Madam Speaker, I have been listening with great interest to today's debate, and it is a real honour to be able to contribute to it as well.
I want to outline what I see as the three principle arguments as to why the motion should pass and why our involvement in the bombing mission in particular is important. First of all, we have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. Second, maintaining our collective security commitments is critical for our security. Third, bombing Daesh is a necessary part of our anti-radicalization efforts. I am going to talk a bit about those three things in the time I have today.
First of all, we have a moral obligation to be part of the bombing mission in order to protect the vulnerable. I spoke about this in some detail in my maiden speech, but I am going to talk again about that briefly before I go on to the other points.
What is happening right now in Syria and Iraq is nothing short of genocide. We have used that word on this side of the House, and certainly that has not been contested by any other parties. Genocide has never been quite so visible, so undeniable. Even the Nazis did not broadcast their atrocities on television. When it came to past atrocities, many of us could have perhaps said, if only we had known, then we would have done more. That cannot be said in this case. We all know what is happening in Syria and Iraq. There is no denying it. If we have not watched the videos, then we know that they exist.
I hear what the other members are saying. They are saying that we should perhaps help the vulnerable but we should do it in a different way. I have a hard time taking those arguments seriously because they do not seem to respect the urgency of the problem. We can educate people to address potential violence. We can train them to address future violence. However, if we want to stop the current violence, then we need to fight as well. It does not mean that there is nothing else we can do to contribute positively at the same time.
The approach we on this side of the House advocate is a multi-pronged approach. We support being involved in education, the humanitarian response, training, as well as fighting. Talking only about those more long-term aspects of bringing about peace and stability in the region, to me sounds a lot like fixing the locks once the thief is already inside the house. Stop the violence; protect the innocent, and then by all means do more. However, there is an imminent threat, a present campaign of violence and genocide, and it will require more than words and social programs to stop it. We need to do something right now. We need to respond right now. We need to protect the innocent. We need to do what we can to stop the violence. We have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable.
Second, I want to talk about maintaining our collective security commitment because this is crucial for our own security. The party opposite has talked about how during the last election it had committed to withdrawing from the fight against Daesh, but surely it can see that things have changed since the Paris attacks. Canada and France are both signatories to the NATO treaty. Article 5 makes it clear that an attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all.
Short of the formal invocation of article 5, it is still critically important that NATO members respond together. Russia and other powers are already testing the result of our NATO alliance. When events like the attack on Paris take place, it and others will be watching to see what we do. It is essential for global security, and for our own security, that NATO members stand and respond together to an act of war against a member state. A strong united response from NATO would show our resolve, would deter aggressive behaviour from other actors, and would keep our people safe. A non-response would do the opposite.
Canada has already been attacked, right here in this place, by Daesh inspired terrorists. However, what happens if we are attacked again, in perhaps a more coordinated fashion, and then on the basis of our collective security commitments we ask our NATO allies to be part of a response? What are they going to say to us? Are they going to say that they will send some blankets and do some training behind the lines? I hope not. Collective security is important. It is the basis on which we stand. It is how we protect ourselves in an environment where we do not have the capacity to oppose the world's largest aggressive powers alone. In addition to the other reasons already given, participating in this bomber mission is how we show that we take collective security seriously. I have said that we have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable, that maintaining our collective security commitments is critical for our own security.
Finally, I am going to talk about how bombing Daesh is a necessary part of the anti-radicalization effort. We hear a lot from others in this place about deradicalization. However, strangely, we rarely hear them actually define the radicalization that we face. If we are going to talk about deradicalization, we have to have a good understanding of what kind of radicalization we are up against.
Let us be clear. Daesh is a deeply ideological organization. It is thuggish, violent, and evil. However, we should not infer from these things that it is thoughtless. Its members are thinking about how to enact a very particular and most would agree very misguided version of Islam. Whatever we call it, Daesh is a religious group, with particular beliefs that we would do well to understand if we care about deradicalization.
Daesh is trying to recreate an imagined eighth century caliphate, a caliphate that applies a particular conception of Islamic law, and, necessarily, that caliphate has certain very particular requirements for its existence. A caliphate is a particular form of religious organization, understood in various different forms of Islamic political thought as encompassing both religious and political control. In particular, it ruled by a caliph, thought of to be the successor of the prophet Muhammad. Many different Muslims look in their history to the idea of a caliphate, and there have been different caliphates with different kinds of legacies, most of them, of course, looking nothing like Daesh, the so-called Islamic State.
The last caliphate, the Ottoman Turkish caliphate, was headquartered in Istanbul. It disappeared in 1924, after it was ended by Kemal Ataturk as he turned Turkey into a secular state. For some Muslims, and many of those who are not Daesh supporters, the existence of the caliphate is theologically very important and they look to its eventual re-establishment.
Daesh represents the most serious attempt to resurrect a caliphate in almost 100 years. The particular school of thought that Daesh belongs to would identify a number of key conditions for a caliphate to exist.
First, the caliph must be a Muslim adult male Qureyshi, which means a member of a particular Arabic tribe to which Muhammad also belonged. Second, the caliph must demonstrate good moral character. Of course, many would dispute that the current proclaimed caliph, al-Baghdadi, meets these conditions, and certainly many Muslim theologians have argued persuasively that his actions are essentially anti-Islamic and immoral. However, in the eyes of his followers, he has met these conditions. He certainly is Qureyshi. In any event, there is not very much we can do to convince them that he does not fit conditions one and two. The third, and perhaps most important requirement for a caliph, is that he must have authority. A person who meets conditions one and two but has no army or territory is still disqualified from being a caliph unless and until he acquires territory.
This House needs to understand that Daesh is trying to enact this fantasy. Its members are not just thugs; they are thugs with a particular religious agenda.
This history is important for our motion today because the most important thing we can do to counter radicalization is to take away Daesh's territory. Without territory, even in the eyes of its followers, it will cease to be a caliphate. We need to wreck this fantasy. We need to show vulnerable men and women who might be susceptible to the arguments of the radicals that there is indeed no real caliphate to join. We need to do this, and, frankly, we need to do this right away. The longer the supposed caliphate exists, the more persuasive the arguments of its boosters will sound.
Daesh is not al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is a para-state organization that hopes, at best, to pave the way for the emergence of a caliphate. It did not have anything near the ambition of Daesh. However, Daesh is seriously and ambitiously evil. It is playing for keeps, and we do not know what hell we are in for if we do not stop this madness now.
I have two young children. I want to be able to tell them that we got the job done and we did not leave this for generations to come. We have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. Maintaining our collective security commitment is critical for our own security. Bombing, defeating, and destroying Daesh is the necessary step toward effective anti-radicalization.