2-year extension of Iraq mission lacks transparency and oversight

SD hosts Canadian minister of defenseIn a June 29th press release, the Department of National Defence announced a two year, $371 million extension to the Canadian mission in Iraq. The mission will now run until at least March 2019 and gives Defence Chief General Jonathan Vance authority to “deploy capabilities as needs arise,” including the option of sending up to 850 military personnel to the region.

The opaque way in which the Trudeau government announced this important decision belies its stated commitment to government transparency and accountability. It came after Parliament had recessed for the summer, two days before Canada’s 150 celebrations kick off, and without having been mentioned, let alone debated, in Parliament.

 “This major extension comes amid serious questions about the nature of the mission…It is deeply troubling that the Liberal government made this announcement after the House of Commons has adjourned for the summer.” (NDP leader Tom Mulcair)

While Canada’s primary role in the region in past years has been to train Kurdish forces in combat techniques, the new extension acknowledges that the mission will undergo significant changes in coming months and opens the door for training “new potential partners within the Iraqi security forces.”

 “As the situation on the ground evolves, we must continually re-evaluate how Canada’s military can be most effective in support of the Coalition. I am confident these additional authorities will help us be more agile and flexible as we respond to the needs of our allies and partners.” (General Jonathan Vance)

Canada’s non-combat “advise-and-assist” role in Iraq has already been repeatedly called into question, most recently after reports revealed that a Canadian Special Forces sniper set a world record for longest confirmed kill last month against an ISIS militant.

Canadian forces in Iraq face a dangerous and ever-changing security situation. Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate has been shrinking rapidly, having lost 47% of its territory since January 2017, and it is expected that Mosul, their last major stronghold, will be retaken in the next few days.

 “The situation on the ground in Iraq is about to radically change with the impending demise of the territorial phase of the Islamic State enterprise. Canadian military trainers will find themselves not only confronting a diffused Islamic state insurgency but a Kurdish independence movement and deep sectarian divisions between the Shia-controlled Iraqi government and the Sunni majority population.” (RI President Peggy Mason)

This is precisely the kind of changed circumstances that requires a full debate and discussion in Parliament, following a detailed review and assessment in the Standing Committee on National Defence.

Instead the Trudeau government appears to be following President Trump’s lead – avoiding scrutiny by delegating authority for updating the mission in light of evolving circumstances to the Canadian military.

For the Rideau Institute press release, click: here.

Photo credit: U.S. DOD


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6 Responses to “2-year extension of Iraq mission lacks transparency and oversight”

  1. Michael C DunneJuly 4, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    I did not always agree with his decisions but at least the man who said “Just watch me” was a leader and saw Canada as a modern independent nation needing no direction from Washington or London. His actions were also, sometimes comically, transparent.

    Canada has selected, using a mob rule electoral system, a sneak thief to represent the Monetary Feudal Oligarchy who, under direction from his masters, has been ordered to take actions that will destroy our reputation, integrity, and independence and make the world a more dangerous place so that the Military Industrial Complex may continue unhindered.

    The name worked for the Whigs but it is now obvious that we simply replaced Blue Neocons with Red Neocons and this pale imitatation, PM Selfie, is no PET or leader.

  2. jay teeJuly 3, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

    Once again Canada is a cog in the American /NATO war machine under dictatorial command from Washington in its mad pursuit of global hegemony. No country has ever posed a threat to Canadian national security, except of course USA uber alles!

    • Canada JoeJuly 8, 2017 at 2:56 am #

      Yeah, not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union….

  3. Paul R. MaasJuly 3, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    One more confirmation that in our zeal to get rid of Harper we were “conned” into electing Harper-lite with curly hair!

  4. DemetriosJuly 3, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    If the Canadian military was in Iraq as observers to make sure no atrocities were committed by ISIS, NATO, Iraqi troops, the Kurds and the Americans, I would endorse the effort wholeheartedly, but I fear we’re going in because we are stooges for the Americans and NATO.

    What we seem to have here is a long tradition of being Canadian wuss bags, who go along with whatever the Big Players want. It’s time for us to take control of our own destiny, but our “colonial” status and our intimidating proximity to the USA are what started all this whimpery. PM Trudeau is becoming a huge let down by not having the cojones to stand up for what is right instead of kowtowing to the big cheeses. As usual we voted for change, and all we get is mostly the same old superficial crap.

    Stop the wars and fight for peace, for humanity and the ecology of our planet, before it’s too late!


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