How refreshing. That?s the consensus of constituents and Canadians from coast to coast on the new Conservative government?s approach to international affairs and foreign policy.
More than twelve years of Liberal-style indecision and dithering relegated Canada to the sidelines in the international arena. Jean Chrétien, and in particular, Paul Martin, were hesitant to do what ?had to be done? when it came to matters of terrorism and international security.
The Liberal leadership usually preferred to wait for the United States to make a move first, and then based their decision upon whether it was beneficial to their own party?s fortunes at that particular time to be seen as either opposing or supporting the Americans. Alternatively, and more frequently, the Liberals did nothing at all.
Take the Tamil Tigers for instance. The RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) had steadfastly recommended to the Liberals that the Tamil Tigers be placed on the list of banned terrorist organizations in Canada.
The Tamil Tigers, seeking independence from Sri Lanka through armed conflict, engages in terrorist tactics including suicide bombings. Meanwhile, because the former Liberal government refused to list them as a terrorist group, one-third of the cash the Tigers use to finance their acts of terrorism was raised right here in Canada through front organizations and extortion of families and businesses in the Canadian Sri Lankan community.
So you can imagine the relief and appreciation of Sri Lankan Canadians and the violence-weary nation of Sir Lanka when the Conservative government announced last week that the Tamil Tigers are now officially listed as a banned terrorist group. Canadian law enforcement agencies now have the federal backing necessary to shut down the Tamil Tigers? Canadian-based operations.
Two weeks earlier, the Conservative government made a similarly swift foreign policy decision when it became the first nation after Israel to cut off foreign aid payments to the Palestinian Authority.
We cannot provide financial assistance nor recognize the new Hamas government as long as it refuses to reject terrorism and violence as a means to attain its objectives.Canadian tax dollars should not be directed towards the foreign government that just this past weekend applauded the killing of innocent Israeli civilians in a terrorist suicide bombing. The Canadian government will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people through international aid organizations.
Unlike his Liberal predecessors, Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not need weeks of deliberation and the lead of other nations to determine a course of action. And again last week, he didn?t hesitate to strongly condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for calling for the annihilation of Israel and his continued denial of the holocaust.
Like most Canadians, I was proud growing up that my country had a reputation throughout the world for its diplomacy and fairness, yet that when called upon Canada would stand up for what was ethically and morally right.
The Conservative government will continue to act in the firm belief that today?s young Canadians and our future generations deserve to grow up feeling that same pride.