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Dispatch: Canadian Support for the Libya Intervention

3 MINS READMar 28, 2011 | 18:43 GMT
Analyst Mark Schroeder examines the domestic and international political reasons behind Canada's support of operations in Libya.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard was recently selected by NATO to head up the allied military operations in Libya. The purpose of our Dispatch today is to examine Canada's interest in support of the allied military intervention in Libya. For the Canadian government, there was no hesitation when it authorized the Canadian forces to intervene in support of coalition military efforts in Libya. And on March 18 the Harper government authorized the Canadian military to participate and this includes the CF-18s, the CP-140s, HMCS Charlottetown and other ground forces. Now why is Canada supporting this U.N. Security Council no-fly zone over Libya? Canada doesn't have any significant material stake in Libya, has no particular energy interests there or any particular regard or lack of regard for the Gadhafi regime. But Canada's motivation to support this military intervention in Libya is to be seen in light of its relations with the United States and with Europe primarily. The Harper government in Canada wants to demonstrate that it is a staunch, reliable ally for its primary partners. The Harper government will certainly use its participation in the Libyan war for domestic purposes — there will be national elections coming in Canada on May 2 and the Harper government will likely be facing a coalition of opposition parties led by the Liberals. The Harper government will very likely show that it's a strong international stakeholder, demonstrated by its robust involvement in Libya. Because of this, the Harper government should be elected for an additional term. But even if the Harper government falls to the opposition Liberals, led by Michael Ignatieff, Canada's participation in Libya is not likely to be disrupted. Canada has a long history of being involved in United Nations-authorized security missions, peacekeeping missions and interventions elsewhere such as Afghanistan and Kosovo and the Persian Gulf in 1991. In fact, the interventions in Afghanistan and Kosovo were authorized by previous Liberal governments in Canada led by then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien and so even if the Harper government falls to the Ignatieff-led Liberals in Canada, don't expect to see a disruption to Canada's military commitment to the Libyan intervention.

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