MPs vote to ap­prove re­tooled Lib­eral mis­sion against Middle East mil­i­tants

Asian Journal - - Nation - The Cana­dian Press

Ottawa: The House of Com­mons has voted to ap­prove the Lib­eral govern­ment’s re­tooled mis­sion against the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant. Thanks to the Lib­eral ma­jor­ity in the House, a mo­tion in sup­port of the re­con­fig­ured mis­sion was passed by a mar­gin of 178-147. For­mer prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper, who presided over the launch of the orig­i­nal mis­sion against ISIL, was on hand to vote against the mo­tion. The CF-18 fighter jets de­ployed to the Middle East in 2014 ended their bomb­ing runs last month af­ter the Lib­er­als opted to fo­cus in­stead on train­ing lo­cal se­cu­rity forces and help­ing to re­build the shat­tered re­gion. The new mis­sion in­creases the com­ple­ment of mil­i­tary per­son­nel to 830 peo­ple, up from 650, to pro­vide plan­ning, tar­get­ing and in­tel­li­gence ex­per­tise. The “train, ad­vise and as­sist’’ mis­sion also triples in size, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional med­i­cal per­son­nel and equip­ment in­clud­ing small arms, am­mu­ni­tion and op­tics to as­sist in train­ing Iraqi se­cu­rity forces, mostly in the Kur­dish north. Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau has in­sisted from the out­set that the mis­sion does not con­sti­tute com­bat, al­though mil­i­tary of­fi­cials have ac­knowl­edged Cana­dian train­ers will likely face “en­gage­ments’’ with en­emy com­bat­ants.

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