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Canada to lead Libya mission. But who leads Canada?

Two big Canada stories in the international news today, which — sorry, Canadian friends — is two more than normal. First: Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, deputy commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, has been designated head of the alliance’s military campaign in Libya. Bouchard, a former ...

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Two big Canada stories in the international news today, which — sorry, Canadian friends — is two more than normal. First:

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Lt Gen Charles Bouchard, deputy commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, has been designated head of the alliance’s military campaign in Libya.

Bouchard, a former combat helicopter pilot, will work with his naval and air component commands to enforce both the no-fly zone and the civilian-protection mission in Libya.

Second:

Angry opposition parties brought down Canada’s Conservative government on Friday, setting the scene for an early May election that polls indicate the Conservatives will win.

Legislators voted 156-145 in the House of Commons to defeat the minority government.

In case you’re wondering, Canada’s military involvement in Libya — consisting, so far, of six fighter planes, a frigate, and 140 support personnel — had nothing to do with Harper’s latest troubles. The operation is relatively popular in Canada and the vote was prompted by allegations that the government concealed the cost of a spending program from parliament. 

Harper’s conservatives are actually likely to hold on to power in May, but even if they fall, it shouldn’t have much effect on the Libya mission. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is a staunch and longtime advocate for humanitarian intervention who supports the no-fly zone.  

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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