Canadian Coalition for Democracies CCD
Assassination of Hariri an attack on democracy in Lebanon
Toronto, Monday 14 February 2005 - Earlier today, Rafik Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon and an opponent of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon, was assassinated when a massive explosion struck his motorcade in Beirut. Dozens of innocent bystanders, as well as other opposition members, were killed or injured in the bombing.

"This is yet another attack on democracy and freedom in Lebanon," said Alastair Gordon, President of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD).

"On his visit to Lebanon last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew was urged to meet with opposition leaders and NGOs in Lebanon to promote democracy and support United Nations Resolution 1559 calling for an end to Syrian occupation," added Gordon.

"Sadly, Minister Pettigrew chose instead to meet only with Syrian-backed government officials in Lebanon, thereby ignoring the cause of democracy and the illegal occupation."

Canadian Press reported that "Pettigrew also met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in a bid to bolster ties between Canada and the Arab country that the United States and Israel accuse of supporting Palestinian militant groups."

Mr. Hariri worked to bring together Lebanon's Christian and Muslim communities in support of United Nations Resolution 1559 to end Syrian military occupation of his country. His party had called on Syria to "end its hegemony in Lebanon and restore sovereignty to the Lebanese". His assassination will serve to further divide Lebanon, already weakened by Syria's military and political interventions.

"Canada must send a message that we will honour Mr. Hariri and the democratic movement in Lebanon by strongly backing UN Resolution 1559," said Gordon. "Minister Pettigrew chose to ignore Mr. Hariri on his visit to the Middle East, and decided instead to meet with the architects of the illegal occupation, and possibly the assassination of Mr. Hariri.

"Canada should end relations with Syria until democracy is resorted and the occupation ended. To do otherwise, is to once again come down firmly on the wrong side of history."

For additional information, please contact:
Alastair Gordon
PO Box 72602
345 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 3J0 Canada
Tel: 416-486-8784
Cell: 416-809-5561
Cell: 416-452-6957
Fax: 360-294-2839