WILL CANADA’S NEW PRIME MINISTER WEAKEN MILITARY ALLIANCES?
As I previously mentioned in my article about the Canadian federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada ran on a platform to increase military spending while cutting nonessential positions and withdrawing from Canada’s contribution to the combat mission in Iraq and Syria. In October of 2015, newly elected Canadian Prime Minister (PM) Justin Trudeau confirmed that he would keep his campaign promise of withdrawing Canadian CF-18s from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS; in fact, his first move after the election was to call U.S. President Barack Obama and inform him of Canada’s pending withdrawal from combat operations in Syria and Iraq.
In Trudeau’s defense, he did acknowledge a need for military support in the region, but believes that Canada’s contribution would be more impactful by increasing the number of SOF troops on the ground in a training role for local forces. His hopes are to double the size of the SOF task force in the region, which would obviously be a welcomed addition to the fight against IS. So where does that leave Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces? It’s a difficult issue that is hotly debated among the Canadian public. Defence diplomacy and military assistance (DDMA) missions like this are very complex and most of Canada is unaware of all that goes into them. The approach to dealing with IS must be multifaceted.