That the House support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who in her book entitled The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State, stated: “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but all the guards and slave owners, every man who pulled a trigger and pushed my brothers’ bodies into their mass grave, every fighter who tried to brainwash young boys into hating their mothers for being Yazidi, every Iraqi who welcomed the terrorists into their cities and helped them, thinking to themselves, Finally we can be rid of those nonbelievers. They should all be put on trial before the entire world, like the Nazi leaders after World War II, and not given the chance to hide.”; and call on the government to: (a) refrain from repeating the past mistakes of paying terrorists with taxpayers’ dollars or trying to reintegrate returning terrorists back into Canadian society; and (b) table within 45 days after the adoption of this motion a plan to immediately bring to justice anyone who has fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity, including those who are in Canada or have Canadian citizenship.
He said: Madam Speaker, I will start off by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from .
We have just heard the motion that we are moving today and will spend all day debating.
First of all, I want to talk about the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad. She said that what the fighters and terrorists of the Islamic State have done is an act of genocide that should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
The problem right now is that our is not demonstrating any political will to bring these people to justice. There is no getting around the fact that most of them are Canadian. One hundred and sixty Canadians, most of whom were born in Canada, decided to go to Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and commit atrocities and acts of genocide. We know that 60 of them have come back to Canada, but only four have been charged. We have no other information on the rest of them. We have had information about the 60 fighters for two years. We do not know where the others are, nor what is going on with them.
We learned recently that Muhammad Ali was captured by the Syrian army. Syria wants to send him back to Canada. Meanwhile, the RCMP is saying they probably would not be able to lay charges against him. That kind of news is really unsettling for Canadians. Going overseas to fight one's own country, to fight against Canada's allies, is called treason. We simply cannot understand how such traitors can come back here, without penalty, and continue to live their lives as though nothing happened. What is worse, many of them try to play the victim. They say that, looking back, it was not what they wanted to do and they claim to be victims.
Let us recall how the Liberals replied recently. They told us they were able to charge four individuals, while the Conservatives did nothing. I would remind the House that our CF-18s were bombing ISIS, but the first thing this did was withdraw our CF-18s from the region. Why? We never did get an answer to that question.
Today we are asking very specific and clear questions. These are questions that every member of the House gets asked. I am pretty sure that the Liberals across the way get the same questions from Canadians. What are they doing? What are they doing to bring these traitors to justice and to make victims feel like Parliament and their government are listening to them? That is currently not what they feel. It is not what they are experiencing.
The Conservatives are calling on the Liberal government to take immediate action to bring Islamic State terrorists to justice. The Conservatives are calling on the Liberals to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians understand that whoever travels abroad to commit genocide or terrorist acts should be prosecuted under local and international law. The Conservatives strongly defend that principle.
We are also calling on the government to focus its efforts on bringing those responsible for genocide or terrorist acts to justice and on protecting Canadians from those who return to Canada who are suspected of committing terrorism or genocide abroad, while ensuring that Canada's security agencies have the resources they need to closely monitor these individuals and their activities in Canada.
We are also calling on the government to promote the use of the tools that impose conditions on persons suspected of carrying out terrorist or genocidal activities, such as peace bonds, ankle bracelets and house arrest. We are also asking that their use of social media be monitored.
The Liberals are making it more difficult for those responsible for security to monitor presumed terrorists by changing the rules around the requirement to keep the peace.
We are calling on the Liberals to examine ways to reform the judicial system to ensure that the courts have access to evidence collected against presumed terrorists.
The procedures for bringing to justice the perpetrators of atrocities are slow and do not make it possible for victims to return to their communities. The Conservatives want Canada to lead global initiatives to reform and strengthen these procedures.
We are also calling on the government to support initiatives and take concrete action to bring about justice for women against whom rape was used as a weapon of war.
Furthermore, we are calling on the Liberals to recognize that ISIS has committed atrocious crimes against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Yazidi people, Iraqi Christians, Coptic Christians and Shia Muslim minorities.
We are also calling on the government to support the investigators and prosecutors mandated by United Nations Security Council resolution 2379 to support national efforts to hold ISIS responsible for its war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
We are also calling on the Liberals to take action to respect Parliament's unanimous support for the Conservative motion to bring justice to victims of the Yazidi genocide.
Lastly, we are calling on them to support initiatives like the ones proposed by Premier Doug Ford to prevent terrorists from returning to Canada and taking advantage of its generous social programs.
When I got up this morning, I was very happy to see an article by Manon Cornellier in Le Devoir, which addressed this very problem. I want to read three paragraphs from her article that highlight what is going on right now.
Some 190 Canadians are active in overseas terrorist groups such as Islamic State, mostly in Syria and Iraq.... About 60 have returned to Canada, but only four have faced charges to date. Three Canadian jihadists and their families, currently in the hands of Kurdish forces in northern Syria, want to be repatriated to Canada even if that means being tried here, though that is not guaranteed.
According to Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Canada must not allow Canadian fighters to return to Canada or be repatriated without holding them responsible for the atrocities they helped perpetrate. They must be prosecuted to deter others from committing such crimes.
Mr. Matthews condemns the Trudeau government for lacking the political will to prosecute returning fighters. Until recently, it has favoured monitoring and reintegration if possible.
Even a reporter at Le Devoir, which is certainly not known for its right-wing sympathies, does not understand what is going on. People at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies are also at a loss when it comes to explaining this government's soft touch.
I cannot believe that the government members do not think the same way we do. There are 40 Liberal MPs from Quebec, and I know that there is a lot of pressure from Quebeckers to take action against these Canadian fighters. The offices of those MPs must be getting a lot of emails, but we are not hearing anything from them. They are hiding and do not want to deal with reality.
To conclude my remarks this morning, I would like to repeat what I said at the beginning of my speech. The information we have about ISIS fighters is two years old. The last I heard, a report indicated that 60 fighters had come back to Canada. Have any others come back? We do not know since the government never wants to answer that question. How many Canadian fighters are still abroad? That is more difficult to determine, but we should try to find out.
Why does the minister not want to give a full report on the situation? Why does the minister always hide when we talk about ISIS terrorists and especially about the Canadians who fought over there as traitors?
We should have that information. I am sure that CSIS and the RCMP have it, but the government does not want to be transparent in that regard. We are calling on the government to take action, to be transparent with Canadians and to tell us when and how it intends to bring charges against these war criminals. We are asking that question today on behalf of the victims, because they do not understand why the Government of Canada is being so nice to these terrorists.
Madam Speaker, the world has rightly feted Nadia Murad, one of the strongest women in the world, with the Nobel Peace Prize for the work she has accomplished in bringing attention to the need to eradicate one of humanity's oldest and most potent weapons in any conflict; rape. While on behalf of Canadian Parliament today I congratulate her on this achievement, I cannot help but feel as though we in this place are letting it ring hollow.
Vanity Fair magazine, after learning of Murad's prize, ran a story entitled “This Year's Nobel Peace Prize Reflects the #MeToo Era”. It could not be more wrong. The key difference between those who have been under the spotlight of #MeToo, the long list of Hollywood actresses, political staffers and most recently Christine Blasey Ford, have presented their stories and the western media and lawmakers have reacted, from marches in the streets, to high-profile trials, to bills in this place to change our own sexual harassment code of conduct. Those who have come forward in #MeToo have seen, while arguably imperfect, some sort of movement on the part of our legislatures, courts and society to acknowledge their plight and act to remedy.
The same cannot be said for Murad and her people. What of justice for them? There has been none. That is because in our position of privilege here in this place, in the glittering halls of Hollywood institutions, in our newsrooms and in our western academic halls and at elite think tank gatherings, it has been easier for us to give Nadia an award for her courage and link the woman and her people to the #MeToo movement rather than to take action to bring justice and that is wrong.
Rape and sexual violence in war is a weapon that we rarely acknowledge, much less take action to end. To all who believe that #MeToo has somehow begun to shift our nation toward a more gender-equitable society, one where there is less sexual violence and more empowerment for women, then why are we in Canada not doing everything in our power to bring those complicit in the use of rape as a weapon against Nadia and her people to justice? To bring them justice, Canada must first lead the charge in condemning rape as the most potent weapon known to mankind.
Time magazine recently recounted a story of a doctor who treats the survivors of rape in a war zone. She has stitched up the tears and she has retrieved inserted objects. She has repaired flesh seared by the heat of a bullet, fired inside a vagina that by some miracle or curse did not kill, but crippled for life. Her work is vital. Women with fistulas, tears between the vagina, the anus, the bladder and the bowel from rape cannot retain their urine or feces. No matter how often they clean, they smell. They are shunned by their communities and they are unwelcome in church. Like a dirty bomb, rape as a weapon of war is so much more powerful than the immediate damage that it yields.
Rape as a weapon of war spreads venereal disease. Rape as a weapon of war renders women sterile. It ends childhoods. Rape as a weapon of war results in children who bear the stigma of rejection of their mothers, their communities and constant reminders of the conditions of their conception and of their bloodlines. Rape as a weapon of war results in women being ostracized from their communities as impure, as having not done enough to resist it, as having somehow asked for it, or worse, implied that they enjoyed it. Rape as a weapon of war disconnects women from their faith communities. It destroys marriages with husbands being unable to cope with children conceived in rape, so-called impure wives, wives who are suffering from the trauma of sexual violence, being unable to participate in intercourse without being re-traumatized. It kills and when it does not, many of its wide-ranging victims wish it had. It causes suicide. Rape as a weapon of war is a means to genocide.
Sherrie Russell-Brown in the Berkeley law review summarized rape as genocide as follows:
[Genocidal rape] is not rape out of control. It is rape under control. It is also rape unto death, rape as massacre, rape to kill and to make the victims wish they were dead...It is rape to be seen and heard and watched and told to others; rape as spectacle. It is rape to drive a wedge through a community, to shatter a society, to destroy a people.
This is the rape that Nadia and her people have suffered, yet there are those who are complicit in using this weapon who walk free in Canada as though nothing has happened. Where is the outrage of #MeToo and our so-called Canadian feminist in chief for them? To end rape being used as a weapon of war, Canada must first acknowledge it as such, then we must destroy it as a weapon. We do that by bringing those who use that weapon or who are complicit in its usage to swift and immediate justice.
Dr. Denis Mukwege, Nadia Murad's co-Nobel Peace Prize laureate, states that establishing and implementing laws that hold perpetrators accountable is one of the most important ways to de-arm those who consider using this weapon.
His foundation states that:
Law serves as an effective tool to end and prevent rape as a weapon of war. When laws are implemented and enforced, more survivors are able to access justice and more perpetrators will be held accountable.
Law enforcement can deter perpetrators and may help to end the cycle of impunity, which otherwise fuels future crimes. If perpetrators fear punishment, they are more likely to end the practice of using rape as a weapon of war.
Legitimate law and legal structures also give victims confidence to demand their rights and feel less wronged.
Yet, in Canada, our government has taken precious little action to acknowledge this truth, much less action to enforce it. Every time one of us stands in here and minimizes the need to place justice first, or worse, places the reintegration or feelings of ISIS terrorist ahead of the need to de-weaponize genocidal rape, we fail its victims. Make no mistake, every person who chose to act as an ISIS terrorist is complicit in the use of this weapon.
In her book, Nadia bluntly outlines that every person, every Canadian who chose to act as an ISIS terrorist is complicit in the genocidal rape of her and her people, and she is right. She says, “I dream about one day bringing all the militants to justice, not just the leaders...but all the guards and slave owners.”
Ali Shamo Aldakhi, a young Yazidi survivor, said “When I see other countries of the free world take charge and stand with humanity, it means that justice will be served and those of us who have survived will have some relief.”
Canada can do so much more. Today, the Conservatives issued a statement calling on the government to take several specific actions to bring immediate justice to the survivors of ISIS, and so many of my colleagues will talk about them. However, I would like to focus on one specific item.
Processes, both in Canada and in the courts of international law, to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice are slow and rarely work. They fail victims and prevent them from returning home. Canada should lead reforms to ensure justice is swift, both within our own domestic policy and abroad. We cannot purport to stand for human rights as Canadians without demanding change to the processes that allow those who use rape as a weapon of war to go unpunished.
This is not just about one singular bad guy or leader. This is about the fact that state actors are no longer the heads of conflict and those who go, as Nadia said, and willingly choose to participate, to fight, to turn a blind eye to sexual slavery, first and foremost only deserve one thing, and that is justice. We cannot sit here and look into the eyes of these women and do anything other than commit to them, from the bottom of hearts as human beings, that we will bring them justice. That is what each and every one of us should do. For three years, the government had stood here and failed to acknowledge that it is incumbent upon it to do so.
If laws need to be changed, then change the laws. If processes need to be changed, then change the processes. If the international community needs to change, then it needs to change. We cannot be complacent.
Canada should also support initiatives which are taking concrete action to bring justice to women whose bodies, through rapes, have been used as a weapon of war. Canada should acknowledge Nadia and Ali's truth, that every person who took up arms with ISIS is as a complicit as the leaders and must face justice.
If “never again” is not to ring hollow, if it is not just a phrase that we utter when convenient, then we must act. If we are to end rape as a weapon of genocide, we cannot allow those who supported ISIS in its genocidal rape to roam our country with impunity as though nothing happened. If we are to call ourselves feminists, then #MeToo has to bring justice to every Yazidi; to everyone, woman and man and village and town and every religious community and family that has been destroyed by weaponized rape.
For Nadia and her people, justice will only be final when those who wield rape as a weapon of war suffer greater consequences than those who were subject to its abuses. It falls to us, here, today, to see that this happens.
Madam Speaker, before I begin, I would like to recognize that today is the fourth anniversary of the attack on Parliament Hill and the loss of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Today, we pay tribute to both Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who served their country with dedication and honour. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends today.
I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate on the motion by the hon. member for . We can all support the sentiments expressed by Nadia Murad, the Yazidi human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nadia Murad's powerful words remind us of the horrors unleashed by Daesh on the population it held captive. They remind us of the cruelty and brutality meted out by the group's violent depraved adherence. They remind us of the terrible suffering endured in particular by the Yazidi minority, and especially Yazidi women and girls. They remind us how important it is to do everything in our power to bring those responsible to justice and to prevent groups like Daesh from coming into existence in the first place.
At the height of its self-professed caliphate, tens of thousands of people from all over the world joined Daesh. They came from neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. However, they also came from places around the world, including Europe, Australia, the United States and Canada. All of these countries, Canada included, are dealing with the reality that some of these people eventually may come back.
At the time we took office, about 60 Canadian terrorist travellers had returned to our country. Over the last three years, that number, which includes people who joined Daesh as well as other terrorist groups elsewhere, has remained relatively stable. However, since the global coalition against Daesh, of which Canada is a proud member, helped bring about the group's decisive defeat late last year, we and our allies have been aware that some of these people may be on the move.
According to the 2017 public report on the terrorist threat to Canada, about 190 Canadians have travelled overseas to join terrorist groups and remain abroad. Roughly half of them are in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Some, perhaps many of them, are dead. Among those who survived, some are detained or are in hiding. They may be unable or unwilling to leave. A few may be attempting to move to Africa, Asia or Europe, and perhaps back to Canada. We are fortunate that we are only dealing with relatively small numbers compared to many of our allies. However, we have no illusions. These individuals were part of an organization that did horrific things. Many of them may have a good deal of blood on their hands and serious security risks are involved.
The good news is that Canada's security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies are well trained and well prepared to address the threat and keep us safe. Canadians can be assured that our national security and intelligence agencies are carefully monitoring these individuals and actively assessing the threat that each one poses. When our agencies learn that an individual is planning a return, a coordinated whole-of-government approach is initiated. This ensures that measures to mitigate any potential threat can be taken even before that individual sets foot in Canada.
If at all possible, arrest and prosecute are the favoured courses of action. It is a criminal offence to leave or attempt to leave Canada to commit terrorism offences. Canadian law enforcement actively pursues investigations and lays criminal charges when the evidence is there. In the last couple of years, the RCMP has been able to charge four people with terrorism-related offences after their return to Canada. Two have been convicted and two remain before the courts.
There were no such charges under the previous government. In fact, until last year, all terrorism charges in Canada had either been laid in absentia or against people whose terrorist activity took place on Canadian soil. Of course, binding evidence related to actions taken in a war zone on the other side of the world is very difficult work.
Therefore, while the RCMP and its law enforcement partners pursue that evidence, other counterterrorism tools are brought to bear. These tools include investigations, surveillance and monitoring, intelligence-gathering and lawful information-sharing, the no-fly list, revocation of passports, legally-authorized threat-reduction measures and terrorism peace bondings. Taken together, these measures help keep Canadians safe and they happen while police and prosecutors do everything they can to collect evidence and bring terrorists to justice in courts of law.
At the same time, it is important to note that terrorist travellers are only one of the serious threats that Canada faces. In general, our country is peaceful and safe, but we cannot meet the threat of domestic terrorism with complacency.
Unfortunately, there have been attempts on Canadian soil by people who were radicalized here. Some were inspired by the ideologies of groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda, while others by white supremacists. I am referring to the shooting at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, and attacks in Edmonton, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and even here, in our Parliament.
CSIS, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and all other security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies work tirelessly to know as much as we possibly can about every threat to our security. On a regular basis, they expertly assess and reassess all available data to make sure that we stay up to date as threats evolve. Our security and intelligence agencies also work in close co-operation with our allies. Those allies include NATO, our Five Eyes and G7 partners, the European Union, Interpol and others. That co-operation is crucial, given the global nature of terrorist threats today.
The Government of Canada is constantly working to strengthen its ability to manage terrorist threats. The federal terrorism response plan, for example, facilitates a coordinated and integrated response to a terrorism incident or threat.
The government is also modernizing and enhancing Canada's security and intelligence laws through Bill . Among many other measures, this proposed new legislation would ensure that CSIS had the proper tools and authorities to investigate threats, including extremist travellers. For example, within well-defined legal parameters, and subject to strengthened oversight, Bill C-59 would give CSIS the ability to analyze travel-related data sets to investigate the movements and behaviours of extremist travellers. This is an important tool that our security professionals would be able to use within the clear constitutional and legal framework created by Bill C-59 to protect Canadians and Canadian interests around the world.
Just as Canada's federal terrorism response plan recognizes that responding to threats and events requires close collaboration with many players, so too do our prevention efforts. It is in that spirit that we launched the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence last year. The centre coordinates, bolsters and helps fund innovative programs and research in countering all kinds of radicalization to violence and supports local organizations on the front lines of early prevention efforts. This approach is guided by the fact that early intervention to prevent radicalization to violence can and does work.
A key part of our support for prevention efforts is the community resilience fund. This fund provides financial assistance to organizations undertaking programming and research to address radicalization to violence in Canada. It also mobilizes what we know about successful programming in Canada and around the world and shares these lessons among front-line practitioners across the country.
To date, over $16 million has been invested in community resilience funding for research and intervention projects. For the next fiscal year and beyond, the fund will have $7 million available each year for existing and new projects.
All of this represents concrete, thoughtful and responsible action to combat and prevent terrorism. Our government is being vigilant without being alarmist. We are confident, but we are not complacent. Unfortunately, part of the opposition motion we are debating today could be interpreted as an attempt to use this sober topic to score political points rather than as a serious effort to grapple with the genuine issues we are facing.
We should be able to disagree without resorting to rhetoric and hyperbole. I disagreed vehemently, for example, with the deep cuts the Harper government made, in its final term, to our national security agencies: $530 million cut from the RCMP; $390 million cut from Canada Border Services Agency; $69 million cut from CSIS; $49 million cut from the Communications Security Establishment; and $171 million cut from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. It was over $1 billion in all.
I also disagreed with the Harper government's indifference towards prevention and counter-radicalization. According to former CSIS analyst Phil Gurski, “the previous...government had an abysmal record when it came to countering violent extremism and early detection.”
I disagree with the Conservatives' repeated refusal to strengthen accountability mechanisms for our national security agents, as we have done now with the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, created last year, and as we are doing with legislation currently before the other place. Accountability is about protecting our rights and freedoms, but it is also about making sure that our agencies operate effectively to keep us safe.
I disagreed with the way the Harper Conservatives drafted a national security bill with provisions so vague and so open-ended as to make them virtually unusable by our security agencies. That is a mistake we are correcting with Bill , which will give our agencies the legal clarity they need to do their jobs.
I disagreed passionately with the Conservatives' elimination of health care for refugee claimants. It is under this very program, which we have now reinstated, that Yazidi women and girls in Canada are receiving counselling and mental health care, and health care in general, to help them deal with the unimaginable trauma they experienced at the hands of Daesh. I will remind hon. members that under our government, 1,400 women and families, 85% of them Yazidi, have come to Canada after surviving Daesh. Three Yazidi refugees were accepted by the Harper government.
In spite of all of this, I would never accuse the Conservatives of being soft on terrorism. That should be beneath us in this place. In the fight against terrorism, while we may disagree about methodology, every one in this chamber is on the same side.
In that spirit, we intend to join the opposition in support of today's motion. We do not agree with every word of it, mainly the parts the Conservatives wrote, but we wholeheartedly endorse every syllable of the quote from Nadia Murad. We are all heartbroken by what happened to Nadia and many others like her. We all want the perpetrators to face justice and for girls and boys in Canada, Syria and everywhere else to live in a world shaped by love and peace.
Madam Speaker, today we mark the fourth anniversary of the horrific attack here, on Parliament Hill. We lost corporal Nathan Cirillo. Two days ago was the anniversary of the attack in which Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent lost his life in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, not too far from my riding. I think this is fitting, in light of today's debate on terrorism—a difficult, complex issue that too often leads to loss of life—and on Canada's response to terrorism in order to maintain public safety. We remember these two men who served their country and who lost their lives in horrible circumstances not too long ago.
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind the House that the NDP was proud to support the motion moved by the Conservatives just over a year ago to recognize that these horrific, heinous crimes committed by ISIS constitute genocide. There is no doubt about the real nature of this horrific violence perpetrated against minorities, women, the LGBT community and all other victims. We support the Conservatives' motion.
We know that all parties want the to achieve the same end. Regardless of what we say, regardless of our differences of opinion as to the means to that end, our objective is to put criminals, to put terrorists, behind bars.
The question before us today is how a democratic, law-based society should go about achieving that end. We are facing a number of challenges, which I will address during my speech. Obviously, the fact that we acknowledge those challenges and that we have no easy ways to overcome them does not mean we are being soft on the issue or that we want these individuals, who may be living in Canadian communities, to threaten public safety.
I think it is worth looking at the two key pieces here in this motion. However, before I go any further, I would be remiss to not congratulate Nadia Murad for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for the extraordinary work that she has done to bring this issue to the forefront.
The one thing I can agree on with my colleague for , although we do not agree on everything, is that the deafening silence that sometimes follows this kind of advocacy, that someone like Nadia Murad engages in, is troubling. We always want to do better as parliamentarians and as a country.
In that vein, I think it is also important to recognize that we cannot even begin to imagine the strength and courage required to go through the type of ordeal and horror that she has witnessed. However, it takes even more courage to relive that horror, to be an advocate and be part of the political process in seeking justice and change in the way that different countries engage in these difficult issues.
With that being said, I do want to address the two parts of this motion. I want to start with part (a) that specifically goes into this issue relating to rehabilitation.
I think the issue here is that we have to look at the fight to combat radicalization. It has been made clear by many national security experts and many experts who have worked in connected fields that one of the key challenges that is facing this era of social media, for example, where it is easy for an individual and in many cases individuals with mental health issues who are easily being manipulated through social media and other means by different individuals related to ISIS and others, is that a proper, comprehensive anti-radicalization strategy is required to tackle this issue. It is not an issue that is exclusive to ISIS. It is also when we see white supremacists or when we see other extremism that leads to violence.
I think that is the key is to counter radicalization that leads to violence. That is the key piece of how we ensure public safety with regard to these matters.
It is something the New Democrats brought up in the previous Parliament when we were debating then Bill . We said to the government of the day that although there was an issue of addressing public safety, rather than adopting new, draconian legislation that does not actually address the issue and keep communities safe, why not give additional resources to the policing community, for example?
In 2012, the police recruitment fund was cut. It allowed provinces and municipalities to have additional resources to hire police and, in some cases, put together special units that could tackle, for example, organized crime and street gangs. It provided the kinds of resources that could allow police to do their work and complement the efforts being deployed by the RCMP to tackle the issue of terrorism and other forms of extremism that we unfortunately see in Canada and other countries today. We raised that issue.
We also raised the issue of radicalization and being preventative. I know sometimes “preventative” has a certain meaning, and rhetoric can be construed around it to make it mean something that it does not. The reality is that prevention is not about trying to use kid gloves with individuals who may commit heinous crimes. It is about making sure Canadians are safe and that these crimes and terrorist attacks are not being committed in the first place. After all, we can deploy all of the resources and legislative tools we can after the fact, but there is already a failure when we talk about things after the fact. How do we avoid getting to that point whenever possible? Countering radicalization is one way to do so.
Of course there are challenges. For instance, Montreal's Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence lacks funding. I will not get into detail because there is also an internal management issue related to Government of Quebec programs. However, Montreal's mayor, Valérie Plante, raised an important point in this debate. She said that Montreal's government is reluctant to provide ongoing funding to the centre because the population it serves extends well beyond the greater Montreal area. It is, after all, the only organization in North America whose mission is to prevent radicalization leading to violence.
As part of a study by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, we met with representatives of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence. They told us they are getting calls from all across Canada and even the American east coast. For example, parents and members of a vulnerable community in New York have been calling the centre for assistance. This shows that there is a desperate need, not only in Canada but also in the U.S. and around the world. Strategies have been deployed in Europe to solve the problem, but here in Canada and North America, there is an appalling lack of initiatives.
Of course I welcome the funding allocated by the federal government to try to address the issue, but obviously, it is not enough. If that were the case, there would be more than just one centre. If I am not mistaken, the government will fund only individual projects. What we need are broad, generalized efforts.
Let us also not forget the importance of providing additional training to our police forces and especially the RCMP to support their work with communities that are vulnerable to all kinds of extremism, whether from ISIS or the far right. Right-wing extremism is a growing threat, according to an article published by the Toronto Star a few weeks ago. I encourage all my colleagues to read it.
All of this shows that we must not only do more, but also think about the types of strategies being used. This is essential to ensuring public safety. When we talk about crime and terrorism, some people and some political parties might think that the word “prevention” means being gentle with those who are about to commit the most horrendous crimes in the history of humanity. Let us be clear: prevention means ensuring public safety and avoiding the loss of more lives like that of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, whom we lost four years ago.
The other element of course concerns the intelligence-to-evidence gap, more specifically dealing with part (b) of this motion, which is the issue of how we prosecute these individuals, particularly those who are returning to Canada. It is a huge challenge that we face, and we are not alone in facing it.
There are different reasons why this intelligence-to-evidence gap exists. One of the reason is the additional powers given to CSIS. When we look at the threat-reduction powers given to CSIS under Bill , they continue to exist despite the amendments I presented at the public safety committee during debate on Bill , which essentially represents the Liberals' attempt at correcting and failing to correct many of the outstanding issues. The big issue is that those threat-reduction powers are, in a word, and I am sure some lawyers will cringe hearing me say this because it is probably not the correct terminology, essentially extra-constitutional powers. CSIS is going to judges and asking them for judicial authorization to use its threat-reduction powers in a way that can contravene the charter.
What we saw in Bill is that while those powers still exist, they have become, as I like to put it, less unconstitutional than they were under Bill . However, the big problem in the debate today is the issue relating to information that is gleaned through the powers CSIS is using, because at the end of the day, the RCMP, in its responsibilities as a law enforcement entity in working with Crown prosecutors to bring these returning foreign fighters to justice and making sure they find themselves behind bars, cannot use the information CSIS has. Therefore, it is deploying its own efforts. It cannot simply cherry-pick what CSIS has obtained through a whole different regime of judicial authorization than using its own powers as the RCMP under the Canada Evidence Act and, of course, nationally under the Constitution, first and foremost.
The other challenge relating to that is not just the powers being exercised by CSIS and the RCMP in their own individual silos but also how we use information obtained through international conflict, the consequences of that conflict, and how we use that in a constitutional way in fair trials. It is interesting when we say “fair trials”, because I am sure many Canadians listening to us and some members of other parties might say, “Who cares about fairness? These people have perpetrated some of the most horrible crimes known to humanity. They have committed genocide.” However, fairness is important in ensuring public safety, because it ensures the sanctity of the proceedings. Therefore, if we want successful proceedings that properly prosecute and convict these individuals, and hopefully in the cases where obviously it is appropriate and the findings are such, we need fairness, or else the proceedings will get thrown out and we will be right back to square one.
There are a few elements to that. One was brought up. Here I will refer my colleagues to the fantastic podcasts by Craig Forcese and Stephanie Carvin called “Intrepid”, where there was an interview with Solomon Friedman, a criminal defence attorney. As he put it in the interview, these people are not always the most popular individuals when it comes to considering the victims of horrible crimes. However, he brought up an important point. When we look at the fantastic reporting by Stewart Bell, for example, on what is going on with these fighters who have been detained in Kurdish facilities, we will see that those facilities have abhorrent conditions and that the RCMP cannot just walk into facilities that are potentially engaging in less-than-savoury practices, whether it is torture or other things, or where the conditions are far below the standards that Canadians would expect for incarcerated offenders in our corrections facilities. The big issue there is that it would be easy for a judge, as a result of the arguments of a defence attorney, to look at that Kurdish facility and say that there clearly is an argument to be made as to whether the information before the court is true or not, because it is a result of confessions obtained under duress. Certainly that is not for me to say, but I want to make sure, as a legislator, that we are ensuring the maximum fairness in a process to maximize the success rate so that we find ourselves in safer communities and achieve the public safety and the justice objectives of our system based on the rule of law.
I admit, that is not always what the public wants to hear.
Ultimately, we have to acknowledge that we all want the same thing. The big question is how to go about fixing this problem. It is a challenge.
A reporter asked me a question following an excellent Global News report by journalist Stuart Bell. The reporter asked me whether the government should be taking steps to bring these people back to Canada.
It is a question for which I have no answer. Obviously, as the minister mentioned, I do not want diplomats to put themselves in danger to bring back these individuals. Nor do I want individuals to come back to Canada and be a threat to public safety.
That said, we also have a responsibility towards those people who hold Canadian citizenship. If they have committed horrible crimes, we must ensure that they are prosecuted in Canada and put behind bars in Canada. Not only do we have a responsibility to protect law-abiding citizens, but we also must prosecute those who are not. It is not always a very popular concept, but it is one of the underlying principles of Canadian citizenship.
We are not just talking about the cartoonish characters the Conservatives have made up, usually frightening men in their twenties who return home and threaten our safety. There are also extremely complex cases, such as the women who went abroad. In some cases, because of their movements and activities with ISIS, they could be prosecuted.
Those kinds of cases are much more complicated, because they may involve women who have gone through rape, spousal violence, and all sorts of other, more nebulous situations abroad, which we may not have information about. These are highly complex cases. Women are, of course, one of the groups that has been victimized by ISIS. Why would we want to abdicate our responsibility towards Canadian women who have been victimized by ISIS?
I can understand how, in some cases, some women may be found guilty of certain offences under the Criminal Code provisions regarding travelling and supporting a terrorist group. However, we must not neglect the women who are victims.
The government has a job to do. It needs to use the information at its disposal to make sure everything possible is being done to protect victims who are Canadian citizens.
That goes for children as well. I think all Canadians, everyone tuning in at home and everyone here in the House, would agree that it is unacceptable for Canadian children, some under the age of five, to end up in camps in a conflict zone abroad. By failing to bring these women back to Canada, we are also leaving their children stranded in a foreign country under execrable conditions.
I will come back to the quote from Nadia Murad included in this motion. She mentions brainwashing. Children as young as five years old, sometimes younger, can be turned into child soldiers abroad, as we often see in war zones where genocide is committed. Radicalization can turn them into future threats to public safety in their own right, and we do not want that to happen.
Protecting a child and also protecting public safety are extremely commendable goals that anyone can get behind, even though this is happening in war zones where situations can become extremely tricky and difficult to handle.
In conclusion, while I certainly recognize Canadians' concerns in wanting to ensure public safety, let me be clear that while we might differ on the methods to be deployed and how we hone the tools that we have to prosecute returning foreign fighters and to counter radicalization, all in the House agree that more can be done to close the intelligence-to-evidence gap to ensure public safety. However, we do ourselves a disservice when we do so in a way that sometimes brushes aside the fact that not all of these individuals are coming from the same situation. There is a huge challenge when it comes to women and children, in particular, which cannot be ignored. For that reason, more needs to be done. We look forward to collaborating with the government as it tries to seek solutions to this issue.
It would be naive to say that this is not the most complicated public safety issue we are currently dealing with. We therefore have to tackle it head on. I am pleased to work with my colleagues from all parties to try to resolve this issue and keep the public safe.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member and my friend from .
This is an important motion, one I am glad my colleagues have brought forward. We are talking about ISIS's crimes against humanity. We are commemorating the work and efforts by Nadia Murad, and even her sentiment is captured in the motion, about what happened to the ISIS women and girls who were used as sex slaves. The member for described in detail the horrific existence, injuries and impacts that rape, as a weapon, had on culture and society, particularly how it traumatized the lives of these women and girls. We need to act upon that.
It is one thing to have a call himself a feminist, but we have to take action. If we want to stop genocide, we need to have plan on how to do that. It is one thing to talk about the responsibility to protect. It is another thing to call an atrocity a genocide, such as ISIS committed against the people in the Syrian and Iraqi regions. We need to ensure that we stand with them and that those who committed these atrocities and crimes against humanity are held accountable.
I have had the privilege over the last number of years to work with the Yazidi community in Canada. It was shocking to hear the stories of the women and girls who were sex slaves, They have come to Canada for refuge, asylum and our protection and are glad to be here, even though they still have family members in refugee camps in the region who cannot get out. We need to be of more help to them on that basis.
It is disturbing when I talk to them and hear the stories they are experiencing right in Canada. A lady in London, Ontario, a Yazidi refugee, got on a bus with her captor, who was an ISIS terrorist. He had bought her, used her and then sold her again like she was property, like livestock. He is here under the so-called Syrian refugee program. He lied to get into Canada. We cannot allow this individual and his family to stay here. First, he is an ISIS terrorist. Second, he committed atrocities as part of the ISIS genocide. Third, he entered Canada on false pretenses.
Another lady has had the same experience in Winnipeg. An ISIS terrorist, who is on the streets, was recognized by one of his Yazidi sex slaves. She too has talked to the police. She has not talked about it in the media, like the other case in London, but she saw him face to face in Canada.
It is disturbing that these people have snuck into Canada under the Syrian refugee program and have lied about who they are. They were definitely part of ISIS. Then there are Canadians who have returned after the war started going sideways. They had joined ISIS and fought in Iraq and Syria. We know of some who are being held today by the Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
Muhammad Ali has been on Global TV, talking about how he wants to come back to Canada. His wife lived for sometime in Vancouver. He would like to come to Canada with their children, but they are in detention. He admits to being part of ISIS and to committing atrocities, while fighting against Canada and our allies in the region, yet we are offering him consular services. Those crimes were committed in Iraq and Syria. When Canadians travel abroad and commit crimes abroad, they should be charged, prosecuted and brought to justice in those jurisdictions, just as we witnessed this past week when a young girl, who wrote graffiti on a historic site in Thailand, was arrested for it.
If they do the crime there, they will do the time there. Many Canadians are incarcerated around the world in various prisons, because they committed crimes in those countries. However, we still offer them consular services, but we do not need to make a case for them to return to Canada, like consular services did in talking to Muhammad Ali on how to get back to Canada and how to get his passport in order.
Consular services also spoke to Jihadi Jack, Jack Letts, a British citizen. He became famous in 2014-15, promoting ISIS and even talking about using the heads of his victims as soccer balls and the atrocities he committed. He has a father of Canadian citizenship and wants to be returned to Canada, even though he has never lived here. Consular services are helping him with a passport application. It just does not make any sense at all.
I am proud of the record we had under the Conservative government. We committed our Canadian Armed Forces to help our allies fight against ISIS. We went over there. We put our CF-18s in the fight, bombing ISIS positions in Iraq and even in Syria. We put over 200 trainers on the ground to help the Kurdish peshmerga become better equipped. We gave them equipment plus training so they were more effective soldiers. We helped save lives and protected those vulnerable communities.
It was great that we were able to do that. We provided our surveillance aircraft, two CP-140 Auroras. We were not just providing targeting and looking for intelligence on the ground on where ISIS fighters were located, but we were there supporting our allies. We also had a Polaris refueller aircraft to help with the air attack.
Our air task force there has done great work. How did the Liberals treat the air task force? One of the very first things the Liberals did when they came to power was to pull our CF-18s out of the fight. Shame on the Liberals. Kurdish peshmerga, the Kurdish regional government, said that those planes helped save lives and helped ensure that not just Canadian troops on the ground were safe, but that the Kurdish peshmerga fighters were safe as well. We were destroying ISIS targets, ensuring it could not continue on in committing its atrocities. We completely eliminated its offensive capabilities.
Then the Liberal government took out one of our surveillance aircraft, cutting that by 50%. It brought one of our Auroras home. Adding insult to injury, the Liberals took away the danger pay for our air task force that was set up in Kuwait. Some of our guys on the ground there saw their pay cut between $1,500 and $1,800 a month, even though they were still in theatre. Even though they were part of Operation Impact, they were treated differently.
After Conservatives embarrassed the government, the had to climb down on that and reinstate that danger pay, bringing in a new policy. It was our Conservative government that stood up for our troops, for the people who were fighting ISIS.
We had many successes through that whole process, including having boots on the ground. We had snipers in theatre. We had special operations forces working. We trained over 1,100 Kurdish peshmerga.
The Liberals changed the mission. We have not had a briefing on the mission in over a year. We are going to receive one, finally, next month, but it is well long overdue. For a government that says that it is transparent, we should see more about this rather than waiting until the last minute, before the mission has expires in March 2019 and has to be renewed.
What it comes down is that we have people like Abu Huzaifa who is in Canada. He is a Canadian, he went abroad and enlisted with ISIS. He is 23 years old. We have not heard anything from the government about him being arrested. Abu Huzaifa was part of ISIS. He admitted to it on a New York Times podcast, called Caliphate, put out a few months ago. All of this is on the public record. He admitted to it in a CBC interview as well.
We do not see anything from the government about arresting these individuals. The Liberals always like to talk about how the Conservatives never arrested any of them either. We have to remember that the fight was going on. It was a hot conflict until the end of 2016 when everybody started coming home. We know that Abu Huzaifa did not even come back until the winter of 2016.
We expect better from the government. We are here to ensure we are acting on terrorism. A Conservative government will do just that to ensure Canadians are safe, that we act on protecting people who are vulnerable to genocide.
Madam Speaker, I am privileged to follow my friend from , who raised a number of issues related to the Canadian Armed Forces. I want to also thank our colleague from for her long and consistent efforts in working with people like Nadia Murad, who is quoted in this opposition motion, because Canadians are concerned about a government that has no ability to act.
It is sad when I hear the rhetoric from the , but it is also sad to hear a distinguished veteran like the member for suggest that the government is somehow powerless and that we are politicizing this. Protecting Canadians is probably the most fundamental aspect of what a federal government should do.
What is troubling about the Liberals is that they act as if they have no ability to act on all issues. Whether it is criminal justice and a killer going to a healing lodge, funding the PTSD treatments of a murderer or recruiting ISIS foreign fighters to come back to Canada, the Liberals make it seem like they are powerless to act. It is actually an abdication of leadership. When their departments make a mistake, leaders rectify it. If there is a risk facing Canadians, they prevent it. I see nothing of the kind from the Liberals, and that should concern Canadians less than one year away from an election, when they can get a government that is serious again.
I am going to start with a quote about ISIS, ISIL, and how dangerous it is, as an organization, and as the people who belong to it are:
ISIL threatens peace and democracy with terror and barbarism. The images are horrific, the stories are appalling, the victims are many.
The person who said that was the of Canada, the member for Papineau, in this House, three or four months into his government. He recognized the profound barbarism and threat of this terror force, but what did he do? Why did he say those words in this chamber? He was withdrawing Canadian participation in air strikes meant to hinder the advance of ISIS. He was stepping back at a time when France and a lot of our allies were asking Canada to step up, because our pilots are the best at targeting in those circumstances. He was pulling back at the same time he recognized that ISIS was a grave threat to Canada and our allies. That just shows how out of touch the Prime Minister of Canada is when it comes to terrorism and national security.
What is worse is that the at the time made it seem that our allies were fine with that decision, that there was no concern that we withdrew our CF-18 fighter jets from degrading and destroying ISIS and put in more training and ground troops, supplementing the ground troops, the CSOR and JTF2 people the previous Conservative government had put in with the fighter jets. The defence minister made it seem that our allies were fine with that. The trouble is that documents came out later showing that the Iraqi minister, where our troops were operating, pleaded with him not to withdraw. I still do not think the minister has addressed how he misled the House with respect to that. Documents revealed, on December 20, 2015, after he inspected a parade, that the defence minister of that country pleaded with him consistently not to withdraw our fighter jets.
That is how the Liberals started with ISIS, and now we see it continue to the point where they are almost proactively recruiting foreign fighters back to Canada, even those with tenuous links.
There are two areas where this is wrong in law. We should not be repatriating people who have gone and, to use the term of the , committed barbarous acts overseas. We should not be bringing them home, and historically Canadians have not. What previous governments have done is something called constructive repudiation of dual citizenship or of consular rights, meaning that we do not act on consular affairs. The Prime Minister sending people to see “Jihadi Jack”, a British national involved in terrible crimes, it is reported, and even in his own words he acknowledges that, and Canada proactively offering him consular affairs is something the government does not have to do.
In fact, our foreign affairs committee right now is confirming, witness after witness, that consular affairs are a Crown prerogative. It is the ability of the government to decide who they provide consular support to. If my Liberal friends, who I am glad to see are listening, do not take my word for it, let them take the Supreme Court of Canada's words for it.
In the Khadr decision, what is interesting about Omar Khadr is that it was that government, in previous iterations under Martin and Chrétien, that actually violated his rights by participating in investigations. The Supreme Court of Canada said that the Harper government was within its rights not to repatriate Mr. Khadr.
Here is the irony of it. Paragraph 35 of that judgment states that “The prerogative power over foreign affairs has not been displaced by s. 10 of the...Act...and continues to be exercised by the federal government.” It goes on to say, “It is for the executive and not the courts to decide whether and how to exercise its powers....”
It is for the government to decide. There is no right of consular access for terrorists, and certainly for nationals from other countries.
What has the government decided? What discretion is it exercising? It is recruiting Jihadi Jack and a number of these terrible individuals back to Canada. It does not have to do that in law. That is important to note.
What did the previous government do? We mentioned Bill , which actually criminalized the activity of travelling to a foreign country for training or work with terrorists. It could have charged every single one of these people, because they were detained by the peshmerga. The peshmerga has said that those Canadians were found with ISIS fighters. The Conservative government provided a charge for that, which made it easier to seek peace bonds. Our law enforcement has degraded with Bill under this bill.
The former Conservative government also brought in the ability of victims of terrorism, like our friend Maureen Basnicki, to sue foreign terror agencies. That is what that government did. In fact, at the time, Professor Christian Leuprecht, at Queen's University, said that the Conservative Bill “prevents the foreign fighter problem”.
We actually tried to deal with the difficult decisions of governing. We did not pass them off and act like these issues were floating down the river and taken down the stream. Whether it is funding PTSD treatments for criminals or transferring child killers to a healing lodge, the Liberals act like they are powerless. They should check an org chart and realize that they are in charge.
I will also bring up how the Liberal government's current conduct is actually in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. What is interesting is that there is a half-baked campaign under way by the government to obtain a temporary seat on the Security Council. Perhaps it should read the resolutions of the Security Council it intends to join. Resolution 2178 deals with foreign terrorist fighters and defines it.
There are two key findings I would note from this Security Council resolution. First, it states:
The massive flow of refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones also raises the risk that FTFs will attempt to use the refugee system to escape prosecution.
It said that vigilant vetting must be a requirement for specific countries. That was the United Nations. The resolution goes on to say something that shows how disconnected the Liberal government is. It states:
Because the related challenges are by their nature international, the Council has called on Member States to enhance their international cooperation in preventing their travel.
The Security Council of the United Nations is asking Canada to prevent the travel of foreign fighters, and we have a government facilitating it.
I am wondering if the members of the Security Council, when they vote to see who they should add, will wonder if they should invite the one country swimming in the opposite direction, the one country pulling out against the fight against ISIS, the one country recruiting them back rather than preventing their travel.
Governing is about making tough decisions. There is more to being the government than just photographs and hashtags.