Saturday, November 10, 2007

Harper must reverse decision on capital punishment

Fri 9 Nov 2007

OTTAWA – NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Paul Dewar (Ottawa-Centre), has called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier to immediately reverse his decision and add Canada’s name to the list of the co-sponsors of the UN Moratorium on Capital Punishment.

“The NDP is gravely concerned that the Conservatives have decided not to take a leadership role in the movement to abolish the death penalty,” said Dewar. “I am particularly concerned that the Minister would make the decision not to co-sponsor the UN moratorium on death penalty without consulting Parliament”.

Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Canada will not co-sponsor the resolution to impose a universal moratorium on capital punishment. The resolution, co-sponsored by more than 70 countries, is scheduled for a vote on November 14, 2007.

In a letter addressed to Bernier dated November 8, 2007, Mr. Dewar criticizes the government’s decision: “It indicates a weakening of Canada’s position on this important issue particularly at a juncture when Canada’s leadership could have ensured the passage of the resolution. This is another example of Canada’s foreign policy going in the wrong direction”.

“This was an opportunity for Canada to reaffirm its unequivocal support for the abolition of the death penalty and take on a position of leadership for human rights on the international stage and the Harper conservatives have once again failed Canadians,” concluded Dewar.