Canada’s House of Commons has voted in favor of sending Canadian aircraft and personnel to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq against the “Islamic State” (ISIS).
The vote took place on Tuesday night, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
"We do not take this step lightly. The threat posed by [ISIS] is real," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement released shortly after the motion passed 157-134.
"If left unchecked, this terrorist organization will grow and grow quickly. They have already voiced their local and international terrorist intentions and identified Canada as a potential target," he warned.
Six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one aerial tanker aircraft and 600 personnel have been tapped to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq for up to six months, pursuant to the motion before the Commons.
Harper stressed Canadian troops would not be involved in ground combat against ISIS.
"I think this is absolutely the right thing to do, and the right time to do it," Justice Minister Peter MacKay told reporters on his way out of the vote in Ottawa, saying the government has "great confidence" in the ability of men and women in uniform.
In a written statement released after the vote, Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair accused the government of "plunging Canada into a prolonged war without a credible plan to help victims of [ISIS] terror," and "opening the door" to getting Canada involved in the "bloody" Syrian civil war, according to the CBC.
Employment Minister Jason Kenney said the Opposition had departed from the international "consensus" on the need to stop ISIS.
"Every social democratic party in the developed world, certainly in Northern Europe, has supported military action," he said, citing examples from Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
"Parties of the mainstream left across the democratic world understand that you have to use hard power occasionally to defend innocents,” Kenney added.
"I think there's been some tortured reasoning going on here," he said. "I think regrettably it has a lot more to do with politics than with principle."
Mulcair's New Democrats had proposed an amendment to overhaul the motion entirely and switch the focus to supplying arms to local fighters battling ISIS and increasing humanitarian support.
Harper, who is known for his hawkish views with regards to terrorism, said several weeks ago that ISIS is a direct threat to Canada and the world, and therefore Canada will take part in the coalition against the group.
The Prime Minister’s move was met by sharp criticism from Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau acknowledged that ISIS is a "threat to regional and global security" in a recent speech, but added, "Mr. Harper has made no effort to build a non-partisan case for war," claiming a parallel to the 2003 Iraq war he termed the "Iraq fiasco."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of the Sukkot holiday in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)