House of Commons Hansard #23 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.


Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader. He is quite right that if it were not for the inclusion of mid-air refuelling capacity for bombers and reconnaissance missions to aid others in targeting bombing, I would support the resolution. I certainly support removing the CF-18s. I think that most Canadians do.

There has been a general effort to say after the Paris attacks that Canadian public opinion shifted. I do not believe that to be the case. I have not seen it in my own community, and this issue was hotly debated in all the town hall meetings I held through the month of January in my community. There is a horror and a revulsion at the events that occurred on November 13 in Paris. Of course, being at the climate negotiations just two weeks later, the pall was still across Paris. However, there was a resilience and a resolve that I think extends from Paris to Canada that we may not be able to stop individual attacks by terrorist operations, but we can do whatever we can to do to improve intelligence.

My memory is long enough to remember what used to be called the “Irish Troubles” in Northern Ireland and the attacks and horrific events there. These are not new. We have to say that Daesh has something novel in that it has taken very modern, sophisticated film-making techniques and used social media to attract people to its cause. I think we should spend a lot more time on how to ensure that no one is attracted to its so-called cause.

As for the anti-radicalization efforts that we have yet to see from the current government, I hope we will see soon ways and means to that end. Canadians care deeply about stopping radicalization, whether it takes place in our prisons or our schools, which are the two institutions that U.K. anti-radicalization efforts have focused upon.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.

I am privileged to rise in the House to speak to this motion. I come from a family that has been involved with the Canadian Forces for many years and I have a profound level of respect and gratitude for our men and women in uniform. Each and every one of them has made a sacrifice to protect the great country of Canada, and not just they, but their families as well.

Because of this deeply rooted level of respect, I find it difficult to make sense of the government's actions when it comes to the global fight against ISIS. One of the biggest issues is the withdrawal of our CF-18s. Canada has been the fifth largest contributor to the air combat mission against ISIS. This is a mission that has helped our allies, as they have stated in the past.

The foreign minister for the Kurdistan regional government said that not only were the CF-18 air strikes helpful and effective, he requested that they continue. If this is not a clear request for assistance by the Canadian Forces, then I do not know what is.

Canada has a long history of defending innocent and vulnerable people by taking on those who have committed mass atrocities, which is exactly what ISIS has done and continues to do. Why then does the government refuse to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies and assist them in this fight?

Not only is there a lack of air combat support, but also a lack of clarity as to why the CF-18s were withdrawn. Not a single person has been able to explain why our CF-18s must be removed from the air campaign. Even more unclear is the decision to keep our refuelling and reconnaissance planes as part of the mission despite the fact that our fighter planes that provide air cover to victims of ISIS in Iraq and Syria have been withdrawn.

This logic is completely incomprehensible. The Liberals are trying to play politics and keep campaign promises while people's lives are at stake. The lack of clarity surrounding the use of military assets is astounding. According to the government, we are willing to paint targets, conduct surveillance, provide fuel for bombers, yet we will not drop any Canadian bombs or provide air coverage for our own troops. This is not the kind of help that our allies need, nor is there any type of logic behind this decision.

A few hours south of my riding of Souris--Moose Mountain lies the Little Bighorn Battlefield historic site in Montana. It is a beautiful location in the great western plains. The history of Custer's last stand where the U.S. 7th Cavalry under Colonel Custer was wiped out by the Lakota and their allies has been well explored by military historians.

An enduring lesson from the battle in 1876 was that conflicting military objectives would lead to the needless deaths of soldiers. Custer split his troops and resources in what he believed was a useful way, only to be wiped out by the Lakota, who took advantage of an untenable plan, a lack of resources, and a simple unwillingness to agree with what Custer wanted to do.

I reference the past not only because it allows me to talk about an area near my beautiful riding, but because it is a bit of history the government can learn from as we discuss the motion on Canadian military involvement against ISIS. Much like Custer who believed his plan was right but was proven to be impetuous, the government, believing it is right, is presenting Canadians with an incoherent plan that appears to be impetuous.

The government would like us to believe that it was elected by Canadians to refocus Canada's military contribution against ISIS to training local forces, providing more humanitarian support, and to immediately welcome refugees to Canada. To fulfill one of the many tales it promised Canadians in order to get elected, the Liberal government is now ending the combat mission against ISIS.

The government has announced it will increase humanitarian funding in the area to help those displaced by the scourge of ISIS. It is announced that it will increase the number of Canadian troops in the area in a training and advisory role so that it may better prepare the allied forces to fight against the scourge that is ISIS. It was announced that it will pull some military resources from this arena and that all will be good in the plan on how to deal with ISIS.

Unfortunately, I do not believe that ISIS would agree with the government. The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Vance, said the Canadian mission is not a combat role, yet ISIS has not agreed to that plan by the government.

I am uncertain how the government's plan to withdraw against ISIS yet leave our troops active to counter the scourge of ISIS without proper resources and scattered in different locations will be a benefit in defeating an enemy that has declared its intention to be at war with the values of religious diversity, human dignity, economic freedom, and a belief in individual human rights that we, as Canadians, believe help to define us.

Canada's air campaign against ISIS has helped to destroy ISIS troops and supplies. It has contributed to ISIS not being able to do as it pleases in trying to create the caliphate of terror and destruction. To pull the CF-18 resources no longer allows us to participate in these activities.

The biggest military difference between the forces of ISIS and the Canadian military is an air force.

The Battle of Britain in World War II was won thanks to the many brave pilots of the Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and others. This battle led to the defeat of the Nazi regime. The ISIS air force is non-existent. Canadian Forces had an advantage, but have now decided to play fair, despite the fact that ISIS is not playing fair, and therefore removed that advantage.

While our allies are stepping up with contributions to the destruction of ISIS, Canada is cutting and drawing away. Canada is placing humanitarian aid at the forefront of its activities before ISIS is defeated. Canada is offering to train forces in Iraq to counter ISIS. Canada wants to do all the administrative tasks of monitoring, training, education, provisions of social services, before the war against ISIS is finished.

The Canadian resourcefulness that the government talks about appears to be “let others do the work, while we stand in the background and offer our advice”. We are becoming the back-seat drivers in a war zone. Canada is showing its back to its allies. Sunny ways indeed.

We, as Canadians, have an obligation to stand up for the victims of genocide, to fight against the extremist ideology, and to protect Canadians at home and abroad. I am sure everyone remembers the tragic events that took the lives of two Canadian soldiers back in 2014. These were ISIS-inspired attacks that happened right here at home. How can the government justify the decision to step back from this international fight against terrorism when Canadians are being murdered, both at home and abroad?

The public opinion of Canadians is also being ignored by the government. A February 6 poll found that 63% of Canadians say that they would like to see Canada continue bombing ISIS at the current rate or go further and increase the number of bombing missions it conducts; 47% say that withdrawing Canadian CF-18s from the mission will have a negative effect on Canada's international reputation.

We know that the 47% of Canadians are right. Canada was snubbed by our own coalition allies when we were not invited to attend an anti-ISIS meeting that was held in Paris in January. The snub happened just after the government signalled its intentions to withdraw our CF-18s from the air combat effort. Under our previous Conservative government, Canada was hosting these meetings, and yet now, due to decisions made by the Liberals, we are not even invited to attend.

The opinions of Canadians are clear. The requests for assistance from our allies are clear. The only thing lacking clarity is the reason behind the government's choice to step back from the fight against ISIS. The government motion mentioned significant investments in humanitarian assistance, which while necessary do nothing to solve the issue of the root of the problem. This is putting a band-aid over the issue. It is forcing our allies to fight without the help of our combat resources for no reason other than the Liberals wishing to keep campaign promises.

It is disingenuous and dangerous to our soldiers for the government to believe that combat training, humanitarian interventions, and dialogue with countries affected by ISIS in an active war zone is a coherent plan. A whole bunch of highly trained assets are being sidelined by a government that promised to let facts and science guide its decisions. The Lakota were not interested in Custer's plan, and wiped him out. I do not suspect ISIS will care much about the government's plan either.

In closing, I wish to offer my sincere thanks to each and every woman and man in our Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, Canadian Reservists, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police who partake in these dangerous operations. I wish them Godspeed and a safe return to their family, friends, and country.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Mr. Speaker, there was a lot of passion in the speech by the member opposite.

On one side, the party opposite wants us to do more and on the other side, the NDP wants us to do less. With all due respect, I think the member opposite does all Canadians a disservice by suggesting that we are pulling back and pulling away from the fight against ISIS. The Liberal Party wants to step back, analyze, and then go forward with what it feels is the best and most effective plan for us to combat ISIS. Liberals were elected by Canadians to move forward with this kind of plan, a plan that we feel is most effective.

Will the member opposite not agree that our plan is the best plan for Canadians and the best plan to attack and defeat ISIS?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are supposedly in a non-combat role. We are stepping back. We are putting soldiers out there and not protecting them with the forces that we have. We have to make certain that we, as a country, can send our forces and troops into a situation where they have air cover to protect them throughout the whole region and throughout their endeavours.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could also provide my colleagues opposite a brief history of how this all unfolded. The caliphate spread through Iraq and on to Syria at a pace that we have never seen in modern history. The only option was for the joint forces to align and do strategic air strikes to slow ISIS down. Now the Liberals have this view that, magically, some other things can happen, but we know that is not the reality.

Can the member provide a brief history of how we have gotten to this point and how these air strikes are effective and how Canada's role would be effective with them?

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, this has transpired extremely quickly. At one point, we saw that ISIS forces were attacking the outskirts of Baghdad and we came to their defence. By using our fighters, we have managed to slow down that progress.

Our CF-18 fighters have done 1,378 sorties, there have been 251 air strikes, and we have hit and destroyed over 399 targets. This has defended our troops and enabled us to push this scourge back.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, in this debate there are really three positions. There is the government position, which is fairly well articulated in the motion before us. Then there is the Conservative position that says if the CF-18s are not engaged, then Canada is not engaged. Canadians cannot be fooled. They understand that the CF-18s do not need to be involved for Canada to be playing a strong leadership role. Then there are the New Democrats who say that there has to be an exit plan. Their vision of an action plan is to have a no-entry plan in the situation. They believe that there is no role for the Canadian Forces in a real and tangible way.

My question to the member is this. Would he not agree that Canadians have a certain expectation and, at the very least, that expectation was reaffirmed in the last federal election when Canadians supported the Liberal Party forming government? That made a very clear statement that the CF-18s needed to be pulled out and Canada needed to refocus, and that is exactly what this motion is doing.

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISILGovernment Orders

February 23rd, 2016 / 1:55 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, we are having this debate in the House after the CF-18s were withdrawn. This debate was set up for hon. members to discuss how this mission should be carried out. Yet, after the motion was put forward, we find out that the bombing mission was actually stopped before we even had a chance to have this debate.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Marilène Gill Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 15, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission submitted its final report. Of the commission's 94 recommendations, the 84th concerns CBC. CBC has already acted on that recommendation by creating an English website with first nations content. It provides a platform for information and dialogue about first nations and fosters the training and integration of people from communities that are still under-represented at CBC.

However, there is no good reason why a French version does not yet exist. I am thinking of the Innu nation of Manicouagan, which is primarily francophone and has the same rights as the other nations. They want the public broadcaster to reflect their culture too.

I would be pleased to provide a copy of the proposal to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. I am available to meet with them and I look forward to working with—

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. The hon. member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.

Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyneStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise here in the House as the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne. I want to thank my constituents for placing their trust in me.

I would like to take a moment to showcase my riding. Located on Montreal's south shore, Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne is home to wonderful neighbourhoods like Vieux-Longueuil, Saint-Hubert and Greenfield Park. Many citizens of Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne have been key players in our vibrant history, which has been based on such values as duty and public service. Prime Minister Mackenzie King even said that Greenfield Park was the community that gave the most men and women, per capita, to the Canadian forces during the two world wars.

I rise today to commend the work and courage of our everyday heros, our firefighters and police officers.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the protection of pregnant women and their preborn children act, also known as Cassie and Molly's law, is a much needed amendment to our Criminal Code. Because of the vicious murder of Cassie Kaake, a mother just weeks from giving birth to her daughter Molly, and too many other Canadian women who have been targeted and harmed because they chose to carry their child to term, the safety of women remains threatened.

My private member's bill would create new offences applied exclusively against anyone who knowingly commits a criminal offence against a pregnant woman and causing injury or death to her preborn child. The bill would also codify pregnancy as an aggravating factor in our criminal law, requiring a judge to always consider this factor in sentencing.

Canadians deserve a legal system that protects all aspects of a family. This bill is precise and is a common-sense approach to deterring assaults on pregnant women and causing death or injury to their preborn children.

I look forward to working with all of my colleagues in the House to make this law a reality for Canadian women and their families.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, let us take a moment to recognize the importance of fresh fruit and vegetables in Canada, which contribute over $11 billion to our GDP.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association members bring fruit and veggies from the farm gate to the dinner plates of Canadian families right across the country. Covering every segment of the supply chain, from growers to retailers and everyone in between, CPMA members are responsible for 90% of the produce sales in Canada.

As farmers and members, my wife Pam and I grew vegetables and strawberries for many years. We also helped growers around the world.

Eating more fruit and vegetables makes for a healthier lifestyle, which leads to happier and more productive citizens. It also helps create a more sustainable health care system.

I hope everybody will join us tonight in recognizing the contribution CPMA makes to our economy and the health of Canadians. The event tonight will have chef Michael Smith serving up many dishes for everyone to enjoy.

People of Rosemont—La Petite-PatrieStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, individuals and community groups in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie have shown their generosity and support to Syrian refugees. As we know, the immigration process can be quite challenging, and teamwork is vital to achieving successful integration.

What I witnessed back home fills me with joy and hope. I am proud of the people who called my office to offer their help, proud of the involvement of countless organizations, such as the Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes, an umbrella group providing services to refugees and immigrants; the Canadian Council for Refugees; La Maisonnée, which provides child care services; and even la maison de la Syrie, the Syrian cultural centre. There are so many initiatives I am proud of, including that of illustrator Élise Gravel and her partner Marie Brodeur-Gélinas, who created a button in honour of the Syrian refugees.

Your generosity provides hope for a peaceful life to families who survived and fled a terrible war. Welcoming refugees is not just about meeting quotas. It is also about providing all these newcomers with a place they can really call home, and that is something we all have a responsibility to do.

Again, I say bravo and thank you to the individuals and community groups in Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

Joan SmithStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, Mrs. Joan Smith, a political and philanthropic trailblazer and a London, Ontario icon, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 88.

Joan was a former Ontario MPP and the first female solicitor in the province's history. Never afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what was right, Joan championed social change and led the charge in the provincial legislature to amend the Ontario human rights code to include gay rights.

Joan was well known for helping establish Vanier Children's Services, a children's mental health agency. She offered unwavering support to her husband Don as he co-founded the construction conglomerate EllisDon.

Joan will be remembered as a community leader and a visionary who fought for those who needed support the most.

I say to Catherine, Lynne, Robert, Geoff, Michael, Donald, and David, their mother made London a better place.

National Aviation DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, today is National Aviation Day. This year marks the 106th anniversary of Canadian aviation, a day when Canadians celebrate Canada's aviation safety, strength, and success.

On National Aviation Day, Canadians commemorate the past, celebrate the future, and look forward to the future of aviation in Canada.

This is a celebration of excellence. Canadians are proud to have one of the safest and most efficient air transportation systems in the world. As the world's second largest country, airlines play a critical role in linking our regions and our citizens. Canada's airlines facilitate business and tourism and serve as a major source of jobs and investment opportunities.

Due to the important economic and social contributions of aviation in Canada, we look forward to the tabling of the CTA review and its recommendations on the future of this industry.

Please join me and the National Airlines Council of Canada as we mark this very important anniversary.

Half Your Plate CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to pay tribute to one of Prince Edward Island's most accomplished citizens, Chef Michael Smith.

Members have probably seen him on television as the host of Chef Michael's Kitchen, Chef Abroad, or Chef at Home on Food Network Canada or Global, or as a judge on Chopped Canada.

Chef Michael is a strong believer in the importance of getting Canadians to eat more fruits and vegetables and the need to make the healthy choice the simple choice. That is why he is proud to be the culinary ambassador for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association's Half Your Plate campaign, a healthy initiative that empowers Canadians to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Although truly a chef and citizen of the world, Chef Michael's favourite role is dad at home on P.E.I with his wife Chastity and his children: Gabe, Ariella, and Camille.

On behalf of the House, we salute Chef Michael's many accomplishments and look forward to seeing him in action tonight at the CPMA reception, where he will show how easy filling half one's plate with fruits and vegetables can be. Eat healthy.

Claudette MillarStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bryan May Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to pay my last respects to an inspirational Cambridge leader, Claudette Millar, who passed away on February 10.

Mayor Millar was elected in the town of Preston in 1969 at the age of only 35. She was the youngest mayor in Canada. She went on to be the first mayor of Cambridge following amalgamation and served until 1988, forging the community we enjoy today, leading us through the devastating 1974 flood, and bringing Toyota manufacturing and thousands of jobs to Cambridge.

After her terms as mayor, she continued in public service as a member of the Ontario Municipal Board until 1992 and as a regional councillor from 2003 to 2014.

She will be forever known as a steadfast and loyal community builder. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Claudette for dedicating so much of her life to us. We are forever grateful.

The Ottawa Hospital Civic CampusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Civic Hospital is almost a century old, so old that its CEO said it is under constant repair and maintenance.

“[D]espite our efforts with the ongoing patchwork, we have parts of the hospital that are permanently closed. They are, literally, too unsafe to use”. He added, “with a modern facility they could save more lives and limit more suffering”.

After studying 12 potential locations for a new building, the hospital told then-minister John Baird that the best place was right across the street, using less than 10% of the Experimental Farm land, with plenty of time for scientists to transition to the remaining 90%.

Mr. Baird did the right thing. He fought for a hospital in his home town. If the new government thinks there is a better location, it should tell us where. Instead of attacking a great champion of our community, John Baird, we should all focus together on building a new and better hospital for all our people.

Thomas SutherlandStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Karina Gould Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to fondly remember a constituent in my riding, Thomas Sutherland.

Tom lived his life to the fullest and possessed boundless energy, a never-ending curiosity, a deep sense of commitment to community, a love of theatre, and a passion for politics, but his greatest joy was in singing and entertaining others.

He was called to the bar in 1965 and practised family law in Hamilton and then in Burlington for over 30 years. Following retirement, he was appointed an Ontario civil court deputy judge and was affectionately known as the singing judge.

Tom was a devoted Liberal and ran twice, in the 1979 and 1980 federal elections, and served as president of the Young Liberals in Hamilton and Toronto. He was Canada's representative at the NATO youth conference in the Hague, a delegate to the UN, and an appointed election observer in the Ukraine, Armenia, Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo. He was also a tireless volunteer and served on over a dozen committees in his community.

Tom loved to sing his old Sinatra tunes, and I can proudly say that Tom did it his way.

Mary Travers aka La BolducStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Anju Dhillon Liberal Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of the passing of a pioneer of Quebec song, Mary Travers, who is better known as “La Bolduc”.

Ms. Travers was born in 1894 in the Gaspé in Newport, the same village where the Minister of National Revenue and the member for Gaspésie—Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine were born. La Bolduc is considered to be Quebec's first female singer-songwriter.

Her eloquent and comical songs, which were intertwined with “turlutes”, Acadian mouth music, were like a breath of fresh air for workers in the Great Depression. Just recently the Quebec government officially designated this remarkable songstress as a historical figure. She is the second woman, after Jeanne Mance, to be awarded this honour posthumously.

La Bolduc, who was ahead of her time thanks to her financial independence and determination, paved the way for the emancipation of women.

Pierre MoreauStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness and much emotion that we learned yesterday that Pierre Moreau, a minister in the Quebec government, is fighting what could turn out to be cancer.

Pierre is a real fighter. He has often proven this, and we know that he will do so once more. He was elected to the National Assembly for the first time in 2003, and held senior cabinet positions. He is a courteous, engaged, attentive, and intelligent man. Everyone paid tribute to his courage yesterday.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said:

Despite his physical condition, I feel that he has an intense desire to fight and win, which is no surprise to anyone who knows him.

Pierre, I am speaking on behalf of everyone in the House of Commons. We believe in you. We know that you can beat this illness. We wish you well, Pierre.

Graham DowneyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are celebrating Black History Month across Canada, so I rise today to acknowledge Graham Downey, a late constituent in my riding of Halifax, who made history. Mr. Downey was Halifax's first African-Nova Scotian city councillor and the city's first African-Nova Scotian deputy mayor.

In September 2015, at 76 years old, Mr. Downey passed away. However, he left an indelible mark. He was first elected to Halifax City Council in 1974, at the age of 35, and served his constituents in the north end of Halifax for 26 years. He was a tireless advocate on matters like upgraded and affordable housing, street lighting, clean neighbourhoods, education, and community recreation facilities.

He was a recipient of the Queen's Jubilee Medal and a Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities citation.

It is an honour to shine a light on the truly inspiring legacy of Mr. Graham Downey.

Syrian RefugeesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to wish my son Russell a happy 29th birthday today.

On a more serious note, all Canadians have been witness to the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Syria. The devastating images of entire families risking everything to flee the violence have pushed many of us to help.

In my riding, people from Naramata to New Denver, and many places in between, have been opening their hearts, their homes, and their wallets to accept refugees with housing, ESL programs, job placement supports, and integration plans in place.

The people of South Okanagan—West Kootenay have stepped up to privately sponsor refugees, and many are in a position now to accept government assisted refugees. Today I want to thank all those who have lent their helping hands.

We want the government to know that our communities are ready, willing, able, and indeed anxious, to work with the government, and we look forward to hearing more about how our communities can help.

UkraineStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago in Ukraine, the Heavenly Hundred were gunned down on Kyiv's Maidan during the revolution of dignity. It was two years ago that President Putin's little green men invaded and occupied Crimea and then Putin illegally annexed it. Today, Russian officials continue to arrest Tatars in Crimea and have closed their legislative assembly, mosques, and cultural centres.

Russia wants to normalize relations with the Liberal government. Normalization is code for appeasement. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister wants to engage Putin.

I remind the government that Crimea is Ukraine, and whether it takes five months or 50 years, Canada should never recognize it as Russian territory. Russian soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine is not interference. It is called an invasion. If Russia wants to avoid its Cold War number two, then Russia must get out of Ukraine.

The previous Conservative government strongly supported Ukraine with sanctions, military assistance, government reforms, and fostering economic growth.

I invite members to join Ukraine's deputy speaker, Andriy Parubiy, at 3:30 today at the Centennial Flame for a vigil in remembrance of the Heavenly Hundred and the victims of the Euromaidan.