Must-see QP: Mulcair leads on #MMIW

Your daily dose of political theatre

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.

The must-see moment

With the House mostly fixated on Canada’s expanded military effort in Iraq, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair might have been expected to lead question period with any number of questions about the deployment he’s repeatedly said the government won’t answer. Instead, Mulcair returned to a sombre file on which myriad New Democrats—and some Liberals, to their credit—have dogged the government: the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women. Mulcair used a spate of weekend vigils across Canada as a backdrop to repeat his party’s calls for a public inquiry into the slow-motion disaster. Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch responded with her usual response: The government is spending money to reduce violence against aboriginal women, the opposition always opposes the spending, and the opposition should support the spending. The minister’s logic is problematic.

The recap

The context

We were watching the House debate the government’s intention to send up to six CF-18 fighter jets, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes, one CC-150 Polaris refuelling plane to fight Islamic State in the Middle East. That means about a deployment of 600 air crew and personnel who will initially focus their efforts on Iraq. Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t ruled out air strikes in Syria, an expansion that likely requires the consent of Bashar al-Assad’s government. The lengthy motion also rules out ground combat and emphasizes the importance of humanitarian assistance.

New Democrats and Liberals might support many of the government’s wishes, but will vote against the motion’s desire for a combat mission. No one will be surprised to learn that some Liberals, none of whom currently hold seats in Parliament, apparently disagree with Justin Trudeau’s opposition to what could be, for now, a popular war. The full text of what the Tory-controlled House will eventually approve is lengthy.

The full text of the Iraq motion

That this House (i) recognise that the leadership of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has called on its members to target Canada and Canadians at home and abroad, (ii) further recognise the clear and direct threat that ISIL poses to the people of the region, including members of vulnerable religious and ethnic minority groups who have been subjected to a sustained campaign of brutal sexual violence, murder, and barbaric intimidation by ISIL, (iii) accept that, unless confronted with strong and direct force, the threat ISIL poses to international peace and security, including to Canadian communities, will continue to grow, (iv) affirm Canada’s desire, consistent with Canadian values and interests, to protect the vulnerable and innocent civilians of the region, including through urgent humanitarian assistance, (v) acknowledge the request from the Government of Iraq for military support against ISIL from members of the international community, including from the Government of Canada, (vi) further acknowledge the participation of Canada’s friends and allies, including numerous countries of the Middle East, in the broad international coalition committed to the fight against ISIL, (vii) note that the United Nations Security Council has become seized of the threat posed by international terrorism with the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2178, and, accordingly: (a) support the Government’s decision to contribute Canadian military assets to the fight against ISIL, and terrorists allied with ISIL, including air strike capability for a period of up to six months; (b) note that the Government of Canada will not deploy troops in ground combat operations; and (c) continue to offer its resolute and wholehearted support to the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces who stand on guard for all of us.