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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is police.

NDP MP for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 40.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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—

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 6th, 2014

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.

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.

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....

Vancouver Island Waterways October 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the lack of protection for the waters of Vancouver Island. In its 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.

Privacy October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, first CSIS spies on law-abiding Canadians, then it shares that intelligence with the oil industry. When CSIS actions were challenged, SIRC appointed its former pipeline company board member to investigate whether CSIS crossed the legal line in spying on anti-pipeline groups.

Now lawyers from CSIS are attempting to limit the scope of the investigation by SIRC. Could the minister tell us why CSIS is doing this? Does he endorse the idea of scaling back an already compromised investigation?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will use the example I talked about when we dealt with the question of Honduras, which has an absolutely awful human rights record and has the highest murder rate for transgender people anywhere in the world, in contrast to Korea, which is making great strides toward protecting the rights of all Koreans.

We have to look at the deal in the context of which of these nations is striving to achieve the standards and values that we all hold important.

I was one of those who was very firmly against a deal with an unelected government of Honduras, with a terrible human rights record and with very little to offer Canada. I am not sure why we were prioritizing that relationship at all. In contrast, Korea has a democratic government, a good human rights record, complementary economies and great opportunities for Canadians, plus these long-standing relationships with students and people teaching in Korea.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with a bit of regret, we were a bit slow in recognizing Korean veterans. It is only very recently we completed the Korea Veterans' National Wall of Remembrance in the Meadowvale Cemetery in Brampton. That was 2013.

Then this summer we added a tribute in black granite in Burlington to the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy that sailed to Korea.

While World War I and World War II had larger conflicts with many more Canadians involved and have occupied our memories more, recently we have turned to those sacrifices and made some good steps in honouring those who served in Korea.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I believe there is a question of timing here, as we often hear from members on the other side. They take old quotes from before the time we were actually discussing the deal in front of us now and try to bring them forward.

If the hon. member were to look at what we have had to say about the current deal, he would find there is a great deal of unity on this side of the House.