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August 3rd, 2014

Statement by the Leader of the Official Opposition, Tom Mulcair, on the situation in the Middle East

The leader of the Official Opposition, Tom Mulcair, made the following statement on the situation in the Middle East:

"With the tragic conflict and humanitarian suffering unfolding in the Middle East, many people are asking what can they do to help.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish is one such person. This conflict has touched him in a most profoundly personal way -- he lost three daughters in 2009, when his apartment in Gaza was shelled by an Israel Defence Force tank. But unlike so many others, Dr. Abuelaish rejected the politics of hatred and revenge and instead committed himself to reconciliation and love.

Now working at the University of Toronto, Dr. Abuelaish is appealing to Canadians to invite injured children from Gaza to be treated here in Canada. He writes: "Let’s take these young Gazans, innocent as my own children, out of harm’s way."

I spoke with Dr. Abuelaish this weekend to thank him for his efforts and offer the support of the NDP Official Opposition for his proposal.

I call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to join us and pledge his personal support, and that of the Canadian government, to offer our aid to the injured children of Gaza and help facilitate the transfer of injured children to Canadian hospitals.

Working with the provinces and health professionals, we have a chance to demonstrate the best of Canadian values including peace, love and care for others.

Like Dr. Abuelaish, I believe that in helping the children of Gaza, we're also helping our own children. Through our example we are showing them what we can do for the world as Canadians.

Dr. Abouelaish's unifying message of reconciliation is an example to us all. He believes that to achieve peace, we must refuse to hate. New Democrats will continue to work in that spirit towards a just, secure and lasting peace in the Middle East.

We also reiterate our call for the Canadian government to contribute to UNRWA and better help the world provide humanitarian assistance to the innocent victims of this conflict."