Produced by General Dynamics in Brampton, Ontario, Canada’s Coyote is widely considered to be the best desert fighting vehicle on the market, with the flexibility to serve as forward operating bases, surveillance platforms and airfield defence posts. Canadians worked out the bugs and perfected their use in Afghanistan. The Trudeau Liberals have yet to approve a 100-Coyote sale to the Saudi government. –Military Today photo
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in Quebec City on Friday for a North American Foreign Ministers meeting, came close to confirming something I heard earlier in the week – that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is expected to announce it will be committing a significant ground force to the ISIS mission, most likely in northern Iraq.(http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2682797614)
According to DND sources, 600 Special Forces members are training for the mission although to judge by vague government responses during Question Period, Parliament is being kept in the dark.
“The Government of Canada has made the decision to put boots on the ground Liberals one more time seem to be preparing to send hundreds of Canadians into a war zone without a national debate,” a usually reliable source told me during the course of the week.
Once we get past Kerry’s “outside effort” gaffe at last Friday’s meeting, take note of his carefully phrased hint at a 180-degree shift in the Trudeau Liberals’ Mideast mission strategy:
“…I am absolutely confident from my conversation with Stéphane (Canada’s International Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion) that the Prime Minister and his security team are working on ways to continue the contribution and to make a significant contribution to our efforts in a way that will make a difference. We have every confidence that Canada will do that, so while they have made a choice with respect to one particular component of that effort, that does not reflect on the overall commitment or capacity to contribute significantly to the road ahead and we are confident that they will.”
Even the Liberals’ campaign promise to bring home the six CF-18s, infight refuelling tanker and Orion trackers may be on the table. My sources tell me Canada now has nine CF-18s in country, with three additional fighters now prepositioned for arrival of the special forces contingent. They also tell me redeployment isn’t on the agenda at the operational level until March. Does that sound like Ottawa is in any rush to bring them home?
Kerry also elaborated on an upcoming meeting of 24 nations in Rome “in order to talk about the road ahead.” This, too, is a shift in light of Canada’s humiliating exclusion from U.S. Secretary of State Aston Carter’s Daech bull session, where even the do-nothing Swedes and Danes were at the table.
…which brings us to another comment made Friday, from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Sajjan was referring to the “ripples” – fallout from some of Canada’s defence and development strategies in Syria and Afghanistan helping to create corruption fuelling the insurgencies Canada is paying to put down.
Hmm. New foreign-aid priorities and a federal budget in March. All this says to me the Trudeau Liberals are laying the political groundwork for a major policy shift that will encompass defence and international aid. I recall former Liberal PM Paul Martin’s vision of a Canadian task force that could be dropped anywhere in the world to deal with humanitarian crises, be they in Darfur, Afghanistan, Nepal or Thailand.
On Monday I’ll see if I can prod some reaction out of DND and the PMO. But remember you read it here first – 600 pairs of boots on the ground, plus the Strykers, Coyotes and logistics backup a force that size would need.
All without the benefit of a Parliamentary stamp of approval.
Heck, even Stephen Harper made sure he got that before he told the Americans.