LCCC Press Release
Wednesday, 2 August, 2006
The LCCC, an umbrella organization for six non-profit Lebanese Canadian groups, strongly condemns the undemocratic political tactics that the Opposition Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois parties executed yesterday during a hearing session for the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. The session was initiated by the Opposition parties to challenge the Conservative government’s Middle East policy and the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon.
Several groups and individuals applied to be witnesses and were accepted by the Clerk of the Committee. These witnesses traveled to Ottawa from across the country, but were unjustly prevented from delivering their statements. Among them was Mr. Elias Bejjani, LCCC Chairman and the Canadian Lebanese Human Right Federation (CLHRF) Spokesman, (a member in the LCCC coalition). It is astounding that although the hearing pertained to Lebanon, Opposition MPs deemed it appropriate to silence Lebanese witnesses.
Below is the statement (in Arabic, French and English) that CLHRF Spokesman Elias Bejjani had prepared but was prevented from delivering:
Click here to read the Arabic version of the statement
Click here to read the French Version of the statement
Click here to read the English version of the Statement
The committee met on August 1. In the morning, the committee MPs had an opportunity to question the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Peter MacKay. In the afternoon, the Opposition MPs, mainly led by Alexa McDonough of the NDP, put forward a procedural motion calling for committee business to be dealt with before the witnesses were heard. The government MPs responded that concluding the committee business before hearing from the witnesses was like passing a verdict in a trial before calling witnesses. Ms McDonough went further, stating that the witnesses were identified with a single well-defined, narrow position, and challenged their credibility. It should be noted that Ms. McDonough made these damaging allegations against witnesses approved by the Clerk of the Committee, while knowing neither the witnesses nor the content of their testimony.