Parliament of Canada Meets Kurdish Representatives / Kurdish representatives asked for more humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria

 Basnews – 3.04.2015 -Prime Minister, Stephen Harper; Minster of National Defence, Jason Kenney; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rob Nicolson and other parliamentarians met with Kurdish and Iraqi representatives at Parliament Hill this week.

Representatives from the Kurdish, Yazidi, Assyrian, Chaldean and secular Muslim communities, as well as independent Kurdish activists and intellectuals met with the Canadian officials. The guests exchanged ideas, asked for more humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria, and expressed their support for the Prime Minister’s latest motion.The motion, presented to the House of Commons on Tuesday, offered to expand military intervention in Syria to combat Islamic State (IS) for another twelve months. Kurdish representatives from the Greater Toronto Kurdish House and Toronto Kurdish were present when the Prime Minister proposed the motion. Offering a glimpse into what Canada has accomplished so far in pushing IS back, Harper pointed out that “the territorial spread of IS, something occurring at a truly terrifying pace in the spring and summer of last year, has been more or less halted. Indeed, IS has been pushed back somewhat at the margins.

“In its crimes, IS targets innocent men, women and children, particularly the most vulnerable and peaceful ethnic and religious minorities,” said Harper, in front of representatives of those affected communities.Harper asked the House to support the government’s proposal to expand airstrikes into Syria without seeking consent from the Syrian government. Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democratic Party and Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, disagreed with the Prime Minister’s motion, pointing out the legal complications of airstrikes and claimed that the attack on IS would benefit Bashar al-Assad. Kurds believe that it is a shame to be discussing legalities while so many innocent civilians, journalists, and aid workers are beheaded and burnt alive by IS, a group that publicly brags about their brutality.

In the face of such a motion and the response from the opposition, even socialist Kurds were themselves disappointed by the oppositions’ take on the matter.“What’s the alternative to not fighting the killers? Standing indifferently as IS continues slaughtering innocents?” asked Dr. Saren Azer who has been involved in humanitarian work with refugee camps for over twelve years.

“I am very disappointed by the Opposition. They seem to be completely out of touch with the realities of what is on the ground in Iraq,” said Father Niaz Toma, Pastor of Chaldean Church Catholic Church in Hamilton and St. Peter’s.“It is ironic that a priest is asking for airstrikes and military intervention but as my people are killed and displaced in thousands, I don’t see any other way to stop the evil, namely IS.”Renya Benjamin, the director of the GISHRU organisation, said that “The Canadian Assyrian community supports Canada’s mission to extend and expand the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria. IS has been committing genocide against the region’s most vulnerable ethnic minorities, including the Assyrians and Yazidis in Mosul, and the Nineveh Plain.”

Mirza Ismail, Chairman of the International Organization of Yazidi Human Rights told Canadian officials that Yazidis find themselves in danger of complete extinction at the hands of IS brutalities. To hesitate would be disastrous.The Parliament’s guests said that the opposition is playing political games and not considering the dire situation of the refugees and millions of internally displaced people.