03/29/2016 08:36 EDT | Updated 03/29/2016 08:59 EDT

Trudeau: ISIS Just 'Terrorists' And 'Thugs,' Not A State

The prime minister continued to reject the idea that Canada is at war with the so-called Islamic State.

CALGARY — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used strong language in condemning the Islamic State in a television interview Tuesday.

"There's no question that ISIS are not a state," Trudeau told Global Television in Calgary. "The so-called Islamic State are terrorists, criminals, thugs, murderers of innocents and children and there's a lot of labels for them."

Prime Minister Trudeau participates in a roundtable discussion on employment insurance in Calgary, March 29, 2016. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/CP)

The prime minister continued to reject suggestions that Canada is at war with the Islamic State, which has taken responsibility for recent bombings in Brussels that killed more than 30 people and attacks in Paris four months ago that left 130 dead.

He said the word war has been thrown around too much and "conjures up" images of one army fighting another.

"What matters to me is that we are doing everything we can to contribute to the global fight against them and by stepping up our involvement in training, in empowering local people to actually be able to hold against ISIL, to be able to take back their homes and their land — that's how Canada can best help them."

Canada has withdrawn its fighter jets from the American-led coalition bombing ISIL in Iraq and Syria. But it tripled the number of Canadian special forces trainers in northern Iraq, buttressed intelligence gathering assets and also increased federal spending on efforts to help displaced civilians.

After the most recent attacks in Belgium, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls used the term following a crisis meeting called by French President Francois Hollande.

"We are at war," said Valls. "We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war."

Added Hollande: "This war will be long."

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