Minister of Foreign Affairs John Manley
Speech to Special Session of Parliament
Ottawa, Ontaria
September 17, 2001

Mr. Speaker, fellow Canadians, friends:

On September 11, 2001, the world changed -- for Canada, for everyone. Our friend and closest ally was viciously attacked; thousands of innocents were murdered; all of humanity, grievously wounded.

All Canadians, both at home and abroad, have been profoundly affected. Our lives will never be the same. And 100 000 Canadians gathered to share their grief on Parliament Hill last Friday.

I first learned of the horrific events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania while I was in an airplane over the Atlantic Ocean -- informed quietly by the crew, away from other passengers. I cannot describe how it felt to have this terrible knowledge, which could not be revealed to the several hundred people sitting with me on that 747, not to mention the sense of unreality that the circumstances provoked.

We share the loss, the suffering and the pain of the people of the United States, and we grieve for those Canadians who have also been affected, in very direct ways. At this time, some 40 to 75 Canadians are still unaccounted for, presumed victims of these acts of cowardice.

Our sorrow is deep. Our sympathy is heartfelt. Our solidarity is complete -- and so is our resolve.

Each Canadian has responded in his or her own way. Volunteering, offering flowers and cards at embassies and consulates, seeking consolation in assemblies of worship.

Words like "random" and "senseless" have been used to describe the horrific attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and the hijacking of the other aircraft, which is believed by many to have been directed at a U.S. capital landmark.

These acts were neither.

Unsettling in its organization and shocking in its execution, this was a cold-hearted, calculated attack upon our civility and our way of life. It was an attack upon democracy.

Our core values, our most elemental principles, and, most crucially, our people, have been violated. It offends the very essence of everything that Canadians hold dear and precious. This is what the terrorists have sought to destroy, but can never be permitted to destroy -- within our society, within our NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Alliance, and within the global community of just and democratic nations, and of law-abiding and tolerant peoples.

We are at war against terrorism now -- but it is unlike any war we have fought before. We must be precise, even clinical in our actions, and be prepared to use all of the tools at our disposal -- diplomatic, legal, financial, as well as military resources -- to combat this evil. In our determination to punish the perpetrators, we must ensure that we root out the evil without enabling the creation of a new army of dedicated extremists.

This outrage must -- and will -- be answered. Our answer must be sober and well-judged, but also resounding and resolute.

The terrorist attacks in the U.S. have profound implications for Canada's security and prosperity; for the way that we govern ourselves and for how Canadians will lead their lives from now on. But we will not live in fear; nor will our actions and responses be dictated by it. We are a nation of principle, and our foreign policy, our practices will remain rooted in principle.

We cannot, however, for one moment deceive ourselves that life will ever be the same.

In the coming days and weeks, we will all need to look beyond this horrendous event, to consider what it will mean for our country, and for the world from now on.

A fundamental for our democracy will be the question of how, under these new circumstances, do we achieve the right balance between individual freedom -- the hallmark of our democratic society -- and our duty to protect our citizens. How we respond will have implications right across the board.

Our security -- in its broadest possible political, economic and military sense -- is inextricably linked to the United States. Not just because of NATO or NORAD [North American Air Defence], not just because we share a common border or the world's most important trading relationship. Our common values and political ideals bind us. And it is our willingness to defend these very ideals -- indeed our very societies -- that unites us.

The government and the people of Canada have demonstrated our solidarity with the United States, whatever it takes. Our commitment is total, and we will give our undivided support to the United States now.

We have, together with our closest allies, moved to invoke Article V of the NATO Charter, for the first time in the 52-year history of the Alliance. This step indicates the iron resolve of all Alliance members to act in self-defence against this evil.

The perpetrators of this terror, and those who abet or harbour them, will be held accountable. The United Nations and UN Security Council have underlined this point in their forceful condemnation of these attacks. This issue will also, there is no doubt, figure highly on the G-8 agenda for the coming year when Canada assumes its Presidency.

This is the path of multilateralism.

It is critical that members of the international community act as one. Words alone in support of a world in which the rule of law prevails will not be enough. There must be consequences for those who violate the most basic standards of human behaviour.

And this is, at its heart, a human crisis.

Our most immediate priority in its aftermath has been to provide assistance to Canadians caught up in these tragic events. Our consular staff in New York, Ottawa and elsewhere have been working around the clock to respond to their concerns. I am grateful to all Members of Parliament and Senators for their assistance on behalf of their concerned constituents.

The response of all Canadians to these events has been a source of pride for all of us. Whether in giving blood, volunteering their services or opening their towns and even their homes to the more than 40 000 stranded and worried travellers who were diverted to Canada last week -- Canadians have lived their values. Both President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have thanked Canada for this.

We are at a defining moment for Canada, and for the kind of world we will live in. To respond with effect to this unprecedented tragedy will require steady judgment, unerring conviction and extraordinary courage.

Now is the time for Canadians to reflect, to reaffirm and to act.

To reflect -- on what this terrifying event means for Canada and for all nations around the globe.

To reaffirm -- our values, our obligations and our most important alliance.

And to act -- to ensure that the guilty are brought to account, and that the world emerges a safer, more secure and more peaceful place.

Thank you.


©2001 Government of Canada.