Two press releases from Mr.
Canadian Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic
the Federal Government Abandon Canadian Bruce Balfour Again Tomorrow? asks Day
Many Concerned for Balfours Safety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 19, 2003
PentictonOfficial Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic, Stockwell Day, wants a commitment today from departing Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Foreign Affairs Minister, Bill Graham, that they will not continue to abandon Canadians imprisoned abroad, like Calgarian Bruce Balfour.
Balfour, the Canadian imprisoned by the Syrian-backed Lebanese regime for the apparent crime of visiting Israel, will be facing a military court Wednesday, August 20th. As a Canadian citizen, Mr. Balfour should expect his basic human rights to be protected by our government, Day explained. The governments shameful handling of the Kazemi and Sampson files is a painful indictment of how little respect we get from these despotic regimes. Day said it is no surprise that the regime in Lebanon does not take the Canadian government seriously.
Lebanons Ambassador in Ottawa continues to insult and attack Canadian values and our Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister just stick their heads in the holiday sand, Day said. Day was referring to Lebanese Ambassador Raymond Baaklinis recent interview, which many viewed as a threat to Canadians and to Lebanese Canadian NGOs.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: John Brent (250) 809-7369
Stockwell Day, MP/ Official Opposition Critic/Foreign Affairs
MANY INSULTS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE AN AMBASSADOR?
Day: Grahams Weak-Kneed responses hurt Canadas reputation and put our citizens at risk, says CA Foreign Affairs Critic
PENTICTON, BC The Syrian-backed Lebanese Ambassador to Canada has come under fire again, but not from the Canadian government. Raymond Baaklini should be facing the three strikes and youre out rule, said Canadian Alliance Foreign Affairs Critic Stockwell Day today.
Strike one was his anti-Jewish tirade last year when he claimed 90% of Canadian media was controlled by a Zionist party. This is totally unacceptable at a time when we all hope for peace for Israelis and Arab Palestinians.
Strike two was his support for the imprisonment of Canadian Bruce Balfour. Baaklini is unapologetic about Balfours human rights being abused by the Syrian backed regime in Beirut.
He might not get called out for it in a Liberal ballgame, but strike three is an accumulation of foul balls: there has been a steady stream of disparaging remarks against Israel by Baaklini, said Day. His approach and attitude is unhelpful at best, and dangerous at worst. His most recent behaviour, targeting his anger toward an opposition politician, is completely inappropriate of an Ambassador.
Ambassador Baaklini, who reportedly had difficulties in his previous postings, continues to breach protocol and is an insult to Canada, Day commented.
By not sending the Ambassador home to Lebanon, our government continues to portray us as weak and uncaring about insults at home or Canadians being at risk abroad. Canadian governments used to stand up to bullies. Why does Bill Graham take this lying down? Day asked.
For further information contact:
John Brent (250) 809-7369
Stockwell Day, MP
Official Opposition Critic/Foreign Affairs