Situation in the Central African Republic

Elizabeth May: Mr. Chair, this is obviously a very tragic situation, a humanitarian crisis, but as Médecins Sans Frontières said, this is the kind of situation where intervention can make a difference. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is saying that the international response is not commensurate with the threat.

I know that Canada has provided logistical support and financing to the African Union, but for UN peacekeeping, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we were asked several times to send two or three or four particularly high-level, strategic, well-skilled people at the level of general to assist the African Union, and we said no.

In the circumstances that are now accelerating, with the momentum in the wrong direction, toward a potential genocide, particularly of the Muslim population, but the Christian population is also very much at risk in this country, would Canada be prepared to assist, if asked, and actually send troops to assist a multilateral effort to keep the peace and save lives under the doctrine of responsibility to protect?

Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Chair, as I stated in my speech, the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have already said that this is a serious crisis. If and when the United Nations calls for any kind of assistance, Canada is prepared to see what it can provide as the best assistance.

Let me correct the hon. member. I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Canada did provide the logistics support to the United Nations that was required by the troops out there. We will do that if the United Nations requests it, when we will see what kind of assistance we can best provide. There is no point sending people. What are we good at? That is what we are good at. We have done it in the past. We are building the capacity of the African Union’s peacekeeping forces. We have contributed to setting up the peacekeeping forces so that the Africans can do what they have always demanded, which is to take control of their own continent and look after their own crises. We are there to help them, and that is what Canada will continue to do.