CTV.ca News Staff
Date: Tue. Jun. 14 2011 10:59 AM ET
Ottawa announced it is officially recognizing the rebel National Transitional Council as the legitimate government of Libya as the House of Commons opened a debate ahead of a vote on a proposed extension of Canada`s role in the NATO mission.
The announcement came as Ottawa announced the commitment of $2 million in new humanitarian aid for Libya as the House of Commons opened a debate ahead of a vote on a proposed extension of Canada`s role in the NATO mission to Libya.
Earlier, Ottawa announced the commitment of $2 million in new humanitarian aid for Libya, some of which would go toward helping Libyans subjected to sexual violence as a tool of war.
The military mission began in February with the goal of enforcing a no-fly zone and protecting civilians from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi`s troops.
However the focus has now shifted to an effort to remove Gadhafi from power and install a rebel government.
The three-and-a-half-month extension would take the NATO mission to the end of September, at which point it will have likely cost Canadians $60 million, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said last week.
Tuesday`s debate will be led by Baird, MacKay and Lois Brown, parliamentary secretary to Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda.
Baird will kick off the discussion at about 10:15 a.m. ET.
Lewis MacKenzie, a former major-general with the Canadian Forces, said Canada`s goals in Libya have become murky. The objective has shifted from protecting civilians to an all-out war against Gadhafi and his supporters, MacKenzie said.
`This is what my soldiers used to affectionately call a dog`s breakfast and they better start debating it in Parliament and figure out at least what Canada wants to see as an end game,` he told CTV`s Canada AM.
MacKenzie said Canada should be urging the rebels to enter into negotiations with Gadhafi and his supporters, as a means of ending the conflict.
The Conservative motion suggests the Liberals and NDP may be willing to support the government in the proposal to continue in Libya, despite ongoing criticism that some European NATO countries are not contributing enough military support.
However New Democrat foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar suggested recently his party`s view of the mission may be changing.
He told reporters in Ottawa that the NDP now wants to see a more-humanitarian and diplomacy-focused mission.
With their new majority status, the Conservatives won`t require the support of any of the opposition parties to pass the motion.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who has been granted a spot in Tuesday`s debate, has signalled she will not be supporting the motion.
May -- the only Green MP in Commons -- said she was in favour of the original humanitarian mission, but does not support the shift towards a military mission to depose Gadhafi.
MacKay recently rejected suggestions that Canada has overstepped the bounds of UN Resolution 1973, which authorized the NATO mission.
He said the goals are to protect civilians, return Gadhafi forces from the battle field and to make it possible for humanitarian relief to enter the country.
In order for all those goals to be possible, he said, Gadhafi must be removed from power.
MPs are scheduled to vote on the motion at 6:45 p.m. ET, on Tuesday.