Canada

PM wants Libyan mission extended

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning to extend the Canadian military mission in Libya, saying that although progress has been made against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, more needs to be done.
Warplanes, like the Canadian CF-18 shown taking off, have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libyan targets. PM Harper says the Canadian Military will remain in the Libyan air campaign. (Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is planning to extend the Canadian military mission in Libya, saying that although progress has been made against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, more needs to be done.

As the G8 summit wrapped on Friday in Deauville, France, Harper said he would ask Parliament in June to agree to an extension of the mission.

Harper talks to The House

In an interview with CBC's Susan Lunn and airing on Saturday's edition of CBC Radio's The House, Harper said Canada's military involvement in Libya remains justified and he's hoping Parliament will unanimously approve an extension of the mission.

"The government isn’t going to ask Parliament for an open-ended commitment. The government is going to ask for a reasonable extension and to continue parliamentary monitoring of what we’re doing," Harper said.

He also said he doesn't foresee any changes to the nature of the mission.

"We've had good, strong support across parties in Parliament for this mission," Harper said.

"I would hope now that we continue to have it here, internationally… I hope that would encourage Parliament to continue to support the actions of the Canadian Forces."

The House of Commons approved a three-month operation in mid-March.

NATO's involvement in the North African nation was a hotly debated topic around the G8 table, as the Russians have been critical about what they called an excessive use of force by NATO and urged a quick end to hostilities.

But all eight leaders agreed Friday that the Gadhafi regime needed to be ousted.

"Gadhafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy," the declaration said.

Warplanes keeping busy over Libyan skies

The military says Canadian warplanes have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libyan targets since March 31.

Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette revealed the number of bombs only a week after he had said the information was off limits for "operational security" reasons.

Blanchette said military intelligence and counter-intelligence experts reconsidered the request.

However, despite the revelation of the number of bombs dropped, the cost of those 227- kilogram bombs along with the total cost of the Libyan mission to date remain among aspects of the mission the military deems too sensitive for public consumption.

With files from The Canadian Press

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