August 01, 2006

Letter about Lebanon by Sid Ryan, President of CUPE, to Prime Minister Harper

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Room 313S Centre Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Prime Minister:

I call on you to immediately denounce the state of Israel with the same voice with which you denounce Hezbollah and Hamas. As president of the largest union in Ontario, representing over 200,000 workers in the public service, I ask that you stop supporting the heinous war crimes that Israel is committing against the people of Lebanon and Gaza.

The intentional bombing of infrastructure and civilian targets – which has already taken the lives of hundreds of men, women and this weekend another 37 young children, is criminal and violates all codes of international conflict and international law.

You have been complacent, and by extension have made the worldview of Canadians complacent, in taking the lives of innocent people and leaving the survivors without the bare necessities of life.

You have turned your back on Canada’s proud history as an honest broker of peace around the world. The proud history and tradition of Canada’s role as an international peacekeeper, begun by the Honourable Lester B. Pearson, has been made a laughing stock in the world.

Your unfettered support for the United States’ soft foreign policy on Israel has violated Canadian tradition and embarrassed many patriotic Canadians. Your “measured response” statement, delivered the day before eight Canadians were killed, has embarrassed many. Your lack of response and criticism to those deaths has embarrassed Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Your blaming of the victims when Israel bombed a UN station is unconscionable. Canada lost a brave peacekeeper, a soldier who was upholding Canada’s marvelous tradition of peacekeeping, your silence in the face of his death is unacceptable – all other countries who lost citizens had the moral values and conviction to condemn Israel for this intentional hit on a peaceful observer station.

Your blind support for George Bush and his policies and your rejection of Canada’s traditional role in the world has left Canadians confused and angry.

You must call for an immediate cease-fire and a stop to the bombings by all parties. I urge you to take a strong leadership role, to reconsider the position you have taken, to be an active force in bringing peace to the Middle East, in saving the lives of hundreds more innocents, and in bringing Canada’s sense of fairness, social justice and peace to this critical situation.


Patrick (Sid) Ryan
President, CUPE Ontario


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