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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament November 2009, as Bloc MP for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Truth in Sentencing Act April 20th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague from Hochelaga said, the Bloc supports the bill, since we have been calling for it for a very long time. We know that eliminating the possibility of counting time spent in custody as double time may add to pressure on the justice system. Is the minister prepared to take the necessary measures to ensure that once this clause comes into force, cases will be dealt with more expeditiously?

March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has asked why we would not wait for the American government's decision. The reply was given in this place by the three opposition parties. As a leader, Canada's role in this case is to ensure that Mr. Khadr is returned to Canada as soon as possible because he was a child soldier. Canada is not exercising leadership and this is harming its international reputation. This is not a matter of being partisan.

The majority of members in this House want Mr. Khadr to be returned to Canada to face our judicial process. The U.S. President has suspended the commissions that were to try these individuals because they were not considered to be objective enough.

Could the government not take this under advisement and exercise the leadership that it has refused to date?

March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, on February 12, 2009, one week before U.S. President Obama's visit, I drew the government's attention to the fact that Omar Khadr, a child soldier, was still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. It is now the end of March, and nothing has changed.

Let us take a few moments to reflect on this situation. This young man, who was arrested, who is a child soldier and who has been detained for several years in Guantanamo Bay, which President Obama will close, continues to live a difficult and intolerable situation, a situation that was condemned by the three opposition parties, by Amnesty International and by the Canadian Bar Association.

We did not ask for his release. What we asked for, what we are asking for and what we will continue to ask for, even if the government seems inflexible, it that this young man be repatriated to Canada to face the relevant judicial proceedings, if authorities feel that he should be prosecuted. Some very constructive proposals were made by his lawyer and by families from the region where he was living, here in Canada. These people suggested that he be sent home, so that he can resume his life and be properly reintegrated into society. However, we see absolutely no will on the part of the Conservative government to go that route.

Yet, since I asked that question, European governments have agreed on a process to repatriate to Europe the European nationals who are incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay. They found a way. Mr. Khadr is the only citizen from a western country who has yet to be repatriated. This means that the government is still not respecting its international commitment under the convention on child soldiers.

This evening, I am merely asking the Conservative government again if, after a careful review and after taking into consideration all the relevant factors, it might not be appropriate for it to finally take action so that Mr. Khadr can be repatriated to face the justice system and, eventually, to reintegrate our society. Is this not the way to operate in a case like that?

Moreover, we got confirmation that he was tortured. Should the change of attitude of the U.S. government not be reflected here? While it listens to President Obama regarding many other issues, the Conservative government remains unmoved when it comes to this matter. Will it finally do the right thing for Mr. Khadr and, more importantly, for Canada's international reputation?

Committees of the House March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to support the unanimous position of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, which is the same position taken previously by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights. We need to recognize the exceptional sensitivity demonstrated by that committee, on which the Bloc is represented by the member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. The committee report sheds light on an unacceptable situation that must be reported. It does not question Iran's history as a great society, with the highs and lows that every country experiences. But this is a particular situation that must be brought to light. It is the responsibility of this Parliament and every parliament on the planet. We have to be very sensitive to human rights abuses. History has taught us that ignoring human rights abuses has a snowball effect, so we have to make sure that we are sensitive and on the alert and that human rights are respected.

The Bloc Québécois is obviously in favour of adopting this report by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, because the Bloc Québécois, like the other parties in this House, condemns the persecution of people because of their religious affiliation, ethnicity, language or sexual orientation. In this case, it is a question of religious affiliation.

In all friendship, we call on the Iranian government to put a stop to its discrimination against the Baha'is. Iran has international obligations under international conventions it has signed. In recent weeks, we have seen that the new American President and others are open to dialogue with Iran. This issue must be addressed with that same openness, but it is important not to hide the facts and to speak the truth and say what needs to be changed.

In the case of the imprisonment of seven Baha'is, the Iranian government must ensure that they have a fair, balanced, prompt and transparent trial so that their situation may be resolved as quickly as possible. We know that, often, when light is shed on such matters by NGOs or parliaments, as we are doing this evening, issues are resolved because the specific sensibilities raised are reported internationally through diplomatic efforts or by the media. Awareness is heightened and this prevents situations from deteriorating. That is to some extent the objective of the committee.

The House of Commons recognized that, on May 14, 2008, six members of a group known as the Friends of Iran, which is responsible for the needs of the Baha'i community in Iran, were arrested and jailed as political prisoners in Evin prison in Tehran. The seventh member was already being detained there after being arrested in March 2008.

In October 2005, the United Nations human rights commission uncovered a confidential letter from the command headquarters of the armed forces of Iran ordering that all Baha'is be identified and their activities monitored. Thus, the Baha'is were targeted. This is a dangerous practice and we must absolutely put a stop to it. The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion stated, on March 20, 2006, that she “also expresses her concern that the information gathered as a result of such monitoring will be used as a basis for the increased persecution of and discrimination against, members of the Bahá’í Faith, in violation of international standards... The Special Rapporteur is concerned that this latest development indicates that the situation with regard to religious minorities in Iran is, in fact, deteriorating.” It is with this in mind that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development adopted the report we are debating this evening.

Clearly, the Baha’i community in Canada is concerned about the safety of these seven Baha’i individuals being detained with no formal charges against them and without access to a lawyer or the evidence against them. They are being subject to harsh treatment and interrogations, with very restricted visitation rights, all for the past nine months. Tonight's debate is meant to tell those people, even though they cannot hear us directly, that we hope they will be treated fairly and equitably by the Iranian government.

In addition, Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, who announced her intention to defend the Baha’is in court, has been subjected to harassment and has had to close her offices. Our vigilance is therefore justified and must be maintained. The deputy prosecutor general has announced that these prisoners will be tried by the Revolutionary court on charges of “espionage on behalf of Israel, insult to the sacredness (of Islam) and propaganda against the regime”, all of which are capital offences.

It seems to us that these charges are frequently used by Iranian authorities to target human rights defenders and religious minorities and there is nothing in the history or teachings of the Baha’i community to lend any credence to such charges.

I do not wish to draw any unwarranted parallels, but 50 years ago in Quebec, we saw these kind of excesses in connection with Protestants and Jehovah's Witnesses. The situation was later corrected, thanks to vigilance and the defence of human rights in Quebec and in Canada, in order to ensure that such situations never happen again. In this case, we hope that Iran will take a similar approach, and that our message will be clearly heard in parliament. It is not a question of trying to teach the Iranian government a lesson, but to show it once again that people are aware of this issue.

Therefore, be it resolved that this House condemns the ongoing persecution of the Bahá’í minority of Iran and calls upon the government of Iran to reconsider its charges against the members of the Friends in Iran, and release them immediately or failing this, that it proceed to trial without further delay, ensuring that the proceedings are open and fair and are conducted in the presence of international observers.

It is with these considerations in mind that the motion was passed, and we hope that it will be respected.

It is important that those who are watching us understand that the Baha’i religion has close to 6 million adherents in 235 countries. So, we are talking about a religion that is well recognized. It is one of the youngest religions among the world's major religions. It started in Iran, in 1844. It evolved from the Shia branch of Islam. I do not want to get into the details of the evolution of that religion but, for its members, God is a transcendental and unknowable entity. Prophets are successive and divine manifestations, not incarnations. The Baha’i religion recognizes the prophets of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the Baha’ullah begins the Baha’i cycle, when other prophets will come.

We can see the general spirit that is found in the major religions, and in other religions in general. That spirit is based on respect for others. No religion is exempt from excesses. Such excesses are found in all religions but, fortunately, history shows that we regularly go back to the essence of religions. We hope that tolerance will develop and that we will succeed in setting aside the excesses that lead to consequences that are more or less acceptable.

Baha’is have been persecuted almost since the emergence of that religion, during the 19th century. In 1933, the Baha’i literature was banned in Iran, and Baha’i marriages were not recognized. So, Baha’is had to put up with a degree of intolerance. After the Islamic Revolution, people lost their jobs and many even lost their lives because of their religious faith.

In light of this situation, we want the Iranian government to know that not only do the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development support the report that was tabled, but that the House of Commons also supports it. We want the House to transmit this report, because that would be an additional recognition. This report should also spur the Canadian government into making more specific representations regarding this issue.

It is important to remember that Iran has signed a number of international treaties that protect the rights of religious minorities, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. All these conventions protect religious minorities against discrimination and persecution. Iran is also a member of the UN, and as I said earlier, we have seen a change in attitude on the part of the UN in the wake of the new U.S. President's openness.

We hope this constructive approach will spread and that what we are doing today in this House about this situation will translate into a series of actions by other countries and will lead to a change in behaviour and a tolerance that is more befitting societies as we would like them to be in the 21st century. Tolerance is a truly important societal value in Quebec and Canada, and it is also valued around the world. Clearly, we must avoid thinking that we are white and the other side is black. We must also make sure that our own country practises tolerance.

In this case, we are not talking about a solution abroad. It is up to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development to raise these sorts of issues when they come up. It is interesting to see the consensus and the unanimous positions of both the human rights committee and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on common values. In view of that consensus, we ask that this report be concurred in.

Foreign Affairs March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, the department is creating obstacles to block Mr. Abdelrazik's repatriation. We are calling on the department to remove his name from the no-fly list—United Nations resolution 1267—before he will be authorized to enter Canada. However, despite that list, United Nations Security Council resolution 1390 stipulates that no state shall deny its own nationals entry into its territories.

Why is the government denying Mr. Abdelrazik's entry into Canada? Why is the government reversing its position?

Foreign Affairs March 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the predecessor of the current Minister of Foreign Affairs asked that Mr. Abdelrazik's name be removed from the no-fly list after the RCMP and CSIS cleared him of all criminal or terrorist activity. Yet today, he is being denied an emergency passport, which would allow him to enter Canada.

Can the minister explain why Canadian authorities have changed their position?

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Madam Speaker, in terms of human rights, this case poses a serious challenge to Canada's reputation even though in several other files we have conducted ourselves appropriately.

I would nevertheless like to state that, at the end of the day, we are talking about a human being whose rights have been violated. In our society, we have in the past worked to equip ourselves with the tools, such as the charters and other mechanisms, to protect these rights. In this case—I should have added this to my response earlier—we are faced with a situation where there is a reversal of the onus of proof. It is as though we were saying that he is guilty even before he is convicted.

The Conservatives' approach must be corrected. I believe the House will give a very clear message reflecting the views of Quebec and Canadian citizens, namely that Omar Khadr should be brought back to Canada because his rights as a Canadian citizen must be respected.

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Madam Speaker, we live in a country that is the product of English criminal law. We have the Civil Code in Quebec. One long-held basic principle is that when someone is arrested, they must be charged as soon as possible and they cannot be detained if authorities cannot demonstrate a reasonable motive for detaining them.

In this case, when the Guantanamo facility was initially created because of the emergency situation, people sat back and watched, but months and years have since passed. Several years went by without any charges. Then a process was put in place. That process has now been suspended. The Canadian government's responsibility in that regard is not to say whether the American approach was good or bad. However, the fact is a Canadian citizen was caught up in this process, a child soldier who could have had his rights restored if the government had asked that he be repatriated from the beginning, so he could have defended his rights and assumed his responsibilities. In that sense, the Conservative government definitely went against everything that we regard as common practice.

There is a parallel of sorts between this situation and the federal government's refusal to defend a man sentenced to death in the United States. The death penalty has been abolished here and the Conservative government says it depends whether the individual was sentenced in a democracy or in a country that is not considered democratic, where it is unacceptable. The same is true for this case. The law must apply to everyone exactly the same way. I think that is important.

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his views. I agree with him that Canada has been a leader in certain situations, for example, landmines. As for child soldiers, in many files, we have shown leadership.

Our current behaviour is spoiling a large part of these efforts and our international reputation. There is a flagrant contradiction between the Canadian government's approach—I would even say the approach of the Quebec and Canadian public—and the case of Omar Khadr.

My colleague said earlier that he has met child soldiers and that the primary reason they become child soldiers was economics. He is repeating the Prime Minister's faulty interpretation. It is not our place to analyze why Omar Khadr became a child soldier. He is a child soldier. From the moment we say that he is a child soldier, he should be treated as one. The federal government should not consider the severity of his crimes or the context in which they were committed—it should simply recognize his status as a child soldier.

From that point on, he would receive fair treatment. However, he will only get fair treatment once the Conservative government recognizes Mr. Khadr's status as a child soldier and repatriates him. Thus, we can rebuild our international reputation concerning this particular aspect, since the Conservative government's stubbornness has damaged this reputation.

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to speak to this motion. I congratulate the member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek on raising this matter for debate, as I believe it is very important to get the government moving on it.

The first two interventions—that of the member moving the motion and that of the member for Mount Royal—touched on a fundamental point in this file, which we will articulate. The government must recognize that mistakes can be made from time to time in life and correct them.

The position taken in the matter of Omar Khadr dates from a period in which the ties between the Bush administration and the administration of the present Prime Minister were exceedingly close. Major changes have, however, taken place in the meantime and are being promoted by both the new American president and international experts in the matter of Omar Khadr. The government should note that. I hope the debate in this House today will lead the government to change its position.

We will remember that Omar Khadr is a young man, a Canadian citizen, born in September 1986. He was taken to Afghanistan by his parents and was captured by American forces in July 2002. He was 15 at the time and was therefore a child soldier.

He was taken prisoner following a battle between American and insurgent forces. In the course of the battle, one soldier died, Sergeant Christopher J. Speer, as did two Pashto translators. The facts are not in dispute. It is not a matter of defending someone, of saying they committed no crime. That point is unknown, as he was never sentenced in court. He was imprisoned at Guantanamo, and, over a number of years, waited for legal proceedings pursuant to his arrest. In the end, the court proceedings were suspended by President Obama.

Let us come back to the situation. In its report, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development states that the Subcommittee on International Human Rights did not receive evidence on the precise circumstances of how Mr. Khadr came to be involved in the battle at which he was captured, or of how he came to be associated with al-Qaeda. There are no facts to confirm the connection with al-Qaeda and there never have been any.

In fact, there is no precise information on the context in which Mr. Khadr was taken prisoner. In the battle, Mr. Khadr was wounded and was subsequently treated at the military hospital. From there, he was transferred to prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, and detained at Delta camp.

Omar Khadr has been detained at Guantanamo since 2002. He waited five years for charges to be laid against him. He was arrested at age 15 and spent five years in prison, but there was no trial during that whole time.

If we had a young person in that situation here in Canada, someone who had been arrested and sat in prison for five years without a trial and was still in prison, I do not think that anyone in Canadian society would tolerate it. The Conservative government is alone in its stand and we cannot comprehend its stubborn refusal to change it.

In November 2005, Mr. Khadr was accused of war crimes by a military commission. In June 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States ended this commission because it had no legislative authority. In September 2006, Congress gave the commission the legislative tools it needed to address war crimes. Then the commissions were suspended once Mr. Obama was elected.

Omar Khadr was charged with the following: murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder and conspiracy—all under circumstances where he was a child soldier. The convention on child soldiers clearly states that it is in order to manage this type of situation that the international convention was passed in the first place.

But the Prime Minister himself does not seem to know this international convention very well because he declared that Mr. Khadr could not be considered protected by the convention because he was not part of a regular army.

However, the convention is in place to ensure that any rebel military group perpetrating acts of violence cannot use child soldiers and that, if it does, these children will be given the maximum opportunity to be reintegrated into society once removed from these groups.

The Prime Minister has displayed crass ignorance with respect to this convention. If his personal knowledge was lacking, he should have sought information because he has shown by his ignorance that he was not up to his responsibilities in this context.

In May 2008, Omar Khadr's Canadian lawyers said their client needed medical attention and psychological support as a result of his detention. As I said, at the request of President Barack Obama, the military commission responsible for ruling on Omar Khadr's case has suspended its hearings for 120 days.

At the same time, the American president also declared that he would close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year. The Canadian government says it wants to establish a good relationship with the U.S. administration. It could have started by telling the American president that it was willing to repatriate Mr. Khadr, bring him back to Canada, and determine whether he should be put through the judicial process, in other words, charged, tried and convicted, if necessary. The United States would therefore have had one less prisoner at the Guantanamo facility, a Canadian citizen who has been detained there without charge for several years. Had the federal government done this, it would have been an excellent diplomatic gesture. It refused and has drawn criticism from the vast majority of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Three years ago, a survey showed that 47% of people were against the repatriation of Mr. Khadr. In 2009, more than 60% of people are in favour of his repatriation. With time, people have come to realize how inappropriate a place Guantanamo was and that something must be done. Mr. Obama's election clearly demonstrated that. Of all the choices the American people have made, their decision to return to the rule of law and to act as quickly as possible when prosecuting someone was certainly an important one. Past centuries have seen huge battles for habeas corpus, so that individuals would be brought before the court as soon as possible after their arrest, thereby preventing unjustified arrests.

In this case, in the 21st century, it is truly an aberration for an individual to be jailed for five years without any formal charges being brought against him. When there was a formal charge, the commission tasked with the investigation was suspended and there is still no possibility of Mr. Khadr going to trial in the short term. The opposition parties are not the only ones to ask the government to take action. Amnesty International and the Canadian Bar have also taken a stand: they are concerned about human rights, respect for the law and for the rule of law. The Conservative government continues to take a position opposed to that of the entire population, which wants the case to be heard as quickly as possible.

It is very difficult to understand why the Conservative government did not seize the opportunity provided. It could have decided to bring Omar Khadr back to Canada and to conduct a trial if necessary. He has been through quite the judicial process. There is nothing but stubbornness behind the Conservative position.

Does this also reflect the Conservative government's view on how to deal with young offenders? I have always believed that the international policies adopted by a country reflect its domestic policies. Canada has never managed to give 0.7% of its GDP to international aid and, similarly, has never been able to adequately reform employment insurance.

In this case, it is a matter of someone who can be accused of having been a young offender. Such a person would deserve to go before the court and be judged. We will see what the outcome is. Rehabilitation might prove necessary. A highly productive approach has been submitted by Mr. Khadr's counsels in conjunction with people from the surrounding community and family members in Ontario. Mr. Khadr himself has agreed to not necessarily being returned to his family but being instead taken in by other people and taking advantage of activities to reintegrate him with society. This young man has not had an easy time of it. If he came back to Canada tomorrow morning, if the federal government decided to repatriate him, he likely would not be able to re-enter society just like that, from one day to the next. Counsel for Mr. Khadr has foreseen this and they have informed Foreign Affairs authorities accordingly. They even wanted to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs but a meeting like that has been very hard to organize. Even today, however, we know that a hand has been outstretched and that, if the Canadian government did decide to repatriate Mr. Khadr, a reintegration plan is in place and he would be required to face charges if appropriate.

No one has ever wanted him to be absolved of his mistakes or for the situation to be treated as if it never happened. Everyone agrees on his return to Canada, with the exception of the Conservative government, and on his facing the appropriate legal procedures set out in our legislation. That is what we are calling for.

There is a basic legal principle that consists of allowing a person be tried as soon as possible. That principle has not been respected in this case. As I said, the majority of Canadians are now in favour of the repatriation of Omar Khadr. In an Ipsos Reid poll held in January 2009, 64% of respondents were in favour of his repatriation, while in an Angus Reid poll in June 2007, some 47% of Canadians were against it. The response to that might be that we cannot govern by polls alone, but if we talk to those who analyze case law, the Canadian Bar for instance, we realize that the Conservative government really has no reason to maintain its position.

The Conservatives' position is weak, because they do not recognize that Mr. Khadr is a child soldier. He was a child of 15 when he was captured by American troops. The Conservative government has always refused to recognize Omar Khadr as a child soldier. In January, the Prime Minister denied that he was. Canada has signed a number of international conventions on the rights of children and child soldiers. A child is defined as every human being under the age of 18. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child requires that:

Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity...in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child's best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances.

Yet Omar Khadr has been held from the start in an adult prison.

The same convention also provides that states parties shall ensure that “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Mr. Khadr has alleged that he has been tortured, and Canadian courts have also recognized that.

We have a situation where there is a child soldier, but the federal government denies his status as a child soldier. We want today's motion for concurrence in the report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and this debate in the House to prompt the government to change its position. There is still time to get the outcome the committee proposed.

There is no legislative provision that allows the special commission responsible for trying Mr. Khadr to distinguish between a normal soldier and a child soldier. President Obama will either suspend this military commission permanently or allow it to continue, but from what we know about this commission, the judges cannot make such a distinction, and that will have a significant impact on this young man's life.

Canada's position on Omar Khadr must comply with international law. We believe that the appeal made by the three opposition party leaders in a letter to the Prime Minister, the debate today, the report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and the report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights all show that there is a consensus in Quebec in this regard. All that is missing is the government itself. The government should take a hard look at this. The Conservatives have already decided to make major changes to their way of doing things. They used to be totally ideological non-interventionists, but then they realized in view of the economic realities that they had to invest more and run deficits. The Conservative government changed direction on the economy, and we hope it will go much further and much faster.

When it comes to human rights, though, there has been no change. The message from all sides is clear, however, and change is what everyone wants.

Canada aspires to a seat on the UN Security Council. When the candidacies of the various countries are assessed, the quality of our democratic life in Canada will obviously be considered, as well as our actions on the international stage.

The way we are treating a child soldier will surely be a black mark on Canada’s record. The government has refused to repatriate him, obstinately hiding behind the pretext that he has been accused of serious crimes. Young people can be accused of serious crimes in Canada, but we have a method of dealing with them under young offenders legislation. The same applies internationally through the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines what a child soldier is. The Canadian government should have taken all this into account.

I will conclude with some comments on the position of the hon. member for Mount Royal. A little while ago, a Conservative member asked him whether he knew, when he was in government, that young Khadr was 15 years old. This was basically a trap to get him to say that his position was the same as theirs when he was in government. I quite liked the answer of the hon. member, who said he had expressed some reservations from the very beginning but, most of all, there are times in life when we have to be able to change our opinion. The Liberal Party has changed its opinion now and the NDP and the Bloc Québécois continue their defence of this case.

We are Quebec sovereignists. We are in the Canadian federal Parliament and we want to see the positive tradition of Canada's heritage respected, particularly where the defence of human rights and international presence are concerned. When Quebec becomes a sovereign country, we will be able to continue that tradition. While we remain here, we are defending the interests of Quebec, and defence of the interests of Quebec goes beyond what is happening in the rest of Canada. It is also linked to ensuring the quality of our reputation abroad and the way Canada's legislation and international commitments are respected. That respect is not evident in the present context.

Unfortunately, it is not simply a matter of economic issues or principles. This is about the quality of life of a person who has spent several years in prison without formal legal proceedings. When proceedings were held, they were not concluded. We are now faced with a situation in which a young person, whether found guilty or innocent, will need to be reintegrated into society in either case. A plan has been put forward by his lawyers. It involves a collaborative approach. The only collaboration missing is that of the Conservative government, and that is what we hope to see fall into place once all the representations have been made.

We will also probably see from the vote that will conclude this debate in the House that the majority of members of the House want to see Mr. Khadr repatriated as soon as possible. That way, a blot will be removed from Canada's international record. The Conservative government must come to realize that it needs to keep its word internationally and handle this case as the majority of Quebeckers and Canadians want to see it handled: repatriation of Mr. Khadr as promptly as possible. This will also help to gradually reduce the number of detainees in Guantanamo with a view to its total closure, the final chapter in this tragic story we have been witnessing in recent years. Terrorism increased and there was a reaction to it, but we have always said that the best reaction to terrorism is through the rule of law. As far as this situation is concerned, the Conservative government is doing nothing to defend that concept.

Obviously, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of the debate triggered by the report. We wish to see it concurred in so everyone can quickly grasp the necessity for the Conservative government to make a move and adopt a far more dynamic and progressive position. They need to accept, as the Liberals did, that their opinion and position need to change and that Mr. Khadr needs to be repatriated as soon as possible.