PM's motion calls for air strikes in Iraq

PM’s motion calls for air strikes in Iraq, no troops

Motion says the government wants to contribute assets “including airstrike capability,” will not deploy troops “in ground combat operations”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is applauded in the House of Commons on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is applauded in the House of Commons on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally made his long-awaited pitch Friday for sending Canadian fighter jets — but not ground combat troops — overseas to go to war in the latest global fight against extremists in the Middle East.

But both the Opposition New Democrats and the Liberals balked, citing the last 10 years of Canadian experience in similar such conflicts as their rationale for why this time, we should stay out of the fight.

Canada will spend up to six months participating in the U.S-led airstrike campaign in Iraq, Harper said. Dropping bombs in Syria remains a possibility, he added, but no Canadian soldiers will take part in ground combat.

The 69 special-forces “advisers” already committed to the fight against the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant would remain part of the operation for the same time frame, Harper said.

Their initial 30-day mission window was scheduled to close Saturday.

“ISIL has established a self-proclaimed caliphate, at present stretching over a vast territory roughly from Aleppo to near Baghdad, from which it intends to launch a terrorist jihad not merely against the region, but on a global basis,” Harper told the House.

“Indeed, it has specifically targeted Canada and Canadians, urging supporters to attack ‘disbelieving Canadians in any manner,’ vowing that we should not feel secure even in our homes.”

Despite the weighty subject matter, Harper spoke to a Commons that was only half-full — not an uncommon occurrence for a Friday.

He said Canada would dispatch one air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two Aurora surveillance planes and all the necessary air crews and support personnel. Oddly, he neglected to mention Canada’s CF-18 fighter-bombers. Up to six will take part, a spokesman later confirmed.

The U.S., France, the United Kingdom and Australia are among those countries currently taking part in airstrikes in Iraq, the latter country having just green-lighted its own participation on Friday.

That news came on the same day that a new Internet video was released purporting to show an ISIL fighter beheading British hostage Alan Henning — the fourth such killing by the group — and threatening yet another American captive.

The video mirrored other beheading videos shot by ISIL, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq. It ended with an Islamic State fighter threatening a man they identified as an American.

“Obama, you have started your aerial bombardment of (Syria), which keeps on striking our people, so it is only right that we continue to strike the neck of your people,” the masked militant said.

Harper said the intention of Canada’s mission in Iraq isn’t to eliminate ISIL, but rather to reduce the territory in which the al-Qaida splinter group currently operates.

“We intend to significant degrade the capabilities of ISIL, specifically its ability either to engage in military moves of scale or to operate bases in the open.”

Neither the Opposition NDP nor the Liberals were sufficiently moved to provide their support, saying they’ll vote against the motion Monday. The vote is largely a formality, since the Conservatives currently hold a majority of the seats.

Harper has simply left too many questions unanswered, said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

“The prime minister insists that this mission in Iraq will not be allowed to become a quagmire, but is that not precisely what our American allies have been facing in Iraq for the last 10 years,” he said.

“Will Canada be stuck a decade from now mired in a war we wisely avoided entering a decade ago?”

The strife in the Middle East has been happening for generations and won’t end with another war in the region, he said.

“It will end by helping the people of Iraq and Syria to build the political, institutional and security capabilities they need to oppose these threats themselves,” he said. “Canada, for our part, should not rush into this war.”

Trudeau said the ghosts of the last war in Iraq — a war he said was sold to the public on false pretences — haunt this one too.

“We cannot make the wrong decision now because the wrong decision was made then.”

Harper has gone to the Commons seeking support for a combat mission before — to expand Canada’s role in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and to join NATO-led efforts against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.

A key difference this time around is that the mission command isn’t as clearly defined, said retired colonel George Petrolekas, a former strategic adviser to Canada’s top defence chiefs.

“Who is commanding? Are there any limitations to the kind of targeting we might do and who approves it from a Canadian standpoint or do we just take the targeting list?

“That would be a worthwhile thing to know.”

— With files from The Associated Press

Canadian federal government motion on Iraq


PM’s motion calls for air strikes in Iraq, no troops

  1. Turdeau 2 notably absent today.

    • The lisp apparently was hiding out back behind the curtains.

      • Poor, poor frightened Billy Bob still hiding behind the shadowy curtain of his pseudonym.
        A fearful society has no chance of being a civil society rings true of all his postings.

  2. “Harper urged all parliamentarians to support the motion.”

    Did Harper have his fingers crossed at the time i wonder?

    “I do this, Mr. Speaker, recognizing that in a democracy, especially one approaching an election, there is rarely political upside in supporting any kind of military action and little risk in opposing it,” he said.

    Right…but that wont stop you loosing the kids in short pants out to yell…”losers! Cowards!” …at every conceivable opportunity, now will it?

    That said, it looks like Liberals will be[ maybe] badly split on this.[early polls indicate almost 50/50]
    Difficult not to conclude at this point this isn’t highlighting just how green politically JT is. Whatever happened to old fashioned horse trading eh – as in, “i’ll sign up reluctantly if you agree to highlight what i want.[ lots of non combat help for the region.” Almost certain that’s what Chretien would have done. But he was a sly one, JT is still wet behind the ears by comparison. Or is he? Time will tell i guess. Just who has backed who into an uncomfortable corner and who has got what they wanted politically out of this isn’t entirely clear. If we see JT start to back peddle, hedge or prevaricate between now and the vote we’ll know it isn’t him. Disappointed at the moment.

      • Over heated rhetoric abounds…JT got that part right anyway.

        • Here’s some overheated rhetoric from the article(sarc);

          UN officials living this nightmare every day in the Middle East say the Harper government consistently has been one of the most responsible and generous donors to the massive international aid effort that began when the civil war in Syria suddenly created an almost biblical wave of refugees into Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.


            I”l see you over the top rhetoric and raise you couple of reasons why maybe no Tories don’t trust this govt – because they’ve often proved unworthy or trust and political support.
            As it happens is don’t agree with Trudeau that we shouldn’t do something to stop those IS bastards, but i want to know we are going to do it smart and in a non partisan way. Harper has built no consensus for this action[even though for once i think he is probably right] and that is to his discredit. So don’t go telling me now that Harper’s been this fine principled guy all along. When there was a call for a force to go into Congo[as May said] he just went….can’t do everything….mumble mumble…got to balance the budget first.
            Am i surprised the opposition parties are also playing politics with this? – sadly no. But Harper is very late to the table for a guy who says this ought to be non partisan. Yeesh! He couldn’t find non partisan land with a political gps strapped to his arse. We don’t have consensus on this, and in large measure that is down to SH.

          • Mercedes Stephenson @CTVMercedes

            Since Trudeau is calling on PMSH to be clear, fair to note this speech wasn’t in the House and he wasn’t there for Iraq debate.
            8:05 AM – 2 Oct 2014

    • Trudeau doesn’t need to stake out a position on this one if he doesn’t want to. It’s Harper that needs to stake out a position, he is the one that will carry the monkey on his back, and its only up to opposition parties to accept it or agree with it[just for the record]. This is only Harper and the cons trying to bait the opposition to see where their policy is, so they can throw it back at them whenever they feel necessary[2015]. Trudeau only has to try and keep Harpers feet to the fire, just like Mulcair. Its all done now, Harper got his wish, to drive fear in Canadians and join the US in a mission[Iraq], he has been drooling to join since 2003. Harper is the only one with the bad judgement here, and Canadians will hold him account when the time comes..

      • Maybe, and if it does in fact make a measurable difference on the ground by knocking IS back – what then? Who gets to wear this then? Not Harper that’s for sure.
        Still, 6 months of bombing isn’t likely to kill off IS; but it has the potential to kill a lot of innocents and is also likely to serve as a recruiting tool for more deluded young men who think the root of all evil is America and the decadent west.
        My prob with Trudeau’s position is it does amount to let some else get their hands dirty – not sure that’s right or the Canadian way. He needs to make a stronger argument for improving things[ and R2P] by non combat means. Not convinced the regional powers like Iraq can do it without us helping with targeted air strikes, although we should not put boots on the ground ourselves in that part of the world. The west has already done enough damage in that regard.

        • What this really does is, gives Harper another six months to go out into the public and say what a good statesman he is, and it also gives Harper a little cover to carry this into 6 more months after, if things are going good with little collateral damage , then he(harper)will take it too the electors in 2015. Then if he wins the next election, dare I say ‘ boots on the ground ‘.

          • Maybe, everything is a maybe. I don’t think this will win any elections for him – not on its own. And if it really goes south he wears it completely. Who says history doesn’t do irony – Iraq finally catching up to Harper again. Maybe he ca be arsed to right his own victory speech this time.

  3. Realpolitik Textbook

    Rule 1……The Last Resort…..a proven winner from c3000 BCE. When there is trouble at home that you can’t cure in any other way…invent an enemy and declare war. Best diversion ever discovered. Even your enemy will like it, and keep it going….because he probably has trouble at home too.

    Rule 2…..Before your peasants come with the pitchforks and tar …spread the meme that you ‘can’t change horses in the middle of the stream’, or disaster will follow’. This is vital for survival. Yours.

    Rule 3 Find a way to extend this war as long as possible.

    • The Putin program to a T

      • You forgot Ebola in your ‘fear gear’

    • ‘Wag the dog’, wage a war.

  4. The Liberal Party, who claims international paternity for “the responsibility to protect”, has a decision to make whether those words were just hollow rhetoric.

    • Partisan silliness like that is why Cons are sinking, and Libs are rising.

    • my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.

      • With dancing in the streets, and home by Xmas I betcha!

    • Six months of bombing doesn’t exactly add up to R2P.

      • It’s nothing like R2P….but Cons are easily confused.

  5. “The Left’s Religion of Unhappiness”, by Daniel Greenfield. A snippet or two to entice you:

    The left does not redistribute wealth. It redistributes want. It does not want everyone to share in the happiness of others, but to be burdened with a larger burden of their miseries.

    The left’s greatest vulnerability is its meanness of spirit. It has suffered its worst defeats at the hands of the happy warriors of the right. Its defeat comes when its malaise is contrasted with happiness, when its deep suspicion of humanity is met with patriotic optimism and when its alarmism is met with laughter.

  6. Baird, MPs view front lines

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited this dusty, front-line post on Thursday, with NDP and Liberal parliamentary critics Paul Dewar and Marc Garneau.

    Bashar Warda Chaldean, the archbishop of Erbil, gave Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird a tour of St. Joseph’s church in Erbil, Iraq on Thursday. (Rebecca Collard for CBC)

    Baird left impressed. He lauded the courage of the men manning the remote outpost, which lies about 200 metres from hundreds of white tents in neat rows — an abandoned displaced persons’ camp that had to be vacated in the face of another recent ISIS advance.

      • You should move to NK Emily.

        And don’t let the door hit your fat ass on the way out.

        • Ahhh there have been so many places Billy Bob that you’ve said I should move to…..Afghanistan, Russia, Iraq, China…..I’ve lost track of all the rest….but now it’s N Korea. Heaven knows why when we have our own Dear Leader right here.

          And yet… aren’t keen on moving to the one country YOU are suited for….Somalia.

          No taxes, no gun laws, no gubmint….and a whole lot of cranky people. Your kind of crowd.

          • Your home country does not interest me in the least.