Warning message

Please note that this page is from our archives. There may be more up-to-date content about this topic on our website. Use our search engine to find out.

TORONTO – In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper dated Monday, July 31, Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, called on the PM “to immediately denounce the state of Israel with the same voice with which you denounce Hezbollah and Hamas… I ask that you stop supporting the heinous war crimes that Israel is committing against the people of Lebanon and Gaza.”

Ryan told Harper, “You have been complacent and, by extension, have made the world view of Canadians complacent, in taking the lives of innocent people and leaving the survivors without the bare necessities of life.

You have turned your back on Canada’s proud history as an honest broker of peace around the world. The proud history and tradition of Canada’s role as an international peacekeeper, begun by the Honourable Lester Pearson, has been made a laughing stock in the world.”

Representing over 200,000 workers in the province, Ryan went on to point out that, “The intentional bombing of infrastructure and civilian targets… is criminal, violates all codes of international conflict and international law.

Your unfettered support for the United States’ soft foreign policy on Israel has violated Canadian tradition and embarrassed many patriotic Canadians. Your “measured response” statement, delivered the day before eight Canadians were killed, has embarrassed many. Your lack of response and criticism to those deaths has embarrassed Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

Referring to the Israeli bombing of a UN observer post, he continued, “Your blaming of the victims when Israel bombed a UN station is unconscionable. Canada lost a brave peacekeeper, a soldier who was upholding Canada’s marvellous tradition of peacekeeping, your silence in the face of his death is unacceptable — all other countries who lost citizens had the moral values and conviction to condemn Israel for this intentional hit.”

Ryan concluded his letter with: “Your blind support for George Bush and his policies and your rejection of Canada’s traditional role in the world has left Canadians confused and angry.

You must call for an immediate ceasefire and a stop to the bombings by all parties. I urge you to take a strong leadership role, to reconsider the position you have taken, to be an active force in bringing peace to the Middle East, in saving the lives of hundreds more innocents, and in bringing Canada’s sense of fairness, social justice and peace to this critical situation.”


For more information, please contact:

Sid Ryan, President
CUPE Ontario
416-209-0066 (cell)

Wendy Forbes
CUPE Communications
416-299-9739 ext. 264