In the wake of the terror attacks in Burkina Faso that left 29 people dead and dozens more wounded, the mother of one of the six Canadian victims is denouncing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plan to withdraw Canadian jets from the fight against the Islamic State.
"I'd like for Justin Trudeau, instead of just condemning with words from his small mouth, that [he do it] with his planes, he fights too," Camille Carrier told Quebec City radio station FM93 on Monday. "I'm revolted," Carrier, the mother of Maude Carrier and ex-wife of Yves Carrier, both of whom were killed in last Friday's attacks, said on TVA.
During his fall election campaign, Trudeau pledged to immediately withdraw Canada's six CF-18 fighter jets from the coalition forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. And, although there is no set timetable for bringing home the planes, the prime minister has resisted cries to reconsider his position in the wake of terror attacks in Paris. But the killing by terrorists of seven Quebecers traveling abroad last week has led to new calls on the government to reevaluate its policy and brought the fear of terrorism home to Canadians.
Along with Maude Carrier, a teacher and mother of two, and her father Yves Carrier, the Canadian victims of Friday's attack were Yves' wife Gladys Chamberland, a Quebec civil servant, the couple's 19-year-old son Charlelie Carrier, and two friends of the family Louis Chabot and Suzanne Bernier. The six had traveled from Lac-Beauport, Quebec to Burkina Faso on a humanitarian mission to repair schools and orphanages in the impoverished West African state. They were killed when gunmen stormed a hotel and restaurant in the capital city of Ouagadougou, specifically targeting people who appeared to be foreign.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a Salafi-jihadist militant group not aligned with the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the killings. Trudeau and other members of the Liberal government denounced and expressed sorrow over the attacks. "Canada strongly condemns the deadly terrorist attacks that took place in Ouagadougou" said the prime minister in a statement Friday. "We are deeply saddened by these senseless acts of violence on innocent civilians."
But for Carrier, who appeared on French-language TV and radio programs over the weekend with harsh words for the prime minister, Trudeau's consultation is poor substitute for action. "He walks around with a nice little haircut and always empty, agreed-upon formulas," Carrier told TVA on Monday. "He condemns things, but he is not even able to go to fight with the others who support the French."
A seventh Quebecer, Tahar Amer-Ouali of Laval, was killed in another attack in Jakarta, Indonesia last week, and yesterday, with the flag in the provincial legislature lowered to half-staff, Premier Philippe Couillard publicly grieved for the dead. "Today this pain is the pain of all Quebecers," Couillard said at a news conference. "These acts reinforce our determination to combat barbarian acts with all our might, next to our allies."
At the federal level, Conservative leader Rona Ambrose also took the attacks as evidence for the official opposition's position that Canada must maintain its air forces in the Middle East. "These ongoing attacks are proof that decisive action is required to confront this threat, including fully supporting our coalition allies and keeping our CF-18s in the fight in Iraq and Syria," Ambrose said in a statement.
The Conservatives have repeatedly denounced the Liberals position as ideological. But the government maintains that Canada can do the most good by working to train Kurdish ground forces, rather than also participating in the bombing campaign that supports them.
On Monday, Minister of Defense Harjit Sajjan confirmed that Canada had not been invited to a high-level military conference in Paris between the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Australia and the Netherlands. In a speech last week, United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said that the meeting was of the "six nations that are playing a significant role in both the ground and air components of the counter-ISIL campaign"
Follow Jake Bleiberg on Twitter: @jzbleiberg