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Politics Mulcair says Canadian Forces have no role whatsoever to play in Syria and Iraq

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair speaks to supporters during his official nomination meeting and campaign stop at the Rialto Theatre in his home riding of Outremont, in Montreal, on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Dario Ayala/The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is highlighting his party's pacifist roots, saying there is no military role for the Canadian Forces in the conflict in Syria and Iraq.

Mulcair made the comments today at a seniors' residence on Montreal's south shore.

He said the current conflict in Syria and Iraq is the result of the attempted overthrow of a government coupled with the misguided military policies of Western powers — proving, he added, that more bombs are not the answer.

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Mulcair initially said that Canada's military had no role at all to play in the conflict, but a party spokesman later clarified that NDP policy is in favour of the army playing a humanitarian role, such as providing aid to refugees.

The NDP leader said Canada can do more to help Syrian and Iraqi refugees and said the government should deploy people to Turkey to fast-track asylum applications.

Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper has criticized the NDP for its willingness to help refugees but refusal to fight what Harper said is the "root cause" of the suffering, namely the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

"The NDP disagrees with the use of Canada's Armed Forces in that conflict," Mulcair said. "We've been clear on that since the beginning."

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