Canada’s new role in the U.S.-led fight against ISIL will be revealed Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a news conference in Ottawa with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.
Trudeau promised during last fall’s federal campaign the Liberals would withdraw Canada’s fighter jets from the air campaign in northern Iraq and Syria. Soon after he took office as Prime Minister Trudeau repeated that pledge in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama. However, since then, no action has been taken and Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets are still in involved in the air war.
Even if Canada’s CF-18’s are pulled from the mission, it’s likely Canada will leave it’s surveillance and refuelling aircraft to help with the coalition bombing efforts.
Trudeau has said Canada can play a more meaningful role by beefing up efforts to train Iraqi ground troops fighting Islamic State militants.
Last week, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the announcement would include new aid funding. Bibeau said Canada would remain a “significant donor in terms of humanitarian assistance.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has already indicated Canada may take on a greater role in Lebanon and Jordan to help ensure stability in the two countries affected by ISIS. It isn’t known what that role may look like.
Trudeau has also indicated he would like to increase the number of Canadian Forces members on the ground training local troops. Canada currently has 70 trainers in Iraq.
Monday’s announcement comes days before Sajjan is due to leave for Brussels for a meeting with his NATO counterparts on Feb. 10-11.