OTTAWA – POLITICS – Prime Minister Harper has announced through the media his intention to ask Parliament to support his motion to be introduced this week that will “extend and expand” the Canadian military involvement in Iraq. The wording of his motion is not yet known. He could have chosen to make his intentions known weeks ago in order to have adequate debate in the media, by the public, and in Parliament but did not. It appears there will be very limited time for those debates to occur. The change of a single word or comma can change a motion or bill significantly. I am nonetheless requesting that any of my constituents who have thoughts or feelings about this extension and possible expansion of our military action against ISIL share them with me by email. No doubt some will have strong opinions ahead of reading the actual motion or hearing the debates. Others will, like me, want to read the motion and hear the debate, before making up their mind on whether to support, oppose, or propose alternatives. I also want to hear from my constituents.
While I did vote send F18s five months ago to slow down the worrisome ISIL advance, I am now concerned about mission creep that may turn into “mission leap” with rising economic costs and continued risks to Canadian ground personnel.
The Iraq combat mission has already exceeded what the government spent during its seven months in Libya. At the time the Government estimated the 2011 mission in Libya would cost $50 million. It ended up being an astonishing $347 million. We know that the estimated $122 million for the Iraq mission so far is only part of the total cost for the Iraq mission. Minister Kenny refuses to say how large the financial price will be.
As you may recall, Mr. Harper promised that there would be no Canadian boots on the ground when the majority of Parliamentarians voted in to send jets to Iraq, clearly stating “The Government of Canada will not deploy troops in ground combat operations”. We have now learned that not only are Canadian soldiers accompanying Iraqi troops, they are also directly engaged in front line combat with enemy forces.
The Prime Minister has misled Canadians about the true nature of the mission. He has been neither accountable nor transparent about the true costs for Canadians.
By the beginning of next week I will be asked to vote on expanding the Canadian mission in Iraq. As my constituent I believe it is important for me to hear your thoughts on this issue. I would very much appreciate your personal and private feedback on this proposed extension and potential expansion of ISIL combat mission to my personal email at Bruce@BruceHyer.ca. I will not share your thoughts without your permission.
Bruce Hyer MP