Earlier this week, the Liberal government ended the combat mission of Canada’s CF-18 fighter aircraft in Iraq and Syria and are redefining the nature of the engagement.
Over the past year, air strikes from coalition forces, including Canada, have limited ISIS to 25% of the territory it once held.
Lester Pearson once said that whether Canadians fire a rifle in Korea or in Europe, they are protecting people at home themselves. These ISIS terrorists are not mere thugs. They are a death cult that has declared war on the civilized world, including Canada.
Their soldiers have reportedly turned chemical weapons on civilians.
They have slaughtered and dispossessed many thousands of innocents for the crime of belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, whether it is Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shia, Shabak, the list of their victims go on and on.
In light of the success air strikes have had over the past year, I am forced to ask why we have fighter aircraft at all, if not for the purpose of protecting innocent civilians from clear and present danger. If our fighter aircraft aren’t used for this type of mission, then which mission would they be?
Canada’s CF-18s destroyed over 300 military targets and the threat imposed by their presence have undeniably held back further advances by ISIS. All parties acknowledge the positive impact our pilots and aircraft have had over the past year, yet Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberals are ending this bombing campaign while other nations are stepping theirs up.
The redefined Iraq and Syria mission will encompass the following:
- Increase Canada’s complement of military personnel to approximately 830, up from approximately 650;
- Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel will be deployed at variousGlobal Coalition headquarters to further support Coalition members and Iraqi security forces in the planning and execution of military operations. More specifically they will provide high-demand expertise in the areas of operational planning, targeting and intelligence;
- Maintain the current air contribution of one CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft, along with associated aircrew and support personnel. These aircraft will continue to conduct operations throughout the Coalition theatre;
- Triple the size of its train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL. As part of this mission the government will also;
- Deploy CAF medical personnel to provide training to Iraqi security forces in the conduct of casualty management in a battlefield context as well as to provide medical support to CAF personnel and our partners;
- Provide equipment such as small arms, ammunition and optics to assist in the training of Iraqi security forces. The provision of such equipment will be carried out in accordance with Canadian and international law, including the Law of Armed Conflict; and;
- Examine ways to enhance in-theatre tactical transport.
I believe that withdrawing our CF-18 aircraft is ideologically inconsistent because on one hand, this government is withdrawing our CF-18 aircraft, yet is leaving refueling and reconnaissance aircraft to directly assist the combat fighters of other nations.
There is no reason why Canada cannot increase our ongoing and long-running humanitarian and diplomatic efforts in the region and our training of local troops on the ground, as the government says it will do, while continuing to bomb the enemy and halt their progress.
These are not contradictory measures but complementary measures.
Whenever the free nations of the world have confronted tyranny and oppression, Canada has been at the fore. From Vimy Ridge to the beaches of Normandy, from Kapyong to the Medak Pocket, from the Persian Gulf to the Panjwai district, when the cause is just, Canadians have never turned away.
Therefore, our Conservative opposition will continue to ask the tough questions about the government’s plan on behalf of Canadians. That is why we will continue to ask, again and again, is this not a fight worth fighting for?
I hope this update has been informative for you and I will always keep your comments in mind as this matter is debated in the House of Commons.
Have a great weekend.
Events and Activities
Monday, February 15: Family Day
Tuesday, February 16: Worked in my Ottawa office, did House Duty, attended Question Period and attended a reception with my Conservative colleagues at Stornoway (the official residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition)
Wednesday, February 17: Attended National Caucus, attended a meeting on tourism, attended Question Period, attended a sub-committee meeting and attended a reception hosted by Forum for Young Canadians
Thursday, February 18: Worked in my Ottawa office, met with a representative from the Hope Air and met with representatives from CN Rail