February 8, 2016

MONCTON, NB – Canada’s withdrawal from the combat mission against ISIS is a “step backward for Canada” from our country’s traditional role as fighters for human rights and international security, said Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and Interim Leader of the Conservative Party.

“For generations, our men and women in uniform have fought bravely against those who violate human rights, and those who threaten and terrorize the innocent and vulnerable,” said Ambrose. “Today, in his first major foreign policy decision, the Prime Minister has shown that Canada is not ‘back’. In fact, this Prime Minister is taking a shameful step backward from our proud traditions by pulling our CF-18s and Canada out of a combat role against the greatest terror threat in the world.”

Ambrose questioned how the decision to withdraw from the fight against ISIS squares with fundamental Canadian values. “The Prime Minister likes to say he cares about diversity, but there is nothing that threatens diversity more than ISIS – whether it is the rights of women, cultural and religious freedoms, or the rights of gays and lesbians. When our friends and allies are attacked, when our values are threatened, when human rights are trampled, and human dignity is crushed, it is our fight. Taking this fight to the enemy is part of a proud Canadian military history, one which the Prime Minister has repudiated with today’s decision.”

Ambrose said the Prime Minister’s decision is inconsistent with ensuring safety and security for Canadians at home and abroad. “A great deal has changed since the Prime Minister made his ill-advised promise to end our combat role against ISIS,” said Ambrose. “ISIS and ISIS-inspired attacks have spread beyond the combat theatre, and even claimed the lives of Canadians in recent weeks. Halting and degrading ISIS is more critical than ever to keep people safe. Canadians have been a key ally in the air combat effort, the fourth largest contributor today, excluding the United States. It is extremely irresponsible for the government to not only downplay Canada’s contribution, but to whittle it down for political purposes.”

Ambrose concluded by saying, “Even today, the Liberal Government has failed to explain to Canadians why they believe it is a good idea to step back from the air mission. Today’s announcements on training and humanitarian assistance are only designed to distract Canadians from the withdrawal of our CF-18s. The only reason for this decision that anyone can point to is that it was done for political purposes in the heat of an election campaign. Canadians certainly deserve better.”