March 21, 2011

BQ

Jean Dorion

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean Dorion

Mr. Chair, a very important element in the strategy of those who called this very successful conference in Paris—quite a coup for French diplomacy—was the participation of the United Nations, the Council of Europe and, most importantly, the Arab League. Over the weekend, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Mr. Moussa, criticized certain specific aspects of the operation. In the end, though, the Arab League changed its stance and continued its support. This Arab League support is essential.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which includes 57 countries with Muslim populations, also condemned the actions of the Gadhafi regime. That is also very important. It is crucial, of course, for the diplomatic services of the countries involved in this operation to make every effort to convince the Arab world that this operation is not a Western intervention against the Arabs. It is an operation undertaken by the whole world to save Arabs and Muslims, in particular the civilian population of Libya. We are not there to overthrow the regime but to ensure it causes no further injury.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP)

Mr. Chair, I was with my colleague from the Bloc and others in the briefing this morning by officials. One of the concerns we had was that this would not be an open-ended exercise. We wanted to ensure that we have parliamentary oversight, that we have a debate and that we vote on a motion.

Another concern is around ground troops. The member will know that one of the concerns we raised was about ensuring this would not be an opening for Canadian ground troops to be sent. We want to ensure that if there is any change in what we agreed to, it will come back to this place, to Parliament. Would he agree with that?

I also would like to know his party's position on the ground troops and on the kind of oversight there should be in terms of the mission itself.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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BQ

Jean Dorion

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean Dorion

Mr. Chair, I believe a resolution was tabled, with certain amendments proposed by the NDP. These issues are being examined at this time and we will likely decide in the next few hours or minutes the exact position we plan to take. Certainly, as things stand now, there are no plans to send ground troops. As for the rest, we will see whether everyone in the House agrees on how the operation is envisioned in the resolutions brought before us.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC)

Mr. Chair, I thank the Bloc. It is a rare thing for somebody from the west to thank a separatist party. Nevertheless, those members were very co-operative in getting Bill C-61 through the House and is now in front of the Senate. The bill would freeze the assets of all the dictators who have stolen money. On that basis, I thank the hon. member for his party's rapid support. I want to tell those Canadians who are watching that there was unanimous support for that bill from all parties.

This morning we had a very extensive briefing by officials from both the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defence. They discussed the legal aspects. They made it very clear what the resolution means. They made it very clear that no invasion was to be done. Invasion means occupying territory and that is not in the resolution. Protecting civilians is in the resolution and in rate cases protecting civilians requires ground troops.

The Bloc members made their position on this issue very clear. The UN resolution was extremely clear in stating that there will be no invasion. Today, President Obama said that removing Mr. Gadhafi was not the target, but rather it was about protecting civilians as the UN resolution states. It is quite clear that it is about protecting the civilian population, as the Prime Minister has also said.

I would like the hon. member to take that into account based on our briefing this morning.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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BQ

Jean Dorion

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean Dorion

Mr. Chair, as I said earlier, we understand that the goal of the mission is not to invade Libya, but rather to protect the people of Libya.

As for the government member's thanks to the Bloc Québécois, I would say to him that we accept all the thanks we deserve, and we believe that, usually, we deserve them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Jack Harris

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP)

Mr. Chair, I would like to put forth the notion that the United Nations Security Council, acting under chapter 7, makes what is in effect legally binding resolutions on all of its members, including, in this case, the Arab League which supported it.

Could the member comment on how important it is to act with a certain degree of restraint in order to ensure that the Arab League, for example, stays onboard with this and participates as much as possible since it is aimed at protecting Arab civilians?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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BQ

Jean Dorion

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Jean Dorion

Mr. Chair, it is probably more difficult for Arab League countries to become involved. According to the most recent reports, only one country, Qatar, had in fact sent any aircraft to take part in the mission, but I do not know whether others have joined in the past few hours.

It is more difficult for them to become involved militarily, although diplomatic support is also extremely important. As I was saying earlier, we must win the support of Arab countries as well as that of the governments in question if we want to convince Arab populations that this operation is not against the Arab world, but rather only against the Gadhafi regime.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP)

Mr. Chair, I will begin my comments by stating that New Democrats will be supporting UN Resolution 1973 and obviously the debate we are having here is how that will be done in Canada.

It is important to give a bit of an overview and timeline on how we got here. As we know, there have been tumultuous events in the North African-Middle East region. When it comes to Libya, some of the most recent events started in mid-January. There were political corruption concerns of civilians and protests in Benghazi, Bani Walid and other cities. There were protests in the streets on issues around the lack of housing and corruption.

In late January there was a significant event. Jamal al- Hajji, a writer, political commentator and accountant, called out on the Internet for demonstrations to be held in support of greater freedoms in Libya. He was inspired by the events in Tunisia and Egypt. On February 1, he was arrested by plainclothes officers and was charged on February 3 with injuring someone with his car, which was a trumped up charge. Amnesty International claimed that because al-Hajji had previously been in prison for his non-violent political opinions, the real reason for the arrest appeared to be his call for demonstrations.

In early February, Gadhafi met with political activists, journalists and media figures and warned them that they would be held responsible if they disturbed the peace or created chaos in Libya. The protests and confrontations then began in earnest on February 15. On February 17, the day of revolt was called for by Libyans and by February 21 Libya erupted into violence with Moammar Gadhafi's son threatening rivers of blood and deployed security forces on protestors and some who had claimed by that point the second biggest city, Benghazi.

In the initial crackdown, 250 people had died in Tripoli alone. There were reports of military aircraft firing on peaceful protestors in Tripoli. On Monday, these reports were backed up by Libyan diplomats who had turned against the leadership of Gadhafi. Amid the violence, there were also signs that some officials and troops were deserting the Gadhafi regime.

It was at that moment that my party, on February 22, made a statement that the Government of Canada must unequivocally express its support for the peaceful realization of the Libyan people's democratic aspirations. At the time we called on the Canadian government to use all its available diplomatic channels to help put an end to the Libyan regime's violent oppression.

On February 22, we called on Canada to work with international partners to bring the issue of a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace to the UN Security Council. We believed that was required on February 22. On February 26, when the UN Security Council passed the first resolution, Resolution 1973, which enacted sanctions, we pushed again for the Canadian government to engage our UN partners and others to push for a no fly provision.

We had welcomed the sanctions with regard to the Gadhafi regime at the time on February 26, but we were also very concerned and remain concerned about the response of the Canadian government, frankly, when it came to evacuation and the missed opportunity for humanitarian support. We believed at the time, and said so publicly, that Canada should advocate not only for the UN no-fly provision but also to help refugees on the borders of both Egypt and Tunisia. We also believed in the need to refer Gadhafi and the members of his regime to the Hague, the International Criminal Court, and that is something that has been put forward through the UN.

It was also noted at that time that the UN and the Arab League had been calling for a ceasefire. That was something we believed was important to note.

At the time, as was mentioned by some of my colleagues, other institutions were also speaking out. We heard from members the African Union, which is important to put that on the record. They were condemning the violence of Gadhafi. We also heard from the Organization of the Islamic Conference and, as we have already noted, the Arab League.

As we debate this motion, we must remember that it is not just a military engagement. We believe that there needs to be humanitarian support. We have heard from at least one minister that there is contemplation for humanitarian support. We would certainly encourage the government to make concrete plans and to let Canadians and the international community know those plans. We have lift capacity in situ.

We also believe there is an opportunity to engage with the Diaspora here. As has been noted before, we have had fundraising done primarily but not exclusively by Libyan Canadians. We have had Canadian Libyan doctors offer their support to help with a humanitarian mission. We think they need to be engaged. They have offered and we should take them up on that offer.

The government needs to be clear about the goals of this mission, which is what this debate is about and, presumably, what the motion will detail. We have been in conversation with the government and have asked for amendments to be made to the motion that we will be bringing forward to this House in a couple of hours.

I will go over some of the things that we would like to see. I have already mentioned the need to be very clear about what Canada's commitment to UN resolution 1973 is and what it is not. We have certainly let the government know this today. I will say publicly for the record that we will hold the government to account that this is not about deploying ground troops, that this is about supporting the no-fly zone and that there is no contemplation by the government to deploy ground troops. There is a provision for humanitarian efforts and rescue, which has been noted and is obvious, and that is something we understand.

Everyone needs to see and understand what we are committing to in the motion. We want the government to say that we will engage in all aspects of the UN resolution, such as the establishment of a ceasefire, finding a political solution that addresses the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, and ensuring Libyan authorities comply with all obligations under international law.

We would also like to see the motion highlight the role of the UN. The resolution puts the UN General Secretary in a coordinating role, which is very important. Canada's involvement should always honour that part of the resolution, that we are under the auspice and the coordination, ultimately, of the UN, not other organizations.

That is the only way to maintain confidence in this UN resolution, which means working with the UN and with the Arab League. We also want to see parliamentary oversight of this mission, which the government has accepted. We in the NDP wanted to see that done by both the committees of foreign affairs and defence. We want to see a short timeline for this mission, along the lines of a couple of months. If there is any need for further engagement, it must come back to this House so we can debate and vote on that.

Finally, we want to ensure that Canada's involvement is about supporting this resolution while ensuring we can do more on diplomacy. Perhaps in questions I can elaborate a bit more on how we might be able to do that.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC)

Mr. Chair, I want to address one issue about which the NDP has talked. I have been debating with the member for almost a month on all the perils over there and the NDP comes out with a blanket statement on what Canada should do, without legal authority on all of these things. Now we have assumed the legal authority from the UN resolution which would authorize to do what we had been saying, and that was we would take all these actions in coordination with other international partners. At that time, I remember the member telling me that Canada must do this. The NDP says that Canada, for some reason now we are there, is a superpower in the world. We are not, but we need legitimacy which we have through the UN Security Council resolution.

At a briefing this morning, it was very clear that there would be no ground troops. The resolution does not authorize invading Libya. All it says is that the civilians be protected, which the hon. member rightly pointed out he supports. For him to stand and say that the NDP will hold the government accountable and this and that, no.

The hon. member should read the resolution. It is very clear and distinct. The Prime Minister has said it and we have said it, that the resolution says we will not invade Libya. We are there to protect. There are two resolutions, and that should be good enough. He has already said that the NDP members are supporting it, and for that I am thankful.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar

Mr. Chair, let me be clear about a number of things. First I said in my comments that after the events of February 17 and 21, on February 22 we were the only party that came out with regard to a no-fly provision through the UN. That is on the record and I think my colleague knows that.

It is very important that we understand what the limits of this are. With respect to my colleague, it is our job as the opposition to hold the government to account. That is what people pay us to do.In the motion we need to see that this will be done. I am glad the government has accepted our amendments for parliamentary oversight.

I want to be absolutely explicit about the Prime Minister's commitment to our leader and to us that there would be no ground troops, with the exceptions, as I said before, in terms of rescue and humanitarian concerns. At the end, it is important we note that.

Finally, I see the Minister of Foreign Affairs is here. I want to mention that we also use our diplomatic capacity. I should note that we have a Canadian citizen, well qualified, who can provide that role, a former member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic States. I hope we would employ those diplomatic resources as well.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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LIB

Paul Szabo

Liberal

Mr. Paul Szabo (Mississauga South, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, the member touched on a number of points. First, we understand that under sections 31 and 32 of the National Defence Act, the government has taken authorized steps and certainly with the authority of the UN resolution of 1973.

The member has made some demands as the previous questioner noted. One of the points was that he wanted to see this current mission complete within a certain period of time, I believe he said in two or three months. I suspect that Canada is not in the role right now to determine how long this may take. In fact, that leads to my question of what the authorized time frame is by the UN, under the National Defence Act, or under any auspices, whether it be even an agreement at the meetings that were taken up in Paris.

It is important for Canadians to understand whether we are in a well-defined mission, which will end at a certain term or whether this is open ended, depending on the developments as they occur.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar

Mr. Chair, one of the things we have asked for and the government has agreed to is what I laid out, and that will be in the motion. We did that because we wanted to have parliamentary approval and parliamentary oversight. That will happen with the provisions accepted by the government. The committee on foreign affairs and defence be seized with this.

The timeline of three months was simply because we needed to have some sort of timeline. We do not want to have what happened, frankly, with his government, when it came to Afghanistan, where we did not really have any timelines and we ended up with a conflict that had no boundaries. We need boundaries on this. We need to have understanding that this will not going to go on forever. Therefore, we believe the three months is reasonable. If it goes beyond three months, we need to know why and we need to have this issue brought back to Parliament so it can debated and so we can decide whether we continue with our military contribution.

Finally, it is important for all members to know that within the UN resolution itself, it is spelled out very clearly about notification by all members involved, before and after action is taken, reporting both to the UN General-Secretary and to the Arab League. Those are both very important provisions of accountability and something that we will monitor in terms of Canada's participation.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Jack Harris

New Democratic Party

Mr. Jack Harris (St. John's East, NDP)

Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague from Ottawa Centre for his contribution.

Would the member comment on the concerns that have been raised about certain officials. We heard the minister of defence in the U.K., and we may have heard the minister of defence here today, talk about regime change in Libya. We may have our own private opinions about the fate of the leader of Libya. However, in the context of this binding resolution of the Security Council, we have an international consensus on the specific actions in resolution 1973.

Would the member care to comment on the possibility of loose talk about regime change, particularly from leaders, being detrimental to the cause and alienating the Arab League, which is very important and instrumental in this whole agreement taking place to allow international action at this stage?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar

Mr. Chair, it is absolutely critical that we do not engage in rhetoric that talks about regime change and getting rid of leaders. We have to stay true to the Security Council resolution and to the provisions that have been made within the coalition. The last thing we want to do is upset the fragile stability. We know that some of the groups involved, the Arab League, for instance, could not defend partners saying things like “regime change”.

We have to be crystal clear. I urge the government and all ministers to check their rhetoric and to ensure that not only is it not said but that it is not implied.

If we are to be successful in activating resolution 1973 and resolution 1970, it means we all have to understand that it is about protection of civilians and not regime change.

I encourage the government to ensure that we do not engage in that kind of rhetoric and that we are crystal clear about what the mission is about and not engage in things that are outside the parameters and the boundaries of resolution 1973.

Finally, Canada has a role here. Not only should we engage in and be observers of the Arab League, but we should also use our own capacity diplomatically of involving those we know have the skills to go to the next step, and that is the diplomatic side. Right now it is a military focus. The next logical step is obviously a humanitarian and diplomatic one and that should happen right now.

I look forward to the comments of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on that and any update he has about the next steps diplomatically and the humanitarian aspects of the mission.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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CPC

Lawrence Cannon

Conservative

Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC)

Mr. Chair, in just one month, Canada and Canadians have witnessed an historic change in Libya. It all started when the people of Benghazi, inspired by the recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt, took to the streets to stand up for their basic human rights. The courage these citizens showed in the face of atrocious acts of violence galvanized the entire country and the international community. Initial hopes that Colonel Gadhafi would accept the will of the people and allow them to be in control of their own destiny crumbled when he decided to attack his own people, thereby forcing the United Nations Security Council to approve a no fly zone in order to end the violence. Despite the many challenges to overcome, one thing is certain: a profoundly changed Libya will emerge.

As Gadhafi's forces were advancing to surround the heavily populated historic city of Benghazi, the fear was that the people of Libya who were standing up for their legitimate human rights would face a final bloody confrontation with a defiant and isolated dictator supported by mercenaries. Gadhafi has not only ignored the demands of the people, but he has also ignored those of the international community. He has ramped up the assaults and threatened his own people on television, promising he would attack them one house at a time and that he would be merciless toward some one million inhabitants.

Gadhafi has threatened the Mediterranean countries and any other country that opposes his madness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 300,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Niger.

Canada is very concerned about allegations that refugees are being prevented from leaving the country, in western Libya in particular, a region about which it is very difficult to get any information, and that vulnerable populations, including migrant workers, are being targeted.

Canada has taken a series of measures to press the Gadhafi regime to respect the rights of its citizens. On February 23, the United Nations Secretary General responded to the egregious violations of international and human rights law and called on the government of Libya to protect its own people.

On February 27, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1970, which condemned Gadhafi's actions, which by then included the killing of at least 1,000 people and the arrest, detention and torture of thousands more. The measures included a travel ban and an asset freeze on members of the government.

Canada's approach, in concert with the rest of the international community, has been to isolate the Gadhafi regime, cut it off from its financial resources, deprive it of its legitimacy and ensure that there will be no impunity for crimes against humanity committed against the civilian population and for violations of international humanitarian law.

Canada welcomes the decision by the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court and the prosecutor's announcement that he has initiated an investigation.

As always, our first priority was the safety and security of Canadians caught in the conflict and we worked with our allies to ensure the safe evacuation of all those in need. During the early stages of the crisis, nearly 350 Canadians as well as numerous nationals of partner countries were transported from the conflict zone by road, air and by sea.

Then the Government of Canada responded to the Security Council's initiative by immediately suspending our diplomatic presence and by implementing our own sanctions in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution and the domestic Special Economic Measures Act. Our quick action to end all financial transactions with Libya prevented Gadhafi and his associates from immediately accessing more than $20 million in assets at Canadian financial institutions. Altogether, this move deprived the regime of more than $2.3 billion in resources located in Canada. Unfortunately these messages from the international community were not strong enough for the regime of Colonel Gadhafi.

Most recently, on March 17, a new Security Council resolution No. 1973 authorized the use of military force to bring the Libyan government into compliance with its international legal obligations.

UN resolution 1973 authorizes UN member states to “take all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya. This resolution, drafted and supported by the League of Arab States, does not—I repeat—authorize any foreign occupation. It sets out a solid mandate of protection, and Canada urges all member states to implement it.

The resolution also imposes a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace and authorizes member states to “take all necessary measures” to enforce compliance. However, the resolution does not affect flights whose sole purpose is to provide humanitarian aid or evacuate foreign nationals. The resolution calls on member states to implement these measures in accordance with Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations in order to restore international peace and security.

Canada has answered the call. It has notified the secretaries general of the United Nations and the League of Arab States of its intention to participate in the international efforts, and is in close contact with its allies in order to determine how its participation in these efforts can be as effective as possible.

Resolution 1973 authorizes international action and sets limits on the action. It specifically excludes any form of occupation force on any portion of the Libyan territory. Now this was a clear agreement between the sponsors of the resolution and the Arab League. The central purpose of the resolution is to end the violence, protect citizens and allow the people of Libya to shape their own future.

In closing, I want to reiterate that Canada has contributed $6.5 million to date to partners to help the people of Libya and those affected by the crisis, particularly those who have fled to neighbouring countries. Our contribution will fund essential food, water, shelter, medical supplies and evacuation assistance to those fleeing the violence.

Canada stands ready to provide further assistance to those who suffer as a result of the terrible humanitarian crisis unleashed by Gadhafi. We sincerely hope that Gadhafi does decide to step down.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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LIB

Borys Wrzesnewskyj

Liberal

Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Etobicoke Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, the foreign minister intoned the historical nature of the changes that are occurring in North Africa and the Middle East over the last couple of months. The people of Egypt saw what was happening in Tunisia and they found their voice. They rose up and they overthrew a regime that had repressed them for decades.

We saw similar uprisings in a number of countries, including Libya. But it was not just the people learning. Dictators learned from what was happening in the Middle East. Colonel Gadhafi realized that he was facing regime change unless he used lethal force. That is what we saw. One of his sons said there would be rivers of blood.

Prior to this allied action, a number of regimes that are facing uprisings used lethal force against peaceful demonstrators, civilians, who after decades of oppression had found their voice. This happened in Bahrain, in Yemen and most recently in Syria.

Has our government spoken with officials or diplomats from those governments and stated clearly and unequivocally that Canada views the use of lethal force against peaceful civilians as unacceptable?

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Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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CPC

Lawrence Cannon

Conservative

Hon. Lawrence Cannon

Mr. Chair, I want to reassure my hon. colleague that Canada has spoken out clearly on recent events, whether they be in Yemen or Bahrain. We condemn the violence in Yemen. We have expressed regret over the deaths and injuries to innocent civilians who are protesting peacefully in those countries. Canada has called upon the authorities in those countries to exercise restraint and to engage in peaceful and fulsome dialogue with other civil societies.

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Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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NDP

Paul Dewar

New Democratic Party

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP)

Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for his intervention and clarification on some points. I want to ask him a couple of questions about the next steps.

We have been concerned from the beginning around Canada's response on the humanitarian side. We have lift capacity there. The minister outlined in his speech the government's concern that we all share around the treatment of civilians and refugees.

I would like to ask the minister what concrete steps the government is going to take in terms of using the lift capacity we have on the humanitarian side? Have we engaged with those in the diaspora community, particularly Libyan Canadian doctors, who offered their services?

Up until Thursday the government had not spoken out on whether or not it would support a no-fly provision. We put that forward in our statement on February 22. I am wondering when the government decided to support the no-fly provision. Was it just after the UN resolution or had that determination been made before?

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CPC

Lawrence Cannon

Conservative

Hon. Lawrence Cannon

Mr. Chair, we have been extremely active on the diplomatic front. Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Europe to participate in the G8 foreign ministers meeting where this issue was discussed. I then proceeded to Cairo to meet Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League on Wednesday. I had the opportunity of seeing him once again on Saturday in Paris.

What is important here is the coming together and the building of a consensus among the like-minded and the members of the Arab League, the African Union, the countries that participate quite actively on the UN Security Council.

The operation over the course of the last several days and indeed over the last couple of weeks has been to build that consensus to ensure that we put an end to the violence that is occurring and stop the bloodshed and make sure that the humanitarian assistance to provide shelter, et cetera, which I indicated in my speech a few moments ago is in the vicinity of $6.5 million, is available.

Members may recall my colleague, as well as the Prime Minister, indicated that the frigate HMCS Charlottetown was on its way. We deployed it specifically to help with the humanitarian deployment for Canada and to ensure that the 750,000 Egyptians who are caught in Libya do get help and aid as they try to transit back into their country.

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LIB

Bob Rae

Liberal

Hon. Bob Rae (Toronto Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Chair, I want to clarify two things.

One is that I indicated earlier in the debate that I thought it would be a good opportunity for Canada to establish formally its diplomatic relations with the Arab League, that there be an Arab League ambassador here in Ottawa, as well as for us to have official accreditation at the Arab League in Cairo. I wonder if the minister could comment on that suggestion.

The second is that I realize the minister was very careful in choosing his words at the end when he said that it would be our preference if Colonel Gadhafi were to step down. I can assure him it is certainly a preference that I share. I am wondering if we can be clear with respect to the so-called end game that we talk about. What would Canada regard as a successful mission or what would he interpret the UN would regard as a successful mission? How will we know when it is over?

We all realize that we do not necessarily have precise timetables, but it would be useful for us to know precisely what the objective is.

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Subtopic:   United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya
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March 21, 2011