POLITICS

Ujjal Dosanjh, Ex-Liberal Cabinet Minister, To Trudeau: Why Is It Wrong To Bomb ISIS?

11/16/2015 01:06 EST | Updated 11/16/2015 06:59 EST

A former Liberal cabinet minister appears to be urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reconsider his pledge to end Canadian airstrikes against the Islamic State.

Ujjal Dosanjh, a past federal minister of health, asked in a blog Saturday what it means to stand with France in the wake of the "carnage" in Paris.

Dosanjh said the attacks should "reawaken the slumbering chattering classes to the most serious danger the world, in particular the West, faces from ISIS's Islamist bloodthirsty totalitarian ideology."

The former Vancouver MP, who also briefly served as premier of British Columbia, said Canadians are right to ask if they are safer than those in France. Citing past terror plots — including the murder of Canadian soldiers last year by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Rouleau — Dosanjh concludes Canada may not be immune to an "ISIS driven" attack here.

From there, Dosanjh lists questions for Trudeau to consider as he attends the G20 summit in Turkey.

If we are right in ending our bombing mission we must, I assume, believe bombing ISIS is wrong.

"Is France wrong in bombing Syria and Iraq to stem the ISIS and other threats? Is the US wrong in helping Kurds repel ISIS from the brutal occupation of Iraqi territory?" he asks.

"If we are right in ending our bombing mission we must, I assume, believe bombing ISIS is wrong. If so, are we prepared to say to our allies such as France, US and others that they are wrong in bombing ISIS? If they are right in bombing ISIS, why is it wrong for us to continue to bomb ISIS in standing with our allies?"

Dosanjh ends his post by saying that while he disagrees with war, it would be "highly irresponsible" to shirk from a conflict being "thrust upon us."

Read his full blog post here

On Twitter, Dosanjh also took a jab at Trudeau by saying that "sunny ways" — the prime minister's message of optimism — was "no shield against Kalashnikovs," the assault rifles reportedly used in the Paris attack.

He also linked to an Ottawa Citizen story about the Liberals’ plan to pull six CF-18 fighter jets from Iraq and Syria, asking what would happen if the United States and France also opted to instead focus on training and humanitarian work.

"Who will check ISIS? God?" he asked.

This is not the first time Dosanjh has broken with the Liberal leader over Canada's combat efforts. Last October, he was one of a handful of Grit stalwarts who took to social media to urge his party to vote for the combat mission in Iraq.

"For me fighting forces such as ISIS is beyond partisan politics," he wrote at the time.

Tories demand debate, vote in Parliament

The prime minister confirmed Monday that he told G20 leaders Canada will follow through on his pledge to withdraw jets from the coalition mission, and focus on training Kurdish fighters taking on ISIL on the ground.

Trudeau told reporters Canada will "continue to engage robustly with the coalition" and called ISIL a "scourge."

Though withdrawing from the mission was a key Liberal foreign policy pledge in the last election, Conservatives have called on the new Trudeau government to allow debate and vote in Parliament on changing the ISIS mission.

In a statement released Friday, interim Tory leader Rona Ambrose asked Trudeau to "follow the leadership of Conservatives on this issue."

A day later, Ambrose called on the Liberal government to "immediately change its position" on ending the airstrikes, saying the attacks in Paris "make us even more resolute that we must continue the fight."

With a file from The Canadian Press

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