November 25, 2010

CPC

Laurie Hawn

Conservative

Hon. Laurie Hawn (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, CPC)

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my hon. colleague.

The aim of this Parliament, the Canadian people, the United Nations and NATO is to do the right thing for the Afghan people. We have spent 10 years there. We have come a great distance in that time in many areas.

Does my hon. colleague not see the contradiction in that dedication Canadians have always had to freedom, democracy, the rule of law and helping those who cannot help themselves? Can he not see the value in Canada providing something that we have been asked to provide from top to bottom, from left to right, from everybody in this process because they value Canada's contribution? They value Canada's ability to train and build capacity in a non-combat role.

This is no different from the training that happens in Gagetown or places like that. They have not lost anybody in this type of training that NATO has been undertaking for the past four years.

Does the hon. member not see the value in providing the expertise Canada has to countries that need our help, to people who need our help, like the Afghan people and Afghanistan?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Thierry St-Cyr

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Thierry St-Cyr

Madam Speaker, I feel I have expressed my opinion fairly clearly. It is idealistic to think that there could be combat mission training without taking part in combat. And I am not the only one to think that way. Retired General Rick Hillier thinks the same thing. He feels that it is idealistic to think that we can train people without accompanying them into combat. We cannot give them theoretical training in a classroom and then ask them to fight afterwards, without being able to tell them if they are doing it right.

We feel that Canada's participation should be on a humanitarian and civilian level, not a military one.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Shawn Murphy

Liberal

Hon. Shawn Murphy (Charlottetown, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I have been listening to the debate for the last hour and a half. I would ask my friend from the Bloc Québécois to comment on the wording of the motion which gives me great difficulty and that is:

That this House condemn the government's decision to unilaterally extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan to 2014....

If we are to believe what we are being told, and I have no reason not to believe what we are being told, the combat mission in Afghanistan will be over in 2011. It will be completed. It will be done.

I believe there is an obligation to continue in some civil role to the country of Afghanistan and the people who live there, but that is not what this motion states. I would like my friend to comment on that. I believe the whole preface of the motion is erroneous. I ask the hon. member why it was written in that manner.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Thierry St-Cyr

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Thierry St-Cyr

Madam Speaker, I explained that in my presentation. Since things started in Afghanistan, the Liberals and New Democrats have been doing a lot of waffling and fancy footwork. This is still going on now in collaboration with the Conservative government.

Let us not play with words. When there is a military presence in a foreign country, it is a military operation. When these people train other soldiers and accompany them into combat as part of that training, it is a military operation. Ever since the first time we had the chance to vote on extending this mission back in May 2006, the Bloc Québécois has been the only party opposed to all requests made in the House to extend the mission.

We feel that this is a trick. It is quite clear that the government, with the support of the Liberals, is trying to sell its proposal by saying that it is just training. Clearly, if the members of the House do not adopt the motion before us today and our soldiers remain in Afghanistan, some of those soldiers will take part in combat missions. Soldiers will continue to die while serving in Afghanistan. I am sure that the government and the Liberals will say exactly the same thing as I have today, that we cannot train soldiers in a combat zone without taking part in the combat.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Paule Brunelle

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Paule Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, BQ)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the Bloc Québécois motion on this opposition day. I would like to reread the motion:

That this House condemn the government’s decision to unilaterally [the word “unilaterally” is very important here] extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan to 2014, whereby it is breaking two promises it made to Canadians, one made on May 10, 2006, in this House and repeated in the 2007 Throne Speech, that any military deployment would be subject to a vote in Parliament, and another made on January 6, 2010, that the mission in Afghanistan would become a strictly civilian commitment after 2011, without any military presence beyond what would be needed to protect the embassy.

What are we supposed to think about the change in the Conservative government's position now? In its 2006 election platform, the Conservative government told us the following:

A Conservative government will...make Parliament responsible for exercising oversight over...the commitment of Canadian Forces to foreign operations.

In the 2007 Speech from the Throne, the government reiterated its intention to let the House of Commons decide. In 2008, the House voted to extend the mission, but until 2011 only. We could say that the Conservative government is somewhat like St. Peter, who denied Christ three times by breaking his word three times. The military mission in Afghanistan will continue without debate, except for the debate raised by the Bloc Québécois today, and without a vote in the House. In our view, excluding all parliamentarians from this major issue is denying the democratic principles that should underlie all the work in the House.

The former chief of the defence staff for the Canadian Forces, General Rick Hillier, stated that it is impossible to train soldiers without monitoring them on the ground, meaning in the combat zone. It seems that the so-called new Afghan mission will not focus on humanitarian or training activity, but rather military activity, which we are opposed to.

Is there such a thing as training without combat? The Conservative government announced that it will keep a contingent of 950 soldiers in Afghanistan to train the future Afghan army. It was quick to say that Canadian soldiers will not be involved in combat during their training activities. Can we trust the government? Is it telling us the truth?

General Hillier, who is after all the former chief of the defence staff, said that to provide training, our troops will have to go into the field of combat. We think the government’s argument is window dressing. It must not be forgotten that General Hillier has a great deal of credibility. He led the NATO troops in Afghanistan and is very familiar with the reality in the field. I am strongly inclined to believe what he says about the operational requirements for military training. We can trust him because he has been there and has led the troops.

As one telling example, French troops present in Afghanistan are engaged in military training. That has not prevented them from suffering loss of life. What can we learn from the French forces' training mission? This is an important example to take into consideration now that we are obliged to make such a serious decision.

Since 2002, France has participated in training the Afghan national army. This initiative is called Opération Épidote, and its purpose is to train Afghan officers, battalions and special forces. This is what Canada is about to go and do. As part of this operation, teams of advisors and instructors embedded in operational units of the Afghan army coach and advise the Afghans in all of their combat missions and instructions.

How many French soldiers have died? As of October 15, 2010, 50 French soldiers had died in Afghanistan. In August 2010, two French soldiers were killed in Afghanistan while participating in the joint counter-insurgency operation with the Afghan army. On June 19, 2010, another soldier was killed by insurgent artillery fire while at a combat post. A French parachutist was killed on June 7, 2010, during a NATO mission. Nine other NATO soldiers were killed during that mission. On January 12, 2010, two French soldiers were killed while patrolling the Alasay valley. They were taking part in an international mission coaching the Afghan army.

I do not think anyone can tell me that there is no risk involved in these coaching missions.

On September 6, 2009, another French soldier was killed by an explosive device while participating in a reconnaissance convoy.

All of these examples illustrate the crux of the problem: how dangerous is a training mission? A training mission on a battlefield is dangerous and deadly.

The Bloc Québécois humbly suggests the following position to the House: the Bloc believes that Canada has done its part on the military front and that its role can be taken up by allied countries. As a state participating in the London and Kabul conferences, Canada must oversee a transition that is as peaceful and safe as possible to full assumption of control by the Afghan state. We are not shirking our responsibilities, for we are stakeholders in this, but not at any price.

The Bloc Québécois therefore proposes a three-pronged approach: first, support and training for the police forces and assistance in establishing the penal and administrative justice system; second, review and maintenance of official development assistance; and third, reconciliation and integration.

When we talk about military presence and technical support, what do we mean? We mean that the combat group must terminate its combat mission in July 2011 along with the provincial reconstruction team. That team of soldiers is responsible for protecting the NGOs. However, the majority of NGOs want the provincial reconstruction team to withdraw because they believe that the presence of troops is incompatible with their humanitarian mission.

The training of Afghan police officers has taken a back seat to the training of Afghan soldiers. However, a strong police presence is crucial to the proper functioning of society. The Bloc Québécois therefore recommends sending a contingent of 50 police officers to train Afghan police forces.

As for creating a modern judicial system, we believe that trust in that system is one of the fundamental elements of a lawful society. NATO has taught us that the Afghans prize the system’s notion of fairness and prefer the use of the informal system, as the formal governmental system is perceived as highly corrupt. To ensure adequate training and proper functioning of the Afghan judicial system, the Bloc Québécois proposes sending a delegation of Canadian legal experts to support and promote the modernization of the judicial system. These are some training aspects that are not military in nature.

We must also support the prison system. By all accounts, the Afghan prison system has some serious shortcomings, as demonstrated by the Afghan detainee issue and allegations of torture in Afghan prisons.

According to NATO, by western standards, conditions in many detention and correction facilities vary from inadequate to extremely poor in some places. We suggest that the directors of Afghan prisons be supported by Canadian deputy directors. We therefore recommend sending 50 civilians from our correctional system.

Lastly, we also propose the creation of a public service. A public service like the one we have in Quebec does not exist in Afghanistan and must therefore be created.

The take-home message is that we need to hold a vote in the House on the government's decision and proceed democratically. That is our main message.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
CPC

Shelly Glover

Conservative

Mrs. Shelly Glover (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, CPC)

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my fellow member for her remarks.

I must say that I am a little concerned because, on this side of the chamber, we have often said that this mission will truly focus on training. And yet, I hear my fellow member repeating that the military mission will continue, when such is not the case. In addition, the French soldiers of which she spoke are playing a role in operational training, mentoring and liaison, which will end in 2011. This is not the same type of training that will be given once the combat role ends.

Will my fellow member tell me why she cannot understand that she is talking about something completely different and why she does not want to admit that this will be a non-combat mission focused exclusively on training unlike the training to which she referred that was given by the French.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Paule Brunelle

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Paule Brunelle

Madam Speaker, my fellow member and I disagree about the training aspect of this mission. We are saying that the Canadian government may well send 950 soldiers in good faith, but this will still be a combat mission. According to General Hillier, even if all we do is train soldiers, we will still have to take those soldiers to battle stations to test the techniques. We do not believe that this mission will consist of only training. We believe that it will be yet another combat mission and that lives will be lost. In my view, it is very important to make a distinction between these two things. As we have seen, the French training mission, which involved soldiers, resulted in 50 deaths.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, one of the concerns that many of us have had, notwithstanding the government breaking its promise to have a vote and a debate, is the leap-frogging in this mission. We have gone from 2006, extension 2009, extension 2009 to 2011, extension 2011 now to 2014. Each and every time we have had a debate in the House about an extension of the war, we are told that is it.

Why is it that two weeks ago the Prime Minister was unequivocal when he said that this was the end of the military mission and now we are told, with a snap of the fingers, that we will have it till 2014? Why should Canadians believe the government this time?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Paule Brunelle

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Paule Brunelle

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

He is right; how can we believe the government? If the past is any indication, we really have to wonder. When someone goes back on their word three times, that is worrisome.

The basic principle is that this House must make decisions on behalf of the people. We are duly elected. In my riding, like all of the others, there are soldiers who have gone to Afghanistan and who have returned. Some, unfortunately, returned seriously injured and it is hard for their families to see them like this.

We believe that it is important for the House to make these decisions, so that we can explain to our constituents that we were fully aware of the consequences. Furthermore, we think it is important that the House be able to debate and vote on this issue.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Ken Dryden

Liberal

Hon. Ken Dryden (York Centre, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I will divide my time today with the member for Richmond Hill.

I will vote against this motion. The motion will not likely pass, as we know already, and what we say today will not change this outcome.

On a matter that is one of life and death for those in the military committed by our actions or for those who come home and who carry with them an experience that shapes their lives for a lifetime, one would expect a soul-searching debate of many weeks and months. But that is not what we have.

So if there is no real debate, let us at least set out some of the questions we would have discussed had there been one and keep those in mind as we get to the next milestones of the Afghanistan mission in 2011, 2014 and beyond.

I was in university at the height of the Vietnam war. Vietnam offered us many lessons. It taught us what happens when ideology, in this case Cold War ideology, makes us blind to what is there to see, when rhetoric sucks us in and sticks us with the wrong persuasive image, an image then of dominoes falling: if Vietnam falls, so will all of Southeast Asia; if Southeast Asia falls, so will....

But it also taught us of other traps. “Five hundred soldiers have been killed”, the U.S. government and military told us; “we can't allow them to have died in vain”. So more soldiers were committed, and more died. One thousand, 10,000, 20,000, until the war was not about dominoes anymore, and 10,000 more died because 20,000 had already died, and then 10,000 more. “We cannot leave now”, and there were 10,000 more.

Lessons offered, many lessons not learned, and one lesson that was learned: the U.S. public, in dismissing the Vietnam war, also dismissed the dedication of its soldiers. Its soldiers returned home broken and received no healing thanks. That would not happen the next time.

So in the years after September 11, 2001, Canada went into Afghanistan to fight terrorism, and in fighting terrorism, also to fight for those abused, especially women, by Afghan life.

Debate is so hard in a time of war. Criticism sounds unpatriotic. It is as if in war we lose our right to question and think. Yet it is a time when we must question and must think. Canadians are dying. Afghanis are dying. We have to be right. Situations can change, or we can begin to see those same situations differently. It is not about questioning our soldiers. Barring some rare abhorrent act, soldiers are always right. They do what they are told to do. It is their generals, or more so, it is those of us in Ottawa. It is their government. We make the final decisions. If we are wrong, far more than us, they pay the price.

We have to encourage debate because it is so easy to shut down debate and get things wrong; because this is about life and death, not dollars and cents; because we cannot face the prospect of being wrong.

It is so easy for us to wrap ourselves in the flag, to hide behind our soldiers, and at the first hint of criticism, say “We have to support our men and women in uniform”, to choke off debate of any kind. And who can argue?

In Vietnam, then, dismissive of the war, Americans were dismissive of their soldiers. In Canada now, far from being dismissive of our soldiers, it is very hard for us to be dismissive of any war they fight.

But true support for our men and women is committing them always to the right cause with the right chance to succeed, the right cause and chance today, tomorrow and every next day after that. So we must keep our eyes and minds always open, always alert.

More than 200 years ago, Samuel Johnson described patriotism as the last vestige of a scoundrel. This is not necessarily the case as Johnson understood it, but it can be. Question period, scrums and sound bites offer no time for thoughtful resolution, only enough time for pandering.

“But that is just the politics of it,” we say, “no big deal”. But in the absence of any other discussion, it becomes a big deal.

War, like grain subsidies, health care, and affordable housing, is about choices. We must provide our military the tools they need for the task we ask them to do, but is that task in Afghanistan, Darfur, or someplace else? Is it in defence, diplomacy, development, or all three? Or does it depend? There are choices. Do we buy the F-35 and pursue the foreign policy an F-35 can pursue, or fewer of them, or more?

People die in war. Tens of thousands of other Canadians die years and years before others do because they do not have the right food, the right shelter, or the right start in life. It costs about $2 billion a year to conduct our fight in Afghanistan. There are choices.

In Afghanistan, we know what we hope. We hope to shut down the actions of terrorists beyond Afghan borders. We hope for education and better lives for the Afghan people, especially for Afghan women. And we hope that long after we leave, the Afghan people will want this for themselves and be able to sustain this by themselves. Right now, we hope far more than we know, but we cannot allow hope, the ideology of terrorism-fighting, and the loss of Canadian lives to make us blind. The stakes are too high.

What do we owe the 153 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan? What do we owe their families? We owe them respect and gratitude. We owe them remembrance of what they have done for their country. More than anything, we owe them good choices in the future, for the sake of those who come after them.

I will vote against this motion, but like everyone else in this House and like everyone else in this country, I will go from here into the future with my eyes wide open.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Minister of International Cooperation, CPC)

Madam Speaker, it is good to know that the Liberal Party is not supporting this motion and has quite clearly outlined why we should stay in Afghanistan. Perhaps the hon. member can say what the Bloc and the NDP are inferring, too, which is that we should be in Afghanistan but without the security. How is that possible, that we do not train the people of Afghanistan to take care of themselves? As the foreign affairs critic said, it is critically important that Afghans take over the destiny of their country. We all agree with that.

So why does it feel as though the other two parties are saying things like we should be leaving, but the security blanket should be left alone? If it is not done by us, then by whom, may I ask?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Ken Dryden

Liberal

Hon. Ken Dryden

Madam Speaker, I think the challenge for everyone in the House is to see that in fact we fulfill the commitment that we say we are making, a commitment that is for development, a commitment that is for training, a commitment that is not in a combat role.

I think the challenge and the record of governments in lots of places in the world is a very sketchy one in terms of maintaining those kinds of promises. When a country is in a war environment, it is very difficult not to be engaged in a combat role.

That is why, as I was trying to say in my remarks, we have to be really vigilant, each of each other, each of ourselves, because it is so easy to slide into a different role.

That is what we are voting on today, the literal support of that mission, of training and of development and not a combat role.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
BQ

Bernard Bigras

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Bernard Bigras (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, BQ)

Madam Speaker, I am trying to understand the position taken today by the Liberal member, who made a sober speech. I remind him of today's motion. What does it say? It calls on the government to respect two commitments. The first is the commitment made in May 2006 that any extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan would be put to a vote in Parliament. The second is the commitment to ensure that if the mission were to continue after 2011 that it would be a civilian one. That commitment was reiterated in January 2010.

My question for the Liberal member is simple. Why is the Liberal Party refusing to demand that any extension of Canada's mission in Afghanistan be put to a vote in Parliament, as the government committed?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Ken Dryden

Liberal

Hon. Ken Dryden

Madam Speaker, my understanding is that this not an extension of a combat role.

If it is not an extension of a combat role, then that is a very different story than what was brought up in the member's question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
NDP

Chris Charlton

New Democratic Party

Ms. Chris Charlton (Hamilton Mountain, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I will be brief. I always enjoy listening to the comments of the member for York Centre. I know he is the ultimate team player. His speech today was articulate.

I just want to ask the member a question. The papers today quote his colleague from Saint-Laurent—Cartierville as saying that Afghans do not need training, that the military that defeated the Soviets in the 1980s does not require our help.

That was his former leader, as I said, the member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. His current leader, of course, is on a different page. I wonder which one of his colleagues he agrees with.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Ken Dryden

Liberal

Hon. Ken Dryden

Madam Speaker, I have not been to Afghanistan. I have not seen up close what the needs are.

I am going on the basis that in fact there is an ongoing need, in order to take on that larger role. As more soldiers from other countries leave or those ones stay in non-combat roles, there is that much more responsibility and a much larger task for those Afghans who remain, and therefore the training of them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
LIB

Bryon Wilfert

Liberal

Hon. Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to participate in today's debate.

First, having travelled to Afghanistan on three different occasions, I have had an opportunity to see our men and women in the field, in the OMLT, in Kandahar, working with Afghans and assisting the Afghan national army in a support role. There is no question in my mind that Canadians are making a significant difference in Afghanistan and they are making that significant difference under the UN resolution and as part of NATO.

Canada has always been, and will continue to be, a country that responds when the need is there. On the issues of international terrorism and dealing with and creating a stable and productive Afghanistan, Canada does not take second place to anyone. We have done an outstanding job there. Every Canadian soldier, every aid worker and every contractor there will tell us that they are making a difference in the lives of the average Afghan.

The discussion before the House deals with whether we should have a training mission, what is commonly known as inside the wire, after the combat role ends in 2011.

In my view, there are two ways we could go. We could simply say that the combat mission ends, therefore our responsibility ends and then we go home and let somebody else do the job. I believe Canadians, by and large, do not take that view. They take the view that 152 Canadians have lost their lives there, 152 Canadians have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

What else can we do? Our party has always supported the 3-D approach, which is defence, diplomacy and development. However, clearly one of the elements is in the area of training the Afghan national army, so it not only can it defend itself, but it can also train other Afghans so they will not need international assistance.

It is important that we have a force there, which is now over 170,000, an Afghan army that is able not only to secure the territory, but also to defend that territory and defend the sovereignty of Afghanistan, not just from the Taliban but also from outside sources, such as al-Qaeda.

I believe that the training inside the wire, on which the government has enunciated although I know more details will come, in Kabul and in the military academy, will allow Afghan soldiers to continue on in defence of their country.

Some would argue that this is a continuation of the military mission, but clearly the focus of this mission will change. What we are expecting of our forces is going to change. We are not going to be out in the field in a support role. We are not going to be out in the field in any combat role. We are training and we are going to train individuals.

On my third trip to Afghanistan, we asked all key Afghan officials, the foreign minister, U.S. General McChrystal and others what their biggest need was. Clearly the biggest need, which we came back and enunciated, was for training, not just for the Afghan national army, but for the Afghan national police. We have now heard from the government that it believes, in concert with our allies, that training is a necessary component and that Canada can contribute in a very valuable and specific way to the training of the Afghan national army.

It is not only about training however. It is also about support for development, for more and more students to go to school. Six million young people have gone to school who did not go before. However, we cannot build schools and clinics unless there is security. We cannot have security unless we have forces that are trained in order to secure those towns, villages and cities.

Therefore, I believe we will play a role which will improve the quality of life for the average Afghan. It will allow young girls to go to school. A few years ago, when we had the opportunity to meet with President Karzai, he indicated that, for the first time in Afghan history, 600 doctors would graduate and 300 of them would women.

When we think of where Afghanistan was just over 10 years ago, young children, particularly girls, did not school and women did not go out of the house. They were confined. They could not get an education. Think of the development next year when the Dahla Dam is completed, which is one of the three signature projects in which Canada has been involved. It will not only provide clean running water but electricity, it will also help irrigate significant areas of southern Afghanistan for the growing of wheat in particular.

If we really want to change the lives of individuals, the only way we can do that is to provide the kind of skill sets that, in this case, Canada is good at. We have significant aid workers there and they have to be protected. Again, the training of the Afghan forces and providing those skill sets will assist in terms of the protection of aid workers, whether they are ours or someone else's.

Advancing security and the rule law is another area in which Canada has been involved. It is embedded in the ministry of justice. As a vice-chair of the Afghanistan special committee, I have been able to witness that. With some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we were able to see those kinds of changes.

The rule of law is absolutely important, as well as training people on human rights.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
NDP

Denise Savoie

New Democratic Party

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Denise Savoie)

I regret interrupting the hon. member. He can continue his comments when debate resumes after question period. We will now move to statements by members.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Business of Supply
Sub-subtopic:   Opposition Motion—Mission in Afghanistan
Permalink
CPC

Scott Armstrong

Conservative

Mr. Scott Armstrong (Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, CPC)

Madam Speaker, in 1932 and 1933, millions of Ukrainians died because of a politically instituted famine known as the Holodomor. The direct translation of Holodomor means death by starvation, a genocidal policy put in place by Joseph Stalin.

At the peak of the Holodomor, 25,000 Ukrainians were perishing from hunger each and every day. A full third of these were vulnerable and innocent children.

The suffering caused by the Holodomor is, without question, one of the worst peacetime tragedies the world has ever known. As this is National Holodomor Awareness Week, I implore all my fellow members to honour the victims of this genocide by learning more about the Holodomor so tragedies like this will never be permitted to be perpetrated on the innocent in this world again.

Topic:   Statements by Members
Subtopic:   National Holodomor Awareness Week
Permalink
LIB

Lise Zarac

Liberal

Mrs. Lise Zarac (LaSalle—Émard, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, last month, during a ceremony in celebration of LaSalle's volunteers, the Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle won the 2010 Moulin d'or award for organization of the year. This award, which is presented by members of the borough council, acknowledges the generosity and exceptional value of an organization's involvement in its community.

The Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle has worked with youth for many years to develop their self-esteem, leadership qualities and sense of belonging in the community. Through quality programming, these young people are given every opportunity to realize their full potential.

I am very proud to offer my heartfelt congratulations for this well deserved, impressive achievement to the Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle, its board of directors, its executive director, Mark Branch, and its incredible team.

On behalf of my colleagues, I wish them every success in the coming years.

Topic:   Statements by Members
Subtopic:   Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle
Permalink

November 25, 2010