Justin Trudeau: “We made a clear commitment in the campaign to stop the bombing mission [in Iraq] by Canadian jets.”
By: Dana Wagner on
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister and MP for Papineau, in a press conference on November 16, 2015
Ending Canada’s combat mission in Iraq, and specifically ending its contribution to bombing, were part of the Liberal Party platform that led to their election on October 19.FactsCan Score: True
The meeting of world leaders in Antalya, Turkey, came on the heels of attacks at several civilian spots throughout Paris on Friday.
Leaders including French President François Hollande publicly linked the attacks to the Islamic State terrorist organization, which is the focus of a United States-led mission in Iraq and Syria. Canada is a participant in that mission, with six active CF-18 fighter jets and other contributions, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to a change in course.
At the Group of 20 meeting, Trudeau faced questions about his government’s intent to alter Canada’s engagement in Operation Impact.
At a press conference following the second day of meetings, Trudeau said, “we made a clear commitment in the campaign to stop the bombing mission by Canadian jets and to replace it with a role for Canada that was still a serious military role but leaned more towards training of local troops to be able to bring the fight directly to ISIL.” Islamic State is sometimes called ISIL or ISIS.
What did the Liberals promise during the campaign?
Here’s what the party platform says: “We will end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq. We will refocus Canada’s military contribution in the region on the training of local forces, while providing more humanitarian support and immediately welcoming 25,000 more refugees from Syria.”
In the leaders debate on foreign policy in late September, Trudeau spoke about his plans to participate in the coalition. He said, “we disagree with Mr. [Stephen] Harper about the best way to do it in terms of dropping bombs. We think that Canada … should be training up the local forces, so they can defeat ISIS on the ground.”
Trudeau’s statement at the G20 is a fair summary of his campaign promise.
What he did not clarify in his statement is if the Canadian training role will also be a combat one.
The CBC reported that Canadian special operations forces may be more involved in fighting than previously known to the public. In a CBC analysis, reporter James Cudmore wrote there is a “strong likelihood Canadian commandos are in combat today.”
If the Trudeau government’s refocus towards training does involve combat, this would be at odds with the campaign promise to end the combat mission.
Trudeau did make a clear commitment to end the bombing mission. He also made a clear commitment to end the combat mission.