Announcement on Syria “comes quite late”: Official Opposition
New Democrats react to Conservative’s delayed decision to get Canadians out of Syria
“This announcement comes quite late,” said Laverdière. “Commercial flights are already reduced due to sanctions from the Arab League. There are only a handful of flights leaving Syria today. Given the amount of time it will take for Canadian officials in Damascus to provide travel documents, we worry about what will happen to people who don’t get the documents in time to catch a commercial flight?”
“This announcement leaves more questions than answers,” said Sims “What happens after January 14th? Will Canadians in Syria be on their own? Will the Embassy be shutting its doors in Damascus? Why the arbitrary deadline?”
Laverdière, a former Canadian diplomat, also expressed concern that the crisis in Syria is getting worse by the day. The United Nations is now reporting that over five thousand people have been killed.
“We are witnessing a mass atrocity, but the Canadian government’s reaction has lagged behind other Western countries,” she added. “Now is the time for Canada to be doing the hard diplomatic work that could prevent a worsening crisis. Canada has a role to play in helping Syrians avoid a civil war.”
Throughout the fall session, the NDP have been emphasizing the need to build strong democratic institutions in Arab Spring countries as well as diplomatic intervention in crises in the region.
“This morning we were pleased to hear Minister Baird finally recognize the role of democracy promotion,” said Laverdière, “but this needs to be done hand-in-hand with conflict prevention. We hope he will take this very seriously in the coming weeks.”