Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Ignatieff says Liberals ‘stand with Israel’
Kenyon Wallace, National Post · Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff reiterated his party’s support for Israel after being challenged by an audience member at a public forum at Toronto’s Beth Emeth Synagogue last night.
Mr. Ignatieff said comments made by a Toronto Liberal candidate in a blog post last week to the effect that Canada shouldn’t be afraid to criticize Israel, caught him "by surprise."
"It was not authorized by the Liberal party, not consistent with party policy and we told him, you’re not speaking for the Liberal party, you’re not expressing what we think about the state of Israel," Mr. Ignatieff said. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the democratic state of Israel. End of story."
The Liberal leader was in Toronto as part of his "Open Mike" forums that have taken place across the country for the past several months, in which he takes questions on any topic from the public. The event featured a number high-profile Liberals, with Mr. Ignatieff joined by MPs Joe Volpe, Judy Sgro, Ken Dryden, Rob Oliphant and former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler, in from Montreal to show his support.
In addition to queries about the Liberal party’s stand on Israel, questions ranged from Canada’s failure to be elected to the UN Security Council, aid to Africa, and how the country will afford the massive spending required to keep social programs alive when the Baby Boomers hit retirement.
On Canada’s rejection from the UN Security Council, Mr. Ignatieff said the news made for a "sad day for Canada" and he criticized the Conservative government for failing to do what he said was the necessary work to ensure victory.
"No Canadian takes pleasure when we lose a vote like that," he said. "You can’t win a Security Council vote unless you work for it, unless you work hard. The Conservatives came late to the game, didn’t take it serious. I don’t know how to put it politely. They blew it."
He added that Canada has now lost the chance to "get in the middle" of the UN and make it better.
"The strongest argument to getting on the security council is to make sure the UN does the job its is supposed to, instead of engaging in partial and unfair resolutions," Mr. Ignatieff said. "We’ve now lost that chance for some time."
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