The leader of Canada’s left-wing opposition is pouring cold water on the record-setting sniper kill earned by a Canadian special forces sniper this week.
The Canadian Army marksman shot and killed an ISIS terrorist from over two miles (3.540 km officially) distance. But Tom Mulcair, the leader of the quasi-socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) isn’t celebrating the accomplishment, CBC News reports.
Instead he’s written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that Canadian soldiers shouldn’t be shooting at ISIS killers and that the record-setting shot “seriously calls into question your government’s claim that Canadian forces are not involved in direct combat in Iraq.”
The Canadian Department of National Defense confirmed the kill and said the sniper was part of the army’s Joint Task Force 2 special forces that is supporting Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS. It beats the old record established by a British Army sniper who killed a Taliban assailant in Afghanstan in 2009.
Defense spokespersons have not provided any further details about the location because of operational security but are confirming that the soldier was well within the limits of Canada’s mission in Iraq, which is described as an “advise and assist” role.
Debate continues to swirl whether Canadian soldiers are advising and assisting or engaging in actual combat — but soldiers maintain it is difficult to separate the two while they’re in a combat zone.
While the sniper’s accomplishment was recognized around the world and received the praise of allied armed forces, Mulcair just wants to know how it was possible if Canadians aren’t supposed to be directly fighting ISIS.
“Will you now confirm that Canadian troops have engaged in ground combat since your government took office?” he wrote in his letter to Trudeau.
“Why have you not declared that the current military operation is now a combat mission? Why has there been no debate in the House of Commons regarding this change of mission?”
But National Defence spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier told reporters that Canada is not technically engaged in combat in Iraq.
“Members of the Canadian Special Operations Task Force do not accompany leading combat elements, but enable the Iraqi security forces who are in a tough combat mission,” he said.
“This takes the form of advice in planning for their operations and assistance to defeat (ISIS) through the use of coalition resources.”