The Canada airstrikes ISIS issue has become one that is mixed after Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a rare address to Parliament.
Critics have responded, but Canada will join its allies in conducting airstrikes against the ISIS for up to six months, but will not deploy ground troops in combat operations.
The prime minister addressed MPs to outline his government’s plan for to contribute against terrorism. While the attacks arelimited, for now, to Iraq, they could be expanded to Syria if the government there gives the green light, Harper said. The Canada airstrikes against the ISIS will only take place in countries where it has government support.
Harper said in his speech to the House:
“Let me be clear on the objectives of this intervention … We intend to significantly degrade the capabilities of [ISIS]. Specifically, its ability either to engage in military movements of scale, or to operate bases in the open.”
Harper acknowledged, however, that it is likely impossible to eliminate ISIS, but the motion tabled Friday asks the House to recognize that ISIS leadership “has called on members to target Canada and Canadians at home and abroad,” and the terror group will continue to pose a threat to international peace and security if not confronted with “strong and direct force.”
The Canada airstrikes against the ISIS is jut one mission, but it will support civilians in the region through “urgent humanitarian assistance,” but it did not include details. In his speech, Harper said the military measures do not preclude humanitarian assistance.
“There is no either/or here … This is in addition to large-scale financial assistance already being furnished to the significant number of countries in the region that have been impacted by the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.”
During daily question period Friday morning, NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said innocent civilians need urgent assistance, and asked what the federal government is doing to help.
International Development Minister Christian Paradis responded by saying Canada is the seventh-largest donor of humanitarian aid to the region. Canada’s current contributions have allowed for the delivery of food, tents, blankets, medical supplies, hygiene kits and other supplies.
On Saturday, more than two dozen militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were killed overnight in airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, activists said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 militants were killed around the town of Shadadi in northeastern Hasakeh, and another five outside the embattled town of Kobane, on the border with Turkey in northern Aleppo province.
The Netherlands and Canada seem poised to join airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. If Canadian lawmakers greenlight the action on Monday — as expected — it will be country’s first military expedition since Libya in 2011.