U.S. President Donald Trump made good on a promise Friday as he launched precision air strikes against Syria.
“I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapon capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,” U.S. President Donald Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.
Witnesses told CNN that they heard explosions in the capital city of Damascus and that they began while Trump was making his address.
US aircraft including B-1 bombers and ships were used in the attack, according to multiple US defense officials.
Trump said that he decided to take action because last weekend’s action by Bashar Al-Assad “was a significant attack against his own people,” and “not the actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.”
Where was Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, you ask? Why, he was on a plane to Peru for another international summit.
This strike against Syria was a co-ordinated attack with France and the United Kingdom joining the effort. Canada wasn’t there. Why not?
Speaking to Radio-Canada earlier this week, the prime minister said Canadian military personnel are already involved in missions in northern Iraq and Latvia and will be deploying to Mali, the Toronto Star reported.
“We are not looking to be present in Syria,” Trudeau said in an interview.
But he said Canada has been involved in delivering humanitarian assistance and working through diplomatic and political channels to resolve the conflict in Syria that has laid waste to cities, left thousands dead and forced citizens to flee to safety in neighbouring countries.
So here we go again. The United States, Britain and France will fight the terrorist regime in Syria and Trudeau will be around to use Canadian tax dollars to pick up refugees, send in aid to the victims of the air strikes and mop up the damage.
Trump had warned Wednesday of an imminent strike on Syria, declaring on social media that missiles “will be coming” and taunted Russia for its pledge to shoot them down.
“Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” Trump said on Twitter.
The threatened action comes after an attack last weekend in the Syrian town of Douma that possibly involved chemical weapons, which is believed to have killed 40 people. The attack is blamed on the government of Assad though it has denied responsibility.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned the attack at the time, saying the “repeated and morally reprehensible use of chemical weapons” by the Assad regime has been confirmed by independent observers.
“Canada condemns the Assad regime — and its backers, Russia and Iran — for its repeated, gross violations of human rights and continued, deliberate targeting of civilians,” Freeland said in a statement.
That’s Canada, all right. It “condemns” actions of the Assad regime, but when it comes time to take some serious action, Canada hides in a corner somewhere.
The Toronto Star story notes Canada did have CF-18 fighters jets in the region flying a bombing mission against Daesh extremists in Iraq. That mission — launched by the previous Conservative government — was halted by Trudeau’s Liberal government after it took office in 2015.
“Currently, Canada has a small number of special operations forces troops still deployed in northern Iraq to assist local forces in their fight against Daesh, along with Griffon helicopters,” The Star’s Bruce Campion-Smith reports. “A CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refueller is also still flying missions, refuelling other fighters in their patrol missions.”
So Canada could help. But it won’t. After all, it has more important things to do – you know, find Trudeau some more refugee voters for the next election perhaps. Maybe we could help thousands more of those displaced refugees from the allied attack. You know, maybe transport them to Canada, feed, clothe and house them.
That’s the Canadian way to deal with terrorism and terrorist regimes, isn’t it?
Jeff Wilkinson is a Senior Politics Reporter at Debate Report covering provincial and national politics, . Before joining Debate Report, Jeff worked on several provincial campaigns including Jack Layton. Jeff has worked as a freelance journalist in Toronto, having been published by over 20 outlets including CBC, the Center for Media and VICE.com.