Hon. Barbara McDougall (Secretary of State for External Affairs):
Madam Speaker, late last week we learned of the article in the Managua newspaper Barrica-da which featured photographs of Christine Lamont's ID cards. The article itself described documents that were found with a large arms cache that was discovered recently in Managua.
The newspaper claimed that the documents concerned plans to kidnap a number of prominent Latin American business and political leaders. At the same time Nicaraguan authorities informed our ambassador that there were 306 foreign passports found with the arms cache, including three Canadian passports. They asked Canada to verify the authenticity of the Canadian passports. The passport office has confirmed the authenticity of two passports issued to Christine Lamont in Ottawa in November and December 1988 and one passport issued to David Spencer at the same time. One of the passports had been altered.
I want to say that this development does not affect our approach to the Lamont-Spencer case. We will continue to be governed by our respect for due process and fairness to all Canadians imprisoned abroad. We will continue to press Brazil to ratify as quickly as possible the transfer of offenders treaty which would allow Miss Lamont and Mr. Spencer to return to Canada to serve their sentences.
That treaty has passed the lower house of the Brazilian congress and is now under consideration in the senate. I also want to assure all hon. members that while we are proceeding with that process, we will provide all possible consular services to Miss Lamont and Mr. Spencer and monitor prison conditions as we do for others who find themselves in this situation abroad.
Topic: ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic: CHRISTINE LAMONT