Debates of The Senate

Hon. Art Eggleton

Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 95
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker
Criminal Code
Bill to Amend—Second Reading—Debate Continued

On the Order:
Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Grafstein, seconded by the Honourable Senator Ferretti Barth, for the second reading of Bill S-43, to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings).—(Honourable Senator Eggleton, P.C.)

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable senators, I rise to briefly express my support for Bill S-43, an amendment to the Criminal Code which would, for greater clarity, as its sponsor indicates, add the words "suicide bombing" to a prohibited terrorist activity.
I want to, first, express my appreciation and congratulations to Senator Grafstein who has introduced this bill and advanced solid arguments for it to be supported by members of this chamber. Yesterday, we heard a very eloquent dissertation from Senator Segal, our new senator from Kingston and the Islands, in support of this bill as well.

I want to add my voice — less eloquently, I am sure, than either of those honourable senators — in support of this particular amendment.
This subject has dominated our lives so much over the past few years. We read on a daily basis about these terrible crimes against innocent men, women and children in many different parts of the world. Every day we hear about the suicide bombings in Iraq or in the Middle East. We hear about it happening in many other parts of the world, including Bali and Chechnya. We also hear about it on our own continent, as we know all too well from the events of 9/11.

I think we view this particular act of terrorism — suicide bombing — in a different context than what we see occurring every day in Iraq. It is, nevertheless, a situation where people are convinced that for some reward in the afterlife, it is a good thing to destroy the lives of innocent people of different faiths, many of whom are Christians, Jews, Muslims or Hindus. The suicide bombers make no distinction in carrying out these terrible acts. They do not care about the people who are affected, including those who subscribe to much the same faith, even though in a much more moderate way.

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Once a suicide bomber has carried out that act, there is absolutely no provision in the Criminal Code of Canada or in the criminal provisions of any country to deal with that particular person. We know that these people do not act alone. We know that they are recruited and taught. We know that people organize the effort and set the stage for these suicide bombers to carry out their act. We know that certain people finance these operations. These are the people we need to get at in order to prevent suicide bombings.

Some people may ask what that has to do with Canada. They may tell us that these things are happening in other places. Honourable senators, we must understand that we do have some responsibility, in a world context, to demonstrate our condemnation. This kind of act is totally morally wrong. It was condemned by the General Assembly of the United Nations. I am glad that, in addition, British Muslim organizations that issued a fatwa against people who would carry out suicide bombing made this clear after the bombings in the London transit system just this past July. They said that there is absolutely no justification for this in Koran whatsoever. I know we all understand that fully, but still these radical elements have carried out these terrible acts against innocent people.

Canada, in a world context, needs to show leadership on this, just as we have shown leadership in so many other areas, for example, peacekeeping and peace support operations. We need to be at the United Nations, helping to ensure that countries take action against this kind of crime against humanity. As part of doing that, honourable senators, we need to set the example ourselves by way of an amendment to our own Criminal Code to make it quite clear that this is a crime and it is one that we will do everything to stop, to prevent and that we will prosecute anyone who has had any association with that kind of activity. No, we have not suffered such an attack here, thank the Lord, but we can never take it for granted that it will not happen.

We have seen it in our own backyard, in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 9/11. We can never take it for granted that it will not happen here. I believe that we should amend the Criminal Code to include a provision to deal with this situation. People may ask if there is not already a provision that covers terrorist activities in the Criminal Code. There is. Some lawyers would argue that this activity is covered.

As Senator Grafstein has quite properly pointed out in introducing Bill S-43, there must be more certainty about this. When you bring the full weight of the law to bear against citizens, there must be a great degree of precision and certainty in the law. That is exactly what the senator is saying when he says that, for greater certainty, we should add suicide bombing specifically to the terrorist activities that are prohibited in the laws of Canada.

I rise to express my appreciation to him and to Senator Segal, who also spoke yesterday, and to add my support for this bill. I trust that all senators will support this worthy bill.

On motion of Senator Rompkey, debate adjourned.