Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Humanitarian Aid for Palestine

[10 May 2006]

[Translation]

Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île, BQ) [Lalonde.F@parl.g c.ca]: Mr. Speaker, humanitarian aid is another way to restore democracy. In the case of Palestine, members of the Middle East quartet, including the UN and the United States, said that they are ready to undertake the establishment of a temporary international mechanism to send aid to the people of Palestine.

Does the government support this international strategy? Does it plan to adopt the same approach to send Canadian aid to Palestine?

[English]

Mr. Peter Van Loan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC) [Vanloan.P@parl. gc.ca]: Mr. Speaker, we have looked, with great interest, at the announcement by the Quartet on the question of humanitarian aid to Palestine and to the Palestinians and how that could be maintained. We will be examining whether that represents an option for us.

The fundamental position of the government on the question of Hamas and how these aid problems could best be resolved would be if the Palestinian authority would commit to renouncing violence, to recognizing Israel and to ensuring that agreements of the road map were actually followed to establish long term peace.

[Translation]

Ms. Francine Lalonde (La Pointe-de-l’Île, BQ): Mr. Speaker, during her recent meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on April 24, 2006, Ms. Achraoui, a prominent Palestinian and negotiator of the Oslo accords, suggested that Canada should take the initiative to restart the peace process in Palestine by sponsoring an international conference. Apparently the minister was open to the suggestion.

Does Canada intend to ensure and assume this leadership role?

[English]

Mr. Peter Van Loan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, this government did assume leadership when it led the world in a statement on Hamas after the elections in the Palestinian lands.

In terms of openness to the approach being followed, we are looking forward to the development of a mechanism by the European Union and we will see if that represents the potential avenue for dealing with the humanitarian issues there, with which we are very concerned.