Liberal MP resigns as deputy foreign affairs critic

Friday, August 25, 2006

Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj has resigned after an uproar over his comments suggesting that Canada should negotiate directly with Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organizations. In response to the statement by Wrzesnewskyj, Liberal leadership hopefuls Scott Brison and Carolyn Bennett had immediately demanded Wrzesnewskyj step down from his post, saying that his comments were unacceptable.

"His comments, which were not representative of the Liberal party, caused a lot of concern," said Liberal MP Keith Martin.

Tory MP Jason Kenney, was calling his comments nothing short of a sign of support for terrorist groups. "Their idea of a balanced approach is one where Israel is always wrong," said Kenney. "This represents a totally irresponsible approach to foreign security policy."

Wrzesnewskyj denied media reports about him claiming that he wants Hezbollah taken off Ottawa's official list of terrorist organizations.

"I've said all along that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and will continue to be," Wrzesnewskyj said.

Wrzesnewskyj resigned on Wednesday and interim Liberal Leader Bill Graham said his resignation was accepted.


Jason Kenney subsequently came under fire when it was revealed that in April he spoke to a rally organized by supporters of a banned Iranian terrorist group. A photograph of Kenney appears on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the PMOI, or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

The PMOI is one of the names used by the MEK, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq, an armed Iranian rebel group formally designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Canada, the United States and the European Union.

"It really means that Jason Kenney is a hypocrite," New Democrat MP Peggy Nash said in response to the news.

"He's speaking to an organization that's linked to a terrorist organization according to Canada and the U.S. State Department, and he's done it on the steps of Parliament Hill in the name of the Prime Minister," she added.