Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the member for Langley—Aldergrove.
I am proud to participate in today's debate on Canada's strategy to combat ISIL. I think this is a historic decision. Why? Because one day, this period will be studied, and we will be judged on our actions, especially with regard to the fight against the international jihadist terrorism that is threatening the regional and international balance of powers.
My theme today is to look at this issue with five basic questions. What are we fighting, when should we fight, why do we fight, how do we fight, and where do we fight?
What are we fighting? There is an atrocious, bloodthirsty organization that refers to itself as “ISIL”. This is a murderous terror regime that enslaves and tortures women and children, beheads entire villages based on ethnicity and religion, and even kills other followers of Islam simply for not being of the same orthodoxy
This threat has killed Canadians here in Canada, including Patrice Vincent and Corporal Cirillo, and abroad. Seven Quebeckers were killed in Burkina Faso, and another was killed in Indonesia. Terrorists killed Canadians who were fighting in the Middle East and providing humanitarian assistance there.
Those are our adversaries. These are extremist terrorists who are against the values of freedom of religion and freedom of expression, which are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and against the value of gender equality, which Canada espouses.
The second question is, when should we fight? Let us look at the combat situations Canada has gone into since its inception at Confederation.
World War I saw Canada align with a group of allies, including France, the U.K., and the United States, to fight a battle that was not on our soil. Why did we get involved? To help our allies.
World War II was the next time Canadians went into combat. Again, although the war was happening outside our borders, we stood with our allies to eliminate a deadly threat.
The Korean War, where again we stood with our allies to help fight a fight that was not directly threatening Canadians, is just another example.
The Gulf War, again, had us joining alongside our allies with both air strike and ground force fighters for a fight that was arguably not a threat in any way to Canadians.
The next fight was in Kosovo, this time standing up for humanitarian reasons.
Then there was Afghanistan, which was a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed 26 Canadians.
As it stands, Canada has been part of a large and broad coalition consisting of both our traditional allies as well as regional bloc players from the Middle and Near East region. Our actions up until the recent election of our new government were in step with our allies.
When we look back over all of these and ask why we fought, we come with three main answers: one, to stand with our allies; two, to fight for humanitarian causes; and, three, to fight terrorists who have killed Canadians.
Therefore, when we come to the fight against ISIL, we have another terrorist organization that has killed Canadians. Why would we do anything other than join our allies, fight for humanitarian causes, and combat the terrorists who are killing Canadians?
It being clear that we need to engage in this combat, now the discussion turns to, how should we fight?.
Our CF-18 jets, our special operations forces, and military trainers were working constantly with their focus aimed at degrading ISIL's offensive capabilities, to blockade ISIL's murderous rampage across the Levant region, and to begin to turn the tide against it after it began consolidating its power bases across the area it had slowly building up since 2012. The air strikes have been effective in weakening the ISIL position and now, as in Afghanistan, the ground troops are being stepped up along with the air strikes.
This is where the Liberal government has made its misstep. Before even having the debate in Parliament, the Liberal government unequivocally failed our allies by pulling our jets, a vital component to the allied air campaign, despite how much the defence minister has attempted to minimize the incredible work of the Canadians Forces pilots and crews there.
We are tripling the number of boots on the ground, which is something the current Prime Minister did not dare mention during the recent election campaign. He knows this means putting more Canadian men and women, some of our best special forces operators, in direct harm's way, an exact opposite of the air campaign we were a part of, in which laser-guided munitions allowed our military to hit targets with pinpoint precision from the safety of 40,000 feet up.
We now learn that Griffon helicopters will be sent into the battle theatre, with little to no regard for the massive influx of shoulder-launched rockets in the hands of ISIL terrorists that can easily take out our helicopters and potentially put downed airmen and women into the hands of our bloodthirsty enemies. This is how not to fight.
We should be maintaining our fighter jets in the region so we are at the table, understanding the strike plans so our ground troops do not get killed again by friendly fire, as happened in Afghanistan.
We should not be counting on our allies to provide the air protection for our people when we are fully capable of providing it for ourselves. It is not like our CF-18s have somewhere urgent to rush off to. We could get them back into the game so we can regain our position at the table with our allies.
That is what Canadians want. According to polls, nearly 80% of Canadians would support sending the CF-18s back into the theatre. The soldiers are unhappy with the government's plan, and the CF-18 fighter pilots must certainly feel as though the government does not value their contribution.
My final comment has to do with the question of where we should fight.
Obviously, as the battles ensue the situation is a dynamic one, and if we are not at the table with our allies, we may not get the best information about the changing nature of the fight, which as I understand has factions switching sides frequently.
We also need to be prepared on our home soil. Terrorists have already attacked here, and we need to be ready for the backlash to come. The government needs to have ready its emergency terrorist response plan for all regions of Canada.
I do believe Canada has been placed at serious risk of potential attacks due to the failure to acknowledge the clear and present danger of terrorism here at home. We have a Prime Minister who refuses to acknowledge the extreme nature of ISIL and the basis of its entire jihad being waged across the Levant as it seeks to form an Islamic caliphate. Indeed, any time we try to discuss these issues, we hear accusations of racism and Islamophobia, when in fact ISIL is indeed a clear and present danger to the western way of life, the likes of which we have not seen since the end of World War II.
There is another important element in the discussion. Canada has and always will open its doors to those in dire humanitarian need. This will never change, and everyone on this side, and indeed the entire House today, would agree that it is important for our great nation to do this.
However, we now see a crisis situation about to unfold, with little or no discussion as to the true scope of what is going to take place. For several weeks now Aleppo, Syria has been heavily bombarded by both U.S. and Russian fighter jets. Aleppo has become the hotbed of ISIL fighters. Now that they are under heavy fire, these ISIL fighters, who are the worst of worst type of human scum truly known to man, are streaming toward the western border of Turkey. Here they are purposely blending in with innocent refugees displaced by the ongoing war. The issue becomes, how can the government possibly believe we can perform any sort of credible security review of those individuals from that region coming to Canada as refugees, when the fog of war has completely enveloped Syria and the surrounding area? We cannot process these individuals, but we know for a fact that many western governments are opening their doors a little hastily under humanitarian pretense, possibly allowing in tens, hundreds, or even more ISIL supporters.
I must point out again that unless we cut off the head of the snake, we will have an endless sea of refugees beyond our capacity.
In summary, we must absolutely ensure that no ISIL fighters can pose as innocent refugees. We need to ensure that preparedness is in place, and we need to fight this evil terrorism wherever this battle takes us until the threat is removed.