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Looking Forward: Foriegn Policy

New Canadian government must provide leadership in Middle East

Montreal — With the imminent change in government given yesterday’s election results, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) reminds leaders that Canadians are looking for leadership in the Middle East. Most pundits agree that the ousting of the Harper government in yesterday’s election is a clear sign that Harper’s one-sided approach to a number of issues – including its divisive approach to the Middle East – is no longer sanctioned.

While in power, the Harper government failed to establish a principles-based approach to the Middle East,” asserted CJPME’s president Thomas Woodley. CJPME argues that Canadian foreign policy must be rooted in international law, with a common standard applied to all violators. “The Harper government frequently based its foreign policy decisions on undefined ‘Canadian values,’ which often resulted in positions which had no legal defence,” continued Woodley. CJPME believes that the elections results repudiate this approach, and demands a new legally-defensible starting point.

Many observers would agree that the Middle East is in an unprecedented state of turmoil. Whether experiencing outright war, civil strife or widespread repression, most Middle Eastern peoples face a dark future.CJPME believes that a new generation of world leaders – including Canada’s new government-elect – must offer new approaches, based in principles that offer justice, dignity and opportunities for development to all peoples. These new approaches must address the wars, human rights abuses, and humanitarian crises that should henceforth be the exception, and not the rule, in the Middle East.

CJPME published an “Elections Guide” several days prior to Canadian elections, evaluating the parties’ positions on key Middle East issues. Most parties, including the Conservatives and Liberals, did not score well, usually because their positions had no basis in international law. “With a new government, Canadians eagerly anticipate that Canada will once again choose to be a credible and equitable influencer in the Middle East,” concluded Woodley.

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