March 21, 2017

CPC

Kerry Diotte

Conservative

Mr. Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach, CPC)

Mr. Chair, we have heard a lot of praise for all that Canada has done for Ukraine, from all sides of the House, but I am troubled by the fact that sometimes it is a little empty. I wonder, and I would love to find out from my colleague across the way, why the majority of Liberals failed to support my bill, Bill C-306, that condemned the deportation of the Crimean Tatars as genocide. I have yet to hear a good explanation for that. I would love to hear it.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

James Maloney

Liberal

Mr. James Maloney

Mr. Chair, one of the many things I have learned since I have come to this House is that we stand here often being criticized for doing things that the people who are criticizing us did before. They are criticizing us for not doing things that they did not do.

We should be standing united in this mission. With the extension of Operation Unifier, we are doing exactly what the previous government did before us. They should be applauding this step, not taking the opportunity to be critical of our actions.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

Jean Rioux

Liberal

Mr. Jean Rioux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, Canada has always considered Ukraine to be a friend and our trust in and support for that country are unwavering.

I would like to know why the hon. member speaks with such enthusiasm and passion about Ukraine reaching its full potential.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

James Maloney

Liberal

Mr. James Maloney

Mr. Chair, I thank the member for Saint-Jean for such an important question.

For me, this is about who we are. I was born in Thunder Bay. I am sitting beside the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River. I later moved to Etobicoke—Lakeshore. Ukrainian Canadians have been my friends, my neighbours, my schoolmates. They are fellow Canadians. It is part of who we are.

Canada has always been very proud of the way that it supports our fellow Canadians, but we have always stood very proud in how we support other countries. It is for this reason that I am very proud we are taking these steps with Operation Unifier and that we are standing shoulder to shoulder, not only with Ukraine, but with Ukrainian Canadians.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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CPC

Peter Kent

Conservative

Hon. Peter Kent (Thornhill, CPC)

Mr. Chair, my hon. colleague is clear that members on both sides of this House are very passionate in their statements in support for Ukraine. We in the official opposition are relieved that the government finally, after waiting for almost a year to respond to the questions and appeals from the Government of Ukraine, has seen an extension of Operation Unifier, which, as my colleague said, is what our Conservative government initiated.

Our disappointment springs from the fact that it is only what our government initiated under a very different time, when we thought we had not one, but two agreements, the Minsk agreements, to create a ceasefire, to create a negotiated settlement, and ultimately a withdrawal of the Russian forces that are directing the so-called insurgency.

I would ask my colleague how he can justify, given the new deadly realities of the Russian surge in the last couple of months in eastern Ukraine, the resupply of armaments, weapons, materiel, and direction in not meeting the request from the Government of Ukraine for not only an extension of Operation Unifier, but an expansion for the provisions, the supply of defensive armaments—

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Chair

We will have to end it there. We are out of time, and I want to give the hon. member a little bit of time to respond.

The hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

James Maloney

Liberal

Mr. James Maloney

Mr. Chair, this is an example of what I was alluding to a few moments ago. The opposition stands in this House and criticizes us time and time again for failing to take steps with respect to lethal weapons. The now leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in the province of Alberta failed to do that himself, because he said that the equipment was not available. We subsequently learned that the equipment was available and that it was being disposed of by the government at the time.

Circumstances change, and we are adapting to those circumstances. I am very proud of the steps our government has taken to consult with the Government of Ukraine, with Ukrainian Canadians, and with organizations within Canada that represent that community in order to do what is needed in the current environment.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

Jean Rioux

Liberal

Mr. Jean Rioux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore for sharing his time with me.

Almost exactly two years ago, we stood in this House to debate Canada’s support to Ukraine following Russia's attempt to redraw Europe's borders. We spoke of the importance of NATO solidarity in the face of this aggression and Canada's military contributions to the collective defence of eastern Europe. A lot has happened since then, but our support of Ukraine remains steadfast.

As the ministers of National Defence and Foreign Affairs made clear earlier this month, we will continue to advance democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Ukraine. We will continue to provide critical military assistance in Ukraine through the end of March 2019. We will continue to promote economic stability and growth in Ukraine.

Through Operation Uunifier, Canada has already trained more than 3,200 Ukrainian soldiers. More specifically, we have taught Ukrainian personnel how to use weapons and hit targets with greater accuracy and consistency. We have taught them how to communicate effectively on the battlefield, how to survive in combat, and how to make ethically sound decisions in conflict situations.

In addition to providing tactical soldier training, we have helped the Ukrainian Armed Forces develop highly specialized skills. We did this through several training programs, four of which are worthy of mention.

First, in 2016, we trained more than 140 Ukrainian combat-support specialists in modern logistics, in other words, we taught them how to ensure people, equipment, and supplies get where they are needed when they are needed.

Imagine trying to coordinate the movement of hundreds, even thousands of people in a conflict zone while ensuring that enough fuel is available for the equipment, that everyone has food, and that anything needed should they have to fight, is available. It is a tremendous undertaking and Canadian Armed Forces members are among the best at it.

In Ukraine, logistics specialists learned everything from convoy operations to vehicle-recovery procedures from Canadian experts who have first-hand experience in supporting military operations.

Second, we trained more than 120 military members on how to safely dispose of explosives and improvised explosive devices. These NATO standard procedures were taught through a series of increasingly complex scenarios.

Third, we trained and mentored nearly 800 Ukrainian soldiers in combat first aid, which can dramatically reduce the number of battlefield-related deaths.

Fourth, our military police trained more than 240 of their Ukrainian counterparts in basic investigative techniques and the use of force.

Using both classroom theory and practical exercises, participants covered all the duties and responsibilities typically assigned to a field military police platoon, from controlling traffic and handling detainees, to policing in failed and failing states.

Our women and men in uniform are helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces better defend their borders. I am proud the government has ensured that Canada will continue this critical work. As part of our whole-of-government support to our trainers and the people of Ukraine, Canada will provide up to $7.25 million in non-lethal equipment assistance, as well.

Since the crisis began, Canada has unequivocally condemned the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We have been clear, principled, and resolute in our response. And we will continue on that path. We will continue to stand by our Ukrainian allies as they work toward their goal of interoperability with NATO by 2020.

As we have heard tonight, the ongoing unrest in Ukraine has created instability in the region. It has raised concerns from many of our European allies. That is why, in the spirit of collective defence, we have taken measured and concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to the defence of our allies.

Operation Unifier is just part of what we have done, and what we are doing, to support our allies and partners in eastern Europe. Over and above our activities in Ukraine, we are also having a direct impact in central and eastern Europe in support of our NATO allies.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
CPC

Pierre Paul-Hus

Conservative

Mr. Pierre Paul-Hus (Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, CPC)

Mr. Chair, I am so glad to have the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence here with me, as he will surely be able to answer my question.

First, I would like to thank him for his update on Operation Unifier, which was set up by our government back in the day. I would like to thank our military for completing its mission to date.

I now have a question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. I am sure he will have an answer for me. How is RADARSAT-2 technology ineffective? Let us be clear: a quick Internet search tells us the satellite has a hard time distinguishing between a field of corn and a field of oats, which is understandable.

That said, it is able to detect military trains and convoys. I was wondering whether, somewhere in his briefing notes, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence might have a report for us confirming the government's claim that RADARSAT-2 is ineffective in the context of military operations.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

Jean Rioux

Liberal

Mr. Jean Rioux

Mr. Chair, I am surprised by the question because until now, when we talked about RADARSAT-2 people wanted to know why it is no longer being used.

I do not think it is an issue of capacity. It has more to do with need. First, the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada, is engaged in ongoing secure discussions with the Government of Ukraine regarding Ukraine's security and defence needs. For a one year period ending in May 2016 and as a result of a request from the Ukrainian President, Canada shared satellite imagery products with Ukrainian authorities.

Before doing so, Canada and Ukraine agreed on how the imagery would be used, namely to strengthen Ukraine’s awareness of threats to its sovereignty, stability and territorial integrity. After consideration on how best to address Ukraine’s evolving security assistance needs, and this is the answer to the question, it was decided that resources could be re-directed to other areas and the supply of satellite imagery ended.

Military assistance is one component of Canada’s support to Ukraine across development, security, democracy, and humanitarian aid.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
CPC

Cheryl Gallant

Conservative

Mrs. Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, CPC)

Mr. Chair, never let it be said that the Liberals did not do the least they could do. They wait until the eleventh hour to sign the continuation of this mission. They are denying the RADARSAT imagery. Times have changed and now it is imperative that lethal weapons be provided.

However, I thought I heard the member opposite say that Ukraine would be fully NATO interoperable by 2020. Does that mean Ukraine will be granted accession to NATO in 2020?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
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LIB

Jean Rioux

Liberal

Mr. Jean Rioux

Mr. Chair, that is an excellent question.

Indeed, what we are talking about is the fact that they are partners. We are training them at this time. We are providing training in many areas to ensure that they can have a stable, secure, and sovereign country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
LIB

Matt DeCourcey

Liberal

Mr. Matt DeCourcey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, I appreciated my colleague's speech, which will close this debate.

His excellent speech addressed our intervention in the region, how we are supporting Ukraine's military through Operation Unifier, which is part of a whole-of-government approach in that country. Canada is involved in a broader intervention in the eastern European region, including Operation Reassurance.

Could the parliamentary secretary perhaps talk a little more about what Canada plans to do in the central and eastern European regions?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
LIB

Jean Rioux

Liberal

Mr. Jean Rioux

Mr. Chair, that is another very good question.

Our aim in the region is to disincentivize Russia and President Putin. Obviously, we have Operation Unifier, but we also have Operation Reassurance. Last summer, we announced an important operation in Latvia. Four hundred and fifty-five soldiers will be deployed to the region. We will be one of the framework nations that makes decisions. We also know that we have a frigate in the region that has joined the maritime forces, as well as ad hoc monitoring through our F-18s. We are doing a number of things.

We are here to support the region and Canada's mission has intensified in that region. Let us not forget that we supported Ukraine last July by signing the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement. Our aim is to strengthen that country. We provided Ukraine with military training, but we are also there on an economic level, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance and support their democratic institutions.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Chair

It being 12:22 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, the committee will rise and I will leave the chair.

(Government Business No. 12 reported)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
CPC

Bruce Stanton

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker

Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until later this day at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 12:22 a.m.)

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Operation UNIFIER
Permalink
LIB

Kevin Lamoureux

Liberal

Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to five petitions.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Government Response to Petitions
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LIB

Hedy Fry

Liberal

Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to Bill C-311, An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Canadian Heritage
Permalink
LIB

Larry Bagnell

Liberal

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 28th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

The committee advises that, pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business met to consider the order for the second reading of a private member’s bill originating in the Senate, and recommends that the item listed herein, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House.

Also, the committee advises that, pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business met to consider the item added to the Order of Precedence on Friday, February 24, 2017, and recommended that the item listed herein, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Committees of the House
Sub-subtopic:   Procedure and House Affairs
Permalink
GP

Elizabeth May

Green Party

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP)

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present three petitions. The first two are from outside my riding. Petitioners from Calgary are urging the government to change the treatment of animals under the Criminal Code and to remove animal cruelty crimes from the property section to strengthen language around federal provisions of the Criminal Code relating to cruelty to animals.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
Sub-subtopic:   Animal Welfare
Permalink

March 21, 2017