Canadian PM: We won't bomb ISIS even if attacked

Justin Trudeau lives up to election promise to stop Canadian jets from bombing ISIS, says military will engage on different track.
By Raphael Poch
First Publish: 1/5/2016, 1:12 PM

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau
Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is keeping his post-election promises and planning to put an end to the participation of the Canadian Air Force in the allied bombings of ISIS. Instead, he is moving Canadian efforts towards training local forces and towards providing humanitarian aid in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview with Global News, Trudeau said that he sees no reason to change this new policy towards ISIS and the threat of Islamic terror, even if a terror attack similar to the one in Paris were carried out on Canadian soil.

Trudeau, who as Prime Minister receives daily briefings on matters of national security, said that “it is no surprise that there are angry extremists and terrorists out there who wish Canadians and Canada harm and countries like it around the world. The key on understanding that, is how we let that affect us.”

“Obviously one of the most fundamental responsibilities of any government is to keep its citizens safe, and that is something that we are very focused on. But more than that, do we let ourselves be ruled by fear? Do we give in to the fear that there is a terrorist on every plane that may come to Canada? No, we cannot live that way and continue to be the hopeful country that we are. Quite frankly, fear doesn’t make us stronger; it makes us weaker. I feel that the job of being Prime Minister is to demonstrate that there are concerns, But we are working very hard on them, and people shouldn’t go through their lives afraid.”

Trudeau argued that the greatest threat to ISIS is a tremendously open and diverse society in which Muslims and other minorities are fully integrated into mainstream secular society, and that compatibility between extraordinary diversity and a successfully safe society is Canada’s greatest strength and that that is what needs to be highlighted.

“We need to ensure that our intelligence community and our police services have the tools necessary to locate threats to Canadians. But anytime you are giving more resources to the intelligence agencies and the police, you need to bring in more oversight on those agencies to make sure that those powers are being properly used and not damaging our free society, and to make sure that they are doing everything they can to me Canadians safe.”

Trudeau said that “Canada is committed to having a military engagement in the fight against ISIL (ISIS) but in a helpful and substantive way. We have made the decision that we will pull out the CF-18’s and ending the bombings that Canada has been involved in, and we will be doing something else.”

Trudeau said that Canada’s effort will likely revolve more around training local forces to take up the fight against ISIS and fight to get their homes back.

“We are in discussions with experts and with our allies to see how best Canada can help. We know that we can’t expect Western forces to come in and prevent ISIL [another term for ISIS] from prospering. We know that whenever Western forces have engaged in this area, it may have helped out in the short term but it created complications decades later that we are now dealing with. The principle we need to deal with is that the best people to take back their homes from these terrorists, are the people who fled these homes, and the local armies and the local militias. We need to give them the tools to actually do the fighting on the ground. That is not just a path for a short term success but for a longer term of success.”