Mr. Speaker, like the Prime Minister, I too wish this was a speech that none of us had to deliver today.
On January 8, 176 passengers and 57 Canadians boarded Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in Tehran. They were flying to Kyiv, where 138 of them were set to transfer and fly to Canada. They never made it to Kyiv. Mere minutes after takeoff, the plane was gunned down by the Iranian regime with two surface-to-air missiles 30 seconds apart.
Those 176 innocent passengers and 57 Canadians lost their lives. They were mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends, students, colleagues. Their lives were cut short far too soon by an act of cruelty.
Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, it was heartwarming here at home to watch our country come together during this trying time. Countless Canadians braved the winter cold to attend vigils across the country and pay their respects. On display was a range of emotions: anger, sadness, fear and despair. We stood together and were there for each other. That is who we are as Canadians.
However, the work of Canadians cannot end and we cannot forget what happened on January 8. Here in the House of Commons and across this great country, we must continue to fight for justice for the families and the loved ones of those who lost their lives. We must continue to demand accountability from those responsible within the Iranian regime.
It was the Iranian regime, and the Iranian regime alone, that was responsible for this horrific crime.
We in the Conservative caucus have called on the government to take a few reasonable and measured actions in response to this atrocity.
First, the government must explain why it has not yet adopted a parliamentary motion to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, as a terrorist organization. The IRGC's fingerprints have been all over some of the worst terrorist attacks in the Middle East over the past few decades.
Second, the government should be prepared to impose Magnitsky sanctions on Iran if it does not fully and immediately co-operate with international investigations. There have already been several worrying signals that the Iranian regime may not fully be co-operating.
Finally, the government must deliver compensation from the Iranian regime to the families of victims and do its best to repatriate all Canadian remains.
I would be remiss if I did not briefly address the outpouring of support Canadians have received from the Iranian people. Immediately following media reports of the plane being shot down, the people of Iran flooded the streets to fight for accountability, justice, democracy, freedom and human rights.
The regime in Tehran is murderous and corrupt, so participating in those demonstrations put those people's lives at risk, but the protestors stood with us.
We as Canadians must stand with them as they fight for real and lasting change and the same freedoms and rights we as Canadians hold dear.
One hundred and seventy-six people and 57 Canadians lost their lives. They left this world far too soon. Their friends and families woke up to the realization that they would never see their loved ones again. All of us, myself included, look forward to working with our colleagues as we continue to fight for the justice and closure these 57 families deserve.