Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
No Negotiations with Hezbollah: Kennedy Statement by Federal Liberal Leadership Candidate Gerard Kennedy

Earlier today, a Member of Parliament was quoted by the media making a number of statements with regard to the crisis in the Middle East. I have not been able to confirm those reports as I have been unable to reach Mr. Wrzesnewskyj.

Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and should not be negotiated with – unless and until they repudiate violence and recognize the State of Israel. We will continue to support the State of Israel’s right to defend itself within the boundaries of domestic and international law – like all democratic countries. We will however, proudly restore Canada’s tradition of always first seeking to find the peaceful resolution to conflict.

August 3, 2006

Harpers overruling of the vote "unilateral and un-democratic"

TORONTO – Gerard Kennedy, candidate for Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, today called on the Harper government to end its paralysis and adopt a Canadian strategy to the conflict in the Middle East – including a call for an immediate ceasefire.

Following the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development 7-4 vote in favour of an immediate ceasefire, the Harper government announced it was adopting United States President George Bush’s position continuing to oppose any call for an immediate ceasefire.

Kennedy, who supported a ceasefire in a statement 17 days ago, said Harper’s overruling of the vote should provoke Canadians to ask why, if Harper genuinely wants a end to hostilities and civilian casualties, he won’t choose an immediate ceasefire over further escalation, and as a necessary prelude to any "sustainable ceasefire" or lasting peace.

"Canadians want to know how many civilians have to die before our Prime Minister is prepared to get his priorities straight." said Kennedy. "Canada has the international relations, as a negotiator and peacekeeper, to help bring a ceasefire about but Mr. Harper seems to lack the will."

"Mr. Harper has single-mindedly denied our proven and respected capacity in this regard and along the way is reducing us to being seen as Mr. Bush’s political pawn."

"Harper is dictating our role in this conflict without regard for Canadian principles – just as he did in the shot-gun vote to keep the troops in Afghanistan for another two years," said Kennedy.

Statement Re: Conflict in the Middle East
Gerard Kennedy, candidate for Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada today made the following statement in response to recent events in the Middle East:

I extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the Canadian victims of the bombings in Lebanon.

All of the civilian casualties in the latest escalation of conflict are tragic and highly regrettable and should give rise to a ceasefire by all parties.

The safety of remaining Canadian citizens in the region should receive the Canadian government’s highest priority.

I agree with the G8 call for "utmost restraint" on the part of Israel as it exercises its right of self-defense and I deplore the fact that extremists from Hezbollah and Hamas have once again hijacked the agenda in the Middle East.

The situation calls for urgent diplomatic initiatives to help change the predictable dynamics for further escalation now in place. As such, I welcome the G8 communique and I urge the Prime Minister to maintain the balanced viewpoint reflected in it, and exercise a constructive voice for Canada in this regard.

In particular, I call upon Prime Minister Harper to use Canadian diplomatic resources to dialogue with all legitimate parties in the region to establish conditions to defuse the current situation.

Canada can and should play a leadership role in working with the international community to find a peaceful resolution. I encourage the Harper government to do everything possible to act quickly and with purpose in this regard.