Canada's help in Mali mission 'appreciated': Fantino



OTTAWA - Canada is pulling its weight in the French-led mission in Mali and our help is "well appreciated," says International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino.

But the Conservative government will tread carefully before it makes any more decisions on further assistance.

"Obviously this is an ever evolving situation. We want to be sure the decision taken is absolutely the right one. We're going to be very cautious, very diligent," Fantino told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.

Canada is sending a C-17 transport plane to airlift troops and equipment to Mali, where French and African troops are battling Islamic militants in the north, until Feb. 15. On Tuesday, Fantino pledged an additional $13 million in humanitarian aid for the west African country.

Defence officials say the Canadian military has flown at least 12 cargo loads from France to Mali aboard the C-17 since mid- January.

The government has sent $76 million in aid to Mali since March 2012.

While the door is still open on further involvement, Fantino wouldn't say whether Canada had received specific requests for more assistance.

He also wouldn't discuss reports Canadian special forces were on the ground in Mali protecting Canadian staff and assets.

"We are always conscientious about protecting our Canadian people," he said. "We really can't get into the specifics. There's a lot of sensitivity as to this type of information," he said.

Ottawa has repeatedly said Canadian troops would not play a combat role in the mission.

The European Union will be hosting an international meeting on Mali Feb. 5.

Sun News Videos

Mink farming

Nova Scotia produces half of Canada's mink fur.

Feminist 'consent underwear' spark debate

Do consent underwear just change the conversation from 'rape culture' to 'slut culture'?

Afghanistan's upcoming election

With an election rapidly approaching, change is on its way to Afghanistan. Good or bad, the world is watching.

Ezra Levant’s The Source is the most provocative and thought-changing multimedia show in Canada.

This show is 100% focused on the political battles taking place across Canada, in the United States...even around the world.

Michael Coren brings you strong, balanced opinions to challenge conventional thinking.

Byline brings you the stories you won’t hear anywhere else while exploring points of view that are all too often ignored.