House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a couple of comments rather than a question, and some corrections to make to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

First off, the mission did not end a decade ago. The combat mission ended a decade ago, but we did not leave Afghanistan until 2014.

I would like to correct a few members who keep referring to “Afghanis”. That is the currency in Afghanistan. It should be “Afghans”.

Next, the member mentioned that—

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

To the hon. parliamentary secretary, we have not finished questions and comments.

The hon. member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I think the member will find it easier to respond to my comments if he actually listens to them.

He talked about time and that nobody could have predicted this. He sort of corrected that in his last response, but this was predicted. His own backbencher, the MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, raised a concern with the Liberal government two years ago that this was going to come down the pike, so this should have been predicted. I raised it myself in the national media weeks before the government took action.

I will agree with the member. It is the backbenchers' responsibility to stand up and criticize the government at certain times. I am looking forward to members of the Liberal caucus voting for this motion today.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, my apologies. I thought you were recognizing the next debater.

On the question, let me be very clear that in four months, this government brought in more Afghan interpreters than the previous Conservative government brought here in four years. That is absolutely true. I know those people; they live in my riding. I am in contact with them every day. I understand what that was about. I also understand that the situation changed and Canada continued to adapt.

I want to thank the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, who was absolutely helpful in raising the issue. We have constantly been engaged on the issue and will continue to be engaged on it.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, I always find my hon. colleague's remarks in the House to be very insightful and engaging.

During the last intersection, I had the opportunity to ask the member for Wellington—Halton Hills about the concerns I have with the text of this motion regarding the one-month timeline and the committee's ability to basically overrule the parliamentary law clerk as it relates to the redacted documents.

Can the member speak about his concerns regarding that particular text?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, obviously we have a concern about that because we already have a taxed public service. We have a holiday period coming up. We think it is unreasonable, and we have to find ways to work around that.

We also have suggestions, and we have a proposal right now on how we should be handling documents that we think parliamentarians should have access to. We will find a way—

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Saint-Jean.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague from Lac-Saint-Jean, who will give a superb speech that I will be most pleased to listen to.

First, I would like to highlight what I believe to be some strong points in the motion presented today by the Conservative Party. As the saying goes, we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater, and the motion has some worthwhile elements.

I am thinking in particular of the reason why they are asking that a special committee be created. My colleague, the parliamentary secretary, mentioned that he hoped the study would be conducted by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. However, this matter touches on international relations, defence and immigration, a combination of areas that we do not see all that often.

In addition, one of the advantages of creating a special committee is that it frees up the schedules of the standing committees, which, as one might expect, will have a lot on their plate in the coming year and will be very busy. I am thinking in particular of the standing committees on foreign affairs and international development, national defence and citizenship and immigration. The study the motion proposes is extensive and could take several months. Tasking a standing committee with this study would likely prevent that committee from focusing on other equally important issues.

Finally, there is a need to restore the Canadian Armed Forces' image, a significant issue that I will carry forward and address over the next year. A number of military members have taken it upon themselves to help the local interpreters they worked with in Afghanistan. They have provided private funding to set up houses to keep people safe. If nothing is done and we send the message that some individuals could be left behind, we risk undermining not only the alliances we may want to make with international partners on future missions, but also the Canadian Armed Forces' internal recruitment.

For all these reasons, I think it is appropriate to ask the question and to study what went wrong and why allies who had worked with Canada were not evacuated.

The wording of the Conservatives' motion raises the issue of calling an election in the midst of the Afghan crisis. It is very interesting and relevant, but is this really the right place to raise the issue? I am not sure. However, if we were to go down this road, I daresay it might be interesting to see how we could put limits on a government's power to unilaterally call an election without being brought down by the House. I doubt that the Liberals and Conservatives would want to discuss this in the context of the motion we are debating, but I still think it is worth raising this possibility.

What bothers me about this motion is that the Conservatives seem to have written it more to make the government look bad than to really find immediate and future solutions. I will give an example.

Paragraph (m)(v) of the motion calls for an enormous quantity of documents to be produced within one month of the creation of the special committee, which is likely to be voted on tomorrow. One month from now will be January 7. Between now and then, there are about seven or eight sitting days left in the House, people and staff will be on vacation, and they may still be on January 7. On that date, it would be very easy for the Conservatives to say that the government has once again disobeyed an order of the House by not producing the documents requested by the deadline. That deadline, however, is absolutely impossible to meet, so the objective will not be met.

Accordingly, I think that we could be a little more flexible, for example by allowing the committee to decide for itself which documents it wants to obtain and the timeline for producing them. These choices can change depending on what happens in committee and what the committee needs in order to plan or amend its decisions.

Another aspect of the motion that bothers me is the fact that it is only retroactive in scope. While the Leader of the Opposition talked more about the need for recommendations for the future, it seems to me that it is more about picking at scabs than anything else. Just between us, I do not think that we need a special committee to see that things were botched.

We only have ask the members who had all their immigration cases put on hold this summer because of the lack of capacity to deal with Afghan refugee applications. The system was not even close to being ready; cases in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration were already moving slowly, and this just added to it. Afghan refugees do not need a special committee to tell them that things were botched. We only have to ask the 200 Afghans whose names were leaked to the media by IRCC, which put their lives at risk. They do not need a special committee to tell them that things were botched. We only have to ask the 40,000 minus 3,700 Afghans who are still there. Let us ask them if they need a special committee to tell them that things were botched.

With that in mind, there is no point to creating a committee whose sole purpose is to analyze the past. It is somewhat akin to the work of a coroner who is asked to determine the cause and circumstances of a death. Their work would not be that important if it simply involved telling us why and how a person died. The coroner’s real job is to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again. That is what I would like to see from the committee that is to be set up.

If worst comes to worst, an amendment could be introduced to that effect. If the special committee's sole purpose is to provide feedback, it becomes less useful. I would prefer to have it look at other issues, such as what to do with the people who are still in Afghanistan. There could be millions of them, and they could starve to death in one of the worst famines in human history. How can we get international aid to these people in the immediate future?

The committee might consider what kind of diplomatic ties we should have with the Taliban government. Although it is the de facto government, it is not a recognized government, since the Taliban are considered a terrorist organization. Still, we will need to figure out how to deal with them to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid.

It is also important to look at government funding. Since the Taliban have been recognized by several countries as a terrorist organization, aid is often frozen. International donors are more fearful, so the money that the government relies on to keep running is not coming in.

Under the circumstances, we do not really seem to be grasping this sense of urgency and the need for action right now. Those are not secondary issues; they should be a key focus for the special committee. I think that is what the Conservatives' motion is lacking. I would not be comfortable supporting the motion as written. It is basically smoke and mirrors. Really, it is mud-slinging, and it is not constructive.

When I read the motion as it stands, I worry that it will not help anyone other than maybe the Conservatives. Passing this motion will not get any more Afghans out of Afghanistan. It will not get any humanitarian aid into the country. This motion will not do anything to improve diplomatic relations insofar as that is possible.

I think there is room for improvement. The Bloc, as always, wants a partner it can talk to and work with constructively. We are reaching out to our Conservative colleagues, not for their good, not for the good of the government and not for our own good, but for the good of those who need it most right now.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, I agree with my colleague that there is always room for improvement through amendments. I am looking forward to seeing those and hopefully coming to some sort of consensus, if her party wants to put forward amendments.

I would also agree with her that this committee is not just about identifying what went wrong. It is about figuring out what we need to do better for the future. Having ample experience with lessons identified and lessons learned within the Canadian Armed Forces, the key difference is that if we do not actually learn from mistakes made in the past, we can identify them until the cows come home and we will be doomed to make the same mistakes again.

I encourage the Bloc Québécois to work with our Conservative team to come up with an amendment that would work for all of us.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I have two things to say about that.

First of all, as I said in my speech, the need to learn from mistakes is one thing. I am not rejecting that part of the Conservative motion, but I think it needs to lead to something else, and that is what I want to emphasize.

Second, I just made some suggestions for possible amendments. The Conservatives did not try to get any support from the other parties to make sure this motion passes or to make it worthwhile. This only makes me question the purpose of the motion even more. Is it just smoke and mirrors? The question remains.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I agree that the motion looks more like theatre than looking to improve the lives of Afghanis and the functioning of our government.

Having a critical look at what has happened in the past is something our committees could do. Our existing committees are set-up for that.

Could the hon. member comment on the role that could be played by the National Security Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, or the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, or the public accounts committee or other committees to look into what happened and what we could do better in the future?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, as I said, this is such a broad subject, which encompasses so many files and requires such a large effort, that it should be the purview of a special committee.

Will the Department of National Defence really look into why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada did not have enough staff to deal with the cases? This is such a complex problem that, on the face of it, it warrants the creation of a special committee. As well, that would avoid monopolizing the time of other committees that will already have a lot on their plates during this Parliament.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, a unique part of this motion to create a special committee is that it would be accompanied by a special order of the House, which is informed by experiences of standing committees in the previous Parliament that ran against obstructive measures from members of the government and had to request the House's help to solicit documents and actually have them put before the committee.

I wonder if my colleague has any comments on the fact that we are probably saving some time by putting a special standing order of the House in the motion so the committee is equipped with that before and would not have to make use of it at a later stage.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, there is an interesting aspect to the motion in paragraph (n). It is a kind of clause to prevent filibusters surrounding the production of documents and the presentation of witnesses. I find it interesting to see that come from the House. That is something that cannot be done in a standing committee.

That is why I am comfortable with the idea of creating a special committee. However, I would reiterate my comment that it is not realistic to ask for all the documents to be produced in a month in the middle of the holidays. Leaving it up to the committee to choose its own documents and set its own deadlines would be a sign of confidence in the committee.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to say just how much I enjoyed hearing what my hon. colleague from Saint-Jean had to say. I especially liked her comments about the purpose of this motion and the fact that, in its current form, it does not seem to help anyone.

When Syrian refugees started arriving, several groups in our communities sponsored them.

Does the member agree that Canadians and Quebeckers are ready to welcome refugees from Afghanistan?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I wish we were already at the point of asking ourselves if we are ready to bring these people here and sponsor them privately. We are not quite there yet. These refugees are still in danger. No one knows how to get them out, and that is the problem. When people do private sponsorships, it is because the refugees have already crossed the border and are in refugee camps. We are not even there yet, and Canada has not even—

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

December 7th, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I will try to measure up to my very dear colleague from Saint-Jean.

Some things are important in politics, but sometimes, in the House, we lose sight of what is important. To begin with, I would like to point out two things we need to bear in mind throughout this debate.

First, throughout all our discussions, we must remember that more than one million children could die from malnutrition in Afghanistan this winter. I am not making this up; representatives of the United Nations World Food Programme have said so.

Second, we must remember that we have a duty of solidarity toward the Afghan people, which means we have an obligation to get results. I often tell my children that they should always finish what they start. In the case of Afghanistan, that means that we need to follow through on our commitment to keep those who worked with us on the ground during this difficult war safe. Interpreters and their families put their lives at risk at the time and are still suffering for having helped us. We must therefore do everything we can to help them and repatriate them.

With that in mind, we need to ask ourselves whether what we are doing is useful in the grand scheme of things. I agree that we need to identify the stumbling blocks and mistakes in the government's efforts to repatriate our Afghan allies. I also agree that we need to make sure we never again witness such chaos in a future military conflict and that we learn from this mess.

However, I do not agree that we should embark on a mission to nose out scandals that will last until the next election. I also do not agree that we should start combing through redacted material so that we can interpret fragments of confidential information in the hope of finding a comma out of place.

Every member here knows that this is a complex situation, especially the Conservatives. They did not do much for our interpreters either in 2014.

Like the Conservatives, I condemn the government's inaction last August, and I would like to remind the Liberals that they called an election at a time when people were so desperate to flee the Taliban that they were clinging to moving planes. I also think that we are seeing some professional improvisation in the management of the repatriation, which is an operation that the Minister of Public Safety will undoubtedly leave off his CV. Like my Conservative colleagues, I get some incredibly tragic files in my riding office.

Despite all this, if the motion of the hon. member for Durham and leader of the official opposition is intended only to embarrass the government and not to review the events constructively, I do not see how the Bloc can support it. Unfortunately, when I read the motion, I get the feeling that the hon. member for Durham is playing politics rather than trying to resolve the issue. He is more concerned with scoring points off the Liberals than scoring points for the interpreters and their families.

I will give a few compelling examples to support my arguments, and I will explain the conditions under which I might consider supporting the motion. Since my dear colleague from Saint-Jean already went over those conditions in detail, I may be repeating some of what she said.

First, in paragraph (l), the committee is being instructed to present a final report within six months of the adoption of the motion. The current motion makes it seem that the Conservatives absolutely want this to fail. Six months is great, but, under paragraph (m), the documentation has to be produced within one month.

I know what is going to happen: The Liberals will not be prepared to answer our questions and will be filibustering. That is how things will go at every meeting. The Conservatives are well aware of this, since there is a measure in paragraph (n) of the motion to prevent the Liberals from filibustering. However, there will be four hours of discussion before the mandatory vote and that means that, for four hours, members will be able to filibuster.

The Conservatives know that the Liberal Party will never waive its parliamentary privilege. This says a lot about both parties, but it says even more about the motion, which seems virtuous at first glance, but appears to be intended solely to embarrass the Liberals. In fact, the strategy is to trip up the Liberals, not to conduct a real review of their management of the crisis, which, incidentally, is still ongoing.

To get back to the timetable, the period during which the process would start also poses a problem. First, the Conservatives know that the holidays are approaching, that Parliament is going to wind down, that parliamentary and government public servants will not be available and that all this will undermine the redaction provided for in paragraph (n). This single step will take months, or it will monopolize every staff member in the departments involved.

Second, getting back to what I was saying about the crisis, the public servants they want to call to testify or monopolize for redactions are currently trying to repatriate the Afghans in question.

If someone in the House wants to tell me that there are currently no delays at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, either they do not work on immigration files, or they are Liberal. The department has been struggling with staggering and inhumane delays for years now, and the situation has only gotten worse since August, because it is working almost full time on repatriation cases.

I said earlier that we need to keep two things in mind throughout the debate, namely that children will die if things do not change, and that we have a duty toward our allies.

Will putting more pressure on our public servants improve the situation? No. Will politicizing the crisis right now improve the situation? No. Do the Conservatives want to create a committee to further their partisan interests rather than help the Afghans? That is a fair question. Moreover, it is entirely reasonable to ask why the Conservatives want to create a committee on Afghanistan, but do not want to extend the mandate of the special committee on Canada-China relations. We still do not understand why that is, but it is obvious that the Conservatives see special committees as an essentially political tool.

Would it not be more appropriate to examine the actions Canada could take?

Let us change the motion together now, to ensure that the main purpose of the review shifts from the past to the present and the immediate future, with a view to providing humanitarian aid and evacuating vulnerable Afghans. The Bloc Québécois has a lot of ideas, and that is why we are here. We want to work together with every party in the House.

Let us look at the humanitarian situation and the assistance Canada should be providing, given that millions of Afghans risk dying of hunger in the coming months. This is one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet. That is what we need to do to help.

Let us consider diplomatic ties, as my colleague from Saint-Jean mentioned. Should Canada forge diplomatic ties with the Taliban government? Yes. How can the government communicate with the Taliban if it does not recognize them? We can look at that.

We can also look closely at the government’s goals. I am the immigration critic for the Bloc Québécois. The government promised to take in 20,000 Afghan refugees, and then 40,000. So far, we have taken in 4,000 out of those 40,000. That raises questions.

Yes, we agree with the idea of a special committee, but let us change the wording of the motion so that its purpose is not necessarily political and partisan but aligns with the real objective that such a committee would have, namely to help those people who are stuck in Afghanistan. Right now, in Afghanistan, parents are selling their daughters for food, and people are hiding in safe houses to avoid being killed. It is that simple, and it is tragic.

What do we do with these people? These are all questions that do not appear anywhere in the Conservative motion. We talk a lot about immigration, but this is also a matter of international co-operation and human rights. What do we do about the NGOs, which are reluctant to help the Afghan people because the current Taliban government is considered a terrorist organization? What do we do with the information circulating about human trafficking to meet the needs for food as I just mentioned?

Let us not forget the elephant in the room, the veterans’ groups that are financing safe houses to protect Afghans and their families with what little they have, without any help from the federal government. We have all seen their requests for help in our riding offices. What is the government doing about those issues?

I am repeating myself, but that is okay. Let us not forget that one million children in Afghanistan could die of starvation. Let us not forget that we have a duty to the Afghan people, a duty to fulfill our commitment to their security.

Let us find a way to do that and focus on what really matters for our allies. Let us study the situation in Afghanistan. Let us make it our first order of business to evaluate the humanitarian aid that Canada should be providing to bring relief to the Afghan people. Let us be smart and realistic in how we proceed. If a special committee is formed, let us give its members and the officials who will be assigned to support them the flexibility and time they need to do their job, given the scope of work involved.

Above all, let us ask ourselves why we were elected. Let us take responsibility and work together.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Liberal

Kody Blois Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, I agree with much of my colleague's speech and with the member for Saint‑Jean's comment that the wording of the Conservatives' motion is a problem.

I think the time has come to have discussions on Afghanistan. Every member of the House knows that the situation is serious.

Will my colleague be proposing an amendment to the Conservatives' motion?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I know that discussions are currently under way. We will want to propose amendments to this motion, and I am convinced that we can reach an agreement.

I am eager to see what my Liberal colleagues are going to do when they see the amended motion. They will realize that, as elected officials, we need to vote in favour of this motion as amended to simplify the general idea behind the creation of the special committee.

The idea is to provide assistance to Afghans, to look at the mistakes that should not have happened and ensure that they never happen again, while focusing on the present and the future. I hope that my Liberal colleagues will join us in this adventure.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Madam Speaker, again, I have one slight correction for the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Jean.

In 2014, things were different. At the time, a lot of Afghans did take the opportunity to seek immigration here to Canada, but the majority of Afghans wanted to stay in their home country, because they felt that they had a future there. They felt that the path was on the right direction. Unfortunately, things have changed most recently.

However, I do believe that we need to focus on the urgency of this situation right now and speak to local NGOs that are working this file, and there are over 10,000 files in their databases of trying to get Afghans to safety. Would the member agree that this is urgent and it needs to be dealt with right now?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. I did not want to offend my Conservative colleagues by bringing up what happened in 2014. I like them far too much for that.

There is indeed an emergency, and that is why this motion is inadequate in its current form. What we want to do is to repatriate these people. We want to figure out how to do that and how to help them.

We will certainly not do so by having a study conducted by different committees, where there would be constant filibustering in the absence of the paragraph (n) in the motion, which, incidentally, is a very interesting paragraph.

Yes, this is an emergency. However, we must make sure we work together, and the Conservatives must accept the amendment we will be proposing. Then we will be able to work for the common good and, especially, for the benefit of our allies stuck in Afghanistan.

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

NDP

Heather McPherson NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I admire my colleague's work in the House of Commons, and his commitment to human rights and to the rule of law.

The member spoke about moving forward, looking forward, and solutions for the Afghan people. One of the situations that I am hearing about, which I am really quite concerned about, is that the anti-terrorist legislation that is in place is preventing organizations on the ground from getting help urgently to the Afghan people and the people who are at risk of starving to death this winter.

Could the member give us his thoughts on how we could work around those anti-terrorism laws to make sure that the Afghan people do not suffer at this time of urgent need?

Opposition Motion—Special Committee on AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

Noon

Bloc

Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Edmonton Strathcona, whom I like very much. We are working together on several files, and I must say that she is fully invested in international human rights. I find her sincere and extremely dedicated.

To answer her question, I would say that that is precisely why we need a special committee. We can then call representatives of these organizations to testify and tell us what they need to help people on the ground.

That is what special committees are for. A special committee is necessary in the case of a situation like the one in Afghanistan. People from these organizations will be able to testify and tell us what they need. We will then be able to act quickly.