Wednesday February 18, 2015
Canada’s Iraq mission has cost $122 million, military says
Canada’s air and ground mission battling Islamic State extremists in Iraq has cost $122 million so far, new figures show.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney on Monday overturned weeks of silence by the Defence Department on the issue and revealed the price tag of the mission to date.
“We think these costs are entirely reasonable given the importance of this mission,” Kenney said in a statement.
Kenney, who took over as defence minister a week ago, said the final cost will be higher but the final tally depends on when the mission, now due to end in April, wraps up.
“Costs will ultimately be higher than that, but how much higher will depend on whether we wrap up the operation at the end of March, or extend it, so total final costs are still difficult to calculate,” he said.
He said Canadian special operations forces soldiers — working as advisers on the ground — and Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft are having a “meaningful impact against this genocidal terrorist organization.”
Kenney cited the latest atrocities — the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by an Islamic State-affiliated group and the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot — as further justification of the Conservatives’ decision to launch the military mission over the objections of Liberals and New Democrats.
“This is a vicious death cult that is a threat to regional and international security, they have declared war on Canada and our allies, and that’s why Canada has a responsibility to be there,” Kenney said. (Source: Toronto Star)