Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said that Canadians should “celebrate” a Canadian sniper who delivered a record-breaking kill shot in Iraq. He was also quick to defend Canada’s position in Iraq, describing their mission as a non-combat one.
According to Trudeau, Canadian forces have been doing their duty as part of the coalition against Daesh. What happened is consistent with what Canadians expect of their forces.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL are also referred to as Daesh.
In his statement to reporters, Trudeau said that Canadian troops should be celebrated for their training and excellence in performing their duties.
The sniper shot an ISIL fighter from 3,540 metres away. When this happened, a member of Canada’s elite Joint Task Force 2 Special Forces unit was supporting Iraqi forces. This information was recently released by the National Defence.
The previous record was set back in 2009 by a British sniper who shot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. The Canadian sniper’s shot is more than a kilometre farther than the Brit’s.
People from different parts of the world have heaped praises on the sniper while others are still in awe.
According to Trudeau, the sniper took the shot in order to defend Kurdish and Iraqi forces. He stated that Canada’s “advice and assist” mission in Iraq allowed and even expected a soldier to take such an action.
However, Trudeau’s explanation did not stop NDP Leader Tom Mulcair from reintroducing the debate of whether Canadian soldiers in Iraq are involved in combat.
Trudeau said that Canada had fulfilled and would continue with its responsibility as a member of the coalition in northern Iraq.
“One of the key pillars of our mission in Iraq has always been to defend our allies in the coalition,” he said.
In September 2014, the former Conservative government sent the first troops to join in the fight against ISIL. Ever since this deployment, there has been a debate whether Canadian soldiers are in combat in Iraq.
During the last federal election, the Liberals promised a non-combat mission.
They tripled the number of Canadian Special Forces soldiers on the ground to 200 despite withdrawing the six CF-18s that were part of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIL.
However, there were concerns that Canadian troops shooting in self-defence and calling in airstrikes on ISIL targets were in combat while operating near the front lines.
These types of activities are still being conducted by the Canadian troops in Iraq.
Trudeau also said that Canadians expect the government to make “the correct decisions” regarding their mission in the Middle East nation. The government will deploy up to 600 peacekeepers as a sign of commitment to working with the United Nations (UN).
Canada’s mission in Iraq will expire soon and the Liberal government is expected to announce changes or an extension in the coming days.