OTTAWA – The intense 17-hour battle in which Canadian Special Operations Forces and CF-18 fighter jets fought off attacks on Kurdish Peshmerga positions near Mosul and destroyed enemy capabilities clearly illustrates the need for Canada to maintain its air combat role in the fight against ISIS terrorists, the Official Opposition said today. “I salute our troops for the courage and skill they exhibited during this battle with ISIS terrorists,” said James Bezan, Official Opposition Defence Critic. “It’s clear that the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, including our CF-18 fighter jet pilots, are helping to win the fight against jihadi terrorism, stopping ISIS atrocities, and saving lives. This is the very reason why our CF-18 jets have to stay in the fight against ISIS. Yet the government has failed to even mention the Royal Canadian Air Force or our CF-18 pilots for their great efforts in providing air support to Canada’s Special Operations Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga allies. It appears to be too much for the Liberals to even thank our fighter jet pilots for a job well done.” “The Liberal policy to withdraw our fighter jets is completely incoherent,” said Hon. Tony Clement, Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic. “The Defence Minister has said that the air combat mission including CF-18 bombing sorties will continue well into next year, perhaps beyond the parliamentary authorization. The government still hasn’t articulated any clear plan for what the mission will look like once they withdraw the CF-18s. Yesterday was in fact just another in a long list of examples of the success of the mission as currently constructed, including Canadian airstrikes on ISIS. The government’s opposition to CF-18s conducting airstrikes is solely ideological and not based on any policy rationale whatsoever.” Bezan and Clement pointed out that our allies have stated Canadian airstrikes have “helped destroy the enemy” and “saved lives” in the Kurdistan region, and that no coalition partners have asked Canada to step back and bring our CF-18s home. Last night the Chief of Defence Staff said, “Canada’s contribution up until now has been superb and very much appreciated by the allies and very much unappreciated by ISIL, which is a great way to be.” The Official Opposition continues to call on the Government of Canada to leave our CF-18 jets in the air combat mission against ISIS, and demands the government be transparent and provide details of their plan for increasing training in the region.