Last week at Goldman Sachs in New York in a Q&A with the WSJ editor, Harper seemed keen to give the impression that the US had taken the initiative and come to Canada cap in hand requesting further military contribution in the fight against ISIS in Iraq:
Transcript excerpt :
WSJ : “Would you rule out a military contribution to any effort?”
Harper : “I haven’t ruled out … we haven’t ruled out anything.”
WSJ : “Has the United States formally asked you to contribute?”
Harper : “The United States just recently in the last couple of days has asked for some additional contribution and we’re weighing our response to that.”
WSJ : “What are they looking for? More logistical support? More direct military support?”
Harper : “Since they didn’t release the letter publicly, I’m not going to do that. I’ll just say the Government of Canada will make a decision on that very shortly.”
Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson also gave that impression in the House on Thursday:
“We’ve been very clear — we just recently received this request from the US and of course we will review it.”
However, also on Thursday: U.S. says Canada offered to help in Iraq – not the other way around
“The United States government says it was Canada that asked what more it could do to help in Iraq – an offer that led to the letter Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he recently received from the U.S. requesting further military help in the fight against ISIS.”
Were they referring to this back on August 12?: Harper offers ‘additional help’ to Obama in phone call over crisis in Iraq
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed strong support for U.S. air strikes in Iraq during a telephone conversation today with U.S. President Barack Obama . . . and expressed Canada’s willingness to do more on the humanitarian aid front.”
Or perhaps this editorial by Harper and Stockwell Day about their eagerness to participate in what became a nine year cakewalk in Iraq, published by the Wall Street Journal in 2003:
“Today, the world is at war. A coalition of countries under the leadership of the U.K. and the U.S. is leading a military intervention to disarm Saddam Hussein. Yet Prime Minister Jean Chretien has left Canada outside this multilateral coalition of nations.
“This is a serious mistake. For the first time in history, the Canadian government has not stood beside its key British and American allies in their time of need. The Canadian Alliance — the official opposition in parliament — supports the American and British position because we share their concerns, their worries about the future if Iraq is left unattended to, and their fundamental vision of civilization and human values. Disarming Iraq is necessary for the long-term security of the world, and for the collective interests of our key historic allies and therefore manifestly in the national interest of Canada. Make no mistake, as our allies work to end the reign of Saddam and the brutality and aggression that are the foundations of his regime, Canada’s largest opposition party, the Canadian Alliance will not be neutral. In our hearts and minds, we will be with our allies and friends. And Canadians will be overwhelmingly with us.
“But we will not be with the Canadian government.
“Modern Canada was forged in large part by war — not because it was easy but because it was right. In the great wars of the last century — against authoritarianism, fascism, and communism — Canada did not merely stand with the Americans, more often than not we led the way. We did so for freedom, for democracy, for civilization itself. These values continue to be embodied in our allies and their leaders, and scorned by the forces of evil, including Saddam Hussein and the perpetrators of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That is why we will stand — and I believe most Canadians will stand with us — for these higher values which shaped our past, and which we will need in an uncertain future.
Messrs. Harper and Day are the leader and shadow foreign minister, respectively, of the Canadian Alliance.”
But no, according to CBC, it was indeed the August phone call: Canada mulls deploying CF-18 jets to join U.S.-led strikes
“The federal cabinet will meet next week to discuss deploying Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets to join a U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
“Sources tell CBC News U.S. President Barack Obama brought the idea of an air war conducted by an international coalition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in August and asked for Canada ‘s support.”
So will Steve finally get his wish to become a war time president PM?
Hey, unlikely anything else would have got Dubya re-elected.
Update: “If there’s a combat mission, I think the prime minister has always been very clear, that we would go before Parliament for a vote, that has not changed,” Baird told reporters at the United Nations on Thursday, shortly before Stephen Harper spoke to the assembly…”