Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: What's the Goal for Syria?

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: What's the Goal for Syria?

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: What's the goal for Syria?


An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Oct. 1 :

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will soon ask Parliament to sanction military action by the Canadian Forces in Syria. The approval, by vote in the Commons, is pretty much a foregone conclusion for whatever the majority government decides this country can contribute to the war against the Islamic State, extremists running roughshod over and terrorizing great swaths of Syria and Iraq.

But what is the plan?

And where will it take Canada? The goal of the West, led by the United States, in the Middle East is ill-defined, as murky as the strategy to get to some sort of an end-game in a region mired in a toxic sludge of warring of rebels, insurgents and extremists.

Mr. Harper has talked tough for years on Canada's commitment as a member of NATO, as a global defender of democratic ideals, and a stalwart ally in the fight against terrorism halfway across the world. This, from a government that has starved its forces of the critical new investments needed to replace aging equipment to be battle-ready.

The government is ready to spend the money to extend the life of the CF-18 fighter jet, a fleet of 77 entering the last years of its lifespan. Indeed, it appears Canada will agree to join the nations that have contributed toward air strikes and surveillance in Syria, the targeted bombing that seeks to keep IS from overrunning more ground in its goal to rule the region.

That will cost money, cash the Harper government has been reluctant to expend in its dogged pursuit of a surplus. Having done that now, there is wiggle room for re-invigorating the defence budget that, after a staged withdrawal from Afghanistan, weathered billions in cuts as the recession hit.

The details of resources and expenditures that may be committed is simply the starting point. Parliament must be given a full and generous debate. And the Harper government must be ready with honest answers so the opposition parties can make an informed decision. …

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