The Situation Room – As a Canadian I have pride in our military, where others don’t

Mac Olsen,
Editor, Smoky River Express

As Canada was celebrating its 150th anniversary last week, I heard about the Canadian soldier who now holds the record for the longest distance sniper shot, which killed an ISIL terrorist.

That soldier, a member of the Joint Task Force II special forces unit, was near Mosul, Iraq. He managed to hit his target at 3,540 metres, or 3.5 km.

Imagine trying to hit a target at over two miles away and having to factor in the variables like the wind speed, temperature and the rotation of the earth. Imagine the amount of practice it takes at a shooting range to make such precise, long-distance shots.

That’s something that I can only dream about.

That soldier deserves praise and recognition for taking out an ISIL terrorist – and saving lives in the process.

That’s what makes me proud of the Canadian Forces – to be able to handle threatening situations decisively, at a critical moment. It’s not every day that the CF is involved in those situations. They deserve their due recognition when they succeed.

However, this sniper’s success has also caught the attention of those who would rain on his parade.

Outgoing federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has taken the Liberal Government to task over whether Canadian soldiers are involved in a combat mission in Iraq and, if they are, then he’s calling for a debate in the House of Commons over it.

“Why have you not declared that the current military operation is now a combat mission?” he asked in the House of Commons last week. “Why has there been no debate in the House of Commons regarding this change of mission?”

Prime Minister Trudeau, for his part – which I will say is appropriate, signalling his support of the Canadian Forces – said last week that the long-distance shot is something to be “celebrated.”

“What happened there is, first of all, something to be celebrated for the excellence of Canadian Forces in their training, in the performance of their duties,” he said last week, as per a report.
“But it’s also something to be understood as entirely consistent with what Canada is expected – and Canadians expect our forces – to be doing as part of the coalition against Daesh.”

That is another name for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

Whatever the nature of Canada’s role is in Iraq right now, combat or otherwise, all the federal parties should be supportive of the members of JTF II for their outstanding performance there.

I criticize Mulcair for his questioning of the role our military personnel have in Iraq. I don’t think he and other critics appreciate the nature of the work they do there, at extreme risk to themselves. And Mulcair has no right to speak, given that he’s going to be replaced as NDP leader.

I don’t abide terrorism of any kind, especially from the likes of ISIL, the Taliban, al-Qaida, etc. They are to be hunted down and destroyed.

As a Canadian, I’m proud of our Canadian Forces for their handling of situations like this. They deserve our support, not questioning.

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