Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to mention that I will be sharing my time with the member for Prince Edward—Hastings.
I am pleased to discuss this very important issue in the House today, because the government takes the safety of Canadians very seriously.
As the Prime Minister has said, in many ways, 2010 is an international year for Canada.
We hosted the world in Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
And this month, Canada will host summits for the leaders of the G8 and G20 nations. These events are unique and extremely useful opportunities to show what Canada has to offer, and to demonstrate our leadership on issues that are important to Canadians.
These types of events always pose special challenges. When Canada hosts the world, it is responsible for ensuring the safety of the site and of the participants.
Although the right to demonstrate peacefully is fundamental in any democracy, unfortunately, some people try to disrupt high-profile international events, or do even worse.
It is therefore quite a challenge to provide security for events such as the Olympics and the G8 and G20 summits. It is an enormous and unprecedented task to provide security for two events attended by foreign leaders in two different locations for three days.
But Canada can count on some outstanding Canadian partners that did an excellent job on security at the Vancouver Olympics. Certainly, they will be up to the challenge of providing security at the G8 and G20 summits.
We heard about the outstanding job the RCMP is doing as the main organization in charge of security at the summits. I would also like to mention the Canadian Forces' contribution to the many aspects of this highly complex government-wide initiative.
I would like to start by putting things in context. The government expects the Canadian Forces to demonstrate excellence as they do their job here at home. It also expects them to be a reliable partner in defending North America and to show leadership abroad, as the Canada first defence strategy clearly states.
The Canadian Forces are surpassing these expectations. Just a few months ago, even though they were making final plans for security at the Vancouver games, a huge undertaking if there ever was one, they still managed to quickly bring humanitarian aid to the victims of the disaster in Haiti. At the same time, our Canadian Forces were continuing their operations in Afghanistan and taking part in other missions abroad.
This was possible because Canadian soldiers are consummate professionals. Canada's sailors, soldiers and air personnel represent the best Canada has to offer.
But the government also plays a crucial role by making the necessary investments to provide the Canadian Forces with the resources they need.
Whether we are talking about buying new equipment such as C-17 Globemaster strategic lift aircraft, modernizing and replacing ageing infrastructure or investing in new integrated personnel support centres and other initiatives to look after our personnel, who are the Canadian Forces' most precious resources, the government has made a commitment to implement the Canada first defence strategy, our long-term master plan, which will allow us to provide the Canadian Forces with the personnel, equipment, infrastructure and readiness they need to do their job in the 21st century.
These investments allow the Canadian Forces to perform the task at which they excel—protecting Canadians and Canada's interests.
For example, while Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes were setting records on snow and ice, some 4,500 Canadian military personnel were working behind the scenes helping the RCMP and civilian organizations ensure the safety of all those who came to Vancouver to participate in those remarkable games.
The Canadian Forces played a significant and integral role in the security operation, Operation Podium, during the Olympic Games. This operation involved personnel from the navy, the army and the air force, who worked together to ensure that the 10,000 km2 area surrounding the site of the games as well as the site itself were safe.
A number of lessons were learned from this experience. The various groups that were mobilized made a concerted effort to ensure that this government-wide security operation during the games was a success.
All aspects of this security operation, from the training and exercises before the games to the way that information was exchanged between the various departments and organizations throughout the games, are being studied and reproduced for the G8 and G20 summits.
The Canadian military is ready to play a similar role in these summits.
Although the size of the summits, each of which will be unique, is similar to the Vancouver Games, there are important differences. For example, the games took place in a generally festive atmosphere, whereas the summits are more serious political events.
In the past, events of this type have been met with large protests that have sometimes resulted in violence.
As well, the participants at the summits—the leaders and their delegations—will outnumber the participants at the Vancouver Games. Although the RCMP is doing an incredible job managing the security operations for the G8 and G20, it cannot do everything by itself.
The RCMP asked the Canadian Forces for help so that the government could draw on more security resources. The navy, the army and the air force will provide unique military resources and capabilities to ensure the security of the two summit locations as part of operation Cadence 2010.
The Canadian Forces will make their large-scale operational planning skills available to the RCMP.
They will also conduct land and air surveillance, ensure water safety, transport visiting leaders and their staff and carry out some logistic and ceremonial functions.
As was the case during the Olympic Games, the military contribution will draw on the partnership between the Canadian Forces and the United States Armed Forces set out in the bilateral North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.
The Canadian Forces will contribute personnel to the security operation during the G8 and G20 summits and will deploy required equipment to provide security for activities in Huntsville and Toronto.
The military contribution to this large-scale operation will ensure the security of foreign leaders and their entourages, as well as that of everyone participating in these crucial events.
In conclusion, the 2010 G8 and G20 summits provide an excellent opportunity for Canada to make a useful contribution to discussions among foreign leaders about global issues that affect us all.
Canada will be in the foreground, demonstrating leadership on the world stage and promoting the values it holds dear, such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Canadian Forces will support the RCMP and civilian organizations by working behind the scenes to keep both summits safe and secure.
Providing security during this kind of large-scale international event is just one aspect of the Canadian Forces' mandate here at home. The Canadian Forces are well-equipped to provide unequalled support for security at the G8 and G20 summits because the government committed to giving them the tools and support they need.
That is why I cannot support the motion before the House.