Canadian media focuses on the evolving role of Canadian special forces in Iraq, while the aftermath of the Paris attacks and a statement from Japanese PM Shinzo Abe also feature prominently in the day’s news.

By Duncan Spence, for the International Reporting Bureau Humber College

News that Canadian special forces in Iraq were on the front lines guiding airstrikes against Islamic State was the major focus of international coverage by Canadian news outlets today.

The biggest play to the story was provided by the Ottawa Citizen, which prominently covered the story in a front page piece by David Pugliese under a four-column headline “Frontline Battle.” The report was accompanied by a similarly-sized DND photograph of a Canadian special forces soldier supervising training in Iraq.

The Globe and Mail ran a front page report by Ottawa correspondent Steven Chase detailing a media briefing on the role of Canadian special forces in Iraq and raising the issue of possible “mission creep.” The story ran above the fold under the headline “Canadian soldiers engage in Iraq combat.” No picture accompanied the piece.

The Toronto Star  hit the same subject with a front-page report headlined “Canadian elite troops caught up in Iraq gunfight.” The story, by Ottawa bureau chief Bruce Campion-Smith, ran beneath the fold and threw to inside the paper.


Under the headline “Canadians in combat against ISIS in Iraq,”the National Post kicked off its coverage with an opinion piece by John Ivison about the prospect of Canada becoming involved in a ground war. The piece ran in a single column above the fold. Online, the story featured under the title “If firefight with ISIS wasn’t start of combat mission, war may be yet to come,” and was accompanied by video of the Ottawa briefing.

The Post also featured a large front page AFP photo from the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center. The front page throws to a report from Jonathan Gilbert of The New York Times with files from AP. 

The CBC led its Monday edition of The National with a report on the Canadian role in Iraq by senior correspondent Terry Milewski. Online, the CBC focused internationally on the aftermath of the Paris attacks with a report from The Associated Press titled “Paris attacks: 4 suspects to face charges.”

CBC also ran an analysis piece by Daniel Schwartz comparing similarities between Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Qaeda. The piece was titled “Boko Haram, ISIS and al-Qaeda: how the jihadists compare.”

CTV National News did not lead with the Iraq story but featured a report on the briefing from Omar Sachedina in Ottawa which aired at the nine minute mark. 

Online, CTV News led its international coverage with an AP article headlined “Japan PM vows to save hostages under ISIS threat.” The piece detailed a statement by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe stating the lives of two Japanese hostages being held by Islamic State was “top priority.” The piece was accompanied by an AP photo of the Japanese PM in profile.