Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada will contribute to fighting the threat posed by ISIS — but says Canadians do not need to fear the militant group. Sajjan also laughs at the reputation he’s been given as a “badass.”
By Susan Ormiston
Nov 12, 2015
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“ISIS is a threat, no doubt about that. Should we fear it? No. The Canadian population should have full confidence in all the security services to keep us safe.”
In an exclusive wide-ranging interview with CBC News, Sajjan said the government is in discussions over what role Canada will take in the fight against ISIS, but that there was no date yet for withdrawing Canada’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Iraq.
Asked whether the Canadian flights might continue to the end of the current commitment in March 2016, Sajjan said Canada is in discussions with its allies.
Pressed whether Canada has been asked to continue its contribution to the bombing mission, Sajjan again said he wanted “to make sure that we have good discussions with our allies before we make a decision.”
The Department of National Defence said in a statement today that two Canadian fighter jets took part in coalition air strikes earlier in the day in support of Iraqi forces, striking an ISIS ammunitions cache near Sinjar in Iraq.
Capt. Kirk Sullivan said Canada’s mission would continue “for the time being under the mandate previously directed by government.”
“The Canadian Armed Forces stands ready to implement government of Canada direction when it comes and will liaise with coalition partners to investigate options, and transition our military operations in the region,” Sullivan said.
Sajjan said that in confronting ISIS, there is more that can be done.
“We need to get better as an international coalition … better at looking at the threats early on, to making sure that we identify them early so they don’t balloon into these big threats,” he said.
“They were smaller at one time, we need to get better at identifying the subtle indicators so we might be able to have dealt with it diplomatically.”