Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Crisis in Middle East

[20 July, 2006]

TORONTO – The Honourable Joe Volpe, Member of Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence and Candidate for the Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, believes that his party’s response to the current crisis in the Middle East is insufficient and exposes a void which must be addressed by the next Leader of the Party.

“I share with all the sorrow and deep regret for the loss of life, injuries and hardships now being experienced by all people in the Middle East. I extend condolences to the families of the Lebanese-Canadians who have lost loved ones during these hostilities and I look forward to a speedy end to the conflict” said Mr. Volpe.

Mr. Volpe went on to state the following: Canada’s foreign policy is based upon our global objectives, be they humanitarian, political or commercial; our domestic considerations; bilateral and multi-lateral obligations and historical perspectives. Always, we are guided by “principles” and steadfast adherence to these principles are required in time of crisis!

Such a crisis is the latest explosion of violence in the Middle East. As observers and commentators scramble to allocate “blame”, I prefer to continue to be guided by the following firmly established principles:

1. Recognition of Israel’s right and obligation to defend its citizens and borders. Full Stop!!

2. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization whose goal is to destroy Israel and its people. I was part of the Liberal government that had the courage to make that public declaration. Hezbollah continues to prove us right with its methodical and strategic rocket attacks on Israeli citizens while hiding amongst a civilian population whose government does not have the power to stop it.

3. Canada has always promoted the rule of law and invests in the building of civil societies and democratic institutions. As a general rule, we abide by the commitment to make these institutions work. In the Middle East, we demand an explicitly recognized reciprocal obligation to renounce any affiliation with terrorism and acceptance of Israel’s right to exist. The newly elected Hamas has failed in its first test. As a result, we can owe it no moral or political allegiance.“

The Harper Government must ensure that all Canadians who wish to leave the region are evacuated safely and with speed” stated Mr. Volpe.

While the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Mr. Volpe established a protocol to fast track the immigration to Canada of family-class individuals whose immigration applications were being processed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This protocol was established in response to the devastation caused by the Tsunami in December, 2004. The protocol was also used after the earthquake in South East Asia in November, 2005.

“Family is important to everyone. For those Canadians whose loved ones are in harm’s way, it is extremely stressful. The protocol has been established. It works. The Harper Government needs to implement it now.” Mr. Volpe further stated.