Ottawa, Ontario - November 1, 2001, posted here November 2, 2001
Press conference by Right Honourable Joe Clark, P.C., C.C, M.P.
  I am pleased to be here this morning with my colleagues in the PC/DR Coalition, Chuck Strahl, John Herron and Val Meredith.


Our Coalition has established a Committee on Canada's Security, Safety and Prosperity to mirror the Manley Committee of Cabinet. It is co-chaired by John Herron and Val Meredith, and has prepared this proposal for a "Public Protection and Border Management Plan", which we are announcing today.



September 11

The cruel and calculated terrorist attacks of September 11 burst the illusion that we were safer in Canada than anywhere else in the world.




Parliament has a duty to reassure Canadians that everything possible is being done to protect their future, their freedom, their children and their way of life. One of the first obligations is to establish a comprehensive plan to protect the public and to manage our borders. That is what we are proposing today.




We make it clear that this is a proposal. We invite amendments and improvements, and will be convening a series of round-table discussions to attract the best advice available. This proposal asserts the need for a comprehensive plan, and reflects the principle of acting with our neighbours to protect our safety, our sovereignty and our freedom to move.



Ministry of

This plan has three elements. The first would create a new Ministry of Public Protection and Border Management, which would co-ordinate the activities of federal agencies responsible for customs, border inspection, CSIS, the RCMP, the Coast Guard, the counter-terrorist section of the Communication Security Establishment, the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, and would re-establish the Ports Police.




The second element would create a new bi-national border management agency, staffed jointly by officials of Canada, the United States and, if they choose to join, Mexico. It would use and co-ordinate existing resources, and would establish agreed standards. Each country would retain control of its own confidential information.




The third element would create a new Parliamentary Oversight Committee, whose mandate would be to protect the rights of Canadians who might be affected by the activity of the new Ministry, or by the new anti-terrorist measures contained in Bill C-36. Members of this committee would be covered by an obligation of confidentiality, on a Privy Council or similar basis, and would provide non-classified reports to Parliament.




Canada needs a plan quickly so that these extraordinary circumstances do not threaten, prevent or impede the mobility of people, goods, services and merchandise between Canada and its most important trading partner, the United States of America.




The Chretien government has no comprehensive vision, or plan. Its responses are so late and so piecemeal that they practically invite the United States to impose a "Made in America" response to these issues.




In contrast, we are proposing a comprehensive Canadian initiative which we believe will both work, and win the support of our North American neighbours. We are building on the successful Canadian experience of achieving co-operation and sovereignty simultaneously in this continent. The International Joint Commission involves the kind of Canada-U.S. co-operation on sensitive water and environmental matters that we propose today respecting public protection and border management.




This proposal sits squarely in the Canadian tradition of taking initiatives. It was Canada which proposed the initiatives that led to the Free Trade Agreement and to the Acid Rain Treaty. Now, the freedoms that were gained by that trade treaty are at risk because of terrorism and related threats. So this initiative is proposed to secure the free movement of people, goods and services upon which the modern and future economy of Canada depends, and to protect the Canadian public.




More than seven weeks have passed now since the world shook at the hands of the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre, and still the Chrétien government has not yet proposed any kind of comprehensive and Canadian approach to Public Protection and Border Management. Their inaction will result in either the imposition of American standards, or a permanent disruption of the free movement of people, goods and services in North America.




Everyone acknowledges that the world changed with these terrorist attacks. That means public policy must change too, to stay ahead of new realities. We are proposing a new approach which will achieve those ends.
  Joe Clark
  Stacey Gray, Communications and Media Contact Office of the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party The Right Honourable Joe Clark, P.C., C.C., M.P. Tel: 613-947-4552 Fax: 613-947-8898
  Part of the image borrowed from CBC, for a complete interview on real player check out CBC's interview with Mr. Clark.