know this. Port police must take seven courses. Everyone who becomes a port policeman must take and pass seven courses. Port police are trained in a different manner. I would not say that our local police are not trained, they are, but port police take different courses. They know what to look for when cargo is coming in. They know that there is a possibility that people may be hiding on some of those cargo ships. That was my major concern about our harbour.

Our port police are gone now. Our docks, wharves and waterfronts have become a favourite point of access for drug cartels, smuggling rings and illegal immigrants. There is no question that the minute the port police were gone there were more drugs in the community and in the whole area than ever before.

There was a time, only a century ago, when our ports were the places that people came to when they wanted to build Canada. Now they are used by those who would tear down what has been built. Local law enforcement, the RCMP and even the coast guard have been hit hard and cut back, even the coast guard, and they unable to divert enough resources to replace the first line of defence that was offered by our ports police.

Here we are with our ports police gone and we have severe problems. I am saying that we have to look at where we are going in the future. This is Canada and we should be seeing that our defence people have more money in their budgets. They need it. I say, give them the tools and they will look after us, give the coast guard the tools and money and it will look after us, and put our port police back at every port in Canada. I cannot imagine having a government in Canada that would take out the port police and not even monitor what happens afterward. The government took out the coast guard and did not even monitor what it did. We have people from Newfoundland, people from New Brunswick, people from Nova Scotia and people from B.C. who are saying “You've got to do something here. We have a problem”.

When one represents what I represent in my city, and when there is a nuclear power plant, then one has major concerns. We have been monitoring what has been happening even though the government has not. I can tell members that they just have to take a look at the number of people who have come in hidden on the cargo ships. Members just have to take a look at Quebec, which also has concerns. Quebec is worried, as are all our people across the nation.

What happens? The government does absolutely nothing. It did absolutely nothing. Did it put more money in? Did it put back the port police? Did it put more money into defence? Did it put more money into the coast guard? No.

When I had representatives from the national police association in to see me today, I was really proud of those men when they talked to me because their hearts are in this. They said they were not here just for funding for their own pockets. They said they were here because they are worried about their children and grandchildren, worried about their parents and worried about everyone because of this situation.

We only have to take a look at what happened on September 11, just six months ago. That has not gone away. I have to say that when we look at President Bush and see what is going on in the United States, because there will be more involvement in other countries as well, not just in Afghanistan. When it comes to our military, will we be able to send more troops? These men will be burnt out by the time they come back because of the cutbacks in our military and defence.

We need to take a look at what we are doing. I have children and grandchildren and I want to make sure that their future is here in Canada. I want to make sure they are safe and sound. Just this week I had a fax sent to me by a gentleman who is worried because two of his sons are on one of our frigates going to Afghanistan. There is a policy in the U.S.A. that two brothers cannot go out on a ship because if it is torpedoed the family may lose both sons. Why do we not look at a policy like that, separating the brothers so that one could go on one ship and the other on another ship?

These are concerns. These are the kinds of letters and calls I get every day in my office, steadily, because people know that right now we have problems in Canada like never before. They were never worried before. They did not worry that their two sons were in the navy together, but they are worried now and rightfully so. They should be, because it is not over. We have to find the terrorists and those people who come into our ports who should never, ever be on a cargo ship. We have a lot of work to do.

It is time now for the government to sit down, look in the mirror and ask itself what it has to do to correct this situation, what it has to do to make Canada the safest country in the world, which is what it always was and what we want it to be again. That will only happen when the government starts doing what is right: putting back our port police, putting the money back into defence and putting the money back into the coast guard. We will not give up until we get it.

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1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I am always delighted to hear the member. I congratulate her for her years of passion for our military and our defence. I am delighted she is in the House continuing to maintain that stance and hopefully she will for a long time.

I want to ask a couple of questions. First, as we know, we have put substantial funds and measures toward security since September 11 in the budget, et cetera, and a number of constituents have written in, saying that this is good but this is enough. I am curious as to what the member tells those constituents.

My second question may be just a clarification because I am not sure I heard her correctly, but it is related to the comment on nuclear power. I gather that the comment is related to security where we have nuclear power sites. If that is the case, as we know, the Minister of Natural Resources earlier in question period announced that several months ago he announced the comprehensive strategy we had in place for that. I want to make sure the member is aware of that if she is commenting on it. Second, there was a comment that they were monitoring that situation and I am curious as to the details of how that monitoring is being done.

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1:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments and questions. I just want to say that when it comes to the budget that just came down for security, I was informed of some things and I will give you an example. We need more RCMP officers. As I have stated, my riding is a port city but there is also a port in Belledune in the centre of my province and another in the northern part of the province. We needed more RCMP officers because of the cutbacks over the years.

I want to ask the hon. member if he knows how many RCMP officers were hired with the money that was put back. Does he know how many officers the RCMP was able to hire? One. Does he know why? Because they have cut back on all the equipment that they needed to do their jobs. Everything was outdated, so they took the money that the government put in the budget for hiring more men in uniform for the RCMP and put it into equipment. We need a whole lot more.

When it comes to nuclear power plants, we have been informed that terrorists have a list of every city in Canada that has a plant and one of them is mine. President Bush, as I am sure the hon. member knows, just in the past month came out with a policy that said no airplanes will fly over any nuclear power plants in the U.S.A. and no ships will be allowed in the vicinity. Ships will not be allowed to sail by. I was asked what I thought about that kind of policy. I have to say I am really worried and concerned when we look at the nuclear power plant and the fishermen in my riding that are out there earning their living. If we say no ships can sail by, or the nuclear power plant is off to the side, then it will create a major problem for fishermen. Also, the largest and most modern privately owned oil refinery in Canada is in my riding and the largest oil tankers in the world come in. Ships would not be able to sail by. It is a very serious situation.

I sat down with the officers and the CEO at the nuclear power plant in Saint John to talk about security. I want to tell the hon. member it is very important that the government makes sure we get our port police back so that those coming in who are looking at the nuclear power plant cannot even get into the harbour. That is the number one issue. If we keep them out of Canada by not allowing them to enter in the first place then we will have safety and security. That will only happen by putting back our port police and putting more money into the RCMP, local police departments and all our security departments.

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1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, the government's obvious omission is the lack of a plan that encompasses all security issues. What we have seen over the past six months is a government that has piecemeal policy and that reacts to situations rather than looking at the whole and having a widespread, overall security plan in place.

Since 1993 we have seen continued reductions not only in our police forces across the country, but in our military, CSIS and anything else that has to do with the security of our country. We have seen an orchestrated reduction of the resources put into those agencies that are responsible for the protection of Canadians.

The response from the government since September 11 and the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. has been very piecemeal. The government has been reactive.

I will briefly mention aviation security because I spoke at length about it yesterday. What is this piecemeal reaction to aviation security? The government's response is the implementation of an airport security tax, another tax on Canadians.

The government quite rightly says that Canadian airports had a higher degree of security than American airports had prior to September 11, but we have to wonder when the Canadian government feels it has better security in place yet is charging Canadians five times what the Americans are charging American travellers. Canadian airports already have more equipment and more security measures in place than American airports do. One has to wonder at this reactive policy of the government in response to September 11.

Being from a constituency that has two of the busiest border crossings west of the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, I also have to bring up the piecemeal response the government has to border crossing security measures. The government has been remiss in acknowledging the fact that increased traffic is going across the Canada-U.S. border as a result of the Canada free trade agreement and NAFTA. In the last 10 or 12 years there has been an increase of almost 10% per year in traffic across these borders.

In a trade corridor report that I did for the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group in May 2000, I recommended that part of the way of dealing with the problems at various port entries was to share responsibilities by having U.S. counterparts in Canadian ports and Canadians in U.S. ports. It is interesting to note that one of the piecemeal responses of the government is to do precisely that two years later. The government reached an agreement with the Americans to have Americans in the Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax ports and Canadians in the Seattle and Newark ports to help with pre-clearance and with fulfilling regulations of both countries when container goods enter the North American continent.

One of the things the government could be proactive in is supporting the concept of a North American security perimeter. This idea frightens the government for some reason. The government seems very unwilling to have Canadians be the leaders in this kind of concept. The piecemeal reaction of just sharing customs agents at a few ports does not quite meet the grade.

The government also has an agreement to extend the NEXUS program, a pilot project at the Sarnia border crossing, to three border crossings in British Columbia. As I mentioned, two of Canada's busiest border crossings are in my riding. I look forward to having the NEXUS program at our Peace Arch, Douglas and Pacific border crossings.

Again, it is a reactive approach. The government should have a proactive security program that uses the same system at all border crossings in Canada. The system used at border crossings should also be used at airports and marine entry points. We should have a systematic way of recording and monitoring the entry and exit of individuals into our country and onto the North American continent.

This is what the PC/DR coalition proposed on November 1. The government should be proactive. It should be a leader in this kind of program. It should put something on the table that will work efficiently to monitor and control the entry and exit of people into Canada and the United States while allowing pre-cleared individuals and goods to move freely.

We have looked extensively at border management and security measures and have come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the issue across the country. Our plan includes the establishment of a new ministry. More importantly, it takes into account that whatever happens must be a shared responsibility with our neighbour and partner the United States. We must share information in an efficient manner that is acceptable to both countries.

We were concerned that parliament should be brought into the package. Parliament must be held accountable and responsible. Parliament should make the decisions. Parliament should be relevant to decisions pertaining to security and the protection of Canadians.

We recognize the need to make parliament relevant and bring it into the process. We recognize the need for a parliamentary committee to oversee the new department that would be responsible for Canada's security and border management. The committee should have access to the necessary information to hold the government accountable and make sure the programs it presents to Canadians on behalf of Canadians are carried out in an efficient and proper manner.

We not only recognize the need for the government to be efficient in managing the agencies responsible for border management and public security. We need a parliamentary oversight committee. We need to communicate and co-ordinate with our American neighbours.

The PC/DR coalition has been able to put together a comprehensive overall plan looking into the future. The Liberal Government of Canada is responsible for doing this. Why does not find it possible? Why does it always react in a piecemeal fashion? It does a bit here and a bit there but has no comprehensive, forward looking, organized and efficient method of providing Canadians from one end of the country to the other with secure and properly managed border entry points. Why does the Liberal government seem incapable of doing the logical and responsive thing? Why does it not put forward a comprehensive plan to deal with the issues?

It is encouraging that the government is listening albeit two years too late. It removed the 10% share ownership limit on Air Canada. It has allowed for shared customs officers at Canadian and American ports. I hope the government will react quickly to our recommendations for a new security ministry, an oversight committee and a program for sharing information with the Americans to ensure better border security and safety for all Canadians.

I hope the government is listening. I hope it will review the plan we put on the table November 1 and move quickly to implement it.

Mont-Mégantic ParkStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Madam Speaker, Mont-Mégantic provincial park is characterized by an imposing rock outcropping composed of eight distinct peaks. It offers an extraordinary venue for outdoors enthusiasts, mountain climbers, people interested in flora and fauna. It is an ideal site for snowshoeing, hiking, cross country skiing and a number of other activities relating to nature and nature interpretation.

Thanks to its astronomical research centre, its interpretive nature centre, and an observatory open to the public, it is also the ideal marriage of terrestrial and celestial pursuits. This year, it recorded a new high of more than 10,000 visitors.

Whether visitors are interested in a hike, or a ski or snowshoe outing, activities led by a nature or astronomy interpreter, or an evening spent looking at the night sky, this, the most snow-covered provincial park in the southern part of Quebec, invites them to come and discover it, and to come away with an unforgettable experience of nature in winter.

Child PornographyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to an anonymous but true Canadian hero known only by his code name: OmniPotent.

He is a computer hacker from Langley, B.C., who uses his talents for good to expose child predators on the Internet and he has produced some spectacular leads for police who have dubbed him Citizen Tipster.

He has penetrated up to 3,000 computers in search of child predators. Recently the hacker turned over to a U.S. detective an electronic sex predator diary he had retrieved. It caused a search warrant and helped unearth over 100 computer images of child pornography. As a result, a 61 year old U.S. judge is under house arrest awaiting trial on 6 counts of possessing child pornography.

The work of this scourge of the web has already led to the arrest and successful prosecution of a number of Internet based pedophiles. This gentleman is truly an example of a hero of the information age and I offer him my thanks on behalf of our children.

2002 Winter Paralympic GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Madam Speaker, I have the honour today to rise in the House to acknowledge the accomplishments of two great Canadian athletes who earned medals yesterday, March 11, at the Salt Lake City Paralympics.

I am of course referring to Lauren Woolstencroft of Calgary, Alberta who brought home the gold medal in the Women's Super-G event; and Karolina Wisniewska, also from Calgary, who earned the bronze medal in the same Super-G event. The Canadian team now has a total of six medals including two gold medals.

I congratulate these athletes for their great victories and thank them for making us so proud.

Literary AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, on March 5 the Writers' Trust of Canada handed out more than $75,000 in prizes at the first Great Literary Awards. The Great Literary Awards is one of the richest awards galas in Canada with prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. Established well known writers, those just starting out, and some not yet published were honoured.

Norman Levine received $20,000 for the Matt Cohen Award; Elizabeth Hay received $15,000 for the Marian Engel Award; Clark Blaise received $10,000 for the Pearson Writers' Trust Non-Fiction prize; Ken McGoogan received $10,000 for the Drainie Taylor Biography prize; Margaret Sweatman received $10,000 for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction prize; Kevin Armstrong received $10,000 for the Journey prize; and Alison Pick received $1,000 for the Bronwen Wallace Award.

I congratulate them and offer best wishes for their future literary works.

BullyingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, during this week of awareness toward bullying and violence issues it is important that we recognize all forms of bullying that take place. Most people will conjure an idea of a larger boy beating up a smaller child when they hear the word bullying. While this is not inaccurate it is only one of the manifestations.

Many bullies rely on physical intimidation or harm. Other bullies, both male and female, employ a more social and emotional method of bullying. They use cold, harsh and hurtful words toward one another rather than fists but the impact is just the same if not greater. Lives still become torn apart because of this terrible activity. Sadly, there are children in many of the schools across Canada who have to put up with this daily scorn. Much of the bullying goes undetected because it is not identified as such.

Education to recognize social bullying is a key to prevention. We must support efforts to intervene, educate and avert at an early stage with these young people in order to stop this very harmful activity.

Canadian Police AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, once again it was a privilege to meet with representatives of the Canadian Police Association, especially in light of the recent tragedies their brotherhood has endured.

Violence toward our officers seems to be reaching epidemic proportions with two of the four police shootings since January allegedly having been committed by convicted offenders on parole.

Although I was pleased to hear our solicitor general once again offer sympathies to the families, I am sure every police officer would have preferred to hear that our government is finally going to take a stand and form a national agency to hunt down these convicted violent offenders on parole like the animals they are.

My blood boils when the solicitor general dismisses the direct link between parole violators and violence against police officers, saying he needs statistics to verify this. How many police officers must die before the solicitor general gets his head out of the bureaucratic fog and realizes our front line officers are far more important than the fragile souls of today's criminals?

Intellectual DisabilityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish to draw hon. members' attention to the fact that March 1 to 16 is the Semaine québécoise de la déficience intellectuelle.

The theme of this year's week is “Believe... and grow together”. It focuses on the importance of integrating the intellectually disabled into the community. In Quebec, there are more than 224,000 people of all ages who are intellectually challenged. A number of events during the special week will draw attention to this issue.

Recently, a Laval group called Option Travail received funding from Human Resources Development Canada to assist it in helping 24 Laval young people who are intellectually disabled to acquire some work experience. With it, we hope they will be able to take their rightful places in the workforce and in society.

I invite all Quebecers to take time to participate in the activities planned in their community to celebrate the week, because integration is a collective opportunity for us all.

Intellectual DisabilityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, Sunday March 10 marked the beginning of the 14th Intellectual Disability Week in Quebec. The purpose of this week, with the theme this year of “Believe... and grow together”, is to educate all of Quebec about the ability that people with intellectual disabilities have to meet incredible challenges and impress us with their courage and determination, which they demonstrate on a daily basis.

In Laval, thanks to the remarkable co-operation of the Mouvement Personne d'abord, the Centre de réadaptation Normand-Laramée and the Association lavalloise pour la déficience intellectuelle, there will be a number of activities presented throughout the week.

This is an opportunity for the people who take part in the activities being planned to discover and appreciate differences. It is also a great opportunity to thank the many volunteers who have chosen to contribute to the growth and development of people with intellectual disabilities, because they believe and grow together.

Roland PinsonneaultStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Canadian, Roland Pinsonneault, who died March 2. Over the last 60 years of his life, his activism helped contribute to the development of the Franco-Saskatchewanian community.

Born in Saint-Cyprien de Napierville, Quebec, he moved to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, in 1913. He studied at Collège Mathieu. He became a farmer, and in the 1940s, embarked on a career of activism within the Franco-Saskatchewanian community.

He worked with many organizations, including the Conseil de la coopération and the Association des commissaires d'écoles franco-canadiens. He helped in the struggle to keep L'Eau vive , the French language weekly, alive. He also played an important role in setting up the University of Regina Language Institute and served as President of Collège Mathieu. In the summer of 2000, Roland Pinsonneault was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Roland Pinsonneault's contributions have been enormous. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I offer my condolences to his family and to the Franco-Saskatchewanian community that he so loved.

Correctional Service CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, it is high time the Liberal government acted to make our communities safer and put resources into the apprehension of parole violators and escaped prisoners.

Only one province has put together a special squad of police officers to catch violent offenders who have contravened their parole or, worse, escaped from correctional facilities. The federal government needs to put resources, money and personnel into catching these offenders.

Experts tell us that there are almost 1,000 escaped prisoners, parole violators and other unlawfully at large federal offenders on our streets at any one time. Last month in Manitoba a parole violator shot RCMP Constable Mike Templeton. I urge the government to follow the lead of Ontario and invest in a marshal style police effort that hunts down and arrests violent repeat offenders.

Despite the rhetoric of the solicitor general, parole violators are a threat to the safety of Canadians. CPIC alone will not do the job.

Canadian Police AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to members of the Canadian Police Association who are in Ottawa this week for their eighth annual legislative conference.

In just the past few days and weeks Canadians have seen terrible acts of violence that have severely injured or killed police officers in the line of duty. These sad events serve as a constant reminder that the men and women of our police forces continue to put their lives on the line to serve our country and protect our communities.

I salute and provide my full support to the Canadian Police Association in its continuous effort to help reform our justice system, to uphold the rights of victims and to act as an active voice for 29,000 members who serve Canadians all across the country. I congratulate them and thank them.

Nuclear WeaponsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats are very concerned about the U.S. defense department document called the nuclear posture review which threatens to end a consensus about nuclear weapons as weapons of last resort, as weapons of deterrence, and redefine nuclear weapons as part of an integrated war fighting strategy.

This policy breaks with the commitment made by the U.S. in 2000 for an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of its nuclear arsenals. Together with the Bush administration's rejection of the ABM treaty and the earlier rejection of the comprehensive test ban treaty, the United States appears determined to pass up the possibilities offered by the end of the cold war for a world that is less threatened by nuclear war and eventually for a nuclear weapons free world.

It would be ironic indeed if in pursuit of legitimate safety and security goals occasioned by the September 11 act of terrorism the world actually becomes a more dangerous place. The doomsday clock has been moved up by two minutes and we are closer than we have been for some time to the ultimate act of terrorism which is the use of nuclear weapons.

The NDP urges the Prime Minister to keep such a perspective in mind when he goes to Washington later this week.

Canadian Police AssociationStatements By Members

March 12th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to salute the delegates of the Canadian Police Association, who are holding their eighth annual meeting with parliamentarians today, on Parliament Hill.

As the Bloc Quebecois critic on justice, I have the pleasure of working with them on a regular basis throughout the year, and I can attest to their professionalism and to the quality of their commitment.

While we do not necessarily share their vision of criminal law, which is significantly influenced by westerners and by Canada's right wing, I can say that there is very good co-operation between the Bloc Quebecois and the CPA, particularly the Quebec chapter of that association. Our objective is to fight all types of crime effectively.

Therefore, the Bloc Quebecois would like to take this opportunity to thank the CPA for its work and availability. I also want to stress your determination in achieving your objectives, which are, in many cases, the same as ours. Thank you, and I look forward to working with you.

SportsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, congratulations today to Becky Kellar of Burlington, Ontario, for her stellar performance in the 2002 winter Olympics. Kellar and her teammates showed true passion and enthusiasm for hockey throughout the Olympics.

Kellar's athletic career began with ringette as a child, but by age 12 she was playing hockey. The 1998 Nagano games marked Kellar's first major international event and she has played in every world championship since.

Kellar's success extends beyond sport. A graduate from Brown University in 1997 with a degree in psychology, she is currently working toward a master's degree in business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

We salute Becky Kellar of Burlington and the rest of the Canadian women's hockey team on their gold medal Olympic win as well as all Canadian athletes both Olympic and Paralympic for excellent performances.

Canadian Police AssociationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Canadian Police Association are here today to ask their government for help. I call on the Solicitor General of Canada to listen to members of the CPA, to crack down on lax prison and parole rules and to put an end to club fed.

We must protect the lives of Canadians and frontline police officers, investigate statutory release and repeal section 745 of the criminal code.

As the solicitor general knows, there have been four shootings of police officers since December, two fatally, and at least two of the four police shootings since January are alleged to have been committed by offenders on parole.

The solicitor general must change the philosophy of Correctional Service Canada and put greater emphasis on the safety of the public and police officers rather than on the comfort level of offenders.

Spending two years in a maximum security institution is not enough. Life should mean life. It is time for the solicitor general to listen to the CPA and the Canadian public and to put an end to club fed.

Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine ParkStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

André Harvey Liberal Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I am very pleased to announce to the House the adoption and implementation of the regulations on offshore activities in the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park. These regulations, which focus on the observation of marine mammals, are a first in Canada.

As the member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, I am particularly proud, because these regulations were developed in co-operation with the offshore activities industry, local conservation groups, and the community.

I salute stakeholders, who are currently gathered at the Fjord museum, in Ville-de-la-Baie, to celebrate the adoption of these regulations. I thank them for their commitment in supporting the Government of Canada in the achievement of its objectives concerning the conservation of nature and its resources.