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Updated: Mon, 12 May 2014 22:30:08 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls subject of special debate by MPs



People carry signs as they attend a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 9, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (© NIGERIA - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

People carry signs as they attend a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls in the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 9, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3OH7T Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

MPs will put partisan politics aside during a special after-hours debate on the plight of more than 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar lodged a formal request for an emergency debate last Thursday.

"Since we have come to know of the situation a couple of weeks ago, the world has been seized with the issue," he told House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer.

He also noted that the government has already indicated that "some initial steps … have been taken."

"If we can do this, we can have a debate that will please the Canadian population as to what they are looking for from their Parliament; that is, to be seized with this issue."

In response, Scheer noted that, as the father of two young girls, he understood that concern, but postponed the discussion until Monday to ensure that more MPs would have the chance to take part, as the House rose early last week because of the National Day of Honour.

The discussion will get underway after the House wraps up what could be a lengthy series of votes on the government's proposed election bill rewrite, and could continue until midnight, depending on the length of the speakers' list.

As it is a take-note debate, no vote will be taken.

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