Iraq mission extension, expansion motion to go to House next week

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will present a motion in the House of Commons next week to extend and expand the current military mission in Iraq.

Stephen Harper won't say whether expanded Canadian mission would include Syria

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the possibility of expanding the military mission to Syria will be considered next week when a motion will be presented in the House of Commons. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will present a motion in the House of Commons next week to extend and expand the current military mission in Iraq.

But while he mentioned expanding the current mission, Harper wouldn't say whether that would include Canadian troops going into Syria.

"Next week, it is the government's plan to move forward with a request for Parliament for extension and expansion of the mission. And I will obviously give more details when we do that," Harper said in Mississauga, Ont. 

"Let me just say, the current authorization laid open the possibility of going to Syria, although we have not done that. But we'll address issues like that next week when I make a proposal to the House of Commons."

Canada has contributed special forces operators and an air mission in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS.

The House voted in support of the mission last October, although the prime minister doesn't need parliamentary approval to send troops to battle. Harper has made it a practice to go to the House for a motion of support whenever he approves a combat mission.

$122M cost for mission so far

Last month, Defence Minister Jason Kenney revealed Canada's military mission in Iraq has so far cost $122 million.

Kenney said in a statement at the time that the incremental costs are "entirely reasonable" for a mission that's "having a meaningful impact against this genocidal terrorist organization, the so-called 'Islamic State.'"

The $122 million estimate for Canada covers the six-month mission that began last October and continues until the end of the fiscal year on March 31, James Bezan, Kenney's parliamentary secretary, told CBC News.​ That amount covers munitions, troop deployment and other expenses "above and beyond the normal costs of operating the Canadian Armed Forces," he said.

Canada's contribution includes one CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft and the necessary air crews and support personnel. Canada also sent six CF-18 fighter jets to the mission, as well as one dedicated airlift plane to enhance the refuelling, air surveillance and transportation capacity of coalition members.


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