POLITICS

'We're Not Gonads': Iraq Debate Sparked Odd Exchanges In House

10/08/2014 04:49 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - The 13 hours of debate on Canada's mission in Iraq mostly centred around one central question: is bombing militants in Iraq the right way to deal with the escalating situation in the region?

The answers and arguments were sometimes creative. A look at some of the more interesting quotes:

Male private parts: "Canada, we're not gonads. We won't take terrorism lying down," Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney declared in French, using a slang word for testicles (couillons) that roughly translates into "idiots."

More male private parts: "I know the leader of the Liberal opposition has an obsession with phallic symbols," said Conservative Minister of State Gary Goodyear. (Last week, Justin Trudeau said that debate shouldn't be about "trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are.")

Possibly insulting generalizations about the Middle East: "The major problem with the Islamic State is not its barbarism, which has existed for a very long time in that part of the world," declared NDP MP Alain Giguere.

References to the cradle of civilization: "The Chaldean [Christian] community speaks Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ, which has been spoken in that region for over 20 centuries," Employment Minister Jason Kenney said of a minority under ISIL attack.

Campfire songs: "Will any mistakes made, no matter how small, bring out the Polyannas who liked to sit around the campfire singing 'Kumbaya' and let someone else do the hard work? Yes, I am afraid that will happen," said Conservative MP Laurie Hawn.

Comparing ISIL with the Nazis and/or the Second World War: "This is the Islamic State version of the Final Solution," said MP Laurie Hawn.

"I look back at history and if the attitude I hear today had been in the Canadian Parliament at the time, I shiver to think of what would have occurred to my parents and their families," said Conservative Lawrence Toet, whose parents were born in the Netherlands.

Objecting to that comparison: "If ISIS represents a clear and present danger to our country on the order that was represented by the Nazis in the Second World War ... one logically would conclude that Canada's response would be more than six fighter jets over six months," said NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen.

Sociology, bad: "We must remind ourselves that the root cause of terrorism is the terrorist himself. He, and he alone, has chosen his path," said Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre.

Sociology, good: "I am saying to the prime minister that it is time for him to consider sociology, social sciences and political sciences, indeed all our world knowledge, both in Canada and elsewhere in the West, and think about effective ways of intervening so that we never have to go through this experience again...," said NDP MP Denis Blanchette.

Canine analogies: "The question then becomes why should Canada be lining itself up to be the dog that is being wagged by the tail of another dog?" said NDP MP Craig Scott of the American request for Canada to lend military assistance.

The Liberal leader's economic status: "Someone at home asked me what a middle-aged person who has lived off a trust fund has to say," said Conservative MP David Anderson, speaking about Trudeau's position on abortion within the debate on ISIL.

An expansive view on the purpose of the mission: "Simply put, it is to help defend this young boy's future in Canada; to help preserve his right to get an education in St. John's; to expect his younger sister, if he has one, to be treated equally in Canada; to defend his very way of life...," said Justice Minister Peter MacKay in response to a teen who asked NDP MP Ryan Cleary why Canada was going to Iraq.

And ... fiddling: Debate on a Senate bill to declare the third Saturday in May "National Fiddling Day" interrupted debate on the Iraq mission for an hour, and featured nine speakers.

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