Canada’s Liberal Government Admits Humanitarian Aid Can Reach Terrorists
Canada’s Liberal government is facing heavy criticism from the Conservative opposition after International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau admitted that Canadian humanitarian assistance could help terrorists, including ISIS and Hamas.
In a Sirius XM interview last week, Bibeau told the Huffington Post Canada that humanitarian organizations provide services to “whoever needs help,” acknowledging that aid can reach both sides of the conflict.
“Obviously, we will not get involved in any way in this once we have given money to an organization. They give food and services to the people in need, no matter where they decided to go.”
Several Conservative members of Parliament criticized the Liberals for overlooking the consequences of such decisions.
“On one hand, these terrorists want to harm us. On the other hand, this Liberal government turns a blind eye to them benefitting from our aid dollars, Why?” asked Conservative Deepak Obhrai, who represents Calgary.
The parliamentary secretary to Development Minister Karina Gould defended Bibeau’s comments, suggesting that the policy of impartiality in development assistance is in line with the Geneva Conventions and the policies of previous Canadian governments.
On Tuesday, the Liberals were also pressed on the government’s funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose argued that Hamas — a designated terrorist organization — uses UNRWA hospitals and schools in Gaza to host Hamas missiles intended to target Israelis. In addition, she noted that members of the UNRWA staff have been fired after engaging in violent, antisemitic incitement.
“Yet, the prime minister has planned $15 million in new funding for UNRWA,” said Ambrose.
Conservative MP Peter Kent also criticized the government’s proposal, claiming that the financial assistance would be delivered directly to “terrorists.”
In 2004, UNRWA’s then Commissioner-General Peter Hansen confirmed the UN organization’s relationship with Hamas to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, and I don’t see that as a crime,” Hansen said.
Critics have long argued that UNRWA schools allow Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to set the educational agenda for the purposes of propagating violent incitement against Israel and glorifying terrorists who kill Jews.
Over the weekend, Bibeau said that the government was “evaluating the situation” and “the decision will be taken shortly,” while speaking on Canada’s CTV news channel.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.