Ambrose says Conservatives support more training to fight ISIS

Click to play video: '‘I think we should do both’: Rona Ambrose talks airstrikes, military training to fight IS'
‘I think we should do both’: Rona Ambrose talks airstrikes, military training to fight IS
WATCH ABOVE: ‘I think we should do both’: Rona Ambrose talks airstrikes, military training to fight IS – Jan 20, 2016

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose says her party supports the expansion of Canada’s mission against the so-called Islamic State, but if the Liberals want to start training more ground troops, they also have to keep bombing.

“I think we should do both … absolutely do both,” said Ambrose in an interview with Global News’ Robin Gill.

“We’ve been urging Prime Minister Trudeau to keep the CF-18s (bombers) in play, and by all means expand the mission. Do more training, if that’s what he’d like to do. But there’s no reason why we can’t do both.”

Rona said Canada has “always taken a strong position against those who oppose our way of life” and that the Islamic State group is the most “evil” organization of her generation.

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Canada’s bombing mission is set to cease under the Liberal government, which promised to pull Canadian bombers out of the skies over Syria and Iraq during the federal election campaign and increased training operations on the ground.

READ MORE: Facing tough times, Islamic State group forced to cut militant salaries

But there is still no firm date for the end of the mission. In fact, Canadian bombing actually ramped up in December and the first few days of January. Since then, according to the Department of Defence, there have been regular airstrikes every few days on IS fighting position in the regions around Tikrit, Mosul and Ramadi, with the last one occurring on Jan. 15.

In an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland on Wednesday, Trudeau addressed Canada’s approach to the anti-IS coalition. He re-iterated the plan to pull out the CF-18s, but provided no additional details on the type of training his government would like to see Canadian troops undertaking on the ground.

READ MORE: While Canada plans to pull jets, U.S., allies agree to intensify fight against Islamic State

Canada has about 70 specialized troops in Iraq to assist with training. Somewhat oddly, a recent tweet from the official Twitter account of the International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve excluded Canada in the list of countries helping to train local Peshmerga troops.

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Trudeau’s defence minister, Harjit Sajjan, was also excluded from a high-level meeting of anti-IS coalition partners in Paris. The defence ministers of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Australia, the Netherlands and the United States were present, but Sajjan said he did not feel snubbed.

With files from Robin Gill.

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