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Crucial Fact

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Conservative MP for Mégantic—L'Érable (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 49.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Health October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, since April, we have taken a leadership role in this crisis. We have been leaders and we have worked with the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the Canadian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Resources are being deployed so we can continue to work with credible organizations, including the World Food Programme and UNICEF.

Canadians can be proud of our contribution, which is one of the most significant in the world. We will be there to respond to this crisis.

Foreign Affairs October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada has been a world leader in the response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding because of the brutal conduct of ISIL. In particular, we spearheaded the No Lost Generation initiative in Iraq.

I am pleased to inform the House that Canada is now the fifth largest contributor of humanitarian aid in this crisis. That is fifth overall, not per capita.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government has a very balanced and reasonable approach.

The way we see it is that we have been active in a non-combat mission for the last 30 to 35 days, but as we see now, the cancer continues to grow. Canada and our allies have had to decide to take further action to make sure that we stop this cancer from growing. Otherwise, world peace will be jeopardized. As the international development minister responsible for humanitarian aid, I need to reiterate to this House that it is not either-or, targeted military action or humanitarian aid delivered on the ground. It is the opposite. We need to secure a humanitarian corridor to make sure that we reach people in need. That is exactly what we are doing.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on the first part, my colleague knows that the motion we have here is proposing a targeted action in time.

This is what we are proposing.

The government does not intend to get embroiled in an endless quagmire. It intends to take targeted measures.

What we have in front of us is ISIL as a world threat. It is as simple as that. We are not immune in the world. Our allies have decided to take action. We cannot just watch and do nothing. On the contrary, we have to participate. That goes with the second part of the question. Yes, of course we need to secure a humanitarian corridor. What we see on the ground are religious minorities being constantly persecuted. We see people being beheaded. Humanitarian workers have been beheaded. There is ethnic cleansing, human slaughtering, and rape used as a weapon. We are also seeing human smuggling, and so on.

These are all barbaric actions that are just intolerable and unacceptable. It is a very concerning situation there.

In terms of absorption capacity, we need to deal with the best, credible organizations in the world. That is why, so far, we have had interaction with the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Save the Children Canada, and Développement et Paix.

We want to ensure that these organizations have access to people in need, but we have to do more. However, targeted measures go hand in hand with humanitarian aid. We cannot have one without the other.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I will be splitting my time with the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak today about Canada's action in response to the crisis in Iraq, particularly our response to the growing humanitarian situation.

Canada has been active in its support since the beginning of this crisis. During the last two months alone, ISIL's terrorist violence has displaced an estimated 850,000 people in Iraq. Over 1.7 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the year began. Iraq is witnessing the largest cases of internal displacement in the world.

Under terrorist threat, people are in dire need of water, food, shelter, and medicine. That is why we authorized the deployment of Canada's emergency stockpile of humanitarian goods. These goods have already been distributed and are saving lives in northern Iraq.

These stockpiles are designed to meet the most urgent needs. The emergency supplies include things like tents, blankets, kitchen sets and hygiene kits. These items are being deployed from Canada’s new warehouse in Dubai. These stockpiles are a key example of the strong relationship that exists between Canada and the United Arab Emirates. This relationship has become even stronger and more sustainable in recent months.

This new, strategically located stockpile will allow Canada to intervene rapidly on the scene of events in Africa and Asia. By maintaining emergency relief stockpiles on both sides of the globe, we will reach people more rapidly and ultimately save more lives. It is a question of time, and the sooner we take action, the more lives that can be saved.

This stockpile of emergency supplies will be managed by the Canadian Red Cross, as is Canada’s other facility in Mississauga, Ontario. The stockpile in Dubai is now fully operational, and the deployment to Iraq was the first from this new stockpile.

These stockpiles were distributed on the ground by Save the Children, a trusted and active partner. Save the Children has made sure our supplies are distributed in the most effective and efficient manner and that they help the most people possible, because in time of crisis, access to the most basic necessities can be the difference between life and death.

Canada remains very concerned with the escalating humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. We know that the violence has displaced well over a million people, and countless more remain under threat. Canada continues to condemn the terrorist actions of ISIL and the killing of civilians in northern Iraq in the strongest possible terms. Canada is particularly concerned about the ongoing, targeted persecution of religious minorities, which only adds fuel to sectarian tensions among Iraqis.

I remind the House that Canada has committed over $28 million in humanitarian assistance this year. We remain steadfast in our support of the people and Government of Iraq, as they confront this terrorist threat. The humanitarian needs of innocent civilians are particularly pressing in northern Iraq.

That is why just in the last month, Canada has contributed $12 million in humanitarian aid to key partners, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Mercy Corps, Development and Peace, and Save the Children Canada. These funds are providing emergency shelter, food, and medical supplies, as well as repairing essential facilities, establishing child-friendly spaces, providing psychosocial support services, and providing access to education.

Just yesterday my colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced on top of this $28 million, an additional $10 million for victims of sexual violence and for investigations into these crimes.

It is clear that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant represents a significant threat. If ISIL consolidates territory in Iraq and Syria, it would have an autonomous area from which it could operate and from which it could transfer weapons and personnel across borders. ISIL would be able to impose oppressive control over populations in both Iraq and Syria. This would further degrade the humanitarian outlook in the region.

The methods ISIL has used to seize control of territories across Iraq have been brutal. This is a morally reprehensible group whose actions have included wilfully killing innocent children, enslaving women, barbarically murdering American journalists, murdering a British humanitarian aid worker, and the use or threat of rape to advance ISIL's cause. That is why Canada has been steadfast in our position and so strong in our humanitarian reaction.

The provision of humanitarian assistance is one of the clearest expressions of Canadian values. Canada cannot and will not stand idly by while people in the world suffer needlessly.

Canada is deeply troubled by the rapid rise of this extremist group and by its cruel and barbaric tactics. Its progress leaves little room for doubt: we need to support allied efforts to bring the ISIL to its knees and drastically reduce its ability to act, particularly in light of the humanitarian impact that this crisis is having on the people of Iraq.

Canada will continue to provide a significant amount of humanitarian, diplomatic and military aid to Iraq. We are in it for the long haul. In June 2014, I added Iraq to Canada's list of development partner countries. As the Prime Minister said:

Left unchecked, ISIL [this bloodthirsty terrorist group] is a threat not only to peace and security in the region, but to global security as well.

As a result of its commitment, Canada, along with its allies, will continue to support the people and the Government of Iraq in their fight against terrorism. Canada will continue to carefully monitor the situation and work closely with its allies. We will continue to determine how to best meet the needs of Iraqi civilians, particularly those of religious minorities who are in such profound need.

Regardless of our political stripes, we can all no doubt agree that the threat posed by the terrorist regimes taking greater control of Iraq is of grave concern.

The targeted military measures that we are taking are not in any way preventing us from also taking humanitarian measures. They are not mutually exclusive, quite the contrary.

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 affected by the crisis in Syria.

It is essential that there be security on the ground so humanitarian assistance can be provided. It is therefore imperative that we reduce the ISIL's capabilities in order to provide that assistance and reach those most in need.

That is why military intervention for a defined period of time, as set out in the motion, is needed to accomplish this goal. Then, we will be able to work with our Iraqi partners on medium- and long-term development in order to strengthen the country's civil institutions and civil society. Moreover, we will give hope to young children and give them access to education by protecting them from the horrific acts of barbarism that we have witnessed recently, unfortunately.

Canada is the seventh-largest donor of humanitarian aid in this crisis. It provides food, hygiene kits, cooking equipment, bedding, tents, medical supplies and other essentials, while making urgent repairs to water and sanitation facilities, just to name a few measures.

We will continue working closely with our allies to determine the best way to meet the needs of Iraqi civilians, particularly persecuted religious minorities.

For all of these reasons, we should clearly all support this motion.

Foreign Affairs October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the government has announced various measures involving the Red Cross, Mercy Corps, Development and Peace and Save the Children in order to address basic needs, whether it be food or hygiene kits.

Targeted military action is needed to meet these urgent needs. The ISIL's capabilities must be reduced. That is how we can get to the people in need. Military action and humanitarian aid are not mutually exclusive. I would like to remind my colleague that we are the seventh-largest donor in this humanitarian crisis.

Foreign Affairs October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is not true. We announced several measures to help people in need in Iraq.

I need to remind my colleague that we are the seventh-largest contributor to assist the people in this crisis, but we need to take military measures to ensure we can have access to this human corridor and security.

We hope the opposition would support the motion and then walk the talk. This is the way we can reach people in need and deliver effective aid in a timely fashion.

International Development October 6th, 2014

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.

International Development October 6th, 2014

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.

Foreign Affairs October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is not true. The member is not correct in saying that.

Canada is very active on the ground. As I said, we are the seventh-largest donor. We have an approach to ensure we can reach people in need. There is capacity there, and this why we work with credible organizations like Red Cross, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and Development and Peace, because they help us to reach the people in need.

This is action. This is exactly what we are doing right now.