Honourable John Manley speaks about Canada’s Response to the September 11th Terrorist Attacks in the United States.
John Manley: As Canada becomes more and more connected, re:politics (formerly, Maple Leaf Web).com and Web sites like it are becoming increasingly important tools for educating a growing number of Canadians on the issues of the day. Not only do these tools inform, they are also easily accessible forums that contribute to the political debate in this country.
I am delighted, therefore, to have this opportunity to participate in this re:politics (formerly, Maple Leaf Web) interview.
re:politics (formerly, Maple Leaf Web): Should Canada offer military support in addition to Operation Apollo?
John Manley: In addition to the already 1,700 men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces actively involved in the campaign against terrorism, Canada is sending approximately 750 soldiers, comprising members of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (3 PPCLI) Battle Group and a reconnaissance squadron from the Lord Strathcona’s Horse, to Kandahar as part of a U.S. Army task force. Their mission will include a number of tasks ranging from security operations for delivery of humanitarian supplies to the conduct of combat operations. Canada is also actively supporting NATO’s own contribution to the global campaign against terrorism.
MLW: Does Operation Apollo conflict with our perception of Canada as an international peacekeeper? Why?
John Manley: I would argue that our involvement in the Coalition campaign against terrorism is in fact very much in keeping with Canada’s excellent reputation for advancing international peace & security. The military action in Afghanistan is an act of self-defence that is being undertaken under the auspices of Article 51 of the UN Charter. The Taliban regime rejected the peaceful option, preferring instead to stand on the side of terrorism. Osama bin Laden himself has stated his intention to continue his campaign of terror. It is for these reasons that Canada is a member of a military coalition which, working within the bounds of international law, will continue to take action against the global terrorist threat.
MLW: Besides military support, what else can Canada offer to the international conflict over terrorism?
John Manley: Canada recognized early on that the campaign against terrorism would need to be multi-faceted in character and comprehensive and integrated in approach. It requires a long-term view, which encompasses action on the humanitarian, political, diplomatic, economic, financial, legislative and military fronts. Priority one for Prime Minister Chrétien and our government in addressing this crisis has been to protect the safety and security of Canadians. In Canada, we have announced new funding and new personnel for enhanced security, law enforcement, and intelligence activities. We have passed legislation in Parliament to deter and disable terrorist organizations, to provide new investigative tools to law enforcement and national security agencies, to support more effective prosecution of terrorist crimes, and to ensure that Canadian values are preserved through stronger laws against hate crimes and propaganda. Other laws have been introduced to strengthen the government’s ability to improve the safety of Canadians, to prevent terrorist attacks and to respond swiftly to future threats. We have also developed approaches to ensure the readiness of Canada’s counterterrorism response capability, including response to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. We have worked closely with our provincial, territorial, and private-sector partners to enhance protection of the country’s critical infrastructure. We have also moved swiftly in cutting off sources of financing for terrorists.
Our obligations in the aftermath of September 11 extend well beyond Canada’s geographic limits. A key complementary objective through these last three months has been to provide assurance to our neighbour, to our allies and to our many global partners that our solidarity is as substantial as it is complete. We have worked within the G8-of which Canada has now assumed the presidency for 2002-as well as in the United Nations to develop effective, concrete measures to defeat terrorism. We have cooperated closely with our NATO allies, and we have consulted and raised consensus in groups as diverse as APEC, the Organization of American States, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie. Canada has pursued an active bilateral diplomacy with its global partners, including key front-line states like Pakistan and India, as well as with Middle Eastern countries and others. We are also actively engaged in addressing the extreme and very urgent needs of Afghanistan, particularly now that the Taliban are nearly gone. Since September 11, Canada has provided $16 million in humanitarian aid to provide protection and assistance for Afghan civilians, including refugees and internally displaced persons.
In the recent federal budget, Canada allocated an additional $100 million to address the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
MLW: How should the persons responsible for the September 11th terrorist attacks be prosecuted and punished?
John Manley: The case involving Osama bin Laden, his Al Qaida network and the Taliban regime poses new questions for international justice. Canada is advocating a patient and measured approach that is consistent with international humanitarian law and open to development through consultation.
MLW: In this time of crisis, what would you like to say to the people of Canada?
John Manley: I think Prime Minister Chrétien said it best when he commented in the House of Commons:
As always, we have not picked this fight. As always, Canada is on the side of justice and right…. the road ahead will be long. But our victory will be complete!