'Freedom seldom flowers in undisturbed ground' - Macleans.ca

‘Freedom seldom flowers in undisturbed ground’


The prepared text of the Prime Minister’s remarks at today’s Parliament Hill ceremony marking the end of the mission in Libya.

“Your Excellency, Speaker Kinsella, Speaker Scheer, Ambassadors, Ministers, Honourable Senators and Members of Parliament, General Natynczyk, Lieutenant-General Bouchard, Members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces, honoured guests , ladies and gentlemen; this is a day of honour. It is a day to celebrate the success of the NATO mission to Libya, and Canada’s contribution to it; it is a day to pay tribute to the extraordinary men and women of our Armed Forces who played their part; and yes, it is a day to honour the great Canadian who led them. This is, as I said, a day of honour.

“Of course, when it comes to the Canadian Armed Forces, every day is a day of honour. We must always remember it is no small thing to put your life on the line, day in and day out for your country: something we should always honour. But, even by that measure, today is special because we are celebrating a great military success: the success of Canada’s participation in Operation Unified Protector and Operation Mobile, respectively the NATO mission to Libya and Canada’s contribution to it.

“It is a day to pay tribute to the extraordinary men and women of our Armed Forces who played their part. And yes, it is a day to honour the great Canadian who led them.

“These missions were undertaken for a noble purpose: to safeguard the lives of millions of innocent Libyan civilians. I think we all remember how, as what was referred to, hopefully, as the Arab spring spread across North Africa, Libyans began asking for the same reforms as their neighbours.

“And, why would they do otherwise, having experienced over four decades of dictatorship so brutal and psychotic, that it had literally taken their country out of the mainstream of human existence?

“We also remember how the Gaddafi regime responded, unleashing the full fury of the state – police, army and air force – against them, calling them “germs, rats and scumbags” – and demanded Libya be cleansed “house by house.” It was an invitation to genocide. That is why the Security Council of the United Nations, with the support of the Arab League, called on NATO to blockade the Libyan coast. That is why a no-fly zone was established over the country. And that is why the Government of Canada sent more than 2000 members of Canada’s Armed Forces to join their NATO allies in support of the most basic human rights of the Libyan people.

“For more than six months, Royal Canadian Navy frigates and aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force patrolled the Libyan theatre, carrying a share of the operations out of proportion to the size of the Force deployed.

“Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but it bears repeating that Canadian fighter jets flew nearly a thousand sorties – roughly ten per cent of all sorties – without caveats against Gaddafi’s military. Canadians should also know that the taking of Tripoli by rebel forces was materially assisted by the CF-18 missions that cleared away Gaddafi’s remaining mechanized forces.

“Meanwhile, ships of the Royal Canadian Navy, on top of their role of enforcing the naval blockade, played a vital role in intelligence gathering, targeting and information operations. And, for the first time since the Korean War, a ship of the Royal Canadian Navy – the frigate Charlottetown – came under hostile fire.

“The intervention of the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and the aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force, in concert with the NATO and Arab League allies was highly effective. Because they held the ring, the Libyan people were able to lift Gaddafi’s yoke from their necks. And thanks to their own sacrifices, Libyans have won the opportunity to design for themselves a better future.

“This operation also shows, by the way, how considerable and how utterly unpredictable are the demands that may be placed upon the Canadian Armed Forces at any time. It reminds us, as if such reminder were needed, how great is the obligation to ensure that the dedicated and courageous people who serve have the equipment and training they need to do their jobs as effectively and as safely as possible.

“Our Government will not be found negligent in the performance of that duty to our men and women in uniform. One of this year’s high points for me, was the opportunity I had in September to visit members of Canada’s Armed Forces at Trapani, in Sicily, and to personally congratulate them on the crucial part they were then playing in the Libya campaign.

“I told them their unwavering professionalism reflected the greatest possible credit upon every one of them. And I also told them this – and it deserves to be repeated here on Parliament Hill: that soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman or airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world.

“Further, I am proud to remind you that the entire NATO force was commanded with great distinction by the Royal Canadian Air Force’s own Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard.

General Bouchard, in a few moments you will receive from His Excellency the Governor General a tangible reminder of your country’s esteem. But General, I just want to say on a personal note, that your conduct of operations was in the finest traditions of the Canadian military. And I believe the appropriate signal is “Bravo Zulu.”

“So, on behalf of those gathered here now, and the Government of Canada, please accept our warmest congratulations. Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered now to honour all those here and around the country, who have returned from the Libya mission.

“Our thoughts remain, of course, with those of their comrades who are still serving abroad in dangerous missions, particularly in Afghanistan, where Canada will remain until 2014. Our mission to Afghanistan is already the longest-ever military engagement in Canadian history.

“So let no-one ever question whether Canada is prepared to stay the course in defence of what is right. For we believe that in a world where people look for hope and cry out for freedom, those who talk the talk of human rights must from time to time be prepared to likewise walk the walk.

“History shows us this: that freedom seldom flowers in undisturbed ground. And so, while few nations exceed our own home and native land in its passion for peace, a generous spirit will not blind us to injustice. Still less shall “modest stillness and humility” make us indifferent towards oppressors. And, heaven forbid that we should fail to do that of which we are capable, when the path of duty is clear.

“Our Government is not that kind of government. Canada is not that kind of nation. And Canadians are not that kind of people. But, at least, our job in Libya has been done and done well. General, we salute you, and all who served with you. God bless all of you. God bless Canada and welcome home.”


‘Freedom seldom flowers in undisturbed ground’

  1. More crap on the ongoing promotion of the militarising of Canada.

    • I can only imagine the misery you must feel living in Canada.
      Have you considered a move to Libya ?

      • It would make more sense for you to move to North Korea…a very militarized country….if you like it so much.

  2. Wait.. Afghanistan is now a dangerous mission?

    I thought it was a mission with little risk.. and then significant risk. Now it’s actually dangerous?

    Man.. what the hell are we doing out there?

    • Blowing with the wind apparently.

    • I don`t know if it was ever seriously considered a mission with little risk.

      It`s a big bad world out there sometime, which is why many of us prefer the plumbers to do the plumbing and the soldiers to do the soldiering.

      • Hey, I’m just going off of what Harper said. If you want to argue he lied, you won’t find me standing in your way.

        • Can you provide a quote where he said Afghanistan was a mission with “little risk”? It seems unlikely.  Clearly the training mission has overall less risk than the combat mission, but, as the latest fatality show, that is all relative. Afghanistan remains a dangerous place to operate and I doubt the PM has ever been as casual about the risks as you suggest.

          • http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/10/30/harper-afghan-mission-risks.html

            In amongst his back-pedalling: “the Conservative government announced last November that 950 troops would remain in Afghanistan to help with training and aid.

            “I think if we can continue a smaller mission that involves just training, I think frankly that presents minimal risks to Canada,” Harper said at the time.”

          • Hell years and years ago he said he would rather lose an election than pull out of Afghanistant.

  3. i love how when people say “hey our democracy has been taken over by a sicko dictator” his defenders always use the “go live someplace else if you don;t like it”.
    To me, this suggests that you a) think dictatorships are valid, b) that you accept that Canada is now a dictatorship and that you think THAT is valid. It also suggests that someone born here, possibly with long family roots on Canadian soil, should somehow “leave” because of this dictatorship.

    If Layton had won the way Harper did, you would all be calling for a coup. But because your Angry dad Punishment fetish sicko Steve won, you act like this sodomization of democracy is valid. In fact, you say so smugly.

    It is you malevolent hypocritical Harperistas that should be rounded up into ships and sent to china to work in coal mines, not the democratic types.

    • “It is you malevolent hypocritical Harperistas that should be rounded up into ships and sent to china to work in coal mines … ”

      I like cut of your jib – reeducation through labour for Reform types who have become rather squishy since taking power in 2006.

      • I agree with your assessment of Russ—we may have underestimated him.

        After all those ships are going back to China empty after they drop off their cargo at Walmart.

        • Sounds like we have plan to improve Canada’s governance, than. 

  4. And what the hell is this?

    “And, why would they do otherwise, having experienced over four decades of dictatorship so brutal and psychotic, that it had literally taken their country out of the mainstream of human existence?”

    Really?  News to the Libyans I’m sure!

    Saudis live in far worse conditions….and they are our good buddies. Not considered ‘out of the mainstream of human existence’ at all.

    • So Canadian SNC Lavalin building a prison for the former dictator was what – contributing to the brutality and psychosis? 

      • Apparently so….as was the loose Cannon when he was sent over there to thank Gadaffi profusely for his help when we needed it.

  5. Harper keeps dragging Canada into every war he can find.  He is now cutting support for our veterans to the bone. Those kids get maimed and injured for life, and have no support?  I would be getting the hell out of the military, as fast as I could.  I would be telling Harper to go to hell.  Canada’s best role, is that of a peacekeeping Nation.

    Any time there are troops on the ground, they will be killed.  They will lose arms, legs and every kind of ugly war wounds you can think of, horrific burn wounds. Many never able to do any kind of a job. Six members of my family, were in WW11.  Missing in action, sometimes meant just that. A direct hit on a soldier, meant he was in fragments, there was nothing left to even bury.  So the dreaded telegram, missing in action, was exactly that.

    Iraq was attacked because, they said there were WMD.  There were none and they knew it. The U.S. did not want Hussein, to get a hold of all that oil. There are many wars, in the name of religion and oil. The sooner we run out of oil, the better off this world will be.

    Canada is one hell of a vast country to defend. We have had terrorist threats to Canada. Some small dirty bombs, could raise hell in a country like Canada, that has a lot of lovely targets to choose from.