Canadian Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau told President Obama Tuesday that he intended to remove Canada's six fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Trudeau, whose Liberals unseated Conservative Stephen Harper's government with a landslide victory in Monday's federal election, believes that Canada's military should be restricted to training missions only and has vowed to increase spending on aid to the war-torn region. The departing Harper had said pulling Canadian planes out of the anti-ISIS mission would hurt relations with the U.S.
"[Obama] understands the commitments I've made around ending the combat missions," Trudeau told a post-election rally of supporters in Ottawa.
The White House declined to confirm Trudeau's statement Tuesday, with spokesman Josh Earnest saying that the Canadians "have made an important contribution thus far and we're obviously deeply appreciative of them lending their talent and skill and expertise to that effort. And we hope that we can continue to count on their ongoing support for this very important mission."
Trudeau has also vowed to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. Harper declined to resettle more Syrian refugees despite receiving heavy criticism after the image of a drowned 3-year-old's body on a Turkish beach after his family's failed attempt to immigrate to Canada was flashed around the world, and some analysts have questioned whether Trudeau's goal is realistic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.