Todd Korol/ReutersPrime Minister Stephen Harper.
TORONTO – The Conservatives will introduce legislation in the House of Commons next week, which would gives victims of terrorism the right to sue.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement during a speech at a Canadian Jewish Congress’ 90th anniversary gathering in Toronto Sunday afternoon, where he also received an award for his commitment to human rights advocacy.
“The bill will allow victims to sue perpetrators and sponsors of terrorism acts, both in foreign states and in Canadian ones,” Harper told a packed luncheon.
“This will help many victims seek long-overdue justice against those who have harmed them and their families. It also sends a clear message that our government will hold the sponsors and perpetrators of terrorism accountable for their crimes,” the prime minister said.
Harper’s announcement was met with a sanding ovation. The Canadian Jewish Congress has been pushing for some form of this legislation for at least 10 years, said CJC CEO Bernie Farber.
“It’s sad to say, the Jewish community is the number one target on most terrorist lists,” Farber said.
NDP Leader Jack Layton and Green Leader Elizabeth May were at the event in the morning and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff also addressed the crowd at lunch.
Ignatieff said he would be waiting to see more details of Harper’s terrorism announcement next week.
“We have had extensive discussions about civil remedies for victims of terror,” Ignatieff told reporters after his speech.
“We support the principle of this legislation. Now it’s just a matter of detail.”
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan will provide more information on the new bill next week.