Remove Hezbollah from terror list: MPs

August 21st, 2006 | Posted in Politics, War and Terror

Mon, 21 Aug 2006 09:14:13 EDT
CBC News

The Lebanese-based militant group Hezbollah should be removed from Canada’s list of banned terrorist organizations, two Canadian MPs say.

Boris Wrzesnewskyj and Peggy Nash made the comments Sunday during a fact-finding mission to southern Lebanon as Israeli troops continue to withdraw from the region following 34 days of conflict.

The area was heavily bombed during Israel’s air assault, which was sparked by a cross-border Hezbollah attack in early July. Eight Israeli soldiers were kidnapped and two were killed.

Wrzesnewskyj, a Liberal MP from Toronto, says the visit has shown him how integrated Hezbollah is into Lebanese society. In the interest of peace, he said Canada should reconsider its 2002 decision to place the group on its list of banned terrorist groups.

“Hezbollah has a political wing, they have members of parliament, two [cabinet] ministers,” said Wrzesnewskyj.

“You want to encourage the politicians of this military organization, you want to encourage the political wing, so that the centre of gravity shifts to them.”

Wrzesnewskyj compared the situation in Lebanon to the decades of sectarian violence by the Irish Republican Army.

“If there wasn’t a possibility for London to negotiate with Sinn Fein [the IRA’s political party], we’d still have bombings in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Banning Hezbollah ‘not helpful’

Wrzesnewskyj’s comments were echoed by Nash, a New Democratic Party MP who is also from Toronto. She said many Lebanese regard Hezbollah as resistance fighters.

“It’s just not helpful to label them a terrorist organization,” said Nash.

“If the political parties can figure out a way to work with Hezbollah and try to get along internally, then we should perhaps take a cue from that.”

Wrzesnewskyj dismisses criticism that placing Hezbollah on Canada’s banned list helps ensure money donated to Hezbollah’s social programs won’t be spent on weapons.

“It’s a red herring. Take a look around here. Has the fact that we’ve listed it in that way prevented a war?” he said.

Wrzesnewskyj says he plans to deliver a report recommending the Liberal caucus support reversing the ban.

A third Canadian MP on the trip, Maria Moureni of the Bloc Québécois, wouldn’t say whether she favours taking Hezbollah off list or not.

Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro withdrew from the fact-finding mission at the last minute, citing security concerns.

The tour was arranged by the National Council on Canadian-Arab Relations, which criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to demand an immediate ceasefire to the conflict.

The council’s executive director, Mazen Chouaib, says the trip was intended to give the MPs another view on what happened in Lebanon. “Our politicians are getting the talking points from the Israel lobby,” he said.

Illegal to work with Hezbollah

In 2002, former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s government placed Hezbollah on its list of banned terrorist entities following weeks of intense lobbying by the Canadian Alliance and Jewish groups. The ban included Hezbollah’s military and social wings.

Under that designation, it is illegal for people in Canada to work with or donate money to Hezbollah. Canadian authorities can seize any assets linked to the organization.

Interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham was foreign affairs minister when Hezbollah was added to the Canadian list. He had initially argued that Hezbollah’s social arm was a legitimate charity and functioned independently of the military wing.

Graham later reversed his position after media reports quoted Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah urging Palestinians to expand suicide bombings worldwide.

With files from the Canadian Press


How appalling that MP Boris Wrzesnewskyj has had to resign over this. How appalling that a state that can violate international law and rain down death and destruction upon Lebanon and can violate numerous UN resolutions with impunity – Israel – enjoys such unqestioning support from across the Canadian political establishment, while anyone who resists like Hizbollah or Hamas or Wrzesnewskyj is suppressed. Wake up Canada!

Comment by John Shafer — August 26th, 2006 @ 5:32 PM

John Schafer. What I feel is of absolute importance to your mental stability in the future is to immediately have your brain observed.What you regard to be a violation of International law is what level headed people would see as either justice or the need for some urgent changes to your pathetic so called International laws.

Comment by solomon Marni — April 12th, 2007 @ 4:30 AM

I don’t understand how you must resort to personal insults against those who offer their comments on this website. Your insults distract from the important issues at hand.

In this case the important issue is the listing of Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization by the Canadian government. Only three countries in the entire world list both the political & military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, it is clear in this case that the Canadian position rests as an extreme minority in the world.

Comment by Stefan Christoff — April 12th, 2007 @ 1:45 PM

It is clear that comments posted on this bog are changed and duped after replies have been posted.Your purpose Mr shafer is to implicate the opinion of commentators. A well known Zionist tactic. Try again.

Comment by Solomon Marni — May 1st, 2007 @ 9:59 PM

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