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.