Press Release

The Canadian Lebanese Community of Ottawa feels Betrayed, Shocked and Enraged by the hostile, offensive, accusative, rude and inflammatory comments made by Mr. Raymond Baaklini, Lebanon's ambassador to Canada.

The comments that were published initially in Canada by an Arabic newspaper on 31/12.02, and then by the Saudi "Asharq Alawsat newspaper" on 13.1.03, were total unacceptable and lacked the traditional Lebanese diplomatic courtesy.

Mr. Baaklini did not only infringe on the Canadian laws and interfered in internal Canadian affairs, but has assaulted the Canadian-Lebanese peaceful community and endeavored to portray its members as supporters for terrorism and terrorists.

The Canadian Lebanese Community of Ottawa reminds his excellency that the Canadian government worships democracy, honors human rights and abides by the laws of the land,   unlike the Lebanese oppressive regime that is installed by Syria, a foreign and Stalinist occupying force.

Mr. ambassador should know after living in Canada for almost three years that Canadians decide for themselves and accept no foreign hegemony from any other country. In this context the Canadian  government decides on all matters as they affect the Canadians' welfare, safety, prosperity and interests.

Mr. Baaklini who represents a regime that violates the basic human rights of the Lebanese people on daily basis, does not seem to have adjusted yet to the Canadian tolerance, democracy, values and norms. Accordingly we refrain from responding to his baseless, childish, sickening and false accusations that targeted our Canadian-Lebanese community. Meanwhile, we strongly condemn Mr. Baaklini's comments and have asked our Canadian government to enforce on him the laws of the land.

The final question remains, who does Mr. Baaklini represent, the peace loving Lebanese people or Hizbollah who is now on the Canadian terrorism list?

Ottawa. 15.1.03

For the Community
Elias Kessab/ For the Kataeb and Lebanese Friends
Gilbert Soudir/ For the COLCO (Council of the Lebanese Canadian Organizations)
Jehad Chamoun/ Ottawa Ahrar Organization