Mr. Speaker, this is a grief that particularly falls on the Iranian Canadian community, but it is a shared grief. We grieve as one country. As the other party leaders in this place have already said, this cut right to our hearts.
I do not think there is a single member of the Iranian Canadian community who has not been touched by this. However, as other members have said, the ways in which the Iranian Canadian community has so integrated and made a difference means that in tearing into the web of life as those ground-to-air missiles did, they have torn a large hole that will extend well beyond the individuals whose lives were so tragically taken.
Everybody has a connection to a connection. It hit me hard when a friend of mine who is a professor at the University of Guelph, Dr. Faisal Moola, spoke of his brilliant graduate student. He spoke of her as a force of nature. Ghanimat Azhdari was doing her own research on the nomadic indigenous peoples of Iran. Who knows where that work would have taken her? Who knows what a difference that would have made in the lives of indigenous people in Iran, as we look at the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
Case after case, and story after story, some which have been very eloquently shared here, it is made very clear that we all mourn every single life lost, all innocents, all 167 passengers and nine crew members whose lives were so tragically taken.
I want to add a few words of thanks to the cabinet of this country, to the minister of defence and the minister of international affairs, for making full briefings available very early to members of Parliament in opposition parties.
Like the hon. member for Burnaby South, I want to thank the Prime Minister for a personal phone call to emphasize that we must not, as I am afraid some members have tried to do already, make this political. We have to approach this in a non-partisan way and make sure our focus is on justice for the families who were affected, but more than that, to stand in solidarity and show our deepest sense of condolence, sympathy and love, and to extend to them all the supports we possibly can.
I also want to thank the Prime Minister for avoiding letting this issue become simplistic. I think the Prime Minister was right in saying that if there had not been an assassination by drone, these people would have made their own way home safely. The situation was created by more than one event, by more than one country. On another occasion, we need to find out exactly what took place and if the initial event that led to the rising of tensions was in any way legal under international law. However, this is not that time.
This is a time to tell all the families and loved ones affected by this tragedy that we stand with them.
We are with those families and will not allow them to stand alone as the time of grieving continues. As we say in Farsi, deepest condolences.
[Member spoke in Farsi]