Conservatives urge government to rethink halt to ISIS airstrikes
'It's important that we remain resolute and support our allies,' interim opposition leader says
On the heels of the deadly attacks in Paris, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has called on the Liberal government to "immediately" reverse its decision to pull fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing mission against ISIS in Iraq.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for Friday night's attacks, which killed at least 129 people in and around Paris and injured hundreds more.
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"The fight against ISIS requires a strong humanitarian response, but also a military response," Ambrose told reporters Saturday. "It's important that we remain resolute and support our allies."
Ambrose said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have the full support of the Official Opposition if he chooses to reverse his position on Canada's role in the airstrikes.
Earlier on Saturday, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion said Canada will respond with "absolute resolution" in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria after the group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
"The reaction is a reaction of immense sadness, but also absolute resolution to fight what the president of France rightly called an act of war," Dion said Saturday, speaking from Toronto's Pearson International Airport before boarding a plane to an economic summit in the Philippines.
French President François Hollande has declared a national emergency and three days of national mourning, and has vowed to be "merciless" with the country's foes following what he called unprecedented terrorist attacks.
Speaking to the French nation Saturday, Hollande said the attacks were "committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: A free country that means something to the whole planet."
The statement said the attackers were "targeting the capital of prostitution and obscenity."
Dion, whose is also a French citizen through his mother, praised the "heroic efforts" of the Canadian Embassy in France in the wake of the attacks. The embassy has established a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency response centre that "can be reached at any time," Dion said.
French authorities have also set up a crisis line for people affected by the tragedy, including Canadian citizens in Paris, the minister added.
"We are deploying everything to protect our citizens and to be in close support with the French authorities," Dion said.
Shocked and saddened by the attacks in Paris. We stand with the French people. 1/2—@HonStephaneDion
Our sincere condolences go to the relatives and friends of the victims of this horrible massacre. 2/2—@HonStephaneDion
On Friday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed solidarity with Canada's "French cousins" and said Canada has offered all possible assistance to the government of France in the wake of the fatal attacks.
Trudeau has vowed to pull out Canada's fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing mission against ISIS in Iraq, and said Friday it was "too soon to jump to any conclusions" about what effect the attacks would have on that stance.
Dion echoed those sentiments Saturday morning.
"We think Canada may be more optimally helping the coaltiion in reallocating our efforts in training, in support of many kinds to the local fighters [and] local police, humanitarian help," Dion said.
"This is the aim of what we are doing. It's not to withdraw. To the contrary: It's to be more effective."
Canada must fight 'scourge' that is ISIS
An official with the prime minister's office, speaking on background on the condition of anonymity, said the government remains committed to its platform, pointing to a commitment to refocus on training local forces and providing humanitarian aid.
"Canada has a role to play against the international fight against the scourge that is [ISIS]. That role must serve our national interests and constitute the most effective use of our resources," the official said, adding that the change would be made in a responsible manner.
The official also said that the government believes it can maintain its target of safely and responsibly bringing in more Syrian refugees.
Saskatchewan, Quebec premiers call for action
The premiers of Saskatchewan and Quebec are also calling for the federal government to take vigorous action against terrorism and both support continuing the combat mission.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall issued a statement Saturday saying he was "saddened and angered by the brutal attacks on the people of Paris."
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"Yesterday's attack was a deadly reminder that there are people in the world who do not share our values and who will stop at nothing in their attempts to impose their twisted, evil ideology through violence, destruction and death," said Wall.
"They must be defeated. There truly is no other option."
Flag of France now flies at SK Leg, all others at half staff. We stand with people of France <a href="https://t.co/ICACj5yY3w">https://t.co/ICACj5yY3w</a> <a href="https://t.co/XWRg6jozlZ">pic.twitter.com/XWRg6jozlZ</a>—@PremierBradWall
Quebec Premier Philippie Couillard criticized what he described as the "failure of the unilateral approach in trying to solve the Iraq-Syria question," and re-affirmed his position that the world should work together to fight ISIS.
"We have to be part of an international coalition, an international movement and play the role that our partners want us to play," said Couillard, who in 2014 supported former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to join the combat mission against ISIS.
"I'm sure most Canadians will agree with this," Couillard said.