Open Letter from The
Christian Coalition (International) Canada
To the Honourable Paul Martin P. M, of Canada
addressing Free Elections in Lebanon & UN Resolution 1559
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister Martin,
We at the Christian Coalition (International) Canada have been following with keen interest the events in Lebanon over the last few weeks.
We were very distressed at the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the many others that were victims of the recent bombing in that Country. Our prayers go out to the families of all of those who were slain.
As a result of a widespread perception that Syria somehow may have been responsible for the bombing and the consequent protests by the Lebanese people, Prime Minister Karami and his government have now resigned.
Whether Syria was in any way responsible is impossible to say at this time, however, the resulting fallout has provided the Lebanese people with an opportunity for new elections, free from foreign interference and fair in representing the will of the people. Such elections would help restore sovereignty to Lebanon and foster democracy in the entire area.
It is the hope and desire of the Christian Coalition (International) Canada that Lebanon finds its way to those elections and to true and lasting democratic rule.
In this volatile and very serious context, the government of Canada is failing to live up to our expectations. We are in agreement with many in the Lebanese community in Canada that you, as Prime Minister, were wrong to characterise the Syrian presence in Lebanon primarily as a peace keeping operation. You and other members of the Liberal government urgently need to develop a deeper understanding of the issues that face Lebanese Canadians, whose families in Lebanon suffer because of Syrian occupation and the activities of groups like Hezbollah.
The events of the last few days provide Canada with the opportunity to add its voice to calls for Syria to comply with U.N. resolution 1559, which requires it to pull its 15,000 troops out of Lebanon and stop interfering in Lebanese affairs. We hope that you, as Prime Minister, will lead the way in that effort. Although President Assad has indicated that Syria will pull its troops out of Lebanon, he has added the qualification of "within the next several months." That should not be good enough for Canada and you, as Prime Minister, should request an immediate withdrawal.
Finally, it has been clear for some time that terrorists, such as bin Laden, have sought to eliminate Lebanese Christians, all the way from Beirut to Riyadh. The Christian Coalition (International) Canada is constantly concerned for the safety and welfare of Christians everywhere and believes that free and fair elections in Lebanon will foster a safer environment for Christians in that Country and in the region.
Many of the Christians in Lebanon are Maronites, or Eastern-rite Roman Catholics. As a practicing Catholic, Mr. Martin, we would hope that fact would add significantly to your concern that Canada take immediate and determined action during this brief window of opportunity. We urge you to do everything you can to help bring freedom and peace to Lebanon and to ensure the speedy withdrawal of Syrian forces from a sovereign Lebanon.
Thank you for your kind and prompt attention to this matter,
Jack L. Edwards, Ph.D.
Christian Coalition International (Canada) Inc.
P.O. Box 6013, Station A
Toronto, Ontario M5W 1P4
**The Honourable Stephen Harper, Leader of the Official Opposition (Canada)
**His Excellency Mr. Raymond Baaklini, Lebanese Ambassador to Canada
**Ambassador Michel Duval, Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon
**Mr. Elias Bejjani, Spokesman, Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF) & Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
**Ambassador Brian J. Davis, Canadian Ambassador to Syria
**His Excellency Ambassador Jamil Sakr, Syrian Ambassador to Canada