I am proving it right now as I speak. I am not hollering. He and I will have a respectful exchange right now.
Let me start with Major General Leslie. I have here and I am prepared to share with my colleague and table in this House his answer to the question of why the troops in Afghanistan used green uniforms and not tan. He said:
We had tans and they stayed in our barrack boxes, for most of the soldiers. Certain select soldiers used them for certain specific missions, when they went up in the mountains, but I don't think I ever wore mine.
That is about as clearly stated as anyone could state it. I am happy to share it with my colleague later on.
Let us get past it because I think we have bigger issues to deal with and my colleague has talked about some of them. The phrase that he has in his motion states “the Canadian Forces have been permitted to decay”. That is the past tense of a verb as he knows and as we all know.
It suggests that the process is complete, that the decay is complete. Members would think, by that wording and it may have been unfortunate wording, that we had no men and women in the Canadian Forces, that we did not have any equipment, and that we were reduced to a Boy Scout troop here at home that just helped elderly people across the street or something.
That is not what my colleague intends. He has far too much expertise to intend that I am sure, but it is clearly what it says. I only point this out not to challenge necessarily his use of language. I point it out as part of the bigger problem. There is a tendency for hyperbole. There is a tendency to exaggerate that all of our equipment is junk, and that we cannot do anything. Let us show a little more respect for the work done by our troops.
We hear it time and time from our allies. We hear from our allies how our troops give outstanding service in the field. We hear about the outstanding work and the evaluation of their work from independent sources. Let us not add to the negative tone that exists so much in the debate around our forces. I think the men and women of the Canadian Forces deserve better. I think we can rise above that in this House.