Canada wants Israel and Lebanon to guarantee they will not attack six ships scheduled to pick up Canadians stranded in the strife-torn country, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said.
MacKay said six chartered passenger ships are expected to arrive at the port of Beirut on Wednesday. They will be able to transport an estimated 4,500 Canadians a day.
"We want assurances that those ships will be protected and afforded the utmost safety," MacKay said on CBC Newsworld
OK, first off, the Lebanese government, to whom our foreign minister is making half his request, stands to gain nothing from attacking evacuee laden vessels. Hizbollah, could in the extreme theoretical, rationalise such an attack (on Canadians) given the Harper government's implicit support of Israel. However, considering many of the evaucuee's are Canadian of either dual nationality or Lebanese heritage, it would make no sense for Hizbollah to attack them. Hizbollah is part of the Lebanese government, but it is not the Lebanese government. This part of MacKay's request is senseless but is being used to mask their legitimate concern over Israeli action.
The mention of Isreal is more telling though. Perhaps someone has briefed Mr. MacKay on the USS Liberty incident and they are now realising that Isreal will do as it damn well pleases, regardless of international opinion, and are regretting obliterating forty years of Canadian impartiality in their haste to gain associate membership in the Bush Administration.
He and his master are likely also beginning to realise that bombs kill Canadians as easily has they kill Israelis, Lebanese and Hizbollah especially when the bomber is attacking civilian infrastructure.
It is also a little hard to dock a rescue ship if the port is being bombed and/or destroyed. I imagine it is also hard to convince a Cypriot contract Captain to dock his ship in a war zone, but we'll see how that plays out. Some questions to ask are whether or not the ports are/will be functional...
Mr. Harper and Mr. MacKay should remember that their first responsibity as Prime Minister of Canada is the protection of Canadians and all other responses to this crisis should be based on that! Not on whether or not it serves the Bush administration! This is not a game.