Canada's new training mission in Iraq and Syria passes Commons vote

The Liberal government's motion to adopt Canada's refocused mission against ISIS passed a House of Commons vote by a margin of 178-147.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper among MPs to cast nay vote in House

The House of Commons voted 178-147 in favour of changing the mission against ISIS from one focused on bombing to one centred on training and intelligence gathering. (Reuters)

The Liberal government's motion to adopt Canada's refocused mission against ISIS passed a House of Commons vote today by a margin of 178-147.

The NDP and the Conservative parties voted against the motion in a poll that saw former prime minister Stephen Harper among the first MPs to cast a nay vote. 

On Feb. 8 the Liberal government announced it would end the use of CF-18 fighter jets in Iraq and Syria and restructure the mission to fight ISIS toward one focused on training and intelligence gathering instead of bombing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised there would be a full debate in the House of Commons to argue the merits of the new mission and that debate would be followed by a vote. Today's vote fulfils that promise.

Expanding ground forces

That new mission tripled the number of special forces deployed on the ground to train Iraqi forces for the next two years. The Liberals also increased the number of Armed Forces members deployed as part of the coalition mission from 650 to 830.

While Canada's military effort under Operation Impact means the CF-18s will come home, aircrew and support personnel for one CC-150 Polaris aerial refuelling aircraft and up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft will remain in the region. Canada also committed troops to mark targets for the coalition partners.

In all, Canada's new contribution will total more than $1.6 billion over the next three years, a number that includes:

  • $264 million to extend the military mission in Iraq and Syria for one year until March 31, 2017.
  • $145 million over three years for non-military security efforts, such as counterterrorism initiatives.
  • $840 million over three years in humanitarian assistance.
  • $270 million over three years to "build local capacity" in Jordan and Lebanon, where there are a large number of refugees.
  • $42 million to redeploy staff and equipment to the region over the course of the new military commitment.
  • An increased diplomatic presence in the region.

Until they were called home, Canada's fighter jets conducted roughly 2.5 per cent of all the airstrikes conducted by coalition forces in Iraq and Syria. About 98 per cent of Canada's airstrikes took place in Iraq and the remaining two per cent were in Syria.


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