Question Period: Conflict in Sudan

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: My question is also for the Government Representative in the Senate.

I am deeply concerned about the emergency situation in Sudan as the conflict escalates and violence rises. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has stated that 700 out of the 1,800 Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have registered their presence in Sudan are seeking help to leave.

Only 150 Canadians have been evacuated. A young Canadian medical student named Saydah Mustafa has been sheltering in her home for a week with her sister, living off canned foods for the unforeseeable future. She is scared and uncertain of what will happen. She said that she has not been able to access advice for evacuation via Canadian officials.

Senator Gold, we are seeing countless stories of people trying to evacuate Sudan who do not feel supported by the Government of Canada. What is the update from the government on what progress has been made to bring Canadians home from Sudan?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question and for underlining the terribly difficult circumstances that all people, including Canadians, are experiencing in Sudan.

The government is looking at every possible option to support Canadians in Sudan. Last week, the Canadian Armed Forces Strategic Advisory Team, as well as liaison officers from the military, were deployed to Djibouti to support the evacuation of Canadian personnel from the Canadian embassy. As you know, services are being provided from outside the country as best as they can be. They are working in collaboration with their allies and partner nations.

Over this past weekend, additional personnel from the Armed Forces and Department of National Defence, including a military assistance team with additional liaison reconnaissance elements, were deployed to begin planning for non-combatant evacuation. We have approximately 200 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to the region to assist with this line of effort. The government will do everything it can to assist.

The circumstances are challenging on the ground, as you would expect, and the government is hopeful that its efforts will bear fruit so that all Canadians can be evacuated safely as soon as possible.

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