Trudeau must have the courage of his convictions

trudeauandoathDespite Paris’ misery, Trudeau mustn’t fall into Harper’s old traps (Michael Harris, iPolitics, 15 November 2015).

In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, the Canadian neocons are out in full force, baying for Prime Minister Trudeau to renege on his promise to withdraw Canada from the bombing mission in Iraq and Syria. But Trudeau made this decision not because he discounted the threat that the Islamic State poses, but in the belief that there is a better, more effective role for Canada.

In place of the bombs, Trudeau offered three other ways Canada could contribute to the coalition effort: take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by year’s end; increase humanitarian aid to those displaced by the bitter civil war; and to train Kurds in Northern Iraq so that they could defeat the terrorists who have annexed other peoples’ lands to create their self-declared caliphate.

Michael Harris also examines a second challenge to the new government’s agenda, in particular its welcome commitment to open government – the call for a public inquiry in a recent report on Canada’s alleged complicity in the torture of Afghan detainees:

Why are the folks over at the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives asking for a public inquiry into this issue? For starters, because it has never been resolved. Despite the parliamentary testimony of diplomat Richard Colvin, the Harper government smothered every investigation into whether Canadian forces had committed war crimes by turning detainees over to Afghan authorities who then tortured them. Only 4,000 out of 40,000 documents Harper was ordered to hand over by the Speaker of the House of Commons were ever produced. That is called unfinished business.

But there is another reason. The Military Police Complaints Commission is investigating a new case to determine if Canadian soldiers abused and terrorized detainees at their Kandahar base. Accordingly, the Rideau Institute is asking for a judicial commission of inquiry into the detainee affair “into the actions of Canadian officials, including ministers of the crown…” The head of the Rideau Institute, Peggy Mason, a former UN diplomat, says that if Justin Trudeau is truly committed to transparency and accountability, this is the file to prove it on.

For the full article, click on: Despite Paris’ misery, Trudeau mustn’t fall into Harper’s old traps (Michael Harris, iPolitics, 15 November, 2015).

And for more discussion on Canada’s intended withdrawal from the anti-Islamic State bombing mission, listen to Peggy Mason and Tony Battista debating the issue on CBC Ottawa Morning. Click on Air strikes Against ISIS? (CBC Ottawa Morning, 15 November 2015)*.

*Regrettably, CBC Ottawa Morning does not maintain a full archive of past episodes so the link is no longer valid.


Photo credit: ShawGlobalNews



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16 Responses to “Trudeau must have the courage of his convictions”

  1. Hilda FranzNovember 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

    I whole heartedly support PM Trudeau’s decision to pull Canada out of the bombing missions in Iraq and Syria.

    I think some of the decisions made by the Harper administration in terms of lack of transparency and escalating active combat involvement have been more dangerous to the safety of Canadians than any refugees we may bring into this country. Even with the most sophisticated screening process, we are bound to end up with some people who may perhaps, at some point seem “dangerous”. Why should that surprise us? There are many people who have been born and raised in Canada who have chosen a “criminal” life style. However, positive policies of good will and trust are infinitely more healthy than paranioa.

    I’m sure the present administration will make some mistakes. However, it behooves us to commend PM Trudeau for the positive steps he has taken, and encourage his to lead with integrity, compassion and wisdom, rather than with knee jerk reactions of fear and distrust.

    • PJ RobertsonNovember 18, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      Well said. There’s more risk to life and limb on our highways, or crossing a busy street in a city.

  2. Ceasefire.caNovember 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I am very happy to say that Prime Minister Trudeau has indeed had the courage of his convictions. Today he confirmed that, while the training mission will be expanded, the fighter jets will be withdrawn. Regarding Christopher de Wirth’s comment about terrorists posing as refugees, this is an extremely unlikely scenario. Not only is there very rigorous screening both by the UN High Commission for Refugees and and by Canada, posing as a refugee is just about the worst way to infiltrate a country like Canada! A broader point needs to be made as well. We will not defeat the ideology that feeds violent extremism by becoming less tolerant ourselves.

  3. Raffi ArmenianNovember 17, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    I think it is the conservatives which need to explain to us what gains they have achieved in the fight against ISIS with their bombings. Let me give them some examples… The attacks in Paris, the downing of the Russian plane in the Sinai peninsula, Beirut, Ankara, Madrid to name a few obvious ones. All retaliations to the bombings. Remember in Physics we were taught “to every action there is a reaction”. This is a basic natural law and applies particularly strongly to primitive people like ISIS. Trudeau should stick to his guns and bring back the planes , he is sure to achieve more for a solution to the conflict by doing so.

  4. dimitriNovember 17, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    Most certainly, we are hopeful that the new PM Trudeau will withdraw the six bombers from the area and begin to patch together an image of Canada that promotes understanding and compassion for humanity.

    The West has created this chaos on the pretense of defending our values of freedom and democracy. The Middle East has become a cauldron of hate and desperation. The most recent deaths of 129 people and 350+ injuries in Paris is a terrible outcome, and we wish it to never come to our shores, but what about the lives of one million in Iraq and the 250,000 in Syria, and the untold MILLIONS who desperately want refuge from this horror? This War on Terror is not working folks! It is a false and disingenuous reason that serves the purpose of hegemony and control of resources by nefarious influences that are too many to list here.

    We must STOP THE MADNESS before this world descends into another global war!

  5. Pierre JasminNovember 17, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    Our publicity for this event (a showing of Guylaine Maroist’s film God save Justin Trudeau) reinforces our conviction (?) that he will keep his promise and withdraw the CF-18s!

  6. PJ RobertsonNovember 16, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    Absolutely, Michael Harris. Thank you for your dose of sanity.

    Bring in the refugees; simple humanity demands it (quite apart from the long-term economic benefits they will bring); after careful screening, of course–which is precisely what John McCallum, Ralph Goodale and their colleagues are emphasizing. Stick to bringing back the CF-18s; bombing isn’t the answer; it hasn’t stopped ISIS; instead it’s a waste of resources and has resulted in civilian casualties and a worsening humanitarian crisis.

    The only solution is getting major powers and the Middle East neighbourhood (excepting ISIS) around a table to solve Syria and Iraq, so that ISIS can be confronted in isolation. In the meantime, let us, as Trudeau proposes, help train the Kurds and their bona fide partners to take the fight to ISIS on the ground.

  7. Helen BrinkNovember 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    After the many failed attempts at changing the governance of other countries through military means, surely it is time to try another way. US-led military adventures in Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, Libya and Syria have all led to humanitarian disasters. Prevention is always preferable to cure. Think how much could have been done in the way of education, health care and infrastructure for the amount we have poured into fighting these endless wars, both at home and in the trouble spots. These are the things that give hope to a society, a hope so much needed by the young to prevent them from becoming suicide bombers or worse.

    • MaryleeNovember 17, 2015 at 9:24 am #

      I agree with Helen. We also become friends, not enemies.

  8. Mark CollinsNovember 16, 2015 at 7:48 pm #

    On the other hand unless one is de facto pacifist (note “Comments”):

    “#ParisAttacks, or, Possible PM Trudeau Volte Face on Ending RCAF’s Bombing ISIS”


  9. Christopher de Hrussoczy WirthNovember 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    While I wholeheartedly support withdrawal from active military participation in sovereign nations, I am concerned about wholesale importation of terrorists, posing as refugees. Thanks the decrepit foreign policies of the previous, corrupt administration, all Canadians are serious risk of being victims of terrorists attacks on and Canadian soil and abroad.

    While we must help legitimate refugees, we also need to exercise a cautious approach. Rushing to bring in a target number of refugees, to meet election promises, at the expense of safety of Canadians, is not acceptable. Extraordinary precautions must be taken to avoid allowing violent radicals from arriving, at our expense. I would urge nothing less than a parole style system of monitoring those people who arrive here as refugees, for an extended period of time.

    If we want to start reversing the damage done by rogue neo-con policies, perhaps we should charge the perpetrators with Treason and put them on public trial, with the world watching.

  10. Labhu VyasNovember 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    We should help train their army but we should keep off from our engagement in war.

  11. Howard A. DoughtyNovember 16, 2015 at 6:29 pm #

    The only quarrel I have with this is the assumption that Mr. Trudeau actually has convictions and not just progressive-sounding talking points that are almost infinitely interchangeable and wholly negotiable. The Prime Minister is, after all, a Liberal and therefore associated with people and with a tradition with “convictions” that are, to be kind, a little soft.

    Or, as someone once said, “I have my principles! … And, if you don’t like them, I have *other* principles.”

    • PJ RobertsonNovember 16, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

      How condescending! To succeed as a teacher you have to have convictions as well as the courage of them; or you’re toast.

    • Arlene McGinnNovember 17, 2015 at 7:41 am #

      I couldn’t agree more Howard. We will now see whether Trudeau is the leader (who is not wishy-washy in his beliefs) or, if the strings of the party are controlled by the usual hidden forces behind the crown.


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