Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Statement by Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.) on Syria

Mr. Speaker, I just met with Syrian Canadians who put a human face on the unspeakable horrors and atrocities in Syria, where some 70,000 have died, thousands more been detained and disappeared, 2.5 million internally displaced and suffering, and more than 700,000 refugees, with the international community as a bystander to this horrific tragedy.

Canada has an important role in helping to alleviate the human suffering. We must immediately expedite family reunification and sponsorship for Syrian Canadians; enhance our humanitarian aid and ensure that it reaches those who desperately need it; and join the international effort to bring Assad before the International Criminal Court.

Most importantly, Canada must reaffirm the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. In a word, everything that we were told would happen if we intervened—more killing, sectarian strife, jihadist involvement—has happened, not because we intervened but because we did not intervene.

While the world dithers and delays, Syrians continue to die. The time for action is now, and Canada must take the lead.