Politics·CBC Forum

What do you think of the Liberals' anti-ISIS plan?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled the Canadian government's new approach to dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ending air strikes while increasing Canada's participation in other areas, including planning, intelligence and training.

Airstrikes ending soon, while local training will increase

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says airstrike operations, while useful in the short term for military and territorial gains, do not on their own result in long-term stability. What do you think? (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled the Canadian government's new approach to dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ending airstrikes while increasing Canada's participation in other areas including planning, intelligence and training.

The highlights:

  • Airstrikes by Canadian fighter jets will end by Feb. 22. Refuelling and surveillance planes will remain.
  • Canada will increase military personnel dedicated to the anti-ISIS mission to 830, up from 650.
  • Canada will triple the number of Canadian Forces members helping train local ground troops; deploy medical personnel to train Iraqi security forces; and provide small arms and ammunition to Iraqi security forces.
  • Canada's funding to the mission will total $1.6 billion over three years — much of that for humanitarian aid.

We asked our readers what they thought of the Liberals' plan in our latest CBC Forum. They were starkly and passionately divided. Some in favour said they were proud, while many opposed said they were ashamed. 

Here are five criticisms of the party's new anti-ISIS strategy and five arguments in favour.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the full comment in the blog format.)


1. "Canada has a long tradition of standing up to tyranny wherever it occurs. When normal people see a bully picking on a weaker person you join in to stop the aggressor. You don't stop and tell a third party how to fight that aggressor. This smacks of standing by to let others do the real work." — ajc1968

2. "By pulling out our fighter planes, all we are showing is that we're willing to back down and terrorist organizations will seek to exploit that any way they can." — it_guy

3. "I am always somewhat amused when people say we should engage in 'training.' Training to do what, exactly? Training people who already live there and know the territory, surroundings and people far better than we do?" — terapin

4. "If we are providing mid-air refuelling and reconnaissance plus perhaps also continuing to paint targets from the ground, then we are participating in the bombing campaign." — trapdinawrpool

5. "While I support this government, I do not support this change in policy. ISIS is a deadly and determined force that must be dealt with by force. This change sends the wrong message to ISIS, other tyrants around the world and to our allies." — canukman

Arguments in favour

1. "He [Trudeau] did the right thing. Now he just has to pull out all the way and let Canada lead by example when it comes to peace. Some nation has to." — kate

2. "Bombing will do little to alter the situation on the ground and is, in fact, an approach that attempts to sanitize the much uglier reality of defeating ISIS in its lone control theatre, on the ground." — Comm

3. "Fighter-bombing sounds sexy and aggressive while the reality is that as a long-term strategy it is ineffective and costly both in financial terms, damage to infrastructure and loss of civilian lives." — T-Piddy

4. "Time for somebody to step up and show some respect for human lives — teach, lend logistical support, pursue diplomatic talks. Time for some serious, energetic peacekeeping." — Madred

5. "ISIS is not a state, nation or capital. It's an ideology. People who share this ideology do not occupy a nation or state. Bombing only creates collateral which risks drawing people towards to this ideology. We need to combat this ideology, not fuel it." — RMS

You can read the full discussion below

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