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Canada may keep surveillance, refuelling planes to fight ISIS: Dion

Posted by Oped 615 days ago Toronto Star| canada surveillance refuelling planes fight isis dion All
http://www.thestar.com — The Canadian government is considering a request to keep its surveillance and refuelling aircraft as a part of the coalition fight against Islamic State fighters.Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion appeared on CTV’s Question Period Sunday to explain the potential involvement going forward.“It has been requested from allies to consider to continue to do that. It’s something we may do,” Dion said when asked if the planes could serve in those capacities.As a part of the campaign launched by the previous Conservative government, a Polaris CC-150 air-to-air refueller and CP-140 Aurora reconnaissance aircraft are working out of airbases in Kuwait. Six CF-18 fighter jets were assigned to join the multinational bombing campaign.James Bezan, the Conservative party’s defence critic, told the Star that his party is pushing for the fighter jets to remain as a part of the government’s contribution.“We’ll support a more robust mission,” Bezan said. “We won’t support the pulling out of the CF-18s, but anything more that we can do to train, keeping the majority of the air task force intact is something that we agree with.”Dion also said the government is considering training of the forces on the ground.“The first thing you need to do is (have) a professional police that will be perceived by the population as a protection for them, not as a threat.”Bezan said the Conservatives would likely support that proposal.“It is important, especially in maintaining peace in communities that have fallen into ISIS hands and then is being returned back to the sovereign territory of Iraq or, in some cases, Syria.”The Liberal party campaigned during the election on pulling the CF-18 fighter jets. However, Dion recently said the government needed to consult with its allies before deciding on Canada’s next steps. A decision on the government’s new plan hasn’t been announced, but Dion said it would be made in “a matter of weeks than months.” With files from Bruce Campion-Smith
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