OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Tuesday he is seeking the blessing of Parliament to extend and expand Canada's mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The proposal would extend the mission for another 12 months and permit airstrikes inside Syria.
Here's some of what was said:
"Today, we are tabling a motion seeking the support of the House for the government's decision to renew our military mission against ISIL for up to an additional 12 months. Our objectives remain the same: we intend to continue to degrade the capabilities of ISIL, that is, to degrade its ability to engage in military movements of scale, to operate bases in the open, to expand its presence in the region, and to propagate attacks outside the region." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his speech to the House of Commons.
"Canadians did not invent the threat of jihadi terrorism, and we certainly did not invite it. Nor, as this global threat becomes ever more serious, can we protect our country or our communities by choosing to ignore it." — Harper.
"Asking our brave Canadian women and men in uniform to risk their lives overseas is the most sacred duty that a prime minister has. Seeking approval from this House makes us all responsible for their lives. Seeking a mandate like this must be undertaken, therefore, with the utmost responsibility. I listened very carefully as the prime minister spoke just now, and nothing I heard today has convinced me that the Conservatives are taking this duty with the seriousness that it deserves." — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.
"Military planners will tell us that for a mission to succeed it must have two things. It must have a well-defined objective and a well-defined exit strategy. This mission has neither. The Conservatives simply have no plan. They have no strategy, other than the obvious political one, and that is putting our troops in danger." — Mulcair.
"The Conservatives have no exit strategy beyond an illusory end date set for next March. Involvement in direct combat in this war does not serve Canada's interests, nor will it provide a constructive solution to the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in this region. Now the prime minister seeks to deepen our involvement, to expand it into the Syrian civil war." — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
"The Conservatives are proposing an unfocused, unending mission for the Canadian Forces that we cannot support. One thing is clear: Canada has a role to play in the campaign against ISIL. That role must serve our national interests. The one being proposed today by the prime minister does not meet that test." — Trudeau.