A fatal plane crash occurred in Tehran in the early hours of Jan. 8, 2020, morning. The aircraft had 63 Canadians and 113 others on board. The crash occurred within hours of an Iranian missile attack on two Iraqi military bases where the US military had been stationed.
The missile strikes were part of Iran’s retaliation for the US airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3rd, 2020.
At a press conference held in Ottawa on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the situation, along with Marc Garneau, minister of transport, Harjit Sajjan, minister of defence, Jody Thomas, senior associate deputy minister, National Defence, and Cheif of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance.
The Prime Minister began by sharing his condolences with the families of those who died in the crash.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I want to express my deepest condolences to those who are mourning the loss of a loved one,” he said. “Your loss is indescribable, and this is a heartbreaking tragedy. While no words will erase your pain, I want you to know that an entire country is with you. We share your grief.”
When asked about whether or not he could definitively say whether the plane was shot down, the Prime Minister said, “It’s dangerous to speculate on possible causes. It is too early to speculate.”
Marc Garneau, transport minister, appeared alongside Prime Minister Trudeau at the press conference.’
Garneau explained that the satellite data suggested that the plane had a standard departure.
“However, we lost contact with it, suggesting that something very unusual happened. But we cannot speculate at this point, there are a number of possibilities,” added Garneau.
The Prime Minister went on to discuss the situation in Iraq.
“This somber day comes in the wake of deeply concerning events in Iraq,” he continued. “Canada condemns the missile attacks launched by Iran last night. I am relieved, as are all Canadians, that all personnel deployed in Iraq are safe.”
“I’d like to take a moment to thank once again the women and men in uniform who have worked hard with our allies to stabilize Iraq and counter Daesh. Their mission is important, and we can all be proud of their work,” the Prime Minister added.
“I assure you that we’re taking all the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of our civilian, military and diplomatic personnel,” he concluded. “We are continuously communicating with our international partners, and we will keep opposition parties updated on the changing situation. We continue to encourage a de-escalation of tensions and a dialogue in the region.”
Speaking at the press conference, General Vance noted some CAF troops have been moved to Kuwait.
“They are ready to continue the mission should the conditions permit.” In light of the plane crash on January 8th, General Vance took to Twitter writing, “The thoughts of Canada’s armed forces community, serving at home and deployed, are with the families of flight #PS752.”
Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan spoke on the missions being suspended.
“The first priority is always going to be force protection given the current situation,” he began. “I think we all agree that it’s important to continue this mission because of the threat that Daesh holds to the country and to our international partners.”
“The goal is to continue on with that mission,” the Minister concluded.
Leader of the Conservative party, Andrew Scheer, also shared his condolences on Twitter saying, “Today is a sad day for our country. My thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of the victims of this horrific tragedy.”
Above Image: Marc Garneau, minister of transport, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, and Harjit Sajjan, minister of defence were among the government officials that attended and spoke at the press conference.