House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was isil.


Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Maria Mourani Independent Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague knows—it is no secret—Canadians have reportedly gone abroad to join the jihadists. This is outlined in the report from the Department of Public Safety. Apparently, there are even some Canadians who have come back and are like sleeper cells.

I asked the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness whether there were specific programs, with specific budgets, to prevent this and limit violent radicalization of young people. He was not able to respond.

Could my colleague tell me whether any such programs exist, with their own budgets, to prevent violent radicalization here in Canada?

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member knows, the RCMP has already indicated that it is one of the areas it will working with and looking at.

As I said in my speech, the Germans have already done it, but it was again done outside, by people who are already retired and with the families out there.

There are others way to look at how we can help. That is what the RCMP is doing. That is why I commend the mother of Damian for doing what she is doing.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Durham Ontario


Erin O'Toole ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise on this important day in the House of Commons, and I do so with a deep sense of responsibility as a member of the House.

I have said on numerous occasions, both in this place and outside, that one of the most important debates that a member of the House of Commons will take part in is the decision related to putting the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces in harm's way. It is a decision that should be used sparingly, but as a democratic leader of middle powers in the world, we should exercise it when our values and indeed freedoms are at risk.

It is also a deep responsibility for me as a Canadian, because it is by decisions like this that we define the type of Canadians we are. Are we Canadians like our forebears, who with a young and small country stepped up in the past and served in a way that was much larger than its population might have dictated? Are we a nation that does not move to the other side of the road as we pass people whose freedoms and very lives are being threatened, hoping that someone else will tend to them? Are we the type of Canadians who in a global age benefit immensely from trade in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but who allow ourselves to fall asleep under the blanket of security that our distance from these conflicts always allows us to have?

Before the House is a debate on the motion for the next phase in our response to the ISIL threat. On September 5, the Prime Minister outlined that Canada's initial response was to send military advisers to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the defence of their territories and to stop killings on a genocidal scale.

That mission is now over, and it is being extended. It is evolving into an air strike role for Canada.

But who is that threat that is ISIL?

All Canadians have been horrified by the accounts we have seen on television: beheadings of journalists and aid workers, the selling of women and young girls into slavery, rape as a weapon of war, mass killings on a scale that is truly genocidal. ISIL is an enemy of freedom, an enemy that follows no creed except death and destruction.

As Canadians, indeed as part of the developed and democratic world, if we learned anything from 9/11, it is that navel gazing and turning a blind eye to these threats because they are far away can allow them to gather to a point where they also touch us. Therefore, when we see some of the children being impacted by this horrific violence in Iraq and Syria, we should also see the faces of our own children. We should not allow this threat to gather, because we have already seen, sadly, that a few radicalized Canadians are taking part in these horrific acts. ISIL terrorists have already threatened Canada. With the vast amount of territory and financing they have gained in recent months, they are a threat not just to that region but to the entire world.

With our immense freedoms and wealth as a nation comes a duty to safeguard and promote these same opportunities for others. That is why I stand in full agreement with our evolving role in combatting the threat that is ISIL. We are now going to extend the training mission and the advisory commission with select members of our special forces unit. We are also going to deploy surveillance aircraft, an air-to-air refuelling Polaris, and up to six CF-18s to join our allies, both our NATO allies and our allies in the Gulf, in combatting the advance of ISIL.

This is an appropriate response because it can be effective. It can cut off supply and financing lines for ISIL. It can isolate them geographically and allow domestic ground forces to defend their own territory. We see how close this conflict is drifting to our NATO ally of Turkey.

Air strikes can have a limited but impactful role in stopping genocide and stopping the advance of ISIL.

It is also a much lower risk for our men and women of the Canadian Forces. There is risk whenever they are flying in combat, but it is a limited risk. I know the exceptional men and women of our Royal Canadian Air Force train and accept these risks as part of their duty for our country and for our values.

Most importantly, these would be targeted and precise strikes that are assessed to minimize collateral damage, both before the strike and after. We learn from these assessments. and we learn if an impact is being felt on the ground and if we are saving lives and preventing the advance of ISIL.

I want to address some of the concerns raised by the opposition in the debate in the weeks before this mission.

First, the opposition suggests that Canada is running into this air strike role, or rushing into battle, as I have heard some members of this House say. If that were the case, we would have joined the first round of countries implementing air strikes.

On September 5 the Prime Minister outlined our position, which was an advisory one for the first month, and said that we would speak to our allies to see what would be needed going further. Canada has always played a role that is helpful but that is commensurate with our size and scope as a country. That is what we are doing here.

Members of this House have also said what our exit strategy is, throwing out suggestions like that as an excuse not to stand with our allies in the face of this threat.

An air strike role is limited. Our crews are able to return and assess the impact of their last mission; they are not on the ground. As the Prime Minister said in the House, no combat troops are being deployed on the ground with this motion.

Another element of debate has been, “How do we measure success?” Once again the idea is that if we can't measure success, we shouldn't stand alongside our allies and we shouldn't hear the cries from the thousands suffering as a result of ISIL.

However, with air strikes, as I said, we can measure the impact of our role in that area. We can measure if we have isolated ISIL and allowed Kurdish or Iraqi ground forces to safeguard their own interests.

This cries out for a quote from Winston Churchill, who said, “ one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.” The coalition forces, in the face of horrific acts of violence and genocide, certainly deserve success.

As the Prime Minister said, this is not a case of either humanitarian aid or counterterrorism operations, but a case of both, and without security on the ground, as we have seen through the tragic beheading last week, we cannot deliver humanitarian aid to the people who need it.

The NDP opposition in this House is understandable. It is a party that has been very reticent about deploying Canadian forces throughout its history. What is deeply troubling to me as a parliamentarian has been not just the position of the third party, the Liberal Party, in this debate, but its approach to the debate itself.

To highlight that, I am quoting another Liberal leader's speech in this place on September 8, 1939.

Prime Minister King, in response to Conservative support for his motion, said:

It shows how deep in the breasts of men lies the determination to preserve, to maintain and to defend freedom and all that freedom makes possible in the enjoyment of life itself. This deep-lying instinct for freedom is, I believe, characteristic of the citizens of Canada from one end of this great country to the other.

A “deep-lying instinct for freedom”: these are comments from the Liberal leader in 1939, in response to the Conservative Party's support for his motion in the House regarding the deployment of men and women at a time of need.

We can contrast that with the comments of today's Liberal leader, flippant when it comes to the situation that ISIL poses and derogatory of our ability to project force alongside our allies.

Where has the Liberal Party gone? That is the question I am leaving with the House. Where is the Liberals' deep-lying instinct for freedom? I hope they find it soon.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague on the opposite side that in 1939 the CCF party also supported the Second World War. Although the leader was a pacifist, the rest of the caucus fully supported Canada's involvement there, and of course we supported the mission in Libya initially in 2011, when it was directed at the responsibility to protect.

However, I want to put this proposition to him. The effectiveness of the air strikes being proposed is being seriously questioned by many, and others with substantial experience have even suggested that air strikes are counterproductive. Even those who accept that tactic are aware that we will run out of targets very soon.

My concern is with the costs that might be involved. In Libya, we were talking about $350 million. Why would the government's money and efforts not be better spent in providing direct humanitarian aid to the 1.8 million people whose lives are at risk immediately and who need—

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order. The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer the member to the Prime Minister's speech in the House last Friday, when he said the argument that the NDP is putting to the House is a false one. It is not that either we are involved in military action or we play a humanitarian role. In fact, we have been playing a humanitarian role, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs enhanced that yesterday in the House.

It is clear that Canada's role should be and always has been commensurate with our size and our ability to support our allies in support of our freedom and our values. We cannot cross to the other side of the road and ignore what is going on.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Arnold Chan Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade for his comments and pay tribute to him for having served in the Canadian military as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He is also one of the co-founders of the True Patriot Love foundation. I know that any decision he makes in terms of sending our armed forces into combat will be considered carefully, given his past service.

Last week the Liberal leader laid out four principles. I want to highlight only one, and that is the issue of capacity. We have heard nothing on this side with respect to whether, in fact, we have the appropriate capacity to exercise this type of force in theatre.

Has that question in fact been appropriately addressed before the members?

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question and his kind comments and use this occasion to congratulate him on joining the House of Commons. In fact, he is making a good contribution already, and he is certainly a welcome change from the previous member for Scarborough—Agincourt. It is good to see him in this place.

I would refer him to my remarks on the ability of Canada and the RCAF to assess the impact air strikes are having in concert with our allies. This is about making sure that we assess prior to every strike and then after every strike.

However, I would ask him as a new member of his caucus to ask his leader where the Liberals' deep-lying instinct for freedom has gone in their position with respect to these limited strikes, which are similar to the Kosovo mission their previous government introduced. Their absence on this file is of deep concern to many Canadians, including some Liberal Party members in my riding I was speaking with on the weekend. I would ask him to be a new voice in caucus to make sure Liberals bring their leader on track.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join the debate today on behalf of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park. I am splitting my time with the member for Davenport, a neighbouring riding in Toronto.

This is a very important debate. There is no more serious decision that can come before the House than a decision for military action, a decision to send Canada's children, our sons and daughters, our wives, our husbands and our parents to war. It is one of the most grave decisions that we have as parliamentarians.

There are many dangerous places in the world today. I have, like many here, been engaged in international work as a parliamentarian, but certainly for many years before my time in Parliament. I have worked with people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where sexual violence has been a horrific tool of war, a place where it is estimated that even to this day, over 40,000 people a month are losing their lives, and many more lives are destroyed through displacement and violence of various kinds.

The Central African Republic is another place where, since December, it is estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed.

Syria has been a very high profile area of conflict. It is estimated that close to 200,000 have lost their lives. This has evolved into a major humanitarian crisis, where many are in refugee camps or are seeking refuge in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

There are places that are just very violent. Saudi Arabia, for example, has capital punishment. One of the most common tools for execution is beheading. Just this past August, more than 20 people were executed by beheading.

There are many dangerous, violent places in the world, but certainly the actions of ISIL have particularly gripped the public media, the public debate, the consciousness of people around the world because of its violence, its tactics and its skilled use of social media as a tool to terrorize.

Many thousands have been killed. ISIL has been using horrible tactics such as conscripting of children and sexual violence to conduct its terror campaign. It has left many people displaced, more than 1.8 million civilians in Iraq alone. However, about 5.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Let us make no mistake. The actions of ISIL are reprehensible, horrific and deplorable, and there is no question that people being subjected to its terror campaign are looking for help.

Incredible humanitarian assistance is required. Certainly the UN has highlighted this. The Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the UN has said that humanitarian conditions in Iraq continue to deteriorate, and 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. That assistance ranges from water, sanitation, hygiene, access to food and very basic needs like shelter. We are coming into the fall and it will soon be winter. People do not have adequate shelter.

Also, there are: Mobile health units, especially in hard to access areas; protection for minorities, because these are the people who have been especially affected by the fighting; gender-sensitive responses for women and children who are being targeted for sexual assault; women and children who are trafficked, abducted and forced into recruitment, fighting, marriages, and as I said, sexual-based violence. There are children who not only have basic humanitarian needs, but they also need education and counselling for this trauma.

The United Nations has declared the situation the highest level of emergency. If we want to save lives and provide immediate assistance, it is with humanitarian aid that Canada can best assist the people who are affected by ISIL.

The United Nations passed resolution 2178 on September 24, which did not advocate military intervention. It advocated for UN member states to ensure that people who financed or otherwise supported terrorist activity, including and specifically that of ISIL, would be held legally accountable and brought to justice. The resolution did not authorize military action.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented that, “Over the longer-term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not the power of missiles – it is the politics of inclusion”. I would argue that military aid is not the biggest need; it is humanitarian aid.

The question the New Democrats ask is, will military aid help or hurt?

There has been some suggestion that the bombing missions by the United States have in fact prompted more recruits to join ISIL and become engaged in its struggle. Therefore, are we spreading the problem as these fighters disperse to avoid bombs, and they disperse among the civilian population? Are we creating a bigger problem than would otherwise have been?

In other words, would a bombing mission help or hurt? What is the plan? What is the goal? How do we know if we are succeeding? How do we know when we have succeeded? Will there be ground troops and what is the plan for that?

It is a little different to say to Canadians, or to any country, that we will be dropping bombs from a very high altitude and nobody on our side is going to get hurt. However, as we have seen in conflict after conflict, that becomes a slippery slope and quickly evolves into boots on the ground because there are always reasons, such as we have to finish the job, or we are not effective enough or there is more we could be doing.

We need to know what the plan is. What is the duration? Is it going to help or hurt? Are we dealing effectively with the humanitarian needs?

We have many questions that have not been adequately addressed in spite of the many passionate speeches from the other side of the House.

On behalf of my community in Parkdale—High Park, and I do not want to by any stretch of the imagination say that public opinion is unanimous, of the people who have contacted me by email, phone and those who have walked in the door, overwhelmingly the opinion is that people do not want us to engage in a bombing campaign against ISIL. They support humanitarian aid and whatever assistance we can provide. They understand the seriousness of this threat, but they do not want us to become engaged in what could be another long, open-ended war against what or who, wondering who would be allies and who knows when it will end or what the finish line even is.

I am proud of our leader, our critics on this file and our party. We will vote no to the motion when it comes to a vote.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario


Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has been clear on where it stands with respect to this motion. That party has been clear on where it stands with respect to this mission as well as with previous military deployments. My question is not specific to this mission, because as I said, the NDP has been clear that it is not prepared to support this one.

In future, what circumstances would guide an NDP decision to support a Canadian combat mission abroad? What initiatives would those members have to see put in place to support a Canadian military combat role in the future, not this specific mission? If one of those elements is supporting the United Nations, could she comment on the problem we always seem to have with the United Nations with respect to a veto by one of the permanent members of the United Nations?

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member can wisely understand, I will not speculate on what could be or possibly might be an acceptable bombing mission or military intervention. Our hope is that we do not have to engage in a military mission.

There is something we know now. We have the facts. We do not have to speculate. Lives can be saved today with an even greater humanitarian intervention. We do not have to hypothesize about that. Millions of people are in misery today and their lives may be at risk because of the humanitarian crisis.

Rather than getting our mindset on what mission we might support, let us focus on the mission today, which is a humanitarian mission. Let us save lives today. That is what Canada should do.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Adam Vaughan Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, our party and the member's party share a perspective on the urgency and the need for a much more substantial humanitarian gesture and engagement in protecting in particular the refugee camps along the Turkish border. We also share that party's apprehension and worry that the bombings will not result in either an immediate peace, a lasting peace, or a situation stabilized to the point where human rights are respected.

The amendment that the NDP moved calls for the shipment of arms. I am curious as to what arms would be shipped, to whom they would be shipped, if not shipped to some depot, who would they be intended for and how would they be expected to be used?

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me clarify the amendment. We accept that a local force needs to be capable of defending itself in order to maintain international peace and security, so we have argued that we need to boost our aid to the humanitarian effort. We need to provide assistance for the investigation and prosecution of war crimes. We call on the government to not deploy Canadian Forces in combat. We call on the government to seek House approval for any extension of the mission, to report back the costs of the mission and to offer wholehearted support to the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Our goal is not to engage in a military mission. We want that deleted from the motion.

It is unfortunate that our colleagues in the Liberal Party supported the initial involvement in a mission in Iraq, because that was the slippery slope that has led us to this point today. We are now facing a bombing mission in Iraq because of my colleagues in the Liberal Party.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always it is an honour for me to rise in this place on behalf of the good people of Davenport in the great city of Toronto to debate the motion at hand, which is essentially the most important motion and the most important decision that Parliament is ever seized of, and that is to send Canadians to war.

The government would like us to believe that the only choices are its proposal, its motion, and inaction. However, I think there has been a healthy debate here today. What Canadians have heard is that it is not true. The response Canadians and Canada should make is far different than the response that the government is making and far different from the response the government wants Canadians to believe is the right way to go.

However, on some level what we perhaps also need to think about are the voices coming from our constituencies, what people are saying on the ground, and the concerns people are raising. I think I speak for many here.

I have received a steady stream of correspondence and concern. I thought it might be helpful to read a couple of the letters I have received into the record because it would help to frame this debate in a slightly different way. Oftentimes it is perceived that all we are doing is scoring partisan points in this place. In this particular instance, in this debate, I believe that is far from the case. It is a difference in values and of direction. I know that I stand here as part of a party, a caucus, that has a strong history of standing up for the cause of peace, for the cause of peace in Canada and globally. I am proud of that history. That is one of the reasons that I and no doubt my colleagues in the New Democratic Party are in this caucus.

I have a couple of letters I thought I would read into the record so that it is clear that our position is one that is not just part of our history but part of our job representing Canadians. Therefore, before we take a break to discuss these issues in a different kind of way during question period, I will read this into the record. It states, “As a Canadian citizen, I am one of the majority who oppose entering this conflict and want to maintain Canada's historic role as a peacekeeping nation. I believe strongly that Canada should not be entering the war in Iraq and sending 6 CF-18s and 600 personnel. This is a civil war and we have been asked for humanitarian aid, which we should supply”.

In other words, it is not that Canadians do not want to engage, it is how we engage. What the government is doing with the motion and this direction is pulling us out of our historical role and rules of engagement.

Military Contribution Against ISILGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Davenport will have six minutes remaining for his comments when the House next returns to the question.

Humanitarian AidStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, the members of the Bloc Québécois are committed pacifists. However, we cannot turn our backs on massive human rights abuses. The Quebec nation, Canada and the entire international community have a responsibility and a duty to protect those who are suffering barbaric acts.

Quebec and Canada must step up and provide a humanitarian response as a show of human and international solidarity. That is the only way to legitimize the use of force.

The motion moved by the Conservative government demonstrates a one-dimensional logic that calls for air strikes and in which urgent humanitarian assistance plays a secondary role.

The Bloc Québécois agrees with the UN Secretary-General: we need to address the underlying causes of this crisis.

The Conservatives are asking for the House's blind trust in a military mission but are vague about its objective and how it will be assessed. The Bloc Québécois will not give the government carte blanche.

St. Maximilian Kolbe ParishStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, October 5, I was very pleased to attend and bring greetings on behalf of our government to the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church and the 35th anniversary of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Mississauga.

The church was named after a Polish priest who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz. The church received a blessing by Pope John Paul II while on a papal visit to Canada in 1984.

Welcoming many families and individuals, this parish remains a gathering place for those committed to upholding Christian ideals of faith and service, while preserving a deep attachment to their Polish heritage.

I would like to thank Father Janusz Blazejak and his pastoral team, parish council and many parishioners who have blessed countless people through their community service for the past 35 years. Such service is a true example of the values upheld by Canadians. God bless them as they continue in growth for future generations.

Mont-TremblantStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to learn that new direct flights between Toronto and La Macaza/Mont-Tremblant will be offered this winter. Air Canada will be offering daily flights from Lester B. Pearson airport. These flights will be available during the ski season.

This is excellent news for Mont-Tremblant's visibility and accessibility. These flights will bring in tourists from the eastern United States and the rest of Canada. Mont-Tremblant will be easier to get to than ever before.

I hope that this announcement will prompt the government to finally give the La Macaza/Mont-Tremblant airport appropriate classification with a modified customs system that will eventually allow the airport to accommodate international flights.

Citizenship WeekStatements By Members

October 7th, 2014 / 2 p.m.


Chungsen Leung Conservative Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to remind all Canadians that next week is Citizenship Week, a time when we reflect and celebrate the rights and responsibilities that Canadians share.

Our citizenship defines what it means to be a Canadian. It is a shared commitment to our country's core beliefs in freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values that we all hold dear.

Canada has welcomed generations of newcomers to our shores to help us build a free, law-abiding and prosperous society. For 400 years, settlers and immigrants have contributed to the diversity and richness of our country, which is built on a proud history and a strong identity.

During Citizenship Week, I encourage all Canadians to reaffirm their citizenship and reflect on what it means to be a citizen of Canada, the greatest country in the world.

Mental Illness Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the course of their lifetimes, one in five Canadians will experience mental illness. Millions of Canadians, our friends, family and loved ones will suffer a painful, though often invisible and isolating injury.

There is no better opportunity than this Mental Illness Awareness Week to ensure that those among us suffering from mental illness are not alone. Prejudices and misconceptions, which surround mental health issues, still exist and stigmatize sufferers. It is incumbent upon us to break through and fight stigma. It is our duty as parliamentarians to ensure that access to professional care is available to whoever is in need.

We cannot lose another soldier, or veteran, or police officer, or firefighter, or paramedic. We cannot lose another mother, father, brother or sister. We have to let them know that they are not alone.

We must ensure that awareness of mental illness extends beyond a week, or even beyond a year. Let us always keep in mind those among us who are suffering and resolve every day to do better with mental health treatment.

Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and ChorusStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, tonight is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear conductor Wes Janzen and the world famous Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

For the past month, they have been travelling across Canada as part of their Canada-Ukraine friendship tour. An incredible demonstration of talent and dedication, their performances have brought the uniqueness and vibrancy of the Ukrainian culture to hundreds of Canadians. As many on the Hill witnessed earlier today, their sound and musical expertise are remarkable.

Tonight, they will be performing at the Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa at 7 p.m. It is free and open to all. This is a must-see event.

Our Ukrainian friends are here today to remind us of the strong relationship that Canada and Ukraine share. I ask all members of the House to give Wes Janzen and the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus a warm Canadian welcome.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, of the many cuts made to science in recent years by the Conservative government, I find one particularly shocking, and that is the significant drop in federal involvement in forest research.

Forestry in Canada has a history spanning more than a century and is an economic activity that is vital to the survival of over 200 Canadian communities.

Today, more than ever, the sustainability of the industry and forestry jobs depends on innovation, which, in turn, would stop declining if the federal government were to get more involved.

To that end, why not give Forestry Canada the resources to fund projects with development potential or further tie basic research to experience on the ground, so that innovation is dynamic and adapted to reality?

To facilitate management, we need to reactivate and improve the Canadian Model Forest Network, an indispensable partner in the long-term renewal of Canadian forestry through community-based innovation.

Looking for new ways to develop Canadian forests as a whole needs to be a national priority. There are solutions out there, and the NDP is ready to act.

Bill NielsenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Bill Nielsen, a community leader who dedicated many tireless hours building running and walking trails in my hometown of Lacombe. Bill passed away this spring at the age of 73 from pancreatic cancer.

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining hundreds of local runners at the sold-out inaugural Bill Nielsen Trail Run. Bill was an inspiration to all. He ran his first marathon at age 40, and he ran his 100th marathon in 2008. Amazingly, Bill ran more than 30 marathons after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Bill was a legend in the Lacombe running community, but perhaps his greatest contributions were the trails he built and maintained in our city. Preferring to ask forgiveness rather than seek permission, Bill carved out trails through undeveloped parks in town using hand tools to avoid loud noises. Surprisingly, it took the town six months to catch him. Bill's passion led him to join the board of the parks and recreation committee in Lacombe so that he could continue his work on our trail system.

Bill stood for everything good about running, and his legacy will be enjoyed by future generations. I thank Bill for keeping us on the right trail.

Brant ScottStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a former employee and great friend of Canada's outdoors and firearms communities, Mr. Brant Scott, who unexpectedly passed away on September 16.

Hailing from Grimsby, Ontario, Brant wore many hats. In his younger days, he was a reporter and editor at the local paper. In Ottawa, he put those skills to good use as a legislative assistant to several MPs, myself included.

He was an avid photographer and a talented musician, but above all, he was an exceptionally gifted writer and communicator. A man of integrity, Brant honed those skills while on Parliament Hill. He worked passionately for the rights of firearms owners and tackled a variety of the issues affecting Canada's outdoors community through the outdoors caucus. He made many friends along the way.

To Brant's wife, Susan, and children, Graham and Mary, we extend our heartfelt condolences on this devastating loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will miss Brant. May God bless.

World Animal DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Isabelle Morin NDP Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, World Animal Day, which was celebrated last Saturday, October 4, provides an excellent opportunity to talk about the well-being and rights of animals.

I rise today to draw attention to the problem of the growing number of animals in Canada on the endangered species list. The economic and industrial development of our country is of course necessary. However, it is also essential to consider the impact of human activities on animal populations, especially endangered species.

I can refer members to many examples, such as the western chorus frog or the woodland caribou. Both populations have suffered a massive decline throughout Canada, mainly caused by habitat loss. Without appropriate government funding and the political will for recovery programs, their future is seriously at risk. On this side of the House, we want to make sure that everything is done to protect these endangered species.

The government has a duty to work actively to protect our wildlife.