OTTAWA – POLITICS – This week the Harper Conservative government plunged Canada into a war in Iraq. New Democrats oppose this misguided mission for a number of important reasons.
This past week the Prime Minister tabled a motion, which passed with the support of his Conservative caucus that laid out the case for war and provided the scope of the mission. Here is the government’s motion as tabled;
That this House
- recognise that the leadership of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has called on its members to target Canada and Canadians at home and abroad;
- further recognise the clear and direct threat that ISIL poses to the people of the region, including members of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority groups who have been subjected to a sustained campaign of brutal sexual violence, murder, and barbaric intimidation by ISIL;
- accept that, unless confronted with strong and direct force, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow;
- affirm Canada’s desire, consistent with Canadian values and interests, to protect the vulnerable and innocent civilians of the region, including through urgent humanitarian assistance;
- acknowledge the request from the Government of Iraq for military support against ISIL from members of the international community, including from the Government of Canada;
- further acknowledge the participation of Canada’s friends and allies, including numerous countries of the Middle East, in the broad international coalition committed to the fight against ISIL; and
- note that the United Nations Security Council has become seized of the threat posed by international terrorism with the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, and, accordingly,
- support the Government’s decision to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL, including air strike capability for a period of up to six months;
- note that the Government of Canada will not deploy troops in ground combat operations; and
- continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us
As the Official Opposition, New Democrats had the right to table an amendment to Mr. Harper’s motion. Our motion to amend the government’s motion was as follows;
That Government Business No. 13 be amended:
a) by deleting clause iii) and replacing it with the following:
iii) accept that, unless confronted with strong and direct force from capable and enabled local forces, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow;
- b) by deleting all words after “accordingly” and replacing them with the following:
- call on the Government to contribute to the fight against ISIL, including military support for the transportation of weapons for a period of up to three months;
- call on the Government to boost humanitarian aid in areas where there would be immediate, life-saving impact, including contributing to building winterized camps for refugees; and investing in water, sanitation and hygiene, health and education for people displaced by the fighting;
- call on the Government to provide assistance to investigation and prosecution of war crimes;
- call on the Government to not deploy the Canadian Forces in combat operations;
- call on the Government to seek House approval for any extension of the mission, or any involvement of Canadian Forces in Syria;
- call on the Government to report back on the costs of the mission on a monthly basis to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs; and,
- continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.
In short, Tom Mulcair, myself, and Canada’s New Democrats believe that the Harper Conservative government has failed to make the case for Canada’s participation in this war in Iraq and because we believe that another western lead combat mission in the Middle East will simply not provide the peace, security, and stability we all hope for.
Instead, New Democrats would rather see Canada support a combat mission that is led by local forces by assisting with the transportation of weapons and humanitarian supplies, providing direct humanitarian assistance to the more than 1.5 million refugees of the conflict in Iraq and Turkey, assisting with the investigation war crimes and the prosecution of war criminals, and avoiding any cooperation with the repressive and violent Assad regime in Syria.
Canada’s New Democrats support and wish the best for our men and women in uniform, and we will continue to oppose this misguided mission while holding the Conservative government to account on their behalf and yours.
John Rafferty MP