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Bob Rae Questions John Baird's 'Courage' During Mali Debate (VIDEO)

WATCH: Rae Questions Baird's 'Courage' During Debate

Bob Rae questioned John Baird's courage Tuesday night during a debate in the House of Commons on Canada's role in the conflict in Mali.

And say what you will about the interim Liberal leader, but he certainly has a way with words.

After a lengthy speech, which he delivered without notes, Rae dove into the debate with his fellow MPs, expanding upon his main argument that Canada can, and should, be doing more to support the French and UN in the war-torn east African nation. You can read the full text of what Rae said here.

During his comments, Rae took a literary swipe at Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

"I would imagine the Minister of Foreign Affairs has put out more press releases in the last two years than any minister of foreign affairs in the history of western civilization," Rae said. "John Kennedy once wrote a book called Profiles in Courage. The minister shows a whole lot more profile than he does courage, when it comes to saying where we are actually going to get the things done that we need to do."

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Such debates are non-binding and are used to let MPs from all parties discuss government policy.

The Conservative government has consulted with all the opposition parties on Canada's contribution of a C-17 military transport plane in support of France's military mission in Mali. Canadian special forces are also in Mali to protect the aircraft and its crew.

All the parties in the Commons support the mission, but, as Rae's comments illustrate, they disagree on some of the details.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair were absent from the late-night debate, as were all cabinet ministers.

The government has pledged that Canadian forces will not take part in any combat operations within the country.

The French military launched an intervention in Mali on Jan. 11 to oust Islamists from power in the north of the country and to stop their march south.

Since then, the French have been successful in pushing back the rebels and the United Nations is now considering a peacekeeping force to keep the peace in the north.

Canada has agreed to keep the transport plane in action until the middle of February and has pledged $13 million in new humanitarian aid to help with food and health care for war victims.

With files from The Canadian Press

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