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Royal Canadian Air Force ground crew perform post flight checks on a CF-18 fighter jet in Kuwait after a sortie over Iraq during Operation IMPACT on November 3, 2014. Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND IS2014-5026-03Canadian Forces Combat Camera

The first bombs in Canada's most recent military involvement in the Middle East were dropped onto targets in Iraq by CF-18s on Nov. 2.

In the intervening five weeks, what little information is available about the mission has been housed on a Canadian Forces Internet site.

Said web page tells you how many combat sorties have taken place to date in Operation IMPACT and provides a cursory summary of the targets, as well as a short history of the mission.

There have also been a handful of technical briefings and Parliamentary committee hearings, but to describe Ottawa's disclosure about the Iraq campaign as rudimentary is to do a disservice to the term.

Instead, the governing Conservatives have steadily rebuffed opposition efforts to tease out just how much this mission is costing the treasury, or indeed how long Canadians can expect it to last. The answers, so far, are (1) We'll tell you when it's over and (2) Maybe six months, maybe more.

This kind of obstinacy is unfortunate. Allies like Australia and the U.S. are more transparent about their activities in Iraq, and Canada should follow their lead.

So, as Parliament prepares to rise for its six-week Christmas break on Friday, a request: Might the government provide an overview of the successes and failures in the campaign to date?

Without getting dragged into the argument about the legitimacy or scope of the mission, it seems obvious that legislators in this country and the people they represent should know more about it.

How is the government measuring success? How is the bombing campaign affecting the situation on the ground? Have any bombing runs been aborted over fear of inflicting collateral damage, as Australian planes have done?

The Canadian Forces say they "are confident" this country's involvement in Iraq hasn't resulted in any civilian deaths. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recently said there is no chance Canadian troops or warplanes will become involved in Islamic State eradication efforts in neighbouring Syria.

That's a start. Now it would be nice if the government would answer a few questions on what is actually happening in Iraq.

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