21 Oct 2015

Canada to pull fighter jets from IS fight

4:21 pm on 21 October 2015

Canadian Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has confirmed he will withdraw Canadian fighter jets from the air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria.

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau Photo: AFP

He informed American President Barack Obama of his decision hours after leading his Liberal party to victory in the polls.

As part of his election campaign, Mr Trudeau pledged to bring home the CF-18 fighter jets which were deployed to the region until March 2016. He has not yet given a timescale.

Mr Trudeau's Liberals swept to power in Monday election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

Mr Trudeau - a former high school teacher - is the eldest son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

In his first telephone conversation with the Mr Obama as Canada's prime minister-designate, Mr Trudeau informed him that he would make good on his election promise to withdraw the fighter jets.

"I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada has a role to play in the fight against ISIL (Islamic State) but he (Barack Obama) understands the commitments I've made around ending the combat mission," he told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday.

However, he said he would keep Canadian military trainers in northern Iraq, the AFP news agency reports.

Mr Trudeau has also vowed to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year - a move previously rejected by his predecessor Stephen Harper, who took a much harder line on the issue.

He also quipped that Mr Obama had "teased me about my lack of grey hair but said I'd probably get some quite soon".

Mr Trudeau looks set to improve relations with the United States in other areas, especially on environmental issues.