OTTAWA, ON – Canada has a responsibility to stand with France, our NATO ally, in that country’s ramped-up military response to the ISIS threat, the Official Opposition said today. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman and Conservative Critic for National Defence expressed continued concern with the government’s ill-advised plan to withdraw Canada’s six CF-18 fighter jets from the battle with ISIS. “Since the horrific terrorist attacks on November 13, President Hollande has been meeting with world leaders, requesting a stronger military response from allies in the fight against ISIS,” said Bezan. “Our NATO allies including Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all committed to increase assets to the air campaign in support of France. Canada, however, has done the opposite.” ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and President Hollande characterized it as an “act of war organized at a distance” by a “horde of murderers”. President Hollande has pledged to defeat ISIS and is working at expanding the coalition fighting the terrorist group, stating, “France will do everything to destroy the army of fanatics who committed these crimes, that she will act tirelessly to protect her children.” “Will Prime Minister Trudeau tell President Hollande that Canada will be ratcheting down our support to one of our greatest allies and friends, and that we will be stepping back from our historic role of standing alongside France as she fights to protect her citizens?” asked Bezan. “Canada must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with France. Prime Minister Trudeau has not yet explained how withdrawing Canada’s CF-18s from the air combat mission will help our coalition partners defeat ISIS. None of our coalition allies asked us to leave the air combat mission. The Kurdish regional government has said that they want our CF-18s to stay since they have helped in stopping ISIS and saving lives in the area,” said Bezan. Falah Mustafa Bakir, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government prefers if Canada continues air strikes in Iraq and Syria saying, “they have helped us a great deal. They have helped save lives. They have helped destroy the enemy.” The Leader of the Official Opposition, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, has said that the Conservative Party supports leaving Canada’s fighter jets in the air combat mission and that the Liberal Government must change course. “Canada must step up and answer France’s call for help, not step back. We need a more robust response, and that includes leaving the CF-18s in the fight against ISIS. The brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces always stand ready to do our share of the heavy lifting,” Bezan concluded.