Justice for Abousfian Abdelzarik

Question Period
House of Commons
HANSARD

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Federal Court ruling today makes it clear that the government breached the charter rights of Canadian citizen Mr. Abdelrazik by forcing him to remain stranded in Sudan. The court declared:

There is no evidence in the record before this Court on which one could reasonably conclude that Mr. Abdelrazik has any connection to terrorism or terrorists...

The government does not get to choose to whom the charter applies. Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and bring Mr. Abdelrazik home?

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, the decision just handed down by the court today is over 100 pages and it is being carefully studied by the Department of Justice. After we have had an opportunity to review the advice from the Department of Justice, we will take action.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the government did everything it could to keep this innocent Canadian stranded in Sudan, and now we hear from the court that CSIS was involved in his detention.

The court has declared Mr. Abdelrazik an innocent victim and has ruled that he must be returned to Canada within 30 days, but with the record of the government, I would not put it past it to further trample his charter rights, waste taxpayers' money and appeal this decision.

We want to know, will the Prime Minister declare today that he will not appeal this decision?

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this is a very foreign concept for the NDP, but we will actually read the document that has been handed down by the court before we make any decisions.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the decision is very clear. This issue has been very clear. In fact, for two years New Democrats pressed the government to act through letters, questions and committee work, all urging the government to repatriate Mr. Abdelrazik. In fact, our research proved the depth of mishandling by the government of different stripes compelling the foreign affairs committee to pass our motion to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home.

All of that, and the government has still refused, choosing instead to breach his rights. This has become a national disgrace. The minister surely knows what the right decision is here, to end this embarrassment and to bring Mr. Abdelrazik home, and not to appeal this decision. Surely he knows that today.

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what is a national disgrace. About a month and a half ago, the New Democrats were telling voters in B.C. that they wanted to get tough on crime for a change, and what are they doing but filibustering our bill that cracks down on people who traffic in narcotics in this country. That is a national disgrace and they should apologize.