Diane Ablonczy today was named by Stephen Harper as the new junior foreign affairs minister. Here's what Ablonczy was saying back in 2002 when she was the opposition critic, on what was a major foreign affairs issue of the day: the case of Maher Arar, who was facing torture in Syria at the time as the government fought to have him repatriated:
Mr. Speaker, it is time the Liberals told the truth: that their system of screening and security checks is pathetic. Arar was given dual Syrian and Canadian citizenship by the government. It did not pick up on his terrorist links and the U.S. had to clue it in.Arar would later be brought back to Canada and, after being cleared of any wrongdoing by a public commission, would reach an out of court settlement with the federal government for $10.5 million.
How is it that the U.S. could uncover this man's background so quickly when the government's screening system failed to find his al-Qaeda links?
Mr. Speaker, the government needs to take responsibility for what it is doing to protect Canadian security. The fact is that these Liberals were asleep at the switch. Arar was not properly checked. Instead, the government ran around chastising the U.S. for sending Arar back to Syria, where he is also a citizen. Why is it that the Liberal security system is so weak here that they overlook vital information that the U.S. picked up on a routine check?