OTTAWA — The Harper government is leaving the door open to targeting groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as part of its expanded mission in the Middle East.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson — who was supposed to have been joined by Defence Minister Jason Kenney — told a news conference today that Canada’s fight is against ISIL.
But asked specifically about going after other groups, he stuck to talking points about ISIL being the main target.
“Our focus has been ISIL. We have been very clear from the start on that,” Nicholson said.
“We have had an outstanding record these past six months, a record we can be very, very proud of. Our commitment is to degrade ISIL. We have been very clear on that, and that will be the focus of our operations in the region.”
Nicholson spoke a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed to expand and extend Canada’s war against ISIL to include air strikes on extremist positions in Syria.
The new government motion detailing that proposed expansion seeks Parliament’s blessing to extend the mission “to a date not beyond March 30, 2016.”
The motion, to be voted on by members of Parliament next week, will be debated beginning on Thursday.
Both NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau say their parties will vote against the motion.