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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is military.

Liberal MP for Vancouver Quadra (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 42.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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?

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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?

National Defence October 6th, 2014

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?

National Defence October 6th, 2014

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?

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

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.

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,“There's 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 advisor 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.

National Defence October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, there are a range of issues that need to be debated.

Will the government do more on humanitarian aid and protection? Are CF-18s really the most appropriate military contribution that Canada can make? What alternatives could be considered, including signals intelligence, reconnaissance, airlift capacity, medical support, training? Canadians deserve to have their voices heard and respected in such a very important set of questions.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the alternatives, or will the debate on Monday simply be window dressing?

National Defence October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister seems to have forgotten that we did not go into Iraq, thanks to a Liberal prime minister.

The Prime Minister will put forward a motion on a combat mission in Iraq today. Media reports indicate that the Prime Minister wants to limit debate on his combat mission to a mere five hours on Monday.

Does the Prime Minister really believe that five hours is sufficient time to debate sending the Canadian Armed Forces to war?

National Defence October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today the Prime Minister will be moving his motion on a combat mission in Iraq. According to news reports, the Prime Minister wants to limit debate on his combat mission in Iraq to five hours.

Does the Prime Minister really think that five hours is enough time to debate sending our Canadian Forces to war?