Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the situation in Libya

Ottawa, Ontario
18 March 2011

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks on the situation in Libya:

“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 Gaddafi 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 Gaddafi does not comply with this Security Council Resolution, Canadian Armed Forces working with other like-minded nations will enforce the resolution.

“We are encouraged by late-breaking news that, in response to the threat of military action, the Libyan regime has declared a ceasefire.

“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 we will seek 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.

“Thank you.”