Column: To bomb or not to bomb, that is Canada’s question

As much as there are warts and whistles in the plan, it appears the coalition partners have given a nod of approval

Most Canadians want the Trudeau government to continue bombing ISIL.

But this week PM Justin Trudeau announced that the bombing will end on 22 February and the six CF-188 Hornet fighter jets will return home along with their associated aircrew and support personnel.

Personally, I’d rather see them stay there and carry on. Clearly, I’m not alone.

According to a recent Angus Reid poll, nearly two-thirds of Canadians, 63 per cent, want Canada to continue bombing at the current rate or increase the number of bombing missions it is conducting. Of that percentile, 37 per cent of Canadians say maintain the bombing status quo while 26 per cent urge an increase in bombing. But even though the fighter planes will return home, Canada will continue to provide two surveillance aircraft and an air-to-air refueling aircraft to assist in airstrikes undertaken by allies.

In addition, Canada will be more heavily involved in counter-terrorism measures and improving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security in the region.

Canada’s first combat sortie on ISIL targets with CF-188 Hornets was on 30 October 2014 and, through to 1 February 2016, the warplanes have conducted 1,388 sorties resulting in 238 airstrikes (233 in Iraq and 5 in Syria). A sortie is an operational flight by one aircraft.

As for Canada’s international reputation, the poll found that 47 per cent are concerned that withdrawing the planes from the mission will have a negative effect on our international reputation while fewer than one in five (18 per cent) thought it would have a positive one. Most Canadians polled didn’t think that pulling out the warplanes would have any effect on the Syrian refugees or Canada’s security.

But yes or no to withdrawing the planes, most Canadians (54 per cent) expressed the fact that they are confident in the Trudeau government’s ability to manage Canada’s involvement in the ISIL mission. Confidence in the government is strongest among women, those under 35, and university graduates.

In many ways, the sense for a need to keep bombing or increase bombing comes back to a genuine fear about the brutal ISIL movement. Two in three (64 per cent) Canadians have concerns that the threat they pose is growing, half of them believing that it is growing quite significantly.

Canada’s involvement under Operation Impact over the next three years is about more than bombing and Trudeau, in announcing the stepped up plan, said that the military will be allocating more resources and personnel to training Iraqi security forces and supporting local Kurdish soldiers who are combating Islamic state militants. They will be adding 140 personnel to the 69 already in a training capacity and fighting alongside the Kurds on the front line. The number of Canadian military personnel in the region will jump from 650 to 830.

Humanitarian assistance will be beefed up with an extra $1 billion over the next three years. The commitment is to help men, women and children with clean water, food, adequate shelter, healthcare, sanitation, hygiene, protection and education.

In total, more than $1.6 billion will be allocated toward the new approach to security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance in Iraq and to address impacts on Jordan, Lebanon and the wider region.

As much as there are warts and whistles in the plan with many unanswered questions and clearly details to be fleshed out, it appears the coalition partners have given a nod of approval to Trudeau’s whole-of-government approach to our contribution based on security, development, and diplomacy.

Coming up with a new long term military strategy acceptable to Canadians and allies alike has understandably been a challenge, given that the government has only been in power three months.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. (File photo)
UPDATE: 2 cougars killed following attack in Harrison Mills

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

....
Abbotsford graphic designer pitches Flyers rebrand for AHL team

Alex Svarez suggests new affiliate team turns back the clock and brings back Flyers moniker

Mike Haire, a former vice-principal at W. A. Fraser Middle School in Abbotsford, began court proceedings on Monday, May 3 in New Westminster for two child pornography offences.
Trial paused for former Abbotsford vice-principal charged with child porn

Judge reserves decision on admissibility of evidence against Mike Haire

Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen is now under investigation from the Vancouver Police Department following sexual misconduct allegations. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Vancouver police investigating sexual misconduct claims against Canucks’ Jake Virtanen

Abbotsford native remains on leave with the Vancouver Canucks following recent allegations

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

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

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read