LIBERALS REJECT NDP PROPOSAL TO STUDY THE MIDDLE EAST AT FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

OTTAWA – Today, Liberal MPs on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development rejected a motion from the NDP to undertake a study on Canada’s role in the Middle East.

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Hélène Laverdière (Laurier – Sainte-Marie) proposed the study, which would have looked at how Canada can better contribute to peace, justice, respect for human rights and economic development in the region, particularly with regard to complex conflicts like those in Israel/Palestine, or the Saudi Arabian coalition’s war in Yemen, or Canada’s relationship with Iran.

“I am very disappointed in the decision by the Liberals on the Committee to reject this proposal – but I’m not surprised since we know they don’t want to talk about these issues,” said Laverdière. “This is consistent with the Liberal government’s refusal to answer the NDP’s questions about Israel/Palestine or Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its role in Yemen. The Liberals don’t want to have these conversations in public because they are afraid Canadians will question their government’s record on the Middle East.”

The Conservatives on the Committee also voted against Laverdière’s motion.

Laverdière’s motion read as follows:

That pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development undertake a study on how Canada can better contribute to peace, security, justice, respect for human rights and economic development in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on the conflicts in Israel/Palestine, Yemen, and Syria, as well as the spheres of influence of countries in the region, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia; that the committee hear from expert witnesses and travel to the region in order to identify areas where Canada can make more positive contributions; and that it report its findings back to the House.