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Peace Group asks Canadian opposition leader to review policy on Syria

Thomas Mulcair, MP
Leader of the Opposition

Dear Mr. Mulcair:

Thank you for opposing Harper’s extended and expanded war in Iraq and Syria, and for pointing out in parliament that conducting a military intervention in Syria, without the permission of the Syrian government and the UN Security Council, is a flagrant violation of international law. It’s reassuring to know that “an NDP-led government will end Canada's involvement in this war immediately.”

I am writing today to make three comments on your e-mail message to me, entitled “New Democrats on War in Iraq and Syria.”

First, I would like to draw to your attention that Tunisia is the latest of several countries to re-establish diplomatic ties with the government of Syria. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32172974) The Tunisian government went so far as to invite its Syrian counterpart to send an envoy to Tunis.

I feel that it is now incumbent upon you and the New Democratic Party to call upon the government of Canada to re-establish diplomatic relations with the Syrian government as well. This move would help pave the way for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. It would assist in ending over four years of terrible violence and the suffering of millions of Syrian refugees. It could contribute to the peace process under UN auspices at Geneva, as more and more countries realize that there is no military solution to the tragedy in Syria.

My second comment is that, to the best of my knowledge, neither you nor the NDP caucus have ever publicly declared that you are in favour of the UN-sponsored peace process for Syria. If I am wrong, please correct me. Canadians need to know that the opposition is indeed in favour of the peace process.

Instead, you and other members of the NDP caucus have raised unsubstantiated allegations about the conduct of the Syrian government, namely that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own citizens and that it cooperates with ISIS. Repeating these allegations, which are not supported by the facts or by various UN investigations, is counterproductive to the peace process, since it impedes opening a dialogue with the Syrian government, without whose participation no peace process is possible.

If you have concerns about the conduct of any of the warring parties in Syria, the appropriate place for these concerns to be raised is at the peace conferences at Geneva. Raising these allegations at other times only serves to reinforce the demonization of the Syrian government, which is part and parcel of the Harper government’s determination to have a military, rather than a humanitarian, mission in Iraq and Syria. We all know that this extended and expanded military mission in Syria could easily morph into a regime change operation.

My third comment is that your job as leader of the opposition requires that you hold the Canadian government to account. You might ask why the Harper government saw fit to help the USA organize the pre-conference in Tunisia (in December 2011) for the founding conference in Tunis in February, 2012, of the Friends of Syria Group of Countries (FSG), which group, in turn, organized a covert war for regime change in Syria – partly with Canadian tax dollars. You might demand an accounting for the several millions of our tax dollars that the Harper government donated directly to Syrian “rebels”, who are, in fact, the terrorist mercenaries who morphed into ISIS and invaded Iraq in 2014. You might question the wisdom of the Harper government’s hosting in Ottawa in June of 2013 – with our tax dollars - of a meeting of FSG countries for the purpose of co-ordinating economic sanctions against Syria - again without the approval of the UN Security Council.

Please focus your criticism on the Harper government of Canada and seek positively to influence public opinion for a resumption of diplomatic relations with the government of Syria and the continuation of the UN-sponsored peace process at Geneva.

I look forward to your reply on this very important matter,

Ken Stone
member, Hamilton Mountain Federal Riding Association
exec member, Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War