House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provisions.


Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:40 p.m.


Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite during his speech used the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It is interesting that he used that particular terminology because the wrong medicine can actually harm a patient. Using that sort of simplistic approach, especially when we talk about legislative tools, preventative arrest and investigative hearing, which are actually, if we look at it in medical terminology, quite toxic with regard to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We had tremendous qualms about passing that legislation at that time. That is why the only reason it passed with the support of the Progressive Conservative members at that time was because of the sunset clause. We did not know what illness we were dealing with. We were in the post-9/11 world.

I would like to know first of all whether or not the member agrees that this particular medicine undermines the principles of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Then secondly, I did not have a chance to question his colleague who spoke previously but I would like to know his thoughts. The Conservative member who spoke previously when speaking to this issue made a comparison with the U.S. approach and U.S. legislation. He was quite laudatory in terms of the U.S. approach. What are the member's thoughts on that one?

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:40 p.m.


Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, obviously the toxicity here is in terrorism. There are provisions within the Criminal Code for other arrest provisions dealing with the prevention of crime. I see nothing in this act that abridges any of that. I draw the member's attention to the former minister of justice and public safety who said in Hansard on October 16, 2001:

Canadians can rest assured that we kept in mind the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the charter when drafting our proposals. The bill reaffirms the equal right of every citizen of whatever religion, race or ethnic origin to enjoy the security, protections and liberties shared by all Canadians.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:40 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to listen to the debate. I remind those who are watching via television that it was the Liberals that put this into place and guaranteed that the rights would not be violated and so far they have not been.

However, I see a flip-flop on the other side now which concerns me. They have argued that because it has not been used, let us scrap it. At the same time it has not been abused either. I think that is something that we have to keep in mind, that our law enforcement officials are not going out there and misusing the provisions of this act.

I also hear the Maher Arar situation being dragged in here. Perhaps my hon. colleague could comment on this. I do not see the Maher Arar situation being the result of anything that was abused in this bill and maybe he can clarify that.

I think that we should have a concern about becoming too comfortable because there has not been a problem in the last five years. This legislation is there in case we really need it. Perhaps my hon. colleague could comment on those points.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:40 p.m.


Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that this legislation has not been utilized to this point. I think what is equally important is that this should be renewed for a further three years, so that all the implications of the subcommittee's report and ultimately the committee's report can be brought forward before the House so that the House can make decisions on where we go from here.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:40 p.m.


Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this motion to extend investigative hearings and preventive arrest under the sunset clause introduced in 2002.

I was not here at the time, but after listening to the little bit of debate held on the matter, these measures seem to me to be the product of an overreaction, which occurred in a moment of panic following the events of September 11, 2001.

It is the responsibility of parliamentarians to do everything in their power to protect Canadians, taking whatever effective measures are needed to do so.

Today, we must first ask ourselves if these measures are effective or necessary. It seems increasingly clear to me that they are neither effective nor necessary, nor even desirable. This bill does nothing to combat terrorism.

It must be fought in a different way. It has been suggested that it could be more useful to fight with coordinated intelligence services. Evidence has demonstrated it just was not present. One of the things we saw clearly at the time, for example, in the Air-India investigation was that our investigative and intelligence services were not only not coordinated, but they were working at cross purposes with each other.

We learned many things through this process that, among other things, coordinated services and intelligence services were necessary on the ground along with combined appropriate police work.

This kind of terrorist action must be fought internationally and nationally. Internationally, I might say, by charting a path for peace. Pre-emptive actions, such as these measures provide, are not only disruptive, but they have been shown, as in the case of the pre-emptive strikes in Iraq, to be unsuccessful in calming or mitigating terrorism. They have only served to inflame it.

Have these measures been effective or even necessary? We found out that they have not been successfully used. One attempt was made, but was unsuccessful and only served to further draw out a legal process. That, perhaps, is indicative of the lack of need.

As leading peace advocate Ursula Franklin has described, such measures are maybe effective, but effective to create a climate of fear, and that is surely not the basis on which our country is founded. We should be looking instead at terrorism from a wider perspective and reassess how it is that we can best protect our citizens without ceding ground to terrorists.

It has been suggested by some of my colleagues that better coordinated intelligence services, as I have already mentioned, would be the first step where we need to put more resources. We have also learned that what we really need is more people on the ground, on the street, doing traditional intelligence gathering. That may be something that we should be looking at instead of invoking these extraordinary measures that strike at the very core of our rights and freedoms in Canada.

It has been shown by a minority report at the time of the discussion that this legislation is perhaps not only not effective, but not necessary, that according to section 495 of the Criminal Code, peace officers may arrest without warrant a person who, on reasonable grounds, they believe is about to commit an indictable offence. The arrested person must then be brought before a judge, who may impose the same conditions as those imposable under the Anti-terrorism Act. Judges may even refuse bail if they believe that the person's release might jeopardize public safety.

We have clear indications that we have presently, within the Criminal Code provisions, effective actions in the case of suspected plots. I just want to continue from the minority report. It states that if police officers believe that a person is about to commit an act of terrorism, then they have knowledge of the plot, obviously.

They probably know, based on wiretap or other surveillance information, that an indictable offence is about to be committed. Therefore, they have proof of a plot or attempt, and need only lay a charge in order to arrest the person in question. It would therefore seem that the kinds of measures that are being asked for, one of which is an extension, are not necessary.

Considering the infringement on our rights and freedoms, I believe that there must be more than just reasonable grounds. We need to see conditions that do not exist at this time. The measures required today or that the government is asking us to adopt could in no way help to resolve the much more serious problem of terrorism.

It would be better to focus on finding a path towards peace. On an international scale, Canada should take steps in that direction, with its allies, including the United States. Instead of investing heavily in the war industry, as is currently the case, we should instead be thinking of finding ways to work together in order to discover the underlying causes of terrorism.

It seems clear that those who give way to terrorism are those who are also facing an injustice. If Canada were to perhaps look at the commitment that it has not yet fulfilled with respect to foreign aid, that would be one way of addressing some of these issues.

If we really want to give a sense of security to our citizens and to the residents of Canada, then we must do so by applying some of the methods that are already at our disposal according to the Criminal Code, looking beyond the traditional framework, and really considering some of the causes of terrorism and addressing some of the profound causes of injustice.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:50 p.m.


Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my friend's comments with regard to the Anti-terrorism Act and I wonder if she would comment on two aspects of the act.

First, there was an inference by the hon. member and another before her that this act was somehow in response to the influence of certain great powers on the face of the earth who may be close to Canada. I am wondering if she would like to comment on the fact that it was as a result of the United Nations passing resolution 1373 just after September 11. It was not one or two powerful countries, it was all of the civilized world that actually requested in the strongest possible way that countries address terrorism through legislation and other means.

I wonder if she would also comment on the Supreme Court's finding, which stated that the provisions of investigative hearings were totally within the jurisdiction or according to the charter. It said:

Consequently, the challenge for a democratic state’s answer to terrorism calls for a balancing of what is required for an effective response to terrorism in a way that appropriately recognizes the fundamental values of the rule of law. In a democracy, not every response is available to meet the challenge of terrorism. At first blush, this may appear to be a disadvantage, but in reality, it is not. A response to terrorism within the rule of law preserves and enhances the cherished liberties that are essential to democracy.

I wonder if the hon. member would like to respond.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:55 p.m.


Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, if I could ask for your indulgence, when I started my comments, I forgot to mention that I would be splitting my time with the member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

On my colleague's question, it was clear at the time that all parliamentarians in western countries, in western democracies, faced a very difficult situation. It also seems that we have, in history, faced this kind of situation before and we continually repeat some of the mistakes that were made.

We live in a country for whom the rule of law is one of the most important pieces and fundamental principles of our country. There is no question that it was a difficult situation, but the reaction went beyond the bounds of what was necessary at the time.

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:55 p.m.


Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, we may run out of time, but I want to pose a question to the member. It is one of these “what if” questions under this legislation.

What if a foreign signals intelligence agency reports to Canada's signals intelligence agency, CSE, that it believes there is an imminent attack, but it only has a reference to a location, or a computer server or a residence? It has no names, no persons, only evidence of an imminent attack.

Would the member try to describe to us how police officers, who are not even in the loop yet in my hypothetical, will be able to respond quickly to deal with that threat, if they need to have the reasonable grounds necessary under normal Criminal Code provisions to obtain any kind of arrest warrant? In this case, we may not even have a name.

Could she please explain how a government could enable a pre-emptive response to block the imminent threat?

Anti-terrorism ActOrders Of The Day

1:55 p.m.


Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not a policeman and I do not claim to be. However, it seems clear, from reading section 495 of the Criminal Code, that a peace officer may act without warrant, there may be reasonable grounds. I do not think rule of law covers every possible detail. There is some latitude for police to act.

As was stated earlier, our intelligence agencies, with more work on the ground and more additional resources to them, can work effectively with the kind of problem he has suggested.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are now three years away from the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Games. Today the countdown clock was unveiled in Vancouver. As the seconds, minutes, hours and days are counted down, excitement will grow for all Canadians. Venues are being completed, infrastructure is being built and our athletes are training for gold.

The 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic and Paralympic Games are going to be a success story for all Canadians from coast to coast.

This government is working closely with the governments of British Columbia, Vancouver, Whistler, the host first nations and the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee to host the greatest winter Olympic games in Olympic history.

The countdown clock unveiled today will count us down to the moment when Canada and British Columbia will shine for all the world to see at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, almost one year after the government took power, the Wait Time Alliance released its report card on the medical wait times commitments made in the first ministers agreement. The Alliance gave the government an incomplete grade for failing to create one pan-Canadian wait times strategy.

The Prime Minister's own election platform in 2006 promised to implement this strategy as one of his five priorities. Yet, here we are, we have no strategy, no benchmarks and no guarantees.

Even worse, the Minister of Health recently stated that he could foresee no deadline and insisted that it would take as long as it takes.

The government's lack of concern on this file is threatening medicare itself. Dr. Colin McMillan, president of the CMA, stated that:

—incomplete information and reporting greatly undermines the public’s confidence in their political leaders to sustain positive action on wait times.

Opponents of universal medicare are using these delays to justify the creation of a two tier health system. Surgeons at private clinics in Quebec are already billing medicare and patients at the same time. Shame.

Is this the government's hidden agenda after all?

Manufacturing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to several analysts, Quebec's manufacturing sector could lose over 25,000 jobs this year.

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology tabled a report on new challenges facing the manufacturing sector. “Moving Forward - Rising to the Challenge” recommends that the federal government take action on issues such as trade and research and development policy to protect the jobs that are at stake.

But this government is still refusing to act because it thinks that the free market will fix everything and that government intervention will just hobble industry.

As the committee recommended in its report, the government should act quickly to stimulate corporate modernization and use the international trade tools at its disposal to give our industries the time and the tools they need to adapt and take on new challenges.

Child CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been one year since the Conservative government abandoned the child care agreements, and parents in British Columbia are suffering the consequences.

The British Columbia Liberals are downloading the $533 million gap in federal support onto the backs of parents, who face average fee increases of at least $600 per year, per child for shrinking numbers of spaces.

Victoria's valuable child care resource and referral centre, having just celebrated the opening of its facility, now faces closure in the fall.

Tomorrow, citizens across British Columbia will unite in a province-wide rally to protest the cuts and to demand federal-provincial cooperation in a national child care system.

I urge the government to finally open its mind and give parents a real choice for quality public child care. The NDP's early learning and child care act is the perfect blueprint and the government is welcome to borrow it.

Young Leaders in Rural Canada AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, today the third annual Young Leaders in Rural Canada Awards ceremony will recognize four of Canada's finest young people. It is recognition of the tremendous role that they have played in their own rural communities.

Growing up in rural Canada today is a unique experience. In rural areas there is still a place for young people to step forward and to lead. The leaders we acknowledge today have worked with family, friends and neighbours to better their towns and villages. These four young rural Canadians see opportunities where others see challenges.

Canada's new government wants to celebrate the successes of these rural youth who have dedicated their passion, spirit and skills to strengthening rural, remote and northern communities. That is why I am pleased to mention the award recipients, who are: Diane Carey of Tracadie-Shiela, New Brunswick; Noba Anderson of Mansons Landing, British Columbia; Luella Chiasson, who grew up in Belle Cote, Nova Scotia but now lives in Sydney; and Heather Muir of Walkerton, Ontario, who will be receiving an honourable mention.

Canada's new government is very proud of these young individuals and wishes them all the best for their futures.

VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2005 Canada kept its promise to honour our veterans with the Year of the Veteran and the new veteran's charter.

However, 2006 was a year of broken promises to veterans, a year when the new Conservative government went AWOL on its pre-election commitment to extend VIP services to all widows of second world war veterans, while it also breached the Prime Minister's personal pledge to compensate each and every veteran of Gagetown who could have been exposed to defoliants.

Canada's veterans felt a duty to deliver for their country. They deserve better than a government that sadly deserts its commitments and delivers only broken promises.

Senate Tenure LegislationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound have some very strong opinions about the Senate. In fact, a survey in my riding has revealed that 86% of respondents want Senate reform.

There is currently a bill before the Senate to limit the terms of senators to eight years. A special Senate committee has endorsed term limits for senators and the Leader of the Opposition is on record as saying that he also supports this important initiative.

However, here we sit 258 days into a Liberal filibuster with no end in sight. What is worse, the unelected, unaccountable Liberal dominated Senate continues to adjourn debate every day. What do Liberal senators have against accountability?

This is not rocket science. The bill consists of only 66 words, three clauses and one simple concept.

The people have spoken. It is what Canadians want and it is the right thing to do. When will the Leader of the Opposition put an end to these shenanigans and tell his Senate colleagues to pass Bill S-4?

48th Annual Quebec City International Peewee Hockey TournamentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec City is a world hockey capital. Rendez-vous '87 was held 20 years ago, and now the city is preparing to host the 2008 World Hockey Championship.

Since 1960, Quebec City has also been hosting the International Peewee Hockey Tournament, the biggest minor hockey tournament in the world. This event brings 2,300 players aged 11 and 12 to our provincial capital and gives them the opportunity to experience the excitement of a major competition. Up to 220,000 people are expected to attend the games between now and February 18.

Kids from here and elsewhere who participate in the tournament will have an unforgettable experience: the competitive yet convivial atmosphere will enable them to share their passion for hockey and develop friendships that transcend borders.

Today, I would like to thank all of the families who are making this event possible by billeting young hockey players and offering them the warmth of a second home.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

February 12th, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.


Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday the Liberal environment critic stood in the House and announced that he would talk about the Liberal environmental record.

My ears perked up as I anticipated some explanation regarding the devastating Liberal numbers: greenhouse gas emissions, a mind-blowing 35% above Canada's Kyoto targets; 28th out of 29 OECD countries in air quality rankings; and record numbers for smog advisory days in our cities.

There were no explanations, no new numbers, just more useless words and phrases. He talked not about action, but “platforms for action”. He talked about regulations, not implemented but “nearly released”. He said not that they got it done, but that after 13 years, they were “set to start operations”.

I suggest that the Liberal leader might want to convene a meeting of the Liberal best brain club and consider changing their motto on the environment from “We didn't get it done” to “We were just about to almost start thinking about calling a meeting to discuss the possibility of getting it done”.

Kyoto Protocol Implementation ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday evening, Valentine's Day, the members of this House will be called on to vote one last time on my Bill C-288.

This bill seeks to force the government to meet Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol.

It is a bill that talks about the future, a bill that seeks to ensure that Canada takes tangible measures today for tomorrow, measures that the government does not want to take. Why worry about the future?

The government is totally isolated on this issue. The three opposition parties stand together on this important bill. In fact, all the parties except the Conservative Party want immediate action on climate change. That is why this bill is so necessary.

When a government respects neither international law nor the will of its own people, when it does not shoulder its responsibilities in response to one of the most serious challenges facing our planet, Parliament has the ability and the moral duty to force the government to do so. That is why this bill is so important.

Anti-terrorism ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have decided to gut their own anti-terrorism legislation of its key law enforcement powers to stop a terrorist attack before it occurs because they want the wording nuanced.

The opposition leader is famous for his inaction on priority issues. Now his priorities are wrong. He wants nuanced wording or he will vote to remove necessary anti-terrorism tools.

Ironically, the Anti-terrorism Act drafted by the previous Liberal government lays out the strict process for extending the sunset clauses which states that the motion to extend cannot be amended.

As chair of the subcommittee studying the act, I know the sunset provisions will expire before we complete our study and table our recommendations. These recommendations require a legislative response with a timeline that exceeds the imminent expiration of the sunset clauses.

Our motion seeking a three year extension is reasonable, responsible and in the best interests of Canadians.

Special Olympics New Brunswick Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, from February 15 to 18, the City of Bathurst will host athletes from across Atlantic Canada at the Special Olympics New Brunswick Winter Games.

More than 300 athletes and trainers will take part in this eagerly anticipated event. The trainers play a very important role, giving the athletes confidence and helping them discover that physical activity is fun.

Having the opportunity to train and take part in Special Olympics competitions enriches the lives of athletes with intellectual disabilities.

With its 300 volunteers, the City of Bathurst is ready to welcome these athletes, help them enjoy their Olympic experience and send them home with fond memories.

I invite the people in my riding and people from all around to come cheer on the athletes and make the games a success.

Good luck to all the athletes.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gary Merasty Liberal Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week we found out that the Indian affairs minister seems to consider taxpayer funded trips called personal and political by his department as more valuable than improving child welfare.

While he fancies himself as being the pipelines minister, he is dismissing the child welfare crisis. As well, a report on his own department's website warns that the current child services program lacks authority and funding to pursue effective care options. Perhaps the reason the minister would rather talk about pipelines than child welfare is that he knows he is responsible for the funding crunch hurting aboriginal children.

This past Wednesday the Calgary Sun quoted a source as saying that INAC is redirecting all non-core funding, such as funding for child-welfare services, to deal with the lack of funding for the water crisis.

Why is there no money for water? Because the minister refused to devote any new money and refuses to implement the Kelowna accord.

Canada's first nations, Métis and Inuit people deserve much better than the minister's complete lack of leadership.

Child SoldiersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 5 and 6, 2007, 60 countries including Canada, and several NGOs attended a conference in Paris, chaired by UNICEF and France, to address the issue of child soldiers.

It is estimated that, at this time, there are approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 implicated in more than 30 conflicts around the world.

The Bloc Québécois is calling on the Canadian government to implement the Paris commitments, which aim to prevent recruitment, release current child soldiers and help them regain the humanity they have lost.

Since 2002, the use of children under the age of 15 in conflicts has been recognized as a war crime by the International Criminal Court.

To close, I would like to share the words of Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, who said that children who know nothing but how to fight wars are “lost children, lost for peace and lost for the development of their countries”.

Forest IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the many communities and forest industry workers in my riding that depend on a strong forest sector, and along with forest sector unions, I am calling on the government to convene a national summit on the forest industry. Such a summit could lead to the creation of a forest sector council for the pulp and paper and primary forest industries.

Also needed is a national stabilization fund to help communities and workers adequately make the transition during this time of evident change in this tremendously important sector, in order to protect jobs, save mills and to provide labour adjustment programs for workers impacted by job losses.

In a letter I wrote to the Prime Minister last year, I pointed out the flaws in the then draft Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement. I called upon him to adopt instead the $1.5 billion forest industry strategy of the previous Liberal government, instead of the huge giveaway his government was planning.

What Canada's forest sector needs are measures similar to those proposed in the November 2005 strategy and a summit to help bring all the best ideas together. The forest sector needs action in the face of tremendous devastation.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec


Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our courts are recognized around the world for their competence, fairness and independence, but today Canadians are expressing grave concerns about the Prime Minister's obvious manoeuvres to drastically change the composition of the committees that select our judges.

Canadians want our judges to continue being selected without political or ideological interference. Will the Prime Minister stop his shameless attempts to stack the committees with his ideological friends?