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Canada Participates in Just 3% Coalition Airstrikes Against ISIL in Iraq and Syria

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Fight Doesn’t Match Tory Rhetoric: Canadian military aircraft have flown 1,320 sorties, or individual missions, over Iraq and Syria since last year. That accounts for 2.7 per cent of the 47,705 total sorties flown by coalition aircraft since the war against ISIL started.

Despite Conservative warnings about the “horrific” threat posed by the ISIL, new figures show Canadian military aircraft have conducted less than three per cent of all coalition missions in Iraq and Syria.

“Comparing Canada’s contribution to other allies is difficult because each participating country reports differently. But defence expert David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says Canadian aircraft flew about six per cent of all coalition missions during the war in Libya, and about 10 per cent in Kosovo.”

The war against ISIL figured prominently on the campaign trail Monday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper used a stop in Markham, Ont. to pledge that a re-elected Conservative government would provide more assistance for religious minorities and refugees in the Middle East.

Harper went on to criticize Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair for promising to end Canada’s participation in the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIL, saying that humanitarian aid alone won’t solve the crisis.

“What is happening in the areas controlled by (ISIL) is really something we have not seen in millennia. It’s just beyond horrific,” he said, adding, “We are a country that can contribute militarily and in the humanitarian sense, and we are doing both.”

But a Citizen analysis raised questions about whether Canada’s military contributions in the fight against ISIL match Harper’s warnings.

Defence Department figures show Canadian military aircraft have flown 1,320 sorties, or individual missions, over Iraq and Syria since last year. That accounts for 2.7 per cent of the 47,705 total sorties flown by coalition aircraft since the war against ISIL started.

Comparing Canada’s contribution to other allies is difficult because each participating country reports differently. But defence expert David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says Canadian aircraft flew about six per cent of all coalition missions during the war in Libya, and about 10 per cent in Kosovo.

Canada has six fighter jets, two surveillance aircraft and an air-to-air refuelling plane tasked with fighting ISIL in Iraq and Syria. It deployed a similar contingent to bomb Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s troops in 2011, and started with six fighter jets bombing Serbian targets in Kosovo in 1999, before expanding to 18.

Perry said he was surprised that Canada hadn’t done more in Iraq and Syria, and wondered why Canadian military aircraft would have done more to topple Gadhafi when the Conservative government has identified ISIL as a much more dangerous threat….(read more)

NationalPost.com

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