Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff says that in legal terms, Canada is not “at war” with the so-called Islamic State — but that doesn’t change much when it comes to the country’s mission against the terrorist group. Story continues below
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Gen. Jonathan Vance was asked point-blank during a Senate committee meeting on Monday afternoon whether Canada is “in a state of war” as it works with foreign allies to combat IS. Responding to the question from Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan, Vance chose his words carefully.“I’ve seen this question asked before, and I want to be perfectly clear with you about this use of the term war,” he said.The word is used is used to describe many things, Vance explained, usually referring to a major effort to combat something. The “war on drugs” is one example. But if Carignan was referring to the legal term, the general said, that changes things.“War as a legal state, between two states … has not been used for a long, long time,” he told the committee members.“We are a lawful party to an armed conflict against a non-state actor — that’s the legal terminology … So to answer your question specifically, no. Canada is not at a declared state of war.”Even if Canada is not “at war,” Vance noted, it doesn’t necessarily mean much in terms of how the Canadian Forces are deployed against the Islamic State, the benefits and allowances given to troops, or the shape of the mission.The Canadian mission is in the midst of a transition under the Liberals, moving away from the bombing campaign and aerial support favoured by the previous government to a new model that prioritizes humanitarian aid and training.The last Canadian bombing missions were completed in late February.
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