On Keeping One’s Word

Kuwait. 7 November 2014 – A Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 Fighter jet in Kuwait is armed and ready for a combat mission over Iraq during Operation IMPACT. (Photo IS2014-7533-01 by Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND)To my fellow Canadians who wish that our government had kept our CF-18s bombing the Islamic State in the Middle East: Prime Minister Trudeau has kept true to his campaign promises:

We will immediately begin an open and transparent review process of existing defence capabilities, with the goal of delivering a more effective, better-equipped military.
To help regional and local partners prevent the spread of terrorism and radicalization, we will vastly increase the scope of training assistance missions.
We will end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq.
We will refocus Canada’s military contribution in the region on the training of local forces, while providing more humanitarian support and immediately welcoming 25,000 more refugees from Syria.
I wish we’d kept our CF-18s in the Middle East, but Prime Minister Trudeau had to keep his word, as he has done thus far on many of his campaign promises to date. I might not agree with the decision, but I do support and respect it. Plus, so we don’t appear complete freeloaders on the Allies’ backs, we are supporting Allied air strikes on the logistical and intelligence side of things (refueling and surveillance), and we have bolstered boots on the ground efforts to train Kurdish forces. The training component speaks to fulfilling the Liberal platform of increasing the “scope of training assistance missions,” and which I would take this particular detail to be.
Don’t knock the man for keeping his word and for managing to find a middle ground of sorts whereby which he can save face to this electorate and to key allies. Moreover, let’s bear in mind that the scope of the government’s mission in Iraq and Syria can always change, and is likely to change, which may mean a return of our air crews to the Middle East in one form or another.
Lastly, let’s hope that the Liberal promise of purchasing new fighter jets ties into this withdrawal, as the timing would be a perfect opportunity to see the procurement process through to a positive outcome of new fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force, training of crews for the new jets, and subsequent deployment into a revised or new combat mission. This sort of scenario might well take Canada into 2017, and the timeline for reviewing Canada’s commitment to fighting ISIS in the Middle East.
Food for thought.
PS: @JustinTrudeau : when will you be announcing the promised changes for Canada’s veterans?
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