Amid all else, the Prime Minister announced this morning that Canada will be participating in the enforcement of the United Nations resolution against Libya. Parliament will apparently be consulted and formal approval will apparently be required if the mission is extended beyond three months. Mr. Harper is on his way tonight to a summit in Paris to discuss the matter with other world leaders.
Herein, his remarks to reporters today.
Good morning. Since the crisis in Libya first began, Canada has taken a strong and decisive position. Working closely with our allies, we have evacuated Canadian citizens, put in place tough sanctions and called on the Gadhafi regime to stop the bloodshed and immediately step down. Despite these actions, the situation in Libya remains intolerable.
Last night, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution endorsing immediate action to protect Libyan citizens from the threat of further slaughter. Canada, in cooperation with our allies and other members of the international community, worked to gain support for this resolution. We will now take the urgent action necessary to support it.
As a consequence, the government has authorized the deployment of CF-18 fighter jets to join the HMCS Charlottetown in the region. If Colonel Gadhafi does not comply with this Security Council resolution, Canadian armed forces, working with other like-minded nations, will enforce this resolution.
We are encouraged by late-breaking news that in response to the threat of military action, the Libyan regime has declared a cease-fire. However, for that threat to remain credible, adequate military forces must be in place. Our deployment will, therefore, proceed.
I have spoken with the leaders of the opposition parties to advise them of the government’s decision and to indicate we will consult Parliament next week. I also indicated that we will see Parliament’s approval before extending the deployment beyond three months.
I will just add this: one either believes in freedom or one just says one believes in freedom. The Libyan people have shown by their sacrifice that they believe in it. Assisting them is a moral obligation upon those of us who profess this great ideal.