POLITICS

Ex-General Rick Hillier Angry At MP No-Shows For ISIS Vote

03/31/2015 02:28 EDT | Updated 05/31/2015 05:59 EDT
Former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier took to Facebook Tuesday to blast MPs who were not present at Monday evening's vote to extend Canada's military mission against ISIS in northern Iraq and now Syria.

In a posting on the social media site, the now-retired general, who still commands a large following of respect in civilian life as an author, speaker and consultant, accused the MPs who did not turn out for the roll call of having misguided priorities.

"Some of those who are elected to political office, in our Parliament, as our leaders should be ashamed today. Thirty-seven of them could not find it a high enough priority to be in the House of Commons when Parliament voted to extend and expand our mission against ISIL," he wrote.

​"They could not prioritize their lives and schedules to be there when that most sacred trust — sending Canada's sons and daughters in harm's way — was decided. Shame on you," he continued.

(In fact, three seats in the Commons are currently vacant, and Speaker Andrew Scheer does not vote, so the actual number of absences and abstentions on the vote was 33.)

"I'd like to hear each of them explain their priorities and why they could not be in the House to each of the moms and dads, husbands and wives and children of those we are sending and those who are there now.

"It pisses me off!" he concludes.

The outspoken and high-profile ex-general has a reputation for speaking his mind, including speaking truth to power.

The motion to extend Canada's mission passed by a vote of 142-129, with Conservatives in favour and the opposition parties against.

Three members of Stephen Harper's cabinet — Maxime Bernier, Greg Rickford and Gerry Ritz — did not vote.

The official record of the vote does not show any "paired" MPs for Monday's mission extension vote, when sanctioned absences are co-ordinated between parties. However, the official record in Hansard does not record which MPs present opted to abstain on a vote.

On this vote, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler indicated in advance he'd abstain on principle. It's unclear whether any other MPs who did not vote were abstaining, or just absent.

The reasons for the absences of MPs are not recorded, CBC News has compiled this list of those not recorded as either voting yea or nay:

Conservatives absent (19):

- Keith Ashfield.

- Leon Benoit.

- Maxime Bernier.

- Garry Breitkreuz.

- Blaine Calkins.

- Bob Dechert.

- Nina Grewal.

- Richard Harris.

- Jim Hillyer.

- Ryan Leef.

- Larry Miller.

- Gordon O'Connor.

- Blake Richards.

- Greg Rickford.

- Gerry Ritz.

- Kyle Seeback.

- Mark Strahl.

- Dave Van Kesteren.

- John Weston.

New Democrats absent (5):

- Dennis Bevington.

- Libby Davies.

- Carol Hughes.

- Pierre Jacob.

- Mike Sullivan.

Liberals absent (4) or abstaining (1):

- Arnold Chan.

- Irwin Cotler. *abstained

- Kirsty Duncan.

- Yvonne Jones.

- David McGuinty.

Independent MPs absent (4):

- Sana Hassainia

- Jean-Francois Larose.

- Massimo Pacetti.

- Manon Perreault.