OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s decision to extend its military mission against Islamic State forces by another year means the total cost of the operation will be at least C$528 million ($419 million), Defense Minister Jason Kenney said on Wednesday.
Legislators on Monday approved the Conservative government’s decision to extend the life of the six-month mission to April 2016 and also to expand bombing missions against Islamic State positions in Syria as well as Iraq.
Kenney told reporters in Ottawa the cost of lengthening the mission for 12 months was estimated to be C$406 million and said this amount could well change. The sum does not include the $122 million Ottawa has already spent on the force.
A spokeswoman for Kenney said the C$406 million did not cover any possible future decision to extend the mission again and also excluded the cost of shutting it down.
Canada’s government has promised to balance the budget in the 2015/2016 fiscal year despite a slump in revenue caused by falling oil prices.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jonathan Oatis