Add Ujjal Dosanjh to the list of Liberal luminaries who think Justin Trudeau should change his position on pulling Canada out of fight against ISIS.
In the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the pressure for Trudeau to abandon his plans to pull our CF-18s out of the bombing mission has come from allies such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama – not to mention Rona Ambrose the Conservative leader here at home.
More telling on the wrong headedness of Trudeau’s decision though is the number of Liberals lining up to say now is the time to reverse course.
In a blog post hours after news of the Paris attacks broke Dosanjh said that Canada was not immune to being attacked by those that attacked Paris. He pointed to the attacks of last October, the Toronto 18 plot, the Via Rail plot as proof.
“As a committed Gandhian I intensely disagree with war. But to shirk from a war being thrust upon us will be highly irresponsible,” Dosanjh wrote.
The former Liberal cabinet minister and British Columbia premier joins other Liberals such as former party leader Bob Rae and foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy in having called for Canada to use hard power against the aggressive force that is ISIS. Of course all three men have also long called for more diplomacy, more humanitarian aid but they also have urged Canada to do its part militarily.
Those calls from Liberal foes, friends and Canadian allies are falling on deaf ears.
Speaking to reporters Trudeau’s minister of finance Bill Morneau said the plan to pull the fighter jets home has not and will not change.
“We have not changed our decision at all,” Morneau said. “We have committed to bringing back the CF-18s. But in the broader context we remain absolutely committed to the coalition."
Committed to the coalition, just not the mission of the coalition. We shouldn’t be shocked by this stance from Trudeau’s government. When the world reacted to the massacre of Yazidi and Christian minorities, the rape and enslavement of women and children from these groups by stepping up the bombing campaign, Trudeau was still opposed.
“There's a lot of people, refugees, displaced peoples fleeing violence who are facing a very, very cold winter in the mountains,” Trudeau said one year ago. “If something Canada has expertise on is how to face a winter in the mountains with the right kind of equipment.”
Keep people warm while the rampaging armies close in, that was Trudeau’s strategy then and it isn’t much better now. Trudeau insists that Canada should train local forces but not offer them air support as they take the fight on the ground to ISIS.
It is the type of argument that would sit well with many on the left but not all. Globe columnist and committed lefty Lawrence Martin’s latest missive says Trudeau may be worried about looking like a flip-flopper if he changes his position but he shouldn't be.
“But when circumstances change, leaders of statesmanlike quality need to show a readiness to change with them. With the terror from Islamic State escalating, and with France promising to expand the war against the terror network, circumstances have indeed changed,” Martin wrote.
With the attacks in Paris, in Lebanon, the downing of Russian airliner in Egypt – all in the last two weeks – circumstances have changed. The war being waged on ISIS is being waged on all fronts, Canada is not immune and must be part of the solution.
Prime Minister Trudeau needs to make a statesman like pivot and do the right thing, join the rest of the civilized world in taking the fight back to ISIS.
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