Wednesday August 2, 2006
TOFINO, BC and HALIFAX – NDP Leader Jack Layton and NDP Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic Alexa McDonough (Halifax) today called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reconvene Parliament if his government refuses to call for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.
Yesterday the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development passed a motion that called on the government to, "urge an immediate ceasefire by all parties across the Lebanese-Israeli border as expressed by the blue line."
"Canada must join the rest of the global community in demanding an immediate ceasefire," said Layton. "The killing must stop.
"This country has long-standing commitments to an even-handed approach to international law, to humanitarian law and to negotiated solutions. This government’s actions have cut us loose from our Canadian moorings to say ‘ready aye, ready’ to the Bush administration regardless of how the majority of Canadians wish to see their government act. "
"History has shown us that there is no military solution in the Middle East," said McDonough, "and that means we must support an immediate ceasefire so that conditions can be created to produce a negotiated lasting peace in the region.
"Instead, yesterday we heard Minister MacKay dance around the issue rather than show true leadership in this crucial moment. We saw Lebanese Canadians who came to the committee to demand answers from this government as to why it remains mute in the face of on-going bombardment of their families, turned away and unable to testify."
"After the deaths of Canadians, including a UN peacekeeper, the tragedy at Qana, and with civilian casualties continuing to rise on both sides, if this Prime Minister continues to ignore the will of the committee and deny the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, Parliament should be recalled," said Layton.