First of all, I want to thank all the witnesses, clerks, analysts, technical staff, interpreters and the support staff for the members of all parties. This has indeed been a very tough couple of weeks, and we have all gotten to know each other a little better. I have a great deal of respect for the government members. We must respect one another, even though we don't have the same ideologies.
I spent 25 years of my life working in the arts, where freedom of expression is what matters most. Whether on stage at a rock concert, in the theatre or at an art exhibit, freedom of expression was a fundamental part of my professional life before I was elected, and I still believe in that freedom of expression.
Everyone I have met over the past month has told me they are very concerned about the rights associated with freedom of association, expression and religion. I have also been an activist on behalf of student associations, unions and environmental groups. I have stood alongside first nations members as they asserted their rights. All of those people feel as though those rights are becoming more and more fragile. The NDP will continue to be very vigilant when it comes to those rights.
For the past four years, in other words, since I was elected, I have been meeting people who are concerned about safety. There are seven border crossings in my riding. For the past few months, especially since the attacks, border services officers and the RCMP, as well as soldiers and staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, have all been telling me that they need financial, human and technological resources. They can't even fight street gangs and organized crime groups, and now they are also expected to fight international terrorist organizations, so they need resources. That is what matters most to them. However, with the cuts that have been made in recent years, it is impossible for them to keep up.
Yes, my primary concern has to do with our freedoms, but those people are working incredibly hard to protect us every day, and the more we need them, the more resources they need. My party and I will continue to fight to ensure that Canadians have police forces that have the resources they need to do their jobs, no matter what party is in power. Those people accept the duty they must carry out, but they need resources to do so.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.