Wednesday March 25, 2015

Canada's airstrikes in Syria break international law, critics say

Canada is set to become the only NATO nation, aside from the U.S., to take its airstrikes against ISIS into Syria. And there are questions around whether the planned expansion of our mission, is legal.

Canada is set to become the only NATO nation, aside from the U.S., to take its airstrikes against ISIS into Syria. And there are questions around whether the planned expansion of our mission, is legal. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Listen 27:29

A new chapter opened yesterday in Canada's contribution to the fight against the militant group ISIS.

After months of air strikes inside Iraq, Canada's fighter jets are set to cross a border into another one of the most dangerous places on earth. 

Canada will become the first NATO country, aside from the U.S., to strike inside Syria. And without official NATO backing or a mandate from the United Nations, the legality of the plan was called into question, as soon as it was introduced. 

'The government has now decided we will not seek the express consent of the Syrian government. Instead we will work closely with our American and other allies who have already been carrying out such operations against ISIL over Syria in recent months.' - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in the House of Commons yesterday

James Bezan is the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Defence Jason Kenney. He was in Ottawa. 

'You can't hide behind someone else's actions. This is about Canada. What is the Prime Minister of Canada basing himself on? What is the legal authority for bombing in that country?' - Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair, on Canada's airstrikes into Syria against ISIS

It is not solely the parliament Opposition wondering about the legality of carrying out this kind of attack, without a U.N. resolution or NATO backing. Experts are looking closely at this decision as well.

Peter McKenna is a professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Prince Edward Island. He was in Charlottetown.

Eric Morse is the co-chair of Security Studies at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. 
 

What do you think of Canada's expanded military operation into Syria, without UN or NATO support. Is it justified?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Marc Apollonio