Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry for this motion. As the critic for Veterans Affairs, and I think I also speak on behalf of the critic for National Defence in our caucus, we will be recommending to our caucus full and complete support of this motion.
I want to take this opportunity to talk about the motion and the kind of groundwork that I think should go into the motion and some of the ways it is being represented here today.
Executive curl is, of course, a distinguishing mark for navy officers. It is not absent, however, from navy uniforms. It is on their dress uniform or dress kit. When the naval dress was reinstated after the disunification of the Canadian Forces, so to speak, the executive curl was reinstated on the dress kit. So this motion is referring to the service uniform, which is actually a less significant issue to some of the veterans I have talked to than it is perhaps being made out to be today.
I have some concerns, however. At some point, the hon. member might want to comment on why, with all the issues in Cornwall and the surrounding area, this one has grabbed his attention when that particular community is facing some very significant economic, tourism and other development issues that could the subject of a very serious members' business procedure. I say that because I am somewhat jealous of the hon. member actually getting precedence to be able to present a piece of business. It is rare, because members can often wait six, eight or ten years to have a bill or a motion come to full debate.
The issues in Cornwall and the surrounding area are significant. I am wondering why the member did not take on the issue of contraband cigarettes, perhaps, and the effect they are having on children and youth across the country and very directly in his community on relations with first nations communities. That is of concern to me. Also, I wonder whether or not he had thought about asking his government to appoint a mediator to work on the longstanding dispute between the Canada Border Services Agency and the Akwesasne Nation. Perhaps it is time that the member steps up to the plate to work for his constituents on that very important issue of the reputation of his community, which has been tarnished over these last several months.
The motion the member has presented is rather weak tea. It simply requests that the government consider reinstating a piece of embroidery on a uniform, which is not to denigrate whatsoever the support we give to our troops and our veterans, which is unanimous in this caucus. What we are pushing for, instead, is for the hon. member to address the other important economic social and cultural issues that he has responsibility to stand up and talk about in the House.
I did follow the letters to the editor that were critical of this motion and the response of the member. In the response, he was able to quote verbatim, and without attribution, Matthew Worth. The member might want to listen to this, because he took a page right out of the Facebook page of Mr. Worth and printed it in his own letter. The response by the hon. member seem to represent a lot of work by Matthew Worth, and I am not sure the member has fairly represented what the people of his area want.
When it comes to the navy, we also recognize on this side of the House that we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian navy this year, and it is with great pride that we will celebrate this anniversary. However, there are some other issues that the navy has brought forward, including the need for adequate resources to do its work and whether or not it actually has the equipment to keep members of the armed forces safe and secure, whether navy personnel, for example, have gloves to keep themselves warm while they are doing important aid work, and whether or not we have the necessary number of frigates and ships to do the kind of work the navy needs to do.
I want to applaud the government for its work over the last number of years, which began, frankly, under the previous Liberal government, to re-establish a well supported, well trained and well outfitted military. I give the government credit for taking that issue very seriously. Congratulations to it, but the work is not over.
The men and women in our military service need more than simple gestures. They need real resources, real ideas, real imagination and real creativity on getting the work done needed for Canada to take its place in the world.
Canada has a proud military history. Its army, navy and air force have been partners in securing a world of democracy, freedom and peace.
The hon. member mentioned the battle of the Atlantic. The Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian naval reserve, the air force and the merchant marine were all partners in that very important part of Canadian history, and we will take time to celebrate it this year at the 100th anniversary of the navy.
I reiterate that we support the reinstatement of the executive curl on the service uniform. It is a good gesture, but it is a simple gesture.
We need more from the government. We need it to stand up and talk about the real issues among veterans today. Where are the resources being dedicated for post-traumatic stress disorder and other operational stress injuries? Where is there something beyond monuments? Where does the government talk about the real economic struggles faced by modern vets?
This past December, I was in Calgary at the Drop-In, the largest homeless shelter in Alberta. Every night it has between 30 and 40 homeless veterans there. Where are the resources for homeless veterans?
We have to go beyond window dressing in this chamber. We have to go into the real nature of who we are as Canadians and what it is that the men and women in our military service are doing to support our quest to establish the place of Canada in the world and ensure that we have a place that is safe, secure, democratic and full of hope.
We are proud to support this motion, but we will use the motion to push the government further, to push that side of the House further, to honour that sacrifice, to honour those lives, to honour that tradition and to keep it moving.