The situation in Iraq continues to grow more and more tragic by the day. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continue their campaign of unspeakable atrocities — beheadings, rape, slavery — on the most innocent of people, all because the victims think differently from ISIL.
Recently, brutal attacks related to extremism have been inflicted on Canada. First it was in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., where two members of our Canadian Armed Forces were senselessly run down by a man who, according to Canadian national security services, had become radicalized. Our Conservative government continues to offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the members involved.
Two days later, we faced another attack on home soil in the national capital — a fatal shooting at the National War Memorial, and then shots were fired in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “Let there be no misunderstanding. We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.” Indeed, we will remain vigilant against those at home or abroad who wish to harm us.
These acts of terrorism will only strengthen our resolve as Canadians. The outpouring of support as the nation grieved for the loss of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo brought our country together, unified, strong, compassionate, yet defiant.
Meanwhile, our Conservative government remains resolute in our condemnation of the actions of ISIL.
We have joined our allies — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and others — in launching air strikes against ISIL.
We are also contributing one air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two Aurora surveillance aircraft, and the necessary air crews and support personnel. In addition, we are extending the deployment announced in September of the Canadian Armed Forces, in a non-combat role, to continue to advise and assist security forces in Iraq.
This builds on the previous action our government has taken to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq. We dispatched relief supplies for refugees including tents, blankets, and kitchen and hygiene kits with the help of the Red Cross. We also continue to work with organizations such as Save the Children Canada and Mercy Corps. In addition to providing supplies to those displaced by the violence, we are sending medical supplies to health facilities, and helping with emergency repairs to water and sanitation facilities.
If left unchecked, this terrorist threat will only grow its territory and its capacity to do harm. Canada has never shirked its responsibility when the cause is justified. I’m very proud of the men and women of the Canadian Forces who are now deployed there, along with our allies, to stop the advance of this international threat. Please join me in wishing them success in their mission, and a safe return home as soon as possible.