Christian LeuprechtSecurity expert examines the fight against Islamic State and Canada’s military role in the world

OTTAWA, July 21, 2015 – What does the rise in Islamic extremism mean for the future of Canada’s foreign policy?

Christian Leuprecht, in a new Straight Talk Q&A for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, examines how Canada’s role in international affairs will change in the coming years.

He believes that Canada has likely seen the end of large-scale military commitments, such as that which recently concluded in Afghanistan, and will focus more on the kind of mission it’s engaged with in Iraq.

“What we are more likely to see is precisely the sort of missions that we’ve seen with respect to Libya or Iraq or Ukraine or the Baltic States: Canada making sort of limited-term commitments in limited engagements to achieve very narrowly defined objectives”, says Leuprecht.

To read the full Straight Talk Q&A, click here.

But that doesn’t mean Canada won’t have a major role to play in international affairs.

Some countries, such as the Netherlands, are reducing their military presence because they don’t have enough budget money. This means Canada’s “full-spectrum capability” in military matters will be highly-valued in world affairs.

These trends are already visible in the fight against the terrorist group known both as ISIS and ISIL in places such as Iraq and Syria, says Leuprecht.

“Being involved in air campaign and deploying Special Forces now gives Canada more clout and gives us some say over the outcomes in the Middle East and Middle East strategy, in particular where the Americans are concerned”, he says.

In the interview, Leuprecht cuts through some of the political rhetoric surrounding the effort to contain Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the role of Canada’s forces in the region, and the kinds of challenges our troops are facing.

There has been “some ignorance about the role that Special Forces play and how Special Forces operate”, Leuprecht explains. There are not clear battle lines behind which Canadian trainers could remain safely. Our allies “needed people who were going to be able to help out on the forward operating lines”.


Christian Leuprecht is Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Economics at the Royal Military College of Canada, and cross-appointed to the Department of Political Studies and the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University. He is a Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Join us in 2015 as we celebrate our 5th anniversary.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x105 or email at

MLI would not exist without the support of its donors. Please consider making a small contribution today.