OTTAWA – Mr Speaker, a month ago I stood in this house deeply concerned for the future of our country. Today I rise again, to speak on the government’s failure to address the priorities of our time.
Canada is a nation of peace. After two devastating world wars, we committed to concrete actions to achieve global peace and security. We were a founding member of the United Nations, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
When we signed the Washington Treaty that established NATO in 1949, we reaffirmed our faith in the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and our desire to live in peace with all peoples and all governments. Canada, and our NATO allies committed to safeguarding the freedom, common heritage and civilization of our peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. We committed to promoting stability and united our efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.
That was almost 70 years ago. Since then we have enjoyed a long period of peace.
But not all points in history are equal, Mr. Speaker, and once again we find ourselves at a tipping point. The world has dramatically changed in the last few years and we now find ourselves in a time of unprecedented global instability.
The world is the most unstable it has been, both from an economic and defence and security perspective, since the end of World War II.
We are seeing fundamental shifts in the global economy, while trade relationships, international agreements, and defence structures are under threat.
We are experiencing a substantive increase in threats from nation states, and also from non–state actors. These threats are not only through conventional military means such as occupying forces, or missiles, but are also materializing from asymmetric threats such as economic and cyber security destabilizing measures, and even more alarming from radicalized individuals in our own backyard.
This government is not prioritizing the commitments we made in 1949 in the Washington Treaty. This government is not ensuring the security of Canadians. Canada made a commitment to our allies and international partners to contribute to global security, but the Liberal government is failing Canadians and our allies. Our allies are questioning whether or not they can count on us, they are questioning our resolve.
Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words, and this government may say that they are committed to our national security, but where is the evidence?
In June 2017, our Minister of Foreign Affairs announced her Foreign Policy and Defence priorities. She said that “turning aside from our responsibilities is not an option. That Canada can and must step up to play an active role in the preservation and strengthening of the global order from which we have benefitted.”
It has been over a year since that statement, but this government has not delivered. Canada has not stepped up.
This government has failed to meet our NATO commitment by not defining a plan to spend 2% of our GDP on our military… And they have failed our military by leaving a third of the defence budget unspent, and they failed by purchasing used forty year old F-18s from Australia. Now they’re failing Canadians by allowing terrorists to escape justice.
Mr. Speaker, that is why this motion today is of critical importance.
Canada has 60 terrorists walking our streets, that we know of, and there are even more around the world. By not taking swift action to hold these terrorists accountable for their actions, Canada is not part of the solution, but instead is part of the problem.
Mr. Speaker, this government’s failure to bring terrorists to justice, has consequences.
It is possible that the Government, through social assistance, is paying these Canadian terrorists to sit at home, radicalize other people, and plan their next attack which could be right here at home. These terrorists are emboldened to continue to commit atrocious acts, knowing that the Canadian government won’t bring them to justice.
In addition to emboldening terrorists, there are consequences to our international relations.
The United States, our single greatest ally, has labelled Canada a national security threat and imposed punitive and costly tariffs on steel and aluminium. The US has claimed that we are enjoying a free ride in defence and has even gone as far as to infer that we and our other NATO allies might be “foes” rather than friends. And now, with the new NAFTA and Section 232 of American trade law, it is even easier for the United States to impose tariffs on Canada if they deem us a national security threat.
Two US senators have gone further to connect national security concerns with Five Eyes joint intelligence sharing and cooperation. Does that mean that if Canada does not improve its national security, the US might restrict intelligence it shares with Canada?
Mr. Speaker, if the US already labelled Canada a national security threat, and this Liberal government is allowing terrorists to roam free, then what arguments does this government have to say that Canada is NOT a security threat?
Failure to bring terrorists to justice puts Canadians in grave danger, undermines global security, compromises our relations internationally, and puts the world at risk.
We can no longer turn a blind eye or downplay the severity of this government’s inaction. These are terrorists and we have a responsibility to protect our citizens at home and to safeguard the freedom, common heritage, and civilization of our allies.
That is why we are calling on the government to immediately acknowledge the gravity of this issue. The government must commit to developing a plan to bring to justice anyone, including those who are in Canada, or have Canadian citizenship, and have fought as an ISIS terrorist or participated in any terrorist activity.
The plan should acknowledge the severity of the problem, outline action to support international laws, review and reinforce Canadian law, and demonstrate how we can use existing legal tools to bring terrorists to justice.
The plan should be substantive and include but not be limited to demonstrating how Canada will:
– support the laws of foreign countries and international law to ensure that individuals who commit terrorist attacks are brought to justice;
– provide support for the investigators and prosecutors of ISIS terrorists mandated through UN Security Council Resolution 2379 to support domestic efforts to hold ISIS accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide;
– identify reforms to Canadian law to ensure that the perpetrators of terrorist acts will be brought to justice, and identify reforms to the Canadian criminal justice system to ensure that courts have access to evidence gathered against suspected terrorists; and
– place conditions, such as peace bonds, on suspected terrorists.
Mr. Speaker, if there is no action to bring terrorists to justice, is Canada carrying its weight for national and global security? If terrorists escape justice and are free to commit future acts of terrorism, then the answer is clearly NO.
Canada’s national security is compromised. Canadians are at risk.
This government must act now to protect Canadians.
This government must act now to regain the confidence of our allies and prove that we are not a national security threat.
This government must prioritize and develop a plan to bring terrorists to justice.
The Liberals must not only support this motion, but follow through with concrete actions.
Our national security and the safety of Canadians is at stake.