Situation in the Central African Republic

Elizabeth May: Mr. Chair, I want to pick up where my hon. friend from Mount Royal left off, and ask my good friend from Kitchener—Conestoga if there has been a change in government policy. Clearly the responsibility to protect doctrine was explicitly used by the current Conservative administration when the initial action in Libya was supported by Canada. Specifically, responsibility to protect was invoked by the Minister of Foreign Affairs right up to the moment when there seemed to be a mission shift to having to get rid of Gadhafi and no longer being motivated primarily by the need to protect civilian life in the region.

However, I have never heard this particular administration fail to state that responsibility to protect is, as my hon. friend from Mount Royal has said, an important international normative principle to which we all subscribe. Perhaps my hon. friend could just clarify that.

Harold Albrecht: Mr. Chair, I think we are getting off the central point of the debate tonight. We are here to debate a situation that is occurring in Central African Republic. We have people dying, we have children suffering. Our government has come alongside these groups to try to provide humanitarian assistance. We are going along with UN sanctions as those are put into place, if atrocities are found to have taken place. So it is important that we focus on Central African Republic and the needs of that country right now and what we can do in this particular situation to address those needs.