A rookie Liberal MP who once flew CF-18 fighter jets says he supports his government's decision to end airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State — and thinks Conservatives are trying to "trick" Canadians into believing otherwise.
Stephen Fuhr, elected in the British Columbia riding of Kelowna-Lake Country, served as a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force for 20 years. He retired with the rank of major in 2009.
Last week, Fuhr was elected chair of the standing committee on national defence.
On Sunday, the Conservative Party featured Fuhr in a graphic posted to Facebook and Twitter, saying he "agrees" with Tories on the ISIS mission. The posts included a link to a party website encouraging Canadians to "tell Trudeau this is Canada's fight," criticizing the prime minister for ending the bombing mission before MPs had finished debating the mission.
"I think military intervention is part of our responsibility," Fuhr is quoted as saying.
At least one Liberal gets it - tell Trudeau this *IS* Canada's fight: cpcp.cc/ncw-tXPosted by Conservative Party of Canada - Parti conservateur du Canada on Sunday, February 21, 2016
According to a Tory spokesperson, the remark came from an interview Fuhr gave to CBC News in Kelowna last September. In a recording shared with The Huffington Post Canada, Fuhr is asked about the Liberal campaign pledge to end airstrikes.
"Moving forward, I think, as a balanced approach, I think military intervention is part of our responsibility. That's my personal opinion," he said at the time. "What that looks like moving forward, we'll see."
Fuhr: Tories twisting and fluffing words
The MP confirmed Monday that he said the remark but argued his words are now being twisted. He said he considers the enhanced training mission to be the kind of military role that fulfills Canada's obligation in contributing efforts against ISIS, adding that allies have "enough tactical air support."
Tories, he said, are "just trying to fluff up their perspective" because they disagree with pulling the planes.
"They realize they lost the last election, they just haven't figured out why."
Fuhr said he is fully on board with the strategy and that Canadians who want this country to have a presence in the region have reason to be proud.
While the Tories have accused the new government of stepping back efforts against ISIS, Fuhr suggested he puts more stock in the opinion of U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter, who reportedly thanked Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for tripling the amount of military trainers in Iraq.
Fuhr said he wasn't overly surprised to see his face pop up in a Conservative post, but laments the debate over Canada's role against ISIS has become partisan.
"They realize they lost the last election, they just haven't figured out why," he said.
On Sunday, Fuhr responded to the Tory jab on Twitter.
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