TORONTO — Some key exchanges from the early part of Monday’s federal leaders’ debate on foreign policy issues in Toronto:
Harper on Canada’s role in dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis:
We’re giving a generous but responsible refugee policy. We’re bringing additional humanitarian aid to the region and we’re also obviously participating in the international military effort against ISIS. Why are we doing that? Not simply because ISIS threatens to slaughter literally hundreds of thousands, create millions of additional refugees, but this is an organization that wants to use parts of Syria and Iraq as an international base for terrorist operations not just in the region, but also against this country. That’s why we’re there with our allies and that’s why there’s broad international support for this intervention that is necessary not just for the region but to protect our own security interests.
Mulcair on Bill C-51:
Never forget that in Mr. Harper’s failed Bill C-51, which was backed by Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals, there was nothing on de-radicalization here at home.
The NDP has a clear plan to bring in 2,500 more police officers across the country.
We know that we have to work with faith groups of all descriptions but you know, Mr. Harper always has one group in mind and he tends to finger-point and objectify one particular group.
He doesn’t talk about houses of worship. He specifically refers to mosques and Muslims across Canada know how to interpret that for exactly what it is.
Harper vs. Trudeau on Bill C-24 and the power to revoke citizenship from dual citizens convicted of serious crimes:
Trudeau: You devalue the citizenship of every Canadian in this place and in this country when you break down and make it conditional for anybody … we have a rule of law in this country and you can’t take away citizenship because you don’t like what someone does.
Harper: The individual in question, Mr. Trudeau, is convicted of planning the most heinous …
Trudeau … And should be in jail.
Harper. A few blocks from here, (he) would have detonated bombs that would have been on a scale of 9-11. This country has every right to revoke the citizenship of an individual like that.“
Harper on the importance of considering security when accepting refugees:
I can certainly tell you from my visits to the refugee camps in Jordan and debriefings there we cannot pretend there are no security risks. It is important that we do screening. Those countries in the world that responded to these headlines _ as these others would have _ by just opening the doors and doing no checking have rapidly regretted that and are now trying to put in place the very kind of system that Canada has been pursuing all along. It’s a generous response, it’s a responsible response, it is not based on the headlines _ it is based on the right thing to do.
Trudeau on Trudeau:
Throughout this campaign, in direct references and indirect references, both of these gentlemen have at various points attacked my father. Let me say very clearly, I am incredibly proud to be Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s son. And I am incredibly lucky to have been raised with those values.
When we talk about the legacy that my father leaves behind, first and foremost is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has defined Canada as a country that stands up for individual rights, even against governments that want to take those away. Multiculturalism that has made Canada strong not in spite of its diversity, but because of its diversity – and bilingualism, which as my father understood, Mr. Mulcair, means saying the same thing in French as you say in English.
It’s quite emotional for me to be able to talk about him, because it was 15 years ago tonight that he passed away, on Sept. 28, 2000. And I know he wouldn’t want us to be fighting the battles of the past; he’d want us squarely focused on the future and how we’re going to respond to Canadians’ needs, and that’s what we’re doing tonight.
Mulcair on Canada’s mission in Iraq and Syria:
It is important to remember that this is not a NATO mission. This is not a United Nations mission.
When it was a question of going into Libya, under the United Nations duty to protect, the NDP voted for those airstrikes because it was a UN mission. When that started to morph into something completely different, we withdrew our support.
So, the answer to your question is we understand that there will be times when we have to, either under the NATO Charter or under our international obligations at the UN, to use force and we won’t shy away from that. But the real question here is that the only thing that we can do?
Trudeau on refugees and Canada’s reputation in the world:
Ireland Park was where, in 1847, 38,000 Irish men, women and children fleeing the famine arrived on the shores of Toronto. There were 20,000 citizens of Toronto at that time, and they accepted 38,000 refugees, who proceeded to build and contribute to this country, to this country, and to who we are today.
Canada has always done more. It’s not about politics; it’s about being the country that we have always been. And not only are you reneging on our duty as Canadians, not only are you failing us, the entire world is looking at Canada and saying what is going on. You used to be a country that welcomed human beings. That appreciated diversity, people in crisis, people in distress who want to build a better future and a brighter future for their children. Our country gave them this opportunity; that’s what we were as a nation. And yet now Mr. Harper talks about nothing but security and how we have to do the bare minimum.
Green party Leader Elizabeth May who was not invited to the debate, used social media to offer her thoughts. Here she is on ISIS.
If bombing ISIS locations in Syria and Iraq is not the solution, what would a solution look like? One thing the world could be doing is stopping the financing of ISIS. It’s selling black market oil across the Syrian-Turkish border. It is making a fortune out of selling, and this is truly vile, the antiquities from the temples it is trashing and the archeological sites of huge global significance. Stopping the flow of money to ISIS is something we can be doing in conjunction with allies like Jordan and Turkey and Lebanon.
May on the Canada-U.S. relationship
Under Stephen Harper, we have the worst relationship with the United States in a generation. It hasn’t been this hostile since Richard Nixon was dealing with Pierre Trudeau. Now there shoe’s on the other foot and the more progressive U.S. president has had it with Canadian policy, whether climate change or Iraq or the Middle East. Canada has been tone deaf to relationship issues with the United States, We need to fix this.