Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 13:51 [p.233]
Mr. Speaker, like many of my colleagues, I want to speak in this honourable House today to talk about ISIS. To do so, I must first address some of the consequences of the very existence of this terrorist group, specifically for free societies around the globe. Second, it is important to discuss the need for us, Canadians, to respond decisively to the international challenges that can arise at any time, especially those that can have dangerous consequences for this country and for our allies.
As I have previously indicated, my family has served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. It should therefore come as no surprise that many of the decisions recently made by this government regarding our armed forces and their overseas engagement are particularly important to me.
I am referring of course to the hasty decision made by this government to withdraw Canadian CF-18s from the combat mission currently under way in Iraq as part of a coalition led by the President of the United States.
Colleagues, for both historic and contemporary reasons, this decision strikes me as misguided and ill-considered. Need I remind the House that our country has never shirked its duty to the international community? Need I further remind the House of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere around the world?
Colleagues, ISIS controls several cities in Iraq, many of which are home to dozens or hundreds of thousands of people. In those cities, the so-called Islamic State has set up tax collection systems, a major economic activity within the area it controls. It has a stranglehold on the region's economy and even hands out parking tickets.
The self-styled Islamic State is pillaging many regions of Iraq and Syria, appropriating the resources and destroying cultural and historic property. Let us not forget one more important fact: this terrorist group collects billions of dollars a year, enabling it to recruit thousands of people to its cause around the world every year. Because of that, this group is a major threat to our country, Canada.
The election is over. As the President of France said, we are at war against terrorism. Canadians understand that. Does the Prime Minister understand that? Does the Prime Minister and this government realize that following the recent terrorist attacks on its soil, in the city of light no less, France effectively asked for help and expects us to stand by its side?
We on this side of the House want to know: when is Canada going to offer its unwavering support to a country that has been an ally at every moment of Canada's history?
Hon. members of this House need to understand that terrorist attacks are looming. The threat is not limited to some faraway place on another continent. On the contrary, terrorism can strike anywhere here in Canada, even at the heart of our democratic institutions. Need I remind hon. members that terrorism has already targeted us more than once and spit its venom right here in the Parliamentary precinct?
What the official opposition wants is simple. We are calling on this government to get serious on both domestic issues and international issues. We are calling on this government to take the right approach to terrorism, and to acknowledge that it is a serious problem and that ISIS is the brains behind these low-lifes.
We must remain strong in our belief that we are right. We must remain determined to make no concessions to those who want to destroy us. We must remain united in the face of this threat. That is why we must hit the terrorists precisely where they are plotting against us, before it is too late.
My colleagues opposite are saying that we need to combat ISIS more effectively. We agree. Indeed, we should help train local anti-terrorism forces. We should increase aid to the hundreds of thousands of poor people driven from their homes by terrorism. That is all good. We must increase our efforts, not reduce them. Everyone agrees on that, of course. However, that would also mean that we need to keep our fighter jets where they are. Our colleagues opposite keep repeating over and over that the Royal Canadian Air Force's participation is basically not very significant and that they simply do a few strikes here and there. I want to ask these members what they are waiting for to take action, to do something and to reverse their decision to recall the Canadian CF-18s currently participating in the mission. As a G8 country, should we not contribute to this international mission in every way we can?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:15 [p.247]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad I can continue my speech.
To explain my position to those of my colleagues who feel that we should be doing more, I said that we should reconsider the decision to end the CF-18 mission. As a G8 country, should we not contribute as much as we are able to this international fight?
Have we forgotten our traditional allies, our most precious alliances, and our friends? France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States have answered the call for air strikes. Other countries are sure to join them soon.
While the international community rallies to a common cause, will Canada beat a retreat? To withdraw our fighter jets and our courageous pilots would be to send the wrong message to ISIS. We might as well be saying that it is not important to fight terrorism and support our allies and that we could not care less about ISIS. We need to take this more seriously.
No self-respecting government can act on a whim, not when it comes to ISIS and certainly not when it comes to the safety of Canadians.
That the government think before it acts is not too much to ask. Let us wait before taking any ill-conceived action. We need to begin by listening to and consulting Canadians, our allies, and first and foremost, this House, in the spirit of collaboration and transparency.
Here on this side of the House, the only message we want to send beyond our shores is that Canada is standing up. If Canada will not stand up to ISIS, who else will?
We have the means, the materials and the equipment. Our soldiers are very well trained, and in that regard, as a former soldier myself, I know what I am talking about. We have everything we need to do our part with pride and conviction. Imagine what a difference we could make. After all, that is what Canadians expect from their government.
At the end of the day, what is the Prime Minister so afraid of? Is he afraid of terrorism or is he afraid of being wrong?
In closing, and in keeping with the mood here as this session begins, I urge all members of the House to reflect carefully on the thoughts and criticisms my colleagues and I have shared here today.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:19 [p.247]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the very good question.
If the member had been here for the beginning of my speech, he would have heard what I said about his government, namely that it should take note of how international relations are developing right now. As we know, there have been a number of attacks in recent weeks, including one in Paris.
Under the previous Conservative government, we had a three-pronged strategy: bring in refugees, provide humanitarian assistance to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, and go into battle with our CF-18s.
Today we are not asking the government to break any promises. We are just asking the government to recognize the current chaotic reality of international relations and reverse its decision.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:21 [p.248]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, whose riding is quite close to Beauport—Limoilou, for his question.
I find that way of thinking shameful. I would like to reiterate that, in those 2% of cases, 100% of the individuals are serving our country and putting their lives in danger every day to protect our freedoms.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-10 15:22 [p.248]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for that very good question.
I will not comment on American politics or on the U.S.'s decisions on international relations. I do not understand “reconsider the focus” to mean redefining the U.S. air strike approach, so I do not see how that changes what we are saying here.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-09 14:51 [p.169]
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately there is more. On November 11, the Minister of Veterans Affairs sent an email bearing his title and promoting the Liberal Party. Not only was it inappropriate to use Remembrance Day for partisan purposes, but it was also clearly a violation of the Prime Minister's rules for cabinet.
Does the Prime Minister agree that it is inappropriate for his Minister of Veterans Affairs to use Remembrance Day to promote the Liberal Party?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:37 [p.59]
Good afternoon, Mr. Speaker, hon. members of Parliament, and all Canadians.
I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville. I want to acknowledge my colleague and congratulate her on her election.
I want to start by congratulating all the members of the House on their wins and on their dedication, which is so important to keeping the democratic institutions that make up our political system alive and well.
I am honoured and extremely proud to rise here for the first time to address all Canadians, and in particular Quebeckers in Beauport—Limoilou. Because of them, I have the unbelievable privilege of being a member of this very important parliamentary institution.
If I am here today, it is also thanks to some important people in my life. First, there are my parents, without whom none of this would have been possible. They are the ones who, throughout my childhood, guided me, taught me, and most importantly, loved me. Then, there is my wife Pascale, who has been by my side for 11 years now and supports me in all of my incredible adventures, including politics. Finally, my daughter, Victoria Clarke, reminds me every day of what is important in this life here on earth. I would like to thank all of those who are dear to my heart, including my brother and my sister.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all of our ancestors who built a country based on the principles of the rule of law and political freedom.
Canada, as a whole, is part of my identity. In fact, my parents are from opposite ends of the country. My mother is a French Canadian from Beauport, Quebec, and my father is an English Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia. Canada's duality, an undeniable part of our common history and our political past and present, is alive and well in me and is always driving me.
I do not want to boast, but I have believed from a very young age that having this personal characteristic meant that I had an inescapable duty to participate in Canada's political community.
That is why, since my teen years, my sole purpose has been to serve my country and my fellow citizens. This burning desire, coupled with an iron will, compelled me to become actively involved in Canadian politics at 18 and to join the Canadian Armed Forces at 24.
In recent years, I have been an active member of the Conservative Party of Canada, I have served as a member of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment in Lévis, I have worked with charities in my community, and, to better understand the significance of these activities, Canada's history, and our political system, I earned a master's in political science.
I applied for and received my discharge from the Canadian Armed Forces on November 11, Remembrance Day. On my father's side, fathers and sons have served in the Canadian Armed Forces since the 1890s. My great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father, my brother and I are all veterans.
That is why the privilege of being named the official opposition critic for veterans affairs is so deeply symbolic to me: it is linked to a long-standing, deeply rooted family tradition.
On that point, I want to thank our party leader for the trust she has placed in me. Our leader and all veterans in this country can rest assured that I take this role very seriously. I will remain politically invested every day, and I will work as hard as I have to in order to hold this government to account when it comes to veterans.
I would also like to present to the House my priorities as the member for Beauport—Limoilou. My team and I have three main objectives we want to achieve. We call them the three Ps: pursue, promote, and participate.
The first objective is about pursuing the economic revitalization of our riding. More specifically, it is about focusing on the development of these main arteries: d'Estimauville, Canardières and des Capucins, 1st Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Seigneuriale.
The second objective is to promote the flow of ongoing investments in local infrastructure.
The third objective is to participate in nurturing the personal growth of newcomers and those most in need by reaching out to them, by knocking on doors throughout my term, in order to meet their needs and, more importantly, overcome the feeling of social exclusion.
Last summer, the previous Conservative government announced its support for a very important project for my riding and the entire greater Quebec City region. I am talking about the Beauport 2020 plan to almost double the area of the port of Québec's wharves. This makes sense because “the port of Québec is a strategic transshipment point between the industrial and agricultural heart of North America and the world. The port is open to navigation year-round and is one of the largest ports in Canada in terms of tonnage and economic spinoffs.” Consequently, I would hope that the new government will stay the course on this crucially important project and ensure that it is completed in accordance with the strictest environmental criteria around.
On another note, I think nothing illustrates the ideal of serving one's country better than donning a military uniform and confronting the dangers that face any free society. We have courageous veterans who did just that for our country and our freedom during the 20th century in various places around the world, and more recently in Afghanistan. Today, in Canada, we have more than 700,000 veterans. If we include their family members, we are talking about millions of individuals. They all have served and serve Canada in their own way.
What amazed me the most when I met with veterans in recent years was the unwavering passion with which they spoke about serving their country and ensuring a better future for all of us, including the MPs in this House.
I was stunned that there was only one sentence about veterans in the Speech from the Throne that opened the 42nd Parliament on Friday. However, the Liberal government has used other communications tools to announce measures that will generate significant annual deficits in the coming years, even if the Canadian economy does well in the global economic context.
The government is proposing to post deficit after deficit, have Canada go into debt in a period of economic prosperity, increase taxes and thereby discourage consumption and economic growth. This will inevitably lead to a significant slowdown in job creation.
Furthermore, the government is proposing to create new measures and to improve others for veterans, which is a very good thing. However, that is where we part ways, because the Conservatives want to finance these measures with the money generated by a healthy economy and not by running deficits in future years.
Where is the long-term vitality of these measures? How can they be permanent if the government is incurring national debt to pay for them? How can the government be sure that these new measures will be sustainable in the long term when they are incurring a deficit to pay for them? Will it do so by raising taxes for Canadians and businesses?
My friends, this is a Liberal smokescreen designed to make Canadians believe that all of the new measures that have been proposed will be implemented. They will not be, at least not permanently. Veterans will be the first to doubt the Liberals' proposals, which I will refer to as the Liberal smokescreen from now on.
We, on the other hand, were and still are in favour of measures for veterans that are sustainable in the long term, measures that are not funded by incurring continuing deficits. In that respect, the previous Conservative government focused on the long-term sustainability of essential services for veterans. That is why we made major cuts to the department's bureaucratic red tape in order to make the department more productive. This measure also made it possible to make necessary cuts to spending and especially to bring about welcome improvements in services to veterans.
Our first priority has always been to ensure that programs and measures for veterans are sustainable in the long term, while maintaining a strong economy based on balanced budgets and, of course, continued tax cuts.
The holiday season is approaching. Soon, we will all gather with our families to celebrate, but also to remember the many sacrifices that our veterans made and are still making today. It is thanks to them that I am here today.
In closing, I would like to say that there is no doubt in my mind that everyone here only wants what is best for veterans. In that respect, when it comes to working for the well-being of veterans, the government will always find in me an ally.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:48 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and I want to congratulate her once again on her election.
Like my colleague from Yorkton—Melville, I am comfortable with the new measures put forward. However, our concern is that these measures cannot become permanent because of the deficits announced by the new government. That is what is dangerous for veterans. They need long-term measures, not election-time measures.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:50 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question, and I congratulate him on being re-elected.
I will reiterate what we said throughout the campaign. Canada Post is a public corporation that makes its own operational decisions. The previous Conservative government expressed concerns about decisions affecting mailboxes in ridings. I would say to my colleague that it is up to the current Liberal government to talk to the corporation to see what the priorities are and figure out how to reverse the decision.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2015-12-07 15:51 [p.61]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question, and I congratulate her on being elected.
As I said, we believe that, on the whole and in principle, the measures are laudable. When I talk to veterans, including family members and fellow members of the armed forces, they all want to see a model that prioritizes open-ended measures. The opposition, the Conservative Party and veterans want viable, long-term measures that they can count on now and for the rest of their lives, not electioneering.
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