Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canadian fighter jets will conclude their bombing mission in Iraq and Syria by February 22nd. Canada’s participation in the fight against ISIS will evolve in to a mission focused on training local security forces and rebuilding the region.
The Liberal Party made a commitment during the last federal election that Canada would end its bombing mission against ISIS. The government hasn’t been very clear on why the fighter jets should be taken out of the fight against Islamic State, only that Canada needed to determine how to best use its resources to fight terrorism.
Other members of the U.S. led coalition have stated publicly that they respect the decision made during the last campaign to withdraw the CF-18s. The opposition criticized the government saying Canada was losing influence in the fight, especially when the U.S. declined to invite Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan to two impromptu coalition meetings in Paris.
The Liberal government says it’s making a different choice when it comes to the ISIS mission, pulling out of bombing in favour of more training and intelligence work, more humanitarian aid, more diplomacy. The government has stated that it is not morally opposed to military bombing and the government is still providing refuelling aircraft for coalition allies.
A new poll suggests that majority of Canadians disagree with the pledge to withdraw Canada’s CF-18s by the end of March from the U.S.-led bombing mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.