The Hon. Ed Fast, Member of Parliament (Abbotsford). Last month, we celebrated Thanksgiving, and the many things we are thankful for in Canada: the natural beauty of this country; our peace and security; and the prosperity that most of us have experienced. We also enjoy unparalleled freedom: freedom to choose where we live; freedom to speak, meet and worship as we wish; freedom to choose our government; and freedom to just be ourselves.

This month, Remembrance Day sombrely reminds us of the tremendous human price that has been and continues to be paid to achieve and preserve those freedoms. We remember the courage and sacrifice of the many brave Canadian men and women who came before us…those who stood up against the enemies of freedom and the forces of tyranny and oppression.

There was no glory in the trenches of the First World War or on the beaches of the Second World War; no glory on the frozen mountainsides of Korea or in the arid expanse of Afghanistan. But the men and women who served our country, who died for our country, and who serve today, exemplify the highest ideals of duty, courage and loyalty.

Last month, I made one of the toughest decisions I have faced as your Member of Parliament. I supported our government’s decision to send the Royal Canadian Air Force and support personnel to the Middle East to join our many allies in confronting Islamic State (ISIL) terrorists, the most barbaric and extreme threat to global peace and security in my generation. These jihadists behead innocent people, including children, summarily execute their prisoners, rape young girls and women and sell them into slavery, and systematically wipe out all ethnic and religious minorities that don’t share their extreme Islamist views. They hate our way of life, the freedoms that we celebrate, and the hard-won peace and prosperity that is ours.

And this threat is not simply a conflict taking place in a foreign land. ISIL has directed its fighters to attack innocent Canadians wherever and whenever they have an opportunity to do so. Of equal concern is that, within Canada, an increasing number of individuals have become radicalized by this extreme ideology. Last month’s cold-blooded attacks and murders of Canadians right here at home, including on Parliament Hill, are a wake-up call to all of us. The more that ISIL expands and experiences success in the Middle East, the more likely it is that others will become inspired and radicalized by this horrifically violent ideology.

I have come to the conclusion that we must vigorously respond to this threat. It is not enough to acknowledge the evil in our presence, and then let others do the heavy lifting. It is also not an answer to suggest that humanitarian aid is the only thing Canada can or should do to confront this threat to our safety and security. Canada has always done its part on the international stage to join like-minded allies to confront evil and protect the defenceless. And so it is with the mission we have sent our Royal Canadian Air Force on.

The events of the past months have highlighted how fragile our peace and security really are. On November 11, as we again reflect upon those Canadians who sacrificed and gave their lives in the cause of freedom, please also remember those who continue to mourn the victims of terrorism within our own country, and those who continue to risk their lives on the front lines to protect us.

Lest we forget.

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