On September 5th, 2014, the Prime Minister announced that the Canadian Army, in a non-combat role, would advise and assist security forces in Iraq battling a terrorist organization called ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. At the time, the PM indicated that the Government of Canada was prepared to do more and that any mission involving combat operations would be put to the House of Commons to a vote.
Oct 7, the House of Commons voted to support the Government of Canada’s decision to join our allies and partners: The US, the UK, France, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and others, in launching air strikes against ISIL for a period of up to six months. This mission will not include the deployment of troops in ground combat operations.
Our contribution to the mission will involve, six CF-18’s, one air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two Aurora surveillance aircraft, and the necessary air crews and support personnel. In addition, we are extending the deployment, in a non-combat role, of up to 69 members of the Canadian Army to continue advising and assisting security forces in Iraq.
I voted for the motion and want to take this opportunity to explain why.
ISIL is a threat to Canada and Canadians. It has specifically targeted Canada, urging supporters to attack Canadians, both here and abroad. It has killed innocent Westerners aboard and is planning attacks here within North America.
ISIL has established a self-proclaimed “caliphate” over a vast territory from which it intends to launch a terrorist jihad, not merely in the region, but globally.
In its “caliphate”, it has committed unspeakable atrocities against the most innocent of people. It has tortured and beheaded children, raped and sold women into slavery, killed ethnic minorities and taken prisoner innocent civilians who disagree with ISIL.
Left unchecked, this terrorist threat can only grow – and grow quickly.
Of course, this mission to combat this threat will be only one part of multi-faceted approach that will involve diplomacy, humanitarian aid, domestic intelligence and counter terrorism activities, and strengthening our citizenship laws.
Wellington-Halton Hills is dotted with cenotaphs that serve as a reminder that when our allies come together in common cause to fight a common threat, we Canadians have always risen to the challenge. We should be under no illusion. If Canada wants to keep its voice in the world – and we should since so many of our challenges are global – we must play our part with our allies or risk not being taken seriously.
The Government of Canada’s ultimate responsibility is to protect Canadians, and to defend our citizens from those who would do harm to us and to our families.
That is why I voted to support this mission. Let us keep in our thoughts the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who are, now and always, ready and willing to answer the call of their country.
For additional views on this perspective, please read the Globe and Mail’s editorial This isn’t Harper’s War, written by Jeffrey Simpson. I have provided the link for your review: http://goo.gl/oq6O3z