PM ANNOUNCES MOTION TO EXTEND AND EXPAND CANADA’S MILITARY MISSION AGAINST ISIL
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the Government’s intent to bring forward a motion in the House of Commons seeking support for the Government’s decision to extend and expand Canada’s military contribution to the global fight against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with the goal of significantly degrading the capabilities of ISIL.
The motion, sponsored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be debated and voted on in the House of Commons. The Canadian military mission, known as Operation IMPACT, is part of the United States-led international Coalition against ISIL, composed of over 60 countries.
Operation IMPACT would be extended for up to 12 months, until March 30, 2016. Its mandate would be expanded to authorize Canada’s CF-188 Hornet fighters to join Coalition partners in attacking ISIL targets within Syrian territory.
Coalition military efforts to date have succeeded in blunting ISIL’s capacity to advance in Iraq and Syria but much remains to be done. The Government is seeking to extend Operation IMPACT given that ISIL continues to present a serious threat to global and regional security, including by directly threatening Canadian citizens at home and abroad. Canada also remains committed to protecting and assisting vulnerable and innocent civilians affected by ISIL’s expansion and barbarity, including through the provision of vital humanitarian assistance.
As in the past, Operation IMPACT would remain a counter-terrorism operation exclusively targeting ISIL. Canada will not be participating in ground combat operations.
In the days to come, the Government will continue to update Canadians on the Canadian Armed Forces engagement against ISIL through technical briefings, websites and social media.
- Canada’s current military contribution against ISIL, which would be extended for up to 12 months, includes: up to 69 Canadian Special Operations Forces personnel to advise and assist Iraqi forces in northern Iraq; a key aerial enabler force package consisting of approximately 280 aircrew and other personnel, one CC-150 Polaris aerial refueling aircraft, up to two CP-140 Aurora aerial surveillance aircraft, as required; and a strike force package consisting of approximately 320 aircrew and other personnel, and up to six CF-188 Hornet fighter aircraft.
- As of March 21, 2015, Canadian air assets have conducted 656 sorties over Iraq:
- CF-188 Hornet fighters conducted 428 sorties.
- CC-150T Polaris aerial refueller conducted 108 sorties, delivering some 6,332,000 pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft.
- CP-140 Aurora aircraft conducted 120 reconnaissance missions.
- Canadian CF-188 Hornet fighters have undertaken 53 of the Coalition’s 1,631 air strikes over Iraq.
- Up to 69 members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces are working with our allies in an advisory and assistance role by providing strategic and tactical advice to Iraqi forces.
- Thousands of foreign fighters, including some from Canada and its allies, have been recruited by ISIL. The Government is working to stem the flow of foreign fighters from Canada to the region, including through the introduction of comprehensive legislation.
- Canada’s humanitarian and stabilization assistance continues to provide much-needed relief to millions of vulnerable and displaced people, as well as refugees, in Iraq, Syria and the region.
“The highest priority of any government must be protecting its citizens from harm. I believe that Canadians realize that we cannot stand on the sidelines while ISIL commits atrocities in the Middle East and promotes terrorism in Canada and against our allies. We are therefore seeking the support of Canadian parliamentarians for our decision to extend and expand Canada’s military mission, with our allies, to fight Islamic jihadism which threatens national and global security. We intend to continue to degrade and disrupt ISIL as well as provide humanitarian and stabilization support to help alleviate the suffering this terrorist group is inflicting.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to offer my profound gratitude and unequivocal support to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces engaged in Operation IMPACT. We are humbled and eternally grateful for your service and sacrifice.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper