OTTAWA - Canadian fighter jets will continue bombing troops and thugs loyal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and the bloody strongman himself after the House of Commons approved a 90-day, $34 million extension of the NATO mission Tuesday to protect civilians from slaughter, rape and torture.
NDP MPs put aside their strongest reservations and joined Conservatives and Liberals in a 294-1 vote to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo against the repressive regime that began in March, but has moved beyond its scope with regular bombings of Tripoli where Gadhafi is believed to be hiding.
"He needs to be stopped," Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said.
"He is a clear and present threat to his people."
The Conservatives offered an olive branch to the NDP to win its support but balked at going beyond new initiatives announced Tuesday to increase humanitarian aid and "redoubling" diplomatic efforts to oust Gadhafi who has taunted NATO to find him while ordering attacks on Libyans.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was the lone dissenter.
The government says it will engage the National Transitional Council of Libya a rebel group already recognized by France, Germany and other countries and treat them as a legitimate representative of the Libyan people this, despite concerns not much is known about the group.
Canada will contribute an additional $2 million in humanitarian aid to bring the total amount of assistance to the African country to $10.6 million. Some of the new funds will be used for victims of rape as a weapon of war.
Reports suggest Viagra-fuelled Gadhafi goons are raping women and girls.
The government will also increase diplomatic efforts, and work with international allies to bring war criminals to court for crimes against humanity.
"Canada is certainly punching above its weight," Baird said.
NDP Leader Jack Layton says his party won't support another extension in the fall if one is needed.
"If we end up finding ourselves down the road with further requests for extensions, those are not extensions we'll support because quite clearly, we would have moved into some very new phase in this conflict," he said without elaborating.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the UN-sanctioned mission is succeeding, noting lives have been saved, military infrastructure destroyed, and senior political and military officials have defected.
"It has considerably reduced the ability of Gadhafi regime forces to plan and conduct attacks," he said.
In a later interview with QMI Agency, the minister said it would be "irreconcilable for him (Gadhafi) to remain" for NATO forces to protect civilians and provide humanitarian relief.
"Everyone feels those objectives can only be achieved by his departure."
Canada has seven CF-18 fighter jets, a CC-150 Polaris air refueling plane, a pair of CC-130 Hercules tankers, two Aurora patrol planes, HMCS Charlottetown and a Sea King chopper and 650 military personnel in the region.
The price for the mission is pegged at $60 million, including $26 million already spent.
- with files from Bryn Weese
John Baird is one of the few people in the Harper government who have brains.
John Baird should have a chat to the conservatives about their latest boo boo,
their failure to introduce legal reforms to ensure a "Legal Presumption of Equal
Parenting" after separation.
Presently, the conservatives have got it all wrong, they talk about "joint custody" when "custody" is not the problem, the answer or the solution, "custody" is irrelevant.
What is relevant is that most children in Canada now grow up with out a father and the ONLY SOLUTION is to
A. have a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting, (custody is a different issue, one parent may need to be the parent making certain decisions or all the decisions, either with or with consultation with the other parent.
B. Reform of the child support guidelines that fail to consider parenting costs and the incomes of both parties. Its now common for poor fathers to pay support to rich mothers which is non other than spousal support by poor fathers to rich mothers. A crazy feminist bit of legislation.
C. A real police / authority to hold the judiciary accountable. At present, our judiciary is riddled with a corrupt man hating underbelly who make decisions and award billions of dollars to their friends law firms.