Canada and Global Security
Friday was a very important day in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister stood in the House and outlined the rationale for the government’s decision to deploy the Royal Canadian Air Force to assist the United States and the coalition of nation’s conducting air strikes against the terror group known as the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL).
Most Canadians are likely quite familiar with the barbarity of the ISIL terror group from media reports in recent months. Religious minority groups are being displaced by the hundreds of thousands or killed in acts of genocide. Women and children are being sold into slavery. Journalists and aid workers have been beheaded in gruesome online spectacles. ISIL seeks to conquer vast portions of Iraq and Syria and has pledged to carry out terror strikes against the western world, including Canada. Most troubling is the fact that a small group of Canadians have been radicalized and recruited into ISIL and have taken part in these murderous acts.
A little over a month ago, the United States began to assemble an international coalition to combat ISIL. Air strikes are being conducted and assistance is being given to the Kurdish and Iraqi populations on the ground. The intention of the international coalition is to cut off the supply and financing of ISIL and protect the vulnerable population in its path. It is important that there are several states with Muslim populations taking an active role in this coalition as ISIL is not only a threat to global security, but the group perverts the Muslim faith in the most odious of ways.
Canada has been playing an advisory role in the fight against ISIL over the last month after President Obama asked for Canadian support and assistance. We sent several dozen special forces troops to the region to advise local forces on counter-terrorism operations. On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that Canada would expand our participation to also include air strikes against ISIL in concert with our allies.
Despite the claims being made by the Liberals and NDP, our government has not rushed into this combat deployment. The Prime Minister takes the deployment of our men and women very seriously, as do I. Our first response to the international effort was the advisory role to assist and to closely monitor the impact of the first month of targeted air strikes by the US and other nations. We are now moving to a combat role through limited air strikes and through logistical and surveillance support because this additional support is needed.
One thing that I have never questioned is the fact that Canada would play a role. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world and while distance from conflict has sheltered Canada from war and violence throughout our history we have always been willing to play a role in the defence of our values and in the protection of others. In the wake of the thousands killed on 9-11, we also learned that international terror threats that seem far away can strike our citizens at home if the international community is not willing to confront these threats. Like in the past, Canada should play a role that is commensurate with our size and abilities as a nation and that is exactly what the Prime Minister proposed on Friday.
The reaction of the NDP and Liberals has been troubling. The NDP proposes only a humanitarian aid role for Canada, but sadly the very day the NDP suggested this sole course of action an ISIL video showing the savage beheading of a British aid worker was released. You cannot protect and aid the vulnerable in the absence of security.
The Liberal position is more troubling as it is a radical departure from their history and appears premised on politics and not Canada’s national interest. After making crude jokes about deploying F-18s, [read National Post’s article: Trudeau accuses Harper government of..] Justin Trudeau rejected Canadian participation in the international military response to ISIL. From Mackenzie King in World War II to Jean Chretien in the aftermath of 9-11, previous Liberal leaders acknowledged that Canada has a role to play in the world and that it is related to the security of Canadians. Justin Trudeau is taking the Liberal Party is a radically different direction and this speaks volumes on the question on whether he is ready for leadership of our country.
To read the actual transcript from the House of Commons Debates on Friday, October 3, 2014, you can read it here.
For more discussion on this important issue, you can watch me speak on the CPAC Panel here.
You can also listen to my interview on CBC Radio’s The Current from Friday, October 3rd 2014 here.