Then and now: Trudeau on fighting ISIS

When Canadian soldiers exchanged fire with ISIS in 2014, Trudeau demanded answers. So how about now?

U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Perry Aston/CP

U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Perry Aston/CP

Yesterday’s battle in Iraq involving Canadian special operations soldiers and CF-18 warplanes was reportedly the largest combat engagement in which Canadians have been involved since their mission against the so-called Islamic State began more than a year ago.

It was not, however, the first. That Canadian soldiers have been exchanging fire with Islamic State fighters first emerged in January. The Liberals, then in opposition, criticized the governing Conservatives for what the Liberals described as deception.

In September 2014, then-prime minister Stephen Harper had characterized the mission of Canadian soldiers on the ground in Iraq as “advise and assist.” When news of the firefights broke this January, Justin Trudeau pounced.

“The prime minister made assurances to Canadians and to the House that, as we found out yesterday, were not exactly the truth,” Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told reporters at the time. “The prime minister needs to come clean with Canadians on what’s going on and why he was lacking in forthrightness with Canadians.”

Trudeau kept up his attack later in the House: “The government said our ground forces would advise and assist, but not accompany Iraqi troops,” he said. “Now we find out they’re routinely on the front lines. Why did the government mislead Canadians?”

Other leading Liberals were equally critical at the time. “The government is going to argue obviously that this is not a combat mission in the sense of Canadian soldiers going on the offensive,” said Marc Garneau, then Liberal foreign affairs critic and now transport minister. “They are clearly on the lines, in some cases directing airstrikes, and this is something I think many Canadians did not realize. I think for some people yesterday that was a surprise.”

According to then-Liberal defence critic Joyce Murray: “It has the appearance of mission creep. There appears to be a change.”

Now, of course, the Liberals are in government. Anyone want to guess how Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan described the Canadian soldiers’ involvement in the multi-hour ground battle with Islamic State?

“[O]ur forces played a role in advising and assisting …” he said in a statement.



Then and now: Trudeau on fighting ISIS

  1. “It has the appearance of mission creep. There appears to be a change.”
    “The prime minister needs to come clean with Canadians on what’s going on and why he was lacking in forthrightness with Canadians.”

    I could do more cut and paste here. But then it would like, I am replacing Michael Petrou in the news reporting!

  2. So Trudeau’s policy of withdrawing the CF-18’s are going to leave on those Canadian troops training Iraqi Kurds on the ground without air support in case of a surprise attack by ISIS.

    Smart policy, Justin!

    Send troops, but don’t have the means to protect them.

    • Do you really think Canadian planes would be the only ones sent to help Canadians in “case of a surprise attack by ISIS”??

      You really think jets would be assigned based on their nationality??

      Do you always just make up things in order to cover your compulsion to criticize “Justin”?

      • American bombers couldn’t tell the difference between a hospital which stood out like a sore thumb and the enemy in Afghanistan recently.

        Would you prefer a Canadian having your back or an American?

        It is also a matter of time, communication, and rules of engagement. Much shorter chain of command relying on ones own forces for support.

          • So you really are deflecting Tresus. Trudeau’s stance while in the opposition was to send aide. He did not agree with Canada having soldiers in harm’s way. Mr. Petrou is right in pointing this out. Suck it up and face the truth that even if he pulls the 6 CF-18 fighter jets (which he has not yet), the allies are asking him to keep the planes that are used to refuel and do spy work. We get that you will defend him no matter what but admit the truth, Trudeau never wanted Canadian soldiers anywhere near this fight and he has now done a 180.

          • Ah, no.
            This: “So Trudeau’s policy of withdrawing the CF-18’s are going to leave on those Canadian troops training Iraqi Kurds on the ground without air support…” was a patent falsehood. As hard as it may be for you to follow a conversation, it’s pretty clear that the only ‘deflection’ was wheatie’s.

        • And of course, American pilots quickly oblige with a demonstration of their incompetence again….and why Canadian special forces trainers should have Canadian jets for air support.


          //WASHINGTON — Ten Iraqi soldiers have been killed in what may have been the first friendly fire incident of the war against ISIS, U.S. military officials said Friday.

          In a brief statement, U.S. Central Command said that one of several airstrikes it conducted Friday against ISIS targets may have resulted in the death of Iraqi soldiers. It did not specify how many were involved, but sources told CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin ten soldiers were killed.

          Central Command said it had acted on requests and information provided by Iraqi security forces on the ground near Fallujah, which is in ISIS control. It said the airstrikes were done in coordination with Iraqi forces.

          The U.S. will investigate what happened and has invited the Iraqis to participate, saying “We are fully committed to the safety of our Iraqi partners while pursuing the destruction of our mutual enemies.”//

  3. But, But I thought it was a Training Mission Why aren’t Pravda/Tass (CBC/CTV) all over this ….Oh I forgot it’s a Lieberal Govn …Never Mind…

    • This just the first of many slight of hands to come. Justin is too busy taking selfies and playing with children to even have noticed his inconsistency!!

      • The flop flopping will begin and no newspaper will even report it. Duh yea maybe we should leave a couple of jets there to protect our troops on the ground, never thought of that. Canadian troops, Canadian jet support priority.

  4. The beam in my eye and the mote in yours, made possible by partisanship — guess it can’t be all bad, seeing as it’s kind of needed?

    Now, are opposition parties generally more domestically oriented? Claiming mission creep was their beam, only because of originating ultimately from the false dichotomy of Islam vs. the West (domestic implications — too obvious to discuss); and undertaking combat was the other side’s mote, only because the common opponent of two nation states originates from externalizing ISIS as the enemy.

    So, why not domesticate ISIS the enemy as ISIS the criminal? Wouldn’t a true Liberal approach be something like: how to rehabilitate these criminals… provide education and social assistance to help those most at-risk for becoming criminals…

    How much is this instead a question of statecraft?

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