Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says he approves of a military combat mission by Canada in the Middle East.

Couillard, who is the father of a soldier, expressed his support shortly before Prime Minister Stephen Harper laid out his case in Parliament on Friday for Canadian participation in airstrikes in Iraq.

'When we send our young people to risk their lives, we must be able to tell people what the objective is [...]' - Philippe Couillard, Quebec premier

Harper also said there would be no ground combat role although Canada has already contributed special forces advisers to the war against the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Couillard said Canada must live up to its obligations and called ISIL a movement that has drawn international condemnation.

"The international community expects that Canada will play a role, clearly," Couillard told reporters.

He said ISIL represents a major menace to the Western world, including Canada.

"This is a significant threat to our society and Canada and Quebec are part of that landscape," he noted. "Let us not be so naive that we think because Quebecers have been fortunate enough to live in peace for centuries, that we're immune to this risk. The risks also exist for us.

"These murderous movements are mobile, they are imaginative in the worst sense and they won't hesitate to attack those they consider enemies, which are democratic societies," Couillard said.

He said doing nothing to counter the threat is not a viable option.

The premier, who worked in Saudi Arabia as a doctor in the 1990s, expressed concern about the actions of the Islamic state and its allies.

However, Couillard said Ottawa must be transparent about its plans.

"When we send our young people to risk their lives, we must be able to tell people what the objective is, who the enemy is, what the definition of victory is and what are the rules of engagement," he said.

"The federal government needs to communicate this."