This image, from the International Spectator, is of the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, it is now equivalent to being that country’s fourth largest city:
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says there are about 80,000 people there.
If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadians in general were really interested in helping with the refugee crisis they would have sent a fully equipped regiment (maybe 1,000 soldier) of military engineers to Jordan to work, under the priorities of the Jordanian government, to improve conditions in that camp, and in others.
Of course, our engineer regiments in the Canadian Army are probably at less than half the strength that they ought to be and they are starved for the necessary equipment.
But it is not beyond the wit of man nor the means of government to “fix” the Canadian Armed Forces so that they can have the people and tools needed to respond to any sort of crisis: humanitarian in Canada or military half way around the world … it only needs money, which this government seems intent on flinging about in any and all directions except at Canada’s own national security and defence, and, of course, it requires a wee tiny bit of political will and backbone … of something we might just call leadership.
If Canada’s new, Liberal government was intent on really helping Syrian refugees they would focus on doing just one thing:
Remove the threats which force people to flee their homes in fear of their lives.
In the case of Syria that means doing two things, simultaneously:
- Removing the Assad regime from power ~ which will require military force no matter what the dimwits in the US State Department and the White House may claim; and
- Destroying Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Both require the application of a range of security/military power, covert, unconventional and conventional …
… and that power needs to be, constantly, honed (maintained) for action and upgraded as both threats and capabilities evolve and that requires funding.
I suspect it would be politically impossible for Prime Minister Trudeau’s government to reverse its
blunder decision to withdraw the CF-18s from combat operations ~ too many people in the Laurentian Elites just hate the very word combat. It would be very hard, too, to promise to shift Canadian foreign policy in a more responsible (traditional (pre 1967) Liberal) direction, and also hard to commit to rebuilding the Canadian Armed Forces, even by blaming Prime Minister Harper for neglecting defence since 2012. But just because something is “hard,” even “impossible,” doesn’t mean it should not be done.
Going after both Assad and Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS at the same time would, no doubt, put Canada in some sort of conflict with both Presidents Obama and Putin! But that, being at odds with the leaders of those two powers, is not the sort of thing that bothered real Canadian leaders in the past. Louis St Laurent, for example, was not afraid to disagree, publicly, with both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower and, equally, with US legislators even as he supported the US led West in e.g. forming NATO and prosecuting the Korean War and in resolving (1956) the Suez crisis. Ditto John Diefenbaker, Mike Pearson and Brian Mulroney who, in disagreeing with Prime Minister Thatcher on South Africa, faced a most formidable political foe. It’s just a matter of integrity, of moral courage … just a little leadership, please.