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Canada’s place in world has been devalued and diminished: Canada-U.S. relationship weakened by waffling

By MacKay, Peter      
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PARLIAMENT HILL–I am pleased to see that the list of terrorist groups has been expanded now to 19 under the Criminal Code and Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. [The newly-listed groups are: the Abu Nidal Organization, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Sendero Luminoso organization]. I am concerned, however, by the inefficiencies and the fact that many things the government does these days are a constant public relations effort to garner the most attention, and it announces things three or four times. However, the addition of the entities is an indication of the depths to which we must now delve when seeking the security of Canadians, the very rights and freedoms that Canadians enjoy, and the fact that we can never take these issues lightly or take them for granted.

We are living in a brave new world, as the minister [Solicitor General Wayne Easter] himself has indicated. There can be no doubt that the balance of our collective right to security along with the individual’s rights and freedoms must be weighed, but in clear cases where the welfare of our citizens has been challenged, we must act. The minister talked about his government acting in a timely fashion. I could not disagree more. The minister stated that the addition of these three would have far-reaching implications. In that, he is correct.

I am encouraged by the minister’s announcement and glad to see that he is starting to listen to the concerns raised by the Progressive Conservative Party and others, and other Canadians, calling upon his government to react quickly and decisively when faced with information of this nature. Sadly, that was not the case when it involved Hezbollah.

It seems that the government has been dragged, kicking and screaming in many instances, to come forward with the action that we see today. Given the extremely disturbing information of the past few days with a call to arms by Osama bin Laden to the people of Iraq to engage in further terrorism against our neighbours, we see how real the threat is. Terrorism is not going to go away and terrorist organizations are not going to cease. We must remain vigilant in the face of grave danger.

This recent announcement of three new entities, bringing to 19 the total that have been banned in Canada, is at least a step in the right direction. Any form of terror or threat to human life, safety or security must be condemned in the strongest of terms. What we are talking about here is the ability to fundraise and funnel money to terrorist acts.

The snail’s pace with which the government has acted in the past is disturbing, Hesbollah being the most obvious example. These organizations operate in the shadows. Once money is collected there are often very few ways to track the money and see what it is being used for in the final analysis. The decision to take action and combat these groups should be welcomed, however the minister’s statement is that the government is working closely with the international community, and in particular our good neighbours to the south. This is a message I do not believe many Canadians will accept.

Under the Liberal government, Canada’s place in the world has been devalued and diminished. Our relationship with the United States has been weakened by the government’s policy of never missing an opportunity to criticize, waffle or belittle our most important and closest ally. The government has been anything but timely, diligent, comprehensive or balanced in its approach.

Americans and Canadians have seen what the Liberals have done to our military and our international reputation. Cuts to the police, Coast Guard and the Armed Forces, and the elimination of ports police are the real stories. They have starved the Armed Forces to the point where they are no longer taken seriously when most important decisions are made.

Canada has the 9th largest economy in the world, but in the year 2000 our defence expenditures represented 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product, ranking us 17th of NATO countries, somewhere in the range of Luxembourg.

The government and its lacklustre performance has made Canada invisible on the world stage. Listing is a start but lagging along, waiting for public opinion, and for polls to crystallize is not the way in which Canada should be operating.

The government needs to do more than just spout rhetoric on how we deal with terrorism. While we welcome the action of the minister, we must remain cognizant of the fact that the Liberal government has done little else.

Tory MP Peter MacKay represents Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, N.S. and is his party’s national security critic. This is an edited version of the speech he delivered in the House of Commons on Feb. 12.

PARLIAMENT HILL–I am pleased to see that the list of terrorist groups has been expanded now to 19 under the Criminal Code and Canada’s Anti-Terrorism Act. [The newly-listed groups are: the Abu Nidal Organization, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Sendero Luminoso organization]. I am concerned, however, by the inefficiencies and the fact that many things the government does these days are a constant public relations effort to garner the most attention, and it announces things three or four times. However, the addition of the entities is an indication of the depths to which we must now delve when seeking the security of Canadians, the very rights and freedoms that Canadians enjoy, and the fact that we can never take these issues lightly or take them for granted.

We are living in a brave new world, as the minister [Solicitor General Wayne Easter] himself has indicated. There can be no doubt that the balance of our collective right to security along with the individual’s rights and freedoms must be weighed, but in clear cases where the welfare of our citizens has been challenged, we must act. The minister talked about his government acting in a timely fashion. I could not disagree more. The minister stated that the addition of these three would have far-reaching implications. In that, he is correct.

I am encouraged by the minister’s announcement and glad to see that he is starting to listen to the concerns raised by the Progressive Conservative Party and others, and other Canadians, calling upon his government to react quickly and decisively when faced with information of this nature. Sadly, that was not the case when it involved Hezbollah.

It seems that the government has been dragged, kicking and screaming in many instances, to come forward with the action that we see today. Given the extremely disturbing information of the past few days with a call to arms by Osama bin Laden to the people of Iraq to engage in further terrorism against our neighbours, we see how real the threat is. Terrorism is not going to go away and terrorist organizations are not going to cease. We must remain vigilant in the face of grave danger.

This recent announcement of three new entities, bringing to 19 the total that have been banned in Canada, is at least a step in the right direction. Any form of terror or threat to human life, safety or security must be condemned in the strongest of terms. What we are talking about here is the ability to fundraise and funnel money to terrorist acts.

The snail’s pace with which the government has acted in the past is disturbing, Hesbollah being the most obvious example. These organizations operate in the shadows. Once money is collected there are often very few ways to track the money and see what it is being used for in the final analysis. The decision to take action and combat these groups should be welcomed, however the minister’s statement is that the government is working closely with the international community, and in particular our good neighbours to the south. This is a message I do not believe many Canadians will accept.

Under the Liberal government, Canada’s place in the world has been devalued and diminished. Our relationship with the United States has been weakened by the government’s policy of never missing an opportunity to criticize, waffle or belittle our most important and closest ally. The government has been anything but timely, diligent, comprehensive or balanced in its approach.

Americans and Canadians have seen what the Liberals have done to our military and our international reputation. Cuts to the police, Coast Guard and the Armed Forces, and the elimination of ports police are the real stories. They have starved the Armed Forces to the point where they are no longer taken seriously when most important decisions are made.

Canada has the 9th largest economy in the world, but in the year 2000 our defence expenditures represented 1.2 per cent of gross domestic product, ranking us 17th of NATO countries, somewhere in the range of Luxembourg.

The government and its lacklustre performance has made Canada invisible on the world stage. Listing is a start but lagging along, waiting for public opinion, and for polls to crystallize is not the way in which Canada should be operating.

The government needs to do more than just spout rhetoric on how we deal with terrorism. While we welcome the action of the minister, we must remain cognizant of the fact that the Liberal government has done little else.

Tory MP Peter MacKay represents Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough, N.S. and is his party’s national security critic. This is an edited version of the speech he delivered in the House of Commons on Feb. 12.

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