2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 149, Issue 131

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
The Honourable Leo Housakos, Speaker pro tempore

Foreign Affairs

Syria—Extension of Combat Mission

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I have a question for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, may I please ask for clarification? Now that there is an extension of the mission to fight against ISIS, are we going to fight against ISIS for our security, for the security of the people in the region, or for both?


Hon. Claude Carignan (Leader of the Government): Senator, as the Prime Minister said, we cannot protect Canadians or our communities by simply ignoring this threat. We intend to continue to weaken and neutralize the Islamic State and provide humanitarian support and stability to the civilian populations in order to alleviate the suffering inflicted upon them. It is obviously in Canada’s national interest to take part in the global fight against jihadi terrorism.

As we have seen, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair are not taking this terrorist threat seriously. I think they are somewhat out of step with the international community.


Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. With the greatest of respect, I’m not speaking for those two people. Everybody takes the threat seriously, but there are different ways to deal with it.

Leader, you spoke about the terrible situation in the region. One of the things that we see nightly is the terrible suffering of the people in the region. What is Canada doing? What kind and how much help are we giving on a humanitarian basis?


Senator Carignan: Senator, as you know, the government is convinced that we must deal with this crisis. It is not a matter of choosing one solution or another. We support the military mission against the Islamic State as much as the humanitarian mission.

In Iraq, we have managed to feed nearly two million people. We have provided shelter and relief supplies to more than a million people. Half a million children have been able to continue learning thanks to us.

Canada is providing access to clean drinking water to 16 million people in Syria, food aid to over 4 million Syrians and emergency assistance to nearly 3 million refugees in neighbouring countries, such as Jordan.

As you know, in January 2014, Prime Minister Harper saw with his own eyes how much Canada’s humanitarian aid is helping the people who have been affected by this conflict when he visited a refugee camp.

We are therefore going to continue to work on both fronts, by extending the military mission and launching air strikes and by providing humanitarian aid.