Trudeau Announces New Direction in Coalition Fight against ISIS

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today announced Canada’s new policy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and the impact they are having on the surrounding region. It will make a meaningful contribution to the Global Coalition’s fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), while strengthening the ability of regional governments and local authorities to defend themselves, and rebuild over the long-term.

It is a whole of government approach that enlists several federal departments to work closely together to enhance security and stability, provide vital humanitarian assistance, and help partners deliver social services, rebuild infrastructure and good governance.

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion
Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion

On the security front, Canada looked at how the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) could best contribute in the fight against ISIL in the region within the Global Coalition. In keeping with the mandate the government received from Canadians last fall, the government will focus on training and advising local security forces to take their fight directly to ISIL.  “Our new approach to Iraq, Syria, and the surrounding region will be challenging and dangerous at times,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said

To this end, additional military resources will be dedicated to supporting Coalition partners at various headquarters and to training, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces in their efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. While Canada will cease air strike operations no later than February 22, 2016, aerial refueling and surveillance activities will continue. As well, stabilization and counter-terrorism measures and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security programming in the region will be enhanced.

To help address the protracted and tragic crises in the region, Canada will focus on meeting the basic needs of those most impacted by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, including refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries. We will also work with international partners to build local capacity in communities and countries hosting large numbers of refugees, such as Lebanon and Jordan. Activities will include helping partners: provide education, healthcare and sanitation; maintain and repair infrastructure; promote employment and economic growth; and foster good governance.

Canada must do more to help find a diplomatic solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq. An enhanced presence on the ground will allow Canada to increase its engagement with local and international partners and participate more actively in multilateral efforts to resolve the crises and restore stability in the region.

The Government of Canada will contribute more than $1.6 billion over the next three years towards its new approach to security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact on Jordan and Lebanon.

The Conservative government under former  Prime Minister Stephen Harper authorized the use of 6 CF-18 jets in November 2014.  It was extended for one year in March, 2015.  The Liberals’ promise to refocus the mission one of the key promises during the 2015 election campaign.