The people of Libya are finally free of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Good riddance. Gadhafi is a corrupt and murderous man who has no respect for his people or the principles of liberty, democracy or justice. The Libyan people first and foremost deserve the credit for toppling the Gadhafi regime. Without their courage and determination, even in the face of brutal violence, Gadhafi would still be in power.
Many NATO nations played a part in assisting the Libyan rebels in their fight for freedom, and Canada played an enormous role. A Canadian general led the NATO mission, ships from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) patrolled the seas while Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18s provided protection to innocent civilians from the air.
This is an accomplishment all Canadians can be proud of. Our men and women in uniform acted with bravery and efficiency and helped free millions of people from an oppressive regime.
The RCN, RCAF and the Canadian Army are institutions that represent the greatest values of Canada. Our independent spirit, our willingness to fight for what is right, and our compassion for those in tough situations was displayed prominently through our actions in Libya.
There are always cynics who criticize any military action and who believe that force is always wrong. The emptiness of their rhetoric has been revealed by the undeniable assistance Canada and NATO provided to the Libyan people. There are times when those who use violence must be confronted. When that confrontation is based on the right motivations and the right values, the end result can be positive, as it was in Libya.
Canada has a long history of fighting to defeat tyrants. Most prominently, during the Second World War, Canada entered the war before the United States and fought some of the toughest battles on D-Day. After the war, Canada had the third largest Allied navy and standing army on Earth. Though for many years military funding in Canada was low, it is clear that our country never lost our courageous warrior spirit.
As millions of people awaken to seize the freedom that is rightfully theirs, they can look to Canada as an inspiration. By our actions, and by our ideals, we have demonstrated that freedom and justice will always have a place in our world. As the world is inspired by Canada, all Canadians can be proud of our Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Army. Their actions reflect well on us all.
Spencer Fernando is the Comment Editor for the Manitoban.