Last weekend, MP Rachel Blaney represented Canada at the annual NATO parliamentary assembly.
“The 29 member countries of NATO sat together and focused on critical issues of common concern,” she said.
As a member of both the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association and the National Defence Committee, Blaney was asked to travel to Brussels for the meeting.
She said that much of the conversation revolved around peace and stepping up efforts to overcome extremism of every kind.
“Another thing that was really interesting was that we talked a lot about women in the military,” she said.
Encouraging women to participate more efficiently in the military is something we want to see in Canada, she said, in order to have a better representation of the population.
The assembly also discussed how they can work together to make sure infrastructure such as ships and planes is operable so that everyone can contribute efficiently.
Blaney said that Canada’s military was praised for the amount of time and dedication they spend doing training and being very prepared. She said that training is a priority for the member countries so they can handle issues as they arise and respond properly to different missions.
“I was very proud,” she said.
Coming up this week in parliament, the representatives will be debating Bill C-23.
The bill enacts an agreement made between Canada and the U.S.A in 2015 to provide for the pre-clearance in each country of travellers and goods bound for the other country.
There have been a lot of concerns about American customs agents obtaining more power on Canadian soil, Blaney said, including the ability to carry fire arms, perform strips searches and detain and interrogate travellers.
“While we are favourable to measures that will allow for speedy US border crossings we cannot allow this at the expense of human rights, the privacy rights of Canadians and Canadian sovereignty,” Blaney said. “I think Canadians really want that assurance from their government that they will not be subjected to discrimination or intimidation at our borders.”
Blaney added that she objects to the fact that minister Ralph Goodale did not raise the issue during his first visit with the Trump administration.
“The current government is going ahead with the agreement that was signed with the Obama administration as it if is business as usual but we know with this new administration that that is not the case,” she said.