September 16, 2014 3:58 pm

Canada sends 69 special forces to Iraq to advise in fight against ISIS

Prime Minister Stephen Harper answers a question in the House of Commons, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 in Ottawa.


OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says 69 special forces soldiers have been sent to northern Iraq to advise and assist local forces in the fight against ISIS militants, otherwise known as the Islamic State.

Harper revealed the figure during a second straight day of question-period pressure from the opposition in the House of Commons.

Both the New Democrats and Liberals want Parliament to vote on the deployment, but Harper says that won’t happen because it’s not a combat mission.

When Canadian soldiers were in Afghanistan, the Conservatives twice gave the House a say in extending the mission in Kandahar, even though there is no law requiring input from elected officials.

Deploying troops is a prerogative of the prime minister and the federal cabinet under the Canadian system.

Experts, including the current head of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, say a prolonged struggle against ISIS could involve the use of western special forces, but President Barack Obama says there will be no large-scale deployment of troops.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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