Canadian Parliament backs air strikes on Islamic State in Syria

Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:05pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian legislators on Monday voted to back the government's plans to bomb Islamic State positions in Syria, a move that opposition parties say threatens to drag Canada into a long war.

The House of Commons approved the plan 142-129. The result was never in doubt, since the ruling Conservatives have a majority in the chamber.

The vote also approved the extension of Canada's six-month mission by a year to the end of March 2016.

Canada has around 70 special forces troops in northern Iraq and six Canadian jets are taking part in U.S.-led bombing attacks against Islamic State in Iraq.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has made security a main plank of his platform in the run-up to an October election, last week said Canada needed to strike against Islamic State safe havens in Syria.

Polls show Harper will have a tough time retaining power in October. The New Democrats and the Liberals - the two main opposition parties - say Canadian attacks in Syria will only help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa March 30, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie