Joint Release from the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF) & Canadian Coalition for Democracies (CCD)

Lebanese Canadians and CCD seeks meeting with Martin to explain comments


Toronto, Thursday 17 February 2005 - Earlier today, Prime Minister Paul Martin, commenting on the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, told the House of Commons that "If Syrian soldiers are in Lebanon, it is to keep the peace."

"It is clear that the Prime Minister does not understand the issues facing Lebanese Canadians whose families live in fear and suffer because of Syrian occupation and Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon," said Alastair Gordon, President, Canadian Coalition for Democracies.

"On behalf of the Lebanese Canadian Organization, we are requesting a meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin to inform him about the real situation in Lebanon, and to seek his strong support for UN Resolution 1559," said Elias Bejjani, spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF).

"The Prime Minister needs to hear from Lebanese Canadians directly and he needs to understand the reasons why so many of us fled Lebanon to Canada as refugees," said Mr. Bejjani "Maybe after the Prime Minister hears directly from us, he would be less inclined to make such hurtful and completely inaccurate statements."

The Lebanese organisations and the Canadian Coalition for Democracies are calling on the Prime Minister to support democracy in Lebanon by recalling our ambassador until Syria complies with Resolution 1559 and withdraws its 14,000 troops from Lebanon before the upcoming elections. In addition, Canada must refrain from providing any aid or assistance to the Syrian-backed government of Lebanon.

"Prime Minister Paul Martin has an opportunity to do the right thing, and we hope he will not miss this opportunity," added Mr. Bijjani.

For additional information:
Edmond El Chidiac
CLHRF Media Chairman
News Line 905 2700565
Phone & Fax 905 2729389
Web site

Alastair Gordon
President, Canadian Coalition for Democracies
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