Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Justin Trudeau’s Big Mistake?

The Americans have committed to sending military forces into Iraq to combat ISIS, and they have requested the support of Canadians. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant) is a muslim extremist terrorist organization in from Iraq, basically trying to take control of Iraq and Syria and perhaps more. Here is a shortened version of the timeline of events since this September according to the wikipedia page:

2 September: ISIL released a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.

4 September: A member of ISIL issued a threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin, vowing to oust him over his support of Bashar al-Assad‘s regime in Syria.

8 September: ISIL carried out a double suicide attack in a town north of Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding 70 others.

10 September: After ISIL outraged American opinion by beheading two American journalists and seized control of large portions of Syria and Iraq, President Obama decided on a new objective for a rollback policy in the Middle East. He announced: “America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. We will ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy.”

13 September: UK humanitarian aid worker David Cawthorne Haines, whose life had been threatened by Jihadi John in the Steven Sotloff video, was purportedly beheaded in a video.

18 September: The Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Queensland Police and New South Wales Police launched the largest counterterrorism operation in Australian history.

21 September: Official spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani released a speech encouraging Muslims around the world to kill non-Muslims

23 September: Aerial operations began over Syria. Cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs struck ISIL targets in Syria, and military aircraft from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates participated in the airstrikes against ISIL. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that about 400 ISIL fighters died in the airstrikes.

29 September: ISIL released a third video showing journalist John Cantlie. As in previous videos, Cantlie appears alone, sitting at a desk wearing an orange prison uniform. The scripted video criticizes US president Barack Obama’s strategy of using airstrikes to defeat ISIL

3 October: ISIL released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning and threatened American aid worker, Peter Kassig.

7 October: The House of Commons of the Parliament of Canada votes 157-134 to have the Royal Canadian Air Force conduct airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.


Before that final event on the timeline, Canadian MP’s debated about sending military support to Iraq. Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Steven Harper had enforced that Canada must send forces to aid in fighting ISIL, but the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau had been hesitant, and wanted the prime minister to prove that sending troops was the best thing for the country to do. Trudeau has also stated that, “…Canada can make a more helpful contribution to the international effort to combat ISIL than aging war planes.”

The statement I will be analyzing comes at the end of this video:

So here is the focus statement for this assignment. Justin Trudeau said,

“Why aren’t we talking more about the kind of humanitarian aid that Canada can and must be engaged in, rather than trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are? It just doesn’t work like that in Canada.”

Now, this statement  has gotten an awful lot of press, and the issue for most is that here, the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, makes an immature, and inappropriate comment about Prime Minister Steven Harper’s plan to stop the terrorist organization ISIS. Now, this statement can be broken into 4 premises, that lead to his conclusion. Please note that although the statement is technically a question, I will be viewing it as more of a statement, because it really is just a statement phrased in the form of a question. Justin Trudeau isn’t really asking a question here.

Premise 1: Canada is not talking about sending humanitarian aid to Iraq.

Premise 2: Canada has the expertise in supporting hundreds of thousands of displaced people through this very difficult time with humanitarian aid.

Premise 3: Canada is going to send CF-18s.

Premise 4: Canada will not be useful in sending CF-18s to assist Americans in Iraq.

Conclusion: Therefore, Canada should send humanitarian aid and not CF-18s.



  • Premise 1 is false. This year, the federal government of Canada has already provided $28-million in humanitarian relief to Iraq. Just six days ago, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also announced that Canada would provide another $10-million towards similar things. Trudeau says Canada can, and must be engaged in, but Canada actually is, and continues to be engaged in providing humanitarian aid. In fact, the only thing in this premise that might be true is the word “talking”, because it seems that parliament does not talk about this $28-million in humanitarian relief. The question then is, why is Trudeau not talking about this? It seems that he wants to, but only ever talks about the CF-18s. Perhaps he should bring it up more often.
  • Premise 2 can generally be agreed upon as being true, as Canada has had a history of supporting the oppressed in war-struck countries.
  • Premise 3 is true, but is actually not the whole truth, as Canada will be sending 6 CF-18 Hornet fighter jets for airstrikes and air patrols, as well as 1 CC-150 Polaris air-to-air refuelling aircraft, 2 CP-140 Aurora surveillance aircraft, C-130J Hercules & CC-177 Globemaster III transport aircraft, 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and 100 special operations forces.
  • Premise 4 is more or less a matter of opinion. You see, the American Military is obviously of far greater quantity, and quality, for that matter. To compare with Canadian forces shown in the premise 3 explanation, the Americans sent 1,800 troops in Iraq, 2,300 troops in Kuwait, 7,000 contractors, USS George H.W. Bush carrier strike group, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft, A-10 Thunderbolt ground-attack aircraft, B-1 Lancer bomber aircraft, Lockheed AC-130 gunships, EA-6B Prowler & EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft, Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drone aircraft. With this comparison, it would seem that Mr. Trudeau is indeed correct, that the impact that Canadians would make would be miniscule; however, does that mean that we shouldn’t send them at all? Again, that’s a matter of opinion.


As we can see, Premise number 1 is false, along with possibly premise number 4, making this argument possibly valid in form, but almost definitely untrue in the premises, giving us a conclusion that is not sound.

It is hard to know why Justin Trudeau did not know of Canada’s humanitarian involvement, seeing as he is leader of the opposition party, the Liberal Party of Canada. But why on earth did he resort to using such an uncalled-for, inappropriate reference to Steven Harper wanting to use these CF-18s as him showing off his ‘manhood’.

Honestly, I think that was being generous to him. I didn’t even take into account the completely unprofessional aspect of his argument.

Jason MacDonald, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson truthfully said,

“Mr. Trudeau’s comments are disrespectful of the Canadian Armed Forces and make light of a serious issue,”

And they do! The harm and horrors that ISIS has done to people all over the world, is certainly not a laughing matter, nor is sending Canadian soldiers into combat. Rex Murphy in the National Post writes,

“It wasn’t a slip of the tongue. (Oh, there’s a phrase he could play with.) It was the signature of an unserious mind, not to mention a mindless hit on the pilots of Canada’s military, to paint them so glibly as extensions of some macho ethos.”

Rex notes that this shows that a possible Prime Minister is not thinking the way we would expect someone of his position to think. It shows that he is likely not in a state to govern a country. He also says,

“We should expect more — both in class and thought — from a national leader, especially when he is speaking in the context of the miseries that have been inflicted by one of the most sadistic collection of terrorists the planet has ever offered.”

It appears that the Huffington Post would also agree as they said in an article,

“Employment Minister Jason Kenney said making a ‘juvenile high school joke’ about the global campaign to combat a ‘genocidal terrorist organization’ raises more questions about Trudeau’s judgment.”

And that’s what seems to be the problem. Trudeau’s judgment. This statement has caused people everywhere to stop and rethink whatever they already thought about Justin Trudeau. It appears that everyone seems to fear what will happen if Justin Trudeau becomes Prime Minister with the logic that he has, and the immature mind that seems to have come out.

To be fair, Trudeau does have other fine things to say in that video, but the problem arises when it seems that Justin Trudeau just cannot hold back that one little, off-the-cuff joke. If only Mr. Trudeau had held himself back. Even if he had just not started the sentence at all, or at least not added the “rather than…”, then we wouldn’t even be discussing Trudeau’s maturity, or ability to be Prime Minister.



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