Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her question.
As I had the opportunity to emphasize Monday, May 8, 2017, in the House, I have spent the past few months working with the Minister of National Defence, and I have been a privileged witness to his integrity and the determination with which he discharges his mandate.
The primary responsibility of the minister, and of our government, is to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the training, equipment, and support they need to carry out the missions they are assigned here in Canada and around the world.
Over the last year and a half, our minister has sought to achieve this very objective. It is what he strives to do every day. The Minister of National Defence is working to discharge that mandate with the greatest respect for our men and women in uniform.
That being said, the member opposite is questioning his expertise and his role during Operation Medusa. The minister has admitted that he made a mistake in describing his role. He retracted that statement and apologized in the House.
The minister's comments were in no way meant to diminish the role of his former senior officers and comrades in arms. He gave them a heartfelt apology. The minister is proud to have served as part of an extraordinary team of Canadian, American, and Afghan soldiers who successfully carried out Operation Medusa. His commanding officer in Afghanistan, General Fraser, considered him to be one of the best intelligence officers he ever worked with.
He was the best single Canadian intelligence asset in theatre, and his hard work, personal bravery, and dogged determination undoubtedly saved a multitude of Coalition lives. Through his courage and dedication, [the minister] has single-handedly changed the face of intelligence gathering and analysis in Afghanistan.
He went on to say:
He tirelessly and selflessly devoted himself to piecing together the ground truth on tribal and Taliban networks in the Kandahar area, and his analysis was so compelling that it drove a number of large scale theatre-resourced efforts, including Operation Medusa...
Retired Colonel Chris Vernon of the British army said:
You know, without [the minister's] input as a critical player, major player, a pivotal player I'd say, Medusa wouldn't have happened. We wouldn't have the intelligence and the tribal picture to put the thing together.
The Minister of National Defence made a tremendous contribution in his deployments to Afghanistan and is currently making an even greater contribution within our government.
Over the past 18 months, he has contributed to significantly changing our mission in Iraq, and this mission is producing solid results. He launched the most ambitious defence policy review in the past 20 years. He established solid and effective ties with all our allies, including within NATO and especially with our American neighbours, our most important military and economic partner.
With the help of his cabinet colleagues, he made major improvements to the procurement process.
I am proud of what he has accomplished and I am happy to work by his side. With the help of the minister's vision, leadership, and hard work, I am confident that our government will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the tools and funding they need.