Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A fighter type F-18 Hornet of the Canadian Royal Air Force takes off from the military airbase at Campia Turzii. Canada will end air strikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and bring home its six fighter jets on February 22, the government announced Monday,

Mircea Rosca/AFP/Getty Images

We may never know exactly why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pulling Canada's fighter jets out of the coalition air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. All we know is that Mr. Trudeau promised during the election campaign that he would. His reasoning was vague back then, but it didn't matter. He was really just trying to differentiate the Liberals from the Conservatives, who were vociferously pro-bombing.

On Monday, the PM kept his promise but was just as ambiguous about the reasons as ever. He claimed that it's the "Canadian way"; that bombing only works in the short term, whatever that is; that we as a country are best at training and aid-giving, without offering evidence. At the same time, he said Canadian military planes will continue to refuel other countries' jet fighters and do aerial surveillance to guide those fighters. So we're still part of the air campaign, sort of. But, hey, promise kept.

The only question now is, is this a good move? For those caught up in symbolism, such as the Conservatives, the gesture is unforgivable. Are we trying to kill the terrorists or not? Nothing is ever that simple, though, especially in Syria and Iraq. We know IS is bad, but what about the murderous President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria? What about the Russians and Iranians, who are bombing Aleppo and other targets? What about Saudi Arabia, which plans to support the rebels fighting the Russia/Iran-supported Assad forces? And what are Turkey's interests? Are they fighting IS or the Kurds?

Story continues below advertisement

In that context, Canada's decision to refocus its efforts by sending personnel to "various Global Coalition headquarters" to help train soldiers, plan missions and do intelligence work makes sense. The skies over Syria and Northern Iraq are lousy with the jets of countries pursuing their own agendas. Canada will be on the ground, trying to help the people fighting what is now a proxy war. And we will be arming and training the Iraqi security forces who will take on IS in the ground battle that follows the air campaign.

Our country will also provide more than $1-billion in humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in the region. Canada will ultimately be more involved in the Syrian crisis than before, but no longer according to the dictates of the defeated Conservative government or of a coalition of countries whose alliances become more complicated and suspect all the time.

Looked at that way, Mr. Trudeau's decision could prove to be wise, even if he can't quite express it himself.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies