Canada has not been invited to partake in the next discussions about the fight against ISIL militants.
Defence ministers from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands will gather in Paris this week to figure out what should be the U.S. -led coalition’s next strategy against ISIL. According to CTV News, The Globe and Mail reported that Wednesday’s meeting is for “significant contributors” to the anti-ISIS coalition, including the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to bring the CF-188 Hornets back to Canada if the Liberal Party of Canada was elected in last October’s federal elections. One of his first action as Prime Minister of Canada, on 20 October, was to announce the withdrawal of the CF-188 to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan quickly dismissed the suggestion that Canada is being sidelined in the fight against Islamic State. Sajjan said many meetings are taking places and he will attend the next meeting to be held on February 11.
Could the withdrawal of the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188 and a slow redefinition of Canada’s role against Islamic State be the reasons behind the reluctance to invite the Canadian Defence Minister to the talks?
It is pretty clear that Canada’s uncertainty and lack of options toward its actions against Islamic State is playing against them.
Trudeau’s insistence of bringing the CF-188 back home, despite the low percentage of actual airstrikes, is definitely a sign of Canada’s willingness to open a more ‘humanitarian’ front in the fight against Islamic State and to distance itself from combat operations.
What Canada needs is to keep its aircraft in the coalition, even if its only to provide air cover to its special operators currently deployed to train peshmerga fighters in Kurdistan. Keeping the fighter aircraft in Kuwait and flying combat missions would reaffirm Canada’s intention to provide the U.S. -led coalition with combat options.
It is one thing to focus on training local troops and provide humanitarian aid, but keeping fighter aircraft in the coalition would affirm Canada’s willingness to destroy Islamic State along its allies.
Not being invited to a meeting for “significant contributors” against Islamic State proves that, despite Sajjan claims that Canada is still an active partner in the coalition, Ottawa is quickly drifting away from its partners as it happened in the early 1990s under Jean Chretien.
CTV News reported that in “a speech to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in Winnipeg on Tuesday, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose said the Tories will continue to push for Canada’s ongoing involvement in the combat mission.”
“Six months ago we hosted the (anti-ISIS coalition) meeting,” she said. “Enter Trudeau, we’re not even invited to the meeting.
Unless there is a drastic change in policy, Trudeau and his Liberal Party will further degrade relations with its allies and move Canada away from the fight against terrorism.