Canada’s top soldier yesterday defended the Liberal government’s decision to allow Canadian troops in Iraq to fire first against terrorist forces in order to protect themselves as well as civilians and coalition fighters.

“We are allowed to deal with a threat that is emerging that would overwhelm those we are working with, or ourselves if we didn’t deal with it.” Gen Jonathan Vance, chief of defence staff, told a parliamentary committee yesterday. “That is the definition of defensive fire. We don’t have to be shot at first. We can take the first shot of it is to save lives.”


Are Canadian soldiers on the front lines in Mosul?

Major move on Mosul

During the hearing in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the Liberals encountered renewed criticism that is was misleading the public about the real nature of the involving of Canadian soldiers in the conflict in Iraq, according to a report from the Canadian Press.

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said the Liberals had “attempted to silence our military” and is misleading Canadians by maintaining that Canadian soldiers are in a non-combat role in Iraq.

The current involvement of Canadian troops is “not what the Liberals promised,” according to Randall Garrison, defence critic for the NDP.

During the last election, the Liberals promised they would end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq.

Upon coming into power, the Liberals pulled out the six CF-18 fighter jets engaged in missions in Iraq and Syria by the Conservatives. Then the Liberals boosted the number of ground troops in the country from 69 to 200.

The government also said that special force members in the country are engaged in training Kurdish fighters battling ISIS. There has also been a clampdown on information and the media has been getting fewer details such as how often Canadian troops have called in airstrikes and firefights against ISIS.

In the early days of the ongoing battle to regain Mosul from ISIS, images of Canadians troops appearing to be assisting Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in the frontlines.