June 29, 2015 9:40 am
Updated: August 4, 2015 11:47 am

Reality Check: How truthful is the Conservative’s ‘Justin Trudeau on ISIS’ ad?


WATCH ABOVE: Conservative campaign spokesman Kory Teneycke defends use of ISIS video in recent attack ad

Kory Teneycke, a spokesperson for the Conservative Party of Canada, said recently that the party’s ads are better than the news because “they’re truthful.”

Teneycke made the comment during an interview with Global News about the party’s new attack ad targeting Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s position on ISIS and Iraq.

But are they telling the truth? The 45-second ad doesn’t spout any outright lies while attempting to convince Canadians that Trudeau would end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq.

WATCH: In response to the Conservatives using footage from ISIS propaganda in an attack ad, Justin Trudeau fired back, saying the move exposed how disconnected the Feds are to Canadians.

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READ MORE: Does the Conservatives’ new ad contravene their own anti-terror law?

That is true, Trudeau would pull out the CF-18s, and he would take troops out of a combat role. But he would keep troops in Iraq, contributing to the fight against ISIS as trainers of local troops.

The first 15 seconds of the ad roll through screenshots from videos posted online by the Islamic State (ISIS) of it violently executing prisoners. Headlines from various news organizations are pasted over part of the screen, describing the horrific acts while the ISIS anthem plays in the background.

A screenshot of the Conservative’s attack ad “Justin Trudeau on ISIS” released on June 25. Credit: Conservative Party of Canada / YouTube

After setting the scene, the ad moves on to Trudeau’s nearly 13-minute interview with Terry Milewski on CBC.

Milewski: “Would you pull the CF-18’s out of Kuwait, say, ok we’re not going to do the bombing anymore?”


Trudeau: “Yes, we’d move away from the CF-18 mission to…”


Milewski: “Move away from the CF-18’s, that is a yes, right? You would pull them out?”

Trudeau: “Yes, that is a yes, yes.”


Milewski: “If you don’t want to bomb a group as ghastly as ISIS, when would you ever support real military action…”


Trudeau: “Terry, that’s a nonsensical question.”

The short ad ends with a photo of Trudeau and the tag line “Just not ready.”

WATCH: Conservative attack ad using ISIS imagery

So what does the ad get right and what does it get wrong?


The ad shortens a 13-minute interview – nearly half of which was spent on ISIS and foreign policy – into about 20 seconds. In those six minutes, Trudeau explains he would indeed pull Canada out of a combat role – but not completely out of the fight in Iraq.

Trudeau: “Yes, we’d move away from the CF-15 mission to…”

During the full interview, Trudeau says he wants Canadian troops involved in an expanded training mission. Right now, there are approximately 70 trainers on the ground in Iraq. Trudeau says he’d grow their numbers but refuses to say by how much.

“Yes, we’d move away from the CF-18 mission to engage Canada’s military in something that we’ve actually demonstrated tremendous ability at in Afghanistan and elsewhere, which is to train up local troops to be able to do the fighting on the ground that ultimately ends up defining success in any conflict like this.”

Milewski: “If you don’t want to bomb a group as ghastly as ISIS, when would you ever support real military action…”

Trudeau: “Terry, that’s a nonsensical question.”

Trudeau is indeed committed to taking Canadian troops out of a combat mission in Iraq, effectively ending the “real military action” if that’s defined as strictly combat.

But Trudeau does go on to say – in a euphemistic way – that he would support combat in the right circumstance.

“Terry, that’s a nonsensical question, you know that very well. The Liberal party has always and I have always been supportive of Canada standing up for its values and taking action when necessary.”

The Liberal leader goes on to charge the Harper government with not being forthright with its “plan for success” in Iraq.  But when questioned by Milewski about his own plan for success, Trudeau says “like everybody else, you’re going to have to wait until we’re closer to an election.”

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