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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 022

CONTENTS

Monday, February 22, 2016




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 022 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1100)  

[English]

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL

    The House resumed from February 19 consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Order, please. The parliamentary secretary to the government House leader has six minutes and 50 seconds left in questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Egmont.
    Mr. Speaker, I first want to acknowledge and thank our military men and women who have been engaged in overseas combat over the years for their contribution, and for standing up for what this country believes in.
    I would ask my hon. colleague if he could explain to the House what difference the removal of the CF-18s will have on our mission, as well as the impact that moving toward what we feel is a more humanitarian mission will have on the lives of ordinary civilians.
    Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of validity to what the member is asking. We need to recognize that when it comes to the Middle East and ISIL, there is a different approach being taken between today's government and the former Conservative government.
    If we look at the contrast between the three parties inside the chamber today, on the one hand we have the opposition saying that the only way we can contribute is by having the CF-18s involved. The Conservative Party and the former government is wrong on that point. Then we have the members of the third party of the House saying that the Canadian Forces should play no role in ISIL. Not only would they have us withdraw the CF-18s, they want to marginalize any sort of issue in terms of Canada being involved.
    I believe that the Government of Canada has taken the right approach. One only needs to read the motion to get an understanding of the role that Canada will play into the future.
    As was promised during the last federal election, the CF-18s are being withdrawn from the combat against ISIL. However, it does not mean that the bombings will end, because we have global coalition partners who will continue with the bombings. Canada's role will be better and enhanced in many different ways.
    I see that my time is running out. I can perhaps conclude these remarks when responding to another question.

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this member's intervention. However, on this side we disagree with many aspects of this motion.
    One aspect that is important to note is that in a briefing on December 17, we had Canadian Armed Forces officials saying that the CF-18s provided cover when there were hundreds of ISIL soldiers attacking our position outside of Mosul. They were able to use the CF-18s to provide the needed air cover, and because the CF-18s were under Canadian command, they could immediately get that help.
    Now we find out that there are four Griffon helicopters there which can be used to medically evacuate people. Is this not a tacit admission that our troops may be more vulnerable and require medical evacuation capability because they do not have the required air support on call?
    Mr. Speaker, the member underestimates the value of the global coalition. To give the impression that with the Canadian CF-18s no longer participating or being engaged there would not be that sort of coverage is ridiculous. There will be other partners who will provide that sort of air coverage. I even made that statement.
     What is the Canadian government doing? We are tripling the size of our training force in northern Iraq. We will increase the amount of intelligence-gathering resources. We will be expanding our capacity to build efforts with Jordan and Lebanon to help stop the spread of violent extremism. Our humanitarian efforts are targeting the most vulnerable, including children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. We will work with our international partners.
    We are enhancing Canada's leadership and our role in a region that needs strong leadership. To give the impression that if we pull the CF-18s out that Canada would not be demonstrating leadership is just wrong. Canada is playing a very strong, coordinated leadership role in the Middle East, and we believe we will have a stronger, more important impact on fighting terrorism both abroad and here by taking such actions.
    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians are looking for from the government is clarity and truth, so is this a combat mission or not? How is putting more boots on the ground not a combat mission?
    Do you have an exit strategy? How long are you willing to put our men and women in the armed forces in harm's way? What criteria will you use to determine if you have taken the right approach? How will you know if it is not working, and why are you waiting two years to make that decision?
    I remind hon. members to address their comment, questions, and the text of their speech to the chair, not to other hon. members.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. When he says that he wants more clarity and truth, let us just read the motion before us. We are having a series of days of debate on it, and we have heard member after member, from the Liberal caucus in particular, talking about the things that the Liberal government is doing, headed by the current Prime Minister.
    There is a great deal of accountability and transparency. Where we need more clarity is on where the New Democrats fall on it. They say that they want an exit strategy. We know the exit strategy of New Democrats: Do not enter.
    Their approach at combatting terrorism is even at odds with a vast majority of Canadians. A vast majority of Canadians believe that Canada does have a role to play, and we recognize that role. Where we differ with the New Democrats is that we believe Canada does need to play a role; they believe that we do not. That is just based on the comments and speeches that I have heard delivered from members of the New Democratic Party on this very important issue.
    Contrasting that to the Conservatives, I think Canadians are very much supportive of the general direction that the Liberal government is taking in combatting terrorism both here in Canada and abroad, and that we have the right approach, a comprehensive approach, to getting the job done in the Middle East in combatting ISIL.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to join the debate, surrounded by colleagues of the Conservative caucus, as we continue to debate this motion on the future mission against the Islamic State.
    I thought I would start with bit of background information for the members, and for those perhaps watching on television, about the mission to date, particularly the mission regarding Canada's CF-18s. I think the numbers speak for themselves about what our brave women and men have already accomplished with respect to this mission and how it has impacted on the general mission, Operation Impact.
    As of the beginning of this month, Canada's CF-18s have successfully embarked on 249 missions against ISIS fighting positions, 83 missions against ISIS equipment and vehicles, and 24 sorties against ISIS improvised explosive device factories and storage.
    Clearly our women and men have been very impactful in Operation Impact, and they have contributed importantly to a very important mission. Canadians agree with that. Public opinion research has been very steady on this matter since the debate was raised by the current Liberal government. Over two-thirds of Canadians in fact support the continuation of the mission, that is to say, the use of our CF-18s in air strikes against ISIS positions.
    That is the reality on the ground in Syria and Iraq, and that is the reality here in Canada as we go forward.

  (1110)  

[Translation]

     The Conservatives firmly believe that Canada should maintain its air combat role in the fight against ISIS and terrorism and that our CF-18s should be part of that fight.

[English]

    That is our position. We have expressed it in this place in question period, and during this debate as well. We believe that the withdrawal from the combat mission against ISIS is a step backward from Canada's traditional role as fighters for human rights and international security.
    Canada has a long, proud history of defending innocent and vulnerable populations by taking on those who commit mass atrocities. That is exactly the situation that is being countered by our allies in Iraq and Syria as we speak.
    I would make the point that the ISIS and ISIS-inspired attacks have now spread beyond Iraq and Syria. This is an issue and challenge that is spread all around the world, in North America and other places where Canadians have been attacked.
    Canadians have been attacked in recent weeks. Therefore, halting and degrading the Islamic State is more critical than ever to keeping people safe, not only perhaps in what some Canadians would view as faraway lands, but this has a direct impact on our safety and security here at home as well.
    There is no question that Canada is a key ally.

[Translation]

    Canada is a key ally in the air combat mission. It is currently the fifth-largest participant. It is extremely irresponsible of the government not only to reduce Canada's contribution, but to do so for political purposes.

[English]

    It is very clear that the current Liberal government is using its past positions in this place, and its rhetoric during the election campaign, to step back from a critical mission. I would say to my hon. friends on the other side that if they need political cover to do the right thing, believe me, on this side of the House, we would be standing with them. If they would come clean to the people of Canada and say that things have changed since the election, that things are different after the Paris attacks, that they have seen the important work that our brave women and men were doing in the aerial campaign and they want to change their minds, on this side of the House, we would be applauding them.
    We would not make any partisan jabs or jibes. This would not be a time where we would try to one-up them and say they are flip-flopping. There are a lot of issues they are flip-flopping on, but on this one, we want them to do the right thing.
    They are willing to blow past their promise on a $10 billion deficit, and it is going to be multiples of that now. That promise they do not want to keep: the fiscal responsibility promise. However, now the Liberals feel that they have an important promise to keep at a time when we are needed to be side by side with our allies. That is the unconscionable part of the motion before us, and why we feel so strongly that we have to move to another position on this side of the House. We will, of course, be voting against the motion.
    ISIS has declared war. At one point, Canada's Minister of National Defence said that there is no real war here. On the contrary, when the other side declares war on us and has the military means to act against our interests and against the safety of our citizenry, then whether we like it or not, there is a war going on.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    ISIS has declared war on Canada and our allies. It is critical that the government continue to fight alongside our allies to defend and protect the safety of Canadians here and abroad.

[English]

    I would say more in sorrow than in anger that the Liberals remain incoherent on this air combat mission. They have not provided a scintilla of explanation as to how the withdrawal of the CF-18s will help the coalition more effectively defeat ISIS.
    Despite the Liberal government's opposition to the bombing, Canadian aircraft are still there refuelling the planes that conduct the air strikes and identifying targets for them. The Liberals are against the bombing but they are helping the bombing. This is the kind of incoherence that confuses our allies and that makes us, quite frankly, a laughingstock in the corridors of power of our allies. This is why we on this side of the House demand a more coherent strategy to work with our allies, to be on their side not only behind the scenes at the meetings we know take place, but to be up front. That is the message we want to send to the enemy. That is the help we want to give our allies. The government's motion is incoherent and contrary to the interests of Canadians.
    We are a great country. We can do a lot of things simultaneously. We can be involved in the diplomatic mission, we can be involved in the humanitarian mission, and we can be involved in the aerial mission. We can contribute to the air strikes alongside the training, the humanitarian support, and the diplomatic endeavours to seek to contain the Islamic State.
    Our personnel have been very effective over the past year. President Obama has said that air strikes are a key pillar in the fight against the Islamic State. Members do not have to believe me. They can believe the Democrat in the White House if they so choose.
    While we support having a focus on humanitarian and security assistance, which is simply a continuation of what the Conservative Party did whilst in government, we should not distract from the effectiveness of the CF-18s in the mission.
    The Prime Minister is sometimes prone to a bit of rhetorical fancy. He said, “The lethal enemy of barbarism isn't hatred. It's reason.” If reason is the answer, what reason justifies backing away from a just fight? This fight is just. This could be the fight of our generation. Alas, it could be the fight of future generations. I wish it were not the case but it could very well be the case.
    The Prime Minister and the Liberals have said that Canada is back and yet one of the first substantive things that government did was to back away from the fight of a generation. We on this side of the House cannot countenance that. We cannot support that. We cannot vote for that. We will be voting against this resolution.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my colleague that our defence minister has all the qualifications and experience of a military man. He is monitoring the situation on the ground. He will never make a more difficult decision than this in order to cripple ISIS, and ISIS will be crippled.
    Could my colleague tell me what he thinks about the role that our forces are playing with respect to providing planning, intelligence, and disrupting the black trafficking of crude oil by ISIS and cutting off its financial resources? What does he think of our forces working with the countries in the region to get better control of their borders in order to prevent fighters coming from other countries to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria? What is his evaluation of this? Could he explain why he believes that these things will not be good while the efficiency rate of the air strike is less than 2%?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to say a couple of things.
    The Liberal government uses this 2% number, but I have gone through the actual facts and figures of the 249 sorties, and the impact they have had in reducing and degrading the ability of the Islamic State to wreak its havoc, death, and destruction in the region and to project that violence to other corners of the globe as well. I would say to the hon. member that we should be training and engaged in support services. Indeed, were we on the other side of this chamber over the last few months, we may have made those same decisions as well in terms of upping our training. We are not against that.
    However, the fact of the matter is that the aerial mission remains a critical component of the campaign. As the hon. member may know, there are discussions going on in defence ministries around the alliance to move ahead against Mosul, to liberate Mosul from the grip of the Islamic State. Aerial power is going to be critical to that endeavour.
    Mr. Speaker, I have been following this debate very closely, both on Friday and today, and the two positions here from the Conservatives and the Liberals. The Conservatives would like to keep the bombers in the region, as well as limit humanitarian aid, whereas the Liberals are increasing troops on the ground and taking the fighters out.
    My question for both parties, and of course for the member who has just given his speech, is on the exit strategy. The Liberals last week said that their strategy was to eradicate the enemy. When I pushed the members on that on the other side, they said it was to reduce ISIS to zero, to wipe them off the face of the earth.
    This member mentioned “degrade”. That is an exit or end point for this mission. Does he go as far as “eradicate”, as the Liberals would do?
    Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that Islamic State is a threat both to regional security and to global security. The sooner it is dismantled and holds not one square centimetre of territory, the better the world will be. There is no question about that.
    Let me just expand quickly on my point about Mosul. The next move of the coalition is to displace Islamic State from the city of Mosul. Let us be clear for people perhaps watching from home. The Islamic State is not a bunch of guys in tents in the desert. It controls a city of one million people, the city of Mosul. To displace the Islamic State and its ability to use all the resources of a major centre like Mosul for its death and destruction is a key element in the eradication of the ISIS threat. That is the next project of the alliance, and that is why Canada has to be in the air as well as on the ground.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs earlier in this debate if he was willing to use the word “genocide” to describe the actions of ISIS. Unfortunately, he was not, because using that word would imply a responsibility to respond militarily, a responsibility to protect.
    I wonder if the member can comment on the use of the word “genocide” in the context of what Daesh or ISIS is doing, and perhaps why the government is unwilling to use that terminology.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a good point. There seems to be, on the other side of this chamber in the Liberal government, a reluctance to use terms like “genocide”, like “terrorism”, and like “Islamic extremism”. The fact of the matter is each of these terms applies to the Islamic State. They do not have to take our word for it. Ask the Yazidis, ask the Christians, and ask the minority Islamic sects who have been targeted by the Islamic State. This is a war not only against our modern notions of civilization; this is a war against people in the region, who are the first line of targets and violence by these homicidal maniacs.
    I do believe we have a responsibility and a duty to protect them as part of this grander alliance. To remove the aerial cover is a wrong decision. It cannot be defended, from a military point of view but also from a moral point of view.
    Mr. Speaker, for me, this issue is about learning from past mistakes. Our government sent Canada to lead the air campaign against Libya in 2011. For those who listened to General Vance on the weekend, he reiterated that he thought there would need to be military action in Libya once again.
    Back in 2011, we destroyed the Libyan power structure and created a vacuum. We created a vacuum because we had no follow-on plan. All we were going to do was go there and destroy things, but we had nothing designed for what the next steps were. Now look at what has happened. Four years later, we are talking about having to go back into Libya again. We do not want that to happen again in Iraq. It happened the first time in Iraq in 2003. We are back in Iraq now, but we are going to have a follow-on plan, because that is what we need in order to create long-term stability. Carrying out the air campaign and leaving is just not good enough.
    Our CF-18s made significant contributions, of course, but now Canada has a vision and wants to focus the coalition to make sure it follows through with these long-term plans.
    Mr. Speaker, of course we on this side of the House know that we have to be part of the longer-term plan. Once ISIS is displaced from its territory, there has to be a plan, there is no question about that. The Iraqi government has to be able to be a force in bringing people together in that country, which, during the al-Maliki period, it was not. There is no question about that. Of course, there has to be some kind of political resolution in Syria that again brings people together, in a way that they can do safely in the face of homicidal government.
    The hon. member is correct, but she should realize that as long as the Islamic State has territory and controls territory, it is a threat. It is a threat to peace in region, to stability in the region, and to stability in Libya now as its tentacles move further away from Iraq and Syria, and it projects its violence around the world. That is the point. That is why air cover is necessary for the military objectives. We have humanitarian objectives and diplomatic objectives as well, but for the military objectives, the aerial cover is not only important but absolutely critically necessary.

  (1130)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, today I speak with conviction and satisfaction as I present the humanitarian aid and development and resilience programming elements of our government's plan to address the crisis in the Middle East.
    My remarks will focus on the human dimension of the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria and its impact on the men, women, and children who have been forced to flee their homes and who now live in fear. Too many of them live in inhumane conditions. I will also talk about the neighbouring countries and the citizens of those countries who have shown tremendous generosity toward the refugees.
    We hear numbers related to the crisis in Syria all the time. Over 11 million people have fled to other countries or been displaced within Syria because of the violence. Over 250,000 Syrians have been killed, and over 13.5 million Syrians need humanitarian aid. The conflict has devastated cities, ravaged whole neighbourhoods, and set the stage for indescribable atrocities.
    The situation in Iraq is no better. Over the past two years, the conflict has displaced three million Iraqis. Right now, nearly four million people are living in ISIL-controlled areas to which humanitarian organizations have little or no access.
    Considering the scope of the devastation, it is hard to fully appreciate the repercussions this crisis is having on the millions of people affected, including those who are living as refugees in other countries. The international community has a duty to act. We have a duty to act.
    Earlier this month, I travelled to Jordan and Lebanon to try to get a better understanding of the needs of the families, communities, and governments affected by the crisis. I saw for myself the unimaginable hardship these people are going through. I also heard the perspectives of senior government officials, representatives from the UN and NGOs, teachers, community workers, and Syrian families who have been driven from their homes.
    In hundreds of schools in Jordan and Lebanon, school days have been shortened to half a day so that refugee groups can be received in the afternoons.
    Despite the generosity of local communities, hundreds of thousands of refugee children are still forced to work illegally and in deplorable conditions to provide financial support for their families.
    Nearly two million children are no longer going to school in Syria, and another 700,000 Syrian children are in the same situation elsewhere in the region. An entire generation of girls and boys is not getting an education, which will have enormous long-term human and economic consequences.
    Education is the cement that allows societies to build a democracy and maintain peace, and it forms the foundation of economic growth. The impact of this educational deficiency will be felt not only in the countries that are welcoming refugees, but also throughout Syria and Iraq when it comes time to rebuild there.

[English]

    I heard from the head of one Syrian family who took shelter in a warehouse, with her nine children: nine mouths to feed, bodies too close, minds to teach, futures to prepare for, all without access to employment. Her husband is still in Syria.
    I heard from children who wanted to be doctors, journalists, and teachers. It was uplifting to hear how typical their hopes were. They were not very different from the hopes and dreams of our children in Canada. Yet, these children all face dire obstacles before they can see their dreams become reality. Despite their endless energy, determination, and resolve, they were out of school without permission to work and, for many girls, facing the prospect of early marriage.
    The majority of these children will face adult challenges long before they rightly should.
    These countries, communities, and the refugee families that have escaped violence in their own country, desperately need our help.
    It is for these reasons that I was pleased to support the Prime Minister in announcing our government's comprehensive strategy for the Middle East, which includes a significant funding package to address the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable ones in the region.

  (1135)  

    The strategy will serve as a comprehensive and significant contribution by Canada to respond to the humanitarian crisis, and to lay the foundation for greater peace and security in the region. It provides direction for considered and timely military and security assistance. It reinforces our role as a compassionate, forward-thinking nation that will not turn away from those most in need; it prepares them for the trials of tomorrow; and it sets out the essential task of engaging in meaningful political dialogue to help end these dangerous conflicts.

[Translation]

    By taking this approach, we recognize, as do our international partners, that this is one of the worst crises the world has ever had to face. Unfortunately, the crisis in Syria and the region could last a long time, as could the reconstruction period that will follow. With that in mind, I consulted with the communities affected and our partners in order to assess what was needed.
    I am very proud that our plan involves humanitarian aid and significant resilience and development programming over a three-year period. This is the first time in the history of our country that the government has made a multi-year humanitarian commitment. This new way of doing things shows my commitment to fulfilling the mandate that I was given by the Prime Minister to make Canada a leader in development innovation and effectiveness.
    As part of our overall strategy, we will invest $1.1 billion over three years in humanitarian assistance and resilience and development programming for the must vulnerable people affected by this crisis in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Of this $1.1 billion, $840 million will be spent on humanitarian aid programs designed to provide life-saving assistance, such as food, emergency health services, water, housing, basic education, and protection.
    This contribution over three years will allow Canada to work more effectively with the United Nations, international organizations, and donors to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid in the region.
    Given the ongoing nature of this crisis, the number of people in need is constantly growing. With the help of trusted partners who have experience on the ground, we will be able to assist the most vulnerable, including children and victims of sexual violence, gender-based violence, and early and forced marriage.
    Canada is aware that the resources available to deal with new and existing humanitarian crises throughout the world are limited. That is why we will look at forming new partnerships in order to mobilize other resources to support humanitarian work throughout the world and make sure that such assistance is effective and efficient in the Middle East.
    Our department can count on a skilled team and the experience of our partners in the region to determine where the needs are greatest and where Canadian assistance will be most useful and best complement that of the other donors.
    I am proud to remind hon. members that Canada has always upheld the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, independence, and humanity. I want to emphasize how important it is that all donors adhere to these principles, as the safety of the humanitarian workers and access by humanitarian organizations to people under siege, such as the people of Madaya, depend on all parties involved in a conflict recognizing these principles.
    Upholding humanitarian principles does not preclude the necessary review procedures that my department follows with regard to all its partners. By taking a stringent approach to analyzing and monitoring the projects and organizations that we support financially, we ensure that we are dealing with reliable partners that have all the skills necessary for providing relief to civilians caught in the middle of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the world.
    These experienced partners have long had strict accountability systems in place to help provide assurances that the money is used only for its intended purposes and as efficiently and appropriately as possible. The purpose of these systems is to ensure that every dollar spent has the greatest impact possible on the lives of the people in need of our assistance.
    We assess the partners with whom we work and make every effort to ensure that they comply with appropriate anti-terrorism requirements. UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations have put in place strong accountability measures to counter the risk of diversion of humanitarian assistance, including agency staff accompanying relief convoys and the use of third party monitors.
    Let us speak about development and resilience programming now. As much as this crisis represents a human tragedy, it also has implications for the security and stability of nations. We need to ensure that greater chaos across the region is avoided.
    When I met with my Jordanian and Lebanese counterparts, I heard from them about the grim conditions that pose an immediate and ongoing threat to the stability of their countries. Before the Syria crisis, unemployment levels were already high. Rents were steep, and income levels were down. With more than 625,000 registered refugees arriving in Jordan and 1.2 million arriving in Lebanon over the last three years, these pressures have brought their societies and economies to the brink.
    I would ask my colleagues to picture their own communities having to contend with a sudden increase of 30% or 40%, and indeed in some cases, communities have doubled in size. This is simply unsustainable. How would our constituents respond in the face of such pressure?
    During my time in the Middle East, I also heard from the city mayors who saw the population of their municipalities increase by one-third in 14 months. The pressure this is placing on health clinics, water networks, electricity grids, and other municipal services is something that would alarm any government official or local citizen.
    Local citizens of countries neighbouring Syria have done far more already than the international community could ever have expected of them. However, the tremendous strain that the influx of people has placed on certain municipalities is about to fuel social tensions between local citizens and refugees. We cannot stand by and watch as the social fabrics, the economies, and the very infrastructure of refugee hosting countries in the region begin to fracture. How can they be expected to suffer for their generosity?
    With $270 million in resilience and development programming, also over three years, we will extend our work, in particular in Jordan and Lebanon, to help communities transcend their ability to manage the crisis on a sustainable basis. We will help develop the capacity to provide services to host communities as well as refugees. We will work with affected populations to ensure that they have the tools required to start to rebuild their fractured society when the crisis is over.
    Our programs will help create jobs, increase children's access to education, and ensure that people have access to the essential services they so desperately need.
    Our programs in the region will teach local officials how to operate water supply systems, an effective means of preventing water-borne diseases associated with unsanitary conditions.
    We will provide a safe and healthy learning environment for the children of the local populations and the refugees, which will entail renovating schools and improving water supply, water treatment, and sanitary facilities.
    Our new strategy will focus on a comprehensive, integrated, long-term approach to dealing with the crisis. We will show leadership by drawing on our areas of excellence, and we will work with experienced and effective multilateral partners who have strategic access on the ground.
    We will use new and different methods in working with the people and countries affected. For example, we will support Jordan's commitment to put in place conditions that will create jobs for Syrian refugees in exchange for greater targeted development aid and better access to foreign markets for Jordanian exports. This will allow us to provide strategic assistance and take into account the long-term nature of the crisis.
    I want to emphasize that the aid we are providing will do more than just meet immediate needs. It is clear to everyone that this will be an ongoing crisis with long-term consequences even after the end of hostilities.

  (1145)  

    Under our new three-year approach, we will take strategic action and implement programs, with careful planning and adequate funding. We will develop programs that help strengthen local populations and countries that accept refugees, to ensure that their societies can cope with these devastating events and come out stronger.
    In a prolonged crisis like the one in the Middle East, we strongly believe in resilience programming to help fill the gap between humanitarian assistance and development projects. We are in a position to be one of the leaders in this area. For example, immediate access to temporary, informal education is the first key step supported by our humanitarian assistance.
    Also on the topic of resilience, we must work with local authorities to strengthen the education system and improve access to and quality of the services over the long term for the next generation. This approach is the most sustainable way to respond to this prolonged crisis.

[English]

    By creating immediate access to basic services like education through our programming, we are creating the conditions within communities that protect individuals. Our projects will help keep children safe from the dangers of conflict, protecting young boys from the attraction of extremist groups, and girls from early and forced marriage.
    We also realize that a lack of good governance and poor economic growth create a vacuum that extremists can exploit by providing false hope and promises to desperate populations. Our programming will therefore be designed to foster inclusive economic growth and employment in order to advert the human costs of failing to do so.
    These are crucial long-term goals that require long-term engagement in and commitment to the region.
     We will provide assistance that meets the needs of the refugees themselves, who must be able to earn a living, go to school, and maintain or develop skills so they are able to rebuild Syria as soon as the security and political situation permits.
    We will work to help prepare for the longed for peace in the region. We will work with the international community to help establish the human capital required to rebuild when the time is right. We need to act today for the good of tomorrow and prepare for peace.

[Translation]

    Our comprehensive strategy will show the people, local governments, and Canadian and international partners that Canada takes this crisis seriously and that we realize that a multi-faceted approach is the only way to put an end to this crisis.
    We know that this is a complex crisis, which must be taken into account in our actions. We must be consistent in developing and managing our actions. Although we respect humanitarian principles, we will continue to be extremely vigilant in ensuring that Canada's contributions are used only for their intended purposes.
    Our $1.1-billion contribution in humanitarian assistance, and in resilience and development programming is a key part of this action. This contribution is an acknowledgement that we can and must do everything possible to help those who are suffering and who need our help.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we do not argue with the members across the aisle that this needs to be a multi-pronged approach to defeat ISIS, the need for increased ground support and humanitarian work that has been planned, but it must be a fully supporting approach.
    Is the government admitting that it is making a financial decision, not a military decision, because the Liberals have overspent so much since coming to power last October that they can no longer afford to fully support our troops and the missions against ISIS?

  (1150)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to remind the House that our government has made a long-term, three-year commitment: $1.1 billion for humanitarian and development aid. The $870 million for humanitarian aid represents 30% more than what was given over the past three years.
    The $270 million for development and resilience aid is more than double what was given in the past. We are very proud of that because we believe that our comprehensive, integrated approach is essential to addressing the Syrian crisis.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the good description of the devastation we see there, and for her comment on the course of humanitarian assistance.
    Her comments about the fact that the interventions need to be integrated were important to me. One way we can protect individuals is by assisting to ensure the arms that go over there do not fall into the wrong hands.
    We have heard a promise that the government will sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which will help prevent the flow of arms to terrorists and insurgent groups, and protect innocent people in the region. Could the member explain why the delay in signing that treaty?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is working on that file. I will leave it to him to update us on that file.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for her excellent speech. I am proud to have served in Iraq for nearly seven years as a United Nations official.

[English]

    I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the Conservative Party of this conflict. In fact, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka undermined his own case for continued air strikes when he referred to the city of Mosul. Mosul has a population of 1.7 million, as he correctly pointed out, but ISIL is now enmeshed in that population. It is in charge of hospitals, schools, and civilian infrastructure.
    In that setting, could the hon. minister inform the House how much more important humanitarian intervention is and local training, and how inappropriate continued air strikes may be in that setting?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Our integrated approach, which includes revised military actions following genuine consultations with our allies and partners, as well as humanitarian aid and development aid, will enable us to have a much better impact on the Syrian crisis. Our partners have confirmed that to be the case. I thank my colleague for clarifying.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague said the $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance should go to civilians. Given that ISIS members are not military personnel per se, since they do not belong to a particular country, does my colleague consider ISIS members to be civilians and could they potentially receive Canadian assistance?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has been working with the same large humanitarian organizations for decades. There has been no change in that regard. The main difference between our government and the previous government is that we are proud to do so. We are proud to contribute humanitarian assistance and to work with those large, multilateral organizations. Our department is conducting all the appropriate checks, both during the analysis phase of the projects, the analysis of the applications we receive, and later as we monitor the projects to ensure that assistance goes to the people and civilians who need it most. There is absolutely no doubt about that. All the necessary checks are done. If my colleague thinks that the previous government made a mistake in the past by giving as much as we do to the Red Cross, for example, he should let us know.

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the minister on her appointment to what I see as a very important position.
    Earlier today I heard her colleague from Winnipeg North say that we, the second opposition party, had it all wrong in this debate and that we had nothing to suggest. I have been hearing that since Friday. We have suggested humanitarian assistance and measures to block the resources going to terrorist groups, such as cutting off their weapons supply, their funding, and their capacity to recruit overseas.
    If the NDP has it all wrong in this debate, I am wondering if the minister would say that Norway, South Korea, and New Zealand also have it all wrong, since their contributions are strictly humanitarian in nature.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.
    I believe that every country has a duty to consider how it can best contribute in the fight against this crisis.
    In Canada's case, we consulted our allies and partners. We determined what our greatest strengths are and where we could make a real difference. What is being presented in our strategy is in fact the fruit of that consultation and the proper leveraging of our strengths.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what are the next steps when it comes to dealing with the number of refugees coming from that part of the world?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, at the end of the year, we received all the requests for humanitarian assistance from various major organizations. Our department is currently analyzing all those requests.
    We are also in talks with the countries involved and other major donors to develop our three-year strategy for determining how we will deal with the arrival and growing number of refugees in the neighbouring countries. Some of Canada's contribution will go toward a three-year action plan; another part of the contribution will be reserved for emergencies and adapting to the crisis as it evolves.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, all sides of the House agree about the importance of Canada playing a humanitarian role, but it does not make much sense to me to only contribute to the humanitarian side of it while there is ongoing violence against the innocent. Why not stop the violence, as well as attend to the humanitarian considerations? We are addressing the humanitarian part, but, at the same time, people are continuing to be victims of violence by Daesh. Could we not do both?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we are doing both.
    The strategy presented in our plan incorporates military, diplomatic, and humanitarian and development assistance, and development components, so I do not understand my colleague's question when he says that we are not doing both.
    I truly believe that we are acting on a number of fronts at the same time.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia.
    I rise today to speak in support of the government's motion and the overdue reorientation of our mission against Daesh to reflect a more comprehensive, robust, and effective contribution to the international coalition against this heinous and barbaric terrorist group.
    There is no more serious thing that a government can do than deploy its armed forces overseas. As the daughter and a sister of army officers, I know firsthand the stress and the worry that deployment places on service members and their loved ones back home.
    We in this House owe it to our military members and to their families to make this a substantive and respectful debate, to ensure that this mission is both necessary and important, and that our armed forces members are supported with the equipment and resources they need to succeed.
    Any time we deploy our armed forces overseas, there will be risk. However, the threat we are facing is especially grave. Daesh is a threat to peace, and global stability and security. It must be defeated. Its list of crimes and barbarous acts is long. It targets the most vulnerable and has uprooted the lives of millions. According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 6.5 million people have been internally displaced within Syria, and over 3 million have fled to neighbouring countries.
    Such a multifaceted crisis and threat requires a comprehensive whole-of-government response, and that is just what our government has proposed. We will increase military training, increase our humanitarian and development assistance, and work to enhance regional stability.
    Canada is part of a broad-based international coalition determined to defeat Daesh and end this humanitarian crisis. We are proud to stand with our international partners and allies, each of whom makes a unique contribution based on their capabilities, experience, and capacity. Canada cannot do it all ourselves. As part of the coalition, we do not have to.
    This motion proposes that Canada make a more comprehensive contribution to the international coalition in the fight against Daesh, based both on our capacity and what we are able to do well, and what is necessary to defeat Daesh once and for all.
    It is clear to me that the solution to the crises in the region must, first and foremost, be political. Accordingly, we will increase our diplomatic role in working for a political solution to the crisis in Syria by supporting the UN-sponsored peace process as well as the reconciliation efforts of the Iraqi government.
     In recognition of the worsening humanitarian crisis, we will undertake a $1.1 billion, multi-year commitment for humanitarian and development assistance that targets the most vulnerable, including children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
     It is that feeling of desperation, of lack of options and opportunity, especially by young people, that hate groups like Daesh feed on, and it is that instability that allows them to flourish. So with our local partners, we will work to build the capacity to provide basic social services, foster inclusive growth and employment, and advance inclusive and accountable governance. We will also expand our capacity-building efforts with Jordan and Lebanon to help stop the spread of violent extremism.
    We must also respond militarily. By tripling the size of our training force in northern Iraq and significantly increasing our intelligence gathering resources, Canada will make a more substantive and effective contribution to the military effort against Daesh.
     Like all Canadians, I am proud of our Canadian army and the success of their training mission in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are among the best in the world when it comes to training, and this new, expanded training mission will build on the hard-won lessons of Afghanistan and make a valuable and much-needed contribution to the international coalition.

  (1200)  

    As I have said, Canada cannot do everything. Our resources are limited. We must be strategic in choosing the most effective contribution we can make to the international coalition, and that is exactly what this government has done.
    We are proud of the contribution that our CF-18 fighter pilots have played in the fight against Daesh and we welcome them home with thanks and appreciation. However, Canada cannot do everything. As we promised the Canadian people in the election campaign, we will bring our fighters home so we can focus on an expanded training mission.
    The ground seized by Daesh, displacing millions of refugees and throwing the region into turmoil, will only be taken back by efforts on the ground. If our local allies are to retake that ground, they need better training and support. We must build that local capacity to take the fight to Daesh directly and allow people to return to their homes. That is what Canada's training mission would do.
    This is a more substantive and comprehensive military contribution. Our complement of military personnel taking part in Operation Impact will increase from approximately 630 to 850 and will be focused on operational planning, targeting, and intelligence.
    The size of Canada's training, advice, and assist mission will also be tripled and will include equipment such as small arms, ammunition, and optics to assist in the training of Iraqi security forces. Our CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft will continue to make key contributions to the international effort.
    This is a comprehensive and substantive contribution by Canada and not one that we take lightly. We make this contribution to bring stability and peace to a region in crisis and in recognition of the threat that Daesh and other such extremist groups represents to the world, including Canada.
    We are not an island. Canada is not immune to the growing threat of global extremism and the hatred that groups like Daesh seek to breed and exploit. However, we will not be deterred. We will remain a strong member of the international coalition overseas and at home. We will continue to welcome Syrian and other refugees displaced by this conflict. Canada is on pace to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to the country by the end of February and to reach the goal of 25,000 government-sponsored refugees by the end of the year. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have opened their arms and their hearts to these people who have had their lives torn apart by this conflict and are looking for what all of us take for granted, a safe place to raise their families and to give them a better life.
    We are very lucky to be Canadians and to be able to live in peace and prosperity. We are privileged, and with that privilege comes responsibility. With millions suffering, we have a responsibility to act. The government's plan is in the best Canadian tradition, utilizing our capacity and our strength to make a real meaningful and effective contribution to the international coalition.
    The road ahead will not be easy. I stand in solidarity with our military members, with our development and diplomatic officials, and especially with their families. They have made Canada proud and we stand with them.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of things that we need to recognize first of all. While the motion is proposing a comprehensive change to the mission, it backs down from a comprehensive approach to the mission, meaning that while the government is increasing our ability to train troops on the ground, it has stepped back from a piece of the mission that has been highly successful to date with over 400 successful missions.
    There is one key item that boggles my mind when I look at the government's approach to this. I will read a bit from the throne speech: “In this Parliament, all members will be honoured, respected and heard, wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter.” That is except for one thing: the government has already changed the mission, so no matter what is said here about a reduction in the bombing mission, it does not matter because the decision was made by one person during a campaign without any information to support it.
    Therefore, could the member stand in his place and please tell us how this would be any different? Does this change mean that this chamber does not matter any more?

  (1210)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the last election campaign, we ran on a commitment to end our participation in the air strikes and refocus our contribution to the international coalition on training and greater humanitarian support. That is exactly what this government is doing.
    We are proud of the contribution that our airmen and airwomen have made to the international coalition. However, as we move into this next phase, it is important that we focus our efforts and resources on where they can be most effective. This is the most effective contribution Canada can make to the international coalition, and it has been welcomed and applauded by our allies.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's speech. What I am especially hearing from others—and certainly the UN Security Council resolution reinforced this—is that if we can stem the flow of foreign radicals going overseas that complicates this fight in the first place, we will all be better off and further ahead.
    Can the member please describe what attempts the Liberal government is making to fight radicalization efforts right here at home in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, we are doing what is the best solution right now in the present circumstances, and refocusing our combat mission. That is what we promised during the election campaign. We are changing it to being humanitarian based and providing more training and surveillance services. That is what we are doing.
    Mr. Speaker, the member paid tribute to the members of the Canadian Forces and their families. This is something that we often take for granted. A good percentage of the population is so very appreciative of the efforts of our men and women of the Canadian Forces, no matter what role they play. This is something that is really important, that as legislators we stand up and do what the member did in acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of the members of our forces.
    I wonder if the member might want to add some additional thoughts on the great work that our men and women have done in combatting terrorism, whether abroad or here at home. That includes all the different branches of the Canadian Forces.
    Mr. Speaker, as a Canadian, I am proud of the work that our men and women in uniform have done in Iraq and in other deployments. I want to thank them all for all the work they have done. As Canadians, it is our responsibility both abroad and at home to provide them with the necessary support they need at the time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by paying tribute to the excellent work done by our soldiers and veterans who fought overseas and who helped protect Canada. I also want to commend them for contributing so much to international peace and security.
    In 10 years under the Conservatives, Canada's reputation on the world stage changed, and not for the better, as most Canadians know. During this decade, the Conservatives distanced themselves from a long tradition of responsible international engagement. Our country even skipped out on a number of major international talks. Canada lost its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
    I remember October 12, 2010, very well. We had to take our name out of the running for a seat on the United Nations Security Council after losing the first two rounds of voting. That was the first time that Canada had experienced that kind of loss for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Canada had won that seat every time since 1948.
    The dismay was palpable on October 12, 2010. Like many people, I felt ashamed. Canada no longer represented a diplomatic force in the world. This did not come as a complete surprise. We were well aware that the then Conservative government's controversial position on combatting climate change probably had something to do with the reservations some UN countries may have had when they voted in October 2010. One thing had become clear: we had lost our reputation as a diplomatic force and a peacekeeper.
    I went into politics for many reasons. First, I wanted to actively assist my region in getting the tools it needs to revive its economy. Second, I wanted to help rebuild Canada's international reputation.
    Canada has a longstanding tradition of responsible engagement in international affairs, which is an integral part of our country's identity. Canada should be using its exceptional expertise to serve as a world leader in international co-operation. To be seen and heard, we need to enunciate clearly, speak loudly, and send a strong, clear message.
    On October 19, 2015, Canadians sent a clear message that resonated throughout the world: Canada is back on the international scene after a decade of diplomatic disengagement under the Conservatives.
    I will repeat: Canada is finally back. Canada will increase its support for UN peacekeeping operations and reinvigorate mediation, conflict prevention, and reconstruction efforts in the wake of these very conflicts.
    Canada will do more, but in a different way. Our approach is clearly distinct from and more beneficial than the Conservatives' strictly military approach because of the emphasis on humanitarian assistance, welcoming refugees, and diplomacy.
    The mission in Iraq and Syria will be redefined on the basis of this new approach. Our objective is very clear: improve the effectiveness and make better use of the Canadian Armed Forces in order to meet the coalition's current needs.
    The Conservatives are surprised. However, we repeated many times that we would stop the air strikes by the CF-18s in Iraq and Syria and focus instead on training local forces fighting on Iraqi soil. The day after we were elected, the Prime Minister informed President Obama of our intentions. The Minister of Foreign Affairs attended many bilateral meetings to explain our approach and to contribute additional resources to help meet the need for training, transportation, and medical assistance.
    We are expanding the humanitarian assistance component as promised. The diplomatic component will also be bolstered by increasing staff in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. We will also deploy more military personnel in the region to carry out different duties, including training.
    I want to remind members of the House of the changes we will make. We will increase the number of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed as part of Operation Impact from 650 to approximately 830.

  (1215)  

     We will triple Canada's train, advise, and assist mission in northern Iraq to boost local security forces' independence. We will provide additional intelligence resources in northern Iraq and theatre-wide to better protect coalition forces and those of the host country. That will enable the coalition to develop a more detailed understanding of the threat and improve its ability to target, degrade, and defeat ISIS.
     We will continue to support coalition operations with our Polaris aerial refueller and up to two Aurora surveillance aircraft. We will provide training in the use of military equipment supplied by the Government of Canada in accordance with Canadian and international law.
    We will offer to participate in the coalition's ministerial liaison, which supports Iraq's ministries of defence and the interior. We will enhance our capacity-building efforts in Jordan and create a new program in Lebanon. Finally, we will deploy Canadian Armed Forces medical personnel to support Canadian security forces and their Iraqi counterparts.
    The changes I just listed constitute an informed, clear plan. Our allies recognize that Canada continues to support the air mission by providing two surveillance aircraft and one refuelling aircraft. We will also be contributing something that is considered crucial to the long-term success of the mission, and that is training for Kurdish soldiers.
    Let us be clear: we never said anything about a total end to military participation, which is what the NDP promised. We are focusing on training over air strikes. Canada will be more useful in this way, since it has developed real expertise in that area.
    Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance recently pointed out that we should not fall into the trap of describing the Iraq mission as something other than a support operation. While air strikes can be useful in the short term, they do not offer any long-term stability. To achieve that, we need to provide the population with the means to ensure its own defence and security.
    The decade of isolation under the Conservatives is over. Canada is resuming its diplomatic role in order to help find political solutions to the crisis in the Middle East by supporting the peace process backed by the United Nations and contributing to the efforts by the Iraqi government to promote reconciliation.
    Our government is taking a pragmatic and modern approach. That is the promise of a responsible Canada that is engaged in the world in a positive way.

  (1220)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member began his speech by criticizing Canada's record over the past 10 years; for example, citing the fact that we were not elected to a seat on the UN Security Council.
    I have to say to the member that I am fiercely proud of our principled record in our foreign policy over the past 10 years. The Liberal approach historically was to underfund our military and to go along to get along. Our approach was reared in Canadian values.
     Of course, our strong opposition to Iran and Russia, and our support for Israel and persecuted religious minorities, did not always win friends for us at the United Nations. We did not do those things because they were popular. We did them because they were right.
    That is our record when it comes to a principled foreign policy, so why are the Liberals backing away from that record? Are they doing it again to simply go along to get along with the United Nations?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the member of the opposition talking about stepping back. Maybe he has not listened to what I said earlier about the increases we are making in the redefinition of this new mission. We are increasing the number of military from 650 to 830. We are doubling the investment in humanitarian aid.

[Translation]

    We are working in partnership with the coalition to identify the needs clearly. Having identified those needs, we defined an informed approach that takes into account all the requests we received.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his support for our Armed Forces. We all share in that appreciation.
    Our party has consistently said that the way to defeat ISIS, which is an objective we all share, is to cut off its supply of money, arms, and foreign fighters. However, this mission, as outlined by the government, does not include any domestic action against ISIS. Does the government intend to introduce or support deradicalization efforts here in Canada as part of its strategy?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said regarding the issue being debated today on redefining the mission in Iraq and Syria, the changes being made will help us support the coalition and the United Nations in this initiative that seeks to weaken and ultimately eradicate the armed forces of the Islamic State.
    I listed a series of initiatives. Our approach is informed and based on the consultations that we had over the past few weeks with the coalition and our partners.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent speech.
    One after another, the Conservative members would have us believe that the position of the Liberal government is to withdraw from the fight against the Islamic State. In fact, it is the opposite.

[English]

    I wonder if my hon. colleague could take a few minutes to explain to the House how the integration of the principles of humanitarian assistance, training, and diplomatic assistance are three steps forward and a stronger, more integrated strategy.
    When we talk about the fight today, it is not just a military fight; it is a fight for the hearts and minds of those who are under pressure to join the Islamic State. That is a vision that has to be created locally, endogenously within the populations of Iraq and Syria.
     I wonder if my colleague could elaborate on those principles.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is very important to support Iraq in its efforts. We said so earlier. We will be there to triple Canada's train, advise, and assist mission in northern Iraq in order to improve the autonomy of local security forces. We have also undertaken to increase intelligence capabilities.
    These efforts will help the people and the coalition forces and will firmly establish a new strategy and our contribution and ensure that we degrade ISIL.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the motion before the House regarding the redefinition of Canada's role in the fight against ISIS.
    I will be splitting my time with the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.
    First, I am proud of the men and women of the armed forces. They defend not only our country, but also protect Canadians' interests and promote Canadian values abroad. Men and women in uniform are the backbone of our defence capabilities, following a strong and noble military tradition since Canada's conception.
    It is never an easy decision to send our men and women into combat, and it should not be. When Canada is attacked at home and Canadians are attacked abroad, it is Canada's fight. Yet the Prime Minister has pulled our fighter jets out of the coalition effort to stop ISIS. No justification for withdrawing the CF-18s has been provided. We are willing to paint targets, conduct surveillance, provide fuel for our bombers, but we will not drop any Canadian bombs. Withdrawing from direct combat against ISIS sends the wrong message to Canadians and to our allies.
    The proposed motion increases the risk to Canadian Armed Forces members, but reduces Canada's air support. Our Conservative Party strongly believes that our CF-18s should remain in the fight against ISIS. It is my view and that of my party that withdrawal from this mission is a step backward from Canada's traditional role as defenders for human rights and international security. We have a long and proud history of defending innocent and vulnerable populations by taking on those who commit mass atrocities.
    In my previous career in the RCMP, having been part of a specialized emergency response team, we provided backup to members in the field during emergencies. As inert officers, we were there to assist in the successful resolution of dangerous situations, thereby enhancing public safety and the security of our regular members. It would have been irresponsible then for our leaders to remove us from that duty, leaving our members in the field to deal with situations on their own without specialized backup. Is that not exactly what the government is doing now with our men and women in uniform?
    The air strikes now grounded by the Liberal government provided the necessary air support for our troops battling ISIS. If we are to provide more boots on the ground, we need to ensure that proper protection is in place. We should not rely on our allies to protect our soldiers. Should our troops come under attack now, we will be 100% reliant on allies to provide the backup support. This will lead to unnecessary multiple channels of communication instead of one direct line to our ground troops.
    Let me give a couple of examples of what I mean.
     In Afghanistan, in 2002 and 2006, miscommunications led to our allies dropping bombs on our troops.
     I ask everybody to recall what transpired on the Hill in October 2014. At that time, there were multiple security services on the Hill. This created issues in communications and carrying out an efficient response. In an RCMP review of the events of that day, it was concluded that:
    
    The working relationship between the House of Commons Security Service, the Senate Protective Services and the RCMP is inadequate....All three agencies work as separate entities, with limited interaction or sharing of information.
    To avoid having to go through multiple lines of communication and to more effectively and efficiently respond to future events, security on Parliament Hill has since been merged into one single unit.
     The above examples prove that the Liberal government will complicate the ability of any air support to respond and assist our troops on the ground. Our CF-18s provided that direct link to the safety of our soldiers.
    On December 17 of last year, if we all recall, Canadian special forces that were training Kurdish fighters came under a major attack by ISIS militants. Two of our Canadian CF-18s conducted air strikes to take out the ISIS fighting position that was supporting the extremist offensive, helping our troops dramatically. This proves that our troops are at risk on the ground and need air defence to keep them safe. The CF-18s provided that backup.

  (1230)  

    General Vance has said that by tripling the number of special operation forces on the ground, it increases the risk. That was also confirmed by the Minister of National Defence in the House. If this is the case, why is the government taking us out of the fight against ISIS and putting our troops at risk? We believe in ensuring our troops have every tool available to directly protect them and get the job done. Fighter jets are one of the best tools.
    Knowing that ISIS attacks have spread beyond Iraq and in Syria and claimed the lives of Canadians recently, halting and degrading ISIS is now more critical. Canada has been a key ally in the air combat effort. Canadian air strikes have been an effective element of the coalition's campaign in destroying ISIS and providing air support to Canadian and allied ground troops. It is extremely irresponsible for the government to downplay Canada's contribution, and all for political reasons.
    Canada has the capacity to continue to contribute to air strikes alongside training and humanitarian support. Instead, the government is focused solely on humanitarian and security assistance already being done. There are many times when stronger military action is necessary and fighting is necessary. It is paramount that the government stands shoulder to shoulder with our allies to defend and protect not only our troops on the ground, but the safety and security of all Canadians as well as our allies.
    The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence must ensure our troops are protected by our CF-18s. Let us ensure they come home, and may our troops on the ground over there take care.
    Mr. Speaker, when I hear the comments from across the way, one is brought to a set of observations that make us think we still ought to be invading the beaches in Normandy. In other words, no matter how the theatre of war changes, no matter how the conversation is modified with our allies, no matter what new developments occur over the course of the year, the first impulse must be sustained and repeated.
    Will the members opposite not acknowledge that consolidating the gains, setting in motion training and intelligence support that protect populations on the ground and continuing to work with our allies to modify our strategy as the conditions change is the most appropriate way to proceed with prosecuting this military excursion?

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, we agree that putting extra troops on the ground will help, but why would we remove our best fighting tool that has helped our allies and is one of the strongest fighting tools to protect our ground troops that are going to be assisting our allies? It does not make any sense. Keep the best tools there. Why bring them home?
    Mr. Speaker, when the Conservatives were the government and approved this mission in the first place, they did not allocate any incremental funding to support the mission and that had impact. The forces had to find resources internally, and that impacted front-line workers and the navy.
    Why was this mission not properly funded in the first place when the Conservatives originally committed our country to the mission?
    Mr. Speaker, when going into a foreign country initially, it is very hard to have a full plan as to what we are going to do. Once our troops arrived there, they had a better understanding of the situation that was before them, they adapted to those situations the best they could, and they provided the best allied support they could. Things change continually in those types of environments.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the hon. member across found so funny, but I certainly hope he shares it with us later on.
    Regarding the hon. member's comments, it sounds to me like he had something very significant to include in this debate. As members know, we are no longer partaking in the bombing mission.
    As I said earlier, in the throne speech the government said in this Parliament, “...all members will be honoured, respected and heard, wherever they sit. For here, in these chambers, the voices of all Canadians matter.”
    Was the voice of the member heard prior to the government ceasing the mission?
    Mr. Speaker, I was very disappointed last week when we found out that the CF-18s had already been removed. Why are we holding a debate on something as important as this, looking at the protection of our troops overseas and having a debate after the fact? It makes absolutely no sense to me and it shows the government's disrespect for the House.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the service he has offered to Canadians through his career in protecting Canadians and for his passionate remarks about the value of our men and women in uniform, not only to our country but to world stability.
    His reference to the importance of communication certainly reminded me of October 22, which I think we can all agree was a very difficult time on the Hill, and our security forces did the best they could do. Our colleague has pointed out some of the challenges that relate to that because of the communication challenges. He made a great connection to that incident on the Hill in relationship to the potential communications challenges that would occur in theatre.
    Could he expand a bit on that point? Having our own CF-18s in the air protecting our ground troops, certainly to me seems a better communications operation than us having to rely on allies.
    Mr. Speaker, throughout my 35 years in the RCMP, I was involved in many emergency situations, not in a military scope but emergencies within Canada such as major explosions, major fires, floods, etc.
    One of the biggest problems in any emergency situation is a breakdown in communications. It does not matter where we are, when we have multiple agencies trying to work together, it does not work as efficiently as one agency integrally working within itself.
    That is what alarms me here. We are taking away one of our strong tools, the CF-18s, that was there to protect our men and women on the ground if needed, and it was proved that it was needed. Relying on other allies to give that support to our troops will lead to a failure.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be in the House today. I am pleased to rise to speak to the mission against ISIS and the contribution that Canada is making to the important international coalition fighting ISIS.
    However, before discussing the details of this new mission, I would like to take a moment to ask us all to recognize the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who unselfishly and willingly have fought to protect Canadian values around the world. There is certainly no greater service to our country, and I thank each and every individual who has fought overseas to protect us here at home.
     Today I would like to talk about Canadian values. The Prime Minister and his colleagues seem content to use this term to justify this mission. However, their actions on the ISIL mission certainly do not back up those hollow words.
    To me, the way to tell what someone's values are is not by what they say, but what they actually do. There is an age-old adage that “actions speak louder than words”. When it comes to the mission against ISIS, our international partners are hearing very loud and clear that Canada is content on leaving the heavy lifting to everyone else. That is not what Canadians do.
    Let us look at what our international partners are gearing up for while our jets are coming home.
    France has expanded its air strikes. The United States has expanded its air strikes. The British Parliament just recently approved a motion to expand air strikes. While our partners get ready to take the fight to ISIS, Canadian fighters are packing up to come home.
     I think I speak for many Canadians in saying that Canadian values have never been to turn our backs when the going gets tough. Canadian values have never been to leave our friends in the dust, and they most certainly have never been to run from a fight to protect those who need our help.
    Let us look at some past conflicts and what the precedent has been for Canadian responses when called upon to act.
    World War I was a true testament to Canadian character and forged our identity in the global community. Nobody can dispute that. As a relatively new nation, and a nation that was largely viewed to be under British rule, many players on the world stage did not know what to expect from Canada. Canadian soldiers showed true strength during this conflict and were a crucial part of numerous missions.
     I can think of no greater testament to Canadian strength than the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In this battle, Canadians were handed the task of attacking German forces and capturing the ridge that they occupied. In the end, Canadians soldiers did what over 200,000 British and French soldiers could not do; they captured Vimy Ridge. The victory at Vimy Ridge in 1917 was the single largest advance against German forces since the beginning of the war and paved the way for the end of the conflict. This victory did not come without a cost, though, as more than 10,000 Canadians were killed and wounded during the mission. When called upon to act, Canada did not cut and run.
     During the Second World War, Canadians fought bravely at a lot of places, among them Juno Beach, and again showed true strength and determination in service to their country. At Juno Beach, Canadians stormed the beach during Operation Overlord, and ultimately seized control. Approximately 574 Canadians were wounded, and about 340 made the ultimate sacrifice during this operation.
    However, the successful Canadian mission at Juno Beach would provide a crucial access point in bridgehead, which ultimately led to the liberation of Europe. Once again, Canada did not cut and run.
    Most of us have a story that goes back to the Second World War or other conflicts. I have a great uncle buried in Holland, in Groesbeek cemetery. That was the sacrifice that he ultimately gave to help free Holland. There are a lot of brave moments like that, which show the example of what many soldiers did. They did not cut and run.
    Then, there was the Korean War. Between 1950 and 1953, about 26,000 Canadian soldiers came to the aid of South Korea during the Korean War. There were 516 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice in this effort.

  (1245)  

    Looking at the contrast today between North Korea and South Korea, it is clear that this was a battle worth fighting. Once again, Canada did not cut and run.
    The reason that I presented each of these historic conflicts was to demonstrate that Canadians have never valued running from a fight that was worth fighting. When democracy, freedom, tolerance, and the rule of law are under threat, it has been the Canadian response to respond in a meaningful way.
    This is no different today. An Angus Reid poll from February 6 found that 63% of Canadians said they would like to see Canada continue bombing ISIS at its current rate or to go even further. Furthermore, only 18% of Canadians polled thought that pulling our jets from the fight would have a positive effect on our international reputation. If 18% want to cut and run, that means that 82% do not.
    Prime Minister David Cameron said it best recently when he stated, “We shouldn't be content [to outsource] our security to our allies. If we believe action can help protect us, then—with our allies— we should be part of that action...not standing aside from it”. The same logic should stand for Canada. If we truly believe that action is required to defeat ISIS, then let us take action. Let us not base decisions on campaign rhetoric; let us base them on the true needs of our international partners.
    With that, I am going to close shortly. However, I want to thank many members in this House for standing up and trying to make the point on what Canada should be doing as our responsibility and obligation around the world. The member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, and many others on this side of the House have argued very clearly as to why Canada should not cut and run. It is not what we do, and it is not what we should do. With that, I am happy to take questions.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his speech. He gave us examples of where other coalition partners have increased their air strike capacity. I would be curious whether he has any information about other coalition partners increasing their humanitarian aid, their intelligence-gathering capacities, or their international development work on the ground.
    Mr. Speaker, what we are debating today is the mission as a whole and our responsibility there. We all know that the mission contained many aspects of humanitarian aid, and it should, but at the same time along with the CF-18 fighters that had a key role.
    Once they take away a main component of it, which the fighter pilots are—our planes are a key part—they cannot expect the mission to go as planned. If the member across thinks about it and admits it to himself, he would agree that we are putting some soldiers in danger, and it is certainly not necessary to do that.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, I heard the term “cut and run” several times during the member's presentation.
    Is the member aware that we are increasing our military personnel by 200 members during the upcoming mission and we are tripling the size of our train, advise, and assist mission? As well, we will be spending $145 million over the next three years to counter terrorism. We will be delivering $940 million in humanitarian assistance and spending $270 million over three years to rebuild the local infrastructure.
    My question for the hon. member is this. Does that sound like cutting and running to him?
    Mr. Speaker, I am quite aware that the number of soldiers has increased. If they want to put the whole thing in perspective, they are pulling out the CF-18s, which are there to protect our people on the ground. There are people on the ground there today before this mission changes. They are increasing the number of people put at risk by pulling the CF-18s out.
    To try to say that everything is okay is wrong; it is not. It is one thing to increase the numbers, but they cannot take away everything that is required to help protect them there. That is what we have done. I know the member does not like the term “cut and run”, but that is exactly what it is. As proud Canadians, all of us in here, that is not what we do.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his passionate speech and for highlighting that our men and women in uniform are, and have been, doing a great job of protecting Canadian values.
    It is particularly troubling to see the CF-18s pulled out. I do not think any of us in this room take any joy in the fact that we are in a military conflict. We would all prefer not to have military conflicts. However, when vulnerable people are being threatened by evil in this world, it is our job as a government to stand up and protect the most vulnerable.
    One of the things I am hearing in the context of the refugee crisis is that many of the people coming to Canada as refugees, if they had the choice, would far rather be in their homeland in a safe and secure environment. That is one of the jobs we are trying to do.
    However, when our CF-18s are pulled out, it makes that less likely. I wonder if my colleague could comment on the fact that if we could bring more stability to that region, it would reduce the need for us to be accepting refugees. We are glad to do that, but many of them would far rather be back in their home country.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member definitely has a grasp on what is going on over there.
    He is right in the fact that most people do not want to leave their homeland. If the option were there for them to stay at home and have reasonable security, that is where they would want to be, though there are always exceptions to the rule.
    Again, the CF-18s being there and helping to stabilize the whole area is certainly the right way to go. I thank the member again for that question. It is just common sense.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time this afternoon.
    I would like to begin this debate with a statement of gratitude to the many men and women who are serving in our military in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world, and the many public servants who have offered and will continue to offer their service and dedication in the Middle East on our behalf and on behalf of all Canadians.
    It is indeed a great privilege to discuss this important undertaking by this government and the people of Canada. There is no doubt that we need to play a role in the geopolitics of our time and support our NATO allies in the Middle East. I believe we are doing just that on this side of the House, moving forward in a bold and confident manner. We will not only play a role in the world and fighting ISIL, but will ensure that part of world builds itself and has the capabilities to fight on its own behalf and to develop a long-term approach to stabilizing the region.
    Our motion has essentially five points to it, which I will address before getting into further merits of the debate.
    First, we would refocus our military contribution by expanding the advise and assist mission of the Canadian Armed Forces in Iraq; significantly increasing the intelligence capabilities in Iraq theatre-wide; deploying CAF medical personnel; offering to provide the Government of Iraq ministerial liaison personnel for the ministries of defence and the interior; enhancing capacity-building efforts with our defence partners in Jordan and Lebanon to advance regional stability; and as mentioned by many in this House, withdrawing our CF-18s while maintaining air force surveillance and refuelling capabilities.
    Second, we would improve the living conditions of conflicted populations, and help to build the foundations for long-term regional stability of host communities, including Lebanon and Jordan.
    Third, we would invest significantly in humanitarian assistance, working with experienced humanitarian partners to support the basic needs of conflict-affected populations, including children and victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
    Fourth, we would engage more effectively with political leaders throughout the region, increasing Canada's contribution to international efforts aimed at finding political solutions to the crisis affecting the region, and reinforcing our diplomatic presence to facilitate the delivery of enhanced programming; supporting CAF development; strengthening dialogue with local and international partners on the ground; and generally giving Canada a stronger voice in the region, which has to be emphasized. Without question, that is what we are doing on this side of the House.
    Fifth, and this is not a minor thing, we are welcoming tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada. This is an important commitment we made in the election, and we are following through on it as we speak. I believe 20,000 Syrian refugees have already arrived in this country, and we will be continuing with those efforts.
    This is a strong signal to the world and to the region of our long-term commitment to support what is happening over there, and allowing a sense of dignity and humanitarian aid that I believe reflects well in the world community. More importantly, this reflects Canadian values of helping out, giving people shelter from the storm, and helping people in these regions rebuild their lives.

  (1255)  

    That is essentially what we as a government are doing, and I am very proud of those efforts.
    I would point out what, in my view, we are losing track of when we focus only on the narrow issue of taking out our CF-18s. We have to look at this in the broader context of what we are doing writ large to support our NATO allies, the 65 partner nations that are over there combatting ISIL, and what we are adding to that contribution, and how we can best play a meaningful role. There is no doubt that Canada is fulfilling those commitments to our NATO partners. If we look at the comments coming from the American generals and our partners throughout the world, they are satisfied that Canada is playing a meaningful role. We can see that.
    If weighed in their overall capacity, our contributions are superior to what was being offered by the former government. We are moving in with more personnel, more aid, more technological support, and the like. This will assist the region in the short term by enabling the Iraqis forces and others on the ground to develop more capabilities to take the fight to ISIL. It will also assist in the long run in the humanitarian, nation-building, and political contexts, and through our whole-of-government approach, effectively working throughout the region to hopefully secure it and to make it more peaceful. If one looks at our efforts compared to those of the former government, it is clear that we are actually doing more.
    When we look at this situation, there seems to be much rancour about the pulling out of the CF-18s. There is no doubt that the reformulation of our mission has allowed our NATO partners to continue with the bombing mission. Clearly, this is not cutting and running. We are staying in the fight. We have just re-calibrated our capacity to do these things and move forward with a different approach, one that not only fits in with the kind and character of what we said in the election but will support the region over the long term, and is what Canadians have been good at throughout our history.
     As we are coming up on our 150th year as a country, I would be remiss not to note that we have taken part in the events of the day going back to the Boer War, World War I, and World War II when we stormed the beaches of Normandy. I note our role in the Cold War, and our efforts in Africa, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Canada is not being isolationist, nor is it attempting to be at this time. I sense that our approach to foreign policy, and how we will develop that and work through our United Nations partners to play a meaningful role in humanitarian organizations, and the like, will serve this nation going forward.
    The former government did not play that meaningful partnership role that governments in Canada have essentially done through Mr. Pearson, Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Clark, Mr. Mulroney, and Mr. Chrétien. That approach changed under the former government. Many people saw it retreat from what Canada was good at, which is being a true partner of the institutions around the world that are looking to see peace, order, and good government come to other regions of the world, and for Canada to take a meaningful part.

  (1300)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, for the past few days I have been listening to the presentations by our government friends, who would have us believe that their plan is the best possible plan. I would like to start by telling my colleague, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, that this is not a NATO mission. This mission is being conducted by a coalition of countries that is not headed by NATO.
    I would like to know what sense today's troops and military members, especially special forces members deployed in Iraq and Syria, will make of this new mission? What will these elite members, who are trained to carry out special operations, think of the fact that they are being sent into the battlefield and told that they are not engaged in combat? How will a military member understand that?

  (1305)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I would say very easily. General Vance has explained the mission very well. He explained how it is going to be a coordinated approach with the CAF and how they are going to go about their business and take part in a different fashion, help support what we are doing there in retraining and getting the systems up and running for the local forces to do a better job of taking the fight to ISIL.
    This plan was not made in isolation. It was crafted over a period of time to allow our military men and women to get the information they needed from the top sources. General Vance has been here and he has been explicit. He has every confidence that our military men and women are up to this role, that it will lead to a better process going forward, and that it will allow us to do what Canadians have always done well, which is on the ground developing relationships going forward in a meaningful sense.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been trying to figure out whether or not this will be a combat role. We have listened to speech after speech by members on the other side who have given evasive answers.
    Are the Liberals ashamed to admit that this is a combat role, or is it simply a non-combat role? Which is it? Are we going to be in a combat situation or not?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that it may be difficult for the member to understand that Canada has a role to play in the world and that entails being involved in a meaningful way in the Middle East. We are taking that approach. We are going forward with a well-thought-out mission that will allow us to do the things necessary to support local retraining efforts, that will allow us to build capacity in the region, that does service to Canadian values and how we are going to bring stability to the region in the long term. It will work on a diplomatic front to support Lebanon and Jordan and other areas that are going to be involved in long-term sustainability in the move toward a more democratic and safe place for those people who live there.
    How the member cannot see this as being positive for the region and positive for Canada is a bit perplexing to me.
    Mr. Speaker, this should come as no surprise to anyone. Could the minister comment? This was an election issue. It is a well-thought-out plan with respect to what the Liberal Party, today's government, has talked about for quite a while. We said that the CF-18s were going to be pulled out.
    This government has a caring attitude and we have come up with a plan for Canada to play a more prominent role in ensuring more peace into the future.
    Mr. Speaker, it should not be much of a surprise to anyone in the House, or anyone in Canada for that matter, that the role of the CF-18s was going to change. We have been clear on that. We have come up with a plan that will allow us to do things better in the short term and the long term. Our approach will allow for that to happen. Part of that approach is not only what we are doing in the Middle East right now, but what we are doing at home. Reaching out to support 25,000 Syrian refugees is an important and significant role for us and it will increase Canada's stature in the world and allow us to play a meaningful role in the geopolitics of our time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who are currently in Iraq and Syria. Their courage and their skill have made it possible for us to articulate a broader policy to help everyone in the region.

  (1310)  

[English]

    I would like to focus my remarks on three broad themes: first, our mandate; second, the nature of the team play, so to speak, in the mission; and third, some thoughts about leadership. I will use some sports metaphors not because this is not a serious issue but because we are trying to understand the nature of team play. It is often useful. I have been a teacher for 20 years at the university level, so I understand that sometimes, in order to make what we are doing clear to Canadians from different walks of life, it is useful to take analogies and metaphors from other areas, and that is precisely what I will do.
    First, as regards our mandate, Liberals were clear during the course of the election campaign that we would withdraw our fighter jets from Iraq and that we would review our role generally in the fight against Daesh, and that is precisely what we are doing. We were clear as well on our condemnation of Daesh and everything it stands for and everything it is trying to accomplish, and that we would stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies come hell or high water—at the risk of being a little crude—and that is precisely what we are doing. In this reformulation of the mission, we are fulfilling our mandate; and in focusing on humanitarian aid, training, and intelligence gathering, we are providing the necessary means to help win this battle, as this battle has now evolved.
    I am going to use some sports metaphors now, but it is to clarify in terms that all Canadians can understand.

[Translation]

    I was a soccer coach for many years, and I have played hockey all of my life. I was a coach and manager, and I was responsible for selecting players. I therefore have a lot of experience in formulating team strategies and assessing players' strengths and weaknesses. It is very important that I tell Canadians that I have that experience so that they know exactly what we are doing with our mission against Daesh.
    When I was the associate dean of my law faculty, people joked that I was a full-time soccer coach and part-time law professor. Every player on a team has a role to play, and every player has strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes roles change, depending on the circumstances. It is important to always consider how the circumstances change on the field and over the course of a season.
    I will give a few examples. I had a player named Benjamin on my team. During the winter season, he was my top scorer in a seven-on-seven league. During the summer, the team's needs changed and he switched positions to centre fullback, a very important position for the team. We lost our best scorer from the winter season, but that is the sort of thing that a coach has to do from time to time after assessing the team's strengths and weaknesses and the circumstances.
    There was also Benoît, who was another great scorer. When our goalie was injured, Benoît had to take his place. Sometimes you do what you have to do.
    I will now give an example that everyone will be able to relate to. Every four years, when it comes time to form the Canadian Olympic hockey team, top scorers from the NHL are sometimes asked to play defence. It is not necessarily because they are not as good as other players. Sometimes they are better at playing offence than other first- or second-line players. However, they also have other strengths that make them better able to play defence.
    We win often enough. All of that to say that this is a winning strategy. The context also changes. We cannot ignore the context and what is going on in Iraq and Syria.
    Here is another example. I put together a team focused on controlling the ball. One day, I got to the field and saw that the grass had not been cut. It was 10 centimetres long. I immediately told my players that our style of play would not work in these conditions and that we would kick the ball far and run to catch up with it. It worked well. We quickly picked up two or three goals and won the game.
    Sometimes you have to take a look at the field, analyze what is going on, and then make a decision.

  (1315)  

[English]

    That is exactly what is happening here with our mission against Daesh. Not everyone can be a goal scorer, even if they are so talented. Not everyone will be the primary defender, even if they may be the best defender on the team. It is just the way it is. The team has to be filled. Different roles have to be played.
    When I asked the hon. member a question a moment ago, about whether or not he knew of other allies who were putting more effort into the humanitarian mission, into the intelligence-gathering mission, he was unable to answer.
    We are doing this, not because we are weak, not because we do not have a role, not because are not leaders within this action against Daesh; we are doing it precisely because we are leaders, can fulfill this role, and have seen the conditions on the ground change over the past number of months. We know that what is needed is intelligence gathering, training of local fighters, humanitarian aid, and diplomacy.
    Make no mistake: this battle is going to be won ultimately by local fighters who are taking back territory. We are helping to train them. Yes, air strikes help. However, now we need people to perform a very necessary role of training and continuing to train local fighters in order to position ourselves for a final victory.
    It is not a unidimensional mission. Sometimes it is, frankly, quite bizarre to hear the members opposite focus on air strikes, as if this were the only way to win, and not taking into account the capacities of the coalition where we are very strong on air strikes.
    Let me give one other example, a little more academic. The 19th century economist David Ricardo gave us the laws of comparative advantage, on which our international trade mission is effectively based. It may be, according to Ricardo's observations on comparative advantage, that a country can have the best pilots and have the best training, humanitarian, diplomatic, and intelligence-gathering capacities, and still be asked to use that second set of qualities, simply because it fits better with the rest of the picture, in terms of the whole strategy for winning this battle against Daesh.
    Our allies are not confused. Our allies have developed this policy with us, and it is a comprehensive one.

[Translation]

    I now want to talk a little about leadership. Leadership can sometimes take different forms. Our leadership must be broad and wide-ranging, and we must remain aware of changes, which is exactly what we are doing.
    The opposition takes a very simplistic view of this issue. Having only one approach would be disastrous, as we saw with the United Nations Security Council a few years ago.

[English]

    I am a proud Canadian, confident in our soldiers, our men and women in service, confident also in our leadership capacities and in our ability to work with our allies in order to defeat Daesh. We stand should to shoulder with them.
    This reformulation of our mission against Daesh is needed now; it reflects our capabilities and our capacities; it is what our allies want; and it is the best way to move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the intervention of the member opposite today. Although we disagree on many of the game metaphors he used, I still welcome his comments, and I actually often tease the government and that particular member for their tendency to use consultation. If he does not have the answer to this question, I would actually encourage the member to consult with his government to maybe get the answer and perhaps bring it back at some other point.
    I am going to ask a question specific to the post-combat reintegration allowance, called the PCRA, and the goal of that is to assist a member to reintegrate with family following repatriation from a deployment where the member was engaged in CDS-designated combat operations for all or part of the deployment and was not granted special leave.
    The reason I raise this particular allowance is that I would like to know this from the member and from his government. Will current Canadian Forces operating in Iraq and Syria be eligible for this allowance, and if not, will the member please stand up to his colleagues in caucus and demand that this allowance be given in the set of circumstances, very difficult, very challenging, under which they operating?

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will defer on the hon. member's question to the Minister of National Defence and the Associate Minister of National Defence, and I do undertake to have conversations with them in this regard.
    Mr. Speaker, although the UN Security Council has passed three resolutions on Iraq, none of them actually authorized the military mission.
    The Security Council, though, is requiring action to prevent the flow of funds to foreign fighters and to suppress the financing of armaments in terrorist organizations.
    The Arms Trade Treaty would provide such a block. It would regulate the flow of weapons across international borders, and if implemented on a global scale, it has the potential to starve the world's most brutal regimes of access to money for these insurgent and terrorist fights.
    The Arms Trade Treaty came into effect more than a year ago, yet Canada is the only NATO country that still has not signed and committed to its principles. The new Prime Minister has indicated that the government will sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which we will celebrate in this corner of the House when it happens.
    I ask the minister if the government has taken that action, and if not, why the delay?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question and for the promotion.
    I am sympathetic to the question and sympathetic to the issue. I know that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is seized of the matter, and I hope that we will be in a position at some point soon to inform the House of our stand.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I appreciate his sports metaphors since I was a defender in soccer, although I was never a good goal scorer.

[English]

    I wonder if the member could expand a little bit further on how this really is a team engagement that we are undertaking as part of a whole-of-government approach, and maybe speak to the multi-faceted efforts that our women and men in uniform, our diplomatic forces, as well as our political leadership will undertake to help resolve the issues that are ongoing in the region where we seek to play a prominent role.
    Mr. Speaker, as a number of speakers have pointed out in the course of these debates over the past number of days, we plan to do a number of things. Obviously we plan to support our allies in the continuation of the bombing mission, as our hon. friend from across the way pointed out.
    A number of countries have recently joined, like France, to increase the allies' air power. We do not need to do that. We are moving to other things of equal importance, and perhaps even more important, moving forward, such as training troops in the ground, the humanitarian mission on the group, helping people, helping to avoid those situations that create refugees, and intelligence gathering, which is of critical importance in all of these theatres, as our Minister of National Defence knows because he has first-hand knowledge from doing it.
    At the end of the day, we will move to a position where Daesh will be defeated, and we will be well served by having these people on the ground.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the House that I will be splitting my time with the member for Drummond.
    Like all MPs, New Democrats welcome the opportunity to have this debate in the House on how best to engage and defeat ISIS.
     It is interesting to see that the Liberal government is following the precedent set by the Conservatives of asking Parliament to approve the deployment of Canadian troops in active conflict zones. I say that carefully because both the Conservatives and the Liberals are saying that the motions they brought before the House were not for combat missions.
    What are we asking the House to do? I guess the precedent is now approving the deployment of troops in active conflict zones.
    We in the New Democratic Party believe that this is entirely appropriate, as there are few other decisions that governments make that could be more important than placing Canadian troops in harm's way. Yet, public debate seems to have veered into a narrow cul-de-sac over this question of whether or not this is in fact a combat mission. This is peculiar to me, in that the military mission at the core of the motion before us today seems virtually identical to the previous Conservative mission, however we label it.
    No, Canadian jets are not going to be the ones dropping the bombs, but Canada will remain fully a part of the allied bombing mission, with our two Aurora surveillance planes and a refuelling plane. In addition, we will also be sending four helicopters to fly missions over Iraq; not to mention that, as General Vance confirmed on Friday, Canadian Forces will continue to help paint targets on the ground for the allied bombing missions.
    The other part of the military mission in this motion, what is sometimes loosely called a “training mission”, still explicitly includes advising and assisting local troops, including accompanying Kurdish troops to the front line and, according to General Vance again, fighting ISIS when necessary.
    With the tripling of this part of the mission, Canada is clearly headed into greater involvement in on-the-ground fighting, and for most Canadians, if Canadian Forces are at the front lines and fighting ISIS when necessary, then this is in fact a combat mission.
    Once again, let me say that I believe that all members of the House have confidence in the Canadian Forces and that none doubts their capabilities, whether we are talking about a bombing mission or a training mission; nor does anyone doubt their willingness to fight or stand in harm's ways, as required, in the service of Canada and world peace.
    I would go further even and defend the Canadian Forces, and in particular General Vance, from being sideswiped by this semantic debate over the nature of the mission, because I believe the Canadian defence staff has always been clear in describing the Iraq mission as a hybrid mission, one that is somewhere between traditional combat and non-combat missions.
    For the Liberal government, the problem is that it argued previously that the Conservative mission was a combat mission and it clearly and specifically called in the campaign for an end to what it described as Canada's combat mission in Iraq. Now, what we are seeing is that the Liberal mission label has morphed, rather than the actual mission itself. Unfortunately, as one of my friends has begun to say, sometimes it appears that red may be the new blue.
    Returning to the motion before us today, it seems clear there is a convention that Canadian governments should bring motions before the House for a debate and vote. It is just ironic that we have both the Conservatives and Liberals saying that their motions were non-combat missions.
    However, there is something more at stake here than just the ironies of political spin. The motion before us is more than just the military component. In fact, a wag might even describe it as an omnibus motion.
    Nevertheless, New Democrats are glad to see the renewed emphasis on diplomacy, the renewed commitment to aid conflict-afflicted populations in the region, and the ongoing commitment to refugee assistance in this motion. New Democrats have always argued that Canada needs to do its part in humanitarian aid to the region and with regard to refugees.
    The government's lofty goals for refugee assistance are laudable, even if most of the on-the-ground delivery so far has been provided by private sponsorship groups, and even if significant gaps remain in this program. As the government well knows, I remain very concerned about the effectiveness of government measures to assist those most at risk: LGBT refugees in the region.
    The need for increased humanitarian assistance in the region is increasingly urgent. When I was in the region two weeks ago, there was enormous concern that the pressure of 1.9 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, 1.2 million in Lebanon, and more than 650,000 in Jordan might engulf Iraq's and Syria's neighbours in the conflict. There is little doubt that Lebanon and Jordan face imminent economic and social collapse, with refugees equalling 20% and 10% of their populations, respectively.
     So, the measures called for in this motion to provide that aid are extremely important. However, again, the question before us is at its core how to best contribute to the struggle against ISIS.

  (1330)  

    Once again, every one of us in the House recognizes that ISIS is a threat to global peace and security. New Democrats, like all other parties in this House, have condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist acts of ISIL and its violent extremist ideology. We deplore its continued gross, systematic, and widespread abuses of human rights. We not only believe that the international community has the obligation to stop ISIS expansion, to help refugees, and fight the spread of violent extremism, but we also believe that Canada should be a leader in that effort. However, New Democrats have been clear in our position that the current mission is not the right role for Canada. We see little difference between the Conservative and Liberal versions. We think this military mission should end rather than be expanded. We are concerned at the open-ended nature of the commitment we are now making.
    The bombing and the other measures taken so far have not stopped ISIS from administering territory and acting like a state, and that is the key to its legitimacy in its own ideological terms and the key to its authority to command loyalty from its followers, both locally and abroad. The bombing remains a strategic failure, whatever its tactical successes.
    The government's alternative of training Iraqi forces to combat ISIS also seems to suffer from the same narrow tactical focus. Even if successful, it is unlikely to achieve the strategic goal of defeating ISIS. It suggests that we can accomplish the short-term goal of eliminating the threat with a tactic that, at best, takes years to accomplish.
     After more than a decade of assistance in air and ground campaigns, followed by an on-the-ground training mission involving up to 3,000 Canadians over an equally long period, where are we in the struggle against the Taliban in Afghanistan? In December, the Kandahar airport was overrun for a day, with more than 70 people killed; and just last week the Afghan government admitted it was conceding control of virtually the whole province of Helmand to the Taliban.
    What is the NDP advocating if it is neither the Conservative option of more bombing nor the Liberal option of surrogate bombing and more training? The best strategy for eliminating the threat from ISIS is to deprive it of that ability to control territory through means other than the military fight it wants and needs. This is exactly what the UN Security Council called for in its resolutions 2170 and 2199. These two resolutions lay out exactly the kind of leadership role Canada can play in fighting this threat to global peace and security.
    Each day, ISIS is still earning between $1 million and $3 million from its sale of oil on black markets. This has to be stopped if we are to have any hope of beating ISIS. It is again ironic that we are seeing reports that low oil prices are beginning to do this job for us, as ISIS is reportedly having trouble meeting payrolls due to declining income from oil sales. The end of ISIS might come much faster if we acknowledge that oil is not sold in buckets or paid for in cash and if Canada took a leadership role in bankrupting ISIS. Instead, Canada has registered just one conviction for terrorist financing, in 2010, and nothing since then.
    In 2013, the global Arms Trade Treaty was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to keep weapons out of the hands of those who would use them to commit war crimes, abuse human rights, or engage in organized crime—groups exactly like ISIS. Three years later, Canada remains the only NATO country that has refused to sign the global Arms Trade Treaty despite the Liberal campaign promise to do so.
    When it comes to the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS, Canada clearly lags behind its allies. Communities across this country have reached out to the federal government, both under the Conservatives and the Liberals, asking for help to protect youth from ISIS's sophisticated recruitment techniques. However, the motion before us contains no mention of, let alone any plan, to step up deradicalization efforts.
     Why are we not leading on these broader goals? Why are we instead sticking to a tactical rather than a strategic approach? It is hard to understand, unless, of course, the measures that we would have to take to end the flow of funds and the flow of arms might end up embarrassing some of Canada's allies and friends. Not one of the actions we are proposing in any way backs away from the confrontation with ISIS. Some would eventually require the use of military forces to seal the borders against oil exports or arms movements. The contribution they would require from Canada would require in turn a robust Canadian military equipped with the tools it needs to get the job done.
    Despite promises to return to the House in two years, what we really have in this motion is an open-ended commitment of the same kind that saw Canada remain in Afghanistan for more than a decade and, as I said, with questionable results against the Taliban. The NDP is not afraid of committing Canadian Forces to difficult tasks on the international scene, but it should be with a clear mandate from an international organization like the UN or NATO, and it should be with clear goals and clear measures of success, alongside a clear exit strategy. Canada has a long and proud history of this kind of contribution. We can and should step up as leaders again. Unfortunately, this motion does not offer us that opportunity.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to listen to a number of NDP members address the House on this issue and I applaud the member, as he is probably a little bolder than most of his colleagues. He seemed to give the impression that Canada's role should be based strictly on depriving the economic needs of terrorists to beat them. I am not convinced that it is just purely economics.
    On the one hand, we have New Democrats saying that we should not be playing any role. On the other hand, we are being criticized by the Conservatives because we are pulling out the CF-18s. I think we are losing the point of what the Government of Canada is doing. We believe that we need to support our allies by providing the technical expertise that we can offer, allowing our experienced professionals within the forces to better train the Iraqi forces and others so that they can fight ISIS on the ground.
     Does the member not acknowledge that to defeat ISIS, something has to happen on the ground and that Canada can play a leadership role in using our expertise to better train and advise ground troops so that we could have a long-term—
    The hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member listened all that carefully to what we have been saying on this side of the House, because we support the government's initiatives to provide aid to refugees and humanitarian assistance to prevent the collapse of surrounding countries. We have also called for anti-radicalization measures, which unfortunately are not mentioned in the motion.
    However, when the member talks about what we have to do on the ground, he misses the point that I have made several times in the House. It is that what ISIS members are looking for is direct military confrontation, which in their ideology they see as happening near the city of Dabiq where the west will be defeated, ushering in the end of the world and the end of all time.
    It is much more important that we cut off their ability to control the territory that makes them a caliphate and allows them to command loyalty locally and to recruit around the world. If we cut off those abilities, not just the finances, but the flow of arms as well and the flow of foreign fighters, we would defeat ISIS. It is not a tactical defeat we are looking for, but a strategic defeat of this fundamentalist ideology.
    Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member talks about cutting off arms and such toward ISIS, it is an awfully easy answer. A far more difficult problem is how do we do that? I would like the member to answer that question. How do we do that?
     Mr. Speaker, of course, the obvious answer to that is something that I talked about in my speech and New Democrats have talked about again and again. The first step is to sign the Arms Trade Treaty, which the Conservatives refused to do with some spurious excuse that it affected gun owners in Canada.
     Today in the news there are stories of arms manufactured in Canada ending up in quite the wrong hands in Yemen. So we can do a much better job, starting by signing the treaty and putting in better policing of arms exports from Canada in terms of end users. In terms of stopping the flow into the country, the problem seems to be that some of our “friends” like Saudi Arabia seem to be quite free in spreading around the regions the arms purchased in Canada.
    So there is a lot we could do to cut off those arms supplies.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always a great pleasure to listen to my friend speak in the House. He is always so eloquent and brings a lot of detail to a debate that is often confused by the two other parties.
    I have a question, for which I have been trying to get an answer for the last two days of debate, on whether or not this is a combat mission. Perhaps my friend could bring his perspective to that question.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think it is a cul-de-sac we have run into. We are clearly in a combat zone where Canadian troops are at the front lines. They will inevitably be drawn into what most people would call combat.
    Rather than spend a lot of time debating whether it is or is not combat, I am going to go back to General Vance who said it is a hybrid mission somewhere between traditional combat missions and some kind of peacekeeping mission, but there is no doubt at all that Canadian troops will be on the front line. They will do their best when they are there and we will all support them in those efforts. What we are questioning is whether this is the best way to defeat ISIS.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke on his excellent speech and his thorough understanding of the subject. We are lucky to have members who are experts in this domain right here in the NDP. We are very happy about that.
    This is a very important debate. This debate is about the government's motion to prolong Canada's military mission against the so-called Islamic State and other related issues. It is very important to discuss this today. This issue affects everyone in Canada in general and, from my perspective, the people of greater Drummond in particular.
    Before we even talk about the government's proposal, I would like to talk about what is missing from the proposal. One thing that is missing is deradicalization. The motion says nothing about the importance of fighting radicalization right here in Canada and fighting to ensure that all of the communities that make up our great nation feel included.
    I would like to thank the Regroupement interculturel de Drummondville for the wonderful event it held on Saturday and congratulate the organization. Drummondville has welcomed close to 40 Syrians. They have been welcomed in Drummondville, and we are very proud of that. We will ensure that these people feel welcome and that they can learn French and be integrated into our community. We will create opportunities for cultural exchange. That is what happened on Saturday. We sampled Syrian food and talked to the Syrian newcomers with the help of interpreters. We also had an opportunity to give them warm clothing. The people of Drummondville knitted hats and scarves and gave them to the new Syrian residents who arrived a month or even just days ago. We are very proud of that.
     Before I get into the details of the motion currently before us, I would like to talk about what happened on November 20, 2015, at the UN Security Council. Resolution 2249 was adopted unanimously. It calls upon member states to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed in the territory that has fallen into the hands of ISIL in Syria and Iraq. The resolution does not authorize military intervention. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Over the longer-term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not the power of missiles—it is the politics of inclusion.”
    That is what is so crucial. That is also why I want to recognize what has been achieved in my riding by the Regroupement interculturel de Drummondville and the Goûts du Monde co-operative. It is important to ensure social cohesion and the inclusion of all communities. It begins with small steps like the ones in Drummondville, and I hope similar things are happening all across Canada. That is also what needs to be done locally, on the ground. I think that is far more important than bombs.
    In that respect, the NDP has been very clear about our positions. That is very important to us. The Liberal Prime Minister's new mission raises some questions that remain unanswered. On the contrary, the new mission is very vague. Canadian Forces personnel are being pushed even further into a combat role, even though the Liberals said early on that they wanted to pull away from a combat role and focus on training. We find this very troubling.
    Furthermore, by increasing the number of soldiers on the front lines, as the Prime Minister said, the Liberals are committing Canada to a larger military role with no end date or parameters to define the success of the mission.

  (1345)  

    As I mentioned, the NDP is truly concerned by the direction being taken by the Liberals. They said they wanted to withdraw from the military role, but that does not seem to be the case. On the contrary, there will be more soldiers on the ground. Unfortunately, we need only think of what happened to Sergeant Doiron, who was killed even though he was supposedly there in a training role. We have learned that when missions are not well defined or clear and do not have specific parameters, we find ourselves in situations where we run the risk of having even more problems and where the lives of soldiers will probably be at risk. That is not what the people of the Drummond area want.
    It is very important to us that the mission in Syria be clearly defined, which is not currently the case. On the contrary, the Liberals will triple the number of so-called advisers working with Iraqi security forces. Some of them will work in a battlefield context. Others will explore means of enhancing in-theatre tactical transport. Consequently, instead of reducing the number of armed forces members, they are talking about tripling the number of members deployed. That is very worrisome.
    That is why the UN Security Council is urging member states to increase their efforts in the fight against ISIL, particularly by stopping the influx of terrorists fighters to the region and by cutting off the group's funding. We would have liked the government to focus on these areas and to fight radicalization here in Canada.
    The matter of the Arms Trade Treaty is of great concern. As members know, it is very worrisome that the current government has not yet signed this treaty. It must be ratified. That is the first urgent order of business. It would help to stop ISIL's advance and would be more effective than deploying our soldiers on the ground in the short term.
    As I mentioned, we are very concerned about this mission and we hope that, in the short term, the Liberal government will sign this non-proliferation treaty. It would be a big help.
    We have had some concerns for a long time. First, this combat mission was not being run under a United Nations or NATO mandate. The NDP believes it is important to take a multilateral approach to armed conflict. That is why we are calling on the government to sit down with representatives from the United Nations and organizations like NATO, in order to find long-term, multilateral solutions, and not solutions motivated by special interests. The United States is essentially running the coalition right now. We need a neutral coalition, such as a multilateral UN mission. That is very important to us, and that is missing from the Liberals' mission and motion. This is a big concern for us.
    In closing, I want to come back to the importance of working on an international scale, as we mentioned, either by signing the non-proliferation treaty or by ensuring that we are participating in a multilateral UN-sanctioned mission. Furthermore, we must continue to combat radicalization within Canada and to do more, to get involved, as we saw in Drummondville on Saturday. The Regroupement interculturel de Drummondville, or RID, and the Goûts du Monde co-operative recently took action on including and welcoming all communities.

  (1350)  

    If we want our country to be more welcoming, these communities will have to have a better relationship.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, could my hon. colleague perhaps elaborate on the notion that we are not doing enough to stem radicalization and other issues, and how we would manage to do that if we are not engaging in training on the ground?
    This is a comprehensive strategy that looks at the whole picture. It is holistic. It is something for which my colleagues across the way have often advocated.
    As a government that is committed to working with our coalition partners in the world, it is important for us to ensure we are addressing this at a military level, a humanitarian level, and a diplomatic level.
    I would greatly appreciate it If my colleague could please elaborate on how he expects us to solve this very protracted conflict in way that does not deal with those other pillars.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    The words my colleague used in asking her question illustrate the fuzziness of the motion. Will this be a military mission or a training mission? She said herself that this is a military mission and a training mission. It is not clear.
    We want to know what the Liberals want. Do they want a military ground mission? If that is what they want, that is not what they are saying. However, it feels like that is what they are saying. We are very concerned that the training mission will shift to a military mission. Today, when the hon. member asked her question, she used that word, and that is quite worrisome.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech, and to the speech of the member before him.
    It seems like we are getting a false choice from both the Liberals and the NDP. They say that we should not do one thing because we should be doing another.
    On our side of the House, we see value in many different kinds of ways of being engaged in the region, such as humanitarian assistance; anti-radicalization, and I gave a speech on that earlier; addressing terrorist financing and maybe some other good ideas coming from the other parties on that.
    Could we not also include a military response? We have an imminent threat to vulnerable populations in the region. Why, in addition to this suite of other very important activities, can we not be acting in a military way to protect the vulnerable?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Conservatives asked me that.
    The Conservatives were in power not so long ago. They had the opportunity to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, but they did not. When we talk about tangible, short-term actions that can undermine the so-called Islamic State, that is a very simple thing the previous government could have done, but unfortunately it dropped the ball. Ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty would have been a very simple tangible action. Unfortunately, it did not happen.

  (1355)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it was my private member's bill in the last session that caused our government not to sign onto the ATT. We are not committed to it. It really does not prevent criminals from selling firearms. That is the long and the short of it.
    It is the perception of the NDP that just because a law is created, ISIS or criminals will follow that law. I guess it is that kind of misunderstanding. Furthermore, signing on to the ATT for Canadians means another form of long gun registry, a back door registry.
    Does my NDP colleague think ISIS will follow the ATT?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, some things are missing from the motion. One of those missing things is deradicalization here at home. Why did I mention this? In Drummondville, we have been fortunate to welcome around 40 Syrians.
    Not only is it very important to welcome them, but we must also be there for them and ensure that they are included in every community in order to avoid potential problems of radicalization. That is what the Liberal government must do. It must have the necessary tools for combatting radicalization. Unfortunately, the Liberal government is not making the right moves in that regard.
    Mr. Speaker, we must not give people fish; we must teach them how to fish. We will triple the size of our mission to train the forces on the ground that are fighting Daesh. Our plan is not to withdraw our help from the region, but to be effective and provide significant assistance on the ground. That is in line with the UN objective my colleague mentioned.
    Does my colleague not believe that training is important? Would he prefer to send no advisors?
    My colleague wants us to do more to degrade the Daesh forces. Does he therefore agree that tripling the number of advisors will improve the situation in the long term by giving people the tools they need to fight Daesh on the ground?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is particularly relevant.
    That is exactly what we are trying to understand about the Liberals' point of view. We cannot tell if it is a training mission or a military mission. They are going to triple the number of troops on the ground. We are very concerned because we do not know if this is supposed to be a mission to train or to assist. How is this going to play out?
    We have no specifics, no benchmarks, no end date. That is what worries us about their mission. We have no guarantees that this will be a training mission, and we are concerned that it might turn into a military mission.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Lifeline Sudbury

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an organization whose work has greatly facilitated the welcoming of refugees in our riding. That organization is Lifeline Sudbury.

[English]

    Lifeline Sudbury is made up of 17 community groups, including the local mosque, the local synagogue, various Christian churches, and community service clubs.
    Lifeline has brokered resources and donations from a variety of stakeholders and helped to welcome Syrian families to Sudbury. So far, two Syrian families have arrived and started to settle in Sudbury. Their children are all in school, and one father has already found employment.
    Sudbury has embraced both families warmly, and we look forward to welcoming many more families in the months to come.

[Translation]

    We must continue to welcome those who are in need. We firmly believe that it will only make our communities stronger, more prosperous, and more resilient in the future.
    Let us recognize Lifeline Sudbury and all groups doing similar work all across Canada.

[English]

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Wellington

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the privilege of attending the 40th Annual Bowl for Kids Sake in Mount Forest, in my riding of Perth—Wellington. This is an annual fundraiser in support of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Wellington.
     In 1976, Marnie Mainland and her team of volunteers raised $500 during the very first bowl-a-thon. Fast forward 40 years later, and Teri Dykeman and her team of volunteers are looking to raise over $50,000 in support of the programs for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
     I had the opportunity to bowl a few frames with my provincial and municipal colleagues, as well as with some volunteers and local young people. The real winners were the kids, not just because they schooled us at bowling, but also because of the opportunities they will be provided with through the funds raised.
    I would like to wish all the volunteers with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Wellington all the best in achieving their goals. I thank them for their service to our community and to our young people.

  (1400)  

Paul Anthony Palleschi

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to former regional councillor, Mr. Paul Anthony Palleschi.
    Papa Palleschi, as he was commonly known in Brampton, represented the residents of Wards 2 and 6, part of which fall into my riding of Brampton North. He served the City of Brampton as councillor for nearly 30 years. Those who served with him recall his desire for public service and his wild sense of humour.
    Papa Palleschi served on numerous boards and committees, including being the president of Peel Living. He also chaired the city's planning committee, and was instrumental in raising money for various local initiatives. Most notably were his efforts in raising approximately $1 million for William Osler health hospitals.
    His passing will leave a void in the hearts of Bramptonians and the local political scene.
    On behalf of the House, I extend my condolences to his wife Patricia, his daughter Michelle, and his son, Councillor Michael Palleschi, who carries on his father's legacy.

[Translation]

Housing and Homelessness

    Mr. Speaker, unfortunately my riding is facing the same housing and homelessness problems that plague many communities across Canada.
    A rent subsidy has allowed Jacques Bacon to live in decent co-op housing for nearly 30 years, despite his meagre earnings due to his functional limitations. If the federal government does not renew funding for social housing agreements, Mr. Bacon's rent will double and he could wind up in the street.
    The new housing first initiative under the homelessness partnering strategy, or HPS, brought in by the Conservatives will actually cut funding to measures intended to prevent homelessness.
    Due to staff shortages, the Foyer de jeunes travailleurs et travailleuses de Montréal has had to close nine rooms intended for young people at risk of homelessness, and the CAP Saint-Barnabé overnight shelter has been closed in the cold because two out of four staff positions had to be cut as a result of the Conservatives' initiative.
    Everyone is talking about social housing, but at the same time, most of the funding to prevent homelessness has been cut. If the Liberal government does not do something to fix this situation immediately, then we are in trouble.

Pure-Pak by Elopak

    Mr. Speaker, October 19 was a very important day for everyone sitting here, to say the least. However, us parliamentarians were not the only ones celebrating on the evening of October 19, 2015.
    A 300,000 square-foot factory in Boisbriand, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, called Elopak celebrated the 100th anniversary of its Pure-Pak patent, the famous paperboard gable-top milk carton that it manufactures and we use daily.
    This company, of Scandinavian origin, produces 60% of the liquid packaging solutions in Canada and produces them for a host of companies in the United States and Mexico.
    I congratulate the company on 100 years of accomplishment and celebrate with it the invention that has stood the test of time, against all expectations.

[English]

Ivan Mater

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a great Conservative in my riding of Sarnia-Lambton, who passed away this week at the age of 96.
     Ivan Mater grew up on the family farm in the prairies during the depression before joining the Royal Canadian Navy in 1941 and crossing the Atlantic 30 times during World War II.
    After the war, Ivan helped to build the Sarnia General Hospital, churches, apartment buildings, and Dow Chemical. He was a long-time member of the Conservative Party, the Golden “K” Kiwanis club, the Central Baptist Church, the Shriners, and the Royal Canadian Legion.
    His wisdom, his love of gardening, and his care for others will be sorely missed.
    I ask members to please join me in extending sympathies to his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren.

Robert Rooney

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the late Robert Rooney, co-founder of the Wakefield International Film Festival, for his important contributions to the riding of Pontiac.
    Held annually since 2010, the Wakefield International Film Festival has inspired and united our community by presenting the best new documentaries to packed audiences in our rural riding.

[Translation]

    Robert planned the 2016 festival, which is currently under way. It was his last artistic work before his death on January 5, 2016.
    Robert was a community builder and a creative force. He believed that the documentary genre could be an agent for change and a way to share important life experiences.

  (1405)  

[English]

    A filmmaker, director, and activist in his own right, Robert helped to arrange Nelson Mandela's first public visit to Canada.
    I commend Robert Rooney's social, political, and artistic contributions. In his honour and in the honour of his wife, Brenda, I invite members to attend the 2016 Wakefield International Film Festival, which is so close to Ottawa and has two weekends of screening remaining.

2016 Canadian Junior Curling Champions

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate a team of young female curlers from Nova Scotia for their gold medal win in the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championship, which took place in Stratford, Ontario between January 23 and 30.
    The Nova Scotia team of Mary Fay, Kristin Clarke, Karlee Burgess, and Janique LeBlanc defeated the British Columbia rink by a score of nine to five. The team's lead, Janique LeBlanc, is a resident of my riding.

[Translation]

    Shortly before the tournament, Janique suddenly lost her father, Jacques LeBlanc, a strong defender of the Acadian culture and language in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
    This was a very tough loss. However, Janique's strength, determination, and dedication to her sport and her teammates helped her to overcome a tremendous challenge with extraordinary results.

[English]

    Once again, I would like to congratulate the team.

The Liberal Party of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, it would appear as though the sunny ways are over. On February 2, Wiarton Willie predicted that we are in for a long cold winter, and so far he seems to be right, at least when it comes to the current Liberal government.
     Now, do not let the member for Cape Breton—Canso and the infamous Shubenacadie Sam fool you with their predictions of an early spring and more sunny ways. Canadians from coast to coast to coast know that they are in for a cold one, with deficits and federal spending spiralling out of control and the government committing to backing away from the fight against ISIS. I know that Wiarton Willie certainly would not cut and run.
    Surely, Sam will point to his buddy in Balzac for support. Balzac Billy also predicted that we were in for an early spring, but poor Billy and the member for Banff—Airdrie have not been sure which way to turn since the NDP took over in Alberta.
    At least we can trust Wiarton Willie to give us the cold hard truth. With the current Liberal government at the helm, we are in for a long cold winter.

[Translation]

Black History Month

    Mr. Speaker, as we approach the end of Black History Month, I rise today in the House to talk about the future of blacks, especially because I represent Little Burgundy, one of the black community's historic neighbourhoods in Montreal.
    Although it is a poor community, Little Burgundy has produced an amazing number of international jazz legends, such as Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones, as well as two governors general, including the first black woman to hold that position, Michaëlle Jean.

[English]

    Little Burgundy has one of the highest concentrations of social housing in North America. Coupled with ongoing discrimination, the soaring cost of living is the greatest source of exclusion in society and compromises the future of the black community. This government will right this wrong by investing billions in social housing and reforming family allocation to benefit nine out of ten Canadian families.
    As I celebrated Nelson Mandela Day at the historic Union United Church two weeks ago, I was reminded that freedom cannot ring without fairness, and fairness is an election promise that no member of Parliament can afford to break.

[Translation]

Students in Toronto—Danforth

    Mr. Speaker, since the new year began, many new Canadians have been arriving in our community from Syria, and students in my riding of Toronto—Danforth have been helping out.
    Canada is a welcoming country, and Canadians are warm-hearted.

[English]

    That is why students in grade schools across my riding have been crafting wonderful welcome to Canada cards for their neighbours.
    Students from Duke of Connaught and Chester's public school grade 4 extended French class have all crafted wonderful, in some cases, bilingual cards, which say, for example, “Canada is a War Free Zone! So you'll have a lot of fun. By the way, you should definitely go swimming in the summer because it can get really cold in the winter.” It is signed, “Your new friend”.
     These students exemplify the kind-heartedness that Canada is known for around the world. I would like to thank them for their warm welcome to the Syrian newcomers in my riding and offer my colleagues some of these fantastic cards to share with their new constituents.

  (1410)  

Government Spending

    Mr. Speaker, on the day when the Ontario finance minister is setting the stage for his ninth consecutive Liberal deficit, Canada's finance minister has announced that he will be bringing the same Liberal approach to Ottawa.
    The Liberals inherited a surplus of $2.2 billion. Guess what? It is already gone. In just 100 days the Liberals have gone on a $5 billion spending spree, and that is before taking any action on their platform spending commitments.
    We now know that the federal deficit will be in the range of $30 billion, three times the election promise. The finance minister is admitting that he will not fulfill the mandate letter of the Prime Minister, which directed him to balance the budget in the first term.
    The Liberals have big plans to recklessly spend on borrowed money and no plans to pay it back. They have abandoned all of their fiscal anchors, and Canadian families and businesses will be on the hook to foot the bill.

Heart and Stroke Foundation

    Mr. Speaker, last night I had dinner with my folks. That is something for which I am grateful. Three months ago my dad had a triple bypass.
    February is Heart Month in Canada. Heart disease and stroke takes one life every seven minutes, and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor.
     Thanks to 125,000 dedicated volunteers and 1.4 million donors, the Heart and Stroke Foundation makes a difference in reducing the impact of this disease. Since its inception in 1952, the foundation has invested more than $1.45 billion in research, which is key in advancing the foundation's goal to reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke by 25% by the year 2020.
    We need to continue to inform our constituents about the importance of healthy living. By supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation this February, we can all make a real difference in the lives of Canadians.
    By the way, my dad is doing best kind.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the hard work of the constituents of Kootenay—Columbia, who are organizing to bring Syrian refugees to Canada.
     Across my riding, we are blessed to have many groups of dedicated citizens working toward this important goal, including the Creston Refugee Committee, the Kaslo Refugee Committee, the Kimberley Refugee Resettlement Group; in Cranbrook, the Hub for Refugees, the Catholic Refugee Group, and the Baptist Group of Friends; in Nelson, the Nelson Friends of Refugees, the Kootenay Refugee Committee, and the Cathedral Refugee Committee.
     I also want to recognize the work of the Nelson refugee coalition, which are currently hosting two women from East Africa, and is working to bring their nine children to Canada.
    I thank all of them for their tireless work, and I thank all of the groups across our country for demonstrating to the world the generosity of the Canadian spirit. We salute them.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Liberals invented a new term for a job-killing tax. The environment minister called their new carbon tax a “market mechanism”. I suppose to a Liberal, having the government decide the rate, impose it on the public, and forcibly collect the money makes it a market mechanism.
     If we look we might find other market mechanisms: the personal income market mechanism, where a certain percentage of everything someone earns gets taken by force by the federal government; or the goods and services market mechanism, which forces consumers to pay 5% more for everything they buy. Of course, when people sell something at a profit, they will have to pay capital gains market mechanisms on that too.
    Canadians will not be fooled by this newspeak. They know when the government imposes a fee or a cost on something that it is a tax.
    Instead of inventing new terms to hide their real agenda, the Liberals should just come clean. Their double-talk is market “mechanisming” our patience.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, last week, Surrey—Newton experienced an armed standoff that thankfully ended peacefully. Much of the crime that continues to impact Surrey's streets is directly related to illegal firearms smuggled into Canada.
    Today, I rise to praise the Prime Minister's commitment to provide $100 million each year to the provinces and territories to support the guns and gangs police task forces to take illegal guns off of our streets and to reduce gang violence. This is a very strong first step to counteract gun violence across Canada. This is welcome news for all residents of Surrey—Newton who are tired of living in fear in their own neighbourhoods.
     I can assure my constituents that this government is committed to being proactive on the issue of gun violence and gangs, and we will continue to take active steps to ensure that illegal guns remain off our streets.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

  (1415)  

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, today is a troubling day for Canadian taxpayers and Canadians who have lost their jobs. We have found out today that the Liberals have no plan to create jobs. They have no plan to control their spending. The only plan they have is to borrow more money.
     What the Liberals do not seem to realize is that it does not matter how much they borrow or why they borrow it, someone has to pay it back at the end of the day.
    Does the Prime Minister now realize that budgets do not balance themselves?
    Mr. Speaker, I was surprised to hear the member opposite try to say that “now is not the time to spend based on slow economic growth”. Not only do we disagree with the member opposite, we ran a campaign on exactly our disagreement on that.
     It looks like Canadians agreed with us. We will invest in infrastructure. We will put money in the pockets of the middle class and those working hard to join it. We will invest in innovation with the kind of future and growth that the economy needs. That is exactly what we committed to doing. That is exactly what we are doing.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals squandered a surplus in less than 100 days, and now today we learned that they want to borrow $18 billion for expenses already incurred. We also learned that they will borrow at least another $10 billion. Instead of taking responsibility, they are trying to blame everyone else for their poor economic management.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us who will pay for all of this?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians have long been paying for the Conservatives' 10 years of dismal economic performance. The Conservatives were unable to create the necessary growth and did not invest in a strong future and in the manufacturing industry.
    Our country has been in need of growth for 10 years. That is exactly why we were elected: to invest in the economy, grow the middle class, and give everyone a better future.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what Canadians got for the last 10 years was an actual plan, a plan that created 1.3 million net new jobs, a plan that lowered taxes to the lowest level in 50 years, a plan that balanced the budget and created a surplus. What did that mean? It meant that Canada became the best place in the world to invest in and create jobs in. What did those guys do in 100 days? They blew that record.
     Does the Prime Minister understand that Canadians actually want a plan, not just more Liberal spending?
    Mr. Speaker, for 10 years, Canadians put up with a previous government that twisted the numbers, that picked and chose what it wanted to say, and refused to accept that it ran us into deficit in 2015-16.
     We inherited a need to invest in our economy, to fix the wrongs that the previous government was unable to fix, to create the growth, the support, the investments that would lead to a better future for all Canadians. That is what we got elected to do, and that is what we will deliver.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives left the house clean and orderly.
    According to the finance department's Fiscal Monitor, the Conservatives left a $1-billion surplus. Today, the Liberals are running an $18.4-billion deficit. That does not make any sense.
    Obviously, the Liberals were not ready to govern. The Prime Minister needs to get his act together. I appeal to his sense of responsibility.
    Will he finally get government spending under control so that all Canadians can live comfortably?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the member opposite is trying to say. However, he obviously was not keeping a very close eye on what his colleagues were doing over the past 10 years. The Conservatives were fudging the figures and now they are once again trying to claim that they left a magical surplus.
    The reality is that they left us a deficit. We were elected on a promise to invest in our communities. The Conservatives are proposing even more cuts. That is not what this country needs.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to trust the civil servants who work for his own finance department. They say that the Conservatives left a $1-billion surplus.
    However, we should not be surprised by such a poor track record, since barely a year ago, the Prime Minister said that budgets balance themselves. Now, the Prime Minister's dream world has just fallen like a house of cards in front of him. The reality is that the Liberals are already running an $18.4-billion deficit.
    When will the Prime Minister regain control over government spending?
    Mr. Speaker, what the previous government never understood and what the Conservatives clearly still do not understand is that economic growth creates jobs and prosperity. The fact that the Conservatives were unable to create economic growth for 10 years landed us in the situation we are in now.
    The Conservatives refuse to accept that and are even proposing that we continue to make cuts instead of investing in the Canadian economy. That is completely absurd. That is exactly what they are proposing and that is why they are sitting on the opposition benches today.

Air Canada

    Mr. Speaker, 2,600 Aveos workers feel betrayed.
    When the Prime Minister was in opposition in 2012, he was by their side armed with a megaphone and chanting “So-so-so-solidarity!” He said:
It is such a shame that we have to demonstrate to ask the government...to obey the law.
    He even lamented the broken promises. Now that he is in power, he wants to take away those same workers' rights vis-à-vis Air Canada.
     What changed for the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, of course we are very concerned about Bombardier workers across the country losing their jobs. That is why we need to invest in the manufacturing industry and high-end manufacturing.
    We are also very proud of the agreement with Air Canada that will keep maintenance services for the new C Series planes in Quebec for 20 years. That is good news for workers in the industry, and we will continue to encourage investment in the aerospace industry here in Canada and in Quebec.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, so much for his principles. We are talking about 2,600 good jobs at Aveos. They had to go to court twice to protect those jobs, and they won both times.
    The Air Canada Public Participation Act, the law, is crystal clear. Maintenance jobs have to stay in Montreal, Mississauga, and Winnipeg.
    In 2012, the Liberal leader agreed. He stood by the workers, even rallied with them here on Parliament Hill. However, today he wants to take away their rights.
    Does the Prime Minister only support workers when the Conservatives are in power?
    Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. We are happy to work with the industry and with workers, to make sure we are getting good-quality jobs here in Canada. That is why we salute the Air Canada deal to buy 45 C Series Bombardier planes, where maintenance will be done specifically in Quebec for the next 20 years. This means good jobs.
    This is the kind of good work we are doing here. That is exactly what we are going to continue to do, to ensure that we have a strong and growing economy for everyone in this country.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, the finance minister, today, announced growing deficits but refused to say whether struggling Canadians will get the help they were promised.
    Families in Alberta and Saskatchewan are being hit hard by rising job losses; but while unemployment is going up, the number of Canadians receiving unemployment insurance is actually going down. This is a broken system, and families are paying the price.
    Alberta is asking the federal government to act quickly by lowering the threshold for eligibility and by extending benefits.
    Will the Prime Minister listen and act, yes or no?
    Yes, Mr. Speaker. We have been listening. We made a commitment during the election campaign to strengthen the EI system. That is exactly what we are going to do.
    In fact, during the election campaign, we made a commitment to invest in communities, to help Canadians, to put more money in the pockets of middle-class Canadians.
    The member opposite made a campaign promise, as we all know, to balance the budget, which means right now he would be cutting billions of dollars from the Canadian economy instead of making the investments we need. Therefore, I am happy to talk about campaign promises.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, only 36% of workers who lose their jobs will have access to employment insurance.
    The Liberal government is abandoning thousands of workers and their families. One thing is certain, those families will not be able to pay their rent, or their bills, or buy groceries with the Prime Minister's empty rhetoric.
    Will the Liberals create a universal 360-hour eligibility threshold for employment insurance, or not?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are committed to improving the employment insurance system to ensure that Canadians across the country who need it have access to it. That is exactly what we are going to do and we will invest in the economy.
    The opposition member unfortunately promised to make cuts to the economy instead of investing in it. We are going to make the necessary investments to help families in need across the country.

[English]

The Economy

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance announced yet another outside consultant today to be appointed to head up a committee, this time to report in 2017 on the economy.
    So far, there has been a consultant to set an economic agenda, a consultant to help let them understand how to deliver on an agenda, and a consultant to figure out how to pick infrastructure projects. Is that not what the department of finance does?
    My question for the Minister of Finance is this. How long do Canadians have to wait for an actual plan, while these very expensive and high-priced men sit down to try to figure out the fate of the Canadian economy?
    Mr. Speaker, it will be March 22; that is how long.
    In the last election, Canadians made a choice. They made a choice between a party that said it wanted to make a plan to invest in growth, and another couple of parties that said they wanted to cut at all costs for a balanced budget. Canadians made the right choice.
     I would like us to consider the alternative right now. If one of the other parties were in power, we would have deep, massive cuts of tens of billions of dollars leading to higher unemployment while Canadians are troubled, and most likely in a recession.
    Canadians made the right choice.
    Mr. Speaker, the alternative would be that this country would still be in a surplus, as we left it.
    Even today, Canadians still do not know how much the Minister of Finance is borrowing from them to cover his Liberal government's deficit. What Canadians and his own officials do know is that the Conservatives left him a surplus.
    He laughingly rejects his own officials' conclusions, but is that not because he desperately needs to shift the blame away from his own mismanagement?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat to this House what I said before. One month or two months do not make a year.
    What we can see is that the revenues of the government go down in the last couple of months of the year, and the expenses go up. It is clear to us that the Conservatives, through their actions and inactions, left us with a deficit.
     That is our starting point, the Conservatives' deficit, and the $150 billion additional debt they left for Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, changes came about when they started spending more of Canadians' tax dollars. It must be embarrassing for the minister to visit his own department, because everybody there disagrees with him.
    The Prime Minister just accused us of picking and choosing numbers. Well, we did; we picked and chose his own finance department's numbers.
    For the second month in a row, the finance department's own report shows that Conservatives left the Liberals with a surplus. Does the minister accept this latest report. If not, who is he going to fire?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to repeat to this House that, this morning, we put out an economic update for Canadians to see. Our goal is to be open and transparent, so Canadians understand where we are at today and where we are going.
     What we have told Canadians is that the Conservatives left us with a deficit. Unfortunately, they are picking and choosing, month by month. At the end of the year, that is what we are left with.
    We are going to work to make the right investments, so we can grow this economy for the first time in a long time.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, to create an awesome company, it takes treasure and talent, but young companies often do not have the treasure to pay for the talent, so they use stock options. In fact, thousands of companies have grown through use of stock options right across this country, many of them entrepreneurs right here in Ottawa.
    They are now speaking out against the Liberal plan to double taxes on stock options, which they say would drive thousands of jobs and opportunities abroad.
    Will the Liberals announce they are reversing their plan to raise taxes on these job creators, so that we can keep these excellent opportunities right here at home?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, we made important commitments to Canadians during the course of our campaign.
    We said we were going to invest in the middle class. We have already started on that. We told Canadians we want to add a Canada child benefit for the most vulnerable. We also said we were going to invest in infrastructure and an innovative economy.
    We will be putting forth, in our 2016 budget, in just four short weeks, a program and a plan that will show Canadians how we are going to have a more innovative economy going forward.

[Translation]

Shipbuilding Industry

    Mr. Speaker, instead of providing work to Canadians, the Liberals would like to have the Royal Canadian Navy's ships built abroad. Canadian shipyards have the skills, expertise, and capacity for building those ships here, and the workers need those jobs.
    Jobs abroad and nothing for Canadians, is that the Liberal approach? Are the Liberals going to go back on their promises and abandon Canadian families like they are abandoning Albertan families?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this government is as committed as ever to the national shipbuilding strategy.
     No decision has been made with respect to the naval ships, the tugboats, yet. It is still in its infancy in terms of planning, but once decisions have been made, whatever we do will be in the best interest of Canadians and the Canadian industry.
    Mr. Speaker, the Royal Canadian Navy requires tugboats to serve its fleet, presenting an exciting opportunity for Canadian shipyards.
    Thousands of jobs in this country depend on a healthy shipbuilding sector, but the government is leaving people with uncertainty. Just this Friday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement said, “The vessels will be built in Canada”, but her officials now say that new vessels do not have to be built in Canada.
    Who is telling the truth here, and will the government stand and unequivocally state that those jobs will be staying in Canada and not exported?
    Mr. Speaker, as I said, we are still in the early stages of planning for the replacement of the tugboats for the navy.
    As we go down the path looking at what is required, that is when we will ensure that the best interests of Canadians are followed here in making sure that benefits go to Canadians and that the Canadian industry benefits from whatever we do with respect to the tugboats and any ships that are bought being made in Canada.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, last year the Liberals criticized the previous government and its rather loose definition of a combat mission.
    At the time, the Prime Minister's current advisor on foreign affairs said that the mission in Iraq was a combat mission. He called on the Conservatives to be more honest with Canadians. Now we have a new Prime Minister and the mission has been expanded, but we still do not have a clear answer.
    Will the minister stop denying the facts and admit that our soldiers are engaged in a combat mission?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, this is a non-combat mission. However, we are in a conflict zone. Our troops will be at risk. That is the reason why we have mitigated this with many aspects of bringing in certain capabilities.
    I also remind the member that our troops are very highly trained. I also point out that they are not the principal combatants. However, they have the inherent right to self-defence, and we have robust rules of engagement.
    Mr. Speaker, let us go through this one more time. Last year the Liberals complained about the former prime minister's tinkering with the definition of combat missions.
    Back then, the man who is now the Prime Minister's senior foreign policy adviser said that the Iraq mission was combat and that the government should be honest with Canadians about such a serious matter.
    The Prime Minister may have changed, but the mission has only expanded, and Canadians are still not getting a straight answer.
    Will the minister finally admit that, despite Liberal campaign promises, Canada's troops are still engaged in a combat mission in Iraq?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, we took a very thorough analysis on making sure that we supported our allies in the fight against ISIL.
    We are committed to defeating ISIL, and tripling the training mission and doubling the intelligence will help the coalition in this manner.
    I think the member would agree that ISIL is a horrible atrocity that has to be defeated, and Canadians, alongside their coalition partners, will do so.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, with oil prices at an all-time low, people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick are desperate and out of work. They are looking for a glimmer of hope.
    A job-killing carbon tax is the absolute last thing they need, a tax that would put a nail in the coffin of those people who work in the oil patch.
    Will the Minister of Natural Resources stand up to his cabinet colleagues? Would he stand up for jobs in Canada? Would he say no to a carbon tax and yes to Canadian jobs for the sake of the natural resources sector?
    Mr. Speaker, climate change is one of the major challenges of our generation. It is something we must address to ensure the sustainability of our environment for our children and our grandchildren. It also presents an enormous economic opportunity.
    Our government is providing leadership, working with the provinces and territories to bring about a pan-Canadian framework with respect to climate change.
     The Prime Minister will be meeting with his colleagues in Vancouver in a couple of weeks, and we will be working through a range of mechanisms, including addressing a price on carbon, as part of a broad-based strategy to address climate change.
    Mr. Speaker, how tone deaf can the government be? A carbon tax puts Canada at a huge competitive disadvantage. Investors are leaving Canada in droves because of the Liberals' confusing regulatory system. If job creators see a carbon tax, they are going to see that as Canada is closed for business.
    Is there a leader in the government who will be like the premier of Saskatchewan who wants Canada competitive and wants to see Canada open for business? Or under the Liberals, is Canada closed for business?
    An hon. member: Oh, oh!
    I know the member for Kenora is enthused about this. I know he is a long way down and I would encourage him to restrain himself.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment.
    Mr. Speaker, as I said before, this government is serious about addressing climate change. We understand the economic opportunity that is inherent in actually effectively addressing climate change. I would mention to the hon. member that 80% of Canadians already live in jurisdictions where the provincial governments have taken the lead in standing up and meeting our international obligations with respect to addressing climate change and carbon pricing.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, these are just more broken promises. At the Paris climate change conference, the Minister of Environment promised a nationwide climate change plan within 90 days. Now it is clear that the minister will not deliver on that plan. At the same time as the economy flounders, she is scheming to impose a carbon tax grab that will increase the price of everything, including gas, groceries, and heating.
    What is the minister hiding and when will Canadians finally see her climate change plan?
    Mr. Speaker, we have been pretty clear and pretty transparent. There is the first ministers meeting in Vancouver at the beginning of March where the Prime Minister will meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts to begin to map out a pan-Canadian approach to addressing climate change. This is an issue that this government takes seriously. Unlike the previous government, which talked for 10 years about climate change and did nothing, we intend to actually make progress.
    Mr. Speaker, the member now refers to beginning the discussion on a pan-Canadian climate change framework. Let me quote the minister on CBC, “We were setting the stage for a first ministers meeting that's going to take place at the beginning of March. Then that's when we're going to have this pan-Canadian framework”.
    Now it appears that the Liberals are just beginning those discussions in March. No climate change plan, only billions of dollars of spending on foreign vanity projects and a punishing new carbon tax on Canadians. Will the minister now admit that she is in way over her head?
    Mr. Speaker, we have very little to take from the opposition with respect to how to engage in federal-provincial relations in a constructive manner. This government intends to work in collaboration with the provinces and territories to define a pan-Canadian approach that will be effective in a manner that the previous government was unable to do.

  (1440)  

Health

     Mr. Speaker, the Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the government has discriminated against first nations children. Documents from Health Canada confirm what first nations people already knew. Rejecting orthodontic appeals for first nations children is standard. Almost 100% of claims are denied.
    These documents actually state that the government will provide these services if the parents agree to give up their children to foster care. This is unacceptable. What steps has the Minister of Health taken to end this discrimination?
    Mr. Speaker, our government and I are fully committed to ensuring that first nations families have access to the health services that they need when they need them. I have been working with Health Canada, with the first nations and Inuit health branch to address the serious health outcomes gaps that first nations and Inuit communities are experiencing. My colleague has spoken to me about this. We will continue to address these issues. We will continue to invest $2.5 billion per year and make sure that the system works for all Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, government documents submitted to the Human Rights Tribunal show that Health Canada routinely denies everything from motorized wheelchairs to specialized prescription drugs for indigenous children. I refer the minister to evidence tab 420 from the hearings, which relates to a four-year-old child who suffered severe anoxic brain injury and required a specialized medical bed so she could go home to her family. Health Canada wrote in response “absolutely not” and refused to pay.
    What directives has the minister given to her staff to end this malignant culture, so the culture of “absolutely no” for children finally becomes one of “absolutely yes”?
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is fully aware that my officials in Health Canada and the first nations and Inuit health branch have been speaking to him on a regular basis to address specific cases of concern on this matter. We will continue to work on these issues.
    I have talked to my officials in the first nations and Inuit health branch. We agree with the member that, absolutely, indigenous peoples must have access to the health care services that they need when they need them. Where there are gaps in the system, I will work with my department to make sure that we address those concerns.

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, a rural New Brunswick riding, is home to thriving natural resource, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors, all of which utilize ACOA to help invest in new technology, innovate, and grow their businesses.
    Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development please give us an update on his department's progress in ensuring that Canada's regional development agencies are helping Canadian companies and their businesses, and ensuring that entrepreneurs have access to the capital they require to create jobs and grow the economy in Atlantic Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, this is very important to our government, and the NDP supports our hard work, as we can see.
    These new development agencies are making strategic investments that support small and medium-sized enterprises. This funding in SMEs really helps these companies innovate, and become more productive and export-oriented. I am pleased to announce that we have approved $37 million in ACOA funding. This generates opportunities for local developments and I want to assure the House that ACOA will be key for economic development in that region.

Labour

    Mr. Speaker, piece by piece, the Liberal government is dismantling democracy in Canada. The first piece of legislation brought forward by the jobs minister is a bill to gut accountability and transparency for unions. The Liberal MPs have been arguing in the House that a secret ballot is somehow undemocratic and burdensome red tape.
    I would like the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to please explain to the House why she believes a secret ballot is undemocratic.
    Mr. Speaker, what is undemocratic are bills that are brought in through the back door without proper consultation—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order, please. I know that people at home want to hear those arguments, but members should wait until they have the floor.
    The member for employment has the floor.

  (1445)  

    As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, the point is that there is a process that involves consultation and dialogue between trade unions and business, which has proven to be effective, efficient, and fair. The previous government chose to circumvent the process and make the system unbalanced. We are changing it.
    Mr. Speaker, it is nice to know that if I were a Liberal member of Parliament I would have no voice, because, apparently, a private member's bill is illegitimate with the current government.
    Only a few months ago, each and every one of us in the House was elected by secret ballot, a hallmark of a Canadian democracy. However, the first piece of legislation brought forward by the jobs minister is robbing union members of their democratic right to a secret ballot. Ninety per cent of union members polled support a secret ballot.
    Why is the secret ballot good enough to elect members of Parliament, but not good enough—
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of Employment.
    Mr. Speaker, the point of the legislation is to reset the framework so that we have fairness and balance. In fact, the bill that the previous government presented included a framework that made unionization and decertification more difficult in a package that disrupted the fairness and balance of labour and industry relationships.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government, time after time, has already faced questions about its ethical behaviour, and here we go again.
    The justice minister is in partnership with her husband in a private company. He has not been a registered lobbyist for years, but as soon as his wife was appointed to a Liberal cabinet, he dusted off the old laptop, put new ink in the printer, and signed up as a lobbyist. Is this the ethical standard that the Prime Minister approved when he said his ministers must avoid not only the conflict of interest but even the appearance of a conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be a member of Parliament, and I am also proud to be the Minister of Justice. I have been an advocate for good governance my entire life. I take my ethical responsibilities incredibly seriously, and I am doing everything to ensure that I am not found in a conflict. That is why my husband and I have met with the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and are following and abiding by the measures that are required to ensure that we are in compliance. We will be in compliance with respect to what the conflict commissioner has said.
     Mr. Speaker, the bar the Prime Minister set was about the perception of a conflict of interest. Does the Prime Minister not see this as a problem?
    The Minister of Justice sits on six cabinet committees, including one responsible for examining initiatives designed to strengthen the relationship with indigenous Canadians. This is exactly the issue that her husband will now lobby the government about. The justice minister will now deal with legal matters involving first nations. Her husband's lobbying work is in direct conflict with this.
    How can the Prime Minister justify this obvious conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, members on the other side are having an enormous amount of difficulty with a very basic principle. When we came to office, we raised the bar on accountability and transparency.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    They are laughing, Mr. Speaker, because they have a lot of things to try to hide.
    Canadians saw through that, and on October 19, they chose a government that would raise the ethics rules, proactively meet with the ethics commissioner, and follow her advice. That is what the Minister of Justice has done, and that is what she will always continue to do.

[Translation]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister committed to building a new nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples. He even cited the Supreme Court as proof.
    Now his government is refusing to listen to first nations communities that oppose the Site C dam project in British Columbia.
    When is the Prime Minister going to walk the talk? Will this be just one more broken promise made to indigenous peoples, continuing in the tradition of the past 150 years under successive Conservative and Liberal governments?

  (1450)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there was a chief in northern Manitoba who told me that she had not had a single conversation with the previous Conservative government in 10 years.
    This government has undergone a serious set of meaningful consultations with indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast. Without that consultation, no energy projects will be approved. We do not repeat failed ways; we look for better ones.
    Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister's problem is that he does not realize Site C is not in Manitoba, it is in British Columbia. Tragically, first nations have heard this story over and over again. Parties in campaigns promise that next time things will be different, but when it comes to the Site C dam, we realize that it is just more of the same from the current government. Even after the review panel found that the mega-dam would have irreversible and negative impacts on the rights of Treaty 8 people, the Minister of Fisheries is still signing permits.
     Consultations have been inadequate. Letters have been ignored. When is the Liberal government going to actually commit to its sacred policy to respect first nations—
    Order, please. The hon. Minister of Natural Resources.
    Mr. Speaker, I realize that not all good things are in Manitoba, just many good things.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    I see that there is some scattered applause from Manitobans on the other side.
    Mr. Speaker, the member knows that this government has done whatever it can to send the signals to indigenous communities across the country that this will be a new era on meaningful nation-to-nation consultations with indigenous peoples. It has been more than a decade since that has happened. The time has come for a new era in that relationship. That time is now.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, it is being reported that 40 state-run Iranian media outlets have jointly offered a new bounty for the death of author Salman Rushdie. The renewed call for his death comes on the anniversary of the fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989.
    Make no mistake. This regime in Tehran is putting on a false front. It continues to be a serious threat to peace and stability. Why is the government rushing to embrace Iran when it clearly cannot be trusted?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada needs to engage on the international stage much more than before, even with regimes with whom we have difficulty. Engagement does not mean that we agree with Iran's policy, but it does establish a pathway toward dialogue, regional security, and economic opportunity. Turning one's back does not help either in providing accountability for a country such as Iran.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, not long after the sanctions against Iran were lifted, Russia tried to sell fighter jets and missile systems to the regime in Tehran.
    Our allies have clearly said that this sale violates a UN arms embargo, but the Liberal government is naively cozying up to Iran and Vladimir Putin.
    Will the government condemn this massive arms sale, which threatens peace and our friend, Israel?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased that our government is going to accede to the Arms Trade Treaty, something that the previous government failed to do. That is a priority for this government, because we know we have a more constructive role to play.
    Mr. Speaker, the boycott, divest, and sanctions campaigners claim it to be a human rights movement. In fact, it is nothing more than a thinly disguised multi-dimensional hate campaign. It targets the economy and the citizens of the only democracy in the Middle East. Last week during the debate, the Liberals were all over the place on this issue.
    Can the minister assure the House that when our motion passes, his government will take it seriously?
    On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, Israel is not only a key ally but equally a steadfast friend. The Jewish community has deep roots here in Canada and contributes greatly to Canadian society.
    A boycott would not bring us closer to any viable or constructive solution, so we will not support that. However, the motion would not bring us any closer to working constructively together. It seeks to divide.
    We firmly believe that negotiations constitute the only way to arrive at lasting, durable peace.

  (1455)  

[Translation]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, faced with a very difficult economic situation, my riding and the Gaspé were able to develop recognized expertise in generating electricity from wind power.
    In fact, our region has some 20 wind farms, which produce almost 1,000 megawatts of electricity from wind energy and create many jobs.
     Could the Minister of Natural Resources share with the House the commitments made by our government to support producers of clean renewable energy and create jobs for Canadian workers?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to engage the renewable energy sector in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Quebec.
    Canada boasts one of the cleanest electricity systems in the G7 and the world. Our government is committed to investing an additional $100 million each year in clean technology producers and $200 million each year to support innovation and the use of clean technologies in the natural resources sector. That is real progress.

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is misleading Canadians. Contrary to what he said, it was the Conservative government that introduced important measures to fight veterans' homelessness.
    We launched projects in Toronto, Calgary, Victoria, and London, which helped keep veterans off the street. Furthermore, it was our party that gave the department the specific mandate of helping homeless veterans.
    Will the minister pledge today to renew this mandate?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, one of the first things I did was to consult with many veterans and veterans organizations. What they confirmed to me was that the former government fumbled the ball 47 ways to Sunday on dealing with their issues.
    We are taking a new approach to this. We are working on getting veterans the benefits as well as the help they need when they need it, and that includes fighting issues around homelessness.

[Translation]

CBC/Radio-Canada

    Mr. Speaker, last October, millions of Canadians voted to revive the CBC after the Conservatives bled it dry.
    However, there is still nothing but bad news under the Liberals. There is now a “For Sale” sign in front of Maison de Radio Canada in Montreal. This decision is harmful to our heritage since the sale of the building would represent the loss of a symbol of Quebec's Quiet Revolution. It is all well and good that the minister announced consultations, but the building could be sold tomorrow morning.
    Will the minister at least impose a moratorium to allow time to explore better options than an irreversible sale?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question.
    First of all, I would like to remind him that the CBC operates at arm's length from the government. Of course I asked the CBC to hold consultations in order to find out what the employees, the unions, and the political stakeholders in Montreal think about the situation.
    I would also like to remind my colleague of how important it is for the CBC to provide its employees with facilities that meet the highest standards, particularly in this digital age.

[English]

Justice

    Mr. Speaker, as the aunt of a 15-year-old nephew, I am concerned about how easy it is for youth his age to obtain marijuana. What measures is the government taking to ensure that by legalizing marijuana we are making it more difficult for children and youth to access this substance?
    Can the Minister of Justice offer an update on our party's commitment to regulate and legalize marijuana?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has committed to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana. We will be proceeding on that matter in an orderly fashion and will take the time necessary in order to do it right.
    Until Parliament has enacted new legislation to ensure that marijuana is carefully regulated, current laws remain in force and should be obeyed.
    I will be working with my parliamentary secretary, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Public Safety to ensure that we put in place a process that keeps marijuana out of the hands of children and the proceeds out of the hands of criminals.

  (1500)  

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified by the unspeakable murders committed by serial killer Robert Pickton. Despite the fact that he is now in prison, families of his victims were shocked to hear that he has recently published a book.
    What will the government do to ensure that serial killer Robert Pickton in no way benefits financially or through the distribution of his depraved writings?
    Mr. Speaker, the impact of this book by Pickton is painfully traumatic for the victims. All Canadians share in that grief. Canadians also expect Amazon to respond quickly and sympathetically to this outrage, which I understand it has done this afternoon.
    The Correctional Service is investigating the source of the manuscript. We will be examining all those who have assisted in any way in this odious enterprise.

[Translation]

Air Canada

    Mr. Speaker, Bell Helicopter is losing jobs, CAE is losing jobs, Bombardier is losing jobs, and Aveos has lost jobs.
    The existing law on Air Canada is the best guarantee of keeping airplane maintenance in Canada now and in the future. However, this law was violated and the government has never intervened.
    Since when has the minister been able to flout laws or change them to please the offenders?
    When will the government demand that the Attorney General intervene on behalf of unionized Aveos workers to force Air Canada to comply with the law and its obligations to Canadians—
    Order. The hon. Minister of Transport.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    We are all pleased that the Government of Quebec decided to drop its lawsuit against Air Canada. In return, Air Canada will build a centre of excellence for C series aircraft maintenance for the next 20 years.
    That is good news. This will create jobs for the future of our country. When that happens, we will be prepared to examine the Air Canada Public Participation Act to clarify it and ensure that there will not be any litigation in the future.
    Mr. Speaker, 1,800 jobs have been lost at Aveos alone, because the federal government did not enforce its own law.
    Does the Minister of Transport want to modernize the Air Canada act to make it legal for the company to send aerospace jobs abroad?
    Does the minister realize that by not enforcing the law, the federal government was complicit in outsourcing Air Canada airplane maintenance to Hong Kong, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and Minnesota?
    Mr. Speaker, as I just said, and my colleague should know this, the Government of Quebec filed a lawsuit and was in litigation against Air Canada.
    The Government of Quebec has decided to drop this lawsuit because Air Canada is putting a lot on the table. Not only is it buying 45 to 75 airplanes, but it has also promised to build a centre of excellent for C series airplane maintenance for the next 20 years. That is good news. This will create important jobs for Quebec.
    Mr. Speaker, the government made changes to the temporary foreign worker program to solve a problem in western Canada. However, Quebec farmers are paying the price, since they can no longer hire experienced workers. The government is aware of the problem but is not doing anything about it.
    Will the Minister of Employment exempt our farm workers from the four-year rule and will she ensure that workers' files remain open so that they do not have to start over every year?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, there has been no change in the rules regarding agricultural workers. We understand that there is an administrative backlog in Quebec and our staff are working hard to get rid of that backlog. Otherwise, there has been no change.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion--Israel 

[Business of Supply]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:06 p.m., pursuant to order made on Thursday, February 18, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of Mr. Clement, relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.
    And the bells having rung:

  (1515)  

[Translation]

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

(Division No. 14)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Allison
Ambrose
Amos
Anderson
Arnold
Ayoub
Bains
Barlow
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Brassard
Breton
Brison
Brown
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Drouin
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
Ellis
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Gallant
Garneau
Généreux
Genuis
Gerretsen
Gladu
Godin
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Harder
Hardie
Harper
Harvey
Hehr
Housefather
Hutchings
Iacono
Jeneroux
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lobb
Lockhart
Long
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCallum
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McDonald
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Qualtrough
Raitt
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sopuck
Sorbara
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tassi
Tootoo
Trost
Trudeau
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vandal
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Wrzesnewskyj
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 229

NAYS

Members

Angus
Arseneault
Ashton
Aubin
Bagnell
Benson
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brosseau
Cannings
Caron
Choquette
Christopherson
Cullen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Fortin
Garrison
Gill
Hardcastle
Hughes
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kwan
Laverdière
MacGregor
Malcolmson
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
Moore
Mulcair
Nantel
Plamondon
Quach
Ramsey
Rankin
Saganash
Sansoucy
Stetski
Stewart
Thériault
Trudel
Weir
Whalen

Total: -- 51

PAIRED

Nil

     I declare the motion carried.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 104 and Standing Order 114 I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House. If the House gives its consent, I intend to move concurrence in third report later this day.

  (1520)  

Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act

     He said: Mr. Speaker, today I introduce the good Samaritan drug overdose act. Unfortunately, with drug overdoses, many people are afraid to call 911 for fear of getting charged. People die. Saving lives needs to come first.
     With this bill, people who call 911 to report a drug overdose and remain on the scene cannot be charged for drug possession. It does not apply to trafficking or driving while impaired.
    Thirty-four U.S. states and the District of Columbia have some form of overdose immunity law.
    Canadians need to take care of each other, especially the vulnerable among us. This bill means that when lives are at stake, people can take action without fear of penalty. Hopefully, they will pick up the phone and save someone's son or daughter. People will live who might otherwise have died.
    I hope all members will back this bill.

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

    Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    An hon. member: No.

Petitions

Democratic Reform  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from constituents of mine who call for fair electoral representation. It is a petition to ensure Canadians have a fair electoral system.
     The petitioners call for immediate public consultations to amend the Canada Elections Act to ensure that Canadians can cast an equal and effective vote; to be represented fairly in Parliament; to ensure that Canadians are governed fairly by their elected Parliament, where the seats are shared in rough proportion to the votes cast; and that laws be passed by the majority of parliamentarians representing the majority of voters.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my great honour to stand in the House today on behalf of the residents of Shawnigan Lake in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
     The people there have given me a petition to help fight against the contaminated soil dump in their area, which they have long been fighting against courageously, and need every bit of help they can get.
    The petitioners specifically ask the Government of Canada to protect the Shawnigan Lake watershed from contaminated soil, under the Fisheries Act, and work with provincial partners to stop the dumping in this critical watershed, which provides drinking water for the residents.

Questions on the Order Paper

     Is that agreed?
     Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Order, please. I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division government orders will be extended by nine minutes.
    Debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Burlington.
    I am pleased to take part in this important debate on Canada's efforts to defeat ISIL.
    As some of my colleagues will remember, I spoke in the House at the onset of the mission in the fall of 2014, and again last spring when the mission against ISIL was extended. I had the opportunity to reiterate the four core principles that the Liberal Party stood for then, and these four principles are just as relevant today.

[Translation]

     The first principle is that Canada has a role to play in resolving humanitarian crises around the world.
    This motion calls for a significant investment in humanitarian assistance and prioritizes working with experienced humanitarian partners to meet the basic needs of conflict-affected populations, including children and victims of sexual and gender-based violence. That is an important Canadian value. For many decades, Canadian governments have generously provided aid, military and otherwise, during humanitarian crises abroad.
    I am proud that we have opened our doors to thousands of refugees displaced by ISIL and civil war. We have welcomed these refugees so that they can rebuild their lives here and, like refugees from Vietnam, Uganda, Cambodia, Somalia, and all over the world, enable Canada to carry on its tradition of celebrating diversity and welcoming people in need.

  (1525)  

[English]

    The second principle is that we must have a clear mission when we deploy our brave men and women in uniform. The motion does just that, and clearly refocuses our military contribution by tripling the efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces in northern Iraq and significantly increasing intelligence capabilities in northern Iraq and theatre-wide.
    This expanded train, advise, and assist mission has a clear mandate and sets the conditions for peace and stability in the region by enabling local forces to take the fight to ISIL. This approach is the only tenable long-term solution to the crisis, as it is clear that the success against ISIL is one that cannot be achieved by bombing alone.

[Translation]

    The third Liberal principle is that conversations about deploying our forces must be open, transparent, and based on clear, reliable, unbiased facts.
    We have distanced ourselves from the former government's overblown rhetoric. We have consulted our allies, examined the situation on the ground, and decided on the best course of action to achieve our shared objectives.

[English]

    Lastly, we believe that Canada's role must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capability so we help as best we can. Our whole-of-government approach to this mission is the manifestation of this principle, and I am proud to say that our priorities have not changed since I first rose to speak on this conflict. We are delivering on the vision that I outlined as defence critic in 2014 and 2015.
    There has already been a considerable amount of debate on this matter, but there is one aspect of the motion that I think needs further exploration. Before going into details of our refocused mission, the preamble of the motion reads as follows:
    That the House support the government’s decision to broaden, improve, and redefine our contribution to the effort to combat ISIL by better leveraging Canadian expertise while complementing the work of our coalition partners to ensure maximum effect....

[Translation]

    We have already heard the Minister of National Defence and other hon. members talk about the Canadian expertise that we can put to good use.
    However, the second part of the sentence, which reads “while complementing the work of our coalition partners to ensure maximum effect”, is just as important. It explains why the government is refocusing its mission. It explains the reasons for our contributions, and it explains why the excellent work of our CF-18 pilots is no longer the most urgent need. We are part of a coalition, and each member contributes in its own way. We have allies and partners by our side on whom we can count.

[English]

    Co-operation and collaboration have long been a part of the Canadian way. Let us recall our coordinated response to the crisis in Haiti. I personally had the privilege of being part of a week-long parliamentary delegation to Haiti two years after the devastating earthquake. I visited many sites, where there was assistance and reconstruction that Canadian Armed Forces, our first responders, civil society, and our government officials at that time were putting into place to help the devastated people of Haiti. They made a huge contribution.
    Canada has also had important contributions to relief efforts, following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, our participation in Operation Structure following the tsunami of 2005, the liberation of Kuwait, and our Canadian Armed Forces training and mentoring of Afghan security forces.
    At this point, I want to reinforce my support and respect for all Canadian Forces members, regular and reserves. In fact, I am also proud to acknowledge the efforts of the 39 Canadian Brigade Group under the command of Colonel David Awalt. The headquarters of 39 CBG is at Jericho Garrison in my riding of Vancouver Quadra. This brigade group is the representative of the Canadian Army in British Columbia. It is made up of 1,508 full-time and part-time reserve soldiers located in reserve units in communities across British Columbia. These are men and women who have served in many missions over the course of years.
    In all of the cases I mentioned, Canadians stood side by side with partners and allies. We were part of a wider strategy. It is our responsibility to contribute into that larger strategy in order to defeat ISIL.

  (1530)  

[Translation]

    The Chief of the Defence Staff said last week that the fighter jets were originally deployed in the region in order to stop the rapid advance of an aggressive enemy. At that time, ISIL was quickly gaining ground. Its members were seizing abandoned equipment and threatening the city of Baghdad itself.
    Thanks to the initial deployment of aircraft, the advance was thwarted, and ISIL's ability to move freely has now been seriously curtailed by our collective efforts.

[English]

    The United States Central Command, which has overall responsibility for coordinating the coalition's efforts, has stated that areas under ISIL control are shrinking.
    With respect to air power, Canada's CF-18s have done an outstanding job. Yes, there will still be a need for air power in the short term, and these needs are being sufficiently met by the broader coalition. What remains as needed to defeat ISIL is a trained, equipped, motivated local force. It is in this area that the coalition as a whole has a greater need.
    Here is what Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook had to say:
    The Canadian announcement is the kind of response the secretary's [Ash Carter] been looking for from coalition members...as the United States and coalition partners push to accelerate the campaign against ISIL.
    He was speaking, of course, of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who met with our Minister of National Defence last week in Brussels. There, Canada was held up as an example of what other countries should be doing in the fight against ISIL: adjusting to the evolving conflict; bringing our strengths to the table; putting forward what is truly needed; and, above all else, working with our allies to ensure that the coalition mission is a success.

[Translation]

    As a Canadian, I am proud of what has been accomplished to date by our men and women in uniform, including the pilots and support personnel who have fought to halt and reverse ISIL's gains.
    Our soldiers have conducted themselves as professionals, and they deserve to be thanked and recognized by all Canadians. However, the situation has evolved. We are in the first few weeks of this transition, and I am grateful to our friends and allies who have our backs, just as we have theirs.

[English]

    I am proud to stand in this House and reiterate the principles that I laid out a year ago, consistent principles that remain strong and have shaped the mission before the House today.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Madam Speaker, I think if you seek it you will find unanimous consent that the third report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)


Government Orders

[Government Orders]

  (1535)  

[English]

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate the member opposite for her speech.
    Over the years when Canada has gone to war, such as World War II, the Afghan war, Korean War, Gulf War, we have done all that we can to defeat the enemy, including humanitarian efforts, training, ground troops, and air strikes.
    Does the member think that ISIL is a less serious threat than the Nazis, where we used everything in our power to defeat our enemies with our allies?
    Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question, but it is spoken like someone who does not see Canada as part of a coalition.
     We are not in this alone. I think that was the essence of the remarks that I just made. We are part of a coalition, and the members have various strengths. At this time, in the shape of this mission, the strengths we are offering are appreciated by the coalition leaders and members. I am proud that is what Canada will be doing to help contribute to defeating ISIL.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend, the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, for her very thoughtful and insightful comments.
    I think back on the many missions that Canada has participated in with various coalition partners, including in Afghanistan, for example. After we completed a particular mission or mandate, it was not unusual for our troops to return home as a different coalition partner than stood forth. Yet, as announced by the Minister of National Defence, there are significant assets that have been inserted as part of our ongoing efforts to combat the situation in Syria and Iraq.
    I would ask the parliamentary if she thinks that this is an appropriate approach for Canada to take.
    Madam Speaker, my answer is yes; it is an integrated approach.
     Our Canadian government's approach recognizes that this is a complex, multi-faceted conflict in a very difficult region. It is important to bring a variety of strengths to bear. It is important to seek the end point of peace in the region and how we can contribute to that peace.
     This is why it is appropriate to reinforce support for refugees in the region, because it can be a source of further conflict if they do not have the support they need. It is why it is important to focus on diplomatic matters, on stopping some of the sources of conflict, as well as bringing our military assets to bear to enable the local troops to protect their communities and take back their lands.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to speak in favour of the motion moved by our Prime Minister last Wednesday.
    The motion defines an integrated, comprehensive, sustainable strategy to tackle the complex problems related to the crises currently plaguing Syria and Iraq.

[English]

    We have all heard the stories and have seen some horrific images, either in person or on TV. We know there are over 13.5 million people in Syria and 10 million in Iraq who require urgent humanitarian assistance. In addition, there are over 4.7 million registered Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.
    We also know that our allies in the region have taken on a tremendous role in welcoming refugees into their countries during this time of crisis. The numbers are astounding. In Lebanon, for example, one in four residents is a Syrian refugee. Our allies need our support.
    It is this assistance, the provision of food, shelter, dignity, and a path toward a better life, that I would like to discuss today and how Canada will help its coalition partners achieve stability in the region. There is no denying that military and security efforts are vital to securing and achieving victory over those who are destabilizing the region and terrorizing local populations, but military efforts are not sufficient in the absence of a political solution to secure a lasting peace for the people of Syria and Iraq.
    The strategy to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and their impacts on the region that was announced by the Prime Minister on February 8 will address in a comprehensive way the complex and intertwined security, stabilization, humanitarian, development, and political challenges stemming from the crises in the region. This integrated strategy demonstrates Canada's continued commitment to the global coalition's fight against ISIL while strengthening the ability of regional governments and local authorities to address the impacts of the ongoing conflict, defend themselves, build the foundations for long-term stability, and provide direct life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable.
    As the Syrian crisis enters its sixth year and global population displacement reaches its highest levels since World War II, there is recognition that the protracted crisis warrants a response of global proportions. Our allies, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and Norway, all made significant financial contributions at the London conference that the minister attended last month. Last week, as part of our long-term, integrated whole-of-government strategy, the Prime Minister announced that Canada will be providing $1.1 billion in humanitarian and development assistance to the most vulnerable and affected countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.
    Our new commitment builds on Canada's leadership in innovative development by increasing bilateral programming aimed at ensuring the resilience of refugee-hosting governments and communities and supporting them in their efforts to protect and care for the refugees they are sheltering. Our approach will allow us to be there in the long term, with forward-looking, predictable funding that will be available over the next three years.
    Furthermore, I would like to highlight that this is the first time in the history of our country that the Government of Canada will deliver humanitarian aid on a multi-year basis. This strategy will allow our partners to plan for and effectively implement initiatives, while also offering a much needed sense of stability to those displaced and suffering.
    Moving forward, Canada's humanitarian and development assistance strategy can be summarized as follows. First, to address the immediate life-saving needs on the ground, we will provide vital humanitarian assistance, such as food, water, shelter, health, and protection services, to millions of conflict-affected people in the region. Second, we will provide long-term support to strengthen the population's capacity to thrive and rebuild their lives through education, employment, infrastructure, and governance, as conditions permit.
    It is critical that these two elements be implemented simultaneously, when possible, for meaningful impact. Our interventions will aim to build the resilience of individuals, communities, and institutions to withstand and recover from the impact that protracted crises have on their lives and functioning. Our objective is to reduce the need for humanitarian assistance in the long term and, most importantly, our approach serves to help prevent the risk of yet more destabilization in the future.
    Allow me to provide more detail on what each of these elements will entail over the next three years.

  (1540)  

    Our commitment of $840 million in humanitarian assistance over three years will allow us to meet the needs of more vulnerable people more effectively. Canada will continue to be among the top humanitarian donors to the crises in the region. Canada's contributions will continue to support the basic needs of all conflict-affected people in the region and prioritize reaching the most vulnerable, including the survivors of sexual- and gender-based violence, and children.
    We have been assessing humanitarian needs on an ongoing basis to ensure that Canada's response is timely and appropriate. We have also been coordinating closely with experienced humanitarian partners, other donors, and the UN-led coordination system to ensure that the most urgent needs are addressed and gaps can be quickly filled. The response to these crises is a global effort.
    Our new commitment of an additional $840 million in humanitarian assistance will build on the work Canada is already doing in the region, such as the $100 million contribution that the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie announced last November for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' ongoing efforts inside Syria and neighbouring countries to address urgent humanitarian needs.
    We are also building on our government's commitment to match donations by Canadians through the Syria Emergency Relief Fund, and we have extended the deadline for donations to be matched until February 29.
    Our government believes in the importance of ensuring that our humanitarian assistance fully respects the principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity, and independence. These principles must be upheld to ensure that aid goes to those who are most vulnerable and that the workers who risk their lives to deliver it are protected.
    The overarching objective for our development programming will be to build the resilience of individuals, communities, and refugee-hosting governments in the region to withstand the impacts of the crises today and into the future. We will improve the living conditions of conflict-affected people and help lay the foundation for longer-term stability and prosperity.
    We will do this by focusing on building local capacity in four areas: by providing basic social services, by maintaining and rehabilitating public infrastructure, by fostering inclusive economic growth and employment, and by advancing inclusive and accountable governance. In light of this, our strategy includes the provision of $270 million over the next three years in long-term development assistance that will ease the burden on host countries and communities. It will also provide refugees, internally displaced persons, and others affected by the violence with the skills to withstand the impact of the crises and give them hope for their own future and for that of their country. For example, we will expand our efforts to work with our partners to provide safe and healthy learning environments for children who are in need of education, by rehabilitating schools and related water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities.
    I can assure members that we will work in an integrated fashion and that our decisions will be informed by consultations with stakeholders and ongoing analysis of needs on the ground.
    I would conclude by reiterating the importance of countries affected by this crisis receiving not just immediate humanitarian assistance but also long-term assistance to help them develop their resilience as a necessary pre-condition for successful political solutions to take root.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    I also want to emphasize that Canada is ensuring that all of its efforts in the region are coordinated, complementary, and relevant to the needs on the ground. Our commitment meets strategic objectives and is designed to address immediate threats to life, promote regional stability, and strengthen the community and local governments.

[English]

    Our strategy is one that we as Canadians can be very proud of.
    Madam Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member on her speech. Obviously, all members of this House agree on the importance of a humanitarian response.
    We need to think about this situation at different levels: in the immediate term, in the medium term, and in the long term. Of course, training and humanitarian assistance are all important, especially for the medium and the long terms.
    In the short term we have what I would argue, and what we have said on this side, is a genocide. It has been recognized as a genocide by Daesh and recognized as such by figures like Hillary Clinton and by a resolution of the European parliament.
    I wonder if the member is of the view that what is happening right now in Syria and Iraq does in fact constitute genocide. If so, does she think that we need to address that in the immediate term, as well as taking into account these longer-term considerations?
    Madam Speaker, I think what is important to concentrate on right now is the fact that humanitarian assistance is something that we need to be doing in the short term. It is medium term and long term, but humanitarian assistance, as my hon. colleague well knows, should be developed in times of crisis to be able to assist those who are suffering at that moment. It is extraordinarily important that we deal with the people on the ground who are injured, who are looking for food or shelter, and who need those basic life services to ensure they can get those necessary needs taken care of so we can work toward those next steps.
    Madam Speaker, I appreciate the government's comments about having an integrated approach, working in partnership with our allies and collaborating with them. I wholeheartedly support that.
    I have been trying to get an answer to the following question, that the government has promised to sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty, yet has not done so yet. To me this is a pillar of co-operation and collaboration, working with all our partners together, but I have yet to get an answer as to why we have not signed it.
    I do believe the government has said that it is taking a whole-of-government approach, so my expectation is that the parliamentary secretary should know what is going on and be able to respond to my question as to why it has not signed the Arms Trade Treaty.

  (1550)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her support of our whole-of-government and integrated approach. I would like to reiterate the comments this morning by the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is seized with this issue and will be working on it quite thoroughly. However, we are focused right now on the three pillars of the strategy that we have put forward. I think we can all be very proud of our efforts in the humanitarian assistance and development portfolio.
    Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on the point that the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan made relating to the whole issue of international assistance. Here I think particularly of the situation in which the previous government, for example, aggressively intervened in Libya, which ultimately led to a breakdown in that part of the world and to what is now essentially a failed state. Part of a broader approach is to make sure that we make strategic investments in international assistance, but here I would note mention that the previous government folded CIDA into Foreign Affairs. I question whether those were appropriate actions to have been taken.
    What kind of investments do we ultimately need to make so that we do not get a repeat situation that we saw in Libya and that we now see as well in Syria and Iraq?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his extremely important question and note that our government has been very clear and very committed to the fact that a military intervention is simply not enough. We have to be there in the long term. We have to think about how that society will rebuild itself after this conflict. That is why we are making these investments to assist people with their basic needs right now, but also to think in terms of the future and how we can support them to be stable moving forward.
    Madam Speaker, it is always an honour for me to rise in this House to speak on important national debates, and the threat to Canada posed by ISIS or ISIL is one of those issues facing Canada and facing our Parliament. In fact, this is my fourth speech in the House on this issue, and I divide my time with the hon. member for York—Simcoe.
    In the first debate on this issue that the previous government brought to this House, the Prime Minister, who was then the third party leader, laid out four elements that the Liberal Party would consider in deploying the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.
     I have to say at the outset that all members of this House are tremendously proud of the professionalism and dedication to service of our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is a given, and I am fortunate to have met and spoken with all of them, given my former role and given my 12 years wearing the uniform of our country. I thank the people, even those on their way home, for what they have done. We are all very proud of them, and the debates here in no way diminish the pride of anyone in this House, I would think.
    At that time, the Prime Minister, who was then the third party leader, laid out four criteria: first, was there a role to play in the threat; two, was there a clear mission and a clear role; three, was there a clear and transparent debate; and four, how could Canada best help in this international mission.
    Let us look at those things. In his speech in this House last week, the Prime Minister said that ISIS is a direct threat to Canadians; and that is when we deploy our military, when there is a threat to Canada or our allies or our values around the world, but in this case the Prime Minister agrees that it is a direct threat to Canadians and we have seen that.
    Second, is there a clear mission and role? Yes, there was. The previous government, in conjunction with our allies, brought that clear mission and role to the House. The air strike mission that our six CF-18s have been participating in has been tremendously successful. With our allies we have limited ISIS to about 25% of the territory it once held. We have weakened it and degraded it, and that is why in fact our allies are stepping it up, because there has been success with this clear mission of which Canada was part, until the Prime Minister's election promise pulled us out.
    Third is clear and transparent debate. We are failing on that rung as well. The CF-18s are already en route back home. We are still debating this in this Parliament, so it is actually not a transparent debate. The government had already said, originally, that today was to be the last day, February 22, but we learned last week that the final mission was flown and our men and women are on their way back home before we have even finished the debate in this place. The Liberals are not even meeting their own standard. Canadians expect more, and particularly our men and women in uniform, who cannot speak up with respect to their opinion, expect the debate to at least be completed and voted on before we hightail out of a fight our allies are still in.
    The fourth pillar was how we can best help. I will spend a few moments on that, because I have heard ridiculous statements in this place that only Canadians are uniquely suited to provide humanitarian aid or training. The United States military would probably train more people in its own armed forces in one year than we could ever possibly train in the next two decades. Our allies in NATO in other countries are equally as professional in the training. We were playing that role before and we will continue to play that role, but suggesting that is the only role Canada is uniquely suited to is disingenuous.
    We are also one of the largest per capita aid donors, but we cannot deliver aid until there is stability. That is why military force is required at times, to bring that stability so that humanitarian assistance can reach the people it needs to reach.
    We have not had a clear, transparent debate, and we are not helping the way we could. Our men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force are some of the best pilots and air crew and technicians in the world. We have a history, from the early days of World War I and Billy Bishop to today, of being some of the best and most professional in the world, and what “most professional” means is that we assess our missions to make sure that strikes are appropriate and that there is minimal collateral damage.

  (1555)  

    We are able to interoperably work with our allies, namely, the Americans, the British, and some of the other participants. We seamlessly operate with them as members not only of NATO but of our Five Eyes relationship. This is an area where Canada is uniquely suited to play a role to ensure there is no collateral damage or death. I will quote U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Tom Weidley, who said this last year, on the Canadian participation. The CF-18 war planes are:
...an absolutely capable platform in this environment. They provide a great deal of flexibility in the ordnance they can carry in order to address different targets. They have a tremendous array of sensors and data sharing capabilities.
    We are used to working alongside our allies. Canada is never usually the first nation in, but when our friends or our values are at risk, we are always, or have been in the past, standing alongside our allies and can work with them better than any other nation.
    The previous government launched us on a mission of training, aid, and military force with our allies. This debate really is not about increasing the number of trainers. It is not about increasing the amount of aid. I am sure this debate would have come to the House anyway because our previous government set a timeline. We probably would have bumped those numbers up too. This debate rests solely on the decision to withdraw from the active combat role in this mission at a time when our allies are stepping up. That leads me to the subject of my previous three speeches in this place and an essay I wrote online that was called “The World Needs More Canada”.
    Our foreign policy since our early days has been to align our interests on the security of our country, threats to our allies, and promotion of values and human rights and security for others around the world. I have quoted so many Liberals lately that some of my colleagues may start questioning my Conservative bona fides. I am using those examples to underscore how this was never a Conservative versus Liberal proposition. This was an essential vote that usually Parliament was unanimous on because it was greater than ourselves.
    MacKenzie King said within Canadians there lies a deep-seated “instinct for freedom”.
    Lester Pearson said that whether Canadians fire their rifles in Korea or in Germany, they are protecting Canadians just as if they were firing them here at home”. That is what our crews have been doing in their sorties.
    I quoted John Manley and his inspirational words after the 9/11 attacks, saying we just need to look to the cemeteries of Europe to see if Canada's history is one of taking an active role.
    Today I will continue in that vein and quote a few others.
    Lloyd Axworthy last year said how disappointed he was about the then third party leader's position. He said:
    You've got to realize that diplomatic niceties are not going to work, humanitarian aid is not going to work if people are going to be shot in their beds.... At times, you have to toughen up.
    I hope the Prime Minister is calling Mr. Axworthy, who was our foreign affairs minister during the Kosovo air strikes of 1999.
    Last week, I spoke with a Canadian veteran who fought as a CF-18 pilot in those Kosovo missions. I was struck by the fact that in Kosovo, the Liberal mission, we flew 2% of the sorties and we were the fourth or fifth largest overall contributor to the air strike mission. What are the numbers over the last year? We flew 2% of the sorties and we were the fourth or fifth largest contributor. That is our traditional role.
    Art Eggleton, who was minister of defence at that time, said about Kosovo that it “is in every way consistent with our traditional approach to international security threats and the protection of human rights”.
    What did their boss, my old legal colleague, former prime minister Chrétien, say about the Kosovo air strike mission? He said in this place:
    We have entered into the campaign to stop President Milosevic and the ethnic cleansing, raping and murdering that are going on.
    However, we are a member of a team and as a member of a team we have agreed on a strategy that the best way to...resolve...[this] was to have air strikes. That is what is going on....

  (1600)  

    The final quote is from the now Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, who said in 2002:
    So what does sovereignty mean in this context [of being minister of defence]? It means that our government must be able to deploy forces overseas to reflect Canadian priorities and values, to help Canada achieve its foreign policy objectives....
     Those objectives have been sound throughout our history until this debate. I hope the government sees the light.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for St. John's—Rothesay.
    Madam Speaker, that should be Saint John—Rothesay.
    I thank the member opposite for his speech, which was very passionate, but the member opposite and his party continue to confuse and distort this debate, as far as I am concerned. I mentioned in the House last week and will mention again that, likening it to sports and hockey teams, the opposing team being played will determine the best method of attack to beat the team. For one team it may be offence, but to beat another team it may be defence or another different style of play.
    The Liberal government is coming up with the best plan that it feels will have the best result. Would the member opposite not agree that is the best way forward?
    Madam Speaker, I noticed my friend made sure to clarify that his riding is Saint John—Rothesay, not “St. John's”. I know in Atlantic Canada it is a big thing. I served on HMCS St. John's, and I am very proud of that time.
    I know he was involved with the hockey team there, the Sea Dogs, which had a big Memorial Cup win a few years ago, but I am concerned. This is the second sports analogy I have heard today. I heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade use a number of them, saying he was a coach in hockey and soccer. This is not a game. This is an important debate, in which sports analogies do not apply. I have been quoting former leaders to show how Canada has a responsibility.
    The member talked about the clear debate and said that Conservatives are confusing the debate. No, we are talking about what the previous government did and what the current government is changing. This debate is being held when it has already withdrawn the CF-18s. How is that a transparent debate? Canada has the ability to play a multi-faceted role—humanitarian assistance, aid, and an active military role—with our allies, just like Kosovo, which the Liberal government promoted and supported without a debate.
    We play a role commensurate with our size, abilities, and values. Why has that now changed?

  (1605)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to get the hon. member's comments on the fact that in the announcement and plan that the government presented around the action against ISIL, there was nothing included around domestic action, deradicalization efforts here in Canada. I am wondering if he would stand with me and ask the government to include this type of investment in helping people right here in Canada not become part of that terrible action.
    Madam Speaker, I am quoting Liberals and now I am agreeing with the NDP. What is happening to me lately?
    I can assure the hon. member that, in fact, the Conservative members of the public safety committee have been trying to get the issue of deradicalization on the agenda of that committee. Her NDP colleague will inform her of that and also tell her that each time it has been blocked by the Liberal majority on the committee, even though the minister is giving interviews and talking about setting up a deradicalization coordinator. They took the UN's Ban Ki-moon on a tour through a centre in Montreal. Why should parliamentarians not debate that very important issue as well? The Liberals are blocking it. Once again, the third pillar of the Liberals' plan, clear and transparent debate, is not happening on this issue.
    Deradicalization and the terror networks, the use of social media, and these sorts of things need to be examined by parliamentarians, and I hope the government will soon open up and allow all sides of the House to explore important issues facing the safety and security of Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, for many years now, Sunni Islamist extremism has been identified as the principal terrorist threat to Canada's national security. This consensus among Canada's security institutions is reflected in the analysis and conclusions of Canada's counterterrorism strategy. Today, ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is the leading proponent of the most active and violent brand of Islamic extremism in the world. Indeed, ISIL is the most aggressive exporter, promoter, and inspiration of jihadist terror attacks around the world, including in Canada today. That is why, when ISIL began to establish and expand its own geographic base and territory, Canada joined with our allies in doing our share in a combat mission to address the ISIL threat.
    Today, Canada's new Liberal government is turning its back on our tradition of carrying our share of the weight in the struggle to keep the world safe from this kind of threat. No longer will we engage in combat; we are expecting our allies to do the fighting for us. This is not because the fight against ISIL is won; it is not. It is not because air strikes have not worked. All the evidence is clear that allied air strikes have been the principal factor in halting the advance of ISIL and beginning to roll back its geographic gains.
    The Liberal Party is pulling out of our combat mission because its leader made a foolish and immature pronouncement about deploying our CF-18s. His vanity apparently makes it impossible to acknowledge the error of that outburst. Thus, he will not acknowledge the subsequent successful contributions of Canada's CF-18 pilots and crews in taking on ISIL.
    Despite subsequent ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks in Canada and horrific carnage in places like Paris and San Bernardino, there is a stubborn unwillingness to have Canada actually fight in what is civilization's great fight of this era.
    Why is it so important to deny ISIL a geographic base of operations? History tells us why. In 1988, a then obscure character from a wealthy Saudi construction family named Osama Bin Laden, established al Qaeda, meaning the base. Before too long, with the retreat of the Soviets, al Qaeda moved from Pakistan into Afghanistan where, ultimately, the Taliban regime gave them safe harbour, and a free hand to operate.
     Eventually, the Bin Laden family, and others essential to the al Qaeda organization, established a family compound in the Tarnak farm. Inside this small, modest, walled compound, Bin Laden lived with his three wives and many children, and directed the terrorist exports of al Qaeda.
    Canada had a special place there, it should be noted. The Canadian Khadr family, including Ahmed and Omar Khadr, lived in the Bin Laden family complex at Tarnak farm.
     The Taliban regime harboured and supported al Qaeda in those years, and they were able to organize and mount a range of increasingly violent terrorist attacks abroad. For years, the work of al Qaeda was followed closely by those interested in national security issues, but the broad public seemed unconcerned, despite an escalating series of attacks.
     People soon forgot a 1993 bombing in the parking garage of the World Trade Center by an al Qaeda trained terrorist. After all, only six people were killed, and the building remained standing. The Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 killed 19 U.S. soldiers, but those kinds of things happen in the Middle East, so seemed the public to reason.
    The 1998 al Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam wounded over 4,000 and killed over 200 people, but only 12 of those killed were American. The public began to take notice of al Qaeda, but again, these were faraway places.
     Ahmed Ressam, the millennium bomber, who lived in Montreal, trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. His plan to bomb the Los Angeles Airport was foiled by a skilled U.S. customs inspector as he crossed the border from Canada into the U.S.
     Then, in the year 2000, the USS Cole was struck by al Qaeda with 17 U.S. sailors killed.
    However, it was only with the shocking attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, that public recognition of the scale of the terrorist threat would really sink in. The global response was united. The Taliban regime, and the al Qaeda core group it harboured, had to be eliminated. The geographic base for the terrorists in Afghanistan had to be shut down.
    Canada did its part. The Liberal government of that day, to its credit, recognized that Canada had its place in the fight. One could take issue with how well the government of the day supported the troops sent to fight. They had jungle camouflage in a desert theatre, were left vulnerable in Iltis Jeeps, and without helicopter transport, they were left exposed to improvised explosive devices and ambushes.
     However, over time, those deficiencies would be addressed with proper desert uniforms, light armoured vehicles with improved armour, and helicopter transport for the troops, all of which saved lives. Ultimately, thanks to the superb work of thousands of members of the Canadian Forces and thousands of those fighting for our allies, the terrorist threat of al Qaeda, the core organization, was degraded and virtually eliminated.

  (1610)  

    However, despite the wishful thinking of many, the threat of Islamist extremism had not come to an end. Al Qaeda's core was symbolically finished with the death of Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. Various other Islamist terrorist groups, including several that had renamed to incorporate the sensationalized al Qaeda brand, continued. Among them, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.
    While Canadians had been kidnapped by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula was long viewed as the most likely affiliate that would export terrorism, it was al Qaeda in Iraq that would eventually evolve into the shockingly brutal terrorist army that is ISIL. In fact, its actions are so horrific, as many in this debate have reviewed, that they have been regarded by other al Qaeda affiliates as too extreme to be tolerated.
    Therefore, with the benefit of that history, the world has recognized that the fight against ISIL is the fight of our times. Having seen what happened when al Qaeda had the security of a geographic base of operation, we know we cannot allow ISIL the same opportunity. The imperative is greater. Thanks to oil resources and geographic conquest, ISIL is now the wealthiest, best resourced, and most heavily armed terrorist group the world has ever seen. Its brutality is unlike any we have ever seen before.
    Jihadist terrorism has been changing over time. ISIL does engage in the traditional terrorist activities of training and exporting terrorists to commit attacks and the bombing of civilian aircraft. ISIL has also embraced the more recent terrorist phenomenon of suicide bombers.
    However, ISIL has also shown unprecedented skill at the art of propaganda and incitement. Its Internet presence, sophisticated visual production, and promotion of the destruction of non-believers has broken new boundaries. It repeatedly named Canada as a target for jihadist attacks.
    That incitement has already led to two terrorist attacks here in Canada, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and right here in Ottawa. As I have said before, ISIL has brought the terror war front lines right here to Canada. The threat is real.
    Canada's responsibility is real. Many Canadians have travelled to join ISIL. For Canada to back out of the fight now can only be viewed as a failure of Canada to live up to our responsibilities. Countries like France and Great Britain acknowledge that their citizens have travelled to join ISIL and have stepped up their contributions to the fight. Despite over 130 Canadians having travelled abroad to support terrorist activity, the Liberal government is abandoning the combat, leaving our allies alone to fight the terrorists including the Canadians in the ISIL ranks. One can imagine how discouraging this is to our allies who are left to do the heavy lifting.
    Our Conservative government recognized our responsibility, our Canadian tradition of doing our share, and the imperative of combatting ISIL today to prevent terrorist attacks on Canada in the future. We recognized that a failure to take on ISIL now would only lead to the need for a greater conflict in the future if the ISIL caliphate could take a geographic hold.
    The decision of the Liberal government to end the combat mission against ISIL is a sad one. It marks an end to Canada's role as a leader in the global fight against terrorism. It means a failure of Canada to do our fair share of the work in keeping the world safe. The Liberal decision to end our combat mission against ISIL is a mark of our failure to assume responsibility even as young Canadians are fighting in the very ranks of ISIL.
    Most of all, it is a decision that leaves Canada at risk. At best, we will be free riders, depending upon others to do the real work of shutting down the real terrorist threat to Canada. At worst, we will be leaders of a sort, the first to back out of the fight, an action which, if repeated by our allies, will leave the entire world, Canada included, vulnerable to terrorist attack by the worst, most fanatical, and export-oriented terrorist group in history.
    The Liberal decision is not in keeping with the Canadian way of doing things. We are the true north, strong and free, standing on guard. We are a country of courage, of principle, of doing what is right. That is the Canadian way.

  (1615)  

    Madam Speaker, I listened very closely to what the member was talking about. He said a lot wonderful things in his speech, but the core of what we are actually talking about today is the potential involvement, or no involvement, of the CF-18s.
    The Canadian Forces have done wonders historically for us. We are all immensely proud of the work that our men and women do in the Canadian Forces. However, there was an election, and part of the platform was that we would be withdrawing the CF-18s in favour of expanding other aspects of Canada's role in the Middle East.
    The Liberal Party achieved a majority government. Surely to goodness the opposition would not be calling on the Liberal government to break a major election platform. If we factor in the New Democrats who want the CF-18s out, the Green Party who wants the CF-18s out, and a majority of Canadians who voted that the CF-18s have no role to play, that is the core of the issue.
    My question to the member is: does he not recognize that the world coalition can do many of the things that the Conservatives want us to do?
    It is important that Canada invest in terms of where we can continue to protect the coalition's interests and fight terrorism. One of the ways of doing that is by tripling the size of our advisory team in the conflict so that the Iraqis are better able to combat terrorism door-to-door virtually.
    Madam Speaker, of course, the point of the position of the Liberal Party is to say that our CF-18s did not make a difference, that they were not playing a part of rolling back ISIL. In fact, all the evidence says otherwise. Air strikes have been the principal source of success in rolling back and containing the ISIL threat.
    In terms of what the Canadian public thinks, well every survey makes it clear that they want to see Canada continue in the fight.
    Sadly, there will be no more Canadians fighting after the Liberals implement this decision. Hold it, I take that back. There will still be Canadians fighting, but the only Canadians actually fighting will be fighting on the side of ISIL. That is shameful. That is an abandonment of our responsibility.
    We have Canadian citizens who have travelled abroad, are part of ISIL, and are engaging in combat against our allies who are in the fight. We think we want to win the fight, and we will not even do our share. To me, that is a shameful abandonment of our most basic responsibility in this fight.

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, I just want to say how disappointed I am that the Liberal government has acted to withdraw the CF-18s without waiting for the benefit of a parliamentary vote and respecting the process. Our allies have asked us to leave our CF-18s in the fight, men and women on the ground want Canadian air protection, and the CF-18s do not have a mission as important as this to rush off to.
    If we do not cut the head off the snake known as ISIS, we will have more refugees than we have the capacity to deal with. I would like to hear what the member has to say about that.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton is clearly familiar with the issues and the reality there on the ground.
    The reality is that there is only one reason, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons just indicated, and as I indicated with my own comments, why the Liberals are doing this. It is because the Prime Minister made a rather immature outburst, and he simply will not back off from that position that he took early on. It is vanity. That can be the only explanation. It is not doing the right thing.
    We all know what the right thing is. Even the Liberal Party knows what the right thing is. That is why those members are trying to find some contorted way of pretending, having said that we will not be in combat, that maybe we sort of will be so that some people will think we are. The fact is they are ending the combat mission, even as they know in their hearts it is the right thing to continue this fight.
    As I reviewed the history, there has never been as great a terrorist threat as this. It has identified Canada as a target. It has Canadian young people travel abroad to join its ranks, and we have had attacks here in Canada inspired by that group. If there was ever a fight in which we had such a responsibility to do our part, this is it. Under the Liberals, we are walking away from that responsibility.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

[English]

    I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to take part in this debate around Canada's future involvement in the coalition efforts to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria. There has been a great deal of debate in this chamber on how we should move forward. One thing we can all agree on is that it is imperative that ISIL be defeated.
    It has also become increasingly clear that in order to overcome this challenge, we require a whole-of-government response that plays to Canada's strengths within the coalition. This involves the refocusing of our military contribution by increasing intelligence capabilities, by deploying CAF medical personnel, and by enhancing capacity-building efforts.
     The new Canadian mission would also seek to improve the living conditions of conflict-affected populations and build the foundations for long-term regional stability. We will also invest significantly in humanitarian assistance, reinforce our diplomatic presence, and strengthen dialogue with local and international partners on the ground. Canada is already welcoming more Syrian refugees and will continue to do so.
     As members can see, this is not strictly a military issue. This is exactly why the Prime Minister has announced a refocused approach, one that will involve the work of several departments.
    The only way to bring stability to the region is through a long-term, multi-pronged approach. This refocused mission will better target humanitarian assistance, stabilization, security, and development programming. As I mentioned earlier, it will also boost diplomatic efforts to the support of a political solution in this conflict.
    This change is not, as some have implied, a reduction from our previous contribution; it is a step forward. Canada fully intends to remain at the forefront of the international efforts to combat this grave threat. Over time, this refocused and sustained effort will set the conditions necessary to bring stability to the region. We must be mindful of the fact that this will be a long-term effort.
    As the Minister of National Defence said, recounting an observation made by an Iraqi commander, “We are fighting the son of al Qaeda. We must ensure we aren't fighting the grandson of al Qaeda as well.” I contend that the best way to stop this cycle of terrorism is through a meaningful, collective, and holistic intervention that is effective now and over the long term.
    One of the ways in which we are refocusing our approach is through increased intelligence capabilities. This is an important development. Defence intelligence is an integral part of military operations and activities. It enables effective and informed decision-making by providing awareness and the ability to adjust to the security environment. If we know our adversaries are planning to do something before they do it, we stand a better chance of being able to stop them. This is why we have made enhanced intelligence capability part of Canada's refocused military contribution.
     We have come to understand that accurate intelligence allows for better situational awareness. Without that intelligence piece, the chances of success in this mission are limited. Whether it is information taken from the sensors of our CP-140 Auroras or from other sources, the more intelligence we have on ISIL's assets and its movements, the better off the coalition forces, including our own men and women in uniform, will be.
    Quality intelligence is needed on the ground, not only to inform the coalition where the next strike needs to happen but also to identify where we should not go. It helps us to find and prioritize targets. It helps us to minimize civilian casualties. It allows us to track the enemy, know the situation, and anticipate and prevent the next move. This is particularly important now, given the current state of the campaign.
    After more than a year of coalition air strikes, ISIL has lost most of its freedom of movement. It cannot hold positions or move equipment and fighters as openly as it once did. Instead, it has to disguise its movements, move over shorter distances, or under cover of night. This means that windows of opportunity may be brief and the coalition will have to move quickly to capitalize on them.
    Since ISIL has been hiding among the civilian population to mask its presence, we must be prudent in our operations to minimize the risk of unintended civilian casualties and other collateral damage. This is why better intelligence capabilities are so critical. The cost of being wrong can be extremely high in lives, time, and tactical consequences.

  (1625)  

    As a complement to our contribution, we are deploying additional Canadian Armed Forces officers to coalition headquarters to assist in targeting and intelligence. This is a complex and important process and the Canadian Armed Forces is among the best in the world in this field.
     The targeting process is extremely important to us and to coalition partners, as it helps reduce the harm to civilians and critical infrastructure, and maximizes the coalition's ability to degrade ISIL's fighting capability.
    The coalition process works as follows. It targets personnel needed to: (a) identify the objective, for example, to prevent the movement of ISIL fighters to a city; (b) select and prioritize potential targets that will achieve that effect; (c) match the appropriate response to each target; (d) act on the targets that have been identified; and (e) finally, assess if the desired objective has been achieved.
    This system, the joint targeting cycle, is a robust and well-developed process, and our CAF personnel are well trained and experienced in this process. With this enhanced contribution to the targeting function, we will continue to support the coalition in its efforts to degrade ISIL's fighting capability.
    The contribution of the Canadian Armed Forces to peace and stability is well established, and Canada continues to be prepared to answer the call. However, we need to keep in mind that there are many different elements involved in degrading and defeating ISIL.
     We need to remember that we are not alone in this fight. We are part of an international coalition, and that the real key to success is a complementary approach between all coalition partners.
    Canada has much to offer when it comes to overcoming the threat posed by ISIL. This combination of better intelligence and robust targeting will help the coalition quickly take advantage of fleeting opportunities. Because agility and adaptation are paramount in modern warfare, particularly against a determined enemy, it is a combination that is valued by our allies.
    Like our train, advise and assist contribution, this is another way in which particular Canadian strengths can be used to help defeat ISIL. We want to put the best of Canada forward. This plan not only brings to the fight some of the core strengths of the Canadian Armed Forces; it meets the expectations of Canadians.

  (1630)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am surprised that the Conservatives are taken aback by our decision to withdraw the CF-18s, since that was one of our campaign promises.
    I want to thank my colleague for his brilliant remarks. We did indeed commit to co-operating with the coalition, and I wonder if he could talk about the benefits of such a collaboration in a context like this one.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions about how improved collaboration between partners in the coalition will better serve Canada's purpose, and indeed help us defeat ISIL more quickly.
     This is one of the reasons why, during the campaign and on the doorsteps of St. John's East, I would talk to people and ask if this was the best way for Canada to participate in the fight. They were concerned that perhaps we were not acting on the best information, that the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria was too complicated, and that we did not have the right intelligence resources to be engaged in it . As well, there were many articles in the news about improper bombing within the campaign.
    Improved collaboration allows other members of the coalition forces to take up more of the activity with the jets and the bombardment, and it allows Canada to focus on its areas of strength, including intelligence gathering and targeting.
    Madam Speaker, there are two specific issues I want to ask the member about. He just referred to the idea of improper bombing. Of course, Canada is no longer participating in the fighting, but it is supporting the bombing.
    If his concern is that the bombing is improper in some sense, then why are the Liberals still playing a supporting role but are not willing to participate in the fighting? I want to give him an opportunity to clarify that.
    We have also heard from a number of members on the government side about the idea of comparative advantage and Canada not having a comparative advantage when it comes to doing the fighting.
    I am of the opinion that we have some of the best bombers and airmen in the world. Let us take advantage of that. Let us recognize that we have a comparative advantage, not a comparative disadvantage. Will the member comment on that as well?
    Madam Speaker, in respect of the first question, which was similar to the question previously posed, when bombing strikes go awry and there are civilian casualties associated with it, there is legitimate public outcry against that. As part of this coalition, we want to ensure we have the best intelligence resources available to us as a team so it can participate in the degradation and defeat of ISIL in an appropriate way, minimizing civilian casualties. That is exactly why Canada is focusing on intelligence gathering and on the ground capacity-building support for the local armed forces. It addresses the point precisely.
    In respect of the second question posed on why we are removing the jets, our view is that it was a campaign commitment made throughout the entire election. We have never wavered upon the view that the best way for Canada to participate in the campaign in Iraq and Syria, both now and in the long term, is to focus on capacity building, intelligence gathering and targeting, and medical support on the ground. This is what we promised we would do, and it is what we shall do.
    Madam Speaker, to pick up on the point the member just referred to, he is quite right in his assessment. Canada will be tripling the size of our training force in northern Iraq. We will be increasing the intelligence-gathering resources.
    Canada's Armed Forces is an incredible force, and I know the member believes this to be the case. Although we will not have our CF-18s engaged in this process, Canada does, and will, contribute immensely to combatting terrorism in the world.
    Madam Speaker, I fully agree with the member's statement. Canada's contribution is still great in this. We are changing the tactic and the focus. However, it is still focused on the ultimate goal of defeating ISIL and bringing stability to this region, which is immensely important.

  (1635)  

[Translation]

    It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for North Island—Powell River, Canadian Coast Guard; the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar, Natural Resources; the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Foreign Affairs.
    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today about Canada's role in the global coalition to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. I am particularly proud to be able to speak about how Canada's new comprehensive integrated and sustainable strategy will become an important contribution to the coalition efforts.
    ISIL continues to present a serious threat to regional and global security, including a threat to Canadian citizens at home and abroad. The terrorist activities that ISIL continues to undertake in territories it controls in Iraq and Syria have resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions of people. ISIL continues to torture and behead people, has licensed rape and enslavement of women, and has callously destroyed places of worship and irreplaceable cultural and archeological sites.
    To face these challenges, the international community has to come together, under a global coalition, with a specific aim to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL. The global coalition, established in September 2014, consists of 66 members. These include countries, as well as organizations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League.
    There is a broad consensus in the international community that the struggle to defeat ISIL and prevent it from expanding requires a comprehensive, long-term, and multi-pronged approach. Accordingly, the coalition has focused its efforts along five lines of engagement.
     While the military efforts will continue to play a vital role in setting the conditions necessary to deal with ISIL's immediate threat, the coalition also has non-military lines of effort, which are necessary to bring stability to liberated areas and prevent a group from replacing ISIL once it has been defeated.
     These include, first, undertaking stabilization activities in areas liberated from ISIL to support the safe and sustainable return of displaced people to their communities; second, stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to and from the region, including through strengthening the exchange of information and enhancing international co-operation; third, stopping the flow of funds to and from ISIL, preventing it from using or benefiting from the international financial system and diminishing the sources of revenue under its control; and fourth, exposing and countering ISIL's narrative and false message, and supporting positive and credible alternative narratives.
    Working groups to coordinate and enhance coalition efforts along these specific lines of effort were also created. Every country involved in this fight contributes to the best of its capacity and capability in a complementary way to those of its allies and partners in the coalition.
     I am proud to note that Canada is one of the few countries to actively contribute to all the lines of effort of the coalition, both military and non-military. Canada is also a member of the so-called small group of the coalition. This group comprises the 25 coalition members that provide military support to Iraqi forces fighting ISIL on the ground. The small group of the coalition plays an important role in establishing the strategic directions for the coalition.
    Canada is an active partner in the small group. The Minister of Foreign Affairs participated in the most recent small group meeting held earlier this month in Rome, where he discussed with coalition partners our collective progress in combatting ISIL, and plans to strengthen these efforts, building upon the progress achieved so far. Canada also hosted a small group of political directors in Quebec in July 2015.
     There has been significant progress. ISIL has been pushed out of approximately 30% of the territory it used to occupy in Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, the cities of Tikrit, Sinjar, and Ramadi have been liberated. Refugees and displaced people are starting to return to their homes to rebuild their lives and their communities.
    Members of the global coalition are continuing their plans to ramp up operations against ISIL. The Minister of National Defence attended a meeting of the small group ministers of defence in Brussels, last week, where a forward-looking strategic direction for the military component of the coalition was laid out. Coalition members also reiterated their commitment to ensure coherence and coordination across the military and non-military lines of effort.

  (1640)  

     It is through our active contribution in an ongoing consultation with members of the coalition that Canada has developed its new strategy. That strategy is comprehensive, integrated, and sustained. It gives us the best chance to defeat ISIL and to build the foundations for peace and stability in the region in the longer term.
    The strategy is comprehensive because it comprises Canadian investments in all aspects of a durable solution: military, diplomatic, stabilization, humanitarian and developmental assistance. These investments will ensure that we remain an active contributor to all lines of coalition effort. The strategy is integrated in how its components are linked and how they complement the efforts of others in the coalition.
    Finally, our strategy is sustained because we are making a multi-year commitment and because the choices we have made are the most likely to lead to sustainable outcomes. We Canadians are respected for our ability to train ground troops, to support security forces, to combine effective humanitarian and developmental support, and to provide sound diplomacy.
    Going forward, Canada will help address a crucial need for the continued training of Iraqi forces. We have the expertise and our strategy builds on our strengths, so Canada's impact will be most effective in the longer term. By contributing this way, we will ensure that Iraqis are able to defend themselves and take the lead on the battlefield. Our approach will strengthen the ability of local forces to fight back against ISIL.
    The Canadian Armed Forces are well placed to help prepare Iraqis in this. We recognize the very important sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made in this fight. Our Canadian Armed Forces continue to do a tremendous job and have the gratitude of all Canadians for the amazing work they have done. As the parent of two members of the Canadian Forces, I am incredibly proud.
    Canada will also continue to work with its partners to strengthen its efforts to stem the flow of fighters to Iraq and Syria. We will continue to work together to cut off ISIL's funding and destroy ISIL's financial infrastructure, and will support capacity-building efforts in the region to help governments protect their financial systems from terrorist financing. We will work to support and sustain strategic communications against violent extremism in ISIL-controlled territories and continue to co-operate with coalition partners and allies to promote a positive narrative that exposes ISIL's twisted message and ideology for what it is.
    As local forces continue to liberate areas from ISIL control in Iraq, our support will help displaced populations return to their homes. This builds on the work that we have already done and enhances the efforts of our coalition partners. This government is committed to international efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL and we will fulfill that commitment using our civilian and military capabilities.
    We are proud of the contributions of the Canadian Armed Forces in this fight. They will continue to play a vital role in Canada's role in the global coalition, but our new strategy also draws upon Canada's widely recognized expertise in security, humanitarian, stabilization, and developmental assistance. Our refocused engagement has been developed in close consultation with our coalition allies and partners and reflects the needs and requests expressed to Canada.
    At the same time, it leverages Canadian capabilities and specific value-added expertise. Our contributions will build on the success of the coalition. They will further complement and enhance the efforts of our coalition partners. Going forward, Canada will continue to work in close co-operation with local and international allies and partners to implement our new strategy.
    Only through a comprehensive and integrated approach that looks beyond the immediate term and focuses on the long-term future of the region can we ensure that we defeat ISIL and prevent its rise, or that of another threat like it, tomorrow.

  (1645)  

    Madam Speaker, two pieces of the war on ISIS that a lot of us feel would be helpful would be to stem the flow of fighters going overseas by focusing on deradicalization efforts here at home and slowing the flow of money and arms, which intensify the conflict overseas. That, for the government, means acceding to the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
    Can the member please describe how those two pieces would fit into the comprehensive plan that her government describes?
    Madam Speaker, as we have mentioned over the last four days of discussion on this coalition initiative, we have committed to focusing on four specific areas, including cutting off funding for ISIL and its terrorist allies and preventing the flow of foreign terrorists to that region.
    Madam Speaker, does the member think the word “genocide” applies in the case of this conflict? Does she think that we have a responsibility to protect the people affected by that genocide?
    Madam Speaker, we can all agree that the atrocities committed by ISIL are barbaric and unacceptable. That is why we have decided to join forces as a coalition to address that terrorism.
    Madam Speaker, I note that the member is the mother of two sons who are members of the Canadian Forces. When we reflect on the Liberal caucus as whole, we see that beside the Minister of National Defence, we have generals, privates, and a wide selection of Canadian Forces personnel making up our caucus. It is encouraging to hear a parent's perspective on what is taking place overseas.
    I am wondering if my colleague could provide some thoughts as to how this different approach of taking out the CF-18s provides her some comfort as a parent. Is there possibly something else she might want to add?
    Madam Speaker, I will answer my colleague's question in two parts.
    As a parent of two sons serving in the forces, I am aware that they very likely will see battle. As a parent who also understands there is a holistic approach to fighting ISIL in collaboration with our global partners, I say that Canada absolutely has a role to play and is actively playing that role given our expertise and what we can bring to the table.
    As a parent and as a parliamentarian, I am incredibly proud of the hard work that our Minister of National Defence has been doing on this plan with our coalition partners, given his great expertise in this field. We have chosen the right course of action in this regard.
    For those who feel that our sons and daughters, our wives and husbands, and fellow family members are avoiding the fight, I can assure them that they are not.

  (1650)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Sudbury.
    I am very pleased to take part in this debate on redefining the Canadian mission against the Islamic State. Two weeks ago, our government presented a detailed plan to broaden, improve, and redefine our contribution to the effort to combat ISIL.
    Today, I would like to address the House about some of the key aspects of this plan. Last week, the Minister of National Defence summed up quite well the context in which our new approach was taken. He illustrated how different the current situation is from the situation that existed when the Canadian military mission began in the fall of 2014.
     At the time, the situation in Iraq and Syria was worrisome. The Islamic State was progressing rapidly in both those countries, claiming territory and recovering abandoned military equipment for its own use. The group was in full expansion.
    In the past 15 months, the situation on the ground has changed a great deal. The coalition attacks conducted by the United States in which Canada actively participated helped stop ISIL's progress and weaken its combat capability.
    Since then, local military forces have conducted offensive military operations and have been able to reclaim territory, for example, in Ramadi. This progress encouraged our mission partners, led by the United States, to review their strategies, and Canada did the same, as dictated by the realities of the mission.
    The first step should be an in-depth analysis of the situation which, as I mentioned, significantly evolved on the ground. We reviewed the impact we want our contribution to have, in light of the tools at our disposal and in light of Canada's tradition as a peacekeeping nation that helps local populations, not an aggressive nation. The city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu had to deal with the fallout of our attacks, namely the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent on October 20, 2014.
    We have developed a comprehensive, long-term strategy that is consistent with Canadian values. This strategy reflects that of our partners in the international coalition. We have consulted our closest allies and our partners, as well as our troops on the ground, and we sought opinions from military commanders and local military forces in Iraq.
    The ministers of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, and International Development consulted senior executives in their respective departments to better assess the skills and tools available within the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada as a whole.
    Together, they succeeded in redefining the contribution that Canada will make to the international coalition against the Islamic State in order to meet existing needs. Security, humanitarian aid and development will play a big part in this plan, as will our military contribution and diplomatic presence.
    It is now clearer how the military action that will be taken under the new approach fits into a broader plan. This integrated approach will help establish conditions that will promote long-term stability in the region.
    When it comes to military action, we firmly believe that the people of Iraq are ultimately responsible for stabilizing their country. We will provide local military forces with the expertise they need to strengthen their capacity and properly prepare to confront ISIL fighters.
    As the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence announced on February 8, we will triple the size of Canada's train, advise and assist mission in northern Iraq. We are also going to considerably increase our intelligence capabilities. This enhanced contribution will be of critical importance as we transition to the next phase in the fight against ISIL.
     We will also provide the Government of Iraq ministerial liaison personnel to the ministries of defence and the interior and we will work more closely with the governments of Jordan and Lebanon.

  (1655)  

    We also committed to increasing our medical presence to support Canadian personnel and that of other coalition countries. We also offered additional training to Iraqi security forces. We will deploy a small helicopter detachment with air crew and support personnel to provide safer and more reliable transport for our troops and also for our material and equipment.
    As the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff said, the fight against ISIL is a dangerous armed conflict that carries inherent risk to our men and women in uniform.
    This mission will be riskier than air operations, but as our partners within the international coalition pointed out, at this point in the campaign more training and increased intelligence efforts are essential activities to ensure future success and the defeat of ISIL.
     As all our government spokespeople have indicated since the announcement was made on the new definition of the Canadian mission, we will do everything in our power to keep our military and civilian personnel safe. All deployed personnel will benefit from the enhanced situational awareness that will come from our bolstered intelligence capabilities. The Canadian Armed Forces comprise highly trained and experienced men and women who know how to operate effectively in a conflict environment.
    The Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean in my riding wants to help our troops maintain their expertise. It wants to offer a social sciences program to promote the training of world-class leaders who have the skills needed to intervene in the area of conflict resolution. Having the capacity to on the ground by supporting local forces is part of university training in social sciences. This approach fits in with the action plan set out by DND and this government. Our forces are training in order to carry out their mission and, in this case, help defeat ISIL.
    Over 60 countries are taking part in the international coalition against ISIL. This is an approach that fits in with the new American action plan for the fight against ISIL. A Pentagon spokesperson said that Canada's announcement was the kind of response that the U.S. Secretary of State was looking for from coalition members at a time when we are trying to accelerate the campaign against ISIL.
    This approach is what our key coalition partners want from us. This approach is perfectly in line with what the coalition intends to do, as it is entering a new phase. The international coalition is going to benefit a great deal from our efforts. We need to increase our efforts with local partners to create real, long-term security solutions in the region.
    We carried out a thorough analysis of the mission to fight ISIL. We consulted our partners and our allies, and we made decisions based on their input. We have gone through a concerted process to ensure that Canada's contribution remains central to the international coalition's campaign against ISIL. This new approach is coherent, comprehensive, and exhaustive. It draws on Canada's skills and some of our key strengths. It reflects Canadian values and is in line with the international coalition's current needs. Together, our government is focusing on defending our interests and the freedoms of individuals.
    As many other members of the House have done during this debate, I too would like to offer my most heartfelt gratitude to those who have served, are serving, or will serve as part of Operation Impact. We owe them and their families an enormous debt of gratitude. I would like to pay tribute to the men and women who represent us so well here and around the world as they carry out their missions and, in this case, help to defeat ISIL. I do so on my own behalf and as the federal MP for the riding of Saint-Jean, a region with a significant military tradition.

  (1700)  

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. However, I am having difficulty reconciling two things.
    During the election campaign, the Liberals talked about ending the combat mission. In his speech, my colleague said that the proposed mission is more dangerous. That is a comment, and not my question.
    My question is about this famous Arms Trade Treaty. We know that the Conservative Party did not want to sign it.
    Today, I heard one of the parliamentary secretaries say that the minister was seized of the matter. I do not believe there is much to consider because I would think that an agreement is better. It is a quick and easy solution that the government could implement to slow down arms sales in the region, and it would also have a positive effect in the region. That is the type of solution that the NDP is proposing.
    Could my colleague give me a timeline and tell me, if the minister is so seized of the matter, when will we finally have a decision?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    Knowing whom the arms are for and what they will be used for is a concern.
    However, we have a military tradition. We, too, have highly productive and efficient plants; there are several in my riding. This issue must be analyzed in detail, and that is what the Minister of National Defence is currently doing.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the men and women of our air force who have successfully completed over 251 air strikes to contain the spread of ISIL and, while doing that, not having any civilian casualties.
    In the House of Commons in the previous Parliament, the Prime Minister accused our government of steadily drawing Canada deeper into a combat role. I wonder if my colleague opposite can tell the House how the proposed mission does not do that, because on the surface it certainly does. Why would the Liberals end the air strikes that have been so effective in containing the spread of ISIL in this region?

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her question.
    Canada's role is an existential issue, and we just talked about how this important role has been redefined.
    We are entering phase two. Attacks have finally forced ISIL to pull back, and we now have to provide support so that the people in the region can secure the freedom of their territory themselves.
    We also need to ensure that there will be fewer refugees. We see massive waves of people in despair moving from country to country. Canada is now entering a phase where it has the best skills. It is able to help train people and military forces and provide humanitarian aid.
    Since the time of Mr. Pearson, we have had a reputation for keeping the peace and helping people. That is our reputation throughout the world, and Canadians acknowledged that during the last election.