House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.


International DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:30 p.m.

Burlington Ontario


Karina Gould LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member across the way for his congratulations and extend my own congratulations on his re-election.

It is with enormous privilege and honour that I rise for the first time in the House. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the people of Burlington for bestowing on me the responsibility to be their voice.

I thank the member for his question and our shared concern for the people of the region. However, the question posed is based on a false premise. As he is well aware, Canada's contribution has been and will remain significant in the fight against ISIL. Our government is taking a multi-faceted and integrated approach to dealing with the crisis to ensure that Canada's response has the greatest possible impact for people in the region.

As he is also aware, our government is committed to reviewing our engagement to date in the region and looking at ways of addressing the serious needs there in a comprehensive and effective manner. We are undertaking that review at the present time.

Canada remains committed to the fight against ISIL and the protection of individuals in the camps. Canada's refocused engagement will strategically target areas where Canada's involvement can make a difference, leverage Canadian expertise, and complement the efforts of our partners, including through the training of local forces.

As I said at the outset, our work countering ISIL is only one part of our efforts to help address the serious crises in Syria, Iraq, and the region today. It is true that military and security efforts are vital to secure victory over those who are destabilizing the region and terrorizing the local populations, but they are not sufficient to secure a lasting peace for the people of Syria or Iraq.

We must not lose sight of the fact that the solutions to the crises in the region are first and foremost political, and that humanitarian and development needs are growing.

Our government has clearly indicated that it is ready to do more on the world stage. We are also committed to supporting countries and communities in the region that have so generously welcomed millions of refugees and displaced persons. To date, Canada has contributed over $960 million in humanitarian, development, and security assistance in response to this crisis. Over $650 million has been committed to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance on the ground. We are currently among the top 10 humanitarian donors in the region and are providing vital assistance such as food, water, shelter, health, and protection services to millions of conflict-affected people.

Furthermore, once areas have been stabilized and the most immediate humanitarian needs have been met, there is a need for long-term support to strengthen the population's capacity to rebuild their lives, infrastructure, and institutions. Without that long-term commitment, there is a far greater risk of yet more destabilization in the future and even the potential for states to fail completely, with all the human, political, and security costs that entails. Canada cannot stand by and let that happen.

Of course, we are very proud of the difference we are making in the lives of thousands of Syrians and Canadians by welcoming 25,000 refugees to this country. We all share in this pride.

I would conclude by noting that all of these efforts together are part of Canada's comprehensive investment in a future for the Middle East region that is more secure, stable, and resilient.

International DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, these are “feel good” statements from the Liberals. I will quote what the Minister of National Defence said today in question period. He said that our engagement over there approved by this Parliament was in a mess. What does he mean by “a mess”? It is an insult to our officers who are over there flying the CF-18 aircraft, as well as our trainers who are out there training the peshmerga.

Under my government, we had robust fighting head-on with ISIL. It is the current government that has now created doubt. Even our own allies are saying to leave the aircraft there to fight this thing, because they had been successful. To say that it is a mess, as the Minister of National Defence said, is a gross insult to the Canadians who are already over there. That is what they should be addressing.

International DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

January 26th, 2016 / 6:35 p.m.


Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to perhaps correct the record. I believe it was actually the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship who said that the immigration system is in a mess because of the record of the previous government on the other side of this House and not the Minister of National Defence.

However, as I noted earlier, I would like to emphasize that Canada is examining all of its efforts in the region at this time in order to ensure that our interventions are well placed to address the security, humanitarian, and development needs on the ground. We will ensure that our engagement is strategically targeted and well designed, not only to fight ISIL but also to address immediate threats to life, bolster regional stability, and strengthen local communities and governments. This coordinated effort will help provide the people of the region with a better chance to reconstruct their shattered communities and thrive in a more prosperous future.

International DevelopmentAdjournment Proceedings

6:35 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:38 p.m.)