Thank you for your email on the situation in Syria.
New Democrats and I strongly condemn the continued use of force by the Syrian government against its own citizens, including children.
Independent international inquiries have documented endemic torture and indiscriminate attacks, as well as evidence of the use of chemical weapons.
There can be no excuse for the kind of atrocities that have taken place in Syria.
Perpetrators must bear responsibility and face accountability.
The international community must speak with one voice in clearly and categorically condemning the violence and working to bring about a complete secession of hostilities.
A political solution to the situation in Syria remains desirable.
The Canadian government should work with the international community, through multilateral channels, to achieve an effective ceasefire and negotiate a roadmap to reforms that respond to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people.
In the longer term, Canada can also play a leading role in providing advice and assistance in areas of civil society development and civilian protection.
Unfortunately, the government’s repeated failure to engage with the international community has weakened Canada’s credibility and effectiveness on both levels.
The NDP believes that any intervention in Syria must comply with international law.
Furthermore, if any intervention is to be considered by the Canadian government, it must come before Parliament for a debate and a vote.
From the beginning of the crisis, the NDP has pushed strongly for the Canadian government to take decisive action in response to the humanitarian need on the ground.
Last fall, the NDP successfully called for a Foreign Affairs committee study on Syria.
Following the powerful testimony at these hearings, the House voted unanimously to support an NDP motion to provide additional aid to refugees in camps and to expedite family reunification of refugees with relatives in Canada.
These are real, meaningful, NDP contributions – and they constitute real, meaningful commitments on the part of the government.
Yet the government has failed to keep its promises.
After delaying for months, the government finally said it would accept 1,300 refugees from Syria.
Yet in reality, only nine Syrian refugees have been admitted to Canada this year. Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees has quadrupled this year to a staggering two million people.
Half of these are children.
Canada can and must do more.
New Democrats stand in solidarity with the people of Syria, and with all those who aspire for peace, democratic governance, and the protection of human rights.
Murray Rankin, MP
New Democratic Party
We appreciate all the work you have done to date on the national revenue and pensions files, and now wonder how you will vote on Syria, should Parliament reconvene to vote on war.
I note that the present fascist Globalist ‘Conservative’ Party government of Canada has already spent more than $5,000,000 funding dubious opposition groups in Syria, effectively aiding Al Qaeda, and this is unacceptable to many Pro-life Pro-Peace Canadian citizens such as myself.
Hoping that you can clarify your personal position on these matters above, Mr. Rankin, I remain…
Gregory Paul Michael Hartnell
Concerned Victoria Citizen