On refugees and airstrikes: Harjit Sajjan defends Liberal plans
Canada’s new National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is sworn-in during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie – RTX1URPG
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has a full plate: He’s crafting the government’s reworked strategy in Iraq and Syria, where the Canadian Armed Forces—including its CF-18 fighter jets—are engaged in the fight against the so-called Islamic State. And Sajjan is also playing a role in the Liberal plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February 2016.
Sajjan confronted both issues in conversation with Cormac MacSweeney, the Parliament Hill bureau chief for CityNews and Rogers Radio, during an interview on Dec. 11.
Sajjan was at Toronto’s Pearson airport as the first wave of government-assisted refugees arrived in Canada on Dec. 10. He told MacSweeney about his experience welcoming those new arrivals to Canada. And he remained confident that the government will meet its goal to bring 10,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of 2015.
On the fight against Islamic State, Sajjan defended his intention to pull Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets from the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but he says he’s still considering his options on whether or not to keep Canada’s surveillance and refuelling planes in the region to assist coalition allies.