Column: Paris attacks shine spotlight on campaign promises

The Paris tragedy has thrown a sharper spotlight on two of PM Justin Trudeau’s election campaign promises.

Last Friday’s horrific terrorist attack in Paris was a frightening realization of the sweep of ISIL fanatics and their ability to coordinate and carry out multiple attacks. With brutal savagery they chose soft targets – young people enjoying a meal, down time with friends, or a concert. By the end of the night, 129 lay dead, over 350 were injured, many critically, and President Francois Hollande declared that “France is at war’ with terrorism.

Washington is already expecting France to retaliate with a stepped up role in the U.S.-led coalition’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State.

The Paris tragedy threw a sharper spotlight on two of PM Justin Trudeau’s election campaign promises – to cancel our CF-18 participation in the bombing raids against ISIL and to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada by the end of the year.

Should he stick to the campaign script or heed what some are calling for – keep the CF-18 Hornets in the skies and slow down the refugee intake pending the time it could take for full security screening?

Trudeau hasn’t called for a change of plans as yet. No telling yet when the fighter jets will return home. But right now those six jets are punching above their weight.

On Tuesday, under Operation IMPACT, two fighter jets successfully struck three Islamic State fighting positions near Ramadi, Iraq, with precision-guided munitions, the Department of National Defence said.

As of November 16, CF-18’s have conducted 1,121 sorties. This week’s airstrikes were the second round involving Canadian jets since last Friday’s attacks in Paris. Despite the fact the aging jets are small in number, their contribution going forward is significant and should continue.

In addition, Canada has contributed two Aurora surveillance planes and about 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to the coalition. According to the DND website, Op IMPACT has helped our allies see ISIL lose its ability to operate freely in 25 to 30 per cent of populated areas of Iraq that it previously controlled.

Trudeau has also, rightly, committed to increasing the number of Special Forces troops training Kurds to fight ISIL in northern Iraq. In training the Kurdish forces, our troops have a mandate to advance to front lines and into battle.

The humanitarian commitment includes bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada within the next six weeks. That’s a tall order and anyone would understand the government moving its self-imposed deadline into 2016.

On Monday, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall asked Trudeau to suspend his plan, arguing that if a small number of individuals who want to do harm slip in under cover of a rushed refugee resettlement process, it could be disastrous. But terrorists posing as refugees are a long shot, given intense screening and time delays.

The track record of refugee threats in North America is thin. The Economist last month reported that out of 745,000 refugees who resettled in the U.S. since 9/11, only two Iraqis have been arrested on terrorism charges.

The incoming refugees have been in refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for several years and have already been vetted by the UN High Commission for Refugees. Some will continue to be screened on military bases once they get here.

The majority are families with children. While they go through the various Canadian clearance levels many questions of mass resettlement must be addressed – housing, schooling, English language and job training, medical needs, transportation, and a mountain of paperwork.

A dreadful geopolitical tragedy has put Trudeau’s government in the crosshairs just 10 days after taking office.  If the government fails, it’s on them. If the government fails to act, it’s on them. With that goes leadership.

That campaign promise under sunny skies had better work.

Just Posted

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read