Over these past days we have been reminded that the previous Liberal Government of the day did not provide the House of Commons with either a vote or a voice on the Afghanistan deployment. As many will know, our Prime Minister has always been clear that any decision that calls for our Canadian troops to be in a combat role will come before Parliament for a vote and debate.
Earlier today the Prime Minister stood before all Members of Parliament and spoke on the horrors and atrocities that the group ISIL has committed against innocent women, children and men. Beheadings, abduction, rape, torture, murder, assault– it is a long and shocking list. That ISIL has called for the murder of Canadians should also not be lost on any Member of Parliament. The PM also highlighted that Canada has a long standing & proud history of standing up to terror; to tyranny and to oppression to protect the innocent and most vulnerable. Today many of our allies– Denmark, France, USA and UK to name a few– have joined to fight against what is best described as an evil murderous regime.
Our PM was also clear that a limited aerial campaign cannot and will not eliminate the threat of ISIL; however it can reduce capacity that can help to maintain balance similar to other ungoverned regions in the area. It was also made clear that an aerial assault in no way prevents international aid from being applied although we must also be cognizant that ISIL has no reservations about beheading aid workers. The reality is, in my view, aid cannot be administered until such time the ISIL threat can be further neutralized. It was also made clear the 6 month time frame for an aerial mission and an overview of the military hardware & equipment involved and related military support personnel required to sustain aerial assaults was outlined. To be clear this current campaign is not a ground based military action.
Some have suggested this action is similar to the Iraq war that began in 2002. It must be noted that the 2002 Iraq war was against the Iraq Government– this current campaign is the opposite: it is in support of the Iraq government. In fact the current 30 day non-combat deployment of Canadian Special Forces has been to provide support to Iraq national and regional government forces. Some have also suggested that “a case” must be made to justify joining our allies in taking action against ISIL. To those individuals I would sincerely ask how many more innocent victims must be beheaded, children murdered and women raped before we as Canadians stand up to try and protect the innocent to prevent more of these barbaric acts from occurring?
By now you may have heard that both the NDP and the Liberals have announced they will oppose Canada joining our allies to protect innocent men, women & children against the threat of ISIL using aerial assaults. In any democratically diverse society there will always be a difference of opinion on important matters such as these. My issue of concern today is that it was patently clear in the House of Comments today that both the leader of the NDP and the leader of the Liberal Party announced their respective opposition to this campaign from pre-written speeches. The Leader of the Liberal’s basically being almost a cut & paste version from his speech on this subject yesterday without the off color comment made afterwards. I raise this point because the use of pre-written speeches means that regardless of what our Prime Minister announced today and level of detail provided– the opposition had already decided they would not listen to the PM... they had already decided whatever the Prime Minister announced today they were already opposed well in advance.
In my view it has always been the Canadian way to do our part to stand up for victims against disturbing acts of murder, rape and torture of innocent victims. Taking action against ISIL is not an event that I believe any Canadian will rejoice in. However from the comments I have heard to date part of what it means to be Canadian is that we are a country who does not turn our back and expect others to fight for those most in need. Joining our allies and standing tall against terror, violence and those who engage in such actions is part of how we honour the values and sacrifice of those have come before us in support of freedom. To protect the innocent in support of freedom is how we continue to honor long established Canadian values. For your convenience I have cut and paste below the motion by the Government that will debate next week. I welcome your comments on this or any subject.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs
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; and
(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,
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.
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