November 1st, 2012

Canada must show leadership in Syria’s humanitarian crisis

New Democrats introduced a motion today at the Foreign Affairs committee calling on the government to play a more active role in diplomatic efforts to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

“We can’t stand back while Syria’s humanitarian crisis continues to grow. Over 30,000 people have died so far and the number of refugees could rise to over 700,000 by the end of the year,” said NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar (Ottawa-Centre). “Canada must show leadership.”

Hearings last month at the Foreign Affairs committee revealed that the Conservatives have not made any new commitments to the peace-building efforts being led by UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

The Turkish chargé d'affaires testified that Canada has not provided any help for dealing with the growing refugee issues facing his country, despite Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s public commitment to do so.

“When Canadians see crises like these they want to help” said Foreign Affairs deputy critic Eve Péclet. “People want to see serious engagement and meaningful contributions from our government to address this crisis. It’s time for Canada to act.”

The NDP motion calls on the government to:

  • support the peace-building efforts in Syria by making new financial contributions to the work of UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Brahimi
  • provide emergency humanitarian assistance to address the growing refugee crisis in Syria
  • expedite the process of family reunification for Syrians who have family members in Canada