October 2, 2014 7:35 pm
Updated: October 3, 2014 2:02 pm

Majority of Canadians back use of fighter jets to strike ISIS in Iraq

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WATCH: As we stand on the brink of getting involved in another foreign war, we have a snapshot of how many Canadians support airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq. Eric Sorensen has the details.

Canadians will learn more on Friday about further involvement in the fight against ISIS, but it appears there is significant support for the use of Canadian Forces fighter jets in the airstrikes against the militant group.

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Almost* two-thirds (or 64 per cent) of Canadians said they’re strongly or somewhat in support of Canada sending jets, likely CF-18s, to launch strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, according to an exclusive Global News/Ipsos Reid poll.

That’s more than the number of Canadians who supported Canada taking on a combat role in Afghanistan, based on a poll conducted in 2001, and significantly more than the number of respondents who would have supported Canada sending troops into Iraq in 2003, as a part of the U.S.-led coalition which Canada did not take part in. Both missions which entailed having troops on the ground.

Only the United Nations-backed NATO intervention in Libya — which did not entail having Canadian troops go into the country — had greater support, with 70 per cent of Canadians saying they were in favour of it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to announce Friday the use of CF-18s in the efforts to destroy ISIS, also referred to as the Islamic State group, amid criticism from the opposition that he has not been forthcoming about Canada’s role in the international coalition.

READ MORE: Obama: US ‘underestimated’ Islamic State threat

Of the 62 nations** involved in the U.S.-led mission, Canada would be the seventh country to pledge involvement in the U.S. airstrikes (either launching or carrying out reconnaissance) in Iraq: the other countries include the U.K., Australia, France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. The U.S. has also launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, with the assistance of five Arab nations.

The greatest support for Canada taking part in airstrikes came from Ontario, where 71 per cent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat supported it; the lowest support was in Quebec with 53 per cent.

READ MORE: ‘We don’t miss,’ public safety minister says of fighting terrorism

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has criticized Harper for not being transparent about the number of Canadian troops on the ground in Iraq —it was initially said to be 69, later that number was later clarified to be 26 — whether or not the 30-day mission would be extended, and whether or not Canada first approached the U.S. about becoming further involved in the fight against ISIS.

WATCH: Mulcair wonders how Canadians can trust PM’s word on Iraq

On Thursday, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau slammed Harper for not making an “effort to build a non-partisan case for war.”

“Instead, he dares us to oppose his war, staking out not moral territory but political territory,” Trudeau said at a conference hosted by the think tank Canada2020. “Why aren’t we talking more about the kind of humanitarian aid that Canada can and must be engaged in, rather than trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are? It just doesn’t work like that in Canada.”

Harper said Wednesday there would be a debate and vote in the House of Commons, “if there is a combat mission of any kind, including an air combat mission.”

The poll was conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and included a sample of 1,003 Canadians. The poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points.

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Credit: Janet Cordahi/Global News

The data, summaries and commentary in exclusive Global News/Ipsos Reid polling are subject to copyright. The data, summaries and commentary may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper attribution to both Global News and Ipsos Reid in all web articles, on social media, in radio broadcasts and with an on-screen credit for television.

Correction: An earlier version of this story read “More than two-thirds (or 64 per cent) said they’re strongly or somewhat in support of Canada sending jets…” That paragraph has been revised to read “Almost two-thirds…”

Also, the previous version of this story reported Turkey became the 63rd nation to join U.S.-led coalition. In fact, Turkey had pledged support for the coalition, but only gave approval on Thursday to join military operations. We regret the errors.

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