Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago today, 329 passengers on an Air India Boeing 747 died in intolerable circumstances. Among the victims were 278 Canadians.
This tragedy, the most devastating terrorist attack in Canadian history, is still wrapped in mystery and many questions remain. No one has yet been sentenced or held responsible for this unspeakable tragedy.
Only one thing is certain: this was a terrorist act. Although a pure accident can cause as much loss of human life and tremendous pain for the victims' loved ones, I think that when a tragedy like this is intentional, planned in full knowledge of the fact that the victims were innocent people who could not do anything about the situation that someone wanted corrected and were in no way responsible for it, the pain is even harder to bear. Our sympathy for the afflicted families is all the greater in that the pain we share is commingled with a tremendous sense of horror.
The terrorists' motives were apparently at least partly religious. But in all the great religions, the supreme being is believed to be infinitely good and infinitely just. Is it possible to believe such a being could approve of the summary execution of hundreds of innocent people? Is it possible to believe that the response to injustice is even more injustice? Is that one of the cornerstones of the new society we are trying to build, in which the most important rule, as in all the great religions, is to love one's neighbour? Do people not realize how greatly they discredit the cause they claim to advance in this way?
Unfortunately, there is an absurd belief that terrorist acts can be justified in today's world. Any one of us could be a victim of such acts. At this time, we can only express our deepest sympathy.
However, more must be done. We must try to comprehend the incomprehensible. And for that, we must first know everything that can be known. While the explosion of the Air India Boeing 747 was a terrible tragedy for everyone, nothing can compare with the suffering of the victims' families for the last 20 years and the permanent void left in their lives. Today we think of them. It is to them that we extend our heartfelt sympathy. It is because of them, the anger they still feel, their constant pain, that we ask the government to finally shed light, once and for all, on this tragic event.
Twenty years ago, 329 people died for being on the wrong flight at the wrong time, collateral damage in a crisis about which they could do nothing. We members of Parliament have the ability and therefore the responsibility to act and do all we can to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.
To the families and friends, to those still affected by the events of June 23, 1985, I offer once again my most heartfelt sympathy on behalf of the Bloc Québécois and the people we represent.