Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), the Government of Canada’s decision to end the conduct of airstrikes has been communicated to Canada’s coalition partners and the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait. Moreover, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, DND/CAF, advised United States Central Command, CENTCOM, officials of the possible plan to withdraw the CF-18 jets and to expand the training mission.
With regard to (b), the CAF ceased airstrike operations as part of Operation Impact on February 15, 2016. As a result, the six CF-18 Hornets, along with associated aircrew and support personnel, will be redeployed in a phased approach consistent with regular processes and required diplomatic engagement.
With regard to (c), the deployment of additional personnel will commence in the near future, pending host nation and coalition discussions.
With regard to (d), the total number of personnel deployed under Operation Impact will be increased up to 830. In general terms, Canada will triple the size of its train, advise, assist, and equip mission in northern Iraq. Canada will also offer to provide the Government of Iraq with a team of strategic advisers to the Ministries of Defence and the Interior. Finally, Canada is prepared to provide CAF personnel to enhance capacity-building efforts with security forces in Jordan and Lebanon.
With regard to (e), the Canadian Armed Forces members deployed will conduct general military training to improve Iraqi security forces skills and proficiency. This includes the deployment of CAF medical personnel to provide training to Iraqi security forces in the conduct of casualty management in a battlefield context, as well as to provide medical support to CAF personnel and partners; the provision of equipment, such as small arms, ammunition, and optics, to assist in the training of the Iraqi security forces; and the examination of ways to enhance in-theatre tactical transport.
In addition to this, the CAF will seek opportunities to augment the current capacity-building program for the Jordanian Armed Forces and create a new capacity-building program for the Lebanese Armed Forces.
With regard to (f), commanders at all levels are responsible and accountable for the protection of their personnel and assets. Canadian trainers will be provided force protection commensurate with the assessed level of risk at the training sites.
With regard to (g), detailed staff planning analysis has been carried out through several layers of headquarters, in consultation with coalition allies and in reference to the coalition statement of requirements, to ensure that no military capability gap exists.
With regard to (h), as part of the overall $1.6-billion strategy over the next three years, the government will allocate approximately $305 million towards Operation Impact in its expanded role.