House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

moved:

That the House affirm its commitment to Canada's military personnel and call on the government to continue to provide them with the best possible equipment and support to carry out their responsibilities.

It is with great pride and honour that I rise in my place today to move this motion.

As the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, which includes CFB Petawawa, “Training Ground of the Warriors”, which is the motto of Base Petawawa, my motion is for all the women and men of the Canadian armed forces and, more particularly, the loved ones whose job it is to keep the home fires burning.

I take this opportunity in the House of Commons, on behalf of the residents of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, the troops, their families and all Canadians, to thank the Prime Minister for his leadership on behalf of the Government of Canada by demonstrating how much he cares for the soldiers and their families by coming to my riding, to beautiful Cobden, Ontario, and officially turning on the lights for Canada's tallest Christmas tree.

The organizing committee of the 2006 tallest Christmas tree dedicated this year's 75-foot tree to the women and men in the Canadian armed forces and their families. While the beautiful ceremony was broadcast live to our troops in Canadian Forces Base Kandahar in Afghanistan, the tree is dedicated to all our brave women and men who put themselves at risk helping people in serving around the world.

I congratulate the committee members and the volunteers for all their hard work and enthusiasm in making this year's tree lighting ceremony such a big success and also the thousands of upper Ottawa Valley residents who came out to show their support for the troops and to make this year's tree lighting ceremony a resounding success. The tree was decorated by hundreds of Renfrew County schoolchildren, many of whom have adopted a soldier in Afghanistan and have written Christmas letters to let them know that, although they may be far from home, they are not forgotten.

Our community has also created an endowment fund for children who have lost parents in the conflict in Afghanistan.

At CFB Petawawa, the public is raising funds to erect an eternal flame monument, dedicated to all those who keep the home fires burning. I thank retired military spouse Dianne Collier for her work to “light the flame of hope”.

I was reminded of the sacrifice of the families of our soldiers recently when I had the privilege to attend a memorial service in honour of a brave soldier who was killed defending the very freedoms that so many in Canada casually take for granted.

I ask members to please give me a moment of their undivided attention to listen to the following poem written by Jocelyn Girouard, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer Robert Michel Joseph Girouard. Chief Warrant Officer Girouard was recently laid to rest in peace.

The poem is entitled Dear Daddy:Dear Daddy,
I did not believe them,
When they told me you were gone.
It did not feel real.
It felt so, so wrong.
God took you away from us,
Without seeming to care.
Your family needs you, Daddy
It does not seem fair.
We are not revengeful,
We are not even cross.
We just feel so sad
Because your presence has been lost
Yes, you will be with us,
Yes, your memories remain.
It just doesn't seem worth it,
Not seeing you march off that plane.
We'll miss you forever,
But you will miss so much.
How can we live without you?
Without your support, your love, your touch?
We need you, Daddy.
We are not ready to go on.
Even though you taught us well,
We are not that brave, not that strong.
You were a soldier, lover, Father, and friend.
We are so proud of everything you do.
We will try to live just like you,
To your memory we will be true.
It's just so hard to believe that you are gone
You can't be gone for good.
You had been our rock for so long,
That our family has been unglued.
Don't feel bad for leaving us.
Think of us with pride.
We'll be OK without you,
We may just have a really hard time.
Think of us, wherever you may be.
We will think of you with love.
We'll remember that you are free,
And you died for all of us.

I thank Jocelyn for allowing me to share her grief, although I appreciate the fact that I cannot begin to feel what she and her family are currently experiencing. I thank her for her courage.

My motion today is for Jocelyn and all the other families and loved ones of our serving military personnel. I call on the entire House to reaffirm its commitment to Canada's military personnel and I ask our government to continue to provide our Canadian Forces with the best possible equipment and support so that they can continue to carry out their responsibilities.

This motion is not just for the Canadian Forces. This motion is for every Canadian, because every Canadian benefits immensely from the essential work that our military does at home and abroad.

In the unpredictable world we live in, where international terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and countries that are vulnerable or in decay threaten global security, Canada cannot take national defence lightly.

It is essential that the Canadian Forces receive the support and resources it needs to protect our peaceful society.

What is the mission? Why are we sending the flower of our youth halfway around the world?

We are defending Canadian interests at home and abroad by preventing Afghanistan from relapsing into a failed state that provides a safe haven for terrorists and terrorist organizations. We are providing the people of Afghanistan with the hope for a brighter future by establishing the security necessary to promote development. We are helping the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its people to build a stable, peaceful, self-sustaining democratic country.

All Canadians can be proud of our accomplishments in Afghanistan, such as ensuring young girls are able to receive an education in safety and security. Our integrated approach of development, diplomacy and defence is helping the Afghan people stabilize their country, establish the rule of law and ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for terrorists.

Our task is a difficult one. Just yesterday I read a news report that Taliban militants, acting on one of their terrorist threats, murdered two female teachers and three family members. Their so-called crime: trying to give girls an education. This brings to 22 the number of teachers who have been murdered by the Taliban this year alone. These terrorists have no respect for females and little respect for human life.

Are we as Canadians doing all we can to support our brave men and women in uniform?

On May 18, 2004, the Ontario Liberal Party introduced a controversial new tax called the Ontario health premium, breaking its campaign promise to not raise taxes. In the case of Canada's military, the federal government directly provides for military health care. Although military members are excluded by law from being members of provincial health care plans, the Ontario Liberals collect almost $30 million in premiums from 40,000 regular and reserve military members in Ontario.

The Liberals in Ontario tried to justify this blatant tax grab from soldiers by saying that the premiums pay for services to dependents, even though many soldiers are not married or have no dependents. Yet when the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families in Renfrew County requested $400,000 to hire therapists and child care counsellors to treat the high levels of anxiety, depression and even trauma among the children and caregivers of military personnel, Mary Anne Chambers, the Minister of Children and Youth Services in Toronto, wrote back saying that, and I refer to her October 3, 2006 letter to Phoenix Centre executive director Greg Lubimiv, supports and services to families and children are a federal responsibility.

As the member of Parliament for the riding that includes CFB Petawawa, I was recently contacted by a military couple who, tragically, lost their baby a few weeks after it was born. As both husband and wife are military, they do not have OHIP coverage because the federal government provides for health care directly. As the child died a few weeks after birth, the child would not be covered by OHIP because neither parent has an OHIP number to extend coverage to the child even though both parents are paying thousands of dollars in health care premiums to the provincial government.

This couple received a bill for thousands of dollars. They are Canadian citizens. They are in uniform in service to their country, but they are being treated like second class citizens by the Province of Ontario.

In the previous Parliament, I provided other examples of how military personnel are unfairly treated when it comes to the provision of services in the province of Ontario. I say to Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Party, “Stop trying to pass the buck”. If he is not going to provide services to families and children of our military personnel, he should give back the money he took from them, the $30 million.

The Government of Canada, through the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is doing its part. The people of Canada are doing their part. It is time for the Province of Ontario to get onside and do its part.

I will close my remarks by talking about supporting red Fridays. Close colleagues know that red is not a part of my wardrobe; however, I feel so strongly about supporting our troops that I am prepared to make the compromise every Friday as long as necessary to show my support.

The red Fridays campaign, which began in the U.S.A. in 2005, has been taking Canada by storm since last February. This campaign to show support for our Canadian military is a popular Friday event in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, with everyone out and about sporting as much red as they can.

Two military spouses from Petawawa, Karen Boire and Lisa Miller, organized the massive red Friday rally on Parliament Hill last September to start the campaign. Why? It is because it is easy to do, does not cost a penny, unless a person does not own something red to start, like myself, and is so powerful in and of itself.

Friday seemed an appropriate day to acknowledge our support since many workplaces have a relaxed dress day on Friday.

During these troubled times worldwide, many Canadians feel helpless. They want to support our troops but are not sure how. Wearing red on Fridays is a very visible, tangible way to acknowledge the sacrifices of not only our troops but also their families. I ask everyone to join this wonderful campaign and let us see Canada turn red this one day from coast to coast.

I urge all of my colleagues to support the motion. To quote military spouse Sandi Evans, who joined the crowd on Saturday to see the lighting of Canada's tallest Christmas tree in honour of our soldiers and their families, “It's just nice to see everyone coming together to support our troops in Afghanistan”.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

I did not interrupt the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke while she named another member of the House. She also looked at me straight in the eye when she did it. I want to give her fair warning that if she does it again while I am in the Chair I will interrupt her.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, less than six weeks ago, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore had a motion before the House which would have gone a long way to support some of the veterans and some of the members currently serving on some issues.

The member's motion is good and we will support it but I must ask why she did not support the previous motion. Why did the entire Conservative caucus oppose the motion by the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore and then, six weeks later, introduce this motion?

How does she reconcile the spirit of the opposition to that motion and support for this motion?

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member opposite is referring to the private member's motion dealing with military pensions. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this misconception and demystify this false perception.

When military personnel retire on pension they receive a full pension until age 65. In addition to what they contributed to CPP and their military pension, they receive, prior the time they retire at age 65, a bridging benefit. When they reach age 65, CPP then kicks in. In reality, the money they receive between the actual time of retirement and age 65 is a benefit they have not paid for. The attempt is to have that bridging benefit equal to what they would be receiving upon turning age 65.

Sometimes people do opt to collect their CPP earlier than age 65, thereby taking a lower amount. What happens is that at age 65, while they would have received a more even amount but because the option was taken at an earlier age, it does appear that they are receiving a lower pension income but that is in lieu of them taking the earlier CPP.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for bringing the motion to the House and for the good work she does on the defence committee and her overwhelming commitment to our men and women in uniform.

We on the committee have had the opportunity to travel to CFB Edmonton and CFB Petawawa and, hopefully, there will be further travel to visit our troops. Could she be a little more specific about the kind of equipment that is needed, which is referred to in her motion, and also some of the support enhancements that need to be done at home to ensure that the folks left at home are being properly cared for.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the committee has travelled to CFB Petawawa and CFB Edmonton and the overwhelming response has been that they are appreciative of the equipment they have received so far. They would, of course, like boots that would last a little longer than what they are issued. They would also like to practice with the night vision goggles they have in theatre prior to deployment.

Here at home we need to, as was mentioned in my speech, do what we can to help families who are keeping the home fires burning. The federal government is filling every request that comes along within its jurisdiction. We have a request, for example, from the Phoenix Centre for Children in Pembroke that services all of Renfrew county but has very limited resources to serve the children in the area which is suffering from a surge in having to help children through this tough time.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member's Motion No. 244 would reaffirm the House's commitment to Canada's military personnel.

All members of the House and all Canadians support our personnel, whether they are in Canada or deployed elsewhere. However, one of the requirements we have as citizens is that when we send our troops in harm's way, whether we agree or disagree with the policy, we all support the troops. There is absolutely no question about that.

The Canadian Forces have some of the finest soldiers in the world. We are always supportive and committed to their fine work, whether it is in Afghanistan or elsewhere, for the country and the sacrifices they continue to make. In that context, I commend the hon. member for reading that moving poem. It is indicative of the loss and the feelings that families suffer and the pride they feel for the work the soldiers do in theatre.

As is the case generally with the government, it makes lots of noise about supporting the troops but when it comes to concrete measures for the current and former military personnel, it prefers to make noises of support rather than take the opportunity to take concrete measures.

A case in point is the motion by the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore to assist members and veterans of the Canadian Forces and their families. The whole of the government caucus, without exception, like trained seals, stood and opposed the motion. I do not know what happened to their concept of free votes at that time nor do I know what happened to their concept of support for the troops or for veterans at that point.

We are now faced with a new motion to essentially to whitewash the actual sin of opposing that other motion. We do support this motion. All of the opposition parties actually voted for the earlier motion that I talked about.

I have another example with respect to the government. Back in October the government promised to fix the glitch that has resulted in injured soldiers losing their danger pay. The minister said that it would take but a few weeks and here we are two months later and there is still no resolution. The fact is that the troops are continuing to be denied their danger pay, as they ought not to be. The minister has not been able to explain the position with respect to danger pay. Why is it taking such a long time to deal with this very important issue?

I will now go to the issue around Afghanistan in general. That is the same government that tricked this whole House into passing a motion to extend that mission with only a six hour debate. Right in the middle of the remarks by the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister issued a threat. He said, first, that whether or not the House passed that motion he would have extended the mission in any event by one more year and, second, that he could actually take us into an election.

That is how the government works. It works by gimmicks, tricks and threats. As a result of the government's action in rushing that ill-conceived, ill-planned, ill-prepared motion to extend the mission, we now have a situation where the NATO countries are not there to share the burden in Kandahar. The government did not ask the NATO partners for up front guarantees before we extended the mission for two more years for additional troops and for the removal of the caveats. The fact is that the government rushed into that extension without any thought or preparation whatsoever.

The fact is that the Prime Minister went to Afghanistan, wore a flak jacket and started talking in Bushian and Rumsfeldian terms. He pushed us into this two-year extension for which the NATO partners are not coughing up additional resources and there has been a minor or superficial change in the caveats that should have been changed.

In terms of the equipment, the government has talked a good line. The Conservatives have talked the line of transparency, openness and accountability. The fact is that we are not now spending billions of dollars on equipment that is needed but spending on sole sourcing and fake competitions. There was a fake competition regarding the C-17, the strategic lift. With respect to the tactical lift, all of the requirements were essentially going to go toward one logical conclusion. Whether it is the Chinooks or the Hercules, all of those billions of dollars are being spent without any competition whatsoever.

We know that inside or outside of government, when there is no competition to obtain equipment or whatever else is needed, we do not get the best deals. The government obviously has forgotten that it had promised to deal with the procurement process, make it more open, make it more accountable, and make it more competitive. It has actually made it less so.

In terms of the Conservatives' ability to get the equipment quickly, the Martin government actually made announcements to proceed on some of these purchases. The present government actually abandoned and delayed that process by several months. Therefore, our troops, in theatre or not, are not going to get that equipment as early as they ought to have received it. The government has essentially reannounced the joint support announcement and many other announcements with respect to this.

The overall issue is that the government is rushing into buying equipment without competition, without a full defence capabilities plan. The defence capabilities plan is what actually defines or assesses the needs of the Canadian Forces and then puts the assessment of those needs in full view of the public for discourse and dialogue. The government has not had the courage, the conviction or the tendency to be open to allow the defence capabilities plan to be out in the open. I understand it is languishing somewhere on the cabinet table and it is not being made public at this point.

The overall issue with the government is that in an unplanned fashion it has been dealing with the procurement process for the Afghanistan mission and the foreign policy questions. Whenever the government has no plans, it resorts to simply picking up policy from the shelves of the United States of America and sometimes goes further ahead of even the U.S. in pursuing U.S.-like policies.

We have not been able to see any evidence of the government going to the table to NATO and saying the mission in Afghanistan is not working. There is rampant corruption in that government and there is a porous border with Pakistan. In Pakistan there is a Talibanization of northern Pakistan. Suicide bombers are coming into Afghanistan killing our soldiers and killing innocent civilians.

This government has not dealt with that issue or with the infiltration at the border with Iran into Afghanistan. It has not engaged in tough diplomatic efforts to deal with this. It has not engaged in tough dialogue with NATO to ensure that NATO reviews this mission and determines how we can succeed.

Right now we are losing soldiers. They are making great sacrifices, but ultimately I do not see a huge amount of success in Afghanistan. We are not in Afghanistan just to educate girls. That is a great thing. There are dozens of other countries where that needs to be done. We are there to deal with terrorism, so that terrorism does not take hold again. We need to win the hearts and minds of Afghanis and Canadians. On both those fronts, this government is losing the war.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Vancouver South is an experienced parliamentarian. He was present in the House and heard me admonish the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke about naming a member of the House. The next time the member refers to the previous government, he might want to refer to it as the government of the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard and not name members of the House. I would like this admonishment to count for all members.

The hon. member for Papineau.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I am astonished that it is necessary to make such a motion.

In my opinion, and no doubt in the opinion of most members of our society, because our soldiers are required to work in such dangerous conditions, it follows that they must have the best possible equipment and the support they need.

Could it be that, for years, we have so neglected our basic duty to these soldiers, who risk their lives to preserve others' lives, that a motion is needed today in order for the government to provide them with an essential: quality equipment?

But we are not talking about updating the army's equipment annually to keep step with technological advances, even though I feel that this is necessary in many respects. What we are saying is that it is unacceptable that soldiers should be at the front with outdated or non-operational weapons or equipment.

However, this motion is warranted, because Canadian soldiers do not have the best weapons or the best equipment to do their jobs. An example of this would be the fact that Canadian soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan not long ago with the wrong type of camouflage. Such negligence puts them at greater risk and compromises their safety.

In addition, soldiers are increasingly fighting for their survival, especially during the increasingly dangerous missions they are called on to undertake. They need equipment adapted to these new situations and the specific risks they face. For example, the Iltis jeeps proved to be unsuited to the Afghan mission. We must not forget that this cost the lives of at least three soldiers.

Moreover, Canada lacks the clear foreign and defence policies that are needed before troops are sent on dangerous missions. With such policies, Canada could set specific parameters and more effectively plan for missions for which it would be called on to deploy troops. Preliminary studies would help in accurately determining needs, the type of assistance required from Canada, the number of soldiers we actually have and the appropriate equipment for conditions in the field.

It goes without saying that the conditions in Kosovo were not the same as they are for the soldiers in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the lack of forecasting in our foreign policy and our defence policy indicates that the Conservatives are amateurs at this, just like the Liberals were.

We realize there are budgetary constraints. We are in favour of mechanisms that ensure that we have the best equipment at the best price, namely by having open and honest tenders. In June, the government did not respect this principle in every procurement contract. The Bloc Québécois would like to see the taxpayers' money used wisely, which is why it is recommending the implementation of adequate control mechanisms, including the review in committee of contracts worth more than $100 million. I want to remind hon. members that the former Canadian Alliance members, who now make up the Conservative Party, were in favour of this measure when they were in the opposition.

It is also important to plan for maximum spinoffs from the military contracts to benefit Canada and Quebec. The government's behaviour on that front has us concerned. It did not think it was a good idea to adopt measures to ensure that a significant portion of the planes would be made in Canada, in Quebec in particular, where 55% of Canada's aerospace industry is found.

Furthermore, we find that one way to minimize the need for military intervention is to focus on achieving the UN target of investing 0.7% of GDP by 2015 in official development assistance programs. This objective was adopted by the United Nations in 1970 and Canada promised to respect it.

Nonetheless, since the early 1990s, the official development assistance envelope has not stopped shrinking, going from a little less than 0.5% in 1991-92 to 0.25% in 2000-01. In 2004, Canada ranked 14th out of the 22 countries that make up the OECD Development Assistance Committee, when it was sixth nine years earlier.

In summary, weapons and materiel are only part of the equation. A good strategy on the ground, based on a proper concept of the international situation, is vital. Adequate development assistance is also a vital prerequisite. It seems clear that what is currently lacking in Afghanistan is not just equipment, but the means for reconstruction and programs likely to improve the living conditions of the average Afghan. That is what will ultimately keep the soldiers alive and make their mission a success.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Dawn Black New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that the NDP will support the motion before the House today. We support the Canadian military having the best equipment and support possible. At the NDP convention in September, during a plenary meeting on foreign policy, the party supported just such a motion and an even more specific motion, offering support to the men and women of the Canadian armed forces.

What does support for our troops really mean? Does it mean providing the best possible equipment and fair pay and benefits? Absolutely. In the 2005 budget, which my party renegotiated, NDP members supported an increase in military spending. We realized that the Liberal cuts of the past had hurt soldiers and their families and had undermined Canada's ability to carry out humanitarian and peacekeeping missions.

Does it mean providing compensation and adequate support once our soldiers retire? Absolutely. That is why the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore, the NDP veterans affairs critic, put forward the veterans' first motion. That motion was passed in the House, but we have had no indication from the government whether it will respect the will of the House. His motion supports getting rid of the so-called gold digger clause so second spouses of Canadian Forces members and veterans have access to pension rights after veterans' deaths.

It supports extending the veterans independence program to all widows of all veterans, regardless of the veteran's time of death or whether the veteran was in receipt of VIP services prior to his or her death. It supports increasing the survivor's pension amount to 66% from the current 50% so military pensions are more in line with the pensions of civil servants. It supports eliminating the unfair reduction of the service income security insurance plan long term disability benefits for medically released members of the Canadian Forces. It also supports eliminating the deduction from annuity for retired and disabled Canadian Forces members. These are excellent proposals supported by a majority vote in the House and the government should move to implement them to really show support for our troops.

I have asked the minister on several occasions, both here and in committee, about support for soldiers who get a pay cut when they are wounded and return to Canada. Members of the forces who are wounded and return from Afghanistan for medical reasons lose their danger pay. Along with the pain and anguish of having a wounded father or mother, families now have to cope with losing money that they were expecting and had planned on when they did their budgeting.

The minister promised he would fix it. He told me in October that it would only be a matter of weeks. Now the weeks have come and gone and there is still no resolution to this problem. The government should show its support for the troops by simply fixing this problem. It cannot be that difficult.

Supporting our troops also means telling our soldiers how long they will be away from their families. There have been claims made that to sustain our commitment in Afghanistan until 2009, we may have to extend rotations from six to nine months. There has been talk of re-rolling airmen and sailors to Afghanistan. In question period I asked the Minister of National Defence to clarify this and to give some assurances to military families about how long their loved ones would be deployed. He gave no definitive answer. He was very vague, in fact.

Does supporting our troops mean supporting each and every mission, without question, where cabinet decides to send the Canadian Forces? I think not. One of our main roles here as members of Parliament is to hold the executive of government to account. We cannot be mere cheerleaders for the spending and misadventures of the executive branch of government.

The most significant decision that any government can make is to send our forces into harm's way in war. The most important role of opposition members of Parliament is to ask the tough questions, to prod the government to ensure that when members of the Canadian Forces are put in harm's way, it is done with good reason. There are many instances in our past where this decision was made for all the right reasons, but that cannot stop us from questioning the decisions of prime ministers to go to war.

Many people may not realize that the military does not get to say no. When the previous Liberal government announced its deployment to Afghanistan, it gave the top generals 45 minutes notice, and they could not say no to the government. Questioning missions and motives is not the role of our soldiers. It is something that we must do as parliamentarians. Supporting our troops should be more than just a slogan. It should be more than just rhetoric. It should be real.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to support the motion tabled by my colleague, the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke. I point out all the fine work that my colleague, the member from Renfrew, has done when it comes to support for the military.

When it comes to the defence critic for the opposition, the member for Vancouver South, I will not use the word “honourable” this time. The fact that anyone would stand in the House and politicize such a thing, as has happened today, is shameful and disgusting. With a friend like that to the military, it does not need enemies.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

You did not fight for the veterans. You have a lot of nerve.

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

There is another gentleman behind me who wants to—

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Forces
Private Members' Business

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound has the floor. I need to hear what he has to say.

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay on a point of order.