Presentation of Parliamentarian of Merit Award 2004
Member of Parliament, Okanagan-Coquihalla and
Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic
Conservative Party of Canada
1 June 2004 - Sephardic Kehila Centre
Thornhill, Onatario, Canada
Presented for the first time to a Member of Parliament who has steadfastly defended Canada's democratic allies, especially those struggling to maintain their just and open societies in the face of genocidal terrorism, including Israel, India, the United States, Spain, Australia, Turkey and many others.
Award speech by
Canadian Coalition for Democracies
It is such an honour to recognize the contribution of Stockwell Day, a man who has consistently spoken up for those of us who believe that Canada should have a pro-democracy, ethics-based foreign policy.
Stockwell Day’s support for our allies, including the United States, Israel, India, and other besieged democracies has been unflinching. It is only natural that the Canadian Coalition for Democracies recognizes Stockwell’s immense contribution to meeting our shared goal of returning Canada to an ethical foreign policy, and away from our recent history of shameless appeasement.
Just one of Stockwell Day’s accomplishments – his relentless pressure on our federal government to outlaw fundraising for Hamas and Hezbollah – would warrant this honour and many more. Can you imagine Canada, as it was last year, standing by as Canadians bankrolled Hezbollah’s killing and maiming of innocents around the world? Thank you for that one, Mr. Day.
It is important to provide some context for the battle that Stockwell Day and his colleagues have been fighting on our behalf. Please give me a few minutes to review highlights of Canada’s recent foreign policy.
How many of us have grimaced in disbelief at some of the foreign policy utterances and actions of our Canadian government?
· How could any of us explain Carolyn Parrish, a Liberal Member of Parliament, declaring "Damn Americans … I hate those bastards" and warning that we must not “overlook the influence of the Jewish lobby”. About Palestinian terrorism, she said “It is a question of an occupied people who must resist by any means possible”. The implications of that endorsement are too horrible to contemplate.
· Or our former prime minister on the anniversary of 9/11 lecturing Americans that it was their wealth and arrogance that were partly to blame for 3,000 innocent people being brutally murdered. Who exactly was our prime minister pandering to that day?
· Or Canada’s voting record at the United Nations, where of 113 resolutions condemning Israel, Canada’s vote was 78 yes, 35 abstain. In that period, not once did Canada vote in support of the only democracy in the Middle East. Not once did Canada’s foreign policy see any reason to table a resolution that criticized the actions of Israel’s brutal and undemocratic neighbours.
· And it was Canadian foreign policy that ordered our ambassador to Israel, Donald Sinclair, not to visit the grieving family of a Canadian murdered by Palestinian terrorists because that family lived in an area that both Canada and the terrorists believed should be Judenrein – Jew-free.
· How many of us were stunned as Bill Graham, our minister of foreign affairs, defended Hezbollah as being “innocent… people seeking to do charitable and other good works”.
· And as recently as a few weeks ago, after Palestinian terrorists celebrated the murder of a pregnant mother and her four children at point-blank range, Canada – just days later -- voted to support yet another condemnation of Israel at the UN. Canada did not even exercise its normal moral evasion by abstaining. It chose instead to show our solidarity with the enemies of Israel and democracy.
· What kind of foreign policy was Jean Chrétien following when he personally intervened with the president of Pakistan to have a known al-Qaeda terrorist, Ahmed Khadr, released to continue his mayhem?
· It is worth noting that this same prime minister failed to extend similar efforts on behalf of Bill Sampson, a Canadian imprisoned in Saudi Arabia on bogus charges.
· Did our government see the pleading on behalf of Ahmed Khadr as a mistake never to be repeated? Apparently not, as we rushed the rest of the Khadr family -- self-confessed al-Qaeda members -- back to this country even after they had repeatedly “lost” passports in Pakistan.
· Last month in the Globe and Mail, Bill Graham opined how “Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to prospects for further co-operation between Western and Muslim countries”, reinforcing the toxic notion that somehow Israeli intransigence is the key to Islamist rage, the real reason for the slaughter of kids at a night club in Bali or Turkish civilians in Istanbul. Canada was singing from the al-Qaeda song sheet that day.
These are not mistakes. This has been and remains Canada’s official foreign policy.
I could go on, but a little restraint is called for because we are honouring Stockwell Day tonight for the moral compass that he has consistently applied as a critic of Canadian foreign policy. Now let’s imagine a foreign policy guided by a man who has clearly stated his position many times. Here is what Stockwell Day has said, regardless of the audience he is addressing:
· The Canadian government should cut all financial support to the Palestinian Authority until Yasser Arafat shows that he is serious about fighting terrorism
· Why is Canada funding, through the Canadian International Development Agency, textbooks that "tell Palestinian children to hate Jews”?
· While they operated in Canada with impunity, Stockwell Day demanded that Canada ban Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad from this country and shut down their "fund-raising fronts." He succeeded!
· Stockwell Day has never stooped to the petty anti-Americanism of many Canadian politicians, stating clearly that "Canada must stand with the U.S. and Israel … We cannot be bystanders groping for a middle ground that does not exist".
· While Canada failed to oppose dozens of anti-Israel resolutions tabled at the UN, no matter how absurd, Stockwell consistently argued that Canada has an "unbalanced" policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and should either vote against or boycott anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations
Imagine how different Canada’s foreign policy would have been if Stockwell Day had been our minister of foreign affairs, and imagine a future in which principle, not pandering, guides our foreign policy.
Stockwell Day is a man of principle, and one that the Canadian Coalition for Democracies is proud to recognize with the first Parliamentarian of Merit Award for 2004.
Mr. Day, thank you for everything you have done for Canada and for our democratic allies.
I would now like to turn the podium over to Joan O’Callaghan, a founding member of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, who will formally present the award. Thank you.
Hot off the press:
And just when you think it can’t get any worse, yesterday our immigration department blocked the entry to Canada of Walid Shoebat, a courageous critic of Palestinian terrorism who was to speak at a conference in Vancouver. A Palestinian himself, Mr Shoebat has risked his life to bring balance to the Middle East dialogue and has said “The only illegal occupation in the Middle East is the illegal occupation of Palestinian minds by hatred”. Walid Shoebat is not welcome in Canada, but the terrorist Khadr family receives VIP service back to this country. Any hope that Canada’s foreign policy would improve under Paul Martin is gone.