House of Commons Hansard #44 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was evidence.


Decorum in the HousePoint of OrderRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

This is really a question of language. I heard and understood the submissions of each of the members to the effect that there was a disagreement and a lot of noise during the speech by the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas in the House. Even if he thought the members had perhaps had a drink before making their comments, it is not parliamentary to say that a person is drunk.

For this reason alone, I suggest that the hon. member for Chambly—Borduas retract his comments. I know he explained that they had done things which indicated they had perhaps gone to a bar, but it is quite another matter to suggest that someone is drunk.

I think the expression is unparliamentary and I hope that the hon. member will retract it immediately in order to put an end to this debate, which is not a debate that should be held in the House. I encourage all members to respect each other and to minimize the noise in the House during debates, even during question period.

Decorum in the HousePoint of OrderRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.


Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, I retract my comments and I will be careful, in the future, to find more parliamentary synonyms.

Decorum in the HousePoint of OrderRoutine Proceedings

6:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member.

We will now move on to private members' business

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

February 5th, 2008 / 6:15 p.m.


Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON


Motion No. 410

That, in the opinion of the House, the government, its Crown Corporations and divisions should divest from corporations conducting business in Sudan and Iran and should also divest from funds, stocks, bonds and other financial instruments invested in, or operating in, Sudan and Iran, except where such funds support humanitarian aid and humanitarian relief programs, or are used to fund Canadian embassies, consulates, and representative offices in these countries.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for unanimous consent to split my time with the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Some hon. members


Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

I am pleased to rise today to begin debate on Motion No. 410, a motion calling upon the Government of Canada to divest from the governments of Sudan and Iran.

Divestment is necessary in order to send a message to the regimes in both Sudan and Iran that there are consequences for their actions, consequences for denying fundamental rights and freedoms, consequences for killing hundreds of thousands of people, for crimes against humanity and for the incitement to genocide.

This motion represents one such consequence. Stopping the flow of money into a country limits the ability of a regime to finance its abuses. It also sends a message to other regimes which violate human rights that we, Canada, will continue to stand up for such rights and freedom everywhere.

To that end, money from the Canadian government should not be funding regimes in Sudan and Iran either directly or indirectly. Importantly, however, this motion does not include money for actions intended to relieve human suffering. Humanitarian efforts in these countries must continue to proceed. We will not hold vulnerable peoples hostage on account of their governments.

I was in Sudan and Darfur about a year ago. Anyone who makes such a trip returns with an obligation. It is an obligation not to forget. It is an obligation to keep seeking out answers no matter how hard and elusive they are.

Sudan is a harsh land, much of it desert. Historically, sudden dramatic needs, the result of drought or conflict, would drive its disparate tribes farther and wider afield in order to survive, sometimes bringing them into contact with others also seeking to survive. Conflict was normal.

For thousands of years, this was life in what is now present-day Sudan. Then, not many years ago, of these different, distant, often conflict-ridden peoples, a political state was created. But political boundaries alone cannot create a country that does not think, feel and act like a country.

In most places, a country's economy connects person to person, enterprise to enterprise, region to region, but not in Sudan. Eighty per cent of its resources come from oil, and it does not take a big workforce to get oil out of the ground and to market. Oil generates no dependencies on others, no loyalties to others. It makes people essentially irrelevant.

Most of Sudan's oil is in the south, but the oil is owned by the government, and the government is in Khartoum, so that is where the power lies. The reality is that for the economy of Sudan to succeed, the government of Sudan does not need Darfur or the south. It needs them, as the source of its oil, only to remain geographically within its boundaries. That can mean by peace or by war.

When we have historic divisions of custom, culture, language, geography and distance like these, when there are no contemporary loyalties, no dependencies, no incidental connections, when there is no concept of citizenship or equality of rights for individuals, or equality of treatment for different regions and groups, all that is left is power. For almost two decades, that has meant the absolute power of President al-Bashir.

Al-Bashir represents the perfect awful dilemma: what do we do when someone just will not do what we need him to do, no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do? How do we get through to him?

To solve the problem of al-Bashir, there is a fundamental difficulty. Let us imagine the best scenario for the world and for the great majority of Sudanese: a ceasefire; a peace agreement between the government and the opposition groups in Darfur; civil society starting to reappear; NGOs helping to reconstruct villages that had been torched and destroyed; more and more displaced people leaving the camps to return to their villages; with the peace agreement, authority no longer entirely centralized in Khartoum; with more powers, Darfur beginning to build its own future.

But this best scenario for the world and for most Sudanese may not be the best scenario for al-Bashir. Like any government, al-Bashir likes to be in power. If the conflict were to end in this way, he would have less power and less oil.

The situation in Darfur is tragic. The reality is that it may not be in al-Bashir's interest to do anything about it. It can be seen every day in his actions and inactions, through his resistance and opposition, his occasional apparent acceptances, his purposeful confusion and delay, through his divide and conquer strategy with rebel groups, his defiance of the UN and world powers who he knows may have other things to distract them. Through all of this he has been able to avoid a showdown.

For us to fulfill our obligation not to forget, and to seek out answers no matter how hard and elusive, what can Canada do? First and foremost, we need to believe that something can be done and that what we can do matters. Then we need to do what the current government has not done: we need to immerse ourselves diplomatically in Sudan. We can work with countries of similar mind: Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, with other African countries, countries in the Middle East, the African Union and Arab League as well.

We can because, as I heard again and again on my trip, Canada is respected. It has no colonial baggage. We have the right instincts, the right national history and experiences. As once a smaller country, we had to listen, negotiate, be patient, respectful, accept less dramatic steps in the directions we wanted to go. We have had to work with others. Now, perhaps the most ethnically diverse country in the world, we have learned to live with difference, accept difference and make difference matter less.

We are ready for our proper role in the world, but we need to make a start. There is perhaps only one country that has influence on Sudan in the short term and that is China. China is the market for over 90% of Sudan's oil, which represents over 70% of the total revenues generated by all of Sudan's resources.

In less than one year, Beijing will be hosting the 2008 Olympics. Billions of people will watch hundreds of hours of coverage on television. Beyond the events themselves, what China will they be shown? Its remarkable history? Its stunning economic present? Its environmental threat to the future? Its oil interests but humanitarian blind eye in Sudan and Darfur? What China will the world see?

For China, the 2008 Olympics represent an immense hope and an immense vulnerability. As a country, diplomatically Canada can work with this reality with China and Sudan, sometimes offering a carrot, sometimes a stick, but as is crucial for the foreign affairs of the future, always a bridge.

Until a Canadian government is--

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

I am sorry, but the hon. member's time has expired and there is no flexibility in private members' hour.

There is a two minute question and comment period. The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my colleague to expand a bit more on his points about what should be done in Darfur and the region of Sudan. I am sure we would all like to hear his point of view.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Ken Dryden Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member.

Until a Canadian government is willing and able to take on this role, however, we can do what Motion No. 410 calls on us to do. Real economic sanctions, actually imposed, can have a big effect. They had that effect on South Africa during the time of apartheid. This particular divestiture relates only to the Government of Canada and not to holdings from pension funds of companies which deal with Sudan and Iran, or even the delisting of such companies from stock exchanges, both of which the U.S. has threatened.

For Iran, Sudan and Darfur, Motion No. 410 represents a useful step, a step that begins to take us down the hard and elusive path to answers Sudan and Darfur need, to answers the world needs.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to take part in the debate on my colleague's motion. It is unfortunate that he did not have enough time to give all of his speech.

His motion calls for Canada to take the lead, to become a real voice against crimes against humanity, against the genocide that is taking place in Sudan as I am speaking right now, as he was just speaking, and the potential genocide that the president of Iran is calling for against Jews, against Israel and possibly against anyone who does not share his point of view with the nuclear armaments and nuclear capacity he is building up.

I am not going to repeat what my colleague whose motion I am now discussing has already stated, but I would like to give a couple of facts. In Sudan why should Canada divest?

On January 7, only a week after the UN African Union hybrid peacekeeping force began operations in Darfur, the Sudanese government fired on a clearly marked UN supply convoy.

On January 21, the Sudanese government confirmed that Musa Hilal, leader of the Janjaweed militia, was named adviser to Sudan's ministry of federal affairs. I want to quote Rick Dicker of Human Rights Watch, who said, “Musa Hilal is the poster child for Janjaweed atrocities in Darfur”. He said that naming him to a senior government position is a new “slap in the face to Darfur victims and to the UN Security Council”. The UN Security Council imposed travel and financial sanctions against Hilal in April 2006.

Over the weekend of January 12, not even a month ago, a Sudanese government Antonov aircraft bombed two villages in west Darfur killing at least three civilians. Twenty-two World Food Program vehicles have been attacked and stolen during the month of January alone, threatening to cut food rations for more than two million people in Darfur.

The first genocide that China helped to underwrite was Pol Pot's in Cambodia. The second now is in Darfur, Sudan. Chinese oil purchases have financed Sudan's pillage of Darfur. Chinese made AK-47s have been the main weapons used to slaughter several hundred thousands of people in Darfur so far and China has protected the Sudan in the United Nations Security Council. It is because of China's support that Sudan felt it could get away this month with sending a proxy army to invade neighbouring Chad.

Some 60% of Sudan's oils flow to China. Beijing has a close economic and even military relationship with Khartoum. Women and children are being torn apart by bullets that come from China. It is happening in Darfur and now it is happening in Chad. China bears a responsibility in fostering the murderous regime in Darfur which is committing genocide and creating instability in that region.

Now let us go to the Arab League. They met last month in Sudan. By meeting there they legitimized the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Muslims in Sudan. Fatema Abdul Rasul in The Daily Star of Lebanon wrote this month, “For the entire Muslim and Arab world to remain silent when thousands of people in Darfur continue to be killed is shameful and hypocritical”.

Let us go to Russia. There were photographs released last August which showed Sudanese soldiers in the Darfur region moving containers from a Russian made Antonov cargo plane onto military trucks.

According to Amnesty International, these findings reinforce the suspicions that Sudan continues to violate a UN imposed arms embargo. The photographs also showed Russian supplied Mi-7 and Mi-24 military helicopters in the town of Geneina in Darfur.

On Iran, one simply has to listen to a few quotes from the President of Iran inciting genocide against Jews across the world and inciting genocide against any people who support the state of Israel, including Muslims, and refusing to abide by UN resolutions, accords and protocols regarding nuclear armament.

How would divestment be an effective tool in Iran and Sudan? If Canada plays the leader and divests from Sudan, that would reduce state revenue that is being used currently to sponsor Sudanese military and Janjaweed militia aggression in Darfur. Currently, 70% of Sudan's oil reserves are used to give arms and supplies to the Arab militias engaged in violence, in genocide in Darfur.

Moreover, in Iran, companies have invested in Iran's oil and natural gas sector and account for 80% of the country's hard currency. That currency is the currency that Iran needs to fund its nuclear weapons pursuit and to support terrorism.

I think Canada has a role to play. We played that role when we divested from South Africa. I have to say it was a proud moment for me as a Canadian. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, before people started talking about divestment and abolishing apartheid, I was participating in demonstrations, as were some of my other colleagues on this side of the House. Most Canadians could not even find South Africa on the map and did not know what apartheid meant.

Canada stood up. Canada was a leader. Canada needs to stand up again. It needs to stand up as a leader and divest from Sudan. It needs to stand up as a leader and divest from Iran. Both. One for committing genocide as I speak, the other one for inciting genocide and for creating nuclear weapons which it is threatening very--

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Questions and comments. There is a two minute question and comment period. The hon. member for Yukon.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the member to comment on the Canadian companies that are presently doing business in Burma and China, with investment in Burma. The member listed the countries China was involved with, but it also has investment and deals in weapons with Burma. It would be good if that was added to the list.

I do appreciate China's diplomatic work with Burma. We would like to get existing Canadian companies out of Burma, and know about Chinese weapons and economic relations with Burma.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government recently used the Special Economic Measures Act. This is an act of cabinet. The act was invoked against Burma.

There are other tools the government has at its disposition, whether with regard to Sudan, Iran or, for instance, Burma. Let me list some of them, if I may.

The Canadian government can invoke the United Nations act to issue all orders and regulations necessary to limit or curtail trade, financial transactions, air links or any other ties between Canada and a targeted country. Canada should actively be lobbying the members of the UN Security Council to adopt the third round of sanctions against Iran.

Canada also has imposed, as was mentioned, sanctions in cases where such actions were not authorized by the UN Security Council. We championed the need for sanctions against South Africa, as I mentioned earlier, and Haiti, once there was an international consensus on the need for such measures. We did not wait for the Security Council to come to an agreement on it. If there was an international consensus and as a country we helped build that consensus, we acted on it. Canada should be doing that right now.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta


Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to address the subject of Motion No. 410 as it relates to Iran.

The government shares the opposition's outrage and alarm regarding the situation in Iran. Our current approach to Iran is quite intensive in its scope, and clearly reflects a deep and justifiable concern about Iran's behaviour, domestically, regionally and internationally. We fully and completely agree with the member that the time has come for further action. We fully support this motion.

My colleague from Crowfoot will speak about the situation in Sudan.

I want to take a few minutes today to remind the House of what our government is already doing to bring pressure on the regime in Tehran, but first let me outline why we feel it is so important for pressure to be brought on Iran to change its behaviour.

Canada believes Iran's continued support for militant groups threatens regional stability and raises the spectre of further conflict. Tehran's support for terrorism is longstanding and poses a consistent threat to regional stability, peace and security. It is vital that the international community engage and exert pressure on Iran to stop its destabilizing influence and end its support for militant groups in the region such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The defence minister's expressed concern over support for the Taliban coming from Iran is a testament to Iran's spoiler role in the region. Canada must continue to work with the international community and with its multilateral partners to address its concerns on Iran's role in the region.

Canada remains very concerned and has shown a great commitment toward addressing the poor and deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. The persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, such as the Baha'is, continues unabated. The recent four year sentences given to three members of the Baha'i faith, combined with the sentences issued to 50 other Baha'is for their involvement in a community youth development program, attests to this fact.

Women's rights are oppressed, freedom of expression and the media are severely restricted, and efforts have been made to intimidate academics and journalists. All of these examples attest to the unacceptable human rights situation in Iran.

For five straight years, Canada has worked with more than 40 co-sponsors and successfully led a resolution on the situation on human rights in Iran at the UN General Assembly.

Canada demonstrates great leadership in this respect as it leads one of the most difficult country specific human rights resolutions at the General Assembly. It should be noted that Canada has achieved success with this resolution despite attempts by Iran to pass no action motions which, had they been successful, would have adjourned the debate on the resolution.

The adoption of the Canadian led resolution signals that the international community is deeply concerned about Iran's serious human rights situation, and that concrete steps must be taken to address it.

Iran's nuclear program and its continued defiance of the demands of the international community on this issue have generated considerable international concern through most of this decade. A nuclear armed Iran would be a grave threat to regional peace and security, and we have fully supported the efforts of the United Nations Security Council to press Iran on the scope and direction of its nuclear program.

Since 1996, Canadian relations with Iran have been governed by a policy of controlled engagement. This policy reflects Canada's ongoing concerns about the Iranian government's opposition to the Middle East peace process, its support of terrorism, its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and its atrocious human rights policies.

Following the death of Canadian-Iranian Zahra Kazemi in 2003, and the lack of progress in punishing those responsible for her death, Canada tightened the controlled engagement policy. As it stands now, the controlled engagement policy limits official bilateral dialogue to the following four topics: the case of murdered Canadian-Iranian Zahra Kazemi, Iran's human rights performance, Iran's nuclear program, and Iran's role in the region.

Within the confines of the controlled engagement policy, Canada also prohibits the opening of Iranian consulates, cultural centres and Iranian banks in Canada.

Furthermore, it prohibits the establishment of direct links and any high level visits. The Canadian government's control engagement policy has shown great foresight in that it already bars cooperation between any Canadian government agency and its Iranian counterpart. For example, Canada does not facilitate trade and investment between Canadian private firms with any Iranian state entities.

In addition to maintaining a controlled engagement policy with Iran, Canada has fully implemented the binding economic measures called for under the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747. These sanctions reflect many of the international community's concerns and send a strong signal to Iran that it must change its behaviour with respect to uranium enrichment activities or continue to face stringent multilateral sanctions.

Canada is supportive of these sanctions and believes that they are an effective approach in attempting to force Iran to end its uranium enrichment program. The Security Council is currently deliberating on a third sanctions resolution which, if approved, would further put international pressure on Iran. Should this resolution be adopted, Canada would fully implement the new measures decided upon within the resolution.

The Government of Canada has also supported and responded to the warnings of the financial action task force on the risks posed to the international financial system by Iran's lack of an anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regime.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions recently issued an advisory drawing attention to the FATF recommendation for heightened attention to transactions related to Iran as a result of these concerns.

We welcome the interest and advice of the hon. member for York Centre. We fully and completely support the motion and we can see the value in placing economic pressure through measures such as those we have already imposed and the divestment measures proposed in the motion.

Let me conclude by stating that our government will continue to work on strategic, focused and ultimately effective actions to respond to the situation in Iran.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.


Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Motion M-410, which calls on the government of Canada to divest from corporations conducting business in Sudan and Iran. To begin, we find it hard to understand why Motion M-410 is being presented in this House now. We believe that divestment measures are meant to punish countries engaged in wrongdoing and cannot be taken lightly, either by a country that takes such measures or by the country that is subject to them.

When a country takes such measures, it must take a host of factors into consideration: the right timing, the geopolitical situation at the time, the effectiveness of the measure, the welfare of the civilian population in the country affected, and so on. It seems that the mover of the motion has neglected a few important aspects of both form and substance, which I would like to address in my comments.

First, passing this motion would be premature, in our opinion. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development is in fact preparing, in the next few days, to examine the question of divestment in Sudan by hearing a number of witnesses who will provide the committee with information on this subject. Would it therefore not be appropriate to let the committee do its study and report to the House in the next few weeks? In the case of Iran, there might eventually be a separate and more thorough study by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Second, we find it hard to understand why, in this motion as it is worded, the mover is calling for punitive measures against both Sudan and Iran. In our opinion, it would be unwise to combine cases as different as Iran and Sudan in the same motion.

In the case of Sudan, the international community is witnessing a conflict and a serious humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Several hundred thousand Sudanese have been displaced and forced to take refuge in Chad and the Central African Republic. Iran, on the other hand, is not experiencing any internal conflict of that kind. The human rights situation there is certainly a matter for concern. The major issue in relation to that country at present, however, is really the question of the Iranian nuclear program.

Third, we might reasonably question the effectiveness of the motion, given that Canada has virtually no investments in Sudan and Iran and that by acting alone and unilaterally its action could have very little effect. In our opinion, a multilateral approach in the international arena should have been taken instead.

As we undoubtedly all know, the major economic partners of Sudan and Iran are Russia and China. Accordingly, even if Canada were to adopt divestment measures, Sudan and Iran could circumvent those measures through their trading relations with their biggest partners, and this would cause a corresponding reduction in the effectiveness of the motion.

On the substance, we believe that measures like these will always carry more weight if they are taken within a multilateral framework such as, for example, under the aegis of the United Nations. The international community as a whole will always carry more weight than a single country.

In this regard, the Security Council has already imposed sanctions on Iran, under resolution 1747. Canada has implemented the measures recommended in that resolution, under the Special Economic Measures Act, an act that provides for the application of international resolutions of this nature. What that act provides, in section 4(1), is as follows:

The Governor in Council may, for the purpose of implementing a decision, resolution or recommendation of an international organization of states or association of states, of which Canada is a member, that calls on its members to take economic measures against a foreign state, or where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred that has resulted or is likely to result in a serious international crisis,

(a) make such orders or regulations with respect to the restriction or prohibition of any of the activities referred to in subsection (2) in relation to a foreign state as the Governor in Council considers necessary; and

(b) by order, cause to be seized, frozen or sequestrated in the manner set out in the order any property situated in Canada that is held by or on behalf of

(i) a foreign state,

(ii) any person in that foreign state, or

(iii) a national of that foreign state who does not ordinarily reside in Canada.

We may therefore conclude that if Canada chooses to act multilaterally, its actions will carry greater political and economic weight while complying with international law.

Finally, before we can say whether or not we support a motion that calls for the application of a disinvestment policy, we must examine both the Sudanese and the Iranian cases in detail to determine whether such measures are effective and which individuals and activities will really be affected. It could turn out that such measures do not affect the target government at all. Let us not forget the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War, sanctions that severely penalized the civilian population.

There is very little Canadian investment in Sudan and Iran. Direct investment in both countries is so minimal that it is not even listed on Foreign Affairs Canada's website. In other words, Iran and Sudan are not our major economic partners. Consequently, imposing sanctions will have little effect on their respective economies.

In one of its recent reports, Export Development Canada—EDC—stated that companies are already worried and reluctant to invest in Iran because of the unresolved nuclear situation. In addition, Iran has been running major surpluses in its current accounts over the last few years, meaning that more money is flowing into Iran than out. According to EDC, these surpluses in Iran’s external accounts have helped it accumulate comfortable foreign exchange reserves. EDC concludes, as a result, that Iran can afford in the medium term to disregard the UN’s demands.

Seen from another angle, the Sudanese and Iranian regimes rely almost exclusively on Islamic financial institutions. They are not dependent, therefore, on big Canadian or, more broadly, western economic institutions.

Some researchers, such as Jeffrey Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University and advisor to the UN Secretary General, have criticized the American decision to impose economic sanctions on Sudan. In his view, sanctions will not help one bit to restore peace in Darfur. Accordingly, Canadian disinvestment in Sudan will not do anything to put an end to the violence. Sachs thinks that in order to solve the problem in Darfur, basic needs will have to be dealt with, including poverty, drought, famine and the distribution of wealth. The solution that he encourages, therefore, puts the emphasis on a coherent economic development plan based on a strategy of regional stability.

In other words, respect for human rights can be effectively encouraged and strengthened through a diplomatic approach based on the establishment of sustainable peace and stability. With peace and stability, a country can develop by investing in its social infrastructure, such education and health.

Summarizing then, the current situation is not conducive to such measures as disinvestment. After years of negotiation, the Sudanese government finally agreed very reluctantly to the deployment of a joint UN-AU force, which started last December. No country should do anything that might compromise this mission.

The international community is in the midst of negotiations with Iran over the nuclear issue. This is not the time, therefore, to do things that could compromise the talks and the negotiations with Iran.

Experts do not agree on whether disinvestment and economic sanctions are effective or not.

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development is preparing to study the disinvestment issue in regard to Sudan. We should let the committee do its work, therefore, and report to the House.

Instead of taking unilateral punitive measures against Iran and Sudan, Canada would be better advised to take a multilateral approach, which would have more weight.

For all these reasons, the Bloc Québécois will vote against the motion.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.


Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for York Centre for putting the motion before the House so we have a chance to discuss the issue going on in both Iran and Sudan.

The NDP has been extremely concerned about l would call the supreme humanitarian crisis occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan.

We have also voiced our concerns about the situation in Iran, the flagrant abuse of human rights, the crackdown of people's freedoms and the Iranian president's anti-semantic outbursts. The lack of a resolution in the case of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian who was killed at the hands of the Iranian authorities, is something we should all be seized with as well as the growing concern about the country's possible attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

Sudan and Iran pose two very different challenges to the international community. In the course of the debate, I hope the members of the House will develop an understanding of how to approach these two different cases.

I will start off with my comments on Sudan and Darfur.

The situation is a humanitarian crisis. Gerry Caplan has called it a genocide in slow motion. Pointing fingers at the inaction of others does not justify ours. That is why it is a valid proposition to look at divestment. It is not good enough for us to point to other nation states until we have dealt with our own backyard. That is why I think divestment is a plausible policy option for us to look at.

Others have mentioned the case of South Africa. I know members are aware of the history of what happened in South Africa vis-à-vis divestment and boycott.

Why should we be seized with the issue? Estimates show that about 450,000 people have been murdered or killed due to violence in Darfur and millions displaced, raped. There is destruction and ethnic cleansing with total impugnity.

I will describe our party's proposition with regard to the situation in Darfur.

What is of paramount importance, and what I would hope the government would be more able to support, is resolution 1769. As we know, this is the UN peacekeeping mission, a hybrid mission, which is still lacking resources and has had difficulties in getting the cooperation of the regime in Sudan. However, it needs resources, resources that we have.

We also believe we should invest in long term development of civil society in the peace process in Darfur. We believe we should divest all Canadian investment from Sudan. As was mentioned by my colleague from the Bloc, due to a motion of the NDP at the foreign affairs committee, we will study this issue in more detail. We look forward to that important study.

New Democrats believe Canada must take a leadership role in Darfur. We know resolutions in and of themselves do not protect vulnerable citizens, but peacekeeping actions and multilateral actions do. We believe Canada must provide personnel and resources to support the UN's vitally important mission. We have a clear chapter 7 mandate to protect civilians. We have the consent in words, and I mentioned the challenges of Sudan, and we have had four years of violence and devastation behind us. Doing nothing is not an option.

Canada talks about its role in being a global leader. We believe that looking at divestment as a way of effecting change in Sudan is one of the ways we can lead. As I mentioned, supporting the UN peacekeeping mission 1769 is another as is supporting civil society, peace efforts and peace building in Sudan. Sadly, we have not seen that commitment from the government.

I do not think most Canadians are aware that we have the resources to support the three things I just mentioned: the divestment, which we will be studying; the support to the peacekeeping mission; and the support to civil society and peace building.

Very recently I met with one of my constituents, who is in Darfur right now. He is a Somalian Canadian working under the UN auspices in Darfur. He will meet with local leaders in villages to see that when a peace agreement is reached, we will be able to carry it out.

When peace agreements come together, one of the problems we have had is often they are only understood at the top and not by communities and the grassroots. This has to be put on the table and understood. If we do not build capacity in peace building now, then any peace agreement reached in the coming months or next year might be for naught because we do not have the capacity on the ground to ensure it is followed.

With regard to Darfur, we should also be aware that when we talk about divestment, we must address direct and indirect investment. Corporations like Total, an energy company, have Canadian interests and shares and they sit on the boards. This should be put on the table.

The government has said in the case of Burma that we can only put in special economic measures for investment in the future and we cannot look at existing or past investments. That is not the case. If the government has the will, it can deal with existing investment in the case of Darfur and also Burma.

I mention that because as legislators we have to understand what our policy options are. We need to understand that Canada can, if it has the will, elicit special economic measures that will deal with existing investments in Sudan and Darfur, both direct and indirect Canadian investments.

Hopefully, the foreign affairs committee will get a better understanding as to the scope of Canadian investment, which is why the study is being done. Then we must do more than study; we must act. To do this, we must understand that indirect investment is as pertinent as direct investment.

In the case of Burma, some have estimated that there are up to $1.2 billion in Canadian pension plan investments presently in Burma. When we have asked department officials if they are aware of that, they have said that the Special Economic Measures Act does not pertain to indirect investment. This motion is extremely important to understand. What we do in our actions has to be indepth. We cannot simply pass a motion for future investments. It has to deal with existing investments and, indeed, investments in the future.

I want to turn to other measures that can be taken by the government.

Recently the International Criminal Court successfully charged and carried out actions on two people who were involved in humanitarian crimes in Sudan. It is important to underline that. For the charges to be followed through, they had to go through the Security Council. In the past both the United States and China have been a problem and a block at the Security Council.

With the issue of Darfur and Sudan, something magical happened. For the first time in the case of the United States, it supported and recognized the ICC. China abstained, which is the best we will get from China on the ICC. In the end, the rule of law was brought forward. Right now the ICC needs to follow up, do its job and bring those perpetrators to justice so we can see that international justice can be done, not only seem to be done.

The NDP looks forward to this debate and to opening up the policy options for the government to take more action both in Darfur and Iran.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

7:05 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I support Motion No. 410 which calls upon the government, crown corporations and divisions to divest from corporations conducting business in Sudan and Iran, to divest from funds and other financial instruments invested in or operating in Sudan and Iran, and, which is of relevance to the comments by my colleague from the Bloc Quebecois, except where such funds support humanitarian aid and humanitarian relief programs, or are used to fund Canadian embassies, consulates and representative offices in these countries. It was crafted carefully.

The motion, in effect, calls for the strategic and targeted withdrawal of government investments in the economies of Sudan and Iran so as to deter and combat the Sudanese and Iranian capacity to engage in mass atrocities, to combat the culture of impunity, to impose a penalty for the commission of mass atrocity and reduce the capacity of corporations to enable its commission, to send a clear message through the naming and shaming of the enablers, and to deter and combat the enablers of mass atrocities, those who sell the arms, those who buy the oil, those who finance the sales. In a word, to force the countries, Sudan and Iran and their corporate enablers, to pay a price for their respective commission and enabling of mass atrocities.

I will turn now to two key questions that have arisen in the debate. First, why Sudan and Iran? Second, what can be done with regard to the enablers? I will use China as a case study and the Canadian connection.

With regard to Sudan and Iran, those two countries represent, as I will point out in a moment, the two faces of genocide in the 21st century and they constitute a standing threat to international peace and security.

In the matter of Sudan, it represents, as has been mentioned, the first genocide of the 21st century: 400,000 dead, 2.5 million displaced, 4 million on a life support system and in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, mass atrocities that continue unabated.

We have not only the perpetration of mass atrocities by the Sudanese government, but the culture of impunity that underpins it. Here reference has been made, for example, to the UN Security Council resolution with regard to the deployment of a joint UN-African Union protective force.

It is the Sudanese government that is impeding the effective and expeditious deployment of that force, that continues with the indiscriminate bombing and burning of villages, that refuses to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and that refuses to surrender genocidaires to the International Criminal Court which has issued arrest warrants.

I will give one scandalous example. One of the arrest warrants is with respect to Ahmad Harun, the minister of humanitarian affairs in the Sudanese government. Not only did the Sudanese government not surrender him to the International Criminal Court, it has actually promoted him. It has put him in charge of investigating the human rights complaints with respect to mass atrocities committed by Sudanese. It has made him the liaison officer with respect to the deployment of the UN-African Union force. It has forcibly evacuated internally displaced persons from the refugee camps and replaced them with Arab tribes who have been recruited to take their place and have undermined both the comprehensive peace plan with regard to southern Sudan and the Darfur peace process, each in that sense undermining the other and bringing about the risk of the unravelling of Sudan as a whole.

All of this led to an impassioned appeal recently at the Conference on the Prevention of Genocide at McGill University by Salih Mahmoud Osman, a heroic figure in Sudan who himself was the victim of beatings and torture. He said, “I am appealing to Canada, act now; tomorrow will be too late”, reminding us, and Canada in particular, of our role with regard to the responsibility to protect the doctrine.

The tragedy is that while the international community continues to dither and thereby connive, however inadvertently, with the Sudanese government, Darfuris continue to die.

However, if Darfur is the first genocide of the 21st century and the perpetrator and enablers of a culture of impunity, Iran constitutes a standing threat to international peace and security. Iran has defied UN Security Council resolutions calling on it to cease the enriching of uranium and the moving along to becoming an atomic power, where Ahmadinejad's Iran, and I use the term Ahmadinejad's Iran to distinguish that from the people of Iran who are themselves the objects of his domestic mass repression, but where in Ahmadinejad's Iran it has become the epicentre of the toxic convergence of the advocacy of the most horrific of crimes, namely genocide, embedded in the most virulent of hatred, namely anti-Semitism, dramatized by the parading in the streets of Tehran of a Shahab-3 missile draped in the emblem, “Wipe Israel off the map”, and warning Muslims that those who recognize Israel will burn in the Umma of Islam.

Finally, we should not ignore the domestic mass repression in Ahmadinejad's Iran of Iranian women, students, minorities, dissidents, trade union workers and the like, which leads me now to the second question and the underlying purpose of the motion, which is to divest from enablers. Here I will use China and the China petroleum company as a case study because divestment is not simply a unilateral act. It is a support system, not apart from, but in conjunction with the United Nations and the international sanctions a regime, a support system that is working in conjunction with the international community, a support system that is part of the responsibility to protect a doctrine in conjunction with other countries and, indeed, with universities here in Canada, such as Queen's University which became the first university to divest with respect to Iran.

In other words, there is an economic underpinning to the Sudanese genocide and that economic underpinning is anchored in the Sudanese petroleum sector with some 80% of Sudanese oil revenues being used to support the military which in turn prosecutes and perpetrates the genocide in Darfur.

It is China that has invested $15 billion in Sudan and it is the China National Petroleum Company that is engaged in the extraction of oil that is financing the genocide, that has facilitated the arms trade between China and Sudan and that has financed the military expenditures that have sold Sudan the weapons that have made the military offensive and atrocities possible.

There is also a specific Canadian connection which has thus far almost gone unnoticed. I am referring to the fact that the China National Petroleum Company has been granted 11 oil blocks in the Alberta oil sands. These concessions represent over $2 billion barrels of recoverable oil here in Canada.

China and the CNPC should themselves now be the target of the divestment in order to leverage Sudan to permit the expeditious and effective deployment of the UN civilian protection force, to comply with UN Security Council resolutions banning offensive military action and the like, to surrender the genocidaires pursuant to international arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court, to put an end to the killing fields and to support and not undermine the two peace processes, the Darfur peace process and the comprehensive peace process; in a word, to ensure that the responsibility to protect doctrine is not simply a matter of rhetoric or words but that it is a matter of action, a matter of combating impunity, of ensuring accountability and of saving lives.

As a student said last night at the University of Ottawa where I participated in a forum with respect to the responsibility to protect doctrine and the combating of the genocide by attrition in Darfur and, as I said, with respect to Canada at this point, if not us who and if not now when. If we are the architects of the responsibility to protect doctrine, we should assume our responsibility to help implement it.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

7:10 p.m.


Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in the House to debate this motion and to hear colleagues like the former one who expounded so clearly on the concerns from Sudan and Iran.

I would also like to mention a couple of former colleagues. First, David Kilgour, who has made it a lifelong goal to educate us about exactly what is going on there. For Mel Middleton, a person in my riding, this is a ministry to him. He is a real driver in seeking human rights in countries such as Sudan. I had the opportunity to speak with a group of Sudanese from Calgary last fall who brought forward concerns and with a student group called STAND Canada. It is a pleasure to be in the House and to bring forward some points to the government.

The government is very aware and concerned over the situation in Sudan, particularly the ongoing violations of human rights in Darfur, including sexual and gender based violence. With the deterioration in the humanitarian situation, as well as the fragile peace in the south, Sudan remains a matter of great concern to the Government of Canada and for this reason the government supports Motion No. 410 that my colleague from Toronto brought forward.

Because my time is limited, I will cut to the chase and go right to some of my concluding statements.

I think all Canadians agree that we cannot stand by and let this situation deteriorate any further. Canada is active in supporting peace in Sudan and Canadian diplomacy is at the forefront in international efforts. Canada has been among the largest supporters to AMIS and is continuing to support different United Nations organizations that are heavily involved in the Sudan, Darfur area.

Canada has committed over $288 million to peace, humanitarian needs and early recovery since 2006. However, we believe that the time has come to take additional steps to convey our concern and place pressure on the government of Sudan and also work collaboratively with other countries, as we are through the United Nations, to make more of a difference.

I thank the member for bringing the motion forward and for giving us the opportunity to debate it in this place. Our government is aware of the situation and is moving on it.

Foreign AffairsPrivate Members' Business

7:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (certificate and special advocate) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Pursuant to order made Thursday, January 31, 2008, the House will resume consideration of the motion at third reading of Bill C-3.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.


Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, I understand that we are now finally discussing the substance of the bill in order to decide whether to accept or reject it. We will be voting against this bill for the following reasons.

We believe that if a judge is to make a decision that will result in the incarceration of an individual for an indeterminate period of time, he must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the criterion which the judge should use to make his decision. That is what the law prescribes for all Canadians—for those governed by Canadian law and for Canadians.

I will point out shortly that security certificates only apply to foreigners. In this case, since we decided to give them the right to appeal, this appeal should be of the same sort, that is it should deal with a question of fact, a question of law or of law and fact.

We were also not satisfied with how the whole issue of the special advocate is dealt with, although we recognize that a significant improvement has been made to the legislation.

At this time, perhaps, people are still watching us, or some may watch us later. I would like to make it easier for them than it was for me to understand this legislation. Few people unfamiliar with the bill understand what we are talking about, the term used and our discussions.

I would first like to say, so that it is clearly understood, that the security certificate is badly named. We should really be talking about a deportation order because, in practice, that is what is being requested. This is why it applies only to aliens and not to Canadians. Indeed, under section 6 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadians have the right to live in Canada, to leave the country and return, which is not the case for aliens. The charter refers to every Canadian citizen. Therefore, it does not apply to aliens.

What is a security certificate? Generally speaking, secret services may believe that a person is dangerous. In our modern world, dangerous people, the kind of people we fear, are terrorists who have been trained and sent to live in Canada, remain unnoticed if possible and, at a given time, carry out a terrorist act. That is what happened on September 11. Many of the people in those planes, who took part in the take-over of the planes and the subsequent suicide attack, were model citizens. They are known as “sleeping cells.” By the way, this is a ridiculous term, not that we are accusing anyone here, because the definition of a sleeping cell is a model citizen. He is here to go unnoticed among us. So he is a model citizen. It seems a bit unfair when we think about it.

Let us return to the security certificate. We are talking about a deportation order that has been requested by two ministers, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, because this deals with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and the Minister of Public Safety, because, he, obviously, is responsible for national security.

If they believe an alien is dangerous, they issue what we call a security certificate to expel that person from Canada. The certificate is brought before a judge who must be convinced that the person is dangerous. In fact, it is not necessary to convince the judge, only to have him think that it is reasonable to believe that the person is dangerous based on the evidence presented to him.

Obviously, if they feel that way, it is because they have secret information about that person. That is the reason you will often hear people say they do not know what evidence was presented to the judge. In fact, very often, the evidence comes from three kinds of sources.

First, the source might be an ally who gave us information on the condition that we not make it public. Second, the source might be an undercover agent, whose life may be at risk if he is discovered or who at least risks never working as an undercover agent again and losing his secret agent status. Third, the evidence can come from investigation methods or terrorist group surveillance activities that should not be disclosed for fear of helping those concerned get around those methods.

This type of evidence is presented to the judge. The judge hears this evidence in the absence of the accused. In fact, we should not use the term “accused”. We should always avoid talking about the “accused” and instead talk about the “person concerned”, since that person is not being accused or charged. That person is believed to be dangerous and because he is considered dangerous and he is a foreign national, we want to deport him from the country. We do not want to inform the person concerned because if he is indeed a terrorist, as we suspect, he could later tell others about the investigation methods or the name of the undercover agent.

The judge hears the evidence in the absence of the person concerned and in the absence of his lawyer, if he has one. Then the judge decides which pieces of evidence the person concerned can be informed of. For example, if we know that the person received training in Pakistan and he was seen in a certain village doing a certain thing, the judge can tell him he was seen without telling him who saw him or mentioning how that information was obtained and without disclosing the names of the people who were directly responsible for providing that information.

The person concerned can try to explain why he went to Pakistan and try to convince the judge that he did not receive terrorist training and that he is not part of one of those sleeper cells we are so afraid of. As you can see, there are limited ways to challenge the arrest since the person is not provided the confidential information, which is also probably the most important information.

In fact, we are talking about a removal order. The individuals need only to leave the country to pursue their activities. Then why do some people not leave? Because in some cases—increasingly so—if these people go back home after being deported for security reasons, they are sure to be sent to prison in the destination country, like Morocco, Syria and many countries in the Middle East. Not only are they sure to go to prison, but since they are suspected terrorists, they will likely be tortured. This has happened a lot lately. Sometimes they are tortured to death.

Consequently, these people do not want to leave Canada and contest the removal order because they are afraid to go back to these countries. Others contest the removal order because they have been in Canada for a number of years. They have started a family here, they have jobs and Canada has become their country, even though they have not taken out Canadian citizenship. Those are some reasons why people contest the removal order.

Now, because it considers these people dangerous, the government is thinking of incarcerating them during the procedures, to prevent them from escaping and going to live somewhere else in Canada under a new identity or whatever. The government is thinking about a form of incarceration. It is true that these people can always leave the country if they wish. That is why some members of this House say that it is a three-walled prison, although they never explain what that means.

Keeping the same image, I would answer that it may be a three-walled prison, but in some cases, there is a cliff where the fourth wall should be. The person who is incarcerated cannot really leave, because leaving would mean certain death. That is why these people do not want to be deported.

When we understand that, the situation becomes much clearer. We understand that these people are not Canadian citizens and that they have not been accused of anything. The government simply has information that they belong to a terrorist group. But that does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court. All it takes to keep these people in prison is for the judge to be satisfied that this belief is reasonable. And they can be kept in prison for many years. In fact, they are incarcerated indefinitely. That is why the Supreme Court ruled that this was not just an administrative matter. These people have certain rights. In my opinion, that is the most important thing.

I would like to read some excerpts from the Supreme Court decision so we can have an idea of its intentions. According to the court, it is not simply an administrative decision, but it is also as serious as criminal charges. Even if they were never charged, it is just as serious and they must be granted certain rights. In paragraph 60, the court said:

It is one thing to deprive a person of full information where fingerprinting is at stake, and quite another to deny him or her information where the consequences are removal from the country or indefinite detention. Moreover, even in the less intrusive situations, courts have insisted that disclosure be as specific and complete as possible.

As they say, it is a serious decision. The information must be revealed.

I will go a bit further to understand the background. It is about a removal procedure. People will perhaps remember that this summer, an individual was arrested at Dorval. I believe he was Russian, but his nationality was not known when he was arrested. He had several pieces of ID, a considerable amount of money in different denominations, and so on. A security certificate was issued against him and he left. It was not long. He left and was not sent to prison. He returned home or went elsewhere. Those who stay here do so because they cannot leave Canada for fear of torture or death.

In paragraph 91, the Court stated:

[The government] asserts that when the provisions were drafted, it was thought that the removal process would be so fast that there would be no need for review.

Because of what I explained, we can see that it takes more time. Some people have remained in prison for five, six or eight years on a security certificate. So it is a very difficult detention. In paragraph 96, the Supreme Court said:

Detention itself is never pleasant, but it is only cruel and unusual in the legal sense if it violates accepted norms of treatment. Denying the means required by the principles of fundamental justice to challenge a detention may render the detention arbitrarily indefinite and support the argument that it is cruel or unusual. (The same may be true of onerous conditions of release that seriously restrict a person’s liberty without affording an opportunity to challenge the restrictions.)

We have read in the papers about people who complain about the bracelet, conditions of house arrest and so on. In paragraph 98, the judges say:

More narrowly, however, it has been recognized that indefinite detention in circumstances where the detainee has no hope of release or recourse to a legal process to procure his or her release may cause psychological stress and therefore constitute cruel and unusual treatment.

Further on, in paragraph 105, they add:

It is thus clear that while the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in principle imposes detention only pending deportation, it may in fact permit lengthy and indeterminate detention or lengthy periods subject to onerous release conditions.

In paragraph 107, the Supreme Court states:

Drawing on them, I conclude that the s. 7 principles of fundamental justice and the s. 12 guarantee of freedom from cruel and unusual treatment require that, where a person is detained or is subject to onerous conditions of release for an extended period under immigration law, the detention or the conditions must be accompanied by a meaningful process of ongoing review that takes into account the context and circumstances of the individual case.

Clearly, it is because of the consequences that these decisions may mean indefinite incarceration in exceptional cases and the Supreme Court believes that enhanced procedural safeguards are needed.

We can take the Supreme Court's reasoning and apply it to the provisions that are before us. We understand that security certificates cannot be issued against Canadians, but sometimes people are so dangerous that the government wants to make use of certain legal provisions, such as those in part XXIV of the Criminal Code. Sometimes the government says that these people have to be held in prison indefinitely. This is a very harsh sentence, although it is not quite as harsh as life imprisonment.

In such cases, judges must be certain. They must not just believe that the reasons for which the person is thought to be dangerous are reasonable, as in cases of foreigners who are the subject of removal orders. Judges must be certain. We would have preferred that the judge's decision, which may result in indefinite detention, be made on the basis of the same criteria: being certain beyond a reasonable doubt. That is one of the two main reasons we will be voting against this bill.

The second reason concerns the decision to appeal. I should clarify that they decided to reinstate the appeal process. There was one before for the security certificate process, but it was abolished at the beginning of the last decade. Nevertheless, they decided to reinstate it, albeit in a very strange way. To keep the person in jail and maintain the security certificate and the removal order, the judge must determine if his or her own decision is a legal issue of general public importance. An appeal can be allowed on those grounds, and the judge drafts the notice of appeal for the person.

If I had just been convicted, I might not have much faith in the way the judge would present my case to the court of appeal. The purpose of the appeal is to advance the law, which is very noble. It is a bit like medical research, except that in this case, it does not really affect the patient.

I asked some officials where they found this appeal procedure that I had never heard of in my 30 years of practising law. They said that it came up in administrative law cases. However, the judges have told the officials that this is not administrative law. That is why conditions are needed to make it constitutional. The ruling is so serious as to be almost criminal in nature. That is not what they tell us, but that is what it boils down to. We are asking for improvements to the procedure so that the person involved can have a better opportunity to tell his or her side of the story, with full knowledge of the evidence, where possible.

This is what section 759 of the Criminal Code says about what happens when a Canadian is found to be a dangerous offender and the courts want to sentence him or her to time in prison:

An offender who is found to be a dangerous offender under this part may appeal to the court of appeal against that finding on any ground of law or fact or mixed law and fact.

In cases that are just as serious, why would we not grant the same rights to a person who, I would remind the House, has never been charged or convicted of anything, when all we have is some information held by security agencies that suggests that the individual is dangerous? If we must consider foreign nationals believed to be dangerous based simply on reasonableness, I think we should give them at least the same opportunity we give to Canadians we want to put behind bars because they are dangerous offenders, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and who have been convicted for several offences before they were declared dangerous offenders. We must grant the same rights to foreign nationals. That is why, once again, we would have liked to improve that piece of legislation. That was impossible, which is why we cannot accept this and why we will vote against it.

When the minster says this is a matter that should go beyond party politics and that we should have a different attitude, I do not see anything partisan about our attitude. For such an important decision, he should have sought the consensus of all members.

After such a long day, I hope to have nevertheless enlightened a few people who did not understand what a security certificate is. What is important to remember is that it is a deportation order because someone thinks such people are dangerous. The security certificate applies only to foreign nationals and not to Canadians. They are not given all the evidence because—

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Questions and comments.

The hon. member for Hochelaga.

Immigration and Refugee Protection ActGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.


Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. I know he worked hard in committee. I would like to take this opportunity to mention that Nicole Martin is in our lobby. My colleagues will understand how lucky we are to have her there.

I would like to ask an even more important question. Does my colleague agree with the opinion—which I hope will one day be the majority opinion—that this law was not necessary, even if we do not deny the existence of terrorist networks? The member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin made this argument well.

Could he speak about certain provisions, not specifics, of course, that already exist in the Criminal Code or in other acts, and that would have enabled us to act in 2001, in response to the events of September 2001, when Anne McLellan introduced a bill to which the Bloc was opposed?

Is it not inherently dishonest to make it seem as though there were not already tools that would have helped us fulfill our duty to provide security at a time when people could represent a threat to national security? Is it not rather appalling, in terms of human rights, to have a bill like this one?

I would like to know what the member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin thinks.