The unofficial Syria debate - Macleans.ca

The unofficial Syria debate

Two MPs weigh in

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There is no indication the House will be recalled to discuss the matter, Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren doesn’t think we should bomb Syria.

Van Kesteren, who chairs the Canadian-Turkey Friendship Association, described Syria as a “quagmire that we don’t want to get into. We should stay well out of it.” The MP said the Muslim world has to decide where they stand and how they want to move forward into the 21st century.

“I don’t think picking sides is going to work for us,” he said. “They have to work it out and then we can help. But first they have some serious issues that they have to deal with.” Van Kesteren said replacing one regime in Egypt with another hasn’t worked – “the situation has fallen apart.”

Independent MP Brent Rathgeber is also reluctant to get involved.

I am having difficulty seeing a positive outcome of interfering in the Syrian Conflict. Firstly, it would be illegal. Absent a Declaration from the United Nations Security Council authorizing such intervention (such as the one authorizing the Afghan Mission) such a military intervention, no matter how laudable, would be contrary to international law. Given that Syria’s ally Russia has a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, achieving a UN Authorizing Resolution is impracticable. Canada understood this in 2003 when it refused to join the USA in its unsanctioned invasion of Iraq.

Worse, the contemplated mission has neither clear goals nor a workable exit strategy. Although the US President and the Canadian and British Prime Ministers all agree that the use of chemical weapons necessitates a “firm response,” nobody seems to know what that means. No foreign power is advocating regime change or otherwise weakening the Assad regime by taking out weapon stockpiles.

Last week, the Prime Minister described the government as a “very reluctant convert” to the idea of military action, one which would support, but not participate in, action by this country’s allies. (We might not have the sort of resources needed to participate.)