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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Chair, if the member had listened to my speech, I touched on all the points that he raised about what is happening in the Middle East and North Africa.

As Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said, “The winds of change are sweeping this region”.

Who are these people the member is talking about? They are ordinary Libyans, people who want a better future. They came out and demonstrated. I recall the events in Tunisia. The brave people in Tunisia and the brave people in Egypt felt that it was time for them to seek basic demands. That is how the movement started. Most of them expected that, like in Tunisia and in Egypt whose leaders left because of pressure from other people, their leader would leave as well. Wise councils in those regimes forced the dictators to go.

However, in Libya, Mr. Gadhafi is not going anywhere. It is shameful that he is killing his own people because he does not want to leave. He could have gone down in the history books as leading for 41 years. Has he done anything positive? No, he has done nothing.

However, the regime that he built, as one of our colleagues has said, the regime of brutality, is the reason that the world has come together. The world is not coming together to invade Libya. It is coming together to help the people of Libya, which is a key element of the resolution.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Chair, it is important that we talk today not just about the military aspect but also the diplomatic side. The parliamentary secretary obviously has some background in terms of what the government can do beyond the military provisions.

Many people are wondering what the next steps will be. Resolution 1973 talks about the importance of a panel coordinated through the Secretary General of the United Nations. I wonder if the government has any idea what Canada's role could be in that area. I mentioned to the parliamentary secretary that there are Canadians who have experience in this. Canadian Arabs have played that role. Is the government looking at engaging in diplomacy as being the next step of this equation?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Chair, right now we are implementing the UN Security Council resolution for the no-fly zone. The member is right to ask what the next stage will be. Diplomacy will come up. Nobody is interested in dividing Libya. Diplomacy will become the key element in bringing everybody together.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Paris and Cairo. We must remember the African Union is there as well. I represented Canada in Syria at the African Union meeting. The African Union has an important role to play in bringing about peace and stability. At the same time, we must, as the member rightly pointed out, mention the United Nations. The Secretary General has already appointed a special envoy to go to Libya.

The member is right. It will be a diplomatic offensive. Let us forget for the time being the military offensive. I agree that there has to be a strong diplomatic offensive to bring about what we really want to see, which is a peaceful, stable united Libya without the brutal regime that is there. We are witnessing that change in Tunisia and in Egypt.

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6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Chair, I congratulate and commend the UN Security Council for its tremendous action. Some people do not realize how far some countries that sit on the Security Council had to go to allow the Libyan motion to go through. Those countries deserve the utmost commendation and congratulations. This is a great step for the world, a great step for humanity and a great step to show that the United Nations can work.

I want to make a point about what will happen post-Libya. If a similar crisis arises in the future, and I hope it never does, countries of the world, like Canada, that are involved in this great endeavour must be consistent. We have crossed the Rubicon. People will no longer be subject to frivolous, autocratic and irrational dictators who slaughter their own people. If this were ever to happen again, the world needs to be consistent. The world cannot back down from people in a similar situation who think the world is watching, who think the world will support humanitarianism and who think the world will support harmless people. The world cannot be inconsistent with this great exercise it is involved in today.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Chair, I agree with the member. This is a historical moment for the Middle East and North Africa with regard to the changes that are taking place, as it was with the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. He is absolutely right that the international community has come together because it could not withstand the brutality of the regime and all regimes have now been put on notice. Canada supports the International Criminal Court because it puts all regimes on notice that they cannot kill their own people. This will be an example that will come up in the future.

However, I must make it very clear. Canada did not act unilaterally. Canada acted as part of the UN resolution which was, as the member rightly pointed out, all the countries coming together, key parliaments that give legitimacy to this operation, which is why we are all comfortable with this operation. That is why today all of us who are standing in the House are supporting it, because the world is coming together against a brutal regime. There were no UN resolutions against Tunisia and there were no resolutions against Egypt. The people did this. However, Mr. Gadhafi refused to listen to his people, forcing the world community to do that. I agree with the member, that it is an action that has taken place and it puts the burden on the international community to act.

Many of our colleagues have asked the question about the right to intervene. The right to intervene must also have legitimacy behind it. The legitimacy can only come when the world works together through the United Nations which is an international body.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak in this important debate today. It is an important debate because soon after Canada made a commitment to support by its own action resolution 1973, the matter is before Parliament at the first opportunity for debate and a vote. That is extremely important.

I agree with others who said that resolution 1973 is also an extremely important step for the world in terms of the development of concepts of human rights and international co-operation and responsibility. Of course, the responsibility to protect is what we are talking about. It is not exactly a doctrine but more of a norm that has found its way, through the assistance of Canada, into international law. However, it only becomes part of international law when it is used and we have seen a remarkable coming together by the Security Council with unanimous resolution 1970, which is part of the process.

First, the responsibility to protect is really focused on preventing and halting four separate crimes: war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing or mass atrocities. It is recognized that a state has the responsibility to protect its citizens from those crimes. If it cannot or will not, the international community takes up the cause through diplomatic efforts, more coercively with sanctions, which has been done, and the last resort being military force.

Given the fact that many of us, myself included, did not have a lot of confidence that the Security Council could take this measure because there have been significant vetoes on the council, particularly Russia and China, the fact that both of these countries did not exercise their veto and abstained from the vote, along with a couple of others, allowed this motion to pass, which is a binding resolution. Security Council resolutions under chapter 7 are binding on all member countries.

It is very significant. It moves the matter into the realm of international law where a binding resolution of the Security Council follows up on the need to protect citizens in this case from their own government and leadership. That is an extremely important step for world governance and international law.

It is worthwhile recognizing that and I certainly appreciate the actions by the countries who participated in making that possible and taking that step forward. It also recognizes the extreme level of international concern about the atrocities that have been committed against the citizens of Libya by their own government, which is why my party supports this motion wholeheartedly and the idea that Parliament can discuss, debate and vote on this today.

NDP members worked over the weekend with representatives of other parties, particularly the government, on a motion that would be expansive enough to include all aspects of resolution 1973, not just the issue of deploying six CF-18s to Libya to support paragraphs 4 and 8 of the United Nations Security Council resolution, the ones that had to do with protecting civilians and taking all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack. That is paragraph 4 and the enforcement of the no-fly zone is paragraph 8.

New Democrats wanted to make sure that the resolution was expansive enough to include all aspects of resolution 1973. It includes the humanitarian aspects, diplomatic efforts, the arms embargo, the travel restrictions and all the other aspects. We also want to ensure that we are not just working with individual allies and partners but with and through the United Nations. This is an important part of Canada's involvement and it is doing this for the United Nations. If we look at resolution 1973, the actual measures, even those of a military nature, are expected to be coordinated by and through the United Nations.

The third aspect that we wanted covered in a resolution, which is there, was parliamentary oversight. It is important that members of Parliament play an important role in oversight of military actions abroad by the Canadian government, whether it is the current government or any government. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Standing Committee on National Defence are seized with Canada's actions under resolution 1973. We can expect that both of those committees will want to hear details, reports and evidence from government as to what activities are being carried out. We may have recommendations, motions and resolutions from those committees before the House to make comments and recommendations on what is happening.

The last aspect we are concerned about was raised in the briefing this morning by our leader that it be clear and that everyone understand that this effort of Canada is limited in terms of its air campaign to just that, to an air campaign, that there will not be ground troops sent by Canada even though the resolution itself may conceivably support that. It does not support occupation, but it does not specifically prevent ground troops from being used in Libya. Canada's involvement is the air campaign. The government has agreed to limit our involvement to an air campaign and no troops on the ground. We will come back to Parliament if an expansion of Canada's activity is contemplated.

We are very pleased that these improvements have been made. We have before us a very comprehensive resolution this evening for consideration of the House and we look forward to doing that. We support the Canadian Forces and our men and women who are engaged in this mission. I think the common phrase is, “support our troops”. Of course we support our troops. Without getting rhetorical about it, we support the men and women who serve our country, who provide the skill, courage, risk and effort to defend our country and our international interests.

I want to make a few comments about some of the things that are concerning in the international media in the last couple of days. We have to be very careful and use extreme restraint in our language about the aims of resolution 1973. The aims of 1973 are specific in the resolution itself, contained in items one, two and three. It talks about having a ceasefire. It talks about the diplomatic effort to ensure that there is an opportunity for political reform in Libya so that the aspirations of the Libyan people can be realized within that country and that there has to be room made for humanitarian efforts to take place.

Those are the aims. Whatever else may happen as a result of that, these are not the aims of resolutions 1973 and are not the aims of the military intervention and military action. That is extremely important. A few people today have gone overboard on that. It is worrisome when it is done by the defence minister in the United Kingdom and it is worrisome when it is made by ministers here. We have to avoid that language. We have to keep on board the Arab League because that is important.

There are also issues about leadership of this mission. We have to go back to the notion that this is to be coordinated through the United Nations. If there are problems, whether it is NATO, whether it is the United States or whether it is involvement by Turkey and other countries, we may need to go back to the United Nations and sort that out to make sure that we do keep the Arab allies in this motion on board. It is because last Saturday they, unanimously, said that they support the imposition of a no-fly zone and asked the Security Council to do it. It is because of that action that this has been allowed to take place and we should work very hard to keep them on board, because it is their civilians who are being protected, part of the Arab nations, part of the Arab League of which Libya of course was a part.

There is a lot more to say on this issue and I would be pleased to respond to any questions or comments that any of my colleagues in the House have on this issue.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, I cannot let the member get away without any questions because he has been very active on files to do with Canada's military engagement, particularly the Afghanistan situation and the terrible situation where Parliament is still, after many months, no further ahead in terms of the Afghan detainee documents. This is, I think, very reflective of the problems that may be faced with regard to securing further parliamentary engagement and oversight when there has not been this good faith shown on other matters. So I thought the member would like to comment on that.

I think it is laudable and important, but is it practical, is it pragmatic? Putting it in the context of an ongoing conflict, which is evolving on a day-to-day basis, not just in Libya, but still percolating in other Arab countries, it is going to be extremely difficult for any committee, as duly constituted, to have that kind of information to make some proper oversight.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I do want to thank the member for the excellent question, which is, how do we achieve parliamentary oversight?

I am not going to engage in a lot rhetoric about this particular government, but the answer has to be: respect for Parliament. That is the simple answer. Whether it is the current government or any other government, it has to have respect for Parliament and the parliamentarians' right to hold the government to account to play that important role in Parliament. If that is not there, it is not going to work.

I as a member hold respect for Parliament in high importance. I am concerned about the Afghan documents. The reason there are no Afghan documents is that a process was agreed to that was bound to fail, in our view, which is why we did not participate in it.

Unfortunately, the government got its way and managed to effectively place a code of silence over this whole notion of what went on in Afghanistan, in terms of Afghan detainees, what rules were made, how they were followed, whether they were followed or not, and Canada is not keeping up to its international responsibilities.

I have to say that the party of the hon. member who asked the question went along with that, and so did the Bloc. As a result, we have a situation where, almost a year past this ad hoc committee being set up, not one single new piece of paper has seen the light of day.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Blackstrap Saskatchewan

Conservative

Lynne Yelich ConservativeMinister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

Mr. Chair, I would like to read some words of the Prime Minister, when he said:

Canada has said, and leaders have agreed, that we must act urgently. We must help the Libyan people, help them now, or the threat to them and to the stability of the whole region will only increase. We must also ensure humanitarian needs are met, and that the humanitarian appeal is fully subscribed. Finally, we should all acknowledge that ultimately, only the Libyan people can or should decide their future. But we all have a mutual interest in their peaceful transition to a better future.

I would like the member to comment on how well this was pronounced by the Prime Minister at the news conference in Paris and how important it is that the Libyan people, indeed, decide their future.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, I think the words that were just read into the record of the House express precisely what I think we have to be clear about: the goals of this activity. The goals are to ensure that the Libyan people have the ability to decide their future, not under threat of being massacred by a leader who obviously has no respect for their human rights and for their right to participate in the future of their society.

So, I thank the parliamentary secretary for putting that on the record. I commend the Prime Minister for using those words in describing the aims of this mission. I hope that we can all stick to that, certainly in terms of talking about the Canadian government's action and participation in the international effort.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Chair, I want to thank the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for St. John's East for their involvement on this issue. I think they have improved the resolution a lot. The fact of the matter is that UN resolution 1973 is actually precisely what we needed in this situation, and I do, by the way, like the parliamentary oversight and the parliamentary approval aspects of our particular resolution here in the House.

However, I am concerned about how long our commitment is for the fighters that we have sent over right now. Do we have an option in our resolution that is before the House right now of getting ourselves out of it in a specified period of time, be it weeks or months?

How long of a notice period would we have to give our coalition partners to withdraw from the agreement?

I have asked the government member that particular question but did not really get a specific answer, and perhaps there is no a specific answer. I just thought I would ask the member if he knows that, and if he does not, whether he could pursue that question to see whether we could get some sort of a review period put into the agreement.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Chair, many Canadians worry about that sort of thing when we get involved in a military mission abroad. We saw what happened in Afghanistan. There is a slippery slope aspect to many of these engagements. However, there is a provision that if the involvement of the Canadian Forces is anticipated to go beyond three months, we will return to the House at the earliest opportunity to debate and to seek the consent of the House for such an extension. That is implicit in the resolution that we are dealing with later on this evening, and I think we will certainly get some comfort from that.

I believe in terms of the success of the operation of the no-fly zone, there has been success to date, and that has changed the situation on the ground. I do not know how long this is going to take, but I think we are all worried about mission creep. However, the resolution is very specific and if there is anything beyond three months, it will be back to Parliament, as I understand it.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Chair, I rise to speak both as the member for Mount Royal and as the opposition critic for human rights. My constituents in my constituency of Mount Royal have watched with great hope and anticipation the march for freedom in Egypt and Tunisia. At the same time they have been watching with increased apprehension and concern that which has been unfolding in Libya.

One month ago I wrote an op-ed in the National Post on the urgent need for the responsibility to protect or the responsibility to protect as it was unfolding with regard to the developing carnage in Libya at the time. At the time I wrote: “The threats and assaults on civilians in Libya continue to escalate. Moammar Gadhafi vows to exterminate the 'greasy rats' of civilians, who 'deserve to die'”.

The news media reported at the time, and I wrote in the article: “--clusters of heavily armed men in Tripoli carrying out orders to kill Libyans that other police and military units, and jet fighter pilots, have refused”.

I said, in particular: “Opposition parties in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco speak of the 'genuine industry of extermination that has been unleashed. We must stand up to it…and do everything to stop this massacre'...reflecting the horror that resulted in Gadhafi’s own Ministers of Justice and of the Interior resigning, and diplomats vacating their posts”. These individuals included the deputy ambassador to the United Nations at the time.

I went on to say in the article: “U.S. President Obama — breaking a 10-day silence on the Libyan crisis — characterized the Libyan government’s assaults on its own people as 'outrageous… and unacceptable,' echoing similar language by Prime Minister Stephen Harper [and Leader of the Opposition Michael Ignatieff]. The European Union, the governments of the United Kingdom, France and Italy, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had also condemned these attacks”.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

The Assistant Deputy Chair

No names.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Sorry, Mr. Chair.

Yet, interestingly enough, not one of the governmental leaders invoked the responsibility to protect doctrine at the time, where in a landmark declaration five years ago, the UN Security Council authorized international collective action “to protect [a state's] population from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity” if that state is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens, or worse, as in the case of Libya, if that state is the author of such criminality.

As I wrote on February 26 in the National Post:

Accordingly, Canada as an original architect of the R2P Doctrine, should join the international community in undertaking the following action:

I set forth then a 10-point action plan which would include the following:

--UN condemnation of Libya’s widespread and systematic human rights violations...constitutive of crimes against humanity and warranting international intervention under the R2P Doctrine.

Putting Libyan authorities on notice that they will be held accountable for these criminal violations of human rights — including criminal prosecution--

Calling on the Libyan authorities to cease and desist from the blocking of access to the internet and all telecommunications networks--

Calling on NATO to establish a no-fly zone to put an end to the bombing of civilians.

Supporting selective sanctions targeting Libya’s petroleum sector, while implementing travel bans, asset freezes, and visa denials, of Libyan leaders.

Putting a complete arms embargo in place.

Suspending Libya from the UN Human Rights Council, a move I have been advocating for some time.

The article concluded as follows:

Strong condemnation — without effective action by the international community — would be a betrayal of the Libyan people and a repudiation of the R2P Doctrine. It is our responsibility to ensure this Doctrine is not yet another exercise in empty rhetoric, but an effective resolve to protect people and human rights.

Shortly thereafter, in response to Moammar Gadhafi's continued assault on civilians in Libya, the United Nations Security Council adopted its unanimous and historic resolution 1973 in an unusual Saturday night session on February 26. It imposed an arms embargo on Libya, targeted financial sanctions, and travel bans against Gadhafi, his family members and senior regime officials, and referred the situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation and potential prosecution.

Canada then followed with its own sanctions regime pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act, which was supported, as well, by all parties. In particular, in its statement condemning the violence, the UN Security Council, in its resolution 1970, at the time, included express reference to Libya's responsibility to protect its own citizens from mass atrocities, marking the first time it had been explicitly invoked by the UN Security Council regarding the situation of mass atrocities in a specific country.

Several days later, on February 28, I co-authored a piece, Libya and the responsibility to protect, with Jared Genser, a brilliant lawyer in the United States, with whom I am now co-editing a book on mass atrocity and the responsibility to protect to the effect that while UN Security Council resolution 1970 was indeed a major step forward, much more needed to be done.

In particular, we advocated that, given the continuing carnage at the time, and this is at the end of February, the Security Council should adopt a new resolution extending recognition to the nation's provisional government of a country authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya to preclude the bombing of civilians and permitting UN members to provide direct support to the provisional government.

We concluded that as UN Security Council Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it, “loss of time means more loss of lives”, that the Security Council must do more, that it was our collective responsibility to ensure that R to P was an effective approach to protect people and human rights.

Following the publication of that article on February 28, the situation continued to deteriorate. Gadhafi escalated his attacks on civilians, both in the air and through mobile columns equipped with heavy weapons on the ground. His forces captured key cities, such as Ras Lanuf and Zawiya and were marching toward Benghazi, all the while killing civilians in their wake and threatening to show no mercy, destroying all who would oppose him.

Accordingly, in interviews and talks last week, I reiterated once again the urgency of establishing a no-fly zone, now supported, importantly and symbolically, by the Arab League, by the league of Islamic states and others. I called for a no-drive zone, as recommended by Professor Zelikow and others to interdict Gadhafi's mobile columns on the ground. I called again for meetings with, if not in recognition of, the provisional Libyan national council, and in particular support for the training and provision of arms support for the rebels so as to level the military encounters. I reiterated the need for enhanced humanitarian and medical assistance to Libyan civilians, as well as once again warning Libyan leaders that they would be tried for their war crimes and crimes against humanity, while encouraging further defections and desertions from Libyan military and political leadership.

Finally and belatedly, amidst the anguished appeals, as we recall them, late last week from Benghazi and elsewhere by Libyan rebels and civilians for urgent action and assistance, the UN Security Council adopted its resolution 1973 on March 17, authorizing international military action against the Libyan government, including a no-fly zone to protect the Libyan people, while tightening economic and financial sanctions along with calls for a cease fire, diplomatic initiatives and movements toward self-determination for the Libyan people.

At this point, the international action authorized by the UN Security Council appears to be working. The no-fly zone has not only been established but enforced. A no-drive zone has effectively been implemented. Rebel forces on the cusp of desperation days ago now appear exhilarated and emboldened by the United Nations response. The international action is not a unilateral one by the United States or one in the absence of UN Security Council resolution, but has been undertaken pursuant to two UN Security Council resolutions, the first invoking, importantly, the R to P doctrine, together with targeted sanctions, and the second a no-fly zone and accompanying initiatives.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Chair, I have a comment. I want to commend the member on an excellent speech.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Chair, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his remarks and for allowing me to conclude those remarks that time did not permit. I hope he still feels the same way after I make these concluding remarks.

The situation in Libya is a test case of our commitment to the R to P doctrine and of our responsibility to protect the Libyan people. I am pleased to join colleagues from all parties here this evening in support of both UN Security Council resolutions, in support of the multilateral character of that support that has been engendered, be it from the Arab League, or the European Union, or the African Union in supporting our Canadian troops that are now being engaged abroad and, in particular, in supporting the Libyan people and their right and ability to choose their course and future freely.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Chair, I the intervention of the hon. member was excellent. He had one line regarding the more time that went by, the more lives that would be lost. This is an inevitable result in Libya, particularly considering the character of Mr. Gadhafi.

Could the member indicate whether the United Nations first move is a full chess game, in its actions so far under resolution 1973. That is because we have seen this before. I think there are some parallels with the Iraq situation and Saddam Hussein. In fact, the only way to have dealt with that situation was to get the head of the snake. Could the member indicate whether this has the elements that may very well indicate that this is the first step of a much bigger forum?

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Chair, this has been an historic moment because we have had two UN Security Council resolutions. I might add that the first, UN Security Council resolution 1970 at the end of February, was adopted more quickly with more specificity than any other UN Security Council resolution to date, with its express invocation of the responsibility to protect doctrine at the time and its imposition of a sanctions regime and calling on Gadhafi and those with him to cease and desist from their atrocities. Also, what was of particular of importance was the express invocation of the R to P doctrine. We had not had that before. We have it now in UN Security Council resolution 1970. There was some implication of this in Kenya, but never in the manner in which it was done now.

Specifically, UN Security Council resolution 1973 has now authorized all necessary measures with respect to the protection of the Libyan people with specific reference to the implementation of a no-fly zone. As events unfold, I believe we may see the need for another UN Security Council resolution, as events become clearer on the ground, one that would be in support of the political development in Libya in terms of our debate here in Parliament and the manner in which we can come together again.

I would hope, in particular, that the multilateral character of this intervention continues, as one that has been authorized by the UN Security Council, one that has been supported from the European Union to the Arab League and the African Union, one that has Canada joining together with the international community in that regard and one that is moving towards two things: the invocation of the responsibility to protect doctrine to protect civilians; and our protection, in particular, of the civilians on the ground.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to participate in this debate. I do not think any Canadian in the country or any of us in the chamber can look at what is going on in North Africa, particularly in Libya, and not be moved with great compassion for the people who we know are in very desperate straits and suffering so much from what the regime has been doing.

I am very pleased to say that Canada has taken its responsibility, along with the United Nations, and decided that it is going to participate and provide protection for the citizens of Libya and ensure that they have the opportunity to seek freedom. If there is one thing that Canadian citizens have and share, it is our great respect for freedom, democracy and rule of law. Given what has happened in North Africa over the last number of months, every one of us has been moved by the situation.

I was interested to hear the earlier discussion about the right to protect. I know that the right to protect is a norm, a set of principles based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility. There was some discussion about whether Canada was going to use that term, but I want to read into the record what the responsibility to protect is all about. It can be thought of as having three parts.

First, a state has a responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Second, if the state is unable to protect its population on its own, the international community has a responsibility to assist the state by building its capacity. This can mean building early-warning capabilities, mediating conflicts between political parties, strengthening the security sector, mobilizing standby forces, and many other actions.

Third, if a state is manifestly failing to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and peaceful measures are not working, the international community has the responsibility to intervene at first diplomatically, then more coercively, and as a last resort, with military force.

Canada has decided to participate in the no-fly zone over Libya and we are working with our allied forces there. Currently we have airplanes in Italy that are going to participate in the no-fly zone. We want to see protection given to the citizens of Libya.

What we have done, most importantly, is that we have assumed our great responsibility as Canadians to provide humanitarian assistance. We have made sure that food is going to Libya to help the Libyan people who are so in need of these resources they need. There are also resources going there to ensure that the people and the places they live are secure.

As we move forward on this and work with our allies, we are very proud that our forces are there. Our young men and women have decided they are going to undertake this mission on behalf of the Canadian people and provide Libyans the security they need, to see that democracy is established, which is our long-term hope for that country, and that the people there are able to have the same kinds of benefits that we have in Canada.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning LibyaGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Assistant Deputy Chair Conservative Barry Devolin

It being 7:32 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 53.1, the committee will rise and I will leave the chair.

(Government Business No. 12 reported)

LibyaPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

March 21st, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I first want to thank all members of the House for that thoughtful debate.

I appreciate all the interventions that were made about this very important matter.

Pursuant to the motion adopted earlier today after question period, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, in standing in solidarity with those seeking freedom in Libya, the House welcomes United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973; that the House deplores the ongoing use of violence by the Libyan regime against the Libyan people; acknowledges the demonstrable need, regional support and clear legal basis for urgent action to protect the people of Libya; consequently, the government shall work with our allies, partners and the United Nations to promote and support all aspects of UNSC Resolution 1973, which includes the taking of all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya and to enforce the no-fly zone, including the use of the Canadian Forces and military assets in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1973; that the House requests that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and the Standing Committee on National Defence remain seized of Canada's activities under UNSC Resolution 1973; that should the government require an extension to the involvement of the Canadian Forces for more than three months from the passage of this motion, the government shall return to the House at its earliest opportunity to debate and seek the consent of the House for such an extension; and that the House offers its wholehearted support to the men and women of the Canadian Forces.

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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Does the hon. minister have unanimous consent to move the motion?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?