Ignatieff Reveals New Liberal Foreign Policy

Published: June 16th 2010
in News » Local

Michael Ignatieff

Ignatieff’s new Liberal policy has been laid out in a 24-page document entitled “Canada in the World: a Global Networks Strategy.”


On the Middle East, Ignatieff has restated the party’s longstanding support for a “two-state” solution, underscoring its support for “a safe, secure and democratic Israel” alongside “a viable, safe, secure and democratic Palestinian state.”


Canada “is a friend of Israel, an important, democratic ally, with a right to defend itself,” Ignatieff said.


However, it notes that “Before the current government came to office, Canada was known as a voice of reason in the Middle East, respected by both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The objective of serious diplomacy is to be capable of playing a constructive role, and exerting influence to advance Canada’s interests and those of our allies. The Harper government has squandered Canada’s influence in the region, because of its simplistic approach. It has also polarized debate in Canada for partisan reasons. The Harper approach has sacrificed any possible. Canadian contribution to actual results on the ground. That is a loss that must be reversed.”


Ignatieff said that the long-term objective of Canada’s role in the Middle East must be to push for peace. The short-term objectives need to include a decrease in hostilities, economic growth for those who are the poorest, and a “de-escalation of inflammatory rhetoric.”


The document adds, “Liberals believe in the two-state solution and that true stability in the region can only happen when a safe, secure and democratic Israel exists in peace beside a viable, safe, secure and democratic Palestinian state. Canada is a friend of Israel, an important, democratic ally, with a right to defend itself. The targeting of civilians is never acceptable and should always be condemned by Canada. However, Israeli construction of settlements in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the Palestinian West Bank continues to be unhelpful and an obstacle to peace.”


The policy calls such matters “fundamental questions” that Canada’s political leaders must answer in the same manner whether they are in a Montreal synagogue or a mosque in Calgary.


Otherwise, they are “just playing politics.”


“Politicians also have a duty to discourage the importing tensions and hostility into Canada. On the contrary, we should try to bring the Canadian experience of tolerance, diversity and principled compromise to bear on the search for solutions overseas.”


Furthermore, Canada needs to add a measure of realism to its attempts to impact long-standing and deep-rooted conflicts. The government needs to have the “courage and initiative” to take action when appropriate, specifically with dealing with problems for which practical solutions that improve the situation on the ground.


“For example, Canadians today are contributing to capacity building in the Palestinian West Bank by helping set up communications systems for security services, and a logistics centre. This is the type of practical work with tangible benefits that Canada should be leading on a more ambitious scale in more places.”


The policy also states that Canada should “continue pressing for more building materials to be allowed into Gaza. This is essential to enable its people to improve living conditions. It can be done – as it must – without compromising legitimate security concerns of Israel.”

Related articles: (Ignatieff, foreign policy, canada, liberal, Steven Harper)
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