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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 124

CONTENTS

Tuesday, October 7, 2014




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147
NUMBER 124
2nd SESSION
41st PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayers



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Official Languages

    I have the honour, pursuant to section 66 of the Official Languages Act, to lay upon the table the annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages, covering the period from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), this report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

[English]

Environment and Sustainable Development

    I also have the honour to lay upon the table, pursuant to subsection 23(5) of the Auditor General Act, the fall 2014 report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development to the House of Commons with an addendum on environmental petitions from January 1 to June 30, 2014.

[Translation]

    This report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act

[English]

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the second part of the 2014 ordinary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and its parliamentary mission to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to the Holy See and Italy, the next country to hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, held in Strasbourg and Paris, France, and the Vatican and Rome, Italy, from April 7 to April 16.

Protecting Burnaby Lakes and Rivers Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise this morning to introduce a private member's bill to restore key environmental protections to local lakes and rivers in my riding of Burnaby—Douglas.
    The protecting Burnaby lakes and rivers act aims to re-add Burnaby Lake, Deer Lake, and the Brunette River to the official schedule of waterways protected in Canada. At the demand of oil and gas lobbyists, the Conservatives recently removed the protection of 98% of Canada's water bodies. As a result of these changes, proposed development projects would no longer need environmental assessments or public consultation before proceeding across our lakes and rivers.
    We need to reverse this gutting of our environmental laws. That is why I am putting forward this legislation to re-protect Burnaby's waterways for my constituents.
    I would like to thank the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, our excellent House leader, for his support on this issue and for stepping forward today to second this legislation.
     In my riding, the stewardship of the Brunette River in particular has been a stellar example of our community coming together to preserve our cherished waterways. We need to make sure that our lakes and rivers are protected so that future generations can enjoy them as well.

     (Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

[Translation]

Petitions

Dementia 

    Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to present a petition signed by people in a number of communities in the riding of Nickel Belt, including Alban, Crystal Falls, Field, Verner, and Sturgeon Falls.
    These people would like to draw the Minister of Health's attention to the fact that the government needs a national strategy for dementia and health care for people with Alzheimer's disease.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition signed by hundreds of members of my great riding of Sudbury. They too are calling upon the federal government to create a national dementia strategy. These citizens would very much like this House to pass Bill C-356, an act respecting a National Strategy for Dementia, moved by my colleague from Nickel Belt. Therefore, I am happy to present this petition.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition from citizens of Canada who want to see tougher laws and the implementation of new mandatory minimum sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death.
    The petitioners also want the Criminal Code of Canada to be changed to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

Workers' Rights  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today on World Day for Decent Work to present a petition arising out of the tragic deaths of 1,100 workers and injuries to 2,500 more in the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.
    The signatories to the petition remind this House that it is the fundamental right of all people, wherever they live in the world, to be able to go to work without fear for their safety or their lives, and they call upon the Government of Canada to endorse the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and to encourage Canadian companies that manufacture in Bangladesh to become signatories to the accord.

  (1010)  

Animal Welfare  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions.
    The first petition is on the subject of animal cruelty. The petitioners are from Edmonton, and they call on the House of Commons to recognize animals as being capable of feeling pain and needing to have better protection under the Criminal Code.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from hundreds of people from Sherbrooke, Quebec, London, Ontario, the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, and Calgary calling on the Government of Canada to create and maintain stable, predictable, long-term funding for the national public broadcaster, the CBC.

[Translation]

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition to the House signed by Canadians from across the country. The petition is about the devastating cuts to postal services. These people are against these measures, and so am I.

[English]

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[S. O. 57]

[English]

Military Contribution Against ISIL

Motion that debate be not further adjourned  

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the consideration of Government Business No. 13, I move:
That the debate be not further adjourned.
    Pursuant to Standing 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period, and I will ask members to keep their questions or comments to about a minute and government responses to a similar length of time.
    Mr. Speaker, this is a very perplexing move on the part of the government. It is a sad move. It is now the 79th time that time allocation, or closure, has been used in this Parliament, and 79 times is a sad record that has never been equalled before by a government. There has never been a government that has been so inclined to impose closure and time allocation on this House.
    It is perplexing, because we already had agreement for a vote this evening, so for the government to then move to try to shut down debate, when there has already been agreement, is perhaps a way of keeping their own members of Parliament from speaking, as the member for St. John's East suggested. I do not know, but it is a perplexing imposition of closure, the 79th time in Parliament. In this case, it is completely unnecessary, because there was already broad agreement in this House to have a vote tonight.
    My question to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is very simple. Since there was already agreement for a vote tonight, why is the government now imposing closure, time allocation, for the 79th time?
    Mr. Speaker, if there is agreement, perhaps we could seek it, and we could have the vote at eight o'clock, and this would not be necessary.
    Mr. Speaker, it is fairly well noted that the need for debate on the whole issue of what is taking place in Iraq has been highlighted. The Liberal foreign affairs critic was successful in bringing forward an emergency debate. Canadians are very much concerned about what is happening in Iraq and the role Canada needs to play.
    The question I have is for the government House leader. Can the government House leader give a clear indication as to why it is the government has chosen to limit debate? I know first hand that there are a number of my colleagues who would love the opportunity to address this very important issue that is on the minds of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Why is there a need to have time allocation? Why not allow for more debate on this very important issue?
    Mr. Speaker, quite simply, it is because the opposition asked for two things. First, it wanted a debate. Second, it wanted a vote. We are proposing to do both.
    The government brought the official opposition critics and the critic for the Liberal Party to Iraq so that they could meet with officials, as I did, in Baghdad and Erbil and see the front lines. The government voluntarily called the committee back early and presented its position at the time. It supported the call for an emergency debate when Parliament returned.
    We will have the occasion to debate this issue for two full days here in Parliament. However, part of the political process is to not just debate; it is to take a vote on where members stand. That is exactly what we are proposing.

  (1015)  

    Mr. Speaker, we had an interesting debate yesterday. I do not know why, in the midst of that, the government House leader decided that they had to have a closure motion to bring it to an end.
    On the government side mostly we have heard from ministers or parliamentary secretaries. I am sure there are a lot of backbenchers on the government side who would like to participate in this debate, and maybe a lot of other people over here.
    Why insist on bringing the debate to a speedy close, when it is an important mission? Some of the speeches have been full of rhetoric, but this is an important debate. Questions need to be asked and answered.
    I do not know why we are going through this process.
    Mr. Speaker, I find it quite interesting that my friend from Newfoundland is raising this point, when his own House leader, just a few moments ago, in this very place, said that his party was prepared to have a vote at eight o'clock and that it found the amount of time that had been allocated to be sufficient.
    I, for one, agree with his House leader that the amount of time the government proposed is sufficient. It certainly had the agreement of the official opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, I share the view of my colleague from Winnipeg North that there are many of our colleagues would like to speak on this important debate who did not have the chance to go on the trip to Iraq. They have important views to share.
    I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to reverse this closure.
    I would also like to point out that this really fits into the way he has been positioning this whole issue, which is either that we are for a combat air strike air bombing role or we are free riders. I find it very counterproductive for respected parliamentarians to be making this a divisive issue. In fact, most of our allies have not done that. They have brought their colleagues from all parties in. They have sought to get a consensus on the matter. Very few have gone forward with a combat role. Other countries, like Germany and Italy, which the minister incorrectly claimed were supporting the combat role in the media a few days ago, are not part of a combat role.
    In the debate, the minister's very respected colleague from Edmonton Centre said that there are all kinds of important roles for coalition countries to play. Some are combat roles. Some are not. Each of them is an important contribution—
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite had an opportunity to participate in the debate today. If there are other members of her party who wish to join the debate, we will all be here until 8 o'clock this evening debating this matter. It is also debated every day in the House of Commons in question period.
    We had an emergency debate when Parliament returned. The committee was seized with this issue. We called it back early. We will continue to debate the issues of the day. Both of the opposition parties have opposition days when this can be further debated and discussed in this place.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by apologizing. It seems that I mistakenly misled the House yesterday. In a question I asked, I said that three Iraqi divisions of 50,000 men were defeated in two days by 15,000 jihadists near the city of Mosul. I later consulted The Guardian to verify the information and cross-referenced it with information from the Iraqi government, and apparently 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 30,000 Iraqi police officers and constables who were defending the city of Mosul were routed in two days by 800 jihadists. They were outnumbered 75 to 1, but they won. Imagine. We are going to be supporting the people who lost even though they outnumbered their opponents 75 to 1.
    Second, my question about the relevance of this debate is this: does this desire to put an end to the debate arise from information obtained today about the fighting, which is that air strikes have been ineffective and the Turkish government has officially called for our soldiers to intervene on the ground?

  (1020)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think when Mosul fell, there was no outside aerial support for those trying to protect religious minorities.
    I suppose if we had adopted the definition of success and the criteria that the New Democratic Party sets out on this, we would not have been able to justify previous missions, whether World War I, World War II, Korea, or elsewhere.
    I do think it is important that we have a good debate in this place. The member opposite's party was supportive of the timeframe that the government laid out and, frankly, we agree.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. minister for the debate, but I do object to the closure for the following reasons.
    Side conversations with the minister just before the House resumed have given me more information than I have had through this debate.
    I will not be able to speak on the current speaking order with closure, but I appreciate greatly that all members allowed me to have an opportunity on Friday, through unanimous consent.
    However, being aware of the time, I was hoping that I would have an opportunity for a full presentation of at least 10 minutes. There are options that the Green Party would prefer we pursued rather than aerial bombardment, which we still believe could be counterproductive.
    A fuller debate would make a big difference. I ask the hon. minister if he would not reconsider or at least provide a speaking slot to the Green Party out of one of the many repetitious Conservative presentations.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the non-partisan nature of the member opposite's comments.
    Mr. Speaker, this closure motion is particularly disturbing. As my hon. colleague said, there was an agreement in terms of the debate continuing and then voting tonight. Now we are in a situation where we are basically wasting an hour on this debate and vote on closure, rather than spending it on the important work of trying to figure out how to come to consensus on this military action.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite said there was agreement. I seek agreement. If we can adopt this motion on division, we can resume the debate right away on this important question before the House.
    If the member would like to seek agreement to call the question, and that it be approved on division, we can return back to the debate as the member opposite would like. I hope he will support my suggestion.
    Before I go to questions and comments, the chair is presuming the minister is speaking rhetorically. If in fact he wishes to move a motion, he is familiar with that procedure.
    Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. We have not been in agreement with the Conservatives' use of closure and time allocation. They have used it not once, or 12 times, or 70 times, but 79 times. This has been the reality of the current government. The Conservatives invoke closure and time allocation at a snap of the finger.
     The point we have been making, and the point the members for St. John's East and Jeanne-Le Ber just made, is that the government has changed the focus of the debate that we were to have yesterday and today, and instead we are now having a debate around the 79th use of closure by the government. It is absolutely unacceptable.
    No, we do not support the use of closure. We think the government was wrong-headed in bringing this in. It just shows how the Conservative government likes to impose its view rather than have the kind of debate that should be part and parcel of what we do as parliamentarians here in the House.
    We will not agree to closure. We will not agree to time allocation. We will not agree with the 79 times the current government has snapped its fingers and tried to impose its will on the opposition. It is simply wrong to do this.
    The government should be allowing the discussions to continue. Rather than having a debate on closure, we should be debating the mission and our disagreement with the government's approach right now in the House of Commons. However, we cannot do that because of the government's closure motion.
    Mr. Speaker, the member should check the record. The House leader of the official opposition was very clear when he said there was agreement to vote on this at eight o'clock. That is exactly what this government is proposing we do.
    I do share the view with my colleague, the House leader for the official opposition. We have in this Parliament the most unreasonable official opposition that we have ever had in this country, and that is indeed regrettable.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge the fact that the government agreed to bring the motion to the House for debate. It is a motion of immense proportion and it would have a tremendous impact on Canadians. Regrettably, the government is going to stifle debate. This is not unlike the tactics it often performs in controlling and asserting itself in the House of Commons. It is unfortunate that it has chosen to do this.
    The irony in all of this is that we are debating this important motion during Mental Health Week. Many Canadians have asked me what the government is doing for our soldiers and our veterans who have already come home from combat and are receiving no services.
    As the government revs up the CF-18s, I would like to ask the minister what the government is doing for all of the soldiers and veterans in our country who are suffering immensely today because of combat efforts.
    Before I go to the hon. minister, I would like to remind all hon. members that they ought to keep both their questions and their comments relevant to the matter that is before the House, which is the closure motion and the motion itself.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence would welcome the opportunity to discuss the range of mental health supports. Canadian society over the last 25 years under successive governments is coming to grips with mental health issues. These issues were never discussed for far too long, and the government has taken a number of leadership roles with respect to that.
     We are having a debate in this place. We did not have a debate when our troops went to Afghanistan the first time. There is no legal or constitutional requirement to have one. We are having a debate because the Prime Minister respects Parliament. The Prime Minister made commitments when we were both a minority and a majority government about having a debate before our men and women are sent into combat missions. He is living up to that commitment of accountability.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is astounding to see that this government is using time allocation yet again. This time, it will cut short a debate that is crucially important to us as parliamentarians and to Canadians.
    How can the minister justify his behaviour in the House to Canadians? How can he justify muzzling debate and, by extension, our constituents?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this government is simply adopting the time for debate that the party opposite supported. The member's own House leader stood in this place at the outset of this debate and said that his party would be happy to have a vote at 8 o'clock and that is exactly what we are proposing.
    Mr. Speaker, I have heard the opposition talk erroneously many times about limiting debate. I wonder if the minister might be able to share with the House how often Parliament was previously consulted when military action was taken prior to the Conservative Party taking leadership.
    Parliament was not consulted, Mr. Speaker.
    The only sin of the member opposite is that she was once a Liberal member of Parliament; otherwise she is a great parliamentarian and wonderful person.
    The Liberal Party, of which she was a member, never had a parliamentary debate when our forces left for Afghanistan. This is something that the Prime Minister campaigned on, and we have honoured that, whether we had a minority or majority government. A key part of the parliamentary process is a vote. All members of the House wanted a debate and a vote, and that is exactly what this government is providing.
    Mr. Speaker, given that the Conservative government has decided to limit debate on the current motion, does the government have plans to provide briefings to opposition members of Parliament, which may include non-public information that may be required for opposition members to carry out their duties of holding the government to account?
    Mr. Speaker, I have taken opposition members to meet with Iraqi and Kurdish officials. I gave them full access to all of the meetings I had. They could participate, ask questions, and make comments. As the hon. member's leader mentioned yesterday, I have had occasion to reach out to him on occasion when Parliament was not in session.
    The government is certainly prepared to work with parliamentarians and answer all reasonable questions.

  (1030)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, thank goodness I have seen the light. That is what I am tempted to say to the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    That said, I know that this issue is extremely important to the people of my riding of Gatineau. I receive emails and telephone calls every day from people who do not necessarily agree with the government's position. This is an extremely important debate. This is probably one of the most important decisions a country has to make.
    In light of that, I understand the argument put forward by the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster to the effect that we already agreed to a vote at 8 p.m. I want to repeat his question, since I did not hear the response. Why take away an hour of debate on something this important? At the very least, we could have heard from four or five more members of the House and tried to foster the broadest possible consensus or heard as many opinions as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, if my dear colleague, the hon. member for Gatineau, and all the members of her party unanimously agree to a vote at 8 p.m., as she said, and if no one else rises to speak to this motion, we can immediately return to the focus of today's debate. We are prepared to do that if the House agrees.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a rare opportunity to follow up with the minister. I do apologize to the minister if he interpreted anything I said as partisan, as that was his response. However, I do want to ask him once again if he does not think it would be fairer, in the interest of a full debate, if there were not closure, so that those of us who actually have original points can put them forward. I asked him before the mace came in this morning, when we were able to consult informally, if there would not be an opportunity to explore other ideas that could actually make a difference on the ground.
    We have heard from very knowledgeable foreign affairs experts—such as former ambassador Peggy Mason and foreign affairs expert Robert Fowler, who himself has had tragic and terrifying exposure to a terrorist organization, being held hostage in Mali—that the mission as proposed could do more harm than good. Therefore, without trying to adequately explore what could do more good than harm and what other opportunities are out there, this debate becomes foreshortened into a false choice between doing something that could be stupid and doing something else. I think we need more time.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite, my friend from Saanich—Gulf Islands, to whom I made complimentary remarks yesterday, while I do not agree with her, while I think she is wrong, I think she is principled in her position on this issue.
    She did say that members on one side of the House just make repetitive speeches, but only apparently she is able to give good speeches. I think there are rules that allow parliamentarians to speak. Not every parliamentarian can speak to every issue. That is a reality we all have to come to understand in a Parliament of 308 members.
     As do many Canadians, the government sees evil people doing very bad things and we want to help stop it. We can look at additional measures, as we have, whether humanitarian support or something I am very passionate about, tackling rape as a weapon of war and sexual violence in conflict. Whether we do this through diplomatic efforts to ensure there is an inclusive program with the new government in Iraq, whether it is ongoing efforts at deradicalization, stopping foreign fighters, there are many other things we could do beyond this resolution, on which the government will continue to work.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I just heard the minister say that there are rules in this House to ensure that members have the right to speak. He said that not every member can speak to every issue, and I understand completely. However, if the government would stop limiting debate, more members would have a chance to speak, express themselves and share their constituents' concerns with the government. The Conservatives have very few representatives in certain regions, so they have very little opportunity to find out what people in those regions are thinking. They should welcome the opportunity to hear about it in the House.
    I would therefore like to know why, for the 79th time, the government is playing fast and loose with the rules of the House, rules that are there to ensure that all parliamentarians can represent their constituents properly?

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, we obey the standing orders of the House of Commons. That is not simply a goal; it is mandatory. You are here, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that everyone follows the rules. We agree to have a vote at 8 p.m., the time proposed by the official opposition. The motion currently before us confirms that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it seems that as we debate the 79th motion for closure, the government does not take seriously the need to debate critical issues. What more important issue is there than sending our country to war and members of our military personnel into harm's way? All we are asking for is to speak on behalf of our constituents, the Canadians who sent us here.
    If the minister and his government are so passionate about this issue, why will they not allow an open debate on an issue as important as sending our country to war?
    Mr. Speaker, what this government is doing is having a vote at eight o'clock tonight. That is the exact time the New Democratic Party wanted to have a vote—
    You said tonight.
    —8 p.m. tonight.
    We will debate this today. We debated it yesterday. We had an emergency debate on it two weeks ago. We brought the committee back early and debated it every day between 2:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. The opposition, if it would like additional days, has a certain amount of opposition days.
    If this is so important, as the member opposite says, there are many opposition days and her party has yet to use one on this issue. If it is the most crucial and important issue, as she suggests, I know it will.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a very quick question for the minister before we conclude all of this debate, unfortunately.
    Can he tell me which countries are engaging in a combat role and which ones are in a non-combat role? Also if Canada is to go in a combat role, how will that affect the work that we would be doing in terms of humanitarian aid and other supports in a non-combat role?
    Mr. Speaker, I say to the member opposite that I guess it depends on how one defines “combat”.
    The German government is not sending fighter planes. It is providing arms and munitions to troops on the ground there. In the United Kingdom, all three party leaders supported this initiative. They are conducting the combat mission that Canada's is contemplating with the motion before the House, as well as France and the United States.
    If we look at our friends in the Arab world, Jordan is participating in a measure similar to Canada. The United Arab Emirates is participating. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is participating as we are. Bahrain is participating as we are. Denmark is participating as we are. Belgium is participating as we are. It is a long list and we are in good company.
    Mr. Speaker, we are seeing from the Minister of Foreign Affairs the same kind of imagination that he used in inventing the idea that the UN resolution in some way justified the government's intervention in his trying to pretend that the NDP had agreed to a certain time tonight for debate and a vote. The point I was making earlier and the point that I stress again is that there had been broad consensus in terms of a vote tonight, though not in terms of the exact time.
    However, the issue here is the use of closure, which will take well over an hour out of the debate today that members of Parliament wanted to be engaged in. Certainly the government has shown a profound disrespect yet again, 79 times, to Parliament by invoking closure at the drop of a hat rather than discussing with opposition parties or establishing the kind of consensus that is needed.
    My point back to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the question is very simple. Why does the government never seek consensus or discussion and always seek to impose its view?
    Mr. Speaker, it might surprise the member opposite, but I share his concern. I wish there could be better collaboration between the government and the opposition, and the opposition and the government. When I say “opposition”, I mean all members whether independent, Green, Liberal or New Democratic. It is unfortunate that these things cannot be dealt with. The fact that it has risen to such a level speaks just as much about the official opposition as it does about the government.
    When I was in opposition in the province of Ontario, opposition members did something remarkable. We actually worked with the government on a programming motion where, instead of debating day after day the most inconsequential bill, with the most consequential bills getting the same amount of time, we could come up with a motion, get a certain amount of work done in a prescribed amount of time, and all members could structure the debate and allocate how much would be on important issues and how much would be on less important issues.
    Unfortunately, we have a situation now where the opposition wants to debate everything without ever having a vote on anything. We also have important responsibilities to move forward the people's business. I wish there could be a greater meeting of the minds and perhaps this debate will inspire everyone to do better.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister's comments.
    By muzzling the debate, the government is saying that we should work with it because it has a majority and we should reach a consensus. To reach a consensus, however, it is important to listen to the minority, those who are not part of the government, namely, the opposition. In a democracy, the government does not have absolute power. That is undemocratic.
    Let us be clear: we have a majority government in a parliamentary system that is supposed to be based on dialogue and agreements. How is it a dialogue when a majority government makes all the decisions regarding votes? That is not a dialogue at all. It actually puts our democracy in danger.
    Since the minister was talking about working together, why is the government not more open to dialogue and more accepting of the opinions of others?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I think at some point in our history there might have been an opportunity where people came into this place and made impassioned speeches and spoke to the current issues of the day.
    I have been here in this Parliament for more than three years. I have yet to see one single member of the official opposition, ever, not once, not one MP on one vote, vote against his or her party.
    I, as a minister, a senior minister, have stood and voted against my own government on one or two issues, and I do not have a problem with that.
    The time for questions has expired. It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.
     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin): Call in the members.

  (1120)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 250)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Barlow
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Rajotte
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Saxton
Schellenberger
Seeback
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 154


NAYS

Members

Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Boivin
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chan
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Comartin
Côté
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dionne Labelle
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Genest
Giguère
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leslie
Liu
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mourani
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nash
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Péclet
Perreault
Plamondon
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 122


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

Government Business No. 13 

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed from October 6 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    When this matter was last before the House, the hon. Minister of State for Western Diversification had the floor. The hon. Minister of State for Western Diversification has seven minutes remaining.
    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I spoke of the clear danger that is presented by ISIL's advance in the region. I would like to speak today about the threat to our country and to other western nations.
    If colleagues here do not recognize this direct threat to our country, all they have to do is search any social networking tool to find repeated references to the desire to spread ISIL's vile ideology to Canada.
    I am deeply concerned that the expansion of ISIL is attracting individuals from the west, including Canadian citizens, to radicalize to the point of violence. Canadians are known to have travelled to conflict zones to participate in terrorism-related activities, including front-line combat, fundraising, operational planning, and disseminating online propaganda.
    ISIL has been able to bolster its strength by recruiting thousands of foreign fighters, including many from central Europe and central Asia. Recent media reporting highlighted the deaths of Calgarian Farah Mohamed Shirdon and of Mohamud Mohamed Mohamud, who both died fighting for ISIL.
    As a nation, we have recognized that this expansion of ISIL via the recruitment of foreign workers is a serious issue and have already begun to address it, which is why we co-sponsored UN Security Council resolution 2178. We have also implemented several key legislative tools, such as the Combating Terrorism Act, which created new offences for leaving or attempting to leave Canada to commit certain terrorism offences. The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, now law, allows for the revocation of Canadian citizenship from dual Canadian citizens if they are convicted of terrorist offences.
    However, as the democratically elected government of Iraq has recognized by its request for assistance in containing the expansion of ISIL, if ISIL is allowed to operate in the open with its expansion of territory left unchecked, we and our allies have ignored the true source of aggression to our collective borders. This is why, after careful consideration, our government has put forward the motion in front of us today.
    I would be remiss if I did not discuss the treatment of women under the ideology of ISIL as part of the case to support this motion.
    A report listed by the United Nations outlines the alarming atrocities committed by ISIL. Through their actions, they have embedded the view of women as subhuman into their ideology. Hundreds of women and girls have been sold as sex slaves by ISIL in a bid to tempt buyers to join their ranks. They have been given to ISIL or trafficked for sale at markets.
    Women with professional careers have also been targeted and executed. In one example, ISIL publicly killed a female human rights lawyer in Mosul after their self-styled Islamic court ruled that she had abandoned Islam. Samira Salih al-Nuaimi was seized from her home on September 17 after allegedly posting messages on Facebook that were critical of the militants' destruction of religious sites in Mosul. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, al-Nuaimi was tried in a so-called Sharia court for apostasy, after which she was tortured for five days before militants sentenced her to public execution.
    There have also been reports that ISIL planned to make four million women and girls undergo female genital mutilation in the Mosul area. This is, of course, on top of the thousands of cases of rape, innumerable instances of forced marriage, and the complete removal of equal rights of women to receive education and to participate in the economy and in politics.
    ISIL's treatment of women goes well beyond any concept of misogyny we are accustomed to fighting against in western culture. Given that this group has been able to attract fighters from western nations and clearly has sympathizers residing therein, it poses a threat to the ability of women to have equality in free society around the world.
    That said, I am not afraid of these cowards, who see women as subspecies with little value over being a necessary nuisance in procreation or as chattel to be raped and traded to the ignorants that fight for their cause. This is because our nation's anthem has never rung hollow. Our brave men and women have always “stood on guard for thee” against threats to our country and to its people.
    This motion presents a clear and defined response from Canada to the threat ISIL presents to the global community. We will continue the deployment of up to 26 CAF personnel to advise Iraq's security forces, with no ground combat mission. We will coordinate with our allies to participate in air strikes against ISIL, with the goal of limiting ISIL's ability to operate in the open and of preventing its continued expansion of territory. In doing so, we will contribute one air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two Aurora surveillance aircraft, and the necessary crews and support personnel. The above will be for a period of six months.
    We are ready and capable to take on this challenge. Our investments, as articulated in the Canada First defence strategy, are building a modern, first-class military ready to face the challenges of our generation. The government has steadily been delivering upon this plan, providing our men and women in uniform with the equipment that has made a positive difference in the way that they operate.

  (1125)  

    We will seek to prevent the flow of funding and financing to ISIL, work to halt the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria, and provide diplomatic support to help Iraq toward a religiously and ethically inclusive government.
    Supporting the government's motion shows Canadians that we as a Parliament accept that unless confronted with strong and direct force, the threat that ISIL poses to international peace and security will continue to grow.
    By supporting this motion today, we show Canadians that we understand the depth of the atrocities committed by this terrorist organization. We show Canadians that we support Iraqi leaders in undertaking a concerted effort to confront ISIL's barbaric advance and to mend sectarian divisions that threaten Iraq's long-term security. We show Canadians that as representatives of their voices, we are prepared to stand with our allies who have committed to containing this threat. We show Canadians that we support a clearly defined combat mission, which we are capable of delivering, coupled with humanitarian assistance for the region.
    By supporting this motion, we show Canadians that we are willing to act, not obfuscate, while ISIL flourishes.
    Mr. Speaker, along with my colleagues on this side of the House, I have some real concerns about how well defined things are and what the goals and objectives are. After we heard from the government, one of the concerns that we have is that we are talking about three weeks, maybe, before we actually have planes situated somewhere. We are still not sure. That definition has not been provided by the government.
    If the government is putting all of its focus on the air strikes, what happens in three weeks if there are no targets or if things have changed on the ground? Is there any other strategy that the government has come up with to deal with that scenario?

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the take note debate on Mali on February 5, 2013, my colleague opposite said:
    The government's alternation between disengagement and divisiveness has weakened Canada's voice on the world stage....
    I would argue that in this motion here today, we are being decisive. I would encourage him to support it. Canadians around the world understand the urgency of this situation.
    To his direct question, I read an article in the Calgary Herald this morning by a columnist who is on the ground there. One of his comments was:
    Those packed into the grounds at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church were astonished when they were told that two of Canada’s three main political parties have opposed the Harper government’s plan to send half a dozen warplanes to the Middle East....
    Somebody from his article basically said that if these air strikes do not happen now, there will be further advance upon this territory.
    We need to act now. We need to send these planes there and we need to join our allies in this combat.
    I remind all hon. members that they cannot refer to their colleagues by name in the House, including when they are reading something from a newspaper.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister. In the debate, she raised an issue respecting domestic threats, particularly with respect to the capacity for ISIL to recruit Canadians to fight for its cause. I would like to acknowledge that the minister took a particularly brave stand some weeks ago in standing up against those local threats.
    Considering this potential risk, could the minister elaborate on what outreach methods have been taken by the government to bring in, for example, the Canadian Muslim population to halt or degrade the capacity for the recruitment of these potential terrorists?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly working with different groups in Canada is important in combatting any sort of extremism. I know efforts are under way right now. As I mentioned in my speech, we do have legislative mechanisms that we have put in place to create disincentives for that type of behaviour.
    To my colleague, who is new and who is a member of the Liberal Party, I cannot help but wonder how he feels when his leader stands up in front of a group of people and looks for validation with a vapid comment about our air force at a time when we absolutely need to act.
    This is not about holding conferences or obfuscating. We need to have forces on the ground. We need these air strikes to ensure that we achieve the objectives of reducing this organization's ability to operate and expand its territory.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think anyone in the House wants to put our own in harm's way. I firmly believe that none of us want to do that, any more than any of us want terminal cancer.
    However, these are not just kidnappers or murderers. They are beheading children and forcing parents to bury their children alive. If the folks who are now offering to do this to Canadians are not our enemies, then who is? Whoever was an enemy of Canada? The Taliban? Hitler?
    These are difficult decisions. The Liberals sent our troops to fight the Taliban. This is the time to do the same.
    The NDP are obfuscating and want more time. Time is of the essence. People are dying right now.
    I know the leader of the Liberal opposition has an obsession with phallic symbols. That is immature and inappropriate.
    Could the minister tell us what would happen if we were to wait longer, since people are dying today?

  (1135)  

    Mr. Speaker, what we have presented today, and make no mistake, is a clear request from a democratically-elected government to assist in combatting a terrorist organization operating within its borders that is treating people as sub-human. It is treating women, religious minorities as non-human beings.
     With every day and every hour that this group advances within that territory, with every new base it sets up, with every oil well it takes over, it is getting more financing, attracting more fighters to its cause, and its ideology seeps into our communities. It must be addressed with force, and it must be addressed with force now.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg North.
    I am pleased to speak to this motion today. It lays out the position of the Prime Minister and the government on our part as Canadians in the fight against ISIL and the atrocities it is inflicting on others, especially those in Syria and Iraq, and its desire to inflict such atrocities on many in the western world, including Canada.
    I listened to a considerable amount of the debate yesterday. I do not think it is not very often any of us do this, but I read Hansard and the speeches I missed last evening.
    Just as an initial point, because it does not happen often in this place, I congratulate everyone for what I think has been a very serious debate. There has been the odd shot thrown across the room. I heard the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca suggest that the Liberals did not understand the quality of our military. We certainly do, and we support it. There are also implications from the government, which the minister reiterated, that we cannot sit on the sidelines, implying that both opposition parties want the government to sit on the sidelines. That is not true either. In general, the debate has been very good and a lot of good points have been raised.
    My colleagues, the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie and the member for Vancouver Quadra, made good arguments on the many ways that we could contribute other than CF-18s, such as strategic airlift, medical supplies, work with refugees, military advisers who are already there, and the list goes on. They were making the point that CF-18s were not the only option.
    It bothers me somewhat, as I mentioned a moment ago, that the theme the government is trying to express is that those who do not support the motion, and I certainly do not at this time support the CF-18s being sent into the fight, do not want the necessary action.
    Absolutely no one on this side argues that ISIL is not a threat to peace and stability in the world. It is indeed a threat. I will even give the Minister of National Defence credit for some of the points he raised yesterday in his remarks of how ISIL was such a threat, outlining that it wanted instability and potential instability elsewhere in the world. I will not reiterate those points, but they have been made and anyone who wants to see them can read Hansard.
    Let me also be clear that inaction is not an option. Our party is not talking about inaction. We are saying that there has to be action, but not being supportive of sending the CF-18s is not inaction. Doing other things in the Iraqi theatre could, in fact, be more strategic. Let me explain.
    In other areas of the world, for example, Britain, the prime minister of the country called the opposition leaders in and gave them a proper briefing. That has not happened in our country. Why? We are part of a coalition. There are already CF-18s. Military force through air strikes are already taking place. Action is already happening. What is the state of our equipment? We do not know. What is the state of our troops? We have done more than our fair share in Afghanistan. We have asked our men and women in uniform to rotate in, and some of them four times in a rotation.

  (1140)  

    Are we right to ask them to do that at this time or are there other strategies that we should employ, in conjunction with the coalition, that would add more strategic action to the effort and in other roles, such as humanitarian aid, dealing with refugees, medical supplies, increasing the advisers on the ground and so on? We do not know, because the leaders in the opposition parties do not have the detailed information to give us the confidence that the decision the government is making is the right one. We need to look at the whole picture.
    Has the coalition or the President of the United States requested that we send in six CF-18s versus taking other positions? Yes, it is true that the government is also doing some other things, and it made a good announcement yesterday in terms of the $10 million and support in that area, but was the request made to us specifically for those CF-18s? We do not know. Nobody from the government has expressly said so.
    The fact is, in terms of our commitment financially, with equipment and human resources, that if we commit in one area, it is conceivable that there would be less we could commit in other areas. Therefore, strategically, we do not know the whole picture, and the Prime Minister has failed to outline it, as he should have, for the opposition leaders.
    Some have tried to make the point that my party does not have confidence in our military. In fact, we do. We have the highest regard for the Canadian military and its capabilities, and its members have shown that time and again in various war theatres around the world.
    Also, I would point to what Hillary Clinton said yesterday, and she has had considerable experience around the world on foreign issues. She came down on both sides of this issue as well, and she said:
    I think military action is critical, in fact I would say essential, to try to prevent [the Islamic State’s] further advance and their holding of more territory.
    She is right. We agree that military action is in fact taking place, but do our CF-18s have to be a part of it or are we better doing other things in conjunction with that?
    She also said, “Military action alone is not sufficient” and maintained in describing the fight against Islamic jihadists as “a long-term commitment”. She is absolutely right in that area.
    We are in this fight. We knew when the 30 days was announced, that it would not be over in 30 days or in six months. We have been through some of these issues before by not engaging in Iraq and our fight in Afghanistan. We know this is a long-term commitment. I cannot say all are willing, but we are certainly willing to commit Canada's efforts to take on this scourge on the world.
    Yesterday I talked to a person who was 30 years in the military. For security reasons, I will not go through his comments, but his bottom line is this. He said, “In any case, we should be in a support role and not in a combat role in this one”. That is basically what we are suggesting.
    I want to make one other point, which is that this fight is not only in Syria and Iraq. There are radicalized individuals leaving Canada, the United States and Britain, and coming back to these countries carrying passports. They are a risk domestically and they have to be taken on. The government also has to figure out a strategy on how we deal with that radicalization in Canada, which is a serious threat to our country.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was somewhat shocked by the member saying military action is needed but Canada should not be part of that. It is letting someone else do the dirty work. That really does bother me.
    I heard throughout these presentations members of the opposition parties saying what we really should be doing is providing humanitarian aid to people in the refugee camps, in Iraq and that type of thing. I agree with that, but that is not the most important thing. The member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, the member for Mississauga—Streetsville and I went to Iraq about a month ago. We visited three of the camps near Erbil and Mosul. What we were told was very clear. They want to take their children and go home. The only way they can take their children and go home is if there is military action to stabilize their home territory so that they can do that. Therefore, if we care about the children and care about doing what is best for the people in these camps, what we need to do is to get involved in military action so they can go home.
    Mr. Speaker, I have to laugh at that comment because we are part of the military action. Do our CF-18s have to be in that squadron? They absolutely do not. We are part of the military action now. We have advisers in Iraq. There are other things we could do in terms of strategic air support.
    For the member opposite to leave this fluffy impression that air strikes are going to do it alone, they are not. We need to get real here. Every expert in the world says that if we are going to deal with this, at the end of the day, it is going to require ground forces. That is where this leads. We should look at the longer picture, and we are not there.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my relatively simple question is for my distinguished Liberal colleague, who seems to be implying that there could still be military action.
    The problem—and that is what I would like my colleague to address—is that the Americans bombed Iraq for 12 years. Nevertheless, the jihadists are still there, receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which, I should point out, are part of the coalition. That is rather bizarre.
    Furthermore, they are indirectly supported by Turkey, which allows the trafficking of oil and arms and lets jihadists pass through Turkey on their way to Syria and Iraq. Now we are being told outright that we have to go and fight because the Iraqi soldiers refuse to die for a corrupt government.
    How will the bombings allow Iraqis to assume responsibility for defending themselves, which they have not done so far?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, just because previous engagements with military aircraft, and even in some cases forces on the ground, have not worked in their entirety does not mean we should not do what we have to do.
    The government's position is that it believes sending in CF-18s is the best option. I disagree with that and my party disagrees with that. Strategically, we have to look at what is the best role for Canada to play, in discussion with the coalition, and how can we do the most good in terms of taking on the threat of ISIL and giving people their lives, their homes and their futures back.
    Canada has to play a role. There is no question about that. We do have a difference of opinion on how we get to the end result.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, let there be no doubt that from the Liberal Party's perspective Canada does have a role to play with respect to what is taking place in Iraq today.
     Canadians from all over our vast country are concerned about what is being portrayed, whether it is through the Internet or through different media outlets. We need to recognize that as a whole, Canadians are a caring, compassionate society that believes in democracy, freedom and the rule of law. There is absolutely no doubt about that. They also want the government to make good, sound, solid decisions. This is where the Prime Minister of Canada is lacking. He has not been able to put the cards on the table. He has not been able to justify his actions.
    The Liberal Party is open to listening to what the government wants to do, but we have not been able to get answers to numerous questions that we have put forward to the government. I will go through a number of those questions.
    Right from day one we in the Liberal Party have been arguing for the need for more debate on this issue inside the House of Commons, where members are offered the opportunity to get engaged on what is an important world issue and one in which our military would be engaged.
    I am speaking somewhat from experience. I had the privilege of serving in the Canadian Forces. I would like to think that all members of this chamber support our military personnel. The Liberal Party certainly does. Canada has some of the very best military personnel in the world as a result of the training that we provide and as a result of their abilities. Let there be no doubt about that. All of us are proud of each and every member of the Canadian Forces. The government has to support our military personnel in a real and tangible way.
    From the beginning of this session we have been arguing for debate. We need to talk about what is taking place in Iraq. The government seems to have its mind set on one thing and one thing only and that is the air strike. That seems to be the only option that the government has considered, and the government is wrong on that part. It would appear that members of the Conservative Party closed their minds right from the beginning, and at a great cost. Canadians want us to play a role in Iraq but the Prime Minister's decision is wrong. He has not been able to justify his actions.
    Members of the Liberal Party supported taking on an advisory role for 30 days. That is what makes us different from the New Democratic Party. The Liberal Party is not shy about dealing with the issue and keeping an open mind. Our party understands the complex issues that are taking place in Iraq and the Middle East. They are having a profound impact on the world.
    I have listened to many Conservatives talking about the savage behaviour, the terrible things that are taking place in Iraq today, what ISIL is bringing upon people. It is criminal. It is completely unheard of in many minds. They talk about people being butchered, about women being sold as sex slaves, the things that ISIL is doing to children, to babies. There are all of these compelling arguments as to why Canada needs to play some role. We in the Liberal Party acknowledge that Canada does need to play some role, but we do not believe that the government has made the case to justify Canada's role being that of air strikes.

  (1155)  

    We can still be as upset as the government in terms of the horrendous behaviour of ISIL and individuals involved in that organization. We can still condemn their actions, but there are different ways of fighting it. There are different ways of being engaged that we could be looking at for our military forces, but the mentality of the government seems to be that if people do not favour air strikes, then they do not favour fighting ISIL, which is just not the case, at least not within the Liberal Party.
    I believe the overwhelming majority of Canadians believe, as the Liberal Party believes, that we have to do something. We need the government to provide answers to questions. There is a litany of questions. I will pose but a few. What is the Canadian objective in this particular mission in terms of air strikes? What is the plan to meet the objective? What is the total cost of the proposed CF-18 deployment, which is important to have at least a sense of? Who will be commanding the mission?
    With the time limit on the deployment, will the government seek additional parliamentary support if the mission is to be extended, as Liberals anticipate it will be? What other options for the Canadian military contribution did the Prime Minister consider? Did he even consider any of them? Why were they ruled out?
    When we talk about humanitarian aid, what options for a humanitarian contribution rather than a military contribution did the Prime Minister consider, or did he even consider them? Why were they ruled out? Will the incremental costs of the combat mission reduce the amount of humanitarian aid that the government would provide? I believe that is an incredibly important question that needs to be answered.
    How much humanitarian aid and technical assistance is Canada planning to give to each of Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan over the next six months? How much humanitarian aid and technical assistance is Canada planning to give to the international agencies and NGOs operating in the area in the next six months? These are good, sound questions.
    Last Thursday night we heard that the Prime Minister was going to making a statement on Friday morning last week. Friday came, the Prime Minister gives an indication of what the Government of Canada's intent was, and the leader of the Liberal Party had the opportunity at that time to address this issue and raise many of the questions that I put forward.
    The leader of the Liberal Party made clear where Liberals stand, how important it is that Canada plays a role in what is happening in Iraq, and articulated why it is that the Prime Minister has failed Canadians by not being more transparent and honest about what is taking place and what the government's actions are going to be.
    There has been a general unwillingness to even work with the opposition and the Liberals. Yes, the critic on foreign affairs was able to go to Iraq. There has been some goodwill, but it has been very limited. Is it because government members are scared to answer many of the questions? Maybe there is something more that Canada could be doing that would include the Canadian Forces. These types of things are important.
    ISIL is a threat both to the region and global security. ISIL murders ethnic and religious minorities across Iraq and Syria. They murder innocent civilians, humanitarian workers, and journalists. These are awful acts that have been fully documented. Canada does have a role to play to confront the humanitarian crisis and the security threats to the world.

  (1200)  

    When the government considers deploying our men and women in uniform, it must make it a clear mission overall and a clear role for Canada within that mission.
    I will finish my comments through questions and answers.
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague opposite that there are concerns about a military mission. However, on balance, this mission should be supported. There are three reasons for that.
    There is a clear, moral reason to support this mission. As people like Lloyd Axworthy and Romeo Dallaire have pointed out, there is a responsibility to protect innocent civilians so that we do not see a repeat of the genocides we have so often witnessed in the 20th century. There is a moral reason in terms of the safety and security of Canadians.
    There is a legal reason. The Government of Iraq has formally requested our military intervention in its state in order to protect its sovereignty in that state.
    Then there is the real political issue here, the realpolitik of it all, which is that our allies have joined in assisting the Government of Iraq in this area. I noticed that the British resolution, adopted in the British House of Commons, is worded almost identically to the resolution in front of us right now. It was adopted by a vote of 524 to 43. Most Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs voted for that motion. Countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and social democracies run by socialist governments are supporting this mission. I am wondering why the opposition parties here are not on board with it.
    Mr. Speaker, when the member makes reference to moral reasons to get engaged in air strikes, surely he should also recognize that there are countries that are not getting involved in the air strikes. They understand and appreciate, as does the Liberal Party, that we all have a moral responsibility and understanding that Canada needs to play a role. Where we differ is like Germany, which is not participating in the air strikes.
     We are not convinced that the Prime Minister has made his case that air strikes are the best way in which Canada can participate in dealing with the horror that is taking place because of ISIL. There are alternatives. To what degree are we using the C-130s or other opportunities with our Canadian Forces or non-profit agencies? There are other alternatives that it appears the Prime Minister has ruled out. We do not know if he even considered those, because he did not allow for the type of discussion that was necessary for a good, sound decision to be made.
    The member made reference to the EU. The EU worked with the opposition parties and was far more transparent and accountable in terms of the decision ultimately being made.
    Order, please. I see we are under questions and comments. I thought the hon. member for Winnipeg North was continuing his comments there and part of his speech. We need to make time for some other questions and comments.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member for Winnipeg North and his predecessor, the member for Malpeque. Forgive me if I am confused about the position of the Liberal Party. I had understood that it gave unquestioned support for the initial mission of 30 days, even though questions were not answered. We did not support it because we did not really know what we were being asked to support. However, that is a different question altogether.
    The Liberals, in both previous speeches, said that they are opposed to the air strikes but they want to find a military mission that they can get behind. I am wondering what that might be, because people are saying that the air strikes alone are not enough. The answer from the military perspective seems to be ground forces. Is that what the Liberal Party is now suggesting? Is it trying to show that it does want a military response but it has not figured out what that is, or is it just that it is not sure what it wants to propose?

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, in fairness, we need to recognize that the New Democrats have done a bit of flip-flopping on this particular issue.
    All we have to do is read the amendment that was brought forward. That amendment says:
....call on the Government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months.
    It sounds as if the New Democratic Party is starting to come on side with what the Liberal Party has actually been saying.
    If the member would just reach over and talk to his colleague from Toronto—Danforth, and read the comments in Hansard, he will find that there are some ideas that his own colleague has actually suggested.
    There are opportunities. I would like to think that the New Democrats will continue to follow the lead of the Liberal Party, as they have done in the amendment, and will recognize it is important that Canada does play a role.
    The New Democrats have always approached that in a very cautious fashion, and I cannot blame them for being cautious, but there is a point in time when Canadian Forces personnel can be used, even in non-combat roles.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to indicate at the outset that I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, the member for Selkirk—Interlake.
    I rise with others to take part in what is obviously a very sombre and serious debate. Most would agree that there is never a good time to go to war, but there comes a time in every country's history when the necessity outweighs the risk, and the urgency to defend our way of life, threatened as it is, must be defended. ISIL constitutes a clear and present danger to Canada and our allies. Before us is a debate that has been put before this House with clarity and with intent, which is proposing meaningful and measured responses to a very serious situation.
     ISIL is pure evil. There is insufficient hyperbole to do justice to the depth of its depravity, no rhyme or reason to the inhumanity that it brings to this world. Some seem willing to accept this new reality. We live in a global society where terrorism does certainly not respect borders, and to offer platitudes or to attempt to placate fear with the promise of acceptance or tolerance toward this type of action reflects a fundamental disconnect.
    Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately as the case may be, we as a government do not have the luxury of indecision or inaction or denial. Beyond the rhetoric and the partisan lines, when it comes to terrorism we have a responsibility to take up arms against the sea of tyranny and to proactively help to end it. Canadians otherwise predominantly enjoy a life free from fear and far from terror because we have men and women in uniform who are prepared to stand at the ready to defend our way of life at home and abroad. We cannot and we should not stand idly by, hoping that other nations will rise to the challenge on our behalf. What we are doing, we are doing because we have always risen to the occasion, when threatened, and addressed the threat head on.
    Also in the news is the scourge of Ebola. Make no mistake about it: ISIL is a human plague; an agent of indiscriminate death and clear threats to humanity.
     This way of life is not be taken for granted in Canada. Where we find ourselves today as a nation has come at great cost. It has been defended on the field of battle with the blood of our illustrious ancestors. Our country was literally born on a battlefield, Vimy, according to many historians. Our greatest citizens then, as now, passed through a crucible defending our way of life. All that we hold dear rests on those sacrifices.
     We need to recognize that there is a danger in complacency, and explicit in that is the notion that, when called upon, we answer, we do our part. From the privileged platform of minister of defence, I saw first hand the sacrifices made in Canada's name. There is no argument against war as compelling as witnessing first hand a ramp ceremony or a repatriation service, seeing the suffering of loved ones when their loved ones return home. That epitomizes “true patriot love”, as do the sacrifices of those who suffered bodily harm in Canada's name.
     Much is at stake. Every breath we take is precious, and the bonds formed in the relationships overseas in conflict have withstood the test of time. We have all heard those stories. We have heard those who have served recount the incredible sacrifices made. However, we do not enjoy the luxury of this bond because they have sacrificed. If there is any comfort that can be passed on to families of the fallen, it lies in the true belief that their loved ones did not die in vain.
    What more worthy cause? We saw in Afghanistan, as a result of efforts, little girls now able to go to school, women able to participate in the democratic process and the economy; and our efforts as a free and democratic nation have contributed to an unprecedented change of culture, albeit still fragile. It is the result of much effort on the part of many. Those are the goals to achieve for a new place in the Middle East.
    Some members have invoked other images from places like Darfur, places where there have been catalogued the numbers of the dead, and yet it is these factions, those who are at the cause of this destruction and the very threat to humanity, who have come out in the past and in present to pose a direct or indirect threat to Canada, which we cannot leave unchecked.

  (1210)  

    Some have called for further debate or examination, while our traditional allies are already in the fray.
    As tragic as all conflicts are, the faction involved here as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, has called for the very destruction of our way of life in the western world.
     Make no mistake. These are current threats. These are real threats. This is not a war against Muslims. This is not a fight between Christianity and Islam. This is an intervention to aid in the restoration of some semblance of security against a perversion of a twisted version of a faith distorted and violence perpetrated against true innocents in that region. Yet it is perpetrated outward. It has been carried via the Internet into the homes of Canadians. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has proven its distortion of faith through extreme acts of terror so callous in nature that even al Qaeda has worked to distance itself from them.
    Let us be crystal clear. The evidence to act in defence of Canada is there. ISIL has targeted humanitarian workers, journalists, and citizens. Millions are displaced, and the suffering is enormous. Acts of genocide, rape as a weapon of war, kidnapping, and slavery as a stated intent are threats against our country and theirs.
    We have been asked by a democratic state to assist. This brings further justification to our actions.
    ISIL, on the other hand, has shown no tolerance and no conscience and has no regard for beliefs or democratic principles other than its own twisted and distorted view of the world. Now it has descended in that region into a type of maniacal barbarism and brutality rarely seen in human history. Comparisons to other conflicts are limited to the worst in world history.
    ISIL has waged a brutal, inhumane war, showing equal disregard for women and children, Muslims and Christians alike. Its claim to religious authority over all Muslims worldwide and its goal to bring Muslim-inhabited regions under its own diabolic control and to spread throughout the civilized world cannot go unchecked.

[Translation]

    Religious freedom is a fundamental Canadian value that we protect and promote throughout the world.

  (1215)  

[English]

    In addition to military collaboration, we have also sent humanitarian aid in the tens of millions to those affected. It has not been one or the other, but both. We are one of the top donors, in fact, as a country, which again is a source of pride.
    We have also helped through immigration. Thousands have been liberated, because they were displaced and left vulnerable as a result of this conflict.
    If we must once again put our faith in those who wear the Canadian Forces uniform, we want Canadians to know that it was a decision not taken lightly but is one we have confidence in. We cannot thank those brave men and women in uniform enough. Putting soldiers in harm's way is, as others have said, an undertaking that we must do with extreme caution and deliberation. Asking these brave souls of the Canadian Forces to defend our nation, our way of life, our beliefs, and the rights and freedoms of Canadians at home and abroad weighs heavily on all minds.
    However, as a government, we take this responsibility seriously. We believe that parliamentarians should and do have an opportunity in this debate to help to carefully calibrate force and action, which is why we have added another day to this debate and why we have made this a confidence motion.
    For a period of up to six months, our forces will launch air strikes against ISIL, along with our allies and partners, including Arab states, utilizing up to nine aircraft and support elements. Humanitarian relief will continue. This is a meaningful, impactful contribution. As always, we will do our part with pride and purpose.
    Incremental costs will of course be reported to the Parliament of Canada, as they always are.
    The current deployment of 69 members who will be participating in a non-combat advisory role will continue. As the Prime Minister has said, we are not participating in any ground combat mission. We do so in coordination with our closest allies and with the greatest intent in mind to bring about a sense of security in the region.
    The dedication and determination of the men and women in uniform that we have witnessed first-hand thus far is inspirational as always. We have a long and storied history when it comes to protecting our system of beliefs and those we count among our closest friends and allies.
    There are easier paths we could go down, but we will not shy away from our duty. We will do what is right, honouring our glorious history and preserving our precious future.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to some of the minister's adjectives pertaining to ISIL: pure evil, human plague, maniacal barbarism.
     I attended an awards banquet on Friday night in my riding, and I was approached by a young man whose name is Sean Vinnicombe. He is 15 years old and is a grade 11 student at Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John's. I will pose the question he asked me: Why are we going to war in Iraq?
    I have my own question that follows up on that. The United States was in Iraq for 10 years. The Americans fought there for 10 years and not much changed after those 10 years were up.
    There are many hot spots around the world, including the Congo, where 5.4 million people have died since 1998. The Congo has asked three times since 2010 for Canada to support peacekeeping, but we said no. I have two questions. One, for the young man in my riding, is this: Why Iraq? The second is why Iraq and not the Congo--
    The hon. Minister of Justice.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the young man in St. John's for perhaps bringing us to a very poignant question. Why Iraq? Simply put, it is to help defend this young boy's future in Canada; to help preserve his right to get an education in St. John's; to expect his younger sister, if he has one, to be treated equally in Canada; to defend his very way of life; and to hope to defray the real threat he might face when he goes back to his computer and has material presented to him that would somehow distort his young mind and his understanding of what is important in his life and in his obligations to his fellow citizens.
    There are many and diverse responses I could give to that young man, and I would relish the opportunity to do so. I hope the member opposite will take the time to pass that on.
    As to why Iraq versus Congo, we can do our part. We continue to do so in many places around the world. It is something Canadians can certainly be extremely proud of.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I was sad, but not surprised, to hear the Minister of Justice continue to promote the false dichotomy that Canada either assumes a combat role of aerial bombing or it is characterized as accepting and tolerating ISIL, standing idly by, complacency, and all of these words that are being used to divide Canadians on this issue.
    In fact, Liberals are very clear that we believe Canada can best contribute to other kinds of military roles, non-combat military roles, as well as humanitarian roles. I proposed a training role.
    My question is this: Does the minister believe that in the four years when 1,000 Canadian trainers had a non-combat role in Afghanistan, the government was standing idly by and was in a place of complacency and acceptance and tolerance of the Taliban?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a very selective memory, because number one, it was a Liberal government that sent our forces, ill-equipped as they were, without a vote, to Afghanistan. Twelve years of a severe combat mission followed, which allowed us to at least prepare the ground for some semblance of a training mission, so I think we have to have some context.
    The member suggests somehow that it is Conservatives who are creating this false dichotomy by characterizing this threat in the extreme. Let us look at what some members of her party, members of this House, had to say fairly recently.
     Mr. Bob Rae: “We can do more. Assist people under...siege fight back”. That does not sound like a humanitarian response.
    Mr. Lloyd Axworthy, who I do not quote very often, stated that ISIL has “to be whacked and whacked good”. That is pretty explicit.
     Ujjal Dosanjh, a former minister of this House said, “ISIL must be stopped and destroyed”. These are words that I think are in keeping with this effort, this motion, to respond in a way that would bring about real results, not stand on the sidelines and hope that others will do it in our name.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak in the House regarding Canada's engagement in the combat mission against ISIL. I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in the opposition parties. They took positions before this debate even started. They were opposed to this mission and are not interested in listening to logical debate before making a decision on the motion.
    As has already been made clear, the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, constitutes a threat to local, regional, and international security. The serious security and humanitarian crisis in Iraq and in its neighbouring countries has been created by the vicious advance of the ISIL terrorists. Their capture of territory has resulted in mass displacement and has forced over one million Iraqis from their homes and communities, and we know well of their despicable and unspeakable crimes.
    ISIL stands accused by the United Nations of the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and of the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Of course, they have also bragged about their decapitations of journalists and aid workers. If allowed to continue, the threat posed by ISIL will develop into an even greater threat, further destabilizing the Middle East and creating and encouraging greater enmity among its people.
    We know that these terrorists seek to hurt Canada and our allies. The leadership of ISIL has called for Canada and Canadians to be attacked. How much longer should Canada wait to act? If it were up to the leaders of the Liberals and the NDP, Canadians would never act.
    Our government will not sit on the sidelines. We are taking action.
    Since the end of August, the Canadian Armed Forces have airlifted critical military supplies for the Iraqi forces battling ISIL on the ground. Twenty-five flights have delivered more than 1.6 million pounds of military supplies donated by Albania and the Czech Republic. We have also deployed special operations forces to advise and assist the Iraqi forces and in particular the Kurdish Peshmerga. We announced yesterday that their initial 30-day deployment is being extended for up to six months.
    On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that this government will take the following additional steps. A strike force of up to six CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, with associated aircrew and logistical support elements, will deploy to conduct air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq in co-operation with our coalition partners. In addition, a CC-150 Polaris refueling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft will deploy for their reconnaissance and support capabilities.
    This force will also include an airlift capability and several hundred support personnel who will be contributing to command and control and logistics and will be providing assistance to the coalition's air combat operations.
    These deployments mean that Canada is shouldering its share of the international burden to combat the threat of ISIL. We know that it is possible that there may be risks to our deployed members, but I can attest to the fact that they are ready, willing, and up to this task. They are exceptionally well trained and equipped to the highest standards. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are the very best of our citizenry, and I know that they will make us proud of their heroism and bravery yet again.
    As I explained yesterday in the House, this operation is still at a preliminary stage. We will continue to work closely with our allies to evaluate the operations and events as they continue to unfold.
    Let me say something about our allies in this operation. Over the last few months, a wide coalition of more than 40 countries has come together. They all understand the vital need to confront ISIL. Our closest ally and defence partner, the United States, is leading the coalition. The U.S. has been conducting air strikes against ISIL for two months now, and it has expanded its air campaign in the last two weeks. However, the U.S. is no longer alone, as other countries are joining the fight every day.
    France and the United Kingdom have already conducted air strikes, destroying ISIL facilities and weaponry. Ten Arab countries have also pledged their support, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Bahrain already participating in air strikes. Australia has committed direct military support, including 600 personnel and eight F-18 Super Hornet fighters.

  (1225)  

    Many of our allies within NATO are also getting involved in combat operations. The Netherlands is sending 6 F-16 fighter jets plus 2 reserve jets, 250 support staff and pilots. Belgium is sending 6 F-16s, with 8 pilots and 120 support staff. Denmark is providing 7 F-16 fighter jets, along with 250 pilots and support staff. Germany is sending paratroopers to provide weapons and training to Kurdish fighters. Weapons and ammunition are being sent by countries such as Italy, Estonia and Hungary.
    The international community is stepping up, and so must Canada.
    Let me end on this note. The violence we see from ISIL simply has no place in the modern world. Who would have even dreamt two years ago that this would happen? ISIL's utter contempt for human life is beneath humanity and it rightly shocks Canadians.
    We do not make decisions through a red mist or through a desire for revenge. We know that down that path lays disaster. Our measured response, very carefully considered by our government, is in line with Canada's intent to contribute to international peace and security.
    We are citizens of the world and this government is acting as such. ISIL knows no boundaries and no borders. It threatens to gain more ground and it directly threatens the safety of our country. It is time for something to be done, and for the international community to act. If we do not, as the opposition has suggested, we will eventually face the serious consequences. We simply cannot afford to let the Middle East wallow in the repression, bloodshed and atrocities that would result. We simply cannot ignore the direct threat posed by ISIL to Canada and our western allies, or to our values.
    This government is prepared to address this threat at its source. Canadians agree that this military action is in our national interest. We must take action and we will take action. We seek the support of all Canadians for the government motion.

  (1230)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I have a number of questions I would like to ask my hon. colleague opposite. Basically, what I heard on the news yesterday is rather important. In fact, ISIS captured a large city near Turkey's border. The bombing started two weeks ago, if not more, and yet the fighters captured the city quite easily.
    What effect are the bombings having? Second, I also learned that ISIS has changed tactics. Its members are now hiding. Where will they hide? They will hide among the civilian population. Are my colleagues opposite really going to agree to bomb civilians, children and pregnant women because ISIS is hiding among them? I find that deplorable.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the NDP members for the last day and a half on this and I have been engaged with them in multiple panel debates. I am so disappointed in their position. They are prepared to sacrifice innocent civilians who are under the threat of ISIL. We are talking about a genocide taking place, and the NDP would do nothing to protect those people.
    All the NDP ever talks about is humanitarian aid. We are providing humanitarian aid. There is a huge coalition of over 60 countries providing humanitarian assistance and dealing now with the war crimes that are being committed. We made that clear yesterday.
    The NDP does not care and will not act to protect the children who are being beheaded or the women who are being sexually assaulted and sold into slavery. The NDP will not stop ISIL at its source. Our government will.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my objection to the suggestion that somehow on this side of the House, the members of the opposition are less patriotic than the members of the government. The member suggested that there is disappointment that the opposition does not support the government motion.
    Is it not ultimately the responsibility of the government to reach out to the opposition, step forward, provide the compelling reasons and give the necessary information for the opposition to make an appropriate decision? Would the parliamentary secretary do the right thing and offer the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Liberal Party the opportunity to be sworn into the Privy Council and give them a private, confidential briefing on the operational capacity of our ability to execute the mission?
    Mr. Speaker, I know the member is relatively new to the House. We lived through a Liberal government that sent our men and women into battle, for the right reasons, in Afghanistan to take on the Taliban. This is the same situation we face today in Iraq with ISIL.
    An hon. member: This is worse.
    Mr. James Bezan: This is definitely worse, Mr. Speaker. This is a situation where we have an all-out genocide going on.
     The Liberals made that decision without consulting opposition parties, without having a debate in the House or a vote. They just went and did it. It is the practice in our party that when we deploy troops in combat roles to bring it to the House for that discussion. It is just unbelievable.
     The Minister of Justice just quoted some members who served when I first got here. They were ministers of the Liberal government and support this mission. I know the Liberals love Hillary Clinton, and even she is saying, “I think military action is critical. In fact, I would say essential”. If leading Liberals in Canada and around the world support this mission, what is wrong with the Liberal Party of Canada today?

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for staying high level on this debate. There are some unspeakable things that ISIL is doing, such as beheading children and forcing parents to bury their children alive. While my colleagues will not mention that because it is unspeakable, I want the opposition members to understand what they are voting against.
    No god, including Allah, condones this behaviour. No religion, including Islam, supports this behaviour. This is an affront to humanity.
    Could the member comment on what the government proposes in terms of the limited military action against this evil?
    Mr. Speaker, we all realize that ISIL is still recruiting. We know there is at least 130 Canadians who have deployed and moved to Iraq and Syria to fight for ISIL.
     We want to take away those passports, which is not supported by the opposition. We want to take away their citizenship when they are dual nationals, which is not supported by the opposition.
     We have to target ISIL at its source. We have to target its ability to generate revenue and finance its campaign of terror. We are going to continue to target ISIL, whether it is them capturing refineries, oil wells, financial institutions. We are going to go after them to ensure that ISIL does not have money, the resources and ability to continue to behead children, to bury them alive or sexually assault women and children, and sell them into slavery.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this motion. As members of Parliament, the single most important duty we have is to give consideration to actions by the government, as those actions would lead our military men and women into harm's way.
    One thing I want to be clear on is that at this point in time there is already an action under way to go after ISIL, the people committing the atrocities about which the members on the other side just spoke. Nobody on this side of the House is any less offended or troubled by those actions.
    Right now militarily, about 60 countries are involved in a coalition and not all of them have made the decision to put their military into action. The United States, France and Australia are leading the way with a massive force. In point of fact, if we consider the six aircraft being proposed by the government and the 600 people who will accompany them, that is a very small portion of what will be utilized in the bombings.
    Based on some testimony that the Subcommittee on International Human Rights heard this week from Reverend Majed El Shafie of One Free World International, which is a group that took Conservatives and other members of Parliament to Iraq, right to the edge of where the combat is taking place, the president of Iraq and Kurdish leaders begged for humanitarian aid for the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in that country, not bombs.
    I want to take members back for a moment and ask if they remember the use of the words “collateral damage”. In and around Parliament and places of government, there are often what are called buzzwords. An example of buzzwords that I am very familiar with were “free trade”. In the 1980s, there was a great debate on free trade and it sounded good. In both Gulf Wars, when the American missiles and bombs were dropping, collateral damage was referred to. The collateral damage consisted of men, women and children. Nobody can direct a surgical strike that does not put at risk having collateral damage.
    One of the offshoots of the Gulf War was the instability when the Americans left. Prior to that time, Saddam Hussein, who was a Sunni, whose tribe was about one-quarter the size of the Shia in that area of the world, installed his Sunni supporters into the army. When the Americans and their allies removed Saddam Hussein and destabilized that area, he was ultimately replaced by a prime minister who was Shia, who sought revenge for the many atrocities committed by the troops of Saddam Hussein. It is said that he did not pay the army on time and humiliated it.
    When a couple of thousand ISIL fighters came across the border, five divisions of Iraqi soldiers laid down their arms. Many of them joined ISIL because of the instability. Not understanding the horrific consequences, they believed that by joining ISIL, they would get a fairer deal from the government. Since that time, that prime minister has been removed.
    I would like to inform the House, Mr. Speaker, that I am splitting my time with the member for Louis-Hébert.
    The instability that was created by that vacuum and the years and years of Shia and Sunni tribal warfare is being taken advantage of by the ISIL group.

  (1240)  

    We have heard testimony from people here today and on other days that ISIL is far more sophisticated than any terrorist group that we have come across. It is an offshoot of al Qaeda. Our leader was indicating in the House the other day that North Americans have been fighting ISIL in one form or another for well over 10 years. It took advantage of that vacuum and has also taken advantage of some people who, had they really considered their actions, would not have joined it.
    It is horrific. We have heard very little like it. The only place I can think of that might be comparable is the Democratic Republic of Congo where there have been atrocities.
     Reverend El Shafie spoke to us in committee and raised the fact that they are four to five weeks away from winter and there is not even shelter for people. The few hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, that are going to be spent by Canada on these bombing missions would be better used serving the people on the ground in that country who are suffering. If we were to go there and build shelters and bring medicines, winter clothes and the things they need, they would be better served.
    They were forced out of their homes. They were given a choice but they were not believers in this particular brand, this abhorrent brand of Islam. I am pleased to hear the government say that it is not Islam as the world knows it. This is a group of people, much like Osama bin Laden, who use the word “jihad” to justify horrific things. Those who know a little about Islam know that “jihad” simply means to defend one's religion when it comes under attack. It is not to go out and do the things that are happening here.
    It is very important to remind Canadians who may be watching that in Canada there are 1.2 million Muslims. Every once in a while I will find someone who is ill informed, who says Muslims are trying to take over, or this and that. I remind him that there are 32 million of the rest of us. When do we see a newspaper story of a Muslim attacking someone in Canada, or stealing, robbing a bank, or committing murder? It is extremely rare because these are good people who believe very fundamentally and are committed to Islam.
    Again, this is not Islam. This is a terrible group. I cannot think of ISIL members in any other terms than monsters because the things they have been doing are monstrous. I can understand that members on the other side who have the lever of power and the ability to say we should put our aircraft in the air, or put troops on the ground—in fairness, they have not said that as yet, but we are worried it might happen—would want to do something when we are facing those kinds of horrific crimes.
    However, we have a coalition of 60 nations. We have among them the top three or four militaries on the face of the earth prepared to undertake this mission. They do not need Canada to go there bombing, but they do need Canada's help in this effort. I agree with Canada taking part in this effort. I agree that Canada must do something on a huge humanitarian scale because this is going to be proven to be one of the most horrific times in our history with what is going to happen to the displaced people. They have already been terrorized to the point of having to leave their homes. Many have had brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins murdered and there are other atrocities we have heard about.
    No one is arguing those have not happened. What we are arguing is that perhaps Canada can take that step back from going into military action and say Canada is prepared to stand up with our allies, supply the humanitarian aid, offer support and the delivery of arms. We are already delivering arms to those fighters trying to protect their homeland, which we are in agreement with. However, it is most important to take that pause before we choose to send our men and women into a war zone that is going to become a quagmire. We saw it happen in the last war in Iraq. We saw it happen in Afghanistan where 40,000 Canadians went through that war zone. We are still paying the price for that today with PTSD and the loss of over 150 Canadian soldiers and a person from our diplomatic service.

  (1245)  

    I will close by appealing to the government side. Take a moment, step back and give some thought to the fact that this is a broader concern than just war and bombing. It is a place where we can do some real humanitarian work.
    Mr. Speaker, I would just say to my hon. colleague that we do not have a moment. We do not have all the time in the world. I wish we did and I wish we did not have to go.
    I wonder why it is that among the NDP members, who made their decision to vote against the motion long before the motion was even put up, we have not seen a change in that position despite everything that we have said. We do not see democracy here or rational debate. We see obstinance and obstruction. The member knows full well that we have humanitarian aid over there and we can do more, and we will. The opposition is concerned about refugees. We are doing a lot in that regard and we will do more.
    However, what do we do, as a nation that can, about those people who cannot escape the evil? Do we just focus on those who can escape the evil and become refugees and leave those who cannot escape this evil only to die, to be tortured, to be buried alive? I say that we do not do that, and with a heavy heart, I will vote for the motion.
     I am asking that reasonable member to break rank, break the domination of his leader and vote for the motion.
    Mr. Speaker, I was proud to stand in the House and vote against the Afghanistan mission because I thought it was ill conceived and ill prepared for.
    Looking upon the circumstances we have today, the member says that if we do not go to war those people will die. However, there happens to be a huge military force from France, the United States and Australia with the weapons that can do exactly the job that the Conservatives are asking the Canadian military to do.
    We are saying that it is not necessary for us to take part in that level of that conflict, but for Canada to have a role supplying humanitarian aid, supplying the workers that will build shelters. That is where Canada and a huge number of Canadians believe we should be in this particular event.
    Mr. Speaker, frankly, I share the hesitancy of the hon. member, and I congratulate him on his speech.
    I wish we could ramp down the politics of this matter, because not one of us on either side wishes to send the men and women of our military into harm's way, particularly in a situation such as this.
    I wonder if the hon. member has given thought to the people who are going to be joining us in the coalition, and not so much the obvious ones, but rather Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Up until now, Iran has been the greatest exporter of state-sponsored terrorism, according to our own Minister of Foreign Affairs. Iran is a sponsor of Hezbollah, yet in this particular fight, it is our ally. That puts everyone in a very awkward position. I would be interested in the member's thoughts on that.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member will probably be surprised to know that, prior to speaking, I came here in a rush because I had just left a press conference where we were talking about dissidents in Iranian prisons who were about to be executed, so I share his concern.
    We have heard the comments about Syria, that if Assad asks, we will bomb. This is a man who just a year and a half or so ago the United States drew a red line and said that if he crossed it they would stop him, but they failed to do that. However, all of a sudden, this man is a potential ally. We certainly all should feel conflicted in this place, and I do not care from what party. The good souls who sit here who are going to make the best judgment they can with the information they have at hand.
    We have lost an opportunity in the House. I do not often agree with some of my friends, but the fact is that we could have had our leader and the leader of the third party sworn into the Privy Council and taken into the discussions. Maybe, it is possible that it might have looked different. However, we can only make our decisions based on the information placed before us and placed before our leaders. The Conservatives have failed on that count.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide some context for my comments by saying that neither the UN nor NATO approved this military contribution.
    Iraq has the fifth-largest proven oil reserve in the world, which may explain a lot things about this conflict. Moreover, oil production has almost doubled since Saddam Hussein left power. Lastly, as for the barbaric group we are talking about today, I will not use the word “state”. I will do as the French and use the Arabic acronym Daesh.
    The Prime Minister has a very limited point of view and sees the problems only from an economic standpoint. The government is only seeking revenge for actions that are, obviously, extremely reprehensible. Let us be clear: we do not like the murders and the way this organization treats dead bodies any more than the members opposite. It is unacceptable.
    However, I was truly surprised by one thing in the Prime Minister's speech. He admitted that the motion he moved will not solve anything. In other words, we are doing something for the sake of doing something because we feel obliged. However, in the same breath, he admitted that this will not solve anything. We therefore need to ask ourselves whether we should be doing something that will not solve anything.
    This kind of magical thinking is unacceptable. We cannot hope to solve things this time by repeating past mistakes. I doubt that this will work because the situation has not been deteriorating for two years, but rather for decades. We are going to take the same approach and hope that things will go a little better this time, but that does not reflect the reality on the ground.
    Some members went so far as to say that providing support for humanitarian aid was the same as doing nothing and that it was not very honourable. How many people depend on that humanitarian aid? Do those members think that it is easy to provide humanitarian aid in a conflict situation? The most important thing is to have a long-term vision for this assistance. We are not just talking about meeting the needs of today, tomorrow or next week. The humanitarian aid provided must be seen as the first step toward a sustainable solution in this geopolitical space.
    This problem has existed for years. All sorts of solutions, particularly military ones, have been tried, and now they are being tried again. If this was the first time this had happened, we could plead ignorance. However, that is not the case, and the situation gets worse every time. The only thing that has changed is the opponent's acronym.
    On this side of the House, we are not advocating sitting back and watching the train go by. However, we need to take the right train, not one that will lead us into another similar debate five or 10 years from now, when other people will do the same things we did and will certainly fail to resolve the problem. At no other time in the history of humanity have we had so much knowledge. Unfortunately, we are not using it. We need to understand what is happening, not just react to it.

  (1255)  

    We know that military action alone cannot resolve the problem. Nevertheless that is the approach the House is adopting. We know that long-term social, economic and political change is needed. If we simply repeat the past, we are bound to fail.
    For example, this very day, the Americans are bombing ISIS fighters in the town of Kobani, which is located on the border of Syria and Turkey. This has been only partially successful. They are bombing during the day, but that is not working because the troops are light and mobile. This intervention has already practically failed. That is what is happening at the Turkish border. Approximately 140,000 people have already left Kobani for Turkey.
    Who is helping them? Are we giving them enough assistance? Are we allowing the Kurds to properly defend themselves? No. We are ignoring the geopolitical problems of the region because it is located near the border of Turkey and Syria. The Turks do not want to intervene because the situation involves the Kurds and the al-Assad government would consider any intervention an act of war.
    Perhaps diplomacy is needed to resolve the situation. That would help everyone on the planet. However, the government does not seem to want to take that approach. It is truly unbelievable.
    We have to look at the problem as a whole. We cannot look at humanitarian aid as a one-off. We have to look at the bigger picture and draw on all of our knowledge.
    That is why I am saying to the Prime Minister that it is time for him to consider sociology, social sciences and political sciences, indeed all our world knowledge, both in Canada and elsewhere in the West, and think about effective ways of intervening so that we never have to go through this experience again and deal with groups of madmen going around beheading people.
    What is more, it is important to support the local people. They are the ones who will manage to solve the problem and if we do not support them in finding a solution, I can assure the House that we will never resolve this crisis.
    The thing is, we are falling into a trap. All the horrors are being broadcast to the world when usually they are hidden. They are being made public precisely because ISIS wants us to do what we are in the process of doing right now, which is to conduct the bombings. This will help them recruit people. It is obvious. It is not rocket science.
     The Daesh, or Islamic state terror group, is not very strong. It is definitely wealthy, structured and well equipped. However, it draws its strength from the weakness around it. The systematic destruction of all the social structures in this region allowed it to grow. It is important to recognize that. However, in the current situation, nothing is being strengthened. Every political and social organization in this region continues to be undermined.
    Imagine that. An Iraqi army of 200,000 soldiers trained for seven years by the Americans at a cost of $26 billion fled from a small group of 20,000 people who are not even soldiers. A few are, but most are militants. This Iraqi army bolted. Their training was a failure. It is a serious failure.
    That is why it is so important to intervene with a UN mandate. We must also find our place within this coalition.

  (1300)  

    A number of countries including Norway, Sweden, Spain and Austria are focused on humanitarian aid. I think Canada should get involved as well. We would not be alone. We could talk about forming a coalition to provide aid. We have to think about the future. We have to do more than just trying to solve today's problems.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention. I have found him to be a very reasonable colleague in discussing these issues. He made some great points today in terms of the fact that military action alone would not solve this problem. On this side, we agree that military action alone would not solve the problem.
    The member mentioned humanitarian aid. We are sending humanitarian aid into this area, and we will send it, but all of us know that humanitarian aid sent into an area that is totally chaotic, where there is no law or order or security of any kind, will not get to the people who need that aid.
    The member said that our Prime Minister indicated that this will not solve the problem. Would he suggest that because my efforts on suicide prevention have not stopped every suicide in this country, efforts to minimize the number of suicides are not effective? Is he saying that we would allow the murder of hundreds of thousands of people and children? If we can at least reduce that to a few, would that not be better than the large number who are currently being decimated?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. He will obviously understand that hard work is part of life. I think we will both agree on that and he will truly see it. However, when we say that this will not solve the problem, it means that we need to find other solutions and be more innovative. If we already know that our strategy is doomed to failure, that does not mean sitting on our hands, doing nothing and giving up. On the contrary, it is a call for action, for being innovative and finding other solutions that are much more effective.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging to see some movement from the official opposition with respect to their position on what is taking place in Iraq. I will read the specific clause of the amendment, which I think is a positive move forward:
a. call on the Government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months;
    When I questioned the member's colleague, the New Democratic member for Toronto—Danforth, on this issue, he indicated that the Canadian Forces could play other roles. I wonder if the member might be able to expand on that. Does the NDP now feel that the Canadian Forces could and should be playing a role, as is implied in the amendment that it brought forward? That is something we have suggested. I wonder if he can expand on that point.

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Clearly, once again, this question is strictly based on the rationale for a military intervention. Throughout my speech, I have said that we must go beyond armed intervention.
    One of the questions I had no time to address in my speech is the following: how is this tiny group—because that is what it is—so wealthy, and why has no real effort been made to starve it financially?
    Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said how important it was to eliminate the group's source of funding. What I am saying once again is that, if we want to root out this evil, we need to look at the big picture, not just at a small specific part of the problem that would call for a targeted intervention, which is already expected to fail.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that I am not good at being brief, but I will do my best to keep it short.
    Could my colleague comment on the fact that the government failed in its responsibility? I do not want to make assumptions about whether this conflict was inevitable, but it was probably aggravated by the fact that the government refused to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been scattered across Syria since the civil war. It is a burden for countries to take care of thousands of refugees. The Government of Canada failed in its responsibility.
    Could my colleague comment on that?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very relevant question. It connects to the idea behind my speech, which is that humanitarian aid is not an end in itself, but the beginning of something else.
    What happens when groups like Daesh, for example, take control of a territory? They organize services. What we do is relieve hunger. There is something we can learn from that, not only to help relieve hunger, but also to help these people have a better life one day.

[English]

    Before we resume debate, I have noticed that there is great interest in participating in the question and comment period that is permitted after each of the interventions today, and that is quite understandable, considering the gravity of the question that we have in front of us today.
    As a result of the great interest, I and other Chair occupants have allowed members a great deal of latitude in time so that they can express the arguments that they wish during what is usually only a five-minute question and comment period. If hon. members could make their interventions as succinct as they can, it would afford the opportunity for other hon. members to participate in this important debate. I say that as a possibility that members might consider.
    It is with great sadness that I again have to rise to speak on a motion that is very clear, contrary to what the opposition is saying, about another campaign out in the Middle East. As I was the parliamentary secretary when we had a mission going on in Afghanistan, I participated in the special committee on Afghanistan. Now, I am standing here again today, discussing another motion where we will be asking our great soldiers to take part in stopping a murderous organization from killing all kinds of people, including women and children.
    Terrible atrocities have been committed, as we have seen. As the Prime Minister has said, it is very necessary to stop this organization. If we do not, it is a threat not only to the region but to Canada.
    Let me talk about my first-hand experience on this. I represent a riding in the city of Calgary. Numerous reports have indicated that Calgarians have been radicalized and gone to the region to join this terrible organization to fight.
    A couple of months ago in my riding, the mother of Damian Clairmont came to see me. For those who do not remember, Damian Clairmont was a young Calgarian who became radicalized and went to Syria to fight. He lost his life in Syria. His mother came to me to talk about the pain, suffering, and grief that had hit her family. She was absolutely astounded that this radicalization had taken place and that her son had gone over there. She could not understand how it had happened. She came and talked to me at length about how we could stop this radicalization. We discussed matters of how it is possible to help.
    I must strongly commend her. Not only did she do this at the time of her sorrow and the loss of her son, but she has picked up the fight to stop this radicalization from taking place. She is fighting to set up a support group for other families who are losing their children to the propaganda that has been coming out from the terrible organization in this region.
    We have had a debate going on with the official opposition and the third party, talking about how they do not want to participate, and they have given various reasons for it. Of course, their focus has been on humanitarian assistance. Indeed, humanitarian assistance is extremely important. We have seen that these people have been uprooted from their homes and that women have been sexually violated. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has just announced money going toward counselling services and other help.
    Humanitarian assistance is necessary. Both of the critics have indicated that they have gone down to the region. They have seen humanitarian assistance. Indeed they have, and it is a priority for Canada as well. Canadians are very generous and they are quite strongly willing to do that, and they will continue doing that.
    However, Canadians are also appalled by the reports coming out of the murderous rampage of this organization. How do we stop it? We heard in the debate about a coalition of 40 nations going out there. Others are doing air strikes. Others are providing humanitarian assistance. We have been given numerous examples by the NDP that Germany is doing that. Germany is giving humanitarian assistance.
    The NDP is picking at everyone here to fit into its thinking.

  (1310)  

    The NDP leader got up and read an actual newspaper editorial out there by this person. Anybody can read that. However, there are also numerous other editorials saying the opposition is wrong, and of course he did not bother talking about those.
    The fact of the matter is this. How do we stop them? We have the expertise, we have the capability, and we have the means to stop them. That is why, after careful consideration, this government came along and said that we will be joining in the air strikes with what we can do, refuelling aircraft and reconnaissance, to the best ability we have. In the past, we have always stood up when our values have been under attack. In the First World War, the Second World War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, we have always been there. Now it is happening again in this region.
    There are lots of excuses. I have gone to the region many times. I have attended many conferences with friends of Iraq, and all this time we are seeing what we can do to help Iraq with friends. We all came along and we all tried to see how we could put Iraq back on its feet. I remember attending a conference in Istanbul. I remember attending a conference in Kuwait, which was called by the friends of Iraq and its neighbours, and all of us were very much committed to bringing Iraq back to its feet as a nation.
    Despite our efforts and everything else here, there is no point in blaming Mr. Maliki, who as we all heard and we know was not a very inclusive man in creating the situation over there, which antagonized the Sunnis and the Kurds. Henceforth all of this is part and parcel of what is happening today. We should forget all that. It is something that we need to learn and is one of the reasons why strong pressure was put for Mr. Maliki to go and for bringing in another government in Iraq, an inclusive government that would include the Sunnis and the Kurds, as well as the Shiites, as they all share one country called Iraq.
    However, the point at this stage is this. What do we do now, today? As we speak today, the fight is going on in the city out there, Kobani, about to fall to ISIS. The Kurds over there have appealed that, if we do not stop it, there will be massacres. We see that today the reports are that air strikes are taking place to dislodge the ISIL fighters. This is one of the ways we have decided we would contribute toward stopping this murderous regime from killing innocent people.
    Henceforth, our motion is very clear as to what we are going to do, that it is for six months, as well as which aircraft and what the capacity would be. We are all agreed on our side that there will be no boots on the ground. We have learned that the people who live in that region are the best fighters for their own safety. As it is their country, the Kurds and the other Sunnis and the Shiites should be fighting for their rights, and their rights are the same rights as ours. Therefore it is natural that we provide them with air support, but we are also providing them with ground-training support so they can fight to maintain their dignity and their home, which is of critical importance.
    Therefore, I fail to understand. Yes, there is no question about the fact that we need humanitarian assistance, and I agree with my colleagues on both sides here that humanitarian assistance is an important part of it. However, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, when the firefighters combat a fire, so does the ambulance come at the same time. The firefighters have to come first to put out the fire. To put out this fire here is to stop ISIL from killing people, and the only way we can stop ISIL is by joining in a fight to stop it.
     What the government has proposed in this is the right course of action. As I have indicated, there is radicalization taking place, but the message is clearly being sent that we are protecting not only the region but our own country as well.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of the parliamentary secretary, particularly the first part about one of his constituents and the loss a mother was experiencing of her son who had become radicalized and gone to Iraq and lost his life. I am assuming it was Iraq—
    An hon. member: Syria.
    Mr. Jack Harris: It was Syria, Mr. Speaker. The notion of radicalization of young Canadians is a serious one. In fact, as the Prime Minister states our role here, it is somehow a direct threat to Canada.
    We have some information that 100 or more have gone and maybe 80 have come back. I wonder if there is any insight into what is going on in the minds of these young men who were radicalized. When they come back, are they coming back disillusioned? Are they coming back trained? Do we have the capability of dealing with that? Did the mother have any suggestions?
    How is it that bombing is going to solve that problem? That is what I want to know. It has been suggested by some that bombing is in fact counterproductive and leads to more recruiting.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, first, I will talk about the issue of bombing, which I have already explained. It is to stop this group from killing other people and creating the humanitarian crisis that we are talking about, which we need to go and help, and at least we agree on this.
    Coming back to the radicalization and to the tears of this mother, the mother herself could not understand what had transpired or what made her son go; although, at one stage she did point out to me that he was on the Internet chatting with a lady of the other faith, who probably had an influence on him.
    It is becoming very obvious that these guys are using social media to radicalize these young people. The mother is now working with another group in Germany that is facing the same problem, and bringing them together to see how best they can provide support to families where this is taking place.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary made reference to other countries and their engagement.
    Also, through that, he made reference to the fact that countries like Germany are not participating in the air strikes. No doubt it had some form of an evaluation that ultimately determined that its role was better placed by not participating in an air strike.
    I am wondering if the member could share with the House what options he, as the parliamentary secretary, looked into that go beyond Canada's playing a role strictly in terms of air strikes.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my intervention, I attended international conferences to assist Iraq in building an inclusive country that would not give rise to radicalization and those things. All of those were done by this government, which took a strong part in it.
    Then when ISIL came in, we went out to assist with the forces to help fight this terror over there, as we did in Afghanistan.
     I must say, for the member opposite from the Liberal Party, that it was his party that sent us into Afghanistan without a debate like the one we are having. At least we are holding a debate and allowing the member to share what is on his mind.
    We believe this is the right course of action to take. We are going to stand with the people of those regions, and against those who threaten Canada.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows—it is no secret—Canadians have reportedly gone abroad to join the jihadists. This is outlined in the report from the Department of Public Safety. Apparently, there are even some Canadians who have come back and are like sleeper cells.
    I asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness whether there were specific programs, with specific budgets, to prevent this and limit violent radicalization of young people. He was not able to respond.
    Could my colleague tell me whether any such programs exist, with their own budgets, to prevent violent radicalization here in Canada?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member knows, the RCMP has already indicated that it is one of the areas it will working with and looking at.
    As I said in my speech, the Germans have already done it, but it was again done outside, by people who are already retired and with the families out there.
    There are others way to look at how we can help. That is what the RCMP is doing. That is why I commend the mother of Damian for doing what she is doing.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise on this important day in the House of Commons, and I do so with a deep sense of responsibility as a member of the House.
    I have said on numerous occasions, both in this place and outside, that one of the most important debates that a member of the House of Commons will take part in is the decision related to putting the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces in harm's way. It is a decision that should be used sparingly, but as a democratic leader of middle powers in the world, we should exercise it when our values and indeed freedoms are at risk.
    It is also a deep responsibility for me as a Canadian, because it is by decisions like this that we define the type of Canadians we are. Are we Canadians like our forebears, who with a young and small country stepped up in the past and served in a way that was much larger than its population might have dictated? Are we a nation that does not move to the other side of the road as we pass people whose freedoms and very lives are being threatened, hoping that someone else will tend to them? Are we the type of Canadians who in a global age benefit immensely from trade in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but who allow ourselves to fall asleep under the blanket of security that our distance from these conflicts always allows us to have?
    Before the House is a debate on the motion for the next phase in our response to the ISIL threat. On September 5, the Prime Minister outlined that Canada's initial response was to send military advisers to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the defence of their territories and to stop killings on a genocidal scale.
    That mission is now over, and it is being extended. It is evolving into an air strike role for Canada.
    But who is that threat that is ISIL?
    All Canadians have been horrified by the accounts we have seen on television: beheadings of journalists and aid workers, the selling of women and young girls into slavery, rape as a weapon of war, mass killings on a scale that is truly genocidal. ISIL is an enemy of freedom, an enemy that follows no creed except death and destruction.
    As Canadians, indeed as part of the developed and democratic world, if we learned anything from 9/11, it is that navel gazing and turning a blind eye to these threats because they are far away can allow them to gather to a point where they also touch us. Therefore, when we see some of the children being impacted by this horrific violence in Iraq and Syria, we should also see the faces of our own children. We should not allow this threat to gather, because we have already seen, sadly, that a few radicalized Canadians are taking part in these horrific acts. ISIL terrorists have already threatened Canada. With the vast amount of territory and financing they have gained in recent months, they are a threat not just to that region but to the entire world.
    With our immense freedoms and wealth as a nation comes a duty to safeguard and promote these same opportunities for others. That is why I stand in full agreement with our evolving role in combatting the threat that is ISIL. We are now going to extend the training mission and the advisory commission with select members of our special forces unit. We are also going to deploy surveillance aircraft, an air-to-air refuelling Polaris, and up to six CF-18s to join our allies, both our NATO allies and our allies in the Gulf, in combatting the advance of ISIL.

  (1330)  

    This is an appropriate response because it can be effective. It can cut off supply and financing lines for ISIL. It can isolate them geographically and allow domestic ground forces to defend their own territory. We see how close this conflict is drifting to our NATO ally of Turkey.
    Air strikes can have a limited but impactful role in stopping genocide and stopping the advance of ISIL.
    It is also a much lower risk for our men and women of the Canadian Forces. There is risk whenever they are flying in combat, but it is a limited risk. I know the exceptional men and women of our Royal Canadian Air Force train and accept these risks as part of their duty for our country and for our values.
    Most importantly, these would be targeted and precise strikes that are assessed to minimize collateral damage, both before the strike and after. We learn from these assessments. and we learn if an impact is being felt on the ground and if we are saving lives and preventing the advance of ISIL.
    I want to address some of the concerns raised by the opposition in the debate in the weeks before this mission.
    First, the opposition suggests that Canada is running into this air strike role, or rushing into battle, as I have heard some members of this House say. If that were the case, we would have joined the first round of countries implementing air strikes.
    On September 5 the Prime Minister outlined our position, which was an advisory one for the first month, and said that we would speak to our allies to see what would be needed going further. Canada has always played a role that is helpful but that is commensurate with our size and scope as a country. That is what we are doing here.
    Members of this House have also said what our exit strategy is, throwing out suggestions like that as an excuse not to stand with our allies in the face of this threat.
    An air strike role is limited. Our crews are able to return and assess the impact of their last mission; they are not on the ground. As the Prime Minister said in the House, no combat troops are being deployed on the ground with this motion.
    Another element of debate has been, “How do we measure success?” Once again the idea is that if we can't measure success, we shouldn't stand alongside our allies and we shouldn't hear the cries from the thousands suffering as a result of ISIL.
    However, with air strikes, as I said, we can measure the impact of our role in that area. We can measure if we have isolated ISIL and allowed Kurdish or Iraqi ground forces to safeguard their own interests.
    This cries out for a quote from Winston Churchill, who said, “...no one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.” The coalition forces, in the face of horrific acts of violence and genocide, certainly deserve success.
    As the Prime Minister said, this is not a case of either humanitarian aid or counterterrorism operations, but a case of both, and without security on the ground, as we have seen through the tragic beheading last week, we cannot deliver humanitarian aid to the people who need it.
    The NDP opposition in this House is understandable. It is a party that has been very reticent about deploying Canadian forces throughout its history. What is deeply troubling to me as a parliamentarian has been not just the position of the third party, the Liberal Party, in this debate, but its approach to the debate itself.
    To highlight that, I am quoting another Liberal leader's speech in this place on September 8, 1939.
     Prime Minister King, in response to Conservative support for his motion, said:
    It shows how deep in the breasts of men lies the determination to preserve, to maintain and to defend freedom and all that freedom makes possible in the enjoyment of life itself. This deep-lying instinct for freedom is, I believe, characteristic of the citizens of Canada from one end of this great country to the other.
    A “deep-lying instinct for freedom”: these are comments from the Liberal leader in 1939, in response to the Conservative Party's support for his motion in the House regarding the deployment of men and women at a time of need.

  (1335)  

    We can contrast that with the comments of today's Liberal leader, flippant when it comes to the situation that ISIL poses and derogatory of our ability to project force alongside our allies.
    Where has the Liberal Party gone? That is the question I am leaving with the House. Where is the Liberals' deep-lying instinct for freedom? I hope they find it soon.
    Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague on the opposite side that in 1939 the CCF party also supported the Second World War. Although the leader was a pacifist, the rest of the caucus fully supported Canada's involvement there, and of course we supported the mission in Libya initially in 2011, when it was directed at the responsibility to protect.
    However, I want to put this proposition to him. The effectiveness of the air strikes being proposed is being seriously questioned by many, and others with substantial experience have even suggested that air strikes are counterproductive. Even those who accept that tactic are aware that we will run out of targets very soon.
    My concern is with the costs that might be involved. In Libya, we were talking about $350 million. Why would the government's money and efforts not be better spent in providing direct humanitarian aid to the 1.8 million people whose lives are at risk immediately and who need—
    Order. The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer the member to the Prime Minister's speech in the House last Friday, when he said the argument that the NDP is putting to the House is a false one. It is not that either we are involved in military action or we play a humanitarian role. In fact, we have been playing a humanitarian role, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs enhanced that yesterday in the House.
    It is clear that Canada's role should be and always has been commensurate with our size and our ability to support our allies in support of our freedom and our values. We cannot cross to the other side of the road and ignore what is going on.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade for his comments and pay tribute to him for having served in the Canadian military as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He is also one of the co-founders of the True Patriot Love foundation. I know that any decision he makes in terms of sending our armed forces into combat will be considered carefully, given his past service.
    Last week the Liberal leader laid out four principles. I want to highlight only one, and that is the issue of capacity. We have heard nothing on this side with respect to whether, in fact, we have the appropriate capacity to exercise this type of force in theatre.
    Has that question in fact been appropriately addressed before the members?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question and his kind comments and use this occasion to congratulate him on joining the House of Commons. In fact, he is making a good contribution already, and he is certainly a welcome change from the previous member for Scarborough—Agincourt. It is good to see him in this place.
    I would refer him to my remarks on the ability of Canada and the RCAF to assess the impact air strikes are having in concert with our allies. This is about making sure that we assess prior to every strike and then after every strike.
    However, I would ask him as a new member of his caucus to ask his leader where the Liberals' deep-lying instinct for freedom has gone in their position with respect to these limited strikes, which are similar to the Kosovo mission their previous government introduced. Their absence on this file is of deep concern to many Canadians, including some Liberal Party members in my riding I was speaking with on the weekend. I would ask him to be a new voice in caucus to make sure Liberals bring their leader on track.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join the debate today on behalf of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park. I am splitting my time with the member for Davenport, a neighbouring riding in Toronto.
    This is a very important debate. There is no more serious decision that can come before the House than a decision for military action, a decision to send Canada's children, our sons and daughters, our wives, our husbands and our parents to war. It is one of the most grave decisions that we have as parliamentarians.
    There are many dangerous places in the world today. I have, like many here, been engaged in international work as a parliamentarian, but certainly for many years before my time in Parliament. I have worked with people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where sexual violence has been a horrific tool of war, a place where it is estimated that even to this day, over 40,000 people a month are losing their lives, and many more lives are destroyed through displacement and violence of various kinds.
    The Central African Republic is another place where, since December, it is estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed.
    Syria has been a very high profile area of conflict. It is estimated that close to 200,000 have lost their lives. This has evolved into a major humanitarian crisis, where many are in refugee camps or are seeking refuge in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
    There are places that are just very violent. Saudi Arabia, for example, has capital punishment. One of the most common tools for execution is beheading. Just this past August, more than 20 people were executed by beheading.
    There are many dangerous, violent places in the world, but certainly the actions of ISIL have particularly gripped the public media, the public debate, the consciousness of people around the world because of its violence, its tactics and its skilled use of social media as a tool to terrorize.
    Many thousands have been killed. ISIL has been using horrible tactics such as conscripting of children and sexual violence to conduct its terror campaign. It has left many people displaced, more than 1.8 million civilians in Iraq alone. However, about 5.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.
    Let us make no mistake. The actions of ISIL are reprehensible, horrific and deplorable, and there is no question that people being subjected to its terror campaign are looking for help.
    Incredible humanitarian assistance is required. Certainly the UN has highlighted this. The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the UN has said that humanitarian conditions in Iraq continue to deteriorate, and 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. That assistance ranges from water, sanitation, hygiene, access to food and very basic needs like shelter. We are coming into the fall and it will soon be winter. People do not have adequate shelter.

  (1345)  

    Also, there are: Mobile health units, especially in hard to access areas; protection for minorities, because these are the people who have been especially affected by the fighting; gender-sensitive responses for women and children who are being targeted for sexual assault; women and children who are trafficked, abducted and forced into recruitment, fighting, marriages, and as I said, sexual-based violence. There are children who not only have basic humanitarian needs, but they also need education and counselling for this trauma.
    The United Nations has declared the situation the highest level of emergency. If we want to save lives and provide immediate assistance, it is with humanitarian aid that Canada can best assist the people who are affected by ISIL.
    The United Nations passed resolution 2178 on September 24, which did not advocate military intervention. It advocated for UN member states to ensure that people who financed or otherwise supported terrorist activity, including and specifically that of ISIL, would be held legally accountable and brought to justice. The resolution did not authorize military action.
    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented that, “Over the longer-term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not the power of missiles – it is the politics of inclusion”. I would argue that military aid is not the biggest need; it is humanitarian aid.
    The question the New Democrats ask is, will military aid help or hurt?
    There has been some suggestion that the bombing missions by the United States have in fact prompted more recruits to join ISIL and become engaged in its struggle. Therefore, are we spreading the problem as these fighters disperse to avoid bombs, and they disperse among the civilian population? Are we creating a bigger problem than would otherwise have been?
     In other words, would a bombing mission help or hurt? What is the plan? What is the goal? How do we know if we are succeeding? How do we know when we have succeeded? Will there be ground troops and what is the plan for that?
    It is a little different to say to Canadians, or to any country, that we will be dropping bombs from a very high altitude and nobody on our side is going to get hurt. However, as we have seen in conflict after conflict, that becomes a slippery slope and quickly evolves into boots on the ground because there are always reasons, such as we have to finish the job, or we are not effective enough or there is more we could be doing.
    We need to know what the plan is. What is the duration? Is it going to help or hurt? Are we dealing effectively with the humanitarian needs?
    We have many questions that have not been adequately addressed in spite of the many passionate speeches from the other side of the House.
     On behalf of my community in Parkdale—High Park, and I do not want to by any stretch of the imagination say that public opinion is unanimous, of the people who have contacted me by email, phone and those who have walked in the door, overwhelmingly the opinion is that people do not want us to engage in a bombing campaign against ISIL. They support humanitarian aid and whatever assistance we can provide. They understand the seriousness of this threat, but they do not want us to become engaged in what could be another long, open-ended war against what or who, wondering who would be allies and who knows when it will end or what the finish line even is.

  (1350)  

     I am proud of our leader, our critics on this file and our party. We will vote no to the motion when it comes to a vote.
    Mr. Speaker, the NDP has been clear on where it stands with respect to this motion. That party has been clear on where it stands with respect to this mission as well as with previous military deployments. My question is not specific to this mission, because as I said, the NDP has been clear that it is not prepared to support this one.
     In future, what circumstances would guide an NDP decision to support a Canadian combat mission abroad? What initiatives would those members have to see put in place to support a Canadian military combat role in the future, not this specific mission? If one of those elements is supporting the United Nations, could she comment on the problem we always seem to have with the United Nations with respect to a veto by one of the permanent members of the United Nations?
    Mr. Speaker, as the member can wisely understand, I will not speculate on what could be or possibly might be an acceptable bombing mission or military intervention. Our hope is that we do not have to engage in a military mission.
    There is something we know now. We have the facts. We do not have to speculate. Lives can be saved today with an even greater humanitarian intervention. We do not have to hypothesize about that. Millions of people are in misery today and their lives may be at risk because of the humanitarian crisis.
    Rather than getting our mindset on what mission we might support, let us focus on the mission today, which is a humanitarian mission. Let us save lives today. That is what Canada should do.
    Mr. Speaker, our party and the member's party share a perspective on the urgency and the need for a much more substantial humanitarian gesture and engagement in protecting in particular the refugee camps along the Turkish border. We also share that party's apprehension and worry that the bombings will not result in either an immediate peace, a lasting peace, or a situation stabilized to the point where human rights are respected.
    The amendment that the NDP moved calls for the shipment of arms. I am curious as to what arms would be shipped, to whom they would be shipped, if not shipped to some depot, who would they be intended for and how would they be expected to be used?
    Mr. Speaker, let me clarify the amendment. We accept that a local force needs to be capable of defending itself in order to maintain international peace and security, so we have argued that we need to boost our aid to the humanitarian effort. We need to provide assistance for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes. We call on the government to not deploy Canadian Forces in combat. We call on the government to seek House approval for any extension of the mission, to report back the costs of the mission and to offer wholehearted support to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Our goal is not to engage in a military mission. We want that deleted from the motion.
     It is unfortunate that our colleagues in the Liberal Party supported the initial involvement in a mission in Iraq, because that was the slippery slope that has led us to this point today. We are now facing a bombing mission in Iraq because of my colleagues in the Liberal Party.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, as always it is an honour for me to rise in this place on behalf of the good people of Davenport in the great city of Toronto to debate the motion at hand, which is essentially the most important motion and the most important decision that Parliament is ever seized of, and that is to send Canadians to war.
     The government would like us to believe that the only choices are its proposal, its motion, and inaction. However, I think there has been a healthy debate here today. What Canadians have heard is that it is not true. The response Canadians and Canada should make is far different than the response that the government is making and far different from the response the government wants Canadians to believe is the right way to go.
    However, on some level what we perhaps also need to think about are the voices coming from our constituencies, what people are saying on the ground, and the concerns people are raising. I think I speak for many here.
     I have received a steady stream of correspondence and concern. I thought it might be helpful to read a couple of the letters I have received into the record because it would help to frame this debate in a slightly different way. Oftentimes it is perceived that all we are doing is scoring partisan points in this place. In this particular instance, in this debate, I believe that is far from the case. It is a difference in values and of direction. I know that I stand here as part of a party, a caucus, that has a strong history of standing up for the cause of peace, for the cause of peace in Canada and globally. I am proud of that history. That is one of the reasons that I and no doubt my colleagues in the New Democratic Party are in this caucus.
    I have a couple of letters I thought I would read into the record so that it is clear that our position is one that is not just part of our history but part of our job representing Canadians. Therefore, before we take a break to discuss these issues in a different kind of way during question period, I will read this into the record. It states, “As a Canadian citizen, I am one of the majority who oppose entering this conflict and want to maintain Canada's historic role as a peacekeeping nation. I believe strongly that Canada should not be entering the war in Iraq and sending 6 CF-18s and 600 personnel. This is a civil war and we have been asked for humanitarian aid, which we should supply”.
    In other words, it is not that Canadians do not want to engage, it is how we engage. What the government is doing with the motion and this direction is pulling us out of our historical role and rules of engagement.
    The hon. member for Davenport will have six minutes remaining for his comments when the House next returns to the question.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Humanitarian Aid

    Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois are committed pacifists. However, we cannot turn our backs on massive human rights abuses. The Quebec nation, Canada and the entire international community have a responsibility and a duty to protect those who are suffering barbaric acts.
    Quebec and Canada must step up and provide a humanitarian response as a show of human and international solidarity. That is the only way to legitimize the use of force.
    The motion moved by the Conservative government demonstrates a one-dimensional logic that calls for air strikes and in which urgent humanitarian assistance plays a secondary role.
    The Bloc Québécois agrees with the UN Secretary-General: we need to address the underlying causes of this crisis.
    The Conservatives are asking for the House's blind trust in a military mission but are vague about its objective and how it will be assessed. The Bloc Québécois will not give the government carte blanche.

  (1400)  

[English]

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish

    Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, October 5, I was very pleased to attend and bring greetings on behalf of our government to the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church and the 35th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga.
    The church was named after a Polish priest who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. The church received a blessing by Pope John Paul II while on a papal visit to Canada in 1984.
    Welcoming many families and individuals, this parish remains a gathering place for those committed to upholding Christian ideals of faith and service, while preserving a deep attachment to their Polish heritage.
    I would like to thank Father Janusz Blazejak and his pastoral team, parish council and many parishioners who have blessed countless people through their community service for the past 35 years. Such service is a true example of the values upheld by Canadians. God bless them as they continue in growth for future generations.

[Translation]

Mont-Tremblant

    Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to learn that new direct flights between Toronto and La Macaza/Mont-Tremblant will be offered this winter. Air Canada will be offering daily flights from Lester B. Pearson airport. These flights will be available during the ski season.
    This is excellent news for Mont-Tremblant's visibility and accessibility. These flights will bring in tourists from the eastern United States and the rest of Canada. Mont-Tremblant will be easier to get to than ever before.
    I hope that this announcement will prompt the government to finally give the La Macaza/Mont-Tremblant airport appropriate classification with a modified customs system that will eventually allow the airport to accommodate international flights.

[English]

Citizenship Week

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to remind all Canadians that next week is Citizenship Week, a time when we reflect and celebrate the rights and responsibilities that Canadians share.
    Our citizenship defines what it means to be a Canadian. It is a shared commitment to our country's core beliefs in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values that we all hold dear.
    Canada has welcomed generations of newcomers to our shores to help us build a free, law-abiding and prosperous society. For 400 years, settlers and immigrants have contributed to the diversity and richness of our country, which is built on a proud history and a strong identity.
    During Citizenship Week, I encourage all Canadians to reaffirm their citizenship and reflect on what it means to be a citizen of Canada, the greatest country in the world.

Mental Illness Awareness Week

    Mr. Speaker, over the course of their lifetimes, one in five Canadians will experience mental illness. Millions of Canadians, our friends, family and loved ones will suffer a painful, though often invisible and isolating injury.
    There is no better opportunity than this Mental Illness Awareness Week to ensure that those among us suffering from mental illness are not alone. Prejudices and misconceptions, which surround mental health issues, still exist and stigmatize sufferers. It is incumbent upon us to break through and fight stigma. It is our duty as parliamentarians to ensure that access to professional care is available to whoever is in need.
    We cannot lose another soldier, or veteran, or police officer, or firefighter, or paramedic. We cannot lose another mother, father, brother or sister. We have to let them know that they are not alone.
    We must ensure that awareness of mental illness extends beyond a week, or even beyond a year. Let us always keep in mind those among us who are suffering and resolve every day to do better with mental health treatment.

Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

    Mr. Speaker, tonight is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear conductor Wes Janzen and the world famous Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
    For the past month, they have been travelling across Canada as part of their Canada-Ukraine friendship tour. An incredible demonstration of talent and dedication, their performances have brought the uniqueness and vibrancy of the Ukrainian culture to hundreds of Canadians. As many on the Hill witnessed earlier today, their sound and musical expertise are remarkable.
    Tonight, they will be performing at the Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa at 7 p.m. It is free and open to all. This is a must-see event.
    Our Ukrainian friends are here today to remind us of the strong relationship that Canada and Ukraine share. I ask all members of the House to give Wes Janzen and the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus a warm Canadian welcome.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Forestry Industry

    Mr. Speaker, of the many cuts made to science in recent years by the Conservative government, I find one particularly shocking, and that is the significant drop in federal involvement in forest research.
    Forestry in Canada has a history spanning more than a century and is an economic activity that is vital to the survival of over 200 Canadian communities.
    Today, more than ever, the sustainability of the industry and forestry jobs depends on innovation, which, in turn, would stop declining if the federal government were to get more involved.
    To that end, why not give Forestry Canada the resources to fund projects with development potential or further tie basic research to experience on the ground, so that innovation is dynamic and adapted to reality?
    To facilitate management, we need to reactivate and improve the Canadian Model Forest Network, an indispensable partner in the long-term renewal of Canadian forestry through community-based innovation.
    Looking for new ways to develop Canadian forests as a whole needs to be a national priority. There are solutions out there, and the NDP is ready to act.

[English]

Bill Nielsen

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Bill Nielsen, a community leader who dedicated many tireless hours building running and walking trails in my hometown of Lacombe. Bill passed away this spring at the age of 73 from pancreatic cancer.
    This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of local runners at the sold-out inaugural Bill Nielsen Trail Run. Bill was an inspiration to all. He ran his first marathon at age 40, and he ran his 100th marathon in 2008. Amazingly, Bill ran more than 30 marathons after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
    Bill was a legend in the Lacombe running community, but perhaps his greatest contributions were the trails he built and maintained in our city. Preferring to ask forgiveness rather than seek permission, Bill carved out trails through undeveloped parks in town using hand tools to avoid loud noises. Surprisingly, it took the town six months to catch him. Bill's passion led him to join the board of the parks and recreation committee in Lacombe so that he could continue his work on our trail system.
    Bill stood for everything good about running, and his legacy will be enjoyed by future generations. I thank Bill for keeping us on the right trail.

Brant Scott

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a former employee and great friend of Canada's outdoors and firearms communities, Mr. Brant Scott, who unexpectedly passed away on September 16.
    Hailing from Grimsby, Ontario, Brant wore many hats. In his younger days, he was a reporter and editor at the local paper. In Ottawa, he put those skills to good use as a legislative assistant to several MPs, myself included.
    He was an avid photographer and a talented musician, but above all, he was an exceptionally gifted writer and communicator. A man of integrity, Brant honed those skills while on Parliament Hill. He worked passionately for the rights of firearms owners and tackled a variety of the issues affecting Canada's outdoors community through the outdoors caucus. He made many friends along the way.
    To Brant's wife, Susan, and children, Graham and Mary, we extend our heartfelt condolences on this devastating loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will miss Brant. May God bless.

[Translation]

World Animal Day

    Mr. Speaker, World Animal Day, which was celebrated last Saturday, October 4, provides an excellent opportunity to talk about the well-being and rights of animals.
    I rise today to draw attention to the problem of the growing number of animals in Canada on the endangered species list. The economic and industrial development of our country is of course necessary. However, it is also essential to consider the impact of human activities on animal populations, especially endangered species.

  (1410)  

[English]

    I can refer members to many examples, such as the western chorus frog or the woodland caribou. Both populations have suffered a massive decline throughout Canada, mainly caused by habitat loss. Without appropriate government funding and the political will for recovery programs, their future is seriously at risk. On this side of the House, we want to make sure that everything is done to protect these endangered species.

[Translation]

    The government has a duty to work actively to protect our wildlife.

[English]

Pan American Games Torch Relay

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians from coast to coast are being invited to celebrate and share their Pan Am spirit by taking part in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am torch relay.
    This national event will be fuelled by hometown pride, with stops planned in five Canadian cities that have previously hosted major games. They include Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver as well as 130 communities across Ontario, including my hometown of Burlington. Three thousand torch bearers will proudly carry the flame and share the Pan Am spirit of the games during the 41-day journey toward lighting the caldron at our opening ceremony in Toronto.
    I know this event will be an opportunity to showcase our diverse culture, accomplishments, vast geography, and proud history. Our government is proud to support the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games torch relay, and we encourage all Canadians to take part in this celebration.
    I encourage those wishing to become torch bearers to check out the toronto2015.org website for all the details. Mr. Speaker, I have registered to be a torch bearer, and I hope you have too.

[Translation]

Quebec Community Centre for the Visually Impaired

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to once again shine a spotlight on one of the achievements of my riding, Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.
    On Friday, September 26, we opened the new community centre for the visually impaired in Charlesbourg. This centre will host indoor activities for the Carrefour québécois des personnes aveugles. There are 11,000 visually impaired people in the region.
    The Fondation Caecitas and the Lions Clubs in the Quebec City area worked together and raised $100,000 for the centre. The centre was also made possible by technology developed by HumanWare, a Quebec company.
    The centre provides such services as Internet access with adaptive software, speech synthesis of texts and text magnification. Furthermore, every computer has a braille keyboard. The services will be available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The centre is located at 523 Louis-XIV Boulevard in Charlesbourg.
    Congratulations. This is a great achievement.

[English]

Snowbirds

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise today to mention that the 44th season of the Snowbirds came to a successful close in Moose Jaw last weekend. The Snowbirds continue to showcase the skilled professionalism and teamwork of our Canadian pilots and technicians serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force. This season, in 50 performances in 35 locations throughout North America, people enjoyed the Snowbirds' show.
    This past weekend also marked the 50th anniversary of the Snowbirds' aircraft, known as the CT-114 Tutor jet. As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, past and present Tutor instructors, technicians, students, and Snowbirds gathered with the general public to honour the jet's service.
    I ask all members to join me in congratulating the Snowbirds on a successful season and in wishing the Tutor jet a warm 50th anniversary.

[Translation]

Royal 22nd Regiment

    Mr. Speaker, this year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal 22nd Regiment, a regiment that has served Canada with pride and great distinction.
     I have a very personal connection to the regiment as my father served with them for most of his career, having commanded the 3rd Battalion, and his father Gérard served with the Royal 22nd Battalion, the predecessor to the regiment, during World War I.
    The Royal 22nd Regiment has served with distinction in every major Canadian military engagement, including both world wars, Korea, Afghanistan and multiple peacekeeping missions.
    Championed by Wilfred Laurier, the Royal 22nd Regiment, a French-speaking regiment, served in many of World War I's major engagements.

[English]

    I am sure all Canadians join me in paying tribute to the Royal 22nd Regiment, our famous Van Doos.

  (1415)  

Teaching Awards

    Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister will announce the recipients of the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. This year's awards will be presented to 54 recipients from across the country, and 17 of these will receive the national awards from the Prime Minister at an event in Ottawa later today.
    As someone who actually led a couple of schools in Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, I was very fortunate to work with several very inspiring and excellent teachers. I know the rare qualities that teachers have to be able to deliver effective education to our young people.
    The Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence recognize the outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers in all disciplines who, through the innovative use of communications and technology, help Canadian students meet the challenges of the 21st century, societally and economically.
    I am very proud to wish the nominees all the very best and thank them for their hard work and dedication to ensure that Canadian youth live, grow, and thrive.

[Translation]

The Senate

    Mr. Speaker, Liberal and Conservative senators are angry.
    Not only did the Auditor General have the nerve to question their spending, but he also had the nerve to send in young people. Some senators have never seen a young twentysomething accountant.
    Liberal Senator Joseph Day said he was concerned that the auditors were young.
    One Conservative complained about a 22-year-old kid running around asking him questions about his spending, and he was critical of these young auditors sticking their noses in his business. Taxpayers pay for his business.
    That is the Canadian Senate: useless, unelected officials who object as soon as they are asked to be accountable for their $92 million budget.
    What is worse is that the Prime Minister and the Liberal leader claim that this archaic institution, which refuses to be accountable, is still relevant.
    The NDP will continue to get our young people involved, to be proud of them and to let them defend the interests of taxpayers while the Conservatives just neglect them.

[English]

Nobel Prize in Medicine

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the House to congratulate McGill graduate Dr. John O'Keefe on winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine yesterday. He is the tenth McGill graduate or professor to bring honour and pride to Canada as a Nobel laureate.
    Dr. O'Keefe was recognized for his contribution to the discovery of cells that contribute to the brain's inner GPS, which makes it possible to orient ourselves within our environment. Discovery of these cells may lead to a greater understanding of Alzheimer's, as this particular area of the brain is affected early on by those suffering from this terrible disease.
    Our government has made record investments in science, technology, and innovation to improve our quality of life and to create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians. We announced the Canada first research excellence fund in economic action plan 2014, a $1.5-billion legacy commitment to ensure that Canadian colleges and universities continue to contribute to this world-leading research we are celebrating today.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, Israeli newspaper Haaretz is reporting that more than 6,000 fighters joined ISIS in just the first few weeks after U.S. bombing began in Syria and Iraq. In one case alone, 73 fighters joined ISIS in Aleppo right after multiple civilians were killed in the first round of air strikes.
    Does the Prime Minister not realize that these current tactics, the same ones he wants to follow, will only create more recruits for ISIS and can in fact be disastrously counterproductive?
    Mr. Speaker, what the world understands very clearly is that in the absence of any response, ISIL was growing like a cancer over the summer over an entire region. This constitutes a threat not just to the region but to the global community entirely and also to Canada. That is why it is essential that we work with our allies to undertake steps to make sure we limit the military capacities of this organization.
    Mr. Speaker, The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning on the same failure of U.S. air strikes in Kobani.
    As the U.S. bombing ramps up, ISIS has simply reverted to the same guerrilla tactics that it has been using for over 10 years. A senior Syrian Kurdish military official said:
    We haven't received military aid nor humanitarian aid, and we don’t know what these random airstrikes have succeeded in doing.
    Why does the Prime Minister think that he knows better than commanders on the ground?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, in fact, the intervention in question has been requested by the Government of Iraq, by a range of our allies, and in fact by a large part of the global community.
    We know that when we face this kind of a threat, a terrorist Caliphate established in the open that threatens this country and threatens it quite explicitly and directly, that is not something we can just sit back and watch.
    We are undertaking a range of actions, and we are very fortunate to have men and women who are prepared to put their lives on the line to undertake those actions on our behalf.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not seem to have a clear sense of his objectives in Iraq. First, he said that we would act with our allies to eliminate the threat. The following week, he said that the aim is to significantly degrade the capabilities of ISIL.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs set a whole other objective, saying that simply containing the problem would be a victory in and of itself.
    Eliminate, degrade or contain: which is it?
    Mr. Speaker, I referred to those objectives during my speech in the House. It is crucial that we degrade the terrorist military capabilities of the Islamic State organization. We cannot just sit back and watch as this organization grows and poses an increasing threat to our country. We are working with our allies around the world to limit the threat this organization poses.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, today the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development confirmed that the Prime Minister failed to meet his watered-down climate change targets. The targets are light years behind the Kyoto targets.
    Has the Prime Minister even tried to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, for the first time ever and thanks to our plan, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced. At the same time, the economy has grown.

[English]

    This is absolutely essential to our objectives going forward. We want to make sure that we continue to grow the economy while continuing to take steps to limit emissions and achieve our environmental objectives.
    Our objective on this side of the House is not to kill jobs and not to impose a carbon tax.
    Mr. Speaker, the environment commissioner could not be clearer. They will never attain those objectives.
    Let us go back to what the Prime Minister has actually said, verbatim, about the Kyoto protocol:
    Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Thomas Mulcair: They applaud, Mr. Speaker. That is shameful.
    The Prime Minister lowered Canada's climate change targets. He killed Kyoto. He refuses to regulate our largest single source, oil and gas. He has done nothing. How can he face his children and his grandchildren?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact is that when we have an agreement which covers only about one-third of global emissions, the effect of that agreement is not to reduce emissions, it is simply to shift emissions from developed countries to countries with lower environmental standards.
    That is why, since we came to office, we have advocated an international protocol that would be binding upon all major emitters, which is something I am pleased to see is the recent position of a number of governments around the world.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the war in Iraq and Syria has given the world millions of new refugees. In recent days, 140,000 Syrian refugees have entered Turkey, joining the 850,000 already there, all of them bracing for a harsh and cold winter ahead.
    What specific funding, resources and personnel is Canada deploying to meet this crisis?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, as members know, the government has announced a series of humanitarian measures and humanitarian funding, including by the Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday on the issue of sexual violence.
    Our position on this side is very clear. We do not think the fact that we are undertaking a military mission in any way precludes the humanitarian response. In fact, what refugees want is a country in which they can actually live. That is what our allies are hoping to do.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the current war in Iraq and Syria has given the world millions of new refugees. Nearly one million of them are now in Turkey and they are bracing for a harsh winter ahead.
    What financial support and resources will Canada deploy to help these refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, the government began announcing a series of humanitarian measures in Syria and Iraq, including the funding to combat sexual violence that the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. This humanitarian and military mission is necessary to ensure that we do not end up with a country governed by terrorists, but rather a country in which the refugees can live.

[English]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, the environment commissioner released a damning report. The Conservative government has completely failed to tackle climate change.

[Translation]

    The commissioner said that it is becoming increasingly clear that we will not meet our 2020 Copenhagen targets. The minister agrees with the commissioner's findings and recommendations.
    Does the Prime Minister also admit that his government has failed in this regard?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an unbelievable question coming from the Liberal Party, which has the worst record in the world on this issue.

[English]

    The reality is that the Liberal Party signed these incredibly ambitious targets and then went in precisely the opposite direction, seeing some of the fastest increases in global greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
    Under our government, we have lowered greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, have been able to grow the economy. That is why we will continue on track.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, today, the government is cutting off debate on Canada's role in Iraq. It has left the door open to extending the mission, without returning to the House. It has left questions unanswered about why we would be getting involved in Syria's civil war. It has given no new help for civilian victims of ISIL's terror who are threatened by harsh winter conditions in the refugee camps.
    Why has the government failed to have announced any new support for refugee camps in Iraq?
    Mr. Speaker, this is not true. We announced several measures to help people in need in Iraq.
    I need to remind my colleague that we are the seventh-largest contributor to assist the people in this crisis, but we need to take military measures to ensure we can have access to this human corridor and security.
    We hope the opposition would support the motion and then walk the talk. This is the way we can reach people in need and deliver effective aid in a timely fashion.
    Mr. Speaker, that is hardly enough when people are threatened by a harsh winter and the government has announced no new money for refugee camps.
    The question is how should Canada contribute while representing our strengths and values. The answer we have received from the government is plainly inadequate. More than that, its answer is, quite frankly, risky.
    Nearly all our other allies explicitly ruled out a combat role in Syria. The Conservatives have explicitly opened the door to our combat role in Syria. Why is the government pushing us to war in Syria?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have said that we are not going to war with Iraq and we are not to going to war with Syria. We are going to war with ISIL terrorists, people who are decapitating humanitarian workers, selling girls and young women into slavery, people who are summarily executing people of different religious faiths who do not accept ISIL's radical interpretation of Islam.
    We have said very clearly in the motion before the House that we will go into Iraq, where the democratically elected government has invited us, and we will take real and significant action alongside our colleagues, whether it is with military support, humanitarian support or encouraging the establishment of an inclusionary government.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in its motion on the crisis in Iraq and Syria, the government is proposing a poorly defined plan with no exit strategy. Meanwhile, the need for humanitarian aid on the ground continues to grow.
    Will the government agree to include humanitarian aid in its main motion on the mission in Iraq, as proposed in the NDP's amendments?
    Mr. Speaker, the government has announced various measures involving the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Development and Peace and Save the Children in order to address basic needs, whether it be food or hygiene kits.
    Targeted military action is needed to meet these urgent needs. The ISIL's capabilities must be reduced. That is how we can get to the people in need. Military action and humanitarian aid are not mutually exclusive. I would like to remind my colleague that we are the seventh-largest donor in this humanitarian crisis.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, the file on Syrian refugees currently awaiting entry into Canada is surely the best example of this government's inability to acknowledge the real needs of the victims of the many ongoing conflicts in the region.
    Instead of fiddling with the numbers to make his performance look good, will the minister try to solve the problem of delays that are preventing the sponsorship of Syrian refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, as the opposition already knows, there are 1,645 Syrian refugees in Canada. Those are the latest numbers.
    Among them is the Dandachi family, whose case was brought to our embassy's attention in January. They arrived in Montreal in June, so processing is very fast.
    Why does the opposition ask this question today and almost every day? Because the opposition members want to downplay their opposition to what Syrian refugees really need: military intervention. That is what the refugees, Iraqis and Canadians want.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, in her latest report, the Commissioner of the Environment has confirmed that this government does not take the environment seriously.
    The Conservatives are not going to meet their own greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020, and their environmental assessment process has been completely discredited. For instance, nothing has been done to assess the impact of several mines and factories that are major polluters.
    Why is the government turning a blind eye to the environmental risks posed by several major industrial sites?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government's record is very clear. We have taken decisive actions in a responsible way to protect our environment, as well as our economy.
    Thanks to our leadership and the efforts of the different levels of government, businesses and consumers, Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are projected to be 130 megatonnes lower than what they would have been under the Liberals. We will continue to move forward with the regulatory measures that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while creating jobs.
     Our actions to address climate change continue to produce results for Canadians without—
    The hon. member for Halifax.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative record is very clear, thanks to the environment commissioner's report. She points out that the government is failing on the Arctic as well.
    Many high-risk marine areas have not been properly surveyed for navigation. Only about 1% of Arctic water has been surveyed to modern standards and Arctic marine traffic is increasing, while Coast Guard ice-breaking is decreasing.
    The Prime Minister pretends the Arctic is a priority, but his government is ignoring safe shipping. Where is the government's long-term plan for safe marine transportation?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are very grateful for the environment commissioner's report and recommendations, and we have already indicated that we will accept the recommendations.
    At Transport Canada, however, we have been working on this issue for a very long period of time. As most members should know and remember, we have a great world-class tanker panel that has been looking at safety, including specifically on shipping in the north.
    We understand the panel will soon be completing its second phase. I am very much looking forward to the report because it shows that this government is on this issue.
    Mr. Speaker, Conservatives will not spend money to keep the Arctic safe, but they will shell out another $6.5 million to their friends in oil and gas.
    The Conservatives are ignoring the polluter pay principle and Canadians are picking up the tab for more than a quarter of the cost for oil sands monitoring, when the Conservatives promised the so-called world-class monitoring system would be paid for by industry.
    Why is the minister sticking Canadians with the bill to monitor pollution in the oil sands?
    Mr. Speaker, responsible oil sands development is a priority and a responsibility of both the federal government as well as the provincial government.
    We have made significant progress since the launch of the joint implementation panel for oil sands monitoring with Alberta and we will continue to look for opportunities to enhance this program.
    This monitoring program is world class, uses some of the country's top scientists and is completely transparent.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, under the Conservatives, environmental assessment has become a real joke.
    Many industrial sites that are likely to be major polluters have undergone no environmental assessment whatsoever. Either the government is deliberately not assessing these sites in order to please industry or the selection criteria are inappropriate.
    Either way, will the government heed the recommendations made by the environment commissioner and commit to greater transparency and clarity when it comes to identifying projects to be assessed?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, responsible resource development involves meaningful consultation with communities and aboriginal communities that may be affected by proposed projects.
    We have increased funding and opportunities for consultation in the environmental assessment process and we will continue to strengthen our internal practices.
    The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is committed to coordinating these consultations in a manner that is respectful, responsive and consistent.
    Mr. Speaker, during the audit, the commissioner actually heard testimony on how the government was ignoring key duties to engage first nations and Metis in environmental assessments and monitoring of the oil sands.
    The commissioner determined that the government had failed to collect important traditional ecological knowledge, ignored its duty to consult and made it harder for aboriginals to participate.
    Why is the government neglecting its duty to consult and preventing effective engagement by first nations and Metis?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been working with first nations and Metis communities and we are proposing increased influence, dedicated funding and more opportunities for the use of traditional ecological knowledge in monitoring.
    The oil sands, which are being developed responsibly and represent only 0.1% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, support over 275,000 jobs across Canada.
    We will continue to work with Alberta, in partnership with aboriginal communities, to enhance this world-class monitoring program.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told us that he will re-examine our combat mission in six months to determine whether the Islamic State has been sufficiently degraded. In light of that, I have an important question.
    In concrete terms, how does the Prime Minister plan to measure the degradation of the Islamic State to the point where we can say “mission accomplished”?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government are authorizing, subject to the vote in Parliament this evening, that Canadian Forces troops go and provide combat support to help stop the terrorist group ISIL.
     Humanitarian workers are being decapitated, women sold into slavery, people summarily being executed, and that terror threat could very well make its way here to Canada.
    We are going to work with our like-minded allies, with President Obama, the United Kingdom, and France, to determine whether we have been successful at stopping that humanitarian and human rights disaster and whether we will be able to push it backwards.

  (1440)  

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, since this government came to power, the number of refugees admitted to Canada has dropped by 33%. This government has never made refugees a priority. The world is currently facing a serious refugee crisis. Will the minister change his priorities and promise that future refugees from Iraq and Syria will find the protection they need in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the number of refugee claimants from safe countries has dropped because the government overhauled the system left behind by the Liberal government. This system was not working and did not allow us to focus our resources on the true refugees, as we are doing now. Since 2009, we have already welcomed over 20,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria.
    What is scandalous is that the Liberal Party is getting ready to vote this evening against the military action requested by the Iraqis and the refugees, which will help millions of people.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, that is not the whole story.
    Under the Conservative government, government-approved refugees, which it controls directly, are down by 22%. The Conservatives do not care about refugees.
     In the middle of this global crisis, the Liberal Party, as part of its ISIL proposal, would pay money to source refugees so that we could admit many more into this country.
    Will the Conservatives do the same thing? Will they invest the money to process refugees from these regions who desperately need to come to Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the member is so confused that he cannot even come up with the right term. They are government-assisted refugees. We have actually exceeded our goal in that regard for Syria. We have brought over 20,000 from Iraq and Syria and countries that are being discussed and debated in this House tonight. That is more than any of our allies have done and that is because of the focus of this government.
    This government will continue to focus on the humanitarian needs of refugees by doing what Iraq has asked us to do and bringing military means to bear, the use of fighter aircraft—
    The hon. member for Davenport.
    Mr. Speaker, last year the government committed to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014. In July, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said that Canada had only resettled 284, less than one-quarter of its total commitment. An internal report from Citizenship and Immigration reveals that Conservative cuts are preventing sponsorship applications from being processed.
    When will the minister stop misleading Canadians about the numbers? What is he doing to get the other 1,000 Syrian refugees here in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, the report to which the member is referring is way out of date. We have given significant new resources to the processing centre in Winnipeg and across our network to speed the processing of refugees. There are 1,645 Syrians in this country since the beginning of that crisis in 2011. There are more than 18,600 Iraqis in this country.
    The real question is this. Why is the NDP voting against international action coordinated by President Obama in the United States to ensure military tactics are used to protect refugees on the ground? There are millions of them.
    Mr. Speaker, the real question is this. Why does this minister consistently mislead Canadians about these numbers?
    He knows that around 1,300 of the Syrian refugees were already here before the government made these commitments. He admitted this himself to The Globe and Mail in July: only 177 government-assisted and 108 privately sponsored refugees are here.
    When will the minister stop playing games with numbers to hide his own failure? When will he act to speed up processing, including for privately-sponsored refugees?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, 1,645 refugees have all arrived from Syria since 2011. The member opposite should get his facts right. On a per capita basis, 18,600 is the largest number resettled from Iraq by any country. These are real actions that speak for themselves, as will be Canada's military contribution, which will help millions more.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister has to stop playing games with the numbers. The truth is that 1,300 out of the 1,500 Syrian refugees he is talking about are already here. This government has just two and a half months to keep its promise to welcome 1,100 privately sponsored refugees. So far only 100 or so of those refugees are in Canada. In the past, temporary resident permits were provided to speed up the family reunification process, for example for the former Yugoslavia and Haiti.
    Why does the minister not follow suit for Syria?
    Mr. Speaker, our objective was 1,300 refugees. We already have 1,645 refugees in Canada. In speaking of her sons, Souhad Al Dandashi said, “Now I look ahead and I see, God willing, a future as I dreamed for them”. These are real results.
    The Dandashi family's case was brought to our attention in January. They arrived in Montreal in January.
    Mr. Speaker, if the minister put as much effort into welcoming Syrian refugees as he does into playing with numbers, his department's bureaucratic problems would have been solved a long time ago.
    The minister has to dispense with the nonsense. Yesterday, he explained that Sweden has welcomed more Syrian refugees than Canada has, saying that Syria was not far from Europe's borders. Come on. He made it sound like the refugees just had to walk to their host country.
    Will the minister stop putting on such a sorry spectacle and start keeping his promise to welcome more refugees?
    Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that asylum seekers are in a different category than resettled refugees. In Canada, we have already resettled more than 20,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees. That is more than any other country.
    The real sorry spectacle here is that of the NDP, which is not prepared to support any military measures whatsoever to help millions of refugees in Iraq and neighbouring countries, who need and have asked for our help.

[English]

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has taken unprecedented action to put more money back into the pockets of Canada's seniors. That includes the tax-free savings account and one of the most popular tax relief measures in Canadian history, pension income splitting. Our government is also leading by example by creating the pooled registered pension plans.
    Can the Minister of State for Finance please tell the House about our newest step to ensure Canadians receive a secure and dignified retirement?
    Mr. Speaker, today I was pleased to announce that five companies have been approved to provide federal pooled registered pension plans. This is a major milestone toward offering an attractive new retirement savings option for those millions of Canadians who do not have a workplace pension plan. I would like to encourage the provinces, such as Ontario, to bring forward the necessary legislation so that all Canadians can benefit from this new pension plan.
    Canadian seniors and pensioners, all Canadians, can rest assured that we are standing up for them.

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the report tabled today by the Commissioner of Official Languages showed that the Conservatives are balancing their budgets on the backs of linguistic minorities, cutting services like the co-operative development initiative and the Hervé J. Michaud experimental farm in New Brunswick. When will the government stop these cuts and instead show some leadership to respect the linguistic duality across this country?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of our government. We created the roadmap for official languages. It is a very comprehensive investment, the most comprehensive in Canada's history. It represents an investment of $1.1 billion. We would like to thank our Commissioner of Official Languages for his work. I believe that the report was balanced and that the commissioner thanked us for the work we have done. If there is time, I hope that I will be asked another question about the progress that we have made, which the commissioner pointed out in the report.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the minister wants us to ask the question and so we will.
    Concerning official changes, the Conservatives have scored a big fat zero, and the official language minority communities are paying for it. The commissioner talks about that in his report.
    The Conservatives continue to cut programs and services. In Moncton, the postal union had to file a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages because francophone employees do not have access to Canada Post information in both languages, and 75% of communications are in English only.
    Will the minister tell us what she is going to do to correct the situation?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for giving me the opportunity to quote our Commissioner of Official Languages.
     This is what he said at the press conference: “I think that, in the vast majority of cases, the institutions are aware of their responsibilities”. There has been a steady increase in the number of people whose language level is appropriate to their position.
    This is what he said in his report:
    In 2013–2014, all federal institutions evaluated demonstrated that they take measures to create an environment conducive to the use of both official languages...

Electoral Reform

    Mr. Speaker, in their unfair elections act, the Conservatives got rid of the Commissioner of Canada Elections with no reasonable explanation.
    Some asked a very valid question about the cost of this administrative fiasco deemed useless by all the committee witnesses, including the commissioner himself. The Conservatives did not want to answer, claiming cabinet confidence. That is ridiculous.
    Can the minister explain why he refuses to tell Canadians what he does with their money?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the move has not actually occurred. As a result, there have been no costs.
    Mr. Speaker, if there had been no costs, they would have released that, would they not?
    Just because something is embarrassing to the minister does not mean that he gets to hide behind access to information. He led a personal vendetta against the integrity of Elections Canada. He is now trying to hide the cost of this from Canadians. Now he tells us that it did not cost anything; yet he used cabinet confidence to keep it from Canadians.
    He cannot have it both ways. Why does the minister not just stand up and tell Canadians why he is trying to hide behind cabinet confidence and using access to information to deny Canadians basic information about the spending of government?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously, when the commissioner is housed in a new facility, that facility will have to be rented from somebody. That does cost some money. At this point, that move has not occurred. As a result, the costs have not been incurred.
    That being said, we are very proud of the decision to create independent investigations so that we can have law enforcement that is fair and neutral. That is the right thing for the elections act and it is the right thing for Canada.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, two years ago, the Canadian Forces Ombudsman reported that:
...[a] chronic personnel deficit has strained the mental health system and is at the root of its most pressing challenges.
    Then, last June, the defence committee learned that the Canadian Forces still have a shortage of mental health professionals for our troops.
    In light of a new combat deployment of Canadian troops, what steps is the government taking to address the existing shortage of mental health practitioners?
    Mr. Speaker, we have made an unprecedented investment in health and mental health professionals for our armed forces. The budget is at its highest level ever. We have made this a priority, and we will continue to support our men and women in uniform, something that was not done under the previous administration.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the government's response to the veterans affairs committee report on the new veterans charter should have been a strong signal to veterans, but instead the minister merely kicked the can further down the road.
    After tonight's vote, we shall be engaged in a war in Iraq. That means more members of our forces will someday be veterans without the resources they need and deserve.
    Canadian Forces members are willing to put their lives on the line. Why must they return with doubt that they will be cared for by a government more willing to invest in self-promoting advertising than in the well-being of our veterans?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the committee for its diligent work and the product that resulted, which is 14 well-thought-out recommendations. Those recommendations are presently being worked on.
    We have all along worked very hard on supporting our veterans and their families. Unfortunately, through eight budgets, that member's party as well as the NDP have not supported our efforts to increase the benefits and support for our veterans. We will continue to treasure and appreciate their work and also ensure they are well looked after.

[Translation]

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, some of the suburbs north of Montreal have lost their home mail delivery service. Now, a private company is preparing to take over from Canada Post by providing a home mail delivery service. For $240 a year, people will be able to receive their mail at home twice a week. That is a perfect example of a two-tier service.
    Does the minister understand that many Canadians cannot afford to pay for home mail delivery?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that currently in Canada two-thirds of Canadians do not receive their mail at their door.
    More importantly, this issue has come up with municipalities across Canada and collectively, as one single voice, they considered a resolution asking the government to tell Canada Post to reverse its decision on community mailboxes. The result of that was a resounding defeat of that resolution. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and municipalities across the country understand the issues Canada Post is facing and they are supportive.

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, it is being reported that a train carrying hazardous materials has derailed near Wadena, Saskatchewan. The RCMP has cordoned off the area eight kilometres around the site. Witnesses report flames 30 metres high coming from the train. Thankfully, no one from the crew has been reported injured.
    Could the Minister of Transport update the House on this situation?
    Mr. Speaker, the government is aware of this incident in Saskatchewan. Obviously, we are thinking of those who are involved currently. As well, we are thinking of the first responders who are responding to the fire that has ensued as a result.
    Our government has done tremendous work on rail safety in the country, but this does show that accidents like this can happen. The Transportation Safety Board, of course, will conduct its study to determine what the cause of this was and until then we just hope everyone is going to be safe and sound in that part of the country.

Marine Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to environmental protection in the north and to our Arctic sovereignty.
    While increasing the opportunity for sustainable economic development, Canadians want to know that it is possible for us to ship goods in a safe and responsible way. Could the Minister of Transport update the House on the MV Nunavik's recent travel through the north and Arctic region?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the excellent question. This is a historic occasion. The MV Nunavik successfully navigated the fabled Northwest Passage. It is the first vessel to carry an Arctic cargo the full length of the Northwest Passage unescorted. The fact is that it is a polar-class vessel, independently capable of breaking ice without the help of an icebreaker in extreme and harsh Arctic conditions.
    The Nunavik is scheduled to complete its journey on October 14. I know members of the House want to congratulate that great Canadian company, Fednav. I too applaud the entire team of Fednav on this historic northern voyage.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, this morning the environment commissioner stated that “the federal regulatory approach was unlikely...to meet the 2020 Copenhagen target”. We also learned that the Minister of the Environment has not met with the oil and gas industry since March 2013.
    Strangely enough, the department agrees with the commissioner's findings. Does the minister agree with her department and the commissioner that Canada will miss our 2020 targets because there has been no meeting with that industry since March 2013?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, our government's record is clear. We have taken decisive action on the environment while protecting the economy. Everyone internationally has to do their fair share and Canada is doing its part as we emit less than 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
    Building on our record, I announced a number of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from vehicles recently. I also recently announced our intent to regulate the HFCs, one of the fastest growing greenhouse gas emissions in the world. We are accomplishing this without a job-killing carbon tax.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Chaleur Terminals project to export oil through the port of Belledune is a major concern for the people of Chaleur Bay. The port has to be dredged to accommodate tankers. Unfortunately, they are going to dredge up toxic sediments.
    The Chaleur Terminals report sent to the Department of the Environment is silent on the issue of sediments.
    Can the government reassure the fishers and residents of Chaleur Bay that those sediments will not simply be thrown into the sea, right in the middle of the fishing grounds?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I understand the member's question has to do with a dredging matter. I will consult with Transport Canada for any information that we may have on this particular matter.
    I can tell the House from experience that when dredging is done in ports and harbours across Canada every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of the people around it and of course the economic well-being of the industries, too.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has been steadfast in its support for the Ukrainian government and in its opposition to Russian aggression.
    In July, I was honoured to join the Minister of International Trade on a trade and development mission to Ukraine that built on Canada's strong economic and cultural ties and explored deeper economic co-operation with Ukraine.
    Could the Minister of International Trade please share with the House the latest developments in the Canadian-Ukrainian relationship?
    Mr. Speaker, we continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in the face of aggression from Russia. When President Poroshenko visited Canada last month he and the Prime Minister agreed that our people-to-people ties are the strongest in the world and that we should renew efforts to deepen our partnership.
    I am pleased to report that members of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are on Parliament Hill today. Music Mission Kiev has been sharing Ukrainian music with the world while reaching out to the widows, orphans and refugees of Ukraine.
    I invite all members of the House to attend its Ottawa concert tonight at seven o'clock—
    The hon. member for Gatineau.

[Translation]

Service Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last Friday we learned about the closure of the Service Canada office in the Gatineau sector. Once again, the government is making service cuts in secret.
     Imagine seniors, veterans and unemployed workers—often people in crisis—having to sit on a bus for over an hour to get to the Service Canada office on Saint-Joseph Boulevard in the Hull sector. That makes no sense.
    Why are the Conservatives creating obstacles for people who simply want to access the services they are entitled to?
    Mr. Speaker, there are several service centres available to people in the region. The public can also access good services online and over the phone.

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, there is no tar in the Canadian oil sands. In truth, the oil sands represent one of the world's richest deposits and largest reserves of energy. They drive investment in job creation, technology and innovation in every corner of Canada while related revenues support many of the government's services, which millions of Canadians rely on every day.
    Despite years of misinformation and attacks presented by special interest groups, the European Union announced today that it will not single out oil sands crude. It is a clear victory for Canadian energy, and I would argue, an acknowledgement of the tremendous technological progress that has been made in improving oil sands extraction processes.
    Could the Minister of Natural Resources please comment on today's announcement?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, Canada has a secure, responsible and reliable source of energy that can make a growing contribution to global energy security. We support the intent to reduce transportation emissions. Any directives to that effect for implicating energy products should be based on science and facts.
    That is why our government will continue to advocate for Canada's interests and Canadian jobs in new energy markets.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Military Contribution Against ISIL

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Before statements by members, the hon. member for Davenport had the floor and he has six minutes left to conclude his remarks.
    Mr. Speaker, prior to question period I had been reading into the record some of the comments from people in my riding around the mission at hand, the decision by the government to send CF-18s and our Canadian troops to Iraq.
    I just wanted to give the House, and read into the record, some of the examples of the concerns that are coming from Toronto, from my riding. Just in part, one constituent said, “We should be supporting refugee efforts. We should be offering humanitarian aid and support. Stop deploying our military and foreign affairs and bring our attention to the vast array of trouble right here at home: health care; housing; food supply and security; violence against women, particularly first nations women; destruction of science and muzzling of research communications; and a whole host of issues including climate change, rising tuition and minimum wage”.
    This is not the only constituent who has raised the issue or made the links between the cost of this mission in dollar terms, what it costs to our international credibility, and what it costs in terms of what we can do domestically to be an example to the world of the kinds of democracy, peace, justice and fairness that we stand for.
    It is often said, and it bears repeating today, that when we talk about programs that we think are important here in Canada, we always talk about how much they cost. We try to wring every penny of savings out of every program. What we have seen in Canadian society over time has been a squeezing of the middle class and the creation of a huge gap between the rich and the poor. We have seen otherwise middle-class families in cities such as Toronto spending close to a mortgage payment just to provide day care for their children. We have seniors living in poverty. We have a whole host of issues around youth unemployment. We have young people in Ontario graduating with up to $40,000 of debt. These are serious issues.
    The reason I am bringing up these issues is that the Conservatives are constantly saying to us, “This will cost too much money to implement; we cannot implement this and we cannot implement that”. However, when we ask them for a dollar amount on this mission, they go silent. Suddenly, we cannot get answers. Suddenly, it is not proper. The Conservatives question our Canadianness in asking these very questions. These are questions that Canadians want answered.
    We asked whether we offered air strikes or whether it was something that the U.S. government asked us. We got no answer. In fact, what the Conservatives try to do is belittle the question. It is not leadership on the global stage when we cannot get the kinds of answers that we need from the government.
    We asked the Conservatives what the rules of engagement are and what the exit strategy is. These are important questions, especially given our recent history. The Afghanistan mission was supposed to be very limited. It was supposed to last only a few months and contain a very small number of Canadian men and women in uniform. We know what happened there. Gradually over time Canadians were asked to approve a more expanded mission and then at a certain point it was impossible to reel that in. This is part of our concern here today. Given the fact that the Conservatives are not answering questions, it only ratchets up the concern around mission creep and mission leap.
     The Afghanistan mission produced around 40,000 veterans. We have battled with the current government ever since to hold its feet to the fire to properly take care of the brave men and women who went to Afghanistan and came back with a variety of needs that we are duty-bound to administer to.

  (1510)  

    We are not supporting the mission. We believe that Canada must have a real, robust international role, and that role is a humanitarian role. It is a significant role. It is one that the international community has looked historically to Canada to fill. It is one that the countries in the region have asked us to fulfill. That is the role that the NDP believes is the best course for Canada in this conflict.
    Mr. Speaker, the member talked specifically about aid. As he knows, the Minister of International Development has highlighted that Canada is the seventh-largest contributor to international aid efforts, and it is something that we have been doing for quite some time in the region. It is also one of the principal things that we also accomplished in Afghanistan.
    The minister talked about all the things we have been providing in terms of aid. I wonder if the member would identify what additional items he would suggest, over and above what we are already providing?
    He also talked a lot about the costs. Could he provide us with a cost estimate for the additional aid that he is suggesting Canada provide?
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, the House has been seized with the issue of Syrian refugees. We cannot get a straight answer from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration about why on earth it is taking Canada so long to settle 1,000 Syrian refugees.
    There is a very simple answer to the question: the current government could redouble its efforts around refugee resettlement. That is one thing it had already committed to before it made this commitment. The reason that process has been so bogged down is the cuts made to the very people who process these applications. This is about priorities and it is also about efficiency.
     If the government wants to take some direct measures to alleviate the misery, we can start by fulfilling the commitments we have already made and doing them promptly.
    Mr. Speaker, with the odd possible exception from the New Democratic caucus, it would seem as if the NDP has recognized the value of what the Liberal Party has consistently been saying, which is that Canada is in fact compelled to play some role in the Iraqi conflict with respect to ISIL.
    This is a question I have posed to others within his caucus. In its amendment, the NDP calls upon the government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons, for a period of up to three months.
    Would the member be able to expand on that particular amendment that the NDP has put on the floor?

  (1515)  

    Mr. Speaker, first I have to take a step back and say that there is absolutely nothing consistent in the Liberal position on this conflict. The Liberals are making it up. They are saying, “What should we do? One day we're here. One day we're there.” However, we have been firm about our position. We do not support these military strikes.
    With our amendments, we are trying to pull the government toward a more progressive, positive role in this conflict. The part of the amendment that the member is referring to calls upon the government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months, which is consistent with article 14 of the UN resolution, which talks about reinforcing the capacity of countries affected.
    This is where we need to be clear. In the NDP we have consistently looked to international actions under the auspices of the UN. The UN had called for this in article 14, so we are responding to that call through the UN, which is what we always do.
    I appreciate the opportunity to speak today about Canada's action in response to the crisis in Iraq, particularly our response to the growing humanitarian situation.
    Canada has been active in its support since the beginning of this crisis. During the last two months alone, ISIL's terrorist violence has displaced an estimated 850,000 people in Iraq. Over 1.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the year began. Iraq is witnessing the largest cases of internal displacement in the world.
    Under terrorist threat, people are in dire need of water, food, shelter, and medicine. That is why we authorized the deployment of Canada's emergency stockpile of humanitarian goods. These goods have already been distributed and are saving lives in northern Iraq.

[Translation]

    These stockpiles are designed to meet the most urgent needs. The emergency supplies include things like tents, blankets, kitchen sets and hygiene kits. These items are being deployed from Canada’s new warehouse in Dubai. These stockpiles are a key example of the strong relationship that exists between Canada and the United Arab Emirates. This relationship has become even stronger and more sustainable in recent months.
    This new, strategically located stockpile will allow Canada to intervene rapidly on the scene of events in Africa and Asia. By maintaining emergency relief stockpiles on both sides of the globe, we will reach people more rapidly and ultimately save more lives. It is a question of time, and the sooner we take action, the more lives that can be saved.
    This stockpile of emergency supplies will be managed by the Canadian Red Cross, as is Canada’s other facility in Mississauga, Ontario. The stockpile in Dubai is now fully operational, and the deployment to Iraq was the first from this new stockpile.

[English]

    These stockpiles were distributed on the ground by Save the Children, a trusted and active partner. Save the Children has made sure our supplies are distributed in the most effective and efficient manner and that they help the most people possible, because in time of crisis, access to the most basic necessities can be the difference between life and death.

  (1520)  

[Translation]

    Canada remains very concerned with the escalating humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. We know that the violence has displaced well over a million people, and countless more remain under threat. Canada continues to condemn the terrorist actions of ISIL and the killing of civilians in northern Iraq in the strongest possible terms. Canada is particularly concerned about the ongoing, targeted persecution of religious minorities, which only adds fuel to sectarian tensions among Iraqis.
    I remind the House that Canada has committed over $28 million in humanitarian assistance this year. We remain steadfast in our support of the people and Government of Iraq, as they confront this terrorist threat. The humanitarian needs of innocent civilians are particularly pressing in northern Iraq.

[English]

    That is why just in the last month, Canada has contributed $12 million in humanitarian aid to key partners, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Mercy Corps, Development and Peace, and Save the Children Canada. These funds are providing emergency shelter, food, and medical supplies, as well as repairing essential facilities, establishing child-friendly spaces, providing psychosocial support services, and providing access to education.
    Just yesterday my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced on top of this $28 million, an additional $10 million for victims of sexual violence and for investigations into these crimes.
     It is clear that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant represents a significant threat. If ISIL consolidates territory in Iraq and Syria, it would have an autonomous area from which it could operate and from which it could transfer weapons and personnel across borders. ISIL would be able to impose oppressive control over populations in both Iraq and Syria. This would further degrade the humanitarian outlook in the region.
    The methods ISIL has used to seize control of territories across Iraq have been brutal. This is a morally reprehensible group whose actions have included wilfully killing innocent children, enslaving women, barbarically murdering American journalists, murdering a British humanitarian aid worker, and the use or threat of rape to advance ISIL's cause. That is why Canada has been steadfast in our position and so strong in our humanitarian reaction.
    The provision of humanitarian assistance is one of the clearest expressions of Canadian values. Canada cannot and will not stand idly by while people in the world suffer needlessly.

[Translation]

    Canada is deeply troubled by the rapid rise of this extremist group and by its cruel and barbaric tactics. Its progress leaves little room for doubt: we need to support allied efforts to bring the ISIL to its knees and drastically reduce its ability to act, particularly in light of the humanitarian impact that this crisis is having on the people of Iraq.
    Canada will continue to provide a significant amount of humanitarian, diplomatic and military aid to Iraq. We are in it for the long haul. In June 2014, I added Iraq to Canada's list of development partner countries. As the Prime Minister said:
    Left unchecked, ISIL [this bloodthirsty terrorist group] is a threat not only to peace and security in the region, but to global security as well.
    As a result of its commitment, Canada, along with its allies, will continue to support the people and the Government of Iraq in their fight against terrorism. Canada will continue to carefully monitor the situation and work closely with its allies. We will continue to determine how to best meet the needs of Iraqi civilians, particularly those of religious minorities who are in such profound need.

[English]

    Regardless of our political stripes, we can all no doubt agree that the threat posed by the terrorist regimes taking greater control of Iraq is of grave concern.

[Translation]

    The targeted military measures that we are taking are not in any way preventing us from also taking humanitarian measures. They are not mutually exclusive, quite the contrary.
    We are providing emergency shelters and medical assistance to thousands of Iraqi civilians and large-scale financial assistance to other governments in the region that are affected by the crisis in Syria.
    It is essential that there be security on the ground so humanitarian assistance can be provided. It is therefore imperative that we reduce the ISIL's capabilities in order to provide that assistance and reach those most in need.
    That is why military intervention for a defined period of time, as set out in the motion, is needed to accomplish this goal. Then, we will be able to work with our Iraqi partners on medium- and long-term development in order to strengthen the country's civil institutions and civil society. Moreover, we will give hope to young children and give them access to education by protecting them from the horrific acts of barbarism that we have witnessed recently, unfortunately.
    Canada is the seventh-largest donor of humanitarian aid in this crisis. It provides food, hygiene kits, cooking equipment, bedding, tents, medical supplies and other essentials, while making urgent repairs to water and sanitation facilities, just to name a few measures.
    We will continue working closely with our allies to determine the best way to meet the needs of Iraqi civilians, particularly persecuted religious minorities.
    For all of these reasons, we should clearly all support this motion.

  (1525)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of principles I am hoping we can establish.
    Obviously the horrors and atrocities that are taking place in Iraq right now are not the only condition for Canada's involvement, because unfortunately, and tragically, over a number of years, be it in the Congo, Darfur, or Syria prior to this, there have been many international tragedies and atrocities that have taken place.
    My question is specifically about the contribution Canada is willing to make. We have asked a number of times about what the cost of the mission described will be militarily for the government. To this point, the government has refused to answer. We know that in Afghanistan, the ratio came in at about 10 to 1. For every $10 we spent militarily in Afghanistan, we spent $1 on aid. My explicit question for the minister is whether there is any guidance for his department that this is about the ratio the government is going to apply in the crisis in Iraq.
    Second, clearly the Conservatives are associating the need for bombing with the need to deliver aid and to provide that security. Does he feel that this is the only condition under which Canada can deliver aid to places of conflict?
    The vast majority of aid missions Canada has conducted over our entire existence have been done without the Canadian military performing bombing missions. It is obviously not a criterion that Canada is required to bomb in order to deliver aid.
    Second, can the minister report to us whether his government has accepted any ratio of the amount of military spending Canada will contribute versus the amount of international assistance?
    Mr. Speaker, on the first part, my colleague knows that the motion we have here is proposing a targeted action in time.
    This is what we are proposing.

[Translation]

    The government does not intend to get embroiled in an endless quagmire. It intends to take targeted measures.

[English]

    What we have in front of us is ISIL as a world threat. It is as simple as that. We are not immune in the world. Our allies have decided to take action. We cannot just watch and do nothing. On the contrary, we have to participate. That goes with the second part of the question. Yes, of course we need to secure a humanitarian corridor. What we see on the ground are religious minorities being constantly persecuted. We see people being beheaded. Humanitarian workers have been beheaded. There is ethnic cleansing, human slaughtering, and rape used as a weapon. We are also seeing human smuggling, and so on.
    These are all barbaric actions that are just intolerable and unacceptable. It is a very concerning situation there.
    In terms of absorption capacity, we need to deal with the best, credible organizations in the world. That is why, so far, we have had interaction with the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Save the Children Canada, and Développement et Paix.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

    We want to ensure that these organizations have access to people in need, but we have to do more. However, targeted measures go hand in hand with humanitarian aid. We cannot have one without the other.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the minister, like others before him in the Conservative caucus, talked a lot about compelling reasons. No one questions that. He made reference to people being beheaded, slaughters that have taken place, and rapes. There is a litany of offences against humanity that are taking place.
    The government has chosen air strikes as the best way to use Canada's resources in a combat role. Does the minister not recognize the value of non-combat roles that Canada could be playing?
    Germany has chosen not to participate in the air strikes, but it is contributing. It believes that there is a better way for Germany to contribute.
    To what degree does the minister believe—
    The hon. minister.
    Mr. Speaker, our government has a very balanced and reasonable approach.
    The way we see it is that we have been active in a non-combat mission for the last 30 to 35 days, but as we see now, the cancer continues to grow. Canada and our allies have had to decide to take further action to make sure that we stop this cancer from growing. Otherwise, world peace will be jeopardized. As the international development minister responsible for humanitarian aid, I need to reiterate to this House that it is not either-or, targeted military action or humanitarian aid delivered on the ground. It is the opposite. We need to secure a humanitarian corridor to make sure that we reach people in need. That is exactly what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to rise today to address this issue.
     I am proud to be part of this government. I hear a balanced, responsible, and reasonable approach to what is being suggested. We have certainly been involved in humanitarian aid in the area we are speaking about today, and for a number of years. We have been responsible in that direction. We have spent some time evaluating a non-combat role and have come to the conclusion, as the minister said recently, that a decision needs to be made to participate in a combat role in Iraq and in this area.
    When I look at a couple of the other parties, I am not entirely surprised by the position of the New Democrats, because they have a history of isolationism, of turning their backs on international involvement. They do it through both history and by choice. Over the last few years we have thought that perhaps they were moving to a position that was a bit more relevant to Canadians. It seemed that they were trying to do that to perhaps expand their base. However, it also seems that in the last couple of months they have made a choice to go back to the place they have been in the past. I think it will not turn out well for them, because typically it means opposition to trade deals, resource development, and the sale of resource products around the world. It means opposition to most international development. Now we hear from them that they have taken a position of strong opposition to what I think is a good decision by our government.
     I was a bit surprised last Thursday to hear that the height of their suggestions was that we send international investigators into this area to try to gather data. I think every one of us understands that when we are talking about the kind of viciousness, brutality, and barbarism that is taking place right now, the safety of those investigators cannot be guaranteed at all. I saw that as being naive and foolish, if that is the extent of the request they will be making here. It is up to them to make their decision, but I am a bit disappointed.
    The party that has actually been surprising has been the Liberals, because in the past, they often have come out in a position of support. We have been able to stand together when we have had to face bad things. In this situation, it seems that they cannot make up their minds as to what it is they want to do.
    We first heard their leader talking about supporting involvement. We have heard that some of their old guard, members like Lloyd Axworthy, Dosanjh, and Bob Rae, have come out and said that there needs to be a commitment. Canada has to make a commitment that needs to move ahead. It needs to be a military one if we expect this to be effective.
    We thought the opposition leader was going to take that position, and then a couple of days later, the position changed. It seems that they shifted the Liberal car into neutral, then put it into reverse and backed away from that position. It is interesting that they have taken the position that they do not want Canadians to engage far from here with one of the most vicious and aggressive terrorist organizations that exist on the face of the earth. I guess the alternative is to wait until they come here, and we are not prepared to do that.
     Three positions in two weeks is probably not a new record for them. It just does not seem responsible, given the seriousness of this issue we are dealing with. It is not particularly unusual to see this kind of pattern of irresponsible positions taken. I would just like to run through a couple, because I think that is important for setting out where the Liberals are going and what it is they think is important across this country.
    If we go back over the last year or so and look at the positions the Liberals have taken internationally, I think we need to be concerned. For example, who can forget the Ukraine gaffe, the comment that the events in Ukraine would be determined by the Russian hockey team's success at the Olympics? This was in a situation where lives were being lost. People were joking while other people were dying.
     There was a flippant answer to a question about what government the Liberal leader liked and admired. The comment was, “there's a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime”. It was a commitment to admiring a dictatorship where rights are routinely violated, where free speech is limited, and where freedom is restricted. When the leader was offered the chance to apologize, he said that the comments were reflections on a growing economy. There was not a sense that he needed to apologize or that he had made a mistake. Rather, it was a justification.
    We heard that the first response to the Boston Marathon bombing was that we needed to discover the root causes of what those men had going on in their lives so that we could better understand them, never mind the carnage that resulted from that.

  (1535)  

    We were also told that we could not call honour killings barbaric, because that would make some people feel uncomfortable, people who may be more familiar with that practice than we are.
    There is a pattern, I have to say, on the Liberal side. It is basically a pattern of failing to understand even the basic values Canadians see as important. I think it is an inability to see that Canadians have values worth protecting, and it is a lack of understanding and thinking through these issues.
    We have some tough decisions to make. That is what government is all about, and we are willing to make those decisions, but avoiding decisions, changing one's mind daily, or waffling to deflect attention by making jokes about situations is not a recipe for good leadership or good governance.
     I wanted to bring up the things that have happened in the past, because it establishes a pattern. That is why I am not so sure there was a lot of surprise about last week's joking comments about military engagement.
    When we heard it, I did not think people would say it was unusual to hear someone talking about whipping out our CF-18s and showing them how big they are. Is that the extent of the understanding the Liberal leader has on this issue? I would say it certainly shows the depth of his analysis and his reaction to a serious question.
    It was inappropriate to use that time and space to make a juvenile joke that somehow our military aid and assistance in that area is nothing more than a display of sexual prowess in some strange way. I do not know if that offends anyone in the House. I think it should, and I think it should offend Canadians right across this country, from sea to sea to sea.
    Is it unreasonable to ask how it is that this person expects to lead our country on these kinds of issues, when that is the response? It is not that he is new at the job, because he is certainly not. I think it shows an inability to grow in understanding and an unwillingness to learn or listen to other people.
    Just recently, some of his former colleagues made a comment about how the abortion issue was being dealt with in the Liberal Party. His reaction was to say that people who have not had direct personal relationships to or experience with an issue really should not comment on it. Someone at home asked me what a middle-aged person who has lived off a trust fund has to say.

  (1540)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
     I regret interrupting my friend. I know relevance is often a question that has some looseness to it. I am not going to disagree with his comments about the lack of judgment, as he perceives it and as many others have, of the Liberal leader. However, as he was speaking, I was reading through the motion in front of us today very specifically put forward by the government about bombings in Iraq. It stretches the limits of connection to suggest that the Liberal leader's opinion on issues like abortion somehow bear some relevance to Canada's role and mission in Iraq.
    We have very limited time. We only have 10 minutes for our speeches, and this is under time allocation, so all speeches are limited. I would ask the Speaker to give direction to focus in on the motion as presented to us and what he believes the merits of that motion are.
    Of course, the Liberal leader's opinions on global affairs may be relevant, but the member seems to be extending this now beyond that to questions of character and to issues that clearly have nothing to do with the motion at hand.
    I have to take issue with the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. It seems to me that the parliamentary secretary is raising a relevant point as to the quality of leadership coming from a certain individual in the House. That is relevant to the position that particular party has taken. It may be stretching it a bit, and I would ask the member to bring it a little closer to the motion before the House, but I do not believe it is out of order.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary may continue.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague across the way, but if he would have listened for another minute or so, he might have had an answer to his concerns, because it is relevant what the leader opposite listens to.
    He has former colleagues who are telling him that they do have a personal connection and experience with these events. They are telling him that he needs to change his position, but again, that is not being listened to. When senior statesmen across the spectrum come to us and ask us to reconsider our position, the party opposite needs to do that.
    We do provide humanitarian need. The opposition is telling us that we need to do that in this situation. We have done that from day one.
    There is certainly a need to play a larger role if we want to protect Canadians. It is not just a military decision that is being made here. Our government is proud to make that proposal and we will be supporting it.
    We provide international leadership in this area. I am honestly questioning both parties on the other side for what I would call their inability to step forward in the proper fashion on this issue.
    The NDP wants to isolate itself. That is fine, and everyone expects that is the case. However, the Liberals have taken three or four positions over the last week. A pattern is taking place in that party. Canadians need to be aware of it prior to us ever getting to the point where we come to making a decision about who should be guiding our country. Clearly our Prime Minister has done an excellent job of leading the country. There is no comparison in terms of the leadership.
    We are a multicultural, multifaceted society and Canada is uniquely called to promote peaceful co-existence around the world, particularly in this situation of Iraq's various groups and communities. We have a rich and proud tradition of diversity, respect and tolerance in our country, and that tradition has yielded peace and prosperity for our people here.
     Through our engagement in Iraq, we will honour Canadian tradition by acting against hate and persecution by championing the values of pluralism and religious freedom, and supporting Iraqis as they build a more stable future.
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Development as well as the parliamentary secretary said that it was not one without the other. Yet when we have been asking for a national inquiry on murdered and missing aboriginal women, it seems we cannot have both.
    On this issue, what we have seen over and over is a demand for more humanitarian aid with respect to water sanitation, hygiene, food security, shelter, health, protection and gender-integrated responses. This is what is needed.
    We have seen over and over that this is not an isolated case. We have seen other countries that have done the same thing, but we do not rush into a war with them. We do not rush in and say that we will take over and help them whether they ask for it or not.
    Could the parliamentary secretary confirm whether it was humanitarian aid or was it actually military aid that the governments of that country asked for? Who specifically asked for us to get involved as a military? How much will this cost and will the Conservatives be transparent about the cost?
     We know what happened with the war in Afghanistan. The Conservatives were not transparent with that cost.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have heard the same kind of discussion a couple of times from the other side. It is as though those members see us as going into a place where there has been, for example, a natural disaster, a drought or famine with no conflict taking place. I am not sure if they are trying to mislead Canadians or if they just do not understand that we are dealing with one of the most vicious, barbaric organizations in the world which has taken over control of an area, will not surrender it willingly and do not want to see peace in an area.
    If we are going to come to the point where there is going to be an ability for those refugees to go back home, for that society to rebuild itself, somebody is going to have to step up and play a role in seeing that come about, and that is going to take military engagement. Now the opposition, particularly the NDP, want nothing to do with the fact that somebody has to go and sometimes deal with it in a military sense. We are willing to make that commitment.
    I can talk about the other commitments we have made. We have provided $15 million to support security measures in Iraq. We have provided more than $28 million to respond to humanitarian needs there, $20 million of which is for populations affected by civil unrest. There is another $10 million for Syrian refugees. We have added Iraq to the list of Canada's developing country partners.
    We do not believe this needs to be isolated as either military or humanitarian. We think there is a package there that we can put together. We would really like to see the other side support that complete package instead of defending one small part of it at a time.
    Mr. Speaker, my question for the parliamentary secretary is in regard to the conversations I have heard throughout the day today. It has been really disturbing to me.
     I am the son of immigrants from the Netherlands who came to Canada after being liberated by Canadian Forces in 1945, and there was a humanitarian aspect to that. There was Operation Manna in which the Canadian Forces were deeply involved. It helped many people from the Netherlands get through the hunger winter as they called it. Without actual forces coming in and pushing out the oppressors, that humanitarian aid basically got people through a period of time, but they were still barely hanging onto their lives.
     I look back at history and if the attitude I hear today had been in the Canadian Parliament at that time, I shiver to think of what would have occurred to my parents and their families.
    Could the parliamentary secretary speak to that issue and how disturbing it is to those of us who are descendants of immigrant parents?
    Mr. Speaker, this is why Canadians will need to ask themselves who they want to lead the country as we move forward into the next several years.
     For example, Iraq's religious minorities have been targeted under a campaign of sexual and gender-based violence. I would point out the situation for Iraq's Christians. Hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, joining an estimated 1.8 million now displaced by the violence. There is a near total disappearance of Christians from the region. The population included more than one million Christians prior to 2003, 600,000 in Baghdad. As of late July, these numbers are estimated to have dwindled to less than 400,000, with many more having already fled Iraq.
     We could talk about other minority communities if I had more time, but that is why this question and the answer are relevant. We need to do what we can to stop this organization.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my friend from British Columbia Southern Interior.
    I looked forward with some trepidation to being a part of this important debate. It is with trepidation only in the sense that the time is so limited, particularly because the government has now moved to shut down this most critical debate. It is with trepidation because the complexity of this issue requires all of us, as members of Parliament, to rise to our very best and attempt to decipher and interpret one of the most complex regions of the world and what Canada's role should be.
    I represent the northwest of British Columbia. It is a beautiful part of the world that often knows peace. It has proud and courageous people. It has a history and stories that invoke great pride for me as a Canadian. These people are proudly Canadian. They sent me here to speak on their behalf as best as I am able.
     When I think of the people of northwestern British Columbia and how proud they are to be Canadian when they travel both abroad and here at home, I speak with a voice of the deepest held Canadian values of compassion, courage, understanding and engagement for the world.
    I seek not to degrade the debate, as some of my friends across the way have, by talking about those who have no spine and no courage for simply opposing the government's intentions and plans. To rise up and stand against the government's intentions if we think that they would do harm to our country is a courageous thing to do.
    For those who have spent any time in a refugee camp or with international aid workers who have, under cover of darkness and under the threat of their own lives to deliver aid to those most needy, to suggest that delivering such aid is not a courageous act, I say shame. Shame on my friends across the way. Shame on all those who suggest that the only courageous thing Canada can offer the world is a bombing mission in Iraq.
    Let me show the government's sense of disproportion around this issue. The rhetoric that it offers in this place is that it is a global threat, a threat that is a direct and immediate danger to Canada. Then it suggests that to counter such a threat is some allegory to the Second World War, as was purported here just minutes ago, and the equivalent of what is going on in Iraq today. Then it suggests Canada's military response will be six planes. That is incoherent.
    If ISIS represents a clear and present danger to our country on the order that was represented by the Nazis in the Second World War, as was just suggested, one logically would conclude that Canada's response would be more than six fighter jets over six months. That is what the government is suggesting.
    The government is also making another false suggestion between false choices. It says that the only way in which Canada can offer aid is in conjunction with a military bombing mission and that there cannot be one without the other. That is false. Canada has a proud and noble history of delivering aid into war zones around the world for generations, without the assistance of Canada's military performing bombing missions at the same time.
    What we have is the repetition of history. It has often been said that the first casualty of war is the truth. When the Prime Minister stands in the House of Commons, in our Parliament, and says, “I have neither the will nor the desire to get into details here” on the eve of an engagement of war, it is shameful. He may be frustrated with the questions. He may find it frustrating when the opposition leader asks such tough questions as: How many military personnel do we have on the ground in Iraq? What is our exit strategy in Iraq? What will the cost of the mission likely be in Iraq?
    The Prime Minister may grow frustrated with that. He may not have “the will nor the desire” to answer such questions, but Canadians deserve answers to these questions before we send our troops into harm's way.
     The U.S. has provided such answers. It has costed the war out to this point and made projections for the American people. We cannot even find out where our planes are going to be based. The U.K. government has told its people that, yet we find the Canadian government unwilling and unable to offer the truth. It simply says “trust us”.
    The New Democrats will not rubber-stamp a mission into the Middle East. There have been hard fought lessons just learned over the last decade that it is easy to get into an incursion, but it is very difficult to get back out. A mission that starts off as a 30-day non-combat role turns into a six-month bombing mission, which turns into something else.

  (1550)  

    The other contradiction in the so-called plan offered up from the Conservatives is that, as every military expert has said, we cannot defeat ISIS by bombing from 35,000 feet alone; there must be boots on the ground. However, the Conservatives have promised not to offer that; the Iraqi forces in Iraq will take care of that.
    Somehow contradictorily, the Prime Minister of Canada has said that we will not bomb Syria, even though that is where many of ISIS actions are taking place, without the permission of Assad, a dictator and despot whom Canada has been forcefully trying to remove from office. We will wait for his permission to conduct a mission. The contradictions that are rife in the Conservatives' proposal to this point fill us with grave concern over Canada's role.
    As we have seen in Afghanistan and we have seen in other places, when military aid and humanitarian aid are offered by the Conservatives, the ratio comes in somewhere about 10 to 1. For every $10 we spend militarily, we spend about $1 on the humanitarian side. That is a ratio with which the Conservatives might feel at peace, when 1.7 million refugees have left Iraq.
    I was in Turkey before the summer, meeting with Turkish officials there who were pleading with Canada to get engaged, because the more than one million refugees from Syria and Iraq who were in southern Turkey at that time were receiving no assistance from the Canadian government. The Turks' concern was that people in those refugee camps without shelter, without assistance, and without hope can very easily be turned into soldiers for ISIS. Canada showed no concern for that. The disproportion of response and the inadequate response do not match the rhetoric that has been offered by the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister to this point.
    The fact is that we are shutting down the very debate that is being held now. Some Canadians might ask why a debate around six planes going to Iraq should matter and why they should have so much concern about that. We concern ourselves whenever we send our military into combat, but we also know that this is the first step of likely many, because it has been a moving target.
    The Conservatives have claimed that the Liberals have had a position that has also wavered, and I will not argue with them on that, but when we ask a simple question of the Conservatives and of the Prime Minister—how would he measure success, how would his government measure success—we have three distinct answers when it comes to ISIS. We will contain them; that would be a success for Canada. No, not contain them, we will degrade them, so that they cannot attack anymore. At one point, we were to eliminate them.
    Those are all three very different things, when we are dealing with a guerrilla group that commits such horrific acts as this one does. If elimination is Canada's term for success, then let us all agree on one thing. A six-month bombing campaign with six planes, Canada's contribution, will not satisfy that, and we cannot pretend otherwise.
    Clearly, the humanitarian crisis that is happening in Iraq and Syria right now is not the only qualification for Canada to get involved, because clearly, we would have been in the Congo, we would have been in Darfur, and we would have been in Syria before this. Five million people were killed in the Congo. Did we talk about bombing missions then? Did we talk about Canada's military getting involved then? No, so clearly this is a combination of events that has drawn this Conservative government into a war in Iraq.
    We all know that, when Canada was debating the first Iraq war perpetrated by George W. Bush, the Prime Minister, as opposition leader, actually went into the United States and chided and scolded Canada for not going into Iraq with the U.S. in its ill-fated mission. That was the Prime Minister's position when he was in opposition. He thought Canada was wrong to stay out of Iraq the first time. Now he thinks he has the terms and judgment to dictate a new war in Iraq.
    I must ask one question about the politics of this. My friend across the way alluded to our position, having something to do with a reach-out to a base or against a base. We have seen the Conservatives actually launch a fundraising campaign on this issue. Because of the insensitive and ridiculous comments from the Liberal leader, the Conservatives have now sent out a fundraising email.
    We question the tactics of this party. Could the Conservatives, for a minute, take this option to remove the narrow-minded base-playing politics and do something that is right for this country, and bring forward a resolution that can be supported by this country? Bring the opposition leaders into the room. Find common ground for Canada's role in the world, rather than the divide-and-conquer strategies we so often see from the government.
    We can do better. New Democrats demand better of this government. We see a better role for Canada in this world, and we will insist on it and form that government in 2015.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, that was a rather sad and unfortunate speech, given the high quality of debate that we have heard over the last couple of days.
    I have been in the chamber and I have heard a number of members, including myself, highlight the fact that we have a difference of agreement here. With respect to this particular mission, the NDP has been clear from the outset that it was not going to support the motion that was brought forward. A number of members on this side have enunciated that.
    We also heard the Minister of International Development talk about the importance of Canada providing, and continuing to provide, humanitarian assistance. We have talked about the fact that Canada is among one of the highest contributors in the world. We have been doing this for many months.
    The member for Elmwood—Transcona talked about some of the important initiatives that Canada has taken in the past with other allies.
    Not specific to this motion, because we understand the NDP is not going to support the motion, but in the future, under what conditions would the NDP ever support a Canadian combat mission in times of world strife? Under what conditions would the NDP support Canadian Forces moving abroad to protect communities or countries that need our help?

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, first allow me to address the criticism I received from my friend about the quality of debate in the House of Commons and the quality of my interjections. It is a bit rich coming from somebody who has declared that his job is to avoid giving proper answers, who had to apologize—
    You were asked a question. Answer it.
    Another one is entering the debate, Mr. Speaker, on the quality of conversations in Parliament.
    I must address that first, because the member raised it in his question. For the parliamentary secretary to suggest that he is somehow now the judge and arbiter of what passes for quality of conversation and debate in the House is a bit much.
    With respect to his specific question, unlike his government, New Democrats have proposed actual ideals and principles when Canada seeks intervention in the world—for example, United Nations resolutions. The Conservative government has said the UN resolution on Iraq permits and encourages this bombing mission, which is an absolute and outright falsehood. I have the UN resolution right in front of me, and what it does say is that countries signatory to this and countries in agreement with this must do several things—
    So never, never.
    My friend asked, Mr. Speaker, and now he cannot hear the answer to his question, that a UN resolution would have some strength. The UN has not given such a resolution. The UN has said a number of things Canada could do—prevent fighters from entering ISIS, stop the funding to ISIS—and we hear nothing of this from the government. We hear about CF-18s. When one only has a hammer in the toolbox, every problem looks like a nail.
    Mr. Speaker, I will repeat a question I asked of another member who rose in the House today.
    We share the member's apprehension about bombing. We have clearly seen that bombing one's way to a solution in that part of the world has not led to problems resolving themselves.
    We are onside with the call for a much stronger response on the refugee issue both inside the area of conflict and in neighbouring countries, as well as bringing refugees to this country.
    The amendment that the NDP has moved raises the issue of transporting weapons. I asked the question earlier and I am looking for an answer. To whom would these weapons be transported? How would these weapons be used? What accountability would be put in place to make sure these weapons do not fall into the hands of yet another group that then causes even more trouble in that part of the world? How would transporting more weapons to that part of the world solve this problem? If that party is opposed to military action, how would those weapons be used in a non-military way?
    Mr. Speaker, the direct response in the motion we moved and will vote on tonight, an alternative motion to what the government is proposing, comes directly from the groups that members met with when in Iraq. The problem that was being faced in many situations was the actual access to weapons at all to defend their communities.
    The suggestion from my friend is a good one in identifying those key groups and working with our UN allies to do that, because anyone who stands in this Parliament and pretends to be an expert on the history, the sociology, and the layer upon layer of complexity that typifies the region, particularly when engaged in war, is perpetrating a falsehood.
     It is incredibly complex. Canada must have the strength and humility to take guidance from those whom we seek in the region as true allies. This is not easy.
    However, the suggestion that we can somehow stand idly by, as the Conservatives have said, is false—as if participating in humanitarian aid is standing idly by, as if seeking to bring those who have committed the crimes to justice is standing idly by, or as if enabling those who are defending their communities is standing idly by—and an option is contained in the NDP motion here today.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to share this time with my hon. colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    As the Leader of the Opposition stated in this House:
    There is no more important decision that we make in the House, no more sacred trust for a Prime Minister, than sending young Canadian women and men to fight and risk making the ultimate sacrifice in a foreign war.
    As a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I believe that the deployment of troops into combat has to be a very last resort, the ultimate decision, when everything else has failed.
    Afghanistan took a heavy toll on Canadians as a result of a former Liberal government's decision to send our troops into combat in 2005. There has been a lot of discussion as to why we did this. Some say it was to appease the Americans for our lack of support in Iraq. Others say it was to test equipment and combat readiness. The list goes on.
    This mission was prolonged by the current Conservative government, and according to an article in the Vancouver Sun on October 3, the Afghan Islamist insurgency is not defeated and there is no peace. In addition, sadly, our veterans have not received the necessary help they need, not to mention the 160 who lost their lives.
     As a result of the western bombing campaign in Libya, there is now a patchwork of warring factions. Many of our allies to topple Gaddafi in 2011 are now fighting for the Islamic state, and North Africa has been destabilized.
    The terror unleashed today in Iraq is a direct result of the wrong-headed mission in 2003. According to Tom Engelhardt, in an article entitled “How America Made ISIS” on September 2, 2014:
    In the process, the U.S. effectively dismantled and destroyed state power in each of the three main countries in which it intervened, while ensuring the destabilization of neighboring countries and finally the region itself.
    Engelhardt goes on to state how the deaths that ran into the hundreds of thousands and the uprooting of millions of people proved to be “jihadist recruitment tools par excellence.”
    In other words, the U.S. destroyed the Iraqi state, supported the Shia who suppressed the Sunnis to create a welcome situation for ISIS. As our leader has stated:
...it is literally the same insurgent group that U.S. forces have been battling for over a decade.
    The question before us, therefore, is this. Will Canada be stuck in a prolonged war that we wisely avoided in 2003?
    We are entering into a bombing mission. Can we be certain that the civilian death toll will not increase?
    To date, the U.S. has not provided any information about civilian or combatant casualties and is denying on-the-ground reports that civilians are being killed or wounded.
    According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, civilians are dying as a result of the bombing, and Human Rights Watch estimates that, on September 23 alone, 24 civilians were killed in air strikes.
    Peter Certo, editor of Foreign Policy In Focus, states in an article entitled “Here’s Everything Wrong with the White House’s War on the Islamic State”:
    War planners are predicting that the latest conflict could rage for three years or longer....
...U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that IS presently poses no threat to the U.S. homeland.
    Further, he states:
    This plan won’t work....
...you can’t bomb extremism out of existence.
    In Yemen and Pakistan, al Qaeda has not been destroyed and the drone attacks have recruited more terrorists.
    Many have said that bombing alone will not win this war. Therefore, some U.S. generals are calling for ground forces. Does this mean that Canada will be drawn into another Afghanistan?
    To my knowledge, there is no post-bombing plan. Will the Iraqi army, the Shiite militias, or the Kurds take up the call to consolidate control on the ground? In Syria, which rebel forces should the west co-operate with? Will arms delivered to moderate rebel forces wind up in the hands of ISIS? Will Assad triumph in Syria, thanks to U.S. air power?
    This is an extremely complex conflict into which we are being drawn. The more bombs fall, the more enemies we create. We are not even sure who our friends are. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have given cash to ISIL, and yet they are supposed to be our allies.

  (1610)  

    We are rightly outraged by the atrocities committed by ISIL, yet as pointed out by CBC's Neil Macdonald in a post on September 29, the Congo war has left five million dead, and the west has hardly reacted to the atrocities committed by both government and rebel forces.
    It gets more confusing. We are reacting to the beheadings committed by ISIL, yet we remain silent when our ally, Saudi Arabia, has so far beheaded 46 people this year, some for sorcery. Can anyone imagine that?
    Bernard Trainor, a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general, stated the following in an article that was published in The Washington Post. It appeared as well in the September 26 edition of the National Post:
    The Islamic State presents a problem to be managed, not a war to be won....
    The U.S. role should be limited to helping Kurdish forces and the new Baghdad government better organize to keep the pressure on, with U.S. airstrikes contingent on their progress....
    The idea of destroying the Islamic State,...is nonsense....
    The situation in Mesopotamia is a violent game of mistrust and self-interest. The Saudis despise the Iranians but will cut deals with them if doing so is in their interest. Iran will play any card necessary to achieve regional hegemony, while Turkey is coy about its own quest for pre-eminence. The Gulf states talk out of both sides of their mouths. Syrian dictator Bashar Assad uses the Islamic State to create problems for other rebels. Iraq plays at democracy as long as it can subjugate the Sunnis. Shiites and Sunnis fight each other while carrying on intramural warfare with their kinsmen. The double-dealing is almost endless. It doesn’t make sense to us, but it does to the players.
     After more than a decade of frustration and humiliation, the United States should have learned that the Middle East is no place for Wilsonianism on steroids.
    I believe it would be very prudent and in everybody's best interests to let the U.S. attempt to resolve this crisis, as General Trainor suggests. After all, it created this situation in the first place.
    Our energies and efforts would be much better spent on humanitarian aid. As we have seen in this debate, my party has presented some very concrete and workable suggestions as to how this could be accomplished. In other words, rather than spending something like $40,000 an hour per plane to fly bombing missions, would it not make sense to add this money to the $43 million already committed, justly and rightly, by the government? Thousands, if not millions, of people could receive desperately needed assistance. Since January 14, an estimated 1.8 million people have been displaced, and conditions are worsening every day.
     According to Peter Certo, the U.S. also has other options. According to him, the U.S. could freeze the bank accounts of IS funders and negotiate partnerships with villages where oil pipelines run to cut Islamic state oil revenue, work with Europe and Turkey to stem the flow of western fighters, and dramatically increase support for UN humanitarian assistance support to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, which have absorbed millions of refugees.
    The U.S. must recognize that the Islamic State flourishes because of political breakdown on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. One would think, then, that a priority has to be to build a strong, stable government in Iraq. We could help in this regard.
    Certo went on to say that on the diplomatic front, the U.S. could work with Syria to convene rebel groups, the regime, Turkey, Iran, Russia and the Gulf States to restart negotiations for a political solution to the war. It could also link its nuclear negotiations with Iran to the political crisis in Iraq. For example, it could allow Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power generation in exchange for support to rein in Iranian-backed militias in Iraq.
    It should be clear to all that there are many options to explore. Instead of blindly jumping into war, Canada could be a leader in offering some creative solutions to this tragic conflict. There is no easy way out, but we must try. We owe it to our men and women in uniform and certainly to the millions of innocent victims already affected by this tragedy.

  (1615)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague across the way. He quoted a number of other people in his speech, but I would like to quote someone he might be familiar with, former premier Gary Doer, who recently said, “...I'm proud of the recommendation the prime minister's made, and I respect what Parliament will do with it. ... The government, I think, is making the right decision.”
    Now we are hearing from former Liberals and former NDP members who are clearly on side with what our government is proposing.
    More importantly, just this week my staff received a call from a husband and wife who were born during the Holland crisis. They said during the call that Holland could not have freed itself from the yoke of the Nazis without the help of many people. They are forever grateful to the Canadian government and army and Allied soldiers for freeing them. They feel that ISIS cannot be confronted with humanitarian aid, that it needs force, and that people cannot free themselves from ISIS brutality. They wanted me to know that they stand behind the government and that their thoughts and prayers are with us
    I would welcome my colleague's response to the question that my colleague raised earlier about what Holland would be like today had not Canadian soldiers on the ground and in the air stood with them in a time of need.
    We have to do the same today with those who are facing this brutal regime.
    Mr. Speaker, we seem to pick and choose. We did not do anything in the Congo, where five million people have been slaughtered under conditions that are just as atrocious as, if not even worse than, what is happening right now. We have not gone into other areas where we could have helped.
    This conflict then presupposes, if we look at the example given about Holland, that we need troops on the ground. My answer to the hon. member would be as a question. Would he then agree that air strikes are not enough, and that eventually Canadian troops will be on the ground in the same kind of situation that we had in Afghanistan? That would be my answer to his question.
    Mr. Speaker, I will preface my question with the same remarks. We share the concerns that the member's party has spoken to around the effectiveness of air strikes and also the damage that air strikes can do. As a result, we are taking a position in opposition to using air strikes as a way to resolve the significant challenges in this part of the world.
    I am asking the question again through the Speaker. The NDP amendment to the motion says it wishes to transport and supply weapons to people on the ground in the area. The previous member from the same party said they are going to transport those weapons and arm people they met in Turkey over the summer.
    That still does not define exactly which forces the NDP seeks to arm, what weapons it seeks to ship, how those weapons would be used, or what accountability there is to make sure we do not just dump more weapons into a troubled area and find them in the wrong hands.
    Which groups does the NDP want to arm in this part of the world?
    Mr. Speaker, that is a good question. What we are debating in the House is a motion to go either one way and start bombing attacks or to change that part and say we will transport weapons to those who need them.
    If the government motion passes today, it will put in regulations. It will decide exactly how this will happen. If our amendment passes today, then it would be up to the government to decide on the needy group and how we make sure these weapons do not get into the hands of those people who could use them against us.
    Details are worked out after decisions are made here in Parliament. That is how I would interpret our amendment as opposed to the current government motion.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am quite certain that everyone here rejects ISIL's extremist ideology. We also recognize the threat that ISIL represents, not only to Iraq and Syria, but also to the region and the whole world, including Canada.

  (1620)  

[English]

    I am not going to attempt to demonstrate that ISIL is an evil and brutal organization, nor will I try to convince members of the necessity to defeat it. The question that is on everyone's mind today is this: how can we defeat ISIL, and what should be our country's role in defeating it?
    These are very important questions, and Ottawa is not the only capital where such questions are being discussed.
    Mr. Speaker, before going further I should note that I am sharing my time with the member for Etobicoke Centre.
    French and British parliamentarians, among others, have debated these important issues. These same questions are also being discussed in the Middle East and in regional capitals with an even greater sense of urgency. On September 11, ten countries from the region met in Jeddah and joined the international coalition against ISIL. A few weeks later, five of them—Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain—joined the air campaign against ISIL in Syria.
    On October 2, the Turkish parliament authorized the government to carry out military operations in Syria and Iraq to fight ISIL and also approved the use of Turkish military bases by foreign troops for the same purpose.

[Translation]

    ISIL has made no secret of its expansionist aims. To Iraq's neighbours and Canada's friends in the region, ISIL is not some remote threat. It is a clear and present danger.

[English]

    It is at their border. It is even inside their borders, as we know that the issues of terrorism financing and foreign fighters that also affect western countries are particularly acute in countries in the region. ISIL is actively recruiting fighters in several countries of the region, including in the Maghreb, where it has set up clandestine cells, and we were recently reminded of ISIL's reach in the region when an Algerian group loyal to ISIL beheaded an innocent French hostage in retaliation for French air strikes in Iraq. Some 2,500 Tunisians are fighting in ISIL's ranks.
    Countries in the region are also affected by the humanitarian situation. Jordan is hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled ISIL, and Saudi Arabia has provided half a billion U.S. dollars in humanitarian assistance to help displaced Iraqis. Other countries, including Kuwait, are also providing assistance.
    The active participation of regional powers in the international coalition against ISIL marks an important step, and the countries' participation in air strikes contributes to the weakening of ISIL. It also destroys a myth that ISIL is desperately trying to keep alive. According to that myth, ISIL's opponents are enemies of Islam.
    This statement is false. Several Muslim religious leaders are raising their voices against ISIL. ISIL's war is not between Muslims and non-Muslims, nor is it between Sunnis and Shiites. ISIL is a megalomaniac terrorist group that recruits all over the world. Its opponents are a growing number of countries and peoples, including Sunni-majority Muslim countries that reject ISIL's violent and extremist ideology.
    ISIL's horrific levels of violence have resulted in common cause among Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, and others. Like Canada, these states consider terrorism to be the single greatest threat to the region. This includes Sunni extremist groups such as ISIL, as well as the state-sponsored terrorism of the Iranian regime and its proxies and allies, including Hezbollah.
    ISIL is not the only source of threat in the region. In fact, some of the region's states themselves pose a significant security threat. Of course, I am referring to Iran and Syria.
    Both are state sponsors of terrorism and both are now opposed to ISIL. Given that they share a common enemy with coalition members, they may currently claim to stand on the right side of history, but let us not fall for the tales being spun by these dictators. These regimes are not allies for peace and stability. They helped create the conditions that spawned ISIL and their only aim is to replace one brand of violence with another one, just as cruel, and to continue to destabilize the region.
    The Assad regime in Syria has violated international law on many occasions and has lost its legitimacy as a member of the international community. As documented by many sources, the regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own people. The regime has routinely used indiscriminate weapons, both chemical and conventional, to kill combatants and civilians alike. It has targeted medical facilities and denied access to life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in areas under the control of its opponents.
    Reports of rape, sexual violence, torture and murder in regime detention facilities are absolutely shocking in their scale and depravity. The atrocities perpetuated by the regime have fueled the rise of violent Islamists including ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra. If Iraqi security forces supported by an international coalition manage to halt or reverse ISIL's gains in Iraq, ISIL would likely continue to threaten Iraq and other states in the region from its bases in Syria.
    That is why Canada welcomes intensified U.S. efforts, now joined by Gulf states, to destroy and degrade ISIL's capabilities in the region. We also welcome efforts aimed at ensuring that the Assad regime does not unduly benefit from this situation.
    As for Iran, despite deploying a so-called charm offensive over the past year, the toxic reality of Iranian meddling in Iraq remains. Iran continues to run its Iraq policies out of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps., IRGC, Qods Force headquarters. Members will recall this is a listed terrorist entity responsible for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks of the past decades. This force can only compromise efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq and the region. It is arming Shia militias within Iraq, which undermines the attempts by the new government to gain the trust of its Sunni population and build a fully inclusive government in Baghdad. That is no accident.
    A truly inclusive government representative of Iraq's diverse communities would not be in Iran's interests. While the Iraqi government is trying to bring its people together, regardless of region or ethnic background, Iran is promoting discord and violence among Iraqis. Iran is stoking the fire for a longer-term conflict, one that risks inflaming sectarian tensions throughout the region. Syria and Iran cannot be part of the solution, when they are in fact a large part of the problem.
    Four years ago, ISIL was considered defeated in Iraq and the only way to defeat ISIL once and for all is to address Iraq's sectarian and ethnic divides. Closing these gaps is something only the Iraqi government and people can achieve. Canada will support their efforts through concrete action and programming because we know that a stable, secure, prosperous Iraq is a key factor for regional stability.

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Canada is making a major humanitarian aid and security contribution to Iraq.

[English]

    We are supporting air support and military advice to Iraqi security forces. We passed the Combating Terrorism Act. We passed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act and now Canada has been asked to make an additional contribution.
    Iraqi authorities have been clear that they do not want foreign ground troops, but they need air cover. The United States has asked Canada to join air strikes along with other countries. ISIL is recruiting its fighters all over the world, including in Canada. They are posting online videos, threatening to destroy Canada. ISIL is building a network of cells throughout the region. We cannot in good conscience leave this burden to others.
    We should do everything we can to stop ISIL.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Conservative minister for her speech. I have two questions for her.
    Since the Conservative government's plan includes air strikes, will the CF-18s stationed in Bagotville be used during the six-month mission?
    During that same mission, will soldiers stationed at Bagotville also participate in the six-month mission?

  (1630)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question on the specifics of the initiative.
    What I can tell him, and what we have told the House already, what the Minister of National Defence and the Prime Minister have indicated, is that for a period of up to six months, Canada will launch air strikes against ISIL with our allies and partners with six CF-18s, and will contribute one air-to-air refueling aircraft, two surveillance aircraft and the necessary crews and support personnel.
    It will be the Canadian Armed Forces who are going to be undertaking this mission for us. We know that they will be ready and willing to answer the call of their country. We thank them very much for their service and we commend them for their bravery.
    Mr. Speaker, as a party, we have supported the need to get military intelligence and the need to train on-the-ground indigenous militia to defend both the refugee camps and national interests, as has been eloquently expressed by the member opposite.
    The concern, and the reason that my party is standing in opposition to air strikes, is that we do not know how to measure their success and we do not know their exact mission.
    I appreciate that the government cannot define targets and cannot define in debate exactly what the nature of the mission is. However, I think it is a fair question and Canadians deserve an answer on exactly how the success of that mission will be measured. It is the success of that mission that will allow those service personnel and aircraft to return to this country to be deployed elsewhere if needed.
    How is the government prepared to measure success and how will it report that success back to the House of Commons? More importantly, what will define that success on an ongoing basis?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. Also, I would like to welcome him to the House. It is my first opportunity to welcome him. We spent a lot of time in Toronto on different sides of the fence and here we are again doing the same.
    Often we like to try to measure plans against benchmarks and markers. Sometimes the reality is that when we bring into the picture the sanctity of human life, the protection of minorities, the helping of those who are truly in dire straits, that does matter in the calculation. I can think of no greater need for our government and for humanity to join together to protect the women in these areas in these countries who are experiencing incredible amounts of pressure, threats to their lives, threats to their ability to function as human beings.
    We talk about human rights in this great place a lot. This is a very clear case of defending the human rights of 50% of the population. As a woman here in Canada, I am very proud of the decision our government has taken. I hope that we do have a measurable success, but I do know one thing. Protecting them and making every effort we can to protect the women in these areas is absolutely something that we can do and have to do regardless of what benchmark, measure of success or metric the opposite party wishes to try to put us to.
    Mr. Speaker, as we all know, there are many uncertainties when we are dealing with these kinds of situations so it is difficult to state with a lot of clarity what might happen down the road, especially when we are looking at some months down the road.
    I wonder if the minister could assist the House and Canadians by outlining the reasons and interests of Canada that will be served by Canada joining our international partners in pushing back against ISIS and ISIL.
    Mr. Speaker, I can say that we are approaching this on all fronts. We are aiding our allies with respect to our assistance with our CF-18s. We are also providing humanitarian support. We are providing expertise. We are putting together the entire package of what Canadians can do. I am very proud of our role.
    Canadians have always been leaders in the world when it comes to helping those who are in need. It is no different this time. We do not approach this from the point of view of wanting to get into this situation. We need to be there. We have to be there. It is our moral duty to be there, and that is exactly why we are going to be doing the best we can in a Canadian way.

  (1635)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have listened to this debate with great interest. I think it is clear to Canadians, to our allies, and most certainly to this side of the House what kind of threat ISIL poses to the world and to Canada. It is clear to respected Liberal statesmen such as Lloyd Axworthy, Ujjal Dosanjh and Bob Rae, who so ably led the Liberal Party in the interim. All of these very well-respected Liberals agree that joining the coalition mission against ISIL is the right course of action.
    Another Liberal, Mr. Duncan Nyberg, an Afghan war veteran, wrote to me yesterday describing his disappointment with his own party. He wrote, “I'm proud of your government today Sir. As a Liberal, I will be very disappointed if the [Liberal leader] and the Liberals do not support the motion before the house today! Feel free to share my sentiments with colleagues. This is a good motion, this is absolutely a necessary motion! I'm finding it difficult to support my party when they pull stuff like this!”
    Mr. Nyberg also told me that he registered his disappointment with his NDP MP as well, the member for Scarborough Southwest. I urge that member to respond to Mr. Nyberg and explain why his party is not willing to do what it takes to defend Canada and Canadians to the fullest of its ability. How do the Liberals explain their hypocrisy and the clear split in their party to Mr. Nyberg, a Liberal and a Canadian veteran, and to all Canadians, as to why they are prepared to compromise the safety of Canadians, something that Mr. Nyberg served in Afghanistan to defend?
    Instead, the Liberal leader makes anatomical jokes about CF-18s, which dishonour our people in uniform. I was speaking to some friends today who are still serving and one in the RCAF told me that CF-18 pilots are very upset with the Liberal leader's comments. They have families they wish to protect and are ready and willing to undertake this mission on behalf of all Canadians.
    In The Globe and Mail today the Liberal Party said it plans to support the Canadian Forces combat mission in Iraq once it is approved by the House of Commons, even though it will vote against Canada's participation in this vital mission. I truly remain confused by its position. Its dithering is on a national scale. All Canadians are confounded by the Liberal and NDP positions.
    The member for Westmount—Ville-Marie is a military man, someone I truly respect and admire. He is a navy man with a military tradition in his family, and a proud one, which I heard him remark upon today in the House. I simply do not understand his defence of his party's lack of leadership, lack of vision and lack of understanding on this grave issue, because for him this must be entirely counterintuitive and most certainly against all that he was trained to be and to do in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Canadians are widely in support of this mission because they recognize the threat to us all and they recognize that it is necessary to take our rightful and necessary place amongst our allies and contribute to our collective global security.
    Hillary Clinton recently said of ISIL:
...military action is critical.... In fact, I would say essential, to try to prevent their further advance and their holding of more territory. Because by holding territory, they both gain weapons and they gain revenues.
    Mrs. Clinton said it very simply and I hope that this somehow resonates with the opposition parties.
    The NDP cry loudly about this mission as being solely a humanitarian mission. Canada has given significant amounts of humanitarian aid already. We are currently the seventh-largest contributor to humanitarian assistance. We are adding Iraq to Canada's developing country partners. We have given money, material, and have already and continue to resettle refugees from the region.
    The New Democrats' position makes it clear to me that they are not and may never be ready to accept the awesome responsibility of defending Canada and Canadians.
     We have provided strategic airlift to other coalition partners so that they can deliver arms to Kurdish forces. That is a humanitarian act. Stopping and killing ISIL prevents it from killing innocent people in the region for just being there. It stops it from raping and selling into slavery girls and women. It prevents it from committing mass atrocities and beheadings, which have all been very well-documented. It will prevent it from coming to Canada.
     I remind members that radicalized youth fighting abroad with ISIL and threatening to return home is a global reality in many countries. Approximately 130 Canadian youth have done so, and in my view, have forfeited their right to return, and where the law allows, to retain their citizenship. The opposition pointed out that this is not easy. It is right. It is not. That is why we are debating this in Parliament.

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    However, it is clear, and this government has been clear, as to why we are going to war against ISIL terrorists. The case for participating in this coalition is because children have been beheaded and, as I have already mentioned, women have been raped and sold into slavery to depraved individuals. They are absolutely depraved because who but depraved people buy slaves? What has been the fate of these women and these girls to date?
    ISIL has killed en masse. It has beheaded journalists, humanitarian aid workers and others, and it has broadcast that to the world. It has said that it is coming here to advocate attacks on Canadians. It has attempted to perpetrate genocide on whole groups of people. What more justification do the parties opposite want? They speak a great deal of history most recent and generally out of context.
     If it is history they want, what about the policy of appeasement? What about hoping that this will all just sort itself out? Appeasement is not an option. We cannot allow appeasement to lead to its inevitable tragedy.
    The answer to terror is not negotiation. There is simply no negotiation or any dialogue with terrorists. It is foolish to think so. It is wrong. This government will not appease terrorists and their tyranny. This government will always stand up for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We will always stand up for the rights of people around the world, especially minorities. We will stand with our allies in a mission that is internationally sanctioned.
    The Security Council stresses:
—terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, as well as international and regional organizations, to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat.
     The world is united against ISIL. The Iraqi government has asked us for assistance. That is precisely what Canada is going to do. This government and our Prime Minister will always do the right thing and this nation, Canada, will stand to be counted with our allies to fight to stop a global scourge, one that has no basis in religion because no god would sanction what this enormous gang of killers has done, and continues to do.
    Mr. Speaker, the member mentions appeasement. He mentions terrorists and terrorism. I am disturbed by the gross simplification in the House, in the debate, and the ignorance of the complexity of this region.
    I lived in the Turkish Republic for five years. I experienced terrorism first hand, the terrorism of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which bombed places I went to in Istanbul, which bombed and killed in foreign capitals, in western European capitals. This terrorism was prevalent and I experienced it first hand. I understand what terrorism is and the effect that it has on a population.
    The PKK is a currently listed entity by Public Safety Canada, yet what is the government's response? How is it preventing the participation of this terrorist group in its fight against ISIS?
    Does the member not see the complexity of getting into this regional war where there are numerous listed entities there, some that are fighting alongside allied troops and some that are fighting against them?

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    Mr. Speaker, we certainly understand the complexity of this world. It is a very dangerous world in which we live. I appreciate the fact that he lived in a part of the world where he experienced some of this.
    However, let me simplify it for him. This is simple. ISIL is a terrorist organization on an unprecedented scale: beheadings, rapes, slavery, genocide, murders. To me, this is pretty black and white, and I think pretty much the rest of the world agrees.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not think many Canadians have not seen this extreme level of violence. We may not have a complete comprehension of what it means, whether it be women being sold into slavery or these heinous acts, including rape and killings, that are taking place against women.
    I had the good fortune of being on-call here at our children's hospital over the course of the weekend. Even the nursing staff were saying “Please act now, Dr. Leitch”. They said that we needed to send the Canadian military to ensure that, if nothing else, humanitarian assistance could make it to the people who required it.
    I know the member opposite is very passionate about this and has personal experience in ensuring that the armed forces also allow for humanitarian opportunities to take place.
     Could he tell the House what Canada is doing to stop these attacks against women and minorities, individuals who truly are the most vulnerable in society? What is the focus of both our Canadian military and other aid workers to ensure these individuals receive the support they need?
    Mr. Speaker, I know how hard the minister works and her passion on this. As well as being the Minister of Status of Women, she is very concerned about this issue.
    The Canadian Forces are a multi-role organization. We have ships deployed at sea. We have our aircraft, both transport and fighter, and we have our ground forces. As everyone knows, there are some ground forces already positioned as advisers in Iraq today. They are helping, guiding and creating the conditions for the Iraqi army and others on the ground to be able to fulfill their role, train their soldiers and effectively counter the ISIL threat on the ground.
    What we will do is support those Iraqi ground troops and others with air strikes on strategic locations. That will be done as a member of a coalition. It will be done as a coordinated effort between various air forces, and that is the way it has to happen. Those targets and identified results will be something that we will see unfold in the coming months.