Conflict in Mali

Elizabeth May: Mr. Chair, this has been a very important debate and will continue to be for some more hours.

I want to ask my hon. colleague this. There is something in the history of how these rebel forces in Mali got hold of so many weapons, and the trail seems to lead to Libya, where some of the people whom we supported in the effort to get rid of Colonel Gadhafi opened up warehouses and shipped large amounts of weapons to al-Qaeda forces. Some of the people we supported in Libya were in fact themselves previous al-Qaeda fighters.

How do we learn from this? How do we ensure that in future when we enact, under the responsibility to protect, the need to go in to protect the civilian population, we do not inadvertently side with people who are prepared to turn warehouses full of weapons into a flow of arms to terrorists who will of course allow conflict to spill into areas that had previously been peaceful?

Lois Brown: Mr. Chair, what we have heard from officials is the suspicion that many of the weapons left long before the conflict in Libya even started or was finished.

I would like to quote the Leader of the Opposition, though, who actually said on January 15 on CBC Power and Politics:

I don’t see the link necessarily between our intervention in Libya, which was a UN mandate directly to NATO based on the UN charter, protection of civilians who were being attacked by their own government. It’s too indirect.

What he is trying to allege as a link to Mali would judge Mali on its merits and look at information put on table if need be, so we are not sure there is a link there.