Libya mission to last until Gadhafi gone, MP says

Canada's mission in Libya will last until the country's violent leader is gone, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs said Wednesday.
Canadian military and diplomatic officials, including Gen. Walter Natynczyk, stand amid laser-guided bombs used to enforce a UN no-fly zone over Libya during a visit to the detachment based out of Trapani, Italy. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

Canada's military mission in Libya will last until the country's violent leader is gone, says the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs.

Deepak Obhrai, who represents Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird when Baird isn't available, said Wednesday that Canada's mission won't be done until Moammar Gadhafi is out of power.

"The end of the mission is to bring peace, stability out there, and peace and stability can only be in the region if Mr. Gadhafi's gone, due to his murderous actions," Obhrai told Rosemary Barton on CBC's Power & Politics.

"The final outcome of this thing to bring peace and stability to the region is for Mr. Gadhafi to go because of his crimes against humanity."

Canada sent military personnel to support NATO's mission to enforce a no-fly zone amid a bloody uprising. Gadhafi has vowed to fight the anti-government forces, and has ordered air attacks against unarmed protesters.

"Let me be very clear about this: my government is not going to support a murderous regime, period," Obhrai said.

"This whole nonsense about saying that we are not going to support one side or another, that's not the [March 21 House of Commons] resolution. The resolution was to protect the civilians because of the murderous regime of Gadhafi. Therefore that is why we want Gadhafi out."

"Mr. Gadhafi now is wanted for crimes against humanity. Therefore, he cannot stay in power. That is the end of the story."

The government has promised to hold a debate before extending the initial 90-day mission.

NDP defence critic Jack Harris says he's surprised to hear Obhrai frame the mission as one of getting rid of Gadhafi.

"That's the concern about mission creep," he said. "That may take longer to prevent civilians from being murdered by this regime, but the resolution talked about more than that. It talked about humanitarian aid, it talked about about engaging a ceasefire and a negotiated solution."

"That hasn't changed in our view. If Mr. Obhrai has a different motion to put before the House of Commons than the one that we have right now, well then he'd better bring that because that's very different from the one that we signed onto March 21."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told CBC's Susan Lunn last week that he hopes for unanimous consent when he brings the mission extension to Parliament in the new session.