Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise tonight to revisit a question I raised on May 4. I asked the Minister of National Defence why the Liberals were taking away the danger pay from our troops that were currently deployed in the fight against ISIS and were stationed in Kuwait at Camp Arifjan. We had already established that the Minister of National Defence had a very casual relationship with the troops.
We heard from veterans not only on the minister's embellishment of his service record, but also the feeling of service members and their families on the impact it had on their moral state of mind, as they served in the Canadian Armed Forces, knowing the government was trying to undermine their danger pay.
A 27-year veteran stated, “The Defence Minister cannot continue to lead the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, having lost the and respect and trust in this way.”
I acknowledge that the danger pay issue was resolved. After opposition members and Canadians put so much pressure on the government, it had to backtrack. The government was forced to accept a motion I brought forward in the House to restore the danger pay for all troops that were in the fight against ISIS, including those that were stationed in Kuwait, particularly at Camp Arifjan. We know the embarrassment was so much that the Liberals had to insert it into the defence policy review.
Today I want to deal with the track record of the Minister of National Defence over the past year. We have heard from members of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as veterans, who took great offence with the minister's comments that he was the architect of Operation Medusa. This was not a slip of the tongue. This was something he said from prepared notes in a speech he delivered in India on April 18. He said that on his first appointment to Kandahar in 2006, he was the architect of Operation Medusa. He said it in 2015 as a Liberal candidate.
To show how it impacted upon our veterans and our troops, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Shane Schreiber said that the minister, as a soldier, probably would not have said that, however, the minister the politician thought he could get away with it. He said, “When you are careless with your words as a politician, that can haunt you.” He went on to say, “Any good soldier would not try to steal another soldier's honour.” This is often referred to as stolen valour.
The minister has apologized for that statement, but he has undermined his own credibility because of this statement, which was deliberately misleading not only the House but Canadians and the people he spoke to in India.
We also know he has misled the House on a number of other occasions.
He also said that the pulling our CF-18s from Operation Impact in the war against ISIS was accepted by our allies. He said in December, 2015 that he had not had one discussion about the CF-18s. However, emails sent by officials, which we acquired through an access to information request, showed that the Iraqi minister of defence was clearly focused on Canada's decision to withdraw its CF-18s from the coalition air strikes, asking the minister to reconsider this decision on numerous occasions.
We also know that on numerous occasions, Kurdish officials stated that they wanted to have our CF-18s left in the fight against ISIS, but the Liberal Minister of National Defence brought them home.
We also know that over the past year, the minister has also dealt with this whole issue of—