Canada off to war: Harper sends troops to fight Islamic extremists
"Cowering in a bunker is not an option for Canada” says Foreign Minister John Baird
The Harper government took center stage Friday afternoon at the UN Security Council in New York, as Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird affirmed support on the global fight against ISIL militants in Syria and Iraq.
Baird said earlier this week that “Cowering in a bunker is not an option for Canada.”
While Canada is not a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Baird was invited to address today’s meeting as a key partner in the international coalition which President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are trying to build.
“This is not somebody else’s problem. We must work together” said Baird, outlining Canada’s commitment this afternoon.
“For Canada’s part, we are supporting those in the front line against ISIL with the deployment of advisers and the delivery of equipment. We are also funding regional efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters. And we are, of course, assisting with urgent humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of those who have fled ISIL’s barbarity.”
69 'non-lethal' troops on the way
Prime Minister Steven Harper has committed 69 Canadian Forces members to the region to advise and assist the Kurdish Peshmurga forces. In addition, Canada has provided “non-lethal” security assistance to security forces in Iraq - sending logistics support vehicles, helmets and body armour to support security forces – and also contributing $28 million towards the humanitarian efforts.
Baird did not address any timelines of additional support or response to further threats by ISIL on the U.S. or its allies -- which could lead to threats against Canadians on home soil.
Earlier this week in Ottawa, Baird stated the importance for Canada to support is allies in their mission to combat ISIL- but wouldn’t bow to NATO’s request for allies to send F-18 fighter jets to the region at this point. “We’ll obviously stay focused on what was committed to do at this stage” he said.
“We think it’s imperative that we stand with the civilized world to try to combat and defeat this evil. Last year, the scourge of terrorism was a major issue. This year unfortunately, it’s going to be even higher on the agenda.”