Air combat mission against ISIS must remain on Cabinet table, Conservatives say
OTTAWA – The Liberal government should scrap its ill-advised promise to withdraw Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets from the international coalition’s fight against ISIS as cabinet considers its new plan for contributing to the mission, the Official Opposition said today. MPs James Bezan (Official Opposition Defence Critic) and Pierre Paul-Hus (Official Opposition Associate Defence Critic) repeated warnings that Canada’s influence with our allies will be diminished as a result of the Liberal approach.
Mr. Bezan highlighted comments of Retired Major-General David Fraser regarding the Liberal approach. Mr. Fraser said, “If we don't have our fighter jets, we are not going to have much of a voice. We won't get much recognition. Strategically, at the political level, we are going to lose here.”
“Of the six options reportedly put in front of Cabinet, not one included maintaining Canada’s role in the coalition’s airstrike campaign,” said Mr. Bezan. “We can of course support further humanitarian assistance and a larger training mission beyond the 69 members of the Special Operation Forces. But for the past year, Canadians have done this work at the very same time that we have carried out airstrikes to degrade ISIS capabilities in the region. The government has made no coherent case for why this shouldn’t continue.”
Mr. Paul-Hus echoed Mr. Fraser’s warning that engaging in training of Iraqi troops in Jordan would also risk alienating allies. Mr. Fraser said that while it would keep Canadian Forces further from the front lines, “…from an operational point of view the Iraqis and Kurds won't like that at all.”
“Canadian trainers can and should work with our allies closely on training that best serves Iraqi and Kurdish allies, not on what works best politically for the Liberal Party,” said Mr. Paul-Hus. “We have the capability to help where it’s needed most against a brutal enemy, and we should remain absolutely committed to doing so.”