What's everyone been talking about?
ISIS (what else is new) but more importantly, what Canada is going to do about the terrorist problem. Finally, after weeks of anticipation, Justin Trudeau broke the silence and announced a detailed plan on Canada's mission in Iraq and Syria.
OMG What did he say?
As anticipated, Trudeau announced that the 6 Canadian fighter jets currently being used to bomb ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq will stop their bombing mission by February 22nd. However, Trudeau also announced that Canada will continue to operate 1 refueling aircraft and up to 2 surveillance aircraft. In addition to the air support, Trudeau said he will triple the number of military trainers Canada has in northern Iraq and increase the overall number of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed as part of the coalition mission. During these announcements Trudeau stated that "the military mission will be engaged for at least two years" and that he would re-evaluate Canada's involvement at that time.
How did everyone take the news?
Public opinion continues to be mixed on the appropriate action Canada should be taking with the fight against ISIS. However, this news is likely to be well received by Liberal supporters since stopping the bombing campaign was one of Trudeau's election promises. As for the USA, they were surprisingly happy with the new mandate and even went so far as calling it "a model for other countries looking to take the fight to ISIS." The move was also regarded as a "great call" by Steve Day, the former top commander of Canada's elite JTF2 special operations force.
Not everyone was smiling...
Despite the positive feedback, some people weren't so happy. Interim Conservative Party Leader, Rona Ambrose, was very vocal in her criticism, saying that "Mr. Trudeau doesn't think it's [Canada's] fight" and that "If he doesn't think that we should use our military against this group, I don't know when he thinks we would ever use our military. It's shameful, it's absolutely shameful." Meanwhile, the NDP's foreign affairs critic, Hélène Laverdière, called the new mission "open-ended" and questioned what role the additional Canadian troops would be playing once on the ground.
In Other News...
Mulcair was pointing fingers
The leader of the NDP party, Thomas Mulcair, has been relatively quiet since the election that saw his party lose 51 seats and fall from second to third-place. However, Mulcair broke his silence surrounding what went wrong and acknowledged he is partially to blame for the loss. Amongst other reasons, Mulcair strongly attributed the poor performance to his stance on the niqab issue which, according to him, cost the party up to 20% support in Quebec. This explanation comes at a time when Mulcair is actively trying to keep his leadership position and is just 2 months away from a mandatory leadership review.
Trudeau says it's time for an upgrade
As the Prime Minister marked his 100th day in office, he also announced he would be appointing a new Governor General in 2017. The current Gov. Gen. is David Johnson; he was appointed by former-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2010 for a five-year term and agreed to a two-year extension in 2015. Trudeau says that once the term has ended in September 2017 he expects to appoint someone "who looks like Canada, who understand the extraordinary diversity of Canada and highlight the amazing fact that Canada is one of the few (places) in the world that is made stronger because of its differences." He also acknowledged the "exceptional job" Johnson is doing and noted that he'll be leaving big shoes to fill.
Thanks For Reading.