Statement by the Hon. Chris Alexander on the occasion of Mullivaikkal Day
May 18, 2017
It has been eight years since the dreadful massacre at Mullivaikal in the Vanni in 2009.
At that time our first daughter Selma had just been born in Denmark one month earlier.
I was in my last two weeks in Kabul as Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Afghanistan – a country where conflict continues to this day.
We knew a terrible tragedy had occurred. That the world had failed to prevent a genocide.
Just over two years later I visited Sri Lanka for the first time – now as a Canadian Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence.
The stench of war had not yet quit Mullaitivu. We saw homes, churches and farms devastated by bombardment and combat. The army remained fully deployed.
There was no civilian government in the north. Human rights defenders feared for their lives. White vans were still carting off innocent people to detention and torture.
The next year, with strong and principled support from Canada, the Human Rights Council passed its first resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka.
The resolutions have grown stronger with each passing year since then.
Thanks to international pressure, including that of Canada, a new administration was elected in the Northern Province.
Prime Minister Harper boycotted the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo – with India’s Prime Minister and many others following suit.
Within eighteen months the old Sri Lankan regime had been voted out.
A new framework for accountability, reconciliation and human rights is being pursued, with international support.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet in Markham with the still newly elected Chief Minister of the Northern Province, distinguished jurist C.V. Vigneswaran.
He passed on his thanks for all of Canada’s support – and especially for our principled stand in favour of real accountability to heal deep wounds.
This will not be easy. There is already resistance. Many obstacles still need to be overcome.
We all instinctively know, as the historic 2015 Human Rights Council resolution puts it, “the importance of a comprehensive approach to dealing with the past”.
There must be conversation and criminal justice, truth-telling and gestures of forgiveness, a sharing of tragic records and a readiness to confront painful realities.
Most of all, civilians must be put back in charge of their own lives – empowered by education, self-government, returns of seized land, economic opportunity and decentralization.
To succeed this work must be done carefully: in the words of the resolution, “mechanisms to redress past abuses and violations work best when they are independent, impartial and transparent” – and should include international experts.
Canada has shown time and again the value of taking a principled stand.
Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil community has a central role to play in meeting the challenges of accountability and reconciliation.
Let us now work together to seize this opportunity.
Today a new genocide is underway in Syria. There, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in South Sudan, in Yemen and in far too many countries throughout the world it is time to start again the work of ending conflict, rebuilding lives and restoring dignity.
Let Sri Lanka today be an example of what the indomitable human spirit can do to bring enduring peace – of our ability to find solutions together.
To Watch: Chris Alexander as he takes on tonight’s last CPC debate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – Today marks the last of the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership debate series. Chris Alexander – the only candidate to grow up in Toronto -- will aim to reach all Party members with his vision for a New Canada.
Alexander has a lot to talk about in this last formal Party debate. He’s spent the past few months building his vision for a New Canada. His vision has three main elements:
(i) A New Economy
(ii) A New Role
(iii) A New Country
A New Economy encompasses building on and expanding existing industries, as well new advanced manufacturing and deep tech sectors – to ensure Canada is the world’s leading launch-pad for start-ups and global champions. It means a Canada that is economically unified nationally while expanding internationally to reach new trading partners – in North America and beyond. It means leveraging Canada’s bright, talented population, economic immigration, abundant natural resources and outstanding communities and wilderness to ensure our growth story has the profile it deserves on the global stage.
A New Role will demonstrate Canada’s environmental stewardship. It also pushes for Canada’s active contribution, expertise and policy leadership to combat terrorism, end the genocide in Syria, stand up to aggression from Putin and others, and bring peace and stability to regions and to populations that are most in need.
A New Country means a reset of relations with Canada’s First Nations and Metis people. New Canada should be a country where we all play a role in ending poverty and homelessness, in building great, clean cities where citizens can live, work and contribute to their communities. It is a vision of Canada that attracts foreign investment and continues to welcome people from all corners of the world.
For Canada’s 150th birthday, we celebrate our growth and maturing as a nation. Now Alexander is looking ahead to the next 150 years with a mature vision for a New Canada.
Born in Toronto, a champion of Canada’s diversity, a passionate Francophone, and advocate of an outward-looking Canada, Alexander’s depth and breadth of knowledge at the community level, on national issues and on the international stage set him apart from his fellow candidates. From the Cabinet table to the remote mountain valleys of Afghanistan, Alexander has a deep understanding of Canada’s place in the world -- and our opportunity to lead. He wants to see a renewed Conservative Party set a course towards this new Canada – the country we all want.
Alexander brings all of this experience and vision to tonight’s debate and it’s going to show.
The Canadian Advantage
It was real. From 2009 until 2015 Canada had the best GDP growth in the G7 – and the best job creation record.
In just one year the Liberals have squandered that advantage. Job creation has been replaced by “job churn”. Canadian taxes are rising – just as Trump prepares tax cuts. Our own Finance officials project non-stop deficits out to 2055. Canada is now a G7 growth laggard.
Canadian Conservatives need a bold vision for Canada’s future. I want our Party to recapture the Canadian Advantage with:
· Deep tax cuts;
· A return to balance and debt reduction;
· A superior business environment;
· Re-tooled government for a digital age;
· World-beating Canadian industries and companies;
· An aggressive export strategy; and
· Strong job creation
This is bigger than any of us: our future is at stake. We need a movement to save our children and grandchildren from this downward spiral of Liberal debt. Please help me re-start job creation in Canada. Support me to regain the Canadian Advantage.
Conservative Leadership Candidate
In Syria, half a million people have been killed since 2011.
It’s a staggering number, close to the death toll in Rwanda in 1994. At that time, the world said, "Never again". Today, most leaders are saying, "Not now, thanks".
Justin Trudeau didn’t start this war. But make no mistake: he’s made it worse. For the first time in Canada’s history, he’s abandoned our closest allies, those still engaged in the fight. This, when more Canadians are being killed by terrorists than at any time since 9/11.
It took images of Alan Kurdi on a beach in Turkey for Liberals to wake up to Syria’s agony. But their strategy for this conflict went no further than Justin’s photo op at Pearson airport.
Never mind the 14 million people forcibly displaced, the largest exodus since the Second World War. Never mind the hundreds of thousands of people barrel-bombed to death by the war criminal Assad, or butchered by Daesh, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and other terrorists.
Canada under Trudeau will not defend these innocent people. The Responsibility to Protect, once touted by Liberals, has been quietly dumped. Instead, Justin is content to leave "peace negotiations" to three dictators – Assad, Erdogan and Putin. It’s a national disgrace.
I’m proud of the 40,000 Canadians who fought terrorism on our behalf in Afghanistan and deeply embarrassed by Trudeau’s cowardly policy. I understand the terrible plight of the Syrian people, and what kind of commitment and leadership it will take to help them.
Our Conservative government was the first in the world to commit to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees. We brought a total of 26,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees to Canada. We spoke out strongly about the plight of minorities. We took part in combat over Iraq and Syria.
Today, Canada is on the sidelines because Trudeau is not a leader. It’s not just about the fight against terrorism. On China, a former Canadian ambassador called him out for naïveté just this week. Even on Syrian refugees, the Liberals left thousands of private sponsors in the lurch – then capped new applications at 1,000.
It’s hypocrisy to exploit victims of war for publicity, then pull out of the coalition fighting to keep them safe. We should be doing everything possible to end this genocide -- striking the terrorists, replacing Assad and standing up to Putin. Our government’s passivity is indefensible.
My plan on how Canada can act to end the Syria crisis is here.
Justin’s plan? You’ll have to check Instagram.
If you’re ashamed of Canada’s inaction in the face of genocide, please donate to my campaign.
If you agree we should be standing with our allies against terrorism, please donate to help us return to office in 2019.
Conservative Leadership Candidate
Kevin O'Leary Is Wrong
Kevin O'Leary is wrong.
By boycotting a debate organized by the Party he wants to lead, he's abandoning our Conservative team -- undercutting rules that should apply to all of us.
Kevin O'Leary should not be allowed to pick and choose which debates he wants to join.
The democratic principles underpinning our Party and our parliamentary system of government deserve respect.
As leadership candidates, we all agreed to take part in these debates -- together.
Under a new leader, we'll have to convince Canadians there's a better option in 2019 -- as a united Party.
I too thought the debate format could be improved. But I'll be on that stage tomorrow in Edmonton.
Because candidates shouldn't be allowed to change the rules mid-race -- just to suit themselves.
It's a question of fairness. Team play. Respect for our Party as an institution. Respect for you as a Party member.
Let me know if you agree!
Conservative Leadership Candidate
“Ukraine and Canada”:
Speech for a Town Hall Meeting at the Ukrainian Canadian Community Centre
Etobicoke, Ontario, March 20, 2017
Diakouyou, Yuri. Dobrie vacheer, shunovnah hromahdoh.
Merci, beaucoup, Youri – vraiment – et bienvenue à toutes et à tous.
Thanks for your endorsement, for bringing us together today and most of all for your public service as an MP and MPP and your leadership as President (since 2013) of the International Council in Support of Ukraine.
Because leadership on issues of freedom and democracy, justice and human rights, is in short supply in today’s world.
After all, it was only three years ago that Prime Minister Harper, together with Chancellor Merkel and others, launched the effort to exclude Russia from the G8 – and impose one of the most far-reaching sanctions regimes of the postwar era.
But who have we heard from lately telling Putin directly to “get out of Ukraine”?
Canadian leadership in the world matters.
I’ve seen it firsthand in Afghanistan, where I had the honour to meet my wife Hedvig who is here tonight. She served as a Danish army captain before working for the UN, running two major development organizations and launching a startup right here in Toronto.
For over a decade Canadian leadership in supporting democracy, in training a new army and police, in funding national programmes for rural development and education, and yes, in a bloody counter-insurgency campaign against the Taliban helped Afghanistan move forward.
Today the world’s looking again to Canada for leadership – this time in support of Ukraine.
That’s why I’m proud to have a policy on Ukraine that stands in marked distinction to that of the current government, and goes well beyond what my fellow Conservative leadership candidates are proposing. In fact, most have barely mentioned Ukraine in their platforms.
I invite you to take a copy, in English or French, of this 15-point plan home with you tonight, and to encourage discussion on Facebook and other social media. It includes:
- a call for a tougher sanctions regime, including against Sechin and Yakunin;
- Magnitskiy-type sanctions against those responsible for murders of political opponents of the Putin regime as well as the destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17;
- more Canadian military support, including lethal weapons system (including by adding Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List), restored RADARSAT imagery sharing, conclusion of the Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement and joint work on new capabilities;
- joint work to prevent and treat casualties, including those suffering from PTSD;
- support for an international platform to bring about the de-occupation of Crimea;
- a large-scale strategic partnership with Ukraine covering market-based, public sector and justice institution reforms.
On my last visit to Ukraine as Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to attend the April 28 2015 International Conference in Support of Ukraine I saw what our Canadian support has meant already. On that trip alone we:
- provided night vision goggles;
- announced a major sub-national governance reform project;
- led discussions towards a new round of IFI support, now just unblocked;
- provided humanitarian support to the displaced; and
- were praised in Kyiv and Dnepropetrovsk as the most principled and consistent supporters of both Ukraine and Israel.
So much of this is because of your commitment – and your efforts. But you need and I want us to have a government that thinks about these issues every day – and takes action continuously.
Because this issue is not only about Ukraine – about the non negotiable imperative to restore Ukrainian control and sovereignty in the Donbass and in Ukraine.
It’s also about borders in Europe and the world today.
It’s about whether the rules of the game established in 1945 will hold.
That’s why I strongly support the current case against Russia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Russia has violated the Terrorist Financing Treaty.
In fact, I am the only leadership candidate proposing sanctions regimes against all state sponsors of terrorist groups – starting with Iran and Pakistan.
Canada should be pursuing every available avenue in international law to hold Russia to account for its grave violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
One hundred years ago, Russia’s imperial structure was on the brink of collapse.
The result within two decades was a regime of violence, repression and famine on a scale the world had never seen before.
The Soviet Union was our ally for three years from 1942-45.
This Faustian Pact cost Ukraine and Central Europe decades of freedom.
In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved but the ideology of violence remained.
It targeted apartment buildings in Moscow in 1999.
A few years later it had reconquered Chechnya.
In 2008 it had invaded Georgia. Today Ukraine is in the cross hairs.
I first met Vladimir Putin in 1995. He had a chip on his shoulder even then.
Today he is Russia’s spear-carrier for re-conquest, repression and KGB values.
We must oppose him with responsible digital media, delivering the facts to audiences across Europe in Ukrainian, Russian and other languages.
We must make Canada a major energy supplier to Europe – to all countries seeking to reduce their dependence on Russian gas and oil.
Above all, we should continue our work to make Ukraine a market-driven economic success – a country integrated by trade and investment into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic system.
My campaign is about a New Canada – a country with the confidence to quite simply the best in the world for business, for entrepreneurship, for the new economy, a country that spreads its wings in Asia, Europe and beyond – that shows the power of our hard-won freedoms and of alliances that we have painstakingly built over centuries.
Just a couple of kilometres from here, US soldiers came ashore in April 1813. We had peace less than two years later – and have never again faced invasion.
Ukraine deserves the same opportunity – to have the sovereignty and secure borders that are at the very foundation of the UN Charter, and of world stability since 1945.
If you help me become Conservative leader and prime minister of Canada, we will be driving this agenda forward together every day.
Diakouyou zah peedtrimkoo. Rahzom syla. Slava Ukraini, Slava Kanadi!