11.16.2015 08:14 AM

Poll: what should we do about ISIS and the refugees?

In the past week or so, nearly 600 people have been murdered by ISIS or its affiliates – in Kenya, Lebanon, France and on a Russian airliner. The battle, once mainly confined to Iraq and Syria, is no longer. As I wrote in Unholy Alliances 23 years ago, outlaw Islamist nations will always export war to Western democracies, because they feel they have a divine mandate to do so. We are at the start of a potentially 1,000-year military struggle – a Crusades in reverse.

So, what should we do? Since Friday night, everyone I have met has mentioned the Paris attacks, Canada’s role in Obama’s coalition, the 25,000 Syrian refugees, or some combination thereof. And, since Friday night, no one has known what to do.

Justin Trudeau, as a Prime Minister leading a majority government, has a clear mandate: to withdraw from the air campaign against ISIS, and to get 25,000 Syrian refugees here before year end.  You may not like that, but that’s what he was elected to do.

As regulars know, I strongly – strongly – disagreed with the former promise, and was somewhat skeptical about the latter. I disagreed with the withdrawal promise because I have always felt that, when genocide is taking place on a wide scale, we have an obligation to react with more than mere words. And I was skeptical about the refugee promise because I felt – as do most refugee settlement agencies – that it is impossible to humanely settle that many people in that short period of time.

But that’s me. What do you think? Already, Liberal-friendly pundits – here and here and here – are suggesting that Trudeau must reconsider. Personally, I’m not so sure: notwithstanding what I feel, and what I said above, I am above all a democrat – and Trudeau’s position was clear, and it was legitimized by the millions of votes he received. He has a mandate.

That said, this poll, to give others their say. I’ve tried to give what I think are the real options; if I’ve left any out, I apologize. But by all means, let me know what you think.

96 Comments

  1. Reginald says:

    You left out one of the most important options: it is possible to continue the bombing mission and work towards the 25,000 commitment.

  2. Derek Pearce says:

    Or, stop the bombing. bring in the refugees, and (told you so! 😉 ) do what was more productive all along:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/special-forces-isis-iraq-combat-1.3318451

  3. Let’s not let an election win whitewash relevant realities.

    Trudeau’s position was clear. That didn’t make it right or well-informed. In many cases, it appeared he said whatever he thought he needed to say to get votes. And he has just enough pride to not want to reverse a single one of those things.

    Trudeau got the votes, but he certainly did not get them all because of those promises. In fact, he might have gotten many of them despite it. Many people appeared to be convinced that “since every politician lies,” it makes no difference what he says, just “heave Steve”. In short, Trudeau does not by any means have a clear mandate. He has a clear majority. It is potentially more fool Canadians for doing that, rather than ensuring some aspects of his somewhat over-stated agenda could be held in check.

    But, it is what it is, and Trudeau will either stick to his guns (or lack thereof, so to speak) out of pride, integrity or delusion, or some combination thereof, or he will want to ensure he appears to do so while charting a new and necessary course to defend Canada and its allies. He (or his team) is, after all, a master of spin and will surely find a way to make this work out for him. I am inclined to think he will want to stick to his guns, and take the kudos and criticisms that go with it.

    Amongst your choices, though, I suspect what he should do is the last. After all, there is often nothing better than having someone else to blame for your change of mind. But, personally, I agree with Reginald — bring in the very-well-security-checked refugees, but also continue the attack on ISIL.

    • So, now that you corrected your poll while I was in the midst of writing that comment, when I refer to “last” it should now read “second last,” and when I say I agree with Reginald, I can now mean that I select your last option too.

  4. Kaplan says:

    All the “world has changed since Friday” stuff drives me nuts.

    Anyone who thinks the world changed apparently forgot about the Mumbai attacks in 2008 (or 9/11, or London, or Madrid, for that matter).

    The world has not changed. It’s been just as dangerous since 9/11, if not before. What needs to change is our collective response to these attacks. What we’ve done so far hasn’t worked.

  5. cgh says:

    Warren, what was left out of your list of choices was expanding the war effort regardless of what route is taken with respect to refugees. As your introductory remarks pointed out, accurately in my view, we are in a war whether we like it or not. And unlike in 1914 or 1939, our opponent has demonstrated an ability and a willingness to export its offensive capability anywhere in the world.

    As for genocide, some of us remember the events in Rwanda in the 1990s. Hundreds of thousands perished, and the United Nations was useless because of non-intervention and the blocking of any intervention by the United States. Bill Clinton would go on to say after his term in office was over that Rwanda non-intervention was the worst mistake he ever made.

    As far as future actions go, the government will really be on the spot and no fudging if France chooses to activate Article 5 of the NATO alliance. Does Canada believe in collective defence, or will it renege?

    • Scotian says:

      Ah, so history and my relatives all imagined those fifth columnists they helped get rid of before they did damage here in NA during WWII. Thanks for that correction, noted for future reference, of course, presuming someone else does not edit your edit away.

      Seriously, Hitler and the Nazis were clearly willing to export their offensive capabilities worldwide, it was a world war after all, they exported their ideology and their fifth columns sabateurs throughout the world as an offensive weapon in itself. So that part of your comment is clearly unsupported by the historical reality.

      As for not fighting genocide, again, we are not pulling out of the coalition, just out of the role we are clearly not well suited for and wasting resources with and moving them to resources and fighting tools we ARE good with, namely training and supporting local ground forces to fight ISIS. This is clearly not an abandonment of the fight nor in any way a betrayal of our commitment to fight in this coalition, and I for one am getting more than a little annoyed by this false portrayal of the air campaign as the only way to fight and our only coalition role. It might not be as muscular a role as you and others might prefer, but that does not make it any the less a real contribution to the total war fighting coalition!

      I really wish those that are saying we are abandoning our allies and pulling out of the coalition would stop with this clearly wrong and false statement! We are clearly NOT pulling out of the coalition, we are clearly staying in the fight with our training and supplying of local military forces, what we are not doing any more is wasting resources in an air war we are ill suited for and contributing next to no real amount to compared to the other partners who are clearly far better equipped for this role than we currently are! You want to say you think it isn’t enough, fine, that’s fair comment, but to claim we are pulling out entirely, surrendering, etc, that is NOT! This is far too serious an issue to be treated so cavalierly and with such contempt towards factual reality, and it needs to STOP!

      • Kelly says:

        Correct.

        Of course people without political scruples will use the tragedy to try to score cheap points against Trudeau. Jason Kenney should realize that his former boss’s actions on this file made us LESS secure. They made it MORE likely that these kinds of attacks would occur. Western bombing and meddling in the Middle East are at the root cause of ISIS. And Saudi Arabia has an awful lot to answer for, as well.

        But now we are stuck. Conservatives in a variety of countries soiled the sheets on this one and now something has to be done. A lot of people will be killed. Everyone will be less secure for a long time and a few people are going to get very, very, rich off of it.

      • cgh says:

        I agree with you, something indeed needs to stop. And it’s this:

        “…and moving them to resources and fighting tools we ARE good with…”

        It’s called running away and lying about it. The Japanese in 1943 when they were losing the war called what they were doing “Advance by turning”.
        The two of you are doing the same thing.

        • Scotian says:

          No, it isn’t.

          Just because you want to say it is does not change the actual facts on the matter. Now, if we were abandoning any military role whatsoever, and training and equipping local forces does count as such, then maybe you might have an argument. Since we aren’t abandoning that role but instead we are enhancing it, you don’t. Therefore your response is empty rhetoric full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

          Seriously, this lying about reality is a real annoying and offensive behaviour, especially on something as serious as this. We clearly are staying a part of the coalition, we are clearly working to enhance a military aspect, and we are clearly better suited to that role than the combat air element in both resources and functionality, and it is a far better use of our resources with a far greater enhancement factor in fighting this conflict than the combat air element of Canada in the coalition.

          So you can take your lies and peddle them among those that prefer to be lied to than to face harsh reality square in the face and actually deal with it. The rest of us will muddle through as best we can without such scintillating intellects that are so incapable of dealing with basic truth, fact, and honesty. I have no patience left anymore for those that refuse to deal honestly on things this serious and who seem more concerned with scoring partisan points than in actually facing reality as it is. It is possible to disagree with a position without having to lie about it, and this claim we are abandoning our allies, are “running away” like the Japanese as they retreated in WWII is a blatant LIE designed to discredit a legitimate and factual point of view. Not honest at all.

          • cgh says:

            “…and it is a far better use of our resources with a far greater enhancement factor in fighting this conflict than the combat air element of Canada in the coalition.”

            A claim you provide no support for whatsoever. And it’s only your unsupported allegation that we don’t belong in the air war. There’s quite a lot of armed forces personnel would probably disagree with you. So I’m curious about why you feel the need to degrade the capabilities of the RCAF. But I’m also curious as to why you wish to hand ISIS a propaganda victory. Finally, I’m curious as to just what it would take to get you off your soft power, military withdrawal position.

          • Scotian says:

            cgh:

            I’m replying to myself since I cannot to you in this chain, but my message is for me short and fairly simple. You are clearly misrepresenting aka LYING ABOUT my position and my words, and therefore you have shown yourself to be too dishonest to continue trying to have a principled and reasoned disagreement with. You cannot seem to stop your lying and putting words in people’s mouths that they did not say. This constant claim you make about how I and others are arguing for military withdrawal being the most blatant example, and if you cannot be honest on that most basic of facts then you are clearly not interested in anything resembling civil disagreement nor factual honesty and are clearly no longer worthy of serious consideration by anyone who cares for these things whatever their political persuasion.

            As for the part you quoted me on, my basis for that is shown by how much is spent on a per dollar basis in each aspect and the degree of military success each has had. From all public accounts we have been far more successful in our training Kurds to fight ISIS on the ground than we have with our bombing runs, and have done so at a far greater cost effectiveness as well, which is why I call the combat planes the worst bang for buck versus the training being best bang for buck. If you are actually serious about trying to maximize our impact and effectiveness in fighting ISIS then this is the standard that should count most for you, but since it clearly doesn’t your interests are clearly something else. Do your own research, the information is out there and not hard to find, that is if you are actually willing to see it instead of allowing your partisan blinders to shut out all that displeases you. Most people commenting here do not offer the sources for their POVs, they many times do not even offer the basis for their claims and accusations even without sourcing, so for you to be making such a big deal of me in this case again underscores your own desperation in deflection and dishonest debate once more.

            None of this has anything to do with soft power either, yet another LIE you advance. So all in all, you have shown your entire comment, YET AGAIN, to be nothing but lies and dishonesty being sound and fury signifying nothing. So you can continue to spout off on this, the record will show to any honest reader which one of us is playing fair with fact and which one of us is being blatantly dishonest, which is the only reason I came back with this response to your latest nonsense. One of the things I like most about Kinsella’s site is that once you publish here you cannot edit nor remove it later on your own, your record is there for good.

  6. Matt says:

    Keep bombing ISIL targets and keep the 25,000 refugee pledge BUT SLOW DOWN. In light of the confirmation one of the attackers got into Europe posing as a refugee, I’m sure Canadians will not be upset if his election promise for the refugee timeline is pushed back 3 months, 6 months or even longer to ensure all possible checks are done to ensure those coming are not security risks.

    Oh, and maybe Justin could start to act like a leader on the toplcs of security and ISIL instead of sending the FINANCE MINISTER out to answer questions about withdrawing from the bombing efforts

    http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/11/15/justin-trudeau-seeks-to-reassure-canadians-in-wake-of-paris-attacks.html

    “We remained committed to the coalition. We believe that we do need to be part of the fight to degrade and destroy ISIL,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who was left to field reporters’ questions on the issue Sunday.”

  7. doconnor says:

    One thing to keep in mind that is primarily a Sunni-Shea conflict and the attacks on the West are just a side show to provoke us into taking actions that benefit one side or the other.

    It didn’t take 1,000 year for Europe’s Protestant-Catholics conflicts to be settled. All it took is for the general population to get comfortable enough to stop worrying about religion. Now that the technology needed to achieve that has been invented it can be probably applied to the Middle East in as little as 50 years.

    Thank you for reminding us that there have been attacks in many different counties.

    • ottawacon says:

      Syria really has very little to do with Sunni/Shi’i politics, and it is a stretch to suggest that ISIS in Iraq is defined by that split. Most of the conflict between Sunni and Shi’i is between the Sunni and the ‘Twelvers’ branch of Shi’i belief, which is dominant in Iran and the Iraqi Shi’ite population. However, in Syria, Twelvers are a tiny percentage, around 3% or about the same as the Druze. The largest Shi’i sect in Syria is the Alawites (Assad is an Alawite), a group which has been regarded historically with suspicion by both Sunni and Twelvers. There are or were roughly three times as many Christians in Syria as Twelver Shi’ite, and more Christians than Alawites. Roughly 75% of Syrians are Sunni, and they are well-represented in the victims of ISIS.

      In Iraq, the Sunni versus Shi’i split is very real among the dominant population, with Shi’ites probably a narrow majority. But Sunnis are very much in the conflict against ISIS, arguably ISIS’s most determined regional opponent has been the Kurds, overwhelmingly a Sunni ethnic minority.

      The ISIS conflict is as much about the direction of Sunni Islam as anything, with ISIS adherents simply assuming that Shiites are heretical adherents to a false Caliphate.

      • Kelly says:

        On matters of religion, ISIS has more in common with Saudi Wahabists than anyone else. If someone took out Saudi Arabia, there would be a lot less Jihadi terrorism in the world. At the end of the day, Elon Musk probably has more to offer in the long term struggle for peace than NATO.

  8. Where should the refugees go? They have to go somewhere and there is no possible way to guarantee that one or one hundred refugees are a security risk. I think for the sake of our souls, we must save people’s lives. We have a chance to do something very good for the world, but there is risk. It’s important to note that ISIL is radicalizing and recruiting members via social media – that means that right now as we wring our hands over what should be done, radicalization of young men in Canada, France, the US, UK, continues and will continue. For me, that’s the greater security risk.

    I said this before in a previous blog post, Warren, the only thing that will stop ISIS is boots on the ground. The west isn’t yet ready to do that yet. The options are:

    a) Continue bombing as it gives the appearance of doing something
    b) Full scale boots on the ground war – NATO LED
    c) Get used to this new world we live in where atrocities like what happened in Paris will happen here in Canada and anywhere else someone is radicalized into carrying out acts of terror
    d) Massive beefing up on intelligence gathering. Restriction on civil liberties. Internet snooping legislation up the wazoo.
    e) Full scale boots on the ground war -UN LED (Which ain’t gonna happen because the UN is a dysfunctional mess)

    • Matt says:

      f) Actally follow through on all the tough talk the past few days.

      Remember when the Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a cage? Jordan promised they would be relentless if fighting ISIL.

      Two public state executions of suspected ISIL fighters who had already been sentenced to die, a few Jordanian planes bombed a couple ISIL targets, then……………. nothing.

  9. SG says:

    Agree completely. JT is fulfilling the election promises voted for by 39.47% of 68% of the electorate (funny how we never hear these things any more like we did in 2011?).

    I personally have no problem with pulling out of the ISIS air campaign as it is time for that region to sort out its own problems. Foreign policy is almost never a driver of party preference, so the political consequences of such a move are minimal. Moneys saved from leaving this coalition can be redirected towards intelligence and security to prevent Paris-style attacks on Canadian soil.

    The 25,000 refugee pledge is different because it impacts Canadians at home.

  10. Sean says:

    Most of the Liberal platform was produced in the throes of desperation, when no one thought the party would win. These policies were aimed at naive first time voters who don’t pay a lot of attention to public affairs. Canadians have no reasonable expectation that JT will follow through on any of this stuff.

  11. A. Voter says:

    Why not bomb the captured oil fields that are funding ISIS?

    • cgh says:

      You don’t need to bomb the oilfields, the refinery complex ISIS is using will do. Most of the oil went over a bridge over the Euphrates River. The Russians bombed it week before last and demolished it. Less than 12 hours later, the US bombed the refinery complex even though they’d known ISIS was using it for a couple of years. There’s a lot more than meets the eye about just what the US has been doing about ISIS for the last few years.

    • Matt says:

      The US hit something like 110 oil tankers last night that were being used by ISIL to get oil to market from wells they control.

  12. JH says:

    I agree with those who say that atrocities like Paris will be a continuing fact of life and can only get worse. If we don’t want to destroy ISIL root and branch as the saying goes, then we must be prepared to live with it, even in our own backyard. It’s just that black and white.
    And sure bring in legit refugees, after a complete vetting process.

  13. Jon Evan says:

    Vetting 25000 refugees in 45 days and with Minister Goodale saying: “Can we guarantee 100 per cent perfection? Is it absolutely foolproof? Nothing in life is 100 per cent.” This gives Canadians such reassurance!
    If he were rational and not partisan he would assure Canadians that in view of the timing we will see how many refugees can be safely vetted. This would have been more reassuring. Let’s show Canadians that sanity will prevail instead of like the previous gov’t’s mantra: “promises made promises kept”. That’s just juvenile Justin in this dangerous situation!

    • Matt says:

      Worse, they are talking now about rushing them here, then doing the security checks AFTER they’re already on Canadian soil.

      What could possibly go wrong.

  14. Mike says:

    Why not an option of helping the refugees where they are residing, through UN and Red Crescent, etc.. Seems like a better value on the humanitarian dollar and a chance for these people to actively rebuild their societies, cultures and countries. Bringing 25,000 , en masse, to a foreign (and mildly receptive) country with foreign culture, customs and a secular society seems like a recipe for much future friction, disenfranchisement and human misery.

  15. gyor says:

    We can’t let a few radicals zealots dicate Canadian policy, if it was the right policy before the Paris attack, its the right policy afterwards.

  16. smelter rat says:

    NO ONE has ever suggested not properly vetting refugees. Gawd i’m tired of that old canard.

    • DougM says:

      Actually Citizenship and Immigration Canada told the incoming government last week that they can’t do it and could they drop the number down to 7,000 by year’s ends.

    • grant says:

      so how exactly do you think that is gonna work? it is impossible to properly vet these people at all….there are no records etc. to do so….the u.s. is saying they cannot even verify their names for the most part. so that old canard is actually truth.

  17. Tim says:

    Slow the hell down, Trudeau! Moving 25,000 people in 7 weeks is very difficult from a logistical, bureaucratic, and security stand point. These people are out of (relative) harms way in refugee camps. I’m sure living in a refugee camp is terrible, but the basic necessities of life exist there and if it allows us time to create the necessary social supports while conducting security checks, everyone wins. They’ll have a better life and integration into Canadian society. This stuff takes time to set up. If a terrorist gets through and blows something up, everyone loses. The refugees lose because it’ll breed Islamic hatred (likely radicalizing more people) and Canadians lose for other obvious reasons. There’s no valid reason to maintain this dumb arbitrary date of December 31st. Do it right!

  18. PJ says:

    I would have liked to have seen one more category…….stop the bombing, but slow down the immigration process until the 25,000 refugees are properly vetted.

  19. Brooke V says:

    So what would happen if France does indeed invoke article 5 of Nato ? Will Justin ignore treaty obligations re NATO or still withdraw.

    • Peter says:

      Article 5 mandates a collective response, but not necessarily a commitment to armed conflict. There is plenty of room for Trudeau to distance himself from those war-mongering Cons and slap an unsuspecting ISIS down with some of that good old Canadian soft power. Endless proclamations of empathy with foreign victims (preferably in their language), training others to fight for us in the hope ISIS won’t notice, conflict-resolution seminars, flooding social media with proclamations of solidarity, stern UN resolutions, tax credits for flowers and teddy bears laid at embassies. Man, have they taken on the wrong country!

    • The Doctor says:

      Justin will offer all aid short of help.

  20. Rich says:

    Concerning vetting.

    Some hard answers need to be found to some probing ,specific questions about vetting refugees. There seems to be the view that this process will ‘clear” incoming refugees and somehow weed out those who are deemed a risk.
    I suggest that the refugees in Syria are not all Syrian but from across the ME and a goodly number of them do not have papers of any kind, this was reported already on the TV news. Yes, many are fleeing the violence but many are economic refugees . In addition, there is no guarantee that the governments of the countries from which they come have any useful information about them.
    In short , our governments statements that we will have a vetting process in place does not in any way guarantee that this process will , at any level, be effective.
    Common sense says that this task presents insurmountable problems in my view.
    Time for our investigative journalists to ask a load or probing questions and actually dig into the vetting process to see if anything is really working and determine if what the government claims about the vetting process is anywhere close to reality.
    Consider what would we have to lose by a botched , cobbled together, or useless vetting process. Right now, we are getting “crickets” and bumpf designed to “sell” the process.

  21. EB says:

    I won’t select any option in your poll, because frankly, I don’t have a clue what the right answer is.

    Rosie DiManno wrote in the weekend paper that now was not the time for Canada to “Cut and Run”, and that our effort was not symbolic. I would argue the opposite, our contribution is largely symbolic, and other than political cover (principally for the Americans), our CF-18s would not be missed.

    To my mind, the Americans have the ability to annihilate the whole Middle East 10 times over, and could do it in a long weekend. That suggests that they/we are not willing to do what it takes to deal with the problem. And, maybe that is a good thing, because from a societal point of view, we care about civilian / collateral damage. However, our enemy does not have the same care. Indeed, their entire strategy is about imposing collateral damage wherever they can.

    What I do know, is that what we have been doing from Iraq, to Afghanistan, and now to Syria and more, what we have been doing has not worked. As I have posted before, we have been playing “Whack-A-Mole” in the Middle East for about two decades. The only self-evident truth is that it appears that each new mole that pops up is worse than the previous one.

    We are ridiculed for discussing root causes and comprehending how we got to where we are today, and apparently at a loss for how to proceed. The efforts expended so far is supposed to contain the terrorists and prevent their expansion. That doesn’t seem to be working, as Paris demonstrates to tragic effect.

    Should Trudeau bring the CF-18s out of this conflict? Unless someone gets serious about annihilating the enemy, perhaps he should. The current mission just seems to be a continuation of a failed strategy.

    If you want something more than symbolism, leave the CP140 aircraft in place. From what I am being told, they have state-of-the-art surveillance equipment on them, and they are being effectively used to find targets.

    • Matt says:

      If it’s merely symbolic, I disagree as our jets have flown about 1000 sorties (granted, not all involved actually dropping bombs) then what is the harm in continuing it?

      • EB says:

        The Americans could easily put 6 more planes in theater. They could probably put 60 for that matter. They could put all the planes that do flyovers over NFL stadiums if they wanted…

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Or IOW…

          The Americans could easily pick up our share of the load.

          Hell, why not, eh? They’ve been covering our sorry asses for decades anyway.

          I’m reminded yet again of former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley’s observation, to paraphrase: “Canada wants to sit at the table with the players, but when the check comes we head for the washrooms.”

          Yep. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        Operation Impact…

        http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact.page

        RCAF strikes to date…

        http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad-current/op-impact-airstrikes.page

        I suspect ISIS fighters would disagree that Canada’s contribution has been ineffectual.

        …not that we should let facts get in the way of politics.

        An aside…

        Brad Wall just stepped into the fray over refugee timeline.

        http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/brad-wall-wants-trudeau-to-suspend-refugee-plan-1.2660689

        • EB says:

          To be clear, nowhere did I say that our contribution is or was ineffectual. What I am noting is that others, particularly the Americans, could make up for our efforts in a heartbeat.

          How many fighter jets have Saudi Arabia committed to the mission…

        • Al in Cranbrook says:

          Should note, too…

          Part of the reason for seemingly limited strikes is an extreme attention to avoiding collateral damage/casualties amongst civilians.

          The other part of the reason is that the command of Operation Impact gets its marching orders from the American President. One does not have watch CNN or Fox for too long to appreciate the level of frustration among ex-commanders with the reluctance of this administration to take this air campaign to a level even remotely close to matching that pursued against Serbia or Saddam’s regime. Unfortunately, thus Canada’s efforts are similarly hamstrung.

          IMHO, if Trudeau had any cahones at all, we’d be sending another 6 CF-18s over there immediately.

          • EB says:

            Al,

            I did note collateral / citizen damage in my original comment. My argument is that this current strategy has failed in the Middle East in a spectacular manner going back many years. Whether we have 6 planes over there or 60, I argue that what we are doing has no appreciable long term effect. With the current state of affairs effectively being the outcome of previous efforts (Iraq/Afghanistan), what is the point of continuing to play Whack-A-Mole?

            I hardly think that sending more planes to do more of what we are doing is going to result in a different outcome.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            EB…

            If it’s okay for Canada to pull out, then I assume it is okay for the entire coalition to cease air strike operations? Is Canada any less obligated or responsible for global security than any of the other coalition members? Is Canada at any less risk?

            Where the hell does this notion come from that somehow Canada has the luxury of abdicating its role in global security? Or more to the point, how dare we think we can afford ourselves that luxury purely on the basis that other nations will pick up the slack for us?

            And lastly, if the coalition hadn’t been hammering these SOBs from the air over the last year, where the hell would ISIS be today? And how many more thousands of innocent “apostates” would have been butchered??? I don’t hear one GD person…least of all, a Liberal government member…answering that question!!! And they damn well should!

          • cgh says:

            EB, in case you’ve forgotten, it didn’t fail. The original push for military air intervention was to prevent the immediate fall of Baghdad. At that time a year ago, ISIS was advancing on the capital with the Iraqi army falling apart and deserting.

            It succeeded. Now the mission is to continue to degrade their forces to prevent them from mounting such a serious offensive again.

  22. Matt says:

    Hmmm.

    Wonder if this is the beginning of Brad Wall’s run for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada?

    Wall asks Trudeau to suspend plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by December 31st.

    http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/saskatoon/sask-premier-brad-wall-asks-feds-to-suspend-syrian-refugee-plan-1.3321159

    • Wall has already ruled that out. We are getting Brad Wall pre-election ads here in Saskatchewan already and the election isn’t until next year. He’s not going anywhere.

      • Matt says:

        Well, the new CPC leader isn’t going to be chosen until probably late 2017/early 2018.

        And the mayor of Quebec City just publicly supported Wall’s position on suspending the refugee timeline.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Someone has to speak up for the Cons. Other than Rona “Gotta Go with the Inquiry Now that We Gave it Some Thought” Ambrose and Tony “Could’ve Thought the Census Through bit More Closely” Clement, haven’t really heard from anyone.

      Because Wall wants to go from Premier of a province to occupant of long-term resident of Stornoway real soon, like.

    • Kelly says:

      If you’re correct about his plans and people get the idea he’s exploiting a violent tragedy for personal political gain, his career is over.

  23. dean sherratt says:

    On vetting…we were told during the election that the UN refugee identification system was broken. Now we are apparently using it. There are quite a number of issues that I see here, depending on what extent the Liberals will allow themselves to be tied up in their own ideological strait jacket. One way to identify people quickly is by demographic selection…very young, very old, a higher % of females, family units…fewer males from 18-25, minority religions (i.e. Alawites, Christians, Kurds – none of whom are likely to be sleeper ISIS agents). BUT, Justin said during the election campaign that he abhorred the CPC’s successful settling of Yazidi and Assyrian Christians from Iraq – this was discrimination in his view.

    if we are to attempt to vet individually, rather than collectively, keep in mind how long it takes to vet a Canadian for a security clearance in Canada. CSIS devotes a huge chunk of its personnel to mundane clearances. In Syria, you cannot trust records, the government in power for some of it, passports, access to people who know proposed refugees.

    So why don’t we just do it fast and get it over with? Canadians supported the use of jets because it was relatively low risk for Canadian military casualties. They will also want an intake system that is relatively sure because they have no greater taste for Canadian civilian casualties as well.

  24. Darren H says:

    Mr. Trudeau can do as he likes, God knows it’s difficult to see the conditions these Syrian refugees live in, but no one said being PM was going to come with easy decisions. However if Mr. Trudeau does as he promised rushing the refugees here by Dec.31, and there is a terrorist act committed by even just one of them, he and the Liberal Party will bear the terrible cost of it for a long time to come. We cannot know the ideology that lies in the hearts of these 25,000 people, but we do know that the ideology behind these terrorist acts thrives in the country from which they are fleeing. The Prime Minister’s first duty is to protect and defend the citizens of Canada, and he must weigh these responsibilities against his compassion.

  25. Luke says:

    Get the refugees here, as fast as can be done while minimizing domestic public safety risks and the health and safety of the refugees. If that means missing the 25 000 target by year’s end, that is too bad I guess but we can only do our best. Brad Wall is right that being controlled by dates and numbers is not the way to go if those targets will result in counterproductive outcomes. However, I can never tell how much of what Wall (and pretty much any politician) says is a matter of genuine concern or just political positioning. And really, what do I know about such matters? About as much as any essentially uninformed member of the public, I suspect.

    Participate militarily in whatever way maximizes the usefulness of our contribution while also minimizing the likelihood of civilian deaths. If that is airstrikes, go for it. If it is ground troops, go for it. I have many a concern about air strikes and drones, however, namely the cases in which the targets end up being things like hospitals. Civilian deaths are not only tragic, but are a good way to further resentment towards the west for another generation or two.

    This is a humanitarian crisis, as it has always been. It is also complex. It is truly difficult for a person with my knowledge base to have a solidly defensible position. I am hoping that our political and military leaders are well informed and basing all decisions on good information, with the short and long term in mind, without consideration of domestic political fortunes (har har har), and with the desire to do the most good possible.

    • Luke says:

      Oops, I don’t mean we should minimize “the health and safety of the refugees”, obviously. Quite the opposite.

      My CAPTCHA mode for this post is “2GAY”

    • cynical says:

      A careless response to the suppression of ISIS will like worsen the problem. Nothing recruits new insurgents like killing their innocent relatives, and bombs, drones and cruise missiles haven’t proven to be all that discriminating.

      I think we need special forces there, with good logistical and intelligence support, to stiffen the spines of the indigenous resistance.

      The RCAF web item gives a sortie count (1 sortie = one airplane, from wheels up to wheels down) but no count of bombs dropped or targets destroyed. I don’t think that this would comprise security for the mission, or worsen the risk if an RCAF pilot has to leave his airplane over hostile territory.

      Regarding the refugees, move it along. Leaving refugees at risk gives ISIS a propaganda win. If the stream has to be slowed down for security reasons, up the aid deliveries so that the camps are survivable.

      We’re letting ISIS mess with our collective mind, here.

  26. Joe says:

    I am pro-immigration but on this one I say go slow on the refugees. Not every refugee is a terrorist but undoubtedly some are. ISIS just claimed to have landed 4000 terrorists in Europe. I compare this to WW!!. Would William Lyon McKenzie King allow Germany to park stuka bombers at Camp Borden? If not why not? While the ISIS delivery system is much less technologically advanced it has proven to be just as deadly.

    As for the continued bombing I think we need to understand what motivates ISIS. They are not a bunch of blood thirsty psychopaths but rather an intelligent group with a cohesive and coherent theological understanding of the world. I don’t imagine too many here would agree with their world view, I know I certainly don’t but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they are acting according to their belief system as they see it spelled out in the Qur’an and the Haddiths. They believe that if they can draw the armies of the world to the middle east those armies will be defeated by the appearance of their saviour who will set the world right. In the mean time they believe they have the duty to bring about a world wide caliphate that will impose shariah everywhere. Of course in order to do that they have to cleanse the world of unbelievers including Muslims who do not believe exactly as ISIS believes. That being the case the best way to defeat them is to bomb them without sending in massed armies and let the locals take care of what’s left. To be blunt Trudeau and Canada by extension is going exactly the wrong way.

  27. Kelly says:

    There are some interesting international developments that could add another option to the poll…

    [ ] Watch as Russia and China team up and turn half of Iraq and Syria into an ashtray.

    If they seriously were to get involved in a substantial way, neither country bothers much with rules of war-type stuff.

    Also, with Hollande talking about a grand coalition with Russia and the USA and and China saying they are going to join the fray, there could be a lot of pressure on Canada to ramp up action to save face…not mention what must be going on in the White House right now…”Russia and China invade IS, take control of half the middle east” isn’t a headline the USA wants to read in the NYT.

  28. Kevin says:

    Beyond security vetting, now do you determine who is a true “refugee” and who is an economic migrant?

  29. James Smith says:

    TRUDEAU IS RIGHT, when it comes to the bombing.

    REASON > EMOTION.

    1. Since the Air Strikes started against ISIS in September 2014, ISIS has expanded and smuggled in more recruits and gained more territory.

    2. Despite thousands of US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that reportedly killed about 10,000 Islamic State fighters, the group continues to replenish its forces.

    3. Air strikes alone have never won a war. They didn’t win in WW2…we needed D-Day for that. They didn’t win in Vietnam. They didn’t kill Bin Laden.

    4. Air strikes won’t help the Kurds on the ground. True…they worked closely with US airpower to push out Isis from Kobani in January and seize Tal Abyad, and have carved out their own Kurdish territory in northern Syria. But this brings other problems: It alarms Turkey, because the Kurdish militias are allied to the separatist PKK, designated as terrorists in Europe and America. They have poor relations with the Arab communities that dominate Isis-held areas, and any effort to push further south would meet with resistance. So alliance with the Kurds has its limits.

    5. Canada’s CF-18s (only 6 of them) which Harper committed until mid-2016 will cost about $530 billion as a mission cost for little help it offers the coalition. Our planes are armed with AGM-65 Maverick missiles and CRV7 rockets…so we might hit some laser guided targets…useless when ISIS hides out among civilians in the towns they control and are on the move. Instead, Russian SU-34s could do more damage.

    6. ISIS is not dependent on heavy industry or urban infrastructure. So targeting such sites won’t affect its fighting capabilities. There’s no munitions factories to take out.

    7. We have now seen that even with a protracted air campaign by the world superpowers against ISIS, its minions are still able to carry out deadly attacks far from its Middle East strongholds. Paris is an example of this.

    8. So how can we help? Not with our 6 measley jets. The Syrian Arab Coalition is a group comprised of roughly 5,000 fighters in eastern Syria. The US currently air drops them weapons via U.S. Air Force C-17 transport planes. We need to join our American friends in doing this. In Iraq, about 3,500 U.S. troops are supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces in fighting ISIS. We are left with 2 choices:

    i) Provide Canadian Ground Troops like we did in Bosnia and Afghanistan. This would only be done as part of an International coalition.

    ii) Provide our elite soldiers who are among the best in the world to train the local forces who are fighting ISIS and help arm and weaponize them as the US is doing.

    These are better ways to spend half a billion dollars on this war than 6 planes.

    • Al in Cranbrook says:

      You’re wrong.

      I’ve posted a link further up the page to a detailed list of targets struck by RCAF CF-18s since day one of this campaign.

      It includes fighting positions, ammunition caches, IED factories, training facilities, transport vehicles, etc., etc. It also includes a helluva lot of ISIS terrorists manning these positions and/or equipment.

      Accomplished by just 6 CF-18s with laser guided munitions.

      And some of the most elite pilots on the planet.

    • Ted H says:

      All very reasonable points, good to see them instead of the hyperbole, bravado and just plain misinformation that dominates this discussion.

  30. grant says:

    How many times over the past few years did we hear that Harper did not have a mandate because he only had 30-something percent of the vote? So suddenly the Liberals having 39.5 % is an overwhelming majority, and mandate? Weren’t there a poll earlier this year that showed 67% of identified Liberal supporters were in favour of extending Canada’s mission in Iraq and Syria? With all due respect Warren, it is clear that our PM does not have a mandate. You can’t claim Harper did not have a mandate and then claim say Trudeau does.

  31. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Perception is nine-tenths of the law. Period. If Trudeau sends in troops as trainers (a relatively ineffective strategy), he will only be partially innoculated against a mega-terrorist operation on Canadian soil.

    If he ends the sorties, he will be done as dinner if he hasn’t come up with an effective theatre strategy. Is he prepared to take such an incredible political risk? Apparently. I wouldn’t be.

  32. Sean McLaughlin says:

    I find these poll results curious. Our military capabilities are limited to a minor auxiliary role and there’s no point in Canada committing more resources until the Obama administration decides to escalate beyond a limited air war, which it doesn’t seem inclined to do. This is a great tragedy. I would like to see us join a broad international anti-ISIS coalition, but I’m pessimistic that one will take shape despite what just happened in Paris.

    In the meantime, we should be allocating more resources to CSIS to keep the homeland safe. We are and will continue to be a target wherever one stands on this issue.

  33. ottlib says:

    Withdraw the CF-18s as they are not very useful in this kind of conflict.

    Compromise on the refugee issue. Slow down the influx but raise the number. I would suggest they bring in 35,000 Syrian refugees by December 31, 2016, spreading that out over the next 13-and-a-half months. This would assist with allaying any fears amongst Canadians about security concerns and it would have the added advantage of allowing us to watch Jason Kenney’s, and Ezra Levant’s heads explode.

    One option not mentioned. Mr. Trudeau goes to President Obama and the other world leaders and begins to lobby them to stop providing Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States with arms and military aid until they cut off the funding they have been providing to ISIS. Follow the money to its source and choke it off. That would be worth alot more than a handful of CF-18s.

    Turing back to the airstrikes. Does anybody find the choice of French targets for their airstrikes rather odd.

    One of the targets was a command and control centre. Any first year officer will know that the first targets of any war is your enemies command and control infrastructure.

    So how was one of these centres still available as a target more than a year after the air campaign began?

    Was is just discovered, in the defacto capital of the Islamic State, just two days after the attacks on Paris? That seems kind of convenient don’t you think?

    Has it been sitting there unmolested for 13 months? That would seem to call into question the competence of the military leaders prosecuting the war. Or if you want to be a conspiracy theorist maybe they have left it alone on purpose. That would then lead to questions of why the western coalition is ignoring obvious high value targets in this war.

    More likely, this target and all of the other ones French aircraft bombed a couple of days ago were already big holes in the ground and they just went and created bigger ones. Then they went and reported to the hopelessly uncritical western media how they hurt ISIS letting the western media duly report it without comment or question to their audiences.

  34. William Conrad says:

    It’s interesting to note that the ISIS warriors we see in their propaganda videos are all young single men and most all the recruits are dispossessed youth. It’s also interesting that about 75% of the Syrian refugees are young men and that’s confirmed by UN agency on refugees.

    What is happening is the ISIS youth are fighting for land and women, while the Syrian young male refugees are fleeing and abandoning the land and women, because they have no weapons and no leadership to defend their land and women. ISIS leaders are trying to control the oil resources that will support ISIS and enrich them too.

    What we are witnessing is a primordial fight for survival, and the muslim youth in Europe and elsewhere are joining ISIS because they too are dispossessed. Where will it all end?

  35. William Conrad says:

    The day after the Paris attacks, in a CNN interview with a French lady government parliamentarian she said:

    “Immigration of today is the terrorism of tomorrow.”

    So who is going to protect Canada from future terrorist attacks now that PM Justin intends to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada who must now be suspect, unfortunately?

    This must be a valid concern given the current homegrown terrorism situation in France. A total mistrust of muslims will grow after the Paris terrorist attacks which incidentally hit targets where Millennials (18-35 y.o.) people were congregating. Perhaps it was because they were ‘soft’ targets and would elicit the greatest outrage. Youth killing youth. Tragic.

  36. Rich says:

    A suggestion has been made….get the IDF to vet the 250K then the refugee movement can occur at the best possible speed.

  37. PJ says:

    It appears that number two on the list has won the day…… Im happy the our contribution to the air war will end. I agree with sending more military trainers to Iraq, but bringing in 25,000 immigrants by January is still too hasty, imho. I hope it doesn’t bite our collective behinds in the end.
    Credit to M. Trudeau for making a decision, though, and sticking by it.

  38. MF says:

    I’m surprised that somebody suggested that “continue efforts to bring the refugees here, too” and “properly vet their backgrounds” should be separate options, and that the change was made to the poll.

    Properly vetting their backgrounds is obvious, and it was before. I hope (and believe) that even Trudeau thinks we should properly vet their backgrounds.

  39. Ron says:

    Apparently, one of the suspects arrested in Paris slipped into Europe on a rubber dingy. Via Turkey.

    Which begs the question: How the hell do you vet 25,000 people before Dec 31 ?

    I don’t think it can be done that soon. Just extend the deadline to April 30.

    Happy new year.

  40. David H says:

    “We are at the start of a potentially 1,000-year military struggle – a Crusades in reverse.”

    Warren, the Crusades did not last 1000 years. They lasted for barely a century and ended 1000 years ago. The Islamic conquest of Europe, on the other hand, lasted well over 1000 years and ended a century ago.

    If you’d like, take a look at this brief video on the history of Euro-Islamic conflicts since the dawn of Islam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_To-cV94Bo

  41. Mike says:

    Mr. Trudeau is doing the exact right approach with regards to the refugees. If we slow down or even not allow any refugees into Canada, then ISIS wins as we just played into their hands. I just found this article with several quotes by a US Representative Steve Russell (R-OK), a rare conservative arguing that we need to allow refugees in. Sure his context is American, but it nicely argues for Canada to do the same as well. http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/republican-combat-vet-eviscerates-xenophobic-conservatives-isis-wins-if-you-block-refugees/

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