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Bill Narvey

Letter to Editor regarding Air strikes in Iraq from Liberal party 's Critic for Foreign Affairs and Bill Narvey's Response:

October 18, 2014


[Editor's note: The following is a letter the WJR received from Marc Garneau, MP, Liberal Party of Canada Critic for Foreign Affairs and a response by a WJR reader, lawyer Bill Narvey ]



Dear Editor,


ISIL represents a real and present threat to the Middle East region. It has ruthlessly and systematically killed thousands throughout Iraq and Syria – innocent civilians, ethnic and religious minorities, humanitarian workers, and journalists – displacing hundreds of thousands more in its wake. Both the security threat and the urgent humanitarian crisis created by ISIL require international action.


The question is not whether Canada can contribute to this effort; we can, and we must. The question is this: in the context of a wide-scale, international effort to confront ISIL, what is the most effective contribution that Canada can make?


The Liberal Party of Canada believes that our efforts are best devoted to the humanitarian side of the equation. Displaced Iraqis who have been forced from their homes at the hands of ISIL need our help. Canada is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the humanitarian efforts in this region. In addition, we can and should facilitate the resettlement of Iraqi refugees here in Canada. We also have unique capabilities that should lead us to focus our time, personnel, and financial resources on non-combat roles such as strategic airlift, training, and medical support.


We have repeatedly said that there is a clear line between a non-combat and combat role in Iraq. If the Prime Minister wants to take Canada across that line, he must make the case to Canadians as to why this is a necessary step for our country. The Prime Minister did not make this case. For this reason, the Liberal Party opposed the government’s motion to go to war in Iraq.


However, now that the decision has been made to send the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces into harm’s way, they have our—and all Canadians’—full and unwavering support.


Marc Garneau, MP

Liberal Party of Canada Critic for Foreign Affairs




Political ethos usually compels an opposition party to take a stance against some government  position or policy.  Sometimes that stance is lucid and compelling.  Sometimes not. 


Not is the case with Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Marc Garneau’s letter to the WJR editor, entitled The Mission In Iraq criticizing the recent Harper government majority vote to  join the U.S. led coalition against ISIS by authorizing Canadian CF-18 airstrikes against ISIS.


Garneau accuses PM Harper of failing to make the case to Canadians for Canada participating in attacking ISIS.  PM Harper however, did just that in the House during the 2 day debate preceding the motion passing.  If making a case for a position is paramount for Garneau and his Liberal party, that case is glaringly absent from his letter that only states his party’s position.  


As for saying  Canada should only involve itself in providing humanitarian aid to the victims of ISIS,  Garneau does not explain why Canada cannot do that and join in attacking ISIS. 


And what is with Garneau’s point that Canada can best help Iraqi refugees by resettling them in Canada?  He knows that how?  Why that, instead of Canada helping Iraqi refugees sustain themselves where they now are until ISIS can be defeated and they can then go back to their own homes in Iraq?


Garneau concludes that the Liberal party, notwithstanding its opposition to Canada’s passed motion for air attacks against ISIS, fully supports our brave forces that will be so engaged.  How thoughtful! 


Notwithstanding admitting ISIS’s evil,  the fundamental Liberal party position Garneau cites is that Canada should do nothing about defeating the evil ISIS and only be there for the victims of ISIS’s evil.


Are Edmond Burke’s words which  people love to quote that  ‘the only thing for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’,  nothing more than empty words for Garneau and his Liberal party? 


Garneau falls so far short of the mark of making a case for anything he says of the Liberal party’s position on these ISIS issues, it would have been better for him and his party to have said nothing at all.


Bill Narvey


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.