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House of Commons Hansard #189 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was terrorism.

Topics

The House resumed from November 5, 2012, consideration of the motion that Bill S-9, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.

Today, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill S-9, introduced by the hon. Marjory LeBreton.

I would like to being by recognizing the work done by the senator on this initiative, the purpose of which is to ensure that Canada honours the international commitments it made in 2005 in relation to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

Historically, Canada has been an important leader on the international scene, in spite of the pitfalls encountered in recent years. This country has distinguished itself by its proactive approach, by honouring its commitments and by its significant support for international law. It is therefore important to lay the legislative groundwork for ratifying these two conventions.

These conventions are the product of negotiated agreements and extensive work done with the objective of making our world safer and more secure. In 2005, Canada committed itself to enhancing security around activities relating to nuclear energy. At the nuclear security summits held in 2010 and 2012, Canada reiterated that commitment, with a view to the 2014 summit. In terms of both physical protection and potential acts of terrorism, Canada has committed itself to taking action to contain these problems.

By signing these two conventions, Canada committed itself to ratifying the agreements negotiated by the international community.

At present, 56 countries have already ratified the treaty, but Canada has still not done so. Bill S-9 is therefore a welcome initiative, since it will eventually bring us closer to formally implementing these conventions and ensuring a more uniform enforcement internationally.

Seven years have passed, and it is now time for action to honour those agreements. Usually, our parliamentary caucus is not open to bills coming from the Senate, because that institution is not elected. However, we agree that the technical aspect of this legislation, in the sense that it is a matter of honouring our international commitments, makes it more acceptable.

Bill S-9, the Nuclear Terrorism Act, is a step toward eventual ratification of the commitments relating to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

There are many aspects to this legislation. First of all, it makes it formally and explicitly illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device. It also makes it illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device. At the same time, it formally prohibits the commission of any act against a nuclear facility or its operations. Finally, it makes it illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

Bill S-9 introduces and defines several key terms related to nuclear and radioactive concerns, including “nuclear facility”, “nuclear material”, “radioactive material” and “device”.

It also amends the definition of “terrorist activity” and broadens the legal scope of these measures, meaning that an individual can be prosecuted in Canadian courts even if the offences are committed outside our borders.

It is also important to note that wiretap provisions have been introduced so that warrants can be issued in the event of offences related to this legislation.

This legislation also amends the notion of double jeopardy. Therefore, if someone is prosecuted by a foreign court for a crime under Bill S-9, but that trial does not meet certain basic Canadian legal standards, that person can be tried again in Canada for the same crime.

In short, Bill S-9 covers several legal issues and therefore warrants careful consideration and a more thorough examination in committee, especially since it is a question of defining new legal terms and broadening the application of Canadian laws. Our parliamentary branch recognizes how important it is for Canada to meet its international obligations, which Bill S-9 largely does. However, certain deficiencies have been identified and warrant careful consideration.

On the one hand, in some respects, the proposed measure goes too far. Some components of the bill have an overly broad scope. We want to make sure, for instance, that the provisions related to wiretaps do not go too far, and more importantly, that they do not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The crimes outlawed by this legislation are serious, but we must respect the surrounding legal framework.

On the other hand, Senator LeBreton's initiative does not go far enough. All the same, we commend the Liberal amendment that aims at prohibiting the production of nuclear or radioactive devices, without which the bill would not comply with the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

We also have reservations about the penalties. We want to make sure that the penalties will be appropriate and that they will correspond to the convention's expectation that these offences will be dealt with severely. At the same time, we believe it is necessary to take steps to strengthen the security of nuclear facilities. We do not want government action to be based solely on the legal aspects. We must also be sure that measures are taken to guarantee the security of facilities themselves.

Our position on Bill S-9 is going to be pragmatic and conciliatory. As has been stated, the bill does contain some positive elements, but there are also some not insignificant shortcomings, which could be remedied through amendments. This is why we will be voting in favour of this measure, so that the process will run its course. I would like to remind my colleagues how important it is that the initiative by the hon. Marjory LeBreton be sent to committee for discussion.

Together, we will be able to work on improving it and strengthening its positive impact. When we have an opportunity to debate and discuss this issue, parliamentarians will also be able to understand the proposed policy more fully. The legal scope of this bill and its complexity demand that parliamentarians give it particular attention.

On the other hand, the government must also show good faith by accepting the opposition's amendments, intended as they are to improve Bill S-9. Such multi-party dialogue will lead to better legislation for Canadians, as well as for national and international security.

To conclude, I want the members of this House to give some thought to how they will vote on Bill S-9. They should give some thought to the importance of complying with international conventions, the importance of filling the gaps in the senator’s initiative and the importance of pinpointing the problems relating to nuclear and radioactive issues.

Let us send this bill to committee, so that we can implement a just and effective policy.

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10:10 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by my colleague from Saint-Lambert concerning this important bill.

Every time we discuss the international convention on nuclear safety and that there are international concerns in that regard, we always talk about the urgent need for action. This convention was signed in 2005 and it is now 2012. Legislation to ratify this convention will probably not even pass before 2013.

The years are passing and the urgent need for action is always at the forefront of discussions. Therefore, can my colleague talk about the fact that the government has not been very proactive and has not set a good example internationally in terms of ratifying this convention and amending legislation in order to proceed with ratifying this convention in a more reasonable timeframe?

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10:10 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The nuclear issue is truly very important. The time it takes for this government to ratify international conventions is a major problem.

Many countries have already taken a position on this nuclear issue, and some of them are real leaders in this area. It is truly regrettable that Canada has not taken a position on this issue sooner.

However, today we are debating a bill that will really allow us to make up for lost time and to take the most appropriate course of action.

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, of course, it is important for us to conform to the treaties to which we are a party. However, it seems that some modifications may be made, and we are supporting the bill to go to committee.

I note that the bill has been amended already in the Senate, to add a provision to make the manufacturing of a radioactive device a criminal offence. I wonder if that means a little more study is required. There are many types of radioactive devices, some of which are medical in nature and used for purposes of X-rays and different types of medical procedures. Is this one of the reasons we need to have further study on the bill, because it is highly technical in nature?

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. The issue of safety and criminal offences is an important one. In my speech, I emphasized that this bill must be referred to committee in order for us to truly have the opportunity to study it and to make constructive and positive suggestions about this bill and different nuclear devices. It is very important that this bill be improved and that new provisions also be heard.

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech. It is indeed very important to move this bill forward to stop the proliferation of nuclear threats.

As the hon. member clearly explained, the convention dates back to 2005. Canada was involved in its drafting. Its ratification was pushed back to the end of 2012. This legislation is important. However, it comes from the Senate. It is rather odd that the Senate is the one teaching a lesson to the Conservatives.

I thank my colleague for her speech on this issue, and I want to ask her what she thinks of how long it is taking to finally ratify this convention.

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. Of course, it is very unfortunate that it took so long to truly address an issue of critical importance in today's world.

The delay is indeed inexcusable and very regrettable. It is time to really deal with this Senate bill in a positive and constructive fashion, to improve it in committee, and to finally ratify this convention on nuclear terrorism.

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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the nuclear terrorism act, at second reading, in order to give the bill further study at committee.

It is an honour to speak on a topic that is so important to the safety of Canadians and also our global security. Safety and security are a priority for the constituents of my great riding of Scarborough--Rouge River, and Canadians deserve to feel safe and secure in their own home communities. Residents of Scarborough are still reeling, sadly, following the tragic incident this summer that involved the loss of two young lives and left 23 injured.

I was proud to co-host the leader of the official opposition in Scarborough to share in a discussion about what the community wants and needs to feel safe in the neighbourhood. The outcome of this discussion was that people want to see increased care of the environment, longer term investment in our youth and job creation in Canada, increased witness protection to ensure people who are witness to a crime can feel safe and, of course, a decrease in the number of guns on our streets.

The Conservative government does not properly invest in witness protection. It is slashing public safety staff, which is allowing more guns to flow on to our streets. We are not seeing legislation to prevent gun violence from occurring. People do not feel safe and they feel further terrorized by guns. It is disheartening that the Conservatives ignore the pleas for action from constituents and residents of the GTA.

Today is about Bill S-9. This Senate bill would amend the Criminal Code in order to implement the criminal law requirements of two international counterterrorism treaties, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, as amended in 2005, and the 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, the ICSANT. These two agreements deal with the protection of radioactive material, nuclear material and nuclear facilities, as well as the protection from nuclear or radioactive devices.

The bill would align our laws to these treaties by introducing four new indictable offences into part II of the Criminal Code. First, it will be illegal to possess, use or dispose of nuclear radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. Second, it will be illegal to use or alter nuclear or radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device, or commit an act against a nuclear facility or its operation with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing anything. Third, it will also be illegal to commit an indictable offence under federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear or radioactive material, a nuclear or radioactive device or access or control of a nuclear facility. Finally, it will be illegal to threaten to commit any of the other three offences.

The New Democratic Party believes we must seriously address the issue of nuclear security and comply with our international obligations in order to better co-operate with other countries on counterterrorism strategies. New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas of great common concern such as nuclear terrorism. It is certainly important that we, along with our international partners, do what we can to protect Canadians from all forms of terrorism and protect global security.

It is curious as to why the government waited for so long to implement the necessary changes and ratify these two treaties. As I said, the bill would fulfill Canada's treaty obligations under the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the CPPNM, and the ICSANT. This includes extending international measures beyond protecting against the proliferation of nuclear materials to now include the protection of nuclear facilities.

Bill S-9 would reinforce Canada's obligation under the 2004 UN Security Council Resolution 1540 to take and enforce effective measures to prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials as well as chemical and biological weapons. To date Canada has not ratified either the ICSANT or the CPPNM amendment because Canada does not yet have legislation in place to criminalize the offences outlined in the ICSANT or some of the offences outlined in the CPPNM amendment.

The amendments in Bill S-9, introduced into the code, are Canada's effort to align its domestic legislation with what is required by both conventions so they can be ratified. If these amendments should become law, one could presume Canada could be in a position to ratify both the ICSANT and CPPNM amendment, something Canada, as well as other countries, committed to working toward at both the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington, D.C., and the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Korea. This is an important step for global security.

Miles Pomper, senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Monterey Institute of International Studies, advised those at the Senate hearing on Bill S-9 as follows:

—I want to point out generally how important it is to global security that Canada ratify these treaties. As you know, Canada and other countries, at the 2010 and 2012 Nuclear Security Summits, committed to ratifying these conventions. At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, just held a few months ago in Seoul, states also made a particular commitment to have the 2005 CPPNM amendment enter into force by the time of the next nuclear summit in 2014. For this to happen, two thirds of the 145 parties to the original CPPNM, or 97 states, need to ratify the treaty. To this date only 56 have done so.

In ratifying this treaty, therefore, Canada will not only bring us one step closer to the magic number needed for entry into force. Canada is deeply respected in the international community for its leadership on nuclear issues and its commitment to multilateral diplomacy. Its ratification will encourage other countries to move forward with their own ratifications and improve global security.

We believe that Bill S-9 brings forward necessary measures as part of Canada's international co-operation against threats related to nuclear terrorism. Given the increasingly heightened sophistication of technology and radioactive devices, it seems to me to be imperative to ensure that Canada is co-operating with other parties and in compliance with international treaties. As I said, New Democrats are committed to multilateral diplomacy and international co-operation, especially in areas such as nuclear terrorism.

Canada needs to work with other leading countries that are moving toward ratifying these conventions. It is very important that we fulfill our international obligations, and Canada will only be able to officially ratify these conventions after their domestic implementation is complete. We believe there must be close technical scrutiny of the bill in committee to make sure Bill S-9 is drafted in the best way to fulfill our obligations under these two treaties. Once we ratify, Canada can go on and will not be in non-compliance.

This stage of study is extremely important. As we saw in the Senate hearings, a vital component of the bill was originally missing. Bill S-9, in its original form, did not include the making of a radioactive device as an offence. We appreciate that the Senate amended this major omission in the bill. It is a good thing that the bill arrived with this improvement already in it. Once again, it is a relief that this omission was caught and corrected in the Senate, but it demonstrates the need for greater scrutiny in committee, and assurances that nothing else will be overlooked.

There are a few technical issues that I hope those in committee will undertake during their consideration. It seems that this bill may be broader and more general than the treaties themselves. As my colleagues have noted, some of the new Criminal Code offences are broader in scope than the offences found in individual international agreements. As well, the language used in the bill is more general than the specific treaty articles. For instance, my colleague noted concerns with proposed sections 82.3 and 82.4 in the bill, in that the specific intent formulations of the ICSANT treaty with regard to damage to a nuclear facility are not replicated in Bill S-9. Rather, Bill S-9 assumes a general intent standard. Also, the reference to crimes of threat in Bill S-9 go further than required under the treaty. Ultimately, these concerns highlight the need for scrutiny at committee to ensure the legislation has been drafted to be in compliance and that the issues that have been raised in the Senate and the House chamber are dealt with.

In conclusion, Canadians and people around the globe deserve to feel safe and secure. Nuclear weapons are an affront to safety, security and peace in the world. New Democrats are very pleased to support this bill at second reading and to send it to committee for further study.

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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Sadia Groguhé NDP Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague on her speech. She spoke to the urgency of ratifying these international conventions. She also mentioned the time lost, unfortunately, by our country with respect to these ratifications.

Could the hon. member tell us if, in her opinion, Bill S-9 goes far enough with regard to nuclear safety, considering that, unfortunately, a number of nuclear accidents have occurred in various countries? Does she think the bill goes far enough in terms of environmental and human security?

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her contribution to this debate in general.

The urgency of ratifying these treaties has been noted by people around the world. We are still waiting for many countries to get their domestic legislation in order so they can actually ratify the treaty. Canada is seen throughout the world as a leader in the global security realm. We need to ensure that we maintain that leadership position on the global scene. We need to ensure that our domestic affairs are in order so that this legislation can be studied with proper scrutiny to ensure that we meet all of the requirements of the treaty and ensure the safety of Canadians and the international community.

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would submit to the member for Scarborough—Rouge River an answer that was given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. She stated:

The fact is that there were attempts to bring forward many of these measures during the time of minority Parliaments but they were not accepted. Now we are in a majority situation and we are bringing them forward.

I would like to know if the hon. member is convinced by that argument. Does she think that any MP from any party would have voted against this bill if it had been proposed during a minority government?

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Saint-Jean for his wonderful fast-finger research and question.

Absolutely, I do not think any member of the House elected to represent Canadians would do anything to harm them in this regard. If it were brought forward in a manner ensuring that we meet the treaty requirements and the safety of Canadians and global security, we would all support it. Therefore, for the parliamentary secretary to make comments like that is unfair. It is unfair for Conservative members or the parliamentary secretary to make broad-brush claims that the government has tried before but no one was listening, and that now that it has a majority it will push this through.

The New Democrats have stood steadfastly for the safety and security of Canadians and the global environment.

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her wonderful speech. She gave a very good explanation of the nuclear dangers and the importance of addressing this issue, particularly since it meets a requirement for Canada, which signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism back in 2005.

The Conservative government took a long time to meet this requirement, which is part of the convention. What does the hon. member think of this delay, which does not really make sense?

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10:30 a.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Drummond is correct. We signed the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, both in 2005. Yet today we stand at the end of 2012 and still do not have our domestic affairs in order. We cannot ratify the treaty requirements until we have domestic legislation that ensures safety and our meeting of the treaty requirements. For the government to be in power for seven years and not to have done anything until now is sad. It is time that we finally do it.

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10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to an important issue. It is not new but has actually been talked about for a number of years.

As was pointed out in the most recent question and answer, governments will go abroad and work with other levels of government and sign agreements. Quite often we find that a signed agreement is nothing but a piece of paper with a signature, with the intent of it ultimately passing the House of Commons. In fact, that is the case with this particular treaty.

There have been four treaties relating to the whole issue of security and nuclear terrorism. The first was United Nations Security Council resolution 1373 done in 2001 and then United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 done in 2004. There was also the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism of 2005, and in that same year the amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. I will provide a bit of a comment on each of those a little later.

The point I would like to make is that what we have before us today is not really new. This whole topic has been debated at different levels of government. Different governments around the world have come together, recognizing that as a world community we need to come up with progressive legislation among the member nations of the United Nations supporting a common goal. That common goal is to deal with the horrors of nuclear energy, the power of nuclear energy and the damage it could ultimately cause if it were used inappropriately.

Hollywood has made hundreds of millions of dollars producing movies based on the fear factor of the potential harm of nuclear fusion, including the ability to kill millions of people with just one dirty bomb or nuclear bomb. Previous generations have witnessed that in a world war, seeing just how horrific a nuclear bomb can be.

This is something that has been in the minds of many politicians and diplomats over the years as they have tried to come up with the best way to manage this very complicated and difficult issue. When we see organizations like the United Nations come to a conclusion and propose and support resolutions, we would expect the government to want to take action in a more timely fashion.

The bill that we have before us could have been introduced years ago. For whatever reasons, the government has not really acted on the issue. In fact, in principle, we in the Liberal Party support the bill going to committee stage so that we can hear some more technical presentations and make sure that we are moving in the right direction.

Suffice it to say, former Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin were leaders at the time in ensuring that Canada would be at the table and that our viewpoints would in fact be heard. I believe that through both Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin, at least in part, we were able to see these treaties come into play. I think that speaks volumes.

My NDP colleagues talk about how they believe in the importance of addressing the issue. Not only do Liberals believe in it, we have acted on it. Both Liberal prime ministers, predating the current Prime Minister, played a critical role in getting those treaties at least signed off by Canada and raised the concerns we would have in regard to the whole area of nuclear. There is the negative side, but there is somewhat of a positive side, and I will make some reference to that also.

This has been sitting on the back burner. It is encouraging that Senate has seen the value in bringing it forth and getting the ball rolling.

I appreciate that the Senate had the opportunity for some public meetings on the issue. I was quite pleased to see that some amendments were suggested. Former general Senator Dallaire provided some feed back on the importance of incorporating into an amendment something that would prohibit the making of radioactive devices. It is important that we recognize, as Senator Dallaire has, that even though we have Bill S-9, there is a need for us to be diligent as we go through the committee process, because there is the opportunity to make it better legislation.

Like the Senate, I would suggest the House vote in favour of the bill. I do not see it as controversial legislation. At the very least, let us see if we can pass it through second reading and ultimately get it to committee stage.

I am not the critic assigned to the bill, but I can assure the House that our critic for public safety has a great many thoughts and concerns that we would like to express at the committee stage, but most important, we would like to encourage the government to have an open mind in approaching the committee stage, with the idea that the bill can be improved upon.

It is important that we underscore the fact that Canada's efforts to combat nuclear terrorism fall into an overall framework of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. While it is still necessary, especially in implementing international agreements, Bill S-9 is insufficient if it is to constitute a significant part of Canada's efforts on this file.

The Liberal Party believes we could do more. In the past, Canada has demonstrated great leadership on the international scene, and this is one of those areas in which Canada has the potential to play a leadership role.

Many of the critical components to nuclear fusion comes from Canada. We have had a great many scientists who have trained and gained the knowledge that is necessary to become experts on the issue. In Manitoba the whole idea of nuclear power was greatly explored through Pinawa. A great deal of scientific work was done in regard to some of the positive ways we could use nuclear power, as an example. It generated not only economic activity, but it also provided a great deal of expertise.

Whether it is looking at the scientists we have in Canada, or political leadership and the experience gained, or Canada's role in the world in being able to have influence to speak out in forums like the United Nations, we can in fact make a difference. We have a lot more to contribute.

When we look at Bill S-9, it is important that it represent a domestic focus as well as our international obligations to contribute to the debate. The stronger we reflect on what we can do in Canada to improve our own situation I think will bode well when we sit down at those international tables. At the end of the day, we speak with a louder voice when we have done the work in our backyard.

I have made reference to the four resolutions, particularly the United Nations Security Council resolution 1373, which requires member states to adopt certain anti-terrorism legislation and policies. It calls upon member states to prevent and repress the financing of terrorist acts; freeze the financial resources available to terrorist organizations; suppress the supply of weapons to terrorist organizations; and deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts. It also calls upon member states to become party to and fully implement the relevant international conventions and protocols related to terrorism as soon as possible.

In Canada many of these acts were criminalized and reclassified as a terrorist activity as a result of the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act. Since then, amendments have been brought forward to that act.

We know through experience that we want to play a significant role in ensuring that terrorism, and the promotion of terrorism, is minimized and as much as possible. We want to prevent it from taking place. We want to prevent it from originating in Canada and prevent people who are residing in Canada to contribute in any fashion whatsoever to world terrorism.

I made reference earlier to the United Nations Security Council resolution 1540, which was adopted in 2004. It focused specifically on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It asked member states to take steps to prohibit non-state actors from acquiring nuclear weapons and to put in place additional controls on nuclear materials. It also asked member states to adopt and enforce effective domestic controls to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; adopt legislation to prevent the acquisition, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons by state and non-state actors; extend such criminal legislation to apply to citizens extraterritoriality; and include internal waters, territorial waters and air space in the territory for which nuclear weapons would be prohibited.

Each of these concepts are present in Bill S-9. Therefore, the principle of the bill is something I believe most, if not all members of the House, will see the merit in allowing it to go to committee.

However, just because the bill incorporates those concepts, we do not necessarily have to settle for that. As Senator Dallaire pointed out, there are other ways in which we can improve Bill S-9.

The other reference I made was in regard to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, better known as the ICSANT, adopted in 2005. It was the first international convention related to terrorism open for a signature after 9/11. It builds on both the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and International Conventions for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.

ICSANT is comprehensive and contains detailed language on what particular aspects of nuclear terrorism should be criminalized. ICSANT is the inspiration for the bulk of Bill S-9, as several articles are codified in Bill S-9, such as article 2, which outlines new offences created in section 82. Articles 4, 5 and 9 also all contribute to it.

It is important that we take note in terms of when that resolution was before the United Nations in 2005 and, in essence, asked that it take effect in June 2007. However, it does beg the question as to why we have waited so long in having this issue come before the House of Commons. One would have expected that the government would have had the support to pass such legislation.

It was interesting in one of the questions posed to the New Democratic Party in regard to why it was not passed at an earlier point, the speaker made reference to the fact that the NDP did not oppose the legislation. I suspect that had the government, two, three or four years ago, raised the issue with the opposition parties, there would have been the type of support necessary even to get it through a minority situation. I suspect that whether the House or Canadians are canvassed, we would find there is a need to not only support, but go beyond supporting and taking a proactive approach in dealing with issues of terrorism. If potential nuclear weapons, or chemical weapons, or weapons of mass destruction being used, I am sure there is an enormous amount of goodwill to protect the world community.

I think had the government genuinely wanted to see that pass, having a capable government House leader along with co-operative opposition House leaders, it would not have been a problem. It is a bit disappointing that it has taken as long as it has to come before us.

The last point I referenced about the United Nations was the amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which was done in 2005 at a diplomatic conference convened in July 2005, three months after the ICSANT opened for signature. The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material was signed in Vienna, Austria in March 1980. It is the only legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material and establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and the punishment of offences relating to nuclear material.

Given the age of the CPPNM, the 2005 meeting was meant to update and strengthen the CPPNM provisions. Therefore, the CPPNM amendment will require that states protect their nuclear facilities as well as nuclear material used, stored and transported domestically rather than protect only nuclear materials during international transport, as the CPPNM currently requires.

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10:50 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the Liberal member. He talked about a number of UN resolutions, including resolution 1373. As I recall, that resolution was passed in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, in 2001. Paragraph 3(e) of that resolution, for example, calls upon all states to increase co-operation and fully implement the relevant international conventions.

That resolution, on which all signatory states agreed, dates back to 2001. It is now 2012 and it will soon be 2013, which is the year when we will be able to ratify the two international conventions we are talking about today in connection with Bill S-9.

I wonder if the Liberal member could tell us about his party's view on the delays that occurred during the Parliaments that followed 2001 and have led us to an international stance that is not very rigorous and also does not project a good image of Canada.

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10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that back in 2001 it was obviously a very serious issue, not only at that time but even prior to the whole 9/11 incident. There was already a great deal of discussion about terrorism. At the time, Chrétien was the prime minister of Canada and played a role in trying to heighten the importance of getting some form of treaty signed through the United Nations. The Liberal Party has always been very supportive of the United Nations.

The resolution that the member is specifically referring to was back in 2001. It required member states to adopt certain anti-terrorism legislation and policies, including those to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts, freeze the financial resources available to terrorist organizations, suppress the supply of weapons to organizations, as well as deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support or commit terrorist acts. It also called on the member states to become party to and fully implement the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, as soon as possible.

Some of those items are fairly recent in terms of enactment in Canada's own Criminal Code. I believe even Bill S-7 might have attempted to deal with some of this. There is no doubt that the government has been negligent in not addressing some of those dated resolutions that were passed years ago.

Therefore, we could be doing more. Maybe we should be having a thorough review on those resolutions dealing with terrorism that have been passed, or those agreements that have been signed off, to see what more Canada could do, through the House of Commons, to ensure that we are not only signing agreements but actually implementing—

Nuclear Terrorism ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

There will be about six minutes left for questions and comments when the House returns to this matter after question period. We will now move on to statements by members.

The hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Algoma UniversityStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, this September Algoma University in St. Thomas, Ontario, welcomed its inaugural class. As the city's first university, Algoma offers a wealth of opportunity for residents of St. Thomas and the surrounding area.

Fittingly, the university has taken up residence in the old Wellington Street Public School, a heritage building where students have studied for over a century. Currently students have the opportunity to complete up to two years of an undergraduate degree. Courses are offered one at a time in three-week blocks allowing students to fully immerse themselves in course material.

Six years of planning went into this project and would not have been possible without the president of Algoma University, Dr. Richard Myers, the City of St. Thomas and Andrew Gunn, the executor of the Dorothy Palmer estate.

I would like to offer Algoma University a very warm welcome to St. Thomas. I look forward to watching it grow with our community.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the decade before I was elected I was negotiating reduced emission standards for Alberta electricity. In Alberta, electricity is essentially code for coal-fired power.

Industry, federal and provincial governments and environmentalists found consensus on cleaner standards, with one critical exception, reduction targets for greenhouse gases. Why? A federal election was looming. Some hoped the next government would delay action. We all know what happened in 2006. The government changed Canada's direction on climate change policy so quickly anyone watching was open to whiplash.

We were not the only ones to notice. By 2007, special envoys were dispatched to find out what had happened. Had Canadian scientists changed their positions or had the new government simply abandoned science? Every minister backpedalled on national and international commitments, mirrored in regressive laws, policies and omnibus budget bills.

Billions were gifted to coal power and oil sands to test CCS. Then coal companies pulled out. Why? With regulations exempting not-yet-built plants for another half century, why invest in reductions?

The Conservatives canned the national science advisor, cut loose the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. It was too much bad news. Their contempt for science is dangerous for our future. We need concrete action. The world's children deserve it.

AOE Arts CouncilStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to commemorate the silver jubilee of the AOE Arts Council.

The AOE Arts Council is one of the 300 dynamic community organizations in Ottawa—Orléans that I have the honour to represent in the House.

This organization has been successfully supporting, promoting and developing the arts scene in Ottawa for 25 years.

Executive director, Christine Tremblay, has been a catalyst in our community since the incorporation of AOE in 1987. The first recipient of the Order of Ottawa, she was instrumental in bringing the Shenkman Arts Centre to Orléans.

After 25 years at the helm of the AOE Arts Council, Ms. Tremblay is stepping down and will soon pass the torch to Micheline Joanisse.

Good luck with your new challenge, Micheline.

I also wish a happy anniversary to all the artists who are members of the AOE Arts Council and may these first 25 years be only the beginning of a great venture.

Before I sit down, I would like to thank the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and members from all corners of the House for their grace and good wishes over the last few weeks. I just want to reassure everyone, it was a big dig but they got it all.

Thank you very much.

HIV-AIDSStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, on World AIDS Day, we reflect on the millions of people in Canada and around the world living with HIV-AIDS and those who have lost their lives in the three decades since this deadly disease was first diagnosed.

Today, more than 34 million men, women and children, including nearly 7,000 Canadians, continue to fight for their lives and fight the stigma.

While HIV-AIDS is far more treatable today that it once was, more than half of those combatting the disease are without access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs and therapy.

We are saddened by the Conservative defeat of Bill C-398 this week.

HIV-AIDS does not discriminate. It does not respect boundaries. The search for a cure starts with embracing research and innovation. The B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, an innovative program of seek and treat, has seen a drop of 66% in new cases and lowered morbidity and mortality rates by 90%. The World Health Organization and UNAIDS hope this can be the answer to this world epidemic.

Operation Red NoseStatements By Members

November 30th, 2012 / 11 a.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the last eight years on weekends during the month of December in Newmarket and Aurora, Operation Red Nose has assisted partygoers unfit to drive with a safe alternative to get home.

A national volunteer program, Operation Red Nose is a free, designated driver service that will be held in 110 communities across Canada throughout this holiday season. Upon request, a team of three red nose volunteers will pick people up and drive them and their vehicle home safely. Last year across Canada 55,000 volunteers provided 81,000 rides.

As honorary chair for Operation Red Nose in Newmarket—Aurora, I encourage everyone to consider volunteering with their local team for a fun and rewarding experience.

I ask all members to join me in thanking the volunteers who, by giving their time, will help keep our communities safe this festive season.

Aerospace IndustryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Emerson report on the future of the aerospace industry confirms what the NDP has been saying for a long time: the government is not providing adequate support to this sector, which is essential to the greater Montreal area, the third largest aerospace hub after Seattle and Toulouse. For example, the public sector share of funding for aerospace research and development is three times higher in the United States than in Canada.

This gap will only grow wider since the Conservatives are cutting $500 million from their industrial research and development support programs.

Under the Conservatives, we are becoming increasingly dependent on the extraction and export of raw natural resources.

I sincerely hope that the Emerson report will shake the Conservatives out of their stupor. They need to realize that the aerospace industry—a $22 billion industry—helps make our entire economy soar.