Febraury 12th, 2016 - MP Cheryl Gallant Concerned New Defence Policy of Retreat Comes at a High Price

I am adding my voice to the concern the decision to cancel air support for our soldiers on the ground in Iraq jeopardizes their safety and will cost lives.

The spouses and children of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) are my constituents. I am deeply concerned about the decision to remove air support while at the same time increasing the number of soldiers on the ground. Those soldiers are from Garrison Petawawa. They know I have their back even if the current Prime Minister does not.

This week, the Liberals unveiled their revamped “non-combat” mission to battle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, including a plan to increase the number of Canadian Special Forces in northern Iraq. In a role similar to Afghanistan, those troops will train, advise and aid Kurdish forces fighting ISIL. That will include directing airstrikes and eliminating enemy positions using other weapons if necessary.

We all remember the politically motivated decision by the previous Liberal government to cancel the Sea King replacement helicopters. When our soldiers were first sent to Afghanistan they were forced to use roads lined with bombs, with the resulting loss of life.

Once elected, our Conservative government provided strategic lift. The casualty rate dropped.

The Liberal government’s plan to allow Special Forces to continue on the front lines in Iraq calling in airstrikes is the same sort of mission that a year ago Trudeau denounced as combat.

It was absolutely mis-leading to Canadians to characterize the presence of CF-18 Jets as combat. As recently as December, CF-18 Canadian Fighter Jets provided ground cover to protect Canadian soldiers. Now those jets are gone. The reality is our coalition partners will protect their own soldiers first before coming to Canada’s defence.

In mid-December, Trudeau flip-flopped on what is combat. Under a Liberal government, Canadian Special Forces were involved in a day-long pitched battle as they joined with Kurdish troops to push back ISIL gunmen. The Canadians were fired on and fired back.

Rather than wasting billions of dollars on UN pet projects to buy a seat on the UN Security Council, the money would be better spent on equipment that keeps our soldiers safe when we send them into harm’s way.

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