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"Extremist elements" in Liberal party making Dion soft on terrorism: PM 

[PoliticsWatch updated 5:25 p.m., February 15, 2007]

OTTAWA  — "Extremist elements" in the Liberal caucus are leading party leader Stephane Dion to become soft on terrorism, Prime Minister Stephen Harper alleged in the House of Commons on Thursday.

The prime minister went out of his way on two separate occasions in question period to attack Dion's decision to reverse his party's support of an anti-terror law measures that provides police with additional powers to stop suspected terrorists.  

The law was passed by a Liberal government in 2001, but has a sunset clause after five years for two controversial clauses giving policy the power to make "preventive arrests" and hold "investigative hearings."

Last week, the Liberals joined the other two opposition parties and suddenly withdrew their support for a government motion to extend the provisions for three years. 

The decision has prompted a number of senior Liberals to openly oppose their own leader's position. 

When Dion asked Harper a question about the auto industry during question period Thursday, the PM used his response time to attack Dion for his new position.  

"For the first time in history we have a leader of the opposition who is soft on terrorism," the PM alleged. "He is refusing to take the advice of Bob Rae, John Manley, Anne McLellan and to back the anti-terrorism provisions that his own government put in place."

Later in question period, the Tories used one of their questions to have a backbench MP ask the PM about Dion's position. 

Harper again noted the Liberals who want the special powers extended and accused Dion of "being led by extremist elements in his own caucus."

The two special powers up for review have not been used since they were put in place five years ago. 

The Liberals now opposed to them argue that because they have not been used they are no longer necessary. 

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