Madam Speaker, I am sure that everyone in the House would join me in expressing our gratitude and admiration to all Canadian forces personnel deployed in Kosovo.
Canada's contribution to the air campaign was significant and our NATO allies recognize the role played by our CF-18s. This conflict proved that the Canadian forces have the training and the equipment necessary to participate in an intensive and complex military campaign alongside our allies.
Multipurpose combat capable forces are the cornerstone of Canada's defence policy. Canada's operations in Kosovo demonstrate the real payoffs resulting from the investments the Canadian forces have made in equipment, such as precision guided munitions for the CF-18s, as well as our Coyote reconnaissance vehicles, Griffon helicopters and Bison armoured personnel carriers.
Today more than 1,400 Canadian forces personnel are deployed in Kosovo as part of the Kosovo force, KFOR. They are working hard to create a stable and secure environment through policing, implementing UN mandated arms control agreements, delivering humanitarian aid, restoring public services and helping to re-establish civilian institutions.
There have been concerns raised over the use of depleted uranium ammunition in Kosovo. It should be noted that Canada's CF-18s have never used depleted uranium munitions. Moreover, there are no plans to purchase or use such ammunition in the future.
None of the scientific work published to this day supports a link between exposure to depleted uranium munitions and illness in the gulf war veterans, including cancer and birth defects.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of the men and women in the Canadian forces is one of our highest priorities. An environmental assessment was conducted at all camps used by Canadian forces personnel in Kosovo to ensure that their living quarters are safe.