OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird promises Canada will do more as the "brutal struggle" drags on in Syria - but he says it's not yet clear whether we have the firepower in the region to contribute to a possible military strike.
Canada will have to wait for U.S. President Barack Obama's definitive decision on a strike against Syria and until then, "we don't know whether we have the capacity to be part of any military engagement, which by all accounts will be limited in focus," Baird said.
Baird was speaking in Montreal on Wednesday after meeting with George Sabra, head of the Syrian National Council. The Syrian opposition leader is currently in Canada on a speaking tour.
Canada agrees with the U.S., the U.K. and France that the reported chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Aug. 21 warrants a "firm response" from the international community.
"The Syrian regime has charted a dangerous path - and the appropriate consequences will follow," Baird said.
Still, he conceded a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action is unlikely. Both Russia and China have repeatedly used their security council veto power to block international action in the Syrian conflict.
Canada has sent almost $160 million in humanitarian aid to the region since January 2012.
Walter Dorn, with the Canadian Forces College, said even if Canada's role in a possible U.S-led strike amounts to "tokenism," Western allies will want Canada's support.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Baird have been in close contact with allies over the past few days as the drumbeat to military retaliation ramps up.