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December 18th, 2015

Liberals must fulfill commitment to end bombing mission

Recent comments by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan have raised concerns that the Liberals may extend the bombing mission in Iraq and Syria without a parliamentary debate and vote.

“The Liberals told Canadians that they would end the bombing mission immediately – but instead, the Minister is now floating an extension that goes beyond even the Conservative’s March deadline,” said NDP Defence Critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt--Saanich—Sooke). “The NDP is calling the government to put forward a plan to end the bombing mission without delay – and commit to a full parliamentary debate on any new training mission.”

Despite repeated assurances of non-combat role for Canadian trainers, this past Thursday Canadian Forces members were involved in day-long ground combat on the front lines in Iraq. Now, despite a previous Liberal commitment to end the bombing mission immediately, defence minister Sajjan has suggested that the mission could in fact continue for another six months – well beyond the March deadline of the current mandate given by Parliament.

“Canadians deserve to have a clear answer about the government’s plans – and they certainly deserve better than extension by stealth,” said Garrison. “Canada can and must play a role in the fight against ISIS, but not through combat. We must work with our international allies to cut off the flow of arms, funds and foreign fighters, and New Democrats are ready to work with the government to strengthen action in those areas.”