PM confirms ‘no’ vote on Palestine at UN

OTTAWA — Canada affirmed its steadfast opposition to Thursday’s vote at the United Nations to confer statehood on Palestine, saying it would not support any “shortcuts” to peace with Israel.

OTTAWA — Canada affirmed its steadfast opposition to Thursday’s vote at the United Nations to confer statehood on Palestine, saying it would not support any “shortcuts” to peace with Israel.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed the decision on Wednesday with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird bound for New York to cast Ottawa’s vote and register Canada’s disappointment with the latest Palestinian move at the UN for recognition.

The Harper government’s support of its close friend Israel was unbowed by reports that its trusted international ally, Britain, had offered to abstain from the vote in return for a pledge from the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

Asked Wednesday during a rare press conference, this time to mark the visit of the incoming Mexican president, Harper brushed aside all talk of the British move, and reiterated his firm support for the Israeli line on the resumption of peace talks without preconditions.

“It’s not for me to explain the British position,” said Harper.

Harper said Canada favours a two-state solution in the Middle East which requires the Palestinian authority to return to the bargaining table for talks with Israel.

“That will not be accomplished, in reality, unless and until the Palestinian Authority returns to the negotiating table and is able to get a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel.

“And we will not support any other shortcuts, or any other ways of trying to arrive at that solution without such a peace agreement.”

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar accused the government of taking an “unbalanced approach” that is threatening moderate Palestinians.

“That is why our allies, including the U.K., France and the U.S., are doing the hard diplomatic work of trying to restart negotiations,” Dewar charged during question period.

“How is the government’s threatening approach helping to encourage moderates who want to pursue the path of politics rather than the path of violence?”

Baird replied that Canada is “tremendously disappointed” with the Palestinian Authority for its statehood bid.

“It is obvious that this will affect our relationship,” Baird said. “This government makes no apologies for standing with the Jewish state.”

Baird said he believed the Palestinian motion would be successful “by a wide margin.” But he said he would vote against it on Canada’s behalf “and stand up for what we believe is right.”

“The position of the government of Canada is shared by the Obama administration that has very similar views to us,” he added.

The UN General Assembly resolution would raise the Palestinians’ status from a UN observer to a non-member observer state.

The United States and Israel are strongly opposed to the move.

Senior U.S. officials were unsuccessful in a last-ditch attempt to persuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to drop the statehood bid.

Just Posted

Fredericton police release scene of shooting spree, but ‘damage’ remains

FREDERICTON — Police have released the Fredericton apartment complex that was the… Continue reading

Police seek public’s help after East Coast lobster thieves strike again

SAINT-SIMON, N.B. — There has been another crustacean caper on the East… Continue reading

Court hearing on Humboldt Broncos fundraising a first under new Saskatchewan law

SASKATOON — A court hearing related to money raised following the Humboldt… Continue reading

Weed’s want ads longer, marijuana job searches up as industry grows: study

OTTAWA — The growth of Canada’s soon-to-be-legal recreational pot industry is starting… Continue reading

Google Generation’s push for more technology transforming health care: survey

TORONTO — Digitally savvy Canadians who make up the Google Generation are… Continue reading

WATCH: A horse was neglected by its owner. Now the horse is suing

ESTACADA, Ore. - Justice is an 8-year-old American quarter horse who used… Continue reading

Red Sox old-timer’s memorabilia going up for sale

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Some items belonging to one of the Boston Red… Continue reading

Rival Korea leaders to meet in Pyongyang in September

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The rival Koreas announced Monday that North… Continue reading

Charlottesville anniversary: Peaceful protests, few arrests

WASHINGTON — Thousands of people wanting to send a message that racism… Continue reading

‘I believe music heals people’: 12-year-old records tribute for shooting victims

YARMOUTH, N.S. — Twelve-year-old Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth, N.S., watched the news… Continue reading

Fallen officers’ families gather with Justin Trudeau after tragedy

The prime minister laid flowers at the growing memorial to the four victims of Friday’s violence

Fallen officers’ families gather with prime minister after tragedy

FREDERICTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with families of fallen Fredericton… Continue reading

Liberals showcase benefits of billions spent on infrastructure projects

OTTAWA — Little more than a year before the next federal election,… Continue reading

Fredericton parade ‘a way to celebrate even in the midst of this grief’: mayor

FREDERICTON — Two days after four people were gunned down in a… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month