NDP MPs hope Harper gives the Commons details about combat mission against ISIL

By on October 4, 2014

MP Peter Julian (Facebook photo)
MP Peter Julian (Facebook photo)

OTTAWA — The Opposition New Democrats say they hope the prime minister provides exact details today about the extent of a proposed combat role for Canada in northern Iraq.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to tell Parliament what military contribution his government is prepared to provide in the fight against the al-Qaida splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

NDP House leader Peter Julian says he wants specifics.

“We believe it is very important to have this debate, it is very important to have this vote, that’s what we’ve been calling for but most importantly the prime minister has to start answering questions about the scope of the mission, about the timeline of the mission and about Syria,” he said.

And Julian says he hopes the announcement includes a humanitarian component.

A Commons debate and vote on the motion to send troops into combat is expected for Monday.

Though parliamentary approval isn’t necessary to send soldiers into combat or to participate in airstrikes, Harper has repeatedly said he believes Parliament should be consulted.

The New Democrats haven’t entirely ruled out backing a combat mission.

Asked repeatedly Thursday about whether the party would support the mission, party leader Tom Mulcair noted that they had endorsed the first commitment of Canada’s military mission in Libya in 2011 when it was based on a UN resolution.

Though the Liberals say they, too, haven’t made up their minds, Leader Justin Trudeau says his inclination is that Canada should stick to humanitarian aid.

While he acknowledged that Canada has a duty to help deal with the “global security threat” posed by ISIL, Trudeau questioned whether deploying “a handful of aging war planes” is the best contribution Canada can make.