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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wesley Wark: Canada's new reality after Paris

...If Canada is truly going to be “back” on the global stage, whether in dealing with terrorism or any of the other myriad issues that beset the world, Canada is going to have to ramp up its intelligence capabilities. Even good intelligence services, of the sort that France possesses, can miss big attacks and plots. The weaker your intelligence capacity, the more likely you will suffer the same fate, quite apart from harming your ability to be a smart power.
The Liberal government will also have to ask itself, in the aftermath of Paris, how it can be “back” on the world stage if it follows through on its promise to end the Canadian contribution to the combat mission against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
The issue came up immediately in the aftermath of the Liberal election victory, in Justin Trudeau’s conversation with President Barack Obama. Of course, the new prime minister had every right to reiterate to the president a prominent campaign promise. But that promise now looks extraordinarily untimely and ill-conceived in the aftermath of Paris.  Already Islamic State propaganda has tried to make some hay out of the Canadian promise to end their bombing campaign, suggesting that the alliance of the crusader states was starting to fray. Do we really want to walk away from the use of air power against ISIL now?
However hard it might be for the Liberals to step back from a campaign promise, however divided Liberals might be on the issue, the Paris attacks should force a rethink. At the very least the Liberals need to hit the pause button on that one. Justin Trudeau’s gut instincts have not served him well on this file...

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