Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Palestinian Daycare

[8 May, 2006]

Humanitarian Aid to Palestine

[Translation]

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre- Boucher, BQ) [St- Hilaire.C@parl.gc.ca]: Mr. Speaker, children in a Palestinian day care centre supported by CIDA are being deprived of medical care because an Israeli bank is refusing to forward donations made to the Quebec organization Aide médicale à la Palestine and meant for those children. Yet the government gave assurances that humanitarian aid would not be affected by the end of Canada’s relations with the Palestinian authority.

What exactly does the Minister of International Cooperation plan to do to put an end to these arbitrary and discriminatory measures?

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, CPC) [Verner.J@parl.gc.ca]: Mr. Speaker, CIDA is continuing to fund aid for the Palestinian population, but it is reviewing the situation and has suspended funding that was intended for the Palestinian authority, for Hamas.

Ms. Caroline St-Hilaire (Longueuil—Pierre- Boucher, BQ): Mr. Speaker, as far as I can tell, children in a daycare centre are part of the population.

How can the minister reconcile this decision by the Israeli banks with her joint statement with the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Canada would continue to support the Palestinian people and meet their humanitarian needs?

Hon. Josée Verner (Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I want to repeat to my colleague that future funding depends on the Palestinian government’s commitment to non- violence, the recognition of Israel and the peace accords that have been signed.

That said, Canada is continuing to respond to the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs through multilateral organizations and other partners not associated with Hamas.