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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ambrose: Opposition will Push to Keep CF-18s in Fight against ISIS

Written by: Ryan Maloney, Huffington Post 
Rona Ambrose spoke in personal terms about the fight against terrorism in her first speech to the Conservative caucus as interim leader.

And she signaled Wednesday that her official Opposition Tories will push the new Liberal government to reverse its plans to withdraw Canadian jets from combat against ISIL.

Ambrose harkened back to a comment Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in 2013 just after the Boston marathon bombing, later featured in Tory attack ads.

"The Liberals told Canadians that we should be examining the root causes of terrorism," she said.

Terrorism, she said, is bred from a hatred of "our values" and freedom.

"A hatred of my rights as a woman," Ambrose said. "And my ability to live freely."

Ambrose accused Liberals of seeing the contributions of Canada's air force as a "token effort worthy of a tasteless joke." The jab referenced an incident in October 2014, just before Parliament voted to send the jets to Iraq, in which Trudeau accused then prime minister-Stephen Harper of wanting to "whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are."

Her quip sparked a few shouts of "shame" from Tory MPs.

"And so the prime minister's first phone call with another world leader was to tell our closest ally that Canada would be diminishing our fight against ISIS and withdrawing our air force, leaving our allies to do the heavy lifting," she said of Trudeau's first conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama.

As Ambrose spoke to her party, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion was in Brussels for a meeting with his NATO counterparts.

Dion suggested Tuesday that the Liberal plan to withdraw jets from the ISIL fight and ramp up training would be a better contribution to the campaign.

"There are a lot of things where Canada may be a great supporter, instead of delivering two per cent of the airstrikes," Dion said.

According to The Canadian Press, as of Nov. 19, Canada has carried out 199 airstrikes out of a total of 8,289 coalition aids — or 2.4 per cent. The RCAF is now over 200 with strikes at the end of November, and 1 in December.

The foreign affairs minister said Canada's position is "well understood" by NATO allies.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a blunt message at the NATO summit, calling on allies to "step up" in the fight against Daesh — the Arabic reference for the Islamic State.

Kerry said he was "very gratified" allies were bringing more to the effort or planned to increase contributions. He also lauded the leadership of British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Parliament is set to vote to expand airstrikes into Syria.

However, he also said contributions didn't have to include "troops engaged in kinetic action."