Iraq, Syria combat mission unfocussed

The Conservative government is asking Canadians to support their plan to extend and deepen an unfocused, unending combat mission in Iraq and expand it to Syria.

But they have failed to make the case.

The government has failed to articulate clear and transparent objectives, nor a responsible plan to achieve them. There is no exit strategy beyond an illusory end date set for next March.

By expanding the combat mission to Syria, Canada risks consolidating Bashar al-Assad’s power over the country. Asked who would take over that Syrian territory if ISIL were removed, Canada’s defence minister responded with “I don’t know how this is going to end.”

Expanding Canada’s presence into Syria represents a worrying trend – the same trend that saw our military sent into ground combat operations, despite the prime minister’s explicit assurance this would not happen. 

The government’s approach ignores very important contributions that would degrade ISIL by bringing stability to the region. Efforts aimed at building strong governance and security structures, as well as alleviating the refugee crisis that is overwhelming neighbouring countries. 

Canada has a clear interest in training Iraqi forces to fight and destroy ISIL. We can – and should – do this training away from the front lines

But the Liberal Party cannot support the government’s plan. The mission has been presented in a non-transparent manner, with no clear objectives or goals, no plan to bring long term stability to the region or address the humanitarian crisis and fails to leverage Canada’s expertise and strengths.


Joyce Murray, MP

Liberal Defence Critic