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Results: 1 - 15 of 79756
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to the second meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business. Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1), we are meeting to consider the item placed on the order of precedence on May 3 to determine whether it should be considered non-votable.
Does anybody have any comments to make? Does anyone think that this item, Bill S-211, should be deemed non-votable?
Some hon. members: No.
The Chair: I'm going to move that Bill S-211, recently added to the order of precedence and considered today, remain votable.
Could someone second that motion?
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ryan Turnbull Profile
2022-05-10 13:04
I'll second it, Madam Chair.
(Motion agreed to)
View Ruby Sahota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Ryan.
The next one is:
That the subcommittee present a report listing the item which it has determined should not be designated non-votable and recommending that it be considered by the House.
Can I have somebody second that?
Thank you.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: The third one is:
That the Chair report the subcommittee's findings to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs as soon as possible.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: All right.
That ends our meeting for today. Thank you so much. We're adjourned.
View Sukh Dhaliwal Profile
Lib. (BC)
I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 12 of the House of Commons Special Committee on Afghanistan, created pursuant to the order of the House of December 8, 2021.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021.
I would like to remind all those present in the room to please follow the recommendations from the public health authorities as well as the directive of the Board of Internal Economy on October 19, 2021, to remain healthy and safe.
Should any technical challenges arise, please advise me, as we may need to suspend for a few minutes to ensure that all members and witnesses are able to participate fully.
I would like to welcome the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Anita Anand.
Accompanying the minister, we have officials from the Department of National Defence. We have with us Deputy Minister of National Defence, Bill Matthews; chief of the defence staff, Canadian Armed Forces, General Wayne Eyre; commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command, Vice-Admiral J. Robert Auchterlonie; commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, Major-General Steve Boivin; and the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Edward Meinzinger.
Welcome.
Ms. Anand, I understand that you will be here for the first hour, and then the officials will stay for the second hour. Is that correct?
Thank you.
Ms. Anand, you will have five minutes for opening remarks, and then we'll go to questions and answers from the members.
I would advise all members to take your time and, when speaking, make sure that you somehow track your time as well. I don't want to cut you off when you are having an important conversation with the minister. Thank you.
With this, on behalf of all the members, Minister Anand, once again, welcome. You have the floor for five minutes. Please go ahead.
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Members of the House Special Committee on Afghanistan, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you.
From 2001 to 2014, approximately 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in Afghanistan. Sadly, 158 soldiers lost their lives serving there. Seven years later, as the Taliban regained control over much of the country, Canadian citizens living in Afghanistan and Afghan nationals who had supported Canada during the war were left vulnerable.
We knew we needed to take action, to help those who had helped us for so many years.
In response to this crisis, on July 23, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada launched special immigration measures for Afghans with a significant or enduring connection to Canada for their people.
This special program aims to resettle 18,000 people. It is one of three programs aiming to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan refugees.
Eligible applicants include those who had supported Canada during the war, such as interpreters, cleaners and cooks alike.
They are all vulnerable to retribution because of their relationship to the Canadian Armed Forces.
The defence team assisted IRCC by validating the applicants' connection with the CAF based on old and current employment records, and former CAF members helped confirm identities when applicants listed them as references. Through these efforts, we were able to support IRCC's larger efforts to resettle at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans.
While we were helping confirm applications here, in Canada, Canadian Armed Forces members also deployed back to Afghanistan, through Operation Aegis.
Even before Kabul fell to the Taliban, the situation on the ground was extremely difficult.
The former Afghan government was concerned that a mass exodus of people would signal a lack of confidence among its citizens.
They limited the number of foreign aircraft allowed to land at Hamid Karzai International Airport and did not put adequate bureaucratic supports in place so that civilians could easily access the documentation they needed to leave the country. As the Taliban took over, the situation became even more dire. Very quickly one million internally displaced Afghans were stuck in the capital city desperate to escape. The CAF's mission evolved and expanded based on the dire situation on the ground.
On top of participating in the coalition air bridge and flying 15 of the 17 evacuation flights destined for Canada, CAF members were stationed at every airport gate to help identify those destined for Canada.
In some cases, they had to make difficult, life-changing decisions about who they could evacuate.
CAF members in Kabul during this period also worked alongside our allies and our partners to establish safe corridors to the airport. Our people stayed as long as possible at great personal risk. We were one of the very last nations to cease evacuation efforts. In total, we were able to transport or facilitate transport for 3,700 people through Operation Aegis.
I know that for those who served in the war, or those who have relatives who did, it is particularly heartbreaking to see the Taliban back in power.
Indeed, the current situation in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, but I want Canadians to know that our Canadian Armed Forces did everything they could to help as many people as possible for as long as they possibly could. I am heartened by what Canada was able to do and the difference that our Canadian Armed Forces made in the lives of millions of Afghans both during the war and in the years following.
We honour their service and sacrifice, today and every day.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Meegwetch.
View Sukh Dhaliwal Profile
Lib. (BC)
Thank you, Minister, for your presentation.
Who doesn't go to their own, the very first time? I'm going to my own member of Parliament.
Ms. Findlay, please go ahead for six minutes.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much, Minister, and other officials and CDS Eyre for being here today. We really appreciate it. It's a tough subject.
Minister Anand, when you became Minister of National Defence, were you briefed on the Kabul evacuation?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Upon becoming Minister of National Defence, I received many briefings on all of our operations, and I continue to receive updates and briefings on all of our operations past and present.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Did you direct a lessons-learned study of the Kabul evacuation after the event and you became minister?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
I was aware of the lessons-learned aspect of Operation Aegis. It is something I fully believe in. We need to examine not only that operation, but all operations, to see how we can improve, how we can do better and how we can continue to learn from history. That is something the chief of the defence staff, my deputy minister and I all believe in strongly.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Are you suggesting, Minister, that this lessons-learned study is an ongoing thing?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, I am.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
How was cabinet kept up to speed on the events in Kabul during the evacuation period?
View Anita Anand Profile
Lib. (ON)
In the lead-up to and during Operation Aegis, the Canadian Armed Forces provided regular briefings to senior leaders within the defence team and other government departments on the situation in Afghanistan. This was a whole-of-government approach. Of course, I was not the minister at the time. The Canadian Armed Forces were part of the overall updates and briefings to the whole of government, including Minister Sajjan, who participated in those briefings as well.
View Kerry-Lynne Findlay Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you.
As the minister formerly responsible for procurement, and with such a large evacuation effort, what was your department asked to procure to help with the evacuation, and when did the request come in?
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