Member Of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
December 10, 2015

Opposition Motion (CPC) Combat Mission Against ISIS

Mr. Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, CPC): Madam Speaker, I have been listening with great interest to today's debate and it is a real honour to be able to contribute to it myself as well.

I want to outline what I see as the three principle arguments as to why the motion should pass and as to why our involvement in the bombing mission in particular is important. First of all, we have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable. Second, maintaining our collective security commitments is critical for our security. Third, bombing Daesh is a necessary part of our anti-radicalization efforts. I am going to talk a bit about those three things in the time I have today.

   First of all, we have a moral obligation to be part of the bombing mission in order to protect the vulnerable. I spoke about this in some detail in my maiden speech but I am going to talk again about that briefly before I go on to the other points.

   What is happening right now in Syria and Iraq is nothing short of genocide. We have used that word on this side of the House and certainly that has not been contested by any other parties here. Genocide has never been quite so visible, so undeniable. Even the Nazis did not broadcast their atrocities on television. When it came to past atrocities, many of us could have said perhaps if only we had known then we would have done more. That cannot be said in this case. We all know what is happening in Syria and Iraq. There is no denying it. If we have not watched the videos then we know they exist.

   I hear what the other members are saying. They are saying that we should perhaps help the vulnerable but we should do it in a different way. I have a hard time taking those arguments seriously because they do not seem to respect the urgency of the problem. We can educate people to address potential violence. We can train them to address future violence. However, if we want to stop the current violence, then we need to fight as well. It does not mean there is nothing else we can do to contribute positively at the same time.

   The approach we on this side of the House advocate is a multi-pronged approach. We support being involved in education, the humanitarian response, training as well as fighting. Talking only about those more long-term aspects of bringing about peace and stability in the region to me sounds a lot like fixing the locks once the thief is already inside the house. Stop the violence, protect the innocent and then by all means do more, but there is an imminent threat, a present campaign of violence and genocide and it will require more than words and social programs to stop it. We need to do something right now. We need to respond right now. We need to protect the innocent. We need to do what we can to stop the violence. We have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable.

   Second, I want to talk about maintaining our collective security commitment because this is crucial for our own security. The party opposite has talked about how during the last election it had committed to withdrawing from the fight against Daesh but surely it can see that things have changed since the Paris attacks. Canada and France are both signatories to the NATO treaty. Article 5 makes it clear that an attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all.

   Short of the formal invocation of Article 5, it is still critically important that NATO members respond together. Russia and other powers are already testing the result of our NATO alliance. When events like the attack on Paris take place, it and others will be watching to see what we do. It is essential for global security and for our own security that NATO members stand together and respond together to an act of war against a member state. A strong united response from NATO would show our resolve, would deter aggressive behaviour from other actors, and would keep our people safe. A non-response would do the opposite.

   Canada has already been attacked right here in this place by Daesh inspired terrorists. But what happens if we are attacked again in perhaps a more coordinated fashion and then we ask our NATO allies on the basis of our collective security commitments to be part of a response? What are they going to say to us? Are they going to say they will send some blankets and do some training behind the lines? I hope not. Collective security is important. It is the basis on which we stand. It is how we protect ourselves in an environment where we do not have the capacity to oppose the world's largest aggressive powers alone. In addition to the other reasons already given, participating in this bomber mission is how we show that we take collective security seriously. I have said that we have a moral obligation to protect the vulnerable, that maintaining our collective security commitments is critical for our own security.


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