Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the response across the way when my friend actually tells the truth. Liberals are laughing and think it is a joke. The reality is that their talking points have been off all day, because people have been charged. They were charged when the Conservative government was in power. Three of them were charged, two of them are presumed to be dead, the other person went to trial and, as far as I know, that trial is ongoing.
The Liberals can do what they want to mislead people. I hear them heckling across the way right now trying to disrupt the proceedings this afternoon, but their talking points consistently today have been inaccurate. I do not know why they would mislead people on terrorism-related issues. I wonder why that would happen. We know full well how weak they are on this very issue.
I want to talk about the last part of our motion today. We have talked a lot about ISIS. We talked a lot about Liberals giving taxpayers' dollars to terrorists for that kind of thing, trying to reintegrate and welcome terrorists back into Canada and working with other countries to bring Canadian citizens of convenience back here. Our country is volunteering to help when the citizens' own countries do not want them to come back.
I want to talk about a bit of a different issue this afternoon than some other people have spoken of, and that is about the plan that Liberals are supposed to bring forward in 45 days. Liberals have said they are apparently going to support this motion we have brought forward, which calls for a plan to bring to justice anyone in Canada who has Canadian citizenship and has fought as a terrorist or participated in terrorist activities.
I would like to discuss the repatriation plan and the people and places that are most impacted by what has happened. Those would be the victims and those who have become refugees. I think the government should consider this in its plan for the future, because we are not only dealing with terrorists but with the impact on many other people as well. In the future, we need to address these people in a way that will deal with some of the problems we have faced in the past.
We are familiar with a number of communities that were not treated fairly over the past few years in terms of ISIS attacks and the conflict. Those included the Christian communities on the Nineveh Plains, the Copts, the Yazidi community and many of the minority Muslim communities. I am going to talk a bit about that for a few minutes.
It is interesting that the government is pursuing reintegration for people who claim to hate the very values of our country. Those who have left here to pursue other, more violent applications of their own twisted values were a part of this conflict that imposed so much violence, death and rape on so many minority communities. As I mentioned, it particularly hit the Yazidi communities and the implications of this violence on them are probably a little more well known than the impact of the violence on some of the Christian communities on the Nineveh Plains, the pressure on the Copts, for example, and Sunni Muslim communities in that area as well.
The government is now actively trying to bring some of these people back to Canada. It is a very strange thing and such a contrast in how it dealt with the victims of these terrorists. They are trying to find ways to welcome these terrorists back, reintegrate them, get them poetry classes and counselling and those kinds of things, but it is not as concerned about the victims of these people at all, especially those who have been targeted because of their religious or ethnic positions.
Eighty per cent of the world's population still faces high or very high levels of persecution because of faith issues around the globe. We are familiar here with what happened, which was that ISIS swept across northern Iraq and into Syria, devastating many of the minority communities. Some people ended up in UN camps as refugees. The larger minority groups ended up there, but a lot of the smaller minority groups could not find their way into the camps because the camps were not safe for them in a conflict area, so they were in other places, private homes or outside the camps, trying to survive.
The Prime Minister was clear that he was not interested in helping those who were affected by this conflict primarily because of their specific religious and ethnic communities. In fact, in October of 2015, he made a statement that was of either arrogance or ignorance. It was unbelievable. When asked twice if he would prioritize religious and ethnic minorities in terms of bringing refugees here, he gave a long lecture about he expressed his disapproval of anyone who would use refugees in a photo op. I thought that was ironic given what we saw later. He said that clearly to him, the idea of prioritizing religious and ethnic communities in terms of bringing them here because of belonging to those communities was disgusting, that it did not contribute to the Canada he wants to build and that his government would absolutely not go along with that.
That is a strange type of response to the type of vicious persecution that was taking place at the time. That persecution was taking place specifically because of the religious and ethnic identity of those communities. That is the very reason the communities were targeted. The government has said that is the very reason we are not going to consider the fact that they should perhaps get priority in coming to this country.
When the Liberals wanted to set up their post-election PR refugee program, where did they go? They went into the UN camps and found the people who were in the camps there, but at the same time, they left the most vulnerable refugee communities unexplored in terms of bringing people here and giving them a new start in Canada. That involved the Yazidis at the time.
We are familiar with the struggle we have had in this House to try to convince the Liberals that there was actually a serious issue around the Yazidi community. They have finally bent on that. They really have not gone very far in helping those folks, but at least they acknowledged that there was a problem, in the end. The other communities did not get that same consideration. That had to be deliberate, because the Prime Minister said specifically that this was how he was going to address it.
The real cynicism arises when we see the Liberals changing their position on something simply because it suits them. I have an example of this. Referring to the Middle East and what was happening on the Nineveh Plains, the Prime Minister said that they would not bring people here based on their religious and ethnic identities. The Liberals made every attempt to make sure that did not take place.
It is interesting that when it affects them, all of a sudden, they take a different position. I want to bring up something that happened a couple of weeks ago here in the House. There has been a group of Sikh and Hindu refugees in India who have tried to get recognition for the persecution they face in Afghanistan, which has been very specific to their religion. The Liberals had virtually no interest in this issue at all. They had no interest in bringing them here until three weeks ago, when our leader was in Indian and met with the group and assured them of our concern and that we would follow up on it.
It was interesting that the first day back in the House, one of the Liberal members asked a question, saying, “Sikh and Hindu minorities in Afghanistan face constant persecution, discrimination and violence. Thousands have been forced to flee, and many are living in very precarious conditions”. He asked the minister to “update the House on the status of the effort to resettle [these] vulnerable...refugees”.
The response was very specific. The minister said:
We are deeply concerned about Afghan, Hindu and Sikh minorities in Afghanistan.... we understand that these particular refugees are at particular risk, and that is why we have been working very closely...not only to identify them but also to expand resettlement opportunities in Canada.
We are glad to see the Liberals finally coming to the position the Conservative Party has held all along. When people are targeted for persecution because of their religious or ethnic identities, they should be considered, and that should be a factor in whether they get to come to our country.
I know my time is running out, and I am sorry that is the case. It is hard not to be very cynical about this group of Liberals. Their concern and their reaction are always about themselves, not about Canadians. We see that they will do what works for them. Canadians have an opportunity to let them know that this does not work for them when they have this openness to bringing terrorists back here. The Liberals are excited about being able to reintegrate them into this community, but they are much more reluctant to bring the most vulnerable groups here, to identify them by the very nature of the persecution that is taking place against them and then give them an opportunity to come to Canada.
I am going to try to hold these people accountable over the next few months, when they bring the reintegration plan into place, to make sure that they are not creating a situation where Canadians are unsafe but are creating a situation where some of the most vulnerable minorities can be taken care of ahead of the terrorists who are returning.