Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Humanitarian Aid to Palestine

[9 May, 2006]

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre- Boucher, BQ) [St- Hilaire.C@parl.gc.ca]: Mr. Speaker, in reply to my question yesterday, the Minister of International Cooperation said that Canadian humanitarian aid money would not be going to Hamas. What we are talking about is a YWCA day care centre 65% funded by CIDA and sponsored by a Quebec organization, Aide médicale pour la Palestine. These are donations intended for children, not Hamas.

How can the Minister say that the money is going to Hamas when in fact it is an Israeli bank that is refusing to transfer money intended for little children in a day care centre? It is hard to confuse that with Hamas.

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, CPC) [Verner.J@parl.gc.ca]: Mr. Speaker, Canada continues to respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians through multilateral organizations and other partners that are not associated with Hamas.

Future funding will depend on the commitment demonstrated by the Government of Palestine to non- violence, the recognition of Israel and the peace accords that have already been signed.

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre- Boucher, BQ): Mr. Speaker, I would remind the Minister that on March 29, she and her colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that “—Canada will continue to support and respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.”

In the Minister’s view, does aid intended to provide playground equipment for children in a daycare centre not come within the definition of humanitarian aid?

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canada has suspended four projects involving direct aid to the Palestinian Authority and is in the process of restructuring eight projects to ensure that they will not benefit the Palestinian Authority.