COLD LAKE, Alta. – Six Canadian fighter jets left to join an international combat mission against Islamic State extremists in Iraq on Tuesday as the defence minister paid tribute to a soldier killed at home.
Rob Nicholson called the death of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., a “senseless act” that will only strengthen the military’s determination.
“As we deploy our CF-18s and Hercules aircraft, all Canadians should be proud of our men and women in uniform who are dedicated to providing safety and security whenever they are called upon,” Nicholson said after the jets deployed from the Cold Lake military base in northern Alberta.
“Our Canadian armed forces members represent the best of Canada, and to have one die in such a senseless act only strengthens our resolve.”
Police in Quebec say a car was driven deliberately into Vincent and a fellow soldier on Monday. The driver was shot and killed by police after a chase. The second soldier is expected to survive.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney has said the act is clearly linked to terrorist ideology.
The CF-18 Hornets that took off from Alberta are heading to Kuwait, which will serve as Canada’s base of operations in the combat mission.
About 600 personnel — along with the jets, two surveillance planes and an aerial tanker — are to be based in Kuwait.