22 August 2011
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks:
"I will address the tragedy at Resolute Bay and the developing situation in Libya.
"But first, let me turn to the sad news that I received only a few hours ago regarding the passing of my colleague and friend, Jack Layton.
"Jack Layton will be remembered for the force of his personality and his dedication to public life.
"We have lost an engaging personality, and a man of strong principle.
"Laureen and I join with people across the country in extending our deepest sympathies to Olivia and their family and to all of Jack’s friends and colleagues.
"As you know, Jack was a musician – he was quite a natural one at that.
"And we always talked about getting together to jam. But it seemed we were both always too busy.
"I will always regret the jam session that never was.
"That is a reminder that we must always make time for friends, family and loved ones, while we still can.
"I would also like to express my deepest personal condolences to everyone who lost family or friends at Resolute Bay on Saturday.
"The thoughts and prayers of all Canadians are with you as you grieve.
"I would especially like to thank the local authorities, the citizens of Resolute Bay, the personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces and the first responders who acted so quickly to help save lives.
"We are all grateful for their courage, dedication and professionalism.
"Finally, let me address the situation in Libya.
"In March, Canada made the decision to participate in the UN-mandated, NATO-led mission, to protect civilians in Libya from Gaddafi's murderous regime.
"Members of the Canadian Armed Forces quickly departed to assist with the mission.
"Today, Canada welcomes the news that the Gaddafi regime is at the beginning of its end.
"We are hopeful for a smooth transfer of authority to the National Transitional Council of Libya.
"Libyans have waited a long time to be free of the barbarity, repression and violence of the Gaddafi regime.
"And the Libyan people must now chart their own democratic course.
"Of course, real challenges and real risks remain, but today Libyans have great reason to be hopeful and optimistic.
"And we congratulate them.
"For now, our military forces will remain in place and we will consult our allies on the next steps.
"But I would like to thank the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces for their impressive contribution to this allied effort.
"Canadians have every reason to be proud of their participation.
"In particular, it is my honour to congratulate Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander of the NATO military mission, for his leadership and his dedication.