Canada's Involvement with the War in Iraq

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CANADA'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR WITH IRAQ

CANADA'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE WAR WITH IRAQ

Since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, U.S allies have been faced with many new decisions. Canada is one of the closest allies of the United States and has long shared the same goals, making the controversy surrounding the U.S. war with Iraq one of importance for the Canadian parliament and its citizens. Questions of justification and UN implications have left the country with mixed feelings. These mixed feelings presented disagreements between the Canadian Liberal Government and its official opposition, the Conservative Party. These are only a few outlooks of the Canadian government and its people that are not widely known outside the borders of Canada, and so, this paper will discuss these issues in an attempt to enlighten readers on the subject. Therefore the question remains, how has Canada been involved in the U.S. war on Iraq, and where do the opinions of the Canadian government and citizens lay?

Overview of Canada's political system
In order to better comprehend the decisions of Canada, that is to say, who is making them and why, it is beneficial to understand the country's political system and framework. The Parliament of Canada is Canada's legislative branch, seated at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. The parliament consists of an upper and lower house much like the traditional British Parliamentary system which the Canadian system is modeled after. The consent of the Prime Minister, as well as the legislature is often required to ratify treaties and declare war, including the case of joining the war on Iraq with the U.S. The Prime Minister is responsible for looking after the best interests of the Canadian population.

The History of Canadian Involvement in the War
The first evidence of Canadian participation came after the attacks of 9/11 when the Prime Minister at the time, Jean Chretien ordered the military on full alert and offered the United States "certain commitments", including 2000 peacekeeping soldiers, following the U.S. led strikes against Afghanistan. When the Canadian government was later asked to expand the War on Terror to Iraq, Chretien said that Canada would be reluctant to join without a clear link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th. In November 2003 the United States officially invited Canada to join the coalition, along with other allies. In response, Canada supported an effort to send in weapons inspectors, and in January 2003 Canadian Defence Minister John McCallum stated that if the inspectors found Iraq was violating the UN resolutions Canada would join the invasion. Due to the fact that nothing was found, Canada launched an effort to secure a new UN resolution in March 2003 that would delay the war. This effort failed and the war began without Canadian involvement. Despite Canada not joining the war there has been considerable indirect involvement by the country. During the invasion Canada sent several vessels to the Gulf region as part of the effort to prevent terrorists from travelling through the region. These ships were given the authority to support their allies in the region. . As mentioned earlier, Canada also sent 2000 soldiers to the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, freeing up American forces for Iraq. A number of Canadians are also serving in Iraq, as in April 2003 the Canadian government confirmed that there were 51 Canadians in Iraq who were on exchange programs with allied forces. Also, there is unquestionably a number of Canadians who enlisted in foreign armies and have served in Iraq, though exact numbers are unclear.

One of the more recent involvements of Canada with the war in Iraq is a deal that was announced between General Dynamics, the US defense contractor, and Canada's SNC Technologies Inc. The purpose of this agreement is for SNC Tecnologies Inc. to supply between 300 million and 500 million bullets per year to US...
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