Tom Mulcair calls possible ISIS fight expansion to Libya, Syria 'disquieting'
NDP leader responds to defence minister's statement: 'We're going to look at all of the options'
Opposition leader Tom Mulcair said it's "disquieting" to hear Defence Minister Jason Kenney state Canada would be open to expanding its ISIS mission beyond Iraq to Syria and Libya.
"[Kenney] knows the Department of Defence is against it," said Mulcair in an interview on Sunday with CBC News. "It's all from the result of the war there led by George W. Bush. This is an American-led mission."
On Saturday, Evan Solomon, host of CBC Radio's The House, asked Kenney about participating in missions in Syria and Libya. Kenney indicated the government is not ruling out taking Canada's military mission against ISIS beyond Iraq.
- ANALYSIS | Bill C-51: Political battle lines drawn over anti-terror bill as election nears
- C-51 confusion abounds as Tories rush anti-terrorism bill to committee
- ISIS revenge: Libya car bomb deaths rise to 42
- Iraq mission has so far cost Canada $122M: Kenney
"Well, we're going to look at all of the options," Kenney said.
Short-term vs. long-term
"Obviously there are practical limits to our ability to operate around the world, but we will look at our options to see where we can have the most impact, where we're most needed," he said. "That requires ongoing consultation with our allies. We don't just decide these things unilaterally."
"Over the decades when there has been an international concensus...Canada has made a contribution [and] that's always been with a serious capacity on the ground," he told CBC News on Saturday.
While Leuprecht acknowledges a military response could be the short-term answer, he would like to see a longer-term solution to helping out Libya.
"ISIS thrives on instability in the region and a large swath of youth in the region don't see a future for themselves," he noted. "The strategy has to be to make the countries more viable for that demographic [because] that's the demographic ISIS is after."
Fight could be renewed
"Obviously we're in Iraq at the invitation of that government in a mission of, I think, over two dozen countries being coordinated by the United States. If we can help meaningfully in the fight against ISIL elsewhere we'll give that consideration," the minister said.
This week, Kenney hinted that Canada's six-month military commitment to fight the extremist group could be renewed. He said cabinet members would be evaluating the progress of Operation Impact in the "very near future" as they make that decision.
Canadian fighter jets have been in Kuwait since October for the mission, which is scheduled to run until the start of April.
Egypt has called for international intervention in Libya against ISIS. Loyalists of the Syria- and Iraq-based group have risen in number to dominate several cities in the North African nation.
Last weekend, ISIS released a video showing the beheading 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt, on a beach in Libya. The mass slaying provoked a round of Egyptian air strikes on the group’s Libyan stronghold of Derna.