Stephen Harper's government is asking Parliament to approve extending the military mission in Libya for another three and a half months, bringing its total cost to $60-million, Defence Minister Peter MacKay says.
The debate on the extension, which will go till the end of September, is to take place next Tuesday followed by a vote on Wednesday in the House of Commons. It is expected to pass easily given the Conservatives now hold a majority.
Mr. MacKay outlined this scenario during his meetings this week at NATO in Brussels.
"The cost of this leadership, the cost of this mission to protect civilians is estimated at $26-million until June 2," Mr. MacKay said in Brussels. "We need to continue this momentum."
Mr. MacKay noted that there are 650 Canadian Forces personnel involved in the mission and that along with the NATO allies, Canada has "steadily and systematically reduced the ability of the Gadhafi regime to threaten its own population with violence."
He also sketched out how much Canadian fighter jets and patrol aircraft have flown in the mission, including 1,750 hours and 360 sorties for the fighter aircraft and over 530 hours and 65 sorties for the maritime patrol aircraft. In addition, HMCS Charlottetown is patrolling the Central Mediterranean with a Sea King aboard.
"Simply put, Canada's leadership in this mission has protected civilians and saved thousands of civilian lives," the Defence Minister said.