Fresh off of his victory in the Canadian elections, Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau has confirmed speaking with President Obama and informing him that he would be going through with a campaign promise to withdraw warplanes from the US-led war against ISIS.
Canada had previously committed CF-18 fighter jets to the war through March 2016, and while it’s unclear the exact date of Trudeau’s end, the suggestion is that it will be before that date. He did, however, say trainers would stay in Iraq, but not the ground troops involved in combat missions.
Trudeau had made ending the combat mission against ISIS a centerpiece of his campaign, and the Conservatives campaigned heavily against him on this point, including campaign videos using clips of ISIS propaganda videos interspersed with Trudeau’s comments.
Analysts see the election as in large measure a referendum on Canadian foreign policy, with outgoing PM Stephen Harper representing a more aggressive Canadian policy, eagerly participating in US-led adventures the world over, while Trudeau favors a return to a more humanitarian focus.
Revelations in recent months that Canadian warplanes were accused of killing dozens of civilians in Iraq, and that the defense ministry had tried to cover those incidents up, likely added to growing opposition to the war, and Trudeau seems to want to make it very clear his promise to end it wasn’t an empty campaign pledge, but a sincere statement of policy.