Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Conference on aid for Palestinians

[November 21, 2006]

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, BQ):
[ St- Hilaire.C@parl.gc.ca]

“Mr. Speaker, the Palestinian population is already in a hopeless situation that became even worse with the election of Hamas, since humanitarian aid is no longer arriving at its intended destination.

“Could the Prime Minister not promote an international conference that would begin implementing a structure to allow humanitarian aid to get to the Palestinian people?”

[English]

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC): [ MacKay.P@parl.gc.ca]

“Mr. Speaker, obviously, we remain concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people, as we do of any outbreak of violence in the region. Canada is working with its international partners, all bodies, all forums, including the United Nations, to look for creative solutions to this troubling and ongoing problem that has been in the Middle East and plagued the people of that region for so many years.”

[Translation]

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, BQ):

“Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Middle East Refugee Working Group, Canada is in a privileged position to propose solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Palestinian territory.

“If the European Union was able to set up a temporary process to get humanitarian aid to Palestine without going through Hamas, what is stopping Canada from using its privileged position to do the same?”

Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, CPC):

“Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the government is still looking for a way to get aid directly to the Palestinian people. I am still working with the other foreign affairs ministers in order to find a way to help the people in that region. I appreciate the cooperation of the hon. members and all their suggestions in order to help this cause.”