SHERBROOKE, Que. — Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe has indicated his support for military intervention in Syria and Iraq — because there's no other option.
He even suggested Tuesday that an independent Quebec would have chosen to take part in the current mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
His position is different from the one he took in 2003 when he opposed Canadian military intervention in Iraq.
Duceppe pointed out at a news conference in Sherbrooke, Que., that Canadian forces did not intervene in Rwanda and what followed was a genocide.
"Sometimes in history, there's no other choice but to intervene in a military manner," he said. "It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is."
The Bloc leader says ISIL's expansionist goals justify an intervention by Canadian forces.
"I think that's the major difference," he told reporters.
Canada has deployed military personnel to handle logistics and the training of local forces and has sent planes to bombard the region.
As for the possibility of intervening on the ground, Duceppe maintained he doesn't have enough information to discuss the topic.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has said he would put an end to Canadian participation in the military mission if elected on Oct. 19.
But Duceppe has rejected that position as ill-advised.
"The aerial assaults in which we are taking part are aimed at containing ISIL and hopefully pushing them into a corner," he said.
He made his comments while campaigning in a bookstore, where he proposed the elimination of the federal GST on books.
Later, before a group of students who came to hear him speak about sovereignty and foreign policy, Duceppe imagined how a sovereign Quebec would act.
"I am convinced that an independent Quebec would be part of the coalition that is fighting this group, which is committing crimes against humanity," he said.
"Even if we recognize the horrors of war, Quebec cannot and must not duck away from this responsibility."
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