Canada to Contribute Airpower to ISIS Fight

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Oct. 3 he would commit Canada’s armed forces to support the US-led coalition air strikes against ISIS terrorists in Iraq, including attack aircraft and aerial refueling capability. Harper is seeking Parliament’s support for an initial six-month deployment. “We will strike ISIL where, and only where, Canada has the clear support of the government of that country,” he said in his Oct. 3 address in Ottawa. “At present this is only true in Iraq,” he added, though he did not dispel future involvement in coalition strikes in Syria. In addition to a contingent of CF-18 fighters, the deployment will include one aerial refueling tanker and two Aurora surveillance aircraft, as well as support personnel and crews, he noted. In a separate statement, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lt. Gen. Yvan Blondin, declared the capabilities of the RCAF’s CF-18s “enable them to effectively serve alongside the fighter aircraft being flown by allies in the fight against ISIL.” Harper’s motion was under debate in the Parliament on Monday, but is widely expected to pass as his Conservative Party holds a majority.