Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time.
As mentioned a number of times, Bill S-9 deals with nuclear terrorism.
I acknowledge the importance of this threat, but I would like to analyze the issue from another angle and emphasize diplomacy and international collaboration. This bill will change our domestic policy so that Canada can ratify two very important treaties.
I rarely rely on notes, but as I am not an expert, I will consult them for the names of these treaties. We are talking about the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
The objective of these two conventions is to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and, as we are discussing, nuclear terrorism. The work is carried out within the United Nations and through multilateral relations.
I will focus on this aspect because when I communicate with the people of my riding, Chambly—Borduas, we often discuss Canada's international reputation, which is losing its lustre. Some decisions made by CIDA and the Department of Foreign Affairs are not in keeping with the expectations of the international community.
The very significant threat of nuclear terrorism is not the only reason why the NDP is pleased to support this bill. We are also encouraged by the fact that this bill appears to be a step towards ratifying multilateral conventions.
My colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie and my colleague from Ottawa Centre, our international relations and foreign affairs critics, often say that the NDP attaches great importance to multilateral relations. That has always been true. We could even say that about free trade, for example.
We are very pleased to see that Bill S-9 takes a step towards ratifying these multilateral conventions.
There is still one problem, and the member for St. John's East alluded to it earlier in his speech. Canada did not get a seat on the United Nations Security Council, which was a first. That clearly demonstrates just how much respect the international community has lost for Canada. It is a serious issue. A lot of work needs to be done to rebuild our reputation and continue moving in the right direction. Passing measures to ratify these types of conventions is one way we can do that.
A number of countries have not yet ratified these conventions, and a certain number must ratify before they can be implemented. That is why Canada's work is so important. Despite the fact that the respect the international community once had for Canada is plummeting, our counterparts from other countries who sit with us at the United Nations or other organizations still have a great deal of respect for Canada. If we ratify these conventions quickly, we can encourage other countries to do the same, in the hopes of reaching the required minimum.
In 2014, the Netherlands will host a summit to discuss this issue. It will be a wonderful opportunity to talk with other countries, explain the steps we have taken and use the respect other countries have for us in order to encourage them to follow our lead.
Hopefully we can move forward with these important measures.
I must explain that the notion of nuclear terrorism has changed quite a bit. Long before I was born, we had the cold war, as my colleague from St. John's East explained. Now, nuclear terrorism is changing a lot, and the international community has to adapt.
Take, for example, one of the conventions I mentioned that applies to this discussion. This convention was signed in 1980. It was then amended in 2005 because the reality of nuclear terrorism around the world has drastically changed in the past 25 years. So this is something we need to look at. If Canada can play a role in addressing this multilateral issue, we would be very happy to support any domestic measures necessary to move forward with Bill S-9.
As many of my colleagues have mentioned, it is important to note that Bill S-9 addresses a pressing issue. If the topic is so important, if the Minister of Justice thinks that this issue is so important and he is so proud of the outcome, as he said in the Senate committee, why was this bill not introduced in the House? Not to mention that it took a long time. This issue has been dragging on since 2005. The fact that the Senate finally decided to act on something so important is a huge problem.
Last evening, we voted on our motion to abolish the Senate. The Liberals and the Conservatives unfortunately continued to support the institution, which is suffering from institutional arthritis. The fact remains that we must refocus on what we have to do here in this House. If we want to continue to make progress on international affairs, it should not be done in the Senate. It should be done here, in the House, with the elected members who are in the best position to do so.
Since I have this opportunity to discuss diplomatic relations issues, I would like to refer to my own relevant personal experience. I studied political science at McGill University not so long ago. Many people say that political science is not very applicable to actual politics. I do not quite agree with that and I would like to explain why. Even though we are talking specifically about nuclear materials, I believe in the importance of multilateral relations as a general philosophy.
This has to do with the tragedy of the commons, a very important concept in international relations. Allow me to explain. When several countries come together to try to solve a problem, such as climate change, and when all of them expect some other country to make the first move, that is the tragedy of the commons. Nobody does anything because everybody expects somebody else to do something.
Families may experience the same thing. Everybody wants the house to be clean. Everybody expects the little brother or the mother to do the cleaning, but in the end nobody does it. The same concept applies to international relations. Good, strong multilateral relations are critical to preventing these problems. That is true of the issue before us today, nuclear terrorism, and of all other issues.
That is why we are happy to support this bill. This gives us hope that the government will fall into line and continue in this direction. Let us hope that this is a sign of things to come. For the time being, we will support this bill, in the hope that this government will take further measures to restore and reassert Canada's once-excellent reputation on the international stage, a reputation that has suffered so much lately.
I will say in closing that, in 2015, the New Democratic government will work very hard to restore Canada's excellent international reputation. The member for Ottawa Centre and my esteemed colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie have a lot to offer in that respect.