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41st PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 123

CONTENTS

Monday, October 6, 2014




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 147 
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NUMBER 123 
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2nd SESSION 
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41st PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayers



PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Georgian Bay Channel to Lock 45--Port Severn

    The House resumed from June 16 consideration of the motion.
The Speaker:  
    The hon. member for Newton—North Delta has seven minutes left to conclude her remarks.
Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, to make it clear, I will be supporting the motion that refers to the Trent-Severn Waterway at Port Severn.
    One of the key things for many parts of Canada is that our waterways play a critical role, not only for tourism but also for transportation of goods, leisure, and people living on many of our waterways. Whenever we go into a region to look at the maintenance required--desilting, for example, in this case--it behooves the government to consult with environmentalists, the stakeholders, the business community, as well as the residents in those areas.
    One of the key things that the government has an allergy to, as I have said many times, is meaningful consultation and then having transparency in how it proceeds. We are hearing from this community and those impacted by this waterway of the critical need for maintenance and the need for government to invest in infrastructure.
    I could talk for days about the government's abandonment of meaningful investment in infrastructure. In my riding of Newton—North Delta, we are in dire need of federal funds to invest in a public transit system because of the gridlock that we experience. Our bridges need upgrading. We have a tunnel that goes under the Fraser River that is in need of major work. Therefore, when I am looking at the need to invest in infrastructure, I find the government is lacking.
    Going back to the desilting and deepening of the Trent—Severn Waterway that we are talking about here, I am also reminded of the dire need to do that in my riding. The Fraser River is an amazing river. I do not know if anyone has travelled down it as a tourist or has walked along it, but it is also what I call a “working river”. It carries goods out to the port. It is a river in need of major desilting. I know that the mayors from Delta and Surrey have spoken to the government on the issue of the need to look after the infrastructure there, and to also take a look at our ports.
    It is not just wood being transported down the Fraser River. There is also coal and other goods that are being brought up the valley. I have talked to the authorities who tell me that a major investment is required on an ongoing basis to look after the port to make sure that transportation of goods can carry on in a productive way.
    At the same time, the Fraser River, as we all know, is a great attraction for fishing and tourism. For those particular aspects, we also need to look at the river as it enters the ocean with the silt that builds up, and how much we need to invest in order to keep the river functioning for tourism, leisure activities, fishing, and for it to be a working river to transport goods. Those kinds of investments require a federal government with a vision, one that is willing to consult with municipalities, the business communities, and the residents around that area, and then put in resources to look after the infrastructure that we need so badly in the country.
    We are not the only ones saying that. We hear that from all kinds of people, whether they are environmentalists, the business community, or citizens who live around that area.
    We are blessed in Canada with such amazing waterways, whether it is B.C., Ontario, or Quebec, coast to coast to coast. In many ways we are reliant on our waterways as a way of communication and keeping linkages for some of our communities. That has become very important.

  (1110)  

    The NDP absolutely supports responsible investment in infrastructure, and I stress that. Investment in infrastructure should not be just so that certain ministers can go to their ridings and make grandiose announcements. Serious investment in infrastructure should look at Canada as a whole, seeing where the gaps are, and then investing in a major way. Whether in Montreal, Vancouver, or in Toronto, it should not matter. We need to see that kind of investment.
    If we are investing in infrastructure, we must also balance economic, environmental, social, and legal concerns because some of our waterways are shared. We have international jurisdiction over some of those. However, the number one thing for us right now is that we need investment. Investment in infrastructure would boost the economy, create jobs, and is good for every Canadian across this country.

[Translation]

Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to discuss Motion No. 502. The motion asks the federal government to invest money in improving the Trent-Severn Waterway in the Great Lakes region.
    I have been interested in our freshwater resources for years. In preparing for this morning's debate, I learned more about a region and a waterway that were somewhat familiar to me.
    I learned a lot from reading the speech by my colleague, the hon. member for Simcoe North. It is interesting because there are connections between that waterway and the Lachine Canal near my riding alongside the St. Lawrence.
    Like the Trent-Severn Waterway, the Lachine Canal is a Canadian historic site managed by Parks Canada. There are connections between the two regions. I am interested in this issue not only because it involves our freshwater resources, but also because of the connection between these two historic waterways: the Lachine Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway.

[English]

    Water levels, whether they are high or low, are always a problem for those who live beside or use a particular waterway. I know this because my riding, as I just mentioned, is on a waterway, the St. Lawrence River. There are many marinas, sailing, and boat clubs along the St. Lawrence. We can see from one year to the next the impacts caused by low water levels or high water levels.
    Low water levels are a problem for a number of reasons. When water is shallow, there is greater sedimentation, which then requires dredging. That is the subject of this motion. It is also very hard for recreational boat owners to get out of the marina when the water levels are low. Sometimes they are unable to leave that space because of the physical limitations that come with lower water levels. We know that commercial shipping is also affected by low water levels because there is not usually much space between the bottom of a ship and the riverbed. Sometimes we are talking about two or three feet, even for the big Great Lakes vessels.
    I understand that my hon. colleague's attention to this issue is very important. I learned that the Trent-Severn Waterway, which is quite long and includes some free-flowing parts and canals, is in great use. It has 160 dams and 44 locks, and there are 50,000 residences along the waterway. This is a very important issue, and I support the request for a very modest sum of money, from what I have read, to drag a portion of the waterway which is at Port Severn. I believe there will also be some blasting required, which I would imagine makes the project a bit more expensive.
    What we are talking about is a particular part of the waterway in a particular region, the Great Lakes region. However, I would be remiss if I did not talk about the issue of fluctuating and especially diminishing water levels in the Great Lakes in general.

  (1115)  

    What is causing those fluctuations and specifically the falling water levels? There are three causes that we know of, and we learned this from the IJC's Upper Great Lakes Study.
     One cause is from the dredging of the St. Clair River, which is apparently allowing more water to leave the upper Great Lakes. Another cause is from the shifting of the earth's crust. The ice age compressed that part of the continent and over time the lake beds rise a little and tilt, causing some water to flow out of the region. Also, there is the problem of climate change, which leaves less ice cover in the winter and there is thus more evaporation.
    This is a broader issue, and the government is going to have to look at the issue in broader terms.
    I hope the government listens to the hon. member for Simcoe North and does the work for which he asks. However, we need to look at the issue of the falling Great Lakes water levels more broadly and the government will have make some investments.
    The hon. member who spoke before me talked about infrastructure investments, and, yes, I would have to agree, but there are other kinds of investments that the government will need to make, which I would like to address a little later.
     We have a problem with climate change and there is some uncertainty as how climate change will impact the Great Lakes. We know climate change will cause less precipitation in some areas and more in other areas.
     The problem around the Great Lakes is that we do not know where the greater precipitation will occur, at what latitude. This is an issue when we talk about the Great Lakes because the basin is so small relative to the surface water. It is not a huge basin where if it rains farther north the water would still make its way into the lakes. No, it is a very small basin and if the precipitation is above or below the lakes, that water will not necessarily make it to the lakes.
    We cannot say with certainty how climate change will impact the water level, but we have to plan for the worst case scenario and for falling water levels because of the attendant costs of falling water levels.
    I mentioned earlier that there were other investments that needed to be made above and beyond infrastructure investments. When the hon. member talked about the infrastructure investments that would be required, she talked about big physical constructs no doubt that might better regulate water flows and so on.
    There is a group called Great Lakes Our Water, or GLOW, in Georgian Bay, and we are essentially talking about Georgian Bay here. I am told that part of its focus has now shifted to another problem in the area, which is an invasive species, a kind of reed that is quickly proliferating in Georgian Bay. However, GLOW also has a campaign called “Stop the Drop”.
    I was speaking to GLOW's executive director, Colin Dobell, not long ago on the phone. Then I met him on Friday at the meeting of the Freshwater Alliance here in the region. I learned that Stop the Drop was focusing on a technology that would allow us to better predict the impact of changing water levels, in this case, of dropping water levels. This is called LIDAR technology.
    LIDAR technology is essentially a radar technology that allows us to construct integrated topographic-bathymetric models to visualize the impacts of variable water levels. Typically it is used to see how rising sea levels will impact on coastal areas, but it can also be used to predict what the impact of dropping water levels will be.
    It is very important that the government put some money into applying LIDAR technology in Georgian Bay so the area can adapt to the impact of climate change.

  (1120)  

Mrs. Patricia Davidson (Sarnia—Lambton, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of Motion No. 502 put forward by the member for Simcoe North.
    I have known the member for Simcoe North for some time now and have always found his actions on behalf of his constituency to be above reproach. Whether it was serving on committee with the member or watching him discharge his duties from the chair of the Speaker, he has always worked hard in this place for the constituents he represents. I find his engagement on this specific issue, that of deepening and straightening the marine vessel navigation channel south of Port Severn, to be indicative of his work on such important causes.
    When one travels the 400 highway, the beautiful community of Port Severn is always a great destination to stop and take in one's surroundings. This lively community is really representative of all the great things Ontario's waterfront communities have to offer citizens and visiting tourists alike.
    Being from a community on the Great Lakes myself, I can speak to the overall importance that being so closely located to our incredible freshwater resources means to a community. Many day-to-day activities within such communities greatly involve the commerce centred on various marine influenced industries.
    Boating and angling are two recreational pastimes that are important to the over 50,000 residents who make up the Trent-Severn Waterway, and many more citizens enjoy other waterways across the province, considering that there are over one million lakes and rivers in Ontario.
    We are greatly blessed by such bountiful resources, yet at the same time management of the infrastructure on such waterways can present very serious challenges for policy-makers.
    As a long time municipal representative acting in the capacities as mayor of a town and warden of a large county in southwestern Ontario, and now as the federal representative in this place for Sarnia—Lambton, I can speak to the necessity of proactive management of these waterways and the infrastructure located on them.
    I would like to share with the House my perspective on these issues and why I strongly support Motion No. 502.
    There are three important factors we must consider when we examine the issue of deepening and straightening an important and frequently traversed vessel navigation channel like we are discussing today.
    The first issue to consider is the multitude of dynamics that form the foundational approach for waterway infrastructure management and help guide policy-makers toward endorsing a decision to conduct certain types of rehabilitative work on a specific area of a waterway's vessel navigation channel.
    Second, we must consider the true economic impact of such a proposal. When conducting a cost-benefit analysis, it must be shown to be truly in the best interests of the community and impacted waterway, as well as the citizens and tourists who rely on these marine passageways, in order for such a proposal to be considered truly economically viable.
    Last, we must consider the original objective of such waterways and how any proposed work to deepen or straighten a vessel navigation channel, for example, could possibly impact the use and nature of the waterway in question, and also how the original working conditions of such a channel may have become an issue with the natural passage of time. In this case, the waterway has become dangerous for larger vessels due to the presence of shoals and rocks in a very narrow channel passage.
    In terms of the foundation of waterway infrastructure management, I raise this issue first to ensure that it is well known that much deliberation goes into policy-making decisions that would impact our waterways.
    Those of us who live adjacent to the Great Lakes are well aware of the matter of water levels, both high and low levels, and what issues they can present for our communities.
    The cyclical ups and downs of the Great Lakes had previously been on the downside for a period of many years, but over the past several months we have seen a rebound in historical water levels. This is the type of issue that policy-makers would examine as a potential factor in whether certain types of work, such as deepening a marine channel, could or should proceed.
    The reality is that regardless of water levels, considerations must be made as to the necessity of the work as it stands now. Considering the dangers to the passing boats through the channel area in question, it would seem that even with the rebound in water levels this past summer, dangers still exist in this specific area.
    We must also examine the economic impact of such a proposal.

  (1125)  

    In terms of the true economic impact of Motion No. 502, we should consider the overall value of the commercial and recreational boating and fishing industry, as well as the multitude of linked industries and businesses to these sectors.
     With recreational fishing's economic output measuring somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion across the Great Lakes and with the boating industry being even larger, there is no doubt as to the impact these sectors have on the Ontario economy and also the overall economic well-being of Canada.
    My community of Sarnia—Lambton greatly relies on boat traffic for tourism, and recreational and commercial fishing are important to the marine industry here as well. Therefore, I have a good understanding of these issues. I take further experience from my work on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in which work was done on issues of great importance to the shared Great Lakes resources. Therefore, I understand these issues from an in-depth perspective.
    As the member for Simcoe North acknowledges, the issues impacting the channel near Port Severn are, indeed, causing operators of larger vessels, whether they be pleasure craft or commercially operated vessels, to reconsider travelling through that zone due to the danger posed by current conditions. This would obviously create an economic impact that should be considered.
    The member for Simcoe North alluded to these factors in his introductory speech in this place, when he acknowledged that 30-foot vessels were having difficulties navigating the shallow channel and many were simply choosing to avoid travelling here altogether. From an economic perspective, this would place great stress on the smaller communities such as Port Severn, given the importance the associated revenues from the boating and angling industry would have for them.
    Numerous communities in Ontario have come to greatly rely on marine traffic to boost revenues from commerce across their entire communities. This is not unlike impacts that can occur in areas of my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, where we have water access along the St. Clair River and Lake Huron. The communities in this region also rely on the tourism dollars generated from these waterways and ensuring that any boat can make berth is a crucial element to the economic fortunes of a community.
    Any issues relating to accessibility for boaters on waterways in my riding are always of huge importance to municipal stakeholders, and I have worked closely with them on issues related to various marine infrastructure rehabilitation projects in the past. Again, these are simple issues that basic marine infrastructure management and a nation such as Canada, blessed with a vast amount of marine resources, has the ability to remedy such issues with efficiency and precision.
    The economic factor becomes even more of an issue when one considers the costs of damage to boats, whether recreational or commercial in nature, from passing through dangerous channels. If a pleasure craft operator damages an expensive boat, the repair costs would ultimately represent a financial drain that otherwise could have gone into other areas of the economy.
    If a commercial operator damages his craft, it could mean costly downtime for his business, laid-off workers, and expensive repair and insurance costs. The trickle-down effect from such an occurrence becomes rather drastic when one stops to think about it from the perspective of an operator of such a business enterprise.
    Last, let us look at the original objective of the waterway in question. Clearly, it was and remains a marvel of architecture and Canada is a nation seen to have mastered the usage of canals and other marine infrastructure-oriented work in our short history.
    When originally built, the marine channel was quite suitable for vessels in operation at that time. Of course, that was almost 100 years ago. As members will understand, the technological advancements surrounding marine navigation have led to larger vessels that can travel further than ever before.
    Even more important to understand is that society has grown up along the waterways, and communities on these waterways have come to greatly rely on the tourism aspect of boating and angling in these areas. Therefore, the channel that was appropriate for most marine traffic 100 years ago has now become crowded and, in fact, dangerous based on the testimony heard from the member for Simcoe North, who has been well briefed on these issues relating to the specific waterway from his community stakeholders.
     This is commonplace in Canada, where we have tended to build infrastructure in historic spurts. Hence, it is not uncommon to see the need for rehabilitation and regenerative efforts in repairing old and decaying marine infrastructure.
    I hereby express my strong support for what is proposed in Motion No. 502 and would call on my colleagues on all sides of the House to do the same.

  (1130)  

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to Motion No. 502, the motion put together by the member for Simcoe North. I can say I shared an office floor with the member and know how hard he works and the diligence of his work. I praise him for bringing an issue before us that includes the Great Lakes. As critic for the Great Lakes for the NDP and Canada-U.S. border relations, I can tell members that the Great Lakes are going to frame much of our relationship with the United States for the next 10 years. Whether it be on fresh water, whether it be on invasive species, whether it be pollution, there will be a lot of discourse, and there has been, and I will highlight some of that in my speech.
    However, I want to touch on Motion No. 502, specifically, right now, because it is an important issue for the community and is an important issue with regard to infrastructure, with regard to planning, and with regard to ensuring that our natural resources, when they are affected, are handled appropriately.
    Motion No. 502 looks to study Georgian Bay and the westerly limit of the Trent-Severn Waterway, at Port Severn, a channel that is not living up to the needs of the current boating culture that wants to use and access the channel, because it is too small.
    Specifically, there are a number of challenges people need to know about when we look at expanding this channel. The channel is currently rock-faced. There are sharp turns in the channel. It is narrow and not wide enough for vessels to pass each other. It is subjected to unexpected swift currents, as well. Why these things are important is that the tourism industry, in particular, and the boating culture need to use this facility, and it does not do itself justice anymore. In fact, the Canadian Coast Guard also provides navigation devices and aid.
    There have been some attempts to work with the current infrastructure, but it is so challenged that it does need a review. It is hurting the economy and tourism in the region by deterring boaters from making use of the channel. That is a loss to not only that local community but also to the entire Great Lakes. One of the things I want to focus on is the challenges in the Great Lakes, which are significant. We have proposed a series of things that correlate to this. It is about planning. It is about having a plan.
    One of the first things to talk about is the lake water levels. We have tabled a motion in the House of Commons that calls for a study of the lake water levels in the Great Lakes. We saw this last winter, being a better winter for the Great Lakes, but prior to that in a series of different years we saw the lake water levels lowering. That has actually hurt this facility, which Motion No. 502 addresses, as well.
    The key thing is that we need planning. Every year, when the lake waters go down, a number of different communities scramble with different types of resolutions, asking for federal funds and provincial funds to deal with dredging and other types of work. There is a problem with that because we go from crisis to crisis, as opposed to having a sustainable fund or a sustainable business plan to deal with the lake water levels rising and lowering, and then also understanding that when we do dredge, we cannot be disturbing some of the sediments and contamination in the actual sediments. Therefore, we are conflicted in terms of how we can deal with that.
    What we are proposing, as New Democrats, is that we study those levels and then, on top of that, we create a business plan that comes into operation, depending on what takes place. We have a natural ally in the international joint commission, the binational commission, which has done wonderful work for many decades and which continues to do some really good work on a series of different things. It could really be an asset. For example, if lake water levels go down again this year, we could identify the number of communities that are affected by say maybe two or three centimetres. We would know those target spots, and those organizations and those municipalities, as well as the different docks and even cottages and other types of regions, which could be honed in on in terms of dealing with those problems, as opposed to just waiting for them to respond to emergencies and crises.
    We are hoping that our motion gets passed.

  (1135)  

    It is also about our economy. Obviously the shipping community has to deal with it as well. It depends upon the type of aggregate that is coming and going into different ports, and what type of infrastructure construction is taking place across Ontario, Quebec and other parts of Canada, which use the Great Lakes as a shipping and movement distribution vehicle to get those materials to those projects. Again, it is about having a business plan to deal with this.
    If we are more efficient in terms of our economy with regard to our shipping, it is also going to help us environmentally. Again, we will know what the consequences of these actions are going to be.
    There are a couple of other things that we have pushed forward that are really important to note on the Great Lakes. In the transition that is taking place, there is an issue with regard to microplastics right now. We have had some good meetings with the industry.
     Microplastics and microbeads are in a lot of things, such as toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. They are the little plastic beads that are added to products because the other types of materials used are rough on the skin. Consumers like the microbeads because it makes products feel smooth. When it is used in toothpaste, there is no roughness in the mouth.
    The problem, however, is that the microbeads end up going down the drain into our municipal water treatment systems and up into the Great Lakes. Once they get to the Great Lakes there are consequences. First, sometimes the fish and other wildlife mistake it for algae, and then digest and eat them. It then becomes part of the food chain. Later on when people are fishing in the Great Lakes, that becomes part of the experience.
    I was not aware of this until someone starting doing some research on this, but alternatively, some of the microplastics wash up in the sands, in the shoreline, and because it is plastic it becomes a heating source with the sun on them. It can change the ecosystem of the beach and other areas that are affected. There is a campaign to ban microbeads. Some industry leaders have been really good on this and I think there is some change there.
    I know it has affected Canada-U.S. relations. Illinois, as well as New York, has passed a resolution, defining the size and shape of what can be in these products. I know a lot of states, as well as members of Congress and the Senate, are concerned about this issue. The industry is open to and is looking for a Canada-U.S. solution. I am hoping the government takes some initiative on this because there seems to be some positive will to move forward on this. I am meeting with some groups this afternoon about this issue.
    There are alternatives that can be used in those types of consumer products that would not cause the environmental damage, whether it be to the beaches, shores or wildlife. There can be natural remedies. These are things that could even be beneficial for our economy, because products could be manufactured in a way that they would be good for the environment when they break down.
    I do want to touch on a couple of other issues just briefly, with regard to the importance of the motion and other issues in the Great Lakes. There is the issue in Kincardine right now, where they want to build a deep repository for nuclear waste. We are fighting against that. We believe it is wrong and hope the government does something about it. It is hurting Canada-U.S. relations because the U.S. has legislation that nuclear waste cannot be stored within 10 miles of the Great Lakes, and we are trying to put it within one kilometre.
    I tabled a bill here in the House last week on invasive carp getting into Canada. We are calling on the government to let the CBSA officers of this country stop and refuse invasive carp that comes in if it is not eviscerated, cut and gutted. If this species gets into our lakes and our inland water systems, there will be a significant impact and a loss of fisheries. This is an invasive species that should be stopped and the government can do that at no cost.

  (1140)  

The Deputy Speaker:  
    Resuming debate.
    Seeing none, the hon. member for Simcoe North will have his five minutes of reply.

[Translation]

Mr. Bruce Stanton (Simcoe North, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking all of the members who participated in the debate, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and the member for Essex.

[English]

    I also thank the member for Beaches—East York, the member for Ottawa South, the member for Newton—North Delta, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis, Sarnia—Lambton and Windsor West. I thank each of them for their compliments of my work on the motion and for their support of the motion.
    It was clear through the comments that we heard on this particular question and on the motion that there are a number of different questions and concerns that arise out of any debate that involves not only our important Canadian waterways but in this case the Great Lakes. Many of those members of Parliament whom we heard from take their economic means from and much of their local enterprise is derived from things such as recreational boating and all of the things that come from that, from retail to services to marinas. All of those economic interests are affected when we clear up impediments such as the canal at Port Severn.
    As members heard, this is a beautiful part of our country. We do everything we can to attract recreational boaters and tourists, for a whole host of reasons, to experience the wonders of Georgian Bay and the inland waterway that stretches from Lake Ontario all the way up to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. This is what connects much of that summer-season commerce and we know we want to keep that going strong. That is what the direction of the motion is.
    I would just finish off and somewhat encapsulate what we heard with a quote from the lockmaster at Lock 45, the immediate lock there. He was there for more than a decade and his family has been there for generations. He summed it up this way:
...very frustrating for the boaters, as well as for me and the staff, because they thought it was our problem. The years passed and water got lower and lower; the problem magnified. Boats had problems going downstream. With any current, they were on the rock shoal. Boats couldn’t meet under the bridge. The boats from 36 feet and upwards started avoiding the locks because of the dangerous and unsafe area.
    That is exactly the precise direction of the motion, to address that particular issue. Once again, I thank all hon. members for their support of the motion, and I look forward to seeing it pass should the members consider it that way.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

The Deputy Speaker:  
    The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

    (Motion agreed to)

[English]

Suspension of Sitting 

The Deputy Speaker:  
    Given the time, I declare that the House will stand suspended for 14 minutes.

    (The sitting of the House was suspended at 11:46 a.m.)

Sitting Resumed  

    (The House resumed at 12 p.m.)


GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

  (1200)  

[English]

Military Contribution Against ISIL

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC)  
     moved:
    That this House (i) recognise that the leadership of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has called on its members to target Canada and Canadians at home and abroad, (ii) further recognise the clear and direct threat that ISIL poses to the people of the region, including members of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority groups who have been subjected to a sustained campaign of brutal sexual violence, murder, and barbaric intimidation by ISIL, (iii) accept that, unless confronted with strong and direct force, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow, (iv) affirm Canada’s desire, consistent with Canadian values and interests, to protect the vulnerable and innocent civilians of the region, including through urgent humanitarian assistance, (v) acknowledge the request from the Government of Iraq for military support against ISIL from members of the international community, including from the Government of Canada, (vi) further acknowledge the participation of Canada’s friends and allies, including numerous countries of the Middle East, in the broad international coalition committed to the fight against ISIL, (vii) note that the United Nations Security Council has become seized of the threat posed by international terrorism with the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, and, accordingly: (a) support the Government’s decision [to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL, including air strike capability for a period of up to six months;] (b) note that the Government of Canada will not deploy troops in ground combat operations; and (c) continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.
    He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to open the debate on such an important issue for Canadians and for global security.
    It is right that all sides of the House have the opportunity to make their voices heard. That is why I travelled to Iraq with opposition critics last month. That is why we called the committee back early, before Parliament was sitting, to discuss the deployment of military advisers. That is why the government supported an emergency debate on the second day of this parliamentary session. That is why we have tabled this motion to debate a new phase of operations.
    There are significant questions not just of process but of principle at stake here in the House today. Let us focus on the issues at hand with the seriousness that Canadians rightly expect.
    I will defer to my colleagues on some of the details of different aspects. The Minister of National Defence will speak to the military mission, but let me be very up front about the key facts off the top.
    How long will this mission last? It will last six months. How many CF-18s will there be? There will be six. How many other planes will there be? There will be one refueling aircraft and two surveillance aircraft. How many supporting crew members will there be in a neighbouring country? There will be 600.
    We are asking our brave men and women to fly over the skies of Iraq and confront a new generation of terrorism. It is a terrorist threat that has directly targeted our country.
    I hope that we can draw a line under debating the debate.
    The government has agreed on its intention. The Prime Minister has articulated clearly the direction in which he intends to lead. How many military advisers will there be? There will be up to 69, aiding and advising those who will confront ISIL forces.
    The motion before the House is very clear about what we are doing, and it is just as clear about what we are not doing. It also sets out the clear purpose of the mission. Every step of the way, I have wanted Canada to show a strong and united front in the fight against ISIL. It saddens me that it appears that this will not happen.
    It is fair to say that all sides of the House have at times been known to produce more heat than light, but this issue is much bigger than that. This House is bigger than that. Canada is bigger than that.
    We have heard those words in this chamber before: that a big country does not need small thinking. We must think big for who we are and what the promise of our people holds for the future.
    As former distinguished member of the House, Bob Rae, said:
    This is not about “peace” versus “war.” This is about...the collective capacity of governments and international institutions to deal effectively with perpetrators of violence.
    By now, everyone is familiar with ISIL's brutal methods. This is not just another conflict. The struggle is not against a state or even a foreign dictator. This is a struggle against a group of terrorists that rape and pillage and slaughter anything and anyone that stands in their way.
    These terrorists are creating a proto-state, a place where they can train for attacks against Canada and the west. It is a place where brave and idealistic people like Alan Henning, a humanitarian worker, are beheaded on camera. It is a place where women and girls are auctioned off in slave markets and the heads of minorities are mounted on spikes in town squares. It is a place where the medieval arrogantly confronts the civilized.
    On Friday I read an account from a shopkeeper in the Kurdish town of Makhmur. He said:
    We had to leave. We were so nervous because everybody knew that [ISIL] had killed everyone they found in some towns.
    Those people claim to be Muslims but they have no religion except killing. That is their belief.
    With the support from air strikes by the Obama administration, this man's town was recently taken back from ISIL's grip. He then said:
    I know all about what Canada is doing....
...it will be very good what the Canadians will soon do in Iraq.

  (1205)  

    This supportive message has been echoed by my counterpart in the Kurdish regional government.

[Translation]

    We cannot predict the future, but we can examine the current situation closely. Just three years ago, al Qaeda in Iraq was in bad shape. Now its successor controls vast lands and resources, creating ideal conditions for launching sophisticated attacks abroad. Last weekend, we heard about a death pact between Pakistani Taliban and ISIL.
    We have to attack this scourge, and for good reason. Moreover, the new unified government immediately asked for help.

[English]

    Our government recognizes the multi-pronged nature of this crisis. As we attempt to halt ISIL's advance, no one who has read the many stories or heard some of the stories for themselves in Iraq can forget about the human cost of its merciless march.
    The scale of the humanitarian crisis is truly hard to comprehend. To get a sense of the scale of this human tragedy, imagine if more than the entire population of Montreal, every single Montrealer, had to flee their home in terror. That is 1.8 million people. That is women, children, the elderly, and targeted religious minorities.
    Canada has been quick to respond to this unfolding crisis with practical support. We are already the seventh-biggest donor in the world. The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has praised Canada's co-operation.
    I would like to focus on one element of this challenge today, one that has had far too little attention so far.
    As a new report by the United Nations has described, ISIL's brutality is matched only by its depravity. In one case over the summer, it herded up 150 women and girls, mostly Christians and Yazidis, and sent them to Syria to be given to ISIL fighters either as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves. Iraqi forces capturing towns from ISIL have reported finding naked women tied to trees.
    Sexual violence and conflict is a despicable crime that targets the most vulnerable. This is an issue that Canada has been taking a lead role in and will continue to in the upcoming weeks and months. We must ensure that the women and girls who suffer at the hands of ISIL are never far from our minds. We will ensure that their protection is central to the efforts of the United Nations and G7 through initiatives on women, peace, and security. Canada will support a specialized expert on sexual violence against women to be part of the UN Human Rights Council's mission to Iraq, and I can announce today that we will contribute up to $5 million to help victims of sexual violence in Iraq get the assistance and treatment they need.
    We will contribute another $5 million to partners, including Justice Rapid Response, a Canadian-created initiative, to investigate and prosecute crimes of sexual violence in ISIL-held territory.
    We are also partnering with the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office and my former colleague William Hague, who has taken up this important cause, to find ways of taking this commitment further on the ground. This is something that I have personally worked on in recent years.
    When we look at a humanitarian crisis of this size, there is always more that can be done, but we can all be proud of how much Canada is doing in this regard. That said, we must be careful not to draw a line between security and humanitarian assistance. That is not just a false distinction; it is a dangerous one. It is not either-or. Sending someone a doctor, a lawyer, or an aid worker is great, but it will not stop the people they trying to help from getting slaughtered in the first place or stop this humanitarian crisis from growing.

  (1210)  

    When our house is on fire, we have to call the firefighters, as well as an ambulance. Major Mariam al-Mansouri knows this. She is a fighter pilot for the United Arab Emirates, helping to strike against the same terrorists who are raping and murdering countless other women.
    Ultimately, this comes down to what kind of nation we see ourselves as, and as the recent beheadings have reminded us, we cannot stand by as international humanitarian workers are themselves at risk of being slaughtered. We cannot confront a network of death, as President Obama calls it, solely armed with bandages, platitudes, and investigations.
     Do we stand with close allies like the United States, the United Kingdom, and France; nations like Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands; and Arab friends, like Jordan and the United Arab Emirates; or do we stand aside as they put themselves on the line? Canada is better than that.
    As I have repeatedly said, I believe the fight against terrorism is the struggle that will define our generation. That does not mean this mission will last a generation, as one of my friends opposite has said, but I believe we will be judged in future by whether we took on this fight or ducked it.
    Just think for a moment what could happen if we do not act. When I sing “we stand on guard for thee”, maybe I do not sing it very well, but I mean it well enough. I mean it as a citizen, and I mean it as a member of Parliament who sees this as the highest responsibility we have to our constituents. If we do not deal with ISIL and its ilk, they will deal with us. Anyone who accepts the premise that ISIL is a threat to our security while leaving the fight against ISIL to others is abrogating their moral responsibility and their duty of care.
    If someone is an out-and-out pacifist, I can respectfully disagree with that, but if we believe that in the realities of this world, military action is sometimes one of the necessary courses to take, then let us have a serious debate.
    I was glad to see that the House gave time for the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on Friday. Her argument was more principled than political, based on the belief that military action is wrong and counterproductive. That view may not be right, but it is sincere. Others seem to be grasping for any reason, though, not to support Canada's mission.
    Some in this House have questioned what our most elite soldiers could possibly teach Iraqi or Kurdish forces. They have questioned the effectiveness and honour of the Royal Canadian Air Force. They have deflected by pointing at other concerning situations in the world.
    At the end of the day, we know that pedantry is easier than principles. It is easier to make excuses than to take responsibility, and it is easier to criticize the risks of action if we are not held accountable for the risks of inaction. However, any government or aspiring government should be held to a higher standard than that. I believe that Canada should be held to a higher standard than that.
    To quote: “Leadership is not about making the easy decision that goes along with things. It is about taking a stand with our values and our principles.” That was not the Prime Minister. It was my friend, the leader of the Liberal Party, who said those words a week ago, and I invite members of his party to reflect on them today.
    The member for Papineau likes to talk authoritatively about the way Canada is supposed to do things. Well, throughout history, my Canada has done its part in defending the ideals and values that have made our country the envy of the world.
     My Canada heeds the call. My Canada protects the vulnerable. It challenges the aggressor. My Canada does not leave all the heavy lifting to others. We pick up our tools and we get on with what needs to be done. There was a time when the Liberal Party believed in that.

  (1215)  

    The dark clouds of terror are gathering in Iraq and Syria, threatening to strike their thunder from India to Spain. We must not let this storm descend on Canada, and we know that it will if left unchecked. When terrorism is thrust upon us, we must be strong in its face and repudiate it with every ounce of our ability.
    These terrorists stretch their delusional fantasies across generations and across borders. I urge us to come together in solidarity with those who are being victimized and brutalized, to come together in solidarity with those who are standing up against this terrible, barbaric threat.
    As members consider whether to support this motion, I encourage them to ask themselves: What would they say to that Kurdish shopkeeper? What would they say to the women and girls fearing that ISIL will come for them next? What would they say to that fighter pilot looking for a wingman?
    Let us debate what needs to be done, but let us be Parliament at its best. Let us be Canada at its best.
    I encourage and urge all members to support the motion before the House.
Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge that the minister has taken us up on our request for protection for those who are victimized by sexual violence. We on this side of the House appreciate that. We have been asking for that for months.
    I have to comment on what was in the minister's speech and what was not.
     The announcement he is making today, the idea of robust humanitarian support to save lives, we were hoping could have started a month ago. That is not in the motion. In fact, it was a reference in the Prime Minister speech.
    What was in the Prime Minister's speech and in the motion were doors opened that we are very concerned about. I would like the minister to respond to two concerns we have. The first is with respect to opening the door to potential bombing in Syria. Our allies have explicitly closed that door. Why would we do any truck or trade with Bashar al-Assad, who has done such heinous, horrible things to his people? Second, why is there no definition of the territory in which these air strikes will happen? This relates to my first question.
    These are important issues. They are not defined in the motion. That is one reason we cannot support the government.

  (1220)  

Hon. John Baird:  
    Mr. Speaker, the issues of women, peace, and security; gender-based violence in conflict; and rape as a weapon of war are issues Canada has been working on for a number of years, particularly with the leadership of William Hague in the United Kingdom. Financially, we have been there. In terms of justice, we have been there. We will continue to be there. That is why this was an important part of my remarks.
    I want to deal directly, though, with the issue of Syria.
    First, this government is no friend of Assad. We have been very clear on that. This government is also the only major western government that two and a half years ago did not recognize the opposition in Syria as the sole and legitimate representative of the Syrian people. We took that position at first because we wondered if there would be a place in a pluralistic Syria for minorities. We feared that there might be a small number of radicals and extremists in the opposition. Those fears, unfortunately, were well founded. The opposition has become infected with radical extremists, including ISIL and the al-Nusra brigade.
    Canada does not support Assad. We do not support his opposition either. When they commit war crimes, we will stand up and speak ardently against them.
    What we said in the motion is that we will not intervene in Syria unless the government there agrees to that. We will confine this mission to Iraq. We have been very clear on that. We have been clear on what we are doing and what we are not doing. It is tremendously important that this be before the House.
Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his words and also for quoting me both accurately and in context, which is always nice to hear in this place.
    The question I have goes to what happened in the run-up to the 30-day mission that just ended. At the end of August and in early September, I actually had the opportunity to speak with the minister on multiple occasions about the intention and shape of this 30-day mission, which was a non-combat, advisory mission. We were still sending troops into the area. The Liberal Party was happy to support this concrete action that would help in the fight against ISIS.
    One of the commitments made by the government around that 30-day mission was that it would assess the effectiveness and results of that mission. Can the hon. minister please share with us the results of the assessment of how effective our 30-day mission was?
Hon. John Baird:  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence, who will be speaking in this place shortly, would be best to answer the assessment of the Canadian Forces, as he is the minister responsible.
    There is no doubt that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces are very battle tested, but they are battle tested in the mountains, not in a more conventional war with a front line. There is no doubt that they need support, advice, and counsel, and that is exactly what the government committed to.
    We had a challenge with the previous Iraqi government in getting troops into the field as quickly as we would have liked. The good news is that Iraq has a more inclusive government today, one that is working with the Kurdish and Sunni populations, which we did not have at the outset of that deployment. However, I will allow my colleague, the Minister of National Defence, to speak to the issue.

  (1225)  

Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for his speech and for his leadership on Canada's response to the threat of ISIL.
    Some members of the opposition and commentators in the media have raised questions about the legal basis for Canada's involvement in a military mission in Iraq. I wonder if the minister could address those issues for us.
Hon. John Baird:  
    Mr. Speaker, the democratically elected government of Iraq has asked the world for assistance and has asked Canada to participate. This initiative has obviously been before the United Nations Security Council, where the Prime Minister showed great leadership by speaking, as I did at a previous Security Council meeting, in the last two weeks. It obviously has the blessing of both the UN Security Council and the government of Iraq.
    We do not have any legal authorization in Syria. As despicable as the political leadership is in Syria, and with respect to the motion before Parliament, we obviously do not have any legal basis at this stage for that effort.
Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to raise one question about some of the remarks the minister made just now in answer to the parliamentary secretary's question and also, on the weekend, on CBC radio. He said that there was a unanimous resolution of the United Nations Security Council regarding the operation in Iraq. Again, the minister said that it has the authorization of the UN Security Council.
    It is very clear, and I want to give the minister an opportunity to clarify it to the House and to the public, that UN Security Council resolution 2178 deals with the whole issue of foreign terrorist fighters travelling from their home countries to Iraq or elsewhere. It is a very general resolution. It deals specifically with asking countries to prevent people from within their borders, on a domestic basis, from engaging in foreign terrorism. That is the thrust of that motion. It was not a motion to authorize any campaign in Iraq involving military action such as is being suggested in the motion.
    Would the minister please clarify those remarks? I think it is very misleading to suggest that the United Nations Security Council has authorized either the U.S. campaign or the campaign we are talking about here today.
Hon. John Baird:  
    Mr. Speaker, there were two Security Council resolutions. Under the United States' chairmanship and presidency of the council, Secretary Kerry had one meeting and President Obama presided over another meeting.
     The legal authorization is that the democratically elected Government of Iraq has invited and asked for this support and assistance. The Security Council does not need to authorize it, but is certainly seized with the issue in support of the initiative.

[Translation]

Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, before I present my prepared remarks about the government motion to send Canadian troops and fighter jets to Iraq for a combat mission, I would like to address some of the comments made by the minister who just spoke.

[English]

    I will start by reminding my friend that although his answer to my colleague, our critic for defence, was artful, it was not accurate. He said on the air this weekend that there was a United Nations resolution that unanimously allowed for this mission. That is simply false. There is no such resolution. We can read it in its entirety. It is quite long. The preamble is very long. It sets things out. It is simply not true that this is a United Nations mission.
    The minister is far too intelligent and far too experienced to know that. He said that on the air, and people will be able to check the record of what he said and compare it to what he just said again here today.
    The other thing is that in his remarks earlier, the minister claimed that the government had articulated clearly the reasons for this mission, the end game and what it was supposed to be about. That is not true, and I will point that out citing chapter and verse of the alternating versions we have received from the government.
    There was something most shocking in Friday's speech in the House by the Prime Minister, and I am anxious to hear the Prime Minister today. It is always important to hear from his foreign affairs minister, but the Prime Minister, of course, should be front and centre in this debate.
     In describing ISIL, the minister said that the reason they were going to go after this group was because they raped, pillaged and slaughtered. No one is underestimating the horrors that we have seen. In this day and age, they come instantaneously either to our TV screen or through other media.
     However, if we contrast that with what was in thePrime Minister's speech verbatim Friday, repeated just now by the foreign affairs minister, the foreign affairs minister said that his government was no friend of Assad. I am more than willing to take the foreign affairs minister at his word, but actions speak louder than words. What the Prime Minister did say in his speech on Friday was that if there were a request from Assad to bomb in Syria, he would follow that request. What that means in real simple terms that every Canadian can understand is that the Prime Minister of Canada is according a great deal of credibility to Bashar al-Assad and his murderous, genocidal regime. We give them no such credibility on this side of the House.
    How can the government on the one hand claim that the Assad regime is not even worth talking to and then on the other hand say “but when they ask us we're going to respond to their request”? They are mutually exclusive and it shows a total lack of structure in the thinking of the government. It also shows a lack of rigorous thought. It shows a lack, frankly, of ethics on the international stage.
    We also heard the minister say a little earlier that one could not deliver humanitarian aid unless one was involved in the combat mission itself, in the bombing.
    Hon. John Baird: I did not say that.
    Hon. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, look at the countries that are indeed close to us, many of which the government likes to cite, but that are not involved in any combat mission. Italy, Germany, Norway, all close NATO allies, all are involved in providing aid and all are rejecting air strikes, as Canada should reject air strikes.
    The minister said as well that people were grasping for any reason. What a haughty and dismissive way to deal with people who just do not agree with him, that more bombing is a way to peace in a region that has already seen too much war. We respectfully disagree with the government on this.

  (1230)  

    Thoughtful editorial comment across the country has said just the opposite. I will only read two, but they are well worth reading. I will read Agnès Gruda from La Presse of Saturday, October 4. I will then read Peggy Mason, who just yesterday, Sunday, October 5, wrote a very thoughtful piece in the Ottawa Citizen. It is important to know that Peggy Mason is Canada's former United Nations ambassador for disarmament and an adviser to the then Conservative external affairs minister, Joe Clark.
    Hon. John Baird: Progressive.
    Mr. Thomas Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, the minister throws out the word “Progressive” as if it were a slur. Yes, she was a Progressive Conservative.

[Translation]

    In the Saturday, October 4, 2014, edition of La Presse, Agnès Gruda wrote an article about this war, which is looking grim. It reads:
    Australia has done so, as have France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. A dozen countries have already agreed to participate in the American air strikes [not UN air strikes, American air strikes] against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) armed group. And Canada will join them next week.
    The debate on this military engagement brings back bad memories of the war against Saddam Hussein, in which Canada had the good sense not to participate...
    However, the Iraq of 2014 is different from the Iraq of 2003. This time, we are not facing an imaginary threat. Since it took Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, four months ago, ISIS has had ample time to show what its men are capable of.
    A report published by the UN on Thursday describes the abuses that have been committed against Iraqi civilians in the past four months. Summary executions, gang rape, abductions and public hangings: the men of ISIS are slaughtering civilians without remorse.
    On the ground, jihadists are threatening to expand their territory. Yesterday, the battle continued for the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border.
    So yes, there are excellent reasons to want to stop these bloodthirsty fanatics, including by means of an international military offensive, if necessary.
    But not just any military offensive. Unfortunately, the United States' military operation is rather haphazard...
    “The strikes so far have had a negative impact politically,” notes Robert Blecher, an International Crisis Group analyst who believes that the coalition is repeating past mistakes.
    One of the main risks associated with this offensive is that it could end up alienating the very people the coalition is claiming to save from the Islamists.
    Robert Blecher gave the example of Syrian villages that were bombed one day by the American army and the next by the Bashar al-Assad regime.
    “On the ground, it is very difficult to understand where, exactly, the missiles are coming from. And it is very difficult to explain to the dominant rebel groups why Assad is not being bombed.”
    Rebel groups that are waiting for western aid are left with the impression that they are being fed to the sharks, whereas civilians feel as though they are the target of fire meant for the Sunni. According to Robert Blecher, “This is creating an extremely difficult situation politically.”
    And exactly who are the targets? Two weeks ago, the Americans bombed a brigade affiliated with another group of jihadist rebels, the al-Nusra Front.
    However, this group is fighting on two fronts: it is fighting against Bashar al-Assad AND against ISIS, its arch-enemy. By raining down fire on the al-Nusra Front, the United States lent a helping hand to the “bad guys” they are trying to destroy. That is rather ironic.

  (1235)  

    Let us come back to Iraq. There too, the line between the good guys and the bad guys is not always clear. According to the UN report, the Iraqi army and various Shia militias are not all sweetness and light.
    Here too, then, the air strikes might have unintended consequences, including radicalizing those we claim to be protecting, in all the confusion.
    “No one knows exactly what the coalition's strategy is”, sums up the German weekly Der Spiegel in a lengthy analysis.
    This current offensive raises more questions than it answers. Is this fight against ISIS only, or all Islamists, including the members of the al-Nusra Front?
    That raises another question: how do we avoid helping Bashar al-Assad, thereby alienating the Syrian rebels we might not want to alienate?
    More broadly, is there a post-war political strategy, both for Iraq and for Syria? Finally, is enough care being taken to ensure that there is local support for this offensive, without which is it doomed to fail?
    When ISIS appeared in Iraq in the mid-2000s, the response did not come from the sky...but from the local Sunni tribes, which managed to contain it.
    It has been able to expand as much as it has this year because those same tribes no longer trust Baghdad's Shia power. To deal with the very real threat that ISIS represents, we need to offer a “political solution to Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis”, suggests Robert Blecher. He claims this solution exists, even in Syria, where there are still Sunni rebels that are entirely acceptable to the international community.
    The problem is that the current war against ISIS might convert these potential allies of the West into enemies...
    With all these religious faiths, tribes and civil wars, the situations in Iraq and Syria are extremely complex. Simply put, yes, ISIS can be fought with weapons, but this war is looking pretty grim. Nothing in the [Prime Minister]'s speech suggests that he plans to use his power of influence to realign things.
    That was an opinion piece in French by Agnès Gruda in La Presse.
    Peggy Mason, Canada's former UN ambassador for disarmament and special adviser to former Progressive Conservative minister of external affairs Joe Clark, was quoted yesterday in the Ottawa Citizen, as follows:

  (1240)  

[English]

    “[Prime Minister]'s Iraq plan may make matters worse, says former ambassador”.
    [The Prime Minister] will put Canada’s proposed combat military mission in Iraq to a vote on Monday. Recent polls have suggested that Canadians slightly favour the bombing mission to confront the threat posed by the extremist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It comes as no surprise that Canadians want to help and “do something.”
     But [the Prime Minister]'s plan to send Canadian warplanes to join the U.S.-led coalition’s bombing of Iraq may just make matters worse.
    [The Prime Minister] and his allies are underestimating their opponents as a bunch of religious extremists bent on spreading wanton mayhem and terror. Islamic State may be brutally ruthless, but they know exactly what they are doing.
    Their core is made up of seasoned, motivated fighters and an extremely experienced leadership that go back to the “dirty war” waged by the American and British Special Forces in Iraq between 2006 and 2009.
     ISIL is playing a strategical game of chess with its every move, while the West is playing military tic-tac-toe.
     ISIL is not just a military organization, it is a political movement with a well-thought-out ideology, however abhorrent it may be to the West. It governs the huge areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. Ruthless in eliminating any potential opponents, it also provides electricity, food and other vital services for ordinary people in the areas it controls.
     That is why American air strikes against ISIL recently targeted not only oil and gas facilities but also grain elevators--a highly problematic course of action in both legal and humanitarian terms, particularly if the conflict is to be a long one.
     To date Western military action has been disastrously counterproductive.
    [The Prime Minister] says “we” are not responsible for the chaos in Libya. Yet it is absolutely clear that the NATO-led military victory in Libya was a pyrrhic one which paved the way for the civil war that followed.
    We have to remember how we got to this point. Time and again in the past, we have chosen war over negotiations.
    Look at the lessons of Libya. Had we not exceeded the UN mandate in Libya (which excluded regime change), we could have negotiated a power-sharing deal...that would have promoted incremental democratic reform and not left a power vacuum to be filled by extremists, including ISIL.
    Exactly the same lesson can be learned from Syria. Had the West not insisted on Assad's immediate departure and refused to allow Iran a seat at the table, Kofi Annan's power-sharing arrangement within a transitional government would have paved the way for incremental democratic reforms in Syria and, once again, would have left much less room for extremists like ISIL to operate.
    A UN mandate privileging inclusive governance and democratic reforms in concert with robust military support has been central to recent progress in Somalia and Mali. A UN mandate is also possible for effective intervention in Iraq and Syria if all necessary players, including Russia and Iran, are brought fully into the negotiations, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are at the core of the political strategy, not just token participants.
    A comprehensive, broadly supported and UN-mandated approach is long overdue in the heretofore disastrously counterproductive war on terror. Let this enlightened approach be the basis for Canadian action in Iraq and Syria.
     As I said, that is from Peggy Mason, Canada's former UN ambassador for disarmament and adviser to then Progressive Conservative external affairs minister Joe Clark.

  (1245)  

[Translation]

    Twelve years ago, the Government of Canada launched a reconstruction mission in Afghanistan, a country ravaged by the war that began in 1979 with the invasion by the former Soviet Union.
    The objective was to bring stability and security to the new government in Kabul. Over the years, the Liberal government radically transformed the mission. What began as a reconstruction mission quickly transformed into a combat mission. This did not change when the Conservatives came to power. On the contrary, the mission and the combat role were extended.
    A few dozen specialist members in a mission that had a very short timeframe became 40,000 Canadian soldiers in the longest combat mission in the history of our country. We spent at least $30 billion, 160 soldiers were killed, thousands were injured, and let us not forget—because we tend to forget them—the thousands of men and women who returned suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. The Canadian Forces strayed far from the original reconstruction mission, which had turned primarily into a combat mission.
    What is interesting—and you know it because you were there, Mr. Speaker—is that despite all the vicious attacks against him by the Conservatives, Jack Layton had the courage to do what had to be done and to say what had to be said.

[English]

    Jack Layton asked tough questions to the Conservative minister of defence at the time. It was the member for Carleton—Mississippi Mills who was the minister. Here are key questions that the former minister might remember Jack asking him:
    What are the goals and objectives of this mission and how do they meet Canada's foreign policy objectives? What is the realistic mandate of the mission and how is it being enforced?
    What are the criteria that [we will be using] to measure progress? What is the definition of success...?
    Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. Those are the same questions that the NDP are asking today about the deployment in Iraq. In fact, the very same questions were asked about the mission in Afghanistan to the Liberal government just a few months before they were asked to the Conservative member for Carleton—Mississippi Mills, with good reasons. These questions are legitimate, and Canadians deserve answers.

  (1250)  

[Translation]

    The NDP also forced a debate and a vote in the House of Commons. At the time, the Prime Minister managed to extend the mission in Afghanistan with the support of the Liberals. The NDP opposed extending the mission, and I am still very proud of that today.

[English]

    Even if we have not always agreed, there is a proud tradition in Canada and in the House of working together respectfully on issues of war and peace. In 1991, for example, NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin was sworn in to the Privy Council so that she could receive classified information on the first Gulf War. The same courtesy was extended to Bill Blaikie, and the Prime Minister himself, at the beginning of the Liberal engagement in Afghanistan. Later, that was extended to Jack Layton as well. It is only fair to say that the Prime Minister continued this tradition at first. The Prime Minister briefed Jack Layton on our mission in Libya, and he briefed me on our mission to Mali, yet now, as the Prime Minister takes Canada to war in Iraq, there is silence. Worse yet, Conservatives have gone out of their way to stifle informed debate.
    The Prime Minister, with the support of the Liberals, launched us into the war in Iraq with what he claimed was a 30-day non-combat mission. He promised Canada's involvement would be “re-evaluated at the end of this first deployment”. On September 15, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence said there were already 69 Canadian soldiers on the ground. On September 26, the Prime Minister himself claimed there were “several dozen” Canadian Forces personnel in Iraq.
    However, according to Radio-Canada, these claims were false. The first 26 from Canadian Forces did not arrive in Iraq until 23 days into the 30-day mission. The Prime Minister did not deny that when I asked him the question specifically in the House last week. How can we evaluate a mission when troops have been on the ground for only a week? It sounds disingenuous. The promise that Canadian involvement in Iraq would be re-evaluated after a month, frankly, was just that; it was disingenuous, if not a sham: a 30-day mission to get Canada into this war without a debate or a vote in Parliament, setting the stage for this escalation.
    The lack of clear and honest information from the government only continues. The Minister of Foreign Affairs refuses to state where Canadian aircraft will be based. He said it is an operational detail that he is not prepared to discuss.
    However, other countries have been told where their forces are stationed. For that matter, Canada has always revealed where its aircraft have been based in past conflicts. Why the refusal to provide this information now?
    In one breath the Minister of Foreign Affairs insisted that Canadian Forces will be under the command of the Chief of the Defence Staff of our country, but he said in the next interview that it will be “working under the leadership of the United States”. What is that supposed to mean?
    Just as the Prime Minister has refused to provide clear information about the mission, he has been unable to clearly explain the mission's goals. We are a long way from the boast of the minister at the beginning of his remarks today.
    On September 30, when asked how he would define victory in Iraq, the Prime Minister said that ISIS was planning attacks “against large populations in the region” and “against this country”, Canada. He said Canada would “work with our allies on a counterterrorism operation to get us to the point where this organization does not have the capacity to launch those kinds of attacks.”
    However, in his speech to the House last Friday, the Prime Minister was already walking back on that description of his goals. Then he said we needed only to “degrade the capabilities of ISIL”, specifically their ability to conduct large-scale military movements and operate in the open.
    This weekend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs lowered expectations even further, saying that if they could “contain this problem, stop it growing”, that alone would be a “significant accomplishment”.
     Inaccurate information and shifting definitions of success have been the hallmarks of the American war in Iraq since the invasion began.
     Remember the United States has been in this conflict for over 10 years. It has been fighting ISIS, under one name or another, for over 10 years. While ISIS has renamed itself several times since 2004—al Qaeda in Iraq, the Mujahideen Shura Council, the Islamic State of Iraq, and al-Sham, Syria—it is literally the same insurgent group that U.S. forces have been battling for over a decade. Why does the Prime Minister think he can use military force to accomplish what others have been trying unsuccessfully to do since 2003?
    The Prime Minister has twice insisted in this House that the mission will not become a “quagmire”. It is his word, and he keeps using it over and over again, saying that it will not be a “quagmire”. Wìth the Prime Minister throwing around the word quagmire multiple times when this mission has barely begun, let me be honest, we do not think it bodes very well.
    This weekend on The West Block with Tom Clark, the Minister of Foreign Affairs was already contemplating returning to the House of Commons for another extension after the next six months, planning for the next escalation before this one has even begun, before it has even been voted on in Parliament.
     Robert Fowler, Canada's longest-serving ambassador to the UN and adviser to three Prime Ministers on foreign policy, said, “Our coalition's mission will inevitably creep.... [we] will bomb evermore. ...predators will hunt more widely and more indiscriminately.... [we] will kill and maim many, many more innocent civilians than the caliphate could behead in its wildest dreams.”
    In fact, the Prime Minister has already acknowledged that he is prepared to extend the bombing to Syria. What is more, the Prime Minister has even set the bizarre and distasteful standard that he will launch air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria if asked to do so by the regime of brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad. The list of Assad's own atrocities is almost unspeakable, and we find it reprehensible that the Prime Minister would give him any credibility at all, much less a voice in determining what our brave women and men in uniform do to defend our country.
     Let us look at a list of those atrocities from official sites. Assad's attacks are ongoing. The United Nations has noted that there were 29 massacres by forces loyal to Assad in 2014 alone.

  (1255)  

    There has been the use of chemical weapons. The attack in the Ghouta area of Damascus is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since 1988 and the worse use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century. The United States estimates that just under 1,500 civilians were killed.
    There has been the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs. Syrian government forces have dropped barrel bombs on civilian areas, including hospitals and schools, with devastating results. Some believe that barrel bomb attacks have contained the chemical agent chlorine in eight incidents in April 2014.
    There has been the targeting of civilians by snipers, including children and pregnant women. There has been the targeting of doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospitals, ambulances and pharmacies for attacks.
    There has been the systematic torture and deaths of detainees. As many as 11,000 people in jails have been killed between March 2011 and August 2013. Assad's forces systematically arrest wounded patients in state hospitals to interrogate them, often using torture, about their supposed participation in opposition demonstrations or armed activities.
    There have been summary executions and extrajudicial killings, including the massacre at Houla, where over 100 civilians were killed, half of them children, and entire families were shot dead in their homes.
    There has been sexual violence against women, men and children in detention to degrade and humiliate detainees. Women and children have been sexually assaulted during home raids and ground operations.
    Starvation has been used as a weapon of war with at least 128 civilians starved to death in a besieged refugee camp near Damascus in 2014. Of the camp's 18,000 to 20,000 civilians, 60% suffered from malnourishment as of the spring of this year.
    In his speech in the House on Friday, the Prime Minister of Canada said that if the person responsible for those atrocities makes the request, he, the Prime Minister of Canada, will answer positively. We find that shameful.
    This is among the many reasons that so many of our allies have expressed concern with so many elements of this mission. This mission has no mandate from the UN and no mandate from NATO. The Prime Minister and the foreign minister have listed some of our traditional allies that are participating, such as Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Denmark. However, Britain and Denmark refuse to engage in bombing in Syria, even if Bashar al-Assad asks them. Italy and Germany have rejected any involvement in the combat mission altogether.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs has tried to cover for the serious questions being raised about this mission. This weekend he claimed:
...the Security Council has been seized with this issue and has passed a resolution unanimously with respect to the operation in Iraq.
    That statement is outright and unquestionably false.
    To quote just one source, and it is worth reading the resolution because it is quite long, The New York Times, on September 27, simply stated that the UN Security Council resolution on Iraq and Syria “does not authorize military action by any country”.
    That is everyone's analysis because that is what is in the UN Security Council resolution. We cannot make it say something that it does not say.
    There is overwhelming agreement here at home and abroad about the need to confront the horrors perpetrated by ISIS. However, there is no agreement that western military force is the answer.
     Nearly three weeks ago the Israeli newspaper Haaretz was already reporting that ISIS had recruited more than 6,000 new fighters since the United States began its air strikes in August. At least 1,300 of these fighters come from abroad.
    Alexander Panetta of the Canadian Press reports:
...the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that five civilians were killed in airstrikes on oil refineries; two workers were killed in a Manbej grain mill; and six male civilians were killed in the southern countryside at al-Hasakah. The group says it’s aware of at least 73 people joining ISIL in the Aleppo area, in the wake of the first U.S.-led airstrikes.

  (1300)  

    Peggy Mason, the former UN ambassador for disarmament whom I quoted earlier at length, had this to say:
    [The Prime Minister] and his allies are underestimating their opponents as a bunch of religious extremists bent on spreading wanton mayhem and terror....
    ISIL is playing a strategical game of chess with its every move, while the West is playing military tic-tac-toe....
    To date Western military action has been disastrously counterproductive.
    Robert Fowler, our longest serving ambassador to the UN, as I said, who has indeed advised three prime ministers, had this to say:
    [ISIS] know the propaganda value of poking sticks into American eyes, or knives into Western throats.... They know full well that ill-informed and poorly executed Western forays into “Muslim lands” have been disastrous for us—and they are anxious to lure us into further folly. They are confident that by so doing they will dramatically increase their recruiting base, their authority, and the scope and impact of their movement; and they simply do not give a damn about the numbers they will lose in the process. Truly, in their eyes, such losses are a blessing....
    We have, in other words, responded in precisely the way they counted on us to do.

  (1305)  

[Translation]

    The German weekly Der Spiegel said, “No one knows exactly what the coalition's strategy is.”
    This is what Robert Blecher, an international relations analyst, had to say:
    The strikes so far have had a negative impact politically...On the ground, it is very difficult to understand where, exactly, the missiles are coming from. And it is very difficult to explain to the dominant rebel groups why Assad is not being bombed...This is creating an extremely difficult situation politically...

[English]

    However, military force is not our only option. New Democrats have called on the government to dramatically increase humanitarian aid in Iraq, which at last count stands at just $28 million. I will say, though, that I was very happy to hear an announcement, which we have been calling for, for a specific sum. The sum of $5 million was mentioned for victims of sexual violence. That is a good thing that the government announced today. We wanted to say clearly and on the record that we congratulate the government for that part of its announcement today.
    In one of the government's few actions to co-operate with other parties here in the House, the Minister of Foreign Affairs brought his counterparts in the opposition to Iraq. It was humanitarian aid, not air strikes, that leaders on the ground requested.
    We can also help forces in the region to build the capacity to confront ISIS itself. Canada is already aiding in the shipment of weapons to Kurdish Iraqi forces. We agree with that. That is the gist of the United Nations Security Council resolution—give the Iraqis the ability to defend themselves.
    It should be a priority for Canada to determine exactly which groups can be trusted with such aid. Ultimately, the solution to this tragic conflict will come from those in the region and the international community as a whole, not simply the west. There, Canada's phenomenal diplomats can play a key role.
    Allow me once again to quote Peggy Mason, former UN ambassador for disarmament. She said:
    We have to remember how we got to this point. Time and again in the past, we have chosen war over negotiations....
    A UN mandate privileging inclusive governance and democratic reforms in concert with robust military support has been central to recent progress in Somalia and Mali. A UN mandate is also possible for effective intervention in Iraq and Syria if all necessary players, including Russia and Iran, are brought fully into the negotiations, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are at the core of the political strategy, not just token participants.
    A comprehensive, broadly supported and UN-mandated approach is long overdue in the heretofore disastrously counterproductive war on terror. Let this enlightened approach be the basis for Canadian action in Iraq and Syria.

[Translation]

    Robert Blecher also said that to deal with this threat, we need to offer a “political solution to Iraqi and Syrian Sunnis”.

[English]

    ISIS has thrived in Iraq and Syria precisely because those countries lack stable, well-functioning governments capable of maintaining peace and security within their own borders.
    Canada's first contribution should be to use every diplomatic, humanitarian and financial resource at our disposal to respond to the overwhelming human tragedy unfolding on the ground and to strengthen political institutions in both those countries. With the well-deserved credibility Canada earned by rejecting the initial ill-advised invasion of Iraq, we are in a position to take on that task.
    The tragedy in Iraq and Syria will not end with another western-led invasion in that region. It will end by helping the people of Iraq and Syria to build the political institutions and security capabilities they need to oppose these threats themselves.
    It is for these reasons that I move:
    That Government Business No. 13 be amended:
(a) by replacing clause (iii) with the following:
(iii) accept that, unless confronted with strong and direct force from capable and enabled local forces, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow,”; and
(b) by replacing all of the words after the word “accordingly” with the following:
“(a) call on the Government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months;
(b) call on the Government to boost humanitarian aid in areas where there would be immediate, life-saving impact, including contributing to building winterized camps for refugees; and investing in water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education for people displaced by the fighting;
(c) call on the Government to provide assistance to investigation and prosecution of war crimes;
(d) call on the Government to not deploy the Canadian Forces in combat operations;
(e) call on the Government to seek House approval for any extension of the mission, or any involvement of Canadian Forces in Syria;
(f) call on the Government to report back on the costs of the mission on a monthly basis to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs; and,
(g) continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.”.

  (1310)  

Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the leader of the official opposition for his remarks. However, I find it disappointing that for someone who a few weeks ago suggested that there should be a debate in the House any time the Canadian Forces deployed, it is a little disappointing to see him outsource a good portion of his contribution to this debate to La Presse, the Ottawa Citizen, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times and Der Spiegel.
    He mentioned a few genuine, legitimate questions about any military deployment: cost, how to define success, and the complexity of the situation on the ground with ISIL. However, I did not hear in one clear and articulate sentence a reason why the NDP feels that, at the request of our allies, we should not play an active role but should only be transporting weapons and trying to bring humanitarian aid to an area that is in severe conflict.
    I would ask the leader of the opposition for a simple sentence articulating why he does not feel Canada should serve alongside our allies.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious to anyone who has been following this debate that the Prime Minister is outsourcing to his parliamentary secretary. We would like to hear from the Prime Minister in this important debate.
    New Democrats have been saying for some time now that a lot of our NATO allies feel exactly as we do. They feel that there is no reason to be involved in these air strikes, because, as the experts that I quoted have clearly said—and we share that view—at this stage, air strikes are not what is required.
    When my colleague and friend, the NDP representative who speaks for us on foreign affairs matters, the member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, went to Iraq just a couple of weeks ago, what he heard were requests for humanitarian aid, not for more bombing in an area that has already seen more than enough.
    The government has its approach. New Democrats are cognizant, as I have mentioned in my speech and has been taken up by the papers, that a slight majority of Canadians are in favour of that, but on this side of the House, we have always stood on principle. When we realized that everything that is unfolding before our eyes is a direct result of the wrong-headed mission in 2003, we know that more bombing is not the answer.

  (1315)  

[Translation]

Mr. Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, a little over a month ago, as we prepared for the 30-day mission, the Liberal critics and I were invited to participate in information sessions on this non-combat mission, as were all official opposition members, I am sure.
    Today, we are talking about a combat mission that will surely last a long time—surely more than the planned six months. This is a much more serious mission.
    Could the hon. member for Outremont confirm what he just said, because I cannot believe it. Is it true that, as leader of the official opposition and member of the Queen's Privy Council, the hon. member did not receive any additional briefing from this government to receive information and explanations to justify the proposed combat mission and this government's desire to send Canadians to war in Iraq?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what he means by “briefing”, but if my colleague wants to know whether I got any kind of information from the Prime Minister, as I did for the mission in Mali, the answer is no. I did not receive any communication from the Prime Minister regarding this mission. That is clear, and I repeat what I said in my speech.

[English]

    What is also important for Canadians to understand is that the Liberals can try to do whatever they want today to put that toothpaste back in the tube, but they supported the government for the mission in Iraq, and that will be a part of history they will have to live with.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his very inspiring speech—as always—and for the detailed measures we are proposing in this amendment.
    These measures will affect refugees and displaced persons within the country. They also make me think of the Syrian refugees in Iraq, since the government had promised to take in 1,300 Syrian refugees here, in Canada. The last I heard, fewer than 300 had arrived here.
    Could the leader of the opposition speak to that?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is often said that the first casualty of war is the truth.
    In my earlier remarks, I showed how this government has been sincere about one thing after another. We heard one version one day, another the next and a third the following day, each delivered with as much sincerity as the last. Not all of these things can be true at the same time.
    The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration hung up on the CBC's Carol Off because she dared to ask him for real numbers of people who have come to Canada. The minister's behaviour was absolutely unheard of in Canada.
    When he came here on the night of the emergency debate, which the Liberals requested but during which the Liberal leader did not see fit to speak, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration evoked George W. Bush's canard of weapons of mass destruction to justify the war in Iraq. With truths like that, it is not surprising that nobody is willing to give exact numbers.
    However, it is clear that, unlike other allies, such as Norway, Canada is not pulling its weight. It is not shouldering its share of this important burden with those kinds of refugee numbers. Just ask Turkish representatives, who are begging Canada to help them with the more than one million refugees in that country. We are definitely not doing our part in this international humanitarian crisis.

  (1320)  

[English]

Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of quick comments and a question.
    The Leader of the Opposition cites some comments made by people about command as being somehow contradictory and misleading, but for his clarification and perhaps for others, the Canadian Forces are always under the national command of the Chief of the Defence Staff, wherever they are.
    When they are operating in a theatre, they are under the operational command of whoever is commanding that theatre, just as Americans were under a Canadian command in Afghanistan, so it is not misleading the House at all.
    We left Afghanistan much better off than how we found it. Will it last? That will ultimately be up to them, but it was a combination of combat, surely, and a lot of rebuilding, much of which was in fact carried out by men and women in uniform.
    I do not disagree with the Leader of the Opposition when he says that a long-term solution requires sorting out the Sunni and Shia situation. That is true. However, I would like to ask him more about the short term.
    Can we stop the short-term violence by ISIL without force? Can we negotiate the cessation of ISIL's short-term and obviously violent activity without force and simply by negotiation? What is his solution to stop ISIL from beheading people tomorrow?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair:  
    Mr. Speaker, we have been down this road before. These are the exact same arguments that were used about the Taliban in Afghanistan to begin with. For 10 years Canada was there. We sent 40,000 troops and $30 billion, and the result is less than certain, to be charitable.
    Today we are hearing a report from the United States that air strikes have not stopped ISIS from moving on to the key Syrian city of Kobani. They have just changed their tactics.
    The real question is, why would we be involved in that violence? Why would we give credibility? The member has already served proudly in the Canadian Armed Forces. Why would we give credibility to a character like Bashar al-Assad by showing that if he makes a request, we will answer that request? That gives him a credibility he does not deserve. He is a genocidal maniac, and we should not be giving him any credibility at all.

[Translation]

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.
    The question we are debating today is the following: should we send our troops to Iraq on a combat mission?
    As members of Parliament, we must all carefully consider the issues before us before making an informed and extremely serious decision.
    Our decision will have heavy and lasting consequences. We are talking about going to war. Needless to say, the 308 members of the House will have to live with the consequences of this decision, which will be voted on shortly.

[English]

    There are many points in the government's motion with which the Liberal Party agrees: the evil that is ISIL, the need for a broad coalition to take on ISIL, the need to provide far greater humanitarian assistance to the million-plus victims displaced by the advance of ISIL, and the need for Canada to contribute to the coalition. No party can claim the high ground in condemning ISIL. We all forcefully condemn this abhorrent, barbaric group of terrorists. None of that is open to question.
    The question is, what should Canada do in order to contribute in the best possible manner to the collective effort to defeat ISIL?
    When that question is posed, there is a fundamental and consequential second question that follows: should we contribute to a combat or a non-combat mission? That is what we are debating today.
    Let me say from the outset that the Prime Minister has failed to make a clear case for a Canadian combat role in Iraq at this time. The Prime Minister is taking us across the Rubicon by deciding on a combat mission. Once a country makes that decision, there is no turning back the clock.

  (1325)  

[Translation]

    When the government announced the first mission to Iraq, namely sending special forces to advise and train Kurdish forces, my party gave its support. We clearly recognize the need to do something to help Iraq. We believe that beyond a combat mission, there are a number of ways a country can contribute to protecting the citizens of another country.
    In early September, I visited the Kurdish region of Iraq, so I have an idea of the complexity of the military challenge, as well as the extent of the humanitarian catastrophe. Canada cannot stand idly by. We must not only contribute much more than the $29 million already sent in humanitarian aid, but also help in other ways. I am very pleased to know that the government just added a new contribution of $10 million. That brings us to the contribution that the Prime Minister announced on Friday.

[English]

    The Prime Minister has proposed six CF-18 strike aircraft as the centrepiece of our contribution, thereby opting for a Canadian combat role. This leads to the obvious question: has the Canadian mission been clearly and fully defined? The answer is no.
    Defining a mission is much more than stating what assets we will contribute and then establishing a deadline. Going to war is an extraordinarily complex undertaking, and it has to be thought through.
    Let me give the House an example. When George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, he only thought out step one, which was to capture Baghdad. After that, what? We saw what happened because of the failure to understand the overall challenge.
    At this moment, the United States will lead in this coalition effort, and it is still working out an overall coalition strategy to defeat ISIL. This is the job given to General Allen. It is an extremely complex undertaking that rests on the assumption that Iraqi forces must eventually dislodge and defeat ISIL in a ground campaign. Should Canada be rushing in with an air combat mission? The answer is no.
    In the end, when we are talking about a combat role, getting in seems very straightforward, but getting out is much less so. The right approach is certainly not to say that Canada will go into Iraq with strike aircraft but may pull out in six months. The right approach is to give the most careful consideration to our objectives before we send our men and women into harm's way. That has not been done by the government.
    However, there is something that we can do at this time. There are significant, substantial non-combat roles that Canada can play, and to suggest that our contribution has no value unless we are contributing to a combat role is offensive to me.
    There are as many as 60 partners in the coalition, and each has chosen to contribute in their own way to the defeat of ISIL, whether by providing weapons, base facilities, strategic airlift, humanitarian aid, surveillance and other intelligence, or advice in training. All this is to say there are many different ways to contribute, and they are all important.
    It has been said that when it comes to sharing the burden of military intervention, the sacrifice that counts lies in the willingness to take casualties, and last Friday the Prime Minister said that “...being a free rider means not being taken seriously.”
    I really object to that comment. It implies that we are taking the easy way out if we choose to contribute to the war effort in other ways.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    Did the Prime Minister really say, last Friday, that Canada would not be taken seriously if it contributed to the coalition by any means other than a combat mission with air strikes?
    Are the majority of partners of this coalition less engaged or, in the words of the Prime Minister, less noble, because they choose to contribute to defeating ISIL by other means?

[English]

    Let me say that I also dispute the Prime Minister's assertion that air strikes are the hard thing to do, and his implication, by extension, that other roles are easy or require less courage.
    It is hard work on the ground to train and advise forces, help refugees, provide medical aid, undertake air surveillance, provide strategic airlift, and provide humanitarian aid. While these tasks are not combat roles, they are still important tasks, many needing to be performed by our military.
    I would also challenge his assertion that we are somehow abandoning our allies if we opt out of air strikes. Nobody has accused Canada of not pulling its weight in the past 20 years, or indeed, during the entire period that we have been a country.
    Ultimately, defeating ISIL will only happen on the ground. There are important non-combat contributions Canada can make in this effort.
    Let me conclude. There is a clear line between non-combat and combat. If the Prime Minister wants to take us, in Canada, across that line, he must make the case to Canadians as to why.
    The Prime Minister has not given us reason to believe that once in combat the government will be able to limit our role. Once the line is crossed into combat, as the government is doing, it is no simple matter to cross back over. We all know that this conflict is likely to last a long time.
    Deciding in six months to pull out of combat could be very problematic for Canada, depending on the situation, and the pressure will be on us to remain. That is why the Liberal Party of Canada will not support the Prime Minister's motion to take on a combat role in Iraq. Saying we will review it in six months is not an exit strategy.
    We have the capabilities to meaningfully assist, in a non-combat role, in a well-defined international mission in Iraq.

[Translation]

    There are more than just the two extreme options of, on the one hand, refusing any military role and, on the other, having Canada rush into combat without understanding all the consequences.
    It is incumbent upon us to make the right decision when we vote on this mission.

[English]

Mr. Mark Strahl (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank the member for his speech and for his previous service in the armed forces.
    The member mentioned that when we go to war, we need to think it through. Perhaps that lesson was lost on the Liberal Party when it sent troops to Afghanistan in forest green fatigues, black boots, and unarmoured Iltis jeeps. The Liberals obviously did not think that through very far.
    I have another question. In the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, it says that they do not wish to deploy the Canadian Forces in combat operations. We know the position of the NDP is to never deploy the Canadian Armed Forces in combat operations.
    What would it take to get the Liberal Party of Canada on board for a combat mission, if not to fight ISIS in this situation, with the egregious acts it is committing in that part of the world?
Mr. Marc Garneau:  
    Mr. Speaker, if the member had listened to my speech, he would recognize very clearly that we are prepared to play a role here.
    We are not looking back on Afghanistan and other places, where all governments may have made some mistakes. What we are talking about is the current situation that is in front of us at this particular point in time.
    We have made it very clear that we are not prepared, because the government has not made the case, to vote in favour of a combat mission. However, we are prepared to play a military role of a non-combat nature. On that subject, we know that the NDP is very much in favour of an increased humanitarian role, and we agree with that. We know that the NDP does not want to do a combat role, and we agree with that. I have been trying to find out whether the NDP would be prepared to consider a military role of a non-combat nature.

  (1335)  

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend from Westmount—Ville-Marie for his intervention in this debate and for his remarks in the last number of weeks at both the foreign affairs committee and on numerous television programs. I just want to ask him this, because I was confused along the way. There was wholehearted support and unquestioning support for the initial mission, despite the lack of answers from the government. There were times when he was supporting a combat mission and air strikes, and other days when he was not. Some days he was supporting both positions. I think it was as late as last Sunday. Therefore, I am wondering what it is about this particular government proposal that led him and his party to all of a sudden say that they would not support a combat mission for the Canadian Forces in Iraq?
Mr. Marc Garneau:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question. He and I have spent quite a bit of time on panels in the last week or so on this particular issue. That is why I am little surprised that he has some confusion in his mind about the position we are taking. In fact, it is something New Democrats have brought up on more than one occasion. They do not seem to realize that when we agreed initially to what the government proposed, which was a 30-day behind-the-wire advisory role for up to 60 special forces, we gave our support to that. The key word there is “non-combat”, but somehow that has been morphed by the NDP into “combat”. We have been in favour of doing this since the beginning.
    I would urge my colleagues from the NDP to understand that this is a very complex matter. It is extremely important to fully understand the difference between combat and non-combat, military and non-military. We are talking about something very important. I think it is disingenuous of the NDP to try to throw a fog over all of this, because I think we have been extremely clear.
Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to join the debate on the government's decision to take Canada into war in Iraq and possibly Syria. I am proud to note that the Liberal Party leader spoke extensively on the party's position just this past Friday. Regrettably, a combat decision has already been taken and first troops have already deployed.
    The Liberal leader and members hold the principle that the case for entering this or any war must be made openly and transparently and must be based on clear and reliable facts. Our men and women in uniform, and all Canadians, deserve no less. If the government's motivations and its actions are to be trusted, that means telling the full truth to Canadians and parliamentarians, but that has simply not happened, and the combat case has simply not been made.
    One month ago, the Liberals supported the government's 30-day non-combat advisory mission to help in the fight against the murderous radical group ISIL, because Canada has a role to play in confronting humanitarian crises and security threats in the world. That too is a Liberal principle. ISIL's brutal advance across Iraq into Kurdish territory, murdering opposition and innocent civilians and flaunting the beheadings of western journalists and aid workers, could not be ignored.
    Canada's reputation confronting security and humanitarian threats on the world stage has a long history.

[Translation]

    Our reputation on the battlefields of the World Wars and the Korean War, and as courageous peacekeepers, was hard won. After the Second World War, Canada led the way in building international organizations to reduce violence, promote peace, protect victims of genocide and hold international war criminals to account.

  (1340)  

[English]

    These strong international relations were forged by Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester Pearson, advanced by Pierre Trudeau and Progressive Conservatives Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, and solidified by Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. The sacrifices of our armed forces members and trainers in Afghanistan helped achieve a historic first in that country: the recent peaceful and democratic transition of its government.
    Yes, Canada does have a role to play to confront humanitarian crises and security threats and to help build a better world.
    The question on Liberals' minds this last month was this: After the 30-day mission, what will come next? Western interventions in the Iraq war of 2003 and the 2011 bombing of Libya and elsewhere failed. These western interventions created instability that led to the rise of dozens of radical jihadist groups taking over vast swaths of the region today. How will this time be different? How can Canada and the coalition against ISIL contribute without sliding into a long, deadly war and perhaps making things worse? We must ensure that Canadians will not look back on this moment and ask, “How could the government have been so wrong?”
    The Conservative government did not even try to make a clear and thoughtful case for going to war in Iraq or to bring all parties on board. Sending women and men into harm's way is something that must never be done lightly, and expressions of outrage are no substitute for considering history's lessons.
    Consulting with military and diplomatic experts, examining options, and full and frank caucus discussions resulted in the Liberals recommending non-combat contributions.
    Western combat operations in the region will layer onto deep religious rivalries that date back centuries and ethno-sectarian conflict dating back 98 years to the creation of these countries after World War I.
    While Canadians are rightly appalled by the brutal acts of murder by the extremely radical Islamists, rhetoric by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs that this is simply about “bad people up to bad things” obscures the many geopolitical complexities at play.
    The post-Iraq-war Maliki government governed for one religious sect at the expense of the Sunni and Kurds, using basic services, state institutions, distribution of revenues, and even the justice system to repress and disadvantage Sunni Iraqis, among others. This disastrous governance and polarization enabled Sunni ISIL to quickly capture vast terrain and assets. Western combat deployment and civilian deaths could further bind moderate Sunni peoples to their radical brethren and power the jihadi surge.
    The International Crisis Group, until last month led by former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour, considers the vital contribution to be addressing the underlying political issues that enabled the insurgents' push.
    That is why it is critically important to support an inclusive and even-handed approach by the new government in Baghdad. That means strengthening the new Iraqi government and its armed forces. Let us build humanitarian capacity to protect brutalized populations. Let us strengthen the Peshmerga in defending Kurdish peoples in their homes and homelands. Let us train Iraqi security forces so they can defend their state on the ground. Let us engage moderate Sunni tribes so they reject rather than join the terrorists. Let us block ISIL's access to strategic communications and financial assets.
    The Liberals believe that when the government deploys our men and women in uniform into combat, there must be a clear mission overall and a clear role for Canada. Until the coalition of 60 diverse nations fighting ISIL has a clear combat role for stopping ISIL, there is no clear combat role for Canada at this time.
    Yesterday, General John Allen, head of the global coalition to counter ISIL, said that he would start travelling in the region over the next month for the work of bringing the coalition together, sorting out the kind of effort needed, and start to place each member's unique capabilities within those lines.
    No, Canada's combat role and goals are not yet clear, so what should Canada's contribution be?
     Secretary of State John Kerry said at the UN, that there is an important role for every country to play in the fight against ISIL”. That means each according to their unique capabilities. That is a statesman.
    Contrast that with the foreign affairs minister's claim that either Canada takes a combat role or "sits back and lets someone else do the heavy lifting”. Go to war or be a free rider; that is small thinking, facile, divisive and unworthy.
     A key Liberal principle is that Canada's role reflects the broad scope and uniqueness of Canadian capabilities, financial, humanitarian, diplomatic, democratic, military, so let us not rush into combat without thinking carefully about our best contributions.
    What are the significant, non-combat roles Canada can play, military and non-military alike? What is the range of humanitarian aid so desperately needed? Let us consider the signals intelligence, military airlift capability, surveillance, medical support, protection of civilians and aid workers, and forces training that Canada might offer.
    Our dedicated men and women who serve in Canada's armed forces are second to none in the world, and there are many ways they can contribute.
     Yesterday, General Allen spoke of his intent to use “coalition forces in a very important way to train the existing Iraqi Security Forces”. Canada would be uniquely positioned to do just that.
    In 2009, crack Canadian troops began an intensive four-year training mission in Afghanistan. Almost 1,000 troops on the ground, with rotations coming in and going out, trained the Afghan National Army, the air force and the national police. This past spring the last of them came home. These military men and women made a tremendous contribution to Afghanistan's stability. They could also so contribute in Iraq.
    Canadians are concerned Canada's combat role will escalate. Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, told the government in November last year:
    Without at least maintaining current funding level, we will directly affect the readiness of key fleets of aircraft, ships and army vehicles. This in turn has an overall impact upon training and readiness.
    However, the budget cuts and clawbacks have continued. Therefore, how will this new mission be funded?
    Finally, to respect the Canadian people's stake in this war and in the interest of trust and accountability, I call on the government to: one, adopt the Manley panel recommendation on Afghanistan requiring the government to provide quarterly mission updates to Parliament; two, adopt the U.S. practice of regular, public military briefings by senior military officials; three, make clear its air strike rules of engagement and whether the U.S. will be in command of targets; four, agree to a parliamentary committee study of the strategic aims of the anti-ISIL campaign; and, five, require the national security adviser to brief the defence committee on the overall use of Canadian intelligence capabilities in the campaign against ISIL.
    Transparency and honesty have been lacking. I ask the government to provide it over the critical weeks and months ahead as our brave men and women go forth on this difficult mission.

  (1345)  

Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, there were more than a few disappointing passages in that speech.
     First, there was the implication that humanitarian and refugee work could not proceed alongside a combat contribution.
     Second, there was the declaration of the Libyan mission as a failure, a mission that the hon. member's party, albeit under a different leader, had been prepared to support at several points.
    There is a mark in that speech of just how far the Liberal Party has fallen away from its own traditions of supporting combat when necessary.
    My question for the hon. member is about the rationale for combat. There is an obvious rationale in the fact that ISIL has declared its intention to attack Canada. It has declared its intention to train people to bring terrorism within our borders. It has declared its intention to establish training camps should it consolidate support over parts of Iraq and ultimately Syria well beyond the Middle East, in Europe and North America. ISIL has taken pride in the fact that its agenda, in pursuing it, is more radical than that of al Qaeda, the group that brought 9/11 the most dramatic and devastating terrorist attack in history.
    When a group has declared its intention to enter into combat with us to bring terrorism to our shores to compromise our security, why should our response not include a willingness to engage in combat?
Ms. Joyce Murray:  
    Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to hear the member using the same tactic of rhetoric over reasoning in this very important situation. I point out that it is important to learn from past lessons, and apparently the government wants to ignore lessons learned.
    In terms of the kind of undermining of the opposition parties for choosing to support a non-combat role, I would like to point out that the member's colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, slammed the opposition parties for a non-combat role stand, saying that the socialist democratic government in Italy was supportive and the socialist democratic coalition in Germany was supportive.
     In fact, yes they are supportive of making a contribution, as are the Liberals. However, the minister neglected to mention that neither Germany nor Italy is sending strike fighter planes or taking on a combat role. This is further example of the kinds of dishonesty that undermine the trust of Canadians in this very mission.

  (1350)  

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, there is a critical question that needs to be answered. It goes back to September when we laid out what we wanted to see, and that was to have a debate and a vote at the time. We quoted the Prime Minister when he was opposition leader as to why we should have a debate and vote. He wanted to change the Standing Orders, along with Jack Layton at the time.
    I was not clear, and I want clarity from my Liberal friend. Is it the position of the Liberal Party that when we deploy troops, we should not only have a debate, but a vote as well? It is extraordinarily important that we know we have the full confidence of the House when we are deploying troops abroad. I would like to nail down the position of the Liberal Party on that question.
Ms. Joyce Murray:  
    Mr. Speaker, we have been pretty clear about our positions, and that is that there needs to be openness and transparency in considering these issues, which there has not been. It is that Canada does respond and take a role in humanitarian crises and security threats. It is that we must find the best and highest contribution for Canadians to make. Those are our positions. Those are the ones that we have been advancing, including advancing through calling for an emergency debate in Parliament on this issue several weeks ago.
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Minister of Employment and Social Development.
    I am pleased to speak in the House on the evolving situation in Iraq and the role that the Canadian Armed Forces will be playing.

[Translation]

    It should be clear to everyone that the continued existence of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is a threat to local, regional and international peace and stability.

[English]

    ISIL has created a grave security and humanitarian crisis in Iraq and neighbouring countries. It has seized territory and displaced more than one million Iraqis. It has persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and murdered thousands of innocent men, women and children. It has also conducted the horrific murders of journalists and aid workers.
    We believe that if left unchecked, the threat posed by ISIL will only continue to grow, contributing to the further destabilization of the Middle East and encouraging greater hatred and violence between religions. Moreover, it is clear that these radical militants are also a direct threat to Canada and our allies. Indeed, last week, its leadership specifically called for Canadians to be targeted. Australia has already thwarted a plan by sympathizers to bring terror to the streets of Sydney.
    It is clear that we must address this threat at its source. That is why Canada has already taken action.
     Since August 28, the Canadian Armed Forces has airlifted critical military supplies to the Iraqi forces, including ammunition donated by Albania and the Czech Republic. There have been 25 flights by Hercules transport aircraft and a Globemaster strategic airlift has delivered more than 1.5 million pounds of military supplies.
    At the NATO summit in Wales, the Prime Minister announced the deployment of several dozen special operations forces to advise and assist the Iraqi forces. These members are providing strategic and tactical advice. Their goal is to increase the effectiveness of Iraqi and Kurdish troops in operations against ISIL. Their initial 30-day deployment is being extended. Today, the government comes to the House to explain how Canada will continue to do its part.
    Over the last month, a broad international coalition of more than 40 countries, led by the United States, has coalesced to confront ISIL. The U.S. recently expanded its air campaign. Australia has committed direct military support, including 600 personnel and 8 F-18 Super Hornet fighters. The United Kingdom has also conducted air strikes, as has France. In addition, 10 Arab countries have pledged their support, with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain already participating in air strikes.
    ISIL's long reach spreads from northern Syria through Kurdistan to Northern Iraq, and it is gaining ground. Now is the time to act. We must help to repel this threat before it unleashes a tidal wave of fundamentalist rule across the entire region.
    It is important to understand that our decision is not reflexive or ill considered. We have seen the danger of inaction when governments retreat to an isolationist stance, allowing hatred to fester, terrorists to organize and attacks to be planned. We must prevent further destabilization of the Middle East, a volatile region already marked by chaos, violence and religious strife. We cannot allow it to reach new depths of repression, hatred and bloodshed, not when Canadians are directly threatened, not when our allies are targeted and not when taking action is clearly in our national interest.
    This is a reasoned response, carefully considered and commensurate with Canada's intent to provide meaningful contributions to international peace and security. Moreover, our closest ally, the United States, has asked Canada directly to do more to halt the spread of ISIL. We must shoulder our share of the burden.
    That is why the Government of Canada will take the following steps.
     A strike force of up to six CF-18 hornet fighter aircraft, with associated air crew and logistical support elements, will deploy to conduct air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq in co-operation with our coalition partners. In addition, a CC-150 Polaris aerial refueller and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft will deploy as part of a key reconnaissance and support capability.

  (1355)  

    This enabling force will also include airlift capability and several hundred support personnel who will contribute to situation awareness, command and control, and logistical support, as well as assist with the coalition's air combat operations. Furthermore, the current special operations advisory and assistance mission will be extended.
    As the Prime Minister stated in the House of Commons on Friday, the Government of Canada will be deploying the assets I have described for a period of up to six months. We will work closely with our allies to evaluate the success of our expanded mission.
    As members can see, Canada is taking significant and concrete actions to address the threat of ISIL in Iraq, and to Canada directly, actions that are in line with those of the international coalition, actions that will occur with the consent of the Government of Iraq, and actions that are emblematic of the deep concern expressed by the international community at the murderous rampage of ISIL.
    Again, this terrorist group threatens the security and stability of us all. Its leadership has issued a call for attacks to begin in the west. Its leadership has issued a call for attacks on Canada, directly.
    Let us not mince words. These are very real threats to Canadians, both at home and abroad. That is why Canada will participate in the coalition against ISIL.
    As a natural consequence of involvement, it is possible that there may be risk to our deployed members. However, let me assure members that the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces are ready for any challenge. They are trained and equipped to the highest standards, and they will remain under the command of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

[Translation]

    We are urging Parliament to support the government's decision. We will work closely with our allies and partner countries to ensure that Iraq has the support it needs.

  (1400)  

[English]

    Canadians expect their Parliament to take action in the face of an international crisis. In this case, it is an international crisis that directly threatens Canada. We want the support of everyone in the House, and we should get it.
The Deputy Speaker:  
    The hon. minister will have three minutes if he wishes to continue his speech after oral questions.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Special Olympics World Golf Cup

Mr. Larry Maguire (Brandon—Souris, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable young man from my constituency of Brandon—Souris.
    Danny Peaslee, who lives in Souris, Manitoba, and is of the young age of 18 years old, became the first-ever Canadian to compete in the Special Olympics World Golf Cup this summer in Denmark.
    Danny is no stranger to competing in international golf tournaments. Time and time again he has made all of southwestern Manitoba proud. It was just in 2011 when he won the intercontinental golf tournament, and he has competed in the Special Olympics Canada national tournament.
    Through grit and determination, and with the support of his family, coaches, and community, Danny has broken down barriers and proven there is no glass ceiling that those with difficulties cannot shatter.
    I wish Danny the best of luck in his future endeavours and thank him for being such a tremendous role model for those who struggle day in and day out with disabilities.

[Translation]

World Habitat Day

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, today, the first Monday of October, is World Habitat Day. The purpose of this day is to reflect on the state of our cities and the fundamental right of every person to adequate housing. This year's theme is “Voices from Slums”.
    I want to take this opportunity to give a voice to members of our first nations whose living conditions, even here in Canada, on or off reserve, are comparable to those of slums in developing countries.
    I also want to take this opportunity to remind members that from 2006 to 2013, nearly 45,000 low-income Canadian households were affected by a draconian increase to their rent as a result of the end of long-term social housing agreements. The Conservatives have not taken action, and this situation has not improved.
    This is Canada. We have obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which both state that having a “roof over one's head” is a right.

[English]

Ukraine

Mr. Colin Carrie (Oshawa, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Ukrainians settled in Canada and helped make this country great. Ukrainians settled in Oshawa and helped make our community great. Canada owes so much to Ukraine.
    When I travelled to Ukraine this past spring with the Prime Minister, I had the opportunity to listen to Ukrainians. I was amazed at their courage and optimism during this difficult time.
    Now Ukraine is in need of our help. Ukraine not only needs our funds but also Canadian expertise to rebuild their nation.
    I am proud that this past Friday at the Lviv Hall, the Oshawa United for Ukraine fundraiser was held, and our community is doing its part to help our close friend and ally during this difficult time. Ukraine can be assured that Oshawa and Canada will vocally and unapologetically stand with them.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Oshawa-Durham region Ukrainian Canadian Congress, volunteers, and all our special guests for making this event so successful.

World Teachers' Day

Ms. Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, October 5 was World Teachers' Day, a time to celebrate the valuable work of teachers across Canada and of 30 million educators around the world. It was the brainchild of a former Canadian Teachers' Federation leader, Norman Goble.
     From the Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, our public education system is among the best in the world, largely because of the efforts of our well-educated, dedicated teachers. By drawing on their experience and knowledge, Canadian teachers continuously improve public education and inspire students to achieve their greatest dreams.
    Canadian teachers also work with international colleagues on vital education and relief projects. In schools around the world, our teachers firmly believe that students come first.
     Colleagues, let us salute Canada's teachers, and let me recognize my favourite teacher, my awesome mom, Helen Duncan, who taught and cared for generations of students and instilled in me a love of learning and passion for teaching.

Canadian Heritage

Mr. James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it was an October day in 1940 when hundreds of uniformed troops filed down Eighth Street, rifles in hand. Beside them, family members, friends, and well-wishers lined the roadside to bid farewell. Then it happened. Five-year-old Warren “Whitey” Bernard pulled out of his mother's hand to dash after his father. Jack reached out to take the hand, and the photo by Claude Dettloff became an iconic symbol of Canada's wartime commitment and sacrifice.
    On Saturday, some 2,000 people gathered in New Westminster for the unveiling of a spectacular monument that recreates the moment. Whitey Bernard was on hand, along with two veterans who marched with Jack that day.
     Whitey, now just short of 80, had a lifetime of work and service in Tofino, B.C. Business owner, entrepreneur, alderman, and former mayor, he says the call to serve has never left. Whitey believes the image speaks to the importance of family, the cost of separation, and the sacrifice of a million Canadians who mobilized when called to action.
     Canada Post has issued a stamp, and the Mint has issued a new two-dollar coin.
    I want to express congratulations to all involved in commemorating a momentous event.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Volunteer Firefighters

Mr. Jonathan Tremblay (Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, since this is Fire Prevention Week, I would like to honour the volunteer firefighters in my riding.
    I salute the altruism and selflessness of these women and men who help make their communities safer. When tragedy strikes, they are the first on the scene to risk their lives. They are heroes to people like us.
    I would also like to mention the exceptional work of all the dedicated and courageous volunteer firefighters who help save lives.
    I would also like to salute Claude Boulet of L'Hebdo Charlevoisien, who produced a surprising and moving documentary film about Charlevoix's firefighters called Volontaires 24/24.

[English]

Mental Illness Awareness Week

Mr. Harold Albrecht (Kitchener—Conestoga, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour all the Canadians who are marking Mental Illness Awareness Week, a campaign to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. Whether through a friend, family member, or colleague, at some point all Canadians will be affected by a mental illness. One in five of us will personally experience a mental illness.
    The stigma attached to mental illness presents a serious barrier to diagnosis and treatment. Almost half of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never sought the help of their doctor.
    Tomorrow the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health will host the Faces of Mental Illness breakfast here on the Hill. It offers us an opportunity to engage in a discussion about the reality of what suffering with a mental illness means.
    Until we are as comfortable discussing our schizophrenia as our diabetes, we still have work to do. I invite my colleagues to attend tomorrow and to ask themselves how they can use their office to help stop the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Taiwan

Mr. John Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians and the people of Taiwan share many things in common, including democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.
     As head of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, and on behalf of Canadians everywhere, I take great pleasure in wishing Taiwan a very prosperous and successful 103rd birthday on October 10.
     There is a great personal friendship that has arisen between the peoples of Taiwan and Canada. I know this well, having lived in Taiwan for 10 years. Taiwan is where I met my wife Donna, and where our children spent three months in elementary school learning Mandarin, a language that I love.
     I know all members will join me in welcoming Taiwan's new senior representatives of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, representative Bruce Linghu in Ottawa and director-general William Heng-sheng Chuang in Vancouver.
    I look forward to the resumption of the Terry Fox Run in Taiwan next month, thanks to the support of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou and our parliamentary friendship group.
    I wish happy birthday to Taiwan.

[Translation]

Carillon Park Community Garden

Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):  
     Mr. Speaker, fall is here and this Friday, in the heart of the Carillon neighbourhood of Longueuil, the Mini-kekpart centre is holding its harvest festival, when locals will come together to get the community garden ready for the winter.
    This spring, dozens of us built garden boxes with our neighbours young and old, police officers, and children from the Carillon school across the street. There was a festive atmosphere and new friendships were made.
    The community garden was part of the “cultivating our knowledge” project, and it was a great success. People converted their green spaces, gained food self-sufficiency by learning how to grow their own vegetables, and expanded their support network. The project was undertaken by the Carillon/Saint-Pie-X neighbourhood Table Vie and the Kekpart youth centre and was coordinated by the dedicated and hard-working Antoine Perreault.
    I wish to congratulate the garden committee for making this project happen. They managed to create a top-notch community. Long live community gardens and until next year.

  (1410)  

[English]

Hong Kong

Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the world has been following the democracy protests in Hong Kong closely, and Canadians have shown concern.
     Canada continues to stand with the democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people. The rule of law and the good governance of Hong Kong are truly valued by Canada. We reiterate our support for the implementation of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017 and all members of the legislative council in 2020.
    Canada has been very much engaged. We have raised our concerns with senior members of the Chinese leadership, both recently and when the Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Beijing this past summer.
    We will continue watching the developments in Hong Kong and we continue to honour the strong people-to-people ties that Canada and Hong Kong share.

Vancouver Island Waterways

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the lack of protection for the waters of Vancouver Island. In their infamous omnibus budget bill, the Conservatives removed all federal environmental protection for each and every river, stream, and lake on Vancouver Island.
    I have introduced a private member's bill to restore protection for the Goldstream River, using this one river to draw attention to the Conservatives abandonment of the protection of fresh water on Vancouver Island. When it comes to salt water, the Conservatives are failing as well. Last year, they cut funding for the only scientific team with the ability to test for pollution in our Pacific waters.
    My constituents are very concerned about the threat to marine ecosystems from any increase in tanker traffic on our coast, given the lack of an adequate emergency spill response even to deal with existing traffic.
    Nearly a year ago I introduced a motion to provide an action plan to protect the southern resident killer whale, while the government has delayed any action until the spring 2015 at the earliest. Meanwhile, time is running out, as there are now only 79 southern resident killer whales remaining.
    The government is failing my constituents, Vancouver Islanders, British Columbians, and all Canadians, when it comes to protecting both the fresh and salt waters of Vancouver Island.

[Translation]

Justice Clément Gascon

Mr. Robert Goguen (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, today the Supreme Court of Canada will hold a ceremony to welcome Justice Clément Gascon, who was appointed by the Prime Minister in June. Justice Gascon's legal experience will be a great boon to this important Canadian institution.
    We said we would act quickly to ensure that the Supreme Court has a full complement of judges. The Liberal Party and the NDP asked several times for this position to be filled quickly. That is exactly what we did by appointing Justice Gascon, who will be a distinguished jurist.
    This appointment follows an extensive consultation of eminent members of Quebec's legal community. As the member for Gatineau said when she heard the news, and I quote: “Justice Gascon is an excellent choice and he has a very good reputation.” We agree. We welcome Justice Gascon to the Supreme Court.

[English]

Jewish Holidays

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the aftermath of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when Jews ask forgiveness from those we have wronged and forgive those who have wronged us, while resolving to do good.
    In the words of the great sage Maimonides, we should each see the world as divided into half-evil and half-good. Therefore, one good deed by any one of us tips the balance from evil to good.
    During Yom Kippur, a central theme is the danger of evil speech. As my late mother put it, “A kind word can make a person's day, while an unkind word can hurt.”
     Indeed, words can wound. In this spirit, I will soon be asking for unanimous consent for a motion establishing a “speak no evil day”, through which members can promote mutual respect and public civility.
    As we are also on the eve of Sukkot, the Jewish Thanksgiving, which overlaps this year's Canadian Thanksgiving, I join with all members in giving thanks for all that we are fortunate enough to enjoy, and in resolving to do good, so that the coming year will bring even more cause for thanksgiving.

Liberal Party of Canada

Mr. Bernard Trottier (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party has a sordid history of shady dealings and under-the-counter payments.
    Canadians are all too familiar with the sponsorship scandal, where millions of taxpayer dollars made their way into the coffers of the Liberal Party.
    Canadians remember Shawinigate, where former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien used his position of power and influence for his own financial gain. Who could forget David Dingwall being entitled to his entitlements? In the minds of Canadians, the words “Liberal Party of Canada” and “ethical lapses” are synonymous.
    Recently Jamie Carroll, a Liberal-linked backroom insider, was charged by the RCMP for engaging in illegal secret lobbying.
    The leader of the Liberal Party talks a lot about openness and transparency. He should start by ensuring that his own backroom insiders and strategists stop breaking the law.

  (1415)  

[Translation]

Iraq

Ms. Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, when Canada could already be helping to save lives by providing humanitarian aid and assisting refugees, the Prime Minister would rather get involved in a war without an exit date or an exit strategy.
    The Prime Minister has clearly not learned from history and is heading down a slippery slope by getting involved in a new war in Iraq. He is trying to mislead Canadians in order to convince them that Canada should go to war. He is saying that a combat mission is the only way to help fight the Islamic State armed group, even though Italy, Germany, and a number of other allies have found other ways to help. He is asking for a six-month mandate, but his Minister of National Defence has already opened the door to an extension of the military mission. He is boasting about a UN resolution even though the UN has not taken a position on a combat mission.
    It is sad to see the Prime Minister embroiling Canada in a new war in Iraq. The NDP believes that we can contribute to the coalition against terrorism in Iraq by focusing on what Canada does best.
    Contrary to what the Conservatives are saying, bombing or doing nothing are not the only options.

[English]

The Budget

Ms. Joan Crockatt (Calgary Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Calgarians and Canadians understand the importance of living within one's means, and they expect their government to do the same. That is why we are making sure that every single tax dollar is being spent efficiently and why we are going to balance the budget in 2015.
    Our approach has been so successful that last week the Prime Minister was able to announce that we cut the deficit last year by over two-thirds, down to about $5 billion. That is very good news for Calgarians; it is very good news for all Canadians.
    Balanced budgets are good for the economy. They keep taxes low and they make sure we are able to sustain important government services that people rely on.
    While the NDP and the Liberals keep demanding reckless spending, our Conservative government is making sure that we value each and every tax dollar and that it is spent efficiently.
    Unlike the Liberal leader, our Conservative government knows that the budget will not balance itself.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Aboriginal Affairs

Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, this weekend thousands of Canadians in cities from coast to coast to coast gathered to demand that the government launch a full public inquiry into 1,200 murdered and missing indigenous women.
    Make no mistake, there will, one day, when we form government, be an inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women.
    However, there is no reason to wait when we know that lives are at risk. Why will the government not call a full inquiry now and help save lives?
Hon. K. Kellie Leitch (Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the opposition, we are not waiting. We are moving forward with an action plan to make sure that these victims of crime are actually defended.
    Now is the time to act. Now is the time that our government is acting. Unlike the NDP who want to propose yet another study, we already have 40. Let us be very clear. These victims of crime need action today, now, and that is what we are delivering on.
    I encourage them to get on board to make sure that these women have an opportunity to make sure that, as victims are crime, they are actually listened to.

[Translation]

National Defence

Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have learned that even though the debate and vote have not yet taken place, Canadian troops are already being deployed to help with the CF-18 sorties in Iraq.
    By deploying these troops before having consulted Parliament, the Prime Minister is breaking the promise he made to Canadians on a number of occasions.
    Why were these troops deployed by the government before the vote in the House of Commons?

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear in the announcement by the Prime Minister that we will be sending military equipment in the form of planes, CF-18s, reconnaissance planes, and refuellers. They will have the support of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
     We are going to continue our humanitarian assistance in that area. It will have a six-month timeline on that. We are doing our part. We will work with our allies to get the job done.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the question was not whether or not we would be sending them over after a vote.
     The question is, what are they doing sending them over prior to a vote? That is contempt of Parliament.

  (1420)  

[Translation]

    The Prime Minister said that he would like to bomb the Islamic State armed group even in Syria, but that he would not do anything without the permission of the murderous Bashar al-Assad. We are talking about a regime that uses torture and massacres its people with chemical weapons and poison gas.
    Why give such a heinous dictator that kind of credibility?

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the position of the NDP is very clear. It does not want to see air strikes anywhere, no matter what these individuals or groups do.
    ISIL has been committing mass atrocities in the most indescribable, unspeakable ways. We take exception to that. We will work with our allies to support those who are being oppressed and to go against those who are making direct threats to Canada.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the question is, why is the government giving credibility to a dictator who murders, tortures, and uses chemical weapons against its own population, by saying that his request will be responded to by a positive answer from Canada's brave women and men in uniform? That is the question.
    Over the weekend, both the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs said there would be a second extension in six months.
    Why are they already contemplating a future extension of this mission?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, that is not the case whatsoever.
    We have indicated that after a 30-day deployment, we are proposing a six-month mission on behalf of the Royal Canadian Air Force and those who support the RCAF. Again, we are going after those individuals who are committing mass atrocities, individuals who are making a direct threat to this country.
    I want to know why that does not have the support of the NDP for a change?
Hon. Thomas Mulcair (Leader of the Opposition, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Michael Isikoff, NBC News, is reporting that the United States is lowering standards for air strikes in Iraq and Syria. They are abandoning the “near certainty of no civilian casualty” standard that they have been using in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    What are the rules of engagement for Canadian air forces to prevent civilian casualties? Are we going to be held to a higher standard, or are we going to be in lockstep with the Americans?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, ISIL has been carrying out a murderous rampage across Iraq, seizing territory and killing children. Be assured that the RCAF will live up to the highest standards in the world. That is the record of Canada. It always has been and it always will be.

[Translation]

International Development

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Turkey, one of our NATO allies, is currently facing a serious humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of people are crossing its borders to escape the Islamic State. Winter is fast approaching and will only worsen the situation. Does Canada intend to play a role in this humanitarian crisis?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is already taking a very active role in this humanitarian crisis. We are the seventh-largest donor. So far, we have ensured that people in need have access to basic supplies such as shelter, food, hygiene kits and water. We are taking a very active role, and thousands of people are benefiting as we speak.

[English]

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Syria is also experiencing a humanitarian crisis and has been for almost four years. Millions of civilians are in desperate need of assistance. I had the opportunity to visit the Al Zaatari camp last May in northern Jordan. They are waiting for up to $5 billion that has been pledged to them.
    What action is Canada taking to address this humanitarian crisis?
Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very active in this area and neighbouring countries. I can say to my colleague that we have been very active with UNICEF with support for the No Lost Generation initiative for protecting children in conflicted areas. Also we provided support for basic needs, and now 16 million people have access to clean water. As well, 4.1 million Syrians inside the country and nearly three million refugees in neighbouring countries have emergency assistance and now have access to food assistance.
    These are our concrete actions. We have been there for a while. We are one of the leading donor countries in this situation.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

National Defence

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told this House on Friday that Canada would take part in air strikes against the Islamic State only in countries where the government has given us permission to do so, such as Iraq. He also said that if it were to become the case in Syria, then Canada would participate in air strikes in that country too.
    Under what circumstances does the Prime Minister plan to negotiate with Bashar al-Assad?

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thought the Prime Minister was actually very clear in question period on Friday. He said that we would go where we have the clear support of the government of the country in question. At present that is only true in Iraq. If it were to become the case in Syria, then we will participate in air strikes against ISIL in that country as well.
     ISIL knows no boundaries, no borders. ISIL is a threat to everyone in that area. As I have said, they are a direct threat to Canada.

International Development

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to imply that combat is the only way to contribute to the global effort against ISIL. The problem is that it is just not true. Germany, Japan, and Italy are helping the—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker:  
    Order. The hon. member for Ottawa Centre has the floor and members need to allow him to put the question.
    The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Paul Dewar:  
    Mr. Speaker, they are a little touchy today.
    The problem is that what the government is saying is just not true. Germany, Japan, and Italy are helping the coalition without joining in combat. The Italian foreign minister has said that Italy will not take part in air strikes, but will send “...above all material for humanitarian support, which is a priority”.
    Why is the minister devaluing our G7 allies?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, that is certainly not the case. We have deployed individuals there for reconnaissance and tactical advice. We have been delivering over a million and a half pounds of military material to this area. We are seventh in the world with respect to humanitarian assistance.
    This combat role is one more effort on this country's behalf to do what is right for the people of that area and to do what is right for the people of Canada.

National Defence

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things the government keeps repeating is that the United Nations “has passed a resolution unanimously with respect to the situation in Iraq”, implying that the Security Council has endorsed air strikes. The minister knows full well that Security Council resolutions about ISIL are not about a combat mission, but about deplorable human rights abuses that are occurring and about the need to tackle the issue of foreign fighters.
    Does the minister understand that the United Nations has not endorsed a combat mission in Iraq? Can he answer that question?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member pointed out the deplorable human rights record of these individuals, which include beheadings and mass atrocities. We have indicated that this is completely unacceptable, so in addition to the other actions that we have taken as a government, we have put this motion before Parliament to support our efforts for strikes against ISIS. It is the right thing to do.

[Translation]

National Defence

Ms. Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Prime Minister said he plans to bomb countries where we have, and I quote, “the clear support of the government of the country in question.” Apparently Syria falls into that category.
    Can the Minister of National Defence confirm that he plans to take part in air strikes in Syria if the Assad regime—a regime that has committed the worst atrocities against its own people—gives its consent?

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, it sounds like the NDP is making that as a suggestion because of the record in Syria. However, we have been very clear that the focus is Iraq and we have indicated that it is a six-month mission. We are sending first-class equipment and first-class individuals, members of the RCAF, to help with the job.
    We have been very clear about what our objective is: to degrade the capabilities of ISIL. That should have the support of everyone in the House.

[Translation]

Ms. Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, even the United States is still working out the details of the military mission in Iraq and Syria.
    The American general who is coordinating the international coalition, John Allen, was in Iraq last week to meet with local authorities and partners to come up with a strategy. This shows that the situation is changing rapidly and there are still a lot of loose ends to take care of.
    Why is the government so intent on taking part in air strikes when we do not even know what the American strategy is?

  (1430)  

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is partly right, in that the situation is developing very quickly, and this is exactly why we have to do this. I have indicated that over the next few weeks we will be working with our allies for the deployment of members of the RCAF.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, according to International Crisis Group, air strikes are counterproductive because they alienate the local populations that we are trying to save.
    In the case of Syria, the situation is even worse: air strikes will help President Assad's murderous regime.
    Have the Conservatives evaluated the counterproductive consequences of air strikes in their overall military strategy in Iraq and possibly Syria?

[English]

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the hon. member's comments about air strikes. What we are proposing and implementing is one more step in our effort to go against this terrible organization that has brutalized and dehumanized people in that area, committing mass atrocities that were also a direct threat to Canada.
     I have already indicated the military equipment that we have sent, the humanitarian aid, and the strategic and tactical advice we are giving to members of the Iraqi forces. This is one more step, and it is a step we have to take.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are opening the door to strikes in Syria, but they have been unable to keep their promise to Syrian refugees.
    The Conservatives' budget cuts are causing major delays in refugee claim processing. Sweden alone has welcomed 30,000 Syrian refugees.
    How is it that the minister has not even been able to keep his modest promise of taking in 1,300?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is once again comparing apples to oranges.
    Sweden received lots of refugee claimants because the borders of Europe and Syria are relatively close. Canada is fulfilling its promise. We have already resettled more than 1,500 refugees in Canada.
    Why does the opposition continue to ignore the fact that 18,500 Iraqi refugees—and today's debate is about Iraq—have already been resettled in Canada? That is a record.

[English]

Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the minister has to stop making up his numbers and acknowledge his government's failure on the issue of Syrian refugees. After the government promised to bring in over 1,300 last year, an internal report from Citizenship and Immigration shows that only a few hundred have actually arrived in Canada. The Conservatives have cut staff and closed offices, thereby adding to the backlog.
    Will the minister now keep his promise, live up to our international commitments, and bring these refugees to Canada now?
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have brought over 1,500 Syrians to Canada. We have brought over 18,500 Iraqis to Canada. That is over 20,000 people from the region. It is a record for any of those countries donating.
     The real question is this. What is the NDP going to do for the millions more people who cannot be resettled and for the millions more people who are still displaced inside Iraq who are facing genocide, murder, rape, the elimination of their entire community? One of the solutions is targeted military action with Arab states and with our allies. Why will the New Democrats not even consider it?

[Translation]

Veterans Affairs

Mr. Sylvain Chicoine (Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives want to get us involved in a new war even though they are having a hard time taking care of our veterans.
    According to a unanimous parliamentary committee report, the new veterans charter needs to be improved to provide more resources to veterans and their families. However, the minister's evasive answers are not meeting veterans' expectations.
    Veterans have been asking for help for nine years, we have a unanimous report, and the ombudsman has repeatedly been critical, so when will the Minister of Veterans Affairs take action?

[English]

Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the hon. member opposite first to get his facts right. I would encourage him to read the government response to the committee report. I would encourage him to maybe take a closer look at the new veterans charter.
    Since taking office, our government has invested almost $30 billion to provide benefits and services for Canada's veterans, unlike the Liberals. Under their government, Canada's brave men and women, including veterans, basically suffered a decade of darkness. That was not under this government.

  (1435)  

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs' response to the all-party committee report on the veterans charter is being panned by leading veterans' groups.
    For example, Veterans Canada describes the minister's response as a “...cryptically worded and evasive pseudo-commitment to make near imperceptible changes to the troubled benefits.” The minister and his department are described as “lackluster”.
    Why did the minister give so paltry a reply, and will he reconsider his response to this important committee report?
Mr. Parm Gill (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have a strong record when it comes to helping Canada's veterans. Let me just highlight some of our government's record.
     We have invested almost $30 billion since taking office. That is almost $5 billion in new funds, more than what the Liberals would have invested. A veteran who is injured and in rehabilitation receives a minimum of $3,500 in financial benefits each month. The most seriously injured veterans can receive upwards of $6,000, $7,000, or $8,000 a month in financial support.

National Defence

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the government said it would assess the results of the original non-combat mission in Iraq after 30 days. Now the 30 days are up. Has that assessment taken place? If so, what are the results? If not, when can we expect to see those results?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we sent members of our special operations forces there for a period of 30 days. That is part of a larger effort on this country's behalf, including sending humanitarian aid and delivering over 1.5 million pounds of military equipment to Iraq. Our next step is to counter ISIL, which poses a direct threat to the people of that area in the most inhumane way and a direct threat to Canada. This is what we are doing today.
Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, apparently the Conservatives did not think an assessment would be useful in pondering their next step.
    The government of Australia has provided information about the expected costs of the mission in Iraq. The Conservatives have refused to provide the House with an estimate of these costs and to say whether they would be absorbed by the steadily diminishing budget of the defence ministry or whether more funding will be provided.
    Will the government please answer these basic questions?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have already indicated that of course there will be additional costs for a mission of this type. With respect to people analyzing what has taken place and where we are at now, I would actually refer her to her colleague, Lloyd Axworthy, who said that ISIL has “to be whacked and whacked good”.
    Ujjal Dosanjh, and we all know him, wrote, “ISIS must be stopped and destroyed.”
    I would suggest that even if she does not want to listen to what we have to say, she should start listening to some of her colleagues. They have it right.

Citizenship and Immigration

Hon. John McCallum (Markham—Unionville, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, we heard today that a government internal report had said that staff cuts have been a big factor behind slow-paced refugee settlement.
    I would ask the minister to do something unusual for him. Instead of glorifying in past alleged successes, will he please focus on the future and tell us how, in the future, his department will have resources that are adequate to deal with this growing number of refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq? Please focus on the future.
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the hon. member focusing on the growing number of refugees, because it is growing. It is well over 20,000 from Iraq and Syria under this government's watch, just since 2009, a record that is without comparison, on a per capita basis, among any of our allies.
    What we would like to see is the Liberal Party of Canada focusing on the future with other Canadians, with the vast majority of Canadians, with Lloyd Axworthy, with Ujjal Dosanjh, with Bob Rae, who understand that military action is necessary to protect millions of refugees—

  (1440)  

The Speaker:  
    Order, please.
    The hon. member for Gatineau.

[Translation]

Justice

Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is reneging on one promise after another, and it seems incapable of learning from its past mistakes. Justice Gascon will finally fill Quebec's seat on the Supreme Court of Canada this week, and we congratulate him.
    However, it is deplorable that Justice Gascon was appointed without any debate and without consulting parliamentarians. This is very worrisome, given that Justice LeBel announced a few months ago that he will be retiring.
    How will the government involve Parliament in selecting the next Supreme Court justice?

[English]

Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the appointment of Justice Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada was an excellent one. We congratulate him today on taking his seat.
    When making all appointments, our government conducts broad consultations with prominent members of the legal community and the province affected by the vacant seat. This includes the government of that province, the justice minister of that province, the chief of the superior court of that province, the Canadian Bar Association, and legal societies of that province.
    In all of these consultations, we ask for names as well as advice on competence and qualities for the position.

[Translation]

Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice seems to be forgetting is that the government promised to be transparent and more open and to allow parliamentarians to have a say.
    I will repeat the question. We know that Justice LeBel will be leaving at the end of November. Can we expect the government to consult parliamentarians and tell us how that will happen? I realize that the Conservatives consult the entire legal world, but my question referred to parliamentarians. Furthermore, can we in Quebec expect the appointment to be made as soon as Justice LeBel leaves?

[English]

Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC):  
    As always, Mr. Speaker, the government will consult broadly. These appointments have always been a matter of the executive and will continue to be so.

Health

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are facing escalating prescription drug costs. One in 10 cannot even afford to fill their medication prescriptions.
    Canada has the second-highest spending per capita on prescription drugs of all OECD countries. The premiers have made it a clear priority to have drug coverage, but the current government is missing in action.
     Why has the federal government failed so miserably in its leadership to reduce prescription drug costs for Canadians?
Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to discuss this issue with colleagues at our health ministers' meeting recently.
    In fact, for the last year, I have been asking to have the federal government at the table to use our leverage and our expertise to help in-bulk drug purchasing plans. We have now been invited to the table. I am very pleased to see that, and of course, the Council of the Federation and the provinces have already seen hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, and we hope we can use our expertise and our leverage to find even more.

[Translation]

Mr. Dany Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions believes that a pharmacare program could help save $11 billion. The bulk purchase of prescription drugs alone would save $142 million.
    Will the minister use this report to make prescription drugs more affordable or will she continue to do nothing, as she has done for her entire mandate as Minister of Health?

[English]

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as I indicated just now, over the last year I have asked to be at the table with the provinces and territories to discuss using our expertise and our leverage to get more value and better savings for Canadian taxpayers on our bulk drug-purchasing plans with the provinces. We have been invited to the table, and I am very pleased. We hope to be able to save taxpayers a lot of money.
Mr. Wladyslaw Lizon (Mississauga East—Cooksville, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am encouraged to see Canada taking a leadership role in the global fight against the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Canadian expertise is a valued commodity in this outbreak, and our government is ensuring that the supplies and resources needed are being provided where they are most needed. This includes protective gowns, masks, and gloves that front-line workers need to stay safe.
    Could the Minister of Health please update the House on the latest developments in shipping Canada's donated equipment?

  (1445)  

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I agree with my colleague that Canada is at the forefront of fighting Ebola.
    I am proud to confirm that the first shipment of Canada's donated protective equipment departed this morning on a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules bound for Sierra Leone. We are able to do this only because of investments made by our government in our armed forces, including, of course, buying four C-17s and 17 Hercules aircraft.
    I thank the Department of National Defence for making sure we can get this protective equipment over to the WHO so it can be used immediately.

[Translation]

Parks Canada

Mr. François Choquette (Drummond, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, from 2012 to 2013, Parks Canada cut more than 1,000 permanent positions. That is almost one third of its employees laid off. Under the Conservatives, Parks Canada no longer has any money to hire staff, but it does have money to produce videos, such as its shocking recent wolverine video. This makes no sense. Parks Canada generates $3.3 billion for our economy.
    How can the Conservatives claim to act in the interest of Canadians when it makes cuts to the development of our parks?

[English]

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to investing in national parks and in connecting Canadians to our rich natural heritage. Our commitment is shown by our significant investments in national parks and by the growing network of parks. We have created two national parks, three national wildlife areas, and three marine protected areas and have tabled legislation to create Canada's first national urban park in the Rouge Valley. We are also making significant investments to deliver long-term improvements to infrastructure.
    We will continue to support and invest in our national parks so Canadians can enjoy the national--
The Speaker:  
    The hon. member for Halifax.
Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is more like the government has committed to cutting over 1,100 jobs. The Conservatives have cut programs and opening hours, and they have changed guided tours to self-guided visitor activities. Now not only are these people who safeguard our national treasures out of work, but so are the people in the communities who rely on the full-year operation of parks.
    Why do the Conservatives pretend to support jobs and Canadian heritage when they are firing workers and closing park gates?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have just stated that we are making significant investments in creating new parks. We have created two national parks, three national wildlife areas, and three marine protected areas. We have also tabled legislation that would create Canada's first national urban park in the Rouge Valley. I encourage the opposition and the Liberal Party to support that bill.
    We have also made significant long-term investments toward improving park infrastructure.

[Translation]

The Environment

Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, this Tuesday the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development will table her report. In the past, the commissioner strongly criticized the Conservatives for their inaction on climate change. Still today, experts are saying that ice melt is limiting hunting opportunities for polar bears, which is having a negative impact on their fertility and offspring.
    Are the Conservatives waiting for polar bears to disappear before they do something about climate change?

[English]

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government's record is clear. We have taken decisive action on the environment while protecting our economy. Everyone internationally has to do their fair share, and Canada is doing its part. We only emit 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
    Building on our record, I also announced a number of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants from vehicles. A few weeks ago I announced our intent to regulate HFCs, one of the fastest-growing gases in the world.
    We are accomplishing all of this without introducing an NDP job-killing carbon tax, which would raise the price of--
The Speaker:  
    The hon. member for Halifax.
Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the question was about polar bears, and it is not an issue for debate. This research was carried out over three decades, and the implications are—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker:  
    Order, please. The hon. member for Halifax still has the floor.
Ms. Megan Leslie:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is difficult to hear, but the research was carried out over three decades, and the implications are clear. Polar bears are getting smaller, and so is their population. We know that climate change is very likely a major factor. While other nations are taking action on this, our government refuses to take action.
    Let us put aside the question of whether or not the minister believes in climate change. I will ask her this: Will she address this serious issue and fund polar bear research and monitoring?

  (1450)  

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to releasing a report that was just concluded last week. Canada has one of the best polar bear management systems in the world.
    Last week I had the pleasure of meeting all of the Inuit leaders of Canada, including the first nations of northern Ontario, to develop our go-forward plan for polar bear management and conservation. Our government's position on polar bear management and conservation is based on science and Inuit traditional knowledge that those members have ignored for years.

Public Safety

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, during today's debate on the threat of ISIL, not much is being said by the minister of national security about the threat to Canada from those Canadians returning home who are suspected of terrorism acts abroad.
    Some progress, we understand, was being made in a united effort by the Muslim community, the RCMP, and others to combat homegrown terrorism with a strategy titled “United Against Terrorism”. However, the RCMP has suddenly withdrawn its support. Why, and was the minister involved in this decision to withdraw RCMP support from this collaborative effort?
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, in this critical time, I commend the effort of the RCMP to reach out to communities to prevent terrorism. It is a pillar of our counterterrorism strategy.
    This being said, I understand that the RCMP is no longer participating in the project the member talked about. During a review of the document, contents were found that were inconsistent with the values of the RCMP and Canadians in general.

[Translation]

    On this side of the House, we do not bow down to terrorists.

[English]

Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the question was not wheter they bow down to terrorists. The question was, what are they doing about homegrown terrorism?
    According to the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, individuals have returned to Canada after travel for “suspected terrorism-related purposes”. We believe that figure to be 80.
    How many of those have been arrested and charged under the Combating Terrorism Act? It is a serious question. I want a serious answer.

[Translation]

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as elected representatives, we have the important responsibility of making decisions to ensure that our national security agencies have the tools they need to protect Canadians.
    Why did the member and his party vote against revoking passports? Why did they vote against revoking the citizenship of terrorists using Canadian passports? That is unacceptable.

Consumer Protection

Ms. Annick Papillon (Québec, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, consumers' bills are going up and the profits of small businesses are declining. Why? Because credit card companies never lose. They pay themselves first.
    Despite the government's promises, nothing has been done to reduce credit card fees.
    When will the Conservatives act to help SMEs and families and rein in the greed of credit card companies?
Hon. Joe Oliver (Minister of Finance, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canadian consumers deserve access to credit on fair and transparent terms.
    That is why we have taken measures to protect Canadians who use credit cards. We have banned unsolicited credit card cheques and required credit card companies to provide clear and simple information as well as timely advance notice of rates and fee changes.
    Armed with the best information, Canadian consumers will be able to make informed decisions in their best interests.

[English]

Mr. Glenn Thibeault (Sudbury, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, that question was about small businesses, so let us try that again. Let us see if the minister can understand this.
    Small and medium-sized businesses are the heart of our economy, but the government has ignored skyrocketing credit card processing fees that SMEs are paying. Canadian businesses have been waiting too long for the government to take action. Even back in the summer of 2013, the Competition Tribunal, in a rare move, called for a regulatory framework.
    With Small Business Week fast approaching, will the Conservatives finally regulate credit card processing fees? Why has the government failed to act on this file?

  (1455)  

Hon. Joe Oliver (Minister of Finance, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the credit card companies, with the banks, and with small businesses, and we are looking forward to some volunteer actions taken by the credit card companies, which will be in the interest of small companies as well as consumers.

Natural Resources

Mr. Ed Komarnicki (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, our government is proud to support projects that create jobs, grow the economy, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     Last week I had the privilege of participating in the official opening of the Estevan Boundary Dam carbon capture and sequestration project, a world first technology. Representatives from nearly 20 countries came to Estevan, my riding of Souris—Moose Mountain, to observe first-hand this made in Canada technology.
    Could the Minister of Natural Resources please advise the House as to how our government has helped this project along?
Hon. Greg Rickford (Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Souris—Moose Mountain for his advocacy on this world-leading technological advancement in energy production going on in Estevan, Saskatchewan, the energy city.
    We were proud to support the research and development of carbon capture and sequestration, and see the technology developed through commercialization at the Boundary Dam project, a technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at that facility by 90%.
     We remain committed to growing the economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions with world-leading technologies. I congratulate Estevan.

Foreign Affairs

Ms. Chrystia Freeland (Toronto Centre, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, over the past week, half a dozen Ukrainian soldiers and a Red Cross worker have been killed in the Donbass, despite the alleged ceasefire there. Germany and France are talking with the OSCE about deploying armed forces to help monitor that ceasefire.
    There is cross-party support for Ukraine in the House and Canada has particular influence there. Will Canada therefore be joining Germany and France in further supporting the OSCE peacekeeping and monitoring mission?
Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada has been at the forefront of the global response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and has been one of Ukraine's strongest supporters. Canada will continue to stand in support of the Ukrainian people.
    Although a negotiated ceasefire is in place, we continue to see Russian-provoked violence in eastern Ukraine and we have not seen any progress on our calls for Russia to end its support for the armed militants maintaining violence.

[Translation]

Health

Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, we were shocked to learn about the closure of the Health Canada office in Shawinigan on Friday. This represents a loss of 34 jobs and $2.5 million in economic spinoffs for the Mauricie region. Once again, the regions are paying the price for the Conservatives' mismanagement.
    Why do the people of the Mauricie region, who pay taxes like all Canadians, not have the right to economic spinoffs?

[English]

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I understand that this is a pay consolidation issue and this does not in any way affect front-line services on health.

Social Development

Mr. Phil McColeman (Brant, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the strong leadership of our Prime Minister and Jim Flaherty, this government is a world leader in providing support for Canadians living with disabilities. It was this government that introduced the registered disability savings plan, the first plan of its kind in the world, to assist Canadians with disabilities and their families in saving for the long term.
    Could the minister of state please update the House on the steps our Conservative government is taking to support parents in providing for their children with disabilities?
Hon. Candice Bergen (Minister of State (Social Development), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest concerns facing families that have children with disabilities is what will happen to those children when they are gone. That is why our government created the registered disability savings plan. It is a great savings vehicle as well as a very generous program that our government has created under the leadership of our Prime Minister.
    Sadly, the opposition never supports these great initiatives, but families that have children with disabilities can count on us to do the right thing for them.

  (1500)  

Pensions

Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, after paying into CPP for 25 years, Bruce Thompson, a veteran from my riding, was diagnosed with aggressive terminal cancer. His doctors say he has a few months to live.
    Bruce applied for CPP disability, but because he took some time off when his father was dying to help him, he is a few hundred dollars short of the threshold. His claim was denied. His expedited appeal has been denied. Bruce will not live through the rest of the appeal process.
     Will the minister and the Conservative government show some compassion and make an accommodation in this tragic situation?
Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we enjoin Mr. Thompson and any Canadian battling cancer strength and courage as they do so.
     The law does not allow me to comment on individual cases without a privacy waiver. However, the terms for benefits are set in legislation. Of course, there are recourses available to individuals; however, there is no provision in the law for ministerial or political discretion when it comes to benefits.
    We encourage the individual in question to pursue the recourses available, and we wish him the very best.

[Translation]

Canada Post

Mr. André Bellavance (Richmond—Arthabaska, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, a private company is going to make a profit off of Canada Post's decision to eliminate home delivery.
    That is not surprising, since the Conservative government has paved the way to privatization, as demonstrated by the secret memo on the privatization of the British postal service that the Prime Minister gave to senior officials at Canada Post. However, 65% of respondents in a recent poll spoke out against the privatization of Canada Post.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us why the public will now have to pay between $20 and $60 for home mail delivery?

[English]

Hon. Lisa Raitt (Minister of Transport, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the reality is that they do not.
    Canada Post is facing a serious cash crunch going into the future. As a result, it has put together a five-point plan that will enable it to remain self-sufficient, as it is supposed to do under the terms of its statute. One of the contingencies in this plan is that it goes to community mail boxes.
    Indeed, it is important to note that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities overwhelmingly rejected a motion brought to its floor asking that the federation condemn the government and reverse the decision. It said no to that.
    Canada Post will continue with its plan.

[Translation]

Public Safety

Mrs. Maria Mourani (Ahuntsic, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada states the following:
    Working with communities, the Government is contributing to efforts to build prevention capacity...to impede the radicalization-to-violence process.
    Can the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness stop with the rhetoric and tell us whether there is actually a radicalization-to-violence prevention program—such as the street gang prevention program—that includes a budget?
Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.
    Canada has a four-point strategy with respect to terrorist attacks: prevent, detect, deny, and respond.
    As for the measures in place to raise awareness among ethnic and cultural communities and reach out to them, I can provide the hon. member with two reports, namely the annual report and the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada. I could also send her the counterterrorism strategy.
    We have hundreds of examples of police forces reaching out to communities and engaging in community activities with the specific goal of getting to the root of the problem and dissuading individuals from committing terrorist acts.

[English]

International Trade

Mr. Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton—St. Albert, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I support the Canada-Europe free trade agreement, but what I do not support is expensive photo ops, especially for trade agreements in danger of becoming unwound due to opposition by powerful players such as Germany.
    Could the government advise the House as to how many tax dollars were used to host the lavish celebratory business reception in Toronto on September 26, and also to fly the two European officials from Toronto to Brussels on the Canadian Forces Airbus, which we now know was not even necessary and its acceptance may have actually violated the European Union's code of conduct?
Hon. Ed Fast (Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to comment on internal German politics.
    What I can say is that this is the most comprehensive trade agreement Canada has ever signed. Now that the legal text has been finalized and it has been released to the public, we want Canadian businesses to take advantage of that agreement now and position themselves.
    In fact, I remind the member that it is this Conservative government that has substantially reduced the use and cost of government aircraft. I would also remind the member that President Barroso and President Van Rompuy are in fact the leaders of the largest consumer market in the world. It is no wonder that they would want to join our Prime Minister to promote that agreement to Canadian businesses.

  (1505)  

Presence in Gallery

The Speaker:  
    I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills, Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, and for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Erik Spicer

The Speaker:  
    I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members to the recent passing, on September 27, of Mr. Erik Spicer, former parliamentary librarian. Mr. Spicer served parliamentarians of both chambers for 34 years, under 8 prime ministers. He reported to 12 Speakers of the Senate and 10 Speakers of the House of Commons and was made an honorary officer of both Houses.
    I am sure all hon. members will join me in offering the House's sincere condolences to Mr. Spicer's family.

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Petitions

Prostitution  

Mrs. Patricia Davidson (Sarnia—Lambton, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from my constituents of Sarnia—Lambton calling on Parliament to amend the Criminal Code to decriminalize the selling of sexual services and criminalize the purchasing of sexual services, and also to provide support for those who desire to leave prostitution.

Employment  

Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the constituents of Davenport with a very serious petition regarding the fact that up to 50% of workers in Toronto cannot find a full-time, permanent job. They are relegated to working multiple part-time jobs, freelance, self-employed, on contract, without any access to pension benefits or job security.
    These petitioners want action from the federal government. They want the government to support a national urban workers strategy.

Dementia  

Ms. Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, Alzheimer's disease is a critical health priority. Today, someone in Canada is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease once every five minutes, and the cost to the health care system is $15 billion. In 30 years, someone will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease once every two minutes, and the cost will be $153 billion.
    The petitioners call for a national strategy for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, including, among other items, national objectives to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia, an annual report handed to Parliament regarding progress to meet those objectives, and greater investment in dementia research.

Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 2,000 residents of Montreal, principally in the riding of LaSalle—Émard, asking the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to reconsider the decision to deport the Fuh-Cham family of Montreal.
    Mr. Fuh-Cham, his wife, and three young children have been active community members in LaSalle, specifically the Saint Jean Brebeuf Church, for seven years. They are facing imminent deportation to Cameroon, where they face grave risk of persecution because of their Christian faith. In particular, the family fears the women and girls would be subjected to forced genital mutilation.
    The undersigned in this petition are asking that the minister reconsider the deportation of the Fuh-Cham family scheduled for October 9, 2014, and allow them to remain in Canada where they can freely practise their religious beliefs and continue to contribute to Canadian society.

Multiple Sclerosis  

Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions on behalf of my constituents.
    The first is a petition asking for equal access to CCSVI treatment for Canadians living with multiple sclerosis.
    These constituents want to encourage the federal government to work with the provinces and territories so that this treatment is swiftly accessible across the country.

  (1510)  

Palestine  

Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton—North Delta, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon the government to support the initiative of bringing injured Palestinian children from Gaza to Canada for treatment.
    I want to thank my constituents. I am always honoured to represent their voices in the House.

Impaired Driving  

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions.
    The first one is from the citizens of the Langley area of British Columbia who believe the current impaired driving laws are too lenient. They would like the Criminal Code to be changed to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death to vehicular manslaughter.

Agriculture  

Mr. Alex Atamanenko (British Columbia Southern Interior, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from over 300 constituents in the Kootenay Boundary area who call upon Parliament to refrain from making any changes to the Seeds Act or the Plant Breeders' Rights Act through Bill C-18.
    They call upon Parliament to enshrine in legislation the inalienable rights of farmers and other Canadians to save, reuse, select, exchange, and sell seeds.

The Environment  

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.
    The first is from residents throughout Vancouver Island in many communities, including some within my own riding, calling for a legislated comprehensive ban on supertankers on the B.C. coast.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation  

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from residents of interior British Columbia, calling on the government to establish stable, secure, and predictable funding for our national public broadcaster, the CBC.

Health  

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, today I table a petition signed by residents of Winnipeg North calling on the government to take action in regard to health care, it being of utmost importance.
    The petitioners are asking the government to commit to developing a new health care accord that would replace the old 2004 accord, which ultimately led to the highest level of financing of health care in Canada's history.

Iraq  

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from Londoners, both Christian and Muslim, asking that the Government of Canada take action in a very positive way, and that the action take the form of humanitarian aid to governments and organizations that are determined to assist in stopping the current killing of Iraqi Christians in Iraq and Syria.
    The petitioners are clear that they want diplomatic and humanitarian help from Canada for these desperate people.

Impaired Driving  

Mr. Leon Benoit (Vegreville—Wainwright, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to present two petitions on behalf of constituents.
    In the first, the petitioners are calling for tougher penalties for those who drive impaired. The petitioners are calling for a mandatory minimum sentence for persons convicted of impaired driving causing death, as well as redefining impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

Sex Selection  

Mr. Leon Benoit (Vegreville—Wainwright, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, the petitioners note that over 92% of Canadians believe that sex-selective pregnancy termination is wrong. The petitioners call on Parliament to condemn discrimination against females through gender selection pregnancy termination.

[Translation]

Canada Post  

Ms. Laurin Liu (Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by residents of Boisbriand who are worried about Canada Post's decision to eliminate home delivery service to five million households. The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to reject Canada Post's planned service reductions and explore other options for updating the crown corporation's business plan.

[English]

DNA Database  

Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I continue to get petitions from across Canada on the issue of missing persons and the DNA database. Although we have now established, in theory, a program to deal with this, it is not funded.
    The petitioners are concerned that the program actually be funded and implemented for a missing persons index, a victims index, and a national DNA database.

Emergency Protection Order  

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I present a petition on behalf of some of my constituents regarding the emergency order for the protection of greater sage grouse.
    The petitioners state that Canadians enjoy, protect, and respect a diversity of wildlife, habitat, and natural resources; that ecosystems must remain flourishing, reproductive, and harvestable; and that the emergency order for the protection of greater sage grouse will not effectively achieve its goal.
    The petitioners are calling for a number of things, including rescinding the emergency protection order and replacing it with an order that encourages voluntary implementation and involvement with local landowners, land users, and all stakeholders.

  (1515)  

Questions on the Order Paper

Mr. Tom Lukiwski (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
     Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Military Contribution Against ISIL

    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
The Speaker:  
    The hon. Minister of National Defence has three minutes left to conclude his remarks.
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of National Defence, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
    They are, as members may know, ready for any challenge. They are trained and equipped to the highest standard. I want to be clear that they will remain under the command of the Chief of the Defence Staff.

[Translation]

    We are asking Parliament to support the government's decision. We will work closely with our allies and partner nations to ensure that Iraq receives the support it needs.

[English]

    Canadians expect their Parliament to take action in the face of an international crisis, in this case an international crisis that directly threatens Canada. This is not the time to sit quietly on the sidelines and hope that the threat will dissipate, as both the Liberal leader and the NDP leader have suggested.
    This government recognizes the threat that ISIL poses to western values and the people of our country, and we are prepared to address it at its source. This terrorist group seeks to impose a world view diametrically opposed to ours, one that prizes repression over equality, hatred over respect, and death over life.
    We must take action. We will take action. We seek support for the government's motion in order to prevent these violent, merciless radicals from further inflicting their twisted beliefs and deadly violence upon the innocent.
Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I know there is a fair bit of concern about what is happening in Iraq. The minister pointed out that there are over one million internally displaced persons. In fact it is about 1.8 million. Canada was asked directly in the personage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie for support for this.
    Comparing this with the Libya mission, which was an air bombing campaign as well, I just learned it cost $350 million with the deployment of maybe some 440 people. We are talking about a larger mission here in terms of numbers. Would the minister not think saving lives now, with the kind of commitment that could be made to do that as a result of the direct ask of the Iraqi government, would be an important thing for Canada to be doing? It is not simply the military mission or nothing.
Hon. Rob Nicholson:  
    Mr. Speaker, that certainly has not been the position of the government. We have become very involved with humanitarian aid to that part of the world. We have taken supplies from both Albania and the Czech Republic and delivered over a million pounds of supplies to Iraq to assist in this. We have had a 30-day mission that has just come to a conclusion for us to have a look at and provide strategic and tactical advice to the Iraqi forces.
    Again, this is one more step in our efforts to degrade the capabilities of ISIL. It is one more step and we have to do it. This terrorist organization has committed unspeakable acts to the people in that area and are a direct threat to Canada. This is why we have to take action.
Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I tried to get an answer during question period to this question about the possible involvement of our CF-18s, if they go over there, in Syria. It was not clear to me from the Prime Minister's remarks last Friday whether Canada would be, if I could call it “passive” in the sense of if Bashar al-Assad asked Canada to come in, or whether Canada would proactively, if it decided it wanted to go into Syria, make the request to Bashar al-Assad. I wonder if the Minister of National Defence could shed some light on that.

  (1520)  

Hon. Rob Nicholson:  
    Mr. Speaker, in question period I pointed out the Prime Minister's comments on Friday where he said that we will strike ISIL where, and only where, Canada has the clear support of the government of the country in question. I think that is very straightforward. The mission as it is constituted today is focusing on Iraq. We have been very clear with respect to our objectives and we will continue with or without the support of the Liberals.
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be able to put a question directly to the Minister of National Defence. I am afraid this debate has been conducted on both sides as though there is an assumption that somehow a combat mission would be effective. We debate what Canada should do, but there is an underlying assumption that it would somehow work to counteract ISIS. There is no evidence for that. Today's Guardian reports that Kurdish fighters are finding no slowing in ISIS's assault on Kurdish areas while U.S. air strikes bombard them because they scatter and then reform as the jets leave.
    Could the minister of defence give us any evidence whatsoever that Canada's planned mission would do anything other than fall into the trap ISIS has set for us to get involved in this for its propaganda and ongoing efforts to destabilize and encourage recruitment?
Hon. Rob Nicholson:  
    Mr. Speaker, again, I would point out to the hon. member that we are involved in a number of different activities in that part of the world. We deem it appropriate at this time to strike at ISIL to decrease its capability to terrorize.
    We had a suggestion from the New Democrats on Friday. I think they want to send lawyers over there to start prosecuting these individuals. Do not get me wrong. I love lawyers. I want to be very clear. I want to put that on the record. However, we are doing what is reasonable under the circumstances. I am very disappointed it does not have the support of all members of the opposition.

[Translation]

Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of the government motion seeking support for its decision:
...to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL, including air strikes capability for a period of up to six months...
    I will begin by reminding the House of the facts on the ground and the crimes committed by that organization, which is basically a death cult. It is a genocidal organization motivated by its hatred of innocent people. It continues to commit acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing, mass rape of women and girls, sexual slavery, daily torture and the beheading of innocent people, including children.

[English]

    To some people, the barbarity of this organization may be hard to conceive of, and some may dismiss the reality of the evil of this organization. However, even the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, in its report published in late September, said that the so-called Islamic State:
...attacks directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, executions and other targeted killings of civilians, abductions, rape and other forms of sexual and physical violence perpetrated against women and children, forced recruitment of children, destruction or desecration of places of religious or cultural significance, wanton destruction and looting of property, and denial of fundamental freedoms.
    The UN report went on to say:
    [The Islamic State] has directly and systematically targeted Iraq's various diverse ethnic and religious communities, subjecting them to a range of gross human rights abuses, including murder, physical and sexual assault, robbery, wanton destruction of property, destruction of places of religious or cultural significance, forced conversions, denial of access to basic humanitarian services, and forced expulsion. The targeting of ethnic and religious communities by ISIL appears to be part of deliberate and systematic policy that aims to suppress, permanently cleanse or expel, or in some instances, destroy completely those communities within its area of control.
    The report goes on to detail the most horrific and unthinkable acts, including, if members can imagine, the kidnapping and torture of a three-year-old girl. Images are in the public domain of children having been decapitated by this organization because of the religious convictions of their families and of their community.
    When we last debated this humanitarian moral crisis two weeks ago, I mentioned my conversation with my friend, the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic church, the largest Christian community in Iraq, a community that is indigenous to Iraq.

  (1525)  

[Translation]

    The Chaldean community speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, which has been spoken in that region for over 20 centuries. These are the indigenous people of Mesopotamia.

[English]

    He told me about how Daesh, the Islamic State jihadis, entered hospitals where infirm, handicapped, elderly Christians were unable to leave and were threatened with decapitation in their hospital beds if they did not immediately convert to Islam. I cannot think of an organization in my lifetime, or perhaps all of modern history, that represents such brazen evil, such depravity, and it cannot be overstated.
    That is why Iraqis, particularly those of the minority communities, are asking us to do what we can to offer them protection.
     For example, I noticed a report in today's National Post, in which Matthew Fisher interviewed local Kurds and Christians in the region, one of whom, Mr. Shoban Kunda, a Christian, speaking in Erbil, near the territories controlled by the Islamic state, said, “If the U.S. airplanes had not been here at the right moment, Erbil would have fallen and ISIL would be here”. He went on to say, “So we know that air power can help to stop [ISIL].”
    Another Christian said, “someone has to stop Daesh...because they want to destroy everything and bring...the world back to the Middle Ages.”
    Mr. Fisher also reports that those he interviewed were “astonished” when told that two of Canada's political parties have opposed the plan to send Canadian warplanes to assist them.
    The day before, Matthew Fisher interviewed other local members of minority communities, including Behar Namiq, a Kurdish shop owner in Erbil, who said, “I know all about what Canada is doing”.... “it will be very good what the Canadians will soon do [here] in Iraq.”
    The Iraqi government has requested Canada's assistance, as reflected in today's motion, but ordinary Iraqis have asked for this assistance. When I spoke to Patriarch Sako, he asked for Canada's military assistance. People understand that this country has some capacity to project our power in their defence, and so too do Canadians.

[Translation]

    As the Minister for Multiculturalism, I have received dozens of letters from Canadians calling on our government to take serious action to support military action in Iraq in order to protect the innocent.

[English]

    I have a letter from Father Sarmed Balious, on behalf of Canadian Chaldean Catholics, who said:
...we declare our strong support to Canada's decision to join the Allies in conducting air strikes against Islamic militants for up to six months in Iraq.
    I have a letter from Muslims Facing Tomorrow, who wrote:
    We support [the Prime Minister and his government] unconditionally in the stated mission to degrade and contain ISIL as put forth in the motion before the House.
    I think we should heed these voices.
    Let me address a canard that I believe was raised by the Leader of the Opposition, who suggested that ISIL is just another manifestation of the same forces that the United States has been encountering in Iraq for 10 years. The American forces have not been present in Iraq for the past two years, as President Obama has completed the American military mission in Iraq.
    There is a complete and radical difference in the nature of this organization. It is true that some Baathist figures and some tribal Sunni figures have assisted Daesh in recent months. However, this is a fundamentally different organization, given the nature of its actions, its effort to create a caliphate and project state-like power through the entire region, indeed to explicitly target Canada.
    If it can be said that the position of the Leader of the Opposition is that this is too great a challenge for us to address militarily, that could also be said of this arc of violence that is motivated by the doctrine of armed jihad that we see from West Africa, from Boko Haram in Nigeria to al Shabaab in East Africa, through the various Salafi-Jihadi forces, through Yemen, the Levant, Daesh itself, and al-Nusra, al Qaeda, the Deobandi, and Taliban militias in Pakistan, all the way to the southern Philippines. There is an arc of violence held together by a common perversion of theology. In the broadest sense it is a civilizational struggle for all civilized people, but in this motion, we are talking about one immediate action that we can take to help, we hope, save some lives. I believe doing so is in the truest Canadian tradition.
    I call upon all members to support the motion.

  (1530)  

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the minister's speech, and I was going to quote from the same article. He left out one part of the article where it said, “Bombing is not so efficacious. There will have to be troops on the ground to retake Mosul.” The minister implies that we should follow the advice, and he has laid out the people whom we should follow. I would caution that if we are quoting from an article and representing people on the ground and their opinion, we should tell the whole story.
    Pointing out the very people he was quoting, it says that bombing is not working right now. We know that because Mosul is a highly populated area. Would he support ground troops, as was offered by the very people that he was quoting?
    Finally, when I was on the ground talking to the representatives of the Chaldean community, they were asking for robust humanitarian support, which we did not see in the motion. We did not hear it in the speech from the Prime Minister. We are wondering where the support is that they asked for to help this minority community.
Hon. Jason Kenney:  
    Mr. Speaker, the Iraqi government has not requested ground troops from Canada or other allied forces. The United States, which is coordinating this allied intervention with the government of Iraq, has not requested Canadian ground forces. The government is not seeking authorization.
     It is clear that the critical military asset we can offer is air cover to stop large-scale movements of Daesh. It is true that since air operations began with some intensity they have ceased taking significant amounts of additional territory, which is what that article makes clear. Yes, there will have to be a ground dimension to the battle against Daesh, but that will have to be provided by Iraq and the Peshmerga, which is why we are also providing technical training to the Peshmerga militias.
    With respect to humanitarian aid, we have already provided $29 million of aid, and an additional $10 million was announced today. This is specifically with respect to Iraq. We have provided enormous humanitarian support in Syria. Our support in Iraq is the seventh-largest contribution, in gross terms, in the world, and the largest per-capita contribution of any developed country in the world, and there will be more.

  (1535)  

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this morning a colleague in the NDP asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs what the situation would be whereby Canadian CF-18s would go into Syria. The minister said “I can't really answer that. You should ask the minister of defence.” I asked the Minister of National Defence during question period and again just now, but he did not answer my question.
     I will try it with my hon. colleague across the way.
     Would Canada send CF-18s into Syria after asking permission to go in from Bashar al-Assad, or would we wait for him to call and give his permission and say he would like Canada to come in and do this?
Hon. Jason Kenney:  
    Mr. Speaker, the member is asking hypothetical questions that are excluded by the motion. He knows perfectly well of the complexity of the situation in Syria, and he knows that we have been invited by the government of Iraq to provide assistance, which is what we will do. He is asking this hypothetical question because he is plainly trying to evade the grotesque irresponsibility of his party and leader, outside the best Liberal tradition, in the position it has taken on this motion.
    While most of our major allies in the democratic world, including social democratic governments and parties, have endorsed or committed military support to this mission in Iraq, the leader of the Liberal Party, in an extreme variation from Liberal tradition, is making adolescent jokes. He characterized prospective Canadian military action, referring to the use of the Royal Canadian Air Force jet fighters, as “whipping out our CF-18s to show how big they are”. How profoundly unserious. I would suggest that the member instead listen to voices such as those of former Liberal ministers Lloyd Axworthy, Ujjal Dosanjh, Jean Lapierre, le premier ministre du Québec, to Liberals who understand the great Liberal tradition of standing in solidarity with our allies in defence of international security.
Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate today. It is unfortunate that we did not have such a debate back in September before our current military deployment to Iraq.
     The question in today's debate is not whether Canada should do something about ISIL; we should, and our response should be serious and significant.
    The question is, what should Canada do? How can we be most helpful, not just in the short run but in defeating ISIL over the long term?
    I will be sharing my time with the member for St. John's East.
    I want to make one thing very clear: we do not need to shoot missiles or drop bombs in order to take this threat seriously. Over 60 countries are helping to defeat ISIL, and the vast majority are not taking part in air strikes.
    The Minister of Foreign Affairs referred to how Italy and Germany support the coalition. They do, and so does the NDP, and like the NDP, governments in Italy and Germany have judged that they can best help through logistics, weapons, training, and humanitarian support.
    So have conservative and social democratic governments in Norway, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Finland, Greece, Poland, and dozens of other countries.
    ISIL has perpetrated appalling crimes, including mass killings, sexual violence, forced displacement, and the destruction of holy sites. More than 20 million Iraqis have been affected. Two million people have been displaced from their homes. More than five million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance right now. The violence ISIL perpetrates is entirely unjustifiable and entirely contrary to Islam. The only ideology it supports is the ideology of hate.
    The crisis in Iraq also seriously jeopardizes regional peace and stability. The flow of internally displaced people and refugees is threatening the ability of Iraq and its neighbours to secure their borders and govern effectively.
    The NDP has been clear that Canada has an important role to play in contributing to the international response to this crisis. In fact, in the House in June, I asked the government to help refugees fleeing ISIL. In July we issued a statement calling on the government to work with our allies to support the Iraqi authorities in building responsible democratic governance in Iraq as a counter to ISIL.
    My recent visit to Iraq with the Minister of Foreign Affairs reinforced my conviction that action is needed. I heard first-hand what the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities are asking from Canada, and nobody ever asked for fighter jets. That was true in 2007 when I visited Iraq for the first time and it was true again this year.
    In 2007 I went to Iraq to participate in a conference on governance with members of Parliament from all major groups, including Sunni, Shia, and Kurd. I shared the Canadian experience of federalism and inclusion.
    On October 14 and 15, 2009, I hosted a conference on Iraq here in Ottawa with the Stimson Center and the Centre for International Governance and Innovation on governance and the impact of conflict on minorities in Iraq. We cited at that time the need for more inclusion from the government in Baghdad and the need for the protection of minorities. That was then, but what I heard on the ground a month ago was similar.
    We need to do more as a country, but instead of following through on its commitment to increase humanitarian and governance assistance to Iraq, the Conservative government went looking for military action. The government is now sending more Canadian men and women into harm's way in Iraq without a clear plan for going in and with no plan at all for coming out. Last week it was 69 troops; this week it is 669 troops.
    Like many Canadians, New Democrats are concerned about the deployment of Canadian troops to Iraq on a combat mission that is ill-defined to the point of being irresponsible. Far too many questions about this mission remain entirely unanswered. Who will be commanding this mission? Where will our troops be located? What will the process be for expanding the mission? Will there be another debate and vote in Parliament?
    The motion we are debating today is ill-defined and ill-conceived. It offers no plan and no exit strategy. Shockingly, there are no new humanitarian commitments, albeit we did hear one today, which is good news.
    Just as shockingly, there are no territorial limits on operations. Nearly every other member of the coalition has explicitly ruled out air strikes in Syria; the Prime Minister explicitly ruled them in. This is unfortunate, to say the least.

  (1540)  

     The Prime Minister explicitly ruled them in if requested by the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad, and the motion we are debating today would open that door to air strikes there—or anywhere, for that matter.
    There are also no restrictions on who could be included in the category of “terrorists allied with ISIL”. The motion would allow for the government to go far beyond Iraq and far beyond ISIL.
    There are very few details in the motion on our deployment of “military assets”. Could these go beyond the nine planes and 600 troops currently committed? We just do not know.
    Also, there is no requirement for Parliament to be consulted during or after the six-month term if the mission is expanded or extended.
    Canadians are rightly uncomfortable with this mission. It is ill-defined and ill-conceived.
    Canadians are concerned that the government has no idea where our hundreds of troops will be based or when they might even get there.
    Canadians are concerned that the government is now passing off responsibility for Canada's response to Canadian Forces. Our soldiers will do as ordered. That is their job, but this war is the government's decision and it is the government's job to take responsibility for that.
    Canadians are also concerned about the government's willingness to support Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship in Syria and the uncertainty of what we might leave behind in Iraq.
    Canadians are concerned about the Conservative government's record of failing to give straight answers to important questions about our military involvement. That is why we have not only opposed the government's wrong-headed war but have also proposed smart, responsible, and genuinely Canadian alternatives, while demanding transparency and holding the government to account.
    We have asked the government to do four concrete things: support the construction of refugee camps, help victims of sexual violence, assist in protecting ethnic and religious communities, and encourage international prosecutions of war crimes.
    When I made these requests directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs at committee, he said, “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes”, but we are still waiting for specific and concrete actions on all these fronts.
    Canada also has an important role to play in encouraging responsible governance in Iraq through collaborative capacity-building projects. We have been asking the government to act in these areas for months. Our call has been both pragmatic and principled, motivated by our common commitment to global security and basic human dignity. The mission we are debating today is simply not the best that Canada can do and has to offer.
    When I was in Iraq last month, I visited a refugee camp. For a few minutes, I walked away from the group of dignitaries and aid workers to look around. I came across a group of small children playing on the dirty ground. Like millions of other children, women, and men in Iraq, they are in desperate need. How we can best help these children is the question I ask. How can we best help them to not only survive, but to grow up and thrive and live in a peaceful and prosperous Iraq?
    This debate is not just about what we do in Iraq but about what we do as a country. Canadians deserve a Canadian foreign policy that plays to Canadian strengths while representing our interests and our values. We are most effective on the international stage when we exploit our comparative advantages in areas like security logistics, nation-building, and humanitarian support.
    The children I met in Iraq need our help. We should be smart on how we deliver.

  (1545)  

Hon. Tony Clement (President of the Treasury Board, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for sharing his perspective in this place. It is a perspective that is obviously very different from the government's perspective.
     I think that when we look at the history of Canadian involvement in situations that require a coordinated effort from the world, Canadians have been able to do things on a multi-tasking basis, if we want to use the modern term. They have been able to provide nation-building support, provide humanitarian support, provide the kind of advice that is important on the ground. These things we can do.
    However, this situation, as the hon. minister has pointed out, is beyond that. Now we are at a point, a tipping point, perhaps different from where you were when visiting there in 2009 and 2010.
    The question is, why can we not do both? Why can we not answer the call to be there with our forces in the air and do the things that you want to do as well?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    I would remind all hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair, rather than to their colleagues.
    The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Paul Dewar:  
    Mr. Speaker, that is a fair question, and here is a very straightforward answer: we should be doing what we were asked to do over a month ago.
    While the government has been, frankly, dithering on what to do and looking for a military mission, we could have already been saving lives. That is what the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I were asked to do, as was my friend from the Liberal Party.
    There was not one request on the ground from the President of Iraq, the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the foreign affairs minister, or anyone at the UNHCR for air strikes. No one asked us for air strikes. They asked us to save lives.
     I suppose it will be another three weeks before we actually have our strike force in theatre. While that is happening, and while we have been waiting to hear from the government about its plan, we could have already been on the ground saving lives. That is that Canadian way and that is what we should have been doing.
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to stress that the member began by saying that no one in this place thinks that we should do nothing. Speaking for myself, I am horrified that we appear to be making the assumption that air strikes will constitute a “something” that does more good than harm. At this point, there are quite strong voices from such people as our expert on foreign affairs, Bob Fowler, that air strikes could very well do more harm than good.
    I would like to ask my hon. friend this question. If we were to go to the United Nations and ask if a peacekeeping force could be put together with Canadian leadership to provide security for refugee camps and aid workers, would he think that that was a reasonable proposal?
Mr. Paul Dewar:  
    Mr. Speaker, Canada can provide peace and security with the appropriate UN resolutions. I do not think that we are there yet. Frankly, I think what we need to do is protect the people who have escaped.
    Let me add something. I am a little concerned in this debate that there is this kind of hierarchy of moral outrage. It is as if the louder we are, the more outraged we are with ISIL. Moral outrage is not a strategy to deal with ISIL. It is just a reaction, albeit it to something very horrific.
    I have been after this government for many years, since I was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it cannot even see fit to support a bill that would cut off funds to these horrific militia groups, so please spare me the moral outrage and tell me what you are going to do effectively.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre Nantel (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my capable colleague on his very enlightening and articulate speech. His speech is a perfect example of how the NDP approaches these issues. Obviously, during the member's recent trip he saw, with his own eyes, what people over there need.
    We often hear members here talk about the international community and group efforts. I have noticed that the government will occasionally mention the existence of some kind of UN resolution. I would like him to clarify that there is no such resolution from that or any other international agency.

[English]

Mr. Paul Dewar:  
    Mr. Speaker, the UN Security Council resolution was very clear. To help fight against ISIL, we should do everything as respective member states to deal with the foreign fighters who are being recruited and to help the people of Iraq defend their borders.
    We support that, but the main issue for us is to provide the humanitarian support that was asked of us. He asked me what the kids asked us for on the ground, what the humanitarian UNHCR people asked for, and what the governments of Iraq and Kurdistan asked for. They all asked for the same thing, including our ambassador: humanitarian support, humanitarian support, humanitarian support.
Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to the motion of the government. I believe we have to put it clearly on the record what our concerns and views are with respect to the motion.
    We are dealing with a motion that sometimes has been framed as air support and sometimes as air combat. Really, it not air combat, because we are not engaging fighter jet to fighter jet. This is clearly an air strike, a bombing mission, within Iraq.
    We have clearly stated through our leader and elsewhere that we do not support this aspect of the mission. The motion calls for other things as does our amendment, but the question is whether we should join about a dozen other countries in bombing raids. We do not believe that is an effective Canadian solution to save lives now.
    When we are talking about bombing and air strikes, there is a lot of controversy about whether it would even be effective in this situation. Even those who believe it is necessary are saying, and these are military strategists and other people who do not believe in military action, we will run out of targets very soon. Therefore, how effective will this be in the kind of contribution Canada could and should make?
    The third thing is that air strikes of this nature, and in this case we are talking about air strikes in Iraq and Syria, are a bridge too far in the kind of mission we were told about on September 5.
    I would like to make it clear that we did not support the first mission because we were not given the information to support it. We did not say that we would not support assisting, advising and helping the Kurdish Peshmerga to be strong enough to take on this threat. We did not get a chance to say it. We were not even getting the answers as to when the government was planning to go or what it was planning to do.
    The member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie actually provided the answers for the government because the government was not providing them in committee. It was one of the more humorous things I have ever seen. Direct questions were being asked of the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We were not getting answers from them as they were stonewalling the questions. Rather the member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie was giving the answers for them.
    We also do not support this action because it does not respond to the direct ask that Canada got from the Government of Iraq. My colleague for Ottawa Centre described this from the visit he had with the president of Iraq and the president of the Kurdish regional council. They spoke of the terrible tragedy they were facing with the immense crisis of the 1.8 million now internally displaced persons in need of help. We support the idea of doing something about that and we support the coalition.
    This is a big coalition. There are some 60 nations involved and they are all playing different roles. As I mentioned, there are about a dozen now that are engaged in certain aspects of military support in terms of air strikes, including about five of the Arab nations in the region. That is what they have chosen to do.
    A lot of nations are providing different military support, like Canada was doing up until now, in delivering munitions and ammunition from the Czech Republic and Albania. Italy has been doing things like that, as have other countries as well. However, we have a lot of other countries that are doing different things solely on the humanitarian side, for example, Norway, Italy and Germany, with a combination of military efforts and supplies as well as humanitarian aid.
    Effectively, the amendment to the motion would be to put Canada in the same group as that. Saving lives now is a priority for Canadians.
     I did a little research and it seems that the Libya mission and air strike mission cost about $350 million. Imagine that. If that was the level of commitment made then and if the government is prepared to make a similar level of commitment to an air campaign, imagine how many lives could be saved and what Canada could accomplish using its military, resources, expertise and history in helping some of those 1.8 million people get through what is to be a very harsh winter? There is a need for food, shelter, clothing, and those kinds of things. A significant effort could actually save lives.

  (1555)  

    We are dealing with a question of choice, and Canada has that choice. This is a legitimate disagreement, as my friend just pointed out, morally outrageous and not a strategy. It is all right to be morally outraged. We are all pretty outraged, frankly, with the kinds of atrocities that are being committed in Iraq. We are looking for a long-term solution. We have seen the Americans, Brits and others try to deal with the situation in Iraq for the past 10 years and what we are left with is this situation.
    We want a long-term solution. We are outraged by the activities of this group as well, but we want to know what Canada can best do right now that will help save lives immediately and help the Peshmerga and the others get to the point where they can deal with this on the ground. As anybody in the military world says, air strikes are not going to solve the problem. Some even go so far as to say that they are counterproductive. Peggy Mason, who is a prominent former Canadian ambassador and adviser to a former prime minister, says that they are counterproductive, that they will not be effective and that we have to do something different because it has not worked in the past.
    We want to do something that is going to be effective, in keeping with Canadian history, and save lives now. We believe that it will take a serious effort. I am not talking about sending another few million dollars; I am talking a serious commitment on behalf of Canada to address, to the best of its ability and resources, the humanitarian crisis as a result of the tragedy due to the atrocities going on there.
    If members look at the amendment that the New Democrats have put forward, we have made it pretty clear that we want changes in the motion that would ensure that we first support the coalition. We want to ensure military support for the transportation of weapons. That is something we do support. We want a significant boost in humanitarian aid. We call on the government to provide assistance for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes, which I think there has been some nod toward today, especially dealing with sexual violence using rape as a weapon of war.
    This requires significant investigation. It is not something we can simply forget about and hope that someone will bring them to justice. We have to get the evidence, provide the means to do that and put effort into getting the stories and collecting all of that. Many of these people who are victims of these atrocities and have that evidence are in these refugee camps or hope to be in refugee camps. Many of them do not want to leave the country and want to stay there, but they will need help until that country is safer.
    We call on the government not to deploy Canadian Forces in combat operations and to report back on the cost of the mission on a monthly basis. We have made it clear. This is not supposed to be divisive. This is not about people who support the military and people who do not. We are calling for military support, but we also want to add that the government continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.
    It is a question of what choices we would make to contribute to this international mission. We believe the amendment to this motion contains them. They are serious, they are robust and they are part of the Canadian effort that will save lives now.

  (1600)  

Hon. Jason Kenney (Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, that speech really goes to the heart of what I find the total incoherence of the NDP's position. Once again, the New Democrats are demanding humanitarian assistance, which we are already providing on a larger measure per capita than any other developed country in the world and which we will increase. Let us just put that aside. The question here, then, is whether we contribute to military force in stopping Da'esh.
    I have a very simple question for the member. What is the point of providing humanitarian support to people who have been murdered by genocidal maniacs? I cannot even believe I am hearing this on the floor, but he talked about sending lawyers to interview rape victims. The point is to stop women from being victimized by the mass rapists in the first place.
    There are hundreds of Yazidi and Christian women being held as serial sex slaves by Daesh. How does he suggest we have Canadian tribunals interview them, while they are held under slave-like conditions? The fundamental question for the NDP is this. How do we deliver humanitarian response to people as they are being attacked? Does he not understand that without the use of some force, more minorities will completely be wiped off the face of the earth in Iraq? Does he not understand it?
Mr. Jack Harris:  
    Mr. Speaker, moral outrage is not a strategy. I do not know if he thinks someone bombing the places where these sex slaves are being held is going to solve the problem. I have a real problem with his solution. He should talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs because he supports efforts to find a way to prosecute the people who are responsible. He spoke about it in his speech today and I would commend it to the member to read.
    The people who are in need of help are the 1.8 million displaced who have fled from where the battle and the danger is. They are in humanitarian need now and they can be helped now, and should be. We know we can save many of their lives.
Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, in looking at the amendment, it is not clear whether the NDP is supporting non-combat military activities in general, or simply the one it specifies, which is transportation of weapons.
    Could the member clarify this.
    First, is it a general support for non-combat military activity such as surveillance, intelligence, training, protecting aid workers and vulnerable women, protecting field hospitals, strategic airlift and the kinds of things the Liberals have been talking about? Is that included, or is it just transporting weapons?
    Second, his leader apparently criticized the Liberals for supporting the 30-day combat mission. Was that a slip of the tongue, or was his leader not aware that was a non-combat 30-day mission that the Liberals supported?

  (1605)  

Mr. Jack Harris:  
    Mr. Speaker, we were responding to the motion that was put forward and we wanted to make it clear that we did support that aspect of the mission that was already going on with military effort, the delivering of materiel and munitions. We do not make a general statement about that, but if we are to be actively involved in setting up refugee camps and those sorts of things, we may need a military component associated with that as well.
    This is not about no military versus yes military. This is about the combat role. I think the Liberal Party now supports the fact that there ought not to be a combat role, at least with respect to air strikes. We have not discussed anything else, because there is nothing else on the table at this point and we were not consulted. It was not discussed with us. It was not discussed with our leader, which had always been done in the past, even with our current leader.
    Also, we could not support a motion that did not have full disclosure from the beginning. I am afraid the member's party signed on to, essentially, a blank cheque without even hearing the details. All you asked at that time was if the government was to change it, to let you know. That was all I heard at the time. I did not hear anything about a vote. I did not hear anything about having a debate and full disclosure in the House. What I heard was “We support you and just keep us informed. We're going to monitor it. Keep us informed if there's any change.”
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    Before we resume debate, I would again just remind all hon. members to direct their comments and questions to the Chair, rather than directly to their colleagues.
    Resuming debate, the hon. Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

[Translation]

Hon. Steven Blaney (Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that I will share my time with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, who looks after consular affairs.
    I rise today to speak to the motion moved by the Prime Minister of Canada on Friday. I must admit that I deplore the position the New Democrats and the Liberals are taking in this debate. They had already made their choice before we even started debating the motion. I must also admit that I am particularly disappointed in the weak arguments I am hearing today, especially with respect to Canada's approach to supporting the Iraqi people and participating in the effort by the international community.
    I have here a press release issued by the Minister for La Francophonie on August 10, 2014, which announced that Canada would be providing assistance to the Iraqi people who are suffering at the hands of this terrorist group. There are no words to describe the cruelty being inflicted.
    The Minister for La Francophonie said in August that he was providing additional humanitarian assistance and support for this community with food, tents, blankets and medical equipment. At that time, there were already 850,000 displaced persons in Iraq. This was obviously part of a strategy, and the government condemned the fact that these refugees were suffering at the hands of the barbaric Islamic State.
    On August 29, the government once again announced more assistance. All remaining food resources in Canada would be sent to those in need. The August 29 press release stated that there were up to 1.4 million refugees.
    How bad does the situation need to get before we take action? The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is working extra hard to welcome Iranian and Syrian refugees. However, more than a million people are now affected by these barbarians who have no rules, no faith and no laws and who are committing heinous acts, as we are unfortunately seeing on social networks.
    Canada is doing more than its share when it comes to humanitarian aid. Our country is doing more per capita than the rest of the members of the international community. That makes us the seventh largest donor. This is the right thing to do and it is important to continue doing it. Nonetheless, how are we going to stop this flow of refugees? There is only one way: taking action. We must support the ground forces, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi forces. We must give them technical support to help them drive back these terrorists.
    Why does this concern us as Canadians and Quebeckers? It concerns us because this terrorist threat is right here in Canada. We know that there are Canadians who leave our country, swept away by these radical ideas, and who want to turn against the society that sheltered and welcomed them.
    That is why there are three valid reasons for supporting the motion moved by our Prime Minister: to support these refugees who cannot stay in refugee camps indefinitely and whose situation is deteriorating; to stabilize the situation; and, finally, to protect Canadians from this terrorist threat found here at home.

  (1610)  

[English]

    Over the past few months, the situation in Syria and Iraq has continued to deteriorate.
    The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is a barbaric, terrorist caliphate. It poses a real and present threat not only to the security and stability of that part of the world but also to us here in Canada.

[Translation]

    That is why Canada is joining forces with 60 countries. The opposition has a very clear picture of what is being proposed.
    This mission, including six fighter jets and equipment involving the deployment of 600 soldiers, will also add to the efforts of the international coalition of 60 countries with a fixed term of six months. The requested mandate is very clear.
    Recently we have seen the violent murders of civilians and journalists, planned attacks in Australia to organize public murders in support of these ISIL barbaric extremists, and calls from these same terrorists to commit acts of terror in our country.
    It is absolutely unacceptable to attack American and European citizens, and, of course, Canadians as well.

[English]

    Our allies have been clear about the need to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state bent on raping and pillaging the Middle East.
    They are committing acts of genocide against minorities, beheading western journalists, kidnapping women and selling them into slavery, and plotting terrorist attacks against Canada and our allies. These are the reasons we are debating this motion today. These are the reasons Canada is standing up against terrorism.

[Translation]

    Canada has always shown its unwavering support for other countries in the fight against violence, terrorism, Nazism and barbarism.
    Canada holds a place that we can be proud of. We are a member of the G7 and other major international bodies. The place that we as a country hold in history is a result of our support for our world partners in times of peace and in times of war.
    To whom do we owe the place that we hold? We owe it in large part to our veterans, the men and women who were willing to risk their lives to defend our democracy and our freedom.
    In my riding, there is a Second World War veteran who is over 90 years old. His name is Jean Cauchy. He was a member of the first French-Canadian squadron that fought. Aimé Michaud, a veteran of the Korean War, defended Canada as a member of the Royal 22e Régiment by pushing back the tide of Communism in South Korea in the early 1950s.
    People have given their lives recently. I am thinking of a young woman from Les Méchins, Karine Blais, who gave her life for her country in Afghanistan.
    Even more recently, General Bouchard participated in a mission with the same fighter jets that we want to send to Iraq and that were used productively in Libya. This Quebecker led the coalition and conducted successful military operations.
    In Canada, we are not idiots. We will not bow down to terrorists. That is clear. We are going to stand up and send a clear message to those who want to attack our values, attack the equality between men and women and attack the foundations of our society. We are going to stand up and shoulder our responsibilities.
    That is what I am going to do with the member for Madawaska—Restigouche at my side. He was a minister under Brian Mulroney. We are going to stand up and support this mission because that is the Canadian thing to do. Quebeckers, French speakers, aboriginal people and English speakers: we are all going to stand together and meet this challenge. Will it be easy? No. Will it cost money? Yes.
    Nevertheless, I am going to do this with the member for Calgary East, the member for Edmonton Centre, who was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the member for Mississauga—Erindale in Ontario.
    I am going to do this because we need to neutralize this threat in Iraq. We want to keep our streets safe, and we are going to do everything we can so that Canada remains a good country to live in.
    I would be pleased to answer my colleagues' questions.

  (1615)  

Mr. Alain Giguère (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat taken aback by the minister's comments because Canadians would not let 1.5 million refugees die from exposure or hunger. These people have lost everything: their homes, their crops and their means of transportation. Canadians would ensure that hundreds of thousands of people do not die of hunger.
    The major problem with the Islamic State is not its barbarism, which has existed for a very long time in that part of the world. The problem is how we can step in for a state that refuses to fight.
    Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, was defended by four Iraqi divisions of 50,000 men. In three days, they were soundly defeated by 15,000 men. In theory, the opposite should have happened. How can an army of 220,000 men be threatened by 25,000 terrorists? I do not understand it.
    I would like to know how the bombings can take the place of an army of 200,000 men who refuse to fight.
Hon. Steven Blaney:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I could give him a copy of the press releases that show Canada's record as a leader in providing humanitarian aid in Iraq.
    In 2014 alone, we have spent almost $28 million on tents and supplies. These people are living in terror and suffering reprisals. That is why we are providing them with logistical support.
    We put in place legislation to combat terrorism because this threat is found in Canada as well. Unfortunately, we were unable to count on the support of the member and his party to ensure that Canadians who want to fight in Syria are intercepted.
    We have concrete examples thanks to this law. For example, Hasibullah Yusufzai wanted to fight in Syria, but we were able to intercept him. He is now facing charges under Canadian law, which makes terrorism a criminal activity punishable by stiff prison sentences.
Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told the press that Canada's position on the Syrian government of a few years ago was different from that of the United States and the western nations. He said that he was not opposed to the Syrian government or in favour of the opposition, but that is false and the opposite is true.
    During the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, the Prime Minister clearly said that a military strike against the Syrian government was necessary. On September 7, he urged the international community to launch military action against the Syrian government.
    Does the minister believe that this dishonesty will weaken Canadians' confidence concerning the combat mission that his government initiated yesterday?

  (1620)  

Hon. Steven Blaney:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and I congratulate her on speaking in French.
    The Prime Minister was very clear on Friday: we will go where nation states ask us to intervene to fight barbarism. That is exactly what Iraq asked us to do, and that is where we are going.
    It is important to understand that humanitarian aid can go hand in hand with military action. I hope my opposition colleagues can understand that it is part of the equation. If we do not prevent these barbarians from uprooting populations, humanitarian aid will be useless. People are being subjected to terror, barbarism and the terrorists' acts of violence. They are also exposing us to the threat of domestic terrorism.
    That is why providing humanitarian aid, together with supporting the international coalition, is the solution our government has chosen to enhance security and combat terrorism.

[English]

Hon. Lynne Yelich (Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to join this discussion. That we are discussing this issue so soon after the last debate on this very subject says much about the crisis in Iraq. It speaks to the gravity of the current situation and to the reality of the struggle many Iraqis are facing.
    As the so-called terrorist group ISIL continues to spread its flawed ideology across Iraq, it is that country's innocent civilians who stand in the crosshairs. They are targets, unfairly victimized by a group whose only role is to be ruthless, to destroy any and all who believe in the greater good, who want an Iraq that is safe and self-sufficient, and whose beliefs dare conflict with those of an extremist minority.
    We know that ISIL is waging a campaign of terror in Iraq, preying on the vulnerable to advance its alleged cause and doing so with wanton disregard for any and all who dare stand in the way. This group is morally reprehensible. It is one that wilfully kills innocent children, murders innocent journalists just to make a point, uses rape as a weapon of war, and savagely murders someone who is there to care for innocent people caught in the middle of their twisted world view.
    Today I pay tribute to the work of Alan Henning. Alan, a British aid worker, dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate. How any member of the human family would believe that Alan was a threat to their existence is beyond me. It is beyond comprehension. It further proves how sick and twisted this group has become. It is a group that must be contained to maintain peace and stability in the Middle East, protect global security, and lessen the incredible burden that has been so unfairly placed upon Iraqi civilians. They are the ones living on the front line in this conflict. They are the people whose lives have been turned upside down as ISIL has captured vast stretches of territory from the Syrian border in the northwest to the outskirts of Baghdad.
    I want to focus on the humanitarian aspect of this crisis and on the role Canada is playing in helping Iraq's innocent children and terrified mothers and fathers find the normalcy and safety they so desperately seek.
    Armed clashes between ISIL and government forces have driven displacement, causing the humanitarian situation in Iraq to rapidly deteriorate. When such violence erupts it not only forces masses of people to flee their homes and communities but creates havoc in the entire country. Businesses stop operating. People lose their jobs. Food production and clean water services are disrupted. Normal supply routes are blocked.
    Families are separated and suffer tremendous shock, especially when they lose a parent, a child, a sibling, or a friend and are left to grieve amidst the turmoil of their own circumstances, which for many has included fleeing homes, villages, and the familiarity of everyday life.
    This has been the case for an estimated 1.7 million people who have been displaced throughout Iraq. In early 2014, conflict displaced an estimated 475,000 people in Anbar province. Then in June, an estimated 571,000 people were displaced from Mosul. In August, an additional 662,000 were displaced from the Sinjar area, where tens of thousands of Yazidis remained trapped for several days in dire humanitarian conditions and at temperatures of more than 40°C.
    The size and pace of displacement has overwhelmed local communities, including in Dohuk Governorate, which is hosting more than 400,000 internally displaced persons.

  (1625)  

    Following recent clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga and ISIL forces, there have also been reports of people being displaced for a second time from the Kurdish region of Iraq to the southern areas of the country.
    On August 12, the United Nations declared the situation a level 3 emergency, the highest level for a humanitarian crisis, underlining the gravity of the situation. As a result, the humanitarian response in accessible areas is being rapidly scaled up and humanitarian leadership is being bolstered.
    Approximately 43% of the internally displaced Iraqis are living in vulnerable locations, including schools, churches, mosques, and unfurnished buildings. There is a concern that over 850,000 children are beginning to fall behind with their education, because the schools being used as shelters have been unable to reopen as scheduled for the beginning of the school year in September.
    Canada is actively working with partners to address children's needs and to see what more can be done. We are currently working through experienced partners, such as Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. These partners are helping to provide child-friendly environments for displaced children and are giving them the psychosocial support they need.
    We believe that when adults fight, children's education should not suffer and that even in the face of conflict, a child's continued academic growth must be secured. Education can provide essential aid to Iraq right now. It gives children and youth a sense of normalcy, stability, and structure. When schools are open, they provide places for children to free their minds of the anxiety of war and to instead focus on the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of skills.
    For most Canadians, the situation in Iraq is simply unimaginable. Few of us could ever contemplate having to leave our homes and leave most of our possessions behind. The thought alone is enough to spur our desire to help, because while we may not be able to relate to the chaos of war, we understand at a basic human level that nobody should have to live that way. That is why Canadians will say that the actions we have undertaken in response to the crisis are a direct reflection of their own values. They understand that a country like ours cannot possibly stand idle while millions of Iraqi civilians are suffering.
    Since the beginning of 2014, Canada has allocated nearly $29 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Of this, $19 million has been in response to the recent civil unrest, and almost $10 million has been in response to the needs of the Syrian refugees in Iraq. This makes Canada one of the largest donors in response to this crisis.
    With these funds, lives have already been saved. Food and clean water are being provided to displaced people in need. Camps are being constructed through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide the displaced with shelter. Measures are being taken to protect them from violence. Importantly, more health services and medical supplies are being made available to respond to the urgent needs of the displaced populations.
    The Canadian Red Cross also brought in relief supplies from Canada's warehouse in the International Humanitarian City in Dubai. These supplies, distributed by Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, are saving lives. Kitchen sets are helping hungry families feed themselves. Tents are providing shelter and a place for the weary to get some rest. Hygiene kits and mosquito nets are preventing the spread of diseases.
    Through all of these actions on the humanitarian front, Canada is showing that it stands by the people of Iraq. We will continue to look for more ways to respond to the needs of all Iraqis, but the world must unite to constrain the ISIL threat and to ultimately defeat it.
    I would like to close by saying that it is important for the House to support our humanitarian work and our work to contain and eradicate the ISIL threat.

  (1630)  

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take on the issue of humanitarian support. I also want to thank the government again for its contribution for victims of sexual violence and for prosecutions. I note that I was ridiculed by the Minister of Employment and Social Development for suggesting this, but his colleague actually announced money for the prosecution of those who are involved in sexual violence, so I note that contradiction.
     I want to ask the minister a question. When we were there, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs can speak to this as well, it was absolutely clear that we had burned through all the money we had already committed. Yes, the $10 million committed today is great and is one of the four things the NDP asked for. However, does the member not understand that we need humanitarian support for the humanitarian crisis right now for the people who have already fled and to protect people?
     All the schools in Erbil were filled with refugees. The kids could not go to school when we were there, because the schools were filled with refugees. That is why we have been so passionate about the need for humanitarian support and assistance right now. We should have been doing it back in September.
     I would like to hear from the member what more we can do and what commitments we will look forward to hearing about from the government in terms of refugee support.
Hon. Lynne Yelich:  
    Mr. Speaker, first, security on the ground is essential for providing humanitarian assistance and for degrading the capabilities of ISIL. That is the key to achieving this. The military measures we are taking do not in any way preclude our humanitarian actions.
    We are providing emergency shelters and medical assistance to thousands of Iraqi civilians and large-scale financial assistance to other governments in the region that are impacted by the crisis in Syria. Again, as the member recognizes, Canada is one of the largest contributors, and we continue to support with our hygiene kits, cooking materials, blankets, and tents.
Mr. Adam Vaughan (Trinity—Spadina, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest as the member opposite described the extraordinary hardship that refugees are enduring as they get dislocated and look for new places to live in a very difficult part of the world.
     However, my question is a very simple one. When refugees come to this country, the government across the aisle denies social assistance and health care. It does not have a housing program that actually puts the refugees under a roof with a subsidy. In fact, a study has been released in Toronto that shows that when refugees come to this country, their mental health status deteriorates. If the government is so concerned about the status of refugees, why does it treat them so deplorably when they land in this country?

  (1635)  

Hon. Lynne Yelich:  
    Mr. Speaker, if that is relevant to the debate, I am very surprised, because today we are talking about something very serious, which is Canada's role in helping the refugees that have been—
Mr. Adam Vaughan:  
    Except when they come to Canada.
Hon. Lynne Yelich:  
    Mr. Speaker, we are doing a lot in this crisis. It is very important for us to be there assisting as we are by providing food, hygiene kits, cooking materials, and blankets. We are working with our allies. Security on the ground is essential. This is what the debate is about. It would be helpful if there were a contribution from the other side in support of what we are doing to help in the Iraq situation, which is very serious.
Mr. Erin O'Toole (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the debate on humanitarian aid or military security appears to be the false choice the New Democrats are presenting to this House. Ironically, the day they said they prefer only the humanitarian option, yet another horrible ISIL video of the beheading of an aid worker made its way to the Internet.
    My question is for the minister. In the Prime Minister's remarks, he said that this is not an either-or scenario. Security must be provided so that humanitarian aid and assistance can reach the people who need it. Can the minister of state comment further on this not being an either-or dilemma?
Hon. Lynne Yelich:  
    Mr. Speaker, to reiterate, the military measures we are taking do not in any way preclude humanitarian action. It is essential that there is security on the ground so humanitarian assistance can be provided. We need the security on the ground so that those who are in need in this terrible circumstance in Iraq will get the assistance they need from Canada's generous contribution.

[Translation]

Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.
    I know that this is not the time for presenting petitions, but I would like to begin by reading a large section of a petition that is currently being circulated by Artistes pour la paix, a group that does wonderful things and that I admire greatly. The petition says:
    We, the citizens, are calling on elected officials to hear our collective voice, which is speaking out in strong opposition to waging war. We believe that the Prime Minister's plan to conduct air strikes against the Islamic State, in absurd alliance with countries that have sowed the seeds of fanaticism, will only serve to harm world security. War NEVER results in a satisfying, sustainable solution. Since 2003, half a million deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have proven that point time and time again. We believe that violence begets violence. We want a peaceful country, one that is held up as an example by the United Nations.
    Certain elements of that may well be debatable, but Artistes pour la paix raises some very legitimate questions that this government cannot answer. It is clear that what is happening in Iraq and Syria right now is absolutely horrible. No one would deny that. However, that is no reason to rush headlong into an undertaking that may not resolve the situation we are hoping to resolve. Rushing in may, in fact, make it worse. We cannot do that without looking at the consequences of the proposed action and assessing what we hope to accomplish. We also have to consider whether what is being proposed will actually resolve the situation.
    Let us start with the air strikes. That is today's focus. Many experts, including military experts, have serious doubts about the value of air strikes. We know that the Islamic State has already adjusted to cope with these air strikes and has changed how it operates. The air strikes are therefore of limited value. They are also less useful in densely populated areas, which is the case in Mosul. Numerous experts are saying that it will not be long before this coalition runs out of viable targets.
    We should also be concerned about the consequences of the proposed air strikes. I mentioned that these regions are densely populated. This means there is a greater risk of civilian casualties. The United States has lowered its criteria for avoiding civilian casualties. We are wondering if Canada will do the same.
    Recruitment is another risk, and more than just a risk, I am afraid. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Islamic State armed group has recruited over 6,000 new recruits, so over 6,000 new fighters, since the American air strikes began last month. Rebel commanders opposing the Islamic State armed group continue to fight, particularly in Syria, but they are warning that air strikes are merely boosting support for the jihadists. Some small towns and villages have 20 new recruits a day, and this is being fueled largely by those air strikes.
    I would also like to read some comments made by a number of highly experienced individuals who are part of the Group of 78 and Project Ploughshares, a well-known organization. These individuals include people like Roy Culpeper and Peggy Mason, a former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations for disarmament.

  (1640)  

[English]

    They say they have serious reservations about the effectiveness of the bombing campaign and deep concerns about its negative consequences for innocent civilians, and that the “use of force is far more likely to fuel conflict and the extremism underpinning it, rather than defeat it”. If the intervention nonetheless proceeds as proposed, they demand full transparency by the government before, during and after the mission. They also say that the military mission may help reduce the atrocities committed by the IS in the short term but recent experience in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq itself suggests that in the longer term it may only make the situation worse.

[Translation]

    I think we should pay attention to comments like that before rushing blindly into something that could have more negative effects than positive ones.
    As I said at the outset, we need clear objectives. Lately, however, the Canadian government's objectives have changed almost every day.
    As some of the people I quoted said, we have to take a longer view. We need to start with diplomacy. Sunni Iraqi groups managed to contain the armed Islamic State group, known by that name and other names, for years. Eventually, they began to feel excluded and did not fight as hard against the extremist group. We have to bring them back to the table and offer them a political solution because this situation can only be resolved for the long term with the help of the people on the ground and in the region. We have to suffocate the extremists, not feed them. We have to stop them from recruiting in the region and elsewhere.
    It is also important to help investigate crimes against humanity. There has to be humanitarian aid on the ground too because there are desperate needs that are likely to get even worse in the months to come.
    Nearly 2 million people have been displaced internally. This includes families fleeing from very difficult circumstances, forced to travel in extreme heat, with temperatures often reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, living in camps, churches, tents or with host families. They need food, water, items for personal hygiene, blankets and shelter. There are over 200,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq right now who will have to move for a second, third or fourth time. Life for these displaced families is incredibly desperate. As I was saying, they take shelter in abandoned buildings, schools and churches, and they desperately need food, as well as medicine and medical care, because many are injured as a result of the violence around them. Helping them is absolutely crucial.
    I would like to take a moment to commend the work being done by the aid workers who are currently on the ground, especially the thousands of Iraqi and Syrian Red Crescent volunteers. They often put their own safety and their own lives at risk in order to do this work.
    Earlier I heard a member across the aisle say, if I understood correctly, that the army is needed to ensure the safety of aid workers. I am sorry, but humanitarian work is based on neutrality, impartiality and independence. The last thing that our aid workers want is to be accompanied by armed forces from any country, because that would destroy their credibility and prevent them from working on the ground. That is what they always say. We need to support aid workers, and especially people who are suffering on the ground.

  (1645)  

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    Before continuing with questions and comments, it is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, The Environment; the hon. member for Mount Royal, Justice.
    The hon. member for Edmonton Centre.

[English]

Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comments, even though I may not agree with them.
    I will go back to a question I asked her leader earlier today, and there was no answer.
     I do not disagree with any of the long-term things that we are talking about here, with reconciling the Sunnis and the Shias, eventually. Whether that will ever happen or not, who knows? Certainly, there are long-term things that we need to be looking at, but my concern is more for the short term.
    What is the NDP solution to stopping ISIS from beheading women and children tomorrow? What does it suggest that we do tomorrow, to stop the killing, so that we can get to some of those longer-term things?
Ms. Hélène Laverdière:  
    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, we need to start on those long-term things because what the government is proposing right now might not only not achieve its aim but make it worse.
    I think I heard a very strange expression here, which I am not sure is parliamentary, but anyway, doctors have a saying “do no harm”, and what people are very worried about is that what is being proposed will do harm. If my colleague across the aisle thinks that we come with some magic bullet to stop the killings tomorrow morning, I am afraid he is very mistaken. We just have to find the best way to answer this crisis.

[Translation]

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is prepared to make military contributions to this conflict in Iraq in a non-combat role. There are a number of other ways for us to contribute. I find the NDP amendment interesting. They mentioned the possibility of transporting weapons for a period of up to three months.
    Is that the only role involving our soldiers that the NDP is prepared to consider?

  (1650)  

Ms. Hélène Laverdière:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    I think that the United Nations established a very clear mandate to help. This help may be defined in different ways. It may involve helping the countries involved defend their borders and preventing extremist militants from leaving our respective countries to join in the abuses being committed in the region. That is essentially our guideline.
Mrs. Maria Mourani (Ahuntsic, Ind.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague to clarify one thing for me. I am not sure that I understood correctly, and she could perhaps even reassure me. Does the NDP consider the al-Nusra Front to be a terrorist organization? I did not quite understand what she said.
    In closing, what I find very frustrating about this situation is that with this whole humanitarian disaster, both in Syria and in Iraq, I have actual files in my riding concerning Canadian children currently in Syria. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is refusing to issue visas to some of the relatives, the mother, father and younger brother, who are not Canadians, to allow these families to come to Canada. That is a key issue in my riding. I have been trying to work with this minister for almost a year, and nothing has happened so far. The children are Canadian and are still in Syria.
Ms. Hélène Laverdière:  
    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I did not really mention the al-Nusra Front in my speech. I think that clearly shows the ambiguities we are dealing with. We are striking groups that are fighting against the Islamic State armed group and against the al-Assad regime as well. At the same time, it seems that the Canadian government is prepared to work with the al-Assad regime in order to fight the Islamic State armed group. There are many ambiguities and contradictions in this situation. That is definitely one of the concerns.
    With respect to visas for Canadian children in Syria who could return to Canada, I share my colleague's concerns. Unfortunately, Syrian refugees are not coming to Canada, and young Canadians are not getting their visas to enter the country. We know that there have been cuts at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Furthermore, I believe that the government has a very negative approach to this issue. That is truly deplorable.
Ms. Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, today's debate in the House is of the utmost importance, and I appreciate the opportunity to participate in it. I join my NDP colleagues in opposing the Conservative government's ill-conceived and ill-advised plan to deploy the Canadian Forces to a combat mission in Iraq.
    I would like to thank my colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie for her speech and for her very relevant remarks, which shed some much-needed light on the current situation in Iraq. What is more, given the member's extensive diplomatic experience, I think that the Conservative government would do well to listen to her words and consider them more carefully than it normally would.
    The motion that the Prime Minister moved in the House on Friday is disappointing, to say the least. However, when we look at how the Conservative government has been managing Canada's potential participation in a mission in Iraq, we should not be surprised that it presented such a disappointing motion that contains so little information.
    What is worse, the government has expressed its willingness to work with the al-Assad regime in Syria, should it ask Canada to drop bombs in that country. That goes way beyond what little discussion we have had in the House on this issue.
    All the members of the opposition have tried repeatedly to get details about the first 30-day mission to Iraq, which just ended. As of today, we are still pretty much in the dark. We have very little information about our troops' mission over there. I do not know how many soldiers we sent. Was it 26 or 69? The government has been keeping us in the dark. We still do not know what those soldiers actually accomplished on the ground. We do not have any idea of the cost associated with this first deployment. We are completely in the dark. Today, the Conservatives are engaging in the same sort of obscurantism.
    They show up in the House, move a motion and ask for members' opinions on that motion—or at least they seem to be asking our opinion. However, we are well aware that they have already made up their minds. There will not be very much consultation since we have only a few hours to debate the motion in the House. Then, we will have to vote on it either today or maybe tomorrow. Who knows?
    As parliamentarians, we do not really have the freedom to fully debate what Canada's participation in Iraq should be. No matter what party we belong to here in the House, we all agree that Canada has a role to play in helping the Iraqi people. We have the means to help them, whether we are talking about civilians or even the Iraqi military forces that are currently fighting against the Islamic State.
    The absolutely horrific acts of violence that the Islamic State has perpetrated have shocked the entire world. No one in the House can ignore this violence, regardless of our position on Canada's participation in Iraq.
    Despite these horrors, we cannot blindly engage in a potentially indefinite combat mission in Iraq, and maybe even in Syria. We know very little about how this mission could develop on the ground.
    Over the past few days I have listened closely to the Conservative government's attempts to justify Canada's participation in air strikes in Iraq, and today, I am still not convinced that this is how we should proceed.
    The government has not clearly and unequivocally demonstrated that air strikes will put an end to the horrific acts being perpetrated by the Islamic State. The government is not even able to answer basic questions from the opposition and cannot specify the objectives of an armed mission in Iraq. We still do not know what would be considered success and how we will measure progress.
    In six months, the government may decide to present this information to Parliament, since it has said that any military action by the Canadian Forces would be put to a vote in Parliament. I have my doubts.
    Since it has a majority, the Conservative government has not been open. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of reasons to doubt what the government is telling us.

  (1655)  

    At any rate, in six months, when it is time to consider extending the mission or shifting its objective, we will not even have the information we need to determine whether Canada met its objective. How will we be able to determine whether the Islamic State armed group is no longer capable of harm? Nothing has been defined thus far. There is nothing that would lead us to believe that the mission, as presented by the coalition and the government, will produce concrete results.
    Furthermore, if Canada is deemed to have participated sufficiently in the mission after a certain number of months or years, is there an exit plan so that Canada can pull out? We know that it was extremely difficult to pull out of Afghanistan, especially since we left the country in a more or less stable political position. We need to take that into consideration when considering armed intervention in countries such as Iraq and Syria.
    Beyond simply bombing rebel groups and, if necessary, working with dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people, does the government have a political solution that will bring about some measure of stability? The Conservatives' plan does not include any of those kinds of elements and, frankly, that is unfortunate.
    I mentioned the mission in Afghanistan, as did many others in the House. Unfortunately, there are many similarities between what is being presented today and what was presented at the time as a reconstruction mission in Afghanistan. That is quite worrisome.
    I represent the riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, which is home to the Valcartier military base. Many young men and women from the military base were deployed during the war in Afghanistan. Early in my mandate, I had the privilege of going to the airport to welcome them home.
    Many of them were my age or younger. They had proudly served their country. They were not prepared for the kind of combat and the horrible situations they encountered over there, so they returned scarred by unspeakable horrors. They had trouble telling combat soldiers from civilians.
    When they come back here, they have questions. Did they really achieve the objectives of the mission in Afghanistan? They are looking for help from their government, They come back with physical and mental injuries, but are left to their own devices. They are released before they can collect a pension. The government is unable to take care of the men and women it sends abroad to fight.
    In this case, the government is not even clearly defining the plan or the mission objectives for the soldiers that it wants to send abroad. How will those soldiers succeed? The government is once again asking our brave men and women to go serve abroad without even knowing whether the immediate plans will actually have a positive impact on the current situation in Iraq.
    My colleague from Laurier—Sainte-Marie mentioned that the bombings conducted by the coalition countries in Syria and Iraq over the past few months have had a negative impact, and have mainly led to higher recruitment for the Islamic State armed group.
    Meanwhile, the coalition has had difficulty determining which rebel groups it could collaborate with in Syria, if a military intervention is conducted there. There are a lot of unknowns on the ground, and we have not received any clarification in that regard either.
    In light of these arguments, I do not see how we can just rush into a mission involving air strikes without having any idea of how long the mission will last or the costs associated with it.
    We also need to keep in mind the care that we will have to provide to our men and women who participate in the mission. For now, we are talking about air strikes, but who knows what will happen one, two, three or four years down the road. The next government could ask to send in ground troops.

  (1700)  

    Today, we are being told no, but how can we trust this government? I am very proud to be a member of the NDP, which opposes this military action in Iraq.

[English]

Mr. Paul Calandra (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member might reiterate under what specific circumstances the NDP would approve of the military deployment.
     We know that in the United Nations, more often than not, any military deployments are subject to a veto by one of the five members of the Security Council, and that often happens. Could the member comment on that?
    Could the member explain how we would protect the people who are providing humanitarian assistance, especially in light of the fact that we want to move deeper into Iraq to protect and provide assistance to more people than we currently are? Could the member comment on how we would do that, especially in light of the grisly atrocities that we saw even just last week by this group?

[Translation]

Ms. Élaine Michaud:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I find it refreshing to hear him ask a serious and considered question and not to hear rhetoric alone. It is a nice change in the House.
    His question had a number of parts. I will try to answer as best I can. The UN resolution did not mention military intervention. The UN mainly wanted countries to try to prevent their citizens from joining the Islamic State armed group. It also wanted countries to focus on humanitarian aid.
    Before considering military action, the NDP would first like to focus on humanitarian aid, an area in which Canada has always had a great deal of expertise. We do not hear a lot about that from this government, even though that is what political representatives in Iraq have asked for.
    My colleague from Ottawa Centre had the opportunity to visit the area, and that is what people told him. They need help providing assistance to civilians and minorities who are suffering atrocities at the hands of the Islamic State. They want to have the means to defend themselves. They know how to fight on the ground, and that is the help they asked for. They never asked Canada to send troops to fight. That is not the kind of military action the NDP is considering.

  (1705)  

[English]

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member a very specific question related to the amendment the NDP has brought forward. One of my colleagues also posed this question for another member.
    The amendment is calling on the government:
...to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months....
    Can the hon. member tell the House to what degree she believes our Canadian Forces troops could actually be engaged? Is this an example of something, or does the NDP have other thoughts on that issue?

[Translation]

Ms. Élaine Michaud:  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
    The proposed amendment is a response to the requests made by the political representatives in Iraq whom my colleague from Ottawa Centre and others met with. For the time being, they are asking for the means to be able to fight themselves on the ground, as I mentioned earlier. That is the type of intervention we are currently looking at.
    That is what we are calling for to respond directly to the needs of the Iraqi people. If there are other requests from the Iraqi government, they can be considered in order to respond directly to their needs. We will have to deal with them when the time comes. It is hard to respond to a hypothetical situation. For the time being, we have responded to the requests made by the Iraqi government. We hope that the Canadian government will take action to ensure that the requested humanitarian assistance arrives as quickly as possible. We need to help the women and children who are suffering and the religious and ethnic minorities who have been displaced and are suffering atrocities at the hands of the Islamic State.

[English]

Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, at the outset I will say that I am sharing my time with the Minister of State for Democratic Reform.
    I am grateful to have the opportunity to rise today to contribute to this important debate. There is nothing more significant that a parliament can debate than whether to send its men and women into harm's way. In that deliberation, Parliament must act as a responsible body, worthy of our democracy.
    There is nothing more telling about the character of a country and a people than their willingness to go halfway around the world to protect people who cannot protect themselves. Those characteristics reflect courage and determination, but most of all a simple understanding of an undying commitment to humanity. Throughout its history, Canada has demonstrated that courage, determination, and commitment to humanity, and this is no time to stop.
    I want to spend a few minutes on why our participation in the multinational campaign against ISIS is the right thing to do and then spend a few minutes on why our contribution is appropriate.
    For the moment, considering the depravity that ISIS demonstrates daily with its savage beheadings of men, women, and children, its barbaric use of crucifixions, the systematic elimination of non-believers, and the enslavement of what remains, nations and people have been compelled to act notwithstanding their natural and deep-rooted reluctance to do so.
    Seeing pictures of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers being lined up, digging their own graves, and being systematically executed is painfully reminiscent of pictures of Jews being slaughtered and piled in mass graves by the Nazis. This is the Islamic State version of the final solution, and it publicly revels in and celebrates its savagery and barbarism. Despite our reticence based on a strong desire to wish the best, and the naïveté that attitude can engender, we have to be able to recognize evil for what it is.
    The roots of ISIS were spawned in Sunni suppression and its subsequent marginalization soon after the Iraq invasion. Gains realized after the extraordinary U.S. effort were squandered by an Iraqi government that reopened sectarian divides and further marginalized the Sunnis, resulting inter alia in an Iraqi army that could no longer fight.
    Syria has also been most problematic. Civil demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad became a rebellion and then a full-fledged civil war. International red lines proved to be nothing more than posturing, and opportunities were missed that might have resulted in a moderate opposition with western support. This potential was quickly overrun and divided by fundamentalists. Between these two powder kegs, the Islamic State was born.
    The words and actions of the Islamic State should provide sufficient motivation to act against it. It is expansionist and acting like a state, occupying territory and administering its own brutal form of justice. It has its own economy, based largely on black market oil.
    Despite its connection to the wider issues in the region, it has a life of its own. It has redrawn boundaries, committed well-documented atrocities, and threatened Canada directly. With many fighters coming from Europe, North America, and Australia, there is no reason to regard this as an idle threat. Several plots have already been apprehended in Europe and Australia.
    The ISIS army is disciplined in its own way. Its bloodlettings are organized as a matter of policy and are not just a lack of discipline. It patrols, fights, and moves in a fashion that indicates some level of coordinated training, and it has weapons that only a quasi-state could support. Degrading and ultimately defeating ISIS will take time and money and, unfortunately, blood.
    Rather than an argument to avoid going to war against ISIS, that is quite the opposite. It is an argument to fight it with all means possible and available and end it as decisively and quickly as possible, even if that requires land forces, boots on the ground, from regional coalition contributors. The quicker ISIS is degraded, if not destroyed, the better.
    Canada will be joining a large and growing coalition of dozens of traditional and new allies, all horrified at the extreme nature of ISIS actions. To simply bomb ISIS over the course of six months or more will not resolve the baseline issue of Sunni marginalization in Iraq and Syria; I think we all recognize that. In both Syria and Iraq, simply turning the page will not be enough, but for a lasting and positive outcome to be achieved, ISIS will have to be rapidly defeated.
    This is a more complex question than a simple choice between humanitarian aid and military action. Today, to be humanitarian often requires the military, which often must come first. It is simplistic to think that we can provide humanitarian aid and support, free from conflict, without the need of some force. The Kurds, Iraqis, and Syrians now struggling with the villainy of ISIS are welcoming the various militaries coming to their aid and are not contemptuous, as some hon. members seem to be.
    World affairs are complex and ambiguous, and there are no simple answers. Dealing with those daunting complexities in a mature and measured fashion is what we in Canada and countries around the world want from our leaders.
    Thankfully, we currently have that kind of leadership in our Prime Minister.

  (1710)  

    Now allow me to address what Canada is doing and what we are prepared to do.
    Our extensive humanitarian aid has been covered by others, and our CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules will continue to provide humanitarian airlift as necessary. I will focus on our military combat commitment.
    Canada will play its role alongside allies and partners from across the world in taking on a force that threatens to destabilize the international system. This is what a responsible global actor does.
    The third priority of our defence commitments is to project leadership abroad by contributing to international peace and security in support of Canadian interests and values. Canadians expect our military to respond and excel, and that is what it has done.
    Readiness is the degree of preparedness and responsiveness of our forces that allows us to deploy them with little notice in response to government direction. Readiness depends in large part on the skill, knowledge, and professional dedication of our men and women in uniform.
    The House is well aware of the bravery and many sacrifices made over the years by members of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
    The Canadian Armed Forces are equipped, trained, experienced, and ready to make important contributions to international peace and security, efforts such as those we are embarking upon in Iraq.
    What is being proposed is the kind of operation we ran successfully in the first Gulf War, in Kosovo, and in Libya, and for which we train annually in the multinational Maple Flag exercises in Cold Lake. I was personally involved in mounting the mission to the first Gulf War and in participating in and supervising Maple Flag over many years.
    While our combat commitment is being mounted by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the special operations forces of the Canadian Army will continue to supply training and mentoring support to the Iraqi Army. That is a task that our army was very successful at in helping to build the Afghan National Security Forces.
    The operation will be supported by approximately 600 aircrew, ground crew, maintenance support, logistics, and security personnel. What will be most visible, of course, are the six CF-18 fighters, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft, and one CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
    In case anyone needs to know, the CF-18 is 56 feet long, 40 feet wide, 15 feet tall, and weighs over 50,000 pounds.
    Contrary to the ill-informed and politically motivated comments by some opposition members, including leaders, the CF-18 is fully capable of carrying out the combat mission alongside our allies. The CF-18 will obviously supply combat power, along with a variety of fighter aircraft from our allies. The aircraft is capable of delivering a wide variety of ordnance, and the emphasis will be on precision to minimize collateral damage, as we did in Libya.
    The Auroras will conduct surveillance operations that will assist in targeting and tracking ISIS movements and activities. As others share with us, that intelligence will also be shared with our allies.
    The Polaris air refuellers will give the CF-18s longer legs when necessary and also provide air refuelling service to our allies.
    Missions will be planned based on intelligence shared with our allies. Steps will be taken during mission planning to ensure that everything we do complies with international law.
     Missions will be conducted with the consummate professionalism for which our military is known. There were many times in the Libya campaign when Canadian pilots exercised extreme caution in decisions to deliver weapons, thereby saving many innocent lives. On many missions they brought their weapons home because they were not 100% sure of what they were seeing.
    We will give the Canadian Armed Forces a mission, we will specify the parameters, we will give them the equipment, and then we will let them get on with the job. That does not mean that we will not be following the mission very closely, and it does not mean that we will not be supplying information to Canadians, but there are many things we will not do.
    We will not be running the mission from question period, and we will not allow the opposition to do that either.
    We will not get into a silly and irrelevant numbers game about identifying a precise number of people in any given location on any given day. It just does not matter.
    Other than the overall mandate of the mission to degrade ISIS, we will not discuss strategy and tactics. They are what we do, not what we talk about.
    We will not discuss rules of engagement. That is not public information.
    Will it be a perfect operation? No. Will we learn valuable lessons? Yes.
    Will any mistakes made, no matter how small, bring out all the Pollyannas who like to sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya and let someone else do the hard work? Yes, I am afraid that will happen. However, it is a mission we are doing. It is the right thing for a serious country like Canada to do.
    Are there any guarantees? No, but I can guarantee one thing: if we do nothing, ISIS will continue beheading men, women, and children. That is not good enough for me, it should not be good enough for anybody in this House, and it is not good enough for Canada.

  (1715)  

[Translation]

Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    There is probably only one thing in his speech that I agree with: that voting on sending Canadians to risk their lives abroad on behalf of our country is one of the most important decisions for parliamentarians to make.
    I have a more specific question for him about the concerns that some experts, not just members of House, have raised. Some people in the know are concerned that the bombing will not have the desired effect. Bombing is not the sole solution to all problems. It seems that every time members from the governing party stand up, bombing is provided as a solution, while many experts say that it is probably not the best solution. It would even be counterproductive.
    What does the member say to the concerns that simply bombing areas of Iraq will not have the desired effect?

[English]

Hon. Laurie Hawn:  
    Mr. Speaker, I never said that bombing is the only solution. We have never said that bombing is the only solution. We have said that we are practising a mix of humanitarian aid and kinetic military effort.
    The point I have raised a couple times in questions to the member's colleagues is that with regard to long-term solutions, I get that. We all get that. There are a lot of things we need to do and we should have started them already, but the immediate question is, how do we stop ISIS from beheading men, women, and children tomorrow? What can we do?
    We can be selective. We can be accurate. The kinds of weapons we are talking about are extremely accurate. We cannot sit back and do nothing.
    People are playing various roles. The 60 countries are all playing different roles. Some are playing more humanitarian roles. Some are playing more kinetic military roles. It is a package, and no one thing is going to be the silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. It is a combination of efforts, and as I said, there are no guarantees.
    However, I do know we have to do something to stop ISIS killing women and children tomorrow.

  (1720)  

Hon. Judy Sgro (York West, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, to my hon. colleague, I listened quite intently to the comments you made, and certainly you are as sincere as all the rest of us—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Barry Devolin):  
    I would like to remind the member and all others to please direct your comments to the Chair, rather than directly to your colleagues.
    The hon. member for York West.
Hon. Judy Sgro:  
    Mr. Speaker, I will try to do that.
    I believe we all share the same concern and interest here as to what Canada can do. Canada's ability to do a whole lot is restricted in different ways, but with this coalition of 60 partners, I wonder how much discussion took place with them on the best way for Canada to contribute. Is it with CF-18s and getting into combat, or could we be doing it in a variety of other ways? How much consultation was done with the 60 countries that are part of this movement to put us into war?
    My biggest concern is protecting and preventing some of the human casualties. What intentions does the government have to try to reduce the number of casualties?
Hon. Laurie Hawn:  
    Mr. Speaker, the member raises a number of valid points. I was not privy to discussions. It was obviously between the foreign affairs minister and his contemporaries.
    However, when she mentions whether we should be doing this or that, we are doing both. It is not that we are just doing one or the other. We are doing both and we will continue to do both.
    There are 60 countries, each doing their own thing. They bring whatever they can to the table. Some can bring more humanitarian aid; some can bring more military power; some can bring both. Canada is in a position to be able to bring both.
    What we intend to do with the folks who are involved in more of a combat area is, through intelligence, pinpoint concentrations of ISIS and go after those specifically. That intelligence comes in a lot of different ways. Whether from drones or from people on the ground, there are all kinds of ways of gathering intelligence.
    It is not going to be a perfect mission. Nothing is perfect. Any combat situation is extremely dynamic. We have to adjust to it every day, and we will look back on it to learn lessons. There is no question of that. We always do. We learn lessons every day. We learn lessons every day in this House. Sometimes we even pay attention to them.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of State (Democratic Reform), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, the principal purpose of government is to protect its citizens. It is the purpose that we must, above all else, serve in our response to ISIL. To guide our course, I believe we must answer the following questions. First, does terrorism threaten Canada? Second, does ISIL in the Middle East add to that threat? Third, if so, how do we counter the threat of ISIL?
    The first is the threat of terrorism in Canada.
     Since 9/11, we have a clear chronology of threats on our soil. April 2004, Sleiman El-Merhebi firebombed the library of United Talmud Torah's Montreal Jewish School. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
    In 2004, RCMP arrested Momin Khawaja and courts later convicted the born-and-raised Ottawa resident for financing terrorism and building a remote controlled device, dubbed a “Hi Fi Digimonster”, to trigger terrorist bombs.
    In 2006, police announced they had uncovered the Toronto 18 terrorist bomb plot, which also included a plan to assassinate the Prime Minister, kidnap MPs and blow up the Parliament Buildings. Eleven of the eighteen were convicted or pled guilty and the ringleader, Zakaria Amara, got a life sentence.
    Then there was Misbahuddin Ahmed, also from Ottawa, found guilty three months ago of facilitating terrorism, or his inspiration, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, who just received a 24-year sentence for plotting an attack within Canada and possessing the explosives with which to do it.
    In July 2013, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were charged for an alleged al Qaeda-inspired plan to use pressure cooker bombs at festivities in Victoria.
    To answer my first question, does terrorism threaten Canada? The answer is proven yes in roughly two dozen convictions by Canadian courts since 9/11, showing clear and present danger that terrorism presents to Canada.
    Yet some will ask, what does any of this have to do with ISIL? That brings me to the second question: does ISIL in the Middle East add to the terrorist threat against Canada?
    Ask Farah Mohamed Shirdon. He is a Calgarian, a recent student at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. This summer he appeared in an ISIL video from the Middle East where he now fights, saying “This is a message to Canada...we are coming and we will destroy you.” If Farah Mohamad Shirdon can commit terrorist atrocities with ISIL in Iraq or Syria, why could he not have done the same when he was a college student in Calgary?
    There is Salman Ashrafi, a privileged and prosperous business analyst also from Calgary, who helped murder 19 people in a suicide bombing in Iraq in November 2013. What would have stopped him from orchestrating the same suicide bombing at the Calgary Tower, or the Saddledome or Encana's skyrise building, The Bow? Does it sound far-fetched? Consider this excerpt from a recent National Post article:
    But in Calgary, [Ashrafi] had apparently fallen in with a circle of extremists who lived in the same apartment building above a small Islamic centre....According to an account posted online by one of the men, who now goes by Abu Dujana, they worshipped Anwar Awlaki, the pro-Al Qaeda propagandist whose videos urge Muslims in the West to either go abroad and fight or conduct terrorist attacks at home.
    Again, while they lived and operated in downtown Calgary, they worshipped a pro-al Qaeda propagandist who urged them to attack their home communities.
    They were not alone. Three months ago, the RCMP charged Hasibullah Yusufzai with travelling for the purpose of terrorism, alleging the B.C. resident had joined a terrorist group in Syria.

  (1725)  

    Then there is Ali Mohamed Dirie, the same terrorist who served two years for plotting to blow up this very building along with the Toronto Stock Exchange. He recently turned up again. He was fighting for al Qaeda in Syria. Thankfully, he was killed there. However, his life and story illustrate the overlap between Middle Eastern terrorism and terrorism based in Canada. This individual tried to attack here before going to fight there.
    CSIS indicates that roughly 130 Canadians have travelled to conflict zones, including Syria and Iraq. They are thought to be taking part in front-line combat, fundraising, operational planning and disseminating online propaganda. This phenomenon is not unique to Canada. There are an estimated 2,000 westerners who are fighting alongside these terrorists.
    I want Parliament to consider this question. If such terrorists walked freely on Canadian streets yesterday and are killing civilians as part of ISIL in Iraq today, what makes members think they will not execute the same atrocities in Canada tomorrow?
    Imagine the platform they will have if their dream of ISIL statehood is fulfilled. They are close already. They have seized control of an area as large as Belgium. They rule lands covering 40,000 kilometres and 8 million people from northwestern Syria to within an hour of Baghdad. Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, has fallen into the hands of these terrorists, as have Tikrit, Fallujah, Tal Afar and the main power base in Syria, Raqqa. The group reportedly has $2 billion in cash and assets, making it the wealthiest militant group on planet earth, according to the BBC.
    Within ISIL's territory, it is beginning to lay down the foundations of government and state, hence the name. The group has erased old borders and videotaped itself literally kicking down border fences between two different countries. It now has a court system, law enforcement, taxes, tolls, administrative buildings and street signs, all of which could eventually form the apparatus of a state.
    To answer the second question, does ISIL add to the terrorist threat against Canada? Undeniably. The risk to Canadian civilians multiplies exponentially with a new terror state intent on attacking us. Imagine the launch pad it would have from which to carry out these attacks.
    To my third and final question on how we counter this threat. Some say with humanitarian aid. Aid is worthy, and we are providing it. We will feed, clothe and treat the victims, but that will not stop the victimizer. Members of ISIL beheaded a taxi driver from London last week, precisely because he was an aid worker.
    We must remind ourselves that the root cause of terrorism is the terrorist himself. He, and he alone, has chosen his path. It is he and the evil within him that we fight. We know we must degrade and, where possible, destroy him before he destroys us. That means delivering critical military supplies to Kurdish Peshmerga forces, using CC-130 and CC-17 cargo planes to airlift military supplies, donated by countries like Albania and the Czech Republic. It means using special ops Canadian Armed Forces personnel in northern Iraq to advise and assist. It also means that Canadian CF-18s will join with President Obama's coalition to strike ISIL terrorists from the sky.
    It takes purpose and planning. What is our purpose? It is to protect Canadians from ISIL terrorists. What is our plan? To block them when they enter Canada, to lock them up when they are here, to strip their citizenship when we can and to join with our allies in order to attack them abroad before they can attack us here at home.

  (1730)  

[Translation]

Mr. Alain Giguère (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the speech by my distinguished colleague, but he failed to address a certain problem. To effectively combat a terrorist organization, we must occupy the land. An Iraqi army, 220,000 strong, in theory occupied the land. However, those 220,000 soldiers wasted no time in abandoning their weapons and taking off. Mosul was defended by 50,000 men. The city was abandoned after two days of combat against 15,000 terrorists.
    Do we have to do the fighting for them? As long as the local army refuses to defend its territory, we will have to keep coming back. That is the problem with this military intervention. It is military only and does not solve the local political problems that are preventing the Iraqi government from finding anyone to defend it.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre:  
    Mr. Speaker, clearly, if the Iraqi army had already successfully beaten the terrorists, we would not be having this discussion. A Canadian military contribution is needed precisely because the others have failed, that is clear. If Canada got involved only after the battle was already won, I cannot think of any past battles we would have participated in.
    The reality is that if we wait for the Islamic State group to become a real state, it will be 1,000 times harder to fight it. That is why we must join our allies now to combat this threat from the air and help our allies on the ground fight and win their own battle.

[English]

Ms. Joyce Murray (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the hon. member across the way, his detailed laying out the case for the dangers from ISIL and his view that a combat role is an appropriate way forward for Canada. What I want to explore in my question is whether he views that as being the only honourable way forward?
     The Minister of Foreign Affairs claims that anyone who is not accepting or supporting a combat role is sitting back and letting others do the heavy lifting, or is a free rider. It is very much a positioning of either people are for air strikes or they are losers. Germany, Italy and dozens of our allies are not accepting a combat role.
     The member for Edmonton Centre was very thoughtful in saying that this coalition of 60 states had the vast majority of members who were doing constructive military, non-military contributions, all of which were valid.
    Which does my colleague believe? Is it either/or, it has to be air strikes or one is a loser, as the foreign affairs minister claims, or does he subscribe to the idea that there are many contributions—

  (1735)  

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    The hon. Minister of State.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre:  
    Mr. Speaker, we are the only party in the House of Commons which does not believe that it has to be one to the exclusion of the others. I respect the position of the parties across the way, but their position is only humanitarian aid. Let us just consider that.
     What if every country in the world said only humanitarian aid? Think about that. What would happen if all the countries in the world said that there would be no combat, that we would simply arrive to present humanitarian aid to people without any protection whatsoever from the combatants that ISIL had put onto the field?
    Everyone here acknowledges that somebody has to do combat against ISIL. The position then becomes that somebody else should do it, but that Canada should not. The opposition members seem to acknowledge tacitly that ISIL presents a threat to Canada through the various linkages that have been demonstrated time and time again between this group and Canadian terrorists, but they say that we should not attack that threat, that as Canadians, we should allow someone else to do that difficult work in our place.
    We understand that our national security is also our own responsibility and that while we join with a broader coalition, we cannot simply sit on the sidelines and let others do it for us.
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I take very seriously the debate that we are having today just as New Democrats take very seriously the threat posed by ISIL. Most serious for all of us is the treatment of religious minorities in Iraq, the destruction of religious shrines, the forcing of non-Muslims from their homes, and mass killings in the most brutal way. None of us would deny that what is going on is reprehensible and should not be tolerated.
    Horrible as beheadings are, we have to take care that we do not let ISIL provoke us into taking rash action propelled by anger or revulsion. In fact, that may be the way they were designed.
    I should mention at this point that I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth.
    As I said, horrible as beheadings are, we have to make sure we are not actually doing what ISIL wants us to do by taking rash action in response. Our challenge here as parliamentarians is to figure out what the best response would be.
    No doubt the Canadian Forces are ready, able and willing to answer the call. I represent a riding with a large number of members of the military and retired military members. CFB Esquimalt is not likely to be directly involved in the next six months but as a Vancouver Island MP, I am quite aware that many of those from CFB Comox may end up taking part in this mission. All New Democrats wish them well when they do so. We have no doubt about their capabilities and their willingness to serve.
    We on this side of the House are not saying that we should do nothing. In many of the speeches we have heard from Conservatives and in their discussions, they seem to have forgotten the history of Canada as a very important humanitarian aid donor in the world. We also have a proud history of peacekeeping. It is not either war or humanitarian aid. There is some big area in the middle where Canada has always played a large role.
    I do want to acknowledge and thank the government for the $5 million in funding it announced earlier today to support investigating and prosecuting crimes involving sexual violence. It is one of the things that we had called for from the beginning and is part of the conditions for our support of the extension of the mission in Iraq.
    The government motion before us does not have that in it. It does not have a lot of other things in it. It is a vague motion on an ill-defined mission.
    I have heard members on the other side say that the NDP would never support a mission. Of course, that is factually incorrect. One of the most difficult votes that I cast when I came to Parliament was on the question of whether to extend the mission in Libya. In that mission we had clearly defined objectives. We had a timeline assigned for ending that mission. I felt able to support that because what we intended to accomplish and how we intended to do that was clear.
    We do not have that before us in this proposed mission in Iraq. What we have is a proposal for a six-month air strike mission. Some of our allies are participating in that, such as the UK, France and Australia. Many more are not. Germany, Norway, South Korea and New Zealand are some examples.
    We also do not have clear rules of engagement. I heard one of the members on the other side say that rules of engagement are not for public discussion, but that is odd, because the United States is having a very public discussion right now on the terms of engagement for the air strikes in Iraq. It is also having a serious discussion about apparently reducing the standard by which it judges those air strikes in terms of their impact on civilians. We have had no discussion of any of those kinds of impacts, which are sometimes called collateral damage but which really mean death and destruction for many of the people that we are supposedly trying to protect.
    We had a worrying precedent just in the last week in that the government said the initial non-combat mission would go on for 30 days and then it would be evaluated before we moved to some other mission. It is clear from the debate about who was there and when. It is not a question of numbers, as the hon. member for Edmonton Centre tried to imply. It is a question of when were people there and could we do an evaluation of their impact before deciding to go to another kind of mission. It seems clear to me that the government had already made up its mind when it started on this 30-day non-combat mission. It seems clear to me that it was going to extend into a further mission that involved combat.
    When we say we do not think we should do nothing, the question then becomes: what else should be done? The Minister of Foreign Affairs cited the United Nations Security Council resolution 2178, which does not do what the Minister of Foreign Affairs tried to imply. It does not in any way authorize the kind of military mission that the government is talking about.

  (1740)  

    It does have two very big demands in it. Resolution 2178 calls for the cutting off of recruits and funding for ISIL, so this would in fact help strangle the movement by denying it arms and supplies. The second thing it does, within that first part, is to cut off the flow of recruits. We have had a lot of talk, again from the last speaker on the Conservative side. We have had some 130 Canadians go abroad to join terrorism, and none of us think that is a good idea. I think all of us would agree that normal criminal prosecutions should take place for those people, should they return to Canada.
    I am pleased the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has announced he will be at the public safety committee on Wednesday to talk about this goal that was set in resolution 2178 of cutting off the flow of foreign fighters to terrorism abroad. However, I worry he will continue to talk about after-the-fact measures.
     The Conservatives like to talk about the fact that the government will revoke citizenship after individuals have joined in terrorism and caused destruction. If they come back, it will take away their citizenship. I have some questions about the fairness of that versus those who are dual nationals and those who are only Canadian-born. However, more than that, it is after the fact. It does not do what the UN resolution calls for. It does not cut off the flow of recruits to ISIL.
    I would like the minister to come to committee and talk to us about more proactive things, like suspending passports, subject of course to due process. However, if they are going to do that, it requires resources and the current government is the one that has systematically cut the resources to the CBSA, including cutting more than 100 intelligence officers at CBSA. The very people who might be expected to identify the people who want to go abroad and join terrorism are gone. They are laid off. We need that intelligence there. If they are going to cut the resources, I have my doubts about whether they can meet that goal of cutting off the supply of recruits.
    I also hope the minister will come and talk about even earlier interventions. One of the things we talked about on this side, and I know the hon. member for Ottawa Centre has talked about it, is that we need to have a politics of inclusion in this country so that people have lives that are worth living and are meaningful to them, which blunts the appeal of extremism. To do that, we need to work with the Muslim communities in this country. We saw an initiative in Winnipeg trying to work on this where apparently, after working a long time with the RCMP, somebody higher up decided that co-operation on this project between the RCMP and the local Muslim community was not a good idea. I am looking forward to our being able to talk to the minister about why we are not pursuing the demands that are being made in the Muslim community that we work together to prevent radicalization of Islamic youth in this country, and that we do it through a politics of inclusion.
    The second thing that resolution 2178 asks is for nations to address the refugee crisis in the region. The refugee crisis is a humanitarian crisis but to me it is also a recruiting crisis. Having hundreds of thousands of people who have lost everything provides fertile field for recruiting for Islamic extremism. One of the dangers of the use of air strikes is that we will inadvertently end up creating more recruits for the ISIL cause.
     We have more than three million people displaced in the region, with over one million of those who have gone across the border into Turkey. In the last week of September alone, more than 100,000 refugees went from Syria into Turkey. The most vulnerable among those may need resettlement. We have heard the Conservatives claiming that we are doing a great job on that, versus the actual figures on the ground where very few of those most vulnerable were resettled in Canada. Most do not want or need resettlement, but with winter coming to the region, they do need shelter, food and employment. They need a source of income. Canada has been very slow to meet that part of the goals of Security Council resolution 2178.
    I want to talk just for a minute on what the member for Edmonton Centre implied, which was that the NDP was full of peaceniks who like to sit in camp and sing Kumbaya. That is what he said. He was not talking about me, thanks very much. Certainly we have veterans in our caucus. We have a doctor who served in the first Iraq war, and I want to talk a bit about my own experience in conflict zones.
    In 1999, I was the co-chair of the largest human rights observer mission for the referendum in East Timor that led to independence. I was the author of a letter to the Secretary-General before that vote, calling for an international peacekeeping force to be sent to East Timor because we could see the amassing of militia forces who were in favour of staying with Indonesia and the very direct threats they were placing on voters, that they would kill people who voted for independence. The Timorese population very bravely voted for independence. However, the peacekeeping force did not arrive for a month and more than 1,500 people died and the infrastructure of the country was destroyed.

  (1745)  

    Eventually, it did arrive and it kept the peace for three years. This was of course a good thing. Therefore, there is another role there: peacekeeping.
    I also served in Afghanistan in 2002. We ended up with a very mixed mission there. I believe there was a very important mission of rebuilding that we initially started out on in Afghanistan, but it got mixed up with fighting terrorism again and it became very difficult to make progress on that rebuilding.
    Let me conclude with a quote from the UN Secretary-General, which I think says much about the direction we have to take. Ban Ki-moon said:
    Over the long term, the biggest threat to terrorists in not the power of missiles—it is the politics of inclusion....
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, we have heard various comments today in the House and it is immensely valuable that we are having this debate.
    However, does the member opposite really think that military action, including air strikes, should be withheld because they might generate more recruits for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Does he really think that by standing by, as the international community has been doing for two years, not taking military action and wishing it away, that we will somehow bring this terrorist menace to heel?
    We have seen this movie before. In Afghanistan, in the 1990s, when the international community did nothing, the result was 9/11. We have seen this film in Syria. The international community has done nothing. ISIL started there before gaining the footholds and the control that it now has over large tracts of Iraq.
    Could the hon. member please tell us how inaction would prevent ISIL from continuing to strengthen its hold over Iraq, and indeed the whole region?
Mr. Randall Garrison:  
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration was the ambassador in Afghanistan when I was there as an international human rights observer, so I have known him for a very long time.
    I would say he has, from my point of view, asked the question incorrectly. What we are saying about the motion in front of us—
    An hon. member: Answer the question.

  (1750)  

Mr. Randall Garrison:  
    Mr. Speaker, I will answer the question.
    What the minister has said, I believe, places the question kind of backwards to us. We have asked what the objectives are and what we are going to achieve. What is it we are going to accomplish through air strikes?
    We do not see what that is and they have not told us what that is. Therefore, we cannot support a motion that calls for air strikes at this point.
Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, this is really a bit of a spinoff on the question from the minister because this is what we have been facing all day. Speaker after speaker on the government side has said something along the lines of, “We can't simply sit on the sidelines.”
    That is not what, I know, the Liberal Party is saying and I am pretty sure, and my colleague can confirm or deny it, it is not what the NDP is saying.
    The minister's implication is that if we do not send these six CF-18s, there is no military action. Part of the problem, I would say to my colleague, in this debate, is that the Prime Minister has failed to brief the opposition leaders in terms of what the request made to us really was. Did the Americans or the coalition ask for CF-18s, which we know are considerably old, or would Canada, strategically placed in that coalition, be better to do other things?
    I ask my colleague to comment on that. As well, what is the government doing in terms of dealing with domestic terrorism as a result of these activities in this country? There is nothing in this motion. We will hear from the minister on Wednesday.
Mr. Randall Garrison:  
    Mr. Speaker, I have to say, at the beginning, I do not share the doubts about the capability of the Canadian Forces that the member and the leader of the third party quite often express in public. I know they are ready, willing and able to go. They will do their best on the part of this country.
    What we really need to do here is to address the question of what it is we expect them to accomplish. That is what is missing from the motion as it is presented to us.
    I have to also say that last week the Liberals were supporting some kind of mission in Iraq and this week they are opposing the mission in Iraq. Therefore, I think we see an equal lack of clarity from the third party as we see from the government.
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I have been listening all day and my Conservative colleagues keep heckling that we are going to go kill bad guys.
    I would like to ask my hon. colleague if the government has defined who the bad guys are. We understand now that Hezbollah, which the government says is a terrorist organization, is fighting ISIS. Muqtada al-Sadr has said that he is going to shake the ground. Is he now our friend? Is the Al-Battar Brigade, which is considered a terrorist group that is fighting ISIS, now our friend? Ankara has said that unless we attack Assad they are not coming in, and yet Assad is fighting ISIS.
    We have a bunch of Conservative backbenchers who are hell-bent to send bombers over, and tell us they are going to fight bad guys, when they have not defined who the good guys are and who we will be fighting alongside.
    What is it about this mission that the Conservatives have not thought through?
Mr. Randall Garrison:  
    Mr. Speaker, again, what we have before us is a lack of a clear objective.
    I do not expect the government to tell us on what day it is going to bomb what target, but I do expect it to tell us what it is going to accomplish with this mission and with these air strikes.
    I have not heard anything about what the government intends to accomplish through this strategy and these tactics.
     If we look at the United Nations resolution, it is very clear that the priority would be placed on stopping the flow of recruits and funds to ISIL, which we have done very little on, and providing humanitarian support for the three million refugees in the region.
Mr. Craig Scott (Toronto—Danforth, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be part of this debate. I would like to start by saying that from my perspective the question is whether or not Canada's involvement in the way proposed by the government, and the terms it has proposed, is necessary. If, from a Canadian point of view, it is not absolutely necessary, is it wise? That includes the broader question of whether we can contribute in other ways that are smarter or more effective than what is being proposed by the government. That is the overall framework that I would like us to think about.
    I would also like to start with a premise. The premise is that we are all on the same page about the barbaric nature of ISIS. It is important to remind everybody that there is a consensus in society, not just among Canadians and among the coalition, but also among Muslims and Muslim communities in this country.
     It is important that we all hear the statement made by the Canadian Council of Imams on August 22. I would like to have this as a starting point for the consensus that we all know there is a problem. It stated:
    The Canadian Council of Imams (CCI) today reiterates its past declarations condemning violent extremism.... With respect to...ISIS, we declare the following: ISIS has manifested some of the worst and barbaric human behaviour [...] They claim to establish a so-called “Islamic caliphate” but their abomination does exactly the opposite of what Islam calls upon believers to do, namely establish peace and justice and safeguard human rights. We categorically condemn the actions of this group and its monstrous crimes against humanity, absolutely and without equivocation.
    Since their advent, ISIS mercenaries have caused nothing but destruction and corruption and have violated core Islamic teachings and principles such as the sanctity of life and the importance of treating others with dignity and respect. [...] we call upon all Canadian Muslims to denounce this deliberate perversion of the Muslim faith and to dissociate themselves totally from such a despicable ideology and dangerous people who intentionally use the name of Islam in their ongoing campaign of distortion and destruction. [...] Canadian Muslim communities...wholeheartedly understand and believe that it is a religious and a civic duty to promote and support peaceful coexistence and multiculturalism and to condemn bigotry, hate and discrimination against any group, here and everywhere: that is essential to being both Muslim and Canadian.
    This starting point reminds us that we can all share this point of view, this horrible, almost primordial, reaction to the horrific nature of ISIS. However, it does not tell us whether or not a particular course of action makes sense, and it does not tell us whether behind the proposed course of action there is a workable strategy.
    The question of strategy is important. We know that at some levels what is going on in northern Iraq, and also with ISIS in Syria, but especially in Iraq, is part of the blowback effect from the invasion in 2003 in Iraq. It is not a new conflict in that sense, but the next phase of something that was started in 2003. It is the combined effect of the incredibly wrong-minded invasion.
     John Dower, who is probably the leading scholar in the world on what I would call defeat studies, how one moves from conflict to a peaceful reconstruction of a country, talks about the “strategic imbecility” of what went on in 2003. He talked about how the Americans went in with eyes wide shut, with no plan whatsoever. Despite all kinds of planning that was available, it was all ignored. Out of that emerged chaos, from which emerged an invigorated al Qaeda in Iraq, which eventually metastasized into a bunch of groups, including the current group.
    As such, we have to ask what good it would do for westerners, especially led by the U.S., to get involved again in the same way, when there is no sign whatsoever of any overarching understanding of the complexity of the situation on the ground and what kind of planning would solve the problems there in the medium or the long term.

  (1755)  

    I also think it is important that we realize that air strikes have a particular cachet and a particular downside. However much they are part of warfare—I am not naive about that—in the age that we live in, we have come to understand how civilian casualties are part and parcel of air strikes as a method of war, even more so when we know that the fighters being struck embed themselves close to or within civilian populations.
    This is in the context of us joining up with the Americans when they have just announced that the previously tightened rules on striking targets in the so-called war against terror have now been broadened again from a near certainty that civilians will not be harmed to the general laws of war, which, frankly, leave a lot of scope. This is at a time when commentators like Alan Dershowitz are calling on Obama to say the way in which Israel went about attacks in Gaza should become the norm for understanding how difficult it is to enforce a near certainty principle. He has actually said that Obama finally realizes how difficult it is.
    Whether one thinks that Israel was engaging lawfully or not in Gaza, the reality is that civilians get in the way. Why I am emphasizing that? I am emphasizing that because of the reaction. The question is, what good is going to come from very cynically manipulated facts and images coming out of ISIS and partners about the killing of civilians on the ground? It has already begun.
    As a colleague in my riding of Toronto—Danforth wrote to me,
     ISIS... are not sitting out in the desert with a target painted around them. ... [T]hey are embedded in towns and cities, in buildings full of civilians. The possibility of massive civilian casualties perpetrated by the “good guys” is unjustifiable. And fuels—
    —this is the point—
—further anger, an increased sense of the West v. Islam.
    I was also written to by another member of my constituency, who said:
    I am an Iraqi-born Canadian. My family left Iraq at the beginning of the Saddam era....
    I am extremely alarmed and saddened by what is happening in Iraq. However, I don't think Canada should play a role in combat intervention. The Americans and British put Iraq in an environment that nurtured such extremist groups....
    I would like to see Canada play a role but in more humanitarian and diplomatic ways. I would urge Canada in finding ways to stop groups/countries from financially supporting ISIL.
    I will get to that, because if we focus on the reality, it is not just the Americans who opened up the current situation. Frankly, it is Saudi Arabia as well. It is the birthplace and the continuing nurturing source for Wahhabism of a particularly virulent kind, which easily metastasizes into exactly the kinds of groups that we see, fuelled by financing and by a government and intelligence agencies turning their eyes from the millions and millions of dollars in support coming out of Saudi Arabia.
    Saudi Arabia has 1,000 combat aircraft. What if we were to say that if air strikes must be part of immediately saving lives, why should they be western airplanes? Saudi Arabia has 1,000 combat aircraft. Saudi Arabia is the heart of the Sunni Islam that is causing what is going on in northern Iraq and Syria. Surely a Sunni-on-Sunni dimension to this would be far more beneficial than a west versus a fictionalized version of Islam, in the minds of these monsters.
    The last thing I would like to say is that this is not the only crisis in the world. Canada has only so many resources and so much money. We know that massive help is needed in West Africa with respect to Ebola. Even the Americans are sending troops there because of that realization.
    We know, at least from the NDP perspective, that we should be involved in peacekeeping and state rebuilding, if it ever existed, in the Central African Republic, especially given our experience in Africa and our French language capacities. Not everyone needs to pile onto the same crisis. We have about 60 partners in this crisis. What can Canada do where capacity is desperately needed in other parts of the world? That would be a question I would ask.

  (1800)  

Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, this is indeed a very important debate we are having.
    I just read a news item from the BBC on the situation today in Kobane. Asya Abdullah, a female politician living there, said that the fighting is now on Kobane streets. It is happening now, and if they are not stopped now, there will be a massacre.
    We have debated a lot with the NDP over the years about humanitarian assistance being there, but at the current time, the important issue is that people are dying and massacres are taking place.
    Canada throughout history has always stood up when there has been oppression. We did in the First World War, Second World War, in Afghanistan, and in Kosovo. Today the world is calling again for Canada to come.
     It is beyond my understanding at this given time that we cannot agree to help these people who are facing massacre. That is the issue, and forget about humanitarian grounds.

  (1805)  

Mr. Craig Scott:  
    Mr. Speaker, “the world is calling”. Well, the world is being organized to call. We have to keep in mind what the dynamics of this are. This is an American-led coalition in which we ultimately will not have tactical control over our involvement.
    Keep in mind that when my colleagues were visiting, Iraq and the Kurdish authorities asked for a completely different kind of involvement by Canada.
    Nobody here has seen Iraq's formal invitation, and probably never will in terms of what the letter of invitation said. We have not seen the American one either, and may never. The whole question of that invitation having been put forward came only because the Americans have decided that the whole coalition has to be organized in this way.
    The question then becomes: why should Canada be lining itself up to be the dog that is being wagged by the tail of another dog? That is almost the way it is.
    I have already said that if you believe that air strikes are the particular thing that is necessary, then why do you think it is smart for either American or Canadian planes to be delivering the bombs? Why do you think that is a wise thing, given the history?
    This is not some petty schoolyard idea that we have to do it because others are doing it, and otherwise we are not holding up our end. It is what makes sense—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    Order. I would mention to hon. members that it is good to direct their comments and speech to the Chair, and that sometimes prevents this kind of cross-the-aisle conversations.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Winnipeg North.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Winnipeg North, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, late last week we got a better sense of what Canada's expectations will be from the Prime Minister. The leader of the Liberal Party was able to respond shortly after the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday. Today we have an amendment brought forward by the New Democrats. I would ask my colleague from the NDP if he could provide some comment. I will quote from the amendment:
a. call on the Government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months;
    I was a bit surprised when I saw the amendment from the New Democratic Party. Would the NDP oppose any form of non-combat advisory role for the military going forward?
Mr. Craig Scott:  
    Mr. Speaker, I believe members will remember that, during the 30-day period of the initial deployment, our concern was lack of information and lack of forthcoming answers. We never once said that the advising role of special forces was somehow itself a problem. It was not something we could endorse with a complete lack of information. The member should keep that in mind.
    The other thing is, when it says “including military support through the channelling of weapons,” I personally believe that, once we start helping in a humanitarian operation, we are implicated on the ground. My colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, has said that we are implicated on the ground further and further into areas that are closer to ISIS and we may well have to make a choice about how we protect the people we help in a humanitarian fashion. That is another example I would give, apart from helping with weapons.

  (1810)  

Business of the House

Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I think as everyone in the House knows, it was the intention of the government to have a debate and a vote on this matter today. However, it is apparent right now that it will not happen. As a result, I would like to provide the following brief statement about the business of the House for the balance of the week.
    The fourth allotted day, which was originally set for tomorrow, will now be on Thursday, October 9. Wednesday will see us debate Bill C-40, the Rouge national urban park act, at second reading. Friday will be the last day of third reading of Bill C-13, protecting Canadians from online crime act.
    Tomorrow we will resume debate on the government's resolution on taking appropriate action against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

Military Contribution Against ISIL

Notice of Closure Motion  

[S. O. 57]
Hon. Peter Van Loan (Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I give notice, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that a minister of the crown will propose at the next sitting, in respect of government Motion No. 13, that the debate not be further adjourned.

Gouvernment Business No. 13  

[Government Orders]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion, and of the amendment.
Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, what an honour it is to be here for this debate. I will be sharing my time with the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
    Let me begin by observing that I doubt there are any of us on this side of the House, pilots, business people, former police officers, who relish the prospect of passing this resolution with its provisions for air strikes and for sending the Royal Canadian Air Force back into combat. This is something that every government does reluctantly, only after considering every possible option and excluding more peaceful courses of action.
    We on this side of the House understand that Iraq itself has seen far too much bloodshed. It was the scene of countless conflicts over centuries when it was the buffer zone between the Ottoman and Safavid empires. Just in the past hundred years, since Ottoman sovereignty ended, we can think of the fighting there during two World Wars. We can think of the bloody coups under Iraq's kings. We can think of the depredations of Baathist dictators, then the Iran-Iraq war. It was one of the forgotten but most destructive conflicts of the late Cold War period of the 1980s.
    In fact, Canada's first combat mission after Korea was to this very region. It was the Gulf War in 1990-91 at the tail end of that terrible conflict that brought Iran and Iraq so many casualties and deaths. We fought then, as we are proposing to do now, with coalition allies to release a country from the murderous grip of a dictator. In that case it was Saddam Hussein.

[Translation]

    In 2003, our country did not take part in the American invasion that led to the insurgency that continues in Iraq to this day. Iran's influence has expanded into Iraq over the past decade. Al Qaeda's deadly poison has spread from Pakistan to Iraq. Now we have the Taliban in Pakistan who have just officially joined forces with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Now we face a new threat, specifically violent terrorist networks determined to spread and disseminate their hatred within our societies.

[English]

    In contrast to the views of the previous speaker, the member for Toronto—Danforth, this is not, and should not be described by anyone in the House as, a fight of west against east. This is a fight of humanity over darkness, of Arab countries against terrorists that threaten their very existence, and of all civilized people against those who would deny the very foundations of civilization.

  (1815)  

[Translation]

    I believe that our Prime Minister expressed the general sentiment of our fellow Canadians last Friday in the House when he said, “...our country, and its allies, share the obligation and the burden that is incumbent on all free peoples: that of rising up against global threats...”.

[English]

    This government's response to genocide and brutality has always been clear. It has always been a response of principle, and in this case, it began long before ISIL had raised its black flag. In 2009, Canada began one of the largest and most effective resettlement programs in our history, and on a per capita basis, the largest resettlement program for Iraqi refugees in the world today. Many had been out of Iraq since 2003. Others had sought refuge in Syria, only to find that country's peace shattered by a civil war after 2011. All had seen murderous factionalism at first hand. They witnessed the hunting down of minorities, the rape of girls, and the horror of blood-soaked revenge.
    They have also witnessed a practice that horrifies Muslims in Canada as much as it does the citizens of peaceful law-abiding Arab states in the Persian Gulf, which is the killing of non-believers on the basis of a decree by maniacs who call themselves the leaders of this organization.
    When that type of genocidal butchery has taken place, whether in central Europe in the late 1930s and early 1940s, or in central Africa and the Great Lakes Region in the 1990s, Canada has always responded to that darkness with light. It has responded to that horror with its best effort to bring hope to those who have otherwise faced death.
    Those who have been resettled in Canada and other countries are a small fraction of the millions who are internally displaced, or those who fled Iraq as refugees to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt. They are Armenians, Kurds, Shia professionals from Karbala, Sunni tribesmen from Nineveh, Mandaeans, Yazidis, Chaldean Catholics, Syriac Orthodox. They make up an ancient diversity that is on the verge of obliteration by a modern wrecking ball.
    Canada has resettled nearly 19,000 Iraqi refugees since 2009. Our goal is 20,000, with 5,000 more Iranians and Iraqis still to come from Turkey. Only the U.S. has had a larger program in absolute numbers. No country has been more generous or strategic in seeking to protect Iraq's vulnerable minorities. We on this side would like to pay particular tribute to the private sponsors all across the country, without whom such a program could never have been possible.
    Moreover, there is no zero-sum choice to be made between Canada's humanitarian imperatives and its military duty. On this side, we choose to open our doors to the persecuted while striking to eliminate factories of violence in Mosul, Ramadi, and elsewhere. We choose both the ambulance and the firefighters because we know this is the only way to help the millions who have been affected and threatened by this conflict.
    How could we in good conscience do otherwise? How could we take in 20,000, yet ignore the plight of millions who face a fate potentially worse than the nearly 200,000 Syrians who have died since 2011?
    In fact, military action to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces on the ground is the only contribution with the prospect of curbing this killing spree. The best thing we can do for refugees is to take action with our allies, to take action with the professionalism of the Royal Canadian Air Force to stop the depredation of ISIL in Iraq and to stop the killing.
    Why are we here today? How did we get to a place where air strikes and military advisers were needed to stop ISIL? The answer is simple. It is because of neglect and inaction. It is because of the neglect that Vladimir Putin championed when he did his chemical weapons deal in Syria. It is because of the sense of abandonment that Iraqi forces and awakening councils endured when their funding was cut by foreign partners only a short time ago. As U.S. leaders, including Hillary Clinton, acknowledged, it was the neglect of Afghanistan after 1989 that ushered in civil war, the Taliban, and then al Qaeda.
    We are now in a race to ensure that the neglect of Iraq and Syria's civil wars do not result in any disaster comparable to or, God forbid, greater than 9/11.
    It has never been the habit of governments in this country, when air power was needed to stop these threats to international peace and security, to take these options off of the table. It is an urgent question for this side of the House as to how the Liberal Party of Canada, which sent the Royal Canadian Air Force to Kosovo without a UN resolution, sent so many of our troops to Afghanistan in 2002-03, and endorsed our military mission in Libya, is now saying, when an even greater threat has emerged, that all of these options are off the table.

  (1820)  

    The Liberal Party is saying that combat is something Canada does not do, that we are the ones who stand on the sidelines when our allies have decided to act under the leadership of a U.S. president, in this case President Obama.
    We do not recognize the Liberal Party of Canada today in their position. We understand the NDP's pacifism, its unwillingness to take military action. That perhaps has something to do with the fact that the NDP has never been in government.
    There is a threat today to Iraq and to the Middle East. There is a direct threat to Canada and Canadians through the menace of ISIL through the menace of terrorism, which unfortunately remains international, with its bases in many places.
    We on this side of the House are determined to be generous to those in need, to--
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP):  
    Mr. Speaker, I want to start off yet again by underlining the commitment the government made but did not fulfill with respect to Syrian refugees. Day in, day out, that minister gets up and says that the government has settled 1,500 refugees, when he knows it has not. Only 200 have arrived here. He knows that we should be opening the door to more instead of pretending what he claims they have done. It is uncharacteristic of our country and it is unbecoming of a minister to keep pushing that talking point.
    We have heard a lot of interesting comments on that side. The one thing we were asked to do was support humanitarian assistance. I have in my hand the actual plan from the UN, and the minister will be familiar with it. The UN is asking for $360 million by November to help 390,000 vulnerable IDPs. They have already escaped. We in the NDP are saying that the noble thing to do would be to help protect people and get behind this plan instead of these ill-conceived air strikes. We do not know when the air strikes will start, and the government certainly does not know. We do not know where these planes will be situated.
    Why not get behind a plan that would save lives right now?
Hon. Chris Alexander:  
    Mr. Speaker, we are standing four-square behind a plan that would not only see internally displaced people being helped but that would help ensure by military means that they are not killed. That is not the issue. We will not protect the internally displaced in most parts of Iraq from ISIL's violence with tents and clean water and good wishes. ISIL has shown its willingness to cut minorities down, to kill indiscriminately those who are not in agreement with them, and to eliminate ethnic and religious minorities from the territory of that country. That is why military action is required.
    Let us not distort the facts. Fifteen hundred--
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Westmount--Ville-Marie.

  (1825)  

Mr. Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to the minister talk about how he is mystified about what the Liberals have done and how the Conservatives have always been ready to jump in feet first to help wherever needed in the world. Does the minister regret the fact that Canada did not go into Iraq in 2003? It seems to fit into what his government would have thought at the time. That is a rhetorical question.
    This is my real question. The minister talked at length about the horror of ISIL and the darkness that has descended on the land. I agree with him. Everyone does. He spoke of the absolute need to help, and we agree with that. Does this mean that the Conservative Party is going to stay in a combat role for as long as it takes to defeat ISIL and until the light comes back to the land?
Hon. Chris Alexander:  
    Mr. Speaker, we all heard the Prime Minister say that we are going to stay there until ISIL's capacity to deliver this murderous agenda in Iraq and potentially beyond is degraded. If we can manage with our NATO and non-NATO allies, we will see that capacity utterly destroyed and removed.
    This is not 2003. All of us on this side are absolutely prepared to acknowledge that Iraq in 2003 was not a headquarters for terrorist networks. This is a new phenomenon, and it needs to be addressed today.
    Where is the Liberal Party, the Liberal Party that took us into the Second World War, the Liberal Party that sent the Royal Canadian Air Force to Kosovo without a UN resolution, the Liberal Party that joined us in Libya, and the Liberal Party that sent us on the longest mission in our history, the combat mission in Afghanistan? Instead what we hear from the Liberal leader is a reference to the Royal Canadian Air Force that is purely anatomical.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    Resuming debate, the hon. Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
    I will let the hon. minister know there are about three minutes remaining in the time for government orders today, but she can get started and the remaining time will be available when the House next resumes debate on the question.
Hon. Michelle Rempel (Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification), CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, is there a clear case to be made for Canada's role in seeking to contain the expansion of ISIL?
     I have not known persecution or war, and as a Canadian of recent generation I have only known tolerance of diversity, freedom of discourse and the promise of opportunity. When we look within our borders, we seek to enshrine these principles in our policy. We strive to root out barriers to economic prosperity, to freedom of speech and to safety of person and to equality. Regardless of political stripe in Canada, we seek to better the human condition within our borders because we know that our prosperity and evolution as a nation hinge on our capacity to enshrine our nation's collective sense of humanity in our foundational policy and thinking; indeed, within its culture.
    My generation is so fortunate because as a nation we have stood against, in combat, forces that espouse the antithesis of these principles and have sought to impose their way of thinking on the world. In this context, the motion in front of us seizes us with a direct request from the democratically elected Government of Iraq to assist in containing a terrorist group operating within Iraq's border that has lost its humanity, and to assist in the provision of vital humanitarian aid.
     This is urgent. With every passing day ISIL operates in the open, spreading the cancer of its barbarism in taking new territory. It is bent on establishing a state that would be governed by perverse beliefs that treat women and people of religious minorities as subhuman. With every town it takes, with every new base it establishes, it attracts more finances to its cause and seduces disaffected individuals to its territory with the siren call of a warped caliphate born out of beheadings and of rape.
    Our allies have recognized the threat that this terrorist group poses not only to the people of the nations affected by its current advance, but to our democracies. In a threat delivered via social media, ISIL asked supporters:
    O muwahhidin in Europe, America, Australia, and Canada.... O patrons of Islamic State.... O you who consider yourselves from amongst its soldiers and patrons....
    If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, “May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and...(ruler ruling by manmade laws)...survives.”

  (1830)  

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    The hon. Minister of State will have seven minutes remaining for the time for her comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.

[Translation]

Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

    The House resumed from October 3 consideration of the motion that Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
    It being 6:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-36.
    Call in the members.

  (1855)  

[English]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 249)

YEAS

Members

Ablonczy
Adams
Adler
Aglukkaq
Albas
Albrecht
Alexander
Allen (Tobique—Mactaquac)
Allison
Ambler
Ambrose
Anders
Anderson
Armstrong
Aspin
Baird
Barlow
Bateman
Benoit
Bergen
Bernier
Bezan
Blaney
Block
Boughen
Braid
Breitkreuz
Brown (Leeds—Grenville)
Brown (Newmarket—Aurora)
Brown (Barrie)
Bruinooge
Butt
Calandra
Calkins
Cannan
Carmichael
Carrie
Chisu
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Crockatt
Daniel
Davidson
Dechert
Del Mastro
Devolin
Dreeshen
Duncan (Vancouver Island North)
Dykstra
Falk
Fantino
Fast
Findlay (Delta—Richmond East)
Finley (Haldimand—Norfolk)
Fletcher
Galipeau
Gallant
Gill
Glover
Goguen
Goldring
Goodyear
Gosal
Gourde
Grewal
Harper
Harris (Cariboo—Prince George)
Hawn
Hayes
Hillyer
Hoback
Holder
James
Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)
Keddy (South Shore—St. Margaret's)
Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
Kent
Kerr
Komarnicki
Kramp (Prince Edward—Hastings)
Lake
Lauzon
Lebel
Leef
Leitch
Lemieux
Leung
Lizon
Lobb
Lukiwski
Lunney
MacKay (Central Nova)
MacKenzie
Maguire
Mayes
McColeman
McLeod
Menegakis
Miller
Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam)
Moore (Fundy Royal)
Mourani
Nicholson
Norlock
Obhrai
O'Connor
Oliver
O'Neill Gordon
Opitz
O'Toole
Paradis
Payne
Poilievre
Raitt
Rajotte
Rempel
Richards
Rickford
Ritz
Schellenberger
Shea
Shipley
Shory
Smith
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Storseth
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Toet
Trost
Trottier
Truppe
Uppal
Valcourt
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vellacott
Wallace
Warawa
Warkentin
Watson
Weston (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country)
Weston (Saint John)
Wilks
Williamson
Wong
Woodworth
Yelich
Young (Oakville)
Young (Vancouver South)
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 156

NAYS

Members

Allen (Welland)
Andrews
Angus
Ashton
Atamanenko
Aubin
Ayala
Bellavance
Bennett
Benskin
Bevington
Blanchette
Boivin
Borg
Boutin-Sweet
Brahmi
Brison
Brosseau
Byrne
Caron
Casey
Cash
Chan
Chicoine
Chisholm
Choquette
Christopherson
Cleary
Côté
Cotler
Crowder
Cullen
Cuzner
Davies (Vancouver Kingsway)
Davies (Vancouver East)
Day
Dewar
Dionne Labelle
Doré Lefebvre
Dubé
Dubourg
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton—Strathcona)
Dusseault
Easter
Eyking
Foote
Fortin
Freeland
Freeman
Fry
Garneau
Garrison
Giguère
Godin
Goodale
Gravelle
Groguhé
Harris (Scarborough Southwest)
Harris (St. John's East)
Hsu
Hughes
Hyer
Jacob
Jones
Julian
Kellway
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Larose
Latendresse
Laverdière
LeBlanc (Beauséjour)
Leslie
Liu
Mai
Marston
Martin
Masse
Mathyssen
May
McCallum
McGuinty
McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
Michaud
Moore (Abitibi—Témiscamingue)
Morin (Chicoutimi—Le Fjord)
Morin (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine)
Morin (Laurentides—Labelle)
Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot)
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nicholls
Nunez-Melo
Pacetti
Papillon
Perreault
Plamondon
Rankin
Rathgeber
Ravignat
Raynault
Regan
Rousseau
Saganash
Sandhu
Scarpaleggia
Scott
Sellah
Sgro
Simms (Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor)
Sims (Newton—North Delta)
Sitsabaiesan
St-Denis
Stewart
Sullivan
Thibeault
Toone
Tremblay
Trudeau
Turmel
Valeriote
Vaughan

Total: -- 124

PAIRED

Nil

The Speaker:  
    I declare the motion carried.

     (Bill read the third time and passed)


ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS

[Adjournment Proceedings]
    A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

[English]

The Environment  

Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, GP):  
    Mr. Speaker, in May I asked the government if it would finally consider taking real action on climate change and implement a carbon fee and dividend system. In typical Conservative fashion, I did not get a real answer. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment had the gall to claim the Conservative non-approach is actually working.
    The parliamentary secretary referenced his favourite non-truth, which is that carbon emissions have declined thanks to Conservative “action”. The facts do not bear out that claim. While emissions did drop in 2009, the decrease had nothing to do with the Conservatives, unless they wish to take credit for the global financial crisis.
    Since 2009, owing to Conservative inaction and non-action, Canada's carbon emissions have been and are steadily rising. Our emissions will continue to rise without some kind of plan to address them. Without new measures by the government, we will not hit even the Conservatives' watered-down emission targets.
    According to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, an important advisory group that was terminated by the Conservatives at the height of their anti-environment fervour in 2012, without real action climate change will cost Canada at least $5 billion each year just a few years from now and up to a whopping $43 billion each year by 2050. While the Conservatives pad the pockets of their big oil friends with billion-dollar subsidies, it is Canadians who will be paying the real price, and that is not just future generations: we are seeing those costs now.
    How do we get out of this mess? One would think with such an obvious problem and such glaring inaction by the government that the solution must be really complicated, but it is not. The Conservatives are ignoring a very simple solution: we just need to put a price on carbon.
    Canadians are smart people—much smarter than the government, it seems. They see the growing costs of doing nothing, the billions of dollars that their children will be forced to pay, and they are ready to make an investment. Canadians are telling pollsters and politicians that they are ready to pay a little bit now to avoid paying much more down the line, but the government continues to ignore them.
    The Conservatives are not just ignoring Canadians; they are ignoring the experts also. Carbon pricing has been endorsed by scientists and economists alike. Agenda-setting finance organizations such as the IMF and The Economist support a price on carbon. So do Shell Oil and BP. Why would they not? Carbon pricing has been very successful in other jurisdictions: in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and even B.C.
    Here in Canada, a price on carbon has actually coincided with economic growth in B.C. Since its introduction, emissions there have declined 10%, and B.C. has outpaced Canada's GDP growth over the same timeframe.
    Carbon fee and dividend is a no-brainer. It is 100% revenue neutral, and not a penny would go to government. Though the price of carbon-intensive products will rise as companies pass the costs down, every dollar will be paid in a dividend cheque to Canadians on an equal, per capita basis.
    No Canadian would be taxed under carbon fee and dividend, and those who choose to turn to more environmentally friendly products or to reduce their consumption will actually make money. It can provide a guaranteed annual income to every Canadian, so the NDP should like it.
    Carbon fee and dividend reduces our carbon emissions and pays dividends to each and every Canadian, so why will the Conservatives not consider it? It might even get them re-elected.

  (1900)  

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to tell the House that we have taken action. The facts are there. It is estimated that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 will be 128 megatonnes less than they would have been without action since 2005. That is a fact.
     Moreover, Canada's per capita emissions are also at their lowest point since tracking began in 1990. That is a fact.
     In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our government is implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach. It is working. We have already put in place regulations for the transportation sector and the electricity generating sectors.
    In the transportation sector, with these regulations it is projected that the 2025 model year light-duty vehicles will consume up to 50% less fuel and produce about 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than 2008 vehicles. That is a fact.
    Regulations for heavy-duty vehicles and engines will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the 2018 model year by up to 23% compared to vehicles manufactured prior to the regulatory period. That is a fact.
     In the electricity generation sector, Canada already has one of the cleanest systems in the world, with over three-quarters of our electricity supply emitting no greenhouse gases. By introducing a tough new regulatory performance standard for coal-fired electricity generation, Canada became the first major coal user to ban construction of traditional coal-fired electricity generation units. That is a fact.
    Moreover, we have also announced our government's intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a group of greenhouse gases which can have warming potentials that are up to 1,000 to 3,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Canada will be aligning with regulations recently proposed by the United States and taking preemptive action to reduce and limit harmful HFC emissions before they increase. That is a fact.
    Our government's regulatory approach is further enhanced by complementary measures that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term. These measures include significant investments of over $10 billion in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, the development of clean energy technologies, and the production of cleaner energy and fossil fuels. That is a fact.
    Moving forward, the Government of Canada will continue to look for opportunities to take action in a manner that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining job creation and economic growth. We will do that without the job-killing carbon tax that the opposition seems to be obsessed with implementing, which would raise the price of everything from groceries to anything to do with home heating or gasoline. That is something that Canadians do not want.
    We will make sure that we decrease greenhouse gases while growing the economy.

  (1905)  

Mr. Bruce Hyer:  
    Mr. Speaker, it is true that the Conservatives are copycatting U.S.A. emissions standards, but while it will hit its Copenhagen targets, we are not even going to come close.
    The Conservatives are throwing their alleged Conservative principles out the window in rejecting this simple solution. Carbon fee and dividend is not a tax. It will not cost jobs. It is market-driven and fair. The government would give back every dollar to Canadians, and no new bureaucracy is needed, unlike the NDP's cap and trade scheme. It is right up the alley of the Conservatives.
    Through quarterly dividend cheques to every Canadian, carbon fee and dividend will reduce poverty on a national scale and will reduce our emissions at the same time. The NDP should adopt it.
    It is time for the Liberals to stop waffling and pick a price on carbon. Carbon fee and dividend is the best and most moderate system, and I hope the Liberals will consider it.
    For all these reasons, the Green Party is totally supportive of carbon fee and dividend. It would enable us to steadily and progressively reduce our emissions without hurting our economy. It will help Canada to become a leader in green technology.
    To reiterate, it might just get the government re-elected in next year's election campaign.
Mr. Colin Carrie:  
    Mr. Speaker, beyond efforts to reduce emissions, our government is also taking steps to help Canadians adapt to a changing climate. Since 2006, we have invested $235 million in domestic adaptation initiatives in priority areas, such as human health, communities, and the economy. These initiatives aim to improve our understanding of climate change and to help Canadians plan for climate impacts, notably, in Canada's north.
    My colleague brought up the Liberals, so I cannot help myself, I am going to comment. The Liberals, if members remember, signed on to something called the Kyoto accord. They signed on to this agreement with absolutely no plan to bring down any emissions. Under their watch, we saw greenhouse gases go up almost 130 megatonnes.
    Our approach is working. We are seeing, for the first time ever, a decoupling of economic growth and greenhouse gases. This is historic. This is something that everyone in the House should be onboard with. Greenhouse gases have decreased, since 2006, 5.1%. We have seen our economy grow 10.6%.
    This is working. This is something we all can be proud of, and I hope that everyone in the House really focuses on doing the best we can so that the economy continues to grow while greenhouse gases decrease.

[Translation]

Justice 

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.):  
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question that I asked on June 18 about the process to replace the hon. Justice Louis LeBel, who will be retiring on November 30.

[English]

    At the time, the justice minister responded that “there has been no process undertaken to date”, but he encouraged me to “look forward to the future with optimism”. I therefore anticipated that the government would use the ensuing summer months to begin consultations and get the process under way, if not completed. As such, it was particularly alarming to learn upon our return to Parliament in September by way of an order paper question that, in the words of the minister, the Supreme Court appointment process is “still under reconsideration”, and that it remains to be determined how the government will proceed.
    Today is an especially appropriate day to be raising these issues because today the hon. Justice Clément Gascon took his seat on the Supreme Court. I have a great deal of respect for Justice Gascon, but the process by which he was chosen, following the Nadon fiasco, was a clear regression to a closed, unaccountable, unrepresentative process without an advisory selection panel, without any parliamentary involvement, and without any public participation.
    In fact, since the Conservatives took over in 2006, the government has been watering down the appointment process that I was proud to initiate as minister of justice in 2004. That process, which led to the appointments of the hon. Justices Rosalie Abella and Louise Charron, included, for the first time, a public protocol setting forth the people to be consulted and an inclusive advisory panel composed of MPs, distinguished members of the legal community, and eminent public persons who evaluated and recommended candidates.
     The evaluation criteria were made public from the outset, and prior to the appointments being finalized, I took questions as minister from a parliamentary committee about, among other things, how these criteria were met by the nominees. These measures were intended as a first step toward a more inclusive, transparent, and accountable process. Indeed, the committee submitted a report with recommendations for further improvements, and that report was made public.
    At that time, 10 years ago, it appeared that all parties agreed on the need for greater transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness in the appointment process. However, the government has since moved starkly in the opposite direction, to the point that earlier today, in response to a question from the member for Gatineau, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice indicated that the government envisages no role for Parliament in the process to replace Justice LeBel.
    There are now less than two months until Justice LeBel will vacate his seat on the court. By the minister's own admission in his response to my order paper question three weeks ago, not only had the process to replace Justice LeBel not been initiated, but the government had not even decided what the process would be.
    I would like to know whether that remains the case or whether the government has, by now, decided on a process. If it has, what does this process entail, what elements of the process have already occurred, and why has it been kept secret? If, on the other hand, the government has still not decided on a process, what is the cause of the delay and when will the process to replace Justice LeBel in fact begin?

  (1910)  

Mr. Bob Dechert (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, CPC):  
    Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite is now aware, the appointment to fill the vacancy of the Hon. Justice Fish has been completed and Mr. Justice Gascon has now taken his position on the top court. We congratulate him on taking his position there today.
    The appointment of Mr. Justice Gascon to the Supreme Court of Canada was preceded by broad consultations with Quebec's legal community. These included the Government of Quebec, the province's Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the Quebec Superior Court, the Canadian Bar Association, the Barreau du Québec, the Barreau de Montréal, and, of course, the Supreme Court itself.
    This process confirmed Mr. Justice Gascon's reputation as an outstanding jurist whose professional integrity and wealth of legal knowledge and experience would make him an excellent addition to the nation's highest court.
    It is often noted that one of the strengths of the judiciary in this country is the diversity of experience and skills that the individual judges bring to their tasks. The result is a combination of different but complementary perspectives, grounded in a shared devotion to the law and public service, that enriches our courts and our justice system as a whole.
    This is particularly important in the context of our highest court, which is called upon to address issues of national concern and to speak with a unique authority in resolving contentious matters from across this country.
    Over the years, the Supreme Court of Canada has been blessed with a great many brilliant jurists, and the appointment of Mr. Justice Gascon reflects our government's commitment to supporting that proud tradition of legal excellence and merit. Ensuring that Canadians everywhere can have confidence in our highest court and in our justice system as a whole continues to be one of our top priorities. The people of this country expect and deserve no less.
    There will be no shortage of challenging issues to come in the months and years ahead, but I have no doubt that with the help of Mr. Justice Gascon, the Supreme Court of Canada, with a full complement of judges, will continue to serve the Canadian public with its customary integrity and efficiency.
    What the hon. member opposite is really getting at is whether or not we will implement a review process for future Supreme Court of Canada appointments.
    I can say with all certainty that we are reviewing the process, and when a decision has been reached, we will let Canadians know.
Hon. Irwin Cotler:  
    Mr. Speaker, I would concur with the parliamentary secretary that Justice Gascon is a distinguished jurist and that there was consultation; however—and this is the main point of my remarks—there was no protocol of who was consulted; there was no establishment of a judicial selection panel; there was no parliamentary review; there was no public engagement; there was no accountability. In fact, the Prime Minister's Office, in response to my order paper question, acknowledged that it in fact was the one that suspended the process.
    As the Supreme Court is the pillar of our constitutional democracy, the arbiter of federal, provincial, and territorial relations, the ultimate guarantor of constitutional rights, that Supreme Court deserves better.
    Thus far, the non-existent judicial appointment process prejudices the court, Parliament, the public, and the whole integrity of this process to secure the candidates.

  (1915)  

Mr. Bob Dechert:  
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the former minister of justice. I wonder if he could tell me what all of the following names have in common: Justice Bastarache, Justice Binnie, Justice Arbour, Justice LeBel, Justice Deschamps, Justice Fish, Justice Charron, and Justice Abella.
    Let me help him out. They were all appointed between 1994 and 2005 by Liberal justice ministers, and none of them appeared before an ad hoc parliamentary committee to discuss their nominations.
    In the cases of Justices Charron and Abella, my friend the member for Mount Royal was the minister of justice, and he appeared before an ad hoc parliamentary committee to discuss how and why they were chosen. However, the justices themselves did not appear before the committee.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bruce Stanton):  
     The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted.
     Accordingly the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
    (The House adjourned at 7:16 p.m.)
ParlVU