July 30, 2003
Link Aid to Balfour Case:
Day Dictatorial regimes will trample on Canadians if there are no consequences
OTTAWA-Canadian Alliance Foreign Affairs Critic, Stockwell Day, today called on the Canadian Government to make its massive aid package to Lebanon contingent on the fair treatment of Bruce Balfour, a Canadian and apparent prisoner of conscience in Beirut. The Prime Minister pledged $200 million in aid to Lebanon last November at a Paris conference. "Though are hearts go out to the people of Lebanon, the idea of aiding this government in the first place is questionable, given its support for terrorism, its violation of its own people and its close ties to the terror regimes in Syria and Iran. They have arrested a Canadian apparently because of his beliefs. They must either lay legitimate charges and carryout a legitimate trial, or they must immediately release him. Should they fail to do so, Canada should cancel this aid package. "Mr. Balfour is apparently under detention for his support of Israel. The Lebanese authorities are holding him without charges and are reportedly promising a military trial. So far, the Canadian government has done almost nothing to defend his rights, nor has the Minister threatened any consequences for Lebanon's failure to conform to norms of justice. "The Minister seems to have learned nothing from his failure in Zahra Kazemi's tragic case. He failed to lay out consequences for Iranian brutality, and now other despotic regimes know they can trample on Canadian citizens with impunity.