In case you haven’t had enough of the major parties’ positions on Darfur, here’s one from the NDP:
Jack Layton and Canada’s New Democrats are united in their support for all efforts to end the violence against civilians in the Darfur region. We continue to support the work of STAND and the Sudanese Diaspora to keep the Sudan crisis on the Canadian government’s agenda. New Democrat MPs, including Alexa McDonough, Paul Dewar, Tony Martin and Bill Siksay, have consistently spoken out about the need for the Canadian government to do much more for the people of Darfur.
Paul Dewar (MP for Ottawa-Centre) is the NDP foreign affairs critic and has been our lead on Darfur. As you may know, he has been instrumental in moving the issue forward in the House of Commons by initiating a study at the Foreign Affairs committee. Paul is also vice-chair of the parliamentary group against genocide and has been active on Darfur in that capacity as well.
There is a growing concern among everyday Canadians that their public and private investments may be directly or indirectly contributing to the crisis in Darfur. NDP Foreign Affairs critic, Paul Dewar noted, “Knowing what we know about Darfur, business as usual is unconscionable.” Despite opposition from Conservatives, the Foreign Affairs committee last year adopted an NDP motion to undertake a study of Canadian funds invested in Sudan and explore legislative initiatives to regulate such investments in light of the worsening crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.
In May of this year, we have called on the Harper Conservative’s take leadership. Jack stated that “this is exactly the kind of peacekeeping role that Canadians have always supported. Canadians would want us to be in Darfur. That sentiment is found right across the country.”
Our Party wants Canada to take a lead role in any UN mission to stop the bloodshed in Sudan’s Darfur province. Canada could and should commit immediately to the following measures:
- support the United Nations Mission to Sudan (UNMIS)
- offer Canadian troops to complement the advance party requested by the UN
- push for a stronger UN resolution on Sudan
- offer logistical support to the United Nations-African Union hybrid force carrying out its mandate to protect the population in Darfur.
New Democrats will continue to speak out on both Canadian and international inaction on Darfur and will lend our support to all efforts to bring peace to this tragically, neglected region.
While I believe this position shows a lot of commitment to the issue and a great deal of promise, I have to reiterate the point that has been made before on this blog: DIPLOMACY. A peace process is absolutely necessary, but unfortunately it is unlikely to come about without a consistent and coherent international position supported by numerous nations. Along these lines, we’ve suggested the idea of a Special Envoy (or even a all-parliamentary committee) to create a point man in the diplomatic effort. We really appreciate the NDP stance on Darfur and like the fact that they are making it a priority, but if I could add one thing, it would be about diplomacy.