Madam Speaker, since this is my first full speech in the House, I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Laurier—Sainte-Marie for their renewed trust in me. It is an honour to debate the motion moved by the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka, since it essentially calls on us to continue with the Conservative government's policy. It goes without saying that this is really not a good idea. That government kept expanding a mission that began with providing assistance and advice. The mission progressed to bombings and even led to the death of a Canadian soldier on the front lines. There were boots on the ground.
Under the previous government we also saw the prime minister make light of questions about whether the bombings in Syria were legitimate under international law. He essentially made light of international law, which is, I should point out, our greatest guarantee of security.
This motion also refers to NATO. I must point out that the coalition's activities are not led by NATO, nor are they led by the United Nations. I do not want to spend all of my time talking about what the previous government did, but it had no exit strategy and, more importantly, no peace plan.
We still do not know exactly what the Liberal government's plans are. We will have questions about that. We know the bombings are still happening. When will they stop?
They talk about training, but we do not really have any details or a timeline. As with any such action, we need more details. Although we have a lot of questions and doubts about the current approach, it would be ideal to have an exit plan. We would like to know all of that soon.
We have always made it clear that we do not think Canada should be involved in this war. That does not mean we should do nothing at all. Yes, we have to fight ISIS and terrorism in general, but we have to do it with the right tools for the current situation. We also need to respond to the emergency.
Humanitarian aid is another issue. Canada will be receiving quite a few refugees. That is excellent, and we applaud that initiative. Nevertheless, everyone has to understand that helping refugees solves only a very small part of the problem. There are three million displaced people in Iraq and 6.5 million in Syria. There are also 4.5 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. That is making for some very difficult situations in those countries. For example, in Lebanon, a significant proportion of the population is now made up of refugees. We must do everything we can to prevent the situation from destabilizing those countries and to prevent the chaos—and it is chaos—from spreading to other countries.
People have been displaced within Syria, and seven million people have serious humanitarian aid needs. We absolutely have to do something about that. We have to work on water supply and education. We do not want a lost generation, but that is what could happen. Not only have children been traumatized, but they will have gone years without access to education.
We need to think about the future. Once the situation in Syria has been resolved, we will have to start thinking about what the country will need to rebuild. Syria needs young people who are strong, well educated and able to contribute to the national effort.
Clearly, I am not even talking about shelter. It is winter for the people who have been displaced as well. Perhaps it is not Canadian winter, but even Canadian winter is changing. These people need medical attention. There is so much to do. Humanitarian aid is absolutely essential in the name of our humanity and our obligation to show solidarity. It is also essential to the fight against ISIS.
Obviously, this is not a traditional war. When I hear answers that reflect traditional warfare thinking, namely the whole idea that they are enemies and therefore must be bombed, I cannot help but think that this is a last-century or even last-millennium reaction, philosophy or approach.
At this point, we are up against a propaganda war, and it is crucial that we win hearts and minds. Tragic attacks have been carried out all over the world, including the recent attacks in Paris. The people who perpetrated those acts were born and raised in France. The attacks were planned in Belgium. These people were inspired by anger, by resentment and by the Islamic State and its ideology. It is that ideology that we need to fight.
I have spoken with a number of people from humanitarian organizations working on the ground who happened to be in Canada. I even visited a refugee camp myself. Everyone I spoke to underscored the fact that this is complicating their work and creating confusion among the population. Even those who were being helped by the humanitarian groups did not understand why they were being helped and bombed at the same time. People do not necessarily make that distinction. As everyone knows, this kind of action often and unfortunately leads to collateral damage or mistakes in one form or another.
Humanitarian aid is absolutely crucial. It is a tool that goes beyond what we should do for the sake of dignity or solidarity. It can also help prevent radicalization in the entire region. It is another form of action that is absolutely crucial.
We have to cut off the money supply to ISIS. We also have to stop it from recruiting and that is done by combatting radicalization here and abroad.
The refugee camps surrounding the Central African Republic are now being used for recruiting new jihadists. Canada is no longer giving anything to UNRWA, which can no longer fund schools for young Palestinians. Those young people therefore have less hope for the future and more time on their hands.
We have to address these issues to combat radicalization all around the world. We must also combat radicalization here at home. That can only be done by working with the communities. If we want to cut off their resources, then we must also stop the flow of weapons.
Earlier today, I had the opportunity to ask whether Canada would finally sign and ratify the arms trade treaty, which is an essential tool. Unfortunately I did not get a response. Nevertheless, I encourage the new government to address this important issue as soon as possible. We must also stop the flow of money from all sources. We know there is private funding and funding from oil-rich countries.
I will be told that oil facilities could be bombed, but another option is to have better monitoring of the flow of oil at the borders. We also know about the trafficking of art, in particular, and hostage-taking. There are a number of tools available, and we have been given a very clear mandate by the United Nations to work together in taking action. The President of France said that we must start doing much more about this issue. I would very much like to see Canada show leadership on these matters.
Above all, we must find a path to peace. ISIL was able to establish itself in Syria because of the chaos in that country. It also has a foothold in Iraq because of the country's prevailing problems with governance and exclusion. This has helped ISIL pit one segment of the population against the other. These are the fundamental problems in those countries and, I repeat, in others.
We have heard a lot about prevention. We must start looking elsewhere, where this kind of thing is going on. We know what is happening in Libya right now. We must do something about all those things that help terrorist groups thrive. We need a political solution in Syria. As Dominique de Villepin, France's former foreign affairs minister, said, we need to use tools for peace because, so far, all we have seen, with our bombings elsewhere and interventions in Iraq, war nourishes war. Let us try a new approach, since the approaches we have taken in the past have not been very successful, and let us focus as much as possible on tools for peace.
We must find a political solution in Syria. I hope that the new government will work with our allies, participate in the discussions that are currently taking place and try to make a contribution.
I know that, unfortunately, the Conservative government's policies have seriously undermined Canada's ability to contribute to these kinds of negotiations, but I think that we need to get back to work. We need to build a governance structure in Iraq, which is absolutely essential.
As I said, we need to work on promoting democracy around the world. I know that seems like the kind of work that will produce only long-term results and that I might sound like a dreamer, but we need to face the facts. So far, our approaches to these challenges have not worked, so we need to try something else.
The words of Ban Ki-moon seem fitting here. I think they sum the situation up quite well. He said that, over the longer term, the biggest threat to terrorists is not the power of missiles, it is the politics of inclusion. I could not agree more. Some political leaders, particularly among our neighbours to the south, have decided to adopt the politics of exclusion. That plays right into the terrorists' hands, and that is what we must not do. With respect to dropping bombs, many analysts say that kind of knee-jerk reaction also plays into the terrorists' hands because that is what they want us to do.
In light of the atrocities committed by ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime, I find it striking that they are not mentioned in the motion moved by my colleague from Parry Sound—Muskoka, if I am not mistaken. Naturally, the initial reaction calls for violence, aggression, and warmongering.
However, we should recall the words of Ban Ki-moon and try to develop more appropriate and comprehensive approaches.