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Statement to the Darfur Demonstration
Bill Siksay MP (Burnaby-Douglas)
Vancouver Art Gallery
Sunday, 29 April 2007

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Thank you.

It is an honour to be asked to speak today, and to
stand in solidarity with the people of Darfur and
those of you who daily demonstrate your
commitment to ending the genocide and stopping
the war in Darfur and Sudan.

I bring a message of solidarity from the leader of
the federal NDP, Jack Layton, and from our local
MPs Libby Davies in Vancouver East, Peter Julian in
Burnaby New Westminster, Dawn Black in New
Westminster Coquitlam and Penny Priddy in Surrey
North.

Last week in the House of Commons, New
Democrats again called on our government to act
on Darfur, to assume leadership on Darfur.
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My colleague Paul Dewar, the Member for Ottawa
Centre, raised Darfur in Question Period. Paul
reminded the government that although we have
taken some steps, more are required. Paul quoted
Winston Churchill, when he said, “It is no use
saying we are doing our best. We have got to
succeed in doing what is necessary.”

Dawn Black, Alexa McDonough, and Paul Dewar,
held a press conference in Ottawa last Monday to
call on the Conservatives to end their silence on
Darfur and use the occasion of the commemoration
of the Armenian genocide to announce a strategy
for a renewed peace support mission in Darfur.

Dawn Black also made a statement in the House
last Monday, urging the government to take
advantage of the opportunity that has recently
emerged, to deploy 3000 UN peacekeeping troops
in Darfur, to support the troops of the African
Union. Dawn called on Canada to “seize this
opportunity to be at the forefront of the
international response to this positive
announcement.”
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On Thursday, during debate on the NDP motion
calling for a immediate withdrawal of Canadian
troops from Afghanistan, I spoke about the
situation in Afghanistan, and my hope that Canada
would end our combat and war-making role in
Afghanistan and resume our commitment to
peacekeeping work, first and foremost in Darfur.

Canada has dropped the ball on peacekeeping-
something Canadians do not support. Our entire
peacekeeping contingent worldwide will now fit on
one bus with room to spare. We have to resume
our responsibility. We have to use our experience
and expertise in peacekeeping.

Darfur is crying out for our commitment. We must
make a commitment to lead the UN contingent to
Darfur. We must be key to that operation. We
must be key to diplomatic efforts. We must
continue and expand our key role in humanitarian
aid. Canadians expect it. And the people of
Darfur desperately need our commitment.
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Please be assured that we will continue our efforts
in Ottawa, supporting in Parliament the work that
all of you do. Indeed, “Time is Up: Protect Darfur
Now”.

				
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