Canada Extends Its Engagement in Libya

(No. 276 - September 26, 2011 – 8:20 p.m. ET) Members of Parliament have voted overwhelmingly in favour of continuing Canada’s leadership role in protecting Libyan civilians and helping Libya transition to the post-Qadhafi era.

“Canada has punched above its weight in supporting the Libyan people realize a better and brighter future for themselves,” said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “Canada’s role in Libya is not yet done. We are committed to supporting the Libyan people as they transition to a democracy—one that respects freedom, human rights and the rule of law.”

MPs tonight voted to support an extension until the end of the year of Canada’s United Nations-sanctioned, NATO-led military mission in Libya. A motion introduced by the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, passed by a vote of 189 to 98.

The Canadian Forces have contributed to saving the lives of many Libyan civilians. The Forces have flown over 1,388 sorties in their objective to protect civilian lives. Royal Canadian Navy ships have also contributed to enforcing the arms embargo.

“The Canadian Forces have served with honour and courage in defending the people of Libya,” said Minister MacKay. “However, while the forces supporting the National Transitional Council have defeated the former regime’s forces in most of the country and established a transitional government, pro-Qadhafi fighters continue to pose threats to the people of Libya.”

On September 21, NATO Allies agreed to extend the mission for up to 90 days beyond the September 27 deadline.

With this extension, the men and women of the Canadian Forces will continue to operate under the existing mandate in response to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The Resolution authorizes the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya.

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