Cross Country Checkup

What's your reaction to Canada joining the fight against ISIS?

ISIS: Canada is sending fighter jets to Iraq for six months to join allies in a battle against ISIS. The Islamist group has been wreaking a path of misery across that country for months. What's your reaction to Canada joining the fight against ISIS?
Canada appears set to deploy CF-18s to participate in the aerial bombing campaign currently underway to push back ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria. The Canadian Press has obtained documents showing other departments expressing concern over the military's cut to its ammunition budget earlier this year. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Listen to the full episode1:53:00

ISIS: Canada is sending fighter jets to Iraq for six months to join allies in a battle against ISIS.

The Islamist group has been wreaking a path of misery across that country for months.

What's your reaction to Canada joining the fight against ISIS?

Guests & Links    Twitter & Email     Download MP3 (right click, choose 'Save Target As')


The speed of the advance of ISIS through Iraq, crushing all opposition and capturing and holding territory for what it calls the new Caliphate, has shocked many.  Add to that the fact that its ranks include hundreds of young Westerners -- an estimated 130 of them Canadians, who have given themselves over to the group's fundamentalist vision, some of them preaching it on YouTube.   Bloody images of  mass executions, video beheadings, and brutal attacks on any ethic and religious groups not holding to its severely fundamentalist view of Islamism, have seared ISIS's reputation on the minds of people  around the world. 

Public reaction in the West has been swift and loud: 'do something!' 

The brutality of the ethnic cleansing recalls memories of other places -- Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Darfur, Congo  --  where the record of international assistance has been less than resolute.  But nagging doubts that any Western effort might bog down into a protracted, messy, and ultimately unwinnable battle adds to the difficulty of deciding exactly what to do. 

It is in this context that Canada announced this week it would join several other countries in Iraq to fight against the advance of ISIS.  

The other Western countries include the US, Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia the Arab countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar.

The Canadian government is committing six fighter jets for six months with a contingent of 600 military personnel for support and to advise and train other forces such as the Kurds on the ground in Iraq.  The objective as stated by  Prime Minster Stephen Harper is to "significantly degrade" the capacity of ISIS, which contrasts with US President  Obama who promises to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS.

There was a debate and a vote in the House of Commons. The vote mostly split along party lines. Conservatives voted in favour while the opposition parties voted against.  Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair said the mission would inevitably lead to a wider conflict that would kill more civillians than if Canada did not join the battle.  Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said while the West should oppose ISIS, Canada should concentrate on humanitarian support.

We'd like to hear your views. Did Canada make the right decision?  Six planes for six months is not exactly a fullblown commitment ...but it is a move to join others in using military force to try to stop ISIS. 

Do you see ISIS as a threat that demands Western military intervention? Should that help go beyond an aerial bombing campaign?  Do you worry that this is a fight that will not be won quickly?  Are you disturbed by the advance of ISIS? Do you think such an active role will invite retaliation here at home?  What do you think of the fact that there are many young Canadians in their ranks? Do they represent a threat to Canadians at home?

Our question today:  "What's your reaction to Canada joining the fight against ISIS?"

I'm Rex Murphy  ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.

Last month we discussed what to do about ISIS. Listen to that episode below.


Ujjal Dosanjh

Former NDP premier of BC, former Attorney General of BC, former federal health minister under the liberals

General Lewis MacKenzie

Former Commander of the UN forces in Bosnia in 1992. MacKenzie has commanded troops from dozens of countries in some of the world's most dangerous places: the Gaza Strip, Vietnam, and Central America. In Sarajevo, during the Bosnian Civil War, he led troops from 31 nations.  

Bessma Momani

​​ Associate Professor in the departments of Political Science and History at the University of Waterloo and a Senior Fellow at the Centre For International Governance and Innovation, an international think-tank in Waterloo, Canada. Also a Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.  

​​Wesley Wark

Visiting Professor at the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Engaged on a research project on changing perceptions of the terrorist threat in a Canadian context from 9/11 to the present.


Canadian advance team leaves for Kuwait next week
ISIS could seize Kobani unless more airstrikes launched, Kurds warn
The 'unknown unknowns' of confronting ISIS in Iraq, by Brian Stewart
MPs debate ISIS combat role with polls suggesting broad support, by Éric Grenier
Hillary Clinton says military 'critical' but 'insufficient' against ISIS
CF-18 jets to based in Kuwait, but won't join anti-ISIS fight for 3 weeks
ISIS mission: Divided, uncertain Canada edges gingerly into Iraq, by Terry Milewski

National Post

Peacekeepers or warriors: Debate over combat mission in Iraq exposes a political and national divide, by Graeme Hamilton
ISIS mission reveals Liberal divide: Party's grandees express support for 'robust Canadian mission', by Joseph Brean
Justin Trudeau's fumbling of Iraq mission may be the momentum shift Harper needs, by John Ivison
New details about Canadian jihadist Farah Shirdon reveal militant ideology behind ISIS, by Stewart Bell
Whether we choose action or inaction against ISIS, there will be risks, by Andrew Coyne
Stephen Harper finally gets his Churchill moment, but Iraq mission could backfire, by Michael Den Tandt
Liberal strategy on Iraq suffers from incoherence, by Michael Den Tandt
Harper is 'making the right decision' on ISIS mission: longtime New Democrat Gary Doer
Mulcair accuses Harper of being 'at the service of a bloody dictator' by leaving window open to strikes in Syria

Globe and Mail

Conservative majority approves combat mission in Iraq
Here's the debate MPs should really be having over combat in Iraq, by George Petrolekas
Quebec voters at the heart of NDP, Liberal positions on Iraq, by J.L. Granatstein
Editorial: Only a limited Canadian mission against ISIS deserves support
Canada's role against IS must be more than just military, by Bob Rae
This isn't 'Harper's war', by Jeffrey Simpson
Half measures in fight against Islamic State will only make matters worse, by Robert Fowler
Canada needs a war debate, by Lysiane Gagnon
The battle against Islamic State will be long, costly and likely fruitless, by Michael Bell
Another battle with Islam's 'true believers' by Sheema Khan
Canada, UAE stand together against extremism, by Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Did Trudeau reject a Liberal combat plan? by Lawrence Martin
Who are the war hawks now? by Margaret Wente

Ottawa Citizen

U.S.-led bombing has had little effect on ISIL in Iraq or Syria
Turkey's risky game with NATO and ISIL
We're going to war because we've been doing it Jack Layton's way in Syria, Iraq, by Terry Glavin

Twitter & Email