Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting it right on Foreign Policy

I frequently quarrel with the government over issues when I think they're getting it wrong, that's natural. We tend to focus on the bad things and those that we wish to change instead of the things that are already going well, it's why your news every night is filled with plane crashes instead of stories of the thousands of safe landings every day. I advocate looking at the broader picture, not putting on blinders and only focusing on the negatives.

In that spirit, I'm very pleased with the Government of Canada's response to the Syrian Civil War. Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have been very clear that they will not send weapons to the Syrian Rebels, nor to the Syrian government. In a situation like this, where two groups of people are both morally objectionable, and have both committed war crimes, the solution is not to pick what you think of as the lesser of two evils, as the United States have done, nor to defend your strategic resources, as Russia has done; but instead to roundly condemn the war, and offer assistance to the innocent people who are caught in the crossfire.

So far the government has committed $180 million dollars to help with humanitarian aid. While I disagree with government aid in general, I think that this is a far better use of tax dollars than purchasing weapons for either side in the war.

Even better, and what I would prefer to see more of, are the actions begun by (Now former) Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to bring 1300 Syrian refugees out of the conflict zone and here to safety in Canada. Of those, 200 will be resettled by the government, the other 1100 by private sponsors.

This action is one of the best things that Canada can do for the people of Syria, simply offering them a way out, and I am proud that our government has recognized such. I hope that they will allow more refugees to come once these intial 1300 have been allowed in, as no one deserves to live in a war zone, nor a refugee camp.

Update: in 2013, only 45 of the 1300 slots were taken.

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