WATCH: Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney discusses with Tom Clark Canada’s contributions to the coalition fighting the Islamic State and what the government is doing here at home.
OTTAWA — Any radicalized Canadian at home or abroad is a target the Conservative government will not miss, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark, raising questions about a recent media appearance of a man claiming to be an Islamic terrorist who slipped through the fingers of Canadian intelligence officers.
In an interview aired last week on Vice, a man believed to be a 21-year-old Somali-Canadian who has been in Iraq, fighting with the Islamic State since July, called people working for Canadian and American intelligence agencies “imbeciles.”
He said CSIS officers had interviewed him about going to Syria but didn’t stop or apprehend him.
Restating the promise of his colleagues, Blaney any potential combat mission in Iraq would first be discussed in parliament.
“The prime minister has been clear in the past,” he said, pointing to Canada’s Libya and Afghanistan missions as examples. “We are consulting Parliament and having a vote on those issues.”
Blaney wouldn’t say what the government’s plan might be if it, along with its allies, defeats ISIS.
“We know it’s a long-term engagement against terrorism,” he said. “This is up to us as a country to decide how much we want to get involved, where we want to get involved. But one thing is sure, is terrorism that is happening outside of the country is having big repercussions in our country. That’s why we cannot stay with our two arms crossed and say this is happening elsewhere.”
Whether the opposition parties in the House of Commons support whatever the Conservatives put on the table is unclear.
WATCH: Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair tells Tom Clark what it would take to support a combat mission against the Islamic State.
Canada already has sent in almost 70 special forces soldiers to northern Iraq to assist and advise local forces fighting ISIS. That deployment went ahead without any debate or vote in Parliament, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying those steps weren’t necessary as the mission was not a combat mission.
Deploying troops is a prerogative of the prime minister and the federal cabinet under the Canadian system.
Still, New Democrat leader Tom Mulcair says Harper has gone back on his word.
“Second of all, we don’t know what the mission is now,” he said Sunday. “We’ve sent in our elite troops … Are they spotting for someone else firing their artillery? And in that case, is that combat? We have a right to have full information, then to have a debate in the House and then to vote. In the current stat of play, the only responsible thing to do is to say no to this mission because we don’t have that information.”
Mulcair said he and his caucus members are more likely to vote in favour of a mission if it is UN-sanctioned.
“Otherwise, you’re ending up in the exact same situation Canada correctly said no to in 2003,” he said. “Everything that’s playing out before our eyes now is a direct result of the wrongheaded British and American missions in Iraq in 2003.”
With a file form The Canadian Press