Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Iran and Genocide

Hon. Irwin Cotler: Colter.I@parl.gc.ca  
 
Mr. Chair, I would make the recommendation as to registration.
 
We are witnessing–and have been witnessing for some time–a state sanctioned incitement to genocide whose epicentre is Ahmadinejad’s Iran. There have been repeated calls for the disappearance of Israel, dramatized by the parading in the streets of Tehran of a Shahab-3 missile with the words "wipe Israel off the map" and referring to Israel and Jews as "filthy bacteria", "defilers of Islam", and the like.
 
All of this is a clear violation of the prohibition in the genocide convention against the "direct and public" incitement to genocide. The genocide convention also contains a number of remedies, however, to prevent it. Canada is a state party to the genocide convention. We have not only a right to enforce it, but a responsibility to enforce it.
 
Will the government perhaps take the lead, or join with Australia, which has now indicated it is prepared to take initiatives as authorized by the genocide convention, to hold Ahmadinejad to account before United Nations agencies or other appropriate bodies?
 
Hon. David Emerson: Emerson.D@parl.gc.ca 
 
Mr. Chair, I think the hon. member knows that Canada has been a leader in the United Nations in pursuing a resolution condemning the human rights record in Iran.
 
As the member knows, I have been in this portfolio for a couple of days. If there is an initiative under way, it is something that we would certainly undertake to review. I think the hon. member’s sentiments are shared philosophically with this government. We certainly will be reviewing the situation.
 
Hon. Irwin Cotler: 
 
Mr. Chair, I commend the government on its resolution regarding human rights in Iran, but there was no reference in that resolution to the entire issue to which I made reference and which speaks to the invoking of the genocide convention. I would hope that the government would do this as it is the responsibility of Canada as a state party, and as other state parties under the convention are obliged to do.
 
This is my last question. When asked whether Canada supports the responsibility to protect doctrine, the former foreign affairs minister did not answer the question. So I put the question to the present foreign affairs minister: does the government support the responsibility to protect doctrine?
 
Hon. Bev Oda: Oda.B@parl.gc.ca  
 
Mr. Chair, as the member knows, this government has been urging along with the United Nations and all the international countries that are working together and are very seriously concerned about the situation in Burma. We know that progress has been made with the Secretary-General’s visit to Burma. We know that access has been opened up. More humanitarian workers are in the country and are being given access to the territory that is most devastated. Aid is going there. We will continue to work as part of the international effort in this situation.
 
Hon. Irwin Cotler: 
 
Mr. Chair, that long answer was a short "no" to my question.