Madam Speaker, I want to join with the previous speakers in support of the legislation and also take the opportunity to thank former senator Grafstein for his great work, not only on this issue but on a lot of other issues, when he was in the Senate. I had the privilege of meeting him when I was elected in 2008. I certainly do wish him well in his retirement. My only regret is we could not have passed the bill while he was still here.
The fact is, as the previous speaker pointed out, this type of activity is already covered in the Criminal Code, but he is absolutely correct that once we make the move, once we take the measure of passing the bill, getting it through the House and the Senate, we will be the first country in the world to have taken this action. It is very important that we do this. While suicide bombings have been going on for many years, and I will get to that in a few minutes, they are actually increasing in numbers.
For example, the number of attacks using suicide tactics has grown from an average of fewer than five per year during the 1980s to 180 per year between 2000 and 2005 and from 81 suicide attacks in 2001 to 460 in 2005. A number of years ago, Israel seemed to be one of the favourite targets of suicide bombers, but there are many other areas of the world where these types of attacks occur. We have attacks in Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There has been a lot of recent activity in the former Soviet Union.
We have to come to grips with this. We cannot just ignore the problem and think that somehow it will resolve itself and go away. We can say, at this point, that there have been no attacks in Canada, but we know this will not hold forever. We can look at England in 1970. When I was hitchhiking around Europe, there was no indication of any suicide attacks or bombings until the conflict in Ireland caused all kinds of activities in England. There was the bombing of subway. I believe Lord Mountbatten was killed when his boat was blown up. This type of activity knows no political boundaries. It can move very quickly. It can happen anywhere.
On the availability of the materials, I am told that Semtex, which is a very cheap explosive and I believe manufactured in Czechoslovakia, is widely available around the world and very easy to obtain. All one has to do is have cheap explosives available and people out there selling it to these terrorist organizations, combined with the fact that we have round-the-clock media. Twenty or thirty years ago, we did not have CNN on site around the world. It does not take a lot of imagination to know that a small terrorist organization that wants to get noticed and wants to get its message out there has a willing press that it can exploit. It has cheap explosives available.
Some organizations have the financial wherewithal to help buy the materials, train the suicide bombers and take care of the families. A lot of people are involved in suicide bombing, and that is what is very good about this bill.
We are dealing with the promoters, the teachers, the inspirers of this type of activity. They are the real problem. They are the real cowards. They do not strap on the explosives and blow themselves up. They stay in the background. They are the people who recruit these poor kids, finance the families, brainwash them and convince them that they are going to become martyrs. Then they get them to blow themselves up on the basis that their families will be taken care of.
It is about time we started to look into the financing of terrorism. It has taken the experience of 9/11 to finally have the American government make a concerted effort to look at terrorism financing and to start cracking the Swiss and other banking systems that have been the holders of banking secrecy, where this illegal drug money has been laundered for many years and where terrorism money is being laundered, as well.
It has taken a long time for us to react positively to this situation. However, we are seeing some successes with the effort to crack the system of terrorist money flowing around the world. I think that will be a positive thing, too. However, in some respects it is a losing battle, because already we are seeing an expansion of this type of activity.
I did want to indicate that this is something that has not just begun recently. I went back in history to look at some of the previous instances of terrorism. We had Dutch soldiers fighting for control of Taiwan in 1661, who used gun powder to blow themselves and their opponents up rather than being taken prisoner.
However, most of the examples in history involved military people in military situations. We did not have the situations of innocent men, women and children in supermarkets and restaurants experiencing people who are civilians themselves, young people strapped with explosives, walking into a market or a restaurant and detonating a bomb, blowing themselves and everybody else up.
In my view, this is a totally different situation from all the military examples throughout history that I could cite. There were the Japanese kamikaze pilots who we all learned about in school. Once again, that was a military situation. That was soldiers of one nation fighting a war. They were paid to do their job. At the end of the day, it is an extreme measure, but they flew those bombers into the ships in a last ditch effort to save their country.
Once again, it is far and away a totally different situation than recruiting innocent people, brainwashing them and sending them out with explosives to kill more innocent people. That is an absolutely terrible situation. I do not see it getting any better over time.
When we look at the situation involving airplanes, who would have thought that the 9/11 attacks would have happened? In retrospect or hindsight, it is easy to see how this terror was done and to wonder why it was not done earlier.
Now we have a whole country, a whole world terrorized. Flyers are terrorized. We have tied ourselves up in knots, spending billions on security. At the end of the day, these terrorists have actually won. They have won something. They have managed to spread fear, and that is what their intention is.
We have taken a step here today. I applaud what the member has done. Let us just get this bill through both Houses.