Elizabeth May asks: “Has the Prime Minister Misled Parliament About the Mission in Iraq?”

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich – Gulf Islands, said she is extremely alarmed that Canadian Forces engaged in ground combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), despite the Prime Minister assuring Canadians that the mission would not involve ground combat.

“Prime Minister Harper explicitly promised that there would be no Canadian boots on the ground when the majority of Parliamentarians voted in favour of sending our forces to Iraq,” Ms. May said. “We have now learned that not only are Canadian soldiers accompanying Iraqi troops, they are directly engaged in combat with enemy forces. Has the Prime Minister misled Parliament about the mission in Iraq?”

In October 2014, Parliament voted in favour of a motion to send six CF-18 fighter jets and 70 troops to Iraq. At that time, Prime Minister Harper assured Opposition Members of Parliament that ground troops would not accompany Iraqi forces into combat.

In a briefing this week, Brigadier-General Michael Rouleau revealed that Canadian forces accompanied Iraqi troops on a mission near the front lines.

Ms. May concluded that this revelation is a telling sign that the Prime Minister went beyond the scope of his own motion and the will of Parliament, and made a decision not to inform Canadians.

“If the Harper Conservatives continue to expand the mission beyond what Parliament agreed to, it will become much more difficult to bring our soldiers home. Engaging in combat in Iraq will only bolster ISIL extremism and that is one of the reasons that I did not support the bombing mission. I have said that we must implement a well thought-out plan to end the threat of ISIL. It must be one that does not unnecessarily put our men and women in uniform at risk,” Ms. May said.