IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ on public safety & civil liberties of all Cdns, will the govt agree to meaningful consultation w all parties, transparency?

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    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, nous avons tous vécu les événements tragique de cette semaine. Et pour répondre à ces événements tragiques, on doit avoir une approche qui permet à la fois de protéger les libertés civiles et la sécurité des Canadiens. Il s'agit des deux responsabilités fondamentales de notre Parlement.

    Quel est le plan de ce gouvernement pour faire face à ce défi?

    Ms. Roxanne James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for that question. As we witnessed this past week, with the attacks against our Canadian Armed Forces and against our institutions of government, it is a stark reminder that we are not immune to the threat of terrorism and that we face the same challenges as do our allies.

    Is it also important to note that, as Canadians, we cherish certain things in this country: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. That is why any legislation dealing with respect to this, coming in future weeks, will make sure that we take into consideration and balance the appropriate measures on both sides.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I thank the government for its response, but I would like to be clear. When it comes to responding to this week's tragic events, we have to proceed carefully and thoughtfully, and in the spirit of co-operation. We must take advice, of course, from security authorities, and we must engage Canadians, but we must ensure that our actions protect both public safety and civil liberties.

    Will the government agree to meaningful consultation with all parties in the House, and will the government ensure that we preserve fundamental Canadian values?

    Ms. Roxanne James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, our government is committing to ensuring that our national security agencies have the tools that they need to be able to track terrorists, whether abroad or here in this country.

    As we talk about these specific issues, it is important to note that this type of legislation will be tabled in the House very shortly. There will be robust debate from all sides and political parties on this particular issue.

    The threat from terrorism, as you know, Mr. Speaker, is more complex and diffuse. Now, more than ever, a radical individual or group of motivated extremists with access to technology can do significant harm to Canada from thousands of miles away. That is why we are introducing that legislation.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we are asking for consultation. We cannot let this event divide us. Canadians believe in our country, and we have built an inclusive country that finds its strength in tolerance and diversity.

    Canada's Muslim community joins all Canadians in condemning the cowardly and despicable acts of this disturbed individual. We must ensure that no community or group in Canada is targeted with hate or violence.

    Can the government inform the House about its efforts to reach out to our Muslim friends and neighbours across Canada?

    Ms. Roxanne James (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is important to note and respect the comments of the opposition member. As you know, hate in this country is something that we do not want to spread, and we want to make sure that when we talk about terrorist attacks and so forth that we are talking about the individuals that have committed these atrocities abroad and here in Canada.

    I would like to thank the member for that question.