Canada’s prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that he plans to end Canadian airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by withdrawing the nation’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led mission.
A day after winning Canada’s federal election, the liberal candidate and son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau said he spoke to President Obama on the phone regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline, and removing Canadian fighter jets from the fight against ISIS.
“About an hour ago I spoke with President Obama, and we talked about Canada’s continued engagement as a strong member of the coalition against ISIL,” Trudeau said. “I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada’s role is to play in the fight against ISIL, but he understands the commitments I’ve made about ending the combat mission.”
While ending airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has been a part of Trudeau’s campaign, he has also pledged to keep the current Canadian military trainers in place.
The Guardian reported that Canada “currently has six CF-18 fighter jets taking part in the US-led bombing campaign,” that were due to remain in the region until March 2016, as well as “70 special forces troops to train Kurds in northern Iraq.”
When asked about the timeline he has planned for removing the fighter jets, Trudeau did not give an exact date. “We will be moving forward with our campaign commitments in a responsible fashion,” he replied. “We want to ensure that the tradition is done in an orderly fashion.”
CBC News noted that Trudeau’s plan for removing fighter jets caters to Canada’s Liberal party’s desire to “provide more humanitarian aid in Iraq and Syria” and to have Canada’s military “involved in training missions, not bombing missions.“