• Blog
  • January 26th, 2016

Peggy Mason on Canada being shut out of the anti-ISIS coalition meeting

From L-R, Australia's Defence Minister Marise Payne, Italy's Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Netherlands Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert pose for a family photo at the Defence Ministry in Paris, France, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason discusses the reasons behind Canada not being invited to the anti-ISIS coalition meeting in Paris on 20 January.

An anti-ISIS coalition meeting took place in Paris on 20 January. Defence ministers from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Australia, and the Netherlands joined U.S. Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter to discuss the future of the fight against ISIS. Canada has not been invited to the meeting.

Some claim that Canada has been snubbed because of incoherent messaging from the Liberal government. As reported on CBC, conservative defence critic James Bezan said this is an indication that Canada has not been a reliable partner: “[If] we were serious about taking the fight to ISIS […] we should be at these meetings.”

For Peggy Mason, this is not surprising at all. Speaking on the Ed Hand Show on 1310 News on 19 January, she argues that Canada’s absence at the meeting suggests that the United States believes Trudeau’s government will follow through on its commitment to end airstrikes in the region shortly.

If you look at the composition of [the meeting], it looks like it involves those countries that are engaged directly in airstrikes, or, in the case of Germany, providing support through refueling the airstrikes. […] I think this is a reflection of the fact that the Canadian government is going to carry through, sooner rather than later, with pulling us out of the airstrike part of the coalition.

Whilst some suggest that, in the wake of the Paris attacks, the Liberal government should reconsider its election promise to end the airstrikes, Mason argues that this is symptomatic of the “do-something” approach that often emerges after a dramatic incident, when focus shifts to an immediate, very visible reaction rather than the long, hard slog of diplomacy. Rather than focusing on an imaginary snub to Canada, we should be asking how Canada can effectively contribute to the UN-led peace process aimed at ending the civil war in Syria.

Peggy Mason on the Eric Drozd Show on 570 News, on 20 January:

The problem with bombing is that if you kill civilians you are breeding more terrorists. […] I would very much like Canada to not be distracted by a very problematic bombing campaign […] and focus its attention on how it can play an effective role. […] That leaves things like governance – I would like to have our government looking at what we can do on the ground in order to create a situation where the people that have the most to lose, the Iraqi people, […] believe enough in their government that they want to fight against the Islamic State.

Support for bombing is by no means shared by all Canadians. Since January 14, 2016, the Rideau Institute has received almost 2500 letters from Canadians all over the country calling on the Prime Minister to end the bombing, as he repeatedly promised to do during his election campaign.

Canada will have an opportunity to put forward its views at a much more important meeting when all of the coalition members from NATO countries meet on February 11th on the margins of a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.

 

You can listen to the full interview on the Ed Hand Show here (January 19 Hour 1, at 15m 00s) and on the Eric Drozd Show here (January 20th 11am, at 21m 08s).

 

 

Image credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Read More

Comments are closed.




President Donald “Blowback” Trump: From Iraq to America

Nation Fellow Tom Engelhardt traces the rise of Donald J. Trump from the blowback caused by the illegal 2003 American invasion of Iraq. See “If You Want to Know Where Donald Trump Came From, Look to Iraq” (The Nation, 16 March 2017). While this might not be the entire answer, it does help explain the […]

Read More
View the Blog »

Liberals should say “no” again to American BMD

  Both Conservative and Liberal governments have concluded, in 1985 and 2005 respectively, that participation in American ballistic missile defence does ...

Common Wisdom on Russia is not Wise

Christopher Westdal has the distinction of being the only Canadian diplomat to have served both as Canada's Ambassador to Ukraine ...