House of Commons Hansard #188 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.

I should point out to this place that all petitions that I am presenting today relate to the same subject, that being the grain industry.

The other interesting point I would make is that these petitions were delivered by members of all of the recognized parties in the House, which clearly exemplifies the fact that the grain industry is not only important to western Canadians but to all Canadians. Because of that, I believe it appropriate for me to say a few words as to not only the responses to the petitions themselves but to some of the rationale behind the government's position relating to the grain industry.

Let me, if I may, just for a moment or two, give some of the answers that we have provided to members of this place who have questioned and petitioned the government on the grain industry. The Government of Canada notes the concerns raised by the petitioners regarding farmers' rights to save, use and exchange seeds, both domestically and internationally, and the petitioners' support for the international agricultural aid policies. The Government of Canada understands that many farmers place considerable value on having the ability to save seeds.

In conclusion, let me present these petitions as delivered.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a little less than six months ago, I stood in this place to address the House about the rise of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and the threat it poses, not only for that region, but for the broader global community, and in particular for Canada and the Canadian public.

Back in October, I also spoke of the need to work with the international community in pursuing an aggressive course of action against ISIL, something that the House endorsed. Today, I am here to report on the evolution of the situation, to note that the direction and resolve of our allies and partners in dealing with this threat has not changed, and to propose that Canada renew its commitment to the international coalition and its mission.

ISIL has established a self-proclaimed caliphate that covers a vast territory from around Aleppo in Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad in Iraq. From that territory, it has launched a terrorist jihad not only against the region, but on a global scale.

The good news is this. The territorial spread of ISIL, something occurring at a truly terrifying pace in the spring and summer of last year, has been more or less halted. Indeed, ISIL has been somewhat pushed back at the margins. In significant part, this is because of the breadth and intensity of the international opposition that it has provoked not just in the west but in the majority of the Muslim world, both Shia and Sunni, and specifically in Arab nations. Nevertheless, ISIL's territorial hold remains substantial and its leadership and networking of wider jihadist forces has continued.

Just as the so-called Islamic State threatened it would do, it has carried out or inspired attacks throughout its network across the globe, including right here in Canada, as I am sure everyone remembers, and in one case, not far from the House of Commons. ISIL has made it clear that it targets, by name, Canada and Canadians.

ISIL has made it clear that it targets by name Canada and Canadians. Why? It is for the same reason it targets so many groups, in fact for the same reason it targets most of humanity. In ISIL's view, anyone who does not accept its perverted version of religion should be killed. It is as self-evident to them as it seems insane to us, but it is far from an idle threat.

ISIL does not kill just enemy combatants. It also kills journalists covering the conflict, aid workers helping innocent civilians and, of course, innocent civilians themselves.

In fact in its crimes, ISIL targets innocent men, women and children, particularly the most vulnerable and peaceful ethnic and religious minorities.

Why do we know these things? Not because, as is so often the case, the behaviour of brutal regimes inevitably becomes public knowledge. No, we know these things because ISIL brags about them.

The so-called Islamic State does more than brag. It broadcasts its assassinations, committed in the most barbaric way possible, using high-quality video productions, which is unprecedented in the troubling history of human atrocities.

Canada, along with roughly 60 other members of the United Nations, has taken action. We have provided staff officers to the coalition's military command. We have transported arms from donor countries to Iraqi forces directly engaged with advancing ISIL terrorists. In fact, early on in this mission, we provided the largest such airlift support.

We have committed Canadian soldiers to advise and assist Iraqi Kurdish forces defending their homes in northern Iraq.

We have taken part in air strikes that have allowed us to hit ISIL targets in Iraq directly.

Our Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18s have made strategic air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq in the coalition's air campaign. Canada's highly capable CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft have made possible the coalition's effective precision bombing.

Reconnaissance and logistical support, as well as the expertise provided by the Canadian Armed Forces, have been an integral part of the international mission.

Canada is also helping those combatting regional terrorist financing networks, and we are working in concert with others to stem the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

Of course, we have also offered assistance to civilians who have been displaced in the region.

In fact, among the nations of the world, we have been one of the biggest providers of humanitarian assistance. I am glad to say that in the last six months we have helped feed 1.7 million people in Iraq, provide shelter and relief supplies to 1.25 million people, and give some education to at least 0.5 million children.

Beyond that, we have also been helping to support more than 200,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq with food, water, shelter and protection. There is no either/or here between military action and humanitarian aid. The situation desperately needs both, and Canada has vigorously been providing both, and so have a wide range of our international partners.

The upshot is this: there has been no lessening or weakening of the global consensus that ISIL must be resisted and resisted by force.

That is why, today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be tabling a motion seeking the support of the House for the government's decision to renew our military mission against the so-called Islamic State for 12 months. Our objectives remain the same. We intend to continue to degrade the capacities of the so-called Islamic State, that is, to degrade its ability to engage in large-scale military movement, to operate bases in the open, to expand its presence in the region and to propagate attacks outside the region.

Specifically, we will extend our air combat mission, that is our air strike capability, our air-to-air refuelling capability, our Aurora surveillance mission, and the deployment of air crew and support personnel.

The government is also seeking the support of the House for its decision to explicitly expand the air combat mission to include Syria. The government recognizes that ISIL's power base, indeed the so-called caliphate's capital, is in Syria. ISIL's fighters and much of its heavier equipment are moving freely across the Iraqi border into Syria, in part for better protection against our air strikes. In our view, ISIL must cease to have any safe haven in Syria.

Let me also be clear that in expanding our air strikes into Syria, the government has now decided we will not seek the express consent of the Syrian government. Instead we will work closely with our American and other allies who have already been carrying out such operations against ISIL over Syria in recent months.

In asking the House to support the government's decision to renew this mission for the next 12 months, it is our intention for the same period that members of Canada's special forces will continue their non-combat mission to advise and assist the Iraqi forces and increase their capabilities to combat the so-called Islamic State.

We share the view of President Obama and others that we must avoid if we can taking on ground combat responsibilities in this region. We seek to have the Iraqis do this themselves and our role there is to help them do that. Of course, Canada's humanitarian work will go on.

We do not need to choose between fighting the so-called Islamic State and helping its victims.

We will continue to do both.

I would simply like to conclude by saying this: Canadians know that we cannot make the dangers of the world disappear just by ignoring them.

Canadians did not invent the threat of jihadi terrorism and we certainly did not invite it, nor as this global threat becomes ever more serious can we protect ourselves, our communities by choosing to ignore it. That is why a strong majority of Canadians have supported our government's mission against ISIL. Canadians understand that it is not merely in the wider interests of the international community, but specifically in Canada's national interest.

It is never easy to make a decision that requires our men and women in uniform to accept the risks that any mission entails. The recent death of Sergeant Andrew Doiron reminded us that, sadly, these risks are all too real.

Yet the Canadian Armed Forces never waver in defending our country, our family and our values. We are humbled and eternally grateful for their service and sacrifice.

On Thursday, the House will debate the motion put forward by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for a renewed mission against ISIL.

I ask all members to support this motion.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, asking our brave Canadian women and men in uniform to risk their lives overseas is the most sacred duty that a prime minister has. Seeking approval from this House makes us all responsible for their lives. Seeking a mandate like this must be undertaken, therefore, with the utmost responsibility.

I listened very carefully as the Prime Minister spoke just now, and nothing I heard today has convinced me that the Conservatives are taking this duty with the seriousness it deserves.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that we have had this debate before. On September 30, just six months ago, I stood in this House and asked the Prime Minister specifically whether Canadian troops would be involved in directing air strikes in Iraq, in painting targets. I asked him twice, as a matter of fact, and twice the Prime Minister specifically denied it. We now know that simply was not true. I also asked the Prime Minister if Canadian troops would be accompanying Iraqi forces to the front line. Again, the Prime Minister categorically denied that, and again we now know that simply was not true. They say that truth is the first casualty of war. It has become clear that the current government has taken that saying to heart.

Little by little, without any transparency and with one contradictory statement after another by the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Conservatives have pushed Canada into a war in Iraq—a war that is not ours to fight. It is a quagmire that has gone on for over a decade, a conflict that has already cost the life of Sergeant Andrew Joseph Doiron, as the Prime Minister just said.

Here we are six months later. This Prime Minister and this government are now asking for permission to extend the deployment in Iraq and to specifically add—the Prime Minister just said so—Syria as a new theatre of operations.

The Prime Minister is asking for our trust so that he can put our troops in danger. Frankly, he has not earned that trust.

The Prime Minister has not earned that trust because he misled Canadians from the start. It is simply unconscionable that the current Conservative government would ask for the authority to extend the mission in Iraq when so many things it has told Canadians about the mission up until now have been false.

It begs the question: Do they not know the answers or do they not want Canadians to know the answers? The women and men who put their lives on the line deserve better; Canadians deserve better.

If we all agree that it is the Prime Minister's sacred duty to send our troops into war, then it is the official opposition's sacred duty to scrutinize that decision to make sure it is the right one.

Military planners will tell us that, for a mission to succeed, it must have two things. It must have a well-defined objective and a well-defined exit strategy. This mission has neither. The Conservatives simply have no plan. They have no strategy, other than the obvious political one, and that is putting our troops in danger.

Our brave men and women are involved in fire fights with ISIS on the ground, contrary to their clear undertaking. For the Prime Minister to still deny that Canadian troops are involved in combat is simply ludicrous. The death of Sergeant Doiron reminded us all that the risk of deployment on the front line is real. This House cannot turn a blind eye to this fact, despite the Prime Minister's assertions.

The truth is that our allies, the Americans for instance, do not even get close to the front line. In their role of targeting air strikes, the Canadian soldiers are performing a task that so far even the U.S. military has been unwilling to perform.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has repeatedly said that the U.S. would consider directing attacks from the ground but that it has not done so yet. Why not, and why are Canadian troops doing it?

Clearly, the lack of clear objectives did not stop this Prime Minister from supporting George W. Bush's war in 2003. However, history shows that Canada was right in choosing not to participate at the time.

However, it is clear today that our Prime Minister is not at all concerned about the lack of clear objectives. He seems to want his war in Iraq, just as he wanted it in 2003, regardless of the consequences. Canada initially joined the war in Iraq for a 30-day mission. Thirty days became six months. Now, six months later, the government wants to add another year. What will happen then? That is the question. The Conservatives do not know. Canadians do not know. What is worse, the Conservatives refuse to say.

We need to remember Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan, a war that, for Canada, also started with our special forces participating in some very limited operations. At the time, facing insults and jeers, Alexa McDonough and the NDP caucus asked the government the necessary questions, tough questions. Then, as now, the initial mission transformed over time, which led us into a quagmire, as we predicted.

The deployment in Afghanistan became the longest military mission in Canada's history: 160 soldiers were killed, more than 1,000 were wounded and thousands of others suffered and still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is the height of irresponsibility for a government to decide to enter a war without a clear plan, without a clear beginning and a well-defined end. However, that is exactly what the Conservatives are doing in Iraq. The government is taking Canada from mission creep to mission leap.

New Democrats are proud to have stood up to the Prime Minister's misguided war from the very beginning. The fact is that Canada has no place in this war. This is not—

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

This is not a UN mission. It is not even a NATO mission. Despite attempts to give appearances to the contrary, it is not a NATO mission. UN missions and NATO missions are the kinds of internationally sanctioned campaigns that New Democrats can and have been able to get behind.

In 2011—

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I did not hear any noise when the Right Hon. Prime Minister was speaking. I will ask members to extend the same courtesy to the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

In 2011, when Moammar Gadhafi started dropping bombs on his own civilian population, New Democrats supported the international efforts to protect Libyans. That effort was sanctioned by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. Of course, when the mission of protection of the civilian population became one of a so-called regime change, it was New Democrats who asked the right question—to replace it with what? Ask the Americans how that worked out in Benghazi.

Now, years later, with everything we have seen unfold in Libya, it is clear that the NDP was right to ask those questions then. Unlike that original mission in Libya, the war in Iraq does not have the support of the United Nations. Let us be clear about that.

Here it is important to note that the UN Security Council has indeed passed three resolutions dealing with Iraq. None authorizes a military mission. However, the Security Council is requiring action on preventing the flow of foreign fighters and financing of terrorist organizations, including ISIS and ISIL. Pressuring regional governments to prevent financial transfers to them is a real diplomatic effort that Canada can and should prioritize. That would be effective. The truth is that air strikes are being used as an effective recruitment tool for ISIS.

The United States has been mired in Iraq for over a decade, and the Americans see no light at the end of the tunnel. Would the Prime Minister have us believe that he will be able to successfully use military force to impose a solution in Iraq when everyone else has failed in the past 10 years? I do not think so.

Now the Prime Minister wants to move ahead with this plan and help the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, a dictator of the worst kind, a war criminal who uses chemical weapons against his own people and bombs schools and hospitals with impunity and without reservation.

It is especially disturbing to see the Prime Minister now openly considering an alliance of sorts with the brutal dictator and war criminal Bashar al-Assad. The Prime Minister has already said that any Canadian military involvement in Syria—something the government is now proposing, as members just heard—would require the permission of the Assad regime.

This is a regime that continues to commit the most atrocious war crimes. It is a regime that not only uses chemical weapons on civilians, but it uses snipers against women and children. It is a regime that actually collaborated with ISIS.

It is hard to believe the Prime Minister when he says that the mission is about preventing atrocities when he is willing to work with one of the worst perpetrators of atrocities in the world today.

Paul Heinbecker, Canada's last ambassador to the UN Security Council, said it best. He said:

If out of fear of Islamic State and of a desire to stop them, the Coalition were to ally itself, de facto or de jure, with Bashar al-Assad for fleeting tactical advantage, it would be the ultimate betrayal of the Syrian innocents. And of our own values.

Simply put, our women and men in uniform have no place being in Iraq and they certainly have no place being in Syria.

Mark my words, when New Democrats form government on October 19, we are going to pull our troops out. We are going to bring them home.

I am sure that everyone in the House only wants what is best for the Iraqi people, but escalating military action is not going to help the people of Iraq. The insurgents, factions and clans feed off these interventions to radicalize the population, recruit militants and undermine local governments. These groups, such as the Islamic State, benefit from the weak Iraqi government and the little support it gets from its own people. Iraq is in no position to maintain peace and security within its own borders. More bombs, more destruction and more deaths are not going to change that.

Canada can play a more positive role in resolving this crisis. We can do that by helping Turkey, our NATO ally, cope with 1.5 million refugees who have poured over its border. We can do that by using every diplomatic, humanitarian, and financial resource at our disposal to strengthen the political institutions in Iraq, and yes, in Syria.

It is simply not enough to say that we have to do something. We need to ask ourselves what is the right thing to do. The question should not be whether it is a combat role or nothing. It is a false choice offered by the Prime Minister. The question should be what is the most effective thing Canada can do.

There is a desperate need for humanitarian support. There were reports from a committee of this Parliament this week of children freezing to death in refugee camps. Canada could have helped with winterizing those camps.

There is also a desperate need for greater diplomacy. Local frustrations and ineffective outreach brought about the rise of ISIS. Only effective, inclusive, and representative governance can end the threat from extremism in the region.

There is a need for a strong campaign to counter extremist messaging, exposing the brutality of ISIS and the lack of religious basis for its atrocities. It starts right here at home with proactive engagement with the communities to prevent radicalization. However, that is something that cannot be achieved when the Prime Minister singles out Canada's Muslim population instead of reaching out to its members.

The motion the government is moving does not do any of that. That is why the official opposition made up of the New Democratic Party of Canada will not support this motion, will not support extending the war in Iraq, and will not support expanding this war to Syria. That is clearly not the right path to take.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the Prime Minister's statement.

We have learned a lot over the six months that have passed since the government decided to participate in the war in Iraq.

Last fall, the Prime Minister stood in this House and told Parliament that Canadian troops were not accompanying the Iraqi forces into combat. In the weeks and months that followed, a very different story emerged. We now know that our 30-day non-combat advise and assist effort became a six-month-long engagement, and then evolved into one in which Canadian troops were active on the front lines, regularly engaging in direct combat.

We learned of the tragic death of Sergeant Andrew Joseph Doiron, who was killed in the line of duty. That was the first death of a member of the Canadian Forces in this war.

I know that I speak on behalf of all members of the House when I say that we will continue to pay tribute to Sergeant Doiron and his courage. Our thoughts remain with his loved ones.

That tragic loss of life should also serve as an important reminder. At the end of every decision to enter combat stands a brave Canadian in harm's way, because they have the courage to serve and because we made the decision to send them to war.

The men and women who serve in our military are well-trained professionals, deeply committed to their country and very good at what they do. We in the Liberal Party have never been opposed to employing the lethal force of which they are capable when it clearly serves Canada's national interest to do so. We will never be.

However, in every case, that national interest must be clearly and rationally articulated. The mission designed to uphold that interest must have transparent objectives and a responsible plan to achieve them.

The government has been steadily drawing Canada deeper into a combat role in Iraq. It now wants to expand that war into Syria. Further, it has done all this without clearly articulating the mission's objectives. As a result, neither members of this House nor Canadians have any way to know when or whether we have achieved those objectives.

The Conservatives have no exit strategy beyond an illusory end date set for next March. Involvement in direct combat in this war does not serve Canada's interests, nor will it provide a constructive solution to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in this region. Now the Prime Minister seeks to deepen our involvement and expand it into the Syrian civil war.

Last fall, because the Prime Minister failed to offer a clear and responsible plan, one that limited our participation to a true non-combat role and better reflected the broad scope of Canada's capabilities, we said that we would not support his motion to go to war in Iraq.

The four core principles we articulated in October still stand today: one, Canada has a role to play in confronting humanitarian crises in the world; two, when a government considers deploying our men and women in uniform, there must be a clear mission and a clear role for Canada; three, the case for deploying our forces must be made openly and transparently, based on clear, reliable, dispassionately presented facts; and four, Canada's role must reflect the broad scope of Canadian capabilities and how best we can help.

In the fall, we expressed grave concern that the Prime Minister intended to involve Canada in a longer, deeper combat engagement than he was leading the House to believe at the time. Today, with the government's motion, we know those concerns were well-founded.

We will not support the government's decision to deepen this combat mission and expand it into Syria.

Canadians need to know what the Prime Minister is getting them into. The United Nations is telling us that, after four years of all-out war, over 11 million Syrians—over half the population—have been driven from their homes. Syrians are fleeing their country by the millions, and this exodus of refugees is causing a terrible crisis. In five years of combat, over 210,000 Syrians have been killed, including over 10,000 children.

Canadians need to know that this is happening in Syria, but they also need to know who is largely responsible. The Syrian people have, for years, been oppressed and terrorized by their own government under the rule of Bashar al-Assad. This is a man who has used chemical weapons on his own citizens and whose regime is responsible for torturing and killing many more innocent people than even ISIL.

We cannot support a mission that could very well consolidate Assad's power in Syria.

Beyond our concerns about dubious alliances, the government's desire to expand Canada's presence into Syria represents a worrying trend. We can call it evolution or escalation or mission creep. Whatever term is preferred, the pattern is the same.

First we discovered that our role included ground combat operations, despite the Prime Minister's assurances to the contrary. Now we are being asked to expand our involvement into Syria. It is hard to believe the proposed timeline, given the public musings of the ministers of defence and foreign affairs. Indeed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs explicitly compared this war to Afghanistan, stating that we are in this for the longer term. In Afghanistan, the longer term meant a decade.

I am more sad about this than angry. However, how can we trust a government that so openly misled Canadians? This government is proposing that the Canadian Forces participate in a vague combat mission with no clear end point, and we cannot support that.

One thing is clear: Canada has a role to play in the campaign against ISIL. That role must serve our national interests. The one being proposed today by the Prime Minister does not meet that test.

The Liberal Party that I represent knows that Canadians want to respond to the horrors that the Islamic State is inflicting on people in the region. Canadians are appalled at the Islamic State's ruthlessness and the terror it is spreading, and rightly so. We understand that feeling and we share it. However, we also know that in a situation as complex and volatile as the one the international community is facing in Syria and Iraq, we cannot let our outrage interfere with our judgment.

Canada has an obvious interest in training Iraqi troops in order to fight and eliminate the Islamic State, but it is not in our interest to keep getting more deeply involved in such a combat mission. We can and we should provide that training far from the front lines.

Along with our allies and through the auspices of the United Nations, Canada should provide more help through a well-funded and well-planned humanitarian aid effort. The refugee crisis alone threatens the region's security, overwhelming countries from Lebanon to Turkey, from Syria itself to Jordan. Here at home, we should significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war the opportunity to start a new life in Canada.

These calamities are in urgent need of a constructive, coordinated international effort, both through the United Nations and beyond it. It is the kind of effort that ought to be Canada's calling card in the global community. We will have much more to say about this in the days and months ahead.

While all three parties have different views on what our role should be, let there be no doubt that we all offer our resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Today the government is asking for the House to support deepening Canada's involvement in the war in Iraq and to expand that involvement into a combat mission in Syria. The Liberal Party will not support the government's motion.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I see that the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is rising. Is there unanimous consent to allow her to speak?

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Canadian Military Mission Against the Islamic StateRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There is no consent.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 16th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to the subject matter of Bill C-583, an act to amend the Criminal Code in relation to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The committee requests a 45-day extension to consider it.

International TradePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by a number of my constituents from Guelph that calls on the Canadian government to negotiate with the Chinese government a 10-year multiple-entry tourist and business visa for Canadians visiting China.

The petitioners point out that China and the U.S. have already negotiated a reciprocal 10-year visa agreement that benefits the citizens of both of those countries. The petitioners urge the government to level the playing field and obtain this benefit for Canadian citizens as soon as possible.

PalestinePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, violent conflict claims innocent victims. Whatever our view on responsibility and blame, we can all feel compassion for the innocent victims.

Hundreds of my constituents have signed a petition calling on the Government of Canada to issue visas necessary for 100 severely injured Palestinian children and their parents or guardians to receive expert medical treatment in Canada. They note that the Ontario government of Kathleen Wynne, doctors, nurses, and hospitals, including the Kingston General Hospital in my riding, have all committed to help, including waiving fees.

The only thing left is to issue visas and to bring these severely injured, innocent Palestinian children here to Canada for treatment.

Impaired DrivingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions to present today.

The first is from petitioners who believe that the current impaired driving laws are too lenient. They are calling on Parliament to put in place mandatory sentences for those convicted of impaired driving. The petitioners want the offence of impaired driving causing death to be redefined as vehicular manslaughter.

ProstitutionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting calls for tougher laws in this country against prostitution.

Sex SelectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 24th, 2015 / 10:50 a.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the third petition I am presenting, the petitioners note that there was a poll done that determined that 92% of Canadians are against sex selection pregnancy termination. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to condemn the practice of gender selection abortions.

Truck LicensesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present this petition on behalf of my constituents in Surrey and Newton. The petitioners are calling on the government to revoke Port Metro Vancouver's decision to deny licences for port access to affected trucking companies and drivers. Like the petitioners, I too feel that Port Metro Vancouver's arbitrary selection process under the new truck licensing system is not consistent, fair, or transparent.

There are over 50 trucking companies and over 550 drivers who have been shut out of its port and are out of work. These are good-paying, middle-class jobs. I am worried about more job losses for the people of Surrey and surrounding areas.

The provincial and federal governments should work together to end future disruptions and to help these families. The petitioners and I look forward to the minister's response.

Endangered SpeciesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present two petitions today.

The first is to protect the southern resident killer whales of the area around southern Vancouver Island. They are really an important and quite endangered species and are threatened by the use of acoustic instrumentation, seismic testing, and increased vessel transport.

Hundreds of my constituents and those from the Vancouver region are calling for the protection of the critically endangered southern resident killer whales.

Public SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I am presenting relates to Bill C-51, the so-called anti-terrorism act.

This one has also been signed by residents from throughout my riding and from London, Toronto, and Ottawa, Ontario.

Canada PostPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions today.

The first is in regard to Canada Post Corporation's downgrading of services while at the same time it is increasing the cost of those services and is imposing an additional unnecessary burden on the daily lives of seniors, the disabled, and those residing in rural, remote, or marginalized communities.

I have received several thousand signatures so far on the Canada Post issue.

Home ChildrenPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I choose to present is regarding the British home children.

Many British home children and their descendants have been victimized by an immigration policy that unfairly and systematically uprooted families and sought to sever essential yet basic family ties.

Every year, petitioners call on Parliament to offer an unequivocal, sincere, and public apology to those home children who died while being ashamed of their history and deprived of their families, to the living yet elderly home children who continue to bear the weight of that past, and to the descendants of home children who continue to feel the void passed down through generations while they continue to search out relatives lost as a result of a system that, in many instances, victimized them under the guise of protection.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in regard to a petition signed by over 200 residents of North Vancouver and the surrounding area.

The signatories are asking the Government of Canada to call on the Iranian authorities to release Mohammad Ali Taheri, a prisoner of conscience who is to be tried for “spreading corruption on earth”, a charge that possibly carries the death penalty in Iran. The petitioners also ask that Mr. Taheri be protected from torture and ill treatment while he is wrongfully imprisoned.

I am pleased to rise in this House to make the petitioners' concerns about Mr. Taheri's situation known.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.