Justin Trudeau says Canada will 'do its part' in anti-ISIS coalition
PM says Canada will refocus role in fighting 'terrorist scourge'
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will "do its part" in the military fight against ISIS, but remains committed to withdrawing warplanes from the mission.
During a news conference at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Trudeau said Friday's attacks in Paris will not prompt the government to reverse course on a plan to pull out Canada's fighter jets.
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Instead, Canada will step up training of local troops, he said.
"I know that Canada will continue to, and be seen to be continuing to, do its part in the fight against this terrorist scourge," he said.
The Liberal platform during the campaign for the recent federal election committed to end the combat mission and "refocus" on training local forces in Iraq.
Trudeau said that commitment remains, but he has not set a timetable for when Canada will withdraw from the U.S.-led air combat mission.
"We made a clear commitment in the campaign to stop the bombing mission by Canadian jets and replace it with a role for Canada that is still a serious military role, but leaned more towards training of local troops to be able to bring the fight directly to [ISIS]," he said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. "That's the commitment we made very clearly throughout the campaign and we have a mandate to do that."
Trudeau said he was not directly asked to reconsider the withdrawal of CF-18s at the summit. But U.S. President Barack Obama did call for more help, stressing that intensified coalition air power coupled with Iraqi forces on the ground has succeeded in taking out key targets and pushing back ISIS militants.
"I made the point to my fellow leaders that if we want this progress to be sustained, more nations need to step up with the resources that this fight demands," Obama said during a press conference in Turkey.
On Sunday, two of Canada's fighter jets were involved in a strike against an ISIS fighting position in Iraq, according to the Department of National Defence.
Backing out sends 'wrong message,' Ambrose says
Interim Conservative Party Leader Rona Ambrose said Canada should be standing resolutely with allies in the wake of the Paris attacks. In an interview on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, she said Canada's contribution of fighter jets to the coalition is important in both practical and symbolic ways.
"I think that we've been asked to play this role, and backing out of it now, particularly at this juncture when all the G20 leaders are talking about, if anything, expanding their role in the coalition against ISIS, would be the wrong message to send," she told host Rosemary Barton.
The G20 leaders released a joint statement at the G20 summit, calling the attacks in Paris "an unacceptable affront to all humanity" and reaffirming solidarity in the fight against terrorism as a major priority.
The statement says counterterror actions must be part of a comprehensive approach that includes fighting radicalization and recruitment, hampering terrorist movements and preventing terrorists from exploiting the internet.
"The direct or indirect encouragement of terrorism, the incitement of terrorist acts and glorification of violence must be prevented," the statement reads. "We recognize the need at all levels to work proactively to prevent violent extremism and support civil society in engaging youth and promoting inclusion of all members of society."
Other nations to step up anti-ISIS fight
In the wake of the Paris attacks Friday, other nations have talked of stepping up the fight against ISIS.
On Sunday, Obama spoke of redoubling his country's efforts. The Americans are leading the international coalition's efforts, and Obama is scheduled to have a sit-down meeting with Trudeau at the APEC summit in the Philippines on Thursday.
Trudeau's office said he also spoke Sunday about Canadian efforts to:
- Combat terrorist financing.
- Prevent violent extremism.
- Increase co-operation with security and intelligence agencies to stop foreign fighters.